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Full text of "The whole works of the late Reverend Thomas Boston, of Ettrick : now first collected and reprinted without abridgement; including his memoirs, written by himself"






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tihvary of t:he ^heolocjical ^^minavy 


Donation of 
Samuel Agnew, of Philadelphia 

BX 8915 .B67 1848 v 1 I 
Boston Thomas, 1677-1732 ' 
The whole works of the late 
Reverend Thomas Boston, of 










VOL. I. 
















VOL. I. 

Hold fast the form of sound words.— 2 Tim. i. 13. 





1 Cor. X. .31 .— Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye Jo, do all 

to the glory of God. 

PsAL. Lssiii. 23, 26 -Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none 

upon earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart faileth ; but 

God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever, ... ... 9 


2 Tim. hi. 16. — All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable 

for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 19 


2 Tim. i. 13 Hold fast the form of sound words — in faith and love, ... 42 




Isaiah xxxiv. 16 Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read ; no one 

of these shall fail, none shall want her mate : for my mouth it hath com- 
manded, and his spirit it hath gathered them, ... ... ... ... 56 

John iv. 24 God is a Spirit, ... ... ... ... ... ... 77 

Deut. VI. 4. — Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. 
1 Cor. VIII. 4. — We know that there is none other God but one. 
Compare Jer. x. 10 But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, 131 


1 John v. 7 For there are three that bear record iu heaven : the Father, the 

Word, and the Holy Ghost ; and these three are one, ... ... ... 142 




EpHES. I. 11. — According to the purpose of him who worketh all. things after 

the counsel of his own will, ... ... ... ... ... ... 149 


Heb. XI. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the 

word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which 

do appear, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 167 

Gen. 1. 27. — So God created man in his own image, in the image of God 

created he him : male and female created he them, ... ... ... 177 

Matth. X. 29. — Are not two "sparrows sold for a farthing ? and one of them 

shall not fall on the ground without your Father, ... ... ... 186 

PsAL. cvii. 43. — Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall 

understand the loving kindness of the Lord, ... ... ... ... 193 

Gen. II, 16, 17. — And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree 
of the garden thou rfiayest freely eat ; but of the tree of knowledge of 
good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it : for in the day that thou eatest 
thereof, thou shalt surely die, ... ... ... ... ... ... 229 

Gen. III. 6, 7. — And when the woman saw that the tree was good for foodj and 
that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, 
she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband 
with her, and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and 
they knew that they were naked : and they sewed fig-leaves together, and 
made themselves aprons, ... ... ... ... ... ... 242 

1 John hi. 4. — Sin is the transgression of the law, ... ... ... 256 

Gen. III. 6, 7. — And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and 
that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, 
she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband 
with her, and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and 
they knew that they were naked : and they sewed fig-leaves together, and 
made themselves aprons, ... ... ... ... ... ... " ... 267 

Roji. v. 19. — For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so 

by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous, ... ... 273 



PsAL. LI. 5. — Behold I was shapea in iniquity, and in sin did my mother con- 
ceive me, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 276 

Rom. v. 12. — By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so 

death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, ... ... ... 293 

Eph. I. 3, 4, 5. — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. 
According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, 
that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love : having pre- 
destinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, ac- 
cording to the good pleasure of his will, ... ... ... ... 301 

PsAL. Lxx.tix. 3. — I have made a covenant with my chosen. 
1 CoR. XV. 45. — The last Adam was made a quickening spirit, ... ... 314 

Gal. IV. 4, 5. — When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son 
made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the 
law, that we might receive the adoption of sons, ... ... ... 375 


Luke i. 35 The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the 

Highest shall overshadow thee ; therefore also that holy thing which shall 
^e born of thee shall be called the Son of God, ... ... ... 389 

Zecu. VI. 13. — Even he shall build the temple of the Lord, and he shall bear 
the glory, and shall sit and rule upoa his throne, and he shall be a Priest 
upon his throne, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 403 

Acts hi. 22. — A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, of your 
brethren like unto me : him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall 
say unto you, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 41 I 

Hkb. vii. 17. — Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of JMelchizedec, 437 

PsAL. II. 6 Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion, ... 473 

PiiiL. II. 8. - He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even 

the death of the cross, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 4!)0 



Phil. ii. 9 — 1 1 .—Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him 
a name which is above every name : that at the name of Jesus every knee 
should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the 
earth ; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to 
the glory of God the Father, ... ... ... ... ... ... 504 

Titus hi. 5 He saved us, — by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, ... 529 


1 CoR. XII. 13. — For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether 

we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been 

all made to drink into one Spirit, ... ... ... ... ... 544 


2 TiM. I. 9. — Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not ac- 

cording to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which 

was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, ... ... 557 


Rom. viii. 30. — Whom he called, them he also justified ; and whom he justified, 

them he also glorified, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 576 

RoM. III. 24. — Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption 
that is in Christ Jesus, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 581 

2 Cor. vi. 18. — And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and 

daughters, saith the Lord Almighty, ... ... ... ... C12 



2 CoR. VI. 17, 18. — Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, 

saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you, 

and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith 

the Lord Almighty, 643 


1 Cor. VI. 11 — But ye are sanctified — by the Spirit of our God, ... 653 






1 Cor. X. 31. — Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, 
do all to the glory of God. 

Psalm Ixxiii. 25, 26. — Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there 
is none upon earth that J desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart 
faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. 

Knowledge is a necessary foundation of faith and holiness; and 
where ignorance reigns in the mind, there is confusion in the heart 
and life. "We have the word of truth in our hands, and many- 
methodical systems of divine truths, amongst which the Shorter 
Catechism, composed by the Reverend Assembly of Divines at 
"Westminster, in pursuance of the solemn league and covenant, as 
a part of the then intended uniformity between the three nations, is 
deservedly reckoned the chief. This I shall endeavour to explain 
with all possible brevity and perspecuity, that ye may have a view 
of those divine truths, with the reasons of them. And this I have 
thought it the more necessary to do, in order that your minds may 
be established in the truth, as our time is like to be a time of trial, 
wherein ye may be exposed, to many snares, and so be in danger of 

In the first of the texts which I have read, ye have, 
1. The chief end of human actions, the glory of God : that is 
the scope of which all we think, or speak, or do, should tend ; this 
is the point or common centre, in which all should meet. 

10 OF man's chief end. 

2. The extent of it. It is not only some of our actions, but all of 
them, of what kind soever, that must be directed to this end. This, 
then, is man's chief duty. 

In the second text we have, 

1. The Psalmist's chief desire, and what he points at as his only 
true happiness ; that is, the enjoyment of God. He takes God for 
and instead of all, that in him alone his soul may rest. 

2. The reason of this is taken from, (1.) The creature's emptiness, 
both in body and spirit, ver. 25. (2.) From God's fulness and suffi- 
ciency : and this is amplified by the eternity of it, my portion for 

From both texts the following doctrine natively follows. Doct. 
" Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever." 

In handling this doctrine, I shall speak, I. to the glorifying of 
God, which is one part of man's chief end. 

II. To the enjoyment of God for ever, wherein man's chief hap- 
piness consists, and which he is to seek as his chief good. 

I. I shall speak to the glorifying of God, which is one part of 
man's chief end. And here I shall shew, 

1. The nature of glorifying God. 

2. In what respects God's glory is man's chief end. 

3. The extent of this glorifying God. 

4. The reason of it. 

First, I shall shew the nature of glorifying God. To glorify, is 
either to make glorious, or to declare to be glorious. God glorifies, 
i. e. makes angels or men glorious ; but man cannot make God 
glorious, for he is not capable of any additional glory, being in him- 
self infinitely glorious,. Job xxxv. 7- Hence it is plain, that God 
gets no advantage to himself by the best works of men, the profit of 
our holiness redounding entirely to ourselves. Acts xvii. 25. Psal. 
xvi. 2. 

God is glorified, then, only declaratively ; he is glorified when his 
glory is declared. This is done two ways. Objectively, by the 
creatures inanimate and irrational. Thus the heavens declare the 
glory of God, Psal. xix. 1. This the creatures do, while they afford 
matter of praise to God, as a violin is fit to make music, though 
there must be a hand to play on it ere it can sound. Man declares 
his glory also actively. And this he ought to do, 

1. By his heart, 1 Cor. vi. 20. Glorify God in your spirit. Hon- 
ouring God with the lips, not with the heart, is but a very lame and 
unaccept?ible performance. He ought to be glorified by our under- 
standing, taking him up in the glory which the scripture reveals 
him in, thinking highly of him, and esteeming him above all other 

OF man's chief end. 11 

persons or things, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. So they that know him not, can 
never glorify him : and they that esteem any person or thing more 
than, or as much as him, dishonour him. We glorify him by our 
wills, chusing him as our portion and chief good, as he really is in 
himself; by our affections loving him, and rejoicing and delighting 
in him above every other. 

2. By his lips, Psal. 1. 23. ' Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.' 
Therefore man's tongue is called his glory, Psal. xvi. 9. not only be- 
cause it serves him for speech, which exalts him above the brutes, 
but because it is given him as a proper instrument for speaking 
forth the glory of God. So that it must needs be a strange pervert- 
ing of the tongue, to set it against the heavens, and let it loose to 
the dishonour of God, and fetter it as to his glory. 

3. By his life. Mat. v. 16. ' Let your light so shine before men, 
that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which 
is in heaven.' A holy life is a life of light ; it is a shining light, to 
let a blind world see the glory of God. Sin darkens the glory of 
God, draws a veil over it. David's sin made the enemies of the 
Lord to blaspheme. The study of holiness says, God is holy ; 
mourning for every slip says, God is spotless ; walking holily in all 
manner of conversation, within and without, &c. says, God is omni- 
scient and omnipresent, &c. As when men find a well-ordered 
family, that tells what a man the master of it is. 

Secondly, I proceed to show in what respects God's glory is 
man's chief end. 

First, It is man's end, 

1. It is the end which God aimed at when he made man. Pro v. 
xvi. 4. ' The Lord hath made all things for himself,' Rom. xi. 36. 
' For of him, and through him, and to him are all things.' Every 
rational agent proposes to himself an end in working, and the most 
perfect the highest end. Now God is the most perfect Being, and 
his glory the noblest end. God is not actively glorified by all men, 
and therefore he surely did not design it ; but he designed to have 
glory from them, either by them or on them ; and so it will be. 
Happy they who glorify him by their actings, that they may not 
glorify him by their eternal sufferings. 

2. It is the end of man as God's work. Man was made fit for 
glorifying God, Eccl. vii. 29. ' God made man upright ;' as a well- 
tuned instrument, or as a house conveniently built, though never in- 
habited. The very fabric of a man's body, whereby he looks 
upward, while the beasts look down, is a palpable evidence of this. 

3. It is that which man should aim at, the mark to which he 
should direct all he does, 1 Cor. x. 31, the text. This is what we 



should continually have in our eye, the grand design we should be 
carrying on in the world, Psal. xvi. 8. ' I have set the Lord always 
before me,' says David. 

Secondly, It is man's chief end, that which God chiefly aimed at, 
the chief end of man as God's work, and that which man should 
chiefly aim at. God made man for other ends, as to govern, use, 
and dispose of other creatures in the earth, sea, and air, wisely,- so- 
berly, and mercifully, Gen. i. 26. Man was fitted for these ends, 
and a man may propose them lawfully to himself, seeing God has 
set them before him ; but still these are but subordinate ends to his 

There are some ends which men propose to themselves, which are 
simply unlawful, as to satisfy their revenge, their lust, their covet- 
ousness, &c. These are not capable of subordination to the glory of 
God, who hates robbery for burnt-offering. But there are other 
ends, which are indeed in themselves lawful, yet become sinful, if 
they be not set in their due place, that is, subordinate to the glory 
of God. Now, God's glory is made our chief end, when these three 
things concur. 

1. When whatever end we have in our actions, the glory of God 
is still one of our ends in acting. We may eat and drink for the 
nourishment of our bodies ; but this must not justle out our respect 
to the glory of God. If the nourishment of our bodies be the only 
end of our eating and drinking, it is sinful, and out of the due order. 

2. It must not only be our end, but it must be our main and prin- 
cipal end, that which we chiefly design. When God^s glory is our 
chief end, all other ends that we propose to ourselves will be down- 
weighed by this ; all other sheaves must bow to that sheaf: as a 
diligent servant designs to please both the master and his steward, 
but chiefly the master. But when, on the contrary, a man eats and 
drinks (for instance) more for the nourishment of his body than for 
God's glory, it is plain, that God's glory is not the chief end of the 
man in that action. Hence we read, 2 Tim. iii. 4. of some that are 
' lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.' 

3. When it is the ultimate end, the last end, the top and perfec- 
tion of what we design, beyond which we have no more view, and to 
which all other ends are made subservient, and as means to that 
end. Thus we should eat that our bodies may be refreshed ; we 
should desire that our bodies may be refreshed, that we may be the 
more capable to serve and glorify God in our stations. Thus we 
are obliged to seek our own salvation, that God may be glorified ; 
and not to seek God's glory only that we may be saved ; for that is 
to make the glory of God a stepping-stone to our own safety. 

OF man's chief end. 13 

Thirdly, I come now to show the extent of this duty. Respect to 
the glory of God is as salt that must be served up with every dish. 
The great work of our life is to glorify him ; it is the end of our 
first and of our second creation, Isa. xliii. 21. ' This people hare I 
formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.' We must be 
for God, Hos. iii. 3. and live to him. This must be the end. 

1. Of our natural actions, 1 Cor. x. 31. eating, sleeping, walking, 
&c. we are under a law as to these things. We may not eat and 
drink as we please, more than pray as we please, Zech. vii. 6. All 
these things must be done in subserviency to the glory of God. 
These things must be done that we may live, and living may glorify 
God ; and when we can do it without them in heaven, then none of 
these things shall be done. 

2. Of our civil actions, working our work, buying and selling, 
&c. Eph. vi. 7. Prov. xxi. 4. It was one of the sins of the old 
world, that they were eating ; the word is properly used of beasts 
eating their food : they had no higher end in it than beasts ; and 
marrying, a thiW in itself lawful, but they had no eye to God in it. 

3. Of our mor^^ and religious actions, Zech. vii. 5. We must 
pray, hear, &c. for God's glory. 

This is such a necessary ingredient in our actions, that none of 
them are truly good and acceptable to God without it, Zech. vii. 5. 
Do what we will, it cannot be service to God, if we do not make 
him our end ; no more than a servant's working to himself is ser- 
vice to his master. God will never be the rewarder of a work, 
whereof he is not the end ; for if a man should build houses to all 
the country, if he build not one to me, I owe him nothing. Alas ! 
to what purpose serves a generation of good works all killed by a 
depraved end ? 

Though it is a duty frequently to have a formal and express in- 
tention of the glory of God in our actings, yet to have it in every 
action is impossible : neither are we bound to it ; for then, for that 
very intention we should be obliged to have another, another for 
that, and another for that, in infinitum. But we should always 
habitually and interpretatively design the glory of God. And that 
is done when, (1.) The course of our lives is directed to the glory of 
God, Psal. 1. ult. (2.) When we walk according to the rule of 
God's word, taking heed that we swerve not in any thing from it. 
And, (3.) When God's will is the reason as well as the rule of our 
actions ; when we believe a truth, because God has said it ; and do 
a duty, because God has. commanded it. If we do not so, God loses 
his glory, and we lose our labour. 

Fourthly, The reason of the point is, because he is the first prin- 


14 OF man's chief end. 

«iple, therefore he must be the last end. He is the first and the 
last, the Alpha, and therefore the Omega. Grod is the fountain of 
our being ; and therefore seeing we are of him, we should be to him, 
Rom. xi. ult. forecited. Man is a mere relative being ; God is our 
Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor. Our being is but a borrowed 
being from him, as the rays or beams of the sun are borrowed from 
the sun : therefore I AM is God's name. Whatever perfection we 
have is from him ; hence he is called ' the only wise, none good but 
one, that is God :' he gives us the continuance of all these things, 
and it is on his cost that we live. As when the waters come from 
the sea unto the earth, and go back again unto it by brooks and 
rivers ; so all we receive and enjoy comes from God, and ought to 
go back again to him, by being used for his glory. Wherefore to 
make ourselves our chief end, is to make ourselves a god to our- 
selves ; for a creature to be a centre to itself, and that God- should 
be a means to that end, is to blaspheme, John viii. 50. 

II. I shall speak to the enjoyment of God for ever, wherein man's 
chief happiness consists, and which he is to seek as his chief good. 
Here I shall show, 

1. The nature of this enjoyment. 

2. The order of it. 

3. That it is man's chief end in point of happiness. 

First, I shall shew the nature of this enjoyment. There is a 
twofold enjoyment of God, imperfect and perfect. 

First, There is an imperfect enjoyment of God in this life ; which 
consists in two things. 

1. In union with him, or a special saving interest in him, whereby 
God is their God by covenant. By this union Christ and believers 
are so joined, that they are one spirit, one mystical body. The 
whole man, soul and body, is united to him, and, through the Me- 
diator, unto God. This is the foundation of all saving enjoyment 
of God. 

2. In communion with God, which is a participation of the bene- 
fits of that saving relation, whereof the soul makes returns to the 
Lord in the exercise of its graces, particularly of faith and love. 
This is had in the duties of religion, prayer, meditation, &c. in 
which the Lord privileges his people with manifestations of his 
grace, favour, and love, bestows on them the influences of his Spirit, 
gives them many tokens of his kindness, and fills them with joy and 
peace in believing. 

Secondly, There is a perfect enjoyment of God in heaven, when 
this world is no more. This consists in, 

1. An intimate presence with him in glory Psal. xvi. 11, ' In his 

OF man's chief end. 15 

presence is fulness of joy, and at his right hand there are pleasures 
for evermore.' Grod himself shall be with them, and they shall ever 
be with the Lord, enjoying his glorious presence, brought near to 
his throne, and standing before him, where he shews his incon- 
ceivable glory. 

2. In seeing him as he is, 1 John iii. 2. They shall have a full, 
a satisfying, and never-ending sight of Grod, and of all his glorious 
perfections and excellencies, and they shall be ravished with the 
view thereof for ever. 

3. In a perfect union with him, Rev. xxi. 3. He will be their 
God. They were united to God in Christ here by the Spirit and 
faith, and made partakers of a divine nature, but then only in part ; 
but in heaven they shall perfectly partake of it. There shall be a 
most close and intimate union between God and them : God shall be 
in them, and they in God, in the way of a glorious and most perfect 
union, never to be dissolved. 

4. In an immediate, full, free, and comfortable communion with 
him, iniinitely superior to all the communion they ever had with 
him in this world, and which no mortal can suitably describe. 

5. Lastly, In full joy and satisfaction resulting from these things 
for ever, Mat. xxv. 21. The presence and enjoyment of God and 
the Lamb, shall satisfy them with pleasures for evermore. They 
shall swim for ever in an ocean of joy, and every object they see 
shall fill them with the most ecstatic joy, which shall be ever fresh 
and new to them, through all the ages of eternity.* 

Secondly, Let us consider the order of this enjoyment. 

1. It is a part of man's chief end, and, in conjunction with glo- 
rifying of God, makes it up. And these two are put together, 
because no man can glorify God, but he that takes God for his chief 
good and supreme happiness. 

2. Glorifying of God is put before the enjoying of him, because 
the way of duty is the way to the enjoyment of God. Holiness on 
earth must necessarily go before felicity in heaven, Heb. xii. 14. 
There is an inseparable connexion betwixt the two, as between the 
end and the means ; so that no person who does not glorify God 
here, shall ever enjoy him hereafter. The connexion is instituted 
by God himself, so that the one can never be attained without the 
other. Let no person, then, who has no regard for the glory and 
honour of God in this world, dream that he shall be crowned with 
glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life, in the heavenly man- 

* The reader may see a more full account of the happiness of the saints in heaven, 
in the author's book, Fourfold State, state 4, head 6, Vol. 

16 OF man's chief ekd. 

sions. No ; the pure in heart, and they who glorify God now, shall 
alone see God, to their infinite joy in heaven. 

Thirdly, I shall shew, that the enjoyment of God is man's chief 
end in point of happiness, the thing that he should chiefly seek. 
For this end, 

1. Consider what man is. ^e is, (1.) A creature that desires 
happiness, and cannot but desire it. The desire of happiness is 
woven into his nature, and cannot be eradicated. It is as natural 
for him to desire it as it is to breathe. (2.) He is not self-sufficient : 
h6 is conscious to himself that he wants many things, and therefore 
he is ever seeking something without himself' in order to be happy. 
(3.) Nothing but an infinite good can fully satisfy the desires of an 
immortal soul : because, whatever good he finds in the creature, he 
can still desire more, and will continue to desire it ; and where it is 
not to be found, there his happiness is marred. So that man's 
happiness is neither to be found in himself nor in any creature, or 
created good. 

2. Consider what God is. 

1st, God is the chief good. Some persons, as angels, &c. and 
some things, as grace, glory, &c. are good ; but God is the chief 
good, for he is the fountain good, and the water that is good is 
always best in the fountain. All other goodness is but second-hand 
goodness, derived and dependant ; but God is original, underived, 
and independent goodness, the cause and source of whatever is good 
in heaven and earth. Now, where the more goodness is, there the 
more it is to be sought. And therefore, seeing God is the chief 
good, the enjoyment of him is the chief end which man should aim 
at in seeking. 

2dli/, God is all good. (1,) There is nothing in hira but what is 
good ; he is entirely without imperfection. (2.) All that is good is 
in him ; so that the soul, finding him commensurate to its desires, 
needs nothing besides him ; and therefore should not, and cannot, 
fully rest in any person or thing but God, who alone is able to 
satisfy all its desires, and afl^ord it that happiness which it earnestly 
pants after. 

I shall conclude with a few inferences. 

1. how does reigning sin pervert the spirit of man, turning it 
quite away from its chief end ! How many are there who make 
themselves their chief end ! They are conjured within the circle of 
self, and out of it they cannot move. Like beasts they grovel on 
the ground, seeking themselves, and acting for themselves only or 
chiefly, pursuing the enjoyment of earthly things ; but look not to 
God, Phil. iii. 19. Their own advantage is the chief motive and 

OF man's chief end. 17 

aim they have in their natural, civil, and religious actions, either 
their own pleasure, profit, or honour and glory. And they never 
think of, never propose the glory and honour of the infinite Majesty 
of heaven in any thing they do. 

2. This may fill the best with shame and blushing. how much 
is God dishonoured by our hearts, lips, and lives ! what self- 
seeking mixes itself with our best actions ! How eagerly do we pur- 
sue created things, and how faintly the enjoyment of God ! How 
absurd is such conduct ! and how dishonourable to a holy God ! It 
is a saying upon the matter, that God is not the chief good, that he 
is not a suitable portion for the soul, and that the creature is better 
than God. How should we be ashamed of ourselves on this account, 
and labour earnestly to make God the chief and ultimate end of all 
our actions, and the enjoyment of him our chief happiness ! 

3. Behold the excellency of man above other creatures on earth ! 
He is made for a noble end, to glorify and enjoy God, while other 
creatures were made for him. How sad is it, that men should thus 
forget their dignity, and turn slaves to those creatures which were 
made to serve them ! And how deplorable and lamentable is it, 
that men, in place of making God their ultimate end, and placing 
their chief happiness in him, should make their belly, their lusts 
and idols, their God, and place their chief felicity in the gratifica- 
tion of sensual and brutish pleasures ; as the drunkard does in his 
bottle, the unclean person in his whore, the miser in his wealth, and 
the ambitious man in titles of honour. Alas ! our hearts by nature 
are set on the earth that we tread upon, and our desires reach up 
to those things that we should make stepping-stones of. Let us 
earnestly implore divine grace to cure this disorder of our hearts, 
and give them a bias to more excellent things, and the enjoyment of 
that which will survive the grave, and not perish with the wrecks of 
time, and the dissolution of the world. 

4. The soul of man is immortal, seeing to enjoy God for ever is 
its ultimate and supreme happiness. God is immortal, and so must 
the soul be too, which can never be satisfied but in this never-dying 
being. The body too must rise again, seeing God is the God and 
portion of the whole man. Now, God is not the God of the dead, 
but of the living. Can that thinking and immaterial substance 
which eagerly desires happiness, and can find it no where but in the 
immortal God, perish with the body, and all its thoughts and desires 
be extinguished in the grave ? No ; its chief happiness will subsist 
for ever, and so will thfe soul too. And both soul and body, which 
were united to God here, shall continue to be united to him for ever, 
after the resurrection. Let us then seek to be united to God here, 
that we may be happy with and in him for ever. 

13 OF man's chief end. 

5. When God and the creature come in competition, we must 
renounce the creature, and cleave to God only, Luke xiv. 33. God 
is the chief good, and to glorify and adhere to him at all times, and 
in all cases, and amidst all trials, is our great duty, a duty abso- 
lutely required of us. If we are reduced to that dilemma, that we 
must either give up with the creature, or any worldly goods or 
possessions, or even life itself, or give up with and deny God and 
his cause, we must give up with and abandon the former, and not 
prefer them to the glory of God, which we ought always to study as 
onr main end, and account our chief happiness and joy. 

6. Here is a rule to try doctrines by, and also practices. What- 
ever doctrine tends to glorify God, and promote his honour in the 
world, is certainly from God, and is to be embraced. Alid whatever 
practices have that same tendency, they are good, and deserve to be 
imitated. Whereas any doctrine that tends to dishonour God, to 
rob him of his glory, and set the crown upon the creature's head, to 
depreciate the free grace of God, exalt the power of nature and of 
free-will, in opposition to the efficacious and irresistible grace of 
God, as the doctrines of the Pelagians, Papists, Arminians, and 
others do, is not from God. Neither is any doctrine or opinion that 
robs the Son of God of his essential dignity, supremacy, indepen- 
dency, and equality with the Father, to be received, because it is 
not of God, who will have all men to honpur the Son even as they 
honour the Father. 

Lastly, Let this then be your main and chief work, to glorify 
God, and to seek to enjoy him. And hence see the absolute need of 
Christ, and faith in hira ; for there is no glorifying of the Father 
without the Son, 1 John ii. 23. and no enjoying of God, but through 
him. No sacrifice is or can be accepted, unless offered upon this 
altar ; and there is no coming into the chamber of presence, but as 
introduced by Christ. 



2 Tim. iii. 16. — All scnpture is given hy inspiration of God, and is 
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in 

The next head which falls to he touched is the holy scripture, the 
rule which God has given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy 
him. We are poor hlind creatures, that know not our way, neither 
how we should glorify God, nor how we may come to the enjoyment 
of him. Therefore God hath given us the revelation of his mind in 
that great point. The connexion betwixt this and the preceding 
question is abundantly obvious ; the one points out the end for 
which we were made, the other the rule to direct us how to attain to 
that end. And in this text we have two things. 

1. The divine authority of the scriptures asserted. All scripture 
is given hy inspiration of God. The word scripture signifies writing in 
general ; but here it is appropriated to the holy scripture. It prin- 
cipally here aims at the scriptures of the Old Testament, which 
were written by men of a prophetic spirit : but seeing the New 
Testament was written by such as were endowed with the same 
Spirit for writing, upon that reason, what is applied to the Old 
belongs also to the New Testament. It is said to be of divine 
inspiration, because the writers were inspired by the Spirit, who 
guided their hearts and pens ; he dictated, and they wrote ; so that 
it is his word and not theirs ; and that is extended to the whole 

2. The use and end of the scriptures : It is prof,table for doctrine, 
&c. If ye desire to know the truths of religion, or what we believe, 
the scripture is profitable for doctrine, teaching us what we are to be- 
lieve concerning God, Christ, and ourselves, and the great things 
that concern salvation. If ye want to refute the contrary errors, it 
is prof table for reproof, to convince us of the nature and importance 
of divine truth and point out what errors we are to avoid. If ye 
desire to amend your life and practice, casting ofi" sinful practices, it 
is profitable for correction, that is, for reformation of manners. If ye 
want to know what is duty, and what is sin, it is necessary /or in- 
struction and righteousness ; shewing us how to lead a holy and righte- 
ous life before God, and instructing us in the true righteousness, 
which is the foundation of our access to God, and acceptance with 
him, the righteousness of Christ. And what more is necessary for 
salvation, for faith and obedience, for the whole of salvation ? 


Two doctrines offer themselves from the words, viz. 

DocT. I. ' The scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the 
word of God.' 

DocT. II. * The scriptures are the rule to direct us how we may 
glorify and enjoy God,' 

I shall prosecute each doctrine in order. 

DocT. I. ' The scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the 
word of God.' 

Here I shall shew, 

I. What is meant by the Old and New Testament. 

II. What are the scriptures of the Old and New Testament. 

III. The necessity of the scriptures. 

IV. That the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the 
word of God. 

V. Deduce some inferences. 

I. I shall shew what is meant by the Old and New Testament. It 
is the covenant of grace which is called a testmnent, and it is properly 
a testamentary covenant, without any proper conditions as to us, 
Heb. viii. 10. " This is the covenant that I will make with the house 
of Israel after those days, saith tlie Lord ; I will put my laws into 
their mind, and write them in their hearts : and I will be to them a 
God, and they shall be to me a people." Christ is the testator ; he 
made the testament, and confirmed it with his death. The spirit of 
Christ drew the testament, dictating it to the holy penman. This 
testament of Christ's is one and the same as to substance, though 
sometimes more clearly revealed than at other times. The Old 
Testament is the more obscure draught of Christ's will, and the New 
Testament is the more clear one. Thus they only differ in circum- 
stances, while the substantial of both are one and the same ; one 
Mediator and testator, one legacy or promise of remission of sin and 
eternal life, and one faith as the way of obtaining it*. 

II. I proceed to shew what are the scriptures of the Old and New 
Testament. The scriptures of the Old Testament are those which 
begin with Genesis, and end with Malachi; and the scriptures of the 
New Testament are those which begin with Matthew, and end with 
the Revelation. And it is worthy of our special remark, how the 
Old Testament and the New, like the cherubims in the most holy 
place, stretch forth their wings touching one another ; the Old Tes- 
tament ending with the prophecy of sending Christ and John the 
Baptist Mai. iv. and the New beginning with the history of the 
coming of these two. 

* See more on this subject in the author's View of the Covenant of Grace, head 4. 
title, Christ the Testator of the Covenant. 


The books of the Old Testament were divided by the Hebrews 
into three, the law, the Prophets, and Ketubim, written books. The 
law contains the five books of Moses, the Prophets are twofold, for- 
mer and latter. The former are the historical books of the Old 
Testament, as Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 
Kings ; and they were so called, because they told things already 
done. The latter related things before they were done ; and are of 
two sorts ; the greater, which are three, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and 
Ezekiel ; the lesser twelve, viz. Hosea, Joel, &c. The written books 
were called so, because they were written by such as had the gift of 
the Holy Spirit, as the Hebrews speak, but not of prophecy. And 
of that sort are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, 2 
Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Daniel. The Hebrews 
ascribe this division of them to Ezra ; and it seems our Lord Jesus 
Christ acknowledged the same, while he tells his disciples, Luke 
xxiv. 44. of the writings of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms. 

The books of the New Testament are divided into three sorts, 
Histories, the Four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, 
and the Revelation, which is prophetic. 

The books of both the Testaments were written by different au- 
thors. As to the Old Testament, Moses wrote the Pentateuch ; only 
some verses in the end of Deuteronomy, where Moses' death is re- 
corded, could not be written by him, but are said to have been written 
by Joshua ; who also wrote the book that bears his name ; or, accord- 
ing to the opinion of some, it was written by Eleazar, Aaron's son. 
Samuel is supposed to have written the book of Judges, and, it would 
appear, the last part of the book of Joshua, containing the account 
of the death of Joshua and Eleazar : Some think that the Judges did 
write every one the history of their own time ; and that Samuel at 
last did put them all into one volume. The book of Ruth also was 
written by him, as the Hebrews tell. He wrote also the first book 
bearing his name, to the 25th chapter, where his death is narrated. 
The rest of the chapters of that book, and the whole of the second 
book, are said to have been written by David. The books of the 
Kings are supposed to be written by David and Solomon, and other 
prophets that lived in these times ; so that each of them did write 
what was done in his own time. Job is supposed to have written 
the book that bears his name. David wrote the Psalms, but not all : 
such as are not his have the author's name prefixed ; as Asaph, 
Heman, &c. : and they were all by Ezra collected into one volume. 
Ezra is said to have written the books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Ne- 
hemiah ; Mordecai, that of Esther ; and Solomon, the Proverbs, Ec- 
clesiastes, and Canticles. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the other prophets, 


•wrote every one their own prophecies, containing a short sum of 
their sermons. 

As for the books of the New Testament, without controversy the 
evangelists wrote the Gospels, according a,s their names are prefixed 
to them. Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles ; and the remaining 
books, the Epistles and the Revelation, were written by those whose 
names they bear. Only, as to the Epistle to the Hebrews, there has 
been some doubt, some ascribing it to Luke, some to Barnabas, 
others to Apollos, and others to Clemens : but many learned men 
have given good reasons to prove it to be written by the apostle Paul. 

But the principal author is the Holy Spirit, whence the scripture 
is called the Word of God. The penmen were but the instruments 
in the hand of God in writing the same. It was the Spirit that dic- 
tated them, that inspired the writers, and guided them. But the 
inspiration was not the same in all points to all the penmen ; for 
some things were before utterly unknown to the writer, as the his- 
tory of the creation of the world to Moses ; the prediction of future 
events in respect of the prophets ; which therefore the Spirit did im- 
mediately reveal to them : Other things were known to the writers 
before, as the history of Christ to the four evangelists, &c. ; in res- 
pect of these there need no new revelation, but a divine irradiation 
of the mind of the writer, giving him a divine certainty of those 
things which he wrote. By this inspiration all of them were infal- 
libly guided, so as they were put beyond all possibility of erring. 
And this inspiration was extended not only to the things themselves 
expressed, but to the words wherein they were expressed, though 
agreeable to the natural style and ilianner of each writer, 2 Pet. i. 21 ; 
Psal. xlv. 1. Upon this account the scripture is attributed to the 
Holy Spirit, without making any mention of the penmen, Heb. x. 15. 

Quest. But what opinion are we to form of the books called Apo- 
crypha, And why are they so called ? 

Answ. These books, which are found placed in some bibles betwixt 
Malachi and Matthew are called Apocrypha, which is a Greek word, 
signifying hidden or absconded. The reasons of this name are given 
thus (1.) Because they were not'acknowleged by the church to be of 
divine inspiration, (2.) Because the names of the authors were hid. 
(3.) Because they contain some things unknown to Moses, the pro- 
phets and apostles. (4.) Because, for the foresaid reasons, they were 
judged unworthy to be publicly read in the church. Concerning 
these books, we believe that they are not of divine inspiration, and 
therefore no part of the canon of scripture ; that is, they are not to 
be admitted as any part of the rule of faith and manners : and there- 
fore they are of no authority in the church of God for the determin- 


ing of controversies in religion ; and so, though they may be of use 
as other human writings, y«t they are n.o otherwise to be made use 
of nor approved. The reasons are, 

1. They were not actnowledged by the, church of the Jews for 
canonical : to whom the Apostle tells us, Rom. iii. 2. ' the oracles 
of God,' under the Old Testament dispensation 'were committed.' 
They even forbade their childreir to read them till they came to 
mature age. 

2. They were not written in the Hebrew tongue, but in the 
Greek ; and the authors of them were posterior to Malachi, who was 
the last of the prophets, according to the saying of the Hebrews, 
that the Holy Ghost went up from Israel after the death of Haggai, 
Zecharikh, and Malachi. And 1 Mac. iv. 46. plainly shews, that 
there was no prophet among them, to shew them what they should 
do with the stones of the polluted altar. And it may clearly ap- 
pear to any unbiassed person, how the interposing of these books 
betwixt Malachi and Matthew does cut off the beautiful connexion 
betwixt the end of the Old and the beginning of the New Testa- 
ment, and how Malachi's prophecy is designed of God to close up 
the scriptures of the Old Testament, in that he prophecies most dis- 
tinctly of the coming of Christ, and John the Baptist his forerunner, 
with the accomplishment of which Matthew begins his gospel, as I 
observed before. 

3. The primitive church for the first four centuries received not 
these books ; and when they came to be read, the reader stood 
but in an inferior place, they being then read as profitable books, 
though not of divine authority. 

4. They are no where cited by Christ and his apostles. Yea, 
they are not obscurely rejected by him, while he divides the scrip- 
tures into Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, Luke xxiv. 44. 
And whereas the Apostle tells us, that ' prophecy came not of old 
by the will of man, but that holy men spake as they were moved by 
the Holy Ghost,' 2 Pet. i. 21. the authors of these books pretend to 
no such thing. The author of Ecclesiasticus in the prologue in- 
treats the reader to pardon them, [viz. him and his grandfather), 
wherein they may seem to come short of some words which they 
have laboured to interpret. Such an apology is there, 2 Mac. xv. 
38. ' If I have done well, it is that which I desired ; but if slenderly 
and meanly, it is that which I could attain unto.' 2 Mac. ii. 23. the 
author tells us, he will essay to abridge in one volume the five 
books of Jason of Cyrene. Ver. 26. he tells how he hath taken on 
him the painful labour of abridging ; that it was a matter of sweat 
and watching to him: And ver. 27. 'But for the pleasuring of 


many,' says he, ' we will undertake this great pains.' And more 
of this stnff has he there ; which plainjiy speaks forth nothing else 
than hninan learning and pains, which men desire to have much 
accounted of amongst others. 

Lastly, They neither agree with themselves nor the holy scrip- 
tures, as may plainly appear to those who will consider them dili- 
gently. 1 Mac. vi. 16. compared with ver. 4. it is said, that 
Antiochus died at Babylon. Yet 2 Mac. i. 13, 14, 15, 16. it is said, 
that when he was come into Persia, he was slain in the temple of 
Nanea, whom he pretended that he would marry, and would receive 
money in name of dowry, by her priests. Yea, 2 Mac. ix. 28. he is 
said to have died in a strange country in the mountains. The book 
of Tobit is stuffed with absurd stories ; it makes the angel Raphael 
to tell a lie, and to teach Tobit's son a devilish art, to drive away 
the devil with the heart and liver of a fish; and when the evil 
spirit smelled the smell, he fled into the utmost parts of Egypt, &c. 
The author of the history of the Maccabees commends Rasis for self- 
murder, and prayer for the dead, 2 Mac. xii. 44, 45. These things 
plainly shew, that these books are not from the Spirit of God. 

All this shews the darkness of Popery that receives these books 
as canonical, and the dregs remaining in the church of England, 
who, though they 4o not receive them for canonical, yet mix the 
reading of portions of them in their churches with the scriptures, 
while in the mean time, several portions of the holy scripture are 
passed over, and not read publicly in their service. And whilst we 
blame the church of England for reading in her service books that 
are not canonical, impartiality obliges us to say, that far too small 
a portion of the books that are canonical is read in the public ser- 
vice of our own church. This is equally culpable. 

And as there is none of these to be admitted into the canon, so 
neither can we gratify the Papists with yielding, that there are any 
books of the scripture lost, lest we reflect on the providence of God, 
that to a miracle has preserved these books to this day, and has 
insured the preservation of far less parts than whole books, Mat. 
V. 18. 

III. I proceed to shew the necessity of the scriptures. 

1. There was a necessity of the revelation of the doctrine of the 
scriptures. For though the light of nature, and the works of 
creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom 
and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable, Rom. i. 20. and ii. 
14, 15. yet they are not sufficient to shew us either how we should 
glorify, or how we may enjoy God, and so are not sufficient to give 
that knowledge of God, and of his will, that is necessary to salva- 


tion. For (1.) There is no salvation out of Christ, Acts iv. 12. 1 
Cor. iii. 11. there is no salvation through him but by faith, Mark 
xvi. 16. John iii. 16. and xvii. 3. and there can be no faith nor 
knowledge of Christ but by revelation, Rom. x. 14, — 17- (2.) They 
who have only nature's light, and so do not enjoy divine revelation, 
are without Grod, and have no hope, Eph. ii. 12. ; and therefore 
there was a necessity for preaching the gospel, 1 Cor. i. 21. (3.) 
Wliatever knowledge men may attain to of God by nature, yet 
saving illumination and conversion can only be got by the revealed 
will of God written in his word. See Psal. xix. throughout. 

2. There is a necessity of the scriptures, or written word, though 
the Papists whose kingdom is supported by darkness, deny it. It is 
true, Ood did teach his church a long time before Moses without 
the written word ; but then the same doctrine that we have in the 
scriptures, the patriarchs had by extraordinary revelation often 
repeated ; and their long lives gave them opportunity to keep what, 
was so revealed uncorrupted, and so to hand it down to others. 
But now both these are gpne, and therefore the written word is 
necessary, (1.) For preserving the doctrine from corruption in such 
times of apostasy, 2 Pet. iii. 1. (2.) For the better propagating of 
the truth. Matt, xxviii. 19. The apostles could not with their voice 
teach all nations, but by their writings they could. (3.) If the 
written word were wanting, the church has nothing to look to but 
uncertain traditions ; but the written word is a sure touchstone of 
doctrines, Isa. viii. 20. a light in a dark place, 2 Pet. i. 19. both of 
which are most necessary. 

3. There is a necessity of it not only for beginners, but for those 
who are more perfect. The scripture is written for all indifferently, 
Col. iii. 16. Even the most perfect will find enough there, and 
more than they are able for : ' Open thou mine eyes,' says David, 
* that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law,' Psal. cxix. 18. 
It is but the blindness of enthusiasts to pretend, that it is only for 
the weaker, and that the more perfect must follow the Spirit : for if 
that Spirit teach any thing contrary to the written word, it is a 
spirit of darkness, Isa. viii. 20. ; yea, if it teach another doctrine, 
an anathema is pronounced against it, Gal. i. 8. 

Thus it plainly appears, that nothing short of scripture-revelation 
is sufficient to salvation, and that in an objective way ; that is, that 
it is a sufficient rule to lead men to salvation. But something else 
is requisite to make this rule effectual for that end. No skill or 
wisdom of men representing them in the clearest point of view, nor 
all the power of the most elaborate and persuasive reasonings, can 
produce this effect. This work is the province of the Spirit of 

26' Till': 1)1 V INK AUTIIUUITY 

God, wliicli he accomplishes by an internal illumination of the mind, 
giving blinded sinners a saving discovery of divine trutlis ; by 
powerfully subduing man's obstinate will, and enabling it cheerfully 
and readily to obey the will of God and the authority of Christ ; 
and by working upon our affections, exciting in us ardent desires 
after God and Christ, and a high esteem of divine truth, and re- 
moving the prejudices in our minds against it, and opening our 
hearts to receive the word, and comply with the design thereof. 

IV. I shall next shew that the scriptures of the Old and New 
Testament are the word of God. Christ is God's personal word, 
but the scriptures are his Avritten word, Hos. i. 2. 

The scriptures appear to be the word of God, if we consider, 

1. The antiquity of some parts of them, which are more ancient 
than any human writings, and give us such an history as none but 
God himself could do, viz. the creation of the world ; for how could 
men tell what was done before man had a being ? 

2. The preservation of it to this day, notwithstanding the malice 
of devils and wicked men against it. If it had not been of God, it 
could not have continued till now, considering the attempts that 
have been made to destroy it. 

3. The candour and sincerity of the penmen of these sacred 
writings, who honestly declare what they delivered was received 
from God, plainly tell their own faults as well as those of others, 
and every way write as men over-ruled by the Spirit of God. 

4. The exact performance of scripture-prophecies. Isaiah pro- 
phesied that Cyrus should deliver the Jews from the Babylonish 
captivity, not only before that captivity took place, but more than 
an hundred years before that prince was born. Jeremiah, a little 
before that captivity, foretold it should last seventy years, and that 
was the precise duration of it. How remarkably have all the pro- 
phecies relating to the fall of the Babylonish, Persian, Grecian, and 
Roman monarchies been fulfilled ! And what an exact accomplish- 
ment has there been of the several prophecies relating to the birth 
and death of Christ, and the spreading of his kingdom in the world ! 
The scripture contains many other prophecies which time has shewn 
exactly performed, and many that are yet to be fulfilled. 

5. The blood of many martyrs hath confirmed the divinity of this 
book, while they joyfully laid down their lives for the truth of it ; 
in which it is evident they were carried up above what human 
power could do. 

6. The scriptures have been confirmed by incontrovertible mira- 
cles. All miracles are Avrought by God himself; and it is incon- 
sistent with his holy nature to work miracles for confirming a lie 


or a cheat. Many miracles were wrought by Moses, by Christ, and 
by his apostles. If then these miracles were done by them, the 
doctrine they taught was true. Now, we have all rational grounds 
to suppose, that these miracles were really wrought. It is certain,- 
that the general consent of those who have heard of them goes that 
way. Now, if it be supposed a cheat that such things were done, 
then that cheat took place either among those who were said to 
have seen them, and were witnesses to them or else among those 
who lived after that generation which is said to have seen them was 
dead and gone. But neither of these two can be said here. Not 
the first, for two reasons. (1.) Because these miracles were such 
things as men's outward senses (their eyes and ears) could be judges 
of. (2.) They are said to be done, not in a corner, but in the face 
of the world. Tlierefore it was impossible that that generation 
could be imposed upon. If a man should say, that yesterday he 
divided the river Tweed in pi'esence of us all, and brought ns all 
through on dry land, it would be impossible for him to make us 
believe it, for we saw no such thing, nor waded so through that 
river. Or if he should say, that he came to the church-yard, and 
raised a dead man in our presence, whom we now see among us, he 
could never cause us believe it, nor cheat us into a persuasion of the 
same. Neither could any in after generations invent such a story, 
and impose the cheat Tipon others. (1.) Because there are some 
things done in memory of these miracles. (2.) Such observances 
did commence from the time that such things were done, as circum- 
cision, the passover, baptism, and the Lord's Supper. If then the 
forger would impose it on otliers, he mast make them believe, that 
these observances have been constantly in use since that time, 
which, if they were not, could not be believed, because it contradicts 
the senses : for it would be impossible to make a nation believe that 
they were all circumcised or baptized, when there was no such 
thing ; and especially that such things were done to them in me- 
mory of such a thing as tliey never heard of. 

7. The scriptures must either be from God, or the creature. 
They cannot be from the creature ; for if so, they must be from 
angels or men. Neither of these can be said. Not the first; for 
then they should either be from good angels or evil angels. From 
good angels they cannot be, in regard, they say, they are the word 
of God, and this would be a most gross cheat which cannot be 
attributed to good angels ; for angels imposing such a cheat on the 
world could no more be looked on as good, but as evil. With what 
shadow of reason can it be imagined, that good angels, remaining 
so, should abuse the name of God, as to speak in his name, wliat he 


never said ? Evil angels it cannot be either, in regard the scrip- 
ture doth natively tend to overturn the devil's kingdom; it pro- 
nounces their doom, discovers their malicious designs, brings men 
out of their service, and from doing what is pleasing to them. The 
same way may we reason concerning good or bad men their being 
the principal authors of the scriptures. And you know what tor- 
ment the scripture assigns to liars. It remains then that the scrip- 
ture is of divine inspiration. 

Besides, such things are found in the scripture themselves, as do 
plainly demonstrate they are the word of God. As, 

1. The heavenliness of the matter of the scripture, shews it to be 
of a divine origin. Therefore they are called the holy scriptures, 
Rom. i. 2. See Psal. xii. 6. Nothing carnal or earthly is delivered 
therein, but all is what becomes those who live above the world, and 
shall shine in glory. I take this heavenliness of the matter to 
respect two things. (1.) The sublime mysteries therein revealed, 
which nature ever so much elevated could never attain to the dis- 
covery of. Such is the doctrine of the Trinity, the incarnation of 
the Son of God, and the spiritual union betwixt Christ and be- 
lievers. The light of nature improved by the learned to the utmost 
advantage, could not teach these things; yet a few fishermen plainly 
delivered them. (2.) The most exact holiness of its precepts, com- 
manding all holiness, and forbidding all impurity of heart and life 
under the pain of damnation ; and that so universally, as all the 
writings of philosophers have come far short of. Here we are 
taught to love our enemies, to be truly and thoroughly humble and 
self-denied; and this urged by such arguments as may be most 
effectual for inciting men to the practice of these duties. Sure this 
could neither be the work of men, being so opposite to corrupt 
nature, nor of devils being so opposite to their kingdom and in- 
terest, but of that God who is holy, and loveth righteousness. 

2. The efficacy of the doctrine, in its convincing and searching the 
conscience, Heb. iv. 12. ; converting the soul from its most beloved 
lusts, even when nothing can be expected from the world for such 
a change but the cross, Psal. xix. 7. ; rejoicing the heart under the 
deepest distresses, ver. 8. This efficacy lies not in the bare words, 
letters, or syllables, which have no other power than to signify the 
things ; but it is the ordinary means which the Spirit makes use of 
for these ends, without which it will be but a dead letter. 

3. The majesty and sublimity of the style, an elevated and grand 
diction which runs through many passages of the scriptures, particu- 
larly in the books of Moses, some parts of the Psalms, in the book 
of Job, and the writings of the prophets. There are in several pas- 


sages of the Old Testament such a loftiness of style, so grand an 
assemblage of bold images and representations, such a collection of 
noble and majestic sentiments, and so mxich magnificence and pomp 
of language, as cannot be found in any human writings whatever. 
There is something so truly majestic and sublime, so grand and 
magnificent in the style of the sacred writings, as has forced hea- 
then philosophers to acknowledge it, and select passages therefrom 
as instances-of the true sublime ; as does Longinus with regard to 
the words of God, Let there he, and some other passages. At the 
same time let it be observed, that there is nothing atfected, no 
flights of false eloquence, no exertions of a luxuriant genius, no 
laboured strokes of a warm imagination, no forced images, no dis- 
torted metaphors, no quaint allusions, or unnatural comparisons 
which are frequently found in the most admired productions of 
ancient and modern writers; but the utmost plainness and per- 
spicuity, a noble simplicity, and an elegant familiarity, level to 
the capacity of the illiterate, reign throughout the sacred volume. 
So that its style must engage the attention and regard of the 
learned philosopher and poet, and delight the unlearned peasant. 
Thus God is frequently brought in speaking to and by the prophets, 
and his majesty set forth in a majestic style, as Is. Ivii. 15. 'Thus 
saith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name 
is holy,' &c. There is no affectation of words there, being below 
the majesty of the divine law : none are spared, but the scripture 
speaks as freely and plainly to the great as to the small, to the 
rich as to the poor. 

4. The consent of all the parts of scripture ; though written by 
several hands, and at different times, yet all of them so agreeing in 
their precepts, narratives of matters of fact, and designs, that there 
is no irreconcileable difference to be found amongst them. But here 
the Socinians call us to consider this point at more length ; for they 
say that there is some repugnancy in the scriptures in some things 
of little or no moment, and that not a seeming but real repugnancy. 
But we believe that in nothing does one holy writer differ from 
another in the scriptures, but that such things as seem to be repug- 
nant do in themselves most exactly agree. This principle I shall 
endeavour to prove. 

(1.) There are no things in the Scriptures of little or no moment; 
and if so, the writers could not err in them. That there are no 
such things in it ; the scripture plainly teaches, as in the text. All 
scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable, &c. Rom. xv. 
4. ' Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our 
learning ; that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, 



might have hope.' The Jews said, that there was not one point ia 
scripture but mountains of mysteries hang on it. See Matth. v. 18. 
It argues a profane spirit to talk of the scriptures at that rate. 
The peoi)le of God know that many a time they have read over a 
scripture in which they could see little or nothing, but afterwards 
they have seen a great deal in it when the Spirit hath been com- 
mentator : and though in some things we never see any weighty 
thing, must we therefore conclude that there is none there ? 

(2.) Tlie holy penmen were, in all that they wrote, acted and 
guided by the Spirit of God, or wrote all by inspiration of the Holy 
Ghost, as says the text, and 2 Pet. i. 20, 21. If all scripture was 
given by inspiration, if no scripture be of private interpretation, "nor 
came by the will of man, but holy men spake as they were moved 
by the Holy Ghost, how can there be any error in any passage of 
scripture ? If the scriptures be the word of God, they must be alto- 
gether pure, Psal. xix. 7, 8. 

(3.) Those things in which there is some repugnancy betwixt the 
penmen of the scriptures, are either a part of the canonical scrip- 
ture, or not. If they be, then [1.] All scripture is not given by 
inspiration of God. [2.] The scriptures are holy scriptures, Rom. i. 
2. ; but errors, whether in greater or lesser things, are unholy, and 
cannot be a part of the holy scriptures. If they be no part of the 
holy scriptures, why do they charge the holy scriptures with errors 
therein ? 

(4.) If it be so that there is such repugnancy in the scriptures, 
then they cannot found certain and divine faith ; for a fallible testi- 
mony can ground only a fallible belief. And how shall we know 
when they are right, and when they are wrong ? One says that he 
is guided by the Spirit, and tells us such a thing ; another says the 
same, and tells us the contrary : Whom shall we believe ? If you 
say it must be determined by the greater number of the holy pen- 
men, it is well known, that amongst those who are fallible, one may 
be righter than many. But this is plainly to lean to human testi- 
mony ; for one speaking by the Spirit is as much to be believed as 
ten thousand. So that this truly dissolves the authority of the 
whole scriptures. 

In short, we refuse that there are any real inconsistencies or con- 
tradictions in the holy oracles of God. Whatever seeming inconsis- 
tencies or repugnancies there may be, they may be easily reconciled 
and have been actually reconciled to satisfy every sober person, by 
many learned divines, whose writings may be consulted on this head. 

5. This scope of the whole scriptures, which is to give all glory to 
God. The design of them is to exalt none but tlie infinite majesty 


of Heaven, to humble all mankind, and empty tliem of themselves, 
that God's grace may be all, and men themselves nothing, but en- 
tirely dependent on the mercy of God through Jesus Christ. 

6. The full discovery it makes of the way of man's salvation. 
Who could ever have told of the Son of God his dying for the sins 
of the elect, and have made a discovery of the way of salvation by 
faith, which the scripture hath plainly set down ? 

7. The entire perfection of the scripture ; that is, the whole 
counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory> 
man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in scrip- 
ture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from 

There are two ways how matters of faith and life are set doAvn in 
the scriptures. The one is when the thing is set down expressly in 
so many words ; as the unlawfulness of murder, when it is said, 
' Thou shalt not kill ;' the ordinance of baptism, as in that, ' Go and 
teach all nations, baptising them,' &c. The other is by good and 
necessary consequence, which is when the thing itself is not found in 
the scriptures in so many words, but doth evidently (in itself) and 
necessarily flow from the express words of scripture, as the bap- 
tising of infants is by good and necessary consequence drawn from 
that, ' Go ye, and baptise all nations.' 

Here I shall first prove, that, besides what is to be found in ex- 
press words in the scriptures, good and necessary consequences de- 
duced therefrom are also to be admitted, as truly binding as what 
is declared in express words there, whether in fundamentals or in 
such things as are built on the foundation. If one can prove any 
thing by good and necessary consequence from the scripture, it is 
all one, as to the binding power on men's consciences, as if it Avere 
expressly set down in so many words. 

(1.) Good and necessary consequences are such as the word is de- 
signed for. What is deduced from them, so is indeed the sense and 
meaning of the words ; and if you have the words without the 
meaning of them, or without the full meaning of them, in so far ye 
come short of the true intent of the words. If I bid a man draw 
near the fire, do I not desire him to warm himself, though I speak not 
one word of his warming himself? Were not the scriptures written 
for that end, that ' we through patience and comfort of them might 
have hope ?' Rom. xv. 4. But this cannot be obtained without the 
use of consequences. Are they not profitable for doctrine, — ' that 
the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good 
works?' 2 Tim. iii. 16. But can this be had without the use of 
consequences ^ 


(2.) The great fundamental article, that Jesus of Nazareth is the 
Messiah, before the New Testament was written, could not be proved 
to the Jews by express scripture testimony, but by good and neces- 
sary consequence ; yet Christ tells them that there could be no sal- 
vation for them without the belief of this. ' If ye believe not that I 
am he (the Messiah),' says he, ' ye shall die in your sins.' John 
viii. 24. 

(3.) Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, while he would prove the 
fundamental article of the resurrection against the Sadducees, does 
not seek after a text that said in express words, that the dead shall 
rise again, but proves it by good consequence, yet no less firmly 
than if he had produced an express text for it, Matth. xxii. 32. 
And it is no less evident that the apostles follow him in this me- 
thod ; as in treating of the resurrection of Christ, Acts ii. 25. of the 
resurrection of all mankind, 1 Cor, xv. and of the justification of a 
sinner before Grod, in the epistles to the Romans and Galatians. 

(4.) Such as reject all arguing from scripture by consequences, 
must either confess that by no scripture this way is condemned, or 
else they must adduce some express scripture text forbidding it. 
The last they can never do. If they say the first, then it is ap- 
proved ; otherwise the scripture is no perfect rule of faith and prac- 
tice, which we shall immediately shew to be false. If they say 
that the scripture leaves it indifi'erent, then I ask, how dare they 
condemn it ? 

(5.) Refusing to admit good and necessary consequences from 
scripture, overturns all religion, both law and gospel, faith and 
practice. For how shall it be proved, that John or James are 
obliged to obey the law, and believe the gospel but by consequence ? 
where will they find an express text for these ? Only the law 
speaks to all, the gospel to every hearer of it, and consequently 
they oblige thee and me. This way, then, of any doctrine its being 
set down in the scripture being admitted, we are to prove next. 

That the scriptures are a perfect rule of faith and manner ; or 
that the whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for 
his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly 
set down therein, &c. * 

1. God hath expressly forbidden to add any thing unto his word; 
therefore it needs no addition, and so is perfect Deut. iv. 2. ' Ye 
shall not add unto the word that I command you.' Consider what 
ye speak of; even of statutes and judgments ; statutes, ceremonies, 
and rites of worship ; even to these he will have nothing added. 
So we have all additions prohibited, Prov. xxx. 6 ; and that under 
a severe penalty, Rev. xxii. 18. 


2. 'The law of the Lord is pei'fect,' as is expressly asserted, 
Psal. xix. 8. There it is said of it, (1.) it converts the soul; (2.) 
makes wise the simple ; (3.) rejoiceth the heart ; and (4.) enlightens 
the eyes. The apostle plainly asserts the perfection of it, while he 
tells us, 2 Tim. iii. 15. that it is ' able to make a man wise unto sal- 
vation.' How can it be so, unless it teach all thing^j necessary to 
salvation ? It is 'profitable for doctrine, for reproof, 8fc. What can 
be desired more ? And that ye may be sure there is nothing want- 
ing in it, he tells you, it is given for that purpose, ' that the man of 
God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.' 
So Christ saith, ' They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear 
them,' Luke xvi. 29. ; clearly importing, that in them is contained 
what is sufficient to salvation. 

3. Consider the end for which the scriptures were written, even 
'that believing men may have life,' John xx. 31.; that 'through 
patience and comfort of the scriptures they might have hope,' Rom. 
XV. 4. If any thing necessary to salvation were not in them, how 
would they answer the end for which they were written ? 

4. The Lord Jesus taught his disciples all that he had heard of 
the Father, viz. necessary to their salvation, John xv. 15. He com- 
missions them to teach all others, even to the end of the world, what 
he commanded them, Matth. xxviii. 20. But this they could not do 
viva voce ; therefore they did it in their writings. And whoso con- 
siders how exact the apostles were of teaching things of lesser mo- 
ment, as what day the collection for the poor should be made, &c. 
cannot think they would neglect any thing necessary to salvation, 
unless they could not through ignorance or forgetfulness ; neither of 
which can be imputed to them in their writings, being led by the 
Spirit of God infallibly. 

5. The nature of the scriptures teaches us their perfection. For 
if they be not perfect they cannot be a rule ; for a rule must always 
be commensurable to the thing to be regulated. They are Christ's 
testament, to which nothing is to be added, being confirmed. 

I shall now deduce some inferences from this subject. 

1. The holy penmen of the scriptures had a command from God 
to write, and did not write only occasionally without a command. 
For that inspiration was an internal command, whereby the Spirit 
moved them to write, 2 Pet. i. 21. 

2. The penmen of the scriptures were infallible in their writing, 
so that they were not mistaken in any thing, even of the least mo- 
ment : far less is there any real contradiction among them, being all 
guided by the same Spirit, who inspired the very words, and kept 
them from all error, 2 Pet. i. 20, 21. 


3. The authority of the scripture iii itself, that is, the power it 
hath to bind the conscience, does not depend on the church, but 
wholly on God, the author of it. For, 

(1.) The church is built upon the scriptures, Eph. ii. 20. ' Upon 
the foundation of the prophets and apostles.' This foundation is 
not personal ; ' for other foundation can no man lay than that which 
is laid, even Jesus Christ:' but it is doctrinal, the doctrine of the 
prophets and apostles. Now, it is clear, that the superstructure 
depends on the foundation, not the foundation on it. 

(2.) If the authority of the scriptures depended on the church, 
then they behoved first of all to believe the authority of the church 
without the scriptures, and our faith should be built upon human 
testimony, which is fallible ; but we believe the church for the 
scriptures, and no otherwise, Isa. viii. 20. and human testimony can- 
not found divine faith. 

(3.) Whence can any prove that the church is to be believed but 
from the scripture ? and then to say, that the scriptures must be 
believed for the church's testimony, is a circle unworthy of men of 

(4.) Either the church had reason to receive the scriptures or not. 
If they had no reason to receive them, they have as little reason to 
impose them on others. If they had, what was it, but that it was 
truth, and worthy to be received ? Therefore their testimony does 
not make it truth, or worthy to be believed and obeyed. 

(,5.) The scripture is God's own word, 2 Tim. iii. 16. How blas- 
phemous is it then to deny faith unto God in the scriptures, while 
he speaks to us in them, unless the testimony of men give authority 
to his word ? This is as much as to say, that God hath his authority 
from the church, and that he ought not to be believed or obeyed, 
unless the church commanded it ; which is most blasphemous. Of 
this blasphemy is the church of Rome guilty, who roundly assert 
that the authority of the scripture depends on the church. I shall 
only add, that this is the high way to keep Christians off from con- 
vincing Turks, Pagans, and Jews, as to the New Testament, while 
we tell them that the authority of the scripture, wherein our reli- 
gion is laid down, depends on the church, and that the scriptures are 
true, because the church says it. 

4. The authority of the scripture as to us is not from the church, 
but from itself; that is, the reason why we receive the scripture as 
the word of God, it is not because the church says it is so, but be- 
cause it evidences itself to be so. For as God's works do them- 
selves tell their Maker, so his word declares the Speaker ; so that a 
spiritual discerner must needs say, on the reading of it, tliough none 


should recommend, it is the voice of God, not of men. Can we 
discern an unlearned man's letter from that of a learned man ? and 
doth not God's word bear a divine character ? It is a light, a lamp, 
&c. the nature of which is to discover itself. Thus there is objective 
evidence enough in the scripture ; though indeed the subjective evi- 
dence cannot be had but by the Spirit of God ; so that to him bear- 
ing witness by and with the word, we owe the full assurance that it 
is God's word, 1 Cor. ii. 10, 14. And this is the reason why great 
scholars may be less persuaded of this truth, than the most un- 
learned peasants ; because, though the sun discovers itself suffi- 
ciently, yet blind men cannot see it. 

Now, that the iuward illumination of the Spirit of God is neces- 
sary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in 
the word, I shall prove by the following arguments. 

1. The scripture makes this inward illumination of the Spirit of 
God necessary for understanding the scriptures, while it ascribes 
the same wholly unto the Spirit, Matth. xvi. 17- ' Flesh and blood 
hath not revealed it, [Christ's being the Son of the living God] unto 
thee, but my father which is in heaven ;' 1 Cor. ii. 10, 11, 12. ' God 
hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit ; for the Spirit searcheth 
all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth 
the things of a man, save the Spirit of man which is in him ? even 
so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now 
we have received, not the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit which 
is of God ; that we might know the things that are freely given to 
us of God.' If the Spirit of God take the same unto himself as his 
own proper work, how can any arrogate it to themselves, as if by 
the power of nature they were able for it ? 

2. There is an ntter inability in man by nature to know savingly 
the things of God. Tliey arc above his capacity while he remains 
in his natural state, and nothing can act beyond the sphere of its 
activity. This is plain from 1 Cor. ii. 1-4. where not only the act 
of receiving them is denied to natural men, but the very power of 
discerning them ; and the reason is given, ' because they are spiritu- 
ally discerned,' and he wants the organ of discerning spiritually. 
And this discerning is appropriated to the spiritual man, ver. 15. 
Had not the Israelites in the wilderness very great external helps 
to gain the knowledge of the things of God, Deut. xxix. ? but all 
was ineffectual. What was the want then ? See ver. 4. ' The Lord 
hath not given you (says Moses, to them) an heart to perceive, and 
eyes to see, and ears to hear.' 

3. If it were not the spiritual illumination that gave this savins.- 
understanding of the things of God, then tlie greatest adepts in 


human literature would have most of the saving knowledge of such 
things as are revealed in the word. This plainly follows : But that 
it is not so, the scripture testifies, 1 Cor. i. 20, 26, 27, 28. * Where 
is the wise ? "Where is the scribe ? where is the disputer of this 
world ? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world ? For 
ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the 
flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God hath 
chosen the foolish things of the world, to confound the wise : and 
God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the 
things which are mighty ; and base things of the world, and things 
which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, 
to bring to nought things that are.' Many times it is seen to be 
quite otherwise. And what makes the difierence ? See Matth. xi. 
25. ' I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth (says 
Christ), because thou hast hid these things from the wise and pru- 
dent, and hast revealed them unto babes.' Even as he hath put 
this treasure in earthen A^essels, to the end the praise might be of 
God, that it may be seen it is not the act of the preacher, but the 
power of the Spirit, that gives true understanding. 

4. Men without the saving illumination of the Spirit are so far 
from attaining sufficient knowledge of the things revealed in the 
word of God, that they judge them foolish, 1 Cor. ii. 14. The doc- 
trine concerning Christ crucified was to the Jews, who had the law 
and the prophets, a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks, who ex- 
celled in human learning, foolishness, 1 Cor. i. 23. ; yea, no less 
than madness. Acts xxvi. 24. Nay, even the godly themselves, 
when without the actual influence of the Spirit, are not far from 
reckoning as they do who are in nature ; as in the case of the 
apostles, looking on the account brought them of the resurrection of 
their Lord as an idle tale, and not believing it, Luke xxiv. 11. 
The doctrine of Christ's resurrection seemed to the disciples as 
idle tales ; how much more so to men utterly destitute of the Spirit, 
who many times are besides judicially blinded ? 2 Cor. iv. 4. 

5. The Lord promises his Spirit to the end men may be taught to 
know the truths of God savingly, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. John xiv. 16, 17. 
and xvi. 12, 13. Has he promised his Spirit in vain? or are we 
sufficiently furnished already ? If so, why does he promise his 
Spirit ? 

6. The prayers of the saints for this illumination prove the ne- 
cessity of it, Psal. cxix. 18. Eph. i. 17, 18. Col. i. 9. And they pray 
so, because they feel the need of it : the experience of the Spirit is 
that against which there is no disputing. 

7. Let us consider that passage, John vi. 45. ' And they shall be 


all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and 
learned of the Father, cometh unto me.' It is plain that by coming 
unto Christ is meant saving faith in him. Now, in order to this 
there is a promise, that they shall all, viz. all the elect, for faith is 
the saving faith of God's elect, be taught of God, viz. by the Spirit, 
not merely by external revelation, because whosoever thus hears 
comes unto Christ : but it is certain that all come not to Christ that 
hear, and learn of the Father by external revelation only. From 
all, which it is evident, that unto the sufficient understanding of the 
things revealed in the scripture the teaching of the Spirit is neces- 
sary ; and that all who attain to the saving knowledge of these 
things do believe. 

What then remains upon this head but, that we diligently read 
the holy scriptures as being the word of God, and the rule which he 
hath given to direct us both as to faith and practice ; and that we 
fervently pray to God, that he may give us his holy Spirit to en- 
lighten our minds in the saving knowledge of the word, without 
which we will remain in the dark, and the word will be but a dead 
letter to us ? Lord open our eyes, that we may understand thy 


I proceed to the consideration of another Doctrine. 

DocT. ' The scriptures are the rule to direct us how we may glorify 
and enjoy God.' 

Here I shall only give the properties of this rule. 

1. It is a perspicuous or clear rule. For though all things in 
scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all ; 
yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and 
observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in 
some place of scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the 
unlearned, in a due sense of the ordinary means, may attain unto 
a sufficient understanding of them. 

(1.) With respect to all things necessary to salvation, whether 
for faith or practice, it cannot be denied, but there are portions of 
the scripture very obscure, which possibly are not rightly interpreted 
even to this day ; but in such things as are necessary to salvation, 
they are clear. And in this respect it hath been said, that the 


scriptures are a depth wherein a lamb may wade, and an elephant 
may swim. 

(2.) Though some things, the faith of which is necessary to salva- 
tion, be high and incomprehensible mysteries, such as the doctrine 
of the Trinity, of the incarnation of the Son of God, &c. yet the way 
of propounding them is clear. 

(3.) It may be that what is truly necessary unto salvation may 
be very obscurely laid down in some place of scripture ; yet in some 
other place we shall find the same thing clearly propounded : 

(4.) And that so as not only the learned, but even the unlearned, 
may attain to a sufficient understanding of them ; which you must 
carefully remember is meant here of believing persons, who have the 
inward illumination of the Spirit, removing their own natural dark- 
ness : for if ye shall understand it of unbelievers, it contradicts 
what we have laid down above, relating to the necessity of spiritual 
illumination. And so the sense is, that not only may the learned, 
but even the unlearned Christian, attain to a sufficient understand- 
ing of the word ; 

(5.) Providing they make use of the ordinary means appointed of 
God for the understanding of them ; reading attentively and de- 
voutly with prayer and meditation on them, &;c. 

This perspicuity of the scriptures I shall prove by the following 

(1.) The scripture plainly teaches its own perspicuity and clear- 
ness in this sense. It is called a lamp and a light, Psal. cxix. 105. 
The very ' entrance of it (it is said) gives light and understanding to 
the simple,' ver. 130. See Prov. vi. 23. The apostle, 2 Pet. i. 19. 
calls the holy scriptures a light, and particularly the word of pro- 
phecy, or the prophetic word, which of all the rest seems most dark, 
yet this he calls a light and a shining light, shining in a dark place ; 
shewing thereby, that where it comes and shines, though the place 
be of itself dark, yet it dispels the darkness. 

(2.) Such is the way God hath delivered his word, that its com- 
mands are not remote from the understanding ; the meanest believer 
hath no reason to complain of the difficulty of it in the things neces- 
sary to salvation, Deut. xxx. 11. &c. 'For this command which I 
command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far 
oft": It is not in heaven, that thou shouldst say, Who shall go up 
for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do 
it ? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldst say, Who shall 
go over the sea for us, and bring it in unto us, that we may hear it, 
and do it ! But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in 
thy heart, that thou mayest do it.' 


(3.) If all things necessary to salvation be understood by all sin- 
cere Christians, and this by virtue of the Spirit dwelling in every 
believer, then the scriptures are clear in all things necessary to sal- 
vation to the meanest believer. But the former is true : 1 Cor. ii. 
15. 'He that is spiritual judgeth all things ;' 1 John ii. 20, 27. ' Ye 
have an unction from the holy One, and ye know all things. The 
anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need 
not that any man teach you ; but the same anointing teacheth you 
of all things.' Consider to whom John is there speaking, not only 
to learned men and great divines, but to all believers, even to little 
children ; to all that have the Spirit, which is common to all ; ' for 
if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.' 

(4.) The things that are necessary to salvation are bid only to 
unbelievers, in whom the God of this world hath blinded their eyes ; 
as for others, God himself hath taught them, 2 Cor. iv. 4, 6. 

(5.) God hath promised to write his law is his people's hearts, and 
that he himself will teach them to know himself, Jer. xxxi. 33, 34 ; 
therefore the scripture must needs be perspicuous and clear in things 
necessary to salvation : for that which is written in our hearts can- 
not be but clear unto us ; and that which God himself teacheth us 
cannot be obscure, for who teacheth like God ? 

(6.) If the scriptures be not clear in themselves to all belicA^ers, 
but that all its perspicuity depends on the interpretation of the 
church, then our faith is to be ultimately resolved into the testimony 
of man ; but that cannot be, for human testimony is not infallible 
and authentic, and therefore cannot found divine faith and an in- 
fallible persuasion. The reason of the consequence is clear. Hear- 
ers are obliged if they will not pin their faith on men's sleeves, to 
compare the interpretations given by men, with the scriptures them- 
selves ; which is utterly impracticable, unless the scriptures be clear 
in themselves in such things as are necessary to salvation. 

(7.) The perspicuity of the scripture appears, if ye consider their 
author, who is God himself, the Father of lights ; and the end for 
•which he gave the scriptures unto the church, viz. that they might 
be a rule of faith and life. Of his power to speak plainly, who can 
doubt? and the end for which they are given may sufficiently satisfy 
as to his Avill to speak so ; for how can they be a rule to us, if wrapt 
up so as we cannot understand them without the church's interpre- 
tation, in those things that are necessary to salvation ? 

2. It is a perfect rule. There is nothing necessary to be believed 
or done but what is to be found there. It is a perfect rule for us to 
walk by in the way to heaven and glory. What can be more de- 
sired than that in the text, It is jn-ofitahlc for doctrine, for reproof, 


for correction, for instruction in righteoxisness ? ' The law of the Lord 
is perfect,' Psal. xix. 7. The scriptures were written that men 
might have life, John xx. 31. and comfort and hope in all conditions, 
Rom. XV. 4. But I insisted on this more fully in the preceding 

3. It is the only rule. Every doctrine taught any manner of way 
in religion must be brought to this rule, and if it agree not with it, 
must be rejected, Isa. viii. 20. Hereby traditions must be tried, 
Matth. XV. 3 ; and spirits or revelations, 1 John iv. 1 ; and nothing 
must be added to it, Prov. xxx. 6. Rev. xxii. 18. I shall shut up 
with a few inferences. 

Inf. 1. The opinions of fathers, decrees of councils, acts of as- 
semblies, covenants, and minister's sermons, are not the rule of faith 
to us ; nor can any of them bind us but in so far as they are agree- 
able to the word of God, by which all of them must be judged and 
examined, Isa. viii. 20. 

2. Translations of the scriptures into the vulgar languages are 
most necessary and profitable. How otherwise should the unlearned 
read them, if they were not translated ? It was by means of these 
translations that Romish Babel was brought down at the Reforma- 
tion, as by the division of tongues the building of old Babel was 
hindered. And that makes the Papists such enemies to translations 
of the scriptures. We have reason to bless Grod for human learning, 
by which these translations are made, seeing the prophets and 
apostles wrote in languages which but few understand. 

3. This may give us a just abhorrence of Popery, which almost in 
every point on this head casts dust on the scriptures. The Papists 
deny the necessity of translations ; will not allow the people the free 
reading of the Bible ; cry out on it for its obscurity ; accuse it of 
imperfection ; and add their traditions to it, that it may not be the 
only rule. And thus they blaspheme both God and his word, and 
expose themselves to that direful threatening. Rev. xxii. 18. 

4. This may also give us a just detestation of Quakerism, which 
sets up the light within men, which in very deed is nothing but a 
natural conscience, and the spirit without the scriptures, to be a 
rule to men. But their light is but darkness, and their spirit a 
spirit of darkness and delusion, if it agree not with the scriptures, 
Isa. viii. 20. and must be tried and examined by the scriptures, 
1 John iv. 1. The Quakers are a dangerous set of people that over- 
turn the foundation of true religion. 

5. This may likewise give us a just abhorrence of the superstition 
and ceremonies of the church of England, wherewith they have 
corrupted the worship of God, rejecting the simplicity of gospel- 


worship, and regulating their worship in many things not by the 
scripture, but the dregs of Antichrist : Deut iv. 2. ' Ye shall not 
add unto the word that I command you.' What word ? Statutes, 
ver. 1. ceremonies and rites of worship. To baptize with water is 
Christ's command ; but who has added the sign of the cross ? Christ 
instituted the sacrament of the supper : but who has added kneel- 
ing, to overturn the table-gesture, which we have from Christ's own 
example ? The Lord's day is of divine institution : but whose are 
the numerous holidays observed in the church of England ? Matth. 
XV. 9. What is all this but an accusing the scripture of imperfec- 
tion, as if Grod had not laid down a sufficient rule to teach us how 
we may glorify him : as if they were ashamed of simple scripture- 
worship, but they must deck it up in the whorish garments made by 
their own brains ? God has a special zeal for his worship ; and it 
becomes us to quicken our zeal for it, in a time when enemies are 
bringing in innovations in worship into this church, and setting up 
their Dagon beside the ark. But though God should, for oar con- 
tempt of our pure worship, plague the land with this superstitious 
worship once more, yet as sure as Babylon shall fall, it shall fall 
and flee before the glory of the latter days. 

6. Lastly, Be exhorted to study the holy scriptures. Read them 
in your families, and read them in secret, and cry for the Holy 
Spirit, who dictated them, to make you understand them. Lock them 
not up in your chests, and let them not lie dusty in your windows, 
as too many do to their shame and disgrace, lest the dust of them 
witness against you. Prefer the Bible to all other books, as the 
book whereof God himself is the author. Prize and esteem it, as 
showing you the way to salvation, as a lamp to your feet, and a 
light to your paths. 



1 Tim. i. 13. — Hold fast the form of sound words — in faith a'nd love. 

In these words there is, (1.) The character of scripture-doctrine ; it 
is sound words ; sound and pure in itself, and sound in its efiects, 
being of a soul-healing virtue, Ezek. xlvii. 9, (2.) The sum of it, 
faith, shewing what we are to believe ; and love, what we are to do, 
1 John V. 3. John xiv. 15. This love has a particular relation to 
Christ, all our obedience being to be offered unto God through him, 
as our faith fixes on God through him. This was what the apostle 
preached. (3.) Our duty with respect to it; to hold fast the form of 
sound words. This signifies, [1.] To have a pattern of the doctrine 
in our minds, to which all that ministers teach must be conformable. 
(2.) To hold it fast ; to cleave to, and keep hold of it, without 
flinching from it, whatever dangers or difficulties may attend the 
doing so. Both these senses are implied in the words. 

The text afi"ords the following doctrinal proposition. 

DocT. " The scriptures imncipally teach what man is to believe 

concerning God, and what duty God requires of man." 

As to the matter of scripture-doctrine. 

1. Some things are taught in the scriptures less principally ; that 
is, the main design of the scriptures is not to teach these things ; 
neither are they taught for themselves, but for the respect they 
have to other things. Thus in the scripture we may learn the 
knowledge of several natural things, as of the nature of some trees, 
birds, beasts, &c. of husbandry, the customs of several nations, es- 
pecially of the Jews, &c. But these and such like things are only 
taught in the scripture, as having some respect to our faith and 
obedience. So the vine tree is described, Ezek. xv. to hold forth 
the uselessness of barren professors, &c. However, whatsoever is 
taught in the scriptures, seeing the scripture is God's word, is all 
to be received by divine faith, though all scripture-truths are not of 
equal importance. 

2. The scripture teaches some things chiefly. And these are 
faith and obedience. These are the two parts of the doctrine of the 
Bible. Whatsoever concerns religion, or the salvation of souls, in 
the Old and New Testament, may be reduced to one of these two 
heads : It is either an article of faith, or a point of obedience. 

llere I shall consider, 

I. The nature of faith and obedience, and the connection betwixt 
the two. 


II. The manner of the scripture's teaching: 

III. The sense of scripture. 

IV. Shew that the Spirit of God speaking in the scriptures is the 
supreme judge of controversies in religion. 

I. Let us consider the nature of that faith and obedience which 
the scripture teaclies, with the connexion betwixt the two. 

First, As to faith. Divine faith is a believing of what God has 
revealed, because God has said it, or revealed it. People may be- 
lieve scripture-truths, but not with a divine faith, unless they believe 
it on that very ground, the authority of God speaking in his woi'd. 
And this divine faith is the product of the Spirit of God in the 
heart of a sinner, implanting the habit or principle of faith there, 
.and exciting it to a hearty reception and firm belief of whatever 
God reveals in his word. And the faith which the scripture teaches 
is what a man is to believe concerning God. This may be reduced 
to four heads : What God is, the persons in the Godhead, the de- 
crees of God relating to every thing that comes to pass, and the 
execution of them in his works of creation and providence. Now, 
though the works of creation and providence shew that there is a 
God, yet that fundamental truth, that God is, and the doctrines 
relating to the Trinity of Persons in the Unity of the Divine Es- 
sence, God's acts and purposes, the creation of all things, the state 
of man at his creation, his fall, and his recovery by the mediation 
and satisfaction of Christ, are only to be learned from the holy 
scriptures. Hence we may infer, 

1. That there can be no right knowledge of God acquired in an 
ordinary way without the scriptuies, Matt. xxii. 29. " Ye do err 
(said Christ to the Sadducees), not knowing the scriptures." As 
there must be a dark night where the light is gone, so those places 
of the earth must needs be dark, and without the saving knowledge 
of God, that want the scriptures. Thus the Apostle tells the Ephe- 
sians, that, before they were visited with the light of the gospel, 
they were " without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of 
Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, 
and without God in the world." Eph. ii. 12. 

2. That where the scriptures are not known, there can be no sav- 
ing faith. For, says the apostle, Rom. x. 14, 15, 17- ' How shall 
they call on him in whom they have not believed ? and liow shall 
they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? and how shall 
they hear without a preacher ? and how shall they preach, except 
they be sent? as it is written, Hoav^ beautiful are tlio feet of them 
that preach the gospel of peace, an*l bring glad tidings of good 



things ! So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word 
of God.' 

3. That there is nothing we are bound to believe as a part of 
faith but what the scripture teaches, be who they will that propose 
it, and whatever they may pretend for their warrant. ' To the law 
and to the testimony : if they speak not according to this word, it is 
because their is no light in them,' Isa. viii. 20. No man must be 
our master in these things : ' For one is our master, even Christ,' 
Matth. xxiii. 10. He is Lord of our faith, and we are bound to be- 
lieve whatever he has revealed in his word. 

Secondly, As to obedience, it is that duty which God requires of 
man. It is that duty and obedience which man owes to God, to his 
will and laws, in respect of God's universal supremacy and sovereign 
authority over man ; and which he should render to him out of love 
and gratitude. The scriptures are the holy oracle from whence we 
are to learn our duty, Psal. xix. 11. ' By them is thy servant 
warned,' says David. The Bible is the light we are to take heed 
to, that we may know how to steer our course, and order the several 
steps of our life. ' Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light to 
my path,' says the Psalmist, Psal. cxix. 105. From whence we 
may infer. 

1. That there can be no sufficient knowledge of the duty which 
we owe to God without the scriptures. Though the light of nature 
does in some measure shew our duty to God, yet it is too dim to 
take up the will of God sufficiently in order to salvation. 

2. That there can be no right obedience yielded to God without 
them. Men that walk in the dark must needs stumble ; and the 
works that are wrought in the dark will never abide the light; for 
there is no working rightly by guess in this matter. All proper 
obedience to God must be learned from the scriptures. 

3. That there is no point of duty that we are called to, but what 
the scripture teaches, Isa. viii. 20. forecited. Men must neither 
make duties to themselves, or others, but what God has made duty. 
The law of God is exceeding broad, and reaches the whole conver- 
sation of man, outward and inward, Psal. xix. and man is bound to 
conform himself to it alone as the rule of his duty. 

Thirdly, As to the connexion of these two, faith and obedience 
are joined together, because there is no true faith but what is fol- 
lowed with obedience, and no true obedience but what flows from 
faith. Faith is the loadstone of obedience, and obedience the touch- 
stone of faith, as appears from Jam. ii. 'passim. They that want 
faith cannot be holy ; and they that have true faith, their faith will 
work by love. Hence we may see. 


I. That faith is the foundation of duty or obedience, and not obe- 
dience or duty the foundation of faith, Tit iii. 8. and that the things 
to be believed are placed before the things to be practised, in order 
to distinguish between the order of things in the covenant of grace, 
and what they were under the covenant of works. Under the lat- 
ter, doing, or perfect obedience to the law, was the foundation of 
the promised privilege of life ; but under the former, the promise is 
to be believed, and the promised life is to be freely received : and 
thereupon follows the believer's obedience to the laAV, out of grati- 
tude and love for the mercy received. This ai)pears from the oi'der 
laid down by God himself in delivering the moral law from mount 
Sinai. He lays the foundation of faith, first of all, in these words, 
' I am the Lord thy God,' &c. which is the sum an'd substance of the 
covenant of grace ; and then follows the law of the ten command- 
ments, wliich is as it were grafted upon this declaration of sovereign 
grace and love, Exod. xx. 2, — 18. And let it be remembered, that 
the apostle Paul calls gospel-obedience the obedience of faith as 
springing from and founded upon faith. And if we examine the 
order of doctrine laid down in all his epistles, we shall find, that he 
first propounds the doctrine of faith, or what man is to believe, and 
upon that foundation inculcates the duties that are to be practised. 
• 2. That all works without faith are dead, and so cannot please 
God. For whatsoever is not of faith is sin ; and without or sepa- 
rate from Christ we can do nothing. Faith is the principle of all 
holy and acceptable obedience. 

3. That those who inculcate moral duties without discovering the 
necessity of regeneration, and union with Christ, as the source of all 
true obedience, are foolish builders ; they lay their foundation on 
the sand, and the sui)erstructure they raise will soon be overturned ; 
and they pervert the gospel of Christ. Such would do well to con- 
sider what the Apostle says, Gal. i. 9. ' If any man preach any 
other gospel unto you than ye have received, let him be accursed. 

II. I proceed now to consider the manner of the scripture's 

1. The scripture teaches some things expressly in so many words ; 
as, ' Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom 
of God,' &c. Other things it teaches by good and necessary conse- 
quence ; as, that infants are to be baptized. Now, whatever can be 
proved by just and necessary consequence from sacred writ, is all 
one, as to the binding power on men's consciences, as if it were 
taught there in so many words, whether it be in points of faith or 

2. The scriptures teach but externally. It is the Spirit that 

V 3 


teaches internally. The scriptures externally reveal what we arc- 
to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man ; 
but the inward illumination of the Spirit of God is necessary for the 
saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the scrip- 
tures, for several reasons which I mentioned in the former dis- 
course, and shall not now repeat. 

III. I come now to consider the sense of the scripture. 

1. The sense of the scripture is but one, and not manifold. There 
may be several parts of that one sense subordinate one to another; 
as some prophecies have a respect to the deliverance from Babylon, 
the spiritual by Christ, and the eternal in heaven ; and some pas- 
sages have one thing that is typical of another : yet these are but 
one full sense, only that may be of two sorts ; one is simple, and 
another compound. Some scriptures have only a simple sense, con- 
taining a declaration of one thing only ; and that is either proper or 
figurative. A proper sense is that which arises from the words 
taken properly, and the figurative from the words taken figuratively. 
Some have a simple proper sense, as, ' God is a Spirit, God created 
the heavens and the earth ;' which are to be understood according to 
the propriety of the words. Some have a simple figurative sense ; 
as, ' I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every 
branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away,' &c. Thelfe 
have but one simple sense ; but then it is the figurative, and is not 
to be understood according to the propriety of the words, as if 
Christ were a tree, &c. Thus you see what the simple sense is. 
The compound or mixed sense is found wherein one thing is held 
forth as a type of the other ; and so it consists of two parts, the one 
respecting the type, the other the antitype ; which are not two 
senses, but two parts of that one and entire sense intended by the 
Holy Ghost : e. g. Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, 
that those who were stung by the fiery serpents might look to it and 
be healed. The full sense of which is, ' As Moses lifted up the ser- 
pent in the wilderness, that, &c. even so must the Son of man be 
lifted up ; that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but 
have eternal life.' Here is a literal and mystical sense, which make • 
up one full sense betwixt them. Those scriptures that have this 
compound sense are sometimes fulfilled properly (or literally, as it 
is taken in opposition to figuratively) in the type and antitype both ; 
as Hos. xi. 1. ' I have called my Son out of Egypt,' which was liter- 
ally true both of Israel and Christ. Sometimes figuratively in the 
type, and properly in the antitype, as Psal. Ixix. 21, ' They gave mo 
vinegar to drink.' Sometimes properly in the type, and figuratively 
in the antitype, as Psal. ii. 9. ' Tliou shalt break them with a rod of 


iron.' Compare 2 Sam. xii. 31. Sometimes figuratively in both, 
as Psal. xli. 9. ' Yea mine own familiar friend — hath lifted up his 
heel against me ;' Avhich is meant of Ahitophel and Judas. Now the 
sense of the scripture must be but one, and not manifold, that is, 
quite different and no wise subordinate one to another, because of 
the unity of truth, and because of the perspicuity of the scripture. 

2. Where there is a question about the true sense of scripture, it 
must be found out what it is by searching other places that speak 
more clearly, the scripture itself being the infallible rule of inter- 
preting scripture. Now that it is so, appears from the following 

(1.) The Holy Spirit gives this as a rule, 2 Pet. i. 20. 21. After 
the apostle had called the Christians to take heed to the scripture, 
he gives them this rule for understanding it, ' Knowing this first, 
that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation, 
tes ideas c-piluseos, of our own exposition. For the prophecy came 
not in old time by the will of man ; but holy men of God spake as 
they were moved by the Holy Ghost.' As it came ; so it is to bo 
expounded : but it came not by the will of man ; therefore we are 
not to rest on men for the sense of it, but holy men speaking as 
they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and so never erring ; therefore 
we are to look to the dictates of the same Spirit in other places. 

(2.) There are several approved examples of this, comparing one 
scripture with another, to find out the meaning of the Holy Ghost ; 
as Acts XV. 15. 'And to this agree the words of the prophet,' &c. 
The Bereans are commended for this, Acts xvii. 11. Yea, Christ 
himself makes use of this to shew the true sense of the scripture 
against the devil, Matth. iv. 6. ' Cast thyself down, (said that 
wicked spirit) : for it is written, He shall give his angels charge 
concerning thee,' &c. Ver. 7. ' It is written again, (says Christ), 
Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' And thus our Lord 
makes out the true sense of that scripture, that it is to be under- 
stood only with respect to them who do not cast themselves on 
a tempting of God. Some more will occur concerning this poiii< 
under the next head. 

This then is the great, chief, and infallible rule of interpretation 
of scripture, to compare one passage with another. Other things 
may be added as helps and means in order to find out the true 

1. The knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek, in which languages 
the prophets and apostles wrote, is an excellent mean to the right 
understanding of the scriptures. Theso original ti»ugues are tlir 
best commentaries on scripture ; and many timus it is found so by 
those that know them. 


2. Diligently consider the scope and design of the Holy Gliost in 
the portion of scripture where ye find difficulty, the coherence and 
context, with all circumstances going before and following. Nullo 
est objectio in lege quce non habet solutionem in latere says a rabbi, Quis 
Scopus, impelleiis, sedes, tempusque, locusque, et modus, hcec septem scrip-, 
turce attendito lector. 

3. Distinguish proper from improper words. The scripture fre- 
quently uses improper and figurative expressions, which, if taken as 
the letters sound, will found a very absurd sense. 

4. The commentaries of godly and learned writers are not to be 

5. The reading also of profane history is of notable use in the 
knowledge of the prophetical writings. And the knowledge of the 
Jewish customs brings great light to the scriptures. 

6. Lastly, Always take heed to the analogy of faith, and see 
there be no deviating therefrom : for the Spirit of God speaking in 
the scripture is always one and the same ; and therefore we are 
never to think that one scripture can be contrary to another, or the 
known doctrine of the Bible and the form of sound words : e. g. 
' This is my body which is broken for you ;' it cannot be so under- 
stood as if Christ's body were locally present in the sacrament ; be- 
cause we believe, according to the constant doctrine of scripture, 
that Christ is ascended into heaven, and will come again at the last 
day ; and till then the heavens must contain him. So we must not 
take the words literally, when it is contrary to modesty, as when 
Isaiah is bid go naked, Isa. xx. 2. ; or to piety, to cut off the right 
hand, &c. More particularly, 

1. Go to God for his Spirit to teach you, Psal. cxix. 18. It is 
Christ's Avork to give people to understand the scriptures. If you 
would know what Paul says, pray for the spirit by which he wrote. 

2. Take heed of a carnal, earthly, and fleshly mind. When the 
heart is carnal, the mind is much blinded, and so utterly unfit for 
searching the scriptures. 

3. Endeavour to be exercised unto godliness. An exercised frame 
proves sometimes an excellent commentator. 

4. Lastly, Endeavour to practise what you know. 

IV. I proceed to shew that the spirit of God speaking in scrip- 
ture is the supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are 
to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient 
writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, 
and in whose sentence we are to rest. 

This is a very important point, and upon it depends the whole of 
religion. One man says so, another man says otherwise : the ques- 


tion is, "Who shall be judge, and to whose determination are we to 
stand and acquiesce in ? Four sundry ways do men go here. 

First, Enthusiasts set up the private spirit, and its revelations, 
without the Spirit, for the judge of controversies. But whatever 
these may pretend, the scripture is our only rule. For, 

1. "Whatever revelation or light men may pretend to, God binds 
them and us to the written word, Isa. viii. 20. ' If they speak not 
according to the scriptures,' it is not true light, but ' because there 
is no light in them,' that makes it so : for going against the word, 
they shew themselves to be acted with a spirit of delusion, 1 John 
iv. 6. 

2. The Apostle Paul devotes them to a curse, though they were 
angels, who preach any other gospel than what he preached, and the 
Galatians received from his hand, Gal. i. 8, 9 ; not only a gospel 
contrary to it, but another, any thing diverse from or besides it, 
though not contrary to it. And if it be contrary the Spirit is con- 
trary to himself, for he is the author of the scriptures. 

3. We are commanded to ' try the spirits,' 1 John iv. 1. Now, 
how must they be tried but by a rule ; and what rule have we to 
try them by but the written word ? This was the rule which the 
Bereans made use of to try the spirit of the apostles, for which they 
are highly commended. It is that rule which Christ sends the 
Pharisees to try his own doctrine by, John v. 40. But by the scrip- 
tures we cannot try the spirits, unless we lay them to that rule, and 
observe whether or not the spirits speak as the scriptures do ; and 
then how can the new revelations be received ? 

4. The si>irit's revelations are either a complete or partial rule. 
If our complete rule, then the scriptures are useless which is blas- 
phemous, and contrary to all those commands that requires us to 
give attendance to the reading, searching, &c. of them. If they be a 
partial rule only, then they either teach according to the scripture, 
or not. If according to it, then it is no new revelation, but what 
the scripture already alfords us. If not, it is because there is no 
light in them, Isa. viii. 20. 

There is one scripture that we must more narrowly inquire into, 
both because it is abused by the adversaries in this point, and 
affords us an argument for our doctrine. The passage is, 2 Pet. i. 19. 
' "We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whcreunto ye do well 
that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until 
the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.' Enthusiasts 
here, by the day-star arising in the heart, understand some extra- 
ordinary revelation and light which God sets up in the soul, whicli 
when it is set up, the person is to take heed to the written word no 


longer. But, (1.) Whither would these men drive us? They tell 
us, th.at all men have a light within them, according to which they 
must walk ; and this is the spirit within us ; yet must we still ex- 
pect a new light to turn us oiF from the scriptures ; (2.) The apostle 
here plainly prefers the word of prophecy unto an immediate voice 
from heaven, and that in the very same thing wherein they both 
agree : how much more preferable is the scripture to new revela- 
tions ? (3.) This supposes, that the apostles and believers in those 
days had not this light ; for they say, ' We have a more sure word 
of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed.' This being 
so, we envy not the Quakers their light, which the apostles and 
these Christians were strangers to. 

Some by the day dawning and the day-star arising understand 
the more clear dispensation which they suppose is to come in the 
latter days. Others understand by it the sight of Grod and Christ 
in glory, till which time the scriptures must be made use of, but no 
longer. Others understand this as spoken to the believing Jews in 
reference to the prophets of the Old Testament, to which they did 
well to take heed, till their gospel light should shine more clearly. 
Some say, the word until is not to be taken exclusively of the time 
following that dawning of the day, and day star arising ; and there- 
by understand simply more clear light arising after some darkness, 
which the people of God may be in for a time; till which light 
arising they are to take heed to the scriptures ; not that they a,re 
then to give over taking heed to them. Laying aside that which 
relates to a more clear dispensation yet to come, because it sup- 
poses that then the scriptures must be laid aside, which is very con- 
trary to the scripture, for the Spirit shall never in this life justle 
out the word, but his office is to teach, not new things unwritten, 
but whatever Christ spoke to his disciples : ' He shall bring all 
things to your remembrance, (says he), whatsoever I have said unto 
you,' John xiv. 26 : Laying aside that, it is hard to determine 
which of the rest is indeed the true meaning of the apostle. Only 
it seems to bid fairest for the apostle's sense, to say, that he speaks 
of the more clear knowledge of Christ which the believers at that 
time were afterwards to have, till which time they did well to take 
heed to the prophetical word, as it is in the Grreek ; that is, to the 
doctrine of the prophets who prophesied of Christ ; not that they 
were then to lay by the use of the prophets, but that then they 
would be of less use to them than before, when they should attain 
to a more clear gospel-light ; as the candle is of less use when the 
day dawns than it was before, thougli it be still useful. And I 
think it abundantly plain, that the word of prophecy is not here to 


be understood generally of the whole scripture, as the other inter- 
pretations seem to take it, but particularly of the doctrine of the 
prophets concerning Christ and the gospel, as appears from the 
phrase, the prophetic word, and the first verse of the following chap- 
ter, where he speaks of false prophets that were among the people 
of the Jews. So by the day-star I understand Christ himself, who 
is called the morning star, Rev. xxii. 16. It is true it is here Phar- 
phoros, but there oster omithes : but, for ought I know, the first of 
these is, apax Icgomenon ; and though the words be different, the 
sense is the same, one thing gets but different names. And Christ 
is called the day-star or morning-star, which we know are both one 
thing; because, (1.) As the morning star is the most eminent among 
the stars, and most lucid, as appears by its shining when the ap- 
pearance of the sun makes the rest disappear ; so there is none like 
Christ among the sons. Cant. ii. 3. (2.) As the day-star puts an 
end to the dark night, so doth Christ's arising in the soul put an 
cud to the night of spiritual darkness. Never was the sight of the 
day-star so refreshful to the weary traveller in the night, as Christ's 
appearance in and to the soul ; only the apostle calls him here ra- 
ther the day-star than the sun, because he is speaking of his appear- 
ance in this life, whereas the full knowledge of him is deferred till 
his second coming. So the day-dawning is easily understood. And 
this is expected to rise not absolutely, but comparatively in respect 
of degrees of fuller manifestation, as he promises to those that con- 
tinue in his word, and are his disciples indeed, that they shall know 
the truth, viz. more fully, John viii. 31, 32. And that passage, 
Hos. vi. 3. ' Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord : 
his going forth is prepared as the morning,' doth excellently serve 
to shew us this truth. So there he hath respect to this further ma- 
nifestation of Christ which they were afterwards to have : but they 
are not then to give over the prophetic word ; for, as was before 
noticed, the word until is not always exclusive of the following time, 
as Psal. ex. 1. 2 Sam. vi. idt. 

Now, if the writings of the prophets be more sure than a voice 
from heaven, and Christians are commended for taking heed to the 
same ; and when the day-star ariseth in the heart, it shews only the 
same thing more clearly. "What place is there left for new revela- 
tions against or besides the scriptures ? 

Secondly/, The Papists set the church upon the tribunal : but 
wliat that church is, they do not agree among themselves, whether 
it be the pope, or a council, or both together. However, they assort 
that there is in the church a visible and infallible judge of contro- 
versies in religion. This we deny, and far more that the pope, or a 
council approved by him, is such a judge. For, 


1. The scripture makes no mention of any such judge, in any of 
the places where the officers of the church are reckoned up, as Rom. 
xii. 7, 8. 1 Cor. sii. 28. Eph. iv. 11. nor any where else. And 
though negative theology, as they say, is not argumentative, yet 
that cannot have place here, unless we deny the perfection of the 
scripture, which we have proved already. A positive institution is 
requisite here. 

2. Our faith must not lean upon the testimony or authority of 
man, 1 Cor. vii. 23. ' Be not the servants of men,' not bodily but 
spiritually ; 2 Cor. i. 24. ' Not that we have dominion over your 
faith;' where the apostle declines, in his own name, and in the 
name of his fellows, the being of such a judge. But our faith leans 
on the word of God, Eph. ii. 20. ' And are built on the foundation 
of the prophets,' &c. 

3. The doctrine of the church should be examined by the scrip- 
tures. Acts xvii. 11. ' These were more noble than those in Thes- 
salonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, 
and searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so.' 
Now he whose sentence is to be examined by another, cannot be the 
supreme judge of controversies. See Isa. viii. 20. ' To the law and 
to the testimony : if they speak not according to this word, it is 
because there is no light in them.' 

4. Neither pope nor council, conjunctly nor severally, have such 
properties as are requisite to constitute a supreme judge in contro- 
versies of religion ; they have no infallibility, or testimony thereof ; 
yea, they have many ways deceived and been deceived. We may 
appeal from them, as being bound to the scriptures, as well as 
others. And the church, be what it will, must not be judge in its 
own cause. 

6. Lastly, Here is a controversy in religion, "Who is the supreme 
judge of controversy in religion ? Who must decide this, or be su- 
preme judge here ? The church cannot, neither pope nor council 
so decide it in their own favour. That were absurd. Wherefore 
the Papists themselves are obliged to make another judge of this 
controversy ; and if so, why not of all ? 

Thirdly, The Socinians set up reason to be the supreme judge of 
controversies in religion, to whose determination we ought to stand, 
and therein to acquiesce. There is no doubt but we have much use 
for reason in matters of religion; as, (1.) To perceive and under- 
stand the things revealed in the scripture, Matth. xiii. 51. (2.) To 
collate them one with another. Acts xvii. 11. (3.) To explain the 
same, Neh. viii. 8. (4.) To argue from the scriptures, Matth. xxi. 
xdt. (5.) To vindicate the truths from objections, Rom. ix. 19, 20, 


That it is not the judge nor the rule, that is, that reason ought not 
to be admitted of itself, and according to its principles, to determine 
controversies of religion, is what we assert. To illustrate this by 
an example, the scripture says, These three are one ; we say we 
plainly perceive the scripture says so ; and therefore, though our 
reason cannot comprehend, we will believe it, because it is plain the 
scripture says so. They say, they cannot believe that there are 
three persons in the Grodhead, and not three gods, because reason is 
against it ; and therefore finding the thing unagreeable to reason, 
though it were in ever so plain words found in the scripture, they 
will not believe (as they pretend) it means as the words sound, 
but will fasten another meaning on the words though never so far 
fetched. And that it may not be thought that this is the same way 
that the orthodox go too, in explaining scriptures that are under- 
stood figuratively, I shall give an example of that too. The scrip- 
ture says, Christ is a vine, a door, the bread is his body, &c. We 
know indeed that this is contrary to reason if expounded literally : 
but that is not the prime reason why we reject the literal meaning, 
and on which we build our faith as to the true meaning, as the case 
is with the Sociuians, but because it agrees not with other scrip- 
tures to understand it so ; which testify that Christ is Grod and man. 
Now, that reason is not the supreme judge of controversies in reli- 
gion, is proved by the following arguments. 

1. Reason in an unregenerate man is blind in the matters of God, 
1 ■ Cor. ii. 14. ' The natural man receiveth not the things of the 
Spirit of God ; for they are foolishness unto him : neither can he 
know them, because they are spiritually discerned ;' Eph. iv. 17, 18. 
Eph. V. 8. Except. This only respects reason not illustrated by di- 
vine revelation. Aiis. By that illustration of reason by divine re- 
velation, they understand either subjective or objective illustration. 
If they understand it of subjective illustration, they quit that article 
of their religion, wherein they believe that the mind of man is ca- 
pable of itself, without the illumination of the Spirit, to attain suf- 
ficient knowledge of the mind of God revealed in the scripture. If 
of objective illustration, by the mere revelation of these truths, then 
it is false that they assert : For the apostle opposes here the natu- 
ral man to the spiritual man ; and therefore by the natural man is 
understood every unregenerate man, even that has these truths re- 
vealed to him ; for, says the apostle, ' they are foolishness unto him.' 
Now, how can he judge them foolishness if they be not revealed ? 

2. Reason is not infallible, and therefore cannot be admitted 
judge in matters concerning our souls. Reason may be deceived. 
Rom. iii. 4. and is not this to shake the foundations of religion, and 


to pave a way to scepticism and atheism ? Except. That is not to 
be feared where sound reason is admitted jndge. But why talk 
they of sound reason ? The adversaries themselves will yield, that 
reason is unsound in the most part of men. We say, that it is not 
fully sound in the world ; for even the best know but in part ; dark- 
ness remains in some measure on the minds of all men. 

3. Reason must be subject to the scripture, and submit itself to 
be judged by God speaking there, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. ' The weapons of 
our warfare are — mighty — to the pulling down of strong holds, cast- 
ing down imaginations, — and bringing into captivity every thought 
to the obedience of Christ.' Matters of faith are above the sphere 
of reason ; and therefore as sense is not admitted judge in those 
things that are above it, so neither reason in those things that arc 
above it, 1 Tim. iii. 16. 

4. If reason were the supreme judge of controversies, then our 
faith should be built on ourselves, and the great reason why we be- 
lieve any principle of religion would be, because it appears so and 
so to us ; which is most absurd. The scripture teaches otherwise, 
1 Thess. ii. 13. * Ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is 
in truth the word of God.' Most plainly does our Lord teach this, 
John V. 34, ' I receive not testimony from men;' chap. v. 39. 'Search 
the scriptures.' 

Fourthly, The orthodox assert the supreme judge of controversies 
in religion to be the Holy Spirit speaking in the scriptures. This 
is proved by the following arguments. 

1. In the Old and New Testaments, the Lord still sends us to this 
judge. So that we may neither turn to the right hand nor left from 
what he there speaks, Deut. v. 32. and xvii. 11. ' According to the 
sentence of the law which they shall teach thee ;' Is. viii. 20. ' To 
the law and to the testimony,' &c. ; Luke xvi. 29. ' They have 
Moses and the prophets ; let them hear them;' John v. 39. ' Search 
the scriptures.' Some hereto refer that passage, Matth. xix. 28. 
' Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the re- 
generation, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, 
ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of 
Israel.' In this sense it must be meant of the doctrine they taught 
as dictated to them by the Holy Ghost. 

2. It was the practice of Christ and his apostles to appeal to the 
Spirit speaking in the scriptures, Matth. iv. where Christ still an- 
swers Satan with ihat, ' It is written,' And so while discoursing 
with the Sadducees about the resurrection, Matth. xxii. 31, 32. So 
also in John, chap. v. and x. and Luke xxiv. 44. And so did 
others. Acts xvii. 11. and xxvi. 22, 23. 2 Pet. i. 19. Acts xv. 15, 


IG. A careful examination of which passages I recommend to you 
for your establishment in the truth. 

3. To the Spirit of God speaking in the scriptures, and to him 
only, agree those things that are requisite to constitute one supreme 
Judge. (1.) We may certainly know that *the sentence which he 
pronounces is true, for he is infallible being God. (2.) We cannot 
appeal from him, for he is one above whom there is none. (3.) lie 
is no respecter of persons, nor can be biassed in favour of one in 
preference to another. 

Having discussed the doctrinal part of this subject, I shall now 
conclude with two or three inferences. 

Inf. 1. People then should diligently read and study the holy 
scriptures, in order to their knowing what to believe and what to 
do. As the scripture is the only rule and test of faith and obedi- 
ence, let us accomplish a diligent search into it, that we may under- 
stand all matters to be believed and practised in order to our sal- 
vation, and reject every dictate and every precept, come from what 
quarter it will, if it be not taught us in the sacred records. We 
are not to believe any thing to be an article of faith, or a duty that 
we are to perform, unless it has the sanction of the Spirit of God in 
the written word, and be enjoined us by that infallible Judge. Let 
it then be our daily care and principal study to acquaint ourselves 
with the word of God, and draw from that infallible treasury all 
our knowledge as to faith and practice. 

• 2. How dangerous must it be to maintain opinions and practices 
which are evinced to be contrary to the word of God ? IIow 
hazardous must be the state of those who hold doctrines contrary to 
and eversive of the foundations of Christianity ? Many such doc- 
trines are taught and propagated in our day ; such as the tenets of 
Socinians and Arians, who degrade the Son of God to the rank of a 
mere creature, and deny his supreme Godhead and essential glory, 
and impugn his satisfaction ; the Arminians, who overturn the doc- 
trine of original sin, assert free will, and stickle for the resistibility 
of grace, and other things eversive of the doctrine of the Bible ; 
and others who set up creeds, confessions, and covenants of human 
manufacture, in the place of the infallible oracles of truth. 

3. How worthy of reproof are they who make no conscience of 
reading the scriptures ? They seldom look into them, or at most 
only on a sabbath-day, without giving attention to what they read ; 
and so are grossly ignorant of the first principles of religion. 

4. Religion, if it be of the right sort, will be practical religion. 
A blind obedience, or ignorant obedience, to some of the duties of 
religion is no better than bodily exercise, which profiteth little. 


All right obedience flows from a principle of faith in the heart. 
True faith will always bo productive of, and accompanied with good 
works. And it is in vain for men to say they have religion, unless 
they abound in all the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus 
Christ unto the praisd and glory of God. Let us then shew our 
faith by our works, in having a respect unto all the commands of 
Grod, and doing whatsoever he has enjoined us in his word. 


Isaiah xxxiv. 16. — Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no 
one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate : for tny mouth it hath 
commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them. 

Having considered the divine authority of the holy scriptures, and 
their scope^ I come now to recommend unto you the diligent study 
and search of these sacred oracles, from the text now read. 

In the former part of this chapter, there are most terrible threat- 
enings denounced against the enemies of God and his church, which 
receive not their full accomplishment till tlie last day, as appears 
from ver. 4, 10. In the text there is the confirmation of the whole. 
And therein we have, 

1, An intimation that all shall be accomplished according to the 
word. Wherein two things are to be observed. 

(1.) The study of the word required. Where we may notice, (1.) 
The honourable epithet given to it, The book of the Lord. Thus the 
holy scripture is called, as being of divine original and authority, 
God himself being the author of it. It is true, that in Isaiah's days, 
even the canon of the Old Testament was not completed, some of the 
historical books, and of the prophetical too, not being then written. 
But the body of the doctrine of the word was comprised in the law, 
or five books of Moses ; and what was afterwards written, was but a 
building on that foundation, by enlargement, explication, and appli- 
cation. And this prophecy looking as far as the end of the world, 
the Spirit of God might here have an eye to the complete canon of 
the Old and New Testament. [2.] The study of it recommended. 
Seek out of it. The word signifies to inquire, search, seek out ; and 
imports diligence and earnestness in consulting a thing to learn 
from it. And so it is emphatically pointed, to denote a vehemency 
and iutenseness of spirit in the study. It does in a great measure 


answer that word, Acts xvii. 11 — Searched the scriptures. We are 
not only to seek from it, but out of it, or, as the Hebrew sig- 
nifies, from in it, or, as in the Greek, to it, and seek from it. [3.] 
The way to study, read it. Do not satisfy yourselves to hear it, but 
read it with your own eyes. For the eye makes ordinarily deeper 
impression than the ear. 

(2.) The accomplishment in the most minute circumstance. [l.J 
Whereas the Lord had named a great many horrible creatures that 
should possess the dwellings of his enemies, none of them shall fail, 
they shall all be there. [2.] AVhereas he had said they should have 
their mates, that so their kinds might be continued there, none of 
them shall luant their mate for that purpose. 

2. The confirmation or reason of this accomplishment according to 
the word. And it hath two parts, namely, that he has spoken the 
one, and will effectuate the other. 

(1.) Himself has spoken the word: 3Ii/ mouth it hath commanded. 
His truth is engaged for its accomplishment. He has commanded, 
not these creatures, but the word or book, as Psal. cv. 8. — The xvord 
he commanded : and Grod is said to command his word, for that he 
gives it as a lawgiver, of supreme authority. And so this answers 
to the first part of the intimation. 

(2.) He will effectuate the thing in accomplishment of the word : 
His spirit will gather these creatures. So his power is engaged to 
make it forthcoming. There seems to be here a remarkable change 
of the persons. But I am mistaken if the mouth of the Lord be not 
one of the names of Christ in the scripture : Thus, Isa. Ixii. 2. — 
'Thou shalt be called by a new name, Avhich the mouth of the Lord 
shall name.' .Ter. xxiii. 16. ' They speak — not out of the mouth of 
the Lord.' Compare John i. 18. 'No man hath seen God at any 
time : the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, 
he hath declared him.' Heb. i. 1, 2. ' God who at sundry times, 
and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the 
prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.' And 
so the words run very plainly and exactly according to the original. 
For my mouth he hath commanded, and his Spirit it hath gathered them. 

Two doctrines naturally arise from the words, viz. 

DocT. I. ' The holy scripture is the book of the Lord.' 

DocT. II. ' The scripture is a book to be read, carefully, and dili- 
gently searched, consulted, and sought into.' 

As it is the last of these doctrines I mainly intend to discourse 
upon, I shall be very brief in the illustration of the first : and 
though some things to be spoken upon it interfere with what has 


been already delivered, I hope it will tend to your establishment in 
the truth, and the more endear the holy scripture to you. 

DocT. I. ' The holy scripture is the book of the Lord.' 

All I intend upon this head is to shew, 

I. In what respects the holy scripture is the book of the Lord. 

II. That it is so. 

III. Make a short improvement. 

I. My first province is to shew in what respects the holy scripture 
is the book of the Lord. 

1. The Lord is the subject-matter of that book, as the book of 
the wars of the Lord. It is the commendation of a book, that it 
treats of a noble subject ; and this book treats of God, the great 
scope of it being to show what God is, and what his will is. Hence 
we are commanded to * hold fast the form of sound words,' 2 Tim. i. 
13. If we would know God, and our duty to him, we must turn to 
this book and learn it. 

2. The Lord is the author of it, 2 Tim. iii, 16. ' All scripture is 
given by inspiration of God.' And who was fit to make a book on 
that noble subject but himself? John i. 18. forecited. It is the 
product of his own unerring Spirit, and so his own book in a most 
proper sense. It is for this reason that it is called ' the book of the 
Lord.' It is true, several hands were employed in the writing of it; 
but yet all and every part of it was from the Lord. 

(1.) The motion to write was from the Lord, by a particular 
impulse on the spirits of the holy penmen, which influenced them to 
the work, and carried them on it, 2 Pet. i. 21. ' Holy men of 
God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.' Sometimes 
they had particular express calls, but they had always this motion 
powerfully determining and inclining them to the work. 

(2.) The matter of their writing was from him. He laid it to 
their hands, 2 Tim. iii. 16. ' All scripture is given by inspiration of 
God.' Some things were matters of pure revelation, that could not 
be knoAvn otherwise ; such as things past, whereof there was no 
manner of record, things to come, things without the reach of men's 
knowledge, as the thoughts of others. These things they had by 
immediate suggestion. Some things they might have by other re- 
cords, their own judgment, or memory. In these the Spirit of the 
Lord infallibly guided them what to chuse and refuse, strengthened 
their judgment and memories, so that they could not mistake, John 
xvi. 13. ' The Spirit of truth — will guide you into all truth.' 

(3.) The very words they wrote were from him. Since the apostles 
spoke the very words of the Holy Ghost, much more did they write 
them, 1 Cor. ii. 13. And therefore God is said to speak by and in 


the holy penmen, 2 Sam. xxiii. 2, Luke i. 70. Acts i. 16. He did not 
give them the matter to put in their own words, but put the words in 
their hearts too, but in a manner suited to their native style. And 
truly it is hard to conceive how the inspiration of the holy scrip- 
tures could reach the end without it, seeing so much depends on the 
suitable expressing of matter. 

II. I proceed to shew, that the holy scripture is the book of the 
Lord. This is evident from many things, of which I shall only 
observe a few. 

1. This book discovers what no mortal could ever have done, and 
nowise could be had but by divine revelation, as the history of the 
creation, what was done before man was on the earth, the sublime 
mysteries of the Trinity, of the incarnation of the Son of God, and 
the eternal counsels of God concerning man's salvation. 

2. The perfect holiness of the doctrine. It commands all holi- 
ness, forbids all impurity in heart and life, under the pain of dam- 
nation : which shews it could neither be the work of men, being so 
far above their reach, and cross to their corrupt nature ; nor of evil 
angels, being so opposite to Satan's kingdom ; nor of good ones, who 
could never have put a cheat on the world, making their own words 
pass for God's. 

3. The efficacy of the doctrine in its searching and convincing the 
conscience, Heb. iv. 12. ; converting souls from their most beloved 
lusts, even when nothing can be expected from the world for such a 
change, Psal. xix. 7. ; rejoicing the heart under the deepest dis- 
tresses, ver. 8. This is not from any virtue in the letters or syl- 
lables, but from the Spirit, whose instrument it is. 

4. The miracles wherewith it has been confirmed. These were 
wrought to confirm the doctrine, Mat. ix. 6. These are God's seal, 
which he will never put to a lie. 

5. Lastly, There is an inward sensation of this in the spirits of 
those that have their senses exercised. For it is not to be doubted, 
but as the works of God bear the marks of a divine hand, so his 
word also does. And while there are such manifest differences be- 
twixt one voice and another of men, how can it be thought, but the 
voice of God has a peculiar signature on it ? If that be not dis- 
cerned by others, it is by his own people that know his voice. 

I shall now make a short improvement of this point. 

Use 1. For information. It informs us, that, 

1. The scripture is the best of books. They who heard Christ, 
said, ' Never man spake like this man ;' and they that see the true 
glory of the scriptures must own, never did any write like these 
writings. There we have the true picture of the great Author, in 

E 2 


spotless holiness ; there the revelation of his mind Avith respect to 
our salvation. Whatever other books there be in the world re- 
lating to our salvation ; they are but dim tapers lighted at this 
burning lamp. 

2. They are enemies to God that are enemies to the scriptures, 
whether in their principles, as Papists and others, or in their prac- 
tices. For if men loved God, they would love his word, Psal. cxix. 
97. And men, by their relish of the word, may know what case 
their souls are in. For according as they relish the scriptures, so is 
it with their souls. If they have lost the gust of them, it is evident 
that either they have no grace, or that it is not in exercise. 

3. Wo to those whom the Bible condemns ; and these are all 
wicked men and hypocrites, whatever their stations or professions 
be. But happy they whom it approves and justifies ; and these are 
all the sincere seekers of God. Seek to be of the number of the 
latter, and then none of the woes denounced in God's word shall fall 
upon you. 

Use II. Of exhortation. 

1. Let us highly prize this book for the sake of the Author. The 
Ephesians thought that they had good ground to be zealous for the 
image of Diana, because they fancied it fell down from Jupiter, Acts 
xix. 35. Your Bible is a book really come from God ; let us be 
ashamed we do not prize it more, by using it diligently to the ends 
for which it was given the church. 

2. Let us believe it in all the parts thereof ; the commands, that 
we may study to conform ourselves to them ; the promises, that we 
may thereby be encouraged to a holy life; and the threatenings, 
that we may thereby be deterred from sin. Alas ! though we own 
it to be the word of God, that we are no more moved with it than if 
it were the word of man, and such a man as we give little credit to. 
For compare the lives of the most part with it they say, it is but 
idle tales. 

3. Let us submit our souls to it, as the oracles of the living God. 
He is the great Lawgiver, and in that book he speaks ; let us own 
his authority in his word, and submit to it as the rule of our faith 
and life, without disputing or opposing. 

4. Lastly, Let us study to be well acquainted with it, and make 
it our business to search the scriptures. This brings me to the main 
thing I intend. 

DocT. 11. " The scripture is a book to be read, carefully and dili- 
gently searched, consulted, and sought into." 

If ye ask, by whom this is to be done ? it is by all into whose 
hands, by the mercy of God, it comes. Some never had it, and so 


they will not be condemned for slighting it, Rom. ii. 12. Magi- 
strates are called to look into it, and be much conversant in it, Josh. 
i. 8. ' This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but 
thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayst observe 
to do according to all that is written therein.' Deut. xvii. 18, 19. 
' And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, 
that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that 
which is before the priests the Levites. And it shall be with him, 
and he shall read therein all the days of his life ; that he may learn 
to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law, and 
these statutes, to do then*.' Ministers are in a special manner called 
to the study of it, 1 Tim. iv. 13. ' Give attendance to reading.' 2 
Tim. iii. 16, 17- ' All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and 
is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction 
in righteousness.' But not they only are so commanded, but all 
others within the church, John v. 39. ' Search the scriptures.' Deut. 
vi. 6, 7. ' These words which I command thee this day, shall be in 
thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy chil- 
dren, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and 
when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when 
thou risest up.' 

In discoursing further from this point, I shall, 

I. Explain this seeking into the book of the Lord. 

II. Give the reasons of the doctrine. 

III. Make application. 

1. I am to explain this seeking into the book of the Lord. And 
here I will shew, 

1. What is presupposed in this seeking. 

2, What is the import of a studious inquiry into the scriptures. 
First, I am to shew what is presupposed in this seeking into the 

book of the Lord. It presupposes, 

1. That man has lost his way, and needs direction to find it, Psal. 
cxix. 176. ' I have gone astray like a lost sheep ; seek thy servant.' 
Miserable man is bemisted in a vain world, which is a dark place, 
and has as much need of the scriptures to direct him, as one has of 
a light in darkness,' 2 Pet. i. 19. What a miserable case is that 
part of the world in that want the Bible ? They are vain in their 
imaginations, and grope in the dark, but cannot find the way of sal- 
vation. In no better case are those to whom it has not come in 

2. That man is in hazard of being led farther and farther wrong. 
This made the spouse say, ' Tell me, thou whom my soul loveth, 
where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon : 

E 3 


for why should I be as oue that turneth aside by the flocks of thy 
companions ?' There is a subtle devil, a wicked world, corrupt lusts 
within one's own breast, to lead him out of the right way, that we 
had need to give over, and take this guide. There are many false 
lights in the world, which, if followed, will lead the traveller into 
a mire, and leave him there. 

3. That men are slow of heart to understand the mind of God in 
his word. It will cost searching diligently ere we can take it up, 
John v. 39. Our eyes are dim to the things of God, our apprehen- 
sions dull, and our judgment is weak. And therefore, because the 
iron is blunt, we must put too the more^trength. We lost the 
sharpness of our sight in spiritual things in Adam ; and our corrupt 
wills and carnal affections, that savour not the things of God, do 
more blind our judgments : and therefore it is a labour to us to find 
out what is necessary for our salvation. 

4. That the book of the Lord has its difficulties which are not to 
be easily solved. Therefore the Psalmist prays, ' Open thou mine 
eyes, that I may see wondrous things out of thy law,' Psal. cxix. 18. 
Philip asked the eunuch, ' Understandest thou what thou readest ? 
And he said. How can I, except some man should guide me ?' 
There are depths there wherein an elephant may swim, and will 
exercise the largest capacities, with all the advantages they may be 
possessed of. God in his holy providence has so ordered it, to stain 
the pride of all glory ; to make his word the liker himself, whom 
none can search out to perfection, and to sharpen the diligence of 
his people in their inquiries into it. 

5. That we need highly to understand it, otherwise we would not 
be bidden search into it. ' Of the times and seasons (says the 
apostle), ye have no need that I write unto you ;' and therefore he 
wrote not of them. There is a treasure in this field ; we are called 
to dig for it ; for tho' it be hid, yet we must have it, or we will pine 
away in our spiritual poverty. 

6. Lastly, That we may gain from it by diligent inquiry. The 
holy humble heart will not be always sent empty away from these 
wells of salvation, when it plies itself to draw. There are shallow 
places in these waters of the sanctuary, where lambs may wade. 

Secondly, I proceed to shew what is the import of a studious in- 
quiry into the scriptures. This holds out the matter and manner of 
the duty. 

First, As for the matter of the duty; it lies in. three things. 

1. "We should be capable to read the scriptures distinctly. Alas! 
How shall they study the book of God that cannot so much as read 
it? Isa. xxix. 12. It is sad to think that there are among Chris- 


tians who call God their Father, and cannot read his testament ; 
who say they would be at heaven, and yet cannot consult the direc- 
tions for the way. And if their parents have neglected to teach 
them, they have not the grace to make up that by their own in- 
dustry. Their case is little better that cannot read it distinctly ; 
for without that there can be little benefit got by it. Neh. viii. 8. 

2. We should acquaint ourselves with the letter of the scriptures, 
the histories, prophecies, precepts, &c. This Timothy is commended 
for, ' that from a child he had known the holy scriptures,' 2 Tim. 
iii. 15. That is tlie sacred field where the treasure lies ; the blessed 
body, where the soul of the scripture lodgeth ; the words wherein 
the mind of God towards sinners is held forth. Mat. xiii. 52. 

3. We ought to labour to understand the mind of God in them, 
and that savingly and spiritually. Wisdom lies in the book of the 
Lord ; and see what course we should take to get at it, Prov. ii. 4, 
5. ' If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid 
treasures : then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord ; and 
find the knowledge of God.' To read the scriptures just for read- 
ing's sake, without labouring to understand what ye read, is very 
unprofitable work. Nay we should search narrowly till we find the 
sense and meaning of what we read, as one that digs deep, breaks 
the clods of earth, till he finds the golden ore. 

Secondly, As to the manner of the duty ; it imports, 

1. A high esteem of the treasure to be found in the book of the 
Lord, Matth. xiii. 44. People will not be at the pains to seek into 
what they do not value. If men did not prize gold, they would not 
rip up the bowels of the earth for it. It is the undervaluing of the 
scriptures that makes people so little to study and seek into them. 

2. A design of spiritual profit by the scripture. No wise man 
will be at pains but to gain thereby. And he that would aright 
study the holy scriptures, must design his soul's advantage thereby. 
We shduld come to the reading of the book of the Lord, as to a 
soul-feast, Psal. cxix. 131 ; as to the gathering of spoil after battle, 
Psal. cxix. 162. Some read the scriptures to fuitiish their heads 
with notions of the things of religion, and their tongues with talk 
about them ; but read ye for holiness to your hearts, and to rule 
your walk thereby. Some read them to support their errors, and 
some for matter of jest and drollery ; which are horrible work. 
But ' search ye the scriptures : for in them ye will Jind eternal life ; 
and they arc they that testify of Christ,' John v. 39. 

3. A serious application of the heart to the work ; for it will not 
be a by-hand work, Psal. i. 2. In the scriptures God speaks to us, 
as in prayer we speak to God ; and when God speaks, we should 


listen attentively. The angels pry into scripture-mysteries, 1 Pet. 
i. 12. So should we into the scriptures, James i. 25. 

4. Painfulness in the study. Silver and gold are not to be gathered 
up by every lazy passenger from the surface of the earth, as stones 
are, but must with labour be digged out of the bowels of it, Prov. ii. 
4. forecited. This is the gate of heaven ; and there must be striv- 
ing to get in at it. It is not easy to overcome a dark, carnal, hard 
heart, which unfits us for the study of the scriptures. And indeed 
many get but little advantage by their reading it ; for dig they can- 
not, and beg they will not ; and therefore they go empty from these 
wells of salvation. 

5. Diligence and constancy, 1 Pet. i. 10. It is the hand of the 
diligent that maketh rich in all cases, while drousiness cloaths a 
man with rags. See the duty of a Christian with respect to the 
word, Psal. i. 2. ' His delight is in the law of the Lord ; and in his 
law doth he nieditato day and night.' He suffers not his Bible to 
gather dust. 

Lastly, A thorough search. We should go through every leaf of 
the book of the Lord, and endeavour to acquire the knowledge of 
the whole scriptures. For ' All scripture is given by inspiration of 
God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for 
instruction in righteousness,' 2 Tim. iii. 16. Some never read all 
the Bible in their days, but pick out portions here and there only. 
Searchers do not so, but look into every corner. And we should 
labour to know more and more of what we have some insight into : 
for this Bible says one, contains a puncheon that hitherto has not 
been pierced. 

II. The next general head is, to give the reasons of the point, 
that the book of the Lord should be read, carefully and diligently 
searched, consulted, and sought into. 

1. Because the way of salvation is to be found only therein, John 
V. 39. forecited. This is the star risen in a dark world, to guide us 
where Christ is. All the researches of the wise men of the world, 
all the inventioilfe of men, can never guide us to Immanuel's land, 
John i. 18. ' No man has seen God at any time, the only begotten 
Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.' 
Here, and here only, the counsels of God touching man's salvation 
are discovered. And so, as salvation is the most necessary thing, 
the study of the scriptures is the most necessary exercise. To 
slight it, is to judge ourselves unworthy of eternal life. v 

2. It is the only rule of our faith and lives, Isa. viii. 20. ' To 
the law and to the testimony : if they speak not according to this 
word, it is because there is no light in them,' Eph. ii. 20. ' Ye are 


built upon tlie foundation of the j)ropbets and apostles, Jesus 
Christ himself being the chief corner-stone,' Rev. xxii. 18, 19. ' I 
testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of 
this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add 
unto him the plagues that are written in this book : and if any man 
shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God 
shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy 
city, and from the things which are written in this book.' The 
Bible is the pattern shewn on the mount, to which our faith and 
lives must be conformed, if we would please God. The Lord says 
to us, as Dent, xxviii. 14. ' Thou shalt not go aside from any of the 
words which I command thee this day, to the right hand or to the 
left.' None can walk regularly unless they observe the rule ; but 
how can one observe it unless he know it ? Matt. xxii. 29. God 
has given each of us our post in the world : the Bible is the book of 
our instructions ; and shall we not study it ? The lawyer studies 
his law-books, the physician his medical books ; and shall not a 
Christian study the book of the Lord ? 

3. The Lord himself dictated it, and gave it us for that very end, 
2 Tim. iii. 16, 17- forecited, Rom. v. 4. ' Whatsoever things were 
written aforetime were written for our learning.' And has the 
Spirit of the Lord written it, and will not we read it ? Has he 
given it us to be studied by us, and will we slight it ? This must 
be horrid contempt of God, and ingratitude to him with a witness, 
"Whose image and superscription is this on the scriptures ? Is it 
not the Lord's ? Then take it up and read. 

4. We must be judged by the scriptures at the great day, John 
xii. 48. That is one of the books opened, Rev. xx. 12. This is the 
book of the Lord's laws and ordinances, by which he will proceed in 
absolving or condemning us. I own God will go another way to 
work with those who never had the Bible, Rom. ii. 12. But know 
thou, that seeing it is in the country where thou livest, though thou 
never readest a letter of it, thou must be judged by it. Is there 
not good reason then for reading the scriptures ? 

III. I proceed now to the practical improvement of this import- 
ant subject. 

Use I. Of information. It lets ns see, 

1. The necessity and advantage of translations of the scriptures 
into the vulgar languages, as I have formerly shewn. 

2. The people not only may without any licence from the church- 
guides, but must read the scriptures, for God has commanded it. 
The Papists here take away the key of knowledge ; for their king- 
dom riscth and standeth by darkness, aiid ignorance of the scrip- 


3. The scriptures, whatever difficulties be in thera, yet are so 
plain in things necessary to salvation, that even the unlearned may 
reap advantage by reading them. 

Use II. Of exhortation. I exhort one and all of you to the study 
of the holy scriptures, to seek out of the hook of the Lord, and read. 
I will lay this before you in several branches, before I come to the 

1. Let such as cannot read, learn to read. Ye that have chil- 
dren, as ye tender their immortal souls, teach them to read the 
Bible. Remember therefore the vows taken upon you at their 
baptism, and the duty laid upon you by the Lord himself, Eph. vi. 
4. ' Fathers, bring up your children in the nurture and admonition 
of the Lord,' 2 Tim. iii. 15. Timothy from a child knew the lioly 
scriptures. Ye who got no learning when ye were young, labour to 
get it now. Alas ! some parents, or others that have had some 
when young with them, have been cruel to their souls, as the ostrich 
to her young. They have learned them to work, but have been at 
no pains to teach them to read ; so have sent them out into the 
world a prey to the devourer's teeth, without the ordinary means of 
the knowledge of God. Thus they are destroyed with gross ig- 

But will ye pity your own souls, though others did not that 
brought you up ? And do not enter yourselves heirs to their sin, 
by being as negligent of yourselves as they were. Though perhaps 
they left you nothing to live upon, yet for a livlihood ye have done 
something for your bodies. And will you do nothing for your souls ? 

Think not it will excuse thee at the hand of God, that thou art a 
servant ; for thy soul is in as great danger as thy master's, and ig- 
norance of religion will destroy it, Is. xxvii. 11. There are few but 
know how to improve the scarcity of servants to the raising of the 
fee ; but will you improve it by getting it in your condition to learn 
to read, and seek out such families where you may have that advan- 
tage, for some such there are, like Abraham's, Gen. xviii. 10. Nay 
rather than not do it, give over service for a time, and learn. 

Neither will it excuse you that now you have a family ; for you 
have an immortal soul still, which gross ignorance of the mind of 
God in the scriptures will ruin eternally, 2 Thess. i. 8. And the 
more need you have to read the scriptures, that you have a family, 
that you may know the Lord's mind yourself, and teach it your fa- 
mily. Such an excuse will no more screen you from everlasting 
destruction, than covering yourself with leaves will save you from 
the flames of a devouring fire. 

Sav not vou are too old now to learn. It is never out of time to 


learn to do well for your eternal salvation. If your eyes can serve 
you to learn, you ought to do it, whatever your age be. But if your 
sight be so far gone, that you cannot though you were ever so wil- 
ling; then tremble at the thoughts of the awful judgment of God, 
that has taken away sight from you, that when you had it would 
not use it for his glory, and the good of your own soul ; and humble 
thyself, and apply to the blood of Christ, for this thy neglect, lest 
it prove ruining to thee for ever. And cause others read to you, 
and beg the teaching of the Spirit, if so be such an old careless 
slighter of salvation may find mercy. 

2. Let such as can read procure Bibles. I dare say one that has 
a love to the Bible (and that all who love the Lord have) will make 
many shifts ere they want one. But they must be lawful shifts : 
for stealing of Bibles, or keeping them up from the owners, is like 
a thief stealing a rope to hang himself in. But spare it off your 
bellies or your backs, and procure one rather than want. 

3. Let such as have Bibles read them frequently, and acquaint 
themselves with the book of the Lord. Read them in your families 
morning and evening ; and read them in secret by yourselves ; it 
should be a piece of your duties in secret. Make the Bible your 
companion abroad and at home, in the house and in the field. It is 
lamentable to think how unacquainted with the Bible many are, 
and how little heart they have to it. Ballads and song-books get 
the place of the Bible with many ; and many have no use for it but 
once in the week, on the sabbath-day, as if it were more for a shew 
with them than the necessity of their souls. 

4. Lastlij, Not only read it, but search into it, and study it, to 
know the mind of God therein, and that ye may do it. Be not su- 
perficial in your reading of the scriptures, but do it with application, 
painfulness, and diligence ; using all means to read it with under- 
standing ; breaking through the surface that ye may come at the 
hid treasure therein. Reading as well as praying by rote is to little 
purpose : for a parcel of bare words will neither please God, nor 
edify your own souls. 

I shall now give some motives to enforce this important duty of 
reading the scriptures. 

Mot. 1. God requires it of us, he commands us to do it, John v. 
39. ' Search the scriptures.' The Jews had once the scriptures com- 
mitted to them ; but did God design they should only have thera in 
the temple ? nay, in their houses also : Only laid up in the ark ? 
nay, he designed another chest for them, even their hearts. Dent. vi. 
6, 7. formerly cited. Let the authority of God sway you, then, and 
a.s you have any regard to it, study the scriptures. 


Mot. 2. Nay, the very being of the Bible among us is enough to 
move us to study it, seeing it is that by which we must stand or fall 
for ever. The proclaiming of the law publicly is sufficient to oblige 
the subjects ; and they cannot plead ignorance, though they get not 
every one a copy of it. Ignorantia juris exciisat neminem ; for every 
one ought to know the rule of his duty. And sinners will be con- 
demned by it, if they conform not to it, whether they knew it or not, 
John iii. 19. 

Mot. 3. It is an exercise very pleasing to God, so that it be done 
in a right manner, namely, in faith. For thereby God speaks to us, 
and we hear and receive his words at his mouth ; and obedient ears 
are his delight. 

1. The Spirit of God commends it. It was the commendation of 
the Bereans, Acts xvii. 11. of Apollos, chap xviii. 24. of Timothy, 
2 Tim. iii. 15. And why does the Spirit of God commend others for 
this, but to recommend the scriptures to us ? 

2. There is a particular blessing annexed to this exercise. Rev. i. 
3. ' Blessed is he that readeth.' And the children of God in all 
ages have sucked the sap of it, while they have had sweet fellowship 
with God in his word, and the influences of the Spirit, to the quick- 
ening, enlightening, fructifying and comforting their souls, 

Mot. 4. Consider what a great privilege it is, that we have the 
scriptures to read and study, at this day. If Christ had not died 
for our salvation, the world had never been blessed with this glori- 
ous light, but had been in darkness here, as a pledge of eternal 
darkness. Let us compare our case with that of others, and see our 

1. Look back to the case of the church in its first age before the 
flood, or the time of Moses, while they had not the written word. 
The will of God was revealed to some of them by visions, voices, 
dreams, &c. ; but we may say, as 2 Pet. i. 19. ' We have a more 
sure word of prophecy.' But that was not the lot of all, but of a 
few among them; the rest behoved to learn by tradition. Now 
every one has alike access to the word of divine revelation. 

2. Look to the case of the church under the Old Testament. In 
David's time there was little more than the five books of Moses 
written ; yet how does that holy soul swell in commendation of his 
little Bible, when little more than the ground-work of this glorious 
structure was laid ! Psal. cxix. j^er tot. Take that church at her 
best in this respect, when the canon of the Old Testament was com- 
pleted, they saw not the light of the New. Now the whole canon of 
the scripture is in our hands, this glorious image of God has got the 
finishing stroke ; no more is to be added thereto for ever. The New 


Testament casts a light upon the types, shadows, and dark pro- 
phecies of the Old. And shall we not be sensible of our mercy ? 

3. But look abroad into the Pagan world at this day, in compari- 
son of which all that know any part of the scriptures are but few, 
and the Bible is not heard of among them. That precious treasure 
is not opened to them to this day, and they can know no more of 
God but what they can learn from the dark glimmerings of nature's 
light. may we not in some sort say, as Psal. cxlvii. 19, 20. ' He 
sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto 
Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation : and as for. his judg- 
ments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.' 

4. Look back but a few years hence, when no Bibles were but 
such as were manuscript, namely, before the art of printing was 
found out, which was but a little before the reformation from 
Popery. How rare behoved they then to be ! and how dear, ye may 
easily perceive. But now how common and easy are they to be had ? 

6. Look to the case of those that lived, or yet live, under Popish 
tyranny, where it is a crime to have or to read the Bible without a 
special licence. What a strxiggle had our reformers in this church, 
ere they could get allowance by the laws of the land to read the 
Bible in English ? And how is the Bible kept out of the people's 
hands to this day in Popish countries ? Whereas now ye are 
pressed to read and study it. A New Testament was very precious 
in those days of Popish persecution, when one gave a cart-load of 
hay for a leaf of the Bible. But, alas ! as one says of the French 
Protestants, When they burned us for reading the scriptures, we 
burned in zeal to be reading them ; now with our liberty is bred 
also negligence and disesteem of Grod's word. 

6. Lastly, Consider the many helps there are to understand the 
scriptures beyond what were formerly. Many have run to and fro, 
and knowledge that- way has been increased, both by preaching 
and writing. And that useful exercise of lecturing, which our 
church has commanded to be of a large portion of scripture, is no 
small help. What will we be able to answer to the Lord, if this 
great privilege be slighted ? 

Mot. 5. Consider it has been the way of the people of God, to be 
much addicted to and conversant in the scripture. So true is it 
that wisdom is justified of her children. take heed yo go forth 
by the footsteps of the flock, and ye will not find them in the way 
of slighting, but prizing the word of God. Consider, 

1. Te shall find the saints highly prizing the word, Psal. xix. & 
cxix. what large commendations of the word are there ! How sweet 
was it to Jeremiah ! chap. xv. 16. ' Tliy words were found, and I did 


cat them ; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my 
heart.' Peter, who heard the voice on the mount, yet prefers the 
scriptures to voices from heaven, 2 Pet. i. 19. Paul speaks highly 
of it, 2 Tim. iii. 16. ' All scripture is given by inspiration of God, 
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruc- 
tion in righteousness.' The martyrs highly prized it, and ventured 
their lives for it. One cast away at sea, and swimming for his life 
on a mast, having five pounds, which was all his stock, in the one 
hand, and a Bible in the other, and being obliged to let go one of 
them, kept the Bible, and let the five pounds go. 

2. Ye shall find them much addicted to the study of the word. 
It was David's companion and bosom oracle, Psal. cxix. 97- Daniel 
at Babylon searches the scriptures of the prophets, Dan. ix. 2. So 
did the noble Bereans, Apollos, and Timothy. 

3. Yea, the Spirit of God makes it the character of a godly man, 
Psal. i. 2. ' His delight is in the law of the Lord ; and in his law 
doth he meditate day and night.' how rational is that ! The 
man that is born of God has a natural desire after the word, as the 
child after the mother's breast, 1 Pet. ii. 2. The new nature tends 
to communion with God ; it is by the word the soul has communion 
with him, for thereby God speaks to us. And therefore it is a sad 
sign, that there are few true Christians, while there are so few that 
diligently ply the word. 

Mot. 6. Consider the excellency of the scriptures. There is a 
transcendent glory in them, which whoso discerns cannot miss to hug 
and embrace them. To commend the Bible to you, I shall say these 
eight things of it. 

1. It is the best of books. They may know much, ye think, that 
have many good books ; but have ye the Bible, and ye have the best 
book in the world. It is the book of the Lord, dictated by urferring 
infinite wisdom. There is no dross here with the gold, no chaff with 
the corn. Every word of God is pure. There is nothing for our 
salvation to be had in other books, but what is learned from this. 
They are but the rivulets that run from this fountain, and all shine 
with light borrowed from thence. And it has a blessing annexed to 
it, a glory and majesty in it, an efficacy with it, that no other book 
has the like. Therefore Luther professed he would burn his books 
he had writ, rather than they should divert people from reading the 

2. It is the greatest and most excellent of the works of God to be 
seen in the world, Psal. cxxxviii. 2. If the world beautified with 
sun, moon, and stars, be as a precious ring, the Bible is the diamond 
in the ring. The sparkling stars, and that glorious globe of light 


the sun, yet leave but a dark world, where there is no Bible. 
Were it put to the choice of the saints, either to put the sun out of 
the firmament, or the Bible out of the world, they would chuse the 
former, but never the latter ; for that they cannot want till they go 
there where they shall read all in the face of Jesus. For that must 
needs be most excellent that has most of God in it. 

3. It is the oracles of God, Rom. iii. 2. This was the chief of the 
Jewish privileges, without which their temple, altar, &c. would 
have been but dumb signs. The Pagan world did highly reverence 
and prize the devil's oracles : but Ave have God's oracles, while we 
have the scriptures that manifest to us the secrets of heaven. And 
if we discern aright who sj)eaks in them, we must say. The voice of 
God, and not of man. Here is what you may consult safely in all 
your doubts and darknesses ; here is what will lead you into all 

4. It is the laws of heaven, Psal. xix. 7- The Lord and King of 
heaven is our great Lawgiver, and the laws are written in this book. 
It concerns us to study it. Hence we must prove our title to hea- 
ven, the blessed inheritance, or we will never obtain it. From 
thence the sentence of our justification must be drawn, else we are 
still in a state of wrath. Here is the rule we must follow, that we 
may please God here ; and from this book shall the sentence of our 
absolution or condemnation be drawn at the great day. 

6. It is Christ's testament and latter-will, 1 Cor. xi. 25. Our 
Lord has died, and he has left us this Bible as his testament ; and 
that makes his children have such an aflfection to it. Herein he has 
left them his legacy, not only moveables, but the eternal inherit- 
ance ; and his last will is now confirmed, that shall stand for ever 
without alteration. So, all the believer's hopes are in this Bible, 
and this is the security he has for all the privileges he can lay claim 
to. This is his charter for heaven, the disposition by which he lays 
claim to the kingdom. And therefore, if ye have any interest in 
the testament, ye must needs not be slighters of it. 

6. It is the sceptre of his kingdom, Psal. ex. 2. and it is a sceptre 
of righteousness. It is by this word he rules his church, and guides 
all his children in their way to the land that is far off. Wherever 
he hath a kingdom, he wields it ; and the nations subjecting them- 
selves to him, receive it. And where he rules one's heart, it has 
place there too, Col. iii. 16. It is a golden sceptre of peace, 
stretched forth to rebels to win them by offering them peace ; to 
fainting believers, to give them peace. And whosoever will not 
subject themselves to it, shall be broken with his rod of iron. 

7. It is the channel of influences, by which the communications of 


grace are made, and the Avaters of the sanctuary flow into the soul, 
Isa. lix. ult. The apostle appeals for this to the experience of the 
Galatians, chap iii. 2. ' Received ye the Spirit by the law, or by the 
hearing of faith ?' Is the elect soul regenerated ? the word is the 
incorruptible seed, whereof the new creature is formed, 1 Pet. i. 23. 
Is faith begotten in the heart ? it is by the word, Rora. x. 17- ' Faith 
coraeth by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.' Is the new 
creature to be nourished, strengthened, quickened, actuated, &c. ? 
Christ is the fountain, faith the mouth of the soul, the word the 
pipes of conveyance, whereat faith must suck, as the child at the 
nipples. s' 

8. Lastly, Iii is the price of blood even the blood of Christ, 1 Cor. 
xi. 25. Had not the personal Word become flesh, and therein died 
to purchase redemption for us, we had never seen this written word 
among us. For it is the book of the covenant which is founded on 
the blood of the Mediator. It is the grant and conveyance of the 
right to the favour of God, and all saving benefits to believers ; for 
which there could have been no place had not Christ died. And 
they that slight it, will be found to tread under foot the blood of 
the covenant. 

Mot. 7. Consider the usefulness of the word. If we consider the 
Author, we may be sure of the usefulness of the work. The apostle 
tells us, that it alone is suflicient to make the man of God perfect, 
thoroughly furnished unto all good works, 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17- There 
is no case a soul can be in, but it is suitable to their case, that de- 
sire to make use of it. To commend it to you from its usefulness, 
I will say these eight things. 

1. It is a treasure to the poor, and such are we all by nature, 
Rev. iii. 17- 2 Cor. iv. 7- Therefore the Lord bids us search the 
scriptures, in allusion to those that search in mines for silver and 
gold. If the poor soul search here, receiving the word by faith, he 
is made up. He shall find there the discharge of his debt, a new 
right and title to the mortgaged inheritance. This word of the 
Lord is a treasure, 

(1.) For worth. People make not treasures of any but valuable 
things. There is nothing in the scriptures but what is highly valu- 
able. There are the eternal counsels of God touching our salvation; 
life and immortality brought to light ; there are the purest percepts, 
the most awful threatenings, and the most precious promises, 2 Pet. 
i. 4, &c. 

(2.) For variety. In the scriptures shines the manifold wisdom 
of God. They that nauseate this book of the Lord, because they 
find not new things in it after some time perusing it, discover their 


senses not to be exercised to discern. For should we come to it 
ever so often, bringing fresh affections with us, we would find fresh 
entertainment there ; as is evident by the glorious refreshment 
sometimes found in a word, that has been often gone over before 
without any thing remarkable. And truly the saints shall never 
exhaust it while here ; but as new discoveries are made in it in se- 
veral ages, so it will be to the end. 

(3.) For abundance. There is in it not only for the present, but 
for the time to come, Isa. xlii. 23. There is abundance of light, in- 
struction, comfort, &c. and what is needful for the saints travelling 
heavenward, Psal. cxix. 162. And indeed it is the spoil to be ga- 
thered by us. Our Lord having fought the battle against death and 
devils, here the spoil lies to be gathered by us thft remained at 
home when the fight was. 

(4.) Lastly, For closeness. This word contains the wisdom of 
God in a mystery. It is a hid book to most of the world, and in- 
deed a sealed book to those that remain in their natural blindness. 
Nor can we get into the treasure without the illumination of the 
same Spirit which dictated it, 1 Cor. ii. 10. There is a path here 
which the vulture's eye hath not seen, which the carnal eye cannot 
take up, ver. 14. Therefore have we need to seek diligently, and 
pray, as Psal. cxix. 18. ' Open thou mine eyes, that I may see won- 
drous things out of thy law.' 

2. It is life to the dead : ' The words that I speak unto you (says 
Christ), they are spirit, and they are life,' John vi. 63. We are 
naturally dead in sins ; but the word is the means of spiritual life. 
It is the ordinary means of conversion, Psal. xix. 7- ' The law of 
the Lord — converteth the soul ;' and of regeneration, 1 Pet. i. 23. 
' Being born again of incorruptible seed by the word of God.' By 
it the soul is persuaded into the covenant, and brought to embrace 
Jesus Christ. For thereby the Spirit is communicated to the elect 
of God. Thus it is of use to bring sinners home to God, from under 
the power of darkness to the kingdom of his dear Son, 

3. It is light to the blind, Psal. xix. 8. * The commandment of 
the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.' It is a convincing light, 
to discover one's state to him, and so to rouse up the soul from its 
natural security. It pierces the heart as an arrow, and makes the 
careless sinner stand and consider his way : for it freely tells every 
one his faults, Jam. i. 25. And while the child of God travels 
through a dark world, it serves to light him the way, 2 Pet. i. 19. — 
' a light shining in a dark place ;' and lets him see how to set down 
every step. Hence David says, ' Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, 
and a light unto my path,' Psal. cxix. 105. 



4. It is awakening to those that are asleep, Cant. vii. 9. It is 
the voice of God which is full of majesty, to awaken the sleepy 
Christian to the exercise of grace. For as it is the means of beget- 
ting grace in the heart, so it is also the means of actuating and 
quickening thereof, Psal. cxix. 50. * Thy word hath quickened me.' 
Here the Christian may hear the alarm sound to rise up and be 
doing. Here are the precious promises as cords of love to draw, 
and the awful threatenings to set idlers to work. 

6. It is a sword to the Christian soldier, Eph. vi. 17. ' The 
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.' Whoever has a 
mind for heaven must fight liis way to it : for none get the crown 
but the conquerors, Rev. iii. 21. They must go through many temp- 
tations, from the devil, the world, and the flesh ; and the word is 
the sword for resisting them. It is an off"ensive and defensive 
weapon. We see how our Lord Jesus wielded it, Mat. iv. 4, 7- ' It 
is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word 
that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. — It is written again. Thou 
shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' And whatever be our tempta- 
tions, if we be well versed in the word, we may from thence bring 
answers to them all. 

6. It is a counsellor to those who are in straits, doubts, and diffi- 
culties, Psal. cxix. 24. ' Thy testimonies are — my counsellors.' 

. Many a time the children of God, when tossed with doubts and fears, 
have found a quiet harbour there ; and have got their way cleared 
to them there, when they knew not what to do. And no doubt, if 
we were more exercised unto godliness, and looking to the Lord in 
our straits, we would make more use of the Bible, as the oracles of 

7. It is a comforter to those that are cast down, Psal. cxix. 49, 
50. ' Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast 
caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction : for thy 
word hath quickened me.' The way to heaven lies through many 
tribulations, and afflictions are the trodden path to glory. But the 
Lord has left his people the Bible as a cordial to support them 
under all their pressures from within and without. And indeed the 
sap of the word, and the sweetness of the promises, are never more 
lively relished, than when the people of God are exercised under 
afflictions. Then does that heavenly fountain flow most plentifully, 
when, created streams being dried up, the soul goes for all to the 
Lord. To sum up all in one word, 

8. Lastli/, It is a cure for all diseases of the soul, Prov. iv. 22. 
' My words are — health to all their flesh.' Tliere is no malady that 
a soul is under, but there is a suitable remedy for it in the word, 2 


Tim. iii. 16, 17- frequently quoted above, being adapted by infinite 
wisdom to the case of poor sinners. By it tlie simple may be made 
wise, the weak strengthened, the staggering confirmed, the hard 
heart melted, the shut heart opened, &c. it being the means the 
Spirit makes use of for these and all other such purposes. 

Mot. 8. Consider the honourable epithets given to the scriptures. 
Amongst which I name only three. 

1. The scriptures of truth, Dan. x. 21. Men may wrest the scrip- 
tures to patronise their errors, but the whole word of God is most 
pure truth. Here are no mistakes, no weaknesses, that adhere to 
all human composures. Here we may receive all that is taught us 
without hesitation. The hearers of men, or readers of their works, 
arc divided into four sorts : Some like spunges, that suck up all, 
both good and bad : Some like sand glasses, who, what they receive 
at the one ear let go at the other : Some like strainer, that lets 
all the good pass through, but keeps the dregs : Some like the sieve, 
that keeps the good grain, and lets through what is not worth. 
These last are only to be approved ; but in the reading of the word 
we must be as the first sort. 

2. Holy scriptures, 2 Tim. iii. 15. They are the word of a holy 
God, from whom nothing can come but what is holy. It consists of 
holy commands, holy promises, holy threatenings, instructions, di- 
rections, &c. And holy hearts will love and reverence them for 
that very reason. 

3. Lastly, The book of the Lord. "What can be said more to com- 
mend it to us, if we have any regard to the Lord himself? If i 
could tell you of a book that fell down from heaven, and were to 
be had by any means, who would not be curious to have such a 
book and study it ? This is the book that contains the counsels of 
Heaven, and is given from Heaven to the church, to let men see the 
way to it. 

Mot. last. Consider the danger of slighting the word. It exposes 
to sin, and consequently to the greatest danger. How can they 
keep the way of the word that do not study to acquaint themselves 
with it ? They must needs walk in darkness that do not make use 
of the light; and this leads to everlasting darkness, John iii. 19. 
If by this word we must be judged, how can they think to stand 
that neglect it ? 

I conclude with some directions for the study of the scriptures. 

1. Keep an ordinary in reading them, that ye may be ac- 
quainted with the whole ; and make this reading a part of your 
secret duties. Not that ye should bind up yourselves to an ordi- 
nary, so as never to read by choice, but that ordinarily this tends 




most to edification. Some places are more difficult, some may seem 
very bare for an ordinary reader ; but if you would look on it all 
as God's word, not to be slighted, and read it with faith and rever- 
ence, no doubt ye would find advantage. 

2. Set a special mark, one way or other, on those passages you 
read, which you find most suitable to your case, condition, or temp- 
tations ; or such as ye have found to move your hearts more than 
other passages. And it will be profitable often to review these. 

3. Compare one scripture with another, the more obscure with 
what which is more plain, 2 Pet. i. 20. This is an excellent means 
to find out the sense of the scriptures ; and to this good use serve 
the marginal notes on Bibles. And keep Christ in your eye, for to 
him the scriptures of the Old Testament (in its genealogies, types, 
and sacrifices) look, as well as those of the New. 

4. Read with a%)ly attention, arising from the consideration of 
the majesty of God, and the reverence due to him. This must be 
done with attention, (1.) To the words ; (2.) To the sense : and (3.) 
To the divine authority of the scripture, and the bond it lays on 
the conscience for obedience, 1 Thess. ii. 13. 

5. Let your main end in reading the scriptures be practice, and 
not bare knowledge, Jam. i. 22. Read that you may learn and do, 
and that without any limitation or distinction, but that whatever 
you see God requires, you may study to practise. 

6. Beg of God and look to him for his Spirit. For it is the 
Spirit that dictated it, that it must be savingly understood, 1 Cor. 
4i. 11. And therefore before you read, it is highly reasonable you 
beg a blessing on what you are to read. 

7- Beware of a worldly fleshly mind : for fleshly sins blind the 
mind from the things of God ; and the worldly heart cannot favour 
them. In an eclipse of the moon the earth comes between the sun 
and the moon, and so keeps the light of the sun from it. So the 
world, in the heart, coming betwixt you and the light of the word, 
keeps its divine light from you. 

8. Labour to be exercised unto godliness, and to observe your 
case. For an exercised frame helps mightily to understand the 
scriptures. Such a Christian will find his case in the word, and the 
word will give light to his case, and his case light into the word. 

9. Lastly, Whatever you learn from the word, labour to put it in 
practice. For to him that hath shall be given. No wonder they get 
little insight into the Bible, who make no conscience of practising 
what they know. But while the stream runs into a holy life, the 
fountain will be the more free. 



John iv. 24. — God is a Spirit. 

SiMONiDES, a heathen poet, being asked by Hiero king of Syracuse, 
WTiat is God ? desired a day to think upon it ; and when that day 
was at an end, he desired two days ; and when these were past, he 
desired four days. Thus he continued to double the number of days 
in which he desired to think of God, ere he would giye an answer. 
Upon which the king expressing his surprise at his behaviour, asked 
him. What he meant by this ? To which the poet answered, ' The 
more I think of God, he is still the more dark and unknown to me.' 
Indeed no wonder that he made such an answer ; for he that would 
tell what God is in a measure suitable to his excellency and glory, 
had need to know God even as he is known \)f him, which is not 
competent to any man upon earth. Agur puzzles the whole crea- 
tion with that sublime question. What is his name ? Prov. xxx. 4. 
But though it is impossible in our present state to know God per- 
fectly, seeing he is incomprehensible ; yet so much of him is re- 
vealed in the scriptures as is necessary for us to know in order to 
our salvation. 

The text tells us, and it should be remembered, that the Lord 
Jesus, the Son of God, who lay in the bosom of the Father, and who 
only can reveal him, is here the speaker, that God is a Spint. It is 
but little of the nature of spirits that we, who dwell in tabernacles 
of clay, are so intimately connected with flesh and blood, and so 
naturally impressed with sensible objects, can know. We cannot 
fully understand what our own spirits or souls are ; and less do we 
know of the nature of angels, who are of a superior nature to us ; 
and far less can we know of the spiritual nature of the Divine 
Being, which is utterly incomprehensible by men or angels. How- 
ever, as all our ideas begin at what is infinite, in considering the 
nature of spirits, so we are led to conceive of God as infinitely more 
perfect than any finite spirit*. All we can know of spirits is, 

* It will not be improper here to subjoin' the following observation of the celebrated 
Mr. Addison. ' If we consider the idea which wise men, by the light of reason, have 
framed of the Divine Being, it amounts to this, That he has in him all the perfections 
of a spiritual nature ; and since we have no notion of any kind of s-piritual perfection 
but what we discover in our own souls, we join infinitude to each kind of these per- 
fections, and what is a faculty in a human soul becomes an attribute in God. We 
exist in place and time, the Divine Being fills the immensity of space with his pre- 
sence, and inhabits eternity. We are possessed with a little power and a little know- 

F 3 


1. That a spirit is the most perfect and excellent of beings, more 
excellent than the body, or any thing that is purely material. 

2. That a spirit is in its own nature immortal, having nothing in 
its frame and constitution tending to dissolution or corruption. 

3. That a spirit is capable of understanding, willing, and putting 
forth actions agreeable to its nature, which no other being can do. 

Now these conceptions of the nature of spirits lead us to conceive 
of God, 

1. As a being tliat is more perfect and excellent than all other 
spirits and beings. Hence he is said to be incorruptible, Rom. i. 23. ; 
immortal and invisible, 1 Tim. i. 17- He has understanding and will ; 
and so we conceive of him as the creator and governor of all things ; 
which he could not be, if he were not an intelligent and sovereign 

2. Though angels and the souls of men are spirits, yet their ex- 
cellency is only comparative, that is, they excel the best of all ma- 
terial beings in their nature and properties. But God, as a spirit, 
is infinitely more excellent than all material beings, and all created 
si)irits. Tlieir perfections are derived from him ; and therefore he 
is called ' the Father of spirits,' Heb. xii. 9. and ' the God of the 
spirits of all flesh,' Numb. xvi. 22. ; and his perfections are un- 
derived ; and he is independently immortal. Hence it is said of 
him, that ' he only hath immortality,' 1 Tim. vi. 16. He is an in- 
finite spirit ; and it can be said of none but him, that ' his under- 
standing is infinite,' Psal. cxlvii. 5. 

Now, a spirit is an immaterial substance, Luke xxiv. 39. ; and 
seeing whatever God is, he is infinitely perfect in it, he is a most 
pure spirit. Hence we may infer, 

1. That God has no body nor bodily parts. Object. How then 
are eyes, ears, hands, face, and the like, attributed in scripture to 
God ? Answ. They are attributed to him not properly, but figura- 
tively ; they are spoken of him after the manner of men, in conde- 
scension to our weakness ; but we are to understand them after a 
sort becoming the Divine Majesty. We are to consider what sucli 
bodily parts serve us for, as our eyes for discerning and knowing, 
our arms for strength, our hands for action, &c. and we are to con- 
ceive these things to be in God infinitely, which these parts serve 
for in us. Thus, when eyes and ears are ascribed to God they sig- 
nify his omniscience ; his hands denote his power, and his face the 
manifestation of his love and favour. 

ledge, the Divine Being is almighty and omniscient. In short, by adding infinity to 
any kind of perfection we enjoy, and by joining all these different kinds of perfections 
in one being, we form our idea of the great Sovereign of nature.' 


2. That God is invisible, and cannot be seen with the eyes of the 
body, no not in heaven ; for the glorified body is still a body, and 
God a spirit, which is no object of the eyes, more than sound, taste, 
smell, &c. 1 Tim. i. 17. 

3. That God is the most suitable good to the nature of our 
souls, which are spirits ; and can communicate himself, and apply 
those things to them, which only can render them happy, as he is 
the God and Father of our spirits. 

4. That it is sinful and dishonourable to God, either to make 
images or pictures of him without us, or to have any image of him 
in our minds, which our unruly imagination is apt to frame to itself, 
especially in prayer. For God is the object of our understanding, 
not of our imagination. God expressly prohibited Israel to frame 
any similitude or resemblance of him, and tells them, that they had 
not the least i)retence for so doing, inasmuch as they ' saw no simili- 
tude of him, when he spake to them in Horeb,' Deut. iv. 12, 15, 16. 
And says the prophet, ' To whom will ye liken God? or what. like- 
ness will ye compare unto him ?' Isa. xl. 18. We cannot form an 
imaginary idea of our own souls or spirits, which are absolutely 
invisible to us, and far less of him whoJs the invisible God, whom 
no man hath seen or can see. Therefore to frame a picture or an 
idea of what is invisible, is highly absurd and impracticable : nay, 
it is gross idolatry, prohibited in the second commandment. 

5. That externals in worship are of little value with God, who is 
a spirit, and requires the heart. They who would be accepted of 
God must worship him in spirit and in truth, that is, from an 
apprehension and saving knowledge of what he is in Christ to poor 
sinners. And this saving knowledge of God in Christ is attainable 
in this life : for it is the matter of the divine promise, ' I will give 
them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord,' Jer. xxiv. 7- ' It is 
written in the prophets. They shall be all taught of God, John vi. 
45. And therefore it should be most earnestly and assiduously 
sought after by us, as, unless wo attain to it, we must perish for 

That we may know what sort of a spirit God is, we must consider 
his attributes, which we gather from his word and works, and that 
two ways : 1. By denying of, and removing from God, in our minds, 
all imperfection which is in the creatures. Acts xvii. 29. And 
thus we come to the knowledge of his incommunicable attributes, 
so called because there is no shadow or vestige of them in the 
creatures, such as infinity, eternity, uuchangcableness. 2, By at- 
tributing unto him, by way of ciuinoucy, whatever is excellent iu 
the creatures, seeing he is the fountain of all perfection in tliem. 


Psal. xciv. 9. And thus we have his communicable attributes, 
whereof there are some vestiges and small scantlings in the crea- 
ture, as being, wisdom, power, &c. amongst which his spirituality is 
to be reckoned. 

Now, both these sorts of attributes in God are not qualities in 
him distinct from himself, but they are God himself. God's infinity 
is God himself, his wisdom is himself; he is wisdom, goodness, 1 
John i. 5. Neither are these attributes so many different things 
in God ; but they are each of them God himself: for God swears 
by himself, Heb. vi. 13. ; yet he swears by his holiness, Amos iv. 2. 
He creates by himself, Isa. xliv. 24. ; yet he creates by his power, 
Rom. i. 20. Therefore God's attributes are God himself. Neither 
are these attributes separable from one another; for though we, 
through weakness, must think and speak of them separately, yet 
they are truly but the one infinite perfection of the divine nature, 
which cannot be separated therefrom, without denying that he is an 
infinitely perfect being. 

We have said that God is a spirit ; but angels and the souls of 
men are spirits too. "What then is the difference between them? 
Why, God is an infinite;^ eternal, and unchangeable spirit; but 
angels and souls are but finite, were not from eternity, and are 
changeable spirits. Now, these three, infinity, eternity, and immu- 
tability, are God's incommunicable attributes, which we are next to 

First, God is infinite. Infinity is the having no bounds or limits 
within which a thing is contained. God then is infinite, i. e. he is 
whatsoever he is without bounds, limits, or measure. Job xi. 7- 
' Canst thou by searching find out God ? canst thou find out the 
Almighty unto perfection ?' We cannot define the presence of God 
by any certain place, so as to say, Here he is, but not there ; nor by 
any limits, so as to say, Thus far his being reacheth, and no further : 
but he is every where present, after a most inconceivable manner, 
even in the deepest darkness, and the closest recesses of privacy. 
He fills all the innumerable spaces that we can imagine beyond this 
visible world, and infinitely more than we can imagine. 

Now God is infinite, (1.) In respect of his being : for of his na- 
ture our finite understandings cannot possibly form any adequate 
conception. This lies hid in rays of such bright and radiant glory, 
as must for ever dazzle the eyes of those who attempt to look into 
it. (2.) In respect of place ; and therefore he is every where pre- 
sent : ' Can any man hide himself in secret places, that I shall not 
see him ? saith the Lord : do not I fill heaven and earth ? saith the 
Lord,' Jer. xxiii. 24. (3.) In respect of time and duration: for the 


ages of his eternity cannot be numbered, ' nor the number of his 
years searched out,' Job xxxvi. 26. (4.) In respect of all his com- 
municable attributes. Thus the depth of his "wisdom cannot be 
fathomed : ' the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and 
knowledge of God ! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his 
ways past finding out !' Rom. xi. 33. ' His greatness is unsearch- 
able,' Psal. cxIy. 3. The extent of his power cannot be reached : 
' The thunder of his power who can understand ?' Job xxvi. 14. 
We cannot understand his powerful thunder, one of the lowest dis- 
plays of his majesty in our region, much less tlie utmost extent and 
force of his power, in its terrible effects, especially the power of his 
anger : ' God is great, and we know him not.' The treasures of the 
divine goodness cannot be inventoried : ' how great is thy good- 
ness (says the Psalmist), which thou hast laid up for them that fear 
thee, which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before 
the sons of men ! The brightness of God's glory cannot be de- 
scribed ; as a full discovery of it twould quite overpower the facul- 
ties of any mortal in this imperfect state : for man is weak and 
unworthy of it, weak and could not bear it, guilty and could not 
but dread it : and therefore God ' holdeth back the face of his 
throne, and spreadeth a cloud upon it, Job xxvi. 9. With what 
propriety, then did he say to Moses, ' Thou canst not see my face ; 
for there shall no man see me, and live !' Exod. xxxiii. 20. 

That God is infinite, is evident from the natural notions and dic- 
tates of the human mind. Hence the heathens, by the light of 
nature, attributed this perfection to the Divine Being. Thus one 
philosopher pronounced him to be a circle whose centre is every 
where, and whose circumference is no where ; which another philo- 
sopher thus expressed in clearer terms, God is included in no place, 
and excluded from none. Which way soever ye turn, says Seneca, 
ye may take notice of God meeting you ; for nothing is void of him : 
he himself fills all his works, and is present with the whole creation. 
Remarkable also is the expression of the prince of Latin poets, 
Jovis omnia plena, ' All things are full of God.' This also appears 
from several passages of scripture ; as Deut. iv. 39. ' The Lord is 
God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath.' 1 Kings viii. 
27. ' The heaven, and heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee,' says 
Solomon in his prayer to God at the dedication of the temple. See 
also Psal. cxxxix. 4, &:c. Jer. xxiii. 23, 24. Again, if God were 
not infinite and immense, many gross absurdities would follow 
from the contrary notion ; such as, it is inconsistent with his uni- 
versal providence over the world, by which all things are preserved. 
' In him we live, move and have our being,' Acts xvii. 27. As his 


providence is over all, his essence must be equally diffusive. It is 
inconsistent with his supreme perfection. No perfection can be 
wanting in God : and therefore a limited essence, which is an im- 
perfection, cannot be attributed to him. It is also inconsistent with 
his immutability : For if he move and recede from one place to 
another, would he not thereby be mutable ? while yet ' with him 
there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.' Last of all, it 
would be inconsistent with his omnipotence. That God can do 
every thing, is a notion settled in the minds of all ; and his essence 
cannot be less or mere confined than his power, and his power can- 
not be thought to extend farther than his essence. 

But some may be ready to say, Does not the scripture say, that 
God sits in heaven and dwells on high, that heaven is his throne ; 
and does not the Lord's prayer teach us to say, Our Father which 
art in heaven ? Now, how can this agree with his infinity or immen- 
sity? I answer, God is indeed said to sit in heaven and to dwell 
on high ; but he is no where said4o dwell only in the heavens. It 
is the court of his majestic presence, not the prison of his essence. 
There is a three-fold presence of God : A glorious presence, which 
is peculiar to heaven : A gracious presence, which the saints enjoy 
on earth : And an essential presence, which is equally and alike in 
all places. Others may allege, that it is a disparagement to God, 
to say that he is essentially present in all places and with all crea- 
tures, even on the dunghill of the earth, and in the sordid sink of 
hell with the devils and the damned. To this I would only say, 
that it is a gross misapprehension of God, and an unaccountable 
measuring of him by ourselves, to imagine that he is capable of be- 
ing infected by any thing below. For he is a pure and spotless 
being. "Whatever is nauseous to our senses cannot affect him. 
Darkness, is uncomfortable to us : but the darkness and the light 
are all one to him. Wickedness may hurt a man ; but if we mul- 
tiply our transgressions, what can we do unto him ? Job xxxv. 6, 8. 
To deny the immensity of God, says one, because of ill-scented 
places, is to measure God rather by the nicety of sense, than by 
the sagacity of reason. 

Secondly, The next incommunicable attribute of God is eternity. 
Hence he is called ' the King eternal.' 1 Tim. i. 17- We find other 
things called eternal. But the eternity of all things besides God is 
only their having no end, though they had a beginning. Thus 
angels and the souls of men are eternal, because they shall never 
have an end. The covenant of grace is eternal, because the mer- 
cies of it shall last for ever. The gospel is eternal, because the 
effects of it shall never wear away. The redemption by Christ is 


eternal, foi' tlie same reason. And the last judgment is so, because 
the consequences will be everlasting. But the eternity of God is 
his being without beginning and without end, Psal. xc. 2. ' From 
everlasting to everlasting thou art God,' He was from everlasting 
before time, and will remain unto everlasting when time shall be no 
more ; without beginning of life or end of days. 

Thirdly, The next incommunicable attribute of God is unchange- 
ableness. God is immutable, that is, always the same, without any 
alteration. Hence it is said. Jam. i. 17. ' With whom is no vari- 
ableness, neither shadow of turning,' Mai. iii. 6. ' I am the Lord, I 
change not.' God makes changes upon the creatures, but is liable 
to no change himself.' Though he alters his dispensations, yet not 
his nature ; but, by one pure and constant act of his will and power, 
effects what changes he pleases. He is the same in all his perfec- 
tions, constant to his intentions, steady to his purpose, unchangeably 
fixed and persevering in all his decrees and resolutions. "When God 
is said to repent in scripture, Gen. vi. 6. 1 Sam. xv. 11. it denotes 
only a change of his outward conduct according to his infallible 
foresight and immutable will. He changes the way of his provi- 
dential dealings according to the carriage and deportment of his 
creature, without changing his will, which is the rule of his provi- 
dence. For otherwise that is an eternal truth. Num. xxiii. 19. 
' God is not a man, that he should lie ; neither the son of man, that 
he should repent,' 1 Sam. xv. 29. ' The Strength of Israel will not 
lie, nor repent ; for he is not a man, that he should repent.' 

Having taken a short view of the incommunicable attributes of 
God, I proceed now to consider those that are called communicable, 
viz. his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. 
Now these things are in the creatures indeed, but they are in them 
in a finite way ; -but God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in 
these perfections, which no creature is or can be. 

First, There is his being which is his nature or essence and exis- 
tence, which are but one thing in God. Creatures indeed have a 
being, but it is only a finite being, a being that has a beginning, a 
changeable one, and that may have an end. But God's being is an 
infinite bein^, eternal and unchangeable. Hence he calls himself, 
Exod. iii. 14. I AM THAT I AM. Hence we may infer, 

1. That God is incomprehensible, and his essence infinite and un- 
bounded, Psal. cxly. 3. ' His greatness is unsearchable.' It is not 
possible for a finite understanding to comprehend all that is in God ; 
but the nature of God is a boundless ocean that hatli no shore. Job 
xi. 7. 'Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out 
the Almighty to perfection?' And though God perfectly knows 
himself, that is because his understanding is infinite. 


2. God is omnipresent and immense. He is present every where, 
but bounded no where, not only in respect of his virtue or influence, 
but of his essence. This clearly appears from the following pas- 
sages, Psal. cxxxix. 7, 8, 9, 10. ' Whither shall I go from thy Spi- 
rit ? or whither shall I flee from thy presence ? If I ascend up into 
heaven, thou art there : If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art 
there : If I take the yings of the morning, and dwell in the utter- 
most parts of the sea : even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy 
right hand shall hold me.' Jer. xxiii. 23, 24. 'Am I a God at hand, 
saith the Lord, and not a God afar off"? Can any hide himself in 
secret places, that I shall not see him ? saith the Lord, : do not I 
fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord, 1 Kings viii. 27. 'Behold the 
heaven and heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee.' He is there 
where the thief is stealing, the unclean person gratifying his base 
lusts, &c. though they see him not, and think themselves secure 
when no other eyes see them. 

3. There is no succession in the duration of God ; for where there 
is not a first, there cannot be a second moment of duration; but God 
is eternal : And there can be no succession of time in God's dura- 
tion, if he be unchangeable; for that is a continual change. See 
2 Pet. iii. 8. ' One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and 
a thousand years as one day.' 

4. God is independent, or self-suflUcient. His being and perfec- 
tions are underived, and not communicated to him, as all finite 
perfections are by him to the creature. This self-existence, or inde- 
pendence, is one of the highest glories of the divine nature, by 
which he is distinguished from all creatures, who live, move, and 
have their being in and from him. Therefore all our springs are in 
him, all that we enjoy or hope for is from him; and we should be 
entirely devoted to his service and honour. 

5. Lastly, This doctrine afl'ords full breasts of consolation to the 
godly, who have an infinite, eternal, and unchangeable friend, who 
will never leave nor forsake them, but render them completely 
blessed at last, and confirm them in that happy state for ever. And 
here is unspeakable terror to those whose enemy this great and 
eternal God is ; for being his enemies, and dying in their rebellion, 
they shall suff"er the whole vengeance and wrath threatened in his 
word, which he liveth for ever to inflict ; and he will never alter 
what he hath threatened. let sinners be now persuaded to make 
this infinite, eternal, and unchangeable God, their friend through 
Jesus Christ, and so they shall infallibly escape the wrath that is to 

Secondly, The next communicable attribute of God is wisdom. 


The personal wisdom of God is Christ, 1 Cor. i. 24. But this is his 
essential A^risdom, which is that attribute of God whereby he knows 
himself, and all possible things, and how to dispose all things to the 
best ends. Hence he is said to ' know all things,' John xxi. 17- and 
to be * God only wise,' Rom. xvi. 27. Now, God is infinite, eternal, 
and unchangeable in his wisdom, Psal. cxlvii. 5. ' His understanding 
is unsearchable.' 

The wisdom of God appears, 

1. In the works of creation. The universe is a brigUlt mirror 
wherein the wisdom of God may be clearly seen. ' The Lord by 
wisdom made the heavens,' Psal. cxxxvi. 5. ' The Lord by wisdom 
hath founded the earth ; by understanding hath he established the 
heavens,' Prov. iii. 19. ' He hath established the world by his wis- 
dom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.' More 
particularly, the wisdom of God appears, (1.) In the vast variety of 
creatures which he hath made. Hence the Psalmist cries out, 'How 
manifold are thy works, Lord ! in wisdom hast thou made them 
all,' Psal. civ. 24. (2.) In the admirable and beautiful order and 
situation of the creatures. God hath marshalled every thing in its 
proper place and sphere. For instance, the sun, by its position dis- 
plays the infinite wisdom of its Creator. It is placed in the midst 
of the planets, to enlighten them with its brightness, and inflame 
them with its heat, and thereby derive to them such benign qualities 
as make them beneficial to all mixed bodies. If it were raised as 
high as the stars, the earth would lose its prolific virtue, and remain 
a dead carcase for want of its quickening heat ; and if it were placed 
as low as the moon, the air would be inflamed with its excessive 
heat, the waters would be dried up, and every planet scorched. But 
at the due distance at which it is placed, it purifies the air, abates 
the superfluities of the waters, temperately warms the earth, and so 
serves all the purposes of life and vegetation. It could not be in 
another position Avithout the disorder and hurt of universal nature. 
Again, the expansion of the air from the ethereal heavens to the 
earth is another testimony of divine wisdom : for it is transparent 
and of a subtile nature, and so a fit medium to convey light and 
celestial influences to this lower world. Moreover, the situation of 
the earth doth also trumpet forth the infinite wisdom of its Divine 
Maker : for it is as it were the pavement of the world, and placed 
lowermost, as being the heaviest body, and fit to receive the weighti- 
est matter. (3.) In fitting every thing for its proper end and use, 
so that nothing is unprofitable and useless. After the most diligent 
and accurate inquiry into the works of God, there is nothing to be 
found superfluous, and there is nothing defective. (4.) In the sub- 


ordination of all its parts, to one common end. Thongh tliey are of 
different natures, as lines vastly distant in themselves, yet they all 
meet in one common centre, namely, the good and preservation of 
the whole, TIos. ii. 21, 22. ' I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear 
the heavens, and they shall hear the earth, and the earth shall hear 
the corn and the wine, and the oil, and they shall hear Jezreel.' 

2. In the government of the world. God sits in his secret place, 
surrounded with clouds and darkness, holding the rudder of the 
world inHiis hand, and steering its course through all the floatings 
and tossings of casualty and contingency to his own appointed ends. 
There he grasps and turns the great engine of nature, fastening one 
pin and loosing another, moving and removing the several wheels of 
it, and framing the whole according to the eternal idea of his own 
understanding. By his governing providence he directs all the ac- 
tions of his creatures ; and, by the secret and efficacious penetration 
of the divine influence, he powerfully sways and determines them 
which way he pleases. 

3. In the work of redemption. This is the very masterpiece of 
Divine wisdom ; and here shines the manifold or diversified wisdom 
of God, Eph. iii. 10. It appears, (1.) In the contrivance thereof. 
When man had ruined himself by sin, all the wisdom of men and 
angels could never have devised a method for his recovery. Heaven 
seemed to be divided upon this awful event. Mercy inclined to save 
man, but Justice interposed for satisfaction. Justice pleaded the 
law and the curse, by which the souls of sinners are forfeited to 
vengeance. Mercy, on the other hand, urged, Shall the Almighty 
build a glorious work, and suffer it to lie in eternal ruins ? shall the 
most excellent creature in the inferior world perish through the 
subtilty of a malicious and rebellious spirit ? shall that arch-rebel 
triumph for ever, and raise his trophies from the final ruin of the 
works of the Most High ? Shall the reasonable creature lose the 
fruition of God, and God lose the subjection and service of his crea- 
ture ? and, shall all mankind be made in vain ? Mercy further 
pleaded, That if the rigorous demands of Justice be heard, it must lie 
an obscure and unregarded attribute in the divine essence for ever ; 
that it alone must be excluded, while all the rest of the attributes 
had their share of honour. Thus the case was infinitely difficult, and 
not to be unravelled ;by the united wit of all the celestial spirits. A 
bench of angels was incapable to contrive a method of reconciling 
infinite mercy with inflexible justice, of satisfying the demands of 
the one, and granting the requests of the other. In this hard exi- 
gence the wisdom of God interposed, and in the vast treasure of its 
incomprehensible light, found out an admirable expedient to save 


man without prejudice to the other divine perfections. The pleas of 
Justice, said the wisdom of God, shall be satisfied in punishing, and 
the requests of Mercy shall be granted in pardoning. Justice shall 
not complain for want of punishment, nor Mercy for want of com- 
passion ; I will have an infinite sacrifice to content Justice, and the 
virtue and fruit of that sacrifice shall delight mercy. Here justice 
shall have punishment to accept, and Mercy shall have pardon to 
bestow. My Son shall die, and satisfy justice by his death ; and by 
the virtue and merit of that sacrifice sinners shall be received into 
favour, and herein Mercy shall triumph and be glorified. Here was 
the most glorious display of wisdom. (2.) In the ordination of a 
Mediator every way fitly qualified to reconcile men unto God. A 
mediator must be capable of the sentiments and aftections of both 
the parties he is to reconcile, and a just esteemer of the rights and 
injuries of the one and the other, and have a common interest in 
both. The Son of God, by his incarnation, perfectly possesses all 
these qualities. He hath a nature to please God, and a nature to 
please sinners. He had both the perfections of the Deity, and all 
the qualities and sinless infirmities of the humanity. The one fitted 
him for things pertaining to God, and the other furnished him with 
a sense of the infirmities of man. — This union of the diviue and hu- 
man nature in the person of Christ was necessary to fit and qualify 
him for the discharge of his threefold office of Proj^het, Priest, and 
King. — As a Proi)hct, it was requisite he should be God, that so he 
might acquaint us with his Father's will, and reveal the secret pur- 
poses and hidden counsels of heaven concei-ning our salvation, which 
were locked up in the bosom of God from all eternity. And it was 
needful he should be man, that he might converse with poor sinners 
in a familiar manner, and convey the mind and counsels of God to 
them, in such a way as they could receive them. — As a Priest, he 
behoved to be a man, that so he might be capable to suff'er, and to 
bear the wrath which the sins of the elect had justly deserved. 
And it behoved him to be God, to render his temporary sufferings 
satisfactory. The great dignity and excellency of the divine Media- 
tor's person made his sufferings of infinite value in God's account. 
Though he only suffered as a man, yet he satisfied as God, — As a 
King, he must be God, to conquer Satan, convert an elect world, 
and effectually subdue the lusts and corruptions of men. And he 
must be man, that by the excellency of his example, he might lead 
us in the way of life. (3.) In the manner whereby this redemption 
is accomplished, namely, by the humiliation of the Son of God. By 
this he counteracted the sin of angels and men. Pride is the poison 
of every sin: for in every transgression the creature prefers his 


pleasure to and sets up his own will above God's. This was the 
special sin of Adara. The devil would have levelled heaven by 
usurpation. He said in his heart, I will be like the Most High ; and 
man infected with his breath (when he said, Ye shall he like gods) 
became sick of the same disease. Now, the Divine Redeemer, that 
he might cure our disease in its source and cause by the quality of 
the remedy, applied to our pride an unspeakable humility. Man 
was guilty of the highest robbery in affecting to be equal with God ; 
and the Son, who was in the bosom of God, and equal to hira in ma- 
jesty and authority, emptied himself by assuming the human nature 
in its servile state, Phil. ii. 6, 7, 8. It is said, John i. 14, ' The 
word was made flesh.' The meanest part of our nature is specified 
to signify the greatness of his abasement. There is such an infinite 
distance between God and flesh, that the condescension is as admir- 
able as the contrivance. So great was the malignity of human 
pride, that such a profound humility was requisite for the cure of it. 
And by this Christ destroyed the works of the devil. (4.) In ap- 
pointing such contemptible, and in appearance opposite means, to 
bring about such glorious elfects. The way is as admirable as the 
work. Christ ruined the devil's empire by the very same nature 
that he had vanquished, and by the very means which he had made 
use of to establish and confirm it. He took not upon him the na- 
ture of angels, which is equal to Satan in strength and power ; but 
he took part of flesh and blood, that he might the more signally tri- 
umph over that proud spirit in the human nature, which was infe- 
rior to his, and had been vanquished by him in paradise. For this 
end he did not immediately exercise omnipotent power to destroy 
him, but managed our weakness to foil the roaring lion. He did 
not enter the lists with Satan in the glory of his Deity, but dis- 
guised under the human nature which was subject to mortality. 
And thus the devil was overcome in the same nature over which he 
first got the victory. For as the whole race of mankind was cap- 
tivated by him in Adam the representative, so believers are made 
victorious over him by the conquest which their representative ob- 
tained in the whole course of his sufterings. As our ruin was ef- 
fected by the subtility of Satan, so our recovery is wrought by the 
wisdom of God, who takes the wise in their own craftiness. Thus 
eternal life springs from death, glory from ignominy, and blessed- 
ness from a curse. We are healed by stripes, quickened by death, 
purchased by blood, crowned by a cross, advanced to the highest 
honour by the lowest humility, comforted by sorrows, glorified by 
disgrace, absolved by condemnation, and made rich by poverty. 
Thus the wisdom of God shines with a radiant brightness in the 
work of redemption. 


I shall conclude this point with a few inferences. 

1. God is omniscient ; ' he knows all things,' John xxi. 17. ' All 
things are naked and open to him,' Heb. iv. 13. His eye sees us 
wherever we are. Even future contingencies, as well as the most ne- 
cessary things are known to him. This is beautifully described by the 
Psalmist, Psal. cxxxix. 1, — 10. which deserves your serious perusal- 

2. His knowledge of all things is not conjectural, but infallible, 
Rom. xi. 33, 34. ' the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and 
knowledge of God ! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his 
ways past finding out ! For who hath known the mind of the Lord, 
who hath been his counsellor ?' There is nothing to him contin- 
gent or uncertain ; but every thing falls out exactly according to / 
his foreknowledge and predetermination. 

3. It is altogether independent on the creature, whose motions 
and operations were known to him from eternity, and are all regu- 
lated by his counsel. 

4. Lastly, To this wise God we may safely entrust all our con- 
cerns, knowing he will manage them all so as to promote his own glory 
and our real good. 

Thirdly, The next communicable perfection of God is power, 
whereby he can do whatever he pleases, and whatsoever is not re- 
pugnant to his nature, Jer. xxxii. 17. ' Ah, Lord God, behold, thou 
hast made the heaven and the earth, by thy great power and 
stretched-out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.' He is 
infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in power; which the scripture 
holds forth, 1. Positively, Gen. xvii. 1. * I am the Almighty God.' 

2. Negatively, Luke i. 37. ' With God nothing shall be impossible.' 

3. Comparatively, Matt. xix. 26. ' With men this is impossible ; but 
with God all things are possible.' 

The power of God appears, 

1. In the creation of the world, Rom. i. 20. ' For the invisible 
things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being 
understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and 
Godhead.' how great must that power be, Arhich produced the 
beautiful fabric of the universe, without the concurrence of any ma- 
terial cause ! This proclaims it to be truly infinite : for nothing 
less could make such distant extremes as nothing and being to meet 
together. All this was done by a word, one simple act of his will ; 
for ' he spake and it was done ; he commanded and it stood fast,' 
Psal. xxxiii. 9. 

2. In the preservation of the world, and all things therein. He 
' upholdeth all things by the word of his power,' Heb. i. 3. He pre- 
serves all the creatures in their proper place, for their proper use 


and end. It is by the Divine Power that the heavenly bodies have 
constantly rolled about in their spheres for so many ages, without 
wearing or moving out of their proper course ; and that the tumul- 
tuous elements have persisted in their order to this very day. He 
preserves the confederacies of nature, sets bounds to the raging sea, 
and keeps it within its limits by a girdle of sand. He is the power- 
ful preserver of man and beast. He preserves them in their kind 
and species, by the constant succession of them one after another ; 
so that, though the individuals perish, yet the species continues. 
what a mighty power must that be that sustains so many creatures, 
sets bounds to the raging sea, holds the wind in his fists, and pre- 
serves a comely order and sweet harmony among all the creatures ! 

3. In the government of the world. He is the supreme Rector of 
the universe, and manages all things, so that they contribute to the 
advancement of his own glory, and the advantage of his people. 
By his governing providence he directs all the actions and motions 
of his creatures, and powerfully determines them which way soever 
he pleases. All the creatures are called his host, because he mar- 
shals them as an army to serve his important purposes. The whole 
system of nature is ready to favour and act for men when he com- 
mands it, and it is ready to punish them when he gives it a commis- 
sion. Thus he checked the Red Sea, and it obeyed his voice, Psal. 
cvi. 9. Its rapid motion quickly ceased, and the fluid waters were 
immediately ranged as defensive walls to secure the march of his 
people. At the command of God, the sea again recovered its 
wonted violence, and the watery walls came tumbling down upon 
the heads of the proud Egyptian oppressor and his host. The sea 
so exactly obeyed its orders, that not one Israelite was drowned, 
and not one Egyptian was saved alive. More particularly, the 
power of God appears in the moral government of the world. 

(1.) In governing and ordering the hearts of men, so that they 
are not masters of their own affections, but often act quite contrary 
to what they had firmly resolved or proposed. Of which we have 
eminent instances in Esau and Balaam. He hath the hearts of all 
men in his hands, and can turn them what way he pleases. Thus 
he bent the hearts of the Egyptians to favour the Israelites, by 
sending them away with great riches given them by way of loan. 
He turned Jehoshaphat's enemies from him when they came with a 
purpose to destroy him, 2 Cliron. xviii. 31. 

2. In governing and managing the most stubborn creatures, as 
devils and wicked men. (1.) In his governing devils. They have 
great power, and are full of malice. The devil is always going 
about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. We could 


hare no quiet nor safety in the world, if his power were not re- 
strained, and his malice curbed by one that is mightier than the 
infernal fiend. He would turn all things upside down, plague the 
world, burn cities and houses, and plunder us of all the supports of 
life, if he were not held in a chain by the Omnipotent Governor of 
the world. But God overmasters his strength, so that he cannot 
move one hair's breadth beyond his tether. God has all the devils 
chained, and he governs all their motions. The devil could not 
touch Job in his person and goods without the divine permission ; 
nor could he enter into the Gadarene swine without a special 
licence. If we consider the great malice of these invisible enemies, 
and the vast extent of their power, we Avill easily see that there 
could be no safety or security for men, if they were not curbed and 
restrained by a superior power. (2.) In governing wicked men. 
All the imaginations of their hearts are evil, and only evil con- 
tinually. They are fully bent upon mischief, and drink iniquity 
like water. What unbridled licentiousness and headstrong fury 
would triumph in the world, and run with a rapid violence, if the 
Divine Power did not interpose to bear down the flood gates of it ? 
Human society would be rooted up, the whole woi'ld drenched in 
blood, and all things would run into a sea of confusion, if God 
did not bridle and restrain the lusts and corruptions of men. The 
king of Assyria triumphed much in his design against Jerusalem ; 
but how did God govern and manage that wild ass ! Isa. xxxvii. 29. 
' I will put my hook into thy nose, (says Jehovah), and my bridle 
in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou 
camest.' And we are told, Psal. Ixxvi. 10. that ' the very wrath 
of man shall praise him, and that he will restrain the remainder of 

(3.) In raising up a church to himself in spite of all his enemies. 
This is specially seen in founding the New Testament church, and 
propagating the gospel through the world. The power of God ap- 
pears admirable in planting the gospel, and converting the world to 
Christianity. For there were many and great difficulties in the 
way, as gross and execrable idolatry; and the nations were strongly 
confirmed and rooted in their idolatry, being trained up and inured 
to it from their infant state. It was as hard to make the Gentiles 
forsake the religion which they received from their birth, as to 
make the Africans change their skin, and the leopard his spots. 
The Pagan religion was derived from their progenitors through a 
long succession of ages. Hence the heathens accused the Christian 
religion of novelty, and urged nothing more plausibly than the 
argument of immemorial prescription for their superstition. They 



would not consider whether it was just and reasonable, but with 
a blind deference yielded up themselves to the authority of the 
ancients. The pomp of the Pagan worship was very pleasing to the 
flesh ; the magnificence of their temples, adorned with the trophies 
of superstition, their mysterious ceremonies, their music, their pro- 
cessions, their images and altars, their sacrifices and purifications, 
and the rest of the equipage of a carnal religion, drew their 
respects and strongly affected their minds through their senses. 
Whereas the religion of the gospel is spiritual and serious, holy 
and pure, and hath nothing to move the carnal part. There was 
then an universal depravation of manners among men ; the whole 
earth was covered with abominations : the most unnatural lusts had 
lost the fear and shame that naturally attends them. "We may see 
a melancholy picture of their most abandoned conversation, Rom. i. 
The powers of the world were bent against tlie gospel. The hea^ 
then philosophers strongly opposed it. When Paul preached at 
Athens, the Epicureans and Stoics entertained him with scorn and 
derision ; ' What will this babbler say ?' said they. The heathen 
priests conspired to obstruct it. The princes of the world thought 
themselves obliged to prevent the introduction of a new religion, 
lest their empire should be in hazard, or the greatness and majesty 
of it impaired thereby. If we consider the means by which the 
gospel was propagated, the Divine Power will evidently appear. 
The i)ersons employed in this great work were a few illiterate 
fishermen, with a publican and a tent-maker, without authority and 
power to force men to obedience, and without the charms of elo- 
quence to enforce the belief of the doctrines which they taught. 
Yet this doctrine prevailed, and the gospel had wonderful success 
through all the j)arts of the then known world, and that against all 
the power and policy of men and devils. Now, how could this pos- 
sibly be, without a mighty operation of the power of Grod upon the 
hearts of men ? 

(4.) In preserving, defending, and supporting his church under 
the most terrible tempests of trouble and persecution which were 
raised against her. This is promised by our blessed Saviour, Matth. 
xvi. 18. ' The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' The most 
flourishing monarchies have decayed and wasted, and the strongest 
kingdoms have been broken in pieces; yet the church hath been 
preserved to this very day, notwithstanding all the subtle and po- 
tent enemies which in all ages have been pushing at her. Yea, 
God has preserved and delivered his church in the greatest ex- 
tremities, when the danger in all human appearance was unavoid- 
able ; as in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in Esther's days, when a 


bloody decree was issued to slay all the Jews. Yea, God hath 
sometimes delivered his church by very weak and contemptible-like 
instruments, such as Moses, a fugitive from Egypt, and Aaron, a 
poor captive in it ; and sometimes by very unlikely means, as when 
he smote Egypt with armies of locusts and lice. In all ages of the 
world God has gloriously displayed his power in the preservation of 
his church and people, notwithstanding all the rage, power, and 
malice of their enemies. 

(5.) In the conversion of the elect. Hence the gospel, which is 
the means and instrument of conversion, is called the poiver of God, 
and the rod of his strength ; and the day of the success of the gospel 
in turning sinners to Christ, is called the day of his power, Psal. ex. 
3. what a mighty power must that be that stills the waves of a 
tempestuous sea, quells the lusts and stubbornness of the heart, de- 
molishes the strong holds of sin in the soul, routs all the armies of 
corrupt nature, and makes the obstinate rebellious will strike sail 
to Christ ! The power of God that is exerted here makes a man to 
think on other objects, and speak in another strain, than he did be- 
fore. how admirable is it, that carnal reason should be thus 
silenced ; that legions of devils should be thus driven out ; and that 
men should part with those sins which before they esteemed their 
chiefest ornaments, and stand at defiance with all the charming 
allurements and bitter discouragements of the world ? The same 
power that raised Christ from the grave is exerted in the conversion 
of a sinner. Eph. i. 19, 20. There is greater power exerted in this 
case than there was in the creation of the world. For when God 
made the world, he met with no opposition ; he spake the word, and 
it was done : but when he comes to convert a sinner, he meets with 
all the opposition which the devil and a corrupt heart can make 
against him. God wrought but one miracle in the creation : he 
spake the word and it was done ; but there are many miracles 
wrought in conversion. The blind is made to see, the dead raised, 
and the deaf hears the voice of the Son of God. the infinite 
power of Jehovah ! In this work the mighty arm of the Lord is 

(6.) In preserving the souls of believers amidst the many dangers 
to which they are exposed, and bringing them safely to glory at 
last. They have many enemies without, a legion of subtle and 
powerful devils, and a wicked and ensnaring world, with all its 
allurements and temptations ; and they have many strong lusts and 
corruptions within; and their graces are but weak, and in their 
infancy and minority, while they are here : So that it may justly be 
matter of wonder how they are preserved. But the apostle tells us, 



that they * are kept by the power of God through faith unto salva-* 
tion,' 1 Pet. i. 5. Indwelling corruption would soon quench grace 
in their hearts, if it were not kept alive by a divine power. But 
Christ hath pledged his faithfulness for it, that they shall be kept 
secure, John X. 28. It is his power that moderates the violence of 
temptations, supports his people under them, defeats the power of 
Satan, and bruises him under their feet. 

4. Lastly, The power of God appears gloriously in the redemption 
of sinners by Jesus Christ. Hence in scripture Christ is called the 
power as well as the wisdom of God. This is the most admirable 
work that ever God brought forth in the world. More particularly, 

(1.) The power of God shines in Christ's miraculous conception 
in the womb of a virgin. The power of the Highest did overshadow 
her, Luke i. 35. and by" a creative act framed the humanity of Christ 
of the substance of the virgin's body, and united it to the Divinity. 
This was foretold many ages before as the eifect of the divine power. 
When Judah was oppressed by two potent kings, and despaired of 
any escape and deliverance to raise their drooping spirits, the pro- 
phet tells them, that he would give them a sign ; and a wonderful 
one it was. Therefore it is said ' Behold a virgin shall conceive, 
and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,' Isa. vii. 14. 
The argument is from the greater to the less : For if God will ac- 
complish that stupendous and unheard-of wonder, much more will 
he rescue his people from the fury of their adversaries. 

(2.) In uniting the divine and human nature in the person of 
Christ, and that without any confusion of the two natures, or chang- 
ing the one into the other. The two natures of ChrisT are not mixed 
together, as liquors that incorporate with one another, when poured 
into the same vessel. The divine nature is not turned into the 
human, nor the human into the divine. One nature doth not swal- 
low up another, and make a third distinct from both. But they are 
distinct, and yet united ; conjoined, and yet unmixed : the pro- 
perties of each nature are preserved entire. what a wonder of 
power was here ! that two natures, a divine and a human, infinitely 
distant in themselves, should meet together in a personal conjunc- 
tion ! Here one equal with God is found in the form of a servant ; 
here God and man are united in one ; the Creator and the creature 
are miraculously allied in the same subsistance. Here a God of un- 
mixed blessedness is linked personally with a man of perpetual sor- 
rows. That is an admirable expression, ' The "Word was made flesh,' 
John i. 14. What can be more miraculous than for God to become 
man, and man to become God ? that a person possessed of all the 
perfections and excellencies of the Deity should inherit all the in- 


flrmities and imperfectious of humanity, sin only excepted ? Was 
there not need of infinite power, to bring together terms which were 
so far asunder? Nothing less than an omnipotent power could 
effect and bring about what an infinite and incomprehensible wis- 
dom did project in this matter. 

(3.) In supporting the human nature of Christ, and keeping it 
from sinking under the terrible weight of divine wrath that came 
upon him for our sins, and making him victorious over the devil and 
all the powers of darkness. His human nature could not possibly 
have borne up under the wrath of God and the curse of the law, nor 
held out under such fearful contests with the powers of hell and the 
world, if it had not been upheld by infinite j)ower. Hence his Fa- 
ther says concerning him, Isa. xlii. 1. ' Behold my servant whom I 

(4.) The divine power did evidently appear in raising Christ from 
the dead. The apostle tells us, that God exerted his mighty power 
in Christ when he raised him from the dead, Eph. i. 19. The un- 
locking the belly of the whale for the deliverance of Jonah, the 
rescue of Daniel from the den of lions, and restraining the fire from 
burning the three children, were signal declarations of the divine 
power, and types of the resurrection of our Redeemer. But all 
these are nothing to what is represented by them : for that was a 
power over natural causes, and curbing of beasts and restraining of 
elements ; but in the resurrection of Christ, God exercised a power 
over himself, and quenched the flames of his own wrath, that was 
hotter than millions of Nebuchadnezzar's furnaces : he unlocked the 
prison doors wherein the curses of the law had lodged our Saviour, 
stronger than the belly and ribs of a leviathan. How admirable 
was it, that he should be raised from under the curse of the law, and 
the infinite weight of our sins, and brought forth with success and 
glory after his sharp encounter with the powers of hell ! in this the 
power of God was gloriously manifested. Hence he is said to be 
raised from the dead ' by the glory of the Father,' i. e. by his glori- 
ous power ; and * declared to be the Son of God with power, by the 
resurrection from the dead,' Rom. i. 4. All the miraculous proofs 
by which God acknowledged him for his Son during his life, had 
been ineffectual without this. If he had remained in the grave, it 
had been reasonable to believe him only an ordinary person, and 
that his death had been the just punishment of his presumption in 
calling himself the Son of God. But his resurrection from the dead 
was the most illustrious and convincing evidence, that really he was 
what he declared himself to be. 

I shall conclude, on this point, with a few inferences. 


1. God is omnipotent; that is, can do all things. It is true lie 
cannot lie nor deny himself, for these are repugnant to his nature, 
and argue not power, but weakness and imperfection. 

2. God's power never acts to its utmost extent. lie can do more 
always than he either doth or will do, Matt. iii. 9. He can do all 
things possible ; but he only doth what he hath decreed to be done, 
Mat. xxvi, 53, 54. 

3. Hence we may be confirmed in our belief of the resurrection. 
Some are ready to reckon it a thing impossible, that there can be a 
recollection of the dispersed particles of men's bodies when they are 
dissolved into dust, and scattered into the four winds. But if we 
consider the power of God, this will abundantly answer all that can 
be objected against this truth. Hence saith the apostle. Acts xxvi. 
8. ' Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God 
should raise the dead ?' And saith our Saviour to the Sadducees, 
who denied the resurrection, ' Ye do err, not knowing the scrip- 
tures, nor the power of God,' Almighty power can meet with no 
let or bar. Unless the particles of men's bodies could be scattered 
beyond the reach of Almighty power, and grinded so small as to 
escape the knowledge and care of God, this dispersion can make no- 
thing against the faith and possibility of the resurrection. 

4. Is God of infinite power ? then all his promises shall be most 
certainly accomplished, whatever difliculties may be in the way 
thereof. For God is able to bring to pass whatever he has pro- 
mised to his people. Therefore difficulty or improbability should 
never discourage or weaken our faith, because the power of God is 

5. They are absolutely sure of salvation who are kept by the 
power of God ; for God is able to keep them from falling, and his 
power is engaged for their preservation. They are surrounded with 
and infolded in the arms of Omnipotence ; their souls are in safe 
custody, beiug committed unto Christ, from whose hands none can 
pluck them. 

6. Wo to those against whom the power of God is set ; for ' they 
shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of 
the Lord, and from the glory of his power, 2 Thess. i. 9. It is a 
dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Consider 
this, ye sinners, and flee from the wrath that is to come. 

7. Abuse not the power of God, by limiting it, as Israel did in 
the wilderness, Psal. Ixxviii. 19. by trusting to an arm of flesh, as 
too many are apt to do, more than to the God of power, Jer. xvii. 
5. or by fearing the wrath of man, who can only kill the body, and 
not dreading the displeasure of Almighty God, Isa. li. 12, 13. 


8. Lastly, Improve the power of God by faith, depending upon it 
for the performance of all his gracious promises towards you and 
the church ; for ' he can work, and who shall let it ?' for strength 
to resist and vanquish, sin, Satan, and the world, saying, ' If God 
be for us, who can be against us ?' and for grace to enable you to 
the performance of every commanded duty, saying with the apostle, 
* I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.' 

Fourthly, The next communicable attribute of God that falls to 
be considered is holiness, which is the absolute purity of his nature, 
whereby he delights in whatever is agreeable to his holy will, and 
in the resemblance of it that is in the creatures. Or, it is the per- 
fect rectitude and integrity of the divine essence, whereby in all 
that he doth he acts like himself and for himself, delighting in 
whatever is agreeable to his will and nature, and abhorring what- 
ever is contrary thereto. Hence he is said to be ' glorious in holiness,' 
Exod. XV. 11. And ' he is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and 
cannot look upon iniquity,' Hab. i. 13. And he is infinite, eternal, 
and unchangeable in holiness. Hence the heavenly host proclaim, 
' Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts,' Isa. vi. 3. 

Now, God is, (1.) Necessarily holy. Not only he will not, but he 
cannot look on iniquity. His holiness is not only an act of his will, 
but belongeth to his essence. (2.) He is essentially holy. Holiness 
is the essential glory of the divine nature ; yea, it is his very es- 
sence. Holiness in men is an accessary quality and superadded gift, 
and is separable from the creature. But in God his essence and his 
holiness are the same. He could as soon cease to be God, as cease 
to be holy. (3.) He is perfectly holy. The best saints on earth 
are but holy in part ; there is still a mixture of sin in them while 
here. But, ' God is light, and in him is no darkness at all,' 1 John 
1. 5. (4.) He is universally holy ; holy in all that he is, in all that 
he hath, and in all that he doth. He is holy in his name, in his 
nature, in his word, and in his works. (5.) He is originally holy. 
Angels and men are made holy ; but God is holy of himself, and 
he is the original spring of all the holiness that is in the creatures. 
(6.) He is exemplarily holy. The holiness of God is the example 
and j)attern of all the holiness that is in the creatures. Hence we 
are required to ' be holy as God is holy,' 1 Pet. i. 16. (7.) He is 
perpetually and unchangeably holy. The best men on earth may 
change to the worse ; they may grow less holy than they are ; but 
God is immutable in his holiness. He cannot grow more holy than 
he is, because he is infinitely holy, and his holiness is incapable of 
any addition. Nor can he grow less holy than he is, because then 
he would cease to be God. 

The holiness of God is manifested and discovered, 


1. In his word; and that both in the precepts and promises 
thereof, God manifested his hatred and detestation of sin even in a 
variety of sacrifices under the ceremonial law ; and the occasional 
washings and sprinklings upon ceremonial defilements, which pol- 
luted only the body, were a clear proof, that every thing that had a 
resemblance to evil was loathsome to God. All the legal sacrifices, 
washings, and purifications, were designed to express what an evil 
sin is, and how hateful and abominable it is to him. But the holi- 
ness of God is most remarkably expressed in the moral law. Hence 
the laiu is said to be holy, Rom. vii. 12. It is a true transcript of 
the holiness of God. And it is holy in its precepts. It requires an 
exact, perfect, and complete holiness in the whole man, in every 
faculty of the soul, and in every member of the body. It is holy 
in its prohibitions. It forbids and condemns all impurity and filthi- 
ness whatsoever. It discharges not only sinful words and actions, 
gross and atrocious crimes, and profane, blasphemous, and unprofit- 
able speeches, but all sinful thoughts and irregular motions of the 
heart. Hence is that exhortation, Jer. iv. 14. ' Jerusalem, wash 
thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved : how long 
shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee ?' It is holy in its threat- 
enings. All these have their fundamental root in the holiness of 
God, and are a branch of this essential perfection. All the terrible 
threatenings annexed to the law are declarations of the holiness 
and purity of God, and of his infinite hatred and detestation of sin. 

Again, the holiness of God appears in the promises of the word. 
They are called holy promises, Psal. cv. 42. and they are designed to 
promote and encourage true holiness. Hence says the apostle, 2 
Cor. vii. 1. ' Having these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all 
filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of 
the Lord.' By them we are ' made partakers of a divine nature,' 
2 Pet. i. 4. 

2. The holiness of God is manifested in his works. Hence the 
Psalmist saith, ' The Lord is holy in all his works,' Psal. cxlv. 17- 
More particularly, 

(1.) The divine holiness appears in the creation of man. Solo- 
mon tells us, Eccl. vii. 29. that ' God made man upright ;' and Moses 
says, that he was ' made after the image of God,' Gen. i. 27. Now, 
the image of God in man consists chiefly in holiness. Therefore the 
new man is said to be ' created after God in righteousness and true 
holiness,' Eph. iv. 24. Adam was made with a perfection of grace. 
There was an entire and universal rectitude in all its faculties, dis- 
posing them to their proper operations. There was no disorder 
among his affections, but a perfect agreement between the flesh and 


tlie spirit ; and they both joined in the service of God. He fully 
obeyed the first and great command, of loving the Lord with all his 
soul and strength, and his love to other things was regulated by his 
love to God. When Adam dropt from the creating finger of God, 
he had knowledge in his understanding, sanctity in his will, and 
rectitude in his afi"ections. There was such a harmony among all 
his faculties, that his members yielded to his aftections, his affec- 
tions to his will, his will obeyed his reason, and his reason was 
subject to the law of God. Here then was a display of the divine 

(2.) In the works of Providence; Particularly in his judicial pro- 
ceedings against sinners for the violation of his holy and righteous 
laws. All the fearful judgments which have been poured down 
upon sinners, spring from God's holiness and hatred of sin. All the 
dreadful storms and tempests in the world are blown up by it. All 
diseases and sicknesses, wars, pestilence, plagues, and famines, are 
designed to vindicate God's holiness and hatred of sin. And there- 
fore, when God had smitten the two sons of Aaron for offering 
strange fire, he says, ' I will be sanctified in them that draw nigh 
me, and before all the congregation I will be glorified,' Lev. x. 3. 
He glorified himself in declaring by that act, before all the people, 
that he is a holy God, that cannot endure sin and disobedience. 
More particularly, 

[1.] God's holiness and hatred of sin is clearly manifested in his 
punishing the angels that sinned. It is said, 2 Pet. ii. 4. ' God 
spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and 
delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved nuto judg- 
ment.' Neither their mighty numbers, nor the nobility of their 
natures, could incline their offended Sovereign to spare them ; they 
were immediately turned out of heaven, and expelled from the 
divine presence. Their case is hopeless and helpless; no mercy will 
ever be shewn to one of them, being under the blackness of dark- 
ness for ever. 

[2.] In the punishment threatened and inflicted on man for his 
first apostasy from God. Man in his first state was the friend and 
favourite of heaven ; by his extraction and descent he was the Son 
of God, a little lower than the angels ; consecrated and crowned for 
the service of his Maker, and appointed as king over the inferior 
world ; he was placed in paradise, the garden of God, and admitted 
to fellowship and communion with him. But sin hath divested hira 
of all his dignity and glory. By his rebellion against liis Creator, 
he made a forfeiture of his dominion, and so lost the obedience of 
the sensible creatutes, and tlie service of the insensible. He was 


thrust out of paradise, banished from the presence of God, and de- 
barred from fellowship and communion with him. God immediately 
sentenced him and all his posterity to misery, death, and ruin. 
This is a clear demonstration of the infinite purity and holiness of 
God. But blessed be God, for Jesus Christ, the second Adam, who 
hath restored that which the first Adam took away. 

[3.] In executing terrible and strange judgments upon sinners. 
It was for sin that God drowned the old world with a deluge of 
water, rained hell out of heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and 
made the earth open her mouth, and swallow up Korah, Dathan, 
and Abiram. It was for sin that God brought terrible destroying 
judgments upon Jerusalem. All calamities and judgments spring 
from this bitter root, as sword, pestilence, distempers of body, per- 
plexities of mind, poverty, reproach, and disgrace, and whatever is 
grievous and afflictive to men. All this shows how hateful sin is 
to God. 

[4.] In punishing sins seemingly small with great and heavy 
judgments. A multitude of angels were sent down to hell for an 
aspiring thought, as some think. Uzzah, a good man, was struck 
dead in a moment for touching the ark ; yea, fifty thousand Beth- 
shemites were smitten dead for looking into it. We are apt to 
entertain slight thoughts of many sins : but God hath set forth some 
as examples of his hatred and abhorrence of sins seemingly small, 
for a warning to others, and a testimony and demonstration of his 
exact holiness. 

[5.] In bringing heavy afflictions on his own people for sin. 
Even the sins of believers in Christ do sometimes cost them very 
dear. He will not suff'er them to pass without correction for their 
transgressions. Though they are exempted from everlasting tor- 
ments in hell, yet they are not spared from the furnace of affliction 
here on earth. "We have instances of this in David, Solomon, Jonah, 
and other saints. Yea, sometimes God in this life, punishes sin more 
severely in his own people than in other men. Moses was excluded 
from the land of Canaan but for speaking unadvisedly with his lips, 
though many greater sinners were suffered to enter in. Such seve- 
rity towards his own people is a plain demonstration, that God 
hates sin as sin, and not because the worst men commit it. 

[6.] In sentencing so many of Adam's posterity to everlasting 
torments for sin. That an infinitely good God, who is goodness 
itself, and delights in mercy, should adjudge so many of his own 
creatures to the everlasting pains and torments of hell, must pro- 
ceed from his infinite holiness, on account of something infinitely 
detested and abhorred by him. 


3. The holiness of God appears in our redemption by Jesus 
Christ. Here his love to holiness and his hatred of sin is most con- 
spicuous. All the demonstrations that ever God gave of his hatred 
of sin were nothing in comparison of this. Neither all the vials of 
wrath and judgment which God hath poured out since the world 
began, nor the flaming furnace of a sinner's conscience, nor the 
groans and roarings of the damned in hell, nor that irreversible 
sentence pronounced against the fallen angels, do afford such a de- 
monstration of the divine holiness, and hatred of sin, as the death 
and sufterings of the blessed Redeemer. This will appear, if ye 

(1.) The great dignity and excellency of his person. He was the 
eternal and only begotten Son of God, the brightness of his Father's 
glory, and the express image of his person. Yet he must dfescend 
from the throne of his majesty, divest himself of his robes of insup- 
portable light, take upon him the form of a servant, become a curse, 
and bleed to death for sin. Did ever sin appear so hateful to God 
as here ? To demonstrate God's infinite holiness, and hatred of sin, 
he would have the most glorious and most excellent person in hea- 
ven and earth to suffer for it. He would have his own Son to die 
on a disgraceful cross, and be exposed to the terrible flames of di- 
vine wrath, rather than sin should live, and his holiness remain for 
ever disparaged by the violations of his law. 

(2.) How dear he was to his Father. He was his only begotten 
Son, he had not another ; the only darling and the chief delight of 
his soul, who had lain in his bosom from all eternity. Yet as dear 
as he was to God, he would not and could not spare him, when he 
stood charged with his people's sins. For saith the apostle, Rom. 
viii. 32. ' God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us 
all.' As he spared him not in a way of free bounty, giving him 
freely as a ransom for thek- souls ! so he spared him not in a way of 
vindictive justice, but exacted the utmost mite of satisfaction from 
him for their sins. 

(3.) The greatness of his sufferings. Indeed the extremity of his 
sufferings cannot be expressed. Insensible nature, as if it had been 
capable of understanding and affection, was disordered in its whole 
frame at his death. The sun forsook his shining, and clothed the 
whole heavens in black ; so that the air was dark at noon-day, as if 
it had been midnight. The earth shook and trembled, the rocks 
were rent asunder, and universal nature shrank. Christ suffered 
all that wrath which was due to the elect for their sins. His suf- 
ferings were equivalent to those of the damned. He suffered a pun- 
ishment of loss : for all the comforting influences of the Spirit were 


suspended for a time. Tlio divine nature kept back all its joys 
from the human nature of Christ, in the time of his greatest suffer- 
ings. We deserved to have been separated from God for ever; 
and therefore our Redeemer was deserted for a time. There was a 
suspension of all joy and comfort from his soul, when he needed it 
most. This was most afflicting and cutting to him, who had never 
seen a frown in his Father's face before. It made him cry out with 
a lamentable accent, ' My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken 
me ?' Again, he suffered a punishment of sense, and that with re- 
spect to both his body and soul. The elect had forfeited both soul 
and body to divine vengeance; and therefore Christ suffered in both. 
The sufferings of his body were indeed terrible. It was filled with 
exquisite torture and pain. His hands and his feet, the most sensi- 
ble parts were pierced with nails. His body was distended with such 
pains and torments as when all the parts are out of joint. Hence 
it is said of him, Psal. xxii. 14, 15. ' I am poured out like water, 
and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax, it is melted 
in the midst of my bowels, my strength is dried up like a potsherd ; 
and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws ; and thou hast brought me unto 
the dust of death.' Now, thus did the Son of God suffer. His pure 
and blessed hands, which were never stretched out but to do good, 
were pierced and rent asunder ; and those feet which bore the Re- 
deemer of the world, and for which the very waters had a reverence, 
were nailed to a tree. His body which was the precious workman- 
ship of the Holy Ghost, and the temple of the Deity was destroyed. 
But his bodily sufferings were but the body of his sufferings. It 
was the sufferings of his soul that was the soul of his sufferings. No 
tongue can tell you what he endured here. When all the comfor- 
ting influences of the Spirit were suspended, then an impetuous tor- 
rent of unmixed sorrows broke into his soul. what agonies and 
conflicts, what sharp encounters, and distresses did he meet with 
from the wrath of God that was poured out upon him ! He bore the 
wrath of an angry God, j)ure wrath without any alloy or mixture, 
and all that wrath which was due to the elect through all eternity 
for their innumerable sins. Sin was so hateful to God, that nothing 
could expiate it, or satisfy for it, but the death and bitter agonies 
of his dear Son. 

(4.) Consider the cause of his sufferings. It was not for any sin 
of his own, for he had none, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and 
separate from sinners. They were made his only by a voluntary 
susception, by taking his people's sins upon him. And though they 
were only imputed to him, yet God would not spare him. So that 
there is nothing wherein the divine holiness and hatred of sin is so 


manifest as in the sufferings of his own dear Son. This was a 
greater demonstration tliereof than if all men and angels had suf- 
fered for it eternally in hell-fire. 

It remains now to shut up this point with a few inferences. 

1. Hence see the great evil of sin. It strikes against the divine 
holiness, which is the peculiar glory of the Deity ; so that it is not 
only contrary to our own interest, but to the very nature of God. 
All sin aims in general at the being of God, but especially at the 
holiness of his being. There are some sins that strike more directly 
against one divine perfection, and some against another; but all 
sins agree together in their enmity against the holiness of God. 
Hence, when Sennacherib's sin is aggravated, the Holy Spirit takes 
the rise from this perfection, 2 Kings xix. 22. ' Whom hast thou 
reproached and blasphemed ? and against whom hast thou exalted 
thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high ? even against the Holy 
One of Israel.' God cannot but hate that which is directly oj)posite 
to the glory of his nature, and the lustre and varnish of all his 
other perfections. Now, what an horrid evil must that be which is 
so contrary to the holy nature of God, and which is infinitely detes- 
ted and abhorred by him? 

2. Hence see the excellency of true gospel-holiness. Holiness is 
the glory and beauty of God, and the glory of the heavenly angels; 
and therefore it must be the glory of men and women, that which 
makes them truly glorious. In this respect the king's daughter is 
said to be all glorious within. The church is glorious, because she is 
holy. Hence Christ sanctifies and cleanses it, that he may present 
it to himself a glorious church, Eph. v. 25, 26. Holiness is the 
image of God in the rational creature. The more holy one is, the 
more like is he to God. This is our chief excellency. Man's origi- 
nal glory and happiness consisted in this ; and the excellency of 
angels above devils lies in this. Holiness hath a self-evidencing 
excellency in it. There is such a beauty and majesty in it, as com- 
mands an acknowledgment of it from the consciences of all sorts of 
knowing men. 

3. God can have no gracious communion with unholy sinners : 
* For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ? and 
what communion hath light with darkness ?' 2 Cor. vi. 14. It is 
simply impossible that an infinitely holy God should embrace vile 
polluted sinners that are not washed from their filthiness. They 
can liave no fellowship with him here or hereafter. God will not 
give impure sinners one good look ; for ' he is of purer eyes than to 
behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity,' Hab. i. 13. All com- 
munion is founded on union, and union upon likeness. But what 


likeness is there between a holy God and vile polluted creatures ? 
Therefore they can never expect to have any communion with hira, 
unless they be made clean. Hence they are directed to this, in 
order to their communion with God, Jam. iv. 8. ' Draw nigh to 
God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sin- 
ners, and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.' 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. 
* Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, 
and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you, and will 
be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith 
the Lord Almighty.' 

4. The best of saints, who have attained the highest degrees, and 
made the greatest improvements in holiness and purity, may be 
ashamed in the presence of an infinitely holy God ; for they are far 
short of that holiness which God requires, and all the purity they 
have attained is sadly tinctured with impurity. It had this effect 
upon the evangelical prophet, when he had a vision of the holy 
God. Isa. vi. 5. ' Wo is me,' says he, ' for I am undone, because I 
am of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean 
lips : for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.' 

5. Despisers of holiness are despisers of God. For holiness is 
the glory of God, and that in which he delights above all things. 
For men, therefore, to despise holiness in the saints, and to make a 
mock of their holy lives and practices, is a high contempt of the 
holy God, who will highly resent such a great indignity done him. 

6. There is no access to God without a Mediator. ' For our God 
is a consuming fire,' Heb. xii. 29, and our sin hath made us as 
stubble fully dry. He is infinitely pure and holy, and we are vile 
filthy creatures ; so that it is quite impossible for us to have any 
access to him, or communion with him, on our own account. We 
have all reason to cry out, as 1 Sam. vi. 20. ' Who is able to stand 
before this holy Lord God V There is no standing before him with- 
out a Mediator. The spots and blemishes of our best duties cannot 
be hid from the eyes of his holiness. He cannot accept of a righte- 
ousness lower than that which bears some suitableness to the holiness 
of his nature : but even our highest obedience and best righteousness 
does not in any degree suit the divine holiness : and therefore it 
cannot challenge any acceptance with God. The righteousness of 
Christ, being the righteousness of God, a perfect and unspotted 
righteousness, is that wherein alone the holiness of God can acqui- 
esce, and is the foundation of all access to God, and communion 
with him. 

7. Is God infinitely and necessarily holy, so that he cannot but 
hate sin ? then how admirable is the patience of God towards this 


land, and the generation wherein we live ? How ranch sin and 
wickedness abounds amongst us ? Alas ! all kinds of sin wofully 
prevail at this day among all ranks and degrees of persons, high 
and low, rich and poor, noble and ignoble ; all have corrupted their 
way. Sins of a heinous nature are to be found among us, such as 
bid God defiance ; horrid blasphemies, hideous oaths, vile adulte- 
ries, cruel oppressions, contempt of religion, and gross profanation 
of the Lord's day. Add to all these, ingratitude, worldliness, pride, 
and self-conceit among such as are more eminent for a profession of 
religion. All these are committed under a clear gospel-light, after 
signal mercies and deliverances, against the most solemn covenant 
engagements, personal and national, and against manifold rebukes 
and warnings from the word and providence of Grod. And alas ! 
how are these sins increased and multiplied ? "Who can compute 
the number of the sins which one profane wretch is guilty of? But 
what are these to the sins of a whole city ? and what are the sins of 
a whole city to the sins of the whole nation ? Who can compute 
the number of the sins which Scotland is guilty of in one day ? But 
what are these to the sins which have been committed for a great 
many years past ? Ah ! we are a people deeply laden with iniquity. 
O what matter of admiration is here, that God bears so long with 
us ! His holiness and purity renders his patience the more aston- 
ishing. the riches of his forbearance towards us ! Admire it 
and adore it, and praise and bless him for it ; and beware of abusing 
it, by taking liberty to go on in sin, because of it. Such an amaz- 
ing patience, if abused, will render our judgment the more severe. 

8. Lastly, Be exhorted to make a suitable improvement of the 
holiness of God, by fleeing to Jesus Christ, whose perfect righteous- 
ness alone can make you acceptable to God, and whose Spirit can 
sanctify and cleanse you ; by giving thanks at the remembrance of 
the divine holiness, by proclaiming the glory thereof ; and by study- 
ing holiness in all manner of life and conversation. 

Fifthly, The next communicable attribute of God that falls under 
our consideration is his justice, which is the perfect rectitude of his 
nature, whereby he is infinitely righteous and equal, both in him- 
self, and in all his dealings with his creatures, Deut. xxxii. 4. * Just 
and right is he.' God is just to himself in acting in all things 
agreeable to his nature and perfections. All his actions are such 
as become such a pure and holy being as he is. He cannot do any 
thing that is contrary to the perfection of his nature : he cannot lie 
nor deny himself. He is just to himself in maintaining his own 
glory, and his divine rights and prerogatives ; for lie will not give 
his glory to another. And he is just towards his creatures in all 


his dealings with them, particularly with man. Here God may be 
considered, 1. As a sovereign Lord ; and, 2. As supreme governor 
and Judge of the world. 

(1.) As sovereign Lord. And so he hath a right to do with his 
own what he will. He may order and dispose of all the creatures 
according to his pleasure, Dan. iv. 35. We are all in his hand as 
clay in the hand of the potter. He hath a sovereign and absolute 
right to use and dispose of us according to his own pleasure, to set 
bounds to our habitation, carve out our lot in the world, and set us 
high or low, in prosperity or adversity, as he pleaseth. It is so 
also, as to his dispensations of grace. He may give grace to whom 
he will, and Avithhold it from whom he will ; and what he wills in 
that matter is just and right, because he wills it. 

2. As supreme Governor and Judge of the world. And so he is 
just in governing his rational creatures in a way agreeable to their 
nature, according to a law which he has given them. His justice in 
this character is either legislative or executive. 

(L) There is a legislative justice, which is that whereby he gives 
most just and righteous laws to his creatures, commanding and for- 
bidding what is iit for them in right reason to do and forbear. ' For 
the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our king, the Lord is our law- 
giver,' Isa. xxxiii. 22. Man being a reasonable creature, capable of 
moral government, therefore, that God might rule him according to 
his nature, he hath given him a law, confirmed by promises of re- 
ward, to draw him by hope, and by threatenings of punishment to 
deter him by fear. Hence Moses tells the Israelites, that he had 
* set before them life and good, and death and evil,' Deut. xxx. 15. 
and that he had ' set before them life and death, blessing and curs- 
ing,' ver. 19. 

(2.) There is God's executive justice, called also by some his judi- 
cial justice, by others his distributive justice. In this respect he is 
just in giving every one his due, and in rendering unto all men ac- 
cording to their works, without respect of persons. This executive 
justice of God is either remunerative or afflictive. 

[1.] There is a remunerative or rewarding justice. God is just in 
rewarding the righteous. Psal. Iviii. 11. ' Verily there is a reward 
for the righteous.' The saints shall not serve him for nought. 
Though they may be losers for him, yet they shall not be losers by 
him, Heb. vi. 10. ' God is not unrighteous to forget your work and 
labour of love.' He bountifully rewards his people's obedience, and 
their diligence and faithfulness in his service. Hence David says, 
Psal. xviii. 20. ' The Lord rewardeth me according to my righte- 
ousness.' Sometimes he rewards them with temporal blessings : for 


godliness liatli the j)roiuise of this life, as well as that which is to 
come. Sometimes Providence doth notably interpose, and load 
obedience with blessings here in the world, to the conviction of all 
beholders, so that men are constrained to say, ' Verily there is a 
reward for the righteous.' But however he do as to outward things, 
yet he rewards his people with inward blessings. There are fresh 
supplies and influences of grace, near and intimate communion with 
him, sweet manifestations of his favour and love, intimations of 
peace and pardon, and joy and peace in believing, &c. Even ' in 
keeping his commandments there is great reward,' Psal. xix. 11. 
And he rewards them with eternal blessings, 2 Thess. i. ?• Now, 
this reward is not of debt but of grace. It doth not imply any 
mei'it, but is free and gratuitous. It is not because they deserve it, 
but because Christ has merited it, and God has graciously promised it. 

(2.) There is an afflictive justice. God is just in all the afflictions 
and troubles which he brings upon his creatures ; because he always 
punishes sinners by a law. The violations of his holy and righte- 
ous laws make them obnoxious to his judgments. Sometimes God 
sends afflictions upon people to chastise and correct them for their 
sins. Now, all the troubles of believers are of this kind : for as 
many as he loves, he rebukes and chastens. Some of their afflic- 
tions are intended to reduce them from their strayings. Hence 
says David, ' Before I was afflicted I went astray,' and, ' It was 
good for me that I was afflicted.' Indeed God chuseth some in the 
furnace of affliction. The hot furnace is God's work-house wherein 
he sometimes formeth vessels of honour. Manasseh is an eminent 
instance of this. Many that were never serious before, are brought 
to consider their ways in their affliction. Sometimes God takes 
vengeance on wicked men for their sins and disobedience to his 
laws : and this is called vindictive justice, Rom. iii. 5, 6. which is 
essential to the nature of God, and is not merely an eifect of his 
will. He cannot let sin go unpunished. He not only will not, but 
he cannot acquit the wicked. But more of this afterwards. 

The justice of God is manifested and discovered, 

1. In the temporal judgments which he brings upon sinners even 
in this life. The saints own this, Neh. ix. 33. t Thou art just in all 
that is brought upon us.' The end and design of all God's judg- 
ments is to witness to the world, that he is a just and righteous 
God. All the fearful plagues and terrible judgments which God 
has brought upon the world, proclaim and manifest his justice. 

2. In sentencing so many of Adam's posterity to everlasting pains 
and torments for sin, according to that dreadful sentence which 
shall be pronounced at the last day, Matth. xxv. 41. ' Depart from 



me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his 
angels.' If you could descend into the bottomless pit, and view the 
pains and torments of hell, and hear the terrible shrieks and roar- 
ings of the damned wallowing in these sulphureous flames, you 
could not shun to cry out, the severity of divine justice ! Though 
they are the works of God's own hands, and roar and cry under 
their torments, yet they cannot obtain any mitigation of their pains, 
nay, not so much as one drop of water to cool their tongues. That 
an infinitely good and gracious God, that delights in mercy, should 
thus torment so many of his own creatures, how incorruptible 
must his justice be ! 

3. In the death and sufferings of Christ. God gave his beloved 
Son to the death for this end, that it might be known what a just 
and righteous God he is. So the apostle shews us, Rom. iii. 25. 
' Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his 
blood, to declare his righteousness,' &c. He set him forth in gar- 
ments rolled in blood, to declare his justice and righteousness to the 
world. After man turned rebel, and apostatised from God, there 
was no way to keep up the credit and honour of divine justice, but 
either a strict execution of the law's sentence, or a full satisfaction. 
The execution would have destroyed the whole race of Adam. 
Therefore Christ stepped in, and made a suflicient satisfaction by 
his death and suff'erings, that so God might exercise his mercy with- 
out prejudice to his justice. Thus the blood of the Son of God must 
be shed for sin, to let the world see that he is a just and righteous 
God. The justice of God could and would be satisfied with no less. 
Hence it is said, Rom. viii. 32. ' God spared not his own Son, but 
delivered him up to the death for us all.' If forbearance might 
have been expected from any, surely it might from God, who is full 
of pity and tender mercy : yet God in this case spared him not. If 
one might have expected sparing mercy and abatement from any, 
surely Christ might most of all expect it from his awn Father ; yet 
God spared not his own Son. Sparing mercy is the lowest degree 
of mercy ; yet it was denied to Christ, when he stood in the room of 
the elect. God abated him not a minute of the time appointed for 
his sufferings, nor one degree of the wrath which he was to bear. 
Nay, though in the garden, when Christ fell on the ground, and put 
up that lamentable and pitiful cry, ' Father, if it be possible, let 
this cup pass from me ;' yet no abatement was granted to him. 
The Father of mercies saw his dear Son humbled in his presence, 
and yet dealt with him in extreme severity. The sword of justice 
was in a manner asleep before, in all the terrible judgments wliich 
had been executed on the world, but now it must be awakened and 


roused up to pierce the heart of the blessed Redeemer. Hence it is 
said, Zech. xiii. 7. ' Awake sword, agaiust my shepherd, and 
against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts : smite 
the shepherd.' If divine justice had descended from heaven in a 
visible form, and hanged up millions of sinners in chains of wrath, 
it had not been such a demonstration of the wrath of God, and his 
hatred of sin, as the death and sufferings of his own Son. When 
we hear that God exposed his own Son to the utmost severity of 
wrath and vengeance, may we not justly cry out the infinite evil 
of sin ! the inflexible severity of divine justice ! It is a fearful 
thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 

4. The justice of God will be clearly manifested at the great day. 
God hath reared up many trophies already to the honour of his 
power and justice out of the ruins of his most insolent enemies : 
but then will be the most solemn triumph of divine justice. The 
apostle tells us. Acts xvii. 31. that 'he hath appointed a day in the 
which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom 
he hath ordained : whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, 
in that he hath raised him from the dead.' On that awful day the 
justice and righteousness of God shall be clearly revealed, therefore 
it is called ' the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of 
God,' Rom. ii. 5. The equity of God's dealings and dispensations is 
not now so fully seen : but all will be open and manifest on that 
day. Then he will liberally reward the righteous, and severely 
punish the wicked. 

5. God's justice will shine for ever in the torments of the damned 
in hell. The smoke of their furnace, their yellings and roarings, 
will proclaim through eternity the inexorable justice and severity 
of God. It is not enough for the satisfaction of his justice to de- 
prive them of heaven and hai)piness ; but he will inflict the most 
tormenting punishment upon sense and conscience in hell. For as 
both soul and body were guilty in this life, the one as the guide, the 
other as the instrument of sin, so it is but just and equal that they 
should both feel the penal effects of it hereafter. Sinners shall then 
be tormented in that wherein they most delighted : they shall then 
be invested with those objects which will cause the most dolorous 
perceptions in their sensitive faculties. The lake of fire and brim- 
stone, the blackness of darkness, for ever, are words of a terrible 
signification. But no words can fully express the terrible ingredi- 
ents of their misery. Their punishment will be in proportion to the 
glory of God's majesty that is provoked, and the extent of his 
power. And as the soul was the principal, and the body but an ac- 
cessary in the works of sin ; so its capacious faculties shall be far 

u 3 


more tormented than the limited facnlties of the outward senses. 
The fi<^ry attributes of God shall be transmitted through tlie glass of 
conscience, and concentred upon damned spirits. The fire without 
will not be so tormenting as the fire within them. Then all the tor- 
menting passions will be inflamed. "What rancour, reluctance, and 
rage, will there he against the just power that sentenced them to 
hell ! what impatience and indignation against themselves for their 
wilful and inexcusable sins, the just cause of it ! how will they 
curse their creation, and wish their utter extinction as the final 
remedy of their misery ! But all their ardent wishes will be in 
vain. For the guilt of sin will never be expiated, nor God so far 
reconciled as to annihilate them. As long as there is justice in hea- 
ven, or fire in hell, as long as God and eternity shall continue, they 
must suff"er those torments which the strength and patience of an 
angel cannot bear one hour. The justice of God -will blaze forth for 
ever in the agonies and torments of the damned. 

It may not be improper here to take notice of, and answer some 
objections that are made against the divine justice. 

Object. 1. If God be infinitely just and righteous, how stands it 
with his justice that insolent contemners of his majesty and laws 
should prosper in the world ? This was observed by the saints long 
ago ; see Psal. Ixxiii. 5, 6, 7, 12 ; and has proved a stumbling-block 
to some of God's own children, and has been apt to make them ques- 
tion his justice ; see Job xxi. 7- — 14. Jer. xii. 1, 2. But in answer, 

1. That the wicked may be sometimes instruments to do God's 
work. Though they do not design and intend his glory, yet they 
may be instrumental in promoting it. Thus Cyrus was instrumental 
for the building of God's temple at Jerusalem. Now there is some 
kind of justice in it that such persons should have a temporal re- 
ward. God is pleased to sufi*er those to prosper under whose wings 
his own people are sheltered. He will not be in any man's debt. 
Nebuchadnezzar did some service for God, and the Lord rewarded 
him for it by granting him an enlargement of greatness, Ezek. xxix. 
18, 19, 20. 

2. God doth not always let the wicked prosper in their sin. There 
are some whom he punisheth openly, that his justice may be observed 
by all. Hence the Psalmist saith, ' The wicked is snared in the 
work of his own hands,' Psal. ix. 16. Sometimes their prosperity is 
but short lived, and they are suddenly cast down, as the Psalmist 
remarks, Psal. Ixxiii. 18, 19, 20. His justice is seen sti'iking men 
dead sometimes in the very act of sin ; as in the case of Zimri and 
Cozbi, Pharaoh, Sennacherib, &c. 


3. God suffers men to go on in sin and prosper, that he may ren- 
der them the more inexcusable. This goodness and forbearance 
should lead them to repentance ; and when it does not, it aggravates 
their sin, and makes them the more inexcusable, when he comes to 
reckon with them. Hence it is said of Jezebel, ' I gave her space 
to repent of her fornication, and she repented not,' Rev. ii. 21. God 
spins out his mercies toward sinners ; and if they do not repent and 
amend, his patience will be a witness against them, and his justice 
will be more cleared in their condemnation. 

4. If God let the wicked prosper for a while, the vial of his wrath 
is all that while filling up, his sword is whetting and though he for- 
bear them for a time, yet long-suffering is not forgiveness. The 
longer it be ere he give the blow, it will be the heavier when it 
comes. The last scene of justice is coming, when the wicked shall 
be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. There is a 
day of wrath approaching, and revelation of the righteous judgment 
of God. Then he will glorify his justice in taking vengeance on 
them for all their sins. God hath an eternity in which he will 
punish the wicked. Divine justice may be as a lion asleep for a time : 
but at last this lion will awake, and roar upon the sinner. Their 
long continued prosperity will heighten their eternal condemnation. 
There are many sinners in hell who lived in great pomp and pro- 
sperity in the world, and are now roaring under the terrible lashes 
of inexorable justice. Thus ye may see that the prosperity of the 
wicked is consistent enough with the justice of God. 

Object. 2. God's own people oft-times suffer great afflictions in the 
world ; they are persecuted and oppressed, and meet with a variety 
of troubles, Psal. Ixxiii. 14. How stands this with the justice of 

Am. 1. The ways of God's judgments, though they are sometimes 
secret, yet they are never unjust. God doth not afflict willingly, 
nor grieve the children of men. There are culpable causes in them 
from which their afflictions spring. They have their spots and 
blemishes as well as others. Though they may be free from gross 
and atrocious crimes, yet they are guilty of much pride and passion, 
censoriousness, worldliuess, &c. And the sins of God's people are 
more provoking in his sight than the sins of other men. And God 
will not suffer them to pass without correction, Amos iii. 2. ' You 
only have I known of all the families of the earth ; therefore I will 
punish you for your iniquities.' This justifies God in all the evils 
that befal them. 

2. All the trials and sufferings of the godly are designed to refine 
and purify them, to promote their spiritual and eternal good, Heb. 


xii. 10. Nothing proclaims Grod's faithfulness more than his taking 
such a course with them as may make them better. Hence says 
David, Psal. cxix. 75. ' I know, Lord, that thy judgments are 
right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.' Though they 
are sometimes pinched with wants, and meet with various outward 
troubles, yet even these are the accomplishments of a gracious pro- 
mise, and are ordered for their good. It is to chastise them for 
their sin, and quicken them to repentance and mortification, to try 
and exercise their faith and patience, their sincerity and love to 
God, to wean their hearts from the world, and to promote their 
growth in grace. 

3. It is no injustice in God to inflict a lesser punishment to pre- 
vent a greater. The best of God's children have that in them which 
is meritorious of hell ; and doth God any wrong to them when he 
usetli only the rod, when they deserved the scorpion ? • An earthly 
parent will not be reckoned cruel or unjust, if he only correct his 
children who deserved to be disinherited. When God corrects his 
children, he only puts wormwood into their cup, whereas he might 
fill it up with fire and brimstone. Under the greatest pressure, 
they have just cause rather to admire his mercy, than to complain 
of his justice. So did the afflicted church, ' It is of the Lord's mer- 
cies that we are not consumed.' 

Object. 3. If God be infinitely just, how could he transfer the 
punishment from the guilty ? This is the objection of the Socinians 
against Christ's suffering for the sins of the elect. It is a violation 
of justice, say they, to transfer the punishment from one to another. 
How then could the righteous God punish his innocent Sou for our 
sins ? 

I answer to this in general, That in some cases it is not unjust to 
punish the innocent for the guilty. For though an innocent person 
cannot suffer as innocent without injustice, yet he may voluntarily 
contract an obligation which will expose him to deserved sufteriugs. 
The innocent may suffer for the guilty, when he has power to dis- 
pose of his own life, and puts himself freely and voluntarily under 
an obligation to sutter, and is admitted to suftcr by him who has 
power to punish, and when no detriment, but rather an advantage, 
accrues to the public thereby. In these circumstances, justice hath 
nothing to say against the punishing of an innocent person in the 
room of the guilty. Now, there is a concurrence of all these in the 
case in hand. Tor, 

1. Christ had absolute power to dispose of himself. One reason 
why a man is not allowed to lay down his life for another is, be- 
cause his life is not at his own disposal. But Christ was absolute 


lord of liis own life, and had power to keep it or lay it down as he 
pleased. So he declares, John x. 18. ' No man taketh it from me, 
but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I 
liave power to take it again. This commandment have I received 
of my Father.' 

2. He freely consented to suffer for his people, and to undergo 
the puuishraent that they deserved. To compel an innocent person 
to suffer for the offences of another, may be an injury. But in this 
case there was no constraint : for Christ most willingly offered him- 
self : yea, he was not only willing, but most earnest and desirous to 
suffer and die in our room, Luke xii. 50. ' T have a baptism to be 
baptized with ; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished ?' 

3. The Father admitted him as our Surety, and was well content 
that his sufferings should stand for ours, and that we thereupon 
should be absolved and discharged. It was the Father's will that 
Christ should undertake this work. Hence it is said, Psal. xl. 8. 
*I delight to do thy will, my God.' And the Father loved Christ, 
because he so cheerfully consented to it, John x. 17. 'Therefore 
doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might 
take it again.' 

4. There Avas no detriment to the public by Christ's death ; but, 
on the contrary, many advantages redounded to it thereby. One 
reason why an innocent man cannot suffer for a malefactor is, be- 
cause the community would lose a good man, and might suffer by the 
sparing of an ill member, and the innocent sufferer cannot have his 
life restored again being once lost. But in this case all things are 
quite otherwise : for Christ laid down his life, but so as to take it 
np again. He rose again on the third day, and death was swal- 
lowed up of victory. And those for whom he suffered were reclaim- 
ed, effectually changed, and made serviceable to God and man. So 
that here there was no injury done to any party by Christ's suffer- 
ings, though an innocent person. Not to them for whom he died ; 
for they have inexpressible benefit thereby : he is made to them 
wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Not to the 
person suffering : for he was perfectly willing, and suffered nothing 
Avitliout his own consent. Not to God : for he himself found out the 
ransom, and admitted Christ as our Surety. Not to any thing con- 
cerned in the government of God : for by the death of Christ all the 
ends of God's government were secured. His honour Avas hereby 
vindicated, the authority of his law preserved, and his subjects, by 
such an instance of severity on his own Son, were deterred from vio- 
lating it. So that there is no iyjustice to any in God's punishing 
Christ in his people's stead. 


Object. 4. How is it consistent with the justice of God to punish 
temporary sins with eternal torments in hell ? Some think it hard, 
and scarcely consistent with infinite justice, to inflict eternal punish- 
ment for sins committed in a little time. But to clear the justice of 
God in this, consider, 

1. That eternal punishment is agreeable to the sanction of the 
law. The wisdom of God required, that the penalty threatened 
upon the transgressor should be in its own nature so dreadful and 
terrible, that the fear of it might conquer and over-rule all the al- 
lurements and temptations to sin. If it had not been so, it would 
have reflected upon the wisdom of the Lawgiver, as if he had been 
defective, in not binding his subjects firmly enough to their duty, 
and the ends of government would not have been obtained. And 
therefore the first and second death was threatened to Adam in case 
of disobedience. And fear, as a watchful sentinel, was placed in 
his breast, that no guilty thought or irregular desire should enter 
in to break the tables of the law deposited there. So that eternal 
death is due to sinners by the sanction of the law. 

2. The righteousness of God in punishing the wicked for ever in 
hell will appear, if ye consider that God by his infallible promise 
assures ns, that all who sincerely serve and obey him shall be re- 
warded with everlasting happiness. They shall receive a blessed- 
ness most worthy of God to bestow, a blessedness that far surmounts 
our most comprehensive thoughts and imaginations. For eye hath 
not seen, ear hath not heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of 
man to conceive, what God hath prepared for them that love him. 
Now, if everlasting felicity be despised and rejected, nothing re- 
mains but endless misery to be the sinner's portion. The conse- 
quence is infallible : For if sin, with an eternal hell in its retinue 
be chosen and embraced, it is most just and equal that the rational 
creature should inherit the fruit of its own choice. What can be 
more just and reasonable, than that those who are the slaves of the 
devil, and maintain his party here in the world, should have their 
recompense with him for ever hereafter? Nothing can be more just, 
than that those who now say to the Almighty, Depart from us, we 
desire not the knowledge of thy ways, should receive that dreadful sen- 
tence at last, Depart frmn me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire. 

3. The punishment of the damned must be eternal, because of tlie 
immense guilt and infinite evil of sin. It is owned by common 
reason, that there ought to be a proportion between the quality of 
the ofl'ence and the degree of the punishment. Justice takes the 
scales into its hand before it takes the sword. It is a rule in all 
sorts of judicature, that the degrees of an offence arise according to 


the degrees of dignity in the person offended. Now, the majesty of 
God is truly infinite, against whom sin is committed; and conse- 
quently the guilt of sin exceeds our boundless thoughts. One act 
of sin is rebellion against God, and includes in it the contempt of 
his majesty, the contradiction of his holiness, which is his peculiar 
glory, tlie denial of his omniscience and omnipresence, as if he were 
confined to the heavens, and busied in regulating the harmonious 
order of the stars, and did not observe what is done here below. 
And there is in it a defiance of his eternal power, and a provoking 
him to jealousy, as if we were stronger than he. 0, what a dis- 
honour is it to the God of glory, that proud dust should flee in his 
face, and controul his authority ! What a horrid provocation is it 
to the Most High, that the reasonable creature, that is naturally 
and necessarily a subject, should despise the divine law and Law- 
giver ? From this it appears that sin is an infinite evil. There is 
in it a concurrence of impiety, ingratitude, perfidiousness, and what- 
ever may enhance a crime to an excess of wickedness. Now, sin 
being an infinite evil, the punishment ©f it must also be infinite ; 
and because a creature is not able to bear a punishment infinite in 
degree, by reason of its finite and limited nature, therefore it must 
be infinite in its duration. And for this cause the punishment of 
the damned shall never have an end. The almighty power of God 
will continue them in their being, but they will curse and blaspheme 
that support, which shall be given them only to perpetuate their 
torments ; and ten thousand times wish that God would destroy 
them once for all, and that they might for ever shrink away into 
nothing. But that will never be granted to them. No ; they shall 
not have so much as the comfort of dying, nor shall they escape the 
vengeance of God by annihilation. 

4. Their punishment must be eternal : for they will remain for 
ever unqualified for the least favour. The damned are not changed 
in hell, but continue their hatred and blasphemies against God. 
The seeds of this are in obstinate sinners here in the world, who 
are styled haters of God: but in the damned this hatred is direct 
and explicit ; the fever is heightened into a phrenzy. The glorious 
and ever-blessed God is the object of their curses and eternal aver- 
sion. Our Lord tells us, that in hell ' there is weeping and gnash- 
ing of teeth,' I. e. extreme sorrow and extreme fury. Despair and 
rage are the proper passions of lost souls. For when the guilty 
sufferers are so weak, that they cannot by patience endure their tor- 
ments, nor by strength resist the power that infiicts them, and 
withal arc wicked and stubborn, they are enraged and irritated by 
their misery, and foam out blasphemies against the righteous Judge. 


We may apply to this purpose what is said of the Trorshippers of 
the beast, RcA^ xvi. 10, 11. ' Tliey gnawed their tongues for pain, 
and blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their i)ains and their 
sores, and repented not of their deeds.' The torment and blasphe- 
mies of these impenitent idolaters are a true representation of the 
state of the damned. Now, as they will always sin ; so they must 
always suffer. On these accounts, then, it is agreeable to the wis- 
dom and justice of Grod that their pains and torments be eternal. 

But now it is time to shut up this point with a few inferences. 

1. It is inconsistent with the nature of God to let sin go un- 
punished ; or, vindictive justice is essential to God. To clear this, 

(1.) This is evident from the light of nature. For that God is 
just, is strongly and deeply stamped upon the minds of the children 
of men. Hence, when the barbarians saw the viper fasten upon 
Paul's hand, they cried out that vengeance pursued him as a mur- 
derer. Acts xxviii. 4. The very instinct of nature told them, that 
there was a connection beiween guilt and punishment. To deny 
God to be just, is to offer violence to the principles of nature, to 
put a lie upon those notions which are born with and impressed 
upon our reason. It is to condemn conscience as a cheat, and all 
the terrors thereof as a false alarm. In a word, it is to eradicate 
all religion, and to open a flood-gate to all wickedness and impiety. 

(2.) This aj)pears from scripture assertions and examples. [1.] 
Consider scripture examples and declarations, such as Rev. xvi. 5. 
' Thou art righteous, Lord, because thou hast judged, Rom. ii. 5. 
— ' The righteous judgment of God,' 2 Thess. i. 6. 'It is a righte- 
ous thing with God to recompence with tribulation,' Heb. ii. 2. 
' Every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence 
of reward,' Heb. xii. 29. ' Our God is a consuming fire,' Rom. i. 32. 
' Knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such 
things are worthy of death.' Compare Gen. xviii. 25. * Shall not 
the Judge of all the earth do right ?' [2.] Think upon scripture- 
examples, with respect to this matter. The angels, the flower and 
glory of the creation, the first-born of intelligent beings, when they 
revolted from their Maker, were doomed and cast into hell, where 
they lie reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the 
last day. Our first parents, and in them all their posterity, because 
of their apostasy, were sentenced to death and misery. The old 
world, except eight persons, were swept off the face of the earth, by 
a devouring deluge, on account of their impiety. Sodom and Go- 
morrah were by fire from heaven consumed to ashes, because of 
their vile uncleanness. The Egyptians sunk under multiplied 


plagues, because they hardened themselves against the Lord, and 
would not let Israel go. Yea, the Israelites themselves met with 
many severe judgments in the wilderness, in Canaan, and in Baby- 
lon, because they rebelled against the Lord their God. In a word, 
this people at last, for murdering the Messiah, and rejecting the 
gospel, were destroyed with a great destruction at the siege of Jeru- 
salem, where eleven thousand perished by sword, famine, and pesti- 
lence, and very near a hundred thousand more were carried away 

8. This appears from the nature of God, which carries in it the 
utmost detestation of sin ; and this necessarily produces punishment. 
' Upon the wicked God will rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an 
horrible tempest,' Psal. xi. 6. Now the reason of all this holy 
severity is given in the very next verse, ' For the righteous Lord 
loveth righteousness.' His holy nature prompts him to love righte- 
ousness, and consequently to hate and punish all unrighteousness. 

(4.) It is evident from the nature of sin. "What is sin but the 
offering of the highest indignity to the infinite and Supreme Being, 
the Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor of mankind ? It is an af- 
fronting of all his perfections, a reflection upon his wisdom, a con- 
tempt of his power, an insult to his holiness, a disparagement of his 
goodness, and an open defiance to his truth and faithfulness. If 
then sin be such an evil, an evil infinitely worse than we are capable 
to represent it, how can any imagine that God will forbear or ne- 
glect to punish such who obstinately live and die in the practice of 

(5.) This will appear, if ye consider God as a Governor and Law- 
giver. For his authority as such can never be preserved and main- 
tained, if there be an universal impunity of criminal offences. 
Rebellion against Heaven would spread far and wide, devils and 
wicked men would grow absolutely unruly, the Divine Majesty and 
dominion would become contemptible, and his glorious sovereignty 
would be rendered vile and despicable, if bold offenders were not 
severely checked and punished for their enormities. 

(6.) Consider, that if vindictive justice be not essential to God, it 
will be very hard, if not impossible, to give any tolerable account of 
the death and sufferings of Christ. 

1. Is God infinitely just? Then there is a judgment to come. 
The justice of God requires that men should reap according to what 
they have sown ; that it should be well with the righteous, and ill 
with the wicked. But it is not appa^rently so now in this present 
world. Here things are out of course ; sin is rampant, and runs 
with a rapid violence. Many times the most guilty sinners are not 


punished in the present life ; tliey not only escape the justice of 
men, but are under no conspicuous marks of the justice of God. As 
sinners i)rosper and flourish, so saints are wronged and oppressed. 
They are often cast in a right cause, and can meet with no justice 
on the earth ; yea, the best men are often in the worst condition, 
and merely upon account of their goodness. They are borne down 
and oppressed, because they do not make resistance ; and are 
loaded with sufferings many times, because they bear them with pa- 
tience. And the reason of these dispensations is, because now is 
the time of God's patience and of our trial. Therefore there must 
be a day wherein the justice of God shall be made manifest. Then 
he will set all things right. He will crown the righteous^ and con- 
demn the wicked. Then God shall have the glory of his justice, 
and his righteousness shall be openly vindicated. At the last day 
God's sword shall be drawn against offenders, and his justice shall 
be revealed before all the world. At that day all mouths shall be 
stopped, and God's justice shall be fully vindicated from all the 
cavils and clamours of unjust men. 

2. This lets us see how unlike to God many men are. Some have 
no justice at all. Though their place and office oblige them to it, 
they neither fear God nor regard man. Many times they pervert 
justice, they decree unrighteous decrees, Isa. x. 1. Many are unjust 
in their dealings ; they trick, cheat, and defraud their neighbours ; 
sometimes in using false weights, the balances of deceit are in their 
hands, Hos. xii. 7- Some hold the Bible in one hand, and false 
weights in the other ; they cozen, defraud, and cheat, under a spe- 
cious profession of religion. Some adulterate their commodities ; 
their wine is mixed with water, Isa. i. 22. .They mix bad grain 
with good, and yet sell it for pure grain. There are many ways by 
which men deceive and impose upon their neighbours. All which 
shew what a rare commodity justice is among them. But remember 
this is very unlike God. For he is the just and right one ; he is 
righteous in all his ways. That man cannot possibly be godly who 
is not just. We are commanded to imitate him in all his imitable 
perfections. Though he doth not bi*d you be omnipotent, yet you 
ought to be just. 

3. Is God iniinitely just ? Then we must not expostulate with or 
demand a reason of his actions. He hath not only authority on his 
side, but justice and equity. In all his dispensations towards men, 
however afflictive they be, he is just and righteous. He layeth 
judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet, Isa. xxviii. 
17- It is below him to give an account to us of any of his proceed- 
ings. The plumb-line of our reason is too short to fathom the great 


depths of God's justice : for his judgments are unsearchable, and his 
ways past finding out, Rom. xi. 33. We are to adore his justice, 
where we cannot see the reason of it. God's justice hath often been 
wronged, but never did Avrong to any. How unreasonable, then, is 
it for men to expostulate with and dispute against God ? 

4. Is God infinitely just ? Then the salvation of sinners who 
have believed in Christ is most secure, and they need not doubt of 
pardon and acceptance. ' God is faithful and just to forgive them 
their sins,' 1 John i. 9. God hath promised it, and he will not 
break his word ; yea, he stands bound injustice to do it; for Christ 
hath satisfied his justice for all your sins who are believers, so that 
it hath nothing to crave of you. It doth not stand with the justice 
of God to exact the same debt from you. Your Redeemer did not 
only satisfy justice, but also merited the exercise of it on your be- 
half. Hence it is that God is bound in justice to justify you upon 
your believing on Christ ; for he is just, and the justifier of him that 
belie veth in Jesus, Rom. iii. 26. So that the thoughts even of 
divine justice, which are terrible to others, may be comfortable to 

5. Is God infinitely just ? Then the destruction of wicked and 
impenitent sinners is infallibly certain. For the just God will by 
no means acquit the guilty. His justice, which is essential to him, 
cannot but take vengeance on you. 

6. Lastly, However severely the Lord deals with us, he neither 
doth nor can do us any wrong ; and therefore we should lay our 
hand on our mouth. Lam. iii. 39. ' "Why doth a living man complain, 
a man for the jjunishment of his sins ?' 

SixtJdy, The goodness of God is the next communicable attribute 
that falls to be considered. The divine goodness is that essential 
property whereby he is altogether good in himself, and the author 
of all good to his creatures : Thou art good, and dost good, says the 
Psalmist, Ps. cxix. 68. There is a twofold goodness of God ; his 
absolute and his relative goodness. 

1. There is an absolute goodness of God. This is that whereby 
he is conceived to be good in himself, without any relation to his 
creatures. God is thus good because his nature is infinitely perfect. 

2. There is his relative goodness, by which we are to understand 
his bounty and benignity. As all fulness dwells in him, so he hath 
a strong inclination to let it out to his people on all occasions. The 
whole earth is full of his goodness, Psal. xxxiii. 5. 

The goodness of God is manifested, 

1. In creation. There is no other perfection of the divine nature 
so eminently visible in the whole book of the creatures as this is. 


ITis goodness was the cause that he made any thing, and liis wisdom 
was the cause that he made every thing in order and harmony. 
Here the goodness of God shines with a glorious lustre. All the 
varieties of the creatures which he hath made are so many beams 
and apparitions of his goodness. It was great goodness to commu- 
nicate being to some things without himself, and to extract such a 
multitude of things from the depths of nothing, and to give life and 
breath to some of these creatures. Divine goodness formed their 
natures, beautified and adorned them with their several ornaments 
and perfections, whereby every thing was enabled to act for the 
good of the common world. Every creature hath a character of 
divine goodness upon it. The whole world is a map to represent, 
and a herald to proclaim, this amiable perfection of God. But the 
goodness of God is manifested especially in the creation of man. 
He raised him from the dust by his almighty power, and placed him 
in a more sublime condition, and endued him with choicer preroga- 
tives, than the rest of the creatures. What is man's soul and body 
but like a cabinet curiously carved, with a rich and precious gem 
inclosed in it ! God hath made him an abridgment of the whole cre- 
ation : the links of the two worlds, heaven and earth, are united in 
him. He communicates with the earth in the dust of his body, and 
he participates with the heavens in the crystal of his soul. He has 
the life of angels in his reason, and that of animals in his sense. 
Further, the divine goodness is manifested in making man after his 
image, in furnishing the world with so many creatures for his use, 
in giving him dominion over the works of his hands, and making 
him lord of this lower world. 

2. In our redemption by Jesus Christ. what astonishing good- 
ness was it for the great and glorious God to give his only begotten 
Son to the death for such vile rebels and enemies as we all are by 
nature ! The goodness of God, under the name of his love, is ren- 
dered as the only cause of our redemption by Christ, 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.' This is an inexpressible so, a so that all the angels of heaven 
cannot analyse. None can conceive or understand the boundless 
extent and dimensions of it. God gave Christ for us to commend 
his love, and set it off with an admirable lusti'e. ' God commended 
his love towards us (saith the apostle), in that while we were yet 
enemies, Christ died for us.' what an expensive goodness and 
love was this ! Our redemption cost God more than what was laid 
out on the whole creation. ' The redemption of the soul is precious,' 
says the Psalmist. ' We are not redeemed with corruptible things, 


cast auchor. Here would be a continual confusion, and the ship 
must needs perish. The order and harmony of the world, the con- 
stant and uniform government of all things, is a plain argument, 
that there is but one only Omnipotent being that rules all. 

(5.) The supposition of a plurality of gods is destructive to all 
true religion. For if there wei*e more than one God, we would be 
obliged to worship and serve more than one. But this it is impos- 
sible for us to do ; as will plainly appear, if ye consider what di- 
vine worship and service is. Keligious worship and adoration must 
be performed with the whole man. This is what the divine emi- 
nence and excellency requires, that we love him with all our heart, 
soul and strength, and serve him with all the powers and faculties 
of our souls, and members of our bodies ; and that our whole man, 
time, strength, and all we have, be entirely devoted to him alone. 
But this cannot be done to a plurality of gods. For in serving and 
worshipping a plurality, our hearts and strength, our time and 
talents, would be divided among them. To this purpose our Lord 
argues, Matth. vi. 24. 'No man can serve two masters: for either he 
, ~^ill hate the one, and love the other ; or else he will hold to the 
' **^ e, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.' 
Mammon is thought to be an idol, which the heathens reckoned to 
be the god of money and riches. Now, says Christ, you cannot 
serve them both ; if you would have the Lord for your God, and 
serve him, you must renounce mammon. We cannot serve two gods 
or masters : if but one require our whole time and strength, we can- 
not serve the other. 

6. If there might be more gods than one, nothing would hinder 
why there might not be one, or two, or three millions of them. No 
argument can be brought for a plurality of gods, suppose two or 
three, but what a man might, by parity of reason, make use of for 
ever so many. Hence it is, that when men have once begun to 
fancy a plurality of gods, they have been endless in such fancies 
and imaginations. To this purpose is that charge against the Jews, 
who in this conformed themselves very much to the nations round 
about them, ' According to the number of thy cities are thy gods, 
O Judah,' Jer. ii. 28. Varro reckons up three hundred gods whom 
the heathens worshipped, and Ilesiod reckons about three thousand 
of them. Indeed, if we once begin to fancy more gods than one, 
where shall we make an end ? So that the opinion or conception of 
a plurality of gods is most ridiculous and irrational. 

And this should be observed against those who pretend, that the 
Father is the most high God, and that there is no most high God 
but one, yet that there is another true God, viz. Christ, who in 



very deed, as to them, is bnt a mere man ; yet they pretend he is 
the true God. Christ is Glod, and the true and most high God. 
But, in opposition to them, consider that to be a man and to be a 
God are opposite, and cannot be said of one in respect of one 
nature, Jer. xxxi. 3. Acts xiv. 15. Jer. x. 11. 

I shall now shut up this subject with a few inferences. 

1. Wo to atheists, then, whether they be such in heart or life ; 
for their case is dreadful and desperate : and they shall sooner or 
later feel the heaviest strokes of the vengeance of that God whom 
they impiously deny, whether in opinion or by works. To dissuade 
from this fearful wickedness, consider, 

(1.) That atheism is most irrational. It is great folly ; and there- 
fore the Psalmist saith, Psal. xiv. 1. ' The fool hath said in his 
heart, There is no God.' It is contrary to the stream of universal 
reason ; contrary to the natural dictates of the atheist's own soul ; 
and contrary to the testimony of every creature. The atheist hath 
as many arguments against him as there are creatures in heaven 
and earth. Besides, it is most unreasonable for any man to hazard 
himself on this bottom in the denial of a God. May he not reason 
thus with himself, what if there be a God, for any thing that I 
know ? then what a dreadful case will I be in when I find it so ? If 
there be a God, and I fear and serve him, I gain a blessed and glo- 
rious eternity ; but if there be no God, I lose nothing but my sordid 
lusts, by believing that there is one. Now, ought not reasonable 
creatures to argue thus with themselves ? What a doleful meeting 
will there be between the God who is denied, and the atheist that 
denies him ! He will meet with fearful reproaches on God's part, 
and with dreadful terrors on his own : all that he gains is but a 
liberty to sin here, and a certainty to suffer for it hereafter, if he be 
in an error, as undoubtedly he is. 

(2.) Atheism is most impious. What horrid impiety is it for 
men to deny their Creator a being, without whose goodness they 
could have had none themselves ? Nay, every atheist is a Deicide, 
a killer of God as much as in him lies. He aims at the destruction 
of his very being. The atheist says upon the matter, that God is 
unworthy of a being, and that it were well if the world were rid of 

(3.) Atheism is of pernicious consequence both to others and to 
the atheist himself. To others : for (1.) It would root out the 
foundation of government, and demolish all order among men. The 
being of God is the great guard of the world : for it is the sense of a 
Deity, upon which all civil order in cities and kingdoms is founded. 
Without this, there is no tie upon the consciences of men to restrain 
them from the most attrocious impieties and villanies. A city of 


atheists would be a heap of confusion. There could be no traffic 
nor commerce, if all the sacred bonds of it in the consciences of men 
were thus snapt asunder by denying the existence of God. (2.) It 
is introductive of all evil into the world. If you take away God, 
you take away conscience, and thereby all rules of good and evil. 
And how could any laws be made, when the measure and standard 
of them is removed ? for all good laws are founded upon the dic- 
tates of conscience and reason, and upon common sentiments in hu- 
man nature, which spring from a sense of God. So that if the 
foundation be destroyed, the whole superstructure must needs tumble 
down. A man might be a thief, a murderer, and an adulterer, and 
yet in a strict sense not be an offender. The worst of actions could 
not be evil, if a man were a god to himself. "Where there is no 
sense of God, the bars are removed, and the flood gates of all impi- 
ety rush in upon mankind. The whole earth would be filled with 
violence, and all flesh would corrupt their way. 

Again, atheism is pernicious to the atheist himself, who denys 
the being of God, or endeavours to erase all notions of the Deity 
out of his mind. "What can he gain by this but a sordid pleasure, 
unworthy of a reasonable nature ? And suppose there were no 
God, what can he lose but his fleshly lusts, by believing there is 
one ? By believing and confessing a God, a man ventures no loss ; 
but by denying him, he runs the most desperate hazard if there be 
one. For this exposes him to the most dreadful wrath and ven- 
geance of God. If there be a hotter receptacle in hell than ano- 
ther, it will be reserved for the atheist, who strikes and fights 
against God's very being. 

(4.) Atheists are worse than heathens : for they worshipped 
many gods, but these worship none at all. They preserved some 
notion of God in the world, but these would banish him from both 
heaven and earth. They degraded him, but these would destroy 
him. Tea, they are worse than the very devils : for the devils are 
under the dread of this truth. That God is. It is said they * believe 
and tremble,' Jam. ii. 19. It is impossible for them to be atheists 
in opinion ; for they feel there is a God by that sense of his wrath 
that torments them. There may be atheists in the church, but 
there are none in hell. Thus atheism is a most dreadful evil, most 
carefully to be guarded against. 

Inf. 2. Seeing there is one only the living and true God, we owe 
the most perfect and unlimited obedience to his will. AVc are to 
obey the will of his command with readiness and alacrity ; and sub- 
mit to the will of his providence with the utmost cheerfulness, with- 
out fretting or murmuring. 



Inf, 3. Is God one ? then his children should live in unity, that 
they may be one as he is one. They should study to be one in judg- 
ment and opinion, one in affection, and one in practice. We should 
all live as the family of one God, carefully avoiding divisions, and 
whatever may tend to interrupt the communion of saints. 

Inf. 4. Seeing God is one, he should be the centre of our affec- 
tions, love, fear, delight, joy, he. Deut. vi. 4, 5. ' Hear, Israel, 
the Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy 
God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy 

I shall conclude all with a few directions. 

1. Beware of such opinions as tend to atheism, and aim at the 
undermining of this supreme truth, that God is. There are many 
opinions which have a woful tendency this way. Such is that of 
denying the immortality of the soul. This is a stroke at a distance 
at the very being of God, who is the Supreme Spirit. There is an 
order among spirits ; first, the souls of men, then angels, and then 
God. Now, these degrees of spirits are, as it were, a rail and fence 
about the sense we have of the being and majesty of God. And 
such as deny the immortality of the soul, strike at a distance at the 
eternity and existence of the Deity. 

Another opinion is, that men of all religions shall be saved ;- so 
that it is no matter what religion a man be of, if he walk according 
to the principles of it, and be of a sober moral life. In these latter 
times some are grown weary of the Christian religion, and by an 
excess of charity betray their faith, and plead for the salvation of 
heathens, Turks, and infidels. But ye should remember, that, as 
there is but one God, and one heavenly Jerusalem, so there is but 
one faith, and one way by which men can come to the enjoyment of 
God there. Such libertine principles have a manifest tendency to 
shake people loose of all religion. To make many doors to heaven, 
as one says, is to widen the gates of hell. 

Another opinion tending to atheism is, the denying of God's pro- 
vidence in the government of the world. Some make him an idle 
spectator of what is done here below, asserting that he is contented 
with his own blessedness and glory, and that whatever is without 
him is neither in his thoughts nor care. Many think that this world 
is but as a great clock or machine, which was set a-going at first by 
God, and afterwards left to its own motion. But if ye exempt any 
thing from the dominion of providence, then you will soon run into 
all manner of libertinism. If Satan and wicked men may do what 
they will, and God be only a looker-on, and not concerned with hu- 
man affairs, then ye may worship the devil, lest he hurt you, and 
fear men though God be propitious to you. 


2. Beware of indulging sin. When yc take a liberty to sin, and 
gratify your vile and sordid lusts, you will hate the law that for- 
bids it ; and this will lead you to a hatred of the Lawgiver ; and 
hatred of God strikes against his very being. "When once you 
allow yourselves an indulgence to sin, you will be apt to think, 
that there were no God to punish me for my crimes ! and would 
gladly persuade yourselves that there is none ; and will think it 
your only game to do what ye can to root out the notions of God in 
your own minds, for your own quiet, that so ye may wallow in sin 
without remorse. 

3. Prize and study the holy scriptures, for they shew clearly that 
there is a God. There are more clear marks and characters of a 
Deity stamped upon the holy scriptures than upon all the works of 
nature. Therefore converse much with them. By this means was 
Junius converted from atheism. His father perceiving him to be so 
atheistical, caused lay a Bible in every room, so that in whatsoever 
room he entered, a Bible haunted him ; and he fancied it upbraided 
him thus : ' Wilt thou not read me, atheist ? wilt thou not read 
me ?' Whereupon he read it, and was thereby converted. I say 
then, study the holy scriptures, and in doing so, learn to submit 
your reason to divine revelation. For some men, neglecting the 
scriptures, and going forth in the pride of their own understandings, 
have at last disputed themselves into flat atheism. 

4. Study God in the creatures as well as in the scriptures. The 
creatures were all made to be heralds of the divine glory, and his 
glorious being and perfections appear evidently in them. Hence 
saith the Psalmist, Psal. xix. 1 — 4. ' The heavens declare the glory 
of God ? and the firmament sheweth his handy-work, day unto day 
uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is 
no speech, nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line 
is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the 
world : in them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun.' The world is 
sometimes compared to a book, and sometimes to a preacher. The 
universe is like a great printed book, wherein God sets forth him- 
self to our view ; and the great diversity of creatures which are in 
it, are so many letters, out of which we may spell his name. And 
they all preach loudly unto us the glorious being and excellencies 
of God. And therefore the apostle tells us, Rom. i. 20. ' The in- 
visible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly 
seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eter- 
nal power and Godhead ; so that they are without excuse.' In the 
book of the creatures God hath written a part of the excellency of 
his name ; and you should learn to read God wherever ho hath 
made himself legible to you. 


5. Lastly, Yo who are yet sinners, lying in your natural state of 
sin and misery, come unto God in Christ, and receive him as your 
God by faith, and so ye will be preserved from atheism. And ye 
who are believers in Christ, be often viewing God in your own ex- 
periences of him. Have you not often found God in the strengthen- 
ing, reviving, and refreshing influences of his grace upon your 
souls ? Have ye not had sweet manifestations of his love ? Have 
you not had frequent refreshing tastes of his goodness, in pardoning 
your iniquities, hearing and answering your prayers, supplying your 
wants, and feasting your souls ? The reviewing of such experiences 
will be a mighty preservative against atheism. Can you doubt of 
his being, when you have been so often revived, refreshed, and sup- 
ported by him ? The secret touches of God upon your hearts, and 
your inward converses with him, are to you a clearer evidence of 
the being of God, than all the works of nature. 


1 John v. 7. — For there are three that bear record in heaven : the Fa- 
ther, the Wor-d, and the Holy Ghost ; and these three are one. 

In the 5th verse of this chapter, John lays down a fundamental 
article of the Christian faith. That Jesus is the Sou of God ; and 
brings in the witnesses of this truth, ver. 7- and 8. The text con- 
descends on the divine heavenly witnesses. Where, consider, 

1. Their number, three, viz. three persons. 

2. Tlieir names, the Father, the Word, that is, the Son, so called, 
because he reveals the Father's mind, and the Holy Ghost. And 
here is noted the order of their subsisting also. 

3. The majesty and glory of these witnesses ; they are in heaven, 
manifesting their glory there, and from it have borne record ; which 
should make the inhabitants of the world to believe their testimony. 

4. Their act : They hear record to this truth. 

5. Their unity : They are one, one God ; not only one in consent 
and agreement, but one thing, one substance, one essence. 

The doctrine evidently arising from the words is, 

DocT. ' There are three persons in the Godhead ; the Father, the 
Son, and the Holy Ghost : and these three are one God, the same in 
substance, equal in power and glory.' 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Explain the terms mentioned in the doctrine, the Godhead, and 
a 'person. 


II. Shew that there are three persons in the Grodhead. 

III. Prove that these three are distinct persons. 

IV. Demonstrate that these three persons are one God, the same 
in substance, equal in power and glory. 

V. Evince the weight and importance of this article of the Chris- 
tian faith. 

VI. Lastly, Deduce a few inferences. 

I. I am to explain the terms mentioned in the doctrine, the God- 
head, and a person. 

1. By ilie Godhead is meant the nature or essence of God, Acts 
xvii. 29, even as by manhood is understood the nature of man. Now 
the Godhead is but one, there being but one God. 

2. A divine person, or a person in the Godhead, is the Godhead 
distinguished by personal properties, Heb. i. 3, where Christ the 
Son of God is called ' the brightness of his glory, and the express 
image of his person.' For consider the Godhead as the fountain or 
principle of the Deity, so it is the first person ; consider it as be- 
gotten of the Father, it is the second ; and as proceeding from the 
Father and the Son, it is the third person. 

II. Our next business is to shew that there are three persons in 
the Godhead. This is confirmed by the scriptures both of the Old 
and New Testament. 

1. The Old Testament plainly holds forth a plurality of persons 
in the Godhead, Gen. i. 26. ' God said, let us make man in our own 
image, after our likeness.' Chap. iii. 22. ' And the Lord God said, 
Behold the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.' 
This cannot be understood of angels : for man is said to be created 
after the image of God, but never after the image of angels ; and 
the temptation was, * Ye shall be as gods,' not as angels. Nor 
must it be conceived, that God speaks so after the manner of kings ; 
for that way of speaking is used rather to note modesty than roy- 
alty. But when God speaks so as to discover most of his royalty, 
he speaks in the singular number, as in the giving of the law, * I am 
the Lord thy God.' This trinity of persons is also not obscurely 
mentioned in Psal. xxxiii. 6. ' By the Word of the Lord, or Je- 
hovah, were the heavens made ; and all the host of them, by the 
breath, or Spirit, of his mouth.' Here is mention made of Jehovah 
the Word and the Spirit, as jointly acting in the work of creation. 
Accordingly we find, that 'all things were made by the "Word,' 
John i. 3. and that * the Spirit garnished the heavens,' Job xxvi. 
13. Nay, a Trinity of persons is mentioned, Isa. Ixiii. where, be- 
besides that the Lord, or Jehovah, is three times spoken of, ver. 7. 
we read, of ' the angel of his presence,' which denotes two persons, 


and ' his Spirit,' ver. 9, 10. So tliat it evidently appears, that the 
doctrine of the Trinity was revealed under the Old Testament. 

2. The New Testament most plainly teaches this doctrine. 

(1.) I begin with the text, where it is expressly asserted, There 
are three that hear record, &c. Here are three witnesses, and there- 
fore three persons. Not three names of one person : for if a person 
have ever so many names, he is still but one witness. Not three 
Gods, but one. 

(2.) In the baptism of Christ, Matth. iii. 16, 17. mention is made 
of the Father speaking in an audible voice, the Son in the human 
nature baptized by John, and the Holy Ghost appearing in the 
shape of a dove ; plainly importing three divine persons. 

(3.) This appears from our baptism, Matth, xxviii. 8, 19. * Go ye 
and teach all nations baptising them in the name of the Father, the 
Son, and the Holy Ghost.' Observe the words, in the name, not 
names ; which denotes, that these three are one God : and yet they 
are distinctly reckoned three in number, and so are three distinct 

(4.) It appears from the apostolical benediction, where all bless- 
ings are sought from the three persons distinctly mentioned, 2 Cor. 
xiii. 14. ' The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, 
and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.' 

III. That these three are distinct persons, (for though they can- 
not be divided, yet they are distinguished), is evident. For the Son 
is distinct from the Father ' being the express image of his person,' 
Heb. i. 2. ; and in John viii. 17, 18. he reckons his Father one wit- 
ness and himself another. And that the Holy Ghost is distinct 
from both, appears from John xiv. 16, 17. ' I will pray the Father, 
and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with 
you for ever : even the Spirit of truth.' And the text is plain for 
the distinction of all the three. Now, they are distinguished by 
their order of subsisting, and their incommunicable personal pro- 
perties. In respect of the order of subsistence, the Father is the 
first person, as the fountain of the Deity, having the foundation of 
personal subsistence in himself; the Son is the second person, and 
hath the foundation of personal subsistence from the Father; and 
the Holy Ghost is the third person, as having the foundation of per- 
sonal subsistence from the Father and the Son. And so for their 
personal properties, 

1. It is the personal property of the Father to beget the Son, 
Heb. i. 5, 6, 8. ' Unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou 
art my Son, this day have I begotten thee ? And again, I will be 
to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Sou, And again, when ho 


bringeth in the first begotten into the world he saith, And let all 
the angels of God worship him. — But unto the Son he saith, Thy 
throne, Grod, is for ever and ever ; a sceptre of righteousness is 
the sceptre of thy kingdom.' This cannot be ascribed either to the 
Son or Holy Ghost. 

2. It is the property of the Son to be begotten of the Father, 
John i. 14. 18. ' We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only be- 
gotten of the Father. No man hath seen God at any time : the 
only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath de- 
clared him.' 

3. The property of the Holy Ghost is to, proceed from the Father 
and the Son, John xv. 26. ' When the Comforter is come, whom I 
will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which 
proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.' In Gal. iv. 6. he 
is called *the Spirit of the Son;' and in Rom. viii. 9. ' the Spirit of 
Christ.' He is said to ' receive all things from Christ,' John xvi. 
14, 15. ; to be ' sent by him,' John xv. 26. : and to be ' sent by the 
Father in Christ's name,' John xiv. 26. All this plainly implies, 
that the Holy Spirit proceedeth both from the Father and the Son. 
This generation of the Son and Holy Ghost was from all eternity. 
For as God is from everlasting to everlasting, so must this genera- 
tion and procession be : and to deny it, would be to deny the su- 
preme and eternal Godhead of all the three glorious persons. 

IV. I proceed to shew, that these three persons are one God, the 
same in substance, equal in power and glory. To this end consider, 

1. How express the text is, Tliese three are one. When the 
apostle speaks of the unity of the earthly witnesses, ver. 8. he says, 
they ' agree in one,' acting in unity of consent or agreement only. 
But the heavenly witnesses are one, viz, in nature or essence. They 
are not only of a like nature or substance, but one and the same 
substance ; and if so, they are and must be equal in all essential 
perfections, as power and glory. 

2. There is but one true God, as was before proved, and there 
can be but one true God. Now, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
are each of them the true God ; and therefore they are one God, the 
same in substance, equal in power and glory. And this I shall 
prove by scripture testimony. 

First, That the Father is true God, none that acknowledge a God 

do deny. Divine worship and attributes are ascribed to him. But, 

Secondly, That the Son is true God, appears if yc consider, 

1. The scriptures expressly calls him God, Rom. ix, 5. John i. 

1. Acts XX. 28. ; ' the true God' 1 John v. 20. ; ' the great God,' 

Tit. ii. 13. ; the ' mighty God, Isa. ix. 6. ' Jehovah or Lord,' Mai. 


iii. 1. which is a namo proper to the true God only, Psal. Ixxxiii. ult. 

2. The attributes of God, which are one and the same with God 
himself, are ascribed to him ; as eternity, Micah v. 2. ' Whose go- 
ings forth have been from of old, from everlasting ; independence 
and omnipotence, Rev. i. 8. — ' The Almighty ;' omnipresence, John 
iii. 13. where he is said to be ' in heaven,' when bodily on earth ; 
and Matth. xxviii. 20. ' Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the 
end of the world :' omniscience, John xxi. 17. ' Lord thou knowest 
all things,' says Peter to him ; and unchangeableness, Heb. i. 11, 12- 
' They shall i)erish, but thou remainest : and they all shall wax old 
as doth a garment ; and^as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and 
they shall be changed : but thou art the same, and thy years shall 
not fail.' 

3. The works proper and peculiar to God are ascribed to him ; 
as creation, John i. 3. ' All things were made by him ; and with- 
out him was not any thing made that was made.' Conservation of 
all things, Heb. i. 3. — ' upholding all things by the word of his 
power.' Raising the dead by his own power, and at his own plea- 
sure, John V. 21, 26. ' The Son quickeneth whom he will.' The 
Father ' hath given to the Son to have life in himself.' The saving 
of sinners, Hos. i. 7- — ' I will save them by the Lord their God.' 
Compare chap. xiii. 4. ' in me is thine help.' Yea, whatsoever the 
Father doth, the Son doth likewise. 

4. Divine worship is due to him, and therefore he is true God, 
Matth. iv. 10. The angels are commanded to ' worship him,' Heb. i. 
8. All must give the same honour to him as to the Father, John 
V. 23. We must have faith in him, and they are blessed that be- 
lieve in him, Psal. ii. 12. compare Jer. xvii. 5. We are to pray to 
him, Acts vii. 58. ; and we are baptised in his name, Matth. xxviii. 
19. Nay, he is expressly said to be ' equal with the Father,' Phil, 
ii. 6. and * one with him.' John x. 30. Now, seeing God will ' not 
give his glory to another,' Isa. xlviii. 11. because he is true and 
cannot lie, and he is just, it follows, that though Christ be a distinct 
person, yet he is not a distinct God from his Father, but one God 
with him, the same in substance equal in power and glory. And it 
is no contradiction to this doctrine when Christ says, ' My Father is 
greater than I,' John xiv. 28. ; for he is not speaking there of his 
nature as God, but of his mediatory office ; and hence he is called 
the Father's ' servant,' Is. xlii. 1. 

Thirdly, That the Holy Ghost is true God, or a divine person, 
apjjears, if ye consider, 

1. The scripture expressly calls him God, Acts v. 3, 4. 1 Cor. iii. 
16. Isa. vi. 9. compared with Acts xxviii. 25, 26. 2 Sam. xxiii. 2, 


3. He is called ' Jehovali, or the Lord,' Num. xii. 6. compare 2 
Pet. i. 21. 

2. Divine attributes are ascribed to him ; as omnipotence, he 
' worketh all iu all,' 1 Cor. xii. 6, 9, 10, 11. ; omnipresence, Psal. 
cxxxix. 7. ; and omniscience, 1 Cor. ii. 10. 

3. "Works peculiar to God are ascribed to him ; as creation, Psal. 
xxxiii. 6 ; conservation, Psal. civ. 30. ; working miracles. Matt. xii. 
28.; raising the dead, Rom. viii. 11.; inspiring the prophets, 2 Tim. 
iii. 16. compare 2 Pet. i. 21. 

4. Divine worship is due to him. We are baptised in his name, 
Matth. xxviii. 19. ; we are to pray to him, 2 Cor. xiii. 14. Acts iv. 
23, 25. compare 2 Sam. xxiii. 2, 3. 

Hence it appears, 

1. That the Godhead is not divided, but that each of the three 
persons hath the one whole Godhead, or divine nature. 

2. That it is sinful to imagine any inequality amongst the three 
divine persons, or to think one of them more honourable than ano- 
ther, seeing they are all one God. 

Y. I proceed to consider the weight and importance of this 
article. It is a fundamental article, the belief whereof is necessary 
to salvation. For those that are * without God,' Eph. ii. 12. and 
' have not the Father,' cannot be saved ; but ' whoso denieth the 
Son, the same hath not the Father,' 1 John ii. 23. Those that are 
none of Christ's cannot be saved ; but ' he that hath not the Spirit, 
is none of his,' Rom. viii. 9. None receive the Spirit but those that 
know him. John xiv. 17. This mystery of the Trinity is so inter- 
woven with the whole of religion, that their can neither be any true 
faith, right worship, or obedience without it. For take away this 
doctrine, and the object of faith, worship, and obedience is changed ; 
seeing the object of these declared in the scripture, is the three per- 
sons in the Godhead ; and the scriptures know no other God. 
Where is faith, if this bo taken away ? John xvii. 3. ' This is 
life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Je- 
sus Christ whom thou hast sent.' Here it is to be observed, that 
our Lord does not call the Father only the true God, exclusive of 
the other persons of the Trinity ; but that he (including the other 
persons who all subsist in the same one undivided essence) is the 
only true God, in opposition to idols, falsely called gods. 1 John ii. 
23. ' Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.' 
There is no more true worship or fellowship with God in it : ' For 
through him we botli have access by one Spirit unto the Father,' 
Eph. ii. 18. And there is no more obedience without it, John xv. 
23. ' lie that hatcth me,' says Christ, * hateth my Father also.' 


John V. 23, ' He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Fa- 
ther which hath sent him.' "We are debtors to the Spirit, to live 
after the Spirit, and are bonnd by baptism to the obedience of the 
Father, the Son, and the Spirit. 

I shall conclude with a few inferences. 

1. How much ought we to prize divine revelation, wherein we 
have a discovery of this incomprehensible mystery ! This is a truth 
which nature's light could never have found out. It is above reason, 
though not contrary to it ; for reason, though it could never have 
brought it to light, yet when it is discovered, it must needs yield to 
it; for as the judgment of sense must be corrected by reason, so the 
judgment of reason by faith. 

2. See here that God whom you are to take for your God, to love, 
trust in, worship and obey, even the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 
This is that God who offers himself to you in the gospel, and whom 
you are to take for your God in Christ. This is that Father who 
elected a select company of sinners unto salvation ; this is that Son 
that redeemed them unto God by his blood ; and this is that Spirit 
that renews and sanctifies them, making them meet for the inhe- 
ritance of the saints in light. 

3. Lastly, Take this Father for your Father, who is the Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christ ; and be obedient children, if ye would be 
reckoned of his seed. Receive the Son, and slight him not. Give 
your consent to the gospel-offer, seeing it is your ^Maker that offers 
to be your husband. And grieve not the Holy Spirit, lest ye be 
found fighters against God. 



Ephes. i. 11. — According to the purpose of him luho worketh all things 
after the counsel of his own tuill. 

The apostle here gives an instance of the sovereign freedom of di- 
vine grace through Jesus Christ in the believing Jews. 

1. There is here the high privilege they were advanced to, a right 
to the heavenly inheritance, which had been forfeited by the sin of 

2. Through whom they had obtained it, in him ; by virtue of the 
merits, the obedience and satisfaction of Christ. 

3. Why they obtained it, while others had not. Not that they 
were more worthy than others, but because they were predestinated, 
elected, or fore-ordained to salvation, and all the means of it. 

4. There is the certainty of the efficacy of predestination. It is 
according to his imrfose ; that is, his firm purpose and peremptory 
decree to bring such things to pass. And this certainly in par- 
ticular is evinced by a general truth, JMio worketh all things accord- 
ing to the counsel of his own ivill. Wherein we may notice. 

(1.) God's eifectual operation, Ac twrtoA. The word signifies to 
work powerfully and efficaciously, so as to overcome all contrary 
resistance, and all difficulties in the way ; which is exactly God's 
way of working. And this working takes place in the works of 
creation and providence. 

(2.) The manner how God works. The plan and scheme accord- 
ing to which his works are framed, is the counsel of his will. His 
will is his decree and intention ; and it is called the counsel of his 
wiU, to denote the wisdom of his decrees, his most wise and free 
determination therein. As God's decree is an act of his will, and 
so most free, considered in relation to the creatures ; so his decree 
and will are never without counsel ; he willeth or decreeth things to 
be done with the greatest reason and judgment, most wisely as well 
as freely. 

(3.) The object of his working after this manner, all things. This 
cannot be restricted to the blessings which the apostle had been 
speaking of immediately before, but must be understood of all 
things whatsoever, and of all their motions and actions as such ; 
which therefore are the object of God's decrees. 

The text plainly affords this doctrine, viz. 
DocT. ' God hath fore-ordained, according to the counsel of his own 

will, whatsoever comes to pass.' 


Here I shall, 

I. Explain the nature of a decree. 

II. Consider the object of God's decrees. 

III. Speak of the end of his decrees. 

IV. Touch at their properties. 

V. Make improvement. 

I. I am to explain the nature of a decree. The text calls it a. 
■purpose, a will. For God to decree is to purpose and fore-ordain, to 
will and appoint that a thing shall be or not be. And such decrees 
must needs be granted, seeing God is absolutely perfect, and there- 
fore nothing can come to pass mthout his will ; seeing there is an 
absolute and necessary dependence of all things and persons on God 
as the first cause. But there is a vast diiference betwixt the de- 
crees of God and men ; whereof this is the principal : Men's pur- 
poses or decrees are distinct from themselves, but the decrees of 
God are not distinct from himself. God's decrees are nothing else 
but God himself, who is one simple act ; and they are many only in 
respect of their objects, not as they are in God ; even as the one 
heat of the sun melts wax and hardens clay. To say otherwise is 
to derogate from the absolute simplicity of God, and to make him a 
compound being. It is also to derogate from his infinite perfection ; 
for whatsoever is added to any thing argues a want, which is made 
up by the accession of that thing, and so introduces a change ; but 
God is absolutely unchangeable. Neither could God's decrees be 
eternal, if it were not so ; for there is nothing eternal but God. 

II. I proceed to consider the object of God's decrees. This is 
whatsoever comes to pass. He worketh all things, says the text. 
God has decreed whatsoever comes to pass ; and nothing comes to 
pass but what he has decreed to come to pass. "We may consider 
the extent of the divine decree under the three following heads. 

1. God has decreed the creation of all things that have a being. 

2. He has decreed to rule and govern the creatures which he 
was to make. 

3. He has decreed the eternal state of all his rational creatures. 
First, God decreed to rear up this stately fabric of the world, the 

heavens and the earth, the sea and the land, with all the great va- 
riety of creatures which inhabit them. There are myriads of holy 
angels in heaven, cherubim and seraphim, thrones and dominions, 
principalities and powers, angels and archangels. There are many 
shining luminaries in the firmament, the sun, and the moon, and 
innumerable glittering stars. There is a great variety of creatures 
on the earth, animals, plants, trees, and minerals, with various 
forms, shapes, colours, smells, virtues, and qualities. The sea is 


inhabited by many creatures, Psal. civ. 25. Now, God decreed to 
make all these things. Rev. iv. 11. ' Thou hast created all things.' 

Secondly, God hath decreed tlie government of all his creatures. 
He preserves and upholds them in their beings, and he guides and 
governs them in all their motions and actions. He is not only the 
general spring and origin of all the motions and actions of the crea- 
tures, but he appoints and orders them all immediately. 

1. lie has decreed all their motions and actions: 'For (says the 
apostle) of him, and through hira, and to him, are all things.' Rom. 
xi. ult. This is clear from God's knowing all these things before 
they come to pass ; which knowledge of them must needs be in the 
decree, upon which the coming to pass of all things depends. 

Not only good things, but evil things fall within the compass of 
his holy decree. Evils of punishment are truly good, being the 
execution of justice, as it is good in a magistrate to punish evil- 
doers. God owns himself to be the author of these evils, Amos iii. 
6. 'Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?' 
And yet he has decreed the effecting of these. As for the evils of 
sin, these also fall within the compass of the decree of God, as is 
clear in the case of crucifying Christ, Acts ii. 23. ' Him (says the 
apostle to the Jews) being delivered by the determinate counsel and 
foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have 
crucified and slain.' And says the apostle, Acts iv. 27. 28. ' For of 
a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both 
Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of 
Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and 
thy counsel determined before to be done.' This appears also in 
the case of Pharaoh refusing to let Israel go, and pursuing them 
when they had gone, whose heart God hardened, Exod. xiv. 4 ; and 
in the sin of Joseph's brethren in selling him into Egypt ; of which 
Joseph says, Gen. xlv. 8. ' So now it was not you that sent me 
hither, but God.' It is true, God decreed not the effecting of sin, 
for then he should have been the author of it, but he decreed the 
permission of sin. And though sin in itself is evil, yet God's per- 
mitting it is good, seeing he can bring good out of it ; and it is 
just in him to permit it, where he is not bound to hinder it. Yet 
this is not a naked permission, whereby the thing may either come 
to pass or not, but such as infers a certainty of the event, so that 
in respect of the event the sin cannot but come to pass. Hence our 
Lord says, Matth. xviii. 7- ' Wo unto the world because of offences ; 
for it must needs be that offences come.' And says the apostle, 1 
Cor. xi. 19. ' There must be heresies among you.' See also Acts iv, 
27, 28. forecited. 


2. And not only necessary things, as the burning of the fire, but 
the most free acts of the creature, and the most casual things, fall 
under the divine decree. Free acts, as Prov. xx. 1. 'The king's 
heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water : he turneth 
it whithersoever he will.' To this purpose are the foresaid in- 
stances of the Jews, Pharoah, and Joseph's brethren. — The most 
casual, as in the case of the casual slaughter mentioned, Exod. xxi, 
12, 13, and Deut. xix. 3. where mention is made of the Lord's de- 
livering the person slain into the hands of the slayer, though he 
had no intention to slay him. Such also is the case of lots, Prov. 
xvi. 33. ' The lot is cast into the lap ; but the whole disposing 
thereof is of the Lord.' This holds also in the case of sparrows, 
and the hairs of the head falling, which cannot be done without 
God, Matth. x. 29, 30. And thus not only great things, but small 
things fall within the compass of the divine decree. 

But more especially let us consider God's decrees with respect to 
the government of rational creatures. This we may take up in the 
following particulars. 

1. God has decreed what kingdoms and monarchies should be on 
the earth, what princes and potentates should rule and govern 
them, and whether their government should be mild or tyrannical ; 
how long each kingdom should continue, when they should have 
peace and when war, when prosperity and adversity. We find 
wonderful discoveries made to Daniel with respect to these things. 

2. God has decreed every thing relating to the lot and condition 
of particular persons. 

(1.) He has decreed the time and place of their birth, whether it 
should be under the law or gospel, in a land of light or darkness ; 
whether among the savage Indians in America, or among the more 
polite and civilized people of Europe ; whether among Mahometans, 
Papists, or Protestants. All this was decreed by the Lord, who 
* hath made of one blood all nations of men, to dwell on all the face 
of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and 
the bounds of their habitation,' Acts xvii. 26. 

(2.) He hath decreed every man's lot and condition, whether it 
shall be high or low, rich or poor, noble or ignoble, learned or un- 
learned. He hath determined the trade and employment they 
should follow, the particular business they should betake themselves 
to. Many times God's providence over-rules men's purposes and 
designs, for fulfilling his own counsels. Matters are sometimes 
strangely wheeled about, so that not what we or our parents de- 
signed, but what God hath purposed shall take place. Amos was 
meanly employed at first, but God designed him for a more honour- 


able calling : he was taken from the olfice of a herdnian, and 
gatherer of sycamore fruit, and invested with a commission to pro- 
phesy to the people of Israel, Amos vii. 1-i, 15. David followed 
the ewes, and it is like never raised his thoughts to higher things in 
the days of Ids youth; hut God made him the royal shepherd of a 
better flock, Psal. Ixxviii. 70, 71. The most part of the apostles were 
fishermen ; but Christ called tliem to a more high and eminent station, 
even to be extraordinary officers in his church, and fishers of men. 

(3.) God hath decreed what relations men shall have in the world. 
Their wives and children are appointed for them. Hence said 
Abraham's servant, Gen. xxiv. 44. * Let the same be the woman 
whom the Lord hath appointed for my master's son.' That such a 
woman rather than any other, should be wife to such a man, is by 
the appointment of Heaven. Men's children are also decreed by 
God. Hence said Eve, Gen. iv. 24. ' God hath appointed me ano- 
ther seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.' And says the Psal- 
mist, Psal. cxxvii. 3. ' Lo children are the heritage of the Lord.' 
God determines the numbers and names of every man's children. 

(4.) All the comforts of men's lives are under the divine appoint- 
ment, both those temporal and spiritual. Hence says the prophet, 
Isa. xxvi. 1. • We have a strong city : salvation will God appoint 
for walls and bulwarks.' 

5. All men's afflictions are determined by a decree of Heaven, 
Micah vi. 9. ' Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.' Such 
are public calamities and distresses, as war, famine and pestilence, 
all bodily pains and sickness, poverties and pinching straits, and 
whatever is grievous and afflictive to men. None of these spring 
out of the dust, or come by chance. The kind and nature of 
people's troubles, their measure and degree, time and season, conti- 
nuance and duration, and all the circumstances of them, are deter- 
mined, and weighed in the scale of his eternal counsel. Hence says 
the apostle, 1 Thess. iii. 3. ' Xo man should be moved by these afflic- 
tions : for you yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.' 

(6.) The time of every man's life in the world is appointed. 
Hence says Job, chap. vii. 1. 'Is there not an appointed time to 
man upon earth ? are not his days also like the days of an hireling ?' 
And says the same great man, chap. xiv. 5. ' His days are deter- 
mined : and the number of his months are with thee, thou hast ap- 
pointed his bounds that he cannot pass.' The term of our life is 
fixed and limited, our days are determined, and our months num- 
bered. Hence David prays, Psal. xxxix. 4. ' Lord, make me to 
know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is : that I 
may know how frail I am.' Our days are measured ; they are as 



the days of an liireling. As the hireling hath a set time to work 
in, SO every man and woman hath an appointed time for acting and 
working in this world. We are all pilgrims and strangers on the 
earth, and in a little time we must go hence and be no more. "We 
are here like men upon a stage to act our parts, and in a short time 
we must retire within the curtain of death, and others will come in 
our room. Our glass is continually running, and the day and hour 
in which it will run out is settled and fixed by the order of Heaven. 
We find in scripture that God hath often foretold the precise term 
of particular men's lives. He set a hundred and twenty years to 
those who lived in the old world before the flood came upon them, 
Gren. vi, 3. He foretold the time of Moses' life, of that of Jero- 
boam's son, of that of Ahaziah king of Israel, and of many others. 
All this was from his own decree and counsel. 

Thirdly, God hath determined the etei'nal state of all his rational 
creatures, both men and angels. Our Confession of Faith tells us, 
agreeably to scripture, chap. iii. art. 3. that ' by the decree of God, 
for the manifestation of his glory some men and angels are predes- 
tinated unto everlasting life, and others are fore-ordained to ever- 
lasting death.' More particularly, 

1. We read of the elect angels, 1 Tim. v. 21. The perseverance 
and standing of the holy angels in the state of their primitive inte- 
grity, and their confirmation therein, was determined by the purpose 
of God, In the morning of the creation heaven shined with innum- 
erable glittering stars, the angels of light, of whom a vast number 
are, by their rebellion against God, become wandering stars, to 
whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. Now, the 
good angels are in a supernatural state, without the least danger of 
change, or any separation from the blessed presence of God in 
glory, flowing from the continual irradiations of divine grace, which 
preserves their minds from errors, and their wills from irregular 
desires ; and consequently they cannot sin, nor forfeit their felicity. 

It was by an eternal decree of God, that he passed by the angels 
that fell, and doomed them to everlasting misery. The apostle tells 
us, 2 Pet. ii. 4. that ' God spared not the angels that sinned, but 
cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, 
to be reserved into judgment.' And saith Jude, ver. 6. ' The an- 
gels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, 
he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the 
judgment of the great day.' Mercy did not interpose to avert or 
suspend their judgment ; but immediately they were expelled from 
the Divine Presence. Their present misery is insupportable, and 
worse awaits them. Their judgment .is irreversible ; they are 


under the blackness of darkness for ever. They haA^e not the least 
glimpse of hope to allay their sorrows, and no star-light to sweeten 
the horrors of their eternal night. It were a kind of mercy to them 
to be capable of death ; but God will never be so far reconciled to 
them as to annihilate them. Immortality, which is the privilege of 
their nature, infinitely increases their torment. 

2. God hath likewise appointed the final and eternal state of men 
and women. It is said, Rom. ix. 21, 22, 23. ' Hath not the potter 
power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto 
honour, and another unto dishonour ? What if God, willing to show 
his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much loug- 
sufl*ering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction : and that he 
might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, 
which he had afore prepared unto glory ?' 

(1.) He hath elected some to everlasting life by an irreversible 
decree, Rom. viii. 29, 30. ' For whom he did foreknow, he also did 
predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might 
be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did 
predestinate, them he also called : and whom he called, them he 
also justified : and whom he justified, them he also glorified.' Eph. 
i. 4. ' According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation 
of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in 
love.' 2 Thess. ii. 13. ' God hath from the beginning chosen you to 
salvation.' From eternity God elected some from among the lost pos- 
terity of Adam to everlasting life and glory, according to the good 
pleasure of his own will. Therefore all is refeTred by our Saviour to 
the good pleasure of God, Matth. xi. 25, 26. And all the means for 
accomplishing the ends of election are'likewise of divine appoint- 
ment ; particularly the redemption of ruined sinners by the death 
and sufferings of Christ : ' He hath chosen us in Christ,' Eph. i. 4. 
The Father did first, in the order of nature, chuse Christ to the Me- 
diatory office, and as the chief corner-stone to bear up the whole 
building; whence he is called God's elect, Isa. xlii. 1. And then he 
chose a company of lost sinners to be saved by and through Christ ; 
and therefore he is said to predestinate them to be conformed to the 
image of his Son. 

2. God hath passed by the rest of mankind, according to the un- 
searchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or with- 
holdetli mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power 
over his creatures, and liath ordained them to dishonour and wratli 
for their sins, to the praise of his glorious justice. Hence Christ is 
said to be ' a stone of stumbling, and a rock of ofi^ence to them that 
stumble at the word being disobedient : whereunto also they were 



appointed,' 1 Pet. ii. 8. ' The foundation of God standetli sure, 
having tliis seal, The Lord knowctli them that are his. And, Let 
every one that uanieth tlie name of Christ depart from iniquity. 
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold, and of silver, 
but also of wood, and of earth ; and some to honour, and some to 
dishonour,' 2 Tim. ii. 19, 20. In Jude, ver. 4. we read of ' ungodly 
men, who were before of old ordained to condemnation.' And in 
Rom. ix. 22, 23. we read of ' vessels of mercy, which God had afore 
prepared unto glory : and of vessels of wrath fitted for destruction.' 

III. I come to consider the end of God's decrees. And this is no 
other than his own glory. Every rational agent acts for an end ; 
and God being the most perfect agent, and his glory the highest 
end, there can be no doubt but all his decrees are directed to that 
end. ' For — to him are all things,' Rom. xi. 36. ' That we should 
be to the praise of his glory,' Eph. i. 12. In all, he aims at his 
glory : and seeing he aims at it, he gets it even from the most sin- 
ful actions he has decreed to permit. Either the glory of his mercy 
or of his justice he draws therefrom. Infinite wisdom directs all to 
the end intended. More particularly, 

1. This was God's end in the creation of the world. The divine 
perfections are admirably glorified here, not only in regard of the 
greatness of the effect, which comprehends the heavens and the 
earth, and all things therein ; but in regard of the marvellous way 
of its production. For he made the vast universe without the con- 
currence of any material cause ; he brought it forth from the womb 
of nothing by an act of his efficacious will. And as he began the 
creation by proceeding from nothing to real existence, so in forming 
the other parts he drew theifi from infirm and indisposed matter, as 
from a second nothing, that all his creatures might bear the signa- 
tures of infinite power. Thus lie commanded light to arise out of 
darkness, and sensible creatures from an insensible element. The 
lustre of the divine glory appears eminently here. Hence says 
David, Psal. xix. 1. ' The heavens declare the glory of God.' They 
declare and manifest to the world the attributes and perfections of 
their great Creator, even in his infinite wisdom, goodness, and 
power. All the creatures have some j)rints of God stamped upon 
them, whereby they loudly proclaim and shew to the world his 
wisdom and goodness in framing them. Hence says Paul, Rom. i. 
20. ' The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are 
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his 
eternal power and Godhead.' 

2. The glory of God was his chief end and design in making men 
and angels. The rest of the creatures glorified God in an objective 


way, as they are evidences and manifestations of his infinite wis- 
dom, goodness, and poAver. But this higher rank of beings ai'e en- 
dued with rational faculties, and so are capable to glorify God 
actively. Hence it is said, Prov. xvi. 4. ' The Lord hath made all 
things for himself.' If all things were made for him, then man and 
angels especially, who are the master-pieces of the whole creation. 
We have our rise and being from the pure fountain of God's infinite 
power and goodness ; and therefore we ought to run towards that 
again, till we empty all our faculties and excellencies into that 
same ocean of divine goodness. 

3. This is likewise the end of election and predestination. For 
' he hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children, to the 
praise of the glory of his grace.' That some are ordained to eternal 
life, and others passed by, and suffered to perish eternally in their 
sin, is for the manifestation of the infinite perfections and excellen- 
cies of God. The glory and beauty of the divine attributes is dis- 
played here with a shining lustre ; as his sovereign authority and 
dominion over all his creatures to dispose of them to what ends and 
purposes he pleaseth ; his knowledge and omniscience, in beholding 
all things past, present, and to come ; his vindictive justice, in or- 
daining punishments to men, as a just retribution for sin ; and his 
omnipotence, in making good his word, and putting all his threat- 
eniugs in execution. The glory of his goodness shines likewise 
here, in making choice of any, when all most justly deserved to be 
rejected. And his mercy shines here with an amiable lustre, in re- 
ceiving and admitting all who believe in Jesus into his favour. 

4. This was the end that God proposed in that great and aston- 
ishing work of redemption. In our redemption by Christ we have 
the fullest, clearest, and most delightful manifestation of the glory 
of God that ever was or shall be in this life. All the declarations 
and manifestations that we have of his glory in the works of crea- 
tion and common providence, are but dim and obscure in com- 
parison witli what is here. Indeed the glory of his wisdom, power, 
and goodness, is clearly manifested in the works of creation. But 
tlie glory of his mercy and love had lain under an eternal eclipse 
without a Redeemer. God had in several ages of the world pitched 
upon particular seasons to manifest and discover one or other par- 
ticular property of his nature. Thus his justice was declared in his 
drowning the old world with a deluge of water, and burning Sodom 
with fire from heaven. Ilis truth and power were clearly mani- 
fested in freeing the Israelites from the Egyptian chains, and 
bringing them out from that miserable bondage. His truth was 
there illustriously displayed in performing a promise which had lain 



dormant for the space of 430 years, and his power in quelling his 
implacable enemies by the meanest of his creatures. Again, the 
glory of one attribute is more seen in one work than in another : 
in some things there is more of his goodness, in other things more of 
his wisdom is seen, and in others more of his power. But in the 
work of redemption all liis perfections and excellencies shine forth 
in their greatest glory. And this is the end that God proposed in 
their conyersion and regeneration. Hence it is said, Tsa. xliii. 21. 
' This people have I formed for myself, they shall shew forth my 
praise.' Sinners are adopted into God's family, and made a royal 
priesthood on this very design,' 1 Pet. ii. 9. 

IV. I come now to consider the properties of God's decrees. 

1. They are eternal. God makes no decrees in time, but they 
were all from eternity. So the decree of election is said to have 
been ' before the foundation of the world,' Eph. i. 4. Yea whatever 
he doth in time, was decreed by him, seeing it was known to him 
before time. Acts xv. 18. ' Known unto God are all his works from 
the beginning.' And this foreknowledge is founded on the decree. 
If the divine decrees were not eternal, God would not be most per- 
fect and unchangeable, but, like weak man, should take new coun- 
sels, and would be unable to tell every thing that were to come to 

2. They are most wise, ' according to the counsel of his will.' 
God cannot properly deliberate or take counsel, as men do ; for he 
sees all things together and at once. And thus his decrees are 
made with perfect judgment, and laid in the depth of wisdom, Rom, 
xi. 83. ' the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and know- 
ledge of God ! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways 
past finding out !' So that nothing is determined that could have 
been better determined. 

3. They are most free, according to the counsel of his oivn ivill ; 
depending on no other, but all flowing from the mere pleasure of his 
own will, Rom. xi. 34. ' For who hath known the mind of the Lord, 
or who hath been his counsellor?' Whatsoever he decreeth to work 
without himself, is from his free choice. So his decrees are all ab- 
solute, and there are none of them conditional. He has made no 
decrees suspended on any condition Avithout himself. Neither has 
he decreed any thing because he saw it would come to pass, or as 
that which would come to pass on such or such conditions ; for then 
they should be no more according to the counsel of his will, but the 
creature's will. For God's decrees being eternal, cannot depend 
upon a condition which is temporal. They are the determinate 
counsels of God, but a conditional decree determines nothing. Such 


conditional decrees are inconsistent with the infinite wisdom of God, 
and are in men only the effects of weakness ; and they are incon- 
sistent with the independency of God, making them depend on the 

4. They are unchangeable. They are the unalterable laws of 
heaven. God's decrees are constant ; and he by no means alters 
his purpose, as men do, Psal. xxxiii. 11. ' The counsel of the Lord 
standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.' 
Hence they are compared to mountains of brass, Zech. vi. 1. As 
nothing can escape his first view, so nothing can be added to his 
knowledge. Hence Balaam said, ' God is not a man that he should 
lie, neither the son of man, tliat he should repent : hath he said, and 
shall he not do it ? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it 
good ?' Numb, xxiii. 19. The decree of election is irreversible : 

' The foundation of God, (says the apostle), standeth sure, having 
this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his,' 2 Tim. ii. 19. 

5. They are most holy and pure. For as the sun darts its beams 
upon a dunghill, and yet is no way defiled by it ; so God decrees 
the permission of sin, as above explained, yet is not the author of 
sin : 1 John i. 5. ' God is light, and in him is no darkness at all,' 
Jam. i. 13, 17. ' God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth 
he any man. With him is no variableness, neither shadow of 

6. Lastly, They are effectual ; that is, whatsoever God decrees 
comes to pass infallibly, Isa. xlvi. 10, ' My counsel shall stand, and 
I will do all my pleasure.' He cannot fall short of what he has de- 
termined. Yet the liberty of second causes is not hereby taken 
away ; for the decree of God offers no violence to the creature's 
will ; as appears from the free and unforced actings of Joseph's bre- 
thren, Pharoah, the Jews that crucified Christ, &c. Nor does it 
take away the contingency of second causes, either in themselves or 
as to us, as appears by the lot cast into the lap. Nay they are 
thereby established, because he hath efficaciously foreordained that 
such eflTects shall follow on such causes. 

Before proceeding to the application of this doctrine, it may not 
be improper to answer some objections which are brought against 
the doctrine of the divine decrees. 

1. It is objected by some, that if all things that come to pass in 
time be appointed of God by an irreversible decree, then this seems 
to make God the author of sin, as if he had ordained that horrid 
and liateful evil to come into the world, which is so dishonourable 
to himself, and so destructive to the children of men. In answer 
to this, you must know, 


1. That all sinful actions fall under the divine decree. Though 
sin itself flows from transgressing the law, yet the futurition of it 
is from the decree of God. No such thing could ever have been in 
the world, if it had not been determined by the eternal counsel of 
Heaven for a holy and just end. This is plainly asserted by the 
apostle Peter, with respect to the greatest villainy that was ever 
committed on the earth, namely, the death and sufterings of the 
Lord Jesus Christ, at the hands of sinful men, Acts ii. 23. forecited. 
And the church gives this account of it. Acts iv. 27, 28. ' For of a 
truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both 
Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of 
Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand, and 
thy counsel determined before to be done.' There was never such 
an atrocious crime or higher act of wickedness committed, than the 
murdering of the Lord of glory. And yet it appears from these 
texts of scripture, that, in this bloody and horrid scene, wicked men 
did no more than God's hand and counsel determined before to be 

2. That the decree of God is properly distinguished into that 
which is eff'ective, and that which is permissive. 

(1.) His eftective decree respects all the good that comes to pass, 
whether it be moral or natural goodness. All the actions and mo- 
tions of the creatures have a natural goodness in them ; and even 
sinful actions considered abstractly from any irregularity, obliquity, 
or deformity cleaving to them, have a natural goodness in them, so 
far as they are actions : they have a goodness of being considered 
purely and simply as actions. Now, God has decreed to efi'ect all 
these, yea even sinful actions considered purely as natural. For he 
is the first and universal canse of all things, the fountain and 
original of all good. And it is said with respect to the oppressions 
of the church by wicked men, Psal. cxv. 3. ' Our God is in the hea- 
vens ; he hath done whatsoever he pleased.' 

(2.) His permissive decree doth only respect the irregularity and 
pravity that is in sinful actions. God decreed to permit the same, 
or he determined it to be, himself permitting it. Hence it is said, 
Acts xiv. 16. ' In times past he suftered all nations to walk in their 
own ways.' And God doth nothing in time, but what he did from 
eternity decree to do. So that the futurition of sin is from the de- 
cree of God. God determined that it should be. He did not de- 
cree to have any efficiency in sin, considered as such ; but he willed 
that it should be done, himself permitting it. The counsel of God 
did not determine to do it, but that it should be done. 

3. God decreed the permission of sin for great and glorious ends. 


It is true, siu in its own nature has no tendency to any good end. 
If it end in any good, it is from the overruling providence of God, 
and that infinite divine skill that can bring good out of evil, as well 
as light out of darkness. Now, the great and glorious end for 
which God decreed the after-being of sin, is his own glory : and the 
ends subordinate thereunto are not a few. Particularly, God de- 
creed the futurition of sin, (1.) That he might have occasion of glorify- 
ing his infinite wisdom, love, and grace in the redemption and sal- 
vation of a company of lost sinners through the death and sufferings 
of his own dear Son. (2.) That his patience and long suffering in 
bearing Avith and forbearing sinners, might be magnified, admired, 
and adored. (3.) That he might be honoured and glorified by the 
faith and repentance of his people, and their walking humbly with 
him. (4.) That his justice might be illustriously displayed and 
glorified in the eternal damnation of reprobate sinners for their own 
sins and abominations, sin being the cause of their damnation, 
though not of their reprobation. Thus God decreed the futurition 
of siu for these holy and wise ends, that he might glorify his wis- 
dom in bringing good out of so great an evil, and a greater good 
than the evil he decreed to permit. 

4. The deci'ec of God about the permission of sin does not in- 
fringe the liberty of man's will. For sin doth not follow the de- 
cree by a necessity of co-action or compulsion, which indeed would 
destroy human liberty ; but by a necessity of infallibility, which is 
very consistent with it. It is sufficient unto human liberty, or the 
freedom of man's will, that a man act without all constraint, and 
out of choice. Now, this is not taken away by the decree. Men 
sin as freely as if there were no decree, and yet as infallibly as if 
there were no liberty. And men sin, not to fulfil God's decree, 
which is hid from them, but to serve and gratify their vile lusts and 
corrupt affections. 

Object. 2. If God hath determined the jirecise number of every 
man's days by an unalterable decree, tlien the use of means for the 
preservation of our health and lives is altogether unnecessary ; for 
nothing can frustrate the divine decree. We will certainly live as 
long as God hath appointed us, whether we use any means or not. 
And therefore when we are hungry, we need not eat and drink; 
and when we are sick, we need not take physic, or use any medicines. 

In answer to this, you must know, that as God hath decreed the 
end, so he hath decreed the means that are proper for attaining that 
end ; so that these two must not be separated. Though God hath 
decreed how long we shall live, yet seeing it is his ordinary way to 
work by means, and he hath commanded and enjoined the use of 


them to men, therefore it is still our duty to use lawful means for 
preserving our life and health, and to wait on God in the due use of 
them, referring the event to his wise determination. In Paul's 
dangerous voyage to Rome, an angel of the Lord assured him, that 
God had given him all that sailed with him in the ship ; and Paul 
assured them from the Lord, that there should be no loss of any of 
their lives : yet when some were about to flee out of the ship, he 
says to the centurion who had the command, ' Except these abide in 
the ship, you cannot be saved,' Acts xxvii. 31. And he exhorted 
them to take some meat after their long abstinence, telling them, 
that it was for their health. From which it plainly appears, that 
as God had decreed to save their lives, so he had decreed to save 
them in the due use of ordinary means ; so that they were to use 
means for the preservation of their life and health. And when 
Hezekiah was recovered from a mortal disease, and received a pro- 
mise from God that he should have fifteen years added to his days, 
and the promise was confirmed by a sign, the miraculous going back 
of the sun, he did not neglect or cast off the use of means : but, as 
was prescribed by the prophet, he applied a bunch of dried figs to 
his sore, and used still his ordinary diet. Therefore it is gross ig- 
norance and madness in men to reason so against God's decrees. 
The Lord, by an unchangeable counsel and purpose, hath decreed 
and set down all things, and how they shall come to pass ; and 
therefore it is a wrong way of arguing for people to say, If God 
hath determined how long I shall live, then I shall not die sooner, 
though I never eat or drink. 

Object. 3. If God hath determined the eternal state and condition 
of men, whether they shall be happy or miserable for ever, then it 
is in vain to repent and believe, or use any means for their own 
safety. For if God hath elected them to salvation, they shall cer- 
tainly be saved, whether they use any means or not ; and if they 
are not elected to everlasting life, all that they can possibly do will 
be to no purpose at all, for they shall never be saved by it. 

For answer to this, you must know, 

1. That God's decree of election is a great secret, which we ought 
not to pry into. It is simply impossible for men to know whether 
they are elected or not, before they believe. Indeed, if a man were 
certain that he is not elected to eternal life, it would be another 
case : but as it is not certain that thou art elected, so it is not cer- 
tain that thou art not elected. You have no means to know eithei' 
the one or the other certainly, till you get saving faith. Till then 
the Lord reserves it in his own breast, as a secret which we are not 
to pry into. For it is said, Deut. xxix. 29. ' Secret things belong 


unto the Lord our God ; but those things which are revealed belong 
unto us and to our children, that we may do all the things of his 
law.' Here the Lord shews what belongs to him and what belongs 
to us, and that we should mind our duty, and not busy and perplex 
ourselves about impertinencies. Whether men be elected or not 
elected, is a secret that God never discloses to an unbeliever ; but 
that we should believe on Christ is no secret. This is a duty clearly 
revealed and enjoined by the gospel. 

2. It is our duty to look to God's commands, and not to his de- 
crees ; to our own duty, and not to his purposes. The decrees of 
God are a vast ocean, into which many possibly have curiously 
pried to their own horror and despair ; but few or none have ever 
pried into them to their own profit and satisfaction. Our election is 
not written in particular in the word of God ; but our duty is 
plainly set down there. If men conscientiously perform their duty, 
this is the way to come to the knowledge of their election. Men 
therefore should not question whether they be elected or not, but 
first believe on Christ, and endeavour diligently to work out their 
own salvation ; and if their works be good, and their obedience 
true, thereby they will come to a certain knowledge that they were 
elected and set apart to everlasting life. 

3. As God elects to the end, so he elects also to the means. Now, 
faith and obedience are the means and way to salvation ; and there- 
fore, if you be elected to salvation, you are also elected to faith and 
obedience. See what is said to this purpose, 2 Thess. ii. 13. ' God 
hath chosen you to salvation,' there is the end ; ' through sanctifi- 
cation of the Spirit and belief of the truth,' there is the means 
which lead to that end. Both are decreed by God. If therefore 
you heartily and sincerely believe and obey, then your election to 
salvation stands firm and sure. Nay, further, the scriptures make 
election to be terminated as well in obedience as salvation. So 
1 Pet. i. 2. ' Elect (says the apostle) unto obedience, through sancti- 
fication of the Spirit.' In the former place it was, ' elect to salva- 
tion through sanctification;' but here it is, 'elect to obedience 
through sanctification ;' to denote unto us, that none are elected 
unto salvation but those that are elected unto obedience. And 
therefore it is unreasonable, yea, it is contradictory to say, if I am 
elected, I shall be saved, whether I believe and obey or not ; for 
none are elected to salvation but through faith and obedience. 

4. Men do not pry into the decrees of God in other things, but do 
what they know to be incumbent upon them as their duty. And 
certainly it is as unreasonable here. When you are dangerously 
sick, and the physician tells you, that unless you take sucli and such 



medicines, your case is desperate ; you do not use to reason thus, 
Then if God liatli decreed my recovery, I will certainly be restored 
to my health, whether I take that course of physic or not ; but you 
presently fall in with the advice given you, and make use of the 
means prescribed for your health. And will you not do so here ? 
You are dangerously sick and mortally wounded with sin, and God 
commands you to flee to Christ the only physician that can cure you, 
and cast yourselves upon him, and you shall certainly be saved. 
But 0, says the sinner, if I knew that God had decreed my salva- 
tion, I would venture on Christ ; but till once I know this, I must 
not believe: how unreasonable is unbelief! The devil's sugges- 
tions make poor creatures act as if they were entirely distracted 
and out of their wits. This is just as if an Israelite stung Avith 
the fiery serpents should have said. If I kncAV that the Lord had 
decreed my cure, I would look upon the brazen serpent, and if he 
hath decreed it, I will certainly recover whether I look to it or not. 
If all the stung Israelites had been thus resolved, it is likely they 
had all perished. Or this is as if one pursued by the avenger of 
blood, should have set himself down in the way to the city of refuge, 
where he should have been flying for his life, and said. If God hath 
decreed my escape, then I will be safe whether I run to the city of 
refuge or not ; but if he hath not decreed it, then it is in vain for 
me to go thither. Now, would not men count this a wilful casting 
away of his life, with a careless neglect of that provision which God 
hath made to save it ? "Was it not sufficient that a way was made 
for his escape, and a way feasible enough, the city of refuge being 
always open ? Thus the arms of Christ are always open to receive 
and embrace poor humbled perishing sinners fleeing to him for help. 
And will men destroy themselves by sufteriug Satan to entangle 
them with a needless, impertinent, and unreasonable scruple ? In 
other cases, if there be no way but one, and any encouraging pro- 
bability to draw men into it, they run into it without delay, not 
perplexing and discouraging themselves with the decrees of God. 
Now, this is thy case, sinner ; Christ is the way, the truth, and 
the life ; there is no other by whom you can be saved ; flee to him 
then as for thy life ; and let not Satan hinder thee, by diverting 
thee to impossibilities and impertinencies. Comply with the call 
and oflTer of the gospel. This is present and pertinent duty, and 
trouble not thyself about the secrets of God. 

I conclude all with a few inferences. 

1. Has God decreed all things that come to pass? Then there is 
nothing that falls out by chance, nor are we to ascribe what we 
meet with either to good or ill luck and fortune. There are many 


events in the world which men look upon as mere accidents, yet all 
these come by the counsel and appointment of Heaven. Solomon 
tells us, Prov. xvi. 33. that ' the lot is cast into the lap, but the 
whole disposing thereof is from the Lord.' However casual and 
fortuitous things may be with respect to us, yet they are all deter- 
mined and directed by the Lord. When that man drew a bow at 
a venture, 1 Kings xxii. 34. it was merely accidental with respect 
to him, yet it was God that guided the motion of the arrow so as to 
smite the king of Israel rather than any other man. Nothing then 
comes to pass, however casual and uncertain it may seem to be, but 
what was decreed by God. 

2. Hence we see God's certain knowledge of all things that hap- 
pen in the world, seeing his knowledge is founded on his decree. 
As he sees all things possible in the glass of his own power, so he 
sees all things to come in the glass of his own will ; of his eftccting 
will, if he hath decreed to produce them; and of his permitting will, 
if he hath decreed to suffer them. Hence his declaration of things 
to come is founded on his appointing them, Isa. xliv. 7- * Who, as I, 
shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I 
appointed the ancient people ? and the things that are coming and 
shall come ? let them shew unto them.' He foreknows the most 
necessary things according to the course of nature, because he de- 
creed that such effects should proceed from and necessarily follow 
such and such causes : and he knows all future contingents, all 
things which shall fall out by chance, and the most free actions of 
rational creatures, because he decreed that such things should come 
to pass contingently or freely, according to the nature of second 
causes. So that what is casual or contingent with respect to us, is 
certain and necessary in regard of God. 

3. Whoever be the instruments of any good to us, of whatever 
sort, we must look above them, and eye the hand and counsel of 
God in it, Avhich is the first spring, and be duly thankful to God 
for it. And whatever evil of crosses or afflictions befals us, we 
must look above the instruments of it to God. Affliction doth not 
rise out of the dust or come to men by chance ; but it is the Lord 
that sends it, and we should own and reverence his hand in it. So 
did David in the day of his extreme distress. 2 Sam. xvi. 11. ' Let 
him alone, and let him curse ; for the Lord hath bidden him.' We 
should be patient under whatever distress befals us, considering that 
God is our party. Job ii, 10. ' Shall we receive good at the hand of 
God, and shall we not receive evil ?' This would be a happy means 
to still our quarrelings at adverse dispensations. Hence David 
says, ' I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it,' 
Psal. xxxix. 9. 


4. See here the evil of murmuring and complaining at our lot in 
the world. IIow apt are ye to quarrel with God, as if he were 
in the wrong when liis dealings with you are not according to 
your own desires and wishes? You demand a reason, and call 
God to an account, Why am I thus ? why so much aiflicted and dis- 
tressed ? why so long afflicted ? and why such an affliction rather 
than another ? why am I so poor and another so rich ? Thus your 
hearts rise up against God. But you should remember, that this is 
to defame the counsels of infinite wisdom, as if God had not ordered 
your affairs wisely enough in his eternal counsel. We find the 
Lord reproving Job for this, chap. xl. 2. ' shall he that contendeth 
with the Lord instruct him ?' When ye murmur and repine under 
cross and afflictive dispensations, this is a presuming to instruct God 
how to deal with you, and to reprove him as if he were in the 
wrong. Yea, there is a kind of implicit blasphemy in it, as if you 
had more wisdom and justice to dispose of your lot, and to carve 
out your own portion in the world. This is upon the matter the 
language of such a disposition, Had I been on God's counsel, I had 
ordered this matter better ; things had not been with me as now 
they are. presume not to correct the infinite wisdom of God, 
seeing he has decreed all things most wisely and judiciously. 

6. There is no reason for people to excuse their sins and falls, 
from the doctrine of the divine decrees. Wicked men, when they 
commit some villainy or atrocious crime, are apt to plead thus for 
their excuse. Who can help it ? God would have it so ; it was ap- 
pointed for me before I was born, so that I could not avoid it. 
This is a horrid abuse of the divine decrees, as if they did constrain 
men to sin : Whereas the decree is an immanent act of God, and so 
can have no influence, physical or moral upon the wills of men, but 
leaves them to the liberty and free choice of their own hearts ; and 
what sinners do, they do most freely and of choice. It is a horrid 
and detestable wickedness to cast the blame of your sin upon God's 
decree. This is to charge your villainy upon him, as if he were the 
a\ithor of it. It is great folly to cast your sins upon Satan who 
tempted you, or upon your neighbour who provoked you ; but it is 
a far greater sin, nay horrid blasphemy, to cast it upon God him- 
self. A greater affront than this cannot be offered to the infinite 
holiness of God. 

6. Lastly, Let the people of God comfort themselves in all cases 
by this doctrine of the divine decrees ; and, amidst whatever befals 
them, rest quietly and submissively in the bosom of God, consider- 
ing that whatever comes or can come to pass, proceeds from the de- 
cree of their gracious friend and reconciled Father, who knows 


what is best for them, and will make all things work together for 
their good. what a sweet and pleasant life would ye haA'e under 
the heaviest pressures of affliction, and what heavenly serenity and 
tranquillity of mind would you enjoy, would you cheerfully acqui- 
esce in the good will and pleasure of God, and embrace every dis- 
pensation, how sharp soever it may be, because it is determined and 
appointed for you by the eternal counsel of his will ! 


Heb. xi. 3. — Tlirough faith xue understand that the worlds were framed 
by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of 
things which do appear. 

Having discoursed to you of the decrees of God, whereby he hath 
fore-ordained whatsoever comes to pass, I come now to treat of the 
execution of these decrees. That question, ' How doth God execute 
his decrees ?' being only an introduction to what follows, it is need- 
less to insist on it. Only you must know, that for God to execute 
his decrees, is to bring to pass Avhat he has decreed. Now, what 
God from all eternity decreed is brought to pass in the works of 
creation and providence. Nothing falls out in either of these but 
what was decreed ; nor does it fall out in any other way than as it 
was decreed. The decrees of God are as it were the scheme, draught 
and pattern of the house ; and the works of creation and providence 
are the house, built in every point conformable to the draught. 

In the text we have an answer to that question, ' What is the 
work of creation ?' Wherein, we may consider, 

1. What we understand about it. (1.) The making of the 
world ; it was framed, and had a beginning, not being from eternity. 
(2.) The author and efficient cause of it, God. (3.) What God 
made, the luorlds ; all things, heaven, earth, sea, air, &c. and all the 
inhabitants thereof, angels, men, cattle, fowls, fishes, &c. (4.) How 
they were made. In/ the word of God, that word of power which 
spake all things, into being. Or it may denote Jesus Christ, who 
is called the word of God, and by whom God made the worlds. (5.) 
Whereof they were made. This is declared negatively, Things 
which are seen were not made of things which do appear, that is, not of 
pre-existcnt matter, but of nothing. By things that are seen may be 
understood visible corporeal things ; and if these were made of no- 
thing, much more things that are not seen. But I rather under- 


stand it of all things wliicli arc seen to have a being ; for that word 
relates to the eyes of the understanding, as well as of the body. 

2. How we understand this creation of the world, through faith. 
Not that we can understand nothing of the creation by the light of 
nature ; for the eternity of the world is contrary to reason as well 
as faith ; but we have the full and certain knowledge of this work 
of creation in the particular circumstances of it, through faith as- 
senting to divine revelation, and no other way. 

In speaking to this work of creation I shall shew, 

I. What we are to understand by creation. 

II. That the world was made, or had a beginning. 

III. Who made it. 

IV. What God made. 

V. Whereof all things were made. 

VI. How they were made. 

VII. In what space of time they were made. 

VIII. For what end God made all things. 

IX. In what case or condition he made them. 

X. Deduce some inferences from the whole. 

I. I am to show what we are to understand by creation, or what 
it is to create. 

1. It is not to be taken here in a large sense, as sometimes it is 
used in scripture, for any production of things wherein second 
causes have their instrumentality ; as when it is said, Psal. civ. 30. 
' Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created ; and thou renewest 
the face of the earth.' Where the meaning is, thou sendest forth 
thy quickening power, which produceth life in the creatures from 
time to time : for the Psalmist speaks not here of the first creation, 
but of the continued and repeated production of living creatures, in 
which the divine power is the principal agent. But, 

2. We are to take it strictly, for the production of things out of 
nothing, or the giving a being to things which had none before. 
And here you must know, that there is a twofold creation, one im- 
mediate, and the other mediate. 

(1.) There is an immediate creation; as when things are brought 
forth out of pure nothing, where there was no pre-existent matter 
to work upon. Thus the heavens, the earth, the waters, and all the 
materials of inferior bodies, were made of nothing ; and the souls 
of men are still produced from the womb of nothing by God's crea- 
tive power, and infused into their bodies immediately by him, when 
they are fully organised to receive them. 

(2.) There is a secondary and mediate creation, which is the mak- 
ing things of pre-existing matter, but of such as is naturally unfit 


and altogether indisposed for such productions, and which could ne- 
ver by any power of second causes be brought into such a form. 
Thus all beasts, cattle, and creeping things, and the body of man, 
were at first made of the earth, and the dust of the ground ; and the 
body of the first woman was made of a rib taken out of the man. 
Now, this was a creation as well as the former ; because, though 
there was matter here to work upon, yet it could never have been 
reduced into such a form without the efficacy of Almighty power. 
"We have an account of both these in the history of the creation. 
It is said, Gen. i. 1. 'In the beginning God created the heavens 
and the earth ;' i. e, he made that mighty mass of matter out of no- 
thing, which was at first a rude and indigested lump ; for the earth 
was without form, and the heavens without light. And then by 
that same omnipotent power he reduced it into that beautiful order 
and disposition wherein it now appears to our view. 

II. I go on to shew that the world was made, that it had a begin- 
ning and was not eternal. This the scripture plainly testifies, Gen. 
i. 1. above quoted. And this reason itself teacheth : for whatsoever 
is eternal, the being of it is necessary, and it is subject to no alter- 
ation. But we see this is not the case with the world ; for it is 
daily undergoing alterations. 

III. I am next to shew who made the world, and gave it a be- 
ginning. That was God and he only, Gen. i. 1. 'In the beginning 
God created the heavens and the earth.' This will evidently ap- 
pear from the following particulars. 

1. The world could not make itself; for this would imply a 
horrid contradiction, namely, that the world was before it was ; for 
the cause must always be before its efi'ect. That which is not in 
being, can have no production ; for nothing can act before it exists. 
As nothing hath no existence, so it hath no operation. There must 
therefore be something of real existence, to give a being to those 
things that are ; and every second cause must be an effect of some 
other before it be a cause. To be and not to be at the same time, is 
a manifest contradiction, which would infallibly take place if any 
thing made itself. That which makes is always before that which 
is made, as is obvious to the most illiterate peasant. If the world 
were a creator, it must be before itself as a creature. 

2. The production of the world could not be by chance. It was 
indeed the extravagant fancy of some ancient philosophers, that the 
original of the world was from a fortuitous concourse of atoms, 
which were in perpetual motion in an immense space, till at last a 
sufficient number of them met in such a happy conjunction as 
formed the universe in the beautiful order in which we now behold 



it. But it is amazingly strange how such a wild opinion, which can 
never be reconciled with reason, could ever find any entertainment 
in a human mind. Can any man rationally conceive, that a con- 
fused rout of atoms, of diverse natures and forms, and some so far 
distant from others, should ever meet in such a fortunate manner, 
as to form an entire world, so vast in the bigness, so distinct in the 
order, so united in the diversities of natures, so regular in the 
variety of changes, and so beautiful in the whole composure ? Such 
an extravagant fancy as this can only possess the thoughts of a dis- 
ordered brain. 

3. God created all things, the world, and all the creatures that 
belong to it. He attributes this work to himself, as one of the 
peculiar glories of his Deity, exclusive of all the creatures. So we 
read, Isa. xliv. 24. ' I am the Lord that maketh all things ; that 
stretcheth forth the heavens alone ; that spreadeth abroad the earth 
by myself.' Chap. xlv. 12. * I liave made the earth, and created 
man upon it ; I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and 
all their host have I commanded.' Chap. xl. 12, 13. 'Who hath 
measured the waters in the hollow of his hand? and meted out 
heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a 
measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a 
balance ? "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his 
counsellor hath taught him ? Job ix. 8. ' Which alone spreadeth 
out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.' These 
are magnificent descriptions of the creating power of God, and ex- 
ceed every thing of the kind that hath been attempted by the pens 
of the greatest sages of antiquity. — By this operation God is dis- 
tinguished from all the false gods and fictitious deities which the 
blinded nations adored, and shews himself to be the true God. Jer. 
X. 11. 12. ' The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, 
even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these hea- 
vens. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established 
the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his 
discretion.' Psal. xcvi. 5. ' All the gods of the nations are idols : 
but the Lord made the heavens.' Isa. xxxvii. 19. ' Thou art the 
God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth : thou hast 
made heaven and earth.' None could make the world but God, 
because creation is a work of infinite power, and could not be pro- 
duced by any finite cause : For the distance between being and not 
being is truly infinite, which could not be removed by any finite 
agent, or the activity of all finite agents united. 

This work of creation is common to all the three persons in the 
adorable Trinity. The Father is described in scripture as the 


Creator, 1 Cor, viii. 6. — ' The Father, of whom are all thiugs.' 
The same prerogative belongs to the Son, John i. 3. 'All things 
were made by him (the Word, the Son) ; and withont him was not 
any thing made that was made.' The same honour belongs to the 
Holy Ghost, as Job xxvi. 13. ' By his Spirit he hath garnished the 
heavens.' Chap, xxxiii, 4. ' The Spirit of God hath made me (says 
Elihu), and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.' All 
the three persons are one God ; God is the Creator ; and therefore 
all the external works and acts of the one God must be common to 
the three persons. Hence, when the wox'k of creation is ascribed to 
the Father, neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit are excluded ; but 
because, as the Father is the fountain of the Deity, so he is the 
fountain of divine works. The Fatlier created from himself by the 
Son and the Spirit ; the Son from the Father by the Spirit ; and 
the Spirit from the Father and the Son ; the manner or order of 
their working being according to the order of their subsisting. The 
matter may be conceived thus : All the three persons being one 
God, possessed of the same infinite perfections ; the Father, the 
first in subsistence, willed the work of creation to be done by his 
authority : ' He spake, and it was done ; he commanded, and it 
stood fast.' — In respect of immediate operation, it peculiarly be- 
longed to the Son. For 'the Father created all things by Jesus 
Christ,' Eph. iii. 9. And we are told, that ' all things were made 
by him,' John iii. 3. This work in regard of disposition and orna- 
ment, doth peculiarly belong to the Holy Ghost. So it is said, Gen. 
i. 2. ' The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters,' to gar- 
nish and adorn the world, after the matter of it was formed. Thus 
it is also said. Job xxvi. 13. above cited, ' By his Spirit he hath gar- 
nished the heavens.' 

IV. Our next province is to shew what God made. All things 
whatsoever, besides God, were created, Rev. iv. 11. 'Thou hast 
created all things ; and for thy pleasure they are and were created.' 
Col. i. 16. ' By him were all things created.' The evil of sin is no 
positive being, it being but a defect or want, and therefore is not rec- 
koned among the things which God made, but owes its existence to 
the will of fallen angels and men. Devils being angels, are God's 
creatures ; but God did not make them evil, or devils, but they 
made themselves so. 

Those things that were made in the beginning were most properly 
created of God ; but whatsoever is or will be produced in the world, 
is still made by God, not only in respect that the matter whereof 
they are made was created by him, but because he is the first cause 
of all things, without whom second causes could produce nothing ; 

M 2 


and whatever power one creature Las of producing another, is from 
God. Hence Elihu says, as above cited, ' The Spirit of God hath 
made me ;' though he was produced by the operation of second 
causes. And it is worth while to consider what David says on this 
head, Psal. cxxxix. 13, — 16. This clearly appears from the impo- 
tency of the creature to produce any thing according to nature, 
when God denies his concurrence. Hence we have a chain of causes 
described, Hos. ii. 21, 22. where God is the first cause, and acts the 
same part in all other operations wherein creatures are concerned : 
* I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall 
hear the earth, and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and 
the oil, and they shall hear Jezreel.' If it be asked, then, what did 
God make ? I answer, he made every thing that has a being, this 
stately structure of the universe, and that vast variety of creatures 
that are in it, sin only excepted, which he permitted should take 
place, but had no hand in the eff'ecting of it as such. 

Y. I proceed to shew of what all things were made. Of nothing ; 
which does not denote any matter of which they were formed, but 
the term from which God brought them ; when they had no being he 
gave them one. There was no pre-existent matter to make them of, 
nothing at all to work upon : for he ' made all things both visible 
and invisible,' Col. i. 16. Rom. xi. 36. If then he made all things, he 
must needs have made them of nothing, unless he would say there 
was, besides God, something before there was any thing, which is a 
palpable contradiction. To create is properly to make a thing of 
nothing, to make a thing have an existence that had none before. 
Thus were the heavens and the earth made of nothing simply ; that 
is, they began to exist, which they never did before. This is what 
is called immediate creation, as I shewed on the first head. But 
there is a mediate creation, as I also noticed, which is a producing 
of things from nlatter altogether unfit for the work, and which could 
never be disposed, but by an almighty power to be such a thing. 
Thus man's body was created of the dust, and this itself was cre- 
ated of nothing, and was utterly unfit for producing such a work 
without a superior agency. 

YI. The sixth head is to shew, how all things were made of no- 
thing. By the word of God's power. It was the infinite power of 
God that gave them a being ; which power was exerted in his word, 
not a word properly spoken, but an act of his will commanding them 
to be. Gen. i. 3. God said, ' Let there be light and there was light,' 
Psal. xxxiii. 6, 9, ' By the word of the Lord were the heavens made. 
He spake and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.' By 
his powerful word he called them from nothing to being, Rom. iv. 


17. ' CJod calleth those things which be not as though they were.' 
This is a notable evidence of infinite power, which with so great easi- 
ness as the speaking of a word, could raise up this glorious fabric of 
the world. An heathen philosopher considered this as a striking 
instance of the sublime, peculiar to the books of the Jewish legis- 

VII. Our next business is to shew in what space of time the 
world was created. It was not done in a moment, but in the space 
of six days, as is clear from the narrative of Moses. It was as easy 
for God to have done it in one moment as in six days. But this 
method he took, that we might have that wisdom, goodness, and 
power that appeared in the work, distinctly before our eyes, and be 
stirred up to a particular and distinct consideration of these works, 
for commemoration of which a seventh day is appointed a sabbath 
of rest. 

But although God did not make all things in one moment, yet we 
are to believe, that every particular work was done in a moment, 
seeing it was done by a word, or an act of the divine will, Psal. 
xxxiii. 9. forecited. No sooner was the divine will intimated, than 
the thing willed instantly took place. 

In the space of these six days the angels were created ; and it is 
not to be thought that they were brought into being before that 
period ; for the scripture expressly asserts, that all things were cre- 
ated in that space, Exod. xx. 11. And though Moses, Gen. i. makes 
no express mention of the angels, yet, Gen. ii. 1, he shews that they 
were created in one of these six days, as he mentions the host of the 
heavens and the earth ; and it is certain, that in the host of heaven 
the angels are included, 1 Kings xxii. 19. where Micaiah the pro- 
phet says, ' I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of 
heaven (which can be no other than the angels) standing by him.' 

The works of the first day were, (1.) The highest heaven, the 
seat of the blessed, and that with the angels its inhabitants, who in 
Job xxxviii. 4, — 7- under the designation of ' morning stars and sons 
of God,' are said to have ' sang together, and shouted for joy,' when 
the foundations of the earth were laid, as being then .made. (2.) 
The earth, that is, the mass of earth and water, which Moses says 
was without form and void ; that is, without that beauty and order 
which it afterwards received, and destitute of inhabitants, and with- 
out furniture and use. (3.) The light, which was afterwards ga- 
thered together, and distributed into the body of the sun and stars. 

The works of the second day were the firmament ; that is, that 
expansion or vast space Avhich extends itself from the surface of the 
earth to the utmost extremity of the visible heavens, which ver. 8. 

M 3 


is called heaven, that is, tlie jcrial heavens, the habitation of birds 
and fowls, through which they wing their way. This vast extension 
is called the firmament, because it is fixed in its proper place, with- 
out which it cannot be removed without force and violence. An- 
other work of this day was the dividing of the waters above the 
firmament, that is, the clouds, from the waters as yet mixed with 
the earth, which were afterwards gathered together into seas, rivers, 
lakes, fountains, &c. 

On the third day, the lower waters were gathered into certain 
hollow places, which formed the sea ; and the dry land appeared, 
adorned with plants, trees, and herbs, which continue to be pro- 
duced to this day. 

On the fourth day, the sun, moon, and stars were made, to en- 
lighten the world, and render it a beautiful place, which otherwise 
would have been an uncomfortable dungeon, and to distinguish the 
four seasons of the year. 

On the fifth day, the fishes and fowls were made. 

On the sixth day, all sorts of beasts, tame and wild, and creeping 
things were produced out of the earth ; and last of all, man, male 
and female. 

It is probable that the world was created in autumn, that season 
of the year in which generally things are brought to perfection for 
the use of man and beast. But this not being an article of faith, 
■we need not insist upon it. 

VIII. I come now to shew for what end God made all things. It 
was for his own glory, Prov. xvi.4. ' The Lord hath made all things 
for himself,' Rom. xi. 36. ' For of him, and through him, and to 
him are all things.' And there are these three attributes of God 
that especially shine forth in this work of creation, namely, his wis- 
dom, power, and goodness. 

1. His wisdom eminently appears, (1.) In that after the heavens 
and their inhabitants were created, those things that have only be- 
ing and not life, then those that have being and life, but not sense, 
then those that have being, life, and sense, but not reason, and last 
of all, man, having being, life, sense, and reason, were successively 
formed. ' Lord, how manifold are thy works ! in wisdom hast 
thou made them all.' (2.) In his appointing of every thing to its 
proper use, by the law of creation. Gen. i. Hence the wisdom of 
God is celebrated in that work, Jer. x. 12. ' He hath made the earth 
by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath 
stretched out the heavens by his discretion.' 

2. The power of God appeared, (1.) In creating all things by a 
word, which instantly produced the eflfect intended. (2.) In that he 


crecated plants, herbs, aud trees, before the sun, moon, and stars, 
which now naturally are the causes of the earth's producing its 
fruits ; as also light before them, for discovering their beauty and 

3. His goodness appears, in that he first prepared the place be- 
fore he brought in the inhabitants, first provided the food before the 
living creatures were made, and adorned and fitted all for the use of 
man, before he formed him. 

IX. If it is asked, ' In what state were all things made ? I an- 
swer. They were all ' very good,' Gen. i. 31. The goodness of the 
creature consists in its fitness for the use for which it was made. 
In this respect every thing answered exactly the end of its creation. 
Again, the goodness of things is their perfection; and so every 
thing was made agreeable to the idea thereof that was formed in the 
divine mind. There was not the least blemish or defect in the 
work ; but every thing was beautiful, as it was the effect of infinite 
wisdom as well as almighty pow^er. And Grod being the end of all, 
even nattiral things tend to him. (1.) Declaring his glory in an 
objective way, Psal. xix. 1. (2.) Stirring us up to seek him, and 
behold him as our chief good and portion. Acts xvii. 26, 27. Rom. 
i. 20. (3.) Sustaining our life, and serving man, that he might 
serve God, for which he was made very fit, in regard of the rich 
endowments of his mind, all pure, holy, and upright, 1 Cor. x. 31. 
All the sin and misery that is now in the world, by which its 
beauty is greatly marred, its goodness defaced, and disorder and 
irregularity so universally prevail, proceeded from Satan, and man's 
yielding to his temptations. 

I shall shut up this subject with a few inferences. 

1. God is a most glorious being, infinitely lovely and desirable, 
possessed of every perfection and excellency. He made all things, 
aud bestowed upon them all the perfections and amiable qualities 
Avith which they are invested. So that there is no perfection in any 
of the creatures which is not in him in an eminent way, Psal. xciv. 
9. ' He that planted the ear, shall he not hear ? he that formed the 
eye, shall he not see ?' Whatever excellency and beauty is in the 
creatures, is all from him ; and sure it must be most excellent in 
the fountain. 

2. God's glory should be our chief end. And seeing whatever we 
have is from him, it should be used and employed for him : For ' all 
things were created by him and for him,' Col. i. 16. Have we a 
tongue ? It should be employed for him, to shew forth his praise ; 
hands? they should do and work for him; life? it should be em- 
ployed in his service ; talents and abilities ? they should be laid out 


for promoting Lis interest and honour ; and, upon a proper call, we 
should be ready to suffer for him. 

3. God is our Soyercign Lord Proprietor, and may do in us, ou 
us, and by us, what he will : Ilom. ix. 20, 21. ' Shall the thing 
formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus ? 
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make 
one vessel unto honour and another unto dishonour ?' There is no 
reason to murmur and fret under the cross, or any afflicting dispen- 
sations, that he exercises us with. Should he destroy that being 
that he gave us, to whom would he do wrong ? As he gave it us 
freely, he may take it away, without any impeachment of his good- 
ness and justice. May not Grod do with his own what he will ? 

4. "We should use all the creatures we make use of with an eye 
to God, and due thankfulness to him, the giver ; employing them 
for our use, and in our service, soberly and wisely, with hearts full 
of gratitude to our Divine Benefactor ; considering they stand re- 
lated to God as their Creator, and are the workmanship of his own 
hands. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be re- 
fused, if it be received with thanksgiving, 1 Tim. iv. 4. They are 
not to be used to his dishonour, or the feeding of our base lusts and 
irregular appetites, but to fit us for and strengthen us in the per- 
formance of our duty to him. 

There is no case so desperate, but faith may get sure footing with 
respect to it in the power and word of God. Let the people of God 
be ever so low, they can never be lower than when they were not at 
all. Hence the Lord says, Isa. Ixv. 18. ' Be glad and rejoice,' &c. 
He spoke a word and so the creature was made at first ; and it will 
cost him but a word to make it over again. Hence Christ is called 
' the beginning of the creation of God,' Rev. iii. 14. seek to be 
new-made by him ; that old things may pass away, and all things 
become new. 

6. Give away yourselves to God through Jesus Christ, making an 
hearty, a cheerful, and an entire dedication and surrender of your 
souls and bodies, and all that ye are and have, to him as your God 
and Father, resolving to serve and obey him all the days of your 
life : that as he made you for his glory, you may in some measure 
answer the end of your creation, which is to shew forth his praise. 
Serve not sin or Satan any longer. God made you upright and 
holy ; but Satan unmade you, stripping you of your highest glory 
and ornament. Relinquish his service, which is the basest drudgery 
and slavery, and will land all that are employed in it in hell at 
last : and engage in the service of God in Clirist, which is truly 
honourable and glorious, and will be crowned with an everlasting 


reward in the other world : for where he is, there shall his servants 
also be. 

7- Lastly, This doctrine affords a ground of love, peace, justice 
and mercy betwixt men, which should be carefully cultivated by all 
that would desire to be with God for ever. For says the prophet, 
Mai. ii. 10. ' Have we not all one Father ? hath not one God created 
us ? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, 
by profaning the covenant of our fathers ?' The consideration of 
being created by God, should be a powerful inducement to us to 
practise all the duties we owe to one another as men and Christians. 


Gen. i. 27. — So God created inan in his oivn image, in the image of 
God created he him : male and female created he them. 

Having discoursed of the creation of all things out of nothing, and 
exhibited some of the displays of the admirable wisdom, power, and 
goodness of God apparent therein, I come now to speak of the cre- 
ation of man, the masterpiece of the lower creation. In the text 
we have an answer to that question, ' How did God create man ?' 
God only spake the word and then the other creatures were pro- 
duced : but being to create man, he called a council of the Trinity 
for that end : whereby the excellency of man above the other crea- 
tures, who is a compend of the world, is clearly demonstrated. 
Here we have the execution of that council, So God created man, 8fc. 
For, as says Seneca, a heathen moralist, man is not a work huddled 
over in a haste, and done without great forethought and considera- 
tion ; for man is the greatest and most stupendous work of God, 
even of God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. As the sacred historian 
had said before of the Creator, ' Let us make man in our image,' 
&c. so it is not for nought that he repeats the act of creating three 
times in this verse ; in wliich also the us in the former verse is re- 
strained to God ; so that the plurality there spoken of is not God 
and angels, but the three persons, one God ; for it was not angels, 
but God that created man. Man here signifies man and woman, 
male and female, Adam and Eve. Wherefore they are called him 
and them; for as they were originally one, God having made two of 
one by creation ; so they two were made one again by marriage. 
And they were both made in one day, Gen. i. 26. — 31. ; and that iu 
the image of God, which is twice repeated ; the import whereof 


seems to be, that man was made very like God. Whereas there is 
but a shadow and vestige of him in the inferior creatures, as we 
may read the name and perfections of God in the least herb of the 
field ; man was made so to represent God in his moral perfections as 
to imitate his virtues. Two things are here to be considered, 

I. God's making man male and female. 

II. His making man after his image. 

I. Let us consider God's making man, male and female ; that is, 
man and woman. 

First, Adam was the male, and Eve the female. These were the 
common parents of all mankind, and there was no man in the world, 
before Adam. He is expressly called ' the first man,' 1 Cor. xv. 5. 
and Eve ' the mother of all living,' Gen. iii. 20. And hence it is 
said ' God hath made of one blood all nations of men,' Acts xvii. 26. 

Secondly, Man consists of a soul and body, which being united 
constitute man ; that is, man or woman. Here I shall consider, 1. 
The body ; and, 2. The soul. 

1. The body of the man. Man's body is a piece of most rare and 
curious workmanship, plainly indicating its divine Maker. In it 
there is a variety of members, none of them superfluous, but all 
adapted to the use assigned them by the wise Creator. The man's 
body, as Moses tells us, was formed of the dust of the ground. Gen. 
ii. 7. Hence he was called Adam, which signifies red earth; of 
which sort of virgin-earth man's body seems to have been made. 
The word rendered dmt, signifies not dust simply, (says Zanchius), 
but clay, which is earth and water. This may teach us humility, 
and repress our pride, and particularly glorying in beauty or any 
external advantages of person, seeing we are sprung of no higher 
original than the earth upon which we tread ; especially seeing, as 
we derived our first being from it, we must return to it again, there 
to abide till the resurrection-day. 

2. The woman's body was formed of the man's, Gen. ii. 21, 22. of 
a rib of the man's side, but not a bare rib, but flesh on it, ver. 23. 
which was taken out of his side while he was in a deep sleep, into 
which God cast him ; so that he felt no pain. And it is not im- 
probable, that in that deep sleep God revealed to him what he him- 
self afterwards declares concerning Eve, and marriage in general, 
ver. 23, 24. "Whether Adam had more ribs than other men, is not 
determined. If he had, it was not superfluous to him as the origin 
of mankind, though it might be as a private person; and therefore 
Eve being made of it, there was no more use for it. If he had not 
more ribs than other men, yet he sustained no loss thereby, which 
was otherwise made up, ver. 21. either by a new rib, or hardening 


the flesh to the use of a rib. In this the wisdom of God doth 
illustriously appear. 

(1.) The woman's body was made of nobler matter than the 
man's, to be some ballast to the man's excellency in respect of his 
sex, that he might not despise but honour her. The word rendered 
made, Gen. ii. 22. is in the Hebrew hiilt. He made the man, but he 
built the woman, as a stately palace, or house, where all mankind 
draw their first breath. 

(2.) It was made of the man's body, to teach men to love their 
wives as their own flesh. 

(3.) It was not made out of man's head, to shew her that she is 
not to be her husband's mistress, nor usurp authority over him, 1 
Tim. ii. 12. ; nor out of his feet, to shew him that she is not to 
be his slave, to be trampled on by him ; but out of his side, near his 
heart, to shew him that she must be treated as his companion, 
loved, nourished, and cherished by him. 

(4.) Lastly, The mystery of the church drawing her life out of 
Christ's sleeping the sleep of death on the cross, Eph. v. seems to 
have been here intended and shadowed forth. 

The bodies of both our first parents were far more beautiful, 
handsome, and graceful than our bodies are now. We are begot of 
men, but they were the immediate workmanship of God. The 
author being more excellent, the workmanship must be so too. 
And so Adam signifies to be ruddy, and to shine, Lam. iv. 7- So 
that to Eve in particular may justly be applied the following lines 
of a celebrated poet : 

A woman loveliest of the lovely kind, 
In body perfect, and complete in mind. 

Secondly, The soul of man was of an original far different from 
that of his body. Moses gives us this account of it, Gen. ii. 7. * The 
Lord God — breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man 
became a living soul.' The Lord inspired him with a living reason- 
able soul, which presently appeared by his breathing at his nostrils ; 
whereas before he was only a fair lifeless body. And this difl'erent 
account of man's soul and body clearly holds forth, that it was not 
fetched out of any power in the matter of his body, but was created 
of nothing. For this inspiration plainly implies that something was 
infused into it, which was not in it before, and did not originally in- 
here in it. Thus was the soul both of the man and the woman 
created ; for that both were created with rational souls, is taught in 
our text, where they are said to be made after God's image ; and 
Moses leaves us to gather the manner of the creation of the woman's 


soul from that of Adam's. Concerning the soul of man, three 
things are specially to be known. 

1. That it is an incorporeal or spiritual substance, different from 
the body. It is called a spirit, Zech. xii. 1. And Stephen prays. 
Acts vii. 59. ' Lord Jesus, receive my Spirit. Compare Luke xxiv. 
39. where our Lord says concerning his body after his resurrection 
from the dead, ' Handle me, and see ; for a spirit hath not flesh and 
bones, as ye see me have.' 

2. As the souls of Adam and Eve were immediately created of 
God, so the souls of all their posterity are immediately formed by 
God, and proceed not from their parents by generation or any other 
way : but God infuseth the soul created by him of nothing, into the 
body formed in the womb when it is fitly organised to receive it. 
And yet a man may properly be said to beget a man, though he 
only begets the body, as well as to kill a man, though he can only 
kill the body. This is plain from that express scripture-testimony, 
Zech. xii. 1. — 'that formeth the spirit of man within him.' So, 
Heb. xii. 9. God is held forth as ' The Father of spirits,' in opposi- 
tion to men as ' the fathers of our flesh ;' which must needs be by 
immediate creation ; for otherwise he is the Father of our flesh too, 
Eccl. xii. 7. ' Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was ; and 
the spirit shall return to God who gave it.' He gave the body too, 
but the soul in such a manner as he gave not the body. 

3. Hence the soul is immortal, being a spirit, and dies not with 
the body, Eccl. xii. 7- just cited. Being immaterial, not consisting 
of parts, it cannot be dissolved. Men can kill the body, but not the 
soul ; and therefore it doth not die with the body, being invulner- 
able, and unsusceptive of external injuries, Matth. x. 28. and xxii. 
32. Neither does it sleep till the resurrection, as some have fool- 
ishly supposed. Our Lord told the thief on the cross, that that 
very day he (that is, his soul) should be with him in paradise, not to 
sleep, but to be actively employed in exercises peculiar to the hea- 
venly state. And certain it is that the apostle Paul had no such 
thought, when he said, Phil. i. 23. ' I am in a strait betwixt two, 
having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ ; which is far 
better.' If his soul was to sleep and doze in indolence and inacti- 
vity after his death, he had never preferred the dissolution of his 
body, and the advantage of being with Christ, to his continuing in 
his mortal state, in which he was most usefully employed. 

Tliirdly, Why did God make man male and female ? 

1. That man might have a meet help. Gen. ii. 18. ; and this was 
the meetest help for the comfort of life, (however uncomfortable sin 
has now made it) ; otherwise God had given Adam a friend and not 


a wife. Hence the endearments of conjugal society, wlien discreetly 
and properly entered into and cultivated, are found, even in our 
present imperfect state, far preferable to those arising from the 
strictest and closest friendships among men. 

2. ,For the lawful propagation of mankind, Gen. i. 27, 28. that 
there might be a godly seed, Mai. ii. 15. and for a remedy against 
all inordinate lusts and libidinous desires. 

II. Let us now consider God's making man after his own image. 

Here I shall shew, 1. Who was created after God's image ; and 
2. Wherein this image consisted. 

First, I am to shew who was created after the image of God. It 
was both the man and the woman, as is clear from the text. In 
this respect, indeed, there was one thing wherein the man excelled 
the woman, which is taken notice of by the apostle, 1 Cor. xi. 7- 
' He is the image and glory of God ; but the woman is the glory of 
the man.' Not but that the woman is the image of God in know- 
ledge, righteousness, and holiness, as well as the man : but the man 
is the image of God in respect of that authority which he has over 
his wife, who is the glory of man in respect of her subjection to him. 
So that what we say of the man as to his being created after the 
divine image, must be understood of the woman too. 

Secondly, I will shew wherein the image of God, in which our 
first parents were made, consisted. Abstracting from the spirituality 
of their souls, and the erect and graceful posture of their bodies, 
peculiar to rational animals alone, which are but a faint shadow of 
the image of God, (if they can with any propriety be called a sha- 
dow of it at all), this image doth principally a# least shine in the 
soul, and those glorious qualities wherewith man was endued, that 
is, both the man and the woman. 

1. The image of God, after which man was created, consisted in 
knowledge, Col. i. 10. He was created wise : Not that he knew all 
things, for that is proper to the omniscient Being alone ; but he was 
ignorant of nothing that he was obliged to know ; he had all the 
knowledge that was necessary for life and godliness. He had clear 
and distinct apprehensions of God, his nature and perfections, far 
superior to any knowledge of that kind that can now be acquired 
by the most diligent and the most laboured researches of human 
industry. And we can hardly suppose that he was ignorant of the 
great mystery of the Trinity, considered abstractly ; as it was most 
certainly the second person who appeared to and conversed with 
him. This knowledge or wisdom of man appeared in his know- 
ledge of the miraculous formation of Eve, whose nature and duty, 
as well as his own towards her, he declares ; which he could not 


know but by a prophetical spirit. The primitive pair had God's 
law written on their hearts, Rom. ii. 15. even that same law which 
was afterwards written on tables of stone, and promulgated from 
mount Sinai. It was concreated with them ; so that no sooner 
were they man and woman, than they were knowing and intelligent 
creatures, endued with all the knowledge necessary for their up- 
right state. Adam's giving names to the beasts, and those such as 
were expressive of their natures, Gen. ii. 19. was a great evidence of 
his knowledge of nature. Thus his knowledge reached from the 
sun, that glorious fountain of light, to the meanest glow-worm that 
shines in the hedge. And that God gave them dominion over the 
earth and all the inferior creatures, is an evidence that they were 
endued with the knowledge of managing civil affairs, which a wise 
man will manage with discretion. 

2. The image of God consisted in righteousness, Eph. iv. 24. 
There was a perfect conformity in his will to the will of God. He 
was endued with a disposition to every good thing, Eccl. vii. 29. 
' God made man upright.' His will was straight with God's will, 
not bending to the right or left hand, without any irregular bias or 
inclination. And he had full power and ability to fulfil the whole 
law of God. As, in respect of knowledge, he perfectly knew the 
whole extent of his duty, so he was created with sufficient powers 
for the due performance thereof. 

3. It consisted in holiness, Eph. iv. 24. Man's affections were 
pure and holy, without being tinctured with any vitious appetite. 
They were regular and orderly, free from all disorder and distemper. 
They were set on ll^wful objects, and that in a right manner, loving 
what God loved, and hating what he hated ; loving and delighting 
in God with all his heart, strength, soul, and mind. Yet all this 
happy disposition was mutable, he was not confirmed therein, nor 
set beyond the reach of falling therefrom, as the event has mourn- 
fully shewed. 

This is that image of God wherein man was created, consisting in 
original righteousness, where his reason was naturally subject to 
God, his will to his reason, and his affections to his will, and con- 
sequently all duly subordinated to God, and directed to him, with- 
out any propensity or inclination to evil. A signal of this was, 
that both our first parents were naked, and yet were not ashamed, 
nor susceptive of shame. 

That man was created in this condition, wise, altogether righte- 
ous, and holy, is not only clear from the above-cited scriptures, but 
is also agreeable to reason ; which suggests, that nothing impure or 
imperfect, nothing having any vitious tendency or inclination, could 


proceed out of the hands of an holy God, who cannot be the author 
of evil. Man was created after the image of God ; and in know- 
ledge, righteousness, and true holiness, the scripture shews us, the 
image of God consists. Moreover, God made all very good, Gen. 
1. 31. Man's goodness consists in these excellent qualities ; and 
without these he would not have been fit for the end of his creation. 
How was it possible for him to have exercised the dominion he was 
invested with over the creatures, or served his Creator in the man- 
ner that became him without such endowments ? Hence I infer, 

(1.) That man was not created in pure naturals, that is, with 
bare faculties, neither good nor evil. For ' God made man up- 
right,' Eccl. vii. 29. 

(2.) That there was not naturally in man a combat betwixt the 
flesh and the spirit, betwixt reason and appetite ; no inclination to 
sin, no lustings of the flesh, or the inferior faculties of the soul. 
For this corrupt will or inclination is sin properly and truly, as the 
apostle shews, Rom. vii. 7- and the fountain of all sin. And to say, 
that these dispositions were in man at his original formation, makes 
God indeed the author of sin ; seeing he made (as they falsely pre- 
tend) man of such matter as is necessarily accompanied with this 
corrupt will and depraved inclination. For says the apostle, ' All 
that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, 
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world,' 
1 John ii. 16. 

(3.) That original righteousness was natural to man, and not 
supernatural in the primitive state. Natural it was, in so far as it 
was concreated with him, and was necessary to»the perfection of 
man as he came out of the creating hands of God; and was not 
added to be as a bridle to his natural inclinations to evil, whereof 
he had none. 

(4.) That Adam had the same spiritual strength in innocency 
wherewith now the regenerate do believe in Christ ; having a power 
to do whatsoever God should command, and to believe whatever he 
should reveal. 

4. The image of God consisted consequently at least in dominion 
over the inferior creatures, whereby he had a right to dispose of 
them according to his pleasure, Gen. i. 26, 27- ; which was a re- 
semblance of the supreme dominion of God over the creatures, 
though not absolute and unlimited, but dependent on God. This 
was evidenced by the beasts being brought to Adam, in token of 
their subjection to him, and his imposing names on them expressive 
of their natures and properties. 

The image of God seated in man's spiritual and immortal soul, 


endued with understanding, will, and affections, shone forth also in 
his body, which had a wonderful beauty in it, and such an admi- 
rable contexture of parts, adapted to their several uses and ends, as 
shewed it was intended for an immortal duration. There was no 
blemish, defect, nor disease, to be found in him. He was not liable 
to any attack by gout or gravel, or any tormenting pain. All the 
humours of his body were in a just temperament and disposition, 
calculated to prevent any distemper which might tend to the disso- 
lution of that excellent constitution. His senses were all quick and 
lively, able to perform with vigour and delight their several opera- 
tions. He was immortal in this state ; and not subject to the 
attacks of death. Though his body was composed of jarring ele- 
ments, which had a natural tendency to dissolution, yet the soul 
was endued with such virtue as to embalm the body, and preserve 
it from the least degree of corruption. The tree of life was the 
sacramental pledge of man's immortality. The erect figure of his 
body looking towards heaven, and the majesty that is in his counte- 
nance, shewed man to be the chief of the works of God in this 
lower world. 

I shall shut up all with a few inferences. 

1. Ah ! how are we fallen from heaven ! "What a lamentable 
change has sin brought on man ! It has defaced the moral image 
of Grod, with which man's soul was beautifully decorated in his 
primitive state, and rent in pieces that pleasant picture of himself 
which God set up in this lower world. This stately fabric lies now 
in ruins, and calls us to lament over its ruins with weeping eyes and 
grieved hearts. Now there is ignorance in the mind, instead of that 
knowledge of God and divine things, with which it was richly fur- 
nished in its primitive state. The understanding, that as a lamp or 
candle shone brightly, is now enveloped with darkness. The will, 
that was exactly conformable to the will of God, and naturally dis- 
posed to comply with every intimation thereof, is now filled with 
irregularity, enmity, and rebellion against God and his law. The 
aff'ections that were all regular, holy, and pure, are now disordered 
and distempered, placed upon and eagerly bent towards improper and 
sinful objects, loving and doating upon what men should hate, hating 
what they should love, joying in what they ought to mourn for, glory- 
ing in what is shameful, abhorring the chief good, and desiring what is 
ruinous to them. All the members of the body that were subordinated 
to the upright mind, and entirely at its command, are now in rebellion, 
and mislead and enslave the mind and superior faculties. And the 
creatures that were man's humble servants, ready to execute his com- 
mands, are now risen up against him, and the least of them having 


a commission, would prove more than a match for him. Nay, it is 
with difficulty and much pains that any of them are brought to 
engage in his service. Ah ! how dismal is man's case ! The crown 
is fallen from our head : wo unto us that we have sinned. Let us 
weep and mourn over our ruined state, and never rest till we get it 
repaired by faith in the Lord Jesus, the great Repairer of this spiri- 
tual breach. 

2. How lovely are knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, wherein 
the image of God consists ! They shine with a dazzling brightness, 
and should charm and captivate our minds. But, alas ! by nature 
we are blind, and see not their beauty and excellency. ! let us 
endeavour, through grace, to put off the old man, which is corrupt 
according to the deceitful lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of 
our minds, putting on the new man, which after God is created in 
righteousness and true holiness. Try if this blessed change has 
passed upon you, if ye be now light in the Lord, be disposed to do 
his will, and are holy in heart and life. Study righteousness and 
holiness if ye would be like God. And beware of ignorance, un- 
righteousness, and impurity, which proceed from Satan, and make 
you so unlike a righteous and holy God. 

3. Come to the Lord Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, 
and the beginning of the creation of God, who at first made man 
after the divine image, and can make him so over again, and will do 
so to those that come to him by faith, with this addition, that the 
image of God which he will impress on the soul anew, shall never be 
lost any more. come to him now, that ye may become God's 
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. 



Matth. X. 29. — Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ? and one of 
them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 

Our Lord is here encouraging his disciples against all the troubles 
and distresses they might meet with in their way, and particularly 
against the fear of men, by the consideration of the providence of 
God, which reaches unto the meanest of things, sparrows and the 
hairs of our head. Sparrows are of a mean price and small value ; 
and yet, for as mean as they are, God preserves them, guides and 
disposes of all things concerning them, so that one of them cannot 
fall to the ground by shot or any other way, without his sovereign 
ordering and disposal. 

The instruction deducible from the text is, 

DocT. * There is a providence that extends itself to the least of 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Shew that there is a providence. 

II. Consider its object. 

III. Explain the acts thereof. 
ly. Consider its properties. 
V. Lastly, make improvement. 

I. I am to shew that there is a providence. This appears, 

1. From plain scripture-testimonies ; as Psal. ciii. 19. 'His king- 
dom ruleth over all.' Acts xvii. 28. 'Inhim we live, and move, and 
have our being,' Eph. i. 11. — 'Who worketh all things after the 
counsel of his own will.' Providence is also held forth by a three- 
fold scripture-emblem. Chiefly, (1.) Mount Moriah, which upon oc- 
casion of the miraculous preservation of Isaac, and a ram to be put 
in his room in order to be sacrificed, was called Jehovah Jieeh, i. e. 
The Lord ivill provide, Gen. xxii. 14. (2.) Jacob's ladder, on which 
God appears managing all things. Gen. xxviii. (3.) Ezekiel's wheels, 
where there was a wheel in the middle of a wheel, denoting the 
agency of the first cause, and the superintending and directing pro- 
vidence of God, Ezek. i. 

2. From the nature of God, who being independent, and the first 
cause of all things, the creatures must needs depend upon him in 
their being and working. He is the end of all things, wise, know- 
ing how to manage all for the best ; powerful to efi'ectuate whatever 
he has purposed ; and faithful to accomplish all he has decreed, 
promised, or threatened. 


3. From the harmony and order of the most confused things in 
the world. Every thing appears to a discerning eye to be "wisely 
ordered, notwithstanding the confusions that seem to take place. 
What would become of the world, if there were not a providence 
seeing men that despise all order, and would fain give loose reins to 
their lusts and unbridled inclinations, are always the greatest party, 
and would overpower and destroy the smaller and most virtuous 
party ? Herein the truth of providence clearly appears. The ex- 
traordinary judgments that have pursued and been inflicted upon 
wicked men, and the remarkable deliverances that have been grant- 
ed to the church and people of God in all ages, do loudly proclaim 
a providence. 

4. From the fulfilment of prophecies, which could not possibly be 
without a providence to bring them to pass. 

II. Let us, in the next place, consider the object of providence, or 
that which it reacheth and extendeth to. And this is all the crea- 
tures, and all their actions, Heb. i. 3. — ' Upholding all things by the 
word of his power,' Psal. ciii. 19. 'His kingdom ruleth over all.' 
The angels are subject to this providence, Neh. ix. 6. ' Thou, even 
thou art Lord alone, thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, 
with all their host, the earth and all things that are therein, the 
seas and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all, and the 
host of heaven worshippeth thee.' So are also the devils, these in- 
fernal spirits, Matth. viii. 31, 'If thou cast us out (said they to 
Jesus), suffer us to go away unto the herd of swine.' It reacheth 
natural things, as clouds, snow, winds, &c. as appears from Psal. 
civ. cxlvii. and from daily observation. Casual things are ordered 
by providence, as lots, Prov. xvi. 33. ' The lot is cast into the lap : 
but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.' So in the case of 
accidental manslaughter, Exod. xxi. 13. ' If a man lie not in wait, 
and God deliver him into his hand.' There is nothing so mean but 
providence extends to it, such as the falling of a sparrow, and the 
numbering of the hairs of our head. It is God that feeds the fowls 
and the young ravens that cry. He clothes the lilies and grass of 
the field, that have no hand of man about them. He made lice, 
frogs, &c. a plague to scourge Pharaoh and his people, worms to eat 
up Herod, &;c. In a special manner providence is conversant about 
man, forming him in the womb, ' Hast thou not poured me out as 
milk (says Job), and curdled me like cheese ? Thou hast clothed 
me with flesh and hast fenced me with bones and sinews,' Job x. 10, 
11. — bringing him forth out of his mother's bowels, and holding him 
up thereafter, Psal. Ixxi. 6. His heart is in the Lord's hand, and 
all his thoughts and inclinations are under his coutroul, Prov. xxi. 1. 



He directs and orders all his steps. The most free acts of the crea- 
ture's will are governed by superintending providence. All their 
good actions, John xv. 5. ' Without nie ye Can do nothing.' So also 
their evil actions, Acts iv. 27, 28. ' For of a truth against thy holy 
child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, 
with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 
for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to 
be done,' Gen. xlv. 7- ' God sent me before you,' says Joseph to his 
brethren, though they had wickedly sold hira into Egypt. 

III. I proceed to consider the acts of providence. They are two, 
preserving and governing the creatures and their actions. 

1. God by his providence preserves all the creatures. This pre- 
servation of the creatures is an act of providence, whereby they are 
preserved in their being and power of acting, Heb. i. 3. ' Uphold- 
ing all things by the word of his power.' In this God sometimes 
makes use of means, and sometimes acts without means. AVe have 
both described, Hos. ii. 21, 22. ' I will hear saith the Lord, I will 
hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth, and the earth shall 
hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil, and they shall hear Jez- 
reel.' He preserves the heavens immediately, the earth, the corn, 
the wine, and the oil, &c. mediately. And thus by his providence 
he provides all things necessary for the preservation of all things ; 
Psal. cxlv. 15, 16. ' The eyes of all wait upon thee, and thou givest 
them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satis- 
fiest the desire of every living thing.' This act of providence is so 
necessary, that nothing could subsist one moment without it. For 
there is no necessary connexion betwixt the being of the creatures 
this moment and their being the next; and as they could net give 
themselves a being, so they cannot continue it, but must be upheld 
by God as a ball in the air, Heb. i. 3. There is a continual efflux 
of providence necessary for preserving and upholding the creatures 
in their being, otherwise they would be independent, and could pre- 
serve themselves, which is grossly absurd. 

2. God does not only preserve the creatures, but governs and ma- 
nages them, which is the second act of providence ; whereby he dis- 
poses of all things, persons, and actions, according to his will, Prov. 
xxi. 1. ' The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers 
of water : he turneth it whithersoever he will, Prov. xvi. 33. ' The 
lot is cast into the lap : but the whole disposing thereof is of the 
Lord.' Chap. xvi. 9. ' A man's heart deviseth his way ; but the 
Lord directeth his steps.' And this act of providence is also neces- 
sary : for as the creature cannot be or exist without God, so neither 
can it act without him, Acts xvii. 21. ' For in him we live, and 


move, and have our being.' God does not make man as the carpen- 
ter doth the ship, which afterwards sails without him ; but he rules 
and guides him, sitting at the helm, to direct and order all his mo- 
tions : so that whatever men do, they do nothing without him : not 
only in their good actions, where he gives grace, and excites it, 
working in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure : but 
also in their evil actions, wherein they are under the hand of Provi- 
dence, but in a very different manner. 

For understanding this j^oint, how the providence of God reach- 
eth to and is concerned in sinful actions, we are to consider, that 
God neither puts evil into the hearts of men, nor stirs them up to 
it : for, says the apostle. Jam. i. 13. ' God cannot be tempted with 
evil ; neither tempteth he any man.' And therefore he is not the 
author of sin. But, 

1. God permits sin, when he does not hinder it, which he is not 
obliged to do. Not that it falls out so as he cannot hinder it, for he 
is omnipotent, and can do all things ; nor yet as if he cared not 
what fell out in the world ; but he does wisely, for his holy ends, 
efficaciously will not to hinder it : Hence we read, Acts xiv. 16. that 
' God in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.' 
He does not permit sin, for that he will not violate or force the 
creature's free will ; for God's providence offers no violence to the 
will of the creature ; and if so, he should never hinder sin at all, 
for the same reason. But certainly he has holy ends in the permis- 
sion of sin : for thereby his justice, mercy, wisdom, and love, in 
sending his Son to save sinners, do conspicuously appear, which 
otherwise would have been under an eternal cloud, hid from the 
view of n\en and angels. 

For the further illustration of this doctrine relating to the con- 
cern of providence in sinful actions, we are to consider them in a 
twofold respect, as simple actions, or natural actions of the crea- 
ture, abstract from any obliquity or deformity cleaving to them ; 
and as actions having irregularity and pravity in them. Considered 
as natural actions of the creature, they are all effected by the provi- 
dence of God, which co-operates with, and enables the creature to 
produce them, in such a manner that without the efflux of provi- 
dence the creature could not move a hand or foot, or perform any 
action whatever ; ' for in him we move :' ^ and no action of the 
creature simply considered, or as a natural action, can be sinful, but 
has a goodness of being in it, and is effected by the influence of pro- 
vidence. As to the pravity or sin that is in actions, as God decreed 
the futurition of sin, or permitted it to take place, and did not hinder 
it J so all the sin or vitiosity that is in actions proceeds entirely from 



the creature, and the evil lusts and passions that are in his heart. 
Thus a man's taking up a stone, and throwing it, is a natural ac- 
tion, which the providence of God enables him to perform ; hut his 
throwing it at another man with an intention to kill him, is permit- 
ted by God, otherwise it could not take place ; for if a hair cannot 
fall from our head without the providence of God, much less can a 
man be murdered without it : and the killing of the man by the 
throwing of the stone, proceeds entirely from the malice and wick- 
edness that was in the heart of the murderer, the operation of which 
God did not hinder, which he is nowise obliged to do. 

2. God leaves the sinner so far as he sees meet to the swing of 
his own lusts, and denies him restraining grace. Thus it is said of 
Hezekiah, a godly king, that, " in the business of the ambassadors 
of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the "won- 
der that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he 
might know all that was in his heart," 2 Chron. xxxii. 31. And 
when the restraint is taken oif the siuner, he runs furiously, to evil. 

3. God bounds sin, and restrains men in their sins, as he does the 
raging sea, allowing it to go so far, but no further. He has such 
a power and command over wicked men, that they are not masters 
of their own affections and dispositions, but many times act quite 
contrary to what they had firmly resolved and proposed : as in the 
case of Laban. He pursued Jacob, when he left Padan-aram, in 
order to return into his own country, with a wicked intention to do 
him hurt, by robbing him of his wives, children, and cattle ; but the 
Lord restrained him, and influenced him to enter into a covenant of 
friendship with the good patriarch, Gen. xxxii. Thus Esau had re- 
solved on Jacob's death, and went out to meet him with a purpose 
to destroy him ; but when providence brought them together, it is 
said, " Esau embraced Jacob, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." 
Thus Balaam came with an express intention to curse Israel, and 
yet he fell a blessing them. Thus he bent the hearts of the Egyp- 
tians to favour the Isradites, so that they sent them away with 
great riches, by lending them jewels of silver and jewels of gold, 
and costly garments. Thus, by a secret instinct, he turned Jehosh- 
aphat's enemies away from him, when they came with a purpose to 
destroy him, 2 Chron. xviii. 31.; and at another time he turned his 
enemies against themselves, so that they sheathed their swords in 
one another's bowels, 2 Chron. xx. Thus also he restrained the sol- 
diers that broke the legs of the two thieves that were crucified with 
Christ, from touching his, in -order to accomplish his word, that a 
bone of the paschal lamb, which was a type of Christ, the Lamb of 
God, should not be broken. So true is that saying of the Psalmist, 


Psal. Ixxvi. 10. ' Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee : the 
j-emainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.' God has a bridle in the 
mouths of wicked men, when they are under the most impetuous 
fury of their lusts, to turn them as he will, restraining and curbing 
in respect of some, and giving swing to others. 

4. Lastly, God over-rules all to a good end. God has one end in 
wicked actions, and the sinner another. The sinner minds and in- 
tends evil, but God means and designs good by them all. So 
Joseph's brethren, in their cruelly selling him for a slave, meant 
evil to the poor youth ; but God, in that dispensation meant it 
for good, and brought much good out of it to Joseph, and his 
father and brethren. Thus the Jews crucified Christ out of malice 
against him; but God by that crucifixion intended satisfaction to 
his justice for the sins of men, and the redemption and salvation of 
an elect world. Thus God brings good, the greatest good out of 
the worst of evils. What greater evil or more atrocious wicked- 
ness can be imagined, than the violent death of the innocent Son of 
God, who went about doing good, and was holy, harmless, undefiled, 
separate from sinners ? and yet what a rich and astonishing good 
resulted therefrom, even glory to God, and peace and good-will to- 
wards men ! 

lY. Our next business is to consider the properties of divine pro- 

1. God's providence is most holy, Psal. cxlv. 17- ' The Lord is 
righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.' Even though 
providence reach to and be conversant in sinful actions, yet it is 
pure ; as the sun contracts no defilement, though it shine on a dung- 
hill. For God is neither the physical nor moral cause of the evil 
of any action, more than he who rides on a lame horse is the cause 
of his halting. All the evil that is in sinful actions proceeds and 
flows from the wicked agent, as the stench of the dunghill does not 
proceed from the heat of the sun, but from the corrupt matter con- 
tained in the dunghill. 

2. It is most wise, Isa. xxviii. 29. ' This cometh forth from the 
Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in work- 
ing.' Infinite wisdom always proposes the most excellent ends in 
all its operations, and uses the best methods for accomplishing its 
ends. However perplexed confused, and void of wisdom providen- 
tial administrations may appear to us poor mortals of narrow, shal- 
low capacities, yet they are the result of the highest wisdom and 
the deepest counsel, as proceeding from and directed by him whose 
name is the only wise God, and cannot but manage all things with 
the greatest understanding. And the day will at last come when it 


shall be said by the united voice of the whole assembly and church 
of the first-born, that God hath done all things well : and then the 
plan of providence will appear in every respect to have been most 
wise, harmonious and consistent. 

3. Providence is most powerful. Hence the Lord says to Sen- 
nacherib, the king of Assyria ' I will put my hook in thy nose, and 
my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by 
which thou earnest,' 2 Kings xix. 28. ' The king's heart is in the 
hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water : he turneth it whitherso- 
ever he will.' "Who can resist his will which is almighty ? He can 
never fail of his end, but all things fall out according to his decree, 
which is efficacious and irresistible. 

I shall conclude with an use of exhortation. 

1. Beware of drawing an excuse for your sin from the providence 
of God ; for it is most holy, and has not the least efficiency in any 
sin you commit. Every sin is an act of rebellion against God ; a 
breach of his holy law, and deserves his wrath and curse; and 
therefore cannot be authorised by an infinitely-holy God, who is of 
purer eyes than to behold iniquity without detestation and abhor- 
rence. Though he has by a pei-missive decree allowed moral evil to 
be in the world, yet that has no influence on the sinner to commit 
it. For it is not the fulfilling of God's decree, which is an absolute 
secret to every mortal, but the gratification of their own lusts and per- 
verse inclinations, that men intend and mind in the commission of sin. 

2. Beware of murmuring and fretting under any dispensations of 
providence that ye meet with ; remembering that nothing falls out 
without a wise and holy providence, which knows best what is fit 
and proper for you. And in all cases, even amidst the most afflict- 
ing incidents that befal you, learn submission to the will of God ; 
as Job did, when he said, in consequence of a train of the heaviest 
calamities that happened to him, ' The Lord gave, and the Lord 
hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord,' Job i. 2L In 
the most distressing case say with the disciples, ' The will of the 
Lord be done,' Acts xxi. 14. 

3. Beware of anxious cares and diffidence about your through- 
bearing in the world. This our Lord has cautioned his followers 
against, Matth. vi. 31. ' Take no thought (that is, anxious and per- 
plexing thought), saying, "What shall we eat ? or. What shall we 
drink ? or, "Wherewithal shall we be clothed ?' Never let the fear 
of man stop you from duty, Matth. x. 28, 29. ; but let your souls 
learn to trust in God, who guides and superintends all the events 
and administrations of providence, by whatever hands they are 


4. Do not slight means, seeing God worketh by them ; and he 
that hath appointed the end oi'ders the means necessary for gaining 
the end. Do not rely upon means, for they can do nothing without 
God, Matth. iv. 4. Do not despond if there be no means, for God 
can work without them, as well as with them ; Hos. i. 7- 'I will 
save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor 
by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.' If the means 
be unlikely, he can work above them, Rom. iv. 19. ' He considered 
not his own body now dead, neither yel the deadness of Sarah's 
womb.' If the means be contrary, he can work by contrary means, 
as he saved Jonah by the whale that devoured him. That fish 
swallowed up the prophet, but by the direction of providence, it 
vomited him out upon dry land. 

5. Lasthj, Happy is the people Avhose God the Lord is : for all 
things shall work together for their good. They may sit secure in 
exercising faith upon God, come what will. They have ground for 
prayer ; for God is a prayer-hearing God, and will be inquired of 
by his people as to all their concerns in the world. And they have 
ground for the greatest encouragement and comfort amidst all the 
events of providence, seeing they are managed by their covenant 
God and gracious friend, who will never neglect or overlook his 
dear people, and whatever concerns them. For he hath said, ' I 
will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,' Heb. xiii. 5. 



PsAL. cvii. 43. — Whoso is ivise, and tvill observe these things, even they 
shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord. 

Whosoever would walk with God, must be due observers of the 
word and providence of God, for by these in a special manner he 
manifests himself to his people. In the one we see what he says ; 
in the other what he does. These are the two books that every 
student of holiness ought to be much conversant in. They are both 
written with one hand, and they should both be carefully read, by 
those that would have not only the name of religion, but the thing. 
They should be studied together, if we would profit by either ; for 
being taken together, they give light the one to the other ; and as 
it is our duty to read the word, so it is also our duty to observe the 
work of God, Psal. xxviii. 5. The one I formerly recommended ; 
and I am now to press the other, as a proper addition to our late 


discourse on the providence of God, from the text now read. 
Wherein we have two things. 

1. The obsei-ving of providences recommended, Whoso is wlte, 8f''. 
In the Hebrew it runs, Wlio is wise, and will observe these things. 
Wherein we may observe, 

1st, The duty itself recommended, observing these things. Where 
we are to consider the act and the object. 

(1.) The object these things ; that is, the dispensations of provi- 
dence. These are the things the Psalmist would have men to ob- 
serve. For the design of this psalm is to praise God for his won- 
derful works of providence in the world, especially in the church. 
For this cause he sets before us, (1.) Wonderful deliverances 
wrought by providence, instanced in the seasonable relief given to, 
(1.) Needy and bewildered strangers, far from their own, ver. 3. — 9. 
(2.) Captives and prisoners, ver. 10, — 16. (3.) Sick people at the 
gates of death, ver. 17- — 22. (4.) To seafaring men in a storm, 
ver. 23. — 32. (2.) Strange and surprising changes in human 
affairs. (1.) Fruitful places made barren, and barren places fruit- 
ful, ver. 33. — 35. For an instance of which we need but consider this 
our own country, sometime a forest, for little use but to be a hunt- 
ing-field, now comfortably maintaining many families, and useful to 
the nation by its great store. (2.) Mean families raised by a bless- 
ing on their husbandry and store, and cast down again from their 
prosperity by cross providences, ver. 36. — 39. (3.) Those that were 
high in the world abased, and those that were mean and despicable 
raised to honour, ver. 40, 41. These turns of providence are of use 
to solace saints, and silence sinners, ver. 42. Now, here is a field 
opened for serious observation. These and such like things we are 
called to notice. 

(2.) The act, observation. We must not let providences pass 
without remark, but observe them carefully, as men that are neither 
fools nor atheists, but have eyes in their heads, and do not think 
the world is guided by blind chance, but by an infinitely wise God. 
The word signifies to take heed, and retain, as a watchman in a 
city does. We must take heed to them as they fall out, and care- 
fully keep them in mind, that they be not forgot, or slip out of our 

2dli/, The qualification necessary to fit a man for this duty, luis- 
dom. This is true spiritual wisdom ; for in scripture language all 
strangers to serious godliness are accounted fools, however sharp- 
sighted otherwise they be. As for others, they neither will nor can 
rightly observe these things. 

ddlt/, The manner of the expression. It intimates, (1.) That 



there are few so wise as to observe providences. Most part of the 
world are stupid on that point ; they let them go and come without 
notice, Jer. ix. 12, (2,) That those who are truly wise will do it, 
Hos. xiv. ult. 

2. The advantage accruing from a wise observation of providences. 
They shall understand thereby the loving-kindness, goodness, and 
mercy of God, written out in his dispensations towards themselves 
and others ; as we know how one stands affected to us by his be- 
haviour towards us. His works will give us a clearer discovery of 
his glorious perfections ; and these observations will enrich us with 
experiences. It is remarkable that some of these things are cross 
providences ; yet a right observation of them will shew us God's 
kindness ; for the divine goodness may be seen in cross providences 
as well as in favourable ones. 

From the text I shall only observe one doctrine at present. 

DocT. " It is the duty of Christians wisely to observe providences." 

This is a weighty point in practical religion, that requires obser- 
vation in speaking to it, and practising it. 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. What it is to observe providences wisely. 

II. "What are the objects about which we are to make our obser- 
vations. • 

III. What we are to observe in them. 

IV. The reasons why Christians should wisely observe providences. 

V. Make some practical improvement. 

I. I am to shew what it is to observe providences wisely. It pre- 
supposes some things, and imports some things. 

First, It presupposes these four things. 

1. That there is a providence. The world is not managed by for- 
tune, nor do things fall out by blind chance. That there is a God, 
and that there is a providence, have been always looked on by men 
of sound judgment as certain maxims, establishing one another. 
And indeed to set up the creatures to act otherwise than under the 
providence of God, is to set them up for independent beings, that is, 
for gods. The scripture is plain that it reacheth all things, Rom. 
xi. 36. ' For of him, and through him, and to him are all things ;' 
even from the greatest to the least, as ye will see from Mat. x. 29. 
30, 31. * Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ; and one of them 
shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very 
hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not, therefore, ye 
are of more value than many sparrows.' And unless it were so, 
how could he foresee and foretel things, Isa. xlvi. 10. 

Some think this would disturb his rej)ose, and is unworthy of him, 


and his purity and wisdom. But do not these atheists see the sun 
in the heavens undisturbed, with his (yet) universal influence, shine 
on the dunghill as well as the garden, without contracting any spot ? 
And is it unworthy of God to govern what he has created ? As for 
the wisdom in the management of the world, they are fools who 
judge it folly before they see the end. 

2. The faith of this providence. We must believe the doctrine 
of providence, if we would be wise observers thereof. The faith of 
the saints in this point may be shaken in an hour of temptation ; 
as was the case with Asaph, Psal. Ixxiii. 13, 14, 15. ' Verily (says 
he) I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in in- 
nocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened 
every morning. If I say, I will speak thus ; behold, I should 
offend against the generation of thy childi"en.' And the unbelief of 
others therein makes them half atheists, Mai. iii. 14, 15. ' Ye have 
said, it is vain to serve God : and what profit is it, that we have 
kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the 
Lord of hosts ? And now we call the proud happy ; yea, they that 
work wickedness are set up ; yea, they that tempt God are even de- 
livered.' And the slender belief there is of it in the world makes 
men overlook providence, Hab. i. 16. 'Therefore they sacrifice unto 
their net, and burn incense unto their drag : because ♦y them their 
portion is fat and their meat plenteous.' Labour ye firmly to be- 
lieve providence, that ye may observe it ; nay, believe it, and ye 
will observe it. 

3. Providence has a language to the children of men. It is a 
clear part of the name of God whereby he manifests himself to the 
world, and has served to convince men of his eternal power and 
Godhead, whom no other arguments could reach: Dan. iv. ult. ' Now 
I Nebuchadnezzar praise, and extol, and honour the King of hea- 
ven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment, and those 
that walk in pride he is able to abase.' Psal. xix. 3, 4. ' There is 
no speech, nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line 
is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the 
world.' Rods have a language, Micah vi. 9. ' The Lord's voice 
crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name : 
hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.' And so also have 
mercies a language, Rom. ii. 4. ' Not knowing that the goodness of 
God leadeth thee to repentance.' And providences being the work 
of a rational agent, they must have a design. 

4. A disposition to understand the language and design of pro- 
vidence. It is for this end they are observed wisely, Micah vi. 9. 
forecited. God speaks by providence, and the wise hearken by ob- 


servation, that tliey may know what is meant by those characters, 
in which God writes his mind towards them. Hence the more one 
pursues communion with God, he will the more narrowly observe 
providence ; and when he grows remiss and negligent as to com- 
munion with God, he lets these things easily pass. But these are 
the prints of the Lord's feet, which one walking with God will set 
himself to observe. 

Secondly, To observe providences wisely, imports these five things. 

1. A watching for them till they come. Hence says the prophet, 
Hab. ii. 1. 'I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, 
and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall 
answer when I am reproved.' This is to wait on the Lord in the 
way of his judgments, Isa. xxvi. 8. A practice necessarily fol- 
lowing on the serious practice of godliness, in laying matters before 
the Lord by prayer, and depending on him according to his word, 
Psal. cxxx. 1. 5, 6. ' Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, 
Lord. I wait for the Lord, and my soul doth wait, and in his word 
do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord, more than they that 
watch for the morning : I say more, than they that watch for the 
morning.' Some providences have a glaring light with them, that 
cannot but strike the eye of the beholder ; but others not being so 
may pass unobserved, if people be not on their watch. Providence 
sometimes works long under ground, and wraps itself up in a long 
night of darkness ; but the wise observer Avill wait the dawning of 
the day, and the setting up its head above ground, Psal. Ixix. 3. 
* Mine eyes fail while I wait for my God,' Lam. iii. 49, 50. ' Mine 
eye trickleth down and ceaseth not, without any intermission : till 
the Lord look down, and behold from heaven.' For they that be- 
lieve will not make haste. 

2. A taking heed to them, and marking them when they come, 
Isa. XXV. 9. ' Lo this is our God, we have waited for him, and he 
will save us : this is the Lord, we have waited for him, we will be 
glad and rejoice in his salvation.' Heeding them, I mean, as from 
the hand of the Lord ; for though men heed the thing, if they do 
not heed the hand it comes from, they have but the carcase without 
the soul of providences. The threads of providence are sometimes 
so small and fine, and our senses so little exercised to discern, that 
they may come and go without our notice, Luke xix. 44. ' Thou 
knewest not the time of thy visitation.' Therefore the eyes of the 
wise man are in his head, to observe what comes from heaven; look- 
ing aforehand, and in the time ; for he that looks sees, Ezek. i. 15, 
Zech. vi. 1. 

3. A serious review of them, pondering and narrowly considering 


thera. We should not only look to them, but into them, Psal. cxi. 
2. ' The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that 
have pleasure therein.' And the more we see of them, the more of 
God we will see in them ; for the further we wade in these waters, 
the deeper. Providence is a wheel within a wheel, a piece of the 
nice workmanship of heaven, which may make us cry out with won- 
der many a time, ivheell Ezek. x. 13. The design of providence 
ofttimes lies hid, not to he seen at first view ; but we must look 
again and again, and narrowly inspect it, ere we can comprehend it. 
Tt is a mystery many times, looking at which our weak eyes will begin 
to dazzle. And that we may unravel the clue by a sanctified judg- 
ment, Psal. Ixxvii. 6. it will be needful to call in the help of prayer, 
with much humility, faith, and self-denial. Job x. 2. and of the 
scripture, Psal. Ixxiii. 16. 

4. Laying them up, and keeping them in record, Luke i. 66, "We 
should keep them as one would do a treasure, for the time to come. 
Then are they experiences, which will be notable provision for after- 
times. 0, if these observations were wisely made, and carefully 
laid up, the former part of our life might furnish noble helps for 
the latter part of it ; and the longer we lived, the richer would we 
be in this spiritual treasure : even as in war one victory helps to 
get another. And the old disciple might have a body of practical 
experimental divinity in his head, drawn forth from his own obser- 
vation. "We find David, when young, improving providences for- 
merly thus observed, 1 Sam. xvii. 37. ' The Lord that delivered me 
out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will 
deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine ;' and when old doing 
the same, Psal. xxxvii. 25. ' I have been young, and now am old : 
yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging 

5. Lastly, It is a practical observation of them. They who ob- 
serve providences wisely do not observe them only to clear their 
judgments, and inform their understandings, as by matters of spec- 
ulation ; but to influence their hearts and affections in the conduct 
of their life, Micah vi. 9. The more that one wisely observes provi- 
dence, he will be the more holy. The observing the work of provi- 
dence about himself and others, will advance the work of grace in 
the heart, and holiness in the life, Rom. v. 4. ' Patience worketh 
experience ; and experience hope,' Psal. Ixiv. 7, 9. ' God shall shoot 
at them with an arrow, suddenly shall they be wounded. And all 
men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God ; for they shall 
wisely consider his doing.' It is a woful observation of provi- 
dence, when it has no good effect on people to make them better. 


Hence Moses says to the Israelites, Deut. xxix. 2, 3, 4. ' Ye have 
seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, 
unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land ; the 
great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs and those 
great miracles : yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to per- 
ceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.' But it is 
yet worse when people are made worse thereby, as in the case of 
him who said, ' Behold this evil is of the Lord, what ! should I wait 
for the Lord any longer ?' 2 Kings vi. 33. But it is a kindly ef- 
fect of it when men accommodate their spirits to the divine dispen- 
sations they are under, according to that, Eccl. vii. 14. ' In the 
day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider.' 
II. I come now to speak of the objects about which we are wisely 
to make our observations, ih^se things. This is a spacious field, as 
broad as the universe, or the whole creation, so far as we come to 
the knowledge any manner of way of the works of God. For pro- 
vidence reacheth to all things, and in every thing the finger of God 
is to be seen. None of all God's works of providence laid open to 
our view are excepted, nor allowed to be overlooked, Psal. xxviii. 5. 
And all of them may be profitably noticed. But more particularly, 
I shall offer you a sample of the admirable web of providence ; a 
sample, I say, for how small a part of his ways do we know ? The 
dispensations of providence may be considered, 

1. With respect to their objects. 

2. "With respect to their kinds. 

3. With respect to the time of their falling out. 

FIRST, Providences may be considered with respect to their ob- 
jects, which are all the creatures and all their actions. And here 
let us. 

First, Look into the invisible world, and trace providence a 
little there. It becomes Christians to cause their eye to follow 
there where God's hand is before them at work. David tells us, 
Psal. cxxxix. 8. ' If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there : if I 
make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.' God is there with 
his hand of providence, ver. 10. ' Even there shall thy hand lead 
me, and thy right hand shall hold me.' And the apostle gives the 
Christian that character, 2 Cor. iv. 18. that * he looks not at the 
things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.' 

First, Look to the lower part of that world, the kingdom of dark- 
ness, and there you see devils and damned spirits of men, with the 
providence of God about them in an awful manner. A fearful web 
of providence encompasses them. 

1. Concerning devils, view the awful providences they are under, 
and observe, 


(1.) How these once glorious creatures are now irrecoverably lost, 
and reserved to a certain and dreadful judgment, 2 Pet. ii. 4. Jude 
6. Behold and learn the severity of God's justice from this his 
work ; how no natural excellency Avill preserve the creature from 
wrath when once defiled with sin. They were the first that ven- 
tured to break over the hedge of the holy law, and. God set them up 
for dreadful examples to the whole creation. Behold the power of 
God, whose hands devils themselves cannot rid themselves out of. 
And understand the loving-kindness of the Lord, in providing a 
Saviour for man, and not for them, Heb. ii. 16. 

(2.) How, notwithstanding, these malicious creatures are not so 
pent up in their prison, but they are permitted to go about through 
the world ; yet this world is generally inhabited without molesta- 
tion from them. Only now and then, in some very rare cases, they 
are suffered to molest men, by a particular providential permission 
as in the case of Job, chap. ii. This general case of the world is a 
continued wonder of providence. How is it that ever we get any 
rest from them in house or field ? It is not for want of will or 
natural power, but from the restraint of providence upon them, 
continued upon them, notwithstanding the world's wickedness. Ob- 
serve this thankfully, and understand the loving-kindness of the 

2. Concerning damned spirits, who are in hell under the wrath of 
God, see the awful providences about them, and observe how miser- 
able they are, Luke xvi. 23. being ' punished from the presence of 
the Lord,' 2 Thess. i. 9. all hopes of recovery being now lost for 
ever. And learn how precious time is, that what we have to do, ye 
may do quickly : how deceitful sin and the world are ; and how 
severely God punishes at length, though he may long bear with sin- 
ners. And understand the loving-kindness of the Lord, that ye are 
yet in the land of the living, under means of grace, and hopes of 

Secondly, Look to the upper part of the invisible world, the 
regions of bliss ; and there you will see angels and the spirits of 
just men made perfect wrapt up in a glorious Aveb of providence, 
sparkling with goodness and mercy. See the Larger Catechism on 

Concerning the blessed angels, observe, 

1. How they are established in holiness and happiness, 1 Tim. v. 
21. They were of the same changeable nature with those that fell ; 
but God held them up, and has confirmed them, that they cannot 
fall now. And learn the power of sovereign grace, which can esta- 
blish one tottering creature when another falls ; and how happy 


they are who cheerfully do the will of God, for so the angels do in 
hearen. Though proud shining hypocrites fall away and perish, yet 
trembling saints shall be made to stand. 

2. How they are employed in the administration of his power, 
mercy, and justice, 2 Kings xix. 35. In one night the angel of the 
Lord smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and 
five thousand, Heb. i. 14. * Are they not all ministering spirits, sent 
forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation ?' God 
sends them-to take care of his children, who no doubt receive many 
benefits off their hands, which they are not sensible of. Understand 
the loving-kindness of the Lord in sending them, and their love to 
God and man in taking such employment. The living creatures 
have the wheels going by them. 

Concerning the souls of the blessed, observe how blessed and 
happy they are in the enjoyment of God, where no clouds interpose 
betwixt them and the light of his countenance, Heb. xii. 23. Luke 
xvi. 22. And learn here what a vain thing this world is, and how 
we may be happy without it, yea cannot be completely happy till 
we be beyond it. What a rich harvest the seed of grace in the soul 
brings in, and how holiness leads the way to complete happiness. 
Wonderful is the loving-kindness of the Lord, that takes those who 
serve him here, to be his attendants in his palace and brings them 
to the full enjoyment of himself in glory. 

Let this suffice for a sample of providence in the invisible world. 

Secondly, Look to the visible world, and trace providence there. 
See how the hand of the Lord is constantly at work about these his 
creatures which he has made, John v. 17. * My Father worketh 
hitherto, and I work.' 

1. Consider the inanimate or lifeless creatures, which are the ob- 
jects of providence as well as other things. They are not capable 
of self-governing, but he that made them guides them to their ends. 

The heavenly bodies, sun, moon, and stars, are under the govern- 
ment of wise providence. They got their orders at first. Gen. i. 16. 
' God made two great lights ; the greater light to rule the day, and 
the lesser light to rule the night : he made the stars also.' And 
they have still observed these orders .since. Psal. civ. 19. 'He ap- 
pointeth the moon for seasons : the sun knoweth his going down.' 
Sometimes indeed by a particular commission, they have altered 
their ordinary course as in Joshua's time, chap. x. 12, 13, when the 
sun stood still upon Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, 
for a whole day ; but they returned to their course again. The sun 
keeps his course allotted liiiu by the divine decree ; for should he go 
at random, our eartl^ would either be burnt or quite frozen up, that 



we could not live on it. the loving-kindness of the Lord, that 
makes the very heavenly bodies punctually to keep pace with our 
necessities, and has not avenged himself oil men's disorders, by suf- 
fering these to go into disorder and confusion ! 

The raging sea is under the management of providence. God 
manages it as easily as the nurse does the infant, whom she swaddles 
and lays in its cradle, from whence it cannot get out, while she will 
have it to stay there ; Job xxxviii. 11. 'Hitherto shalt thou come 
(says Providence to this unruly element), but no farther.; and here 
shall thy proud waves be stayed.' look to his work and learn 
his loving-kindness, Psal. civ. 24, 25, 26. ' Lord, how manifold 
are thy works ! in wisdom hast thou made them all : the earth is 
full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things 
creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the 
ships ; there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play there- 
in.' Behold his greatness, and adore him, Matth. viii. 27. ' What 
manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him ?' 
Fear before such a mighty One, Isa. xxviif. 2. And let it quiet 
your hearts under all the tossings ye meet with in the world ; for it 
will cost him but to say, ' Peace and be still ;' Psal. xciii. 4. ' The 
Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than 
the mighty waves of the sea.' 

The air and wind, which no man can lay hold of, are entirely 
under the conduct of Providence, John iii. 8. ' The wind bloweth 
where it listeth,' in respect of man ; but in respect of God, where he 
listeth, Matth. viii. 27. forecited. "What a wonder is it, (not to 
speak of tempests, hail, rain, snow, &c. Psal. cxlvii. 15. — 18), that 
such a thin invisible body should bear up all the fowls of the air, 
the heavy clouds also, and carry them from place to place, s6 that 
we may say, as Psal. xviii. 10. ' He rode upon a cherub, and did 
fiy ; yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind ! How then can our 
God be at a loss for means to support us ? He has filled the world 
with it ; it is about us, in us, in our nostrils, in our bowels, nay, in 
every pore of our bodies ; yea, without it we could not breathe, yet 
we see it not. Shall we then think it strange, that the God who 
made it is every where present ? Nay, he is without and within us, 
though we see him not. If he mix pestilential vapours with it, we 
are dead men, as if poison were mixed with our drink : for at every 
breathing we draw it in; so entirely do we depend on the Lord. 
then understand the loving-kindness of the Lord in this respect. 

The earth is under the care and government of the same wise 
Providence. He made it, and that was a great work. ; he preserves 
it and governs it, and that is another. He supports it, Heb. i. 3. 


The earth bears us, but what bears the earth ? You cannot think 
it is infinite or boundless, and therefore it must have another side 
opposite to that we are on. Yes, and by the powerful providence 
of God it hangs like a ball in the air. Job xxvi. 7- ' He hangeth the 
earth upon nothing.' then, is there any thing too hard for our 
God to do ? He fills it with his riches, the surface of it, and the 
bowels of it, Psal. civ. 24. But what is most necessary for men's 
use is on the surface of it, easiest to be come at, Job xxviii. He 
feeds it, that it may feed us. Dent. xi. 11. Hos. ii. 21, 22. When 
the strength thereof is weakened with new influences from the hea- 
veus, he renews it, Psal. civ. 30. And since the flood, the promise 
then given. Gen. viii. 22. that ' while the earth remaineth, seed- 
time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day 
and night shall not cease,' has been punctually performed. un- 
derstand the loving-kindness of the Lord in these things, what a 
gracious and bountiful God he is ! And learn how surely all his 
promises to his people shall be accomplished. 

2. Consider the A'egetative part of the world, things that have 
life, but not sense, such as trees, plants, &c. how Providence cares 
for and manages them. Our Lord calls us to observe these things, 
and thereby understand the loving-kindness of the Lord, Matth. vi. 
28. ' Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow : they toil not, 
neither do they spin.' Lilies of the field have not the care of man 
about them, as those of the garden, but Providence cares for them. 
This teaches us to lay by anxiety, and trust God, ver. 30. See how 
the earth is kindly furnished with vegetables by providence, not 
only for men's necessity, but their conveuiency and delight, Psal. 
civ. 14, — 17. And shall ^ot this good -God be loved and cheerfully 
gerved by us ? Every pile of grass is a preacher of the loving-kind- 
ness of the Lord. 

3. Consider the sensitive part of the world, such as have life and 
sense, but not reason ; as birds, beasts, and fishes. And observe 
what a vast family are maintained on the Creator's cost. And 
though we cannot trust providence, yet what an innumerable com- 
pany there is of dependents on mere providence ! Psal. civ. 27. 
' These all wait upon thee ; that thou niayest give them their meat 
in due season.' Observe this provision, and thence learn to believe 
even where ye cannot see, Matth. vi. 26, ' Behold the fowls of the 
air : for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns ; 
yet your heavenly father feedeth them. Are ye not much better 
than they ?' For Providence does for them that have none to do 
for them; Psal. cxlvii. 9. 'He giveth to the beast his food, and to 
the young raA'cns that cry.' Observe how providence has subjected 



them to man as servants that could easily be his masters in respect 
of strength, as the horse, ox, &c. yet the face of man strikes a damp 
upon them, which is the more remarkable, that man by sin did for- 
feit his dominion over the creatures. But this must be resolved 
into the virtue of that word, executed daily by providence, Gen. ix. 
2. ' The fear of you, and the dread of you, shall be upon every 
beast of the earth, arid upon every fowl of the air, upon all that 
moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea.' what 
a power is in a word of divine appointment ? 

4. Consider the rational part of the world, men having life, sense, 
and reason. In these providence sheAys itself most brightly. Man 
is the compend of the creation, having a spirit as angels are spirits, 
and a body with the rest. And he is the peculiar care of Heaven. 
This is the main object of our observation. 

1st, We should observe the dispensations of providence to\yards 
societies ; and the nearer our relation to them be, we should observe 
them the more narrowly. 

(1.) Towards societies of men in the world, kingdoms, churches, 
congregations, families, &c. 

[1.] Much of the power, wisdom, goodness, justice, &c. of God, 
might be learned from the revolutions and changes in states and 
kingdoms, which should make us inquisitive for the knowledge of 
public affairs. And what a glorious scene of providence has been 
opened of late in Britain, shining with illustrious mercy to the 
church and nation, in delivering us when at the brink of ruin ; 
depth of wisdom, in baffling in a moment the cunning projects of 
enemies ; almighty power, in so easily crushing their towering 
hopes ; radiant justice, in making the ^tone tumble down on the 
heads of those that rolled it, and making enquiry for the blood of 
the saints shed many years ago.* 

[2.] Providences toward the church of God are mainly to be ob- 
served, 1 Sam. iv. 13. The angels themselves notice these, to learn 
something from them, Eph. iii. 10. "What concerns the church is 
the greatest work on the wheel of providence ; and in most, if not 
all the great works of God through the world, he has in them an 
eye to his church. As she is for God, so other things are for her. 

Particularly we should observe the way of providence towards 
the church of Scotland, whereof we are members ; which has been 
as admirable a mixture of mercy and judgment, as perhaps any 
church since the apostles days has met with. How high has she 

* This refers to the suppression of the rebellion in 1715. This part of the subject 
was preached in December 1716. 


been raised in peace and purity, and how low laid at other times ! 
How often has she been at the brink of ruin, and wonderfully pre- 
served ? How have her faithful friends been signally owned of God, 
and her enemies often borne the evident marks of God's displeasure ! 
&c. And yet, more particularly, 

We should observe the way and aspect of providence towards the 
congregation, how the Lord has been and is dealing with us, that 
we may accommodate ourselves to his dispensations, and answer the 
call of them. 

[3.] Towards families. Sometimes the Lord causes a warm sun- 
shine of prosf)erity on families, and sometimes the heavens are 
louring above them ; they have their risings and fallings, as all 
other societies in this changeable world, as is beautifully described 
by the Psalmist, Psal. cvii. 38, 39, 41. 'He blesseth them also, so 
that they are multiplied greatly, and suifereth not their cattle to 
decrease. Again they are minished and brought low through op- 
pression, affliction, and sorrow. Yet setteth he the poor on high 
from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.' How does 
Job mournfully observe the way of providence with his family, 
chap. xxix. 2. — 5. and David on his death-bed the humbling circum- 
stances of his ! 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. 

There are few of our families but God has of late one way or 
other visited them ; his voice has cried to our houses, as well as to 
the land. It is our duty to observe the same, read the language of 
it, and comply with the design thereof. 

2dli/ Towards particular persons ; for we may learn something 
from God's way with every one. And, 

(1.) Towards others, whether godly or wicked. This was the 
Psalmist's practice to have his eyes in his head, and to look about 
him in the world, and learn something for his own establishment, 
both from the harms and happiness of others, Psal. xxxvii. 35. — 37. 
' I have seen the wicked in great power ; and spreading himself like 
a green bay-tree. Tet he passed away, and lo, he was not ; yea, I 
sought him, but he could not be found. Mai'k the perfect man, and 
behold the upright : for the end of that man is peace.' It is ob- 
servable, that the holy scripture is not written as a system of pre- 
cepts, with the reasons of them ; but the body of it is a cluster of 
examples, wherein we may see, as in a glass, what we are to follow 
if we would be happy, and what we are to shun, Rom. xv. 4. ' For 
whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our 
learning.' A plain evidence, that whoso would please God, must 
observe those things that are set before his eyes in providence. 

(2.) Towards ourselves in particular. These providences come 



nearest us, and tlierefore sliould be most narrowly observed. lu 
these we are the parties to whom God directs his speech imme- 
diately ; but, alas ! often it is not observed, Job xxxiii. 14. ' For 
God speaketh ouce, yea twice, but man perceiveth it not.' There is 
none of us that are not the objects of wonderful providences, but 
especially true Christians, who may well say, as Psal. xl. 5. ' Many, 
Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, 
and thy thoughts which are to us-ward : they cannot be reckoned 
up in order unto thee : If I would declare and speak of them, they 
are more than can be numbered.' We might each of us fill a 
volume with accounts of the wonderful works of Go(f, and yet con- 
fine ourselves to what has happened to ourselves, if we had but the 
wisdom to observe the same. Every moment we would be a wonder 
to ourselves, if we could but discern the beautiful mixture of that 
web of providence wherein every moment we are wrapt up. 

(1.) Let us observe how we are powerfully preserved by Provi- 
dence, Heb. i. 3. Psal. xxxvi. 6. ' Lord, thou preservest man and 
beast.' "When we consider how unlike our souls are to our bodies, 
we may more wonder at the continuance than the breach of that 
union. Wheu we thiuk how death has as many gates to come in 
by, as our body has pores, how the seeds of a thousand diseases are 
in our bodies, what a train of perishing principles they are made up 
of, how easily, while we walk amidst the creatures of God here, fire 
may be set to the train, and the house of clay quickly blown up, we 
may say there is something more astonishing in our life than in our 
death. And it must be a powerful providence that preserves this 
life of ours, as a spark of fire in the midst of an ocean of water, or 
as a bag of powder amidst sparks of fire flying on every hand. 

Eesides, how few of us are there, but sometimes there has been 
but as a hair-breadth betwixt death and us, by reason either of dis- 
eases or unforeseen accidents, which we could not therefore ward off. 
So that we might say of our preservation. This is the finger of God. 

What remarkable deliverances has the Lord wrought for some 
by unordinary means, as Jonah preserved by a whale, and Elijah 
fed by the ravens! 

(2.) How we are holily, wisely, and powerfully governed by Pro- 
vidence, our persons and actions disposed of according to his will, 
either in mercy or in wrath, Dan. iv. 35. ' All the inhabitants of 
the earth are reputed as nothing ; and he doth according to his will 
in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth : and 
none can stay his hand or say unto him, What dost thou ?' Psal. 
cxxxv. 6. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and 
in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.' While we sail the sea 


of this world, wc may well perceive, that it is not we ourselves, but 
holy providence that guides the ship : Jer. x. 23. ' Lord, (says 
the prophet), I know that' the way of man is not in himself; it is 
Bot in man that walketh to direct his steps.' And while men will 
not see this, to engage them to a life of holiness, faith, and depen- 
dance on God, they are often made to feel it, by their dashing on 
rocks, to the bruising, if not to the splitting of them, Isa. xxvi. 11. 
'Lord, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see; but they shall 
see, and be ashamed.' Let me instance here but in two things, to 
shew that God sits King, and rules among men. 

(1.) Man proposeth, but God disposeth, Lam. iii. 37- ' Who is he 
that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it 
not ?' How often are men's towering hopes levelled with the ground 
in a moment? Their projects are laid with all the wit and industry 
they are capable of, managed with all diligence and circumspection, 
so that they cannot see how they can misgive, but must take effect 
according to their wish. But he that sits in heaven, in a moment 
looses a pin, and all the fabric falls to the ground, their projects 
are baffled, their measures disconcerted, some stroke of providence, 
which ungodly men call an unlucky accident, mars all. This was 
evident in Haman's case. Sometimes it is done by an invisible hand, 
whereby the wheels are taken oif, that they can drive no farther, 
Job XX. 26. ' All darkness shall be hid in his secret places : a fire 
not blown shall consume him ; it shall go ill with him that is left 
in his tabernacle.' How often do men find their greatest cross 
where they looked for their greatest comfort ! and things turn about 
quite the contrary way to what was their design. 

(2.) Man's extremity is God's opportunity, Gen. xxii. 14. How 
often does the Lord begin his work where man ends his, and can do 
no more ? When men know not what to do, God opens a door ; and 
when they have no firm ground of their own left to stand upon, he 
sets their foot on a rock, Psal. cvii. 27, 28. ' They reel to and fro, 
and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end. Then 
they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out 
of their distresses.' Their hopes are disappointed, but their fears 
and desperate conclusions arc prevented. Something threatens 
them a stroke, which they see not how to escape ; but an invisible 
arm wards off the blow ; and what they look for their ruin in, there 
they find by an over-ruling providence, healing and upmaking, Est. 
ix. 1. What is most unlikely is brought about, while the fairest 
hopes are made like the blossom that goes up as dust. Thus God 
baffles men's hopes on the one hand, and their fears on the other, 
that they may see, there is a wheel within a wheel that moves and 
guides all. 


SECONDLY, We may consider providences with respect to 
their kinds, Psal. xl. 5. forecited. The wisdom of God is manifold 
wisdom, and produces works accordingly, Psal. civ. 24. And .each 
of them is to be observed. I will instance in these three distinctions 
of providence. 

First, Providences are either cross, or smiling and favourable. 
Both ought to be observed, and may be so profitably. 

1. We should observe cross providences that we or others meet 
with. They come not by chance, but under the guidance of a holy 
sovereign God, Job v. 6. ' Affliction cometh not forth of the dust, 
neither doth trouble spring out of the ground.' Amos iii. 6. ' Shall 
there be an evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it V God 
makes himself known by them, his justice, truth, holiness, wisdom, 
and power, Psal. ix. 16. ' The Lord is known by the judgment which 
he executeth.' And he requires us to observe them, Mieah vi. 9. 
' Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.' And it is a horrible 
provocation not to observe them, Isa. xxvi. 11. forecited, and not to 
comply with the design of them ; to murmur, but not kindly mourn 
under them, Job xxxv. 9, 10. and xxxvi. 13. Sometimes men meet 
with crosses in the way of their duty, Gal. vi. 17- and sometimes in 
the way of sin, as Jonah. The design of both is to purge away sin, 
Isa. xxvii. 9. But, without observations, the plaister is not applied 
to the sore. 

2. Smiling and favourable providences towards ourselves or others, 
Psal. xl. 5. Many, in their observations of providence, are like 
the flies that pass over the sound places, and swarm about the sores. 
They are still complaining of their crosses and sorrows, and will 
nicely reckon them up : but as to their mercies, they will not go the 
length of the unjust steward, of a hundred to set down fifty, Luke 
xvi. 6. They have their language, but it cannot be understood 
without observation, Rom. ii, 4. Dependance on God, and humility 
of heart, would teach us carefully to observe our mercies. Lam. iii. 
22. Gen. xxxii. 10. even when we are meeting with heavy crosses, 
Job i. 21. 

Secondly, There are great lines and small lines of providence. 

1. We should observe the great lines of providence in signal 
events. Some dispensations bear such a signature of a divine hand, 
and so flash like lightning on men's face, that one can hardly miss 
to observe, but must say, as Exod. viii. 19. ' This is the finger of 
God.' 2 Chron. xvi. 19, 20. ' Then TJzziah was wroth, and had a cen- 
ser in his hand, to burn incense : and while he was wroth with the 
priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead, before the priests in 


tlie house of the Lord, from beside the incense altar. And Azariah 
the chief priest, and all the priests looked upon him, and behold, he 
was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence, 
yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the Lord had smitten 
him.' It is rare that God leaves himself without a witness, by some 
such signal providences ; yet such is the perverseness of the heart 
of man, that as the blind cannot observe the flash of lightning, even 
these are lightly looked at, 1 Sam. vi. 9. 

2. The small lines of providence. The most minute things are 
guided by the all-ruling hand, Matth. x. 29, 30. And if God do 
manage them, it becomes us to notice them. All the king's coin, from 
the massiest piece of gold to the smallest penny, bears the king's 
image and superscription, and therefore the least as well as the 
greatest is current in trade. So the smallest lines of providence 
pass current with those that keep a trade with heaven. Gideon 
notices his hearing a fellow tell a di'eam, Judges vii. 13, &c. He- 
raan, the removing of an acquaintance, Psal. Ixxxviii. 8. and Jacob, 
a kind word, the shew of his brother's countenance, Gen. xxxiii. 10, 

Thirdly, There are common and uncommon providences. 

1. "We should observe common and ordinary dispensations, such 
as fall out every day in the common road of providence. These, 
because they are common, lie neglected : yet the 104th Psalm is 
penned on that subject. I have observed to you already, how pro- 
vidence appears in the constant revolutions of seasons, day and 
night ; by the one the weary earth is refreshed, and by the other 
weary man, the night being fit for rest. The subjection of the beast, 
to man, by virtue of that divine word, Gen. ix. 2. forecited, without 
which man could not have his necessary designs served. I add, that 
wonderful diversity of faces and features, without which the man 
could not know his wife, nor the parents their own children, nor the 
judge the criminal; so that without this there could be no orderly 
society, no government, commerce, &c. These are a sample of com- 
mon providences, which studied might be of great use. 

2. Uncommon and unordinary providences, as miracles, which are 
beyond the power of nature ; extraordinary deliverances, judgments, 
discoveries of secret crimes ; which are bright spots here and there 
interspersed in the web of providence, and Aallenge a peculiar re- 

THIRDLY, we may consider providences with respect to the 
time of their falling out. The works of providence run parallel 
with the line of time, and the continuance of the world, John v. 17. 

1. We should observe the past dispensations of providence, Psal. 
Ixxvii. 5. ' I have considered the days of old, (says Asaph), the 


years of ancient times.' An observer of providence must look oft' 
unto others, look into himself, and, with respect to himself and 
others, look back also. 

(1.) Past providences towards others afford a large field for ob- 
servation, reaching from the creation till now, Psal. cxliii. 5. ' I re- 
member the days of old,' says David. He remembered how the 
Lord dealt with Nimrod, Abimelech, Pharaoh, &c. What a chain 
of wise providences has encompassed the world in the several gener- 
ations thereof? what a beautiful mixture of providences has always 
appeared towards the church, while the mystery of God, not yet 
finished, has been a carrying on ! "What very remarkable things 
have fallen out in the life and death of particular persons ! From 
all the particulars of these we might draw something for our spirit- 
ual advantage, as the bee from every flower extracts her honey. 

(2.) Past providences towards ourselves in particular afford also 
a large field, reaching from our first being till now. Look back and 
consider that wonderful providence that framed thee in the womb, 
Job X. 10, 11. The Psalmist finds himself in a transport of wonder 
upon this reflection, Psal. cxxxix. 14, &c. Consider how the same 
kind providence brought thee safe out of the womb, that the womb 
was not made thy grave, or that thou wast not stifled in the birth, 
Psal. xxii. 9. How thou wast provided for and preserved from the 
dangers in infancy, by the same kind providence, whilst thou could- 
est do nothing for thyself, Psal. xxii. 9, 10. Observe the provi- 
dences of God towards thee in thy childhood, youth, middle age, and 
forAvard to the present time; and thou must say as old Jacob, Gen. 
xlviii. 15. 'God fed me all my life long unto this day;' and with 
the Psalmist, Psal. Ixxi. 17. ' God thou hast taught me from my 
youth.' Observe how God gave thee such and such education, or- 
dered thy lot in such and such a place in his earth, and in such sort 
as he has done, how he brought thee into such and such company, 
saved thee from such and such dangers, &c. 

2. "We should observe the present dispensations of providence to- 
wards ourselves and others, Zech. vi. 1, 2. It is a stream that still 
runs by us, like those rivers that bring down the golden ore, Psal. 
Ixv. 11. By day nor night it ceaseth not, Psal. xix. 2. Providence 
with the one hand bid#us stoop and take on the day's load of bene- 
fits, Psal. Ixviii. 19. and with the other hand lays on the day's bur- 
den of evils, Matth. vi. ult. And therefore that is our duty, Psal. 
iv. 4. ' Commune with your own hearts upon your bed and be still ;' 
that having made our observations through the day, we may cast up 
our accounts against night. 

Thus far of the objects on which we are to make observations. 


III. The next general head is, to shew what we are to observe in 
providences. It is not enough to observe the work itself, but wo 
must be as particular as we can about it. This is like the bruising 
of the spices and the pouring out of the ointment, whereby their 
fragrancy is best perceived. There are these nine things I recom- 
mend to your obse\*vation. 

1. The timing of providences, the great weight of a dispensation 
sometimes lies in this very circumstance, that then it came, and 
neither sooner nor later. And the admirable wisdom that ap- 
pears in thus jointing of them ! Gen. xxiv. 45. Abraham's servant 
prays to be guided to the woman appointed to be Isaac's wife ; and 
in the very time Rebekah comes. Gideon in the very time when he 
comes near the enemy's camp, hears one of them telling his dream, 
Judges vii. 13, &c. Uzziah is smitten in the very time when he is 
attempting to offer incense upon the altar of incense. And here 
particularly observe the timing of providences, 

(1.) With respect to the frame of our spirit; for much lies in ob- 
serving what frame of spirit a mercy or stroke overtakes us in. So 
the church observes the timing of her deliverance, that it came when 
they were not looking for it, Psal. cxxvi. 1. And that made it look 
the greater. Job observes, that his trouble came on him when he 
was far from security, and that made him wear it the better, Job iii. 
ult. Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar's trouble began when their 
hearts had quite forgot God, and that made the heavy hand of God 
the heavier. notice carefully what frame of spirit your mercies 
or crosses find you in ; ye will see much in that. 

(2.) With respect to your circumstances. How often does kind 
providence catch the child at the very halting, Psal. xciv. 18. and 
an angry God set fire on people's nest just when they had well fea- 
thered it, and throw them down when they are just come to their 
height ? Job xx. 23. So he did with holy Job, chap. xxix. 18. Ob- 
serve it, and ye will find either a sting or a sweet ingredient in 
what you meet with. 

There is a piece of holy foresight that an exercised Christian may 
have by observing the timing of a dispensation. If thou be such an 
one, and wouldst know whether a Hiercy thou hast got will last or 
no, how was it timed ; came it to thee when^thy spirit was weaned, 
lying at the Lord's feet ? Thou hast a sure hold of it. But came it 
when thy spirit was upon the fret, unhumbled, unsubdued, and thou 
wouldest needs have it ? It will stick short while in thy hand, 
Psal. xviii. 17, 18. Hos. xiii. 11. Fruit plucked off the tree of pro- 
vidence ere it be ripe, will last short while, and set their teeth on 
edge while they have it. 


2. The beginnings and dawnings of providences, Psal, cxxx. G. 
' My soul,' says the Psalmist, ' waiteth for the Lord, more than they 
that watch for the morning.' So did those mentioned, Luke i, 66. 
' All tliey that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, 
What manner of child shall this be ?' Sometimes a work that God 
has upon the wheel of providence will be but like the cloud, as big 
as a man's hand ; but being observed, it will spread. Good Jacob 
observed the dawnings of providence in Joseph's case, though he 
little knew what a bright day it would end in. Gen. xxxvii. 11. It 
may be long betwixt the beginning and the end ; but it is good to 
notice, as the holy penman does^ the door of hope a little after the 
midnight of the captivity, Jer, lii. 31. There is a great advantage 
in being able to follow the thread of providence from the beginning 
of it. 

3. The progress of providence, endeavouring always to notice the 
several steps of it, Luke ii. 19. and 61. and to follow the thread. 
For God ordinarily brings great works to pass by degrees, that so 
men that are weak may have the greater advantage for observation, 
Hos. vi. 3. Mercies and strokes may be long a-working, the decree 
may go long ere it bring forth : but much of the wisdom of God 
may be seen in the several steps it takes, and the advances it makes. 

4. The turns of providence. The wheel of providence is a wheel 
within a wheel, and sometimes it runs upon the one side, and some- 
times on the other. Observe the change of the sides. For provi- 
dence to our view has many turnings and windings, and yet really 
it is going straight forward, Zech. xiv. 7- It runs fast to the even- 
ing with the church there ; but behold the turn, ' In the evening it 
shall be light.' See the turn of the wheel in Joseph's case, Gen. 
xli. 14. in Pharaoh's taking him from prison ; in the church's case, 
Est. vi. 3, 4. in Ahasuerus's inquiring whether any honour had been 
done to Mordecai for his discovering a plot formed against the 
king's life ; and in that of Hagar and Ishmael, Gen. xxi. 17- in the 
angel's calling to them out of heaven, to know what ailed them. 
And ye may see the wheel ordinarily turns at the brow of the hill. 

5. The end of providence, James v. 11. There seemed to be 
many dismal circumstances in Job's case, concurring to his ruin. 
His substance goes, hi# family, his health and ease ; his wife bids 
him blaspheme and die ; his friends represent his case as that of an 
hypocrite ; many a black thread appears in the web : but what a 
beautiful piece does it appear when it is wrought out ! Job xlii. 
10, 12. 

6. The mixture of providence. The unmixed dispensation is re- 
served for another world ; there is mercy unmixed, Rev. xxii. 1. and 


judgment unmixed, chap. xiv. 10. But here all we meet with is 
mixed. There is never a mercy we get, but there is a cross in it ; 
and never a cross, but there is a mercy in it. Observe the mixture 
of your mercies, to make you humble and heavenly ; for the fairest 
rose that grows liere has a prickle with it, and there is a tartness 
in our sweetest enjoyments. Observe the mixture of your crosses, 
to make you patient and thankful ; for the bitterest pill God gives 
you to swallow has a vehicle of mercy, Lam. iii. 22. ' It is of the 
Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions 
fail not.' And wise observers will see many mercies in one cross, 
if they will but allow themselves to see how God could and might 
have made it worse. 

7. The concurrence of providences. Sometimes several dispensa- 
tions of providence meet together in one's case. One while there 
may be a meeting of several mercies together, which make a golden 
spot of time among them to a person. At other time several afflic- 
tions meet together, one wave comes on the back of another, till 
the furnace is by several coals heated seven times. Job had expe- 
rience of both in his case, a train of troubles first, and a train of 
mercies succeeded. Jacob, when he came homeward to Canaan, had 
a train of troubles that waited on him. And in the case of the peo- 
ple of God, a very fair blink forebodes a heavy shower. The duty 
in that case is, ' In the day of prosperity be joyful ; but in the day 
of adversity consider,' Eccl. vii. 14. Sometimes there is a meeting 
of several kinds, and one gets his bed strewed with a rose and a 
thorn, &c. 

8. The design and language of providences, Micah vi. 9. They 
are the works of infinite wisdom, and therefore cannot be without a 
design. And seeing God speaks to us by his providences, and we 
ought to hear and obey when he speaks, we should be very careful 
to know the moaning of dispensations, that we may fall in with the 
call of providence. And the Lord takes it heinously ill if we do 
not, Jer. vii. 7. If it be dark and doubtful let us lay it before the 
Lord in prayer, set it in the light of the word, and meditate on it 
till we find it out, Psal. Ixxiii. 16, 17- 

9. Lastly, The harmony of providences. There is a fourfold har- 
mony to be observed in providences. % 

\st., Their harmony with the word, which they agree with as the 
copy with the original. The sealed book of God's decrees is opened 
in providences. Hence that of the opening the seals, in the Revela- 
tion. And the book of the scripture is written over again in pro- 
vidence, so that as in water face answcreth to face, so do God's 
works to his word, Psal. xlviii. 8. Providence is a most regular 


Luilding, and the word is the draught of that building. Providence 
is a curious piece of embroidery, and the word is the pattern. So 
that in providence the word has been a-fulfilling ever since it was 
given, and still it is a-fulfilling, and the pattern will be wrought 
out when the mystery of God is finished, and not till then, Mat. v. 
18. And thus it is a-fulfilling, not only by the extraordinary but 
ordinary pi'ovidences. If a man quarrel any thing in a building or 
embroidery, there must be a comparing it with the draught or pat- 
tern of the house or embroidery, and he will be satisfied. Psal. 
Ixxiii. 16, 17. 

Ye will never observe providences aright, if ye do not observe 
their harmony with the word ; for the word is the instituted means 
of the conveyance of influences, Isa. lix. ult. By neglecting of this, 
some dispensations prove stumbling-blocks, over which some break 
their necks, Mai. iii. 15. Many draw harsh and ungodly conclu- 
sions against others, whereby they only discover their own igno- 
rance of the scriptures, and of the metliod of providence, Luke xiii. 
1. — 5. John ix. 2, 3. like Job's censorious uncharitable friends, Job 
V. 1. 

Sirs, learn this lesson, that all providences which you, or I, or 
any person or society in the world meet with, are accomplishments 
of the scripture. And they may be reduced to and explained by 
one of these five things. Either they are accomplishments of, 

(1.) Scripture-doctrines, JPsal. xlviii. 8. ' As we have heard, so 
have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our 
God.' May not every one see, that few great men are good men ? 
Do not stumble at it ; it is but a fulfilling of the scripture, 1 Cor. i. 
26. ' Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not 
many noble are called.' That the safest condition for the soul is 
the medium between great wealth and pinching poverty, according 
to Agur's prayer, Prov. xxx. 8, 9. ' Give me neither poverty, nor 
riches, feed me with food convenient for me : lest I be full, and 
deny thee, and say. Who is the Lord ? or lest I be poor, and steal, 
and take the name of my God in vain.' — That Satan and the cor- 
ruptions of the heart are sometimes most busy, when people are set- 
ting themselves to serve the Lord, agreeable to Paul's experience, 
Rom. vii. 21. ' I find a#aw, that when I would do good, evil is pre- 
sent with me.' — That the generality of the hearers of the gospel are 
not savingly wrought on by it, according to these scripture-pas- 
sages, Isa. liii. 1. ' Who hath "believed our report? and to whom is 
the arm of the Lord revealed ?' Matt. xxii. 14. ' Many are called, 
but few are chosen.' And so in other cases. Or of, 

(2.) Scripture-prophecies, 1 Tim. i. 18. ' This I commit unto thee, 


Timothy, according to the projjhecies which went before on thee.' 
What astonishing- providences were the deliverance of Isi'ael out of 
Egypt, the expulsion of the Cauaauites, Cyrus' overturning the 
Babylonian empire, and loosing the captivity, and the destruction 
of Jerusalem by the Romans ? But all these were but a fulfilling 
of scripture-prophecies. What an astonishing providence was the 
rise, reign, and continuance of the Antichristiau kingdom, and the 
reformation of religion in many nations, after they had lain many 
hundreds of years under Popish darkness ; These are the fulfilling 
of the apocalyptic prophecies. And what an astonisliing providence 
was the introduction of the gospel into Britain, and the preserva- 
tion of it hitherto, amidst so many attempts to destroy it ? It is an 
accomplishment of that prophecy, Isa. xlii. 4. ' The isles shall wait 
for his law.' Or of, 

(3.) Scripture-promises, Josh. xxi. 45. ' There failed not ought of 
any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of 
Israel : all came to pass,' Psal. cxix. 65. ' Thou hast dealt well with 
thy servant, Lord, according unto thy word.' You see the 
orderly revolutions of the year, and seasons thereof; that is the 
fulfilling of the scripture, Gren. viii. 22. — That those who have suf- 
fered 'loss in the cause of Christ, have been bountifully treated with 
so much in hand, that they have had more content and inward satis- 
faction in that, than any other time of their life, is a fulfilling of 
scripture, Mark x. 29, 30. ' There is no ma,n that hath left house, or 
brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or 
lands, for my sake and the gosj^el's, but he shall receive an hun- 
dred-fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and 
mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions ; and in the 
world to come eternal life.' — That the way of duty has been not 
only the most honourable but the safest way, is an accomplishment 
of scripture-promises, Prov. x. 9. ' He that walketh uprightly, 
walketh surely.' Chap. xvi. ?• ' When a man's ways please the 
Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.' — That 
communion with God is to be had in ordinances, is conformable to 
promise, Exod. xx. 24. ' In all places where I record my name, I 
will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.' Or of, 

(4.) Scripture threatenings. Lev. x. 3. ' This is that the Lord 
spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and 
before all the congregation I will be glorified.' Hos. vii. 12. ' I 
will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard.' — You may 
observe how dangerous it is to meddle for the ruin of the work and 
people of God, from that passage, Micah iv. 11, 12. ' Now also 
many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be de- 


filed, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the 
thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel : for he 
shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.' How their faces 
are covered with shame that despise the Lord, from 1 Sam. ii. 30. 
' The Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed, that tliy house, and 
the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever : but now 
the Lord saith. Be it far from me ; for them that honour me, I will 
honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.' — How 
the faster people clave to their temporal comforts, they have the 
looser hold, from Ezek. xxiv. 25. ' I will take from them their 
strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that 
whereupon they set their minds, their sons and their daughters.' — 
How people may run long in an evil way, but their foot will slip at 
length, from Deut. xxxii. 35. ' Their foot shall slide in due time : 
for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall 
come upon them make haste.' 

(5.) Lastly, Or they are the parallels of scripture-examples. 
Psal. cxliii. 5. ' I remember the days of old.' The serious observer 
will fiud a surprising fulness here, as in the other parts of scripture. 
I will instance in three very astonishing pieces of providence, wMch 
often put good men to their wits end, to know how to accouAt for 
them ; yet being brought to the glass of scripture-examples, such a 
harmony appears betwixt the one and the other, as cannot but be 
extremely satisfying. 

(1.) Sometimes we see men walking contrary to God, and yet 
providence smiling on them, and caressing them, as if they were the 
darlings of heaven. This has puzzled the best of men. It put 
Jeremiah sore to it, chap. xii. 1. 2, ' Righteous art thou, Lord, 
when I plead with thee : yet let me talk with thee of thy judg- 
ments : wherefore doth the way> of the wicked prosper ? wherefore 
are all they happy that deal very treacherously? Thou hast 
planted them, yea, they have taken root : they grow, yea, they 
bring forth fruit ; thou art near in their mouth, and far from their 
reins.' It was near carrying Asaph quite oflf his feet, Psal. Ixxiii. 
13. ' Verily, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my 
hands in innocency. But, ! is there not a beautiful harmony in 
this with scripture-examples ? How did all Israel as one man back 
Absalom in his rebellion ? How did Haman rise till he could come 
no higher, unless he had got the throne ? And the tyrant Nebu- 
chadnezzar carries all before him according to his wish, &c. And 
scripture-doctrine unriddles the mystery, Psal. xcii. 5, 6, 7. ' O 
Lord, how great are thy works ! and thy thoughts are very -deep. 
A brutish man knoweth not : neither doth a fool understand this. 


When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of 
iniquity do flourish : it is that they shall be destroyed for ever.' 

(2.) How often do astonishing strokes light on those who are dear 
to God, as if God selected them from among the rest of the world, 
to shew his hatred of them ? Eccl. viii. 14, ' There is a vanity which 
is done upon the earth, that there be just men unto whom it hap- 
peneth according to the work of the wicked : again, there be wicked 
men to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous.' 
Sirs, this has been very puzzling to those that have met with it. 
But behold the harmony with scripture-examples ; as in Job's case. 
Eli loses his two sons at one blow, his daughter-in-law dies, and 
himself breaks his neck. Aaron the saint of God has two sons 
slain by fire from heaven. The apostles were set forth as appointed 
for death, &c. 1 Cor. iv. 9. Babylon is at ease when Zion lies in 
ruins. See Lam. ii. 20. But further, 

(3.) How often has it been the lot of some of God's people to 
meet with heavy strokes from the hands of the Lord, when they 
have been going in the way which God himself bade them take? 
That will try people to purpose that observe these things. But 
blessed be God for the Bible, that lets us see this is no untrodden 
path. Jacob has an express command to return to Canaan, Gen. 
xxxi. 13. But what a train of heavy trials attend him ! Laban 
pursues him as a thief, Esau meets him with four hundred to slay 
him, the angel puts the knuckle of his thigh out of joint, his 
daughter is ravished by the Shechemites, his sons murder the She- 
chemites, Deborah dies, and his beloved wife Rachel dies, and 
Reuben defiles Bilhah. It was no wonder he said, ' Few and evil 
have the days of the years of my life been.' Gen. xlvii. 9. 

2dly, There is a harmony of providences among themselves. It is 
observed of the wheels, that the four had ' one likeness,' Ezek. i. 16. 
The dispensations of providence of the same kind, at the greatest 
distance of time from one another, have a beautiful likeness to one 
another. And therefore Solomon observes, Eccl. i. 10. ' Is there 
any thing whereof it may be said. See, this is new ? It hath been 
already of old time, which was before us.' Did ever any meet with 
such a temptation and trial as I have met with ? say some. But 
says the apostle, 1 Cor. x. 13. ' There hath no temptation taken you, 
but such as is common to man.' Was ever any afllicted at the rate 
that I am ? says another. But hear what the apostle says. 1 Pet. 
iv. 12. ' Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to 
try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.' See 
how Solomon accounts for this, Eccl.-i. 9, 10, 11. ' The Thing that 
Lath been, it is that which shall be ; and that which is done, is that 



which shall be done ; and there is no new thing under the sun. Is 
tliere any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new ? it hath 
been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remem- 
brance of former things ; neither shall their be any remembrance of 
things that are to come, with those that shall come after.' 

(1.) They are all wrought after the same pattern, namely, the 
word, in the various parts thereof. The same word which was ac- 
complished on a nation or person thousands of years ago, is accom- 
plished on others at this very day. The same word fulfilled in 
one's case some time ago, may be fulfilled over again when their 
case comes to be the same it was then. 

(2.) They have all the same specific end, to reward or punish, 
check, direct, &c. And where the ends are alike, it is no wonder 
the measures be so too. God designed to make his enemies fall, 
and to deliver his church at the brink of ruin, in Esther's days; 
and so in ours of late. Hence the plot was suflfered to succeed ; 
and when all seemed to be done, providence struck a sudden stroke, 
and turned the wheel on the wicked. But is there any thing new 
here ? was it not just so in Esther's days ? 

It is good to observe this harmony ; for by these means one sees 
himself in a paved road, and so may the better know how to steer 
his course. When one finds himself in a road where providence has 
led him before, he may consult his way-marks that he set up when 
he was there formerly, and so may travel it the more easily. And 
the same may he do when he is in the road, where he observes 
others have been before him. He may beware of the steps where 
they stumbled, and keep the road by which he sees they got through. 

Sdli/, There is a harmony of providences with their design and 
end, Deut. xxxii. 4. ' All his ways are judgment.' There is an ad- 
mirable fitness in God's measures to reach his holy ends. The 
wheels were full of eyes as guided by infinite wisdom ; and whither- 
soever the living creatures had a face looking, the wheels had a 
side to go on. Whatsoever God created was very good. Gen. 1. ult. 
that is, very fit for the end of its creation. And so are all God's 
works of providence exactly answering their end. It is often ob- 
served of the wheels, Thei/ turned not when they went, as a chariot 
must needs do, when the charioteer has driven the horses the wrong 
way. If they were to go to another quarter, they were but to go 
on that side that looked that way all along. There is a twofold 
harmony to be observed here. 

(1.) The harmony of every piece of providence with its particular 
end and design. Where there lie a great many pieces of wright- 
work framed and shapen by the tradesman, should a bungler take 


them in hand, lie cannot join thera ; he complains that one mortise 
is too strait, and another too wide : but the artificer can sort them, 
and put each in its own place, and they answer exactly. So it is 
with providence. Every piece answers to its end, Eccl. iii. 11. ' He 
hath made every thing beaiitiful in his time.' There is a glaring 
instance of this in the strokes that providence reaches sinners to 
punish them for particular sins, where there is such an affinity be- 
twixt the sin and the stroke, that the sin may be read in the punish- 
ment. This is done many ways, which yet perhaps may be all re- 
duced to one of these four. The stroke answers the sin, either, 

(1.) In time, the stroke following hard at the heels of the provo- 
cation, as 1 Kings xiii. 4. When Jeroboam put forth his hand 
from the altar, saying, lay hold on the man of God, immediately 
his hand dried up. So God punished Dinah's gadding abroad un- 
necessarily, David's security by his adultery, and Peter's going into 
the high priest's hall. Or, 

(2.) In kind, whereby God justly pays home a person in the same 
coin as he sinned. Adonibezek is a notable instance of this, Judg. 
i. 7. ' Threescore and ten kings (says he) having their thumbs and 
their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table ; as I 
have done, so God hath requited me.' David's injury to Uriah's 
bed is punished by Absalom's doing the same to his. So many dis- 
obedient to their parents are paid home by their children again. 
Some wrong and oppress others, and afterwards others deal just so 
by them. Or, 

(3.) In likeness, the stroke bearing a resemblance to the sin. 
The Sodomites burn in lust, and they are burnt with fire from hea- 
ven. Nadab and Abihu sinned by oftering strange fire, and they 
are consumed with fire from the Lord. Jacob beguiles his father, 
pretending he was Esau, and Laban beguiles him with Leah instead 
of Rachel. As sinners measure to God in spirituals, he measures 
to them in temporals, 1 Cor. xi. 30. 

(4.) In flat contrariety. Adam will be as God, and he becomes 
like the beast that perisheth. David's pride of the numbers of his 
people is punished by the loss of seventy thousand of them. Rachel 
must have children, or she cannot live ; she gets thera, and dies in 
bringing one forth. The Jews crucify the Lord of glory, lest the 
Romans should come and take away their place and their nation ; 
and that is the very thing that brings them. 

(2.) The harmony of the several pieces among themselves with 
respect to their common end and design. And here there is often a 
beautiful mixture of contraries to make together one beautiful 
piece, Rom. viii. 28. * All things shall work together.' Strike the 



strings of a viol one by one, tliey make but a sorry sound ; but 
strike thorn together by art, they make a pleasant harmony. The 
niecest piece of work lying in pieces, is but a confused heap. Joseph 
is sold for a slave ; and he is brought into Pharaoh's presence. 
How contrary do these seem ? but the former was as necessary as 
the latter to accomplish the design of providence. Haman is ad- 
vanced, and the good deed done by Mordecai is forgotten, till the 
fittest time of remembering it. Both harmonize to Haraan's ruin. 
Providence loses no ground in all the compasses we imagine it 
takes : every circumstance is necessary to the carrying on of the 
common end. 

4:thly, There is a harmony of providences with the prayers of the 
people of God, that have the Spirit of prayer. Gen. xxxii. compared 
with xxxiii. 10. Many dispensations of providence are the returns 
of prayer. This seems to be the ground of that conclusion, Psal. 
xli. 11. ' By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine 
enemy doth not triumph over me ;' and puts an additional sweet- 
ness in mercies. There is one general rule as to the hearing of 
prayer, John xvi. 23. Whatsoever prayers are believingly put up 
in Christ's name are heard. And so we should notice the harmony 
of providence with prayer. Concerning which I offer these five 

(1.) That where God has no mind to give such a mercy, the spirit 
of prayer for that mercy will be restrained, Jer. vii. 16. ' Pray not 
thou for this people,' &c. As, upon the other hand, when God 
minds his people a favour, he will open their lips to pray for it, 
Ezek. xxxvi. 37. ' Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be 
inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.' And this is 
no wonder, if we consider, that the Spirit of the Lord dictated the 
word whereof providence is the accomplishment, and the same Spirit 
guides the wheel of providence, Ezek. i. 20. and the same Spirit is 
the author of acceptable prayer, by which the sap of the word is 
sucked out in providence, Eom. viii. 26, 27. 

(2.) God hears believing prayers, either by granting the mercy 
itself which is sought, as Gen. xxiv. 45. in Rebekah's appearing at 
the well, and drawing water as Abraham's servant had prayed for ; 
or else the equivalent, something that is as good, 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9. in 
Paul's obtaining grace sulftcient for him. Either of these ways pro- 
vidence brings the answer of prayer. For God's bond of promise 
that faith lays hold on, and pleads in prayer, may be paid either (as 
it were) in money or money-worth. And the harmony betwixt 
prayer and providence is to be acknowledged either of the ways. 

(3.) Providence may for a time seem to go quite contrary to the 


saints' x)rayers, aii<l yet afterwards come to meet exactly. It is au 
astonishing piece of providence that the saints sometimes meet with, 
namely, that a case never is more hopeless than just after they have 
had a particular concern upon their spirits before the Lord about 
it ; so that they are made to say, as Psal. Ixv. 5. ' By terrible 
things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, God of our salva- 
tion.' But it is very usual in the Lord's dealings with his people to 
pass a sentence of death on their mercies ere they get them, as he 
did with the Israelites in Egypt, who were worse treated by Pha- 
raoh after the application made to him to let them go, than before, 
Exod. V. ult. Providence acts like a man that is to fetch a stroke, 
swinging the axe back, that he may come forward with the greater 

(4.) Providence often very discernibly keeps pace with the pray- 
ers of his people, that as they go up or down, so it goes. An emi- 
nent instance whereof we have Exod. xvii. 11. in that Avhile Moses 
held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, 
Amalek prevailed. Hence sometimes a matter will go fairly on, 
while the soul is helped to believe and wrestle ; but when unbelief 
makes the soul fag, the wheel begins to stand too. And it is no 
wonder this takes place, where the same Spirit is in the creature, 
and in the wheel. 

(5.) Lmtly, Providence may sweetly harmonize with the spirit of 
prayer, and the believer's expression in prayer, and yet not with 
the desires of their own spirit, which perhaps they went to lay be- 
fore the Lord, Rom. viii. 26, 27. The not distinguishing of these 
two makes many see a great jarring betwixt providence and their 
prayers, while in very deed there is a notable harmony betwixt 
them. And if they would carefully mark the words in which, under 
the influence of the Spirit, they presented their petitions to the 
Lord, they might tind them wonderfully agree with the dispensation 
of providence, though not with the desire of their own spirits. 

IV. I proceed, in the next place, to assign reasons why Christ- 
ians should wisely observe providences. 

1. Because they are God's works, Psal. cxxxv. 6. The world, in 
the framing of it, was not a work of chance ; neither is it so in the 
management of it. "Whoever be the instruments and second causes 
by which any thing falls out in our lot, God has the guiding of the 
wheels, and has a negative on the whole creation. Lam. iii. 37- 
* Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord com- 
mandeth it not V Meet me with a favourable event ? we are debt- 
ors to God for it. As Abraham's servant acknowledged, on the 
favourable answer he received relating to Rebekah, in his bowing 




his head, and worshipping the Lord, Gen. xxiv. 26. Do we meet 
with a cross one ? It is the finger of God, though we see a crea- 
ture's whole hand in it, Amos iii. 6. ' Shall there be evil in a city, 
and the Lord hath not done it V Now, seeing they are his woi-ks, 
they ought to be observed. 

2. Because they are great works, Psal. cxi. 2. * The work of the 
Lord is great.' Every work of providence bears the signature of a 
divine hand upon it. But the stamp is sometimes so fine, and our 
eyes so dull, that we are slow to perceive it. I told you that there 
are small lines of providence as well as great : but the great God 
does nothing but what is great and suitable to himself. Though 
some of his works are comparatively small, they are all great abso- 
lutely. And therefore with respect to those I called small ones, I 
must say to you, as Dent. i. 17. ' Ye shall hear the small as well as 
the great.' And good reason is there for it. For, 

(1.) The smaller a piece of work is, the greater and more curious 
is the workmanship. Galen confessed the hand, and extolled the 
wisdom of God in the thigh of a gnat. An ordinary artificer will 
fit out a mill ; but the small wath requires a curious hand, and pic- 
tures of the least size shew most of the painter's skill. That frogs 
should have been a plague to Pharaoh, or llerod eaten up of worms, 
was more admirable, than if the one had been plagued with an 
armed host, and the other devoured by a lion. The rats devouring 
hats and poppies. (Turn. hist. Prov. chap. 112.) was truly more 
admirable than the conquests of Alexander and Csesar both. 

(2.) Great things may be lying hid in the bosom of very minute 
and ordinary things. Search into the rise of that wonderful turn of 
providence with the church in Esther's days, and ye shall find it to 
be the king's falling oft' his rest one night, Est. vi. 1. of that won- 
derful overthrow of the Moabites, and ye will find it a mere fancy, 
2 Kings iii. 22, 23. The curse of God may be in the miscarrying of 
a basket of bread, Dent, xxviii. 17- And it may be big with a 
great mercy. They say the whale is mightily beholden to the little 
fish called muscidus, which swims as a guide before her, without 
which she would be in danger in straits and betwixt great rocks. 
The little cloud like a man's hand often darkens the heavens ere all 
be done. 

3. Because they are often very mysterious works, and therefore 
they need observation, Psal. xcii. 5. It is necessary to give us 
right views of providence, and to keep us from mistakes. The 
making judgment of providences is a very tender point, wherein the 
best of men have gone far wrong. Was not Jacob far out when he 
said, Gen. xlii. 36. ' All these things are against me,' if we compare 


the pi'omise, Rom. viii. 28. ' All things shall work together for 
good,' &c. and the event too ? Many a time the ontside of provi- 
dence is very unlike it inside. The greatest cross may he wrapt up 
in what we take to be our greatest comfort ; and the greatest com- 
fort may be inwrapt in what we call our greatest cross. Observa- 
tion must break the shell, that we may look in. 

4. Because they are always perfect works. They will abide the 
strictest search and the most narrow inquiry, Deut. xxxii. 4. What- 
ever faults we find with them, as we do many, it is for want of due 
observation. But at length he shall gain that testimony and re- 
cantation, ' He hath done all things well,' Mark vii. 37- In these 
his works no flaw is to be found, no mistake ; nothing too much, no- 
thing too little ; nothing too soon done, nothing too late done ; no- 
thing misplaced, nothing in or over ; nay, nothing done that is not 
best done ; nothing that man or angel could make better. The 
world will startle at this as a i>aradox : but faith will believe it, on 
the solid ground of infinite wisdom, though sense contradict it, Isa. 
xxxviii. 8. Jer. xii. 1. that they who will debate this truth 
would come near and observe. 

5. Lastly, Because they are speaking works, Micah vi. 9. They 
speak Heaven's language to the earth, and therefore should be ob- 
served. And they speak, 

(1.) Of him, Psal. xix. 2. They preach to us that he is, what a 
God he is, how holy, just, wise, good, and powerful, &c. We may 
see there his perfections as in a glass. Each pile of grass speaks a 
God, a wise, good, and powerful one. So many creatures as there 
are, so many mouths to speak of him. And it is man's work to ob- 
serve and hear. When God had replenished the heavens with sun, 
moon, and stars, and the earth with variety of creatures, the crea- 
tion was still imperfect till man was made. For what avails the 
musical instrument, if there be nobody to play on it ? 

(2.) For him. Cross providences speak for him, Micah vi. 9. 
And favourable providences also, Rom. ii. 4. Hereby sinners are 
instructed in the way they should go, Psal. xxxii. 8. reproved, as 
Joseph's brethren ; and comforted, as Paul was, Phil. ii. 27 And, 
in a word, they call us from sin unto God ; by them, where the word 
goes before, Christ knocks at the door of sinners' hearts, and calls 
for access. 

I come now to the improvement of this doctrine. And, 

I. It may serve for lamentation. Ah ! may we not say. Who is 
wise to observe these things? Wise observers of providence are 
thin sown in the world ; because there are few exercised to godli- 
ness. God has given us enough to observe iu the public and in our 


private case. lie is speaking by his providence to the land, he is 
speaking loudly at this day to the parish, to you and to m-e, and to 
every one in particular. But, alas ! it is not observed to purpose. 
Graceless people are presumptuous, and will not observe ; and even 
many godly are heedless, and do not observe. There are these six 
evidences that this wise observation of providence is very rare. 

1. How many are there who see God no more in their mercies 
and crosses, than if they were a parcel of atheists, that did not 
think there were a God, or that believed no providence at all? If 
they get a mercy, God is not owned in it ; they sacrifice to their 
own net. If they get a cross, they cry out by reason of the arm of 
the Almighty. But none saith, "Where is God my Maker ! In all 
the turns of their life and lot, they never seriously look to the wheel 
within the wheel. 

2. How many are there to whom God in his providence is speak- 
ing plain language, that he who runs may read it, yet they will not 
understand it? Psal. Ixxxii. 5. God plagues the Philistines for 
the ark most visibly, yet they are at a loss, saying, It may be it is 
a chance. Balaam's ass refuses to carry him forward on the way, 
but he is in a rage against her. God meets sinners in their way, 
Avith speaking providences ; but on they go ; they do not hear, they 
will not be stopped. . Like the dog, they snarl at the stone, but look 
not to the hand that threw it. 

3. How few are exercised to know the design of providences that 
they meet with ? Many signal mercies they meet with, but put not 
the question. What is God saying to me by these things ? Many a 
heavy dispensation they meet with, partly by the rod's hanging over 
their heads, partly by its lying on them ; yet they never seriously 
take up Job's exercise, chap. x. 2. ' I will say unto God, Do not 
condemn me ; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.' These 
things let them come and go with as little concern to know the de- 
sign of them, as if they had none. 

4. How few are exercised to comply with the design of provi- 
dences, to accommodate themselves to the divine dispensations ? Job 
xxxiii. 13, 14. If men were wise observers of providence, it would 
be their constant practice to be answering the several calls thereof, 
still facing about toAvards it, as the shadow on the dial to the body 
of the sun, Psal. xxvii. 8. ' When thou saidst. Seek ye my face ; my 
heart said unto thee, Thy face. Lord, will I seek.' But, alas ! men 
meet with humbling providences, but they are not exercised to mor- 
tify their pride : they meet with awakening providences, yet they 
are not exercised to rouse up themselves to their duty : they meet 
with afflicting providences in Avorldly things, yet they are not exer- 


cised to get their hearts weaned from the world ; they meet with 
reproving providences, yet they are not exercised to repent and 
mourn over the sins thereby pointed out. But they really strive 
with their Maker, and while he draws by his providence, they hold 
fast, and will not let it go, Jer. vi. 29. 

5. The little slcill'that people have in judging of providences. A 
man will readily have skill in his own trade : but it is no wonder to 
see people unacquainted with things in which their business does not 
lie. what commentaries on providence are in the world, that des- 
troy the text ! How miserably is the doctrine of particular dispen- 
sations perverted ! Despisers of God and his ordinances are very 
easy ; and therefore the world concludes, ' it is vain to serve God, 
and that there is no profit in keeping his ordinances,' Mai. iii. 14. 
' The proud are called happy,' ver. 15. They are best that have 
least to do with them. Good men meet with signal strokes : the 
world concludes that they are hypocrites, and they must be guilty 
of some heinous wickedness beyond other people. Job v. 1. Luke 
xiii. 1, 2. And a thousand such blunders there are, 

6. Lastly, They rank poverty in respect of Christian experience 
found among professors. What a learned Egyptian said to a 
Greek, Vos Greed semper piieri, may be said to many in whom there 
is some good thing towards the God of Israel, Ye professors are 
ever children, 2 Cor. iii. 1. Ileb. v. 12. And what is the reason, 
but that we have never yet fallen close to the study of observing 
providences ? See the text. There is a daily market in providence, 
but ye do no trade in it ; and therefore ye are always poor. There 
is perhaps a lesson put in your hands this day, that ye had several 
years since, but ye did not learn it ; and so it is noAv as great a 
mystery to you as then. 

Use II. Of exhortation. be exhorted to become wise observers 
of i)rovidence. fall at length upon this piece of practical reli- 
gion. Many of us have it, I fear, yet to begin ; and all have need 
to mend their pace in it. For enforcing this exhortation, I shall 
give you some other points of doctrine from the words, by way of 
motives and direction, and so shut up this subject. 

For motives take these doctrines. 

1. "Wise observing of providence is a rare thing in the world : 
Who is wise, and will obse)'ve these things, as the words may bear. 
And the reason is, the truth of religion is rare, and close and tender 
walking with God is ycl rarer, Slatth. xxii. 14. and xxv. 5. The 
most part of the world go the broad way to destruction, Matth. vii. 
14. and therefore they are not concerned to observe the works of 
the Lord. Many Christians there are, that, alas ! in these dregs of 


time are not exercised Christians. Up then and be doing, and con- 
spire not with the multitude to put a slight on God's speaking by 
his providence, lest his fury break forth as fire on you with the 
rest, John vi. 66. 

The more rare the observing of providence is, it is the more pre- 
cious. Stones may be gathered from the surface of the earth, while 
gold must be dug with much labour out of the bowels of it. The 
finest things are hardest to be won at : Nulla virtus sine lapide. As 
Christ himself had a stone rolled on him, so every grace, work, and 
way of Christ has one. But there is a pearl underneath ; and the 
heavier the stone, the more precious is the pearl. Come and see in 
this particular. 

II. They that are wise will be observers of providences. Whoso is 
wise, and luill observe these things. And at what pitch your wisdom 
arrives, your observation of providences will follow it, Eccl. ii. 14. 
The eating of the forbidden fruit cast all mankind into a spiritual 
madness ; and the truth is, the most part of the world are in that 
respect as madmen, regarding neither the word nor works of the 
Lord. But if thou wert come to thyself, it would not be so, Luke 
XV. 17. How long hast thou acted as a fool, in matters of greatest 
weight, being penny-wise and pound-foolish, careful for a mite, and 
in the meantime letting talents slip through thy fingers ? Luke x. 
41, 42. 

Sirs, how do unobserved providences aggravate our gnilt, and 
increase our accounts ! When the day shall come, the Lord will 
reckon with the sinner, for all the pains he has bestowed on him to 
bring him to himself : when his slighting the call of the word shall 
be aggravated with so many items of providences. How will the 
sinner look, when the Lord shall say. Did I not give thee such and 
such mercies to draw thee from thy sin ? lay such and such crosses 
in thy way to drive thee from it ? What hast thou done with all 
the instructive up-stirring providences I gave thee ? with all the 
providential warnings, rebukes, &c. given thee ? Remember that 
passage, Prov. ix. 12. ' If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thy- 
self : but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.' 
* III. The wise observation of providences is a soul-enriching 
trade. They shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord. This 
is so on two accounts, both deducible from the text. 

1. That which seems the most barren piece of iH'ovidence, becomes 
fruitful by wise observation. Some of these things in the text are 
very cross providences ; yet even by them one shall understand the 
loving-kindness of the Lord. Behold a holy art, whereby ye may 
not only gather honey out of every sweet-smelling flower, but may 
gather grapes of spiritual profit off the thorns of afflictions, and figs 


of thistles. The apostle tells us a mystery, of a pleasure in infirmi- 
ties, distresses, &c. 2 Cor. xii. 10. Wise observation would let you 
into the secret. 

2. It has the promise, in the text. God has said, such a one shall 
know more and feel more in religion than others. ' To him that 
hath (i. c. improves what he has) shall be given.' And the more a 
man sets himself to observe, the more he will get to observe, and the 
more sappy will his observations be. By the wise observation of 

(1.) Sin and duty in particular cases is discovered. Ko dispensa- 
tions of providence whatsoever can warrant us to go over the belly 
of God's commands, 1 Sam. xiii. 11, &c. But where two lawful 
things are before us, providence may point out what is present duty, 
and which of them we are to choose. And so the word teacheth, 
Psal. xxxii. 8. ' I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which 
thou shalt go : I will guide thee with mine eye.' 

(2.) One gets a clear view of the divine authority of the scrip- 
tures, very necessary in such an age wherein atheism, pi'ofaneness, 
and immorality so much abound. For the wise observer sees the 
fulfilling of it exactly, and so is confirmed. While he observes 
providences, he sees scripture-doctrines, promises, threatenings, and 
prophecies accomplished, and the parallels of scripture-examples ; 
and so reads the truth of God's word in his works, Psal. Iviii. 11. 

(3.) Hereby a Christian is established in the good ways of the 
Lord, and that by those very things that make others to stagger, 
yea, themselves also, Avhen they do not observe, Psal. Ixxiii. 22, (S:c. 
It is the woful estrangedness to this exercise that makes so many 
here-away there-away professors, tossed about with every wind that 
rises, while amidst all these reelings the wise observer sits firm like 
the expert mariner among the boisterous waves, Psal. cxliii. 5. 

(4.) Hereby a Christian gets store of experiences, to lay by him 
for use at another time. How did Joseph sustain Egypt in time of 
the dearth, but by the corn laid up in time of plenty ? So the 
Psalmist says, ' my God, my soul is cast down within me : there- 
fore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Her- 
monites, from the hill Mizar,' Psalm xlii. 6. But for want of this 
some people are always from hand to mouth, always to begin ; ever 
learning, never coming to the knowledge of the truth, Mark vi. 62. 

(5.) Lcistly, It is a nurse to all the graces of the Spirit. It is a 
notable help to faith, Exod. xiv. ult. A short-limbed faith will 
reach far up, when it stands upon experiences. — To love ; see the 
text. Now, the love of God perceived kindles the flame of love in 
us. — To patience and waiting on the Lord ; for observation will 
keep them from being hasty while the work is on the wheel, Psal, 


xxxvii. 2. — To liope ; ' for experience worketh hope,' Rom. v. 4 ; 
for former mercies are pledges of future ones. — To contempt of tlie 
world. — To holy fear, Exod. xiv. ult. — To delight and joy in tlie 
Lord, Psal. xcii. 4. — To self-loathing, and thankfulness, Psal. cxliv. 
1, 2, 3, &c. 

And now for direction take this doctrine, There is need of true wla- 
dom to Jit a man for tight observation of providence. And that wis- 
dom is, 

1. Spiritual wisdom, 1 Cor. ii. 15. Carnal wisdom is no good 
observer of providence, as the blind man is no fit judge of colours. 

2. Scripture wisdom ; for the scripture is the pattern, and provi- 
dence the work. They that study the language of Heaven in pro- 
vidence, must consult the scriptures as the dictionary for that lan- 

3. Practical wisdom, Psal. cxi. 2. Even scripture-notions float- 
ing in the head will do but little service, but sinking into the heart, 
reduced into practice, will be of good use here. And the more to fit 
you for this work, take these following lessons from the word con- 
cerning providences. 

(1.) The design of Providence may sometimes lie very hid ; and 
therefore it is good to wait, and not to be rash, Psal. Ixxvii. 19. 

(2.) Sometimes providence seems to forget the promise ; but it is 
not so, but only the time of the promise is not then come. Gen. xv. 
4. with xvi. 2. 

(3.) Sometimes providence seems to go quite cross to the promise, 
and his work to go contrary to his word. But wait ye, they will 
assuredly meet. Gen. xxii. 

(4.) Ofttimes providence favours a design, which yet will be blasted 
in the end, for that it was not the purpose of God, Jonah i. 3. 

(5.) Ofttimes providence will run counter in appearance to the 
real design, and by a tract of dispensations will seem to cross it 
more and more, till the grave-stone appear to be laid on it. And 
yet, ' at evening-time it shall be light,' Zech. xiv. 7. 

(6.) Providence many times lays aside the most likely means and 
brings about his work by that which nothing is expected of, 2 Kings 
V. 11, 12. 

(7.) Lastly, Sometimes providence works by contraries, as the 
blind man was cured with laying clay on his eyes. 

Learn to live by faith, and be frequent in meditation and self- 
examination, and be much in prayer. 

Thus I have laid before you the duty of observing providences. 
May the Lord pity them that make no conscience of practising what 
they hear, and get nothing of all but a testimony against them- 
selves. And may he giA'e us all understanding in all things. 



Gen. ii. 16, 17- — And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of 
every tree of the garden thou mai/st freely eat: but of the tree of 
knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it : for in the day 
that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. 

Having already shown, that God from all eternity decreed what- 
ever comes to pass ; that he executes his decrees in the works of 
creation and providence ; that he made all things of nothing by the 
word of his power ; that he made man upright, adorned with his 
moral image, consisting in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness ; 
and that his providence, extends to all his creatures, and all their 
actions : that which now falls to be considered is the special act of 
providence which God exercised towards man, in the estate wherein 
he was created, namely, the covenant of works which God made 
with Adam. This covenant is sometimes called the covenant of 
works, because works, or obedience, was the condition of it ; and 
sometimes the covenant of life, because life was promised therein as 
the reward of obedience. 

In discoursing from this subject, I shall, 

I. Shew that God made a covenant with Adam, when he created 
him in a state of iunocency. 

II. Explain the nature of this covenant. 

III. Shew why God entered into this covenant with man. 
lY. Make improvement. 

I. That God made a covenant with Adam when he had created 
him in a state of innocency, appears from this text with the con- 
text. For here are the parties contracting, God and man. 

1. Here is the duty which God requires of man, not eating of the 
forbidden fruit; which was no command of the natural law, but 
superadded thereto, and implied his obligation to observe that law 
much more. 

2. A threatening in case man should break this positive law, 
TJiou shalt die. 

3. A promise of life in case of continued obedience. For the 
threatening manifestly implies another proposition, viz. ' If thou eat 
not of this tree thou shalt live.' Besides, the license the Lord gives 
him to eat of every other tree in the garden, and so of the tree of 
life, imports this promise. 

4. Man's accepting of the terms. This is left to be gathered from 
the proposal of it by the Lord to innocent man, who would refuse 


no terms that a bountiful God proposed. He objected not against 
the condition ; he betook himself to the privilege of the covenant, 
eating of the other trees of the garden. Eve owns it, Gen. iii. 3. 
* Of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God 
hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye 
die.' And when they had eaten of this forbidden fruit, their con- 
sciences terrified them, ver. '8. ' Adam and his wife hid themselves 
from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.' 
No wonder that Moses with a running pen describes this transaction, 
which, as to its being the way of salvation then proposed, passed as 
a flying shadow. Thus this covenant appears from the text. 

To confirm this, consider that the scripture speaks of two cove- 
nants, Gal. iv. 24. the one of grace, and therefore the other of 
works. See also Hos. vi. 7. ' They like men have transgressed the 
covenant.' The Hebrew bears, as Adam. It is the same word that 
occurs, Job xxxi. 33. ' If I have covered my transgressions as 
Adam. This will further appear while we shew, 

II. The nature of this covenant. Wherein consider, 

First, The parties covenanting. On the one hand was God, the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, man Creator and Sovereign Lord, 
who is the great Lawgiver, and withal good, and communicative of 
his goodness to his creatures. On the other part was man, God's 
creature ; Adam, representing all mankind, and covenanting with 
God, not only for himself, but for all his posterity, as the natural 
father of all, of whose one blood nations of men were to be made, 
Acts xvii. 26. and the appointed federal head ; which is clear from 
the imputation of his sin to all. Gen. ii. 17.' ' In the day that thou 
eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.' Compare Rom. v. 12. ' As 
by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so 
death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.' There was no 
mediator in this covenant ; nor was there need of any : for man was 
as yet the holy friend of God, and his service while he stood was 
acceptable to God, as being fully conformable to his own law, in 
which he could not but delight, as in his own image. 

Secondly, The condition of that covenant was perfect obedience, 
which God required of Adam, Gal. iii. 10, 12, " Cursed is every one 
that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of 
the law to do them. — And the law is not of faith : but. The man 
that doth them shall live in them.' The tenor of this covenant was, 
' Do this and live.' Where three things are to be considered. 

1. The law, which was to be the rule of that obedience ; which is 
twofold. (1.) The moral law, or the law of the ten commandments, 
as the apostle explains it, Gal. iii. 10. forecited. It is true, Adam 


had not this law written on tables of stone, but it was written in his 
heart ; the knowledge of it was concreated with him, so that he 
naturally knew it, being made upright ; which he could not be with- 
out this, Eccl. vii. 29. Yea, this law is in part written on man's 
heart after the fall, as appears from Rom. ii. 15. Much more was 
it written on Adam's heart before the fall. This law is the per- 
petual rule of righteousness. (2.) There was the positive symboli- 
cal law, of not eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 
This law was revealed to Adam in the text, neither could he other- 
wise have known it ; it being no part of the law of nature, but a 
thing in itself altogether indifferent, and depending merely on the 
will of Grod, who could have appointed otherwise. Only, as the 
natural or moral law obliged him to this, seeing it commands the 
creature to obey God's will in all things ; so by this his respect to 
the moral law was manifested ; for as in not eating he testified his 
supreme love and obedience to God, so in eating of it he rejected 
the sweet yoke of God, and took on that of the devil. 

2. The nature of the obedience that was in the condition of this 
covenant. It behoved to be perfect. 

(1.) In respect of the principle of it. So the law requires men to 
' love the Lord with all the heart.' It required not only external 
obedience, refraining from the thing forbidden ; but internal obedi- 
ence, which behoved to proceed from a disposition of soul bent to- 
wards God, in which there was no blemish, and altogether free and 
unconstrained without any reluctancy from within. And this im- 
plies, that the glory of God behoved to be man's chief end in all his 
actions, without having the least squint look to any other as his 
chief end. 

(2.) Perfect in parts extending to all the commands of God 
whatsoever that were given him. Gal. iii. 10. with respect to his 
thoughts, words, and actions. He was to do nothing that God pro- 
hibited, and to omit nothing that he commanded. He was to fulfil 
all righteousness, and his obedience was to be as broad as the law. 
Every commandment, without the least exception as to one tittle, 
was to be obeyed to the fullest extent. 

(3.) Perfect in degrees. He was to ' love the Lord his God with 
all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind,' Matt. 
xxii. 37. Every act of obedience behoved to be perfect in degrees, 
wanting nothing of that perfection which the law required. Every 
action performed by him behoved to be screwed up to the pitch de- 
termined in the law, without falling short of it in the least punc- 
tilio. All that was lower than that height required, was to be 
rejected as sinful ; and the least flaw spoiled the whole. 


(4.) Perfect in duration or continuance, without interruption, 
while God should have kept hira in the state of trial, Gal. iii. 10. 
This state could not have been for ever, without rendering the pro- 
mise of life fruitless; for to make a promise necessarily implies that 
a time is set for obtaining the reward promised to the obedience ; 
and if Adam was to continue in a perpetual state of trial, he could 
never have obtained the reward of his obedience. The time of this 
probation is not mentioned in the Bible. Probably it was not to be 
very long. And perhaps the devil, knowing the benignity and 
goodness of the Creator to his upright creature man, that he would 
not keep him long in a state liable to mutability, was incited to 
attack hira so very early as on the day of his creation, in order to 
prevent his confirmation in an upright estate. 

This and no less was the condition of that covenant. On no 
other terms could he attain to eternal happiness by it, or be justi- 
fied in respect of his state before the Lord, though he might in re- 
spect of particular actions. 

Hence it appears, that sincere obedience could not have been ac- 
cepted, if it was not altogether perfect ; nothing could be accepted, 
but an obedience altogether without fault or blemish; and that 
there was no place for repentance under this covenant ; no sor- 
row for transgressing in the least instance could be admitted : 
for the threatening was peremptory, ' In the day that thou eatest 
thereof, thou shalt surely die.' Such a positive denunciation cut off 
all hope, and rendered repentance of no avail. 

3. Adam's power to perform the obedience required. He was 
able to answer all the demands of that covenant, being made 
upright, Eccl. vii. 29. and in the image of God. There was light in 
his understanding, sanctity in his will, and rectitude in his affec- 
tions; there was such an harmony among all his faculties, that his 
members yielded to his affections, his affections to his will, his will 
obeyed his reason, and his reason was subject to the law of God. 
Had he not then sufficient knowledge of his duty ? and was he not 
invested with full power to perform the obedience required of him ? 
Besides, it was not consistent with the justice and goodness of God 
to have required that of his creature, which he had not given him 
power to perform. The case is quite otherwise with respect to us in 
our lapsed state, for we have lost the power of yielding obedience 
to God's law in Adam. But let it be remembered, that though we 
are utterly unable to obey, yet God has not lost his right to demand 
obedience ; which should induce us to betake ourselves to the second 
covenant, where every thing is freely given, and the will accepted 
for the deed. 


Thirdly, The promise of the covenant was life, and therefore it is 
called the covenant of life. Now, a threefold life was promised. 

1. Natural life, consisting in the union of the soul with the body, 
which should have been continued without death, if Adam had not 
sinned. Gen. iii. 19. Though man's body was made of dust, yet, by 
virtue of the covenant-promise, it would have been secured from 
mingling with its original materials. As it Avas created without 
any principle of death, so it was not susceptive of any hazard 
from that quarter, as long as the covenant should be observed. 
His natural life would have remained in constant vigour, without 
languishing or decay : And he would have enjoyed the comfort of 
this life pure and unmixed without any of those evils, miseries 
and inconveniencies, which now overspread the world. 

2. Spiritual life, consisting in the union of the soul with God. 
Man's soul was, and is in its own nature, immaterial and immortal, 
not liable to dissolution. It was endued with spiritual life at its 
creation, living in union and communion with God, and adorned 
with his image, consisting in righteousness and holiness. This 
image of God would have been continued in him. His knowledge • 
of God and his duty would not have failed ; nor would the righte- 
ousness of his will, or the purity and regularity of his affections 
have decayed. He would still have been the friend of God, and the 
favourite of heaven ; and would never have been without the most 
lively marks of the love and friendship of his covenant God. He 
would have had ready access to God, without any eclipse of the di- 
vine favour ; and the utmost pleasure and satisfaction in doing his 
duty, which would have been a continual feast to him. 

3. Eternal life, or the glorious happiness of heaven. He should 
have been confirmed in his holy and happy estate beyond the hazard 
or possibility of sinning, or forfeiting it. — Though he was created 
mutable, and mutability is woven into the very nature of the crea- 
ture, yet having finished the time allotted for his probation, he 
would have been secured from actual liableness to change for 
ever. His body would have been absolutely and for ever secured 
against hazard of death, or hurt from external accidents or injuries. 
He would have been confirmed in the love and favour of God for 
ever, without any hazard of falling out of it. The sun of favour 
from God would have shone upon him, without ever setting. And 
after the time of his trial was over, he would have been transported, 
soul and body, into the heavenly paradise, there to abide for ever. 
He would not have always lived in the earthly paradise, where 
he was to eat, drink, and sleep, but have been carried to the celes- 
tial paradise, where the happy inhabitants live as the angels of 



God. This is plaiu, if lie consider that application of the covenant 
of works, Matth, xix. 16, 17. — ' If thou wilt enter into life, keep the 
coramandraents.' Here Christ holds forth eternal life as the pro- 
mise of this covenant, to be had on the performance of the con- 
dition. The weakness of the law to give eternal life now, ariseth 
only from the flesh, that is, the corruption of nature, whereby we 
are unable to fulfil the condition of it, Rom. viii. 3. It was eternal 
life that Christ purchased for his people, and that as he was made 
under the law, by which he obtained that very life to them, which 
otherwise they should have had, if man had not sinned, Rom. viii. 
3, 4. Gal. iv. 4, 5. Besides, eternal death was threatened ; and the 
goodness of God uses not to propose greater punishments than re- 
wards. And if it had not been so, man had nothing to expect more 
than he had when created, and set down in paradise. 

Fourthly, The penalty of this covenant, in case of disobedience, 
was death ; natural, consisting in the separation of the body from 
the soul ; spiritual, in the separation of the soul from God, a death 
in trespasses and sins, Eph. ii. 1 ; and eternal, in the separation of 
both body and soul from God for ever in hell. Matt. xxv. 41. Man's 
body had never died had he not sinned, for ' the wages of sin is 
death,' Rom. vi. ult. and far less his soul, which would have flourished 
in all the beauty of spiritual verdure and vigour for ever. But it 
may be asked. How was the threatening accomplished, when Adam 
lived so long after his fatal transgression ? I answer. That day 
that he sinned he died spiritually. His soul was divested of the 
image of God that was stamped upon it at its creation ; his uudei'- 
standing became dark, his will rebellious, and his affections im- 
pure and irregular. He lost the favour of his Maker, and he was 
exposed to the wrath of God, as a mark at which the arrows of the 
divine displeasure were to be levelled. That this spiritual deatli 
was inflicted upon man immediately after his foul transgression, is 
evident from those gripes and throws of conscience that seized him, 
which made him hide himself from God amidst the trees of the gar- 
den. And this of course would have actually terminated in eternal 
death in hell, had not a Mediator been provided, who found man 
bound with these cords of death as a malefactor bound to the exe- 
cution. And as for his natural life, that day he sinned, he got his 
death's wounds, of which he afterwards died ; that day he became 
mortal, and his body liable to sickness, disease, pain, and every 
other harbinger of death. The crown of immortality, which he 
held of his Creator, by virtue of the covenant made with him, fell 
from oft' his head, and he became a subject of the king of terrors. 
He became liable to all those cords wherewith death binds his pri- 


soners. So that he was as sure a dead man as if dead already, 
though the execution of the sentence was delayed, because of his 
posterity which were in his loins, and because another covenant was 
prepared, by which the life and happiness forfeited by the breach 
of the first covenant, was to be recovered, and that with great ad- 

Fifthly, "We may consider how the covenant of works was con- 
firmed. It hath pleased God to append seals to his covenants with 
men ; and this covenant seems not to have wanted some things in- 
tended sacraraentally to confirm it. Among which may be reckoned, 

1. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Gren. ii. 17. What 
sort of a tree it was, the scripture does not determine. But what- 
ever it was, it was not so called, as having any virtue or power to 
make men wise ; that was the devil's divinity. Gen. iii. 5. who told 
Eve, that if they eat of it, they should he as gods ; but he was a liar 
from the beginning, John viii. 44. : but it was called so, because by 
it they knew to their fatal experience the happy state they fell 
from, and the woful misery that fall plunged them into. It obtained 
that name, because it was a warning-sign to them to beware of the 
experimental knowledge of evil, as they knew good. They had 
special acquaintance with good in all its charming kinds ; and this 
tree was set before them as a beacon to warn them from looking 
after the knowledge of evil, which, like a dangerous rock, would 
dash them to pieces, if they split upon it. And it served to confirm 
the covenant, and the happiness of their primitive state ; inasmuch 
as in the threatening relative to this tree was included a promise, 
that as long as they kept from eating of its prohibited fruit, they 
should never die. And hence we may gather, which is no impro- 
bable opinion, that our first parents could fall by no other trans- 
gression than eating of this tree. And the devil that finished 
master of craft and subtility, attacked them in this quarter, as the 
only side on which he could promise himself success. And alas for 
poor man ! Satan's stratagem succeeded, to the ruin of the whole 
human race. 

2. The tree of life. Gen. ii. 9. Though we have ground to think 
that this tree might be an excellent means of preserving the vigour 
of bodily life, as other trees in the garden also were, yet it could 
have no virtue in itself of making man every way immortal. But 
it seems to have been called the tree of life by reason of its significa- 
tion being appointed of God as a sacrament, by eating whereof he 
should have been confirmed in the belief of the promise of life na- 
tural being continued, of spiritual life perpetuated, and eternal life 
to be enjoyed in heaven ; which was the main thing, and included 

,, 9 


the other two, Geu. iii. 22. ' And now, lest he pnt forth his liand, 
and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever,' he must 
be driven out ; denoting, that man, by sin, having lost his right to 
eternal life signified by this tree, was driven out, Rev. ii. 7. that he 
might not profane the sacrament of it, to which he had now no more 
right. The words do not mean, that if Adam had eaten of the tree of 
life after his fall, he should retrieve his forfeited life ; this being 
impossible, because the threatening was express. In the day thou 
eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die ; and that the tree of life had no 
such virtue and efficacy in itself, and ceased to be a sacrament of 
the covenant of works the moment man sinned. It was intended 
to assure and persuade him of life upon performing the condition ; 
but the covenant being broken that assurance and persuasion actu- 
ally fell of course. The whole verse may be read thus, Behold the 
man who was one of us, to know good and evil : and noiv lest he put 
forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, that he may 
live for ever. Where three things are very plain. (2.) There is no 
irony or scoff here, as if God should say, Behold the man has at- 
tempted to become like one of us, to know good and evil ; but how 
shamefully has he failed of his design ! but, on the contrary, a most 
pathetic lamentation over fallen man. This sentence is evidently 
broken off abruptly, the words, I will drive him out, being sup- 
pressed ; even as in the case of a father, who, with sighs and sobs, 
puts his offending child out of doors. (2.) It was God's design to 
prevent Adam's eating of the tree of life, as he had eaten of the 
forbidden tree ; thereby mercifully taking care, that our fallen fa- 
ther, who had now got a revelation of the covenant of grace, might 
not, according to the corrupt natural inclination of men since the 
fall, run back to the covenant of works for life and salvation, by 
partaking of the tree of life, a sacrament of that covenant, and so 
reject the covenant of grace, by the eating of that tree now, as he had 
before broken the covenant of works, by the eating of the tree of 
knowledge of good and evil. (3.) At this time Adam imagined, 
that by the eating of the tree of life he might recover his forfeited 
life, and so live for ever. 

III. I come now to shew why God entered into this covenant 
with man. I know no reason can be given for this, but what must 
be resolved into the glory of the grace and goodness of God. It 
was certainly an act of grace and admirable condescension in God, 
to enter into a covenant with his own creature. Man was not at 
his own but God's disposal ; nor had he any thing to work with but 
what he had from God; so that there was no proportion betwixt 
the work enjoined and the reward promised. Man before that cove- 


nant was bound, but God was free : for man was under the law of 
nature before he was under the covenant ; for the law was created 
with him, that is, he was no sooner a rational creature than he was 
under the law ; but this covenant was not made with him till after 
he was brought into the garden to dress it. Before that covenant 
God was free to dispose of man as he saw fit, however perfectly he 
kept the law ; but when in the covenant he made the promise of 
conferring life upon Adam in case of continued obedience, during 
the time set for his trial, then he was debtor to his own faithful- 
ness, which is necessarily engaged to perform whatever he hath pro- 
mised. Again, deatli was the natural wages of sin, though there 
had been no covenant, and that by the rule of justice, which plainly 
requires that man should be dealt with as he has done. But man 
having given consent, however tacit, and not expressed in so many 
words, which yet is equivalent to a formal consent to the covenant, 
implying the threatening, the Lord proceeds not by simple justice, 
but by express formal covenant, in punishing for the breach of it. 
But we may consider the reason of God the Almighty Creator and 
Lawgiver's entering into a covenant with man a little more particu- 
larly, and that to the end our hearts may be impressed with a just 
sense of the glorious perfections of the great God, and the great 
goodness shewn to man in that whole transaction. I say, then, that 
God was pleased to deal with man by way of covenant, for two very 
important ends, the manifestation of his own glory, and man's 
greater good. 

1. For his own glory, which is the supreme end of all his actions. 
More particularly, 

(1.) To display the lustre of his manifold or variegated wisdom, 
Eph. iii. 10. This way of dealing was the most effectual method 
for securing man's obedience : for the covenant being a mutual en- 
gagement between God and his creature, as it gave him infallible 
assurance to strengthen his faith, so it was the sweetest bond to 
preserve his felicity. Divine wisdom shines clearly, in suiting the 
method of dealing to the nature of the reasonable creature, which 
was to be led with its own consent. It is true the precept alone is 
binding upon man by virtue of the authority of the imposer ; but 
man's own consent increases the obligation, twisting the cords of 
the law and binding them more strongly to obedience. Thus Adam 
was God's servant by the condition of his nature, and also by his 
own choice, accepting the covenant, from which he could not recede, 
without the guilt and infamy of the worst perfidy. The terms of 
the covenant were such as became the parties concerned, God and 
man : it established an inseparable connection between duty and 



liiippiness ; as is plain from tlie sanction, In the day thxxt thou eat est 
thereof thou shalt surely die. 

(2.) To shew his wonderful moderatiom For though he be Sove- 
reign Monarch of the world, and has absolute power over all crea- 
tures to dispose of them as he pleases ; yet, in covenanting with 
man, he sweetly tempered his supremacy and sovereign power, seek- 
ing as it were to reign with man's consent. And when, by virtue 
of his sovereigu authority and absolute right, he might have en- 
joined harder terms to man, and those too altogether just and 
righteous, he chose to use so much moderation, that he would re- 
quire nothing of man, but that which man himself should judge, and 
behoved in reason to be a just and easy yoke; and which, in ac- 
cepting the terms, he acknowledged to be such. 

(3.) For the praise of the glory of his grace. It was free conde- 
scension on God's part to make such a promise to man's obedience. 
He might have required obedience from him by virtue of his sove- 
reignty, as his Lord and Maker, without binding himself by any 
promise to reward his service. All that he was capable to do was 
but mere duty to his Creator ; and when he had done all that was 
commanded him, it was no more than what he was bound to do as 
God's creature. It was simply impossible for man to merit any 
thing at God's hand. It must be owned, there was much grace in 
this transaction, in that God entered into terms of agreement with 
man, not his equal, but his own creature, and the work of his hands ; 
and in promising him a reward for his service, which was due to 
God by the law of creation previous to that federal deed, and so 
great a reward, even eternal life, between which and the work there 
was no proportion. 

(4.) For venting his boundless love in the communications of his 
goodness to man. For God did not create man or angels because 
he needed them, but that there might be proper objects for receiv- 
ing the displays of his goodness. Nor did he enter into a covenant 
with man from any natural necessity, but on design of communi- 
cating his bounty to him, Deut. vii. 7, 8. Ezek. xvi. 8. Though the 
Lord might have exacted all that obedience and service from man, 
which possibly he could yield, and reduced him into his first nothing 
by annihilation at last, or at least not have bestowed everlasting 
happiness upon him, not bound himself by covenant whereby he 
might expect it ; yet, to shew the greatness of his goodness and love, 
he chose a way to reward that service in a most bountiful manner, 
which otherwise was due to him. 

(5.) For the manifestation of his truth and faithfulness in kee])- 
iug covenant with his creature, which could not otherwise have been 


SO gloriously discovered. God had made illustrious displays of Lis 
wisdom, power, and goodness, in the creation of all things, and in 
that excellent piece of workmanship, man, the chief of his works in 
this world ; but his faithfulness and veracity could not have been 
known, at least in its effects, without some such transaction. 

(6.) That he might be the more cleared and justified in resenting 
the injuries done him by the disobedience of his creature, with 
whom he had condescended to deal so graciously. For the more 
condescension and goodness there is on God's part, the greater in- 
gratitude appears on man's part in trampling on the divine good- 
ness. But, 

2. God condescended to enter into covenant with man for man's 
greater good. 

(1.) That thereby he might put the higher honour upon him. It 
was indeed a very distinguishing respect put upon man to be an ally 
of heaven, and the confederate friend of God. If it be an honour for 
a mean country peasant to be joined in a formal bond of friendship 
with a prince or potentate on earth, how much greater honour and 
dignity was it unto man to be joined in a bond of love and friend- 
ship with God, the Supreme Monarch of the whole world ? 

(2.) To bind him the faster to his duty. The Lord knew man's 
mutable state, and how slippery and inconstant the heart of man is, 
where confirming grace is not vouchsafed ; therefore, to prevent this 
inconstancy incident to man, a finite creature, and to establish him 
in his obedience, he laid him under a covenant-obligation to his ser- 
vice. Man was bound to obey God by virtue of his creation ; but 
his making a covenant with man which he willingly consented to, 
was a superadded tie to bind him the faster to his duty. By the 
covenant that was made with Adam, he had a kind of help to make 
him the more careful to observe the law which was written on his 
heart, and a prop to make him stand the more fixed and steady. 
For, on the one hand, he was warned of his danger in case of dis- 
obedience, that so he might beware of offending God; and, on the 
other he was encouraged to serve his Maker with the greater alac- 
rity, from the greatness of the reward set before him, and the great- 
ness of the punishment threatened in case he should disobey : both 
which tended notably to incline him to constancy in his duty. 

(3.) That his obedience might be more cheerful, being that unto 
which he had willingly tied himself. God chose to rule man by his 
own consent, rather than by force. An absolute law might have 
extorted obedience from man, but a covenant made it appear more 
free and willing. It made man's obedience look as if it were the 
result of his own choice, rather than of any obligation lying upon 


hira. This tended much to the honour of God; for one volunteer 
that goeth to the war, doth honour the service more than ten sol- 
diers pressed by force. 

(4.) For his greater comfort and encouragement. By this he 
might clearly see what he might expect from God as a reward of his 
diligence and activity in his service. 

(5.) That he might manifest himself to him, and deal with him 
the more familiarly. The dealing by way of covenant is the way of 
dealing betwixt man and man that hath least of distance in it, and 
most of familiarityj wherein parties come near to each other with 
greatest freedom. There is more nearness and familiarity in this 
than in any other way whereby God hath expressed his will. It is 
a more familiar way than that of commands and precepts, which im- 
ports nothing but authority and sovereignty. Yea, it is more 
familiar than the way of absolute promises, which might indeed set 
forth God's abundant goodness, but not so much God's familiar con- 
descension, as the way of a covenant, when so great and so glorious 
a Majesty stoops to treat and deal by reciprocal engagements with 
so mean a creature as man, who is sprung of dust. 

I come now to make some practical improvement of this subject. 

1. See here the great and wonderful condescension of God, who 
was pleased to stoop so low as to enter into a covenant with his own 
creature. Though he is infinitely great and glorious in himself, the 
fountain of his own blessedness, the glass of his own beauty, and 
the throne of his own glory ; yet he condescended to treat with 
mean man in a way of covenant. How astonishing is it that God 
should make a covenant with dust and ashes ; and that he should 
bind himself to man, to give him life and happiness as the reward 
of his obedience, which he owed to God by the law of his creation ? 

2. See what a glorious condition man was in when God entered 
into a covenant with him. He was placed in a pleasant and de- 
lightful place, where he was furnished with every conveniency 
he could desire. He was conformed to God in holiness. Light 
sparkled in his understanding, sanctity shined in his will, and his 
affections were regular and pure. He had familiar intimacy and 
communion with his Maker, and conversed as freely with him as a 
favourite with his prince. As he enjoyed the light of the sun in 
paradise to cherish and refresh his body, so he had the light of 
God's countenance to solace and delight his soul. Thus happy was 
man : but, ah ! he is now fallen like a star from heaven. 

3. See that God is very just in all that comes on man. He set 
him up with a good stock, in a noble case, making him his covenant- 
party. He gave him the noblest undeserved encouragement to con- 


tinue ill his obedience, and told liim Ins hazard if he should disohey. 
So that falling he is left without excuse, his misery being entirely 
owing to himself. 

4. See the deplorable condition of all Adam's posterity by reason 
of the breach of this covenant. They are under the curse of the 
law, which is an universal curse, and discharges its thunder against 
every person who is naturally under that covenant, and has not 
changed his state. 

5. This serves to humble all flesh, and beat down the pride of all 
created glory, under the serious consideration of the great loss we 
have sustained by Adam's fall, and the sad effects thereof upon. us. 
We have lost all that is good and valuable, the image and favour of 
God, and have incurred the wrath and displeasure of a holy God. 

6. See the unsearchable riches of divine grace, in providing a 
better covenant for the recovery and salvation of fallen man. The 
duty of the first covenant is now impossible, and the penalty of it 
intolerable. It admits of no repentance, nor accepts of any short 
endeavours ; but leaves sinful man as a malefactor in the hands of 
the law. Blessed be God for the revelation of the covenant of 
grace, wherein life and salvation is freely provided and offered to 
fallen man through the obedience and satisfaction of the second 
Adam. Well may it be called a covenant of grace : for it came 
from the rich and free grace of God, as its true spring ; it is all be- 
spangled with gracious promises, as the heavens are with stars ; and 
all the blessings contained in it are gratuitous and free, such as men 
cannot plead any right or title unto by any merit or works of their 
own. When the angels sinned, God expelled them from heaven, 
and left them to perish in their misery ; but ho was graciously 
pleased to enter into a covenant with his Son, as second Adam, for 
the recovery of fallen man, who by his obedience and death hath 
fulfilled the law, and suffered the penalty thereof, and thereby made 
ample provision for all the wants and miseries of poor sinners. 

7. There is no wonder, that however little good is wrought in the 
world, yet working to win heaven is so frequent. We have suffi- 
cient evidence of the covenant of works being made with man as 
a public person, seeing it is yet natural to us to do that we may 
live, and to think that God will accept us for our works' sake. 

8. See your misery, all ye that are out of Christ. This covenant 
is your way to heaven, which is now impossible. Tell not of your 
good meanings and desires, your repentance, and your obedience, 
such as it is ; and think not to get life, salvation, and acceptance 
thereby. For the covenant ye are under admits of no repentance, 
no will for the deed. It requires nothing less than perfect obedi- 
ence, which ye are incapable to give. 

242 OF THE faijL of our first parents. 

9. Lnsthf, Tlierofore give over this way of seeking life by tlie 
broken covenant of works, and come to the Lord Jesus Christ ; lay 
hold on the better covenant, and come up to Christ's chariot. Cant, 
iii. 9, 10. which will drive you safely to eternal life and glory. 
That chariot which the first Adam drove, went not far till it was all 
shattered, and made unfit to carry any to heaven. It breaks with 
the weight of the least sin ; and so ye can never think it will drive 
to heaven with you, Rom. viii. But come into the chariot of the 
covenant of grace, and ye will be safely carried in it to the land of 
eternal rest and glory*. 


Gen. III. 6, 7- — Arid when the woman saw that the tree wa^ good for 
food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to he desired to 
make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also 
unto her husband ivith her, and he did eat. And the eyes of them 
both were opened, and they knew that they were naked: and they 
sewed fig-leaves together, and inade themselves aprons. 

God made man upright, but he sought out many inventions. Man 
being in honour, abode not. He soon fell from the happy and holy 
state in which he was created. 

In the text we have three things to be considered. 

1. The fall of our first parents from their state of primitive in- 
tegrity ; it was by their both eating of the forbidden fruit, and con- 
sequently sinning against God, ver. 6. And they were immediately 
sensible that they were fallen from that holy and happy state, ver. 
7. This appears two ways. (1.) By their knowledge of their na- 
kedness. Some suppose, that their bodies, before their fall, had a 
divine glory and lustre on them, which was immediately taken 
away when they sinned, and they saw that this beautiful covering 
was now gone. Most part of interpreters understand it of their see- 
ing their nakedness with grief and shame, from a sense of their 
guilt contracted, and of that sinful concupiscence they found now 
working in them. Thus the eyes of their minds were opened, which 
Satan had blinded before. (2.) By their going about to cover their 

' A more full and particular account of the covenant of works may be seen in the 
author's treatise on that subject, first published in 1772, being a work composed pos- 
terior to these catechetical discourses. 


bodies with the broad leaves of the fig-tree. All this clearly holds 
forth their sense, though it was no holy sense, of their shameful fall. 

2. That action by which they fell, their sinning against God, ver. 
6, viz. by eating the forbidden fruit. They broke God's express 
command, forbidding them, under pain of death, to eat of the tree 
of the knowledge of good and evil. And immediately after this 
wicked deed they saw they were naked. 

3. How they fell. They fell of their own free-will being left to 
their freedom, A^er. 6. The. woman saw that the tree was good for food, 
8fc. There was no force or compulsion here ; all proceeded from 
free choice. Their eyes saw the fruit, their hearts coveted it, their 
hands took it, and their mouths ate it. 

The doctrinal truth deducible from the text is, 

DocT. ' Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own 
will, fell from the estate wherein they were created by sinning 
against God.' 

Two things are here to be considered. 

I. The fall of our first parents. 

II. How or what way they fell. 

I. Let us consider the fall of our first parents. And here f will 

1. That man is fallen. 

2. Whereby he fell, or what cast him down. 

3. What he fell from. 

First, I am to shew that man is fallen, and that our first parents 
did not continue in the estate wherein they were created, but fell 
from it. This is clear, 

1. From the express narrative of this fatal event given by Moses, 
Gen. iii. from which it appears, that tlie devil entering into a ser- 
pent, artfully tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, in direct 
opposition to the express command of God, prohibiting it under a 
dreadful penalty ; that she prevailed upon Adam to follow her 
example ; that they were both immediately stung with remorse and 
horror for what they had done ; and perceiving themselves to be 
naked, they fell a-sewing fig-leaves together for a covering to their 
bodies ; that hearing the voice of the Lord God in the garden, they 
did, as an evidence of their guilt, and of the privation of light in 
their minds, hide themselves from the presence of the Lord among 
the trees of the garden ; that being called to account for their con- 
duct, the woman threw the blame on the serpent, and the man on 
the woman ; and that both received sentence from their ofi'endcd 
Creator and Judge, expressive of their future misery; though at the 
same time God was pleased to give them a revelation of the method 


of salvation by a Redeemer, in the promise respecting the seed of 
the woman bruising the serpent's head. All this amounts to a plain 
proof that man has fallen from the holy and happy state he was 
placed in at his creation. 

2. From the doleful experience of their posterity, Rom. v. 12, 
' As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so 
death passed upon all man, for that all have sinned.' "When we 
see the whole race of mankind born beggars, surely we may con- 
clude that their father became bankrupt ; for he once had a happy 
portion to transmit to his posterity, which he foolishly squandered 
away. And the misery attending upon us now, is, that we are pur- 
sued for our father's debt as well as our own, without having a far- 
thing to pay. 

Secondly, We may inquire, How did Adam fall, or what cast him 
down ? It was his sinning against God. While our first parents 
held with God, they stood ; but when they departed from him, 
they fell. What their sin was more particularly, will fall to be 
shewn afterwards. They thought to rise by their sin, affecting to be 
as gods. Gen. iii. 5, 6. but it was their ruin. Seeking more they lost 
what they had. 

Thirdlt/, It may be asked, What did they fall from ? The state 
wherein they were created. Now, this was a state of the greatest 
holiness and felicity. When they sinned, 

1. They fell from a holy into a sinful state. They lost the image 
of God. Observe the opposition betwixt the image of God and that 
of Adam, Gen. v. 1, 3. There we are told, 'that God made man in 
his own likeness,' or image ; and that Adam beget a son ' in his own 
likeness,' even Seth, from whom the whole human race is sprung. 
Sin was a turning from God as their chief end, and making them- 
selves their chief end; whereby all their uprightness behoved to 
be lost. It broke the whole law of God at one touch, and violently 
struck against God and man's neighbour, that is, his posterity ; and 
so could not but waste and defile the conscience. This was the 
sense of the threatening, ' In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou 
shalt surely die.' And in this unholy state are all born of the first 

(1.) They lost their knowledge, and fell under horrible blindness. 
Witness their fig-leaf cover for shrouding their nakedness, and their 
hiding themselves from the presence of the Lord, Gen. iii. 7, 8. A 
plain indication of their falling into dreadful ignorance of the Di- 
vine Being, the opposite of that great knowledge they had of him in 
their primitive state of integrity. 

(2.) They lost the righteousness of their will, Eccl. vii. 29. And 


they fell under an aversion to God. Witness their running away 
from him, ver. 8. their excusing their sin, transferring the guilt every 
one off themselves, till it landed at length on God himself, ver. 12. 

(3.) They lost the holiness of their affections, which immediately 
fell into confusion and disorder. Witness their covering their na- 
kedness. While they were innocent, though naked, they were not 
ashamed ; but that jewel being gone, the irregularity of their affec- 
tions began to appear in discovering themselves to be naked, by the 
evil operation of concupiscence in their minds. 

2. They fell from their happy state into a miserable one. what 
a fearful overturn was made by their sin. 

(1.) Horror of conscience seizes them, ver. 8. appearing in flying 
from the divine presence ; which nothing but guilt, clasping as a 
serpent about them, could have induced them to do. Death was 
threatened in case of transgression. Gen. ii. 17. They both died spi- 
ritually, and were bound with the cords of temporal and eternal 

(2.) They are driven out of paradise, excommunicated and de- 
clared incapable of communion with God in the tree of life in the 
garden, Gen. iii.. 23. ' The Lord God sent him forth from the gar- 
den of Eden,' as a divorced woman out of the house of her husband, 
as the word signifies. Nay, God drove out the man, expelling him 
from that pleasant and delightful place, which he had forfeited by 
his transgression, ver. 24. 

(3.) The woman, the first transgressor, is condemned to sorrow 
and pain in breeding, bearing, and bringing forth children, ver. 16. 
which, as some observe, is greater in women than other creatures. 
And frequently women lose their lives in the case. 

(4.) She is put under a yoke of subjection to her husband, ver. 16. 
Not but that the woman was subject to him before, but it was to a 
gentle and loving guide : but now all her desires are subjected to 
her husband, to grant them or deny them as he sees fit, because she 
ate of the forbidden fruit without asking his advice, which now, be- 
cause of his and her corruption, becomes a heavy yoke. 

(5.) The ground is cursed for man's sake ; under the influence of 
which curse it is barren of wholesome fruits, which it does not yield 
without heavy labour and diligent cultivation, but fruitful in nox- 
ious plants, as thorns and thistles, ver. 17- 

(6.) Man is condemned to singular anxiety, to weary, toilsome, 
and ofttimes fruitless labour, whether it be the labour of the hands 
or of the mind, ver. 17, 19. ; for this last is to be taken into the ac- 
count too, as appears from Eccl. i. 13, 18. ' I gave my heart (says 
the preacher), to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all 


things that are done under heaven : this sore travail hath God given 
to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. For in much -wisdom 
is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.' 

II. Jjet us next consider, how or what way upright man fell. It 
was so that our first parents sinned, being left to the freedom of 
their own will. For understanding of this let us consider the fol- 
lowing things. 

1. That our first parents had a freedom of will. Freedom of will 
is a liberty in the will, whereby of its own accord, freely and spon- 
taneously, without any force upon it, it chuses or refuses what is 
proj>osed to it by the understanding. And this freedom of will man 
hath in whatever state he be. But there is a great diff'erence of the 
freedom of the will in the difi'erent states of man. In the natural 
corrupt state, man has a free will only to evil, Gren. vi. 5. ' Every 
imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually.' 
Eph. ii. 1. ' He is dead in trespasses and sins.' He freely chuseth 
evil without any force on his will ; and he cannot do otherwise, be- 
ing under the bondage of sin. In the state of grace, man has a free- 
will, partly to good and partly to evil. Hence the apostle says, 
Rom. vii. 22, 24. ' I delight in the law of God after, the inward man. 
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of 
my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is 
in my members.' In this state the will sometimes chuses that which 
is good, and sometimes that which is evil. This freedom of will is 
in all regenerate persons who have in some measure recovered the 
image of God. They chuse good freely by virtue of a principle of 
grace wrought in them by the sanctifying operations of the Divine 
Spirit ; yet through the remainders of corruj)tion that abides in 
them, their wills are sometimes inclined to that which is evil. In 
the state of glory, man has a free will to good only. In this state 
the blessed chuse good freely ; and being confirmed in a holy state, 
they cannot sin. 

The freedom of will that man had in the state of innocence was 
different from all these. In that state he had a freedom of will 
both to good and evil ; and so had a power wholly to chuse good, or 
wholly to chuse evil : which difterences it from the freedom of will 
in the state of grace. He had a free will to good, yea, the natural 
set of his will was to good only, Eccl. vii. 29. being ' made upright ;' 
but it was liable to change through the power of temptation, and so 
free to evil also, as mournful experience has evidenced. Man was 
created holy and righteous, and received a power from God con- 
stantly to persevere in goodness, if he would ? yet the act of perse- 
verance was left to the choice and liberty of his own will. To 


illustrate this a little, we may observe some resemblance of it in 
nature. God creates the eye, says one, and puts into it the faculty 
of seeing, and withal he adds to the eye necessary helps by the light 
of the sun. As for the act of seeing, it is left to man's liberty ; for 
he may see if he will, and if he will he may shut his eyes. The 
physician, again, by his art procures an appetite, and provides con- 
venient food for the patient : but the act of eating is in the plea- 
sure of the patient ; for he may eat, or abstain from it if he will. 
Thus God gave Adam strength and power to persevere in righte- 
ousness, but the will he left to himself. 

Let no man quarrel, that God made Adam liable to change in 
his goodness ; for if he had been unchangeably holy, he behoved to 
be so either by nature or by free grace ; if by nature, that were to 
make him God ; if of free grace, then there was no wrong done him 
in with-holding what was not due. And he would have got the 
grace of confirmation, if he had stood the time of his trial. 

Secondly, God left our first parents to the freedom of their own 
will ; and was in no respect the cause of their falling. 

1. The Lord did not withdraw any of that strength and ability 
which he had be&towed upon them in their creation. There was no 
subtraction of any grace that was requisite for their standing. God 
is not like man to give and recal again ; for his gifts are without 
repentance. Adam left God before he was forsaken by him. 

2. The Lord did not infuse any vicious inclinations into man. 
There was no internal impulsion from God, exciting him to eat the 
forbidden fruit. He neither moved him to sin, nor approved of it, 
but forbade it under the severest penalty. It is altogether incon- 
sistent with the divine purity to incline the creature to sin. As 
God cannot be tempted to evil, neither tempteth he any man. It is 
extremely injurious to his infinite wisdom to think, that he would 
deface and spoil that admirable work which he had composed with 
so much design and counsel. And it is highly dishonourable to his 
immense goodness. He loved his creature, the master piece of his 
works ; and love is an inclination to do good. It was impossible 
therefore, that God should induce man to sin, or withdraw that 
power from him which was necessary to resist the temptation, when 
the consequence must be his inevitable ruin. 

But by their being left to the freedom of their own will, we are to 
understand God's with-holding of that further grace (which he was 
nowise bound to give them) that would have infallibly prevented 
their falling into sin. God only i^ermittcd this fall. No doubt he 
could have hindered either Satan to tempt, or man to have yielded ; 
but in his holy wise providence, without which a sparrow cannot 


fall, far less all mankind, he permitted Satan to tempt, that is, he 
did not hinder him, which he was not obliged to do. It was in 
man's power to continue in his obedience or not. God was not 
obliged to hinder his fall. As he brings light out of darkness, order 
out of confusion and life out of death, so he knew how to bring good 
out of evil, and glory to himself out of man's fall. Adam's fall 
,was perfectly voluntary ; his own will was the sole cause of it, as 
will plainly appear, if you consider. 

(1.) That while he continued innocent, he had a sufficient power 
to persevere in his holy state. God created him with a perfection 
of grace. If he had pleased, he might have effectually resisted the 
temptation and continued stedfast in his duty to God ; and God was 
under no obligation to give him that further actual grace which 
would have effectually kept him up. And this grace he was bound 
neither to give nor continue with him. 

(2.) That the devil did only allure, he could not ravish his con- 
sent. Though his malice be infinite, yet his power is restrained and 
limited by the omnipotent hand of Jehovah, that he cannot fasten 
an immediate, much less an irresistible, impression on the will. He 
therefore made use of an external object to invite man to sin. Now, 
objects have no constraining force : they are but partial agents, and 
derive all their efficacy from the faculty unto which they are agree- 
able. And although now, in our fallen state, sin hath so disordered 
the flesh, that there is great difficulty in resisting those objects that 
pleasantly insinuate themselves } yet, in the state of innocence, 
there was such an universal rectitude in Adam, and so entire a sub- 
jection of the sensual appetite to the superior power of reason, that 
he might have obtained an easy conquest. A resolute negative had 
made him victorious ; by a strong denial, he had baffled that proud 

(3.) That Adam's disobedience was the effect of his own choice. 
For a specious object was conveyed through the unguarded sense to 
his fancy, and from that to his understanding, which, by a vicious 
careless neglecting to consider the danger, commended it to the will, 
and that resolved to embrace it. Now, it is plain and undeni- 
able, that the action which resulted from the direction of the mind, 
and the choice of the will, was absolutely free. Besides, as the re- 
gret that is mixed with an action is a certain character that the 
person is under restraint ; so the delight that attends it is a clear 
evidence that he is free. When the appetite is drawn by the lure 
of pleasure, the more violent, the more voluntary is its motion. 
Now, the representation of the forbidden fruit was under the notion 
of pleasure : The woman saiv that the fruit luas good for food, (that 


is, pleasurable to the palate), pleasant to the eye, and to be desired to 
make one wise, that is, to increase knowledge, which is the pleasure 
of the mind ; and these allectives drew her into the snare. Man 
was under no necessity to sin. Force and co-action are inconsistent 
with the nature of the will, and entirely destroys it. Adam might 
have continued in his obedience if he had pleased. The devil had 
no power over him to disturb his felicity. He prevailed against 
him by simple suasion. 

Thirdly, The devil tempted our first parents to sin. The devil in 
the serpent set on man while he stood. Where observe, 

1. It was a true serpent which the devil appeared in. What 
sort of a serpent it was, is not determined : but it seems to have 
been a beautiful creature of a shining colour : for in Dent. viii. 15. 
there are serpents spoken of that are in the Hebrew called Seraphim, 
the very name given to angels, which were wont to appear in a 
splendid form, it may be like these seraphim ; and so Eve might 
take the serpent for one of these good angels. But Moses' plain 
historical narrative leaves no room to doubt that it was a real ser- 
pent, representing it to be more subtile than any boast of the field, 
and as cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field, 
after the transgression, when it was condemned to go upon its belly, 
and to eat dust all the days of its life, Gen. iii. 1, 14. And it is 
known that the Egyptians, by the devil's instigation, worshipped 
serpents. And in the old Greek mysteries they used to carry about 
a serpent, and cry Evah : A sign of the extraordinary service it had 
done to the devil. 

2. Though Moses makes no mention of the devil in this aflfair, yet 
surely he was the prime instrument in this fatal seduction. For 
seeing serpents cannot speak, and far less reason, we may easily 
conclude it was the devil, who therefore is called ' the old serpent, 
and a liar and murderer from the beginning,' John viii. 44. See 
Gen. iii. 15. Compare Heb. ii. 14. Tlie devil then, one, perhaps 
the chief, of those rebellious spirits, who by a furious ambition had 
raised a war in heaven, and were fallen from their obedience and 
glorious state, designing to corrupt man, and make him a companion 
with them in their revolt, set about this work, urged by two strong 
and powerful passions, hatred and envy. 

(1.) The devil was prompted to this action by an implacable 
hatred against God. For being fallen under a final and irrevocable 
doom, he looked upon God as an irreconcileable enemy ; and not 
being able to injure his essence, he struck at his image ; as the fury 
of some beast discharges itself at the picture of a man. He singled 
out Adam as the mark of his malice, that, by seducing him from his 


duty, he might defeat God's design, which was to be honoured by 
man's free and cheerful obedience ; and so to eclipse the lustre of 
his excellencies as though he had made man in vain. 

(2.) He was solicited by envy, the first native of hell. For hav- 
ing lost the friendship and favour of God, and being cast out of 
heaven, the happy region of blessedness and joy, the sight of Adam's 
felicity highly exasperated and accented his grief, that man, who 
by the condition of his nature was inferior to him, should be prince 
of the world, and the special friend and favourite of heaven, whilst 
he himself was a miserable prisoner, under those fatal chains which . 
restrained and tormented him, the power and the wrath of God. 
This made his state and condition more intolerable. His torment 
was incapable of any allay, but by rendering man as miserable as 
himself. And as hatred excited his envy, so envy inflamed his 
hatred, and both joined together in mischief. And being thus 
pushed on, his subtilty being equal to his malice, he contrives a 
temptation which might be most taking and dangerous to man in his 
raised and happy state. As soon as Adam was invested with all 
his glory, the devil, as it were, would dethrone him on the day of 
his coronation, and bring both him and all his posterity under a 
curse. Here I shall consider the temptation which was the occasion 
of man's fall, and the devil's subtilty in managing it. 

1. As to the temptation itself, it was very suitable and promis- 
ing. The devil attempted to seduce him by art, in his propounding 
the lure of knowledge and pleasure, to inveigle the spiritual and 
sensitive appetites at once. There were three things in which the 
desirableness of this fruit was represented, which sets forth the 
great art and sagacity of Satan. 

(1.) Its agreeableness to the palate. It is said, The woman saw 
the fruit that it was good for food. Satan told her that it was of a 
most sweet and delicious taste, and would highly gratify her sensual 

(2.) It was pleasant to the eye ; a charming and beautiful fruit, 
which had an inviting aspect. 

(3.) There was a desirableness in it to the rational appetite. It 
was a tree to he desired to make one wise. And the serpent told her, 
ver. 5. that, upon eating it, their eyes should he opened, and they 
should he as gods, knowing good and evil. He made Eve believe, 
that, upon her eating the fruit of that tree, she would be raised and 
elevated from the human to a kind of divine nature and condition. 
This was the temptation with which the devil assaulted our first pa- 
rents in paradise, and prevailed against them. 

2. I shall take notice of Satan's subtilty in managing this temp- 


tation. We read of his wiles in scripture ; and indeed they are 
worse than his darts. 

(1.) That he might the better succeed in his hellish design, he ad- 
dressed himself to the woman, the weakest person, and most liable 
to seduction. He reckoned, and that justly enough, that his at- 
tempt would be most successful here, and that she was less able to 
resist him. He broke over the hedge where it was weakest. He 
knew very well that he could more easily insinuate and wind him- 
self into her by a temptation. An old experienced soldier, when he 
is to storm and enter a castle, observes carefully where there is a 
breach, or how he may enter with most facility : so did Satan here 
when he assaulted Eve, the weaker vessel. And he tempted the 
woman first, because he knew, if once he could prevail with her, she 
would easily entice and draw on her husband. Satan knew very 
well, that a temptation coming to Adam from Eve, his wife, in this 
the infancy of 'their married state, would be more prevailing and 
less suspected. Sometimes near relations prove strong temptations. 
A wife may be a snare, when she dissuades her husband from his 
duty, or entices him to sin. It is said of Ahab, 1 Kings xxi. 25. 
that ' there was none like unto him, which did sell himself to work 
wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred 
up.' She blew the coals, and made his sin flame out with the 
greater violence. Satan discovered his great subtilty in tempting 
Adam by his wife ; for he with complacency received the tempta- 
tion, and, by the enticement of this old serpent, committed adultery 
with the creature, from whence the cursed race of sin and all 
miseries proceed. 

(2.) He assaulted her when alone, in the absence of her husband, 
and so did the more easily prevail. For * two are better than one ;' 
and, as Solomon observes, ' a threefold cord is not easily broken.' 
Had Adam been present at this fatal congress, it is like the attempt 
had not been so easily successful. 

(3.) The devil's subtilty may be seen here in hiding himself in the 
body of a serpent, which, before sin entered into the world was not 
terrible to Eve. Satan crept into a serpent, and spake in it, as the 
angel did afterwai'ds in Balaam's ass. She was not afraid of this 
apparition ; for she knew no guilt, and therefore was not subject to 
any fear. She might look upon this as one of the angels or blessed 
spirits, which, as they used after this to appear in the shape of men, 
why might not one of them appear now, and converse with her in 
the shape of a beautiful serpent; why might not she freely dis- 
course with this, which she reckoned one of those good angels, to 
whose care and tuition both she and her husband Avere committed ? 

n 9 


For we may suppose the fall of the angels was not yet revealed to 
her, and she thought this to be a good spirit, otherwise she would 
certainly have declined all conversation with an apostate angel. 
Some have supposed, and that not very improbably, that more dis- 
course passed between the serpent and Eve than is recorded. Gen. 
iii. and represent the matter thus : The serpent, catching the oppor- 
tunity of the woman's being at a distance from her husband, makes 
his address to her with a short speech, saluting her as empress of 
the world, and giving her a great many encomiums and dignifying 
titles : She wonders, and inquires what this meant ? and whether he 
was not a brute creature ? and how he came to be endowed with un- 
derstanding and speech ? The serpent replies, that he was nobler 
than a brute, and did indeed once want both these gifts ; but by 
eating a certain fruit in this garden, he had got both. She immedi- 
ately asks what fruit and tree that was which had such a surprising 
influence and virtue. "Which when he had shewe'd her, she re- 
plied, This no doubt is an excellent fruit, but God hath strictly for- 
bidden us the use of it. To which the serpent j>resently replies, as 
in the close of ver. 1, ' Yea, hath God said. Ye shall not eat of 
every tree of the garden V The way how these words are intro- 
duced plainly shews that something had passed previous thereto. 
And some suppose, that the serpent, to confirm the truth of his 
assertion, pulled off" some of the fruits of the tree, ate one in her 
presence, and presented another to Eve, who, before eating it, had 
the discourse with the serpent recorded in the subsequent verses. 

(4.) The devil's subtilty appears in accosting our first parents so 
early, before they were confirmed in their course of obedience. The 
holy angels in heaven are fully confirmed in righteousness and holi- 
ness ; they are called morning stars ; Job xxxviii. 7- and are all 
fixed, not wandering stars. But our first parents were not con- 
firmed in their obedience, they were not yet fixed in their orb of 
holiness. Though they had a possibility of standing, yet they had 
not an impossibility of falling. They were holy but mutable. It 
was possible for them to change their state. Now, Satan's subtilty 
was eminently manifested here. 

(5.) He first allures with the hope of impunity, and then he pro- 
mises an universal knowledge of good and evil. 

(1.) He persuades Eve, that though she did eat of the forbidden 
tree, yet she should not die, ver. 4. ' Ye shall not surely die.' 'God 
indeed did say so for your terror, to keep you in awe. But do not 
entertain such hard and unworthy thoughts of that God who is in- 
finitely good and gracious. Do not think that, for such a trifle as 
the eating of a little fruit, he will undo you and all your posterity 


for ever, and so suddenly destroy the most excellent piece of his 
own ATorkmanship, wherein his image shines in a most resplendent 

(2.) He promiseth them an universal knowledge, as the eflfect of 
eating this fruit, ver. 5. ' For God doth know, that in the day ye 
eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened : and ye shall be as 
gods, knowing good and evil.' ' God's design in that prohibition is 
only this: He knows that you shall be so far from dying, that 
thereby you shall certainly be entered into a new and more noble 
and excellent kind of life. The eyes of your understanding, which 
are now shut in a great measure as to the knowledge of many things, 
shall then be wide opened, and ye shall see more clearly and dis- 
tinctly than now you do. You shall be as God, and shall attain to 
a kind of omniscience.' 

(6.) Satan's subtilty was manifested here, in assaulting Eve's 
faith. He would persuade her, that God had not spoken truth in 
that threatening. He managed the whole business with a lie ; yea, 
he adds one lie to another. ' Ye shall not surely die,' says he ; and 
then he represents God as envying our first parents that great hon- 
our and happiness that was attainable by them, ver. 5. and himself 
as one that wished their happiness, and would tell her how to arrive 
at it ; and alleges they might easily understand, by the very name 
of the tree, the truth of what he says to her. ' It is (says he) be- 
cause God envies your felicity that he hath forbidden you the use of 
this tree. But know ye, if ye eat of it, ye shall be as gods.' Here 
was subtilty indeed. The devil was first a liar, and then a mur- 
derer. This was Satan's master-piece to weaken her faith ; for 
when he had shaken that, and brought her once to distrust, then 
she was easily overcome : and presently put forth her hand to pluck 
the forbidden fruit. By these pretences he ruined innocence itself : 
for the woman being deceived by these allectives, swallowed down 
the poison of the serpent ; and having tasted death herself, she be- 
took herself to her husband, and persuaded him by the same means 
to despise the law of their Creator. 

Thus sin made its entrance into the world, and brought an uni- 
versal confusion into it. For the moral harmony of the world con- 
sisting in the just subordination of the several ranks of beings to 
one another, and of all to God, when man, who was placed next to 
him, broke the union, his fall brought a desperate disorder into 
God's government. And though the matter of the oifence may seem 
small, yet the disobedience was infinitely great ; it being the trans- 
gression of that command which was given to be the real proof of 
man's subjection to God. The honour and majesty of the whole law 



was violated in the breach of that symbolical precept. But this 
will fall to be more fully illustrated in a subsequent discourse. 

Fourthly, Man being thus left to the freedom of his own will, 
abused his liberty in complying with the temptation, and freely 
apostatised from God. And so man himself, and he only, was the 
true and proper cause of his own sinning. Not God, for he is un- 
changeably holy ; not the devil, for he could only tempt, not force : 
therefore man himself only is to blame, Eccl. vii. 29. ' God made 
man upright, but they have sought out many inventions.' 

I shall conclude this subject with a few inferences. 

1. Hence see the great weakness, yea the nothingness of the crea- 
ture when left to itself. When Adam was in the state of integrity, 
he quickly made a defection from God, he soon lost the robe of his 
primitive innocence, and all the blessedness of paradise. If our na- 
ture was so weak when at the best, then how miserably weak is it 
now when it is at its worst ? If Adam did not stand when he was 
perfectly holy and righteous, how unable are we to stand when sin 
has entirely disabled us ? If purified nature could not resist the 
temptation, but was quite overturned at the first blast, how shall 
corrupt nature stand, when besieged and stormed with a long suc- 
cession of strong and violent assaults ? If Adam in a few hours 
sinned himself out of paradise, how quickly would even those who 
are regenerated sin themselves into hell, if they were not preserved 
by a greater power than their own ; nay ' kept by the power of God 
through faith unto salvation ?' God left some of the angels to 
themselves, and they turned devils ; and he left innocent Adam, 
and he fell into a gulf of misery. May we not then much more say, 
' Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall ;' especially seeing we 
have a violent bent and strong propensity of heart and will to go 
away from God, which Adam had not. 

2. There is no reason to blame God for the misery of the fall. 
He gave man sufiicient power and ability to stand if he would, pro- 
mised a large reward to excite his obedience, and severely threatened 
disobedience : but man would needs try experiments to make his 
case better than God made it ; and so fell by his own inventions. 
The fault then was his own, he alone was culpable, and he was the 
author of his own ruin. 

3. Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation. You see 
that you have to do with an impudent devil, who is still going about 
seeking whom he may devour. No state, while ye are in this world, 
can secure you from his temptations. Though ye be in a state of 
reconciliation and friendship with God, ye are not secure from his 
assaults. No place, though it were a paradise, can protect you. He 


lias malice enough to push you on to the most atrocious sins ; 
subtilty and experience, acquired by hellish art in the course of 
some thousand years, to suit his baits so as they may best take with 
you. Do not parley with the tempter : listening to him may bring 
on doubting, and doubting may bring on the denial of God's truths, 
and so end in full compliance with his horrid temptations, as it did 
with our first mother. 

4. If Adam fell so soon after he was created, and could not be 
his own keeper, then certainly he can much less be his own saviour. 
If he could not preserve himself from falling into the gulf, much 
less can he pull himself out of it again. "We are by nature without 
strength, and have no inclination to that which is good ; and there- 
fore God must work powerfully and efficaciously in us. We can- 
not break the chains and knock off the fetters of sin and Satan, by 
which we are held. "We can make no reparation to the honour of 
God for the wrongs and indignities we have done him. To Christ 
alone we must be indebted for all this. We have destroyed our- 
selves, but in him is our help. 

5. There is no justification by the works of the law. Adam 
broke the covenant of works, and so rendered it impracticable for 
him or his posterity to attain to life and happiness by it. For it is 
written, ' Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which 
are written in the book of the law to do them,' Gal. iii. 10. ' As 
many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.' The 
law requires a perfect spotless righteousness, but the best righteous- 
ness of fallen man is but filthy rags. It is not only torn and 
ragged, but polluted and defiled. We have all sinned and come 
short of the glory of God : and there is no possibility of obtaining 
justification by the works of the law now ; ' for by the works of the 
law (says Paul) shall no flesh be justified.' 

6. Lastly, See your absolute need of Christ ; for there is no other 
name under heaven given among men, whereby ye can be saved. 
Go not about to establish a righteousness of your own, or to seek to 
get to heaven by any works of your own. That is indeed still the 
thing man aims at. First he sins, and then, like Adam, sets to 
work to cover himself with a cover of his own making, to procure a 
title to eternal life by his own works. But is it easier to recover 
yourselves from the ruins of the fall, than to stand while yet in an 
innocent and upright state ? Have ye gathered strength by sinning, 
and are ye able to walk to heaven on your own legs ? Come then 
to Christ, who by his obedience and death hath procured a righte- 
ousness which alone can stand you in stead, and by which alone you 
can obtain a right to eternal life. You must then either come to 
Christ, or perish for ever. 



1 JOHN III. 4. — Sin is the transgression of the law. 

In these words we have an answer to that question, ' What is sin ?' 
It is a transgression of the law : for ' where no law is, there is no 
transgression,' Rom. iv. 15. But because the word transgression 
seems to import something positive and actual, therefore it is added 
in the Catechism, it is a ' want of conformity unto the law,' which is 
a more general definition : and this meaning the word in the ori- 
ginal most properly bears. Hence both a want of conformity unto 
the law of God, and a transgression of it, are taken into the descrip- 
tion ; and in effect they are both one thing. 

In the further illustration of this subject, it will be proper to 

I. What that law is whereof sin is the trangression. 

II. Wlierein the nature of sin consists. 

III. Wherein the evil thereof lies. 

IV. Deduce a few inferences. 

I. I am to shew what is that law whereof sin is the transgression. 
It is the law of God, even any law of his whereby he lays any duty 
upon any of the children of men, whether it be the natural law 
which is written even in the hearts of all men, Rom. ii. 15. or the 
revealed law and will of God, written in the Bible, whether it be 
the law strictly so called, or the gospel, whose great command is to 
believe in Christ ; the transgression of which command is the great 
sin of the hearers of the gospel. In a word, the law of which sin is 
the transgression, is any law or command of God which he obliges 
us to obey. More particularly, 

1. There is a law engraven upon the hearts of men by nature, 
which was in force long before the promulgation of the law from 
Mount Sinai. This is the light of reason, and the dictates of natu- 
ral conscience concerning those moral principles of good and evil, 
which have an essential equity in them, and shew man his duty to 
God, to his neighbour, and to himself. There is a law in all men 
by nature, which is a rule of good and evil. They have notions of 
right and wrong in their consciences; which is evident by those 
laws which are common in all nations for the preservation of human 
society, the encouraging of virtue, and discouraging of vice. These 
laws are to be found among men who have not the benefit of divine 
revelation for regulating their lives. Now, what standard else can 
they have for these but common reason, and the light of nature ? 


Every son and daughter of Adam brings with them into the world 
a law in their breast ; and when reason clears up itself from the 
clouds of sense, they can distinguish between good and evil, between 
things which ought to be done, and things which they should avoid. 
Every man finds a law in his heart that checks and rebukes when 
he offends, and cherishes and encourages him when he does good. 
None are without a legal indictment and a legal execution within 
themselves, Rom. ii. 14, 15. 

2. There is another law which was given to the Jewish nation by 
the ministry of Moses. This is spoken of by Christ, John xvii. 19. 
' Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the 
law ? By this we are to understand the whole system of divine pre- 
cepts concerning ceremonial rites, judicial processes, and moral 
duties. Accordingly there was a threefold law given by Moses. 

(1.) The ceremonial law, which was a certain system of divine 
positive precepts, with relation to the external worship of Grod. It 
was wholly taken up in enjoining those observances of sacrifices and 
ofterings, and various methods of purifications and cleansings which 
were typical of Christ, and of that sacrifice of his which alone was 
able to take away sin. 

(2.) The judicial law consisted of those institutions which God 
prescribed the Jews for their civil government. For, whereas, in 
other commonwealths, the chief magistrates give laws unto the 
people ; in this the laws for their religion and for their civil go- 
vernment were both divine, and both immediately from God. So 
that the judicial law was given them to be the standing law of their 
nation, according to which all actions and suits between party and 
party were to be tried and determined ; as in all other nations there 
are particular laws and statutes for the decision of controversies 
that may arise among men. 

3. There is the moral law which is a system or body of those pre- 
cepts which carry an universal and natural equity in them, being so 
conformable to the light of reason, and the dictates of every man's 
conscience, that as soon as ever they are declared and understood, 
we must needs subscribe to the justice and righteousness of them. 
We have the sura of this law in the ten commandments. This law 
continues in its full force and power, obliging the conscience as a 
standing rule for our obedience. Our Lord tells us, Matt. v. 17. 
that ' he came not to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfil 
them.' The ceremonial law was abolished by the death of Christ, 
and the judicial law, so far as it concerned the nation of the Jews 
as a commonwealth and body politic, particularly touching their not 
marrying out of their own tribes, their not alienating the inheri- 


tance of their fathers, the raising up of seed to their deceased bro- 
ther, &c., but sucli of these political laws as are common to men in 
general, and founded upon the law of nature, are still binding and 
in force, such as the laws for punishing criminals and other olfeud- 
ers, the laws against oppressing of widows, orphans, strangers, the 
fatherless, &c. These are a standing rule of equity and justice ; 
they are of a moral nature, and therefore of perpetual obligation. 
So that the law of which sin is the transgression, is to us the law of 
nature in our hearts, and the moral law contained in the scriptures, 
and summed up in the decalogue, as well as the positive laws of the 
gospel of Christ. 

II. I proceed to shew wherein the nature of sin consists. It con- 
sists in a want of conformity to the law of God, or a disconformity 
thereto. The law of God is the rule ; whatsoever is over this rule, 
is sin. The law of God is set as a mark to us ; and so the word ^m, 
in the first language properly signifies a not hitting the mark ; and 
transgression is a swerving from the right line, or a going oft' the 
way. So it is called ' a going aside,' Psal. xiv. 3. Now, nothing 
is conformable to the law which is not perfectly so ; for if it be in 
the least disagreeable thereto, it is not conformable to it, more than 
that which wants half an inch of an ell is truly an ell of measure ; 
and therefore any want of that conformity is sin. The law of God 
requires universal conformity to it. Now the law or command of 
God requires a twofold conformity. 

1. A conformity of the heart to it. It reaches the inward man, 
seeing God is a spirit, and that omniscient One who knows the 
heart; and the whole heart must be subject to him. Therefore our 
Saviour says, Mark xii. 30. ' Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with 
all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and 
with all thy strength.' 

2. A conformity of the life both in words and deeds. Hence says 
David, Psal. xxiv. 3, 4. ' Who shall ascend into the hill of the 
Lord ? and who shall stand in his holy place ? He that hath clean 
hands and a pure heart ; who hath not lift up his soul unto vanity, 
nor sworn deceitfully.' And forasmuch as the law requires some 
things, and forbids other things both in heart and life, the want of 
conformity to it in these respects, either in heart or life, is sin. 
Hence we may infer, 

1. Sin is no positive being, but a want of due perfection, a defect, 
an imperfection in the creature ; and therefore it is, (1.) Not from 
God, but from the creature itself. (2.) It is not a thing to glory in, 
more than the want of all things. (3.) It is a thing we have reason 
to be humbled for, and have great need to have removed. (4.) It is 


not a thing to be desired, but fled from and abhorred, as the abo- 
minable thing which God hatcth. 

2. Original sin is truly and properly sin. Look to yourselves 
as you came into the world, and ye must smite on your breast, be- 
fore ye have sucked the breasts, and say, ' God be merciful to me a 
sinner.' For we come into it with Adam's sin imputed, Rom. v. 
12. stript of original righteousness, and the whole nature corrupted. 
This is the sin of our nature, being a want of conformity in our 
souls to the law of God, which requires all moral perfection of us, 
Matth. V. ult. ' Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which 
is in heaven is perfect.' Instead of which we have a bent of soul 
quite contrary to the law, Rom. viii. 7- ' The carnal mind is enmity 
against God : for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed 
can be.' 

3. The first motions of sin, and the risings of that natural cor- 
ruption in us, before it be completed with the consent of the will to 
the evil motion, are truly and properly sin. The apostle calls this 
lust, and distinguishes it from sin, L e. the sin of our nature, and 
from the consent to it and execution of it, which he calls ' obeying 
these lusts,' Rom. vi. 12. and tells us that it is condemned by the 
law, Rom. vii. 7. Therefore a thing may be our sin, though we 
know it not to be so, 1 Tim. i. 13. and though it be not our will, yea 
though against our will, Rom. vii. 16. For it is neither our know- 
ledge, or opinion, nor our will, but the law of God, that is the rule. 

4. All consent of the heart to and delight in motions towards 
things forbidden by the law of God are sins, though these never 
break forth into action, but die where they were born in the inmost 
corners of our hearts, Matth. v. 28. ' Whosoever shall look on a 
woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already 
in his heart.' Speculative filthiness is a disconformity to the law. 
There is heart murder as well as actual murder, ver. 22. 

5. All omissions of the internal duties we owe to God and our 
neighbours are sins, as want of love to God or our neighbours. 
"Want of due fear of God, trust and hope in him, &c. are internal 
sins of omission. 

6. Hence a man sins by undue silence and undue speaking, when 
the cause of God and truth require it ; seeing the law bids us speak 
in some cases, but never speak what is not good. 

7. Hence also a man's sins, when he omits outward duties that 
are incumbent on him to perform, as well as when he commits sin of 
whatever kind in his life. 

8. Lastly, The least failure in any duty is sin ; and whatever 
comes not up in perfection to the law is sinful. And therefore we 


sin in every thing we do, and onr best duties deserve damnation, 
and cannot be accei)ted according to the law. "Wherefore the duties 
of wicked men are absolutely rejected, seeing they are under the 
law ; and the duties of the godly are no otherwise accepted, but as 
washed in the blood of Christ, which takes away the sin cleaving to 

Further, nothing can be a sin but what is a transgressing of the 
law of God, who only is Lord over the conscience. Therefore, if 
there be no law of God in the case, there is no transgression affec- 
ting the conscience. But it must be considered, that the law of God 
commands some things expressly, and others things by good conse- 
quence. No law of God commands a servant expressly to do such 
and such a particular piece of work that is lawful, which he is bid- 
den do by his master ; but the law of God says, ' Servants, obey 
your masters ;' and therefore it is sin if he do not that work. The 
case is the same as to men's laws. Therefore the apostle says, Eom. 
xiii. 5. ' Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, 
but also for conscience sake.' Now, men's laws are either contrary 
to God's laws, or agreeable and subservient thereto, as being for 
the glory of God, or the good of the nation in general. As to the 
first of these, ye cannot obey without sin, as if the Queen and Par- 
liament should command you to receive human ceremonies in the 
worship of God. As to other things that are good and just, we are 
obliged to obey, as is clear from Rom. xiii. ; and therefore the con- 
science is not altogether unconcerned in the laws of men. And 
therefore, if ye would be tender Christians, before ye go against the 
laws of the land, consider well whether their commands be unlawful, 
or whether they be such as are good and just ; for doubtless magis- 
trates have a power to make laws for the good of the land in gen- 
eral ; and what they so make we are obliged to respect, otherwise 
we contemn the ordinance of God, and regard not the good of our 
neighbour, and thereby sin against God ; as is acknowledged in the 
case of those that now export grain, to the general distress of the 
country. And I apprehend, that if we would lay the case home to 
ourselves, we would have less liberty than we have in some things 
that are not scrupled at, 

III. I come now to shew wherein the evil of sin lies. It lies, 
1. And principally, in the wrong done to God, and its contra- 
riety, (1.) To his nature, which is altogether holy. Hence the 
Psalmist says, Psal. li. 4. ' Against thee, thee only have I sinned, 
and done this evil in thy sight.' David had exceedingly wronged 
Uriah in defiling his wife, and procuring the death of himself; yet 
he considers his great sin in that matter as chiefly against God, and 


contrary to his holy nature. (2.) In its contrariety to God's will 
and law, which is a sort of a copy of his nature. And God being all 
good, and the chief good, sin must needs be a sort of infinite evil. 

2. In the wrong it doth to ourselves : ' He that sinneth against 
me,' says the personal Wisdom of God, ' wrongeth his own soul,' 
Prov. viii. 36. For, (1.) It leaves a stain and spiritual pollution 
on the soul, whereby it becomes filthy and vile ; and therefore sin is 
called filthiness, and is said to defile the soul, whereupon follows 
God's loathing the sinner, Isa. i. 15. and shame and confusion on 
the sinner himself, Gen. iii. 7- (2.) It brings on guilt, whereby the 
sinner is bound over to punishment, according to the state in which 
he is, until his sin be pardoned. This ariseth from the justice of 
God and the threatening of his law ; which brings on all miseries 

But more particularly upon this head, when men pass the bounds 
and limits which God hath set them in his law, then they transgress 
it. All the violations of negative precepts are transgressions of 
God's law. The design of the moral law is to keep men within the 
bounds of their duty ; and when they sin they go beyond them. 
Sin is indeed the greatest of evils ; it is directly opposite to God 
the supreme good. The definitio^ that is given of sin expresses its 
essential evil. It is the transgression of the divine law, and conse- 
quently it opposes the rights of God's throne, and obscures the glory 
of his attributes, which are exercised in the moral government of 
the world. God is our King, our Lawgiver, and our Judge. From 
his right and propriety in us as his creatures, his title to and sove- 
reign power and dominion over us doth arise and flow. Man is en- 
dued with the powers of understanding and election, to conceive and 
choose what is good, and to reject what is evil ; is governed by a 
law, even the declared will of his Maker. Now, sin, being a trans- 
gression of this law, contains many evils in it. As, 

1. It is high rebellion against the sovereign Majesty of God, that 
gives the life of authority to the law. Therefore divine precepts 
are enforced with the most proper and binding motive to obedience. 
I am the Lord. He that commits sin, especially with pleasure and 
design, implicitly denies his dependence upon God as his Maker and 
Governor, and arrogates to himself an irresponsible liberty to do his 
own will. This is clearly expressed by those atheistical designers, 
who said, ' Our lips are our own ; who is Lord over us? Psal. xii. 
4. The language of men's actions, which is more convincing than 
their words, plainly declares, that they despise his commandments, 
and contemn his authority, as if they were not his creatures and 


2. It is an extreme aggravation of this evil, that sin, as it is a 
disclaiming our homage to God, so it is in true account a yielding 
subjection to the devil; for sin is in the strictest propriety his work. 
The original rebellion in paradise was by his temptation ; and all 
the actual and habitual sins of men, since the fall, are by his effica- 
cious influence. He darkens the carnal mind ; he sways and rules 
the stubborn will ; he excites and inflames the vitious affections, and 
imperiously rules in the children of disobedience. He is therefore 
styled the prince and god of this world. And what more contume- 
lious indignity can there be, than to prefer to the glorious Creator 
of heaven and earth, a damned spirit, the most cursed part of the 
whole creation? More particularly, sin strikes at the root of all the 
divine attributes. 

(1.) It is contrary to the unspotted holiness of God, which is the 
peculiar glory of the Deity. Of all the glorious and benign constel- 
lations of the divine attributes which shine in the law of God, his 
holiness hath the brightest lustre. God is righteous in all his ways, 
and holy in all his works : but the most precious and venerable 
monument of his holiness is the law. This is a true draught of his 
image, and a clear copy of his nature and will. It is the perspicu- 
ous rule of our duty, without any blemish or imperfection. See 
what a high encomium the apostle gives it, ' The commandment is 
holy, just, and good,' Rom. vii. 12. It enjoins nothing but what is 
absolutely good, without the least mixture and tincture of evil. It 
is a full and complete rule, in nothing defective, and in nothing 
superfluous, but comprehends the whole duty of man. The sum of 
it is set down by the apostle, Tit. ii. 11. We are to live soberly, i. e. 
we are to abstain from every thing that may blemish and stain the 
excellency of our reasonable nature. "We are to live righteously. 
This respects the state and situation wherein God hath placed us in 
the world for the advancing of his glory. It includes and compre- 
hends in it all the respective duties we owe to others, to whom we 
are united by the bands of nature, of civil society, or of spiritual 
communion. And we are to live godly, which takes in all the inter- 
nal and outward duties which we owe to God, who is the Sovereign 
of our spirits, whose will must be the rule, and his glory the end of 
all our actions. In short the law is so contrived and framed, that 
abstracting from the authority of the Lawgiver, its holiness and 
goodness lays an eternal obligation upon us to obey its dictates. 
Now, sin is directly and formally a contrariety to the infinite 
sanctity and purity of God ; consisting in a not doing what the law 
commands, or in doing that which it expressly forbids ; and God 
cannot look upon it, but with infinite detestation, Hab. i. 13. He 


cannot but hate that which is opposite to the glory of his nature, 
and to the lustre of all his perfections. 

(2.) Sin vilifies the wisdom of God, which prescribed the law to 
men as the rule of their duty. The divine wisdom shines resplend- 
ently in his laws. They are all framed with an exact congruity to 
the nature of God, and his relation to us, and to the faculties of 
man before he was corrupted. And thus the divine law being a 
bright transcript both of God's will and his wisdom, binds the un- 
derstanding and will, which are the leading faculties in man, to 
esteem and approve, to consent to and choose, all his precepts as 
best. Now, sin vilifies the infinite wisdom of God, both as to the 
precepts of the law, the rule of our duty, and the sanction annexed 
to it for confirming its obligation. It taxes the precepts as an un- 
equal yoke, and as too severe and rigid a confinement to our wills 
and actions. Thus the impious rebels complained of old, ' The ways 
of the Lord are not equal :' they are injurious to our liberties, they 
restrain and infringe them, and are not worthy of our study and 
observation. And it accounts the rewards and punishments which 
God has annexed as the sanction of the law to secure our obedience 
to its precepts, weak and ineifectual motives to serve that purpose. 
And thus it reflects upon the wisdom of the Lawgiver as lame and 
defective, in not binding his subjects more firmly to their duty. 

(3.) Sin is a high contempt and horrid abuse of the divine good- 
ness, which should have a powerful influence in binding man to his 
duty. His creating goodness is hereby contemned, which raised us 
out of the dust of the earth unto an excellent and glorious being. 
Our parents were indeed instrumental in the production of our 
bodies; but the variety and union, the beauty and usefulness, of the 
several parts, was the high design of his wisdom, and the excellent 
work of his hands. Man's body is composed of as many miracles as 
members, and is full of wonders. The lively idea and perfect exem- 
plar of that regular fabric was modelled in the divine mind. This 
aflTected David with holy admiration, Psal. cxxxix. 14, 15, 16. The 
soul, or principal part, is of a celestial original, inspired by the Fa- 
ther of Lights. The faculties of understanding and election are the 
indelible characters of our honour and dignity above the brutes, and 
make us capable to please God and enjoy our Maker. Now, God's 
design in giving us our being was to communicate of his own fulness 
to, and to be actively glorified by intelligent creatures, Rev. iv. 11. 
None are so void of rational sentiments, as not to own, that it is our 
indispensable duty and reasonable service to oflfer up ourselves an 
entire living sacrifice to the glory of God. "What is more natural, 
according to the laws of uncorrupted reason, than that love should 


correspond with love ? As the one descends in benefits, the other 
should ascend in praise and thankfulness. Now, sin breaks all 
these sacred bonds of grace and gratitude, which engage us to love 
and obey our Maker. He is the just Lord of all our faculties, intel- 
lectual and sensitive ; and the sinner employs them all as weapons 
of unrighteousness to fight against God. Again, it is he that up- 
holds and preserves us by the powerful influence of his providence, 
which is a renewed creation every moment, daily surrounding us 
with many mercies. All the goodness which God thus bestows upon 
men, the sinner abuses against him. This is the most unworthy, 
shameful, and monstrous ingratitude imaginable. This makes for- 
getful and unthankful men more brutish than the dull ox or stupid 
ass, who serve and obey those that feed and keep them. Yea it 
sinks them below the insensible part of the creation, which invari- 
ably observes the law and order prescribed by the Creator. This is 
astonishing degeneracy. It was the complaint of God himself, Isa. 
i. 2. ' Hear, heavens, and give ear earth : I have nourished and 
brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.' 

(4.) The sinner disparages the divine justice, in promising him- 
self peace and safety, notwithstanding the wrath and vengeance 
that is denounced against him by the Lord. He labours to dissolve 
the inseparable connexion that God hath placed between sin and 
punishment, which is not a mere arbitrary constitution, but founded 
upon the desert of sin, and the infinite rectitude of the divine na- 
ture, which unchangeably hates it. The sinner sets the divine at- 
tributes a contending as it were with one another, presuming that 
mercy will disarm justice, and suspend its power by restraining it 
from taking vengeance upon impenitent sinners. And thus sinners 
become bold and resolute in their impious courses, like him men- 
tioned, Deut. xxix. 19. who said, ' I shall have peace though I walk 
in the imagination of my heart, to add drunkenness to thirst.' This 
casts such an aspersion on the justice of God, that he solemnly 
threatens the severest vengeance for it ; as you may see in ver. 20. 
' The Lord will not spare him, but the anger of the Lord, and his 
jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are 
written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out 
his name from under heaven.' 

(5.) Sin strikes against the omniscience of God, and at least 
denies it implicitly. There is such a turpitude adhering to sin, that 
it cannot endure the light of the sun, nor the light of conscience, 
but seeks to be concealed under a mask of virtue or a veil of dark- 
ness. What is said of the adulterer and the thief, is true in pro- 
portion of every sinner, ' If a man sees them, they are in the terrors 


of the shadow of death.' And hence it is, that many who would 
blush and tremble if they were surprised in their sinful actings by a 
child or a stranger, are not at all afraid of the eye of God, though 
he narrowly notices all their sins in order to judge them, and will 
judge them in order to punish them. 

(6.) Lastly, Sin bids a defiance to the divine power. This is one 
of the essential attributes of God that makes him so terrible to 
devils and wicked men. He hath both a right to punish and power 
enough to revenge every transgression of his law that sinners are 
guilty of. Now, his judicial power is supreme and his executive 
power is irresistible. He can with one stroke dispatch the body to 
the grave, and the soul to the pit of hell, and make men as miser- 
able as they are sinful : and yet sinners as boldly provoke him as 
if there were no danger. We read of the infatuated Syrians, how 
they foolishly thought that God the protector of Israel had only 
power on the hills but not in the valleys, and therefore renewed the 
war to their own destruction. Thus proud sinners enter the lists 
with God, and range an army of lusts against the armies of heaven, 
and, being blindly bold, run on headlong upon their own ruin. 
They neither believe God's all-seeing eye, nor fear his almighty 
hand. You see then what an evil sin is in its nature. It is high 
rebellion against God, and strikes at the root of all his attributes. 

I shall conclude with a few inferences. 

1. If ye would see your sins, look to the law of God. That is 
the glass wherein we may see our ugly face. Hence the apostle 
says, Rom. vii. 7. ' I had not known sin but by the law : for I had 
not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.' 
Look to it for what is past and present, in order to your being 
humbled in the sight of a holy God. Look to it for your direction, 
if you would shun the fatal rocks of sin for the time to come. It is 
not what this man says, but what the word of God says, that is to 
be the rule of your duty. 

2. See here what presumption it is in men to make that duty 
which God has not made so, and that sin which God has not made 
so in religion. This is for men to set themselves in God's room, 
and their will for the divine will. This is true superstition, how- 
ever far the guilty seem to themselves and others to be from it. 
And in this too many of different denominations agree, making 
that duty and sin which God never made so. In this general they 
agree, however they differ in particulars. This is expressly for- 
bidden, Deut. iv. 2. ' Ye shall not add unto the word which I com- 
mand you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it.' Remarkable 
is the reason of this prohibition, ' that ye may keep the commaud- 



ments of the Lord your God which I command yon.' For to both 
agrees what our Lord said, Matt. xv. 3. ' Why do ye transgress the 
commandment of God by your traditions ?' Witness the deep igno- 
rance of matters of salvation and the power of godliness, wherein 
many are kept by reason of these principles, which have no footing 
in the word of God. 

3. Flee to Jesus Christ for the pardon of sin, for his blood and 
Spirit to remove the same. All the waters of the sea will not wash 
it out, but that blood alone. And repent and forsake your sin, or 
it will be your ruin. Consider it is the greatest evil. For, 

(1.) It is most contrary to the nature of God, who is the greatest 
good ; and that which is most contrary to the greatest good, must 
needs be the greatest evil. It may be looked on as the nadir to 
zenith. The devil is not so contrary to God: for God gave the 
devil a being, but not sin. It is sin that makes the devil opposite 
to God ; it is the master, he the scholar. The fire is hotter than 
the water which it heats. Sin fights against God ; it is a deicide ; 
and, as one says, the sinner so far as in him lies, destroys the na- 
ture of God. Sin is a dethroning of God, yea it strikes at his 
being. It musters up its forces in the open field against God, and 
when it is beaten from thence, it has its strong holds to go to ; yea, 
like the thief on the cross, when it is crucified, it spits its venom 
against him. It is a walking contrary to him ; and it rises against 
him even to the last gasp. 

(2.) Sin is the mother of all evils that ever were or shall be. It 
is the big-bellied monster that is delivered daily of all other evils 
as its births. It is that which has brought forth all the fire-brands 
that ever were. What cast the angels out of heaven, or Adam out 
of paradise ? Sin draws the sword against nations, makes women 
husbandless, mothers childless, and brings on wars, famine and 
pestilence. Personal evils, whether on soul or body, temporal, 
spiritual, and eternal, are all from sin. It must needs then be the 
greatest evil. 

(3.) Sin is the concluding stroke of wrath on the soul. It is that 
to which people are entirely given up. And what is it that makes 
hell in the world, that God gives as the last stroke after all the 
rest? Why, it is to give up the soul to sin ; Ezek. xxiv. 13. ' Be- 
cause I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not 
be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury 
to rest upon thee,' That is the doom, ' Let him that is filthy be 
filthy still.' He that was delivered up to Satan, was restored 
again : but we never hear of any being restored who were given up 
to themselves. Better be given up to the devil than to sin. 



Gek. iii. 6, 7. — And tvhen the woman saw that the tree was good for 
food, and that it was jjleasant to the eyes, and a tree to he desired to 
make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also 
unto her husband with her, and he did eat. And the eyes of them 
both were opened, and they knew that they were naked: and they 
sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 

In these words we are distinctly informed how the covenant of 
works was broken, and our first parents stripped of their primitive 
innocence and integrity. Eve seduced by the devil, first ate of the 
forbidden fruit, and Adam followed her example. The act being 
completed by both, they immediately discovered, to their shame and 
dishonour, the miserable state they were reduced to. 

The words sufliciently found the following doctrine. 

DocT. ' Our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were 
created, by eating the forbidden fruit.' 

I have already shewn why the forbidden tree was called the tree 
of knowledge of good and evil, as also of what use it was in the co- 
venant of works. It remains that we shew, 

I. How the eating of the forbidden fruit was the first sin of our 
first parents, by which they fell. 

II. Why this fruit was forbidden. 

III. The aggravations of it. 

IV. Deduce some inferences. 

I. I am to shew how the eating of the forbidden fruit was the 
first sin of our first parents, by which they fell. It is not to be 
thought, that they were wholly innocent till they had the forbidden 
fruit in their mouths ; for their coveting it in their hearts be- 
hoved of necessity to go before that ; but the eating of it was that 
whereby their sin and apostacy from their Creator was completed. 
The first step of their sin seems then to be doubting and unbelief of 
the threatening. Gen. iii. 4, 6. Their faith as to the truth of the 
threatening being first foundered, their heart plied to the tempta- 
tion ; and then succeeded a lust after the forbidden fruit ; and then 
the sin was completed by their actually eating it, as in the words 
of the text. 

Satan, the old serpent, very artfully laid his train for enticing 
our first parents to eat this forbidden fruit. For he attacked the 
woman when alone, at a distance from her husband ; he endea- 
voured to make her doubt of the truth of the divine tlireatening ; 



he presented the fatal object, as fruit pleasant to the eye, and to he 
desired to make one wise : he pretended a higlier regard for them 
than their sovereign Creator, who, he tacitly insinuated, grudged 
their happiness : and he used means to persuade them, that they 
should be like God, in the vast extent of their knowledge, upon 
their eating the delectable morsel. Thus the eyes of their mind 
were first blemished by a mist from hell ; which being admitted, 
gradually darkened their understanding, so that first doubting, and 
then disbelief of the threatening, ensued. Their will was easily 
conquered to a compliance with the temptation ; then a corrupt af- 
fection to the tree seized them, discovering itself in a lustful 
looking at it : then the hand took it, and the month ate it, and the 
fatal morsel was swallowed. 

II. I am next to shew why this fruit was forbidden. 

1. It was not because God grudged the happiness of our first 
parents, as the devil blasphemously alleged, whom the event proved 
a liar, John viii. 44. Nor yet, 

2. Because there was any evil in the fruit itself ; for that could 
not be ; for we are told. Gen. i. ult. that, at the close of the crea- 
tion every thing was very good. This fruit was not forbidden because 
it was evil, but it was evil because it was forbidden. It was for- 
bidden for the trial of man's obedience. Not that God knew not 
what was in man, and what he would be, but to discover the crea- 
ture's weakness to himself without God, and that he might thence 
take occasion of advancing his own glory impaired by the sin of 
man, in a more illustrious manner than if innocent Adam had con- 
tinued in his primitive state. But it may be asked. Why did God 
make choice of this for the trial of man ? I answer, God did so 
most reasonably. For, 

(1.) This being a thing in itself indifi'erent, was most meet for 
the trial of his obedience. For hereby his obedience was to turn 
upon the precise point of the will of God, which would have been 
the plainest evidence of obedience. Had it been to love God or his 
neighbour, nature itself taught him to do so, and by the natural 
make of his soul he was inclined to this. What trial would that 
have been to a man newly created, and loaded with benefits from 
God, not to take another God, worship images, or take his name in 
vain, when he saw all to be God's creatures or servants ; to keep 
the sabbath, which was to return once a-week only ? He had no 
father or mother to honour, none to kill but her that was his own 
fiesh, none to commit adultery with, none to steal from, none to 
bear false witness against, none to covet their goods. Thus the pro- 
hibition of a thing in itself indilferent was a proper test, and the 
only proper test for the trial of man. 


(2.) Thus man's obedience or disobedience would be most clear 
and conspicuous, being in an external thing whereof his very senses 
might be judge ; which could not be in the internal acts of obedience. 

(3.) This was most proper for asserting the sovereign dominion of 
God, who had set Iupj down in a beautiful paradise, and made hira 
lord of the world. Was it not very reasonable that God should 
keep one single tree from him, as a testimony of his holding God 
as his great Landlord ? 

(4.) This was most useful and necessary to man, as a memoran- 
dum of the state wherein he was created. For man was created 
with a free will to good, whereof the tree of life was an evidence : 
but also to evil, whereof the tree of knowledge of good and evil was 
an evidence. So that in effect it was a continxial watchword to him, 
and a beacon set up before him to beware of dashing on the rock of 

(5.) It was a great mercy to man, in that, beside the^ natural 
make of his soul, which was turned towards God as his chief happi- 
ness and end, he had this prohibition set to keep it in that posture. 
For as Aaron and Hur held up Moses' hand, Exod. xvii. 12, so man 
had the fabric of his body looking upward, and this fair tree forbid- 
den him, to teach him that his happiness lay not in the creatures, 
but in God. So that this tree being forbidden was a sign of empti- 
ness hung before the creature's door, with that inscription, Here is 
not your rest ; the creature's hand pointing man away from them- 
selves to God, as the alone fountain of happiness. 

(6.) Lasthj, Tliis was a corapend of the whole law of God, wherein 
all was summarily comprehended, viz. love to God, and his neigh- 
bour, as will afterwards be made appear. 

III. I come now to consider the evil of this first sin. Some may 
be ready to say, Was not the eating of the forbidden fruit a little 
sin ? So it appears indeed in the sight of blind man, whose eye 
being put out with it, sees not the great majesty of God, and the 
horrid evil of the action. But indeed it was more horrible if ye 

1. The aggravations of it. 

2. The nature of it. 

3. The efi'ects of it. 

First, Let us view the aggravations of this first sin. Consider, 
1. The person who did it. I may say it was not a sinner that 
sinned, bm au innocent person, free from all inclination to evil ; 
one whom God made able to stand if he would, and endued with the 
image of God, without any mixture of sinful ignorance, perverseness 
of will, or irregularity of affections. No wonder to see a man witl» 

s 3 


a poor stock soon broken : but that a man who had such a large 
stock should play the bankrupt, was horrid indeed. 

2. What wjis the thing for which he broke the command. Achan 
had a wedge of gold to tempt him, and Judas thirty pieces of silver 
to entice his covetous disposition. But what was the enticing object 
in Adam's case ? The fruit of a tree : a small thing indeed : but 
the smaller the thing was, the more inexcusable the sinner, whom 
Satan could draw after him by so slender a thread. What need 
had he of that, when God had given him abundance of other fruit ? 
But, with David, Adam spares his own flock, and takes his neigh- 
bour's one lamb. 

3. The persons wronged by this sin. He sinned against God 
himself, to whom he owed the strictest obedience ; against his soul 
and body, upon which he brought wrath and a curse ; against all 
his posterity, who were then in his loins, upon whom his sin has en- 
tailed a scene of evils, under which the human race will groan to 
the end of time. Never did one sin strike against so many at once. 

4. The time of this transgression. Man was scarcely well come 
out of the hand of his Creator, till he lifted up his heel against him. 
He stood very short while, till he turned giddy with ambition, and 
fell into disgrace. It is thought probable, he fell the same day he 
was created ; and such an early revolt from his allegiance was a 
very high aggravation of his sin. 

5. The place where the crime was committed. In paradise, where 
every plant and flower were proclaiming the glory of God, and 
where he wanted nothing that was necessary for him. In the pre- 
sence-chamber, as it were, he struck at his Sovereign Lord and 
King. So his oflTence was aggravated like the murder of Zacharias, 
whom the Jews slew between the temple and the altar. Matt, 
xxiii. 35. 

Secondly, The nature of this sin. It was not one single sin, but 
a complication of all evils, a violation of the whole law of God, and 
a total apostacy from him in heart, lip, and life.* This was a sin 
whereby at one touch both the natural and positive law was tram- 
pled under foot ; yea, by which all the ten commandments were 
struck at, at once. 

1. Did they not chuse new gods : when, by eating this fruit, 
they made their belly their god ; self their god ; nay the devil their 
god, when they conspired with him J^gaiust God, being filled with 
pride and ambition as he to be like God ; when they b*eved the 

* A more particular view of the ingredients in the first sin may be seen in the 
auihor's View of the Covenant of Works, p. 80, 81. published in 1772. 


devil and mistrusted God, and shook off tlic yoke of his dominion, 
turning rebels to him, and ',being most unthankful for the divine 
goodness expressed towards them ? Rebel-man set up a trinity, (1.) 
Of his belly, for sensuality, (2.) Of himself, by ambition ; and, (3.) 
Of the devil, by believing him, and disbelieving his Creator. 

2. Though man at first received, yet he did not observe that great 
ordinance of God about the forbidden fruit. He contemned that 
ordinance which God had most plainly appointed, and would needs 
carve out to himself how he would serve the Lord. 

He took the name of the Lord his God in vain, despising his at- 
tributes, whereby he makes himself known, his justice, truth, power, 
&c. profaning God's ordinance, that sacramental tree ; abusing his 
word, by not giving credit to it ; and abusing his works, that crea- 
ture which he should not have touched ; and violently misconstruct- 
ing the work of providence, as if God, by that act of forbidding 
them that tree, had minded to keep them from happiness. And 
therefore though there was no man to punish them, God suffered 
them not to escape his righteous judgment. 

4. He was so far from remembering the Sabbath to keep it holy, 
that he put himself out of all case for serving God ere it came, by 
this means. He kept not that state of rest wherein God had placed 

5. Adam honoured not his Father in heaven. Both our first pa- 
rents minded not their relative duties. Eve forgets herself, and 
acts without advice of her husband, to the ruin of both ; and Adam, 
instead of admonishing her to repent, yields to the temptation too, 
and so confirms her in her wickedness. They forgot all duty to 
their posterity. Therefore their days were not long in the land 
which the Lord their God gave them. 

6. He was the greatest murderer that ever lived. By this act he 
was a child-murderer, cutting the throats of all his posterity ; and 
he was a self-murderer too. 

7. Our first parents were fain to cover their nakedness with fig- 
leaves, which their luxury and sensuality had brought them too. 

8. Adam committed theft ; and was but a thief and a robber in 
taking that which was not his own, against the will of the great 
Owner. He was the Achan in the camp. 

9. He bare false witness against the Lord, when he ate of the for- 
bidden fruit. It was an avouching, that God's word was not to be 
believed, that the Lord dealt hardly and scrimptly with him, and 
grudged his happiness. 

10. He was discontented with that happy state wherein God had 
placed him. He was not content witli his lot, and therefore, likn 


another king of Babylon, he coveted an evil covetousness to his 
house ; which ruined both himself and thera. 
Thirdly, Consider the effects of this first sin. 

1. Grod was robbed of his glory, that he should have had from tlic 
creature's active obedience. He was made and well qualified for 
glorifying his Creator ; but breaking covenant with God, and fall- 
ing under the curse of the law, he was quite indisposed for that 
work. He could aim no more at this mark which God set before 

2. God's image was defaced ; the King of Heaven's picture was 
rent in pieces. What a huge offence would it be to come into 
a workman's shop, and with one touch dash in pieces a curious 
piece of work that he had made? Yet thus offensively did' Adam 
behave, spurning at the image of God, and quite defacing it from 
his soul. 

3. Adam and all his posterity were ruined by this fatal transgres- 
sion. It opened the sluice to all that flood of miseries that has 
overspread the face of the earth. At this gate sin and death en- 
tered into the world, where they will reign till time shall be no 
more. God is just and holy ; and if the first sin had not deserved 
this punishment, it would not have been inflicted with such a mark 
of indignation. 

I shall conclude with a few inferences. 

1. Say not when ye are tempted, it is but a little sin and there- 
fore ye may act it. Consider, that which in the commission is but 
as the little cloud, no bigger than a man's hand, when God comes to 
judgment, or conscience gets up, will cover the face of the heavens. 
Little do ye know what a small temptation may be big with. A 
man may drown in a little rivulet as well as in the deep sea. 

2. Then God's will is a sufficient bar to hold us back from any 
thing if we would be safe. And therefore let us know, that where 
there is no more to be a hedge to us but the bare command of God, 
if we leap over it, a serpent will bite us. Ah ! how few know what 
it is to be restrained by a bare command of God ! Ah ! the gene- 
rality leap over the hedge of God's will and law, and live as if their 
were no restraint upon them from the God of heaven, who will 
severely punish all transgressions of his law. 

3. Beware of the pleasure of your senses, and the pride of life. 
The lust of the eye and the lust of the flesh ruined the world at 
first, and do so still. The devil shoots his darts by the eye into the 
soul, which is weaker now than it was in the primitive state, and 
more liable to deception. Therefore watch your eyes and ears. 
Have a care of sensuality. Eating ruined Adam and Eve ; and 


still ruins many, who cat not for God or his glory, but to satisfy 
their sensual appetite, as they did. 

4. Lastly, prize Christ, who to redeem lost man, did hang upon 
a tree, and di'ink the cup of wrath as the bitter fruits of sin, and 
was buried in a garden. The first Adam ate of the forbidden tree, 
and Christ hung on the cursed tree. Adam's preposterous love to 
his wife made him sin, and Christ's love to his spouse made him 
suffer. Our first parents pleased their sensual appetite with the 
taste of the jdeasant fruit of the forbidden tree, and therefore Christ 
got vinegar mixed with gall to drink upon the cross-tree. Adam 
sinned in a garden, and in a garden was Christ buried. By eating 
the forbidden fruit, death came upon all men to condemnation ; and 
by eating the fiesh, and drinking the blood of Christ, life is brought 
to the soul. then, sinners, flee unto the Lord Jesus Christ, who 
hath restored that which the first Adam took away ; and ye shall 
be reinstated in all that happiness and favour with God which ho 
forfeited by eating the forbidden fruit. 


Romans v. 19. — For as by one inaitCs disobedience many were made sin- 
ners ; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 

Tuis text consists of two propositions. The first is. By one man's 
disobedience many luere made sinners. AYhere consider, 

1. Who that one man was. It was Adam. This is plain from 
ver. 14. and to no other can it agree. 

2. What that disobedience of his was. It was his first sin, the 
eating of the forbidden fruit. This was that sin that first broke in- 
to the world, and opened the door to death, ver. 12. This was the 
transgression of Adam, ver. 14. that offence or fall, ver. 15. the offence 
of one, or, as the Greek will bear, the one offence ' ton henos parap- 
tomati,' here called disobedience, for thereby he hearkened to the 
devil, not to God. 

3. Whom it concerned ; many. This is in efl^ect the same with 
the all mentioned, ver. 14. Eut the alteration of the phrase is not 
without reason : for there is an exception here of the man Christ, of 
whom he speaks in the next clause. It reached many men, but not 
all simply ; he, and he only, was excepted. 

4. IIow it touched them ; they were nuide sinners by it. Now, 
there are only two ways how men miglit be made sinners by the 


disobedience of Adam, viz. either by imputation or imitation. The 
last is not meant. (1.) Because some of those many who are made 
sinners, arc not capable of imitation or actual sin, viz. infants. (2.) 
Because we are made righteous, not by the imitation, but imputa- 
tion, of Christ's righteousness ; but as we are made righteous by the 
one, so we are made sinners by the other. 

5. The foundation of this imputation, which is a relation betwixt 
the one and the many here implied ; for unless there had been some 
bond of union betwixt the one and many, the sin of that one could 
not have been imputed to the many. There was indeed a natural 
bond betwixt him and us : but this was not the ground of the impu- 
tation ; for we have such an union with our immediate parents, 
whose sin is not thus imputed. It behoved then to be a moral 
bond, by the way of a covenant, he being the representative of 
many in the covenant of works. From these words there arises this 
doctrine, viz. 

DocT. ' The covenant being made with Adam, not only for him- 
self, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by 
ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first 

In discoursing this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. What sin of Adam's it was that they who sinned and fell 
with him, sinned and fell in. 

II. Who they were that sinned and fell in Adam. 

III. How the first sin of Adam comes to be imputed to us. 

IV. Conclude with some inferences. 

I. I am to shew what sin of Adam's it was that they who sinned 
and fell with him, sinned and fell in. It was his first sin, the 
eating of the forbidden fruit. That sin is also their sin. This was 
the sin that broke the covenant of works. Other sins of Adam are 
not imputed to them, more than those of any other private persons. 
For he was a head only of obedience, not of suffering. So then, 
Adam quickly betaking himself to the covenant of grace, and 
placing himself under another head as a private man, ceased to be 
the head in the covenant of works. Adam had all his children in 
one ship to carry them to Immanuel's land ; by his negligence he 
dashed the ship on a rock, and broke it all in pieces ; and so he and 
his lay foundering in a sea of guilt : Jesus Christ lets out the 
second covenant as a rope to draw them to the shore. Adam for 
himself lays hold on it, while others hold by the broken boards of 
the ship, till they be by the power of grace enabled to quit them 
too, as he was. 

II. I proceed to shew who they were that sinned and fell in 


Adam. They were all mankiud, descending from him by ordinary 
generation. So, 

1. Christ is excepted. Adam's sin was not imputed to the man 
Christ. This is plain from Heb. vii. 26. He was separated from 
sinners, and was not infected with the plague whereof he was to be 
the cleanser. And so Christ comes not in under Adam as head, but, 
as in the text, is opposed to Adam as another head. 

Christ was indeed a Son of Adam, as appears from his genealogy 
brought up to Adam, Luke iii. And it was necessary he should be 
so, that he might be our near kinsman, and that the same nature 
that sinned might suffer. But he came not of him by ordinary ge- 
neration : the extraordinariness of his descent lay in that he was 
born of a virgin. And upon this account he came not in under 
Adam in the covenant of works ; for Christ was not born by virtue 
of that blessing of marriage given before the fall, Gren. i. 28. but 
by virtue of a covenant-promise made after the fall. Gen. iii. 15. So 
that Adam could represent none in that covenant, but such as were 
to spring from him by virtue of that blessing. 

2. All mankind besides sinned and fell with Adam in that first 
transgression. His sin of eating the forbidden fruit is imputed 
to them ; i e. is reckoned theirs, as if they had committed it. 

(1.) The scripture plainly testifies, that all sinned in him, Rom. 
V. 12. ' By one man's sin, death entered into the world, and death 
by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.' 
Hence it is plain, that death has not come into the world but in 
pursuit of sin ; all die, for all have sinned. Infants are not ex- 
empted more than others. We see graves of an infant's length ; 
yea, sometimes the womb is made their grave, and they get a coflin 
instead of a cradle. It is long ere infants laugh, but they come 
into the world crying ; a sure evidence of misery. What have they 
done ? What could they do ? Yet God is just, and is not pur- 
suing innocents. What then can be the quarrel but this, that they 
are taken prisoners for the debt contracted by their father? ver. 14. 

(2.) All fell with him into misery by that sin. Now, a just God 
will not involve the innocent with the guilty in the same punish- 
ment. Consider, 

[1.] All fell under the guilt of eternal wrath for that sin, Rom. 
V. 16, 18. ' The judgment was by one to condemnation. — By the 
ofl'ence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation.' 
Now, where there is a communion of guilt there must needs be a 
communion of sin ; for the law can bind none over to punishment 
but for sin. ' All die in Adam,' says the apostle, 1 Cor. xv. 22. 


but it is only the soul that sins that shall die, Ezek. xviii, 4. there- 
fore all sinned in Adam. 

[2.] All fell under the loss of God's image, and the corruption of 
nature with him. How comes it that all men must say with David, 
Psal. ii. 5. ' Behold I was shapen in iniquity ; and in sin did my 
mother conceive me ?' Take away the imputation of Adam's sin, 
and there is no foundation for the corruption of nature. It must be 
some sin that God punishes with the deprivation of original righte- 
ousness, which can be no other than the first sin of Adam. 

[3.] All the punishments inflicted on Adam and Eve, for that sin, 
as specified in Gen. iii. are common to mankind, their posterity ; 
and therefore the sin must be so too. 

III. I come now to shew how the first sin of Adam comes to be 
imputed to us. The great reason of this is, because we are all in- 
cluded in Adam's covenant. The covenant was made with him, not 
only for himself, but for all his posterity. Consider here, 

1. It was the covenant of works that was made with Adam, the 
condition whereof was perfect obedience. This was the first cove- 
nant. As for the covenant of grace, it was made with the second 

2. It was made with him for himself. That was the way he him- 
self was to attain perfect happiness ; his own stock was in that ship. 

3. It was made not only for himself, but for all his posterity de- 
scending from him by ordinary generation. So that he was not 
here as a mere private person, but as a public person, the moral 
head and representative of all mankind. Hence the scripture holds 
forth Adam and Christ, as if there had never been any but these 
two men in the world, 1 Cor. xv. 47. ' The first man is of the earth, 
earthy, (says he) : the second man is the Lord from heaven.' And 
this he does, because they were two public persons, each of them 
having under them persons represented by them, Rom. v. 14, 18. 
' Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not 
sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the 
figure of him that was to come. As by the offence of one, judgment 
came upon all men to condemnation ; even so by the righteousness 
of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.' 
This is plain from the imputation of Adam's sin, which necessarily 
requires this as the foundation of it. We being thus included and 
represented in that covenant, what he did he did as our head, and 
therefore it is justly imputed to us. 

But some may be ready to say, we made not choice of Adam for 
that purpose. Ans. (1.) God made the choice, who was as meet to 
make it for us as. we for ourselves. And 'who art thou that re- 


pliest agaiust God.' (2.) Adam was our natural head, the common 
father of us all, Acts xvii. 26. and who was so meet to be trusted 
with the concerns of all mankind as he ? But to clear further the 
reasonableness of this imputation, and to still the murmuring of 
proud nature against the dispensation of God, consider, 

1. Adam's sin is imputed to us, because it is ours. For God doth 
not reckon a thing ours, which is not so, Rom. ii. 2. — * The judg- 
ment of God is according to truth.' For God's justice doth not 
punish men for a sin which is in no way theirs. And it is our sin 
upon the account aforesaid. Even as Christ's righteousness is ours 
by virtue of our union with him. As if a person that lias the 
plague infect others, and they die, they die, by their own plague, 
and not by that of another. 

2. It was free for God, antecedently to the covenant made with 
man, either to have annihilated all mankind, or if he had preserved 
them, to have given them no promise of eternal life in heaven, not- 
withstanding by natural justice they would have been liable to his 
wrath in case of sin. Was it not then an act of grace in God to 
make such a rich covenant as this ? and would not men have con- 
sented to this representation gladly in this case ? 

3. Adam had a power to stand if he would, being made after the 
image of God, Gen. i. 26. He was set down with a stock capable 
to be improved to the eternal upmaking of all his posterity. So 
that he was as capable to stand as any afterwards could be for 
themselves : and this was a trial that would soon have been over, 
while the other would have been continually a-doing, had men been 
created independent on him as their representative. 

4. He had natural affection the strongest to engage him. He was 
our father, and all we the children that were in his loins, to whom 
we had as good ground to trust as to any other creature. 

5. His own stock was in the ship ; his all lay at stake as well as 
ours. Forgetting our interest, he behoved to disregard his own, for 
he had no separate interest from ours. 

6. If he had stood, we could never have fallen ; he had gained 
for us eternal liappiuess ; the image of God, and the crown of glory, 
would have descended from him to us by a sure conveyance. 

And is it not reasonable, on the other hand, that if he fell, we 
should fall and bear the loss ? No man quarrels, that when a ma- 
ster sets his land in tack to a man and his heirs upon conditions, if 
the first possessor break the bargain, the heirs be denuded of it. 

7. Lastli/, All that quarrel this dispensation must renounce their 
part in Christ : for we are made righteous by him, as sinners are 
made guilty by Adam. If we fall in with the one, why not with 


the other ? We chose Christ for our head in the second covenant, 
no more than we did Adam in the first covenant. 
A few inferences shall conclude this subject. 

1. Hence see the dreadful nature of sin ; one sin could destroy a 
whole world. What a plague of plagues must this sin be, that has 
swept away not families, towns, and countries only, but the Avhole 
race of mankind ! View it in this glass, if you would know it aright. 

2. Let this be a lesson to parents. Adam's fall should be a 
watch-word to every parent, to endeavour by all means to do no- 
thing that may bring ruin on their children. Many times children 
are destroyed by their parents through their bad example, and their 
omission of exercising proper discipline and correction on them. 
Te that are parents, give your children a good and pious example, 
accompanied with wholesome precepts and instructions. And watch 
over and narrowly observe their behaviour, and pray for and with 
them, that they may be delivered from wrath and condemnation. 

3. This doctrine affords a lesson of humility to all. The rich 
have no cause to boast of their wealth and abundance ; for they 
have a sad heritage left to them ; and the poor and needy have the 
very same. If one man be better than another, no thanks to us ; 
for we are all alike by nature. 

4. Hence view and wonder at the redemption purchased for poor 
fallen sinners by the obedience and death of Christ. Behold here 
the necessity of it : What could they do for their help that came 
into the world under a sentence of condemnation ? — the seasonable- 
ness of this deliverance, when the sentence was passed on all : — the 
perfection of it; it takes away this first sin, and all others too. 
How strong must the power of the grace of Christ be, that could 
stop the torrent of Adam's sin, when increased with innumerable 
actual transgressions? Rom. v. 16. 

5. Lastly, Quit your hold of the first Adam and his covenant, and 
come to and unite with Christ by faith, and lay hold on his covenant, 
1 Cor. XV. 22. Flee to and make use of his blood for the taking 
away of the first sin iu particular, and mourn for it before the Lord. 
If this be not removed, it will ruin you. And to stir you up to a 
concern about this sin, consider how we are naturally writing after 
this copy, by our unbelief of the word, our affecting mainly what is 
forbidden, &c. as I shewed before. The offer of Christ as a Saviour 
from sin is made to you ; and ye are called to embrace him as a Sa- 
viour to you in particular. Accept the offer, as ye regard the sal- 
vation of your souls ; otherwise you will be ruined, not only by the 
breach of the first covenant, but by despising the second, which is 
the only means devised by infinite wisdom for the recovery of fallen 



PsAL. li. 5. — Behold, I was shccpen in iniquity, and in sin did my mo- 
ther conceive me. 

Man that was holy and happy is now fallen ; and his fall should 
never be forgotten, but lameuted, though it were with tears of blood. 
Man's first sin was the spring of all our woes, the poisonous foun- 
tain from whence all our misery flowed. It brought mankind into 
an estate of sin and misery ; a state wherein man can do nothing 
but sin, wherein every thought, every word, and every action is 
tainted with sin, wherein enmity to God and his holy nature, and 
rebellion against and opposition to his righteous law universally 
reign and prevail. In this dismal state to which mankind are re 
duced by the fall, no trne holiness is attainable, for it is a state of 
sin ; and no salvation from wrath can be had, for it is a state of 
misery. The state we must be brought into, out of our sinful and 
miserable state under the breach of the covenant of works, if we 
would attain unto salvation, is the state of grace under the new co- 
venant. Those that are delivered from their natural state, under 
the broken covenant, are persons eff'ectually called by grace, and 
are ' in Christ Jesus,' Rom. viii. 1. Those that are still under the 
bondage of the old covenant, are out of Christ, and ' have no hope,' 
Eph. ii. 12. This state is a very sinful and miserable state. For 
the power that the covenant of works has over them, is a command- 
ing, cursing, and condemning power : it commands them to yield 
perfect obedience, under pain of the curse, but affords no strength 
for performing it ; and it curses and condemns them for every the 
least failure. The source of all is the total corruption and depra- 
vity of human nature, which we derive from our first father, in 
whom we all sinned, and with whom we fell, in his first transgres- 
sion. In the text we have, 

1. A plain confession of the being of original sin. Here is sin 
and iniquity, which the Psalmist owns he had while yet in the womb, 
sin in which he was shapen, and iniquity in which he was conceived. 
This was not peculiar to the Psalmist, but is common to all man- 
kind sprung in an ordinary way from the first transgressor Adam. 

2. The way of the conveyance of this original sin, viz. by natural 
generation. In this way every son and daughter of Adam are in- 
fected with this leprosy. 

3. The malignant efficacy it hath on men's lives ; Behold, says 
David, I was shipen in iniquity, ^c. He points out original sin as 


the fountain of all his actual transgressions. For how can a cor- 
rupt fountain send out wholesome streams ? 

The doctrine observable from the text is, 

DocT. * The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists 
in the guilt of Adam's first sin, the want of original righteousness, 
and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called 
original sin, together with all actual transgressions which proceed 
from it.' 

In discoursing from this doctrine I will shew, 

I. That there is such a thing as original sin. 

II. Wherein original sin consists. 

III. Deduce some inferences for application. 

I. Our first business is to shew, tliat there is such a thing as origi- 
nal sin. Of this we hare melancholy proofs. 

1. Consider scripture-testimonies. In the text we have David, a 
man after God's own heart, yet confessing he was shapen in iniquity, 
and conceived in sin. Adam begets Seth, from whom the whole race 
of mankind derive their origin, after ' his own image,' Gen. v. 1. 
opposed to ' the image of God,' after which he was made, Gen. i. 26. 
consisting in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. Job says 
chap. xiv. 4. ' Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? not 
one.' This is God's verdict on all mankind, Gen. vi. 5. ' Every 
imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually.' 

2. This is plain from the case of infants, which we all once were. 
We may plainly read in their faces, that we are covered over with 
sin and guilt before any other covering come on us. For, (1.) What 
else mean scripture-ordinances about them ? If there were not in 
them a superfluity of naughtiuess, why were they circumcised ? if 
they are not unclean, why are they baptised ? This corruption of 
human nature was also shadowed forth by the law, concerning puri- 
fying of women. (2.) Consider the sad efi'ects of sin upon them, 
which meet them as soon as they come into the world, yea in the 
womb, such as sickness, pains, death, &c., which says, that ' by na- 
ture we are the children of wrath,' Eph. ii. 3. (3.) Consider the 
early appearances of Adam's image in them, before ever they come 
to the use of reason. What a deal of pride, ambition, curiosity, va- 
nity, wilfulness, and averseness to good, appears in them ; and when 
they creep out of iufancy, what obstinacy and incorrigibleness ap- 
pears in them ; so that there is a necessity of using the rod of cor- 
rection to drive away the foolishness that is bound in their heart, 
Prov. xxii. 15. 

3. The universal necessity of regeneration plainly proves the 
corruption of our nature, John iii. 3. ' Except a man be born again, 

OF man's natural state. 281 

he cannot see the kingdom of God.' Were we not disjointed by na- 
ture, what need would there be for us to be taken down, and put up 
again ? If the first birth were right, what need would there be for 
a second ? 

II. I come now to shew wherein original sin consists. It consists 
in these three things : the guilt of Adam's first sin, the want of ori- 
ginal righteousness, and the corruption of the whole nature. 

First, Original sin consists in the guilt of Adam's first sin. Guilt 
is an obligation to punishment. For this sin, which is ours by im- 
putation, we are liable to punishment. This guilt lies on all men 
by nature, Rom. v. 18. And this guilt of Adam's first sin is origi- 
nal sin imputed ; of which I si)oke in the former discourse. The 
only remedy for it is in Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. xv. 22. Eph. i. 7- Rom. 
iii. 24. 

Secondly, It consists in the want of original righteousness. Origi- 
nal righteousness is that righteousness and entire rectitude of all 
the faculties of the soul wherein man was created. Man's soul was 
so adorned with it, that it resembled its great Maker. But now 
man is stript of these ornaments, he is left quite naked. 

1. There is a want of that knowledge in the mind wherewith man 
was created. That light that was set up in the soul of man is now 
gone ; though the candlestick is not removed, the candle is, Job xi. 
12. ' For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild 
ass's colt.' The mind is like the ostrich, whom God hath deprived 
of understanding. ' The understanding is darkened, being alienated 
from the life of God through the ignorance that is in men, because 
of the blindness of their heart, Eph. iv. 18. ' The natural man re- 
ceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God ; for they are foolishness 
unto him : neither can ye know them, because they are spiritually 
discerned,' 1 Cor. ii. 14. 

2. That righteousness which was in the will of man, that bent 
and inclination to good, is now removed, Eccl. vii. 29. ' I know 
[says the apostle] that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good 
thing : for to will is present with me, but how to perform that 
which is good, I find not,' Rom. vii. 18. 

3. The holiness of the affections is gone. Spiritual aflfections 
have taken the wing, and left the soul as a bird without wings 
which hath nothing whereby it can mount, Rom. vii. 18. forecited. 

This want of original righteousness is a sin, being a want of con- 
formity to the law of God, which requires all moral perfection. It 
is also a punishment of sin, and so is justly inflicted by God. And 
though the want of this righteousness be sin, yet God's depriving 
man of it, or rather not giving it him, is a most just act ; seeing 



Adam, having got it for himself and his posterity, threw it away, 
and God is not obliged to restore it. And it can be no other sin 
but the first sin, whereof this with-holding of original righteousness 
is the punishment. So true it is, that if the imputation of Adam's 
first sin be denied, original sin is quite rased, there is no foundation 
left for it. 

Thirdlif, It consists in the corruption of the whole nature. Con- 
cerning which two things are to be considered. 

1. That the nature of man is indeed corrupted, "We must not 
think that original sin lies only in the want of original righteous- 
ness. No, man is not only void of good qualities naturally, but he 
is filled with evil ones. 

(1.) The scripture holds it forth so, while it calls this sin 'the 
flesh which lusteth against the Spirit, the old man, the body of 
death, the law of the members warring against the law of the 
mind, &c. 

(2.) The soul of man cannot be otherwise. It must needs be 
morally right or wrong; either it is habitually conformable to the 
law of God, or not ; if it be not, its inclinations are against it. The 
soul has either God's image or that of the devil upon it. If there 
is not light in the mind, there must be darkness there. 

2. Consider the nature and extent of this corruption. As to its 

1st. All men are corrupted. There is no exception of any one of 
Adam's posterity descending from him by ordinary generation : 
Gen. vi. 5. ' God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the 
earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was 
only evil continually.' Job xiv. 4. ' Who can bring a clean thing 
out of an unclean ? not one.' The Virgin Mary, of the substance of 
whose body the holy human nature of Christ was formed by the 
operation of the Holy Spirit, is included among the rest. Even the 
children of holy parents are corrupted ; for generation is by nature, 
not by grace. The circumcised father begets an uncircumcised 
child, as the purest corn that is sown produceth chafi". 

2c%, All of every man is corrupted; it is a leprosy that has 
overspread universally; a leaven that hath leavened the whole 
lump. It has overspread, 

1. The soul in all its faculties, Tit. i. 15. ' Unto them that are 
defiled and unbelieving, is nothing pure ; but even their mind and 
conscience is defiled.' 

\st, If we look to the understanding, there we will see, 

(1.) Darkness over all that region. It is the land of darkness 
and shadow of death, where the very light is darkness ; darkness in 

OF man's natural state. 283 

the abstract, Eph. v. 8. We are born blind, and cannot be restored 
without a miracle. There is a dreadful stupidity in spiritual things; 
the natural man cannot take them up, 1 Cor. ii. 14. ; but he is a 
fool, and a madman, because in these things he is a mere natural. 

(2.) A bitter root of unbelief naturally grows there, which over- 
spreads the whole life. Men by nature are ' children of disobe- 
dience,' Eph. ii. 2. Or, ' of impersuasibleness,' How like Adam do 
we look ! how universally is that article embraced, ' Ye shall not 
surely die !' and how does it spread itself through the lives of men, 
as if they were resolved to fall after the same example of unbelief ! 

2dli/, As for the will, call.it no more will, but lust. It is free to 
evil but not to good. ' God made man upright,' his will straight 
with his own, with a power in the will to do good and an inclination 
and bent thereto. But now behold in it, 

(1.) A pitiful weakness. Man naturally cannot will what is 
good and acceptable to God. He cannot produce one holy act until 
grace change the heart, more than a stone can feel, or a beast rea- 
son. Hence the apostle says, Phil. ii. 13. ' It is God which worketh 
in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.' Rom. v. 6. 
' "We are without strength.' 2 Cor. iii. 6. ' We are not sufficient of 
ourselves to think any thing of ourselves : but our sufficiency is of 
God.' Men by nature are dead spiritually ' dead in trespasses and 
sins, Eph. ii. 1. If they will what is good, it is in a carnal manner. 

(2.) An aversion to good. We are backward to it, and therefore 
must be drawn as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. Sin is the 
natural man's element ; and as the fish is averse to come out of the 
water, so is the sinner from the puddle of sin, in which he delights 
to lie. Hence says our Lord, John v. 40. ' Ye will not come unto 
me, that ye might have life.' They were not only naturally unable 
to come, but they had no inclination to the duty. Their stomachs 
are full, and, like the full soul that loaths the honey-comb, they 
nauseate the heavenly food in their offer. 

(3.) There is a proneness to evil, a bent and inclination to it, 
Hos. xi. 7- ' My people are bent to backsliding from me.' Hence 
natural men are mad on idols. Set sin and duty, death and life, 
cursing and blessing before the natural man, and leave the will to 
itself, it will naturally run to sin, to death, and the curse, as the 
waters run down a steep place. 

(4.) There is a crossness and contrariety in the will to God and 
goodness, Rom. viii. ?• * The carnal mind is enmity against God : 
for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.' 
That God forbids a thing is a motive to the will to like it. No 
fruit is so sweet to the corrupt appetite as the forbidden fruit. 



Strip sin naked of all its ornaments and allurements, and the natu- 
ral man will court it for itself. The will naturally lies cross to 

(1.) It is cross to his nature. He is holiness itself; and the will 
rejects holiness for itself. Hence men ' say to God, Depart from 
us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways,' Job xxi. 14. The 
will is an enemy to the scripture Grod, and hence they do what they 
can for the change, Psal. 1. 21. It was most agreeable to nature, 
that the Pagans made their gods profane. The proud man desires 
to have none above hira to controul him, or call him to account, and 
the natural man wants to have no God, Ps. xiv. 1. 

(2.) It is cross to his will. (1.) To his law, which binds to con- 
formity to God, which the natural man hates, Rom. viii. 7. Cor- 
rupt nature rises against this yoke : they would have the law 
brought down to their corruptions. Hence that is a distinguishing 
mark of the godly man, ' His delight is in the law of the Lord and 
in his law doth he meditate day and night,' Psal. i. 2. (2.) To his 
gospel. The will of man naturally is quite opposite to the grand 
device of salvation through the Lord Jesus ; and natural men, like 
Judas, would rather hang themselves than go to Christ, submitting 
themselves unto the righteousness of God, Rom. x, 3. They say, 
* We will not have this man to reign over us.' Luke xix. 14. The 
gospel is designed for humbling the pride and selfishness of men ; 
but they are for exalting self, and placing it on the throne. It lies 
cross to the will of God in its chief acts. 

(1.) As to the intention, the will is wholly cross and perverse as 
to the ultimate end. Self is set up for the chief end instead of God, 
2 Tim. iii. 2. ' Men shall be lovers of their own selves.' In this we 
follow our first father's footsteps. The will is like a traitor, who, 
instead of gathering in the rents of the crown to the king, gathers 
them in to itself. 

(2.) As to the choice, Psal. iv. 6. ' There be many that say, "Who 
will shew us any good ?' God oflfers himself to be the sinner's por- 
tion ; but he chuses the creatures for his portion, and sin for the 
way to obtain it. 

(5.) There is contumacy in it. . The will is wilful in evil and will 
not be turned, though it should run on the sword-point of vengeance, 
Ezek. xviii. 31. ' Why will ye die, house of Israel ?' Like the 
leviathan in his way, it ' laugheth at the shaking of a spear,' Job 
xli. 29. ' I shall have peace (says the natural man), though I walk 
in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst,' 
Deut. xxix. 19, This is the stony heart, which as a stone is insen- 
sible, resisting, inflexible, but by the power of divine grace, hard to 
receive impressions, but as the water to let them go. 

OF man's natural state. 285 

3(;%, As to the aft'ections, they are quite disordered. "While man 
stood, his reason was subject to the law, and his affections to his 
reason : but now, like the mnruly horse, they will either not receive, 
or else run away with the rider, Jer. ii. 23, 24. * 

(1.) The affections are misplaced as to their objects. The natural 
man is a spiritual monster. His heart is there, where his feet 
should be, fixed on the earth ; Jiis heels are lifted up against Hea- 
yen, which his heart should be set on. He loves what he should 
hate, and hates what he should love ; joys in what he ought to 
mourn for, and mourns for what he should rejoice in ; glories in his 
shame, and is ashamed of his glory ; abhors what he should desire, 
and desires what he should abhor; acting in direct opposition to the 
apostolical injunction of ' seeking those things which are above,' 
Col. i. 1. 

(2.) When the natural man's affections are fixed on lawful objects, 
they can keep no bounds. They cannot flow to the creature, with- 
out overflowing; they cannot love a lawful object, without over- 
loving it; nor joy in any created comfort, without excess. The 
affections are never right, only evil. 

Further, this corruption has spread even to the body. That 
which should be a temple for God is become a garrison of lusts. 

1. It incites the soul to sin. What a snare is the temperature of 
the body to the soul, leading it to the commission of many foul sins ! 
Therefore the godly beat it down as an unruly beast, keep it under, 
and bring it into subjection, that it cast not the soul into sin and 
misery, 1 Cor. ix. 27. It is the house wherein snares are spread for 
the soul ; so that many, to please their bodies, make shipwreck of 
their souls. 

2. Its members are members of unrighteousness, Rom. vi. 13. 
Are not the eyes and ears the windows whereat death comes in to 
the soul ? The tongue is an untamed beast, by which the impure 
heart vents its filthiness. The throat is an open sepulchre ; the feet 
run the devil's errands ; and the belly is made a god. The body is 
naturally an agent for Satan, and a magazine of armour against the 

What shall we say ? who can express the corruption of nature ? 
The whole man is corrupted. All defilement is in us naturally, 
Rom. i. 29. The treasure of wickedness is in the heart, Matth. xii. 
35. It is a cage full of unclean birds. The tongue is a world of 
iniquity, an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. What an universe 
of wickedness and impurity must the heart then be ? 

This is a rude draught of the corruption of human nature in its 
fallen state, which the Spirit of God in scrii)ture calls fieah, in 

T 3 


many passages that miglit be quoted. The i^ropriety of this expres- 
sion will be evident from the following particulars. 

1. It denotes the degrading and debasing malignity that is in sin, 
which unspirits and unsouls a man, if I may be allowed such expres- 
sions. A sinner is called a carnal man, a man made up of nothing 
but a lump of dull flesh kneaded together without spirit. And 
therefore the apostle, Rom. viii. 13» does not bid men mortify the 
deeds of their souls, but of their bodies, because wicked men act as 
if they had no souls, or at least not so noble a soul as the rational 
one is. 

2. It denotes what it is that sin tends unto. It is only to please 
and gratify the flesh ; to pamper the body, that sensual, sordid, and 
baser part of man. The soul of the natural man acts for no higher 
end than the soul of a beast. The soul of a beast acts not for itself, 
but is made a drudge and underling to the body. It serves only to 
carry the body up and down to its pasture, and make it to relish its 
food and fodder. And thus it is with the souls of wicked men; they 
act not for themselves, but are only provisors for the body, that seek 
out and lay in provision for the flesh. Hence we have that exhor- 
tation, Rom. xiii. 14. ' Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not 
provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof. 

3. Though the soul be the chief seat of the flesh, yet the flesh is 
the great instrument by which it acts, Rom. vi. 19. Hence its 
actions are called ' the deeds of the body,' Rom. viii. 13. Though 
some sins are seated in the mind, as heresies, covetousness, malice, 
pride, &c. yet they are set down among the works of the flesh in the 
apostle's catalogue, Gal. v. 19, 20. And as to the sins of omission, 
they usually take their rise in men from some inordinate sensual af- 
fection to the creature, which causes them to omit their duty to 
God, but, generally speaking, most sins are acted by the flesh. 
When the devil would set up a kingdom in the hearts of men, he 
doth it by the flesh ; for what is nearer and dearer to us than our 
flesh? and things pleasant and grateful to the flesh strongly pro- 
mote his designs. These darken and blind their minds, corrupt 
their hearts, and entice and allure their aflfections ; so that they 
hunt after them with an eager pursuit, to the woful neglect of God 
and their precious souls. 

4. The disorder of the sensitive appetite, which inclines men to 
the interest and conveniences of the flesh, is the great cause of all 
sin ; and therefore fallen man is represented in scripture as wholly 
governed by his sensual inclinations. Gen. vi. 3. John iii. 6. as if he 
had nothing in him but what is earthly and carnal. Our souls 
cleave so fast to the earth in our degenerate state, and are so much 

or man's natural state. 287 

addicted to the body, that they hare lost their primitive excellence 
and beauty. Our understanding, will, and affections, are wofully 
distempered by our senses, and enslaved to the flesh. So that with 
great propriety corrupt nature is called /esA in scripture. 

1. This corruption is most truly and properly sin, even in the re- 
generate, where the guilt of it is removed by the blood of Christ, 
and the power of it subdued by his Spirit and grace. And all the 
motions thereof in them are sin ; as appears from what the apostle 
says, Rom. vii. 5, 7, 8. * For when we are in the flesh, the motions 
of sins which were by the law, did work in our members to bring 
forth fruit unto death. What shall we say then ? Is the law sin ? 
God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law : for I had 
not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. 
But sin taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all 
manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.' 
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, so 
that ye cannot do the things that ye would.' 

2. This corruption is exceeding sinful. For the law and cove- 
nant of works made with Adam, as the head and representative of 
all his posterity, required perfect obedience and conformity to God 
both in heart and life, to love the Lord his God with all his heart, 
soul, strength, and mind. God placed him in a holy and happy 
state, endued him with his image, consisting in knowledge, righte- 
ousness, and true holiness ; and gave him sufiicient power and 
ability to perform the duty he owed to his Lord, and to continue in 
the course of obedience, till he should be confirmed both in holiness 
and felicity. Now, man having by sin stript himself of the image 
of God, and rendered himself incapable of obeying God either in 
heart or life, the law still requires all the holiness and righteous- 
ness that it did when he was in his upright estate ; and the want of 
conformity to the law of God must be exceeding sinful, as a breach 
of the law of God, and a trampling on his image. And, in order to 
affect us with a deep sense of the sinfulness of the total corruption 
of our nature, let us consider, 

(1.) The pregnancy of this corruption. It is indeed all sin vir- 
tually, which is retailed out in many particular sinful acts. It 
contains in its bowels the seed and spawn of all wickedness whatso- 
ever. All treasons and disobedience, rebellions and hostilities, 
against the supreme and sovereign majesty of heaven, are to be 
found in it. It is the nursery, seed, and womb, yea, every sin that 
is possible to be committed is in this womb, so conceived and 
formed, animated and brought to the birth, as there needs nothing 


but a temptation and opportunity to bring it forth. It may be yon 
never imbrued your hands in your brother's blood, as Cain did, nor 
have actually committed murder, yet the seed and spawn of it is 
lurking in thy heart ; and the only reason Avhy you have kept free 
from it is, because God hath restrained and kept thee back, and 
hath not suffered the like temptations and occasions to come in thy 
way. It may be you never set cities on fire, dashed out children's 
brains, ript up women with child, as Hazael did ; yet all these sins 
are lurking in thy heart, though they were never acted by thine 
hands. Hazael was angry when the prophet told him so much, 2 
Kings viii. 12. 13. but he acted all that afterwards and more, when 
he was advanced to his master's throne. He could not think that 
ever he could be guilty of such atrocious and detestable crimes, un- 
less he were transformed into a dog. He was little acquainted with 
the desperate wickedness of man's nature, which habitually inclines 
him to the most barbarous and bloody cruelty. 

2. This corruption that lies in the heart is the woful cause, 
source, and spring of all the actual transgressions which stain men's 
lives. Every wicked and sinful action derives its descent from this. 
From whence come murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, &c ? 
Our Saviour tells us. Matt. xv. 19. They proceed out of the heart. 
If you will trace these streams to the true spring and fountain, you 
will find it to be the sin and wickedness of the heart. This is that 
seed and loathsome spawn to which all this detestable vermin owe 
their original. It is fruitful and productive of all manner of evils. 
It is that which fills people's mouths with cursing, swearing, lying, 
slandering, &c. makes their feet swift to shed blood, and puts the 
poison of asps under their tongue, Rom. iii. 14, 15. Yea, this de- 
files the whole man, and stains him with an universal pollution, 
Matth. XV. 18. As a lethargy in the head, or an indisposition in 
the stomach, diffuseth an universal malignity through the whole 
body, these being sovereign and principal parts in man; so this 
wickedness that dwells in the heart, poisons the whole life. Many 
a filthy and impure stream issues from this corrupt fountain. 

(3.) Consider what a monstrous deformity it hath brought on the 
soul. The mind of man was the candle of the Lord. As it pro- 
ceeded from God it was a lightsome beam, shining with more lustre 
and splendour than a ray of the sun. But now it is dark and ob- 
scure, and is become a stinking and noisome dunghill. It was once 
one of the brightest and most excellent pieces of the creation, next 
unto the angelical nature ; but by sin it is transformed into an ugly 
monster. We justly reckon that birth monstrous, where the mem- 
bers have not their due place ; when the head is where the feet 

OF man's natural state. 289 

should be, or the legs in i>lace of the arms, &c. Thus the noble 
powers and faculties of the soul are monstrously misplaced. That 
which should be highest is now lowest ; that which should rule and 
keep the throne, is brought into a miserable subjection and bondage : 
that which should serve and obey, does now tyrannise and command. 
Passion over-rules reason, and the will receives laws from the fancy 
and appetite. In man's primitive state, the will was sovereign lord, 
reason was its counsellor, and appetite subject to both ; but now it 
hath aspired and got above them, and ofttimes carries both into a 
servile compliance with the dictates of sense. Any spot or blemish 
upon the face of a beautiful child, when it comes but accidentally, 
grieves and afflicts the parents : how much more cause have we to 
bemoan the natural, universal, and monstrous deformity which has 
seized upon our souls ? 

4. Consider the devilishness of this corruption. There is nothing 
in all the world hath so much of the devil in it as sin. It is his 
first-born, the beginning of his strength ; that which he hatched and 
brought into the world. It is his work and employment, his great 
master-piece, that wherein he applauds himself and glories, John 
viii. 44:. This is his image that he hath drawn upon man. Those 
black characters which are drawn on the soul, are of Satan's im- 
pression. As face answers to face, so doth man's corrupt nature 
answer the nature of the devil. It hath all the essential parts of 
the diabolical nature. There is in it a strong aversion from all that 
is good, so is there in him ; and a mighty propensity to all evil, so 
is it in the devil. It is Satan's correspondent, that maintains secret 
and constant intercourse with our mortal enemy. It is a domestic 
enemy, ready on all occasions to betray the soul into the hands of 
him, who is always going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he 
may devour. 0, should it not deeply humble us before God, that 
we are so near a kin to hell, and have such a correspondence with 
the detil ; that our corruption makes us so like unto him, and daily 
affords him so great an advantage against us ? 

(5.) Consider the brutishness of this corruption. Sin hurries the 
soul on with a blind rage and fury to such acts and motions, as men 
in their right reason would highly condemn. It is on this account 
that men are compared to brute-beasts and irrational creatures : as 
to the horse and the mule, to a wild ass, an untamed liiefer, &c. 
The brute-creatures, though they be not capable to know God, yet 
they will know and take some notice of their benefactor, and sucli 
as feed and keep them. But men kick against God, they wound 
Christ, and reject and expel the Holy Spirit in his motions and 
operations. They bellow out reproaches against his servants, whom 


he hath sent forth to feed and nourish their souls, Prov. xii. 1. Tlie 
brutal creatures have a strong inclination to those things which 
tend to their health, and to the preservation and continuance of 
their life and strength ; but sin makes men averse to their own hap- 
piness, and all the spiritual means which have a tendency thereunto. 
The beasts are afraid of that which is hurtful and destructive to 
their being : but sin pushes men on in the ways of death ; and the 
paths which lead to eternal destruction. It is said, Job xi. 12. that 
' man is born like a wise ass's colt.' He brings with him into the 
world a heart more wild, fierce, and untamed than any beast of the 

6. Consider its vileness. There is nothing in the whole creation 
so detestable as sin. It is the abominable thing which the Lord 
hates. He cannot look upon it but with infinite abhorrence. There 
is nothing so base and so contemptible as sin. The scrii)ture sets 
it forth under various notions, no single one being suificient to ex- 
press its vileness. It is called fiesh, Gen. vi. 3. and Gal. v. 16, 17. 
This holds forth the vile degeneracy of man's soul since this corrup- 
tion seized upon it. By creation it was pure and holy, heavenly 
and spiritual, near a-kin to the angels, yea, as like to the nature of 
God as a creature could be : but now it is transformed into flesh, 
made carnal, sensual, and devilish. It is vile both formally and 
effectively : filthy in itself, and hath made the whole man so. It is 
compared in scripture to those things which are most vile and de- 
testable in the eyes of men, as filthy vomit, defiling mire, rotten 
members, putrifying sores, &c. 

(7.) It excludes and debars from access to God and communion 
with him. There can be no friendship between light and darkness, 
between Christ and Belial, between an infinitely pure and holy God, 
and vile filthy polluted sinners. We have an important question 
proposed, Psal. xxiv. 3. ' Who shall ascend into the hill of the 
Lord ? and who shall stand in his holy place ?' The answer is 
given, ver. 4. ' He that hath clean hands, and a i)ure heart : who 
hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.' 
And we are told, Psal. v. 4, 5. ' Thou art not a God that hath plea- 
sure in wickedness ; neither shall evil dwell with thee. The fool- 
ish shall not stand in thy sight : Thou hatest all workers of iniquity.' 
The heart is the temple of God, the chief place of his residence in 
man ; and he will never dwell in it, unless it be made clean. There 
is no access to God here or hereafter without holiness, James iv. 8. 
Rev. xxi. ult. 

8. Lastly, It exposeth to terrible wrath. It was sin that brought 
the deluge upon the old world : and it hath brought many fearful 

ov man's natckal state. 291 

plagues and judgments upon the new one since. And it is this tliat 
lays men open to the wrath and vengeance of God in the life that is 
to come. Hence they are called ' children of wrath,' Eph. ii. 3. 
They are born to wrath by nature. This is their portion and inhe- 
ritance. ' The wrath of God is revealed from heaven (says the 
apostle) against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. The 
curses and threatenings of the law proclaim the divine displeasure, 
and give warnings and intimations to sinners of what they are to 
expect. There is a day of wrath coming, and of the revelation of 
the righteous judgment of God, when the wicked shall be turned 
into hell, and all the nations that forget God. We are exposed to 
wrath on account of sin, in our conception, birth, life, and death, 
and througli all eternity. 

In the above three things, the guilt of Adam's first sin, the want 
of original righteousness, and the corruption of the whole nature, 
consists in original sin. These three things make up this monstrous 
body. There lies our sinfulness which we are brought into by the 

How this corruption is conveyed to all the children of men, the 
scripture, even the text, makes it plain, that it is conveyed by na- 
tural generation, so as all that proceed from Adam in the way of 
natural generation are infected with it. But if it be asked, how 
this original corruption is propagated from parents to children ? 
how it comes to pass that our souls are defiled and tainted with 
original sin? Indeed the question is very hand and difficult. It 
may be this is one of those mysteries which are reserved for the 
world to come, about which we cannot in our present state solve 
every difficulty that may be moved. It is much more our duty and 
interest to be solicitous how to get sin out of our souls, than to pry 
and search into the way how it came into them. However, this is 
certain, that God doth not infuse it. Souls receive neither purity 
nor impurity from him, but only their naked essence, and the na- 
tural powers and properties flowing therefrom. He doth not infuse 
any impurity into men ; for he cannot be the author of sin, who is 
the revenger of it. Nor doth he create men's souls in their original 
purity and rectitude ; for the sin of Adam lost that, and God's 
justice withholds it from his posterity. As a pure and holy God, 
he cannot infuse any impurity into the souls of men ; and as a just 
and righteous God, he may and doth withhold from, or create them 
void and destitute of, that holiness and righteousness which was 
once their happiness and glory. Again, it is probably thought by 
some, that original sin comes neither in by the soul alone, nor by 
the body alone, apart from the soul, but upon the union and con- 


junction of both in one person. It is the union of these two that 
constitutes a child of Adam, and as such only we are capable of 
being infected with his sin. 

Solid divines, without a daring intrusion into unrevealed secrets, 
proceed by the following steps in answering this question. 

1. If it be demanded, How it comes to pass that an infant be- 
comes guilty of Adam's sin ? the answer is. Because he is a child of 
Adam by natural generation. 

2. But why is he deprived of that original rectitude with which 
Adam was created ? they answer, Because Adam lost it by his sin, 
and therefore could not transmit to his posterity what he had lost. 

3. But how comes he to be inclined to that which is evil ? the an- 
swer is. Because he wants that original rectitude, which Adam had 
when he was created. For whosoever wants original righteousness, 
inclines naturally to that which is evil. And so the propension of 
nature to that which is bad, seems to be by way of concomitancy 
with the want of original righteousness. No action can be holy 
which doth not flow from the image of God in the soul, as its root 
and principle. And therefore man being despoiled of this image of 
God, there is no action of any man in a state of nature but what is 
sinful and corrupt. But, as I said before, it much more concerns 
us how to get original corruption removed, than to inquire how it 
came in. 

This corruption may well be called original sin, because we have 
it from our original, it being as old as ourselves ; and because it is 
transmitted from Adam, the origin of mankind ; and, which is the 

Last thing, because all actual transgressions proceed from it. 
Matt. XV. 19. ; as I have already shewn. 

I shall shut up this point with a few inferences. 

1. No wonder then that we are born to trouble as the sparks fly 
upward ; that we are attacked and made prisoners as soon as we 
come into the world. This says that the straight way in the course 
of justice would be, that we go from the womb to the grave, and 
that the cradle be turned into a coffin. For, in a spiritual sense, we 
are all dead born ; and no wonder that natural death should seize 
those that are spiritually dead ; and that all sorts of miseries should 
pursue those that are destitute of every thing that is good. 

2. There is no ground for parents to be lifted up on the account 
of children, however numerous and fair. For though they may have 
fair faces, they have foul and deformed souls by nature ; and na- 
tural beauty is far outbalanced by spiritual ugliness. Parents had 
much need to carry them by faith and prayer to the fountain of 
Christ's blood, to get them washed and purified from their spiritual 


3. Tliis doctrine lets us see the absolute necessity of Christ as a 
Saviour, who alone is able to save us from the guilt of sin by his 
blood, and from the filth and pollution of it by the washing of re- 
generation and renewing of the Holy Ghost, and from the dominion 
of it by the power of divine grace. ' Except a man be born again, 
he cannot see the kingdom of Grod,' John iii. 3. 

4. Lastly, See the absolute necessity of mortification, of crucifying 
the flesh ; for from it all actual sins proceed. A form of godliness 
will not do. No ; we must strike at the root, otherwise the branches 
will never die. The consideration of the total corruption and de- 
pravation of our nature should make us all lie low in the dust be- 
fore a holy God, watchful against every motion and temptation to 
sin, restless till we be delivered from it, and indefatigable in the 
course of the Christian warfare. And it calls every one to mourn- 
ing and lamenting over the ruins of our nature, and to supplicating 
the God of all grace, that he may cleanse our polluted souls, and 
wash us from our sins in the blood of Jesus. 


RoM. V. 12. — Bi/ one man sin entered into the world, and death hy sin ; 
and so death parsed upon all men, for that all have sinned. 

These words teach us a lesson that all the books of philosophers 
could never do. They were sensible of the depravity and misery of 
human nature ; but how was it depraved, and what was the spring 
of all the troubles the life of man is exposed to, they were utterly 
ignorant. We all see a flood of misery let into the world ; but 
what way the sluice was opened, we can only learn from divine re- 
velation. And in this passage we have it, viz. By one man sin en- 
tered into the world, and misery followed it close at the heels. This 
one man was Adam, the natural root, and the federal head of all 
mankind, ver. 14. In the words we have, 

1. A flood of misery passing over the world. Death passed upon all 
men. For understanding this, ye must compare it with Gen. ii. 17. 
' In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.' This 
awful threatening is marked to be accomplished here. Death there 
implies loss of communion with God, which was evident in the ful- 
filling of the threatening. Gen. iii. 24. when God drave out the man, 
viz. from paradise, and placed a heavenly guard to prevent man's 
access to the tree of life. It also implies a being under God's wrath 


and curse, as the threatening imports. This is spiritual death. It 
further implies temporal death, a liableness to the miseries of this 
life and to death itself, Gen. iii. 16. — 19.; and also eternal death; 
which appears from man's being excluded paradise and the tree of 
life, ver. 22. This threatened death, says the apostle, passed upon 
all men. ' It is appointed unto all men once to die.' viz. a natural 
death. There is no discharge in this war. All men are spiritually 
dead, dead to God and happiness. And they are all subject to 
eternal death, in the separation of both soul and body from God 
and the felicity of the other world. 

2. How the sluice by which this misery has overflowed the world 
was opened. (1.) The personal cause was one man, viz. Adam. (2.) 
The real cause was his sin, the sin of eating the forbidden fruit. 
This sin was the sin of all : for all (viz. on whom death passed) Imve 
sinned, not in their own persons, for infants on whom death has 
passed, have not so sinned ; but have therefore sinned in Adam. 
And this sin of the first man is the cause of all the misery that has 
overtaken the human race. 

The text affords the following doctrine. 

DocT. ' All mankind, by their fall, lost communion with God, are 
under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all the miseries of 
this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever.' 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. That all mankind are made miserable. 

II. That this misery came by their fall in Adam. 

III. "What that misery is that hath by the fall overtaken all 

TV. Deduce some inferences for application. 

I. That mankind, and all mankind, are made miserable, needs no 
laborious proof. Sad experience in all ages confirms the truth of 
this assertion. Troops of misery receive us as soon as we come into 
the world, whereof some one or other always accompany us till we 
be laid in the grave. Let men be clothed in rags, or wear a crown, 
the garment common to all is misery. Every sigh, tear, or sorrow- 
ful look, is a proof of this. 

II. That this misery came upon men by the fall, is also clear from 
the text. Man came not out of God's hand with the tear in his eye, 
or sorrow in his heart, or a burden on his back. He never put on 
his dole-weed or mourning garment, till he had by sin made himself 
naked. Death never could enter the gates of the world, till sin set 
them wide open. Gen. iii. And then one sin let in the flood ; and 
many sins followed and increased it. The first pilot dashed the ship 
on a rock, and then all that were in it were cast into a sea of 

OF man's natural state. 295 

misery. Our first parents fell, and we being in them felt with them 
the sad and mournful effects of their fall. 

III. I proceed to shew what that misery is which hath by the 
fall overtaken all mankind. It may be taken up in these three 

1. Man's loss by the fall. 

2. What he is brought under by it. 

3. "What he is liable to in consequence of it. 

First, Let us view man's loss by the fall. He has lost commu- 
nion with God. He enjoyed it before that fatal period ; but now it 
is gone. It implies two things. 1. A saving interest in God as his 
God. Man could then call God his own God, his Maker, his Hus- 
band, his Friend, his Portion, being in covenant with him. 2. 
Sweet and comfortable society and fellowship with God : and all 
this without a mediator, God and man not having been enemies or 
at variance. This sweet and agreeable communion he lost, as ap- 
pears from Gen. iii. 8. where it is said, ' They (our first parents) 
heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool 
of the day : and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the pre- 
sence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.' When 
God spoke to him before, it was refreshing and comfortable to him ; 
but now it was a terror to him; evidently shewing that all cor- 
respondence was broke up. 

Thus man lost God, Eph. ii. 12. the greatest and the fountain of 
all other losses. He is no more the God of fallen men, till by a 
new covenant they get a new interest in him. This is the greatest 
of all losses and miseries. Had the sun been for ever darkened in 
the heavens, it had been no such loss as this. God is the cause and 
fountain of all good ; and the loss of him must be the loss of every 
thing that is good and excellent. Man is a mere nothing without 
God ; a nothing in nature without his common presence, and a no- 
thing in happiness without his gracious presence, Psal. xxx. 5. ' In 
his favour is life.' Psal. Ixiii. 3. ' Thy loving-kindness is better 
than life.' That day man fell, the foundation of the earth was 
drawn away, and all fell down together ; the soul and the life de- 
parted from all men, and left them all dead, having lost God, the 
fountain of life and joy. Hence we may infer, 

1. Man is a slave to the devil, 2 Tim. ii. 26. When the soul is 
gone, men may do with the body what they will ; and when God is 
gone, the devil may do with the soul what he will. Man without 
God is like Samson without his hair, quite weak and unable to 
resist his spiritual enemies, as Samson to oppose the Philistines. 
Satan has over men in nature the power of a master, Rom. vi. 16. so 


that when he bids them go, they go ; and when to come, they come ; 
— that of a conqueror, and so he makes them his slaves and vassals ; 
— and that of a jailor, keeping them fast bound in chains, so that 
they cannot escape from his clutches, Isa. Ixi. 1. 

2. Man has lost his covenant-right to the creatures which he had 
when in favour with his Maker; and therefore Adam was driven 
out of paradise. Men have no right to the creatures, or their ser- 
vice now, but that of common providence, until it be otherwise re- 
stored by their coming into the bond of the new covenant. 

3. Hence man is in a fruitless search after happiness in the crea- 
tures, set, as a poor infant that hath lost the breasts, to suck at the 
dry breasts of the creatures, where nothing is to be met with but 
continued disappointments. 

4. Man cannot help himself, John xv. 5. His help is alone in 
God in Christ, without whom one can do nothing. He is like a 
poor infant exposed, that cannot help itself, Ezek. xvi. He is like 
one grievously wounded, who can neither make a plaster for his 
wounds nor apply it. Ah ! how miserable is the case of man under 
the fall ! 

Secondly, Let us consider what man is brought under by the 

1. He is brought under Clod's wrath. Hence sinners are said to 
be ' the children of wrath,' Eph. ii. 3. Wrath in God is mixed with 
no perturbation, but is pure from all discomposure. It imports, 

(1.) That sinners are under the displeasure of God. He can take 
no delight in them, but his soul loaths them. There is a holy fire of 
anger burning in his breast against them. Should the sun be con- 
tinually under a cloud, and the heavens ever covered with black- 
ness, what a miserable place would the world be ? But that is 
nothing to the divine anger : ' Who knows the power of thine 
anger?' says the Psalmist, Psal. xc. 11. 

(2.) God deals with them as with enemies, Nah. i. 2. ' God is jea- 
lous, and the Lord revengeth ; the Lord revengeth, and is furious, 
the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries ; and he reserveth 
wrath for his enemies,' Isa. 1. 24. — ' Ah, I will ease me of mine ad- 
versaries, and avenge me of mine enemies.' To have men in power 
enemies to us, is sad ; but to have God an enemy, is beyond expres- 
sion dreadful : seeing we can neither fight nor flee from him, and he 
can pursue the quarrel through all eternity. 

2. They are under his curse, Gal. iii. 10. ' Cursed is every one 
that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the 
law to do them.' Now, God's curse is the binding over the sinner 
to all the direful effects of his wrath. This is the dreadful yoke 

OP man's natural state. 297 

which tlie broken law wreaths about the neck of every sinner as in 
a natural state. God's curse is a tying of the sinner to the stake, 
that the law and justice of God may disburden all their arrows into 
his soul, and that in him may meet all the miseries and plagues that 
flow from the avenging wrath of God. 

Thus every sinuer, while in a natural state, is under the wrath 
and curse of God; a burden on him, that if not removed by him 
who was made under the law, and bore the curse thereof, will sink 
sinners into the lowest pit of hell. 

TuiEDLY, Let us next consider what man is liable to, both in this 
world and that which is to come. 

First, In this world, he is liable. 

1. To all the miseries of this life. Now these are twofold. 

1st, Outward miseries. There is a flood of these that man is sub- 
ject to ; as, 

(1.) God's curse upon the creature for our sake. Gen. iii. 17. 
' Cursed is the ground for thy sake.' Under the weight of this 
curse the whole creation groans and travails in pain, longing for 
deliverance. It is not the gi'oan of a wearied beast desiring to be 
disburdened of its load, but a groan the eff"ect of the fall of man. 
The treason and rebellion of man against his rightful Lord and So- 
vereign, brought distress and misery upon all that was formed for 
his use ; as when the majesty of a prince is violated by the rebellion 
of his subjects, all that belongs to them, and was before the free 
gift of the prince, is foi'feited and taken from them. Their lands, 
palaces, cattle, even all that pertains to them, bear the marks of his 
sovereign fury. Consult Dent, xxviii. 15, &c. 

(2.) Outward miseries, such as sword, famine, and pestilence. 
Many times the curse of the Lord makes the heavens as brass, and 
the earth as iron, binds up the clouds, and restrains their necessary 
influences, so that the fruits of the earth are dried up. It raises 
divisions, wars, and mutinies in a kingdom. All the confusions and 
disorders which are to be seen among men, are the woful fruits and 
native results of sin. It kindles and blows up the fire of discord in 
families, cities, and nations. This is that fury that brings a smok- 
ing fire-brand from hell, and sets the whole world in a combustion. 
Pride and ambition, covetousness and desire of revenge, have made 
the world a stage of the most bloody tragedies. ^Ve have some 
terrible threatenings Avith respect to these judgments, Deut. xxviii. 
Lev. xxvi. And they arc all summed up in one verse, Ezek. v. 17. 
' I will send upon you famine, and evil beasts, and they shall be- 
reave thee ; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee, and 
and I will bring the sword upon thee : I the Lord have spoken it.' 



(3.) Miseries on men's bodies, sickness and bodily pains, as burn- 
ing fevers, languishing consumptions, distorting convulsions, ugly- 
deformities, gout and gravel, and all the dismal train of wasting 
diseases and acute pains. Sin hath made man's body a seminary of 
diseases, and planted in it the fatal seeds and principles of corrup- 
tion and dissolution, and made him liable to attacks from all dis- 
tempers, from the torturing stone to the wasting consumption. 

(4.) On our estates, as losses, crosses, wrongs, and oppressions. 
How often do those in trade suffer heavy losses by the bankruptcies 
of their debtors, by unfair practices, and sinistrous dealings, by 
cheating and tricking, by extortion and rapine, &c ? 

(5.) On our names, by reproach, disgrace, &c. Many estates are 
blasted, and families reduced to poverty and contempt, which some- 
time have made a good figure in the world. People are made to 
groan under pinching straits and wants, and yet they seldom con- 
sider the bitter root from whence all this springs. It is sin that 
makes men poor, mean, low, and contemptible in the world, and that 
brings reproach and disgrace ui)on their names, Deut. xxviii. 37. 

(6.) On our employments and callings. These are many times 
full of j)ain, labour, and disappointments. Men earn wages, and 
put it into a bag with holes, and they disquiet and vex themselves 
in vain. Whence are our cares and fears but from sin ? Fear is 
the ague of the soul that sets it a shaking. Some fear want, and 
others alarms. "Whence come all the disappointments of our hopes 
and expectations but from sin ? When we look for comfort, there 
is a cross ; where we expect honey and sweetness, there we find 
wormwood and gall. 

(7.) On our relations, unequal uncomfortable marriages, false and 
treacherous friends, harsh and cruel masters, undutiful and unfaith- 
ful servants. It is sin that makes children ungrateful and unduti- 
ful to parents : they that should be as the staff of their parents' old 
age, are as a sword many times to pierce their hearts. It is sin 
that makes wives disobedient to their husbands, and to defile their 

^dly, Inward spiritual miseries : As (1.) ' Blindness of mind,' 
Eph. iv. 13. the devil putting out the eyes that would not receive 
the light of the gospel, 1 Cor. iv. 4. (2.) ' A reprobate sense,' Rom. 
i. 28. whereby men are left of Grod so as to have no sense of discern- 
ing betwixt good and evil, but take bitter for sweet, and sweet for 
bitter. (3.) ' Strong delusions,' 2 Thess. ii. 11. whereby men, for- 
saking the truth, doat on the fancies and imaginations of their own 
hearts, and embrace lies for solid truths. (4.) ' Hardness of heart,' 
Rom. ii. 5. whereby men's hearts are hardened from the fear of the 

OF man's natural state. 299 

Lord, and proof against conviction, and means used for awakening 
them. (5.) ' Vile affections,' Rom. i. 26. eagerly desiring sin and 
vanity, and all manner of filtliiness, without regard to the dictates 
of reason and a natural conscience. (6.) Lastly, Fear, sorrow, and 
horror of conscience, which torment men, embitter life, and often 
bring death in their train, Isaiah xxxiii. 14. 

2. At the end of this life, man is liable to death, Rom. vi. 23. 
' The wages of sin is death.' The soul must be separated from the 
body ; the man falls into the hands of the king of terrors, and goes 
down to the house appointed for all living. 

Object. But if these things be the effects of the fall, how comes it 
that those who are delivered from the curse of the law and the 
wrath of God by Jesus Christ, sustain these outward miseries, and 
die as well as others ? A^is. Because the delivery is but imperfect ; 
but when they shall be free from sin, they shall be free from all 
these. In the meantime there is a great difference betwixt them : 
for the sting of God's wrath as a judge is taken out of them to the 
godly, and they are not accomplishments of the threatenings of the 
covenant of works, Rom. vi. 14. but of those of the covenant of 
grace, Psal. Ixxxix. 31, 32, 33. and why may not the Lord take 
some of those things threatened under the covenant of works, and 
give them a gospel-die, and inilict them according to the second co- 
venant, as well as he does with the commands, which they are still 
obliged to obey ? 

Secondly, Let us consider what man is liable to in the world to 
come. He is liable to the pains of hell for ever. There the Jor- 
dan of wrath will overflow all its banks, and that throughout eter- 
nal ages. These pains of hell consist in two things, the punishment 
of loss, and the punishment of sense. 

1. In the punishment of loss. This is unspeakably great, and 
cannot be sufficiently set forth by the tongue of man. I shall only 
glance at it a little, without enlarging on particulars. (1.) They 
will lose all the good things which they enjoyed here in the world, 
their wealth, their riches, their profits and pleasures, and whatever 
things they set their heart on while here. (2.) The favourable pre- 
sence and enjoyment of God and Christ. They will be for ever 
banished from the beatific vision of God in glory. For he will say 
to them at the last day, ' Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlast- 
ing fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,' Matth. xxv. 41. (3.) 
The blessed company and society of the holy angels and glorified 
saints in heaven. (4.) All the glory and blessedness above. (5.) 
All pity and compassion, having none to commiserate, their condi- 
tion, or regard their pain. (6.) All hope and expectation of deli- 



verance and outgate from their misery. (7-) All possibility of 
deliverance from their torments. The door of the pit shall be shut 
upon them for ever, and their fetters shall never be loosed. Thus 
sinners in hell shall lose every thing that is good and agreeable, 
even God the chief good, and all the happiness he has prepared for 
them that love him. 

2. In the punishment of sense. They shall suffer the most griev- 
ous torments both in soul and body, and that without intermission, 
for evermore. These torments are beyond expression, and our most 
fearful thoughts cannot equal the horror of them. * Who knows 
the power of thine anger ?' says the Psalmist. No man can tell 
what those plagues and woes are which infinite justice and almighty 
power hath prepared for obstinate sinners. that we may be pre- 
vailed upon to flee from this wrath that is to come, that so we may 
not fall into the hands of the living God, and may not be made the 
dreadful objects of everlasting vengeance. 

I conclude with a few inferences. 

1. See here the great evil of sin. Many reckon it but a small 
matter to transgress God's holy and righteous law. They can curse 
and swear, lie and steal, and commit many other enormous crimes, 
and yet have no trouble or remorse about it. But if they would 
consider the dreadful effects of sin, they would be of another mind. 
Sin is the worst of evils, and big with all kinds of evils whatsoever. 
It has brought a flood of miseries into the world, which has over- 
flowed the whole creation, under the weight of which the earth and 
all its inhabitants are groaning. It is the great makebate between 
God and sinners ; it has shut the door of access to God upon us, and 
exposed us to his wrath and curse in this life and that which is to 

2. Woful is the case of all who are in a state of nature. They 
are far from God ; they have no interest in or fellowship with him ; 
they are under his wrath and curse, liable to all the miseries of this 
life, and to the vengeance of eternal fire in the world to come. 
They are fallen under the power and tyranny of the devil, and if 
mercy prevent not, shall dwell with him in the lake that burneth 
with fire and brimstone for ever. Whatever your situation and 
circumstances in the world may be, ye that are yet in your natu- 
ral state, ye are in a miserable condition ; for ye are without God, 
the fountain of all good. Ye may read, pray, and communicate, 
but ye can have no communion with God. Men may be pleased 
with and bless you ; but ye are under God's wrath and curse ; and 
will continue so till ye by faith embrace God in Christ as your God. 

3. Lastly, Arise, ye sinners who are yet in your natural state, 


and depart ; for this is not your rest. Come to the Lord Jesus, -vrho 
alone can open the door of access to God, whose blood quenches the 
fire of wrath, and who can deliver from the curse of the law. "Who 
would stay in a house ready to fall ? who can sleep sound in a case 
where God is an enemy ? Lay these things seriously to heart, and 
flee from the wrath ye lie under, for the plague is begun already ; 
and speedily tlee from the wrath to come : for it is a fearful thing 
to fall into the hands of the living God. 


Eph. I. 3, 4, 5. — Blessed he the God and Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ who hath blessed us with all spintual blessings in heavenly places 
in Christ. According as he hath chosen us in him, before the founda- 
tion of the world, that lue should be holy, and without blame before 
him in love : having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by 
Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his luill. 

The answer to the question, ' Did God leave all mankind to perish 
in the state of sin and misery V contains two heads of doctrine of 
great importance in the Christian system, viz. the doctrine of elec- 
tion, and the covenant of grace, each of wliich I shall speak to 
distinctly. I shall discourse of the first from the text now read. 
In which we have, 

1. A party brought out of their natural state into a state of sal- 
vation, ver. 3. — Wlio hath blessed us with all spintual blessings in hea- 
venly places. For whereas by nature they were under the curse, now 
they are blessed, and that plentifully, with all blessings, not tem- 
poral only, but spiritual and heavenly, coming from heaven, and to 
be consummated there. 

2. The person by whom they are brought into this state. It is 
by the Redeemer, as the purchaser. God the Father bestows them, 
as the Father of Christ, viz. for his sake. And they are blessed in 
Christ, upon account of his merit, and coming from him as their 

3. Who those are whom God brings out of their natural state in- 
to a state of grace ; the elect, ver. 4, 5. According as he hath chosen 
us in him, Sfc. Where consider, 

(1.) Election itself, he hath chosen us, separated us from others in 
his purpose and decree, selected us from among the rest of mankind, 
whom he passed by and left to perish in their natural state. 

u 3 


(2.) That to which they are elected : that is, to salvation, and the 
means leading tliereto. The means are, sanctification, that we should 
he holy, and tuithout blame before him in love ; and adoption, ver. 5. 
that whereas they are by nature children of the devil, they should 
be children of God. The end is everlasting life in heaven ; for that 
is imported in adoption, Rom. viii. 23. as the inheritance of the 
children of God. 

(3.) Through whom this decree is to be executed, in him ; that is, 
Christ, whom the Father chose to be the head of the elect, through 
whom he would save them. 

(4.) When God elected them, before the foundation of the ivorld, 
ere they were created ; that is, from eternity ; as appears from 
what our Lord says to his Father, John xvii. 24. ' Thou lovedst me 
before the foundation of the world ;' which can denote nothing else 
than from eternity. 

(3.) That which moved him to elect them, according to the good 
pleasure of his ivill ; that is, his mere good i)leasure, so he would do 
it ; and there was nothing without himself to move him thereto. 

The words afford a foundation for the following doctrine. 

DocT. ' God left not all mankind to perish in the state of sin and 
misery, but having from all eternity elected some to everlasting 
life, brings them into a state of salvation by a Redeemer.' 

In illustrating this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. "What election is. 

TI. "Who are elected. 

III. What they are chosen to. 

ly. The properties of this election. 

Y. That all the elect, and only they, are in time brought out of a 
state of sin and misery into a state of salvation. 

YI. By whom they are saved. 

YII. Lastly, Conclude with some improvement. 

I. Our first business is, to shew what election is. It is that de- 
cree of God whereby some men are chosen out from among the rest 
of mankind, and appointed to obtain eternal life by Jesus Christ, 
flowing from the mere good pleasure of God ; as appears from the 
text. So the elect are they whom God has chosen to everlasting 
life. Acts xiii. 48. God seeing all mankind lost in Adam from all 
eternity, in his decree separated some from among them, to be re- 
deemed by his Son, sanctified by his Spirit, and brought to glory. 

II. I proceed to shew who are elected. Who they are in par- 
ticular, God only knows ; but in general we say. 

That it is not all men, but some only. For where all are taken, 
there is no choice made. To say that God has made choice, plainly 


imports that others are not chosen, but passed by. And so there is 
another party of men who are reprobated ; that is, whom God has 
not chosen to life, but has decreed to let them lie in their natural 
state, and to damn them for their sins, Jude 4 ; whom he shews not 
saving mercy unto, but hardens, they first hardening themselves, 
Rom. ix. 18. Here is no injustice in God, seeing he might have left 
all to perish as well as some. This is also clear from plain scrip- 
ture. Mat. XX. 16. * Many arc called, but few chosen.' Whence also 
it is plain, that the elect arc the lesser number of the world, Mat. 
vii. 13, 14. ' Enter ye in at the strait gate (says Christ) ; for wide is 
the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many 
there be which go in thereat : Because strait is the gate, and narrow 
is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.' 
They are a little fx)ck, Luke xii. 32. Yet the efficacy of the Lord's 
love and Christ's death is more and greater than that of Adam's 
sin, seeing it is greater to save one soul than to ruin all. And 
further, the scripture teaches, that though God has his own of all 
sorts, yet this blessed company, God does not make up, chiefly of 
the highest and most honourable among men. 1 Cor. i. 26, 27, 28. 
' Ye see your calling ; how that not many wise men after the flesh, 
not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God hath chosen 
the foolish things of the world to confound the wise ; and God hath 
chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which 
are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which arc 
despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring 
to nought things that are.' 

IIL The next head is, to shew what they are chosen to, 

1. They are chosen to be partakers of everlasting life. Hence 
the scripture speaks of some being ' ordained to eternal life,' Acts 
xiii. 48. and of ' appointing them to obtain salvation,' 1 Thess. v. 9. 
God appoints some to be rich, great, and honourable, some to be 
low and mean in the world ; and others to be in a middle station, 
objects neither of envy nor contempt ; but electing love appoints 
those on whom it falls to be saved from sin, and all the ruins of the 
fall; its great view is to eternal glory in heaven. To this tliey 
were appointed before they had a being. 

2. They are chosen also to grace as the mean, as well as to glory 
as the end. God's predestinating them to eternal blessedness in- 
cludes both, as in the text; and it further appears from 2 Thess. ii. 
13. ' God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through 
sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.' Hence faith is 
held out as a certain consequent of election. Acts xiii. 48. 'As 
many as were ordained unto eternal life, believed.' The man who 


intends to dwell in a house yet unbuilt, intends also the means by 
which it may be made a lit habitation. So God having from eter- 
nity pitched on a select number of the ruined race of mankind as 
objects of his love, and having predestinated them to everlasting 
life, intended also the means necessary and proper for obtaining 
that glorious end. And therefore there is no ground from the de- 
cree of election to slight the means of salvation. God has so joined 
the end and the means, that none can put them asunder. 

IV. Let us consider the properties of election. 

1. It is altogether free, without any moving cause, but God's 
mere good pleasure. No reason can be found for this but only in 
the bosom of God. There is nothing before, or above, or without 
his purpose, that can be pitched upon as the cause of all that grace 
and goodness that he bestows upon his chosen ones. There was no 
merit or motive in them, as Christ told his disciples, John xv. 16. 
' Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.' His choice is an- 
tecedent to ours. The persons who are singled out to be the objects 
of his special grace, were a part of lost mankind, the same by na- 
ture with others who were jjassed by, and left to perish in their sin. 
When God had all Adam's numerous progeny under the view of 
his all-seeing eye, he chose some, and passed by others. He found 
nothing in the creature to cast the balance of his choice, or to deter- 
mine it to one more than another. Tliose that were rejected were 
as eligible as those that were chosen. They were all his creatures, 
and all alike obnoxious to his wrath by sin. It was grace alone 
that made the difference. So the prophet argues, Mai. i. 2, 3. 'I 
have loved you, saith the Lord : yet ye say, wherein hast thou loved 
- us ? was not Esau Jacob's brother ? saith the Lord : yet I loved 
Jacob, and I hated Esau.' And this is abundantly clear in the 
text. Why doth God write some men's names in the book of life, 
and leave out others ? why doth he enrol some whom he intends to 
make citizens of Zion, and heirs of immortal glory, and refuse to 
put others in his register ? The text tells us, it is the good pleasure 
of his lulll. 

You may, says an eminent divine, render a reason for many of 
God's actions, till you come to this, which is the top and foundation 
of all ; and this act can be reduced to no other head of reason, but 
to that of his royal prerogative. If you inquire, why doth God 
save some, and condemn others at last? the reason is, because of the 
faith of the one, and the unbelief of the other. But why do some 
men believe ? It is because God hath not only given them the 
means of grace, but accompanied these means with the power and 
efficacy of the Spirit. But why did God accompany these means 


with the efficacy of his Spirit in some, and not in others ? It is be- 
cause he decreed by his grace to prepare them for glory. But why 
did he decree and chuse some to glory, and not others ? Into what 
can you resolve this, but only into his sovereign pleasure ? Salva- 
tion and damnation at the last upshot are acts of God as the 
righteous Judge and Governor of the world, giving life and eternal 
happiness to believers, and inflicting death and eternal misery upon 
unbelievers, conformable to his own law. Men may render a reason 
for these proceedings. But the choice of some and the preterition 
of others, is an act of God as he is a sovereign monarch, before any 
law was actually transgressed, because not actually given. What 
reason can be given for his advancing one part of matter to the 
noble dignity of a star, and leaving another part to make up the 
dark body of the earth ? to compact one part into a glorious sun, 
and another part into a hard rock, but his royal prerogative ? 
"What is the reason that a prince subjects one malefactor to con- 
dign punishment, and lifts up another to a place of profit and trust? 
It is merely because he will, Rom. ix. 18. Hence we may infer, 

(1.) That God did not chuse men to everlasting life and happiness 
for any moral perfection that he saw in them ; because he converts 
those, and changes them by his grace, who are most sinful and pro- 
fligate, as the Gentiles, who were soaked in idolatry and supersti- 
tion. He found more faith among the Romans, who were Pagan 
idolaters, than among the Jews, who were the peculiar people of 
God, and to Avhom his heavenly oracles were committed. He planted 
a saintship at Corinth, a place notorious for the infamous worship 
of Venus, a superstition attended with the grossest uncleanness ; 
and at Ephesns, that presented the world with a cup of fornication 
in the temple of Diana. And what character had the Cretians from 
one of their own poets, mentioned by the apostle in his epistle to 
Titus, whom he had placed among them to further the progress of 
the gospel, but the vilest and most abominable liars, and not to be 
credited ; evil beasts, not to be associated with ; slow bellies, fit for 
no service. Now what merit and attractive was here ? What in- 
vitements could he have from lying, beastliness, and gluttony, bnt 
only from his own sovereignty ? By this he plucked firebrands out 
of the burning, while he left straiter and more comely sticks to con- 
sume to ashes. 

(2.) God doth not chuse men to grace and glory for any civil per- 
fection that is in them ; because he calls and renews the most des- 
picable. He doth not elevate nature to grace on account of wealth 
or honour, or any civil station or dignities in the world, 1 Cor. i. 26. 
forecited. A purple robe is very seldom decked and adorned with 


the jewel of grace. He takes more of the monldy clay, than of re- 
fined dust, to cast into his image, and lodges his treasures more in 
the earthly vessels, than in the world's golden ones. Should God 
impart his grace most to those who abound in wealth and honour, it 
had laid a foundation for men to think, that he had been moved by 
those vulgarly esteemed excellencies, and to indulge them more 
than others. But such a conceit languisheth, and falls to the 
ground, when we behold the subjects of divine grace as void ori- 
ginally of any allurements as they are full of provocations. 

(3.) Their foreseen faith and good works, or perseverance in either 
of them, are not the cause of election ; because these are the fruits 
and effects, and therefore cannot be the causes of election, Rom. viii. 
29. Acts. xiii. 48. It is clear also from this text, where it is said, 
they are chosen to be holy, and to adoption, and therefore to faith, 
by which we obtain it, John. i. 12. God did not chuse and elect 
men to grace and glory because they were holy, or because he did 
foresee that they would be so, but that he might purify and make 
them holy. And let it be observed, that the scripture attributes 
election only to God's good pleasure, Rom. ix. 11, 13, 16. Mat. xi. 
25. And indeed, if it depended on foreseen faith or good works, we 
should rather be said to chuse God than he to chuse us. 

4. God did not chuse some to life and happiness, because he was 
under any obligation to do so. He is indebted to none, and he is 
disobliged by all. He was under no tie to pity man's misery, and 
repair the ruins of the fall. He owes no more debt to fallen man 
than to fallen angels, to restore them to their first station by a su- 
perlative grace, God as a Sovereign gave laws to man, and strength 
sufficient to observe them. Now, what obligation is upon God to 
repair that strength which man hath wilfully lost, and to pull him 
out of that miserable pit into which he had voluntarily plunged 
himself? None at all. So then there was nothing in the elect more 
than others to move God to chuse them either to grace or glory. It 
was, and must be, the gracious issue and result of his sovereign will 
and mere good pleasure. 

2. Election is eternal. They are elected from all eternity, Eph. 
i. 4. chosen before the foundation of the world, 2 Tim. i. 9. ' He hath 
saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our 
works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given 
us in Christ Jesus before the world began.' All God's decrees are 
eternal, Eph. i 11. 'We are predestinated according to the purpose 
of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. 
God takes no new counsels, to do which would be inconsistent with 
his infinite perfection. Because God is eternal, his purposes must 


be of equal duration with his existence. And to imagine that an 
infinitely wise and sovereign Being existed from eternity, without 
any forethought, or resolution what to do, would be to suppose him 
to be undetermined or unresolved, at the time of his giving being to 
all things. And to suppose that the divine will is capable of new 
determinations, is to argue him to be imperfect ; which would be as 
much an instance of mutability in him, as for him to alter his pur- 
pose. Election to everlasting life, must therefore be eternal. 

3. It is particular and definite. God has chosen a cei'tain num- 
ber of the children of men to life, whom he knows by name, so as 
they can neither be more nor fewer. Hence their names are said 
to be written in the book of life, Luke x. 20. Phil. iv. 3. and others 
are said not to be written there, Rev. xvii. 8. Though they are 
known to none, yet God knows them all, 2 Tim. ii. 19. And they 
are given to Christ, John xvii. 9. Therefore God's decree of elec- 
tion is not a general decree only to save all that shall believe and 
persevere in the faith ; for that way it might happen that none at 
all might be saved. 

4. It is secret, or cannot be known, till God be pleased to disco- 
ver it. Hence it is called ' the mystery of his will,' Eph. i. 9. as 
being hid in God from before the foundation of the world, and 
would for ever have been so, had he not discovered it in his word. 

It is unchangeable. Mutability is an imperfection peculiar to 
creatures. As the least change in God's understanding, so as to 
know more or less than that hid from eternity, would be an instance 
of imperfection ; the same must be said with respect to his holy 
will, which cannot be susceptible of new determinations. Though 
there are many changes in the external dispensations of his provi- 
dence, which are the result of his will, as well as the effects of his 
power ; yet there is no shadow of change in his purpose. No un- 
foreseen occurrence can render it expedient for God to change his 
mind, nor can any higher power oblige him to do it ; nor can any 
defect of power to accomplish his design, induce him to alter his 
purpose. Those who are once elected can never be reprobated. All 
that are elected shall most certainly be saved. None of them can 
be left to perish. For all the divine purposes are unchangeable, 
and must be fulfilled, Isa. xlvi. 10. ; and this in particular, 2 Tim. 
ii. 19. Election is the foundation of God's house, laid by his own 
hand, which cannot be shaken, but stands sure ; and a sealed foun- 
dation, as men seal what they will have ; a seal of two parts secur- 
ing it; on God's part, God loves and keeps them that are his, that 
they fall not away ; on our part, the same God takes care that his 
elect depart from iniquity. It is not possible they can be totally 


and finally deceived, Matth. xxiv. 24, and whom God has chosen he 
glorifies, Rom. viii. 29, 30. When we are bid make our election 
sure, it is meant of certainty and assurance as to our knowledge of 
it, and by no means of God's purpose. 

V. The next thing is to shew, that all the elect, and they only, 
are in time brought out of a state of sin and misery into a state of 

1. All the elect are redeemed by Christ, John x. 15. 'I lay down 
my life for the sheep,' says he. They are all in due time, by the 
power of the Spirit, regenerated, converted, and brought to Christ, 
and get faith to lay hold on him, John vi. 37. ' All that the Fa- 
ther giveth me shall come to me.' Acts xiii. 48. ' As many as were 
ordained to eternal life believed.' Everlasting love at length breaks 
forth in bringing them to grace, Jer. xxxi. 3. ' I have loved thee 
with an everlasting love : therefore with loving-kindness have I 
drawn thee.' They are all justified, adopted and sanctified, Rom, 
viii. 30. ; and all of them j)ersevere in grace, John xvii. 12. 1 Pet. 
i. 5. And all this by virtue of their election, Tit. ii. 14. 

2. None other but the elect are brought into a state of salvation ; 
none but they are redeemed, sanctified, and believe in the Lord 
Jesus Christ, John xvii. 9. Christ prays not for them. Those that 
perish were never redeemed, nor experienced a saving change pass- 
ing upon them, as appears from Rom. viii. 29, 30. and 1 John ii. 19. 
God has passed them by, and suffers them to perish in their sin and 

YI. I come to shew by whom the elect are saved. It is by Christ 
the Redeemer. Hence the apostle says, Tit. iii. 4, 5, 6. ' After that 
the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not 
by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his 
mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of 
the Holy Ghost ; which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus 
Christ our Saviour.' There is no other way of salvation but by him. 
Acts iv. 12. By him is all grace and glory purchased, and by his 
satisfaction there is a way opened for the venting of mercy with the 
good leave of justice. More particularly, 

1. Before the elect could be delivered from that state of sin and 
misery into which they had brought themselves, a valuable satisfac- 
tion behoved to be given to the justice of God for the injury done by 
sin. It is evident from scripture, that God stood upon full satisfac- 
tion, and would not remit one sin without it. Several things plead 
strongly for this : 

As, (1.) The infinite purity and holiness of God. There is a con- 
trariety in sin to the holiness of his nature, which is his peculiar 


glory ; and from thence his hatred of it doth arise, which is as es- 
sential to him as his love to himself. The infinite purity and recti-* 
tilde of his nature infers the most perfect abhorrence of whatever is 
opposite to it. Hence says the Psalmist, Psal. v. 4, 5. ' Thou art 
not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness : neither shall evil 
dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou 
hatest all workers of iniquity.' God cannot but hate all the Avorkers 
of iniquity, and he cannot but punish them. Ilis holiness is not only 
voluntary, but by necessity of nature. He is of purer eyes than to 
behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity. 

(2.) The justice of God pleads for a valuable satisfaction for sin. 
And here we are not to consider God as a private person wronged, 
but as the righteous Judge and Governor of the world, and the so- 
vereign Protector of those sacred laws by which the reasonable 
creature is to be directed. Now, as it was most reasonable and 
convenient, that at the first giving of the law he should lay the 
strongest restraint upon man for preventing sin by the threatening 
of death ; so it was most just and congruous, when the law was 
broken by man's rebellion, that the penalty should be inflicted 
either upon the person of the offender, according to the immediate 
intent of the law, or that satisfaction equivalent to the offence 
should be made, that the majesty and purity of God miglit appear 
in his justice. He is the Judge of all the earth, and cannot but do 

(3.) The wisdom of God, by which he governs the rational world, 
admits not of a dispensation or relaxation of the threatening with- 
out a valuable satisfaction. For it is as good to have no king as no 
laws for government, and as good to have no law as no penalty, and 
as good that no penalty be annexed to the law as no execution of it. 
Hence, says a learned divine. It is altogether indecent, especially 
to the wisdom and righteousness of God, that that which provoketh 
the execution of the law, should procure the abrogation of it, as 
that should supplant and undermine the law, for the alone preven- 
tion of which the law was made. How could it be expected, that 
men should fear and tremble before God, when they should find 
themselves more scared and hurt by his threatenings against sin ? 

(4.) The truth and veracity of God required a satisfaction for sin. 
The word had gone out of God's mouth, ' In the day that thou eat- 
est thereof thou shalt surely die ;' and again it is said, ' Cursed is 
every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the 
book of the law to do them.' Now, this sentence was immutable, 
and the word that had gone out of his mouth must stand. Had 
God violated his truth by dispensing with the punishment threatened, 


he had rendered himself an unfit object of trust ; he liad exposed 
all the promises or threatenings which he should have made after 
man's impunity, to the mockery and contempt of the offender, and 
excluded his word from any credit with man for the future. And 
therefore God's word could not fall to the ground without an ac- 
complishment. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but his word 
shall stand firm. lie will be true to his threatenings, though thou- 
sands and millions should perish. 

2. As satisfaction to justice was necessary, and that which God 
insisted upon, so the elect could not give it themselves, neither was 
there any creature in heaven and earth that could do it for them. 
Heaven and earth were at an infinite loss to find out a ransom for 
their souls. We may apply to this purpose what we have, Isa. 
Ixiii. 5. ' I looked, and there was none to help ; and I wondered 
that there was none to 'uphold.' This is the desperate and forlorn 
condition of the elect by nature as well as others. 

3. God pitched upon Christ in his infinite grace and wisdom as 
the fittest person for managing this grand design. Hence it is said, 
' I have laid help upon one that is mighty.' And the apostle saith, 
he ' hath set him forth to be a propitiation for sin.' On this ac- 
count he is called ' his servant whom he hath chosen, and his elect 
in whom his soul delighteth.' God speaks to them, as Job xxxiii. 
24. ' Deliver him from going down to the pit : I have found a 

4. Christ accepted the ofiice of a Redeemer, and engaged to make 
his soul an oftering for sin. He cheerfully undertook this work in 
that eternal transaction that was between the Father and him. He 
was content to stand in the elect's room, and to submit himself to 
the terrible strokes of vindictive justice. He is brought in by the 
Psalmist offering himself as a Surety in their stead, Psal. xl. 6, 7- 
' Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire, &c. Then said I, Lo, 
I come,' &c. He willingly yielded to all the conditions requisite 
for the accomplishment of our redemption. He was content to take 
a body, that he might be capable to suffer. The debt could not be 
paid, nor the articles of the covenant performed, but in the human 
nature. He was therefore to have a nature capable of and pre- 
pared for sufferings. Hence it is said, Heb. x. 5. ' Sacrifice and 
offering thou wouldst not ; but a body hast thou prepared me.' It 
behoved him to have a body to sufter that which was represented by 
these legal sacrifices wherein God took no pleasure. And he took 
a body of flesh, surrounded with the infirmities of our fallen nature, 
sin only excepted. He condescended to lay aside the robes of his 
glory, to make himself of no reputation, to take upon him the form 
of a servant, and be found in the likeness of men. 


5. Christ satisfied oifended justice in the room of the elect, and 
purchased eternal redemption for them. ' He became obedient unto 
death, even the death of the cross,' Phil. ii. 8. This was the prime 
article in the covenant of grace, ' When he shall make his soul an 
offering for sin, he shall see his seed,' Isa. liii. 10. God required 
this sacrifice exclusive of all others in the first treaty. ' Sacrifice 
and burnt-oflerings thou wouldst not ; in them thou hadst no plea- 
sure : then said I, Lo, I come,' &c. These sacrifices "vrere entirely- 
useless for the satisfaction of justice, though fit to prefigure the 
grand sacrifice tliat God intended. It was by the death of Christ * 
alone that redemption was purchased for men, Rom. v. 10. Eph. ii. 
13. Col. i. 21. And when he was upon the cross, he cried, ' It is 
finished ;' that is, the work of redemption is accomplished ; I have 
done all that was appointed for me to do ; the articles on my part 
are now fulfilled ; there remain no more deaths for me to suffer. 

Thus the elect are saved by the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I shall conclude all with a few inferences. 

1. Behold here the freedom and glory of sovereign grace, which 
is the sole cause why God did not leave all mankind to perish in 
the state of sin and misery, as he did the fallen angels. He was no 
more obliged to the one than the other. "Why did he chuse any of 
the fallen race of men to grace and glory ? It was his mere good 
pleasure to pitch on some, and pass by others. He could have been 
without them all, without any spot either on his happiness or jus- 
tice ; but out of his mere good pleasure he pitched his love on a 
select number, in whom he will display the invincible eflicacy of his 
sovereign grace, and thereby bring them to the fruition of glory. 
This proceeds from his absolute sovereignty. Justice or injustice 
comes not info consideration here. If he had pleased, he might 
have made all the objects of his love ; and if he had pleased he 
might have chosen none, but have suflfered Adam and all his nume- 
rous offspring to sink eternally into the pit of perdition. It was in 
his supreme power to have left all mankind under the rack of his 
justice ; and, by the same right of dominion, he may pick out some 
men from the common mass, and lay aside others to bear the punish- 
ment of their crimes. There is no cause in the creature but all in 
God. It must be resolved into his sovereign will. So it is said, 
Rom. ix. 15, 16. He saith to Moses, ' I will have mercy, on whom 
I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have 
compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that 
runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.' And yet God did not 
will without wisdom. He did not chuse hand over head, and act by 
mere will without reason and understanding. An infinite wisdom 


is far from such a kind of procedure. But the reason of God's pro- 
ceedings is inscrutable to us, unless we could understand God as 
well as he understands himself. The rays of his infinite wisdom are 
too hright and dazzling for our weak and shallow capacities. The 
apostle acknowledges not only a wisdom in his proceeding, but 
riches and a treasure of wisdom ; and not only that, but a depth 
and vastness of these riches of wisdom ; but was wholly incapable 
to give a scheme and inventory of it. Hence he cries out, Rom. xi. 
33. ' the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of 
God ! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past find- 
ing out !' Let us humbly adore the divine sovereignty. We should 
cast ourselves down at God's feet, with a full resignation of our- 
selves to his sovereign pleasure. This is a more becoming carriage 
in a Christian, than contentious endeavours to measure God by our 

2. This doctrine should stop men's murmurings and silence all 
their pleadings with or against God, what strivings are there 
sometimes in the hearts of men about God's absolute sovereignty in 
electing some and rejecting others ? The apostle insists much upon 
this in Rom. ix. where, having represented the Lord speaking thus 
by Moses, ver. 15. ' I will have mercy, on whom I will have mercy, 
and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion ;' he 
presently prevents an objection, or the strife of man with God about 
that saying, ver. 19. ' Thou wilt say then unto me, "Why doth he yet 
find fault ? for who hath resisted his will ?' This is man's plea 
against the sovereign will of God. But what saith the Lord by the 
apostle to such a pleader? We have his reproof of him for an 
answer, in ver. 20. 'Nay but, man, who art thou that repliest 
against God ? shall the thing formed say unto him that formed it, 
Why hast thou made me thus ?' The apostle brings in this argu- 
ment as to man's eternal state. He must not strive with God about 
that. He must not say, Why doth God find fault with man ? His 
absolute power in his reason why he disposeth thus or thus of thee, 
or any other man. He will give thee no account why it is so ; but 
his own will to have it so. He may chuse some for the glory of his 
rich, free, and sovereign grace, and leave others to perish in their 
sins for the glory of his power and justice. This should stop men's 
mouths, and make them sit down quietly under all God's dealings. 

3. This is ground of humility and admiration to the elect of God, 
and shows them to what they owe the ditference that is between 
them and others, even to free grace. Those who are passed by were 
as eligible as those that were chosen. Though God hath dignified 
them, and raised them to be heirs of glory, yet they were heirs of 


wrath, and no better than others by nature, Eph. ii. 3. Well may 
they say with David in another case, ' Lord, what am I, or what is 
my father's house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ?' All were 
in the same corrupt mass, and nothing but free grace made the dif- 
ference between the elected and the non-elected. 

4. Then the elect shall not persist in their infidelity and natural 
state, but shall all be effectually called and brought in to Christ. 
"Whatever good things God hath purposed for them shall surely be 
conferred upon and wrought in them by the irresistible efficacy of 
his powerful grace. God's counsel shall stand and he will do all 
his pleasure. 

5. Then people may know that they are elected. Hence is that 
exhortation, 2 Pet. i. 10. ' Give diligence to make your calling and 
election sure.' Though we cannot break in at the first hand upon 
the secrets of God, yet if we do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, 
receive him as our only Saviour, and submit to him as our Lord and 
Sovereign, we may know that we are elected, seeing the elect and 
they only are brought to believe. Others may be elected, but they 
cannot know it till they actually believe. 

6. The Lord will never cast off his elect people. He that chose 
them from eternity, while he saw no good in them, will not after- 
wards cast them oft\ God's decree of election is the best security 
they can have for life and salvation, and a foundation that standeth 
absolutely sure. Whatever faults and follies they may be guilty 
of, yet the Lord will never cast them off. They shall be kept by 
the power of God through faith unto salvation. 

7. Lastly, This doctrine may teach us to form our judgment 
aright concerning the success of the gospel. The gospel and the 
ministrations thereof are designed for the bringing in of God's 
chosen ones. All never did nor ever will believe : but one thing is 
sure, that all who are ordained to eternal life shall believe and obey 
the gospel, Rom. xi, 7. 



Psal. Ixxxix. 3. — / have made a covenant with my chosen. 
1 Cor. XV. 45. — The last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 

God made man upright, and entered into a covenant with hira, for- 
bidding him to eat of a certain tree in the garden of Eden, on pain 
of death, natural, spiritual, and eternal, and promising him, in case 
of continued obedience, life in its utmost extent. But, alas ! man 
being in honour did not continue a night, but foully revolted from 
the obedience and allegiance he owed to his mighty Creator and 
bountiful Sovereign. Thus his misery was originally owing to the 
breaking of the covenant of works ; and in that dismal state he and 
all his descendants had remained for ever, if God, in the wonderful 
depths of his amazing love and grace, had not from all eternity de- 
vised a method of recovery, by entering into a covenant with his 
own Son as second Adam, head and representative of those desti- 
nated by sovereign pleasure to be heirs of salvation. Thus fallen 
man's recovery, from the first to the last step thereof, is entirely 
owing to the fulfilling of that covenant entered into betwixt the 
Father and the Son from eternal ages, and in it the whole mystery 
of our salvation lies. And this covenant I shall endeavour, through 
divine assistance, briefly to open up unto you, from the texts now 

* The transcriber autl preparer of the copy of this work for the press thinks it 
necessary to inform the reader, that Mr. Boston, at three different periods of ministry, 
preached on the covenant of grace, from as many different texts. 1. From Cant. iii. 
9. 10. ' King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon,' &c. 2. 
From Isa. xlii. 6, 7. 'I will give thee for a covenant of the people,' &c. 3. From 
the two texts fronting this discourse. The first of these cannot now be found, after 
the strictest search among his papers. The two last are preserved ; and of both com- 
pared together the following discourse is an abridgement. To have inserted either of 
them entire, would have swelled this work to a size far exceeding the limits proposed. 
Neither was it at all necessary, as the public has long been in possession of that 
valuable piece of our author's entitled, A View of the Covenant of Grace from the 
Sacred Records, &c. which he prepared for the press in his lifetime, though it was not 
published till 1734, two years after his death. In this abridgement there are several 
references made to that book, where the particulars discoursed of are amplified and 
more largely illustrated; and to prevent the immoderate extention of this work, of two 
places, viz. in the promissory part of the covenant and the characters Christ sustains 
as Administrator thereof, no abridgement is made, but the reader referred to the 
printed treatise. It is supposed, that the reader, in perusing this part of the work, 
will consult the treatise itself, at the several places referred to. It is proper also to 
take notice, that several particulars in this discourse, particularly in the introduction 
and in the application are not to be found in the said treatise, and are here given ver- 
batim from the MSS. without any alteration. 


In the verse preceding the first text, there is mention made of a 
building of mercy, which presupposes miserable ruins, and denotes 
that this building is intended for the benefit of Jln elect world 
ruined by Adam's fall. Free grace and lore set on foot this build- 
ing for them, every stone in which, from the lowest to the highest, 
is mercy to them : from top to bottom, from the foundation-stone to 
the top-stone, all is free and rich mercy to them. And the ground 
of this glorious building is God's covenant with his chosen, / have 
mcide a covenant with my chosen. In whicli and the second text four 
things are to be considered. 

1. The foundation on which the building of mercy stands : a cove- 
nant, a divine covenant, a sure covenant. The first building for 
man's happiness, was a building of goodness, bounty, and liberality; 
but not of mercy, for man was not in misery when it was reared up : 
it was founded on a covenant too, the covenant of works made with 
the first Adam. This building soon fell in ruins ; for being made 
with man, liable to change, his foot slipt, the covenant was broken, 
and the building tumbled down in an instant ; there was no more 
safe dwelling there for Adam or his race, though most of them are 
still seeking shelter about the ruins of this first building, and will 
not come to the building of mercy. But this covenant is another, 
and of a different nature ; the covenant of eternal life and salvation 
for poor sinners, the spiritual seed of the head of the covenant, to 
be given them in the way of free grace and mercy, and in which 
they are freed from the curse of the law and the wrath of God. 
The revelation and offer of this covenant unto the sons of men is 
called the gospel, announcing the glad tidings of life and salvation 
to ruined sinners. 

2. The parties contractors in this covenant, / and my chosen, the 
last Adam. Both heaven and earth were concerned in this cove- 
nant ; for it was a covenant of peace between them, at variance 
through sin. And accordingly the interests of both are consulted 
by the parties contractors. 

(1.) On heaven's side i^ God himself, the party proposer, I have 
made a covenant ivith my chosen. Though he was the party olfended, 
yet the motion for a covenant comes from him. The Father of Mer- 
cies beholding a lost world, his bowels of mercy yearn towards the 
objects that his sovereign pleasure pitches upon ; and that mercy 
seeks a vent for itself, that it may be shown to the miserable. But 
justice stands in the way of its egress, unless a method be found to 
satisfy its claim, in order to pave a passage for the free efflux of 
mercy. Then saith the Father ' The first covenant will not answer 
the purpose ; another expedient must be fallen upon. The lost 




creatures cannot contract for themselves ; and if another undertake 
not for them, they must perish ; they cannot chuse an undertaker 
for themselves; I will chuse one for them, and I will make the 
covenant with my chosen.' 

2. On man's side is God's chosen, or chosen One, for the word of 
God is singular; the son the last Adam. Who else as fit to be un- 
dertaker on man's side ; who else could have been the Father's 
choice for this vast undertaking ? No angel nor man was capable 
for it but the mighty One, ver. 19. whom the Father points out to us 
as his chosen, Isa. xlii. 1. 

3. The making of this covenant between the parties, I have made 
a covenant with my chosen One. The Father and the Son made this 
covenant betwixt them ; the bargain was completed by mutual 
agreement. The terms were on both hands fixed, and the compact 
closed between them, before the objects of mercy existed ; even as 
the covenant of works betwixt God and the first Adam was made, 
before we breathed in God's air. And therefore, by the by, ye 
would take notice, that in reference to covenanting with God, ye 
pretend not to make a covenant of your own, setting down such and 
such terms for life and salvation, which you will do. All that re- 
mains for us in that matter is to take hold of God's covenant, Isa. 
Ivi. 6. to believe the promise, approve cordially of the covenant, 
and consent to it for our part as agreed betwixt the Father and the 
second Adam ; so shall ye evidence that ye are of those in whose 
name Christ stood consenting to the covenant. This is our making 
of a covenant mentioned, Psal. 1. 5. — ' that have made a covenant 
with me by or upon a sacrifice,' viz. by laying their hands, by faith, 
on the head of the sacrifice, thereupon cut down in their stead ; and 
so transferring the guilt ceremonially on the sacrifice ; but really 
and spiritually approving of the device of salvation by a crucified 
Saviour, and falling in with it as the method of salvation for them. 

The original calls it ' cutting of a covenant,' or ' striking a cove- 
nant ;' being a covenant by sacrifice, confirmed with blood ; wherein 
the party contractor on man's side is bot^ the priest and the sacri- 
fice, the Father's wrath the fire that burnt it, and divine justice the 
sword that cut it down, Zech. xiii. 7- This is most lively re- 
presented. Gen. XV. 9, &c. 

Before I go farther in the explication, I will speak a little to this 
observation, ' That the foundation of all saving mercy to lost sin- 
ners is the covenant of grace, the covenant betwixt the Father and 
the second Adam.' To clear this consider, 

1. It is the foundation of the first saving mercy that a poor sin- 
ner meets with ; and that is the first grace given to the dead soul, 


viz. spiritual life, the new heart, the first resurrection, by which the 
soul is enabled to believe and embrace Jesus Christ, Ezek. xxxvi. 
26. ' A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put with- 
in you.' This is saving mercy. Tit. iii. 5. ' According to his mercy 
he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the 
Holy Ghost.' Upon what bottom can this stone in the building be 
laid, but on the covenant betwixt the Father and Christ ? No doing 
of the sinner can be pretended here, for life and salvation, since the 
sinner is really dead spiritually, and can do nothing ; but it is a 
performing of the promise of the covenant to Christ, Eph. ii. 6. 
* Even when we were dead in sins, he hath quickened us together 
with Christ.' 

2. It is the foundation of the middle saving mercies. Look to 
the soul's actual believing ; it is the budding of a promise, a branch 
of that covenant, Psal. xxii. 29, 31. 'None can keep alive his own 
soul. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness,' Com- 
pare John vi. 37. ' All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.' 
Justification is the fruit that grows upon it, Isa. liii. 11. 'By his 
knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many.' So is Sancti- 
fication ; they are sanctified in Christ Jesus, in virtue of that cove- 
nant, as they were corrupted and defiled in Adam by virtue of the 
breach of the first covenant, 1 Cor. i. 2. compare Ezek. xxxvi. 25. 
' I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean : from 
all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you.' This 
is an absolute promise with respect to the sinner. All their obedi- 
ence itself, and persevering in holy obedience, are fruits of the cove- 
nant, ver. 27. ' I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to 
walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them,' 
Jer. xxxii. 40. ' I will put my fear in their hearts, and they shall 
not depart from me ;' and so belong to the promise of it, and are no 
part of the proper condition of it, which must go before partaking 
of the fruits of it. 

3. It is the foundation of the crowning mercy, eternal life in hea- 
ven, Tit. i. 2. To whom could this be promised before the world 
began, but to the Son of God in the eternal compact ? So that the 
sinner comes to be partaker of it in him, as he is of death in Adam, 
John xvii. 2. ' Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he 
should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.' Hence 
notwithstanding all the good works of the saints, wrought all 
their life long, they receive eternal life as freely, and as much a 
gift, as if they had nothing, Rom. vi. 21. 'The gift of God is eter- 
nal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.' Hence they who have done 
most for God, are as deep in the debt of free grace for their crown, 



as the thief on the cross, who believed in Christ and then expired; 
For all is made over to the several persons of the seed, upon one 
bottom of the covenant, the proper condition of which was fulfilled 
by Jesus Christ. 

To confirm it, consider, 

1. The justice of God could not admit of mercy to lost sinners, 
but upon the ground of this covenant ; whereby the repairing of the 
honour of the law by obedience and suff'ering was sufficiently pro- 
vided for, Psal. xl. 6, 7- The first covenant being broken, the 
breakers must ' die without mercy,' Heb. x. 28. unless salvation to 
them be brought about by another covenant, that shall repair the 
breach ; which could be no other but that made with the chosen 

2. All saving relation betwixt Christ and us is founded on that 
covenant. Christ obeyed and died ; but what benefit have the fallen 
angels thereby ? They were left hopeless for all that, and must en- 
counter with unatoned justice. Why ? Not that Christ's doing 
and dying was not able to save them ; the blood of infinite value 
can have no bounds set to its suflniciency : but because their names 
were not in that covenant, it had no relation to them, but to lost 
sinners of Adam's race, Heb. ii. 16. 

3. The very design of making that covenant was, that it might be 
the channel of saving mercy, in which the whole rich flood of it 
might run, for the quickening, purifying, blessing, fructifying, and 
perfecting of an elect world, lying under the bands of death and the 
curse by the breach of the first covenant, Psal. Ixxxix. 2. ' Mercy 
shall be built up for ever ;' compared with the text, I have made a 
covenant with my chosen. It was the Father's design ; and it was 
the Son's design, Cant. iii. 10. Men are apt to devise unto them- 
selves other channels of mercy ; but this being the only channel de- 
signed by infinite wisdom, here the sinful creature will find saving 
mercy flowing freely, but all other channels he will find quite dry. 

4. Lastly, It has been the ground of all the saints' expectations 
and hopes of mercy, in all ages. It Avas first published in the pro- 
mise made to Adam, Gen. iii. 15. ' The seed of the woman shall 
bruise the head of the serpent ;' and that was the stay of the souls 
of the faithful till Abraham's time : then it was more clearly dis- 
covered in the promise given to him. Gen. xxii. 18. ' In thy seed 
shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.' The ceremonial law, 
and the prophecies of Christ, pointed out very fully. And thus be- 
lievers under the Old Testament built their faith of mercy on it. 
And since that time it has been most clearly and fully discovered in 
the gospel ; and so the New Testament church have raised their 
faith of mercy on it. 


Use I. Behold here the freeness of saving mercy. There is a 
fountain of mercy opened to sinful creatures ; and it was not only 
provided for them without any merit of theirs, but without so much 
as. any application made by them for it, Rom. xi. 34. A covenant 
of grace is made betwixt the Father and his own Son as party-con- 
tractor on man's side, who doth this for their salvation while they 
knew nothing about the matter. Here is rich and free grace. 

2. It is a vain thing to remain about the ruins of the old build- 
ing, which stood on the covenant of works, and to expect mercy, 
life, or salvation there. Gal. ii. 10. * Man is not justified by the 
works of the law. It is evident, that man must have mercy now, 
else he is ruined for ever, without any possible outgate from his mi- 
sery. If the building of mercy could have been without a new 
foundation, why Avas it laid, and laid so deep ? But a new founda- 
tion was not laid in vain, but because it was necessary that it should 
be. Therefore expect no mercy in the way of the first covenant. 
Mount Sinai shews only thunders and lightnings, the voice of the 
trumpet waxing louder and louder, and the voice of woi'ds, which 
sinners are not able to bear. There is no voice of mercy and grace 
but from mount Zion. 

3. What a wretched disposition in man's nature is it, to be so 
much addicted to the way of the covenant of works ? Grod saw that 
there was no hope for fallen man that way ; therefore he made a 
new covenant to build mercy u])on. But fallen man will not see it, 
but still aims to make a shift for himself that way. Our father 
Adam was well housed indeed in the first building, if he had ma- 
naged well ; but it was by his sin laid in ruins. Yet his sinful 
children still abide about these ruins, building cottages to them- 
selves of the ruins, seeking righteousness as it were by the work of 
the law, Rom. ix. 32. and pretending to repair it for themselves. 
The Jews were never more addicted to the temple, than mankind 
naturally is to that building on the first covenant. The Jews, after 
their temple had been laid in ruins, never to be rebuilt, did notwith- 
standing, in the days of Julian the apostate, attempt to rebuild it ; 
and ceased not, till by an earthquake which shook the old founda- 
tion, and turned all down to the ground, and by fire from heaven 
which burned all their tools, they were forced to forbear. Thus it 
fares with men with respect to the building on the old covenant ; 
they will never give it over, nor cry for a Mediator in earnest, till 
mount Sinai, where they work, be all on fire about them. the 
mischief of this practice ! They thereby aflTont the wisdom of God, 
which found out this new way ; they despise the grace, free love, 
and mercy of it ; they trample upon the great salvation brought 


about by it, Heb. ii. 3. And withal they fight against their own in- 
terest ; will not enter by the door that is opened for them, but hang 
about the door that is closed, and shall never be opened to them, 
and so perish. Thus they • forsake their own mercy,' Jonah ii. 8. 

4. Lastly, Quit the old covenant, then, and take hold of the new, 
that you may be personally entered into it. This you may do by 
taking hold of Christ, in the way of believing ; for he is given for a 
covenant of the people, Isa. xlii. 6. So the proposal of the covenant 
is made to you, Isa. Iv. 3. And thus shall ye be lodged in the 
building of saving mercy ; and mercy shall be built up to you for 
ever. But if you do not take hold of this covenant, ye are off the 
foundation of mercy, and can look for none of it. But to proceed 
in the explication of our tests : 

4. The nature of the covenant made betwixt these glorious par- 
ties. Concerning which we may gather from the texts, 

(1.) The design of it, viz. life, the most valuable interest of man- 
kind. The last Adam was made a quickening spint, viz. to give life, 
life in perfection, to dead sinners, dead legally, and dead morally. 
(2.) The persons for whom this life was designed, the elect, / have 
made a covenant with my chosen. Christ is the head elect, or head of 
the company chosen to life. In one and the same decree, the Fa- 
ther chose Christ to be the head, and them to be the members. 
Hence we are said to be ' chosen in him,' Eph. i. 4. 

(3.) The representation. As in the first covenant Adam, the 
party contractor on man's side, was a representative, representing 
and sustaining the persons of all his natural seed ; so in this cove- 
nant, the Lord Jesus Christ, the party contractor and undertaker on 
man's side, is a representative, representing and sustaining the per- 
sons of all his spiritual seed. This appears from his being designed 
the second Adam, who was a type of him, Rom. v. 14. As the first 
Adam, representing all his seed in the covenant of works, brought 
sin and death on them ; so Christ, representing all his seed in the 
covenant of grace, brought righteousness and life to them. 

(4.) The condition of the covenant laid on the elect's representa- 
tive, to be performed by him in their name and stead. He was to 
be the last Adam, to take upon him man's nature, to clothe himself 
with our flesh, and therein to go through with what the first Adam 
had stuck in ; that is, to fulfil the covenant, by yielding perfect 
obedience to it, and sufiTering the penalty thereof in their room. 

(5.) The promise of the covenant, to be performed on that condi- 
tion by the God of truth. This is implied in these words, / have 
made a covenant with my chosen: i. e. ' I have engaged for such and 
such benefits, and have bound myself by solemn promise to my cho- 


sen, on condition of what I have required of him.' This promise 
contains whatever is necessary for the complete happiness of the 
mystical body, grace and glory. 

5. Lastli/, There is one thing more specially to be considered, ac- 
cording to these texts, belonging to the nature of this covenant, viz. 
that the party contractor on man's side is the administrator of the 
covenant : The last Adam ivas made a quickening Sjnnt. As Christ 
•was God he could not fail in the performance of his engagement ; 
and therefore God took his single bond for sufficient security ; and 
thereupon he was made administrator of the covenant, Matth. xxviii. 
18. He entered on this office at the beginning, and intimated the 
covenant to fallen Adam in paradise, Gen. iii. 15. and will continue 
in that office till the last elect soul be brought in. The treasure put 
into his hand is the promises of the covenant, which are the reward 
of his own obedience and death. Col. i. 9. Hence he bequeaths all 
the promised benefits by testament, and lives to bo the executor 
of it. There is a fulness of the Spirit lodged in him, to be commu- 
nicated to the elect dead in sins ; and he is made a life-giving head 
unto them, John i. 4. Eternal life was lodged in him, 1 John v. 
11. ; and it is communicated by him, John xvii. 2. as the great trus- 
tee and steward of heaven. In the faith of this, Adam called his 
wife Life, or an Enlivener, Gen. iii. 20. No wonder he should be 
called the covenant itself, Isa. xlii. 6. since he is the head of the co- 
venant, unto whom the elect are joined unto God in covenant, the 
condition of the covenant was performed by him, and the Father has 
put the promises of the covenant in his hand. This is good news 
to men, that the promised life is in the hands of the Mediator, who 
is of our flesh and bone. 

The doctrine arising from the two texts, thus compared and ex- 
plained, is, 

DocT. ' The covenant of grace for life and salvation to ruined sin- 
ners, was made with Christ the second Adam, and he constituted 
Administrator thereof.' 

In handling this important subject, I shall consider, 

I. The parties in the covenant of grace. 

II. The parts of it. 

III. The administration of it. 

TV. Make some practical improvement. 

I. I am to consider the parties in the covenant of grace. And 
these are the party contractor on heaven's side, the party contractor 
on man's side, and the party contracted or undertaken for. 

FIRST, Upon the one side is God himself, and God only, as in 
the covenant of works. As the covenant was made from eternity, 


there was no other, and no occasion for any other, to see to the in- 
terests of heaven in this transaction. I think that Grod essentially 
considered was the party contractor in the person of the Father, 
Tit. i. 2. Eph. i. 3. Hereby the Son and the Holy Ghost have their 
part in the covenant on heaven's side, as the party offended ; and in 
the mean time a peculiar agency in this great work is attributed to 
the Father on that side, as there is unto the Son on man's side. 
And that we may have some distinct view of God in this character 
in the covenant of grace, we must consider the following things. 

1. God from eternity decreed the creation of man after his own 
image, and the making of the covenant with him. This whole dis- 
pensation was before the Eternal Mind, in all the parts and apurte- 
nances thereof, though, by reason of making that covenant with a 
creature, it could not actually take place but in time. Acts xv. 18. 

2. He also from eternity decreed to permit man to fall, and so to 
break that covenant, and thereby to involve himself and all his pos- 
terity in ruin. This fall he permitted for his own holy ends, pur- 
posing to bring about good from it. 

3. God is to be considered in this covenant as an offended God, 
offended with all the sins of all mankind, original and actual. In 
the first covenant God contracted with man as with a friend, with- 
out the interposition of a mediator : but in the second covenant it 
was not nor could be so ; for man is considered in it as a fallen 
creature, a transgressor of the law, an enemy to God ; and it is a 
covenant of reconciliation and peace, for those who had been at war 
with heaven. 

4. Yet he is to be considei-ed as a God purposing and decreeing 
from eternity to manifest the glory of his mercy, free love and 
grace, in the salvation of some of the lost race of Adam, Eph. iii. 10, 
11. Without such a purpose of grace in God, there had never been 
a covenant of grace. 

5. Notwithstanding we are to consider him in this matter as a 
just God, who cannot but do right, give sin a just recompense, and 
magnify his holy law and make it honourable. Upon the motion, 
then, of extending mercy to any of mankind, the justice of God in- 
terposeth, and pleads that mercy cannot be shewn, but upon terms 
agreeable to law and justice. And it was not agreeable either to 
the nature of God, or to his truth in his word, to shew mercy in pre- 
judice of his exact justice, if a throne of grace is to be erected, it 
must not be set on the ruins of the justice of God. And therefore 
justice required, 

(1.) That the law which was violated be fully satisfied, and the 
honour thereof repaired, by suffering and obedience, the former 


such as may satisfy the sanction of the law and the latter the com- 
manding part thereof. And this the sinners must either do for 
themselves or another in their room, who can be accepted as suffi- 
cient surety. 

(2.) That since it was man that sinned, it must be man also who 
must suffer and obey, that one nature may not sin, and another be 
put to suffering for it. 

Thus lay the impediments in the way of mercy to fallen man, and 
who could have removed them but God himself? Man could not 
here have acted for himself; his ability to obey was lost; and 
ability to suffer what was due to him for sin, so as to exhaust it, 
and deliver himself, he never had. Angels were not able to bear 
the burden ; their finite natures could not have born so as to bear 
off infinite wrath. Therefore, 

6. Lastly, The Father pitches upon his own Son for this work, as 
one able to make way for mercy over all difficulties, and remove the 
impediments lying in the way of its egress, Psal. Ixxxix. 19. He 
was able for the work as being the Father's Fellow, Zech. xiii. 7- ; 
his equal, Phil. ii. 6. and so one of infinite power and dignity. And 
here four things are to be considered. 

(1.) The Father designed that his own Son, the eternal Word, 
should, for this purpose of mercy, take on man's nature, and become 
man, Heb. x. 5. He saw that sacrifice and offering would not an- 
swer the case, that the debt was greater than to be paid so easily, 
and the work greater than to be managed by a person of less dig- 
nity. Wherefore, that the darling attribute of mercy might not 
for ever remain vailed, he wills that the human nature be united to 
the divine in the person of his Son. 

(2.) He chrlseth him to be the head of the election, being one thus 
in the decree of Grod raised up from among the people, Psal. Ixxxix. 
19. ; and to be the last Adam, the federal head and representative 
of such as sovereign pleasure should pitch upon to be vessels of 
mercy, and enrol in the book of life, that they might have a head 
who was both God and man, Eph. i. 22. 

(2.) He designed a certain number as it were by name to be the 
constituent members of that body chosen to life, whereof he was the 
designed head, and gave them to him for that end, Phil. iv. 3. John 
xvii. 9. They were a chosen company, whom sovereign grace se- 
lected from among the rest, on a purpose of love, and gave to Christ, 
the last Adam, for a seed, John xvii. 6. : therefore they are said to 
be chosen in him, Eph. i. 4. 

(4.) The Father proposed to him, as the last Adam, the condi- 
tions and terras of the new covenant, treating with the elect in him 


as with all mankind in the first covenant. Now, he has found one 
who is able to answer for the lost company, and treats with him in 
their name, for life and salvation to them, in a suitableness to the 
honour of law and justice. 

Inf. 1. The redemption of the soul is precious. The salvation of 
sinners was a work greater than the making of the world. The 
powerful Word commanded, and the last was done : but much more 
was to be done ere a sinner could be saved from wrath. 

2. Think not that Christ is more willing to save you than the Fa- 
ther is. The will of Christ, his Father, and Spirit, are one. And 
one person of the glorious Trinity cannot be less willing to help 
poor sinners than another is. Which should incite and encourage 
you to come to God by Christ. 

3. Behold the matchless love of the Father to lost sinners of 
Adam's race, 1 John iii. 1. The whole contrivance sprung from his 
free grace, shewing itself in greatest measure and exceeding riches 
of grace, Eph. ii. 7- Man lay in the utmost misery before him : a 
most miserable creature, needing help, but making no application 
to him for it, Rom. xi. 34. ; a sinful creature, having nothing in 
him to provoke to liking, but loathing ; a criminal, upon whom jus- 
tice demanded vengeance ; one whose debt no creature was able to 
undertake for ; therefore he gave his own Son, a gift in grace with- 
out a parallel. 

SECONDLY, Upon the other side is Jesus Christ, the Son of 
God, with the elect, his spiritual seed, Heb. ii. 13.; the former as 
the party-contractor and undertaker, the latter as the party con- 
tracted and undertaken for ; which is a good reason for his name 
Immanucl, Matth. i. 23. The party-contractor then in this covenant 
with God is our Lord- Jesus Christ. He managed the interests of 
men in this eternal bargain, and there were none of that party with 
him to help him, nor capable to do it. And he acted in a twofold 
capacity towards the making of this covenant, as the eternal Word, 
and the second Adam. 

First, As the eternal Word, having no nearer relation to man 
than as his Creator, and sovereign Lord, John i. 1, 2, 3. Our Lord 
Jesus Christ is now our near kinsman, the elder brother of the 
family of mankind, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh ; but 
from the beginning it was not so. He was from eternity the only 
begotten Son of God, and by voluntary dispensation only, for the 
relief of fallen man he became man, and so was allied to the house 
of Adam. Here let us consider what our Lord Jesus did as the 
eternal Word in this covenant, viz. his consenting to it, and the 
effect of that' consent. 


1. Let us consider what our Lord did as the eternal Word in 
making of this covenant. He consented to the proposals made by 
his Father, in order to the erecting of a new covenant with lost sin- 
ners of Adam's race. God saw there was a necessity of a new bar- 
gain for the salvation of any of them ; that the old covenant would 
not answer his purpose of mercy ; and that this covenant could not 
be made unless his own Son became the head of it. Hereto the Son 
of God, for the glory of his Father, and the salvation of sinners, 
readily agreed ; and gave his consent. 

1st, That he should become man, by taking into a personal union 
with himself a holy human nature, according to the eternal destina- 
tion of his Father, Heb. x. 5, 6, 7. He consents to be incarnate, 
that all flesh might not perish ; which was accordingly fulfilled in 
time, John i. 14. The two families of heaven and earth were at 
war, and no peace could take place betwixt them but through a 
Mediator. And where could a fit Mediator be found, a day's-man 
meet to interpose betwixt such parties, who would not either be too 
high or too low, in respect of one of the parties at variance ? Man 
or angel would have been too low in respect of God ; and an un- 
vailed God would have been too high in respect of sinful man. 
"Wherefore the Son of God, that he might be a fit Mediator betwixt 
the parties, as he was by his eternal generation high enough, in re- 
spect of God, so he consents to become low enough in respect of 
man, by a temporal generation of a woman. 

2dli/, That he should be a second Adam, a head and representa- 
tive of the chosen company, sustaining their persons, and acting in 
their name, Psal. xl. 6, 7- ' Mine ears hast thou opened,' or ' bored,' 
as Exod. xxi. 6 ; thereby intimating his consent to be the Father's 
servant for ever, in the work of man's salvation. It was evident 
the breach betwixt God and man was greater than to be taken 
away by a me^e intermessenger, which should go betwixt the 
parties, and so reconcile them with bare words. There could not 
be a covenant of peace betwixt God and sinners, without a repara- 
tion of damages done to the honour of God, and without honouring 
his holy law by an exact obedience as his subjects : and both of 
these were quite beyond their reach. The Son of God, beholding 
the strait sinners were brought to, while they could neither do for 
themselves, nor any in all the creation could afford them help, saith, 
' Lo, I come ;' I am content to take their place, and put myself in 
their room, as a second Adam. 

Thus was the foundation of the covenant laid, by the Father's 
proposal, and the consent of his Son thereto, as the eternal "Word. 

2. Let us consider the effect of this consent of the eternal Word. 


He was thereby constituted Mediator betwixt God and man, as God- 
raan in one person, 1 Tim. ii. 5, Having had the Father's call 
thereto, and that call being accepted by his own consent, he was 
thereby established the great Mediator betwixt God and man, for 
making and keeping the designed peace between heaven and earth ; 
through whom, and in whom, as a public person, God might enter 
into a new covenant with sinners of Adam's race. Thus also was 
he constituted the second Adam, and representative of all the elect, 
with whom the Father might treat as one answering for them. 
And was constituted Mediator or Midsman betwixt God and sinners 
in two respects. 

1st, He was constituted Mediator in respect of his natures. He 
was a substantial Mediator, as partaking of the nature of both 
parties. He was God equal with the Father from all eternity, and 
so stood related to heaven : he was designed to be man from eter- 
nity, and so stood related to earth. In this divine constitution four 
things are to be considered. 

(1.) That he should be a real man, having a true body, and a 
reasonable soul, and not be so in appearance only, Heb. ii. 14. that 
so he might be capable to suffer, since without shedding of blood 
was no remission ; and the divine nature could not suffer. 

(3.) That that body of his should not be made of nothing, nor of 
any thing but what belongs to Adam's family, Psal. Ixxxix. 19. 
Gal. iv. 4. ; that so he might indeed be one of the family of Adam, 
Luke iii. ult. ; a brother of those in whose name he was to act, Heb. 
ii. 11. and so the same nature that sinned might suffer. 

(4.) That that human nature should be united to his divine na- 
ture in the way of a personal union, John i. 4 ; the divine nature in 
the person of the Son marrying the human nature to itself, that the 
Son of God should become as really the Son of man, and of Adam's 
family, as he was the Son of God, and of the family of heaven. 
And this to the end that what he might do or suffer in the name of 
his brethren, might be of infinite value and efficacy, as the deed of a 
divine person. Acts xx. 28. 1 John i. 7- 

(4.) That that human nature to be thus united to the divine in 
the person of the Son, should be a holy thing ; since sinful flesh was 
not capable of an immediate union with God ; and that therefore, 
by the operation of the Holy Ghost, that substance of the body that 
was to be prepared for the Mediator, should be separated from all 
corruption and infection from the first Adam; and the soul and 
body should both be of a perfectly holy nature, Luke i. 35. This 
was necessary to qualify him to be Mediator, the last Adam ; for 
had he himself been defiled with the least taint of sin, he could not 
have expiated the sins of others, Heb. vii. 26, 27. 


'Idly, As by his consent to become man, he was constituted sub- 
stantial Mediator ; so by his consent to become last (or second) 
Adam, he was constituted official Mediator betwixt God and man, 
or Mediator in respect of office, 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6. He had his Father's 
call to the office, Heb. v. 4. ; and having consented to and embraced 
the call, he was invested in the office, and treated with as such from 
all eternity, Prov. viii. 22, 23. 

Now was there one provided to take the desperate cause of lost 
sinners in hand : a glorious and a mighty One, with whom the new 
covenant of grace might be made, with safety to the Father's honour 
and the case of perishing sinners : A fit hand, as partaking of both 
natures, and invested with that office, which he and only he was fit 
for. And this brings me to the second capacity wherein he acted 
in this matter. Then he acted. 

Secondly, As the second Adam, head and representative of the 
election, by the Father's destination and his own consent. "What 
he did as the Eternal Word, made way for the covenant, and was, 
as it were, the preliminaries of the covenant : but it was in this ca- 
pacity that the covenant was formally made with him, as appears 
from our texts already explained. 

Now Christ standing in that capacity, as second Adam, head of 
the election, did two things, whereby he entered actually into the 
covenant with his Father. 

1. He accepted the gift of the particular persons elected by 
name, from all eternity, by his Father, made to him. Heb. ii. 13. ; 
and in token thereof owns them in particular as his brethren, ver, 
11. Like as the first Adam, in the making of the first covenant, 
stood alone without actual issue ; yet had destinated for him a nu- 
merous issue, even all mankind, who should with him be compre- 
hended in the same covenant; which Adam, virtually at least, 
accepted : so God having chosen a certain number of lost mankind, 
he, as their original proprietor, gives them to Christ, the appointed 
head, to be his members, and comprehended with him in the second 
covenant, though as yet none of them had a being ; and he accepts 
the gift of them, is well pleased to take these in particular for 
his body mystical, for which he should engage in covenant to his 
Father, John xvii. 6. 10. 

2. Christ did in the name and stead of these particular persons 
elected unto life, and given unto him, consent unto the conditions 
and terms of the covenant, proposed by the Father for life and sal- 
vation to them. And thus the covenant was concluded, Psal. xl. 6, 
7. 8. Isa. liii. 10. As the first Adam, representing all his natural 
seed, did in their name and stead consent to the terms and condi- 


tions of the first covenant, and so entered into that covenant for 

them ; so the second Adam representing all his spiritual seed, did 
as a public person, in their name, consent to the terms of the second 
covenant. And as he had in the eternal decree taken on him their 
nature, so he did from all eternity put on their person, answer to 
their names as being in law one person with them, even as the 
cautioner is with the principal debtor, and the husband with the 
wife in case of debt, who are one in the eye of the law ; and, having 
heard all the demands of law and justice upon them, he struck hands 
with the Father, to satisfy all these demands to the utmost. 
For clearing of this purpose I shall shew, 

1. That the second covenant was made with Christ, as the last 
Adam, head and representative of the elect. 

2. Why it was made so with him. 

First, I am to shew, that the second covenant was made with 
Christ, as the last Adam, head and representative of the elect. 

1. Covenants typical of the covenant of grace were made with 
persons representing their seed. The covenant of royalty, a type of 
this covenant, was made with David, as representative of his seed ; 
therefore the covenant of grace typified by it was made with Christ, 
as the representative of his seed. Hence in our first text the party 
covenanted with and sworn to is called David, which is one of the 
names of Christ typified by David, Hos. iii. ult. for which cause the 
mercies of the covenant are called ' the sure mercies of David,' Isa. 
Iv. 3. And this David is God's servant having a seed compre- 
hended with him in the covenant, Psal. Ixxxix. 4. To the same 
purpose it may be observed, that Phinehas' covenant of priesthood 
was a type of the covenant of grace ; and in it Phinehas stood as 
representative of his seed, typifying Jesus Christ representing his 
spiritual seed in the covenant of grace. Numb. xxv. 12, 13. This is 
evident from Psal. ex. 4. where the everlasting priesthood pro- 
mised to Phinehas has had its full accomplishment in Jesus Christ. 
Hereto may be added, that the covenant made with Noah and his 
sons was made with them as the heads of the new world, and repre- 
sentatives of their seed. Gen. ix. 9, 11. And that this covenant was 
a type of the covenant of grace, and Noah therein a type of Christ, 
is clear from its being established on a sacrifice. Gen viii. 20, 21. ; 
from the nature of that covenant, viz. that there should not be 
another deluge, chap. ix. 11. ; typical of the wrath of God against 
the elect, Isa. liv. 9, 10. confirmed by the rainbow about the throne, 
Rev. iv. 3. Wherefore, since in the covenant of royalty, by which 
the covenant of grace is typified in our text, and in other covenants 


typical tlioreof, the parties with whom they were made stood as 
lieads, public persons and representatives of their seed, it is evident, 
that the covenant of grace typified by these was made with Christ 
as the head and representative of his spiritnal seed : for whatever is 
attributed to any person or thing as a type, hath its accomplishment 
really and chiefly in the person or thing typified. 

2. This appears also from his being the last Adam, as he is called 
in the second text ; the reason of which must be taken, not from the 
nature common to the first and last Adam, for all mankind partake 
of that ; but from their common office of federal headship and re- 
presentation, in the respective covenants touching man's eternal 
happiness, which is peculiar unto Adam and the man Clirist. Ac- 
cordingly Adam is called ' the first man,' and Clirist ' the second 
man,' 1 Cor. xv. 47- But Christ is no otherwise the second man, 
than he is the second federal head or representative in the second 
covenant, as Adam was the first federal head and representative in 
the first. Wherefore, as the first covenant was made with Adam, 
as the head and representative of all mankind, the second covenant 
was made with Christ, as the head and representative of all the 

3. Tlie promises of the covenant were made to Christ, as the 
second Adam, head and representative of the elect. Gal. iii. 16. 
* Unto Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith, — 
And to thy seed, which is Christ.' I own that here is meant Christ 
mystical, the head and members : To them the promises are made, 
but primarily to the head, secondarily to the members in him ; even 
as the promise of life was made in the first covenant to Adam, and 
to all his natural seed in him. And so the promise plainly stands, 
Isa. liii. 10, 11. ' When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, 
he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of 
the Lord shall prosper in his hand. lie shall see of the travail 
of his soul, and shall be satisfied : by his knowledge shall my 
righteous servant justify many : for he shall bear their iniquities.' 
Thus the covenant is said to be made with the house of Israel, the 
spiritual Israel, yet is directed, not to them, but to another person, 
Ileb. viii. 10. ; the reason of which plainly appears in the promises 
being made to Christ, as their head and representative. Now, if 
the promises being made to Christ, as the head and representative 
of the elect, the covenant was made with him as such ; for it is the 
covenant to which the promises belong, Eph, ii. 12. ; and he to 
whom they were primarily made, was no doubt the party contractor. 

4. This federal headship of Christ, and his representing of the 
elect in the covenant of grace, is evident from his suretyship in that 



covenant, whereby he became Surety for them, Ilcb. vii. 22. Now, 
he was Surety for them in the way of satisfaction for their debt, 
and the punishment due to them ; and that as for persons utterly 
unable to answer for themselves, so that he took the whole upon 
himself. Now, such a surety is a true representative of the parties 
he is Surety for, one person with them in the eye of the law. 
Hence not only is Christ said to have been ' made sin for us,' 2 Cor. 
V. 21. to have had ' our sins laid upon him,' Isa. liii. 6. to have 
' died in our room and stead,' 1 Tim. ii. 6. Rom. v. 6 ; but also we 
are said to have been * crucified with him,' Gal. ii. 20. ; to be ' made 
the righteousness of God in him,' 2 Cor. v. 21.; yea, to 'be raised 
up' and glorified 'in him,' Eph. ii. 6.; and to be 'made alive in 
him,' as we ' died in Adam,' 1 Cor. xv. 22. All which necessarily 
requires this headship and representation of his in the covenant. 

5. Christ bears the name of the elect, being called by their name, 
even as they are by his ; a plain evidence of their being one in the 
eye of the law, and God treating with Christ as their representative 
in the covenant. The elect are called Israel, viz. the spiritual 
Israel, Rom. ix. 6 ; and so is our Lord Jesus Christ, Isa. xlix. 3. 
Heb. ' Thou art my servant : Israel, in whom I will glorify myself.' 
This is plainly meant of Christ, ver. 6 ; and the sense is. Thou art 
Israel representative, in whom I will glorify myself, as I was dis- 
honoured by Israel, the collective body of the elect. And this may 
give light into that passage, Psal. xxiv. 6. compare ver. 7- &c. 
Thus the first man was called Adam, or man, as being the head and 
representative of all mankind, the person in whom God treated with 
the whole kind. Accordingly the elect are comprehended under the 
name of Christ, Gal. iii. 16. Col. i. 24; as all men are under the 
name of Adam, Psal, xxxi. 5. 11. ' Verily every man {Heb. all 
Adam) is vanity.' 

Secotidly, I come to shew why the second covenant was made with 
Christ as a representative, the last Adam. 

1. That infinite love might have an early vent, even from eter- 
nity. God's eternal love to his elect vented itself in the covenant 
of grace, which is an everlasting or eternal covenant, Heb. xiii. 20. 
Hence we find that covenant and that love of the same eternal date, 
Isa. Iv. 3. ' I will make with you an everlasting covenant, Heb. a 
covenant of eternity.' Jer. xxxi, 3. ' I have loved thee with an 
everlasting love, Heb. a love of eternity.' But since the elect are 
but of yesterday, the covenant of grace behoved to be like the cove- 
nant of works, but a yesterday's covenant, a time-covenant, if it was 
not made with Christ as their representative ; it could not have 
been an eternal covenant otherwise; the promise of eternal life, 


which is undoubtedly a promise of that covenant, could not other- 
wise have been of so ancient a date, as the apostle says it was. 
Tit. i. 2. * before the world began.' — And how could an eternal co- 
venant be made with time-creatures originally, but in their eternal 
head and representative ? Or how could an eternal covenant be 
made personally with them, by way of personal application to them, 
had it not been from eternity made with another as their head and 
representative ? 

2. 'Because otherwise it could not have been made a conditional 
covenant at all, to ansAver the design of it. This covenant took 
place on the breach of the first covenant ; and it is a covenant of 
life, Mai. ii. 5. life to dead sinners ; the last Adam being made a 
quickening spirit. It was the great design of it, that dead sinners 
might have life. Tit. i. 2. Now, in order to this, a holy just God 
stood upon conditions, without the performing of which that life was 
not to be given ; and they were high conditions, Psal. xl. 6. 1 Thess. 
V. 10. Now, how could an effectual conditional covenant for life be 
made with dead sinners, otherwise than in a representative ? Can 
dead souls perform any condition for life pleasing to God ? They 
must have life before they can do any thing, if it were ever so small 
a condition. Therefore a conditional covenant for life could not be 
made with sinners in their own persons ; especially considering that 
the conditions were so high for life to the sinner, that man at his 
best state was not able for them, far less in his sinful state. There- 
fore, if such a covenant was made at all, it behoved to be made with 
Christ as the sinner's representative, Rom. viii. 3, 4. 

3. That it might be a covenant of grace indeed, and not a cove- 
nant of works, to sinners themselves. It is evident, that the design 
of this covenant was to exalt free grace, and that it is framed so as 
to be a covenant of pure grace, and not of works to us, whatever it 
was to Christ, Rom. iv. 16. Eph. ii. 9. And thus indeed it is a 
covenant of pure grace, the Lord Jesus Christ himself, as repre- 
sentative, being the sole undertaker for, and performer of all the 
conditions of the covenant in the sinner's name ; whereby all ground 
of boasting is taken from the creature. But this is marred upon 
the supposition of the covenant being made with the sinner in and 
by himself, standing as principal party contracting with God, un- 
dertaking and performing the condition of the covenant for life : 
for how low soever these conditions undertaken and wrought by the 
sinner himself be, the promise of the covenant is made to them, and 
so, according to the scripture, it is a covenant of works, Rom. iv. 4, 
5. And there is no difference between Adam's covenant and such a 
covenant, but in degree, which alters not the kind of covenant. 


332 UP THE covj-:nant of orace. 

4. That the communication of righteousness and life to sinners 
might be iu as compendious .a way as the communication of death 
and sin was, Rom. v. 19. God liaving made the covenant of works 
with Adam as the represeritativc of his seed, sin and death was 
communicated to tliem all from him as a deadly head, having bro- 
ken the covenant. This being so, it was not agreeable to the me- 
thod of divine procedure, to treat with every one to be saved, by 
themselves as principal parties in the new covenant for life ; but 
with one public person for them all, who should be, by his fulftlling 
the covenant, a quickening head to them, from whom life might be 
derived unto them, in as compendious a way as death from the first 
Adam. This was most agreeable to the way of him whose mercy is 
above all his other works. 

6. That it might be a sure covenant, as entered into with a sure 
hand, Rom. iv. 16. The first covenant was made with a mere crea- 
ture as principal party and contractor ; and though he was a holy 
and righteous creature, yet he was so unstable in performing the 
condition laid on him, that the promise was lost. "Wherefore the 
fallen creature was not fit to be the principal party, or party con- 
tractor in the new covenant, wherein the promises were to be sure 
to poor sinners, and not to misgive. Therefore the Lord seeing 
them all a broken company, not to be trusted in this matter, he pro- 
poses to his own Son to be head of the new covenant, and there- 
in to act for and in name of those given him for a seed ; which 
being accepted, the business is made sure. God looked only to him 
for the performance of the condition, and the promises were made to 
him, and so are sure to all the seed. Gal. iii. 16. Compare Psal. 
Ixxxix. 28. ' My mercy will I keep for him, and my covenant shall 
stand fast with him.' 

Inf. 1. What a spring of unspeakable comfort is it to believers, 
to look back into eternity, before the Avorld was made, and to be- 
hold the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, standing as the last 
Adam, contracting with God in the second covenant ! This may 
move them to cry, ' the depth of the riches both of the wisdom 
and knowledge of God ! how unsearchable arc his judgments, and 
his ways past finding out !' Rom. xi. 33. and to shout, Grace, grace 
to the glorious contrivance, so full of grace. Here they may see, 

1. The covenant on which their salvation depends made with a 
near relation of theirs, even as was the first covenant by the break- 
ing of which they were ruined. In the one stood the first Adam for 
them, in the other the second Adam. Why should they look as 
strangers towards the covenant of grace ? The party contracting 
in it with God is their near kinsman, their elder brother, flesh of 


their flesh, and bone of their bone, Eph. v. 30. ; nay, their Father, 
who is nearer to and has a more natural concern in them than a 
brother ; even the second Adam, who is their second Father ; in 
respect of which I think he is called ' the everlasting Father,' Isa. 
ix. 6. compare Ileb. ii. 13. 

2. Their nature highly dignified ; the human nature, however cor- 
rupt it is in the multitude that partake of it, yet pure and spotless 
in the second Adam, tit to enter into a new covenant with an of- 
fended God. Man's nature, as it was defiled by Adam, became so 
abominable, that it could never again appear before God immedi- 
ately to covenant with him ; but in Christ it is so perfectly pure, 
that it was callable of an immediate union Avith the Godhead in his 
person, and so of covenanting with him immediately. 

3. The covenant so stable and firm, that it cannot be broken, the 
Son of God himself, being the second Adam, contractor in this cove- 
uaut. The first Adam being a mere creature, not confirmed, his co- 
venant was liable to breaking, he was capable of failing, and did 
fail, in the performance of the condition : and so are all the cove- 
nants made with God upon conditions to be performed by sinful 
men : but in regard of the party-contractor, viz. the Lord Jesus, the 
covenant of grace is an everlasting covenant, it cannot be broken, 
Isa. Iv. 3. Psal. Ixxxix. 30,-33, 34. 

4. The covenant well-ordered in all things, as for the honour of 
God, so for their good in time and eternity. The second Adam, 
manager for them, was the Son of God, in whom all the treasures of 
wisdom and knowledge are hid ; he managed for his own family, his 
own children: so there was neither afl'ection nor wisdom wanting in 
him. We may be sure then there is nothing in the covenant that 
their good would have required to have been kept out ; and nothing 
out that their case requii-ed to be in. What remains then, but that 
by believing they approve of the covenant, and take the comfort 
of it? 

Inf. 2. The covenant of redemption and the covenant of grace are 
not two distinct covenants, but one and the same covenant. I know 
some great and good men have taught otherwise, alleging the cove- 
nant of redemption to have been made with Christ, and the cove- 
nant of grace to be made with believers ; though they were far from 
dcsiguing or approving the ill use some have made of that principle. 
However, the doctrine of this church, in the Larger Catechism, is in 
express words, ' The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the 
second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.' From 
whence it necessarily follows, that the covenant made with Christ 
and witli believers, or the covenant of grace and redemption, are 

Y 3 


one and the same covenant. Only, in respect of Christ, it is called 
the covenant of redemption, forasmuch as in it he engaged to pay the 
price of our redemption ; but in respect of us, the covenant of grace, 
forasmuch as the whole of it is of free grace to us, God himself 
having provided the ransom, and thereupon made over life and sal- 
vation to poor sinners, his chosen by free promise, without respect 
to any work of theirs to entitle them thereto *. 

Inf. 3, As all mankind sinned in Adam, so believers obeyed and 
suffered in Christ the second Adam. For as the covenant of works 
being made with Adam as a public person and representative, when 
he broke the covenant, all sinned in him ; so the covenant of grace 
being made with Christ as a public person and representative, all 
believers obeyed and suffered in him, when he fulfilled the cove- 
nant, Rom. viii. 3, 4. Gal. ii. 20. 

Inf. 4. Believers are justified immediately by the righteousness of 
Christ, without any righteousness of their own intervening, as all 
men are condemned from their birth upon the sin of Adam, before 
they have done good or evil in their own persons. So that they are 
righteous before God with the self-same righteousness, which was 
wrought by Christ in the fulfilling of "this covenant; which righte- 
ousness is imputed to them, not in its effects only, so as their faith, 
repentance, and sincere obedience, are accepted as their evangelical 
righteousness, on which they are justified ; but in itself. For, by 
the works of the law shall no flesh be justified ; and faith, repent- 
ance, and new obedience, considered as conditions performed, are 
works and cannot found a title to justification. 

Inf. 5. The covenant of grace is absolute, and not conditional to 
us. For being made with Christ as representative of his seed, all 
the conditions of it were laid on him, and he has fulfilled the same. 
So what remains of the covenant to be accomplished is only the ful- 
filling of the promises to him and his spiritual seed ; even as it 
would have been with the first Adam's seed, if once he had fulfilled 
the condition of the covenant. 

Inf. 6. The way to attain to the enjoyment of all the benefits of 
the covenant of grace, is to unite with Christ the head of the cove- 
nant by faith. Being thus ingrafted into him, ye shall partake of 
that happiness secured to mystical Christ in the everlasting cove- 
nant; 'even as by your becoming sons of Adam by your natural 
generation, ye fall under that sin and death which passeth on all 
by the breaking of the first covenant, Rom. v. 12. 

* The illustration of this point may be seen in the Author's View of the Covenant 
of Grace, under the title, Of the party-contractor on man a side inf. 1 . a work po»- 
toiior to this discourse. 


Inf. 7. The offer of Christ made to you in the gospel, is the offer 
of the covenant of grace to you, and of all the benefits thereof; 
and the embracing of Christ is the embracing of the covenant, and 
the personal entering into it. The covenant of grace held forth in 
the gospel, is the cord of love let down from heaven to perishing 
sinners shipwrecked in Adam, to save them from sinking into the 
bottom of the gulf, and to hale them to land. It is their duty to 
lay hold of the covenant by faith, Isa. Ivi. 4, 6. And that is done 
by taking hold of Christ in the free promise, believing that he is 
held forth to you in particular, confiding and trusting in him for 
your salvation from sin and wrath, upon the ground of God's faith- 
fulness in the promise, ' Whosoever believeth in him shall not 
perish but have everlasting life,' John iii. 16. For he is given for 
a covenant to you, Isa. xlix. 8. and xlii. 6. So receiving him you 
receive the covenant, he being the head of the covenant, who per- 
formed the condition, and to whom the promises were made. 

Inf. 8. The covenant of grace is a contrivance of infinite wisdom 
and love, worthy to be embraced by poor sinners with all joy, 2 
Sam. xxiii. 5. admirable contrivance of help for a desperate 
case ! wonderful contrivance of a covenant with them who were in- 
capable of coming into the presence of a holy just God, or to per- 
form the least condition for life and salvation ! A new bargain for 
life and salvation to lost sinners, on the highest terms, made with 
those who were incapable to come up to the lowest terms ! Wis- 
dom found out the way, viz. by a representative : the love of the 
Father engaged him to make the proposal ; and the love of the Son 
induced him to accept it. Thus a sure covenant is made, and a firm 
foundation laid, on which the sinner may safely lay his whole 
weight, foT upon it lies the weight of God's honour, Isa. xxviii. 16. 

Inf. last, How sinful and dangerous must the course of those be 
who practically corrupt the covenant of grace, pretending to make a 
covenant with God, as parties contractors and undertakers, for life 
and salvation, instead of taking hold of God's covenant ; the car- 
nal Jews did so corrupt it, looking for life and salvation, not for 
the sake of the promised seed alone, but for their obedience to the 
ceremonial and moral law : and thus do many to this day practi- 
cally corrupt it. They think the covenant of grace is a promise of 
life and salvation upon condition of faith, repentance, and sincere 
obedience to the law : whereupon they consent to these terms, and 
solemnly undertake to perform them, and then, upon their (fancied) 
performance of them, they challenge life and salvation, as having 
done their part. This quite overturns the nature of the covenant of 
grace, Rom. iv. 4. and xi. 6. The sinfulness of it is great, as over- 


looking Christ, tlie great iiudertakcr and party contractor by the 
appointnicut of tlic Father ; and putting themselves in his room, to 
act, and do, and work for themselves for life. And the danger of it 
must be great, as laying a foundation to bear the weight of their 
souls, which divine wisdom saw to be quite unable to bear it, Gal. 
V. 4. So the issue of such covenanting must be, that the cove- 
nanters shall lie down in sorroAV. The true way of covenanting is, 
to take up the covenant of grace as a free promise of life and salva- 
tion, upon condition of Christ's obedience and death performed al- 
ready ; to believe that promise with particular application to the 
sinner himself, i. e. that the sinner believe, that he shall have life 
and salvation, pardon of sin, repentance, sanctification, grace, and 
glory, and that upon the ground of Christ's obedience and satisfac- 
tion only, lleb. viii. 10. Thus the covenant is held out, as a free 
and absolute promise, to sinners indefinitely, like a rope to a com- 
pany of drowning men, that whoever believes it may by it be drawn 
forth out of the waters. We proceed to consider, 

TIIIKDLY, The party contracted and undertaken for in this co- 
venant. And as the party-contractor was a representative, so the 
party-contracted for was represented by him. And that these two, 
the represented and the contracted for, are of equal latitude, is 
plain from the nature of the thing : for those whom one represents 
in a covenant, he contracts for in that covenant; and those for 
whom one contracts in a covenant, made with him as a representa- 
tive, they are represented by him in that covenant. It is evident 
also from the relation betwixt the two Adams, the former being a 
type of the latter. In the first covenant, those whom Adam con- 
tracted for, he represented ; and those whom ho represented, he con- 
tracted for : therefore those whom the second Adam contracted for 
he represented ; and whom he represented, he contracted for. 

Now, the party represented and contracted for in the covenant of 
grace by our Lord Jesus Christ, was the elect of mankind ; a cer- 
tain number of the posterity of Adam chosen from eternity to ever- 
lasting life, Ileb. ii. 11, 12, 13. In their person it was that he 
stood in making this bargain with his Father, in their name it was 
that he acted when he struck hands with the Father, as a surety to 
obey the law, and satisfy justice. And that these only could be so 
represented by him in this covenant, as being the objects of elec- 
tion, is evident from the last discourse, on the doctrine of election. 

It will be proper, there Jbre, to shew how the elect were con- 
sidered in this covenant and federal representation. They come 
under a threelbld consideration, as sinners, as impotent sinners, and 
as objects of the divine love. 


1. As sinners ruined in Ailani, lost sheep of the house of Israel, 
Matth. XV. 24. In the first covenant God put all the flock of man- 
kind under the hand of one shepherd, Adam. But he lost all the 
Hock, and was never able to recover them again. God from all 
eternity had put a secret mark on some of them, whereby he distin- 
guished them from the rest, 2 Tim. ii. 19. He saw them among the 
rest, gone from their pasture, wandering like poor waifs and strays, 
a prey to every devourer. And he proposeth a new covenant, 
whereby they might be put under the hand of Christ as their shep- 
herd, to be by him sought out and brought back. And this our 
Lord Jesus accepted, though he well knew what it would cost him 
to save tlie lost sheep. 

2. As impotent, and utterly unable to help themselves, in whole 
or in part, Rom. v. 6. They were debtors, and utterly unable to 
l>ay one farthing of their debt ; and criminals, and quite unable to 
bear their own i>unishment to the satisfaction of justice. Had it 
lain on them to have paid the debt or borne the punishment, they 
behoved for ever to have sunk under the load. Then said the Son 
of God, ' I cannot see them perish ; Father, I put myself in their 
room, I will answer for them ; I will pay their debt, and bear their 
punishment ; I will be the debtor and criminal in law reckoning, as 
representing the criminals and debtors.' The representation is sus- 
tained, the payment of all is laid on him, and is looked for from no 
other hand, in whole or in part, either by the one or other party 
contracting, Isa. Ixiii. 3. Psal. Ixix. 4. Yet, 

3. As objects of eternal love, sovereign and free, given to Christ 
by his Father. The Father loved them, John xvii. 23. and there- 
fore gave them to Christ, ver. 6. The Son loved them, Eph. v. 2. 
and accepts of the gift, and represents them in the covenant, as a 
Father does his children, Isa. ix. 6. with Heb. ii. 13. This abso- 
lutely free love, and mere good pleasure, was the reason why they, 
and not others in the same condemnation by the breach of the lirst 
covenant, were represented by Christ in the second covenant ; why 
their names were put in the eternal contract, when the names of 
others were left out, Luke x. 21. They were his Father's choice 
and his choice ; and so he became their representative*. 

II. The second general head is to consider the parts of this cove- 
nant. These arc the things agreed upon betwixt God and Christ, 
as the second Adam, and representative of the elect in the covenant. 

* Some |)r(.|)ei iiifcreuccs relative to tlii^ part ut iho lubJL-ct may bf seen ou the 
treatise tiu the covenant of grace, under tlio title. Of the party coiitiuctcd and under- 
tiikcn for. 


They may be taken up in two things, the condition of the covenant, 
and the promises thereof. I shall consider each distinctly. 

FIRST, The condition of the covenant. The condition of a cove- 
nant or bargain is that part of it, upon the performance of which 
one's right to the benefit promised is founded, his plea for it is 
established, as becoming due to him for his performance, accord- 
ing to the agreement betwixt the parties. For instance, the paying 
of such a sum of money, for such a commodity, according to the 
agreement of the parties bargaining, is the condition of a covenant 
of commerce, sale, or traffic ; and the working of such a piece of 
work, or doing of such a deed, for such a reward, agreed upon by 
the parties, is the condition of a covenant of service or hire. 

There is also what is called a condition of connection or order in 
a covenant, whereby one thing necessarily goes before another in 
the order of a covenant, without being the ground on which one's 
right and title to that other thing is founded. As in the former 
instances, the buyer's receiving of the commodity, and the hireling's 
receiving of the reward, covenanted or bargained for, must needs go 
before the possession or enjoyment of them : but it is evident, that 
receiving is not the thing on which the buyer's right and title to the 
reward is founded : therefore, though it may be called a condition 
of connection in the respectiA'e covenants, yet it connot in any pro- 
priety of speech be called the condition of these covenauts. 

Thus in the order of the covenant of grace, the having of the 
Spirit must go before faith, faith before justification, justification 
before sanctification, and holiness before heaven's happiness. These 
may be called conditions in the covenant of grace, viz. conditions of 
certain connection ; and belong to the established order of the pro- 
mises of the covenant, which are contradistinguished to the condi- 
tion of the covenant. But such conditions can in no proper sense 
be called the condition or conditions of. the covenant. 

This being premised, we say, that the condition of the covenant 
of grace, properly so called, is Christ's fulfilling all righteousness, 
owing unto God by the elect, in virtue of the covenant of works, 
and that as the last Adam, their head and representative. And 
here I shall, 

1, Evince this to be the condition of the covenant. 

2. Explain and unfold that righteousness, the fulfilling whereof 
was made the condition of the covenant. 

First, I am to evince that this is the condition of the covenant of 
grace. This will appear, if ye consider, 

1. Christ's fulfilling all righteousness in the second Adam, is 
what the Father proposed unto Christ as the terms of the elect's 


salvation, and upon which he founded his promise of eternal life to 
them;. and not any work or deed of theirs, Isa. liii. 10, 11. And 
says Christ, This cup is the neiv testament in my blood ; as if he had 
said, All the promises of the covenant were written with my blood, 
it was the condition which procured them, and without which ye 
Lad never obtained them. And accordingly this is what Christ, 
as the second Adam, did from eternity consent to, undertake, and 
bind himself for, and in time did perform, Matth. iii. 15. 'It becom- 
eth us to fulfil all righteousness,' as it becomes a person of honour 
and credit to fulfil his bargain. Luke xxiv. 26. ' Ought not Christ 
to have sutfered these things ?' viz. as one ought to perform the con- 
dition of a covenant or bargain he has agreed to. 

Object. But the elect's believing, holiness, and good works, were 
also fixed as terms of their salvation : and Christ undertook also 
that they should believe, &c. 

Ans. Then at that rate Christ performed the chief part of the 
condition of the covenant, and took it wholly on himself; but they 
perform another part of the condition, for which he became their 
cautioner. Thus the condition of the covenant of grace is divided 
betwixt Christ and the impotent beggarly creature : and so must 
the glory of their salvation be ; for whosoever works part of the 
work, or pays a part of the price, without question so much of the 
reward and purchase is due to him. But none of the glory of it is 
due to us, 1 Cor. i. 31. Zech. vi. 13. Rom. iv. 4, 5.; and therefore 
no part of the condition is performed by us. I own these things are 
secured in the covenant; but they are secured not in the condi- 
tionary part of the covenant, but in the promissory part of it, Heb. 
viii. 10. 

2. This, and nothing done by the sinner himself, is that upon 
which a sinner's right to eternal life is founded : upon nothing else 
can he safely found his plea before the Lord for life and salvation. 
And a sinner thoroughly convinced will find it so, Rom. iii. 24, 25. 
Eph. i. 7. Phil. iii. 9. The sinner standing trembling in the court of 
conscience, by faith gets under the covert of the Mediator's righte- 
ousness, and dare oppose nothing to the sentence of the law, but 
Christ's fulfilling all righteousness, giving up all other pleas for life 
and salvation. And believing is the pleading itself upon that 
ground, not the ground of the plea. It saith, ' My Lord and my 
God,' in the promise, upon the ground of Christ's fulfilling all 
righteousness only, as the condition of the covenant. 

3. This is that alone by which the salvation of sinners becomes 
due or a debt. Now, it is not a debt to them; therefore they fulfil 
no part of the condition : but unto Christ ; therefore he performed 


the proper condition of the covenant ; for he who fulfils the condi- 
tion of a covenant, the reward is of debt to him, Koni. iv. 4, 5. com- 
pare 1 John ii. 1. 2 Thcss. i. 6, 7. We may see this even in the 
first Adam's covenant, the condition whereof was perfect active obe- 
dience. Which if it had been fulfilled by Adam, eternal life to him 
and his would thereupon have become due or a debt to him. And 
hence it is, that Christ's fulfilling all righteousness is the believer's 
only plea for life and salvation : even as in case Adam had per- 
formed the condition of his covenant, the plea of all his posterity 
for life would have been founded on that performance solely, as 
being the only obedience that was the condition of that covenant ; 
their personal obedience, at least after the performance of the for- 
mer, being the accomplishment of the promise of the covenant, not 
of the condition. And so they would have had life, not for any 
personal deed or work of theirs, but freely, for the obedience of the 
first Adam, to which he did graciously make the promise of life in 
the first covenant. 

4. Lastly, The covenant of grace doth so exclude our boasting as 
the covenant of works did not, Rom. iii. 27. But if any deed or 
work of our own be the condition of the covenant of grace in whole 
or in part, our boasting is not excluded ; for life and salvation is of 
or by the fulfilling of the condition of the covenant, Rom. iv. 4. and 
so far as life and salvation is of or by any work of ours, there is 
room for our boasting, Eph. ii. 9. even as in the covenant of works, 
wherein life was by our works, not in the way of proper merit, but 
only by virtue of paction or covenant *. 

Secondly, I shall explain and unfold that righteousness, the ful- 
filling of which was the condition of the covenant of works. And 
that we may have the more distinct view of it, I shall shew, 

1. The parts of that righteousness. 

2, The character which, upon his Father's call, the Lord Jesus 
took upon himself, in the covenant, in order to his accepting and 
performing the condition of the covenant for his people. 

First, I am to shew the parts of that righteousness, the fulfilling 
whereof was made the condition of the covenant. And forasmuch 
as Christ undertook the performing of that condition in the room 
and stead of his spiritual seed, the debt of righteousness was and 
must be stated from the law or broken covenant of works, which 
they were lying under. For the law or covenant of works was so 
far from being neglected in the new bargain, that whatever it had 

' Proper infeiences from this point may be seen in the treatise on the covenant of 
srace, under the title, Of the conditional;/ part of the covenant. 


to charge upon or demand of the elect for life and salvc\tion, was 
summed up and set down in the new covenant, and the full and 
complete payment thereof made the condition of that covenant, Isa. 
xlii. 21. Psal. Ixix. 4. This may from thence be summed up in 
these three things, holiness of nature, righteousness of life, and sa- 
tisfaction for sin, which make the whole of the condition of the co- 
venant of grace, the price of the redemption of an elect world, which 
Christ the second Adam undertook from eternity, to accomplish in 
himself, in their name, room, and stead. 

1. Holiness of nature. That the law required as a term of enjoy- 
ing eternal life, condemning original sin and corruption of nature as 
well as of life, saying, ' Thou shalt not covet.' For God being es- 
sentially and necessarily holy, nothing can be so contrary to him as 
an unholy nature. But Christ's spiritual seed were as unable to 
reach this holiness of nature, as any of their brethren of Adam's 
family ; their nature was corrupt, and it was quite beyond their 
power to purify it, Prov. xx. 9. "Wherefore, that the law might be 
satisfied in this point, it was settled as a condition of the covenant, 
That the second Adam representing them should be a man of a per- 
fectly holy, pure, and untainted nature, fully answering for them 
that holiness and jierfection of nature required by the law. It con- 
sists of two articles. 

(1.) That he as the second Adam should be conceived and born 
holy, for and instead of his spiritual seed, conceived and born in sin. 

(2.) That he should inviolably retain the holiness of nature for 
them, and in their name *. 

2. Righteousness of life. This also the law required as one of 
the terms of life. The law given to Adam and all his seed, which 
they were obliged to obey in all points, by the tie of natural duty, 
and by covenant for life, was never fulfilled by them ; and Christ's 
spiritual seed as well as others fell short of it, Rom. iii. 23. The 
first Adam began the course of obedience, but he quickly fell oft' 
from it, and all his natural seed in him. But the justice of God, 
and the honour of his law, could not suft'er the reward, the prize, the 
crown of eternal life, to be bestowed without running the race. 
The elect having no ability for running that race, it was made a 
condition of the second covenant, that Christ as a public person, 
their representative, should begin and perfect the course of obe- 
dience to the law in righteousness of life. This may be taken up in 
these three articles. 

See the illustratioa of these two articles, ubi supra, under the title, Holiness of 


(1.) That he, as the second Adam, should, in the name of those 
represented by him, obey the whole law. 

(2.) That every part of that obedience of his should be screwed 
up to the highest pitch and degree. 

(3.) That all this should be continued to the end, without the 
least failure in one jot of parts or degrees of obedience *. 

3. Satisfaction for sin, Isa. liii. 10. The former two were in the 
condition of Adam's covenant ; but this was not : for their being no 
sin, no satisfaction was due. But the new covenant, supposing the 
first to be broken, behoved to be settled on the condition of a satis- 
faction, in virtue of the justice of God, and of his truth, who had 
annexed a penalty to the breach of the covenant of works. And in 
this part of the condition of the covenant the following articles 
were settled. 

(1.) That Christ, as a public person should satisfy for all compre- 
hended in the covenant, all and every one of his spiritual seed, Isa. 
liii. 6. 

(2.) That he should satisfy for them, by suffering for them, and in 
their name and stead, Heb. ix. 22. 

(3.) That he should by suffering satisfy for them fully and com- 
pletely, that the law might have no need to come back on them for 
any part of the satisfaction due. 

(4.) That he should suffer the same punishment that they should 
have suffered in virtue of the penalty of the broken covenant of 
works, from which this debt of satisfaction was stated ; and that 
was death in its full latitude and extent. 

(5.) That he should suffer all this voluntarily, submissively, and 
out of regard to the wronged honour of God, willingly repairing it f , 

Secondly, I shall shew the character which, upon his Father's call, 
our Lord took upon himself, in the covenant, in order to his accept- 
ing and performing the condition of the covenant for his people. 
Jesus Christ, the second Adam, hath a manifold relation to the co- 
venant, as he is called the covenant itself : but here I meddle only 
with those relations to it which concerned the condition ; and shall 
take them up in this threefold character, their kinsman Redeemer 
in the covenant, the Surety of the covenant, and the Priest thereof, 

(1.) Christ became the kinsman Redeemer in the covenant, Job 
xix. 25. And there were four things which the kinsman Redeemer 
was to do for his kinsman, which he was not able to do for himself ; 
all which Christ took upon him in the conditionary part of the 

* See uhi supra, under the title, Riffhteotisness of Life. 
'\ See ubi supra, title, Satisfaction for Sin. 


(1.) He was to marry the widow of the deceased kinsman, to raise 
np seed to his brother, Ruth iii. 9. compared with Ezek. xvi, 8. S(^ 
our kinsman Redeemer undertook in this covenant to marry the wi- 
dow, to take on man's nature in the fulness of time, marrying it to 
himself in a personal union with the divine nature. 

(2.) He was to redeem the mortgaged inheritance of his poor 
kinsman, Lev. xxv. 25. Heaven and eternal life is the mortgaged 
inheritance. Our kinsman Redeemer took the burden of the re- 
demption on himself, and agreed to pay the price of the purchase. 

(3.) He was to redeem his poor kinsman, brought into bondage, 
paying his ransom. Lev. xxv. 47. Sinners had lost their freedom, 
and become slaves to sin and Satan. Our kinsman Redeemer agreed 
to give himself for them, for purchasing their liberty, 1 Tim. ii. 
5, 6. 

(4.) He was to avenge the blood of the slain kinsman on the 
slayer, Deut. xix. 12. All mankind was slain, and the elect of God 
among the rest. Our kinsman Redeemer undertook the avenging of 
their blood on Sin and Satan *. 

2. Christ became the Surety of the Covenant. This the scripture 
expressly teacheth, Heb. vii. 22. What suretyship is among men, 
many have known to their cost, to the ruin of themselves and their 
families. It is a man's taking on himself the person of another in 
law, and binding and obliging himself to answer for what can be 
legally demanded of that other person. Against rash undertaking 
of this Solomon cautioneth, Prov. xi. Id. It is twofold ; suretyship 
by way of satisfaction for debt contracted, (Prov. xxi. 26), by the • 
party whom one is surety for ; and suretyship by way of caution for 
some deed to be performed by the party for whom one is surety, 
Prov. XX. 16. ' Take his garment that is surety for a stranger; and 
take a pledge of him for a strange woman ;' that is, lest they will 
not perform, and the cautioner will be left in the lurch. Here I 
shall enquire, for whom and for what Christ became Surety in the 

1.9^, For whom Christ became Surety in the covenant. Possibly 
it may be safely said, that Christ became God's Surety to us in the 
covenant, taking on himself to see all the promises of the covenant 
performed to the seed, even to all believers. For in the case of one 
unknown to us, though in himself most faithful, a surety may be 
necessary, especially if the party be of a jealous and suspicious 
temper. It is certain that God's promises are, in respect of his in- 
fallible veracity, most sure and firm, and cannot miss to be per- 

* Fide ubi supra, tit. Christ the kinsman Redeemer in the covenant. 


formed : but sinners are slow to believe, Luke xxiv. 25. And if 
#Clirist be Surety for God unto ns, it is for the same end that God 
lias given his oath in the case, llcb. vi. 17, IB. 

But T doubt if the scripture calls Jesus Christ a Surety in that 
sense. In Heb. vii. 22. the only text wherein Christ is expressly 
called a Surety, it is undeniable that the suretyship respects his 
priestly office, ver. 20. with 22. and therefore his suretyship for us 
to God : whereas his suretyship for God to us cannot relate to his 
priestly office, but to his kingly office, in respect of which all power 
is given to him in heaven and earth, and consequently a power to 
see that all the promises be performed to his people. In two other 
texts only, we read of suretyship relating to the case between God 
and a soul ; and in both the suretyship is not to, but for the soul, 
viz. Psal. cxix. 122. ' Be surety for thy servant for good,' Job xvii. 
3. ' Put me in a surety with thee.' The original expression is the 
same in the latter text as in the former. Whatever is of this, one 
thing is plain, that it doth not belong to the condition of the cove- 
nant, but to the promises of it ; and therefore lies not here before 

But Christ became our Surety to God in the covenant. Thus was 
he most properly, if not the only, Surety of the covenant. The co- 
venant of grace was made with the spiritual seed in Christ, as their 
head and representative, and their Surety taking burden for them 
upon himself, Psal. Ixxxix. 19. 

2dhj, For what he became surety. This will appear by consider- 
' ing the nature of his suretyship. I spoke before of two kinds of 
suretyship. It was the first, the heaviest of the two, that our Lord 
undertook, viz. suretyship in the way of satisfaction for debt con- 
tracted, wherein the burden was wholly devolved on himself, and he 
was to be the sole actor and sufferer. The debt of the elect world 
was, by God's eternal foreknowledge, stated from the broken cove- 
nant of works, in the whole latitude of its demands on them : and 
Christ became surety for it, and so did strike hands with his Father 
from eternity, to pay it completely. And, 

(1.) He became surety for their debt of punishment, which they 
as sinners were liable in payment of, as the original phrase is, 2 
Thess. i. 9. That was the debt owing to the divine justice for all 
and every one of their breaches of the holy law, whether original or 
actual. The demerit of their sins was an infinite punishment, as 
being committed against an infinite God. They were liable to bear 
the pains of death in the full latitude of it ; to suffer the force of 
revenging wrath, to the full satisfaction of infinite justice, and re- 
paration of God's honour. This debt of theirs, Christ became 


Surety for, engaging his life for their life, which was lost in law, 
where there was not the least hope of escape, Psal. xl. 6, 7. with 
John X. 18. In this suretyship there was an exchange of persons in 
law, which sovereign grace did admit, when it might have been in- 
sisted that the souls that sinned should die. And in virtue thereof 
Christ himself became debtor in law, bound to pay that debt which 
he contracted not, Psal. Ixix. 4. And there was a double transla- 
tion made on Christ in the covenant, from the elect, with his own 
consent, as a foundation in law and justice for exacting the elect's 
debt of him. 

[1.] Tlieir guilt was transferred on him, Isa. liii. 6. All the sins 
of all the elect were at once imputed to him, and so became his, as 
his righteousness became ours, viz. in law-reckoning, 2 Cor. v. 21. 
So that though he was absolutely without sin inherent, he was not 
without sin imputed to him, till in his resurrection he got up the 
discharge, Heb. ix. ult. having done them away, and cleared the 
debt by his death. 

[2.] The curse due to them for their sins was transferred on him, 
Gal. iii. 13. The sentence of the law binding them over to bear the 
revenging wrath of God for all their sins, till justice should be sa- 
tisfied, was with his own consent laid upon him. And in virtue 
hereof his blessed body was hanged on a tree, and the sentence of 
the broken law, Gen. ii. 17. was executed on that body and holy 
soul, Gal. iii. 13. 

heavy, yet happy exchange ! heavy for Christ the Surety, but 
happy for poor sinners. Here is what is got on either hand by the 
exchange of the persons of Christ and his redeemed ones. All the 
sins of the redeemed are charged on Christ, for the satisfaction of 
justice by suftering for them : and all Christ's righteousness, for life 
and salvation, is reckoned on their score, 2 Cor. v. 21. The curse 
of the law comes on hira for their sake : and the blessing of the gos- 
pel comes on them for his sake, Gal. iii. 13, 14. 

(2.) He became Surety for their debt of duty and obedience, 
Matth. iii. 15. The law as a covenant of works, though it was bro- 
ken by sinners, who thereby had incurred the penalty, neither lost 
its right, nor ceased to exact the obedience which at first it required 
of man, as the condition of life. The sinner was still bound to per- 
fect obedience, and on no less or lower terras could have eternal life, 
Luke X. 28. The paying of the debt of punishment raiglit satisfy 
as to the penalty of the bond : but there is yet more behind for hira 
who will meddle in the affairs of the broken company. IIoav shall 
the principal sum contained in the original contract be paid, the 
debt of obedience to the law for life and salvation ? The honour of 


God could not allow the quitting of it : and they were absolutely 
unable to pay one mite of it, that was current in lieaven, Kom. v. 6. 
Eph. ii. 1. They were quite as incapable for the doing part, as the 
suffering part. So Christ became Surety for this debt of theirs too, 
the debt of obedience to the law as a covenant, which was and is the 
only obedience for life and salvation to the sons of men. What- 
ever the law can demand of them in this kind, holiness of nature or 
righteousness of life, he strikes hands for the payment of it, Psal. 
xl. 7, 8. 

And here also there was an exchange of persons in law, as to 
Christ and the elect, he sustaining their person in the eye of the 
law, sisting himself for them to answer for every item of this debt, 
as their Surety. And in virtue thereof he became the law's debtor 
for that obedience which was owing to it by the elect : which debt 
he owned to be lying upon him by his circumcision, Luke ii. 21. 
compared with Gral. v. 3*. 

(3.) Christ became the Priest of the covenant, Heb. vii. 20, 21, 
22, 28. He undertook that office, and put on that character, at his 
Father's call, Heb. v. 4, 5, 6. to the end that he might perform the 
condition of the covenant. A priest is a public person, who deals 
with an offended God, in the name of a guilty company, for recon- 
ciliation, by sacrifice which he olfereth to God upon an altar, Heb. 
V. 1. being thereto called of God, that he may be accepted. So a 
priest speaks a relation to an altar, an altar to a sacrifice, and a 
sacrifice to sin. Here I shall inquire, for whom Christ became a 
Priest, and what need there was of his becoming a Priest in this co- 

1st, For whom he became a Priest. He became a Priest for sin- 
ners, Heb. viii. 1. Where there is no sin, there is no need of a 
priesthood : So Christ's priesthood speaks men to be guilty crea- 
tures, needing an atonement and reconciliation. And he became a 
Priest for those sinners whose names were in the covenant, and 
them only, that is, for the elect, whose names ai'e written in hea- 
ven : for being the Priest of the covenant, he must be their Priest, 
and theirs only, who were comprehended in the covenant. In a 
word, he became the Priest of the spiritual Israel in the covenant, 
that Israel for whose behoof the covenant was madef. 

2dli/, What need was there of Christ's becoming a Priest in this 
covenant. The necessity of it will appear in these four things. 

(1.) They were sinners, and there could not be a new covenant 

• Fide uhi supra, tit. Christ the Surety of the Covenant. 
f See this clearly proved afterwards in the discourse on Christ's priestly office. 


made without provision for removing of their sin ; and that required 
a priest, and one that was able to remove sin, and repair the in- 
jured honour of God. And such a one was Christ. 

(2.) Sin could not be removed, without a sacrifice of sufficient 
value, which they were not able to afford. The new covenant was a 
covenant by sacrifice, Psal. 1. 5. and it could not be obtained with- 
out sacrifice ; it behoved necessarily to be written in blood, Heb. ix. 
22. Christ becoming a priest, gave himself a sacrifice, for estab- 
lishing the covenant, Eph. v. 2. and so it is the New Testament in 
his blood, shed for the remission of the sins of many. 

(3.) No sacrifice could be accepted, but on such an altar as should 
sanctify the gift to the eifect of the removing of sin. And who 
could furnish that but the Son of God himself, whose divine nature 
was the altar, from whence the sacrifice of the human nature de- 
rived its value and efficacy, as infinite, Heb. ix. 14. 

(4.) There behoved to be a priest to ofter this sacrifice, this 
valuable sacrifice unto God upon that altar : else there could have 
been no sacrifice to be accepted, and so no removal of sin, and so no 
new covenant. And who could that be but the Son of God only ? 
Since himself was the sacrifice, and himself the altar, he himself 
alone could be tlie Priest*. 

Inf. From all that has been said on the head of the condition of 
the covenant, ye see the price of sinners' salvation, the ransom of 
souls, the only valuable plea that a sinner can have for mercy, 
namely, the condition of the covenant performed by the Mediator. 
Let it be the great concern of your life, to be interested in it in a 
saving manner, as reckoned of God to have been performed for you. 
If it be not reckoned on your account, what will it avail you for 
life and salvation ? Be concerned then for the imputation of that 
righteousness unto you. It is ofi'ered in the gospel unto you, that 
the holiness of Christ's nature, the righteousness of his life, and the 
satisfaction of his death, shall be yours, yours freely, as a free gift 
of righteousness, believe it, and lay your souls' weight on it by 
faith, and it shall be imputed to you. 

SECONDLY, Wo proceed now to consider the second part of the 
covenant of grace, viz. the promise. This covenant is a proper co- 
venant : and in it there is a promissory part, answering to the con- 
ditionary part which we have now explained. And it is God's part 
of the covenant, as the other was the Mediator's part ; and is that 
which our text, / have ))iade a covenant with my chosen, doth princi- 
pally and expressly bear ; compare ver. 4. ' Thy seed Avill 1 estab- 

• Vide ubi supra, tit. Christ the Priest of the Covenant. 



lish for ever.' The promise of the covenant is the bond of promise, 
whereby God has obliged himself to give the benefits specified in the 
covenant, and to make them forthcoming, npon the consideration of 
the performance of the condition. And forasmuch as the condition 
performed by Christ was strictly meritorious of the benefits pro- 
mised, the promise is firm and binding, not only in respect of the 
truth and faithfulness of Gc^, Tit. i. 2. ; but also in respect of his 
justice, 2 Tim. iv. 8. which requires the Mediator's obedience to be 
rewarded according to the promise made in the covenant. 

Of what weight and importance the promissory part of the cove- 
nant is, will appear by these considerations. 

1. The covenant of grace hath its name from this part of it, Eph. 
ii. 12. It is called, ' covenants of promise.' 

2. The covenant itself is by the Iloly Grhost described as a cluster 
of free promises of grace and glory to poor sinners, without any 
mention of any condition, Heb. viii. 10, 11, 12. 

3. The promises of the covenant are the purchase of Christ's 
blood, the fruit of his fulfilling all righteousness in his birth, life, 
and death. 

4. The great design and end of the covenant is accomplished in 
the performance of the promissory j)art of the covenant : and that is 
the glory of God, and the salvation of sinners. Rev. x. 7. 

5. The happiness and comfort of all God's elect, for time and 
eternity, depends on the promises of the covenant. Tit. i. 2. 

6. The glory of the man Christ, as Mediator of the covenant de- 
pends on the promise of the covenant. 

7. God has sworn the promise of the covenant, Psal. Ixxxix. 3. 
Heb. vi. 17.* 

For clearing of this weighty point, we shall consider the promises 
of the covenant in general, and then take a more particular view of 
them. • 

First, I am to shew what are the promises of the covenant of 
grace in general. They are promises made by God himself in that 
covenant, upon the consideration of Christ's fulfilling the condition 
of the covenant, as the onerous cause thereof, whereby he has 
secured all hapi)iness to the elect, after Adam and his children had 
lost it by the breach of the first covenant, and hath also secured all 
means leading thereunto. These promises, in respect of the parties 
on whom they have their direct and immediate eftect, are of two 

1. Some of them have their direct and immediate effect on Christ 

* See these seven particulars illustrated, ubi supra, tit. The promissory part of the 


himself, the head of the covenant, who in his own person performed 
the condition of it; such as the promises of assistance in his work, 
of a numerous offspring to be given him, and a name above every 
name, as the reward of his work, Ileb. xii. 2. 

2. Some of them have their direct and immediate effect on 
Christ's spiritual seed and members, comprehended with him in the 
same covenant ; such as the promises of the new heart, regeneration, 
cleansing from the defilement of sin, &c. 

Secondly, To whom the promises arc made. We may take up 
this point in these two things. 

First, The promises of the first sort, viz. those that have their 
direct and immediate effect on the person of Christ, were made to 
Christ himself, Isa. xlix. 7- And they were made to him as head of 
the covenant, the second Adam, the representative of his spiritual 

Secondly/, The promises of the second sort, viz. those that have their 
direct and immediate effect on Christ's spiritual seed, the elect, are 
made to Christ primarily, and to the seed secondarily. They are 
made to both, but first to the head, then to the members through 

1. They are primarily and chiefly made to Christ. Though they 
have their immediate effect on the elect, they are made immediately 
and chiefly to him. This appears by several documents from the 
word of Grod. 

IsU The express testimony of the apostle, Gal. iii. 16. ' Now to 
Abraham and his seed were the promises made, — and to thy seed, 
which is Christ.' 

2dly, Christ is by the covenant constituted heir of all things, 
Psal. Ixxxix. 27. Heb. i. 2. And that must needs be in virtue of 
the promise of the covenant, which he purchased by his fulfilling 
the covenant. 

3<iZy, As God promised life in the covenant of works to Adam's 
children upon condition of his perfect obedience, which is evident 
from death coming on them by his disobedience ; so he hath pro- 
mised life in the covenant of grace to Christ's spiritual seed, upon 
condition of his obedience. 

4thlt/, All the promises that have their direct and immediate 
effect on the elect, are a part of the reward made over to Jesus 
Christ in the covenant, Heb. xii. 2. compared with Isa. liii. 10. 
They are all the price of blood to him, the purchase of his obedi- 
ence and death, aud therefore called the new testament in his blood. 

This is a point of great weight, and serves both to inform our 
minds aud direct our practice. For hence may fairly be inferred, 

A 3 


(1.) Tliat the promises are not made to the believer's good works, 
but to Christ's works, and to tlio working believer in and through 
him, Rom. iv. 4. Tliey arc absolutely free to the believer, and not 
of debt to him, and therefore are not made to his works. 

(2.) That the free grace whereby the dead elect are quickened, 
and made to believe, and unite with Christ, is conveyed to them in 
the way and sure tenor of a promise, as well as the grace that fol- 
lows faith, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. 

(3.) The way to be personally and savingly interested in the i>ro- 
mises of the covenant for time and eternity is to embrace Christ by 
faith, and thereby unite with him, 2 Cor. i. 20. 

(4.) When through deadness and darkness of Spirit, or some con- 
science wasting guilt, the faith of the promise is failed in you, and 
ye cannot fasten your hold upon it again, because ye see no good in 
yourselves, embrace Christ again, and the promise in him, notwith- 
standing all your first unworthiness and guilt, and stand not off 
from the promises till you be in better case, Psal. Ixv. 3. 

(5.) The true way to plead the promises is, to plead them througli 
Jesus Christ, to plead the accomplishment of them to ourselves for 
his sake, to come to God in the name of Christ, and to crave the 
fulfilling of the promises, John xvi. 23, 24. 

(6.) Lastlif, This may confirm and strengthen the faith of be- 
lievers as to the accomplishment of the promises to them. 

2. These i)romises ai'e made to the elect, Christ's seed, seconda- 
rily, in and through Christ, 2. Tim. i. 9. As he has the chief and 
fundamental interest in them, so they have a derived interest in 
them through him, in respect of their legal and mystical union with 
him *. 

Let us therefore take heed to ourselves, lest standing off from the 
free promise of life in Christ, we go about to seek our salvation an- 
other way. Let us be denied to all confidence in our own works, as 
we would not thrust ourselves into the room of Christ, and so he 
become of no effect to us. 

[The author next proceeds to take a particular view of the pro- 
mises of the covenant of grace, which he treats of as peculiar to 
Christ, and as common to his spiritual seed ; for all which we must 
refer the reader to his View of the Covenant of Grace, under the 
titles. Of the promises 2?eculiar to Christ, and. Of the j^romise of eternal 
life to the elect, considered in three periods ; where they are handled 
more largely than in this work.] 

III. The next general head is, to consider the administration of 

' Sec all tlio foregoing paiticulais amplified, uli supra, uuder the title hi>t referred to, 


the covenant of grace. Since this covenant is that which the salva- 
tion of the whole spiritual seed depends on, and according to it all 
the dispensations of God towards them, for carrying on and com- 
pleting that love design, are regulated ; and since it was withal a 
compact entered into betwixt the Father and the Son before the 
world began, and so in itself a great secret, Psal. xxv. 14. ; it is 
necessary that there be an administration of it, whereby it may be 
rendered effectual, for the behoof of those in whose favour it was 
entered into. Wherefore the administration of it was devolved on 
Christ, the second Adam : and he hath it as one of his prerogatives, 
by the covenant itself, made over to him in the i)roraissory part of 
the covenant, particularly by the promise of a glorious reward of his 
work in fulfilling the condition, John v. 27. It was for this cause 
the last Adam was made a quickening spirit, as saith our second 
text. And so he is ' given for a covenant of the people,' Isa. xlix. 
8. ; which imports the constituting him Administrator of the cove- 
nant, whereby the people, any people, Jews or Grentiles, may become 
God's people, and receive all the benefits of that coA^enaut-relation 
to God. 

Now, that Christ is, by the authority of heaven, constituted or 
made the covenant, imports these two things. 

1. lie -is constituted and settled, by the authority of his Father, 
Administrator of the covenant. As he had the burden of purchasing 
the promised benefits, so he has the honour of distributing them, 
according to the measures laid down in the eternal purpose of God, 
with respect to the conferring of these benefits. None of tlie bene- 
fits of the covenant are to be had, but out of his hand : he received 
them from his Father, and sinners must receive them from him. 
That this is the meaning of this phrase, is evident from the follow- 
ing words, declaring the end of his being given for a covenant of tlie 
people : ' To establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate he- 
ritages,' ver. 9. compare chap. xlii. 6, 7- ' That thou mayst say to 
the prisoners. Go forth.' 

2. The whole of the covenant is in him. An administrator of 
one's goods must have them in his custody ; he must have a power 
over them, as Joseph, who was to furnish the people corn, had all 
the granaries of Egypt at his command. Our Lord Jesus is such an 
Administrator of the covenant, as has the whole of the covenant in 
himself : so that he who has Christ has the covenant ; and he that 
lias not Christ has no saving part or lot in it. 

For opening of the administration of the covenant devolved on 
Christ, we shall consider these three things, the objects, the ends, 
and tlie nature of this administration. 


FIRST, who arc the objects of this his administration, the parties 
to whom ho is impowcrcd, by commission from liis Father, to admi- 
nister the covenant. The elect only were the parties represented by 
the second Adam ; and to them only is the administration of the 
covenant effectual to their salvation. But mankind-sinners inde- 
finitely are the objects of the administration. The extent of it is 
not founded on election, but on the sufficiency of Christ's obedience 
and death for the salvation of all ; nor is it regulated by election, 
but by the fulness of power in heaven and earth given to Christ as 
the reward of his work, his obedience even unto death. 

To confirm this truth, which is glad tidings for all sinners of 
Adam's race, hearing that Christ is empowered by commission to 
give them, and every one of them the covenant, and all the benefits 
of it, to their eternal salvation, the following things may be con- 

1. The grant made of Christ by the Father, as the ordinance of 
God for the salvation of lost sinners of mankind. When the Is- 
raelites were in the wilderness, many of them were bitten by fiery 
serpents : in that case Crod instituted an ordinance for their cure, 
viz. a brazen serpent lifted up on a pole. And he made a grant of 
it to all who would use it for that purpose of healing, for which 
it was appointed of him, by looking to it, without excepi;ing any 
that needed healing. Numb. xxi. 28, So all mankind being bitten 
by the old serpent the devil, and sin as his deadly poison left in 
them ; God has appointed Jesus Christ the ordinance of Ileaven for 
their salvation, and has made a grant of him as such, to all of 
Adam's lost posterity who will make use of him for that i)urpose, by 
looking to him in the way of believing, without excejjting in this 
grant any, if they are but of the world of mankind, John iii. 14, 
15, 16. 

2. The Mediator's commission for the administration is conceived 
in most ample terms, Luke iv. 18, 19. Isa. Ixi. 1, 2. He is to ad- 
minister the covenant, not only to the meek, poor, broken-hearted, 
but to the captives, the blind, bruised, prisoners, slaves, and broken 
men who have sold their inhei'itanco. What sort of sinners can one 
imagine to bo excepted here ? These terms are too general to admit 
of any exception as to sinners of mankind. 

3. The ample powers given him as Administrator of the covenant. 
All power in heaven and in earth is granted to him, l^Iatth. xxviii. 
18. So there is none on earth excepted from his administering the 
covenant to them ; the indemnity which the Father has put in the 
hands of his own Sou to dispense, hath no excepted persons of man- 
kind in it, but he is to dispense it to any of them all whom he will, 


John V. 21, 22. And it is remarkable, that upon this fulness of 
power committed to the Administrator of the covenant, the general 
offer of the gospel is founded, Mat. xi. 27, 28, and xxviii. 18, 19. 
All without exception are declared welcome to come and suck of 
these full breasts of divine consolations contained in the covenant. 

4. Ilis executing of his commission in an unhampered manner, ad- 
ministering the covenant indifferently to any sinners of mankind ; 
not this or that party of them, under this or the other denomination, 
but mankind in general, Prov. viii. 4. So the gospel in which the 
covenant is administered, is good tidings to all people, Luke ii. 10 ; 
and the gospel-feast is made unto all people, Isa. xxv. 6. Accor- 
dingly he gives his ajjostles commission in most amj)le terms, than 
which one cannot imagine more extensive, Mark xvi. 15. 'Go yo into 
all the tuorld, and preach the gospel to even/ creatureJ 

5. Consider to whom Christ stands related as a Saviour by ofhcc. 
He is the Saviour of the body only, Eph. v. 23. being considered as 
actually saving from sin and wrath. But considered as an official 
Saviour, he is the Saviour of the world, as ho is expressly called, 
1 John iv. 14. John iv. 42. And his salvation is called the ' com- 
mon salvation,' Jude 3. 

6. Lastly, If it were not so, then there would be some of mankind- 
sinners excepted, for whom there would be no manner of warrant to 
believe in Christ, or take hold of the covenant, more than there is 
for devils : which is contrary to the scriptures, John iii. 16. Mark 
xvi. 15*. 

Use. Know yo then that our Lord Jesus is empowered to admini- 
ster the covenant of grace to you, and each one of you. There is a 
Saviour provided for you, to Avhom you have a right, and to whom 
you may have access for life and salvation. Ye have heard much 
of the promised benefits of the covenant : let none say, they are ex- 
cluded from them. On the contrary, whatever ye are or have been, 
your name is in Christ's commission for administering the covenant : 
and ye must cither take that covenant, or perish as despisers of it. 

SECONDLY, What are the ends of this administration, or the 
business thus put into Christ's hand. 

1. To bring sinners into the covenant personally and savingly, 
Isa. xlix. 5. 

2. When they are brought in, to be the sole manager of them, ac- 
cording to the covenant, till death, John v. 22. 

3. To complete the happiness of his covenant-people, according 
to the covenant, in another world, Eph. v. 27- Col. i. 22. 

The above particuiara are more largely illustrated, iibi supra, uudi-r the title, Sin- 
ners of mankind the object of th^: administration of the covenant. 


These are the ends of this administration committed to Jesus 
Christ ; this is tlie work that he hath to do as administrator of the 
covenant. And the putting it in liis hand was a method of grace at 
once adapted to the glory of God the offended party, the comfort 
and safety of sinners who had given the offence, and the honour of 
the Mediator the glorious Peace maker*. 

THIRDLY, I come to consider the nature of this administration. 
And hereof wo may have a view, by observing Christ's relations to 
the covenant, in whicli he stands as Administrator of it. We have 
seen already, that Jesus Christ, as party-contractor on man's side in 
the covenant, became the Mediator of the covenant, both substantial 
and official ; that with respect to the conditionary part of it, he be- 
came the kinsman Redeemer in the covenant, the Surety of the co- 
venant, and the Priest, the atoning Priest thereof. It remains that 
we consider his relations to the covenant as he is Administrator of 
it, which respects the promissory part thereof. And thus he bears 
a fivefold relation to the covenant, viz. the Trustee, the Testator, 
the Prophet, the King, and Intercessor of the covenant ; each of 
which is a syllable of that name above every name, given him of the 

From what has been said of the administration of the covenant, 
we make the following inferences. 

1. As the covenant is well ordered in itself, so it is well ordered 
in point of its administration ; and so it is ordered in all things, 
2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Many a good bargain is marred as to the success 
of it by mismanagement, through the unskilfulness and unfitness of 
him into whose hands it is committed. But the covenant is put into 
the hand of an infallible Administrator, perfectly fit to deal with 
all concerned therein, and so cannot miss of an issue agreeable to 
the design of it. Two things are of fatal consequence in such mat- 
ters. (1.) Unskilfulness ; and (2.) Want of power and ability. 
Through either of these in the manager, a promising contrivance 
may be marred in the management of it. The administration of the 
covenant of grace is a matter that requires the utmost skill, con- 
sidering the difficulty of the thing in itself, and the ill disposition 
sinners are of with relation to it. But Jesus Christ is infinitely 
wise, and nothing can escape his foresight or observation, Col. ii. 3. 
He knows well the fit times and seasons, and has ' the tongue of the 
learned, that he should know how to speak a word in season to him 

* See these particulars amplified, ubi supra, under the title, The ends of the admi- 
nistration of the covenant. 

t See all these relations illustrated, uhi supra, under their respective titles. 


that is weary,' Isa. 1. 4. There are many adversaries, set to oppose 
ami counteract the design of the glorious contrivance, the admini- 
stration of which is put in his hand : the whole force of hell is 
banded against it. But he is sufficiently enabled to carry it on 
over the belly of them all : all power in heaven and in earth being 
given him. And therefore one may conclude, that when the 
mystery of God shall be finished, the issue will be found exactly to 
answer the eternal plan. 

2. While the covenant is administered to you, it is Jesus Christ 
himself with whom you have to do in that matter ; he is the great 
Ambassador of heaven to you and each one of you, in this matter of 
the covenant, Heb. xii, 25. Ye would then look above ministers 
and ordinances unto himself, and regard them as persons and things 
by which Jesus Christ himself is treating with you, and regard him 
as your party with whom yc have to do. If ministers go beyond 
the bounds of their commission, ye may safely so far disregard what 
they say or do in that manner : but to fill your hearts with preju- 
dices against them, on account of such and such faults ye espy in 
them, especially on the account of doing their duty, and so make 
yourselves very easy as to the ordinances by them administered, 
and to slight these ordinances under pretence that ye can spend the 
time otherwise to as great advantage ; this is but to look on them 
as divided in their ministration from Christ, and so to cheat your 
own souls, 2 Cor. v. 20. Luke x. 16. What God then has joined, 
it will be dangerous so to put asunder. If ye took Christ himself 
for the i)arty dealing with you, as indeed he is, it would engage you 
to take good heed how ye entertain the administration of the cove- 
nant among you. 

3. They who would partake of the covenant, must come to Christ 
by faith, Isa. Iv. 3. for that effect. lie has the administration of it 
in his hand : so it is from him we must get it, with all the benefits 
and privileges of it. The whole of it is in him ; so uniting with 
him we have it, and only that way we can have it. As is your in- 
terest in Christ, so is your interest in the covenant of grace ; if he 
is yours in the way of special interest, your souls being married to 
him ; then the privileges of the covenant are all yours, and the co- 
venant is the security ye have for them, if ye are strangers to Christ, 
ye are strangers to the covenant of promise too, and so without 
hope and without God in the world. 

4. Such as are personally entered into the covenant in a saving 
manner, and would improve the covenant for their daily needs, must 
still be coming to Christ for that end ; since he is the Administra- 
tor of it, all the benefits of it arc dispensed by his hand, John i. 16. 


So tho life of a Christian comes to bo a life of faith : forasmuch as 
the whole supply afforded them from heaven is benefits of the cove- 
nant, and the riches of the covenant are in Christ's hand as Admi- 
nistrator of it ; and the way of believing in Christ is the way 
appointed for receiving them from him. So the more a Christian is 
in the exercise of faith, the more he employs the Administrator ; 
and the more he employs him, the more liberally he shares of the 
things of tho covenant. 

5. Sinners have abundant encouragement and security for their 
coming into the covenant, by believing in the Lord Jesus. We are 
not called to come to enter into a covenant with an unvailed God, 
the rays of whose glory in his holiness, justice and truth, and all 
his other perfections, might quite damp and dispirit the guilty crea- 
ture ; but as Christ as a second Adam has made the covenant with 
his Father, and fulfilled it in the whole of the condition thereof re- 
quired on our part ; so it is j)ut in his hand, who is bone of our 
bone and flesh of our flesh, to administer it unto any of the family 
of Adam ; and in him we have the whole of it. Here all is ready 
for us, suited to our case. And we have his word of the gospel for 
our security, Matth. xxii. 4. and John vi. 37. And well may we 
trust him, believing the Son, believing his word, since the Father 
has trusted him with the whole administration of the covenant. 

6. Lastly, There is no man who has the ofter of Christ made him 
in the gospel, but if he continue in his sin, and die in it, he will 
perish with a witness, without all shadow of excuse, John xv. 22. 
The covenant is the contrivance of Heaven for salvation to lost sin- 
ners : in the administration of it, none are excluded from the be- 
nefit thereof ; the net is spread out for even the worst of sinners, 
wherever the gospel comes. There is enough in the covenant for 
the worst of cases ; the promises of it are made suitable to the sin- 
ner's case, both in respect of sin and of misery ; so that whatever is 
their case, in the covenant there is a suitable cure. And that the 
sinner may at once lay hold on all, Grod has given Christ as the co- 
venant to the people, making the embracing of Christ, the short and 
sure way for the sinner to have all. In him is lodged the quick- 
ening Spirit : so that by applying to him we may have life. They 
must then be left inexcusable who reject the offer of Christ, and 
will not come to him, that they may have life, John v. 40. 

And now having opened to you the doctrine of the covenant of 
grace, that covenant on which the salvation of our souls depends, in 
discoursing of the parties in it, the parts of it, and the administra- 
tion of it, I shall shut up the discourse on this subject, with a two- 
fold use of the whole. 


Use I. Of trial. Let every one put the question to himself, 
What interest have I in this covenant ? Are ye personally brought 
within the covenant of grace in a saving manner, or not ? 

For your help in this inquiry, I shall oifer you some marks or 
characters of those who by grace are personally instated through 
faith in the covenant of grace, before the Lord, under Christ the 
second Adam as their head. 

1. They are such as have fled for refuge from the covenant of 
works to the covenant of grace, Heb. vi. 17, 18. 

2. They are such as cordially approve of and acquiesce in the 
plan of the covenant, as suited to the honour of God, and to their 
case in particular, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. 

3. Having the discovery made to them of the covenant as made 
from eternity betwixt God and the second Adam, and in the gospel 
oflfered to them, they will satisfy themselves with Heaven's draught 
of it in their covenanting, so far as they understand it, and not go 
about to add to it, or diminish from it, Acts ix. 6. 

4. The love of God in Christ, is habitually predominant in them, 
Prov. ^nii. 17- ' I love them that love me.' 

5. Jesus Christ, the head of the covenant, is their head with their 
own consent. 

6. The condition of the covenant, as fulfilled by Jesus Christ, is 
the alone ground of their confidence before the Lord, as to accept- 
ance with God for time and eternity, and as to any of all the bene- 
fits of the covenant they look to partake of, Phil. iii. 3. 

7. The promises of the covenant are a satisfying portion to their 
hearts, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. 

8. The spirit of the covenant is in them ; and that is another 
spirit than what the men of the world are actuated by, Ezek. xxxvi. 


9. The laws of the covenant are in their hearts the holy law of 
the ten commandments, the eternal rule of righteousness, Heb. viii. 

Use II. Of exhortation to sinners and to saints. 

FIRST, Let sinners be exhorted to come into this covenant, by 
embracing it personally for themselves, so as they may be instated 
therein to all saving purposes. This covenant is brought to, and set 
before you in the gospel ; so that you and every one of you must 
either be receivers or refusers of it. i*efuse it not, for the refu- 
sing is dangerous beyond expression. Take hold of it, and embrace 

• See all these particulars amplified, ubi supra, tit. Trial of a saving personal in- 
being in the covenant of grace. 


it, for it is your life : come, enter into it without delay. Ye arc 
under the covenant of works, sinners ! where ye can have no life 
nor salvation. But the door of tlie new covenant is opened unto 
you, come, flee from the covenant ye were born under, and are 
living under; and let the sacred knot be cast this day, by your 
entering within the bond of the covenant of grace, accepting and 
embracing the offered covenant, to the instating of you personally in 
it, to all the purposes of life and salvation, grace and glory, by it. 
But that ye may more clearly perceive the duty ye are called to, 
and may not walk in the dai'k, in your aiming at embracing the co- 
venant, and that the motives to it may have the more weight, I 

1. Lay before you, by what means it is that a soul embraceth the 
covenant of grace, and is instated in it effectually to salvation. 

2. Offer some motives to press the exhortation on sinners to enter 
personally into the covenant. 

First, I shall lay before you, by what means it is that a soul em- 
braceth the covenant of grace, and is instated in it effectually to 
salvation. This, in one word, is by faith in Jesus Christ, Acts xvi. 
31. The covenant is held forth in the gospel to you : God saith to 
every one of you, ' I will make an everlasting covenant with you, 
even the sure mercies of David.' And to state you in it personally, 
and to close the bargain with you, to all the intents and purposes of 
salvation, all that is required of you is to hear, that is, to believe, 
Isa. Iv. 3. He that believeth is within the covenant of grace per- 
sonally and savingly ? he that believeth not, is still under the cove- 
nant of works, where the first Adam left him. This is the hand 
that takes hold of the covenant ; thereby one signs the covenant for 
himself, and closes the bargain for his own salvation. This is the 
mouth of the soul, by which it consents to the covenant ; and Grod 
becomes your God in covenant, and ye his covenanted people. So 
when we call you to embrace the covenant, and enter into it person- 
ally, all that wo call you to is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. 

That believing on Christ should be the appointed mean of enter- 
ing sinners into the covenant of grace, is very agreeable to the na- 
ture and end of that great transaction. For, 

(1.) Hereby the grace of the cpvenant is i)reserved entire in the 
dispensation of the covenant ; and by that means the i)romise is 
made sure to all the seed, Rom. iv. 16. Faith is contradistinguished 
to works, as grace is to debt, Rom. iv. 4, 5. If any work or doing 
of ours were that upon which we were instated in the covenant, and 
got the right to the promise, then the covenant, and benefits of it, 
would be of debt to us, contrary to the A^ery design of that method 


of salvation, which is to exalt the free grace of God, and cut off all 
boasting. But the nature of faith on Clu"ist is adapted to tlic exalt- 
ing of grace, inasmuch as it is a grace purely receiving, not giving ; 
taking all from Christ, without money and without price ; laying 
the stress of the soul's acceptance with God wholly on what Christ 
has done and suffered ; and renouncing entirely all doings and suf- 
ferings of our own in that point. 

(2.) Hereby the sinner enters into the covenant, by uniting with 
Christ, who was the representative with whom it was made, John x. 
9, and so the unity of the covenant and the representation in it, are 
preserved. If men entered into the covenant another way, as by 
accepting such and such properly called terms to them proposed, 
•and promising for themselves the performance of them, the repre- 
sentation in the second covenant is marred, and there would in effect 
be as many covenants of grace, as there are persons embracing it at 
different times ; at least Christ's covenant would be one, and ours 
another. But the covenant of grace being made with Christ, as the 
second Adam, in the name of all such as should be his, it is evident, 
that the only way of one's personal entering into such a covenant, 
must be by becoming his, standing related to the head of the cove- 
nant, as our head : and it is by faith, and no work or consent of 
ours differing from faith, that we are united to him, and become 
members of his body, Eph. iii. 17. 

But here ariseth a weighty question, necessary to be touched, for 
clearing your way into the covenant, viz. What is that believing, by 
which one unites with Christ, and so enters into the covenant of 
grace ? Believing, in the scripture use of the word, is trusting a 
word, person, or thing. And hence the scripture phrases of believing 
to, and heliemmj in, i. e. having trust to and in ; phrases, however 
unusual with us in conversation, yet ordinary both in the Old and 
New Testament. It is the trusting a word, as totreport, Isa. liii. 1, 
in God's words, Psal. cvi. 12. It is trusting a person: thus the Is- 
raelites ' believed the Lord and his servant Moses ; Heb. believed in 
the Lord, and in Moses his servant.' Job iv. 18. Heb. ' lie believed 
not in his servants,' i. e. trusted them not. And it is the trusting a 
thing too, Job xxxix. 12. * Wilt thou believe him,' viz. the unicorn ? 
Heb. ' believe in him,' i. e. trust in him. Dent, xxviii. 66. Heb. 
' Thou shalt not believe in thy life.' — And thence I conclude, tliat 
saving faith is, in the general, the trusting of a word, and of a per- 
son and thing held forth in that word. 

Now, there is a twofold word to be believed by all those who 
would enter into the covenant of grace in a saving manner, namely, 
the word of the law, and the word of the gospel. The believing of 


the former is a faith of the law ; and of the latter, a faith of the 
•rospel. The faith of the law is the work of the Spirit of God, as 
well as the saving faith of the gospel, though wrought by him in a 
very different manner. The former he works by the law, as a Spirit 
of conviction and bondage, convincing of sin and misery, Rom. viii. 
15. with John xvi. 8. The latter he works by the gospel, as a 
quickening Spirit, a Spirit of saving illumination and adoption. 

Whosoever then would enter into the covenant of grace, must, in 
the first place, have a faith of the law ; which therefore is necessary 
to be preached to sinners. And by it a man believes three things. 

1. That he is a sinner, a breaker of the laAv's commands, liable to 
divine vengeance. The law pronounces him a guilty man, and he 
believes the report of the law concerning himself in particular; and 
• so, by this faith, his heavy and sorrowful heart echoes back to the 
voice of the law, Guilty, guilty ! Rom. iii. 19. This faith is a divine 
faith, founded upon the testimony of God in his holy law ; and rests 
not in the testimony of men, whether spoken or written. The Spirit 
of God as a Spirit of bondage, brings home the law to the man's 
conscience, and persuades him, that that law is the voice of the eter- 
nal God, and the voice of that God to him in particular ; and so 
convinces him of sin upon God's own testimony. And thus he be- 

(1.) That his life and conversation is sinful and corrupt, displeas- 
ing and hateful in the sight of a holy God, according to the divine 
testimony, Rom. iii. 12. ' They are all gone out of the way, they are 
together become unprofitable, there is none that doeth good, no not 
one.' He believes, what is true, that his omissions and commissions 
are to him innumerable ; his righteousness and unrighteousness are 
both together sinful and displeasing to a holy God ; that he is gone 
out of the way of God, and is walking in the way of destruction and 
misery. • 

(2.) That his heart is full of mischief and iniquity, according to 
the divine testimony, Jer. xvii. 9. ' The heart is deceitful above all 
things, and desperately wicked.' He sees those hellish lusts there, 
which he little noticed before. The law shining into the heart, dis- 
covers them ; and pressing the man, irritates them ; so as he believ- 
eth, that he has such a mystery of iniquity in his heart, as he could 
never before believe to be there, Rom. vii. 9. 

(3.) That his nature is quite corrupted, according to the divine 
testimony, as one 'dead in trespasses and sins,' Eph. ii. 1. And so 
his soul echoes back to the law's testimony, ' I was shapen in ini- 
quity, and in sin did my mother conceii^e me,' Psal. li. 5. crying, 
Unclean, unclean. He sees that his disease is not accidental, but 


natural and hereditary ; and so that his nature cannot be mended, 
but must be renewed. And so he believes, not only that he does no 
good, but that he can do no good. And in all these respects he sees 
and believes himself to be an object loathsome in the sight of a holy 
God, loathsome in respect of his life, heart, and nature too. 

2. By the law man believes, that he is a lost and undone sinner, 
under the curse of the law for his sin. Gal. iii. 10. He no more 
looks on the curse of the law as some strange thing, belonging only 
to some monsters of wickedness, and far from him. But the Spirit 
of God brings home the dreadful sentence of that broken law, and 
applies it close to him, as if he had said, thou art the man. And 
he groans out his belief thereof under the felt weight thereof, like 
a man under the sentence of death, Rom. vii. 9. 

3. By it a man believes, that he is utterly incapable to help him- 
self, and so that he must inevitably perish for ever if he get not 
help. He believes, that he cannot, by all his doings and sufferings, 
remove the curse of the law from off him, according to the divine 
testimony, as being ' without strength,' Rom. v. 6. nor change his 
own nature, heart, and life, in a right manner, according to that in- 
fallible testimony, ' Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leo- 
pard Ids spots ? then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do 
evil,' Jcr. xiii. 23. He believes himself to be a dead man spiritu- 
ally ; legally dead, and morally dead, as the apostle testifies of 
himself in that case, Rom. vii. 9. 

This is the faith of the law : and the effect of it is a legal repen- 
tance, whereby the soul is broken and bruised with fear and terror 
of the wrath of God, grieves and sorrows for sin as a ruining and 
destructive evil, seriously desires therefore to be freed from it, de- 
spairs of salvation by itself, and seriously looks out for relief ano- 
ther way. Acts ii. 37. and xvi. 29, 30. Thus the law is a school- 
master to bring us unto Christ ; and the faith of the law makes way 
for the faith of the gospel. Not that this legal faith or legal repen- 
tance is the condition of the soul's welcome to Christ and the cove- 
nant of grace ; our access to Christ and the, covenant is proclaimed 
free, without any conditions or qualifications required in us to war- 
rant us sinners of mankind to believe in Jesus Christ. But they 
are necessary to move and excite us to make use of our privilege of 
free access to Christ and the covenant : so that the sinner will never 
come to Christ nor embrace the covenant without them. 

In calling you then to embrace the covenant, ye are called indi- 
rectly, and by consequence to this faith of the law, to believe that 
ye are sinners in life, heart, and nature ; lost and undone, under the 



curse ; and utterly unable to help yourselves. Yet this is not 
saving faith. 

Saving faith, which unites to Christ, is the faith of the gospel : 
for the gospel only is the ministration of righteousness, 2 Cor. iii. 9. 
It is in it that the righteousness of faith is revealed unto faith, to 
be believed, Rom. i. 17- That is the word which gives the sinner 
the only notice of a Saviour, of the atoning blood, and the new co- 
venant in that blood. And hence it is that it is the only word by 
which saving faith is begotten in the hearts of lost sinners. Gal. iii. 
2. In this word of the gospel the Lord Jesus, with all his benefits 
and covenant, is to be believed on and embraced by faith, Rom. x. 
8. And the word of the gospel being received by believing, we 
have Christ and his covenant, with all the benefits of it ; faith being 
indeed the echo of the quickened soul to the word of grace that 
bringeth salvation, Mark i. 15. Isa. liii. 1. Gral. iii. 2. a trusting of 
the word of the gospel, tlie person, viz. the Saviour, and the thing 
therein held forth to us to be believed on for salvation. 

This is that believing by which we are united to Christ, and en- 
tered into the covenant of grace. So the question being put, how 
shall I personally enter into the covenant of grace in a saving 
manner ? I answer in the following particulars. 

First, You must believe that there is a fulness of salvation in 
Christ for poor sinners. This is the constant report of the gospel 
concerning him, Eph. iii. 8. Heb. vii. 25. He is therein held forth, 
as an able Saviour, able to save men from their sins, and from the 
wrath of God. His merit is a sufficient defence against the tempest 
of fiery wrath that incensed justice is ready to cause to fly forth 
against transgressors, Isa. xxxii. 2. His spirit is suflicient to sanc- 
tify the most unholy, 1 Cor. vi. 11. The righteousness he fulfilled 
as the condition of the covenant is so valuable in itself, and in the 
eyes of his Father, that it is sufficient to procure justification, sanc- 
tification, and all other saving benefits to sinners, who in themselves 
deserve death and damnation. So that they are happy who are in 
him, and they shall never perish, but have everlasting life; and 
they shall be eternally secure under the covert of his righteousness, 
as a sufficient defence. Believest thou this ? 

This is the general faith of the gospel, which, being without par- 
ticular application, doth not unite the sinner to Christ, nor enter 
him into the covenant ; and may be found in reprobates and fallen 
angels, as being only an assent in general to the truth of the doc- 
trine of the gospel, Matth. xiii. 20, 21. and viii. 29. But it is ne- 
cessarily pre-requisite to a faith of particular application, by the 
nature of the thing ; f(5r I must first believe a saying to be true in 



itself, before I can trust to it for my part ; .and I must first believe 
a tiling to be good in itself, before I can believe it is good for me. 
But where this faith is carried forward to uniting with Christ, it is- 
sues in an ardent desire of union and communion with Christ, an 
high esteem of him and his covenant, and a longing for his righte- 
ousness, as a hungry man for meat, or a thirsty man for drink. 

Secondly, Ye must believe that Jesus Christ, with his righteous- 
ness and all his salvation, is by himself offered to sinners, and to 
you in particular. This is the plain voice of the gospel, Isa. Iv. 1. 
Rev. xxii. 17- Prov. viii. 4. But, alas ! few believe it ; yea, none 
will believe it to purpose, till the Spirit of the Lord make it plain 
to them, and persuade them by an inward illumination. Many se- 
cure sinners hear the gospel, and are glad of the offer; but they dis- 
cern not Christ's voice in it ; they hear it not as the voice of Christ 
himself to them, but as the word of men ; hence it hath no due 
authority upon their consciences, and so they pass it over lightly. 

But where true faith is a-working, the word of the gospel-offer 
is by the Holy Spirit inwardly brouglit home and applied to the soul 
in particular, with power, as the word of the Lord himself, and not 
of men, whereby the man is assured that it is the voice of Christ, 
and to him in particular, 1 Thess. i. 5. and ii. 13. And so the man 
applies it to himself by believing. This is necessary ; for without 
it there can be no receiving of Christ, and the soul can see no solid 
ground of faith : For it is evident, that there can be no receiving 
aright, where the sinner does not believe the offer to be made to him 
in particular. And here begins the application of faith, an appli- 
cation tending to union with Christ. 

Wherefore, if ye would unite with Christ, and so enter into the 
covenant of grace, sist yourselves before the Lord as condemned sin- 
ners under the curse of the law ; and hear and believe the word of 
the gospel as made to you condemned and cursed sinners in particu- 
lar. And so it will come to you as the ofter of a pardon to one un- 
der sentence of death, as the rising sun to one sitting in darkness, 
and the shadow of death. And let not your heart misgive by unbe- 
lief, but believe the offer, to be made to you, as it is indeed, (Isa. Iv. 
3.) by Christ himself. 

TJdrcUy, Te must believe that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the 
world, and your Saviour in particular, by the Father's appointment 
and his own offer ; and that, by the same appointment and offer, 
his righteousness the condition of the covenant, and eternal life the 
promise of the covenant, are yours : Tours, I mean not in posses- 
sion, but in right thereto, so far as ye may lawfully and warrant- 
ably take possession of, and use them as your own to all intents and 

2 a2 


purposes of salvation. Think not this too much for you : it is no 
more than what is necessary to saving faith in Christ. If you be- 
lieve only in the general that Christ is the Saviour of the world, 
and don't believe that he is your Saviour in particular, what do yo 
believe more than devil's do ? They believe that he is Jesus a Sa- 
viour, Mark i. 24. Ye must needs believe that he is your Saviour, 
if ye would go beyond them, and consequently that his righteous- 
ness and salvation is yours, in the sense before opened; for where 
Christ is given, all is given with him, Rom. viii. 32. How can you 
take or receive him as your Saviour, if he is not yours indeed ? A 
man may take possession fraudulently indeed of what he does not 
believe to be his by right: but no man can fairly and honestly 
claim and take possession of what he does not believe to be his own. 
Certainly God must first give Christ to us, before we can receive 
him, John iii. 27- Giving on God's part, and receiving on ours, are 
corelates, and the former must needs go before the latter. There- 
fore believe firmly, that Christ is your Saviour in particular, his 
righteousness is yours, and eternal life is yours. 

Fourthli/, Ye must wholly trust in him as your own Saviour, and 
in his righteousness as made over to you, for his whole salvation to 
you in particular, upon the ground of God's faithfulness in his word. 
This is that saving faith, or believing on Christ Jesus, by which a 
sinner is united unto Chi'ist, and personally entered within the co- 
venant of grace. Acts xvi. 31. Isa. xxvi. 3, 4. Rom. i. 17. Phil, 
iii. 9. Gal. ii. 16. Acts xv. 11. 1 Thess. ii. 13. 1 Cor. ii. 5. 
This, according to tlie scripture, is a sinner's receiving and resting 
upon Christ for salvation, as saving faith is defined in our Cate- 
chism. And this is indeed believing and nothing but believing, ac- 
cording to the scriptural use of that word. 

1. I say, this is j)lainly believing in the scriptural use of that 
word. It is a trusting of or in a person, viz. Jesus Christ, and God 
in him, the personal object of saving faith. Acts xvi. 31 ; — a trust- 
ing in a thing, viz, the righteousness of Christ, the ultimate real 
object of faith, Rom. i. 17- therefore called faith in his blood, Rom. 
iii. 25. — and a trusting in a word, viz. in the record and testimony 
of God, the word of the promise of the gospel, John iii. 16. the 
proximate or nearest real object of faith. And all this for the great 
purpose and end of salvation. 

2. This is the receiving of Christ aloue for salvation, John i. 12. 
God has appointed Christ Saviour of the world, and your Saviour : 
you hear that published in the gospel, and you believe accordingly, 
that he is your Saviour, by his Father's appointment and his own 
offer : thereupon you trust on him, and on him alone, for salvation, 


and all you need for salvation. Is not this a receiving of him for 
your part in the character of a Saviour, wherein his Father sent 
him to you ? a taking of him to yourself as he is offered to you ? 
an using of him as your own Saviour by the divine appointment and 
offer, as trusting him for the ends for which that offer and appoint- 
ment was made ? Thus your whole case is put in his hand, with 
heart and good-will ; and you truly receive him as appointed for 
and offered to you. 

3. This is resting on Christ alone for salvation, according to the 
scripture, Isa. xxvi. 3. Neither can one imagine what way a person 
can rest on a word, or a soul can rest upon a person, but by trusting 
them, or trusting in them. See 2 Chron. xxxii. 8. and xiv. 11. So 
I conclude, that this trust in Christ is that believing on him, by 
which the soul is united to Christ, and brought into the covenant in 
a saving manner. And for opening of it, consider the import of this 

(1.) It imports not only a willingness, but a sincere and earnest 
desire to be delivered from sin and wrath ; a desire to be sanctified 
as well as to be justified ; to be delivered from the reigning power, 
pollution, practice, and inbeing of sin, as well as from the guilt of 
it, Rom. vii. 24, 25. For it is trusting on Christ, not for the half 
of his salvation, viz. salvation from wrath only, as many do who are 
by no means desirous to part with sin ; but for the whole of it, even 
salvation from sin too, the principal part thereof, Matth. i. 21. 
Faith is a believing with the heart and affection of the soul. The 
whole salvation of Christ is the believer's choice : it is the end he 
desires to compass, and the trust of faith is exerted as the means to 
compass that end. 

(2.) A renouncing of all confidence in all that is not Christ or in 
Christ, as to that matter particularly. Faith overturns self-confi- 
dence, law-confidence, and creature-confidence, to build on a quite 
new ground, Phil. iii. 3. and Jer. xvi. 19. For it is a trusting in 
Christ and his righteousness wholly, a trusting or believing with all 
the heart, Prov. iii. 5. and Acts viii. 37. The believer is carried off 
the works of the law, to the blood of Jesus, for his justification ; 
and out of himself too, unto the Spirit of holiness, for sanctification ; 
being persuaded that no doing or suffering of his own can procure 
to him the pardon of, or atone for the least transgression ; and that 
he is not able truly to mortify one lust, more than to purge away 
the guilt of one sin, Matth. v. 3. and Isa. xlv. 24. Thus is the 
sandy foundation overturned, that the soul may build on Christ the 

(3.) A hearty approbation of the plan of salvation according to 

2 A 3 


the covenant, manifested in the gospel, as suited to the divine per- 
fections, and to the case of sinners, and their own case in particular, 
Matth. xi. 6. and 1 Cor. i. 23, 24. Without this, no man that 
knows what God is, what sin is, and wliat is the worth of his own 
Bonl, will ever venture his salvation upon it. One's trusting his 
salvation to Christ and his righteousness, speaks him to be well 
pleased therewith, as what oue may safely trust to, and that in the 
sight of a holy just God. And this is that rejoicing in Christ Jesus 
which makes an illustrious part of the believer's character, Phil, 
iii. 3. It implies, 

[1 .] An eyeing of Jesus Christ in this matter as a crucified Sa- 
viour, having fulfilled all righteousness, according to the stated con- 
dition of the covenant, 1 Cor. ii. 2. This is the view that faith 
takes of Christ, while the sinner stands trembling before a holy 
God, beholding him as lifted up on the cross, as the brazen serpent 
was on the pole in the wilderness, Isa. xlv. 22. So faith is called 
faith in his blood, Rom. iii. 25. ; his righteousness whereof the shed- 
ding of his blood was the completing part, being the only spring of 
the believer's hope. 

[2.] A real persuasion of the sufficiency of Christ's righteousness, 
to save sinners, and them in particular, from sin and wrath ; to an- 
swer for them before a holy just God in the eye of his holy law, and 
procure for them eternal holiness and happiness, Phil. iii. 9. There 
is no saving faith without this ; Christ's ability must be believed, 
and that with application to your own case. Matt. ix. 28. And in 
order to this, faith fixes its view on Christ's righteousness, as the 
righteousness of God, and so of infinite value and efficacy, Phil. iii. 
9. 1 John i. 7. The reason why the gospel, and no other doctrine 
whatever, is the power of God to the salvation of sinners, is because 
therein is revealed the righteousness of God unto faith, Rom. i. 16, 
17. ; and that is the only righteousness suited to the divine perfec- 
tions and the sinner's case. 

[3.] An acquiescing in that way of salvation for themselves, 
Matth. xi. 6. The believer sees the sufficiency and safety of it, and 
he hath a cordial liking of it for the way of his salvation. The mis- 
tery of Christ is to him the power of God, and the wisdom of God, 
1 Cor. i. 24. His soul pronounces them safe and blessed that are in 
it ; he desires for his own part to be found in it, Phil. iii. 9. and is 
persuaded he would be well, saved from sin and wrath, if he were in 

(4.) A betaking one's self unto Christ aud his righteousness alone, 
for salvation from sin and wrath. This is done by this trusting on 
him and his righteousness wholly, Ruth ii. 12. The sinner believ- 


iug that Christ is his Saviour and that his righteousness, is made 
over to him by free gift, and Avithal that this his Saviour, with his 
righteousness is suHicient to save him from sin and wratli, doth ac- 
cordingly trust on Christ and his righteousness, for salvation from 
sin and wrath. 

5. Lastly, An affiance, confidence, or trust on Christ and his 
righteousness, that he will save us from sin and wrath, according to 
his promise. That faith is an affiance, confidence, or trust, is evi- 
dent from the whole tenor of the holy scripture. So it is expressly 
called, Isa. xxvi. 3, 4. and 1. 10. Psal. xxviii. ?• and cxviii. 8, 9. 
Heb. X. 35. And that it is a particular trust, viz. that Christ will 
save us, is evident from the nature of the thing : for he that trusts 
in a person for a thing, hath surely a persuasion of the same degree 
with the trust, that that person will do that thing for him. And 
hence where the party trusted doth fail, the party trusting is con- 
founded and ashamed, as being disappointed in that which he 
trusted he would do for him : and since the trust of faith is never 
disappointed, therefore it is observed, that the believer shall never 
be ashamed, Rom. x. 11. 1 Pet. ii, 6. 2 Tim. i. 12.; which plainly 
imports the trust of faith in the Lord to be, that he will do for the 
sinner what he trusts him for, otherwise there would be no place for 
this shame in any case*. 

Secondly, I come now to oflfer some motives to press the exhor- 
tation on sinners to enter personally into the covenant. 

1. Being out of this covenant, ye are under the broken covenant 
of works, which makes your state a deplorable one. Some stand off 
from the gospel covenant, because they do not incline to come under 
a covenant with God. But, alas ! they do not consider, that there 
never was nor will be a moment of their life wherein they were or 
are free from a covenant with God. Ye are born under the cove- 
nant of works, and the bond of the covenant is fast wreathed about 
your necks, as long as ye are out of the covenant of grace : for the 
two covenants divide the whole world between them, Rom. vi. 14. ; 
and there is no getting out of the bond of the first covenant, but by 
marrying with Christ, and so coming under the bond of the second, 
Rom. vii. 4. And of the broken covenant I may say, that it is 
strong to command, curse, condemn, and kill those under it. Gal. iii. 
lU. but absolutely barren as to the affording strength for duty, life, 
or salvation, Rom. viii. 3. 

• Some few coiargements in these particulars, with objections of serious exercised 
souls relative to the doctrine here laid down, and answers thereto may be seen, ubi su- 
pra, under the title, The faith of the gospd instating in the covenant. 


2. Yo are all under the covenant of grace externally and by pro- 
fession, as being baptized in the name of Christ, Gal. iii. 27. Why 
will ye not really be what you have professed to be, members of 
Christ, believing in him, within the bond of the covenant in a saving 
manner ? Why will ye aggravate your own condemnation, by pro- 
fessing to take hold of the covenant, and yet before the Lord 
keeping your necks out of that yoke ? 

3. It is a most honourable covenant. The parties in it confe- 
derate arc God and his own Son Jesus Christ, and in him the 
general assembly of the first-born, whose names are written in 
heaven. And seemeth it a small thing to you to be confederated 
with these ? ^ 

4. It is a most precious covenant, being a covenant in the blood 
of the Son of God, 1 Cor. xi. 25. It could not be purchased other- 
wise : heaven and earth, set at odds by the breaking of the first co- 
venant, could not be united again at less expence. Slight it not. 

5. It is a most advantageous covenant, and most suitable for you. 
It is most advantageous for time and for eternity, 1 Tim. iv. 8. 
There is no case you are or can be in, but there is a suitable help 
for it in the covenant. Yea, it is suited to your inability for the 
duties of it, not by loosing the bond of the holy commandments, but 
promising strength, Ezek. xxxvi. 27. and to your fickleness and na- 
tive instability, John x. 28, 29. 

6. It is freely offered to you, and every one of you. Rev. xxii. 17- 
Not only is there a warrant for your entering into it, but that war- 
rant is intimated to you, and ye are invited, yea commanded, to 
come in, Luke xiv. 23. 1 John iii. 23. 

7. Jesus Christ himself is appointed Administrator of it to you, 
Isa. Ixi. 1. Regard it for the sake of the glorious Administrator. 
He is Heaven's Ambassador to you, and every one of you, in tlie 
matter of this covenant : so that if ye refuse it, ye must refuse it at 
his hand. 

8. lie administers it to sinners very honourably, taking them to 
himself, that he may bring them into the covenant, admitting them 
into it by union with himself. 

9. Lastly, Without this covenant there is no salvation, Eph. ii. 
12. Either ye must be in it, or perish for ever. When the first co- 
venant was broken, there was a second made for the help of sinners; 
if ye refuse the second, there is not a third. It is the last ship 
bound for Immanuel's land. 

Wherefore let this be a time of your embracing the covenant ; 
and ye that have embraced it before, renew your acceptance of it, 
that ye may get it sealed by the sacrament. 


(1.) Stir up the faith of the law in your own souls, as a prepara- 
tive to the faith of the gospel. 

(2.) Set before you the promises of the gospel, and believe on 
Jesus Christ, in whom they are all yea and Amen. 

(3.) Lastly, In solemn prayer to God, be as express and par- 
ticular as may be in these things, and so solemnly enter into the co- 
venant in express words before the Lord, Isaiah xliv. 5. 

SECONDLY, and lastly. Let those who have personally entered 
into the covenant of grace, and are now by faith instated in it, walk 
worthy of the covenant, walk as becomes the covenant, Phil. i. 27. 
Look to the covenant which ye are taken into, and let your life and 
conversation be agreeable thereto. 

1. Be holy in the whole of your life, 1 Pet. i. 15. Holiness is 
the great end of the covenant, next to the glory of God. It is the 
holy covenant ye are brought into ; holiness goes through the whole 
of it, and the design of it was to make sinners holy. And ye must 
evidence the reality of your being in it by holiness, holiness of 
heart and life, Psal. xxiv. 3, 4. An unholy life, and an uu sanc- 
tified heart in which sin rules and reigus, will be a decisive evidence 
of estrangedness from the covenant. 

2. Turu not back to your former lusts in your state without the 
covenant, 1 Pet. i. 14. The men of the first covenant live, and 
cannot but live in their sins, because death domineers under that co- 
venant : aud living lusts feed on their souls, as worms do on the 
dead body. But under the covenant of grace, life reigns ; and the 
soul being thereby restored to life, v/ill cast oft' these, Col. iii. 7, 8. 
Beware of backsliding and apostasy. It is dangerous to the last 
degree, Luke ix. 62. ' No man having put his hand to the plough, 
and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.' That is the way 
hyj)ocritcs pull off their mask, 1 John ii. 19. Remember Lot's wife. 
But true believers shall be saved from it, Ileb. x. 38, 39. 'Now 
the just shall live by faith ; but if any man draw back, my soul 
shall have no i>leasure in him. But we are not of them who draw 
back unto perdition ; but of them that believe to the saving of the 
soul.' Wherefore, ' hearken, daughter, and consider and incline 
thine ear ; forget also thine own people, and thy Father's house,' 
Psal. xlv. 10. 

3. Mix not again with the world lying in wickedness, but carry 
yourselves as a separate company, under a now covenant, and a new 
head, Acts ii. 40. ' Save yourselves from this untoward generation.' 
If yc are really brought into the covenant, yc are come out from 
among them : shew that it is so, by your keeping at a distance from 
them. The grace of the covenant secures it as to all true believers, 
Psal. xii. 7. And, 


(1.) Cliuso not thoir company, Psal. xxvi. 4, 5. It is dangerous 
as a pest-house, 1 Cor. xv. 34. Many of the truly godly have been 
wounded in their soul and conscience deeply thereby ; witness Peter 
in the high priest's hall. Many who have had very fair appear- 
ances once a-day, have been ruined by ill company, Prov. xiii. 20. 
' A Companion of fools shall be destroyed.' There is no eviting it 
altogether in this life, 1 Cor. v. 10. But take heed ye have God's 
call, and then may ye expect the divine protection. "Why will ye 
chuse their company ? they are not going your way. 

(2.) Conform not to their way, Rom. xii. 2. Yo have declared 
yourselves of a different, yea, a contrary society ; why then will ye 
do as they do ? To walk according to the course of this world, 
speaks one to be a child of wrath, not a child of the covenant. 
Being come into the covenant, your privilege is beyond others : it is 
expected then that ye should do more than others, who have not 
your privilege, Matth. v. 47. The privilege is very singular, ye 
must then be singular in your walk, in comparison of the world 
lying in wickedness, though you should be wondered at, Zech. iii. 8. 
1 Pet. i. 4. 

4. Remember that ye are no more your own, but the Lord's by 
covenant, 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. God has offered his covenant unto you, 
ye have entered into it : so ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's. 
Let this be an answer to the temptations that ye will meet with ; 
say to them, as Jephthah did to his daughter. Judges xi. 35. ' I have 
opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.' If others 
say, their tongues and themselves are their own, and they have no 
Lord over them, ye cannot say it : for if you have come into the co- 
venant, ye have said, as Isa. xliv. 5. ' I am the Lord's.' And if you 
are his, you must be for him only, wholly, and for ever. 

5. Espouse the interests of the covenant, saying, ' Thy kingdom 
come ; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,' Matt. vi. 10. 
Have common friends and enemies with the God of the covenant, 
Psal. xvi. 2, 3. and cxix. 21. Your own interest is in it : and if it 
be really so, the interest of Christ's kingdom in the world will be 
yours, and ye will fight against the devil, the world, and the flesh, 
as the adversai-ies of the covenant. They are very low in the world 
at this day, and in this island; though the nation is under the bond 
of solemn covenants to God, that bond is little regarded, backslid- 
ings are multiplied, and the generation is dealing treacherously with 
a witness. If ye have embraced the covenant of grace for your own 
souls, it will natively produce a well tempered concern for the cove- 
nanted reformation of yourselves and the laud. 

6. Pursue earnestlv the ends of the covenant. These are the de- 


struction of sin, and tlie service of the Lord, Lulcc i, 74. Christ 
came 'to destroy the works of the devil;' hold to this eud of the 
covenant in yourselves and others. Study mortification of your 
own lusts in the first place : labour to break the power of sin in 
others, according as ye have opportunity, and to weaken Satan's 
interest in the place wherein you live. Serve the Lord diligently in 
the duties of inward worship, aud in the duties of morality, first and 
second table duties : and as we have access, stir up one another 

7. Lcistly, In all ye do, act as under the influence of this cove- 
nant, and not of the covenant of works. Be evangelical in all your 
duties, and the whole strain of your conversation. The covenant is 
a covenant of grace : let the grace, mercy, and love of the covenant, 
bo your great motives to obedience, 2 Cor. v. 14. To pretend to 
embrace the covenant of grace, and in the mean time to serve the 
Lord as bondmen, just for fear of punishment and hope of reward, 
is to run back to the old covenant. 

More particularly, walk worthy, 

1. Of the parties in the covenant, Col. i. 10. ' Walk worthy of the 
Lord unto all pleasing.' The confederates in the covenant of grace, 
which ye are taken into, arc the most glorious aud honourable par- 
ties that ever entered into a covenant together ; even God aud his 
own Son the second Adam, under whom believers come in as mem- 
bers under the head. View the glory and majesty of these parties, 
the infinite wisdom, love, aud grace to poor sinners, wherewith this 
transaction was managed from eternity ; and consider yourselves as 
taken into the same covenant with them, and ye must see that ye 
have need to take heed to walk worthy of such confederates. And, 

\st, Gratitude obliges to this. Should not the poor sinful crea- 
ture, considering itself taken into the commuuion of God and his 
Son's covenant, look on himself as highly honoured, beyond what- 
ever he could have expected ? 1 John i. 3. and ought he not there- 
upon to be careful to walk worthy of that honourable society? to 
carry as becomes that honourable character ? 

^dhj, The unsuitable walking of those taken into the covenant re- 
flects dishonour on the glorious parties into whose covenant he is 
taken, Rom. ii. 24. While men give up their names to Christ, and 
yet walk in the way of sin, they bring up an ill report on the ways 
of God, and cause the graceless world to blaspheme the glorious 
name. Then, 

(1.) Study to walk so as to ' be followers of God,' Eph. v. 1. La- 
bour to imitate him in all his imitable perfections. lie is your God, 
aud ye arc his people, if ye are really within the covenant ; and 


surely a people will strive to conform to the nature and will of their 
God. Be compassionate and merciful to those in misery, ready to 
do good to all as ye have access, yea even to your very enemies : so 
shall ye prove yourselves children of the God of the covenant, Matt. 
V. 44, 45. 

(2.) Conform yourselves to the example of the Head of the cove- 
nant. They to whom Christ's death brings salvation, will follow 
the example he left us in his life, 1 John ii. 6. ' He hath left us an 
example that we should follow his steps.' lie has writ a fair copy 
of a life for our imitation, John xiii. 15. and will have his people 
learn of him. Mat. xi. 29. We are apt to follow examples in things 
suited to our nature. Christ's example is every whit perfect, and 
no other is so : and what example should have more influence on the 
members than that of the Head ? 

(3.) Labour to maintain actual communion and fellowship with 
God in Christ, Cant. iii. 5. The covenant puts men in a state of 
communion with God, 1 John i. 3. That is a great privilege, but 
ofttimes much misimproved by God's own children, who fall secure 
and indisiiosed for converse with God, Cant. v. 3. ; grieve the Spirit, 
and so provoke him to depart ; regard some iniquity in their heart, 
and so mar the course of influences, and their own access to God. 

(4.) Be heavenly in your frame and walk, Phil. iii. 20. God is 
in lieaven, your head Christ is in heaven, and your treasure is there : 
why should not your heart be there too ? The due frame of a com- 
municant, that has taken hold of the covenant is set down. Cant. iii. 
6. ' Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of 
smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, and all powders of 
the merchant !' And it is sad to see those who are in the covenant 
grovelling among the dust of this earth, like those that are without ; 
to see the heavenly seed like the seed of the serpent. Set your af- 
fections then on things above, and not on things on the earth. 

Lastly, Let it be your greatest care to please God, to give content 
to the heart of Christ, Col. i. 10. It should be your great question, 
' What shall I render to the Lord V Let the love of the Father 
and the Son influence you to this manner of walking. And let 
God's displeasure be to you the most horrible thing, that you would 
rather venture on the displeasure of the whole world than his. 

2. Walk answerable to the parts of the covenant. And, 

\st, To the condition of the covenant performed by Jesus Christ, 
viz. his fulfilling all righteousness, in his being born holy, living 
holy, satisfying justice by his death and suiferings, to procure you 
the promises of the covenant. And, 

(1.) Let the stress of your acceptance with God all along lie upon 


that, and that only, Phil. iii. 3. Whatever you look to obtain from 
God, whether for time or eternity, let all your confidence for it bo 
laid on that ground only. Whatever you go to seek from God, 
whatever sacrifice you offer to God, or do for him, let it be laid on 
that altar, as ever ye would have it accepted, Col. iii. 17. It is not 
only when our duties are ill performed, but when they are best 
done, that wo must place our confidence here : for our best duties 
will otherwise bo unacceptable. 

(2.) Walk humbly as debtors to free grace, 1 Tim. i. 15. Look 
to the rock whence ye are hewn, and the hole of the pit whence ye 
were dug. See Ezek. xvi. Remember, whatever be your attain- 
ments, gifts, or graces, ye are decked with borrowed feathers : be 
not proud of them. The condition on which any promise is per- 
formed to you, you could uever perform : the price of the least 
mercy you could not pay. Only Jesus Christ has set up the poor 
bankrupt again. 

(3.) Walk in love, Eph. v. 2. ' Walk in love' to God in Jesus 
Christ. This is the fulfilling of the law : and there is the greatest 
reason for it, both for what he is in himself, and what he is to us. 
One flame is fit to kindle another. Such love was never seen among 
creatures, as God has shewn to man ; and shall it not inflame our 
hearts ? Walk in love to one another, and in love to mankind. 

(4.) Walk thankfully. The whole life of a Christian should be a 
life of thankfulness, ,1 Pet. ii. 9. Eternal life is won by Christ's 
fulfilling the condition of the covenant ; it is received in the first- 
fruits of it, and possessed in Christ the head, by faith. What then 
remains but to express our thankfulness in a well-ordered life, for 
the unspeakable free gift ? 

2dly, To the promises of the covenant ; they are ' great and pre- 
cious,' 2 Pet. i. 4. Happy are they that have them for their secu- 
rity, and all that are within the covenant have them so. 

(1.) Live upon them, let your souls feed on them, and acconnt 
them the great stock ye have to trust to, Psal. cxix. 162. This 
must be done by believing them, and that with application. How- 
ever little you have in hand, ye have a full covenant of promises, 
which are Heaven's bills and bonds, that make a good stock. And 
so reckon, that though ye have nothing, yet ye possess all things, 
viz. in Christ ; ye have them in the promise, Col. ii. 10. ' Ye are 
complete in him. 

(2.) Resolutely set about every duty in the faith of the j)romise. 
It will be too hardy to venture on the least without it : and the 
hardest and most dilficult may be ventured on with it, 2 Tim. ii. 1. 
God calls his people to no duty, but what the covenant has furniture 


for in the promise. And in the faith of it the weak is made strong, 
and without it the proud helpers stoop. 

(3.) Resist tc7nptations in the faith of the promise. The least of 
them is able to lay us by, if the Lord do not stand by us : the shock 
of the most violent of them may be endured, and one come off safe, 
if encountered in the faith of the promise, Eph. vi. 16. It is the 
promise in the hand of faith that keeps the tempted safe, and makes 
his resistance successful. 

(4.) Bear crosses, trials, and afflictions in the faith of the promise, 
Psal. xxvii. 13. There is no getting forward to heaven, but by the 
way of the cross : these deep waters must needs be swimmed 
througli ; but the faith of the promise will bear up the head, and 
keep from sinking. It will bring in comfort from the covenant, 
when other streams are dried. 

Lastly, Die in the faith of the promise, Heb. xi. 13. That is the 
last battle to be fought : and then the time draws near of the full 
accomplishment of the promise to the Lord's people ; and that is a 
special season of exercising faith on the promises. 

3(iZ//, and lastly, "Walk suitably to the administration of the cove- 
nant, which is a most happy one, as being lodged by the Father in 
Christ's hand. And, 

(1.) Go to Christ for all you need. To whom should we go but 
to him, since he is Administrator of the covenant, and all is in his 
hand ? "Whether you need light, life, strength, or whatsoever is 
necessary for time or eternity, go to him for it. . 

(2.) Be obedient to his laws, the laws of the covenant. If he ad- 
ministers the covenant effectually to your salvation, he is your King 
and Lord, and ye must receive the law at his mouth, Psal. cxix. 6. 

(3.) Submit to the discipline of the covenant. If ye meet with 
crosses, afflictions, and trials, take them kindly, blessing Grod that 
they are not curses, effects of revenging wrath. 

(4.) Believe that all ye meet with is well ordered. It is so, for 
it is the product of the wisdom of the great Administrator of the 

(5.) Lastly, Do your enHeavour amongst all, as ye have access, to 
advance the covenant ; that those who are without, may be brought 
in ; and that those who are within, may be edified. For Christ is 
to administer the covenant to whosoever of mankind sinners will re- 
ceive it. 

Thus, by the mercy of God, I have treated fully of the covenant 
of grace, and laid before you the principal things relating to it ; 
having formerly treated of the covenant of works. In the first co- 
venant, see your misery ; in this see the remedy, and apply it by 



believing. You have here had the mystery of salvation by Christ 
opened up at large. May the Lord himself open your understand- 
ings to understand it, and your hearts to receive it ; and save you 
from slighting it : for so it will be a witness against you. 


Gal, iv, 4, 5. — WJien the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his 
Son made of a luoman, made under the law, to redeem them that luere 
under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 

We are now to speak of the Mediator of the new covenant, Jesus 
Christ, and to consider our Redeemer in his person, offices, and 
states. As to the first of these, it is plainly taught in the text. 

In the former chapter, and in the first part of this, the apostle in- 
sists upon the church's freedom from the Mosaic dispensation, which 
was a very toilsome and burdensome service. This he illustrates by 
the similitude of a pupil and his tutors, ver, 1, 2, and then he ap- 
plies it in the following verse, (1.) To the church's bondage under 
the Old Testament dispensation, when she was in her infant state, 
kept in subjection under that rigid and strict administration, which 
served for a rudiment, whereby she was instructed for the most part 
by resemblances taken from earthly things. (2.) To her freedom 
from that bondage under the New Testament, in the words of our 
text. Where we have, 

1. The season in which this freedom or redemption was brought 
about : When the fulness of the time was come, says the apostle, God 
wrought this deliverance for his people in the time that he had 
pitched and resolved upon, as the most fit and proper time for it. 

2. "We have the means of this deliverance, namely Christ's incar- 
nation, and manifestation in the flesh ; God sent forth his oivn Son, 
made of a woman. Hq sent his own Son into the world, the second 
person of the glorious and adorable Trinity, who was incarnate in a 
miraculous way, being conceived in the womb of a virgin, without 
the company of a man. 

3. We have the condition in which Christ came ; made under the 
law. Being made flesh, he subjected himself both to the precepts 
and to the curse of the law. He fulfilled all righteousness, and gave 
complete satisfaction to all the demands of the law in the holiness 
and integrity of his life, and he bore the punishment threatened for 
sin, in the bloody and cruel sufferings which he endured in his death. 


4. The freedom and deliverance itself : God sent forth his So^i, tlins 
qualified, to redeem them that were under the laiu ; that is, to' free all 
the elect from the curse and punishment that was due to them for 
the transgression of it. Hence it is said, Gal. iii. 13. * Christ hath 
redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.' 
lie freed the whole church from that rigour and servitude under 
which she was as to her outward state. And hereby also was pro- 
cured to believers the adoption of sons : by which we are to under- 
stand, not only the benefit of adoption itself, which was the privilege 
of believers under the Old Testament as well as now under the New, 
but also and chiefly a clearer manifestation of that privilege, and a 
more free use and fruition of it. They have now a more full and 
plentiful measure of the Spirit than believers had under the Old 
Testament dispensation. 

The*doctrine arising from the text is, 

DocT. ' The only Redeemer of God's elect is the Lord Jesus 
Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, 
and continueth to be, God and man, in two distinct natures, and one 
person, for ever.' 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Shew that the only Redeemer of God's elect is the Lord Jesus 

IL Illustrate this grand truth, that Jesus Christ, being the 
eternal Son of God, became man. 

III. Prove that Christ is God and man, in two distinct natures, 
and one person. 

IV. Deduce some inferences. 

I. I am to shew, that the only Redeemer of God's elect is the 
Lord Jesus Christ. 

First, Let us consider the titles and names of our Redeemer. 

1. He is called Lord, because of his absolute and universal sove- 
reignty and dominion over all the creatures. ' He is Lord of all,' 
says the apostle. Acts x. 36. His dominion extcndeth to all things 
in heaven, earth, and hell ; ' He hath prepared his throne in the 
heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all,' Psal. ciii. 19. He is the 
sole monarch of the whole world, and all the princes and potentates 
in the earth are but his deputies and vicegerents. He is 'the 
blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords,' 
as the apostle justly styles him, 1 Tim. vi. 15. He hath a natural 
and essential right and authority over all things as he is God, equal 
with the Father ; and he hath a delegated authority as Mediator. 
The government belongs to him originally as God, and derivatively 
as God-mau, Mediator. He holds his crown by immediate tenure 


from Heaven. FTe is declared to be King by the decree and ap- 
pointment of the Father, Psal. ii. 6. God hath invested him with a 
royal authority over all the creatures. It is said, that ' he hath put 
all things under his feet, and given him to be the Head over all 
things to the church,' Eph. i. 22. He rules from sea to sea, and to 
the ends of the earth, yea, to the utmost bounds of God's creation. 
All the creatures are subject to his dominion, rational and ir- 
rational, animate and inanimate, angels, devils, men, seas, storms 
and tempests, all obey him. But in a special manner he is King in 
Zion; he reigns and rules in the church, and sways his royal sceptre 
there. He is Lord of all the creatures by creation, of the elect by 
redemption, and of believers by their voluntary resignation and sur- 
render of themselves unto him. 

2. He is called Jesus, because he is the Saviour of the elect 
world, and delivers them from sin and wrath. This was declared 
by an angel to the virgin Mary before his conception in her womb, 
Luke i. 31. 'Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring 
forth a Son, and shalt call his name Jesus.' This was revealed to 
Joseph in a dream, Matth. i. 21. The name Jesus is there inter- 
preted to signify a Saviour ; and the angel of the Lord, a messenger 
sent from God, is the expositor. Christ was sent by his Father to 
be the Saviour of the elect. Now, a Saviour in the proper significa- 
tion of the word, is one that delivereth from evil. Accordingly 
Christ not only saves his i^eople from the worst of evils, but bestows 
upon them the greatest of good. He delivers them from the guilt, 
stain, and dominion of sin, the wrath of God, the malediction and 
accusations of the law, and eternal death and misery ; and he gives 
them grace and righteousness, eternal life and glory. He is a 
Saviour to protect and defend, and a Saviour to bless and save 
them, Psal. Ixxxiv. 11. He is the only Saviour of lost sinners, and 
there is no salvation but through him. Acts iv. 12. 

3. He is called Christ, because he was anointed unto his office by 
the Father. This title very fitly followeth the former. Jesus im- 
plies his oflice in general, and Christ his designation or ordination 
to his office. He is an anointed Saviour. This is frequently ex- 
pressed in the scripture, Psal. xlv. 7- ' God, thy God hath anointed 
thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.' Isa. Ixi. 1. 'The 
Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek,' &c. 
Acts X. 38. ' God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, 
and with power.' From all which places we see, that Christ's 
anointing is not to be understood literally, but by a trope and figure, 
the sign being put for the thing signified. Several persons were 
anointed of old, as wrestlers among the Gentiles ; which may be ap- 


plied to Christ, who was to conflict and wrestle with all the powers 
of hell and tlie world, with all the oppositions and difflculties that 
were in the way of man's salvation. But this term of anointing is 
rather taken from the customs of the ceremonial law. There were 
three sorts of persons commonly anointed among the Jews ; as 
kings. Thus Saul, David, Solomon, &c. Were anointed with mate- 
rial oil ; and hence were called the Lord's anointed. — Priests. All 
the priests that ministered in the tabernacle or temple were an- 
ointed, and chiefly the high priest, who was a special figure and 
type of Christ. — The prophets. Hence God gave Elijah a commis- 
sion to go and anoint Elisha to be prophet in his room, 1 Kings xix. 
16. As oil strengthened and suppled the joints, and made them 
agile and fit for exercise, so it denoted a designation and fitness in 
a person for the function to which he was appointed. Thus Christ, 
because he was not to be a typical Prophet, Priest, or King, was 
not typically, but sj)iritually anointed ; not with a sacramental, but 
real unction ; not of men, but immediately of God. There are two 
things implied in the anointing of Christ. 

(1.) It implies the Father's fitting and furnishing him with all 
things necessary, that he might be a complete Redeemer to his peo- 
ple. As God gave him a body and human nature, that he might be 
capable to sufl'er ; so he filled and replenished his soul with all the 
gifts and graces of his Spirit. Hence it was promised of old con- 
cerning him, ' that the Spirit of the Lord should rest upon him, the 
Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, 
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.' The Psalmist 
tells us, that he was ' fairer than the sons of men, and grace was 
poured into his lips.' He, ' received not the Spirit by measure,' but 
was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. All this 
■was the Father's work, and therefore he saith, ' Behold my servant 
whom I ui)hold, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth,' Isa. xlii. 1. 

(2.) It implies the Father's giving him a commission to redeem 
poor sinner's from hell and wrath. He was invested with a fulness 
of authority and power for this very end. And therefore in scrip- 
ture he is said to be sealed, as having his commission under the 
great seal of Heaven. Hence he says, Isa. Ixi. 1. ' The Spirit of the 
Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me,' <S:c. 
Every thing that Christ did in bringing about the redemption of an 
elect world, was given him in commission. His coming to the w^orld 
in the fulness of time was by the order and appointment of the Fa- 
ther. So he shews, John viii. 42. 'I proceeded forth and came from 
God ; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.' The business on 
which he came was determined by Heaven. So in the text it is said. 


God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, to redeem them that xverc un- 
der the Imu, &c. His deatli and bloody sufferings, which were the 
price of man's redemption, and the ransom of their souls, were en- 
joined by the Father. Hence says he, John x. 18. ' This command- 
ment, (viz. relating to laying down liis life,) liave I received of my 

Secondly, We may consider his office and work in the general. 
He is called the Mediator, which properly signifies a raidsman, that 
travels betwixt two persons who are at variance to reconcile them. 
Now, Christ is Mediator, (1.) Tn respect of his person, being a 
middle person betAvixt God and man, participating of both natures. 
(2.) In respect of his office ; being a middle person dealing betwixt 
God and man, in the offices of a Prophet, Priest, and King. Which 
will be more particularly illustrated in the sequel. 

He is the Redeemer. To redeem is to buy a thing again, as the 
nearest a-kin was to buy again the mortgaged land, and so to rescue 
and deliver from poverty, and misery, and boudage. This is the 
import of the word in the original. The elect are the redeemed : it 
is all they, and they only, as was proved before. 

This redemption imports, (1.) That the elect were first the Lord's 
by creation, his property, and bound to serve and obey him. (2.) 
That they were sold, and in a state of bondage, in their natural con- 
dition, slaves to sin and Satan, the captives of the mighty ; prison- 
ers to the law, and obnoxious to the justice of God. (3.) That they 
are recovered or redeemed from this state of vassalage, captivity 
and slavery, by the Lord Jesus Christ. And they are redeemed by 
him two ways. 

1. By price or purchase, laying down his life a ransom for them. 
He came to ' give his life a ransom for many,' Mattli. xx. 28 ; that 
is to die in the stead of his people. His life intervened as a price 
to obtain their redemption. Hence is that note in the song of the 
redeemed, Rev. v. 9. ' Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God 
by thy blood.' They were fallen under the dominion of Satan, and 
liable to eternal death, and could not obtain their liberty by escape, 
or by mere force and power ; for they were arrested and detained 
prisoners by order of divine justice : so that till God the Supreme 
Judge was satisfied, there could bo no discharge. Kow, the Lord 
Jesus Christ hath procured their deliverance by his death and 
bloody sufferings. Hence the apostle says. Col. i. 14. ' We have 
redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.' No 
less than the precious blood of Christ, who was God and man in one 
person, could be a sufficient price for the redemption of poor captive 

2 15 2 


2. By power and conquest. By his death on the cross he spoiled 
principalities and powers. And he manifested this power in his 
ascension ; for when he ascended up on high, he led captivity cap- 
tive. And in the day of power he redeems his people from the sla- 
very of sin and Satan, the curse of the law, from the sting of death, 
and the wrath of God ; and puts them in possession of a full sal- 

The former, A'iz. redeeming by price or purchase, Christ doth as a 
Priest, the latter as a Prophet and King. Both were absolutely 
necessary : for without a ransom justice would not quit us nor let us 
go : and without overcoming or conquering power, the elect, while 
slaves to sin and Satan, will not quit their master, nor accept of 

This redemption of elect souls was agreed upon by the Father 
and the Son in the covenant of grace from eternity. It was first 
proclaimed to fallen man in the first promise. Gen. iii. 15. that ' the 
seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent ;' it was 
shadowed forth under the Old Testament by sacrifices, burnt-offer- 
ings, &c ; the i>rice was actually paid on the cross, when he ' made 
peace through the blood thereof,' Col. i. 20 ; and the powerful deli- 
very is made in the conversion of the elect, the day of God's power, 
when the captives are delivered, their chains knocked off, and they 
are rescued from the miserable bondage in which they lay. And 
although Christ's blood was not actually shed under the Old Testa- 
ment, yet the elect, during that dispensation, were delivered by the 
same redemption which we are now partakers of, Heb. xi. 39, 40. 

Thirdly, That Jesus Christ, and he only, is the Redeemer pro- 
mised as the true Messiah, is evident, in that all the things that are 
the marks and characters of the Redeemer agree to him, and him 
only. He was to be of the tribe of Judah, and of the house of Da- 
vid, to be born of a virgin, to be Immanuel, God with us, God in 
our nature and on our side, to be born in Bethlehem, to make a 
mean appearance, to be despised and rejected of men, to be crucified 
on an accursed tree, to be buried in a grave, to rise again the third 
day, to ascend into heaven, and sit at the right hand of God, till his 
enemies be made his footstool. It is evident from comparing the 
Old Testament with the New, that all these characters agree to Je- 
sus Christ, and him only ; and none other but one who possessed 
these characters could be our Redeemer, 

II. Our next business is to illustrate this grand truth. That Jesus 
Christ, being the eternal Son of God, became man. 

First, Christ is the eternal Son of God. And in this he differs 
from all God's other sons. 


1. From angels, wlio are called ' the sons of God,' Job xxxviii. 7. 
They were filled with joy, and shonted with a triumphant voice, 
when they saw the power, wisdom, and goodness of God, appearing 
so illustriously in the work of creation, when God laid the founda- 
tions of the earth. Now, the angels are called the sons of God. 

(1.) Because they had their whole being from him. They are his 
sons by creation ; in which sense also Adam is called ' the son of 
God,' Luke iii. 38. 

(2.) Because of their great and mighty power. Hence they are 
styled, principality, and power, and might, and dominion,' Eph. i. 
21. They are like him in power and dignity. 

(3.) Because they serve him as sons, cheerfully, willingly, and 
readily. They do not obey as slaves, or servants, or the best of 
servants ; but they obey as children. They go his errands with a 
filial cheerfulness and delight. ' A son honoureth his father,' saith 
the Lord. It should be the temper and disposition of every son to 
do so. This is not only the disposition of angels, but they have 
actually done it, and may say unto God, as the elder brother is 
brought in saying in the parable, Luke xv. ' Lo these many years 
have we been with thee,' even ever since the creation of the world, 
* and have never transgressed nor neglected thy commandments at 
any time.' 

(4.) Because of the great privileges which God bestows upon 
them. He uses them as his sons and children. They are his cour- 
tiers, and near to his person, and always surround his throne, and 
behold his face. They are continually under the meridian beams of 
his ravishing and life-giving countenance. 

(5.) Because of their likeness to God in essence. He is a spirit, 
an incorporeal and immaterial being, and angels are spiritual and 
incorporeal substances. Though the difference between God and 
them be as great as can be conceived, yea truly inconceivable ; God 
being the creating spirit, and they created spirits ; God being an in- 
finite spirit, and they but finite ones ; yet the angels bear a resem- 
blance to God in their essence, as well as in their qualifications, and 
may upon that account also be called the sons of God : but they are 
only the sons of God by creation : Whereas Christ is his Son by an 
eternal and ineffable generation. Christ alone is the Son of God by 

2. Believers are called the sons of God, John i. 12. And they 
are so by adoption and regeneration, 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. Believers 
dift'er from the angels in this; for they do not stand in need of rege- 
neration, or any gracious change to be wrought in them: for as they 
were created holy and pure beings, so they have continued in that 



Hitegrity and holiness with Avliicli tliey were made, and have not 
lost it : and tliereforo Christ is no licdeemor to them. 

3. Christ dillcrs both from angels and saints in this, tliat he is 
the eternal and only-hcgotten Son of God, as the scripture verifies, 
Matth. iii. 17- and xvii. 5. 

Now, that tlie Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, is the eternal 
Son of God, or was begotten of the Father from all eternity, is clear 
from the holy scriptures ; for to divine revelation alone are we in- 
debted for the knowledge of this important truth. To this end let 
us consider, Psal. ii. 7- ' Thou art ray Son, this day have I begotten 
thee.' This passage is applied to Christ in several places of the 
New Testament. The word, ' this day,' doth not denote a certain 
time when this generation began, but is used to express the eternity 
thereof. And that which is eternal is expressed by that term, to 
shew and hold forth unto us, that all things past and to come are 
present Avith God in regard of liis eternity. There is no succession 
in eternity, no yesterday nor to-morrow ; but it is all as one con- 
tinued day or moment, without any succession or change. Tliere- 
foi'e the generation of the Son being eternal, it is rightly designed 
by this term. And although in tliis and the following verses we 
have a declaration of God's decree and appointment concerning the 
advancement of Christ to his Mediatory throne and kingdom ; yet in 
this verse, the generation of the Son is not mentioned as a part of 
that decree, but only as the ground and foundation thereof. For 
unless Christ had been the Son of God by eternal generation, he 
could not have been our Mediator and Redeemer ; nor could he have 
obtained a throne and kingdom as such. And this eternal genera- 
tion of the Son was solemnly declared by his resurrection from the 
dead. This is the apostle's scope when he says, ' We declare unto 
you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the 
fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that 
he hath raised up Jesus again ; as it is also written in the second 
psalm, ' Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,' Acts xiii. 
32, 33. He might well say, this scripture, Psal. ii. 7. was fulfilled 
by raising Christ from the dead, because by his resurrection the 
truth of it was openly proclaimed and declared to the world, as the 
same apostle tells us, Rom. i. 4. 

We may argue for this likewise from Micah v. 2. ' But thou, 
Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among tlie thousands of 
Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto mc, that is to be 
ruler in Israel : whose goings forth have been from of old, from 
everlasting.' This text is applied to Christ, Matth. ii. 6 ; and that 
it must be understood of him, and of no other, is plain, because he 


is promised as the King and Ruler of his church : and in the fol- 
lowing A'erses there is ascribed unto him the calling of the Gentiles, 
invincible power and majesty in his providential dispensations, doc- 
trine, and miracles, and an universal kingdom and government over 
Jews and Gentiles through the earth. Now, there is a twofold 
going forth hero attributed to him. The first is external and 
visible, namely, his going forth from the city of Bethlehem, by 
being born of a virgin. This is a temporal generation, and is there- 
fore spoken of as a thing to come, * He shall come forth unto me.' 
But lest any should look on him as a mere man, and as one that be- 
gan to be at his incarnation, therefore a second going forth is men- 
tioned, which is internal and eternal : ' Whose goings forth have 
been from of old, from everlasting,' or ' from the days of eternity,' 
as it is in the original text. These words design his eternal genera- 
tion, as being begotten of the Father from all eternity ; for he could 
not go forth from the Father from everlasting but by generation. 

This truth is further clear from Christ's being called the Son of 
God. He is often so designed in scripture. The Father did so- 
lemnly proclaim him to be so by an audible voice from heaven, both 
at his baptism and his transfiguration. He is the Son of God in a 
most proper and singular manner, viz. by the Father's communi- 
cating the divine essence to him by eternal generation. This name 
given to Christ is more excellent than any name given to the angels, 
though they are also called the sons of God, Heb. i. 4, 5. ' For unto 
which of the angels said he at any time. Thou art my son, this day 
have I begotten thee ?' He is so the Son of God, as on that account 
he is equal with the Father. Therefore, when he told the Jews, 
* My Father worketh hitherto, and I work,' it is said, ' The Jews 
sought the more to kill him, because he said that God was his 
Father, making himself equal with God,' John v. 17, 18. The Jews 
concluded from what he had said, that ho made himself equal with 
God. And their conclusion was very just : for he did not find fault 
with them for so doing, nor charge them witli reproaching him ; nor 
doth he clear any mistake about it, as certainly he would have done, 
if they had been in any. Therefore what they conclude from his 
discourse is plainly asserted by the apostle, Phil. ii. 6. in these 
words, ' He thought it not robbery to be equal with God.' So that 
Christ's scope and design, John v. is plainly to shew, that he was 
the Son of God in such a manner, that he was the same in sub- 
stance with the Father, and equal with him in dignity and glory. 

And as to the nature of this generation, our blessed Lord himself 
doth in some measure explain it to us, so far as we arc capable to 
apprehend this great mystery, when he tells us, John. v. 26. * As 


the Father hath life in himself, so hath he f^iven to tlie Son to heave 
life in himself.' So that to beget the Son, is to give to the Son to 
have life in himself, as the Father hatli life in himself ; which doth 
necessarily import a communication of the same individual essence. 
For to have life in himself was an essential attribute of God ; i. e. 
to have life independently, of and from himself; and to be the 
source and fountain of life to all the creatures, is a perfection pro- 
per to God, inseparable from his nature, yea, the very same with 
his essence. And therefore the Father cannot give it, unless he 
give the essence itself: and he cannot give the essence by way of 
alienation, for then he himself would cease to be God ; nor by way 
of participation, seeing the divine nature is one, and cannot be 
divided. Therefore it must be by way of communication. So that 
the generation of the Sou is that eternal action of the Father, 
whereby he did communicate to the Son the same individual essence 
which he himself hatli, that the Son might have it equal with him- 
self. But as to the manner of this generation, or communication of 
the divine essence of the Son, it is altogether ineffable and incon- 
ceivable to us. It is simply impossible for poor weak worms, such 
as we are, to understand or explain wherein it consists. It is not 
natural, but supernatural, and wholly divine, and therefore incom- 
prehensible by us. Yea, it is incomprehensible even by the angels 
themselves, who far exceed men in intellectual abilities. We may 
justly hereunto apply what we have, Isa. liii. 8. ' Who shall declare 
his generation ?' This whole mystery is incomprehensible by us : 
Ave ought humbly and reverently to adore what we cannot compre- 
hend. There is a coummunication of the whole essence or Godhead 
from the Father to the Son, in receiving whereof the Son doth no 
more lessen or diminish the majesty or Godhead of the Father, than 
the light of one candle doth the light of another from which it is 
taken. Whereupon the council of Nice said well, that Christ is 
God of God, light of light, very God of very God, not proceeding 
but begotten. Hence it is clear, that he had a being before he was 
born of a virgin, yea from eternity ; and that he is the true God, 
and the most high God, equal with the Father, Phil. ii. 6. John i. 
1. ; for no being can be eternal but God. 

Secondly, The Son of God became man. It was not the Father, 
nor the Holy Ghost, that was incarnate, but the Son, John i. 1-4. 
' The word was made flesh.' He was ' God manifested in the flesh,' 
1 Tim. iii. 16. But though he was from eternity God, yet the world 
had lasted well nigli four thousand years ere he became man. 

Thirdly, Why did it behove Christ, in order to be our Redeemer, 
to be God and man ? he could not be our Redeemer, if he had not 
been both. 


1. He behoved to be God, (1.) That he might be able to bear the 
weight of the infinite wrath of (iod due to the elect's sins, and come 
out from under that heavy load, Acts ii. 24. (2.) That his tempo- 
rary sufferings might be of infinite value, and afford full satisfaction 
to the law and justice of God, Heb. ix. 14. In these respects none 
other but one who was God could redeem us. 

2. He behoved to be man, (1.) That he might be capable to suffer 
death, Heb. ii. 14. (2.) Tliat the same nature which sinned might 
suffer, Ezek. xviii. 4. ' The soul that sinneth, it shall die.' (3.) 
That he might be a merciful High Priest, Heb. ii. 16, 17- and that 
we might have comfort and boldness of access to the throne of grace 
having an High Priest of our own nature as our Intercessor there. 

III. I come now to prove, that Christ is God and man, in two 
distinct natures, and one person. Christ is God and man by a per- 
sonal union of two natures. The two natures in Christ remain dis- 
tinct : the Godhead was not changed into the manhood, nor the 
manhood into the Godhead : for the scripture speaks of these as 
distinct, Rom. i. 3. 1 Pet. iii. 18. Heb. ix. 14.; and of two wills 
in Christ, a human and a divine, Luke xxii. 42. These natures re- 
main still with their distinct properties, that as the divine nature 
is not made finite, so neither is the human nature adorned with the 
divine attributes. It is not omnipotent, 2 Cor. xiii. 4. ; nor omni- 
present, John xi. 15 ; nor omniscient, Mark xiii. 22. &c. Yet are 
they not divided ; nor is Christ two persons, but one ; even as our 
soul and body though distinct things, make but one person. This 
is clear from the text, which shews that the Son of God was made 
of a woman ; which seeing it cannot be understood of his divine na- 
ture, but of the human, it is plain that both natures make but one 
person. And elsewhere he is described as one person consisting of 
two natures, Rom. i. 3. and ix. 5. And it was necessary that the 
natures should be distinct ; because otherwise, either the Divinity 
would have advanced his humanity above the capacity of suttering, 
or his humanity depressed his Divinity below the capacity of merit- 
ing. And it was necessary that he should be one person ; because 
otherwise his blood had not been the blood of God, Acts xx. 28. nor 
of the Son of God, 1 .lohn i. 7- and so not of infinite value. "Where- 
fore Christ took on him the human nature, but not a human person. 

Lastly, Christ was, and so will continue God and man for ever. 
This union never was dissolved. He died in our flesh to save us ; 
he rose again iu it, and ascended to heaven iu it, and will continue 
over in it, Heb. vii. 24. It will be a part of the happiness of the 
saints after the resurrection, that they shall feed their eyes for ever 
in beholding the glorified body of the blessed Redeemer. 


I shall finish this subject with a few inferences. 

1. The redemption of the soul is precious. The salvation of sin- 
ners was a work greater tlian the making of the world. The pow- 
erful word commanded, and the universe sprung up into being ; but 
much more was to be done ero a sinner could be saved from wrath. 
The eternal Son of God must become man, lay asi<le the robes of his 
glory, and clothe himself with the infirmities of human nature, and 
in that nature purchase redemption by the price of his matchless 
blood for poor miserable prisoners, and deliver them from the pit of 
hell and wrath by an exertion of his almighty power. 

2. See here the wonderful love and grace of God in sending his 
own Son to be the Redeemer of sinful men. It was he tliat con- 
trived this method of redemption, in the adorable depths of his infi- 
nite wisdom. He pitched upon his own Son as the only fit person 
to set miserable captives free. He fitted and furnished him for this 
work, and sent him to the world with full power and authority to 
go about it. It was God the Father that was gracious to sinners, 
saying, * Deliver them from going down to the pit, I have found a 
ransom.' What an illustrious display of the astonishing love and 
grace of God is it, that he should have remembered them in their 
low estate, and laid help on one that is mighty to save them. To 
enlarge upon this a little further, 1 off"er a twofold consideration. 

(1.) Who he was that was sent and came into the world to re- 
deem the elect ; not an angel or archangel, nor any of the glorious 
seraphims that stand about God's throne. Indeed, if it had been so, 
divine love, even in this, had infinitely advanced itself, that God 
should be pleased to spare one of his own retinue from attending on 
him, and give such a glorious servant as an angel is, for the re- 
demption of such a rebellious and miserable worm as man. But ! 
how may it raise and heighten our admiration, Avhen we consider 
that it was not an angel, if he had been capable for the mighty task, 
but the Lord of angels, not a servant but a Son, that the Father 
plucked from his own bosom, and sent upon this business ! He 
spoke to him as it were to this purpose. 'Go haste thee down to the 
earth : for there are thousands of miserable creatures sinning them- 
selves down to hell, and must for ever fall under the strokes of my 
dreadful and incensed justice; step thou in between them and it, 
and i-eceive the blows thyself ; die thou under the hand of vindic- 
tive justice ; that they may be saved and live.' When God tried 
Abraham's obedience, he aggravates his command by many piercing 
words, which must needs tenderly touch, and greatly afiect, the 
heart of a compassionate father, Gen. xxii. 2. ' Take now thy son, 
thine only sou Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the laud 


of Moriali, and offer him there for a burnt-offering,' &c. It greatly- 
heightened Abraham's obedience, that notwithstanding of all aggra- 
vations, yet he was willing to sacrifice his beloved Son upon God's 
command. Just so here God heightens and sets forth his matchless 
love towards us. He takes his own Sou, his only Son, the Son of 
his eternal delight and love, and cheerfully offers him up as a sacri- 
fice for the sins of men. This is the greatest instance of the love of 
God that ever was given. 

(2.) God's love is exalted here, in that he freely sent his only be- 
gotten Son to be the Redeemer of an elect world. He was God's 
free gift, or else he could never have been obtained. If devils and 
men had joined their forces, and combined all their strength and 
power, and thus made an assault upon heaven, yet they could never 
have plucked the Son of God's love from his eternal embraces. God 
gave Christ freely to redeem a sinful world, not only without, but 
against all merit and desert in them, nay, unasked and unsolicited 
to do so. From all eternity God foresaw that they would despise 
and reject his Son, so that they would shed his precious blood, and 
then trample it under their feet, as an unholy thing ; yet such was 
the height of his astonishing love, that he bestowed him freely upon 

(3.) See the matchless love of the Son of God to poor sinners. It 
was love that induced him to substitute himself in their room, and 
to undertake to pay their ransom. Ho 'loved me (says Paul), and 
gave himself for me,' Gal. ii. 20. His love in this, as the apostle 
speaks passeth knowledge. How cheerfully did he engage to make 
his soul an offering for sin, that thereby he might pay their ransom ! 
Though he knew the difficulty of the work, and the greatness of that 
wrath which he was to bear, yet he cheerfully complied with the 
first motion of it that was made unto him by the Father. He knew 
very well, what a vast burden of sin was to be laid upon him, and 
the dreadfulness of that wrath he was to undergo ; yet lie did not 
slirink from the imputation of the one, nor from the sulFering of the 
other. He was willing to be reproached, that we might be glorified; 
to become poor, that we might be made rich ; to be accused and 
condemned, that we might be justified; to enter into prison, that we 
might go free ; and to die a cursed ignominious death, that we might 
live, and reign in honour for ever. how great was his love to 
poor sinful men ! 

4. All who live and die out of Christ must perish ; for there is no 
other Mediator between God and men but the man Jesus Christ, 
who g.ave himself a ransom for sinners, and invites sinners to come 
and take the benefit thereof. Now, if men will not come unto him, 


that they may have life, their blood must be on tlicir own heads. 
Christ is the only ordinance of God for life and salvation, and if 
men will slight and despise this ordinance, they must perish in their 
sins ; for there is no other way of being saved but by him. If sin- 
ners will not enter by this door in time, the door of heaven will be 
shut against them for ever. 

5. How highly is our nature exalted and dignified in the person 
of the Lord Jesus ! He took not on hira the nature of angels, 
a nature far superior to the human, but the seed of Abraham, and 
united it to his divine person. In that nature he performed his 
whole Mediatory undertaking, and wears it in his exalted state. It 
is corrupt in the multitude of those that partake of it, yet it is pure 
and spotless in Christ the Redeemer. Man's nature became so de- 
praved and abominable by Adam's transgression, that it could never 
again appear before Grod ; but in Christ it is so perfectly pure, that 
it was capable of an immediate union with the Godhead in his per- 
son. Though it be low and mean in itself, yet it is highly honoured 
and exalted in its union with the Son of God ; and shall be the ob- 
ject of the delightful sight and admiration of the redeemed from 
among men through eternal ages. 

6. It is impious and absurd to ascribe any part of man's redemp- 
tion to any other. In the close of his sufferings on the cross, he 
cried with a loud voice, ' It is finished,' and gave up the ghost ; in- 
timating, that he had then perfected and completely finished the 
great work of redemption committed to and undertaken by him. It 
is therefore dishonourable to Christ, and dangerous for men, to join 
any thing of their own to his righteousness, in point of justification 
before God. The blessed Redeemer will never endure it. It re- 
flects upon his Mediatory undertaking. If he be the only Redeemer 
of God's elect, then certainly there can be no other. If he hath 
finished that work, then there is no need of our additions. And if 
that work be not finished by hira, how can it be finished by men ? 
It is simply impossible for any creature to finish that which Christ 
himself could not. But men would fain be sharing with him in this 
honour, which he will never endure. He is the only Saviour of 
sinners; and he will never divide the gloiy of it with us. Men 
would fain have sojnething of their own to atone offended justice. 
There is a legal strain, a strong bias towards the first covenant, run- 
ning in the hearts of all men by nature. We would do something 
for ourselves, and are unwilling to be obliged to another for our de- 
liverance from that wretched condition that sin hath brought us into. 
' What good thing shall I do (said the young man in the gospel) 
that I may have eternal life.' But all our righteousnesses are but 

OP Christ's incarnation. 389 

as filthy rags. Though your heads were waters, and your eyes a 
fountain of tears^ and you should weep day and night continually ; 
nay, though you should weep tears of blood, all would be in vain ; 
for it could not cleanse you from the guilt and pollution of the least 
sin. To depend upon anything that ever he did, or can possibly do, 
is but like the setting up of a paper-wall to keep off a devouring 
fire : for it cannot screen you from the consuming flames of God's 
wrath and fiery indignation. ' By the works of the law (says the 
apostle), no flesh can be justified.' 

7- Lasth/, If ye would be delivered from the state of sin and 
misery into which ye are brought by your fall in the first Adam, 
come unto and accept of the Lord Jesus Christ as your Redeemer. 
God has laid help for you upon this mighty One, who is both able 
and willing to save all that come unto God by him. Close with him 
by faith, and you shall be redeemed from tlie guilt of sin, have its 
power subdued in you, and at last be delivered from the inbeing of 
it, and from all the penal consequences and eff'ects thereof. He is 
now saying. Behold me, behold me ; do not refuse him, lest ye 
perish for ever. 


Luke i. 35. — T%e Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, aiid the power of 
the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing 
which shall he horn of thee shall be called the Son of God. 

These words are the angel's answer to Mary, who, understanding 
the angel as speaking of a thing presently to be done before Joseph 
and she should come together, desires to know how she, being a vir- 
gin, should conceive. Here, 

1. The angel tells her how she should ' conceive and bring forth a 
Son,' namely by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the power 
of the Highest, the Spirit of God being the true God, and so the 
Highest. The author of this conception is the Holy Ghost, not to 
exclude the Father and the Son, who also concurred to this work, as 
to all works without God himself; and besides the power of all the 
three persons is one. But it is appropriated to the Spirit, as crea- 
tion to the Father, and redemption to the Son, so the consummation 
of all things to the Spirit. The way of the Spirit's powerful work- 
ing to this miraculous conception, is denoted by two words. One is, 
that the Holy Ghost should come upon her, not in an ordinary way, as 

390 OP cirnisT's incarnation. 

in the conception of all men, Job x. 8. ' Thine hands liaA'C made me, 
and fashioned me together round about ;' but in an extraordinary 
way, as on the prophets, and those that were raised to some extra- 
ordinary work. The other is, that the power of the Highest, which is 
infinite power, should overshadow her, to wit, make her, though a 
virgin, to conceive by virtue of the eflicacy of infinite power, by 
which the world was created, when the same Spirit moved on the 
waters, cherished them, and framed the world. I shall say no more 
of this, seeing the iloly Spirit did overshadow or cast a cloud over 
the virgin in this operation, that men might not pry curiously into 
this mystery. 

2. He shews what should follow on this miraculous conception, 
namely, that the fruit of her womb, the child she should bear, 
should be called the Son of God. Where the angel teaches two 
things. (1.) The immacrilate sinless conception of the child Jesus, 
that holy thing, a holy thing though proceeding from a sinful crea- 
ture, not tainted with sin, as all other children are. Job asks, 
' Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ?' and answers, 
' Not one.' But though this be impossible with men, yet it is pos- 
sible with God, whose infinite power can do every thing. The 
powerful operation of the divine Spirit sanctified that part of the 
virgin's body of which the human nature of Christ was formed, 
so that by that influence it was separated from all impurity and de- 
filement. So that, though it proceeded from a creature infected 
with original sin, there was no sin or taint of impurity in it. This 
was a glorious instance of the power of the Highest. (2.) He tells 
the virgin, that therefore, seeing that child to be thus conceived, he 
should be called, that is, owned to be, the Son of God. He says not, 
Therefore that holy thing shall be the Son of Glod, for he was the 
Son of God before, by virtue of his eternal generation ; but. There- 
fore he shall be called, i. e. owned to be really so, and more than a 
man. The reason of this is, because Isaiah had prophesied that the 
Son of God should be the Son of a virgin. When therefore you, a 
virgin, shall conceive, your child shall be acknowledged to be the 
Son of God in man's nature. Matth. i. 22, 23. ' Now all this was 
done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the 
prophet saying. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring 
forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which, being 
interpreted, is, God with us.' He was promised to the church as 
the Messiah, ' a child born unto us, a son given unto us,' Isa. ix. 6. 
And he actually was so, Luke ii. 11. 
DocT. ' Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to 

himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the 


power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, and 
born of her, yet without sin.' 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. "Who she was that was the mother of Christ as man. 

II. What we are to understand by his becoming man. 

III. That ho was true man. 

lY. What we are to understand by his being conceived of tlie 
•Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary. 

V. Why he was born of a virgin. 

VI. Make application in a few inferences. 

I. I am to shew who she was that was the mother of Christ as 
man. Christ as God had no mother, and as man no father. But 
his mother as man was ]\Iary. She was the seed of Abraham ; and 
so Christ was that seed of Abraham, in whom all nations were to be 
blessed, Gal. iii. 16. She was of the tribe of Judah, Luke iii. 33. 
and of that tribe Christ by her did spring, Heb. vii. 14. She was 
also of the family of David, as appears by her genealogy, Luke ill. 
and therefore Christ is called the Son of David, as the Messiah be- 
hoved to be. She was, however, but a mean woman, the family of 
David being then reduced to a low outward condition in the world, 
having long before lost its flourishing state ; so that our Lord 
' sprung up as a root out of a dry ground,' Isa. xi. 1. and liii. 2. 

She was a virgin before and at the time of her bringing forth Je- 
sus, but espoused to Joseph, who was of the same tribe with her. 
What she was after, I think Christians should raise no question 
about that matter, seeing the scripture has buried it in silence. 
And therefore, as they are presumptuous who would always make 
her being a virgin an article of faith, so they are rash that would 
define the contrary. For they are but little versed in the scripture, 
who know not that kinsmen among the Jews are ordinarily in saci'ed 
writ called brethren ; as Abraham and Lot, his brother's son, are 
called brethren, Gen. xiii. 8. So no argument can be drawn from 
persons being designed the brethren of Chrbst, in the evangelists, to 
prove that Mary bore children to Joseph. 

II. I come to shew what we are to understand by Christ's becom- 
ing man. It imi>lies, 

1. That he had a real being and existence before his incarnation. 
He truly was before he was conceived in the womb of the virgin, 
and distinct from that being which was conceived in her. He tells 
us himself, that he was in heaven before he ascended thither : 
' What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was 
before V John vi. 62. Yea, he was with his Father from all eter- 
nity, before any of the creatures came out of the womb of nothing. 

392 OF Christ's incarxation. 

So Prov. viii. 29, 30, ' When he gave to the sea his decree, that the 
v/aters should not pass his commandment : when he appointed the 
foundations of tlie earth. Then I was by liini, as one brought up 
with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.' 
Here the Spirit of God describes the most blessed state of Jesus 
Christ, from those eternal delights Avhich he had had with his Fa- 
ther before his assumption of our nature, ' Then I was by him,' or 
' with him :' he was so with him, as never any other was, even in his. 
very bosom, John i. 18. ' The word was with God,' ver. 1, And he 
calls himself ' the bread of life that came down from heaven,' chap. 
vi. ver. 33. Here he opposeth himself to the manna, wherewith God 
fed the Isi*aelites in the wilderness, which never was really in hea- 
ven, nor had its original from thence. ' Moses gave you not that 
bread from heaven, but the Fatlier gave you Christ really from 
thence.' John xvi. 28. ' I came forth from the Father, and am come 
into the world : again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.' 
He is called ' Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.' 

2. That he actually took upon him our nature. He assumed the 
entire nature of man into the unity of his divine person, with all its 
integral parts and essential properties ; and so was made or became 
a real and true man by that assumption. Hence it is said, John i. 
14. ' The Word was made flesh.' But though Jesus Christ had two 
natures, yet not two persons, which was the error of Xestorius, who 
lived in the fourth century. He so rent the natures of Christ asun- 
der, as to make two distinct persons of them, and consequently two 
Christs, of which one was crucified at Jerusalem, and the other not, 
as he blasphemously alleged ; and so he plainly denied the hyposta- 
tical union of the divine and human natures in the person of our 
blessed Redeemer. But though Christ had two natures, yet but one 
person : for his human nature never subsisted separately and dis- 
tinctly by any personal subsistence of its own, as it is in all other 
men ; but, from the first moment of his conception, it subsisted in 
union with the second person of the adorable Trinity. Again, though 
' the Word was made flesh,' yet it was without any confusion of the 
natures, or change of the one into the other : which was the heresy 
of the Eutychians of old, who so confounded the two natures in the 
person of Christ, that they denied all distinction between them, Eu- 
tyches thought that the union was so made in the natures of Christ, 
that the humanity was absorbed and wholly turned into the divine 
nature ; so that, by that transubstantiation, the human nature had no 
longer being. To oppose this heresy, the ancient fathers did very 
fitly make use of the sacramental union between the bread and wine 
and the body and blood of Christ, and thereby shewed that the hu- 

OF Christ's incarnation. 393 

man nature of Christ is no more really converted into the Divinity, 
and so ceascth to be the human nature, than the substance of the 
bread and wine is really converted into the substance of the body 
and blood of Christ, and thereby ceaseth to be both bread and wine. 
But by this union the human nature is so united with the Divinity, 
that each retains its own essential properties distinct. The proper- 
ties of either nature are preserved entire. It is impossible that 
'the majesty of the Divinity can receive any alteration ; and it is as 
impossible that the meanness of the humanity can receive the im- 
pression of the Deity, so as to be changed into it, and a creature be 
metamorphosed into the Creator, and temporary flesh become eter- 
nal, and finite mount up into infinite. As the soul and the body 
are united, and make one person ; yet the soul is not changed into 
the perfections of the body, nor the body into the perfections of the 
soul. There is a change indeed made in the humanity, by its being 
advanced to a more excellent union, but not in the Deity ; as a 
change is made in the air when it is enlightened by the sun, not in 
the sun which communicates that brightness to the air. Athanasius 
makes the burning bush to be a type of Christ's incarnation ; the 
fire signifying the divine nature, and the bush the human. The 
bush is a branch springing from the earth, and the fire descends 
from heaven. As the bush was united to the fire, yet was not hurt 
by the flame, nor converted into the fire, there remained a difterence 
between the bush and the fire, yet the properties of fire shined in 
the bush, so that the whole bush seemed to be on fire : So in the in- 
carnation of Christ, the human nature is not swallowed up by the 
divine, nor changed into it, nor confounded with it : but they are so 
united, that the properties of both remain firm : two are so become 
one, that they remain two still ; one person in two natures, contain- 
ing the glorious perfecti6ns of the Divinity, and the weakness of the 
humanity. The fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Christ. 

3. Christ's becoming man implies the voluntariness of this act of 
his in assuming the human nature. When he was solacing himself 
in the bosom of the Father with the sweetest pleasures that heaven 
could afi"ord, yet even then the very prospect of his incarnation af- 
forded him unspeakable delight, Prov. viii. 31. ' Rejoicing in the 
habitable part of the earth, and my delights were the sons of men.' 
See what is said, Psal. xl. 6, 7, B- ' Sacrifice and oflcring thou didst 
not desire, mine ears hast thou opened : burnt-ofieriug and sin-otter- 
ing hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come : in the volume 
of the book it is written of me : I delight to do thy will, my God: 
yea, thy law is within my heart.' And when he Avas in the world, 
and had endured many abuses and injuries from sinners, and con- 


394 OP Christ's incarnation. 

tradictions of tliem against himself, and was even como to the most 
difficult part of his work, yet oven then he could say, ' How am I 
straitened (or pained) until it be accomplished !' Luke xii. 50. He 
longed to have the work of Redemption finished, for which he had 
assumed the human nature, that thereby he might be fitted and 
qualified for suff'ering. lie cheerfully assumed our nature, that so 
he might be capable to sufi'er, and thereby satisfy offended justice for 
his i)eople's sins. He was not forced or constrained to become man, 
but he willingly laid aside the robes of his Divinity, and cloathed 
himself with the infirmities of the flesh. Yea, if he had not wil- 
lingly engaged to take on our nature, and die for our sins, divine 
justice could not have accepted of his blood as the price of our re- 

III. I proceed to shew, that Christ was true man. Being the 
eternal Son of God, he became man, by taking to himself a true 
body and a reasonable soul. He had the same human nature which 
is common to all men, sin only excepted. He is called in scripture 
' man,' and ' the Son of man, the seed of the woman, the seed of 
Abraham, the Son of David,' &c ; which designations could not 
have been given unto him, if he had not been true man. And it is 
said, Heb. ii. 14, 15, 16. ' Forasmuch as the children are partakers 
of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. 
He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one. For 
which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren. For verily 
he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the 
seed of Abraham.' And so he became not an angel, but a man. 
As man consists of two essential parts, body and soul ; so did 
Christ. He had a real body of flesh, blood, and bones, not a fan- 
tastical body, which is only a body in appearance. Hence he said 
to his aff'righted disciples, when they thought they had seen a 
spirit when he first appeared to them after the resurrection, ' Be- 
hold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself : Handle me and see : 
for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have,' Luke 
xxiv. 39. He was born with a body which was prepared for him, 
of the same appearance with those of other infants. He increased 
in stature, and grew up by degrees ; and was so far from being sus- 
tained without the ordinary nourishment wherewith our bodies are 
preserved, that he was observed by his enemies to come eating and 
drinking ; and when he did not so, he suffered hunger and thirst. 
The thorns that pricked the sacred temples of his head, the nails 
which penetrated tlirough his hands and his feet, and the spear that 
pierced his blessed side, gave sufficient proof and testimony of the 
natural tenderness and frailty of his flesh. — The actions and pas- 

OP Christ's iNCAnNATioN. 396 

sions of his life shew that he had true flesh. ITe was hungry, 
thirsty, weary, faint, &;e. As therefore we believe that Christ came 
into the world, so we must own that he came in the verity of our 
human nature, even in true and proper flesh. With this deter- 
minate expression it was always necessary to acknowledge him. 
For ' every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the 
flesh, is of God, and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus 
Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God,' 1 John iv. 2, 3. This 
spirit appeared very early in the Christian church, in opposition to 
the apostolical doctrine : and Christ, who is both God and man, was 
as soon denied to be man as God. Simon Magus, the arch-heretic, 
first began, and many afterward followed him. And as Christ had a 
true body, so he had also a rational soul. For certainly, if the Son 
of God would stoop so low as to take upon him our frail flesh, he 
would not omit the nobler part, the soul, without which he could 
not be man. We are told that Jesus increased in wisdom and sta- 
ture, the one in respect of his body, the other in respect of his soul. 
Wisdom belongeth not to the flesh, nor can the knowledge of God, 
which is infinite, admit of an increase or addition. He then, whose 
knowledge did improve together with his years, must have a sub- 
ject proper for, and capable of it, which was no other than a human 
soul. This was the seat of his finite understanding and directed 
will, distinct from the will of his Father, and consequently that of 
his divine nature, as appears by that known submission with res- 
pect to his drinking the cup of divine wrath ; ' Not my will but 
thine be done,' says he. This was the subject of those afl^ections and 
passions which so manifestly appeared in the course of his life, and 
particularly when he breathed forth that language, when entering 
upon his last sufferings, ' My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto 
death.' This was it which on the cross, immediately before his de- 
parture, he committed to his Father's care, Luke xxiii. 46. * Fa- 
ther, into thy hand I commend my spirit.' And as his death was 
nothing else but the separation of his soul from his body, so the 
life of Christ, as man, consisted in the vital union and conjunction 
of that soul with the body. So that he who was perfect God was 
also perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. 
Which is to be observed, and asserted against the ancient heretics, 
who taught that Christ assumed human flesh ; but the Word, or his 
Divinity, was unto that body in place of a soul. As he could not 
have been real man without a real body and reasonable soul, which 
are the two essential and constituent parts of man, so he could not 
have borne the punishment of his people's sins, if he had not suf- 
fered in both. They had forfeited both soul and body to divine jus- 

396 OF Christ's incarnation. 

tice, and should have suffered in both for ever, in hell ; and therefore 
Christ, when he substituted himself in their room, suffered both in 
his body and in his soul. The sufferings of his body were indeed 
very great ; it was filled with exquisite torture and pain ; but his 
soul sufferings were much greater, as I observed in a former dis- 

lY. I come now to shew what we are to understand by Christ's 
being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the M'omb of 
the Virgin Mary. This is a great mystery, beyond the reach and 
comprehension of a finite mind. The conception of our blessed Sa- 
viour was miraculous and supernatural, above the methods of na- 
ture. To open this a little three things are to be considered here. 

1. The framing of Christ's human nature in the womb of the 

2. The sanctifying of it. 

3. The personal union of the manhood with the Godhead. 

First, Let us consider the framing of the human nature of Christ 
in the womb of the virgin Mary. In the text the act is expressed 
to be the effect of the infinite power of God. And it sets forth the 
supernatural manner of forming the humanity of our blessed Sa- 
viour. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the 
Highest shall overshadow thee, and by an act of creative power frame 
the humanity of Christ, and unite it to the Divinity. In the 
framing of Christ's manhood, we are to consider the matter and 
the manner of it. The matter of his body was of the very flesh and 
blood of the virgin, otherwise he could not have been the Son of 
David, of Abraham, and Adam, according to the flesh. Indeed God 
might have created his body out of nothing, or have formed it of the 
dust of the ground, as he did the body of Adam, our original Pro- 
genitor : but had he been thus extraordinarily formed, and not pro- 
pagated from Adam, though he had been a man like one of us, yet 
he would not have been of kin to us ; because it would not have 
been a nature derived from Adam, the common parent of us all. It 
was therefore requisite to an affinity with us, not only that he 
should have the same human nature, but that it should flow from 
the same principle, and be propagated to him. And thus he is of 
the same nature that sinned, and so what he did and suffered may 
be imputed to us. "Whereas, if he had been created as Adam was, 
it could not have been claimed in a legal and judicial way. Now, 
the Holy Ghost prepared the matter of Christ's body of