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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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BX 8915 .B67 1848 v. 10 
Boston, Thomas, 1677-1732. 
The whole works of the late 
Reverend Thomas Boston, of 










VOL. X. 





















1 Tim. ii. 19 And let every one that nametb the name of Christ depart from 

iniquity, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 9 








Deut. v. 29 — O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear 
me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, 
and with their children for ever. ... ... ... ... ... ... 56 





IsA. XXV. 6 — And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people 
a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, 
of wines on the lees well refined. ... ... .. ... ... 87 




ExoD. xxiv. 11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not hi" 

hand ; also they saw God, and did eat and drink. ... ... ... 99 



ExoD. xxiv. 1 1 . — And upon tlie nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his 

hand; also they saw God, and did eat and drink. ... ... ... 112 


Heb. xi. 16.— Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he 

hath prepared for them a city. ... ... ... ... ... ... 120 



Heb. xi. 28. — Throui;h faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, 

lest he that destroyed the first-born should touch them. ... ... 133 

Jer. ii. 13. — For my people have committed two evils : they have forsaken nie, 
the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, 
that can hold no water, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 145 

IsA. ix. 6. — For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the govern- 
ment shall be upon his shoulder ; and his name shall be called Wonderful, 
Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, 178 

IsA. ix. 6. — Unto us a child is born. ... ... .. ... ... ... 182 

IsA. ix. 6. — Unto us a son is given. ... ... ... ... ... ... 188 

IsA. ix. 6. — And the government shall be upon his shoulder. ... ... 203 


IsA ix. 6. — And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty 

God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, ... ... ... 214 

IsA. ix. 6. — His name shall be called Wonderful. ... ... ... ... 216 

IsA. ix. 6 Hi8 name shall be called — Counsellor. ... ... ■•. ••• 231 



IsA. ix. (> Hi-i name shall be called — The Mighty God. ... ... ... 230 

IsA. i.\. (J- — His name shall he called — The Everlasting Father. ... ... 234 

IsA. ix. 6. — His name shall be called — The Prince of Peace. ... ... 259 


IsA. liii. 1. — Who hath believed our report, anil to whom h the arm of the Lord 

revealed ? ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 267 



Matth. vii. 13, 14. — Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and 

broad is the way that Ibadeth to destruction, and many there be which go 

in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way nhich leadetb 

unto life, and few there be that find it. ... ... ... ... ... 308 



Gen. vi. 9. — Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generations. ... ... 397 

2 Tim. iii. 1. — This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 417 

Rev. X. 6, 7. — And swear that there shall be time no longer ; but the mystery of 

God should be finished. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 423 

2 CoR. V. 7. — For we walk by faith, not by sight. ... ... ... ... 463 




Prov. viii. 35. — For whoso findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain favour of 

the Lord 489 



pROV. viii. 36. — Whoso findeth roe, shall obtain favour of the Lord. ... 621 

pRov. viii. 36.— 'But he that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul ; all they 

that hate me love death. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 533 


Song viii. 5. — Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her 

beloved? ... ... ... ... ... ... . . ... ... 660 


Gen. v. 24. — And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him, 680 

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2 Tim. ii. 19, 
And let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 

A SOLEMN occasion of renewing our covenant with God being before 
us, it is necessary that we count the cost ere we begin to build. A 
Christian profession is easy, a Christian practice not so. It is me- 
lancholy to see how many in their practice do yoke together the 
name of Christ, and the working of iniquity, as if they had found 
out that secret of conjoining light aud darkness, Christ and Belial, 
which is hid from all saints. Our text confounds this mystery of 
iniquity, shewing that men must either part with Christ, or depart 
from iniquity : And, says the apostle, " let every one that nameth 
the name of Christ, depart from iniquity." 

In this verse, the apostle obviates that scandal, and that shaking 
discouragement, which arose to the saints, from the apostacy of Hy- 
meneus and Philetus, mentioned in verse 17- Satan could stand on 
the ruins of these men, and affright the saints with this temptation, 
Behold ! what loose ground you stand upon ! these who are now 
shipwrecked stood once as fair for the harbour as you. To drive the 
bottom out of this tsraptation, the apostle tells them, that for all this 
the foundation of the perseverance of real saints stands firm, as in 
ver. 19, " Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having 
this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his." As if he had said. 
The devil has got but his own, he has got none of Christ's. They 
were among Christ's sheep indeed ; they were, however, nothing but 
the devil's goats, of whom he ever had a sure hold by some iniquity 
or other, one lust or other ; and now by this bond of iniquity he has 
drawn them out from among the sheep of Christ : 1 John ii. 19, 

* This and the following discouryes on this text were delivered in Ma) and June 

Vol. X. B 


"They went out from us, but they were not of us ; for if they had 
been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us ; but they 
went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all 
of us." But the foundation upon which every real saint is built is 
sure, and can never be overturned. This is the decree of election ; 
(1.) A foundation of God's own laying; (2.) A sealed foundation of 
God's own sealing ; and therefore affording the most ample security. 
A seal is for confirming and ratifying a decree and purpose ; the 
decree of election including the perseverance of the saints, as the 
means to the end, is sealed for this end, and that with a twofold 
seal ; having this seal. The Lord knoweth them that are his," and, 
"Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from ini- 

First, It is sealed with God's knowledge, " The Lord knoweth 
them that are his." Amongst the mixed multitude in the church, 
the Lord knows his own. He knows those whom he has chosen, he 
cannot mistake them, though men may, and sometimes do, take 
others for them. He knows them practically, that is, he knows 
them, to distinguish them from others, he will take care of them, 
that they be not lost, as one does with what he knows to be his own; 
and this secures them. 

Secondly, It is sealed with effectual sanctification ; Eph. iv. 30, 
" And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed 
unto the day of redemption." " Let every one that nameth the 
name of Christ depart from iniquity." He sees to the sanctification 
of his own, causing them to depart from iniquity, which is the only 
thing which can ruin thera ; and thus again they are secured. 

For understanding this, consider, that the apostle here has an 
eye to the history of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Kum. xvi. these 
Old Testament apostates who perished in their sin. There was a 
dispute betwixt them and Moses and Aaron for the priesthood ; the 
congregation at length thought the former as much the Lord's as 
the latter, ver. 19 ; though at first it seems they knew not in whose 
favour to decide. Moses refers it to God's judgment, ver. 5, " The 
Lord will shew (Heb. make known) who are his, and who are holy ;" 
importing, that the Lord knew who were his. This was the security 
of Moses and Aaron when the stroke came. When the earth was to 
swallow up Korah and his company, as in a spiritual sense it does 
all apostates, the congregation was, by God's appointment, charged 
to depart from the tents of these wicked men, and to touch nothing 
that was theirs, ver. 26. This charge was eflcctual to the congrega- 
tion, but not to these men's wives and their children, ver. 27 ; so the 
latter perished, and the former were secured. It seems this was a 

THE DUTY Of ALL, &C. 11 

typical event, an emblem of the sure standing of tlie saints, ^?liile 
hypocrites fall away and perish. 

This double seal answers to the two parts of the covenant ; Jer, 
xxxii. 40, " And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, 
that I will not turn away from them to do thera good ; but I will 
put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." 
This covenant shall not fail on God's part, for it hath this seal, the 
Lord knoweth them that are his ;" nor on the part of the saints, for 
it hath this seal, " Let every one that nameth the name of Christ 
depart from iniquity." Let us attend, 

L To the seal itself, which, in its general nature, is a command 
of sanctification ; in which consider, to whom it is directed, upon 
whom this awful charge is laid. They are the Lord's own words, 
directed to every one that nameth the name of his Son, that is, to 
all who profess Christ. And this character of professors serves not 
only to distinguish them from those without the church, who are in- 
capable of apostacy ; but also shows the obligation laid on them to 
holiness by their profession, the holy name named by them binding 
them to a holy life. The inconsistency between the holy profession 
and an unholy life, which, though men join together, God will have 
separated, sooner or later, for he will strip them either of their fair 
name, or their foul heart and life, in time or in eternity. Consider, 
the duty commanded, "to depart from iniquity," as from a thing 
one formerly stood to and followed. Iniquity is that thing which 
we all naturally follow as a master and leader ; but there must be a 
falling off from it, an apostacy, or falling away from sin, as the 
word imports. And this is the way to prevent apostacy from the 
Lord ; for this does import, that it is some one iniquity or other in- 
dulged, and left to reign in the heart, which betrays professors into 
apostacy, as Judas, Demas, &c. Consider, 

2. How this can be a seal to secure the saints and elect ones from 
apostacy, since it is but a commandment ? To this I answer, that 
the nature of the preceding seal would seem to have required this 
expression, " And they that are his depart from iniquity." But it 
is in form of a command, to show that the saints depart from ini 
quity by choice, and that they are by the Lord himself powerfully 
determined to this choice ; so that their perseverance is both rational 
and gracious. It is a command, at the same time it is a powerful 
and efficacious command of God, like that in Gen. i. 3, " And God 
said. Let there be light, and there was light ;" a command which 
effects what it requires in all who are his. It is such a command as 
that in Num. xvi. 26, (quoted above), which brought away from the 
tents of Dathan and Abirara, all who were not to be swallowed up 



with them. And this command is going through wherever che gos- 
pel is preached, and will go till the last day ; like a brisk wind se- 
parating the corn from the chaff, carrying away from the tents of 
sin all who are ordained to eternal life, though others dwell on in 
them still. Thus, though the profane and hypocritical, and all who 
are not the Lord's, are still held by some one bond of sin or other 
which is never broken : yet this powerful word looses the bands of 
all sin, sets them and their sins asunder, and keeps them asunder, 
who, being sealed vvith the first seal, are his. And all this God's 
eflScacious word can do, as well as keep the world from returning 
into its primitive mass of confusion ; Heb. i. 3, " Upholding all 
things by the word of his power." And so it is a seal securing them 
from apostacy. From this subject two general doctrines may be 
proposed : 

DocTKiNE I. That God doth charge all who name the name of 
Christ to depart from iniquity. 

DocTKiNE II. That God's charge to depart from iniquity becomes 
infallibly effectual in all who are his, so as that they do truly de- 
part from iniquity, while others hold it fast to their utter ruin. I 
begin with the 

First, That God doth charge all that name the name of Christ to 
depart from iniquity. 

In illustrating this point, I shall shew, 

I. Who they are whom the Lord charges to depart from iniquity. 

II. What is implied in departing from iniquity, which God charg- 
eth these to do. 

III. How he charges these who name the name of Christ to depart 
from iniquity. 

lY. Why these particularly who name the name of Christ are 
charged to do so. And then add the practical improvement. 

We are, 

I. To shew who they are whom the Lord charges to depart from 

The text tells you it is every one who names the name of Christ. 
Thus, it is every one of you, whatever your character be. The poor 
pagans, amongst whom Christ is not named, God winks at them; but 
ho charges you, and every one of you, to depart from iniquity. This 
charge is to you, 

1. Baptized persons, capable to discern betwixt good and evil; 
the name of Christ is called upon you, and you name him ; God 
charges you to depart from iniquity. You are engaged to be the 
Lord's, to fight against the devil, the world, and the flesh. You 


have no liberty to folIow^ your lusts, and the vanity of your minds. 
You are charged, as God's subjects, to have no more converse with 
his enemies ; since you have given up your names to Christ, you are 
to dwell no more in the tents of sin. There is no exception of the 
young more than the old, but every one who nameth the name of 
Christ i^ to depart from iniquity. The charge is to you, 

2. Who profess faith in Christ, and hope of salvation through 
him. Ton name his name, and therefore you are charged. Al- 
though, perhaps, you will not so much as bow a knee to God, nor 
have so much as a form of godliness, yet you have not renounced 
the faith, nor your part in Christ; therefore, since you retain his 
name, and will be called Christians, depart from iniquity ; live like 
Christians, and not like those who never heard of Christ. — The charge 
is to you, 

3. "Who pray to God through Christ. You name the name of 
Christ, and therefore are charged to depart from iniquity. Some of 
you, perhaps, pray only sometimes, as if you had more necessary 
business than serving the Lord ; some pray ordinarily, yet go on in 
some sinful course or other ; as if God was only to be served with 
fair words, and your lusts with the whole course of your life. But 
though this be your situation, this charge God lays on you notwith- 
standing, Depart from iniquity. — This charge is to you, 

4. "Who profess faith in Christ, and holiness of life also. You 
name the name of Christ, and therefore you should depart from in- 
iquity. Are there not many such, whose lives are miserably stained 
in points of immorality, who walk most unsuitably to their charac- 
ter, by reason of whom the way of truth is evil spoken of ? Rom. 
ii. 23, " Thou that makest thy boast of the law through breaking 
the law, dishonourest thou God ?" God charges you to walk up to 
your character, to your profession, and to depart from iniquity. — 
This charge is. 

Lastly, To communicants who name the name of Christ in a most 
solemn manner, by sitting down at his table, before God, angels, 
and men. This charge is to you. You have named this name, and 
gone back to those iniquities of which you were convinced. Are there 
not some who have adventured to stretch forth their hand to the 
Lord at his table, and have quickly again stretched it out to their 
lusts? To you the Lord is saying. Quit your communicating, or 
your iniquity ; join no more an unholy life to such a fair and flam- 
ing profession. 

We are now, 

II. To shew what is implied in this departing from iniquity which 
God chargeth us to aim at. — Here, 


1st, Let US inquire in what this departure, this happy apostacy 

lies. And, 

2dli/, What of iniquity God charges us to depart from.' — We are 
1st, To inquire in what this departure, tins happy apostacy lies. 

There are five things which belong to it. — There is, 

1. A giving up with our rest in sin. God says of sin to all who 
uame Christ, "Arise ye, and depart for this is not your rest; be- 
cause it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore desti'uc- 
tion." Sinners, ye are settled on your lees, as wine on the dregs, 
but there must be a separation ; you are dwelling in a dangerous 
place, like Lot in Sodom ; lying among the pots, as the Israelites 
in Egypt ; sleeping securely like the sluggard on his bed, " while 
his poverty cometh as one that travaileth, and his want as an armed 
man." God chargeth you to awake and bestir yourself, to spring 
to your feet, and prepare to make progress in the ways of holiness. 
— There is, 

2. A going oif from sin, and giving up with it : Job xxxiv. 32, 
" If I have done iniquity, I will do no more." God is saying to 
you of sin's dominion, as he said to the Israelites at Horeb, " Ye 
have dwelt long enough in this mount ; therefore up and be gone 
from the tents of wickedness ; ye have dwelt too long in the tents 
of Mesech and Kedar." May not the time past suffice to have 
done the will of the flesh ? 1 Pet. iv. 3, Ye " have long wandered 
on the mountains of vanity, come away from them now : Song iv. 8, 
" Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon." 
Bid a long farewell now, and turn your backs on the lusts of the 
flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. — There is, 

3. A standing off from sin, as the word properly signifies : Prov. 
iv. 15, "Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away." 
Keep yourselves at a distance. Stand off" from it as from a fire that 
will consume you, as from a leprosy that will infect you, as from an 
unclean thing that will defile you, as from a sword and arrow which 
will pierce and wound you to death, as from a serpent whoso biting 
and stinging is poisonous, painful, and deadly. — Tliere is, 

4. A going off to the other side, namely, to Christ and holiness ; 
Isa. Iv. 7, " Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous 
man his thoughts, and lot him return unto the Lord, and he will have 
mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." 
There can be no neutrality in the matter betwixt sin and holiness, no 
standing between the two : " ITo that is not with me is against me," 
saith Jesus ; " and he that gathereth not with me, scattoreth abroad," 
Matth. xii. 30. Sin and holiness are such opposites, that ono of them 
must be predominant in every subject capable of citlier. Apostates 


from religion betake themselves to the other side, aud they who 
ran away from Christ, they list themselves under Satan's banner ; 
and so do those who fall away from sin, fall in with Christ and new- 
ness of life. — There is. 

Lastly, A going farther and farther from sin. Even the saints 
must always be departing from it : Job, xi. 14, " If iniquity be in 
thine hand, put it far a»ray, and let not wickedness dwell in thy 
tabernacles." The first departure of the saints in conversion, though 
it be sincere, is not perfect ; but what is then begun, must be held on 
in the progress of sanctification, as a spring, when opened, runs and 
runs on, till the mud be wholly removed out of the fountain. Prov. 
iv. 18, " The path of the just is as the shining light, that shin- 
eth more aud more unto the perfect day." They, having this hope, 
purify themselves, even as God is pure, 1 John iii. 3. And hence 
their departing from sin consists in daily mortification, and living 
more and more to righteousness. 

Secondly, Let us inquire what of iniquity God charges us to de- 
part from. It is the accursed thing, with which we have nothing to 
do. We must depart from all sin, from the whole of it. — We must 

1. From under the dominion of sin : Rom. vi. 12, " Let not siu 
therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts 
thereof." Sin has a dominion over all who are out of Christ. It 
commands their whole man. The motions of it are the laws they 
obey. It is a dominion which is opposed to Christ's; in the one, 
grace reigns unto life; but in the other, sin reigns unto death. 
Christ offers to break the bands of your yoke ; come then to him, 
and shake off the yoke of your sins, renounce your allegiance, 
withdraw and refuse obedience [to your old masters ; say, " What 
have I any more to do with idols ?" — We must depart, 

2. From the practice of sin, Isa. Iv. 7, quoted above. Give up 
with and put an end to your sinful courses ; be no longer workers 
of iniquity, for such workers will get a sad reward of their work, 
Matth. vii. 23, "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity." To what 
purpose do men pretend to believe in Christ, while they are the 
servants of sin ? How can one serve two such contrary masters ? 
What avails the pretended belief of the truth, which purges not the 
heart and life of ungodliness and unrighteousness ; Rom. i. 18, " For 
the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness 
and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness." 
Depart then from the practice of sin, — in your outward man, your 
life aud conversation. God is saying to you this day, James, iv. 8, 
" Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double- 


minded." Reform your lives, if ever yon would have communion 
with God here or hereafter, Psalm xxiv. 3, 4, Isa. i. 16, " "Wash 
you, make you clean ; put away the evil of your doings from before 
mine eyes ; cease to do evil." Look to your conversation, see what 
is in it offensive to God, and dishonouring to his name, and depart 
from all this; Lam. iii. 40, " Let us search and try our ways, and 
turn again to the Lord." — Turn from gross pollutions of the outward 
man, and live the Christian life, or give over the Christian name, 
Jer. vii. 9, — 11. There have been sober Heathens, who were re- 
markable for their temperance, their justice in dealings, and, in a 
word, regular lives according to the precepts of morality. But how 
many Christians are there, whose lives are stained with profane 
swearing and cursing, drunkenness, injustice, dishonesty, filthiness, 
and other gross pollutions, by reason of which the way of truth is 
evil spoken of! God charges you, since ye name the name of Christ, 
to depart from these, upon the pain of eternal exclusion from his 
presence, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, Gal. v. 19 — 21. "Wherefore, let him that 
did these things do so no more. Turn from the lesser pollutions of 
the outward man ; Acts, xxiv. 16, "And herein do I exercise my- 
self, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and to- 
ward men." A person may be drowned in a rivulet, as well as 
in the deep sea, if they take not heed to themselves, Yain and idle 
words, as well as vile and wicked ones, may ruin a man : Matth. xii. 
36, 37, " But T say unto you, that every idle word that a man shall 
speak, they shall give acconnt thereof in the day of judgment. For 
by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be 
condemned." There is a careless way of living, though not the way 
of open profanity, which yet is offensive to tender Christians, in 
which men swim to destruction in a stream of sins that few in the 
world make any account of, and they go to hell without making the 
sound of their feet to be heard by the way. Hear their doom, 
Psalm cxxv. 5, " As for such that turn aside unto their crooked 
ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity." 
" This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth 
walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind," Eph. 
iv. 17. Look to the law and to the testimony ; cleanse your way 
by these. Psalm cxix. 9. If the word of God condemn your praciicc, 
though all the world justify it, God charges you to depart from it. 
Depart from the practice of sin in the inner man, James iv. 8, 
(quoted above), Psal. xxiv. 3. 4. Sin may be beaten from the 
outworks, while it has retired in safety to the heart : there may in 
appearance be a clean life, while tlie lioart is foul all over, and 
wickedness is practised at ease in the secret chambers of imagery. 


Therefore God charges you, as Jer. iv. 14, " Jerusalem ! wash 
thine heart from wickedness, that thou raayest be saved ; how long 
shall tliy vain thoughts lodge within thee ?" Turn, then, from 
heart vileness. Since the heart is as open to God as the life, it is of 
little use to be as a whited sepulchre, while within we are full of rot- 
tenness, to clean the outside of the cup while the inside is full of ra- 
vening. Purge your hearts of speculative filthiness ; away with 
filthy imaginations, impure thoughts, envy, covetousness, malice, 
1 Pet. ii. 1, 2. Be as much concerned to crush these vipers in the 
shell, as to resist external actions. Turn from heart-vanity, Eph 
iv. 17 (quoted above). Yain thoughts are like idle words, offensive 
to God, and therefore hated and resisted by the godly ; Psalm 
cxix. 113, " I hate vain thoughts." Vanity of heart is the next step 
to, and paves the way for vileness of heart and life. It is the house 
swept and garnished, to which the devil returns with seven other 
spirits worse than himself. Therefore labour to get your hearts 
filled with good motions and holy desires, regulated by the fear of 
God, warmed with his love, guarded by watchfulness, and so busied 
as that ye may not feed on wind, but may be taken up about what 
may be of good use, both profitable and pleasing. 

3. Depart from the devising and contriving of sin. A good man 
may be surprised into sin, but for a man to sit down and contrive 
sinful actions, is to make his heart a forge to Satan. To sleep and 
wake in pursuing the contrivance of sin, is the character of a wicked 
man ; Psalm xxxvi. 4, " He deviseth mischief upon his bed, he set- 
teth himself in a way that is not good ; he abhorreth not evil." 
Thus men set themselves wilfully in an ill way, which grieves the 
Spirit, extinguishes his motions, and wastes the conscience. Men 
may show their worldly wit in this way, that they are wise to do 
evil ; and they may, for a time, prosper in their ways, and bring 
their wicked devices to pass, Psalm xxxvii. 7« But such a habitual 
practice will prove a man graceless, 1 John iii. 8, 9, and will be 
bitterness in the end, for evil doers shall be cut off, Psalm xxxvii. 9. 
Depart, then, from the devising of sin, or quit the name of Chris- 

4. Depart from the love of sin ; Ezek. xvi. 6, " Thus saith the 
Lord God, Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols, and turn 
away your faces from all your abominations." 1 John ii. 15, 16. 
While the love of sin reigns in the heart, though they may seem to 
depart from it, the devil has a pledge of them that they will not go 
far away, but that they will come again back to him. This is that 
which makes so many communicants a scandal to their profession ; 
so many who put their hand to the plough, to look back. They still 


love siuful liberty, tlieir hearts tire not divorced from their lusts, 
and so they return to their idols. If you name the name of Christ, 
and profess love to him, God charges you — to turn your esteem of 
sin into disdain and contempt of it, Isa. ii. 20, " Cast your idols to 
the moles and to the bats." Let grace and holiness have the as- 
cendant of sin and wickedness in your esteem. Account them 
no more the happy men who take to themselves a liberty in sinful 
courses, but as men who are most miserable, vile, and pitiful, as 
slaves to sin, and in the road to destruction, Psalm xv. 4. You are 
charged to turn your love of sin into hatred and abhorrence of it, 
Psalm xcvii. 10, " Ye that love the Lord, hate evil." Hate it as 
evil, as the worst of evils, worse than any sufferings ; hate it as hell ; 
Rom. xii. 19, " Abhor that which is evil." Hate it as destructive 
to the soul, as dishonouring and displeasing to God. Abhor it as 
you would do a cup of poison, though a golden cup. Your love of 
it must be turned into loathing. Look not only upon it as an ill 
thing, but as a filthy and a loathsome thing, at Avhich one's heart is 
apt to stand, Isa. xxx. 22 ; Ezek. xviii. 31. You have long kept 
at it as a sweet morsel. Let your soul apprehend its real filthiness, 
so as that you may vomit it up again. Your former cleaving unto 
sin must be turned into longing to get rid of it, Rom. vii. 24, " ! 
wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this 
death ?" Long to be free of it, as a prisoner longs for the opening of 
the prison- doors, as a captive for his liberty. Look on it as a bur- 
den on your back, which makes you stoop ; as a burden on your 
head, which perplexes you how to get free of it ; as a burden on 
your stomach, which you will endeavour to cast up. This is the 
heart's departing from sin, without which all other departures from 
it will be to little purpose. 

5. Depart from the enjoyment of the fruits of sin. The righteous 
man is one who despises the gain of oppression, that shaketh his 
hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing 
of blqod, and shutteth his eyes from seeing of evil. When lovers 
part, they give back their tokens ; and when a sinner parts with his 
sin in earnest, he will part with its fruits, whatever advantages he 
has by them. This is so evident even to a natural conscience awaken- 
ed, that Judas, repenting of his betraying of Christ, could no longer 
bruik the thirty pieces he had made by his sin ; and Zaccheus, sin- 
cerely repenting, is ready to make restitution, Luke, xix. 8. It was 
Balaam's character, he loved the wages of unrighteousness. And he 
who wilfully keeps the fruit of his sin, thereby nails down his own 
soul in a state of impenitency, so that ho cannot repent of that sin ; 
he binds the guilt of it on himself as with bands of iron and brass, 


SO that it cannot be forgiven while this disposition remains. Where- 
fore purge out this leaven, and cast away the fruits with the tree. 

6, Depart from the occasions of sin, and all temptations to it, 
Ezek. xiv. 6, (quoted above) : It is vain to pretend to depart from 
sin, when men do not watch against the occasions to it. They who in 
a siege resolve really not to give up the town, will defend the out- 
works as long as they can. These do not depart from, but run into 
sin, who cast themselves into the way of temptations. Therefore 
says Solomon ; Prov. iv. 14. 15, " Enter not into the path of the 
wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass over it, 
turn from it, and pass away." Mind the apostle's advice, 1 Thes. v. 
22, " Abstain from all appearance of evil." Occasions and tempta- 
tions will seek us out while in this evil world ; but let every one who 
nameth the name of Christ be upon his guard against them. 

Lastly, Depart from the workers of iniquity; 2 Cor. vi. 17, 
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the 
Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." 
Let birds of a feather flock together; but if ye name the name of 
Christ, depart from the tents of wicked men. True, we cannot alto- 
gether shun them while we are in the world ; but to make choice of 
ungodly persons for our companions, is the way to ruin; Prov. xiii. 
20, " He that walketh with wise men shall be wise ; but a companion 
of fools shall be destroyed." Wherefore, if you be setting your faces 
heavenward, depart from those whose faces are towards hell ; Acts, 
ii. 40, " With many words did Peter testify and exhort them, say- 
ing, save yourselves from this untoward generation." Psalm xii. 7, 
" Thou shall keep them, Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this 
generation for ever." 



2 Tnr. ii. 19, 
And let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity, 

HAviNa, in the preceding discourse, considered to whom the charge 
is addressed, and what is imported in the charge, " depart from 

We now proceed, 

III. To explain the nature of this charge, or to shew how the 


Lord charges those who name the name of Christ to depart from 
iniquitj\ You may know the nature of this charge given to them 
in the text, by these following properties. It is, 

1. An universal charge, and this in two respects. 1st, In I'espect 
of the persons naming. " Every one," says the text, " who naraeth 
the name of Christ :" there is no exception in the charge, it is di- 
rected to all and sundry who profess Christ, or who are called 
Christians, whether ye be communicants or not. Since you are 
Christians by name, you are charged by the God who made you, to 
betake yourselves to the Christian life, and depart from iniquity. 
Whether you be high and honourable, or low and mean in the 
world, whatever difference is betwixt you and others, God makes 
none in this charge. But whether young or old, you are included 
in the charge, and you cannot resist it, but at your highest peril. — 
2dli/, The charge is universal in respect of the sins which you are 
to depart from ; Ezek. xviii. 31, " Cast away from you all your 
transgressions, whereby you have transgressed, and make you a new 
heart and a new spirit ; for why will ye die, house of Israel ?" 
They are all and every one of them dishonouring to God, displeas- 
ing to him, disagreeable to the holy name by which ye are called, 
and therefore all of them are to be departed from. — You must part 
with your fashionable sins, (with which, to be neighbour-like, you 
comply, though you should be a wonder to many), as well as with 
unfashionable ones, to which you have no temptation ; Rom. xii. 2, 
" And be not conformed to this world." You must depart from 
your gainful sins, as well as those by which you make no profit : 
Matth. xvi. 26, " For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the 
whole world, and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in 
exchange for his soul ?" You must part with the sins of your call- 
ing and station in the world, as well as those which lie out of your 
road. This is an ordinary screen for sin ; but see Luke iii. 12, 13, 
14. You must part with little sins, as well as with great sins ; 
with your darling sin, your bosom-idol, as with others less beloved ; 
with the sins of your constitution, that sin which most easily besets 
you, Heb. xii. 1 ; in one word, with all your sins of heart and life. 
It is, 

2. A peremptory charge ; Acts xvii. 30, " And the times of this 
ignorance God winked at : but now commandeth all men every 
where to repent." There are no ifs or ands for your keeping your 
sins, or any of them. Many go about to compound the matter with 
God. They will part with such and such a sin, they will only har- 
bour this and that, which is but a little one, a right eye, «S:c. ; but 
in vain, you must part with all. If you would give rivers of oil, or 


the fruit of your body for your sins, you cannot be allowed to keep 
any one of these accursed things. It is, 

3. A charge for the present time ; Psalm xcv. 7, " To-day, if ye 
will hear his voice, harden not your heart." It requires obedience 
upon hearing of it, a speedy and quick compliance, like that, Psalm 
cxix. 60, " I made haste, and delayed not, to keep thy command- 
ments." You are not allowed to advise another day, whether you 
will depart from iniquity or not. For ought you know, it is now or 
never with you; 2 Cor. vi. 2, "Behold, now is tho accepted time; 
behold, now is the day of salvation." And if you refuse this once 
more, God may take you at your refusal, and determine your eter- 
nal state by it, Prov. i. 24, and downwards. Often refusals are 
most dangerous; Prov. xxix. 1, "He that, being often reproved, 
hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without 
remedy." It is, 

4. A charge with certification, a charge upon yorr highest peril: 
Heb. xii. 25, " See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if 
they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more 
shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from 
heaven." You are charged to depart from iniquity, as you will 
answer it before the Judge of the quick and dead. There is in this 
instance a fivefold certification. There is this certification, 

(1.) That if you do it not, you shall incur the high displeasure 
of God : Rom. i. 18, " For the wrath of God is revealed from hea- 
ven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold 
the truth in unrighteousness." Who knows the power of His wrath 
who is able to frown the creature into the lowest abyss of misery? 
His anger makes the hills to tremble, the mountains to smoke ; alas ! 
how can worm man bear it ? — There is this certification, 

(2.) That if you do it not, you shall have no communion with God 
in duties : Amos iii. 3, " Can two walk together except they be 
agreed ?" You may go to your prayers, but God will not be found 
of you : he will turn the back and not the face to you : Psalm Ixvi. 
18, " If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." 
You shall find a separation-wall built up between God and you: 
Isa. lix. 2. " But your iniquities have separated between you and 
your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will 
not hear." You may come to a communion-table, but your har- 
boured lusts shall separate betwixt God and you ; this will make 
it a sapless meal to you. There is this certification, 

(3.) That if you do it not, your best services and duties will not 
be accepted, but rejected as an abomination. Remember that God 
requires obedience rather than sacrifices ; and it is in vain for men 


to think to please God in the external acts of devotion, while they 
do not make conscience of obeying his commandments in holiness of 
life ; Prov. xxviii. 9, " He that turneth away his ear from hearing 
the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination." "Will men dare 
to go over the belly of their duty enjoined them from the Lord's 
word, without ever aiming to comply with it, and yet think to com- 
municate acceptably ? There is this certification, 

(4.) That if you do it not, you will get a curse instead of a 
blessing in your approaches to God, Mai. ii. 2, 3. God has made 
some monuments of his vengeance, who have presumed in their sins 
unrei>ented of to approach his presence in a solemn manner, Lev. 
X. 1, 3. But because God does not strike men often this way, there 
are found those who, living in secret wickedness, come to the Lord's 
table to cloak their wickedness, little considering the blasting curse 
to which they expose their souls. There is this certification, 

(5.) That if you do it not, you shall perish in your iniquity ; Heb. 
xii. 14, " Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no 
man shall see the Lord." True holiness is in all manner of con- 
versation. One thing lacking will fuin and sink the ship of your 
souls, as well as a thousand. 

We are now, 

IV. To show why those particularly who name the name of 
Christ, are charged to depart from iniquity. All to whom the gos- 
pel comes are so charged, but those who profess Christ are in 
a special manner thus charged. For, 

1. The practice of iniquity is a contradiction to their profession ; 
so that they cannot have this practice, but they give the lie to their 
profession. An holy profession, and an unholy practice, are such 
inconsistencies, as that the one overthrows the other ; " for what 
fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ? and what com- 
munion hath light with darkness ? and what concord hath Christ 
with Belial? 2 Cor. vi. 14, 15. By their profession they are 
friends of God, by their practice they are enemies ; by the one they 
carry Christ's yoke, by the other sin and Satan's. Thus the life is 
woven into one practical lie. 

2. Whosoever partakes of Christ's salvation, departs from ini- 
quity ; for salvation from sin is the leading and chief part of Christ's 
salvation ; " Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his 
people from their sins." Therefore none can justly claim Christ 
as his Saviour, who still lives in bin. ITenco we are told, James ii. 
17, "That faith without works is dead." And a holy life is just as 
necessary to evidence our interest in Christ, as light is necessary to 
evidence that the sun is risen. 


3. The practice of iniquity iu such, is in a peculiar manner offen- 
sive to God, and grieving to his Spirit. Sin is offensive to his holi- 
ness, wherever it is found; but the offence is doubled in those who 
name the name of Christ; Amos iii. 2, " You only have I known 
of all the families of the earth : therefore I will punish you for all 
your iniquities." Friends wounds pierce deepest ; and the nearer 
that the relation is betwixt the offender and the offended, the offence 
is the worse taken. Psalm xli. 9, and Iv. 12, 13. The treachery of a 
traitor is more grievous than the enmity of an open enemy, and 
more severely punished ; and accordingly the impiety of those who 
name the name of Christ, is more heinous than that of others who 
do not ; Matth. xi. 22, " But I say unto you, it shall be more toler- 
able for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you." 
The breaking of a covenant, which all the baptized as well as com- 
municants have entered into, is most aggravating, both in respect of 
sin and punishment. See Matth. xxiv. 51. Compare Jer. xviii. 34. 

Lastly, It reflects a peculiar dishonour upon God ; such sins bring 
a scandal upon that holy name and religion which they profess; 
Rom. ii. 2i, " For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles 
through you." The loose lives of professors expose religion to the 
ridicule and reproach of its enemies ; so that they are the Judases 
by whom the Son of man was betrayed. Religion is the worse of 
them ; and it meets with worse entertainment in the world, that 
workers of iniquity do profess it. 

We are now, 

V. To make some practical improvement ; and this. 

First, In a use of information. This doctrine shews us, 

1. That all and every one amongst us, by the authority of God 
who made us, and in whose name we were baptised, are obliged to 
depart from iniquity, You cannot keep it without rebellion against 
your sovereign Lord, without treachery and breach of your covenant. 
that men would seriously reflect on the authority they are under ! 
consider the charge given them from heaven, and how they will 
answer for their disobedience to it, when God rises up to judgment. 
This shews us, 

2. That for men to abstain from the sacrament of the supper, to 
this end that they may not be abridged of their liberty in sinful 
courses, is not only impious, but childish and foolish. It is impious, 
as it is a determined disobedience to God's express charge. It is 
foolish, because this liberty is already cut off from them, and re- 
nounced by them, by their taking on the possession and badge of 
Christianity. Their abstaining from the sacrament of the supper, 
unless they also renounce their baptism, and all their part in Christ, 


will not take their name out of tliis charge from heaven. We are 

3. That they are hold adventurers, and run a dreadful risk, who 
come in their sins, unrepented of, and not sincerely resolved against, 
and sit down at the Lord's tahle ; 1 Cor. xi. 29, " For he that eateth 
and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, 
not discerning the Lord's hody." It is one of the most solemn ways 
of naming the name of Christ, to communicate at his table. Whoso 
partakes of this bread and cup do solemnly and practically confess, 
before God, angels, and men, that they take Christ, and part with 
their lusts, that they proclaim an irreconcileable war against the devil, 
the world, and the flesh, according to this charge. And for such to 
be still in the enemy's camp, or to return after the sacrament to 
their former known sinful courses, is solemnly to lie, and to mock 
God, the consequences of which will be most terrible : Gal. vi. 7, 
" Be not deceived ; God is not mocked ; for whatsoever a man 
soweth, that shall he also reap." 

4. Behold here how the Lord's table is fenced, by a fence of God's 
own making : " Let every one that nameth the name of Christ de- 
part from iniquity." There is a great privilege before us, the mak- 
ing a most solemn profession of the name of Christ, and our com- 
munion with him. Here in the test are God's terms of admission 
to the privileges, and these are most reasonable ; which are, that 
those who shall profess their coming over to Christ's side, shall de- 
sert the enemy's camp ; if they be for the light, they must renounce 
the works of darkness ; if they take Christ, they must let these go. 
You hear the terms ; lay your hand to your heart, and see what 
you will do. If men will not depart from iniquity, let them not 
take Christ's name iu vain. Our text debars from this holy table, 
whosoever will indulge themselves in, and will not part with, any 
known sin whatsoever ; particularly, 

(1.) All neglectors of the duties of piety towards God. Surely 
prayerless persons, and such as only call on God now and then, 
slighters of God's ordinances, his word, his Sabbaths, depart not 
from iniquity, but live in it, and cannot with a good conscience sit 
down at his table. Though they may deceive men, they cannot de- 
ceive God, who says to thcra. Psalm 1. 16, 17, " "What hast thou to 
do, to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant 
in thy mouth ? seeing thou hatcst instruction, and castest my words 
behind thee." Depart from these, then, or presume not to sit down 
at the Lord's table. 

(2.) All who make not conscience of their duty towards men, 
righteousness, mercy, and charity. Those who can wrong their 


neighbours, by undermining and cheating them, picking and stealing 
from them, by unfaithfulness of what they have of other men's 
among their hands, are fitter to join a society of robbers, than to 
sit down at a communion-table; Jer. vii. 11, '* Is this house, which 
is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes ? be- 
hold, I have seen it, saith the Lord." See 1 Cor. vi. 9. Those who 
shut up their bowels from the poor and needy, who oppress and 
grind the faces of others, are utterly unfit for this seal of God's 
mercy. Those who live in hatred of their neighbours, in malice 
and envy, and who cannot be reconciled to, nor forgive those who 
have done them a wrong, are unfit for this seal of God's pardon • 
Matth. vi. 15, "But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither 
will your Father forgive your trespasses." Depart from these or 
presume not to go to the table of the Lord ; for with a good con- 
science you cannot come there, unless you be resolved from the heart 
to be conscientious in all your relations, conscientious neighbours 
parents, children, masters, servants, &c. 

3. All those who are not sober in their lives; Tit. ii. 12. The 
gospel " teaches, that we should live soberly, righteously, and godly 
in this present world." Can a man who will not quit the table of 
drunkenness, be fit for the Lord's table. Do but imagine, a person 
sitting at the Lord's table one day, and getting drunk another day • 
what a monstrous and horrible thing is this ! Cor. x. 21, " Ye can- ■ 
not drink of the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils." Those who 
are wedded to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the 
pride of life, will but get a stroke to their souls by such a solemn 
approach. Depart from intemperance, then, and from the vain way 
of the world, or presume not to approach this holy table. 

4. All those who suffer their tongues to go at random, and make 
no conscience of their words. It is the character of persons very 
different from the people of God, which you have : Psalm xii. 2 3 
4, " They speak vanity every one with his neighbour : with flatter- 
ing lips, and with a double heart do they speak : the Lord will cut 
off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things ; 
who have said, With our tongue will we prevail, our lips are our 
own : who is lord over us ?" Let swearers and cursers take heed to 
this, and let them not deceive themselves with this, that they do it 
only in a passion ; let them soberly consider what agreement there 
is betwixt a solemn profession of the holy name one day, and a 
profaning it another ; betwixt their professing faith in Christ, bring- 
ing their consciences to his blood, and their endeavours for God's 
blessing one day, and another day swearing by their faith, their 
conscience, and cursing themselves or others. Let liars, filthy 

Vol. X. 


speakers, slanderers, and backbiters, who use their tongues so busily 
in the service of the devil, know what they have to expect, if they 
approach the table of the Lord, Psalm 1. 16 — 23. And let all know, 
that a loose unbridled tongue will prove a man's religion vain ; 
and this vain religion will leave him in the lurch at length ; Jam. i. 26, 
" If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his 
tongue, but deceiveth his own heart ; this man's religion is vain." 
Depart therefore from all these, or presume not to approach the 
Lord's table. 

5. All those who make no conscience of inward purity, the keep- 
ing of the heart; Matth. v. 8, " Blessed are the pure in heart, for 
they shall see God." Outside religion may give you outward pri- 
vileges, but it will leave you to break your teeth on the shell, with- 
out ever enjoying the kernel of thera. Speculative impurities and 
sins entertained in the heart, will exclude you from heaven ; and, 
before the Lord, will exclude you from his table, if you are not re- 
penting of thera, and resolving, through grace, to wrestle against 
them. Depart also from these, or venture not to approach his holy 

6. All those who entertain and indulge themselves in any known 
sin, or in the neglect of any known duty, or are not content to have 
their sin and duty discovered to them ; Psalm Ixvi. 18, " If I regard 
iniquity in ray heart, the Lord will not hear me." One thing may 
mar all in the bargain betwixt Christ and your souls. If one lust 
be reserved and excepted, it is no bargain ; Mark x. 21, 22, " Then 
Jesus beholding him, loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou 
lackest; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the 
poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven ; and come, take up 
thy cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went 
away grieved, for he had great possessions." Men, then, should 
soberly consider, with what conscience they can sit down at the 
Lord's table, while they are living in sin, in that which they are 

onvinced to be sin, and yet are never endeavouring to amend. 

5. Behold how the door of access to the Lord's table is opened 
to all true penitents, whose hearts are loosed from, and set against, 
all sin. Those who would now sincerely depart from their iniquity, 
and turn from it without reserve to the Lord, are welcome to name 
the name of Christ, they have his Father's allowance for it : Isa. 
iv. 7, " I>et the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man 
his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have 
mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.'' 
He saith not, that they who will name the name of Christ must be 
without iniquity; there are none such in this lower world ; but they 


must depart from it, they iniist turn their backs on it, though it may 
tempt them ; they are to flee from it though it may follow ; they are 
to resist it, nay even though it attack them. Whosoever, then, is 
brought to be weary of their former sinful courses, are sincerely de- 
sirous of, and are resolving through grace to be the Lord's only 
wholly, and for ever, to take Christ for their Saviour from sin and 
wrath, to take holiness for their way, and Grod's word for their rule, 
they have access to the covenant, and to the seal of the covenant, in 
a comfortable way. 

Lastly, This shews us the necessity of self-searching, examining 
ourselves on this occasion. 1 Cor. xi. 28. Communicants should 
examine themselves beforehand as to their sins, as well as with res- 
pect to their graces, since God has commanded every one that nameth 
the name of Christ to depart from iniquity. Make not superficial 
work of communicating, but examine your heart and life for the 
time past, that ye may discover what has been, and what is your ini- 
quity or iniquities, from which you are now to depart : Lam. iii. 40, 
" Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord." 
One reason why there is so little reformation on the back of com- 
munions is, that people do not beforehand take a view of what is 
wrong, they do not consider what they are to endeavour the reforma- 
tion of. Now, if a person do not know what he should depart from, 
how can he depart from it ? Wherefore the same authority which 
charges you to depart from iniquity, charges you to take a view of 
what has been amiss in your ways. Take some time for this, and be 
as particular as you can, to search out the old leaven, and devote to 
a curse what you find out. Examine how your hearts stand affected 
to your sins for the time present, whether you really repent of them 
or not, whether you be ashamed of them before the Lord, are hearti- 
ly grieved for them, hate them, and are longing to be rid of them, to 
be delivered from the guilt, the stain, the power, and the indwelling 
of them, or not. If you have not attained to this, you are, while in 
this case, utterly unfit for a communion table. If you have, the 
master of the feast makes you welcome. If your repentance be real 
it will reach to all your known sins whatsoever, without exception, 
both the rootand the branches, Rom. vii. 24, " wretched man that I 
am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" Examine 
how your hearts stand affected to them for the time to come ; if you 
be sincerely resolved through grace, on newness of life. Surely it 
is meet at all times, but especially before a communion occasion, to 
be thus resolved : Job xxxiv. 31, 32, " Surely it is meet to be said unto 
God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more. That 
which I see not, teach thou me ; if I have done iniquity, I will do 

c 2 


no more." If you cannot tliink to give up with your sinful courses, 
or to live without them, do not mock God, and bring more guilt 
upon your souls, by sitting down at his table : but if you would wish 
to be holy as God is holy, and, under a sense of your inability to 
subdue sin, desire to betake yourself to Christ for his sanctifying 
Spirit, resolving through grace to watch against sin, and resist the 
motions of it, ye are welcome quests to the Lord's table. — We shall 
only add. 

Secondly, An use of exhortation. "We exhort you to depart from 
iniquity, turn from your sins, since you name the name of Christ. 
Let none think to fipd shelter for their sins under this, namely that 
they intend not to take the sacrament. You have taken a sacra- 
ment already, which obliges you to do this, and therefore I charge 
one and all of yon to depart from your iniquity this day. If you will 
not, know the name Christ, whose name you name, while you will not 
depart from iniquity ; it will be your great enemy : Luke xix. 27, "But 
those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, 
bring hither and slay before me." Sin is the great make-bait betwixt 
God and the sinner, and the friendship with your lusts will be enmity 
with the Lord. Hereupon I would ask you. How think ye to live on 
God's ground, amongst the midst of his creatures, while God is your 
enemy ? Know ye not that all the creatures are banded together 
against him to whom God is an enemy? Does not the meat thou 
eatest say, Lord if thou wilt allow me, I will choke this rebel ? The 
earth, I will swallow hira up who will not depart from iniquity? 
Again, let me ask you, how will you look the king of terrors in the 
face ? What comfort will these sins which thou now boldest fast 
leave thee, when the old sinful tabernacle begins to fall down, the 
soul to flee away, and the carcase is brought down to a grave, both 
to be imprisoned, the former in hell, the latter in the grave, till the 
resurrection ? How will you bear to be raised up and sisted before 
the great tribunal, to answer for all those sins you will not now de- 
part from, and to receive the eternal reward of your works ? 

Particularly, communicants ! presume not to sit down at the 
Lord's table, ivithout departing from iniquity. Purge out the old 
leaven, that ye may keep the feast. — communicants ! will yo be- 
tray the Son of man with a kiss ? When sitting down at his table, 
you profess yourselves to be his friends, members of his family. 
But if you depart not from iniquity, you will betray him as sure as 
Judas did, for you are in league with his enemies. And your vows 
at thecoraraunion-table will become like Samson's green withs, which 
were broken at tlio first onset, and you will return back again with 
more eagerness to these sins from which you never really departed : 


you know what will be the end of such conduct. — Will ye go out 
against Christ as against a thief with swords and staves ? You do 
it by going in your sins unrepented of to his table. We are to com- 
memorate his love in dying for our sins, sins which furnished a 
Judas to betray him, nails to pierce him, and a spear to enter into 
his side. And will you presume on this exercise, holding fast these 
sins, and refusing to let them go ? If you would proclaim war 
against Christ, instead of sitting down at his table, you could reach 
him no other way, than you will do by holding fast iniquity. It is 
the day of his espousals, of his coronation ; let us not make it a day 
of crucifying him afresh. — Would you see Jesus, and in him God 
reconciled to your souls, blessing you with the seal of your pardon, 
peace, and right to eternal life ? Come away to Christ freely from 
your sins, make your most beloved lusts stepping-stones, over the 
belly of which you will come to his table, putting a bill of divorce 
into the hand of them all, with a sincere resolution, through grace, 
never to entertaid them willingly again. In this event, I know no- 
thing to make the separation betwixt him and you : Isa. lix. 1, 
" Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save ; 
neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear." But, alas ! some say, 
I cannot get rid of my sins. To this I answer. Is thine iniquity thy 
burden, which thou wouldst as fain be rid of, as of an oppressing 
weight? Then thy heart is away from it, and God accepts thee in 
this case, sincerely, though not perfectly, to be departed from it. It 
is one thing to be sitting still in a house, willingly entertaining a 
guest ; another, to bo labouring to get away, though the troublesome 
guest will not part with us. If the latter be thy case, you may 
come to the Lord at his table, with hopes of welcome, you will then 
be strengthened for the struggle, and shall get the seal of complete 
victory in dne time. Amen. 



2 Tim. ii. 19, 
And let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquiti/. 

Having, in the preceding discourses, oflfered all that was intended 
on the first doctrine taken from this subject, I now proceed to a con- 
sideration of 

DocT. II. That God's charge to depart from iniquity is infallibly 


effectual in all wlio are his, so as that they do truly depart from ini- 
quity, while others hold it fast to their own ruin, Acts xiii. 48 ; 
Matth. i. 21 ; or briefly thus, that all the elect of God shall depart 
from iniquity. 

In explaining this, I shall, 

I. Shew when and how far this charge is effectual in all who are 

II. Evince the truth of this doctrine that the charge is effectual 
in all who belong to God. 

III. We shall, in the conclusion, make some practical improve- 

We are, 

I. To shew when and how far this charge is effectual in all who 
are his. I shewed before, from what of sin we are to depart. And, 
in general, this charge is effectual, in all the parts of it, in them who 
are the Lord's. But more particularly, 

1. It is effectual in them who are his, in this life*. Here the work 
is truly and happily begun ; they all become saints on earth, who 
shall be saints in heaven. Psalm xvi. 3. Though by nature they are 
wild olives, growing in the forest of the world lying in wickedness, 
they are plucked up and planted in the nursery of grace, where they 
grow till transplanted into paradise ; while their fellows stand still 
in that forest till cut down for the fire. It is effectual in this life, 
in a gospel-sense, though not in a law-sense, in respect of a per- 
fection of parts, though not of degrees. And this in three respects : 

(1.) It is effectual in all who belong to God, in so far as they 
come freely away from sin in conversion. Some may be longer in 
coming away than others, they may abide in the tents of wickedness, 
after other sealed ones are gone, but they shall infallibly follow 
sooner or later ; For, says Jehovah, Joel iii. 21, " I will cleanse 
their blood that I have not cleansed, for the Lord dwelleth in Zion." 
This one and the other may often be passed by ; while others are 
taken, who shall certainly have a place in the building of mercy. 
Here consider the following things : — That all mankind by nature 
lie in wickedness : They are dead in trespasses and sins, Eph. ii, 1. 
They are in the devil's camp, they are bound with the bands of 
wickedness, estranged from God and all that is truly good. They 
will not leave it, because it is their clement. — Consider also, that yet 
among thcra God has some which he has chosen to life, and whom 
in his eternal purpose of love to their souls, he has sealed as his own, 
to bring them away, and to make them partakers of his glory. — 
Consider farther, that the alarm of the gospel comes indefinitely to 
all, whether they be the Lord's or not. It comes to the devil's 


camp, and says, 2 Cor. vi. 17, " Wherefore come out from among 
them, and be ye separated, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean 
thing, and I will receive you." It says as Moses to Israel, in re- 
spect of Korah, Dathau, and Abiram, " Depart, I pray you, from 
the tents of these wicked men." Or as the angel to Lot, " Escape 
for thy life ; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the 
plain," Gren. xix. 17. Consider, that as God knows who among 
them are his, so he infallibly brings them away from the rest, in 
obedience to the gospel-alarm ; " As many as were ordained to 
eternal life believed," Acts xiii. 48. This march out of the devil's 
camp, was beguu at the first preaching of the gospel in paradise, 
and is continued to this day, though sometimes more, sometime fewer 
go off together. And it will be continued until there be not one of 
them that belong to God left among them ; and then comes the end. 

Now, in conversion, the Spirit sounding the alarm. Depart ye, 
depart ye ; they that are the Lord's are impressed by it ; so the 
dead soul awakes, the impenitent heart melts, they spring to their 
feet, resolved and determined to depart from the tents of sin. The 
devil and those who are his, do what they can, by allurements and 
threats, to hold them still ; but under the conduct of the Captain of 
the Lord's host, they march out with banners displayed, and depart 
freely from iniquity ; the trumpet still sounding, " Let every one 
that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." As to the 
nature of their departure, we observe the following things : — 

[1.] They depart from sin sincerely. They depart from it, be- 
cause it is a departing from God, contrary to his holy nature and 
law ; they depart from it as sin, Luke xv. 18. They who belong to 
God, leaving their sins, leave them not from the inferior motives only 
of danger to themselves, here or hereafter ; but from higher mo- 
tives also, because they are offensive to God, they dishonour his Son, 
grieve his Spirit, transgress his law, and deface his image. Thus 
the worthy communicant reforms, and departs from iniquity. Here, 
however, there may be proposed this 

Question, How do they with those sins from which they formerly 
departed from lower motives only, or which left them ere they left 
them ? To this I answer. That they do with them as men used to do 
with those who die by their own hands. They bury them disgrace- 
fully, and throw stones upon their graves. They look back to them, 
and loathe them. They left them at first for their own sake ; they 
go farther away from them for God's sake. They neglected them 
before, as having no use for them ; they abhor them now for their 
intrinsic loathsomeness. They were hanging before betwixt heaven 
and earth, like Absalom on the oak ; now they thurst the darts into 
their hearts, and throw them into a pit. 


[2.] They depart from iniquity voluntarily ; not out of constraint, 
but choice; Psalm cxix.30, " I have chosen the way of truth; thy judg- 
ments have I laid before mie." They do not cast away sin only as one 
would do a live coal out of his bosom, because it will burn him ; or a 
serpent, because it will sting him ; but as a loathsome, unclean thing 
because it will defile him. Some depart from their iniquity against 
their will. They part with it as Phaltiel with his undutiful wife, 2 Sam. 
iii. 16. They dwell in the tents of sin, and will not move hence, till 
there is no abiding longer there for them ; as the covetous man parts 
with the world at death, or when it is violently taken from him ■ 
whether he will or not, he must let it go. But this departure is not 
lasting, such will go back again, Psalm Ixxviii. 34 — 37. And so 
hence there occurs a 

Question, May not a person be driven from his iniquity by ter- 
ror of God? To this I answer, I conceive that when the time comes, 
at which a person who belongs to God is to depart from iniquity, 
there are two trumpets which sound in his ears. The Jirst trumpet' 
is that of the law, which is so terrible, that it makes the man's soul 
quake within him, and makes an earthquake in the devil's camp 
to hira, so that he finds no more firm footing there, nor rest as be- 
fore, but he must flee for his life in consternation. But if there be 
no more, he may flee from one part of it to another, but he will still 
abide within the trenches. The second trumpet is that of the gospel, 
the still small voice, sounding pardon, peace, welcome, to Christ's 
camp, and to the feast of fat things, to all those who will depart from 
iniquity. This takes the trembling sinner by the heart, and makes 
him come away freely and voluntarily from iniquity ; so that, al- 
though the trumpet of the law shall cease, this charms him so as he 
can stay no longer in the tents of sin, Hos. ii. 14, and iii. 5. 

[3.] They depart from iniquity resolutely, absolutely, and uncon- 
ditionally, cost what it will ; they cannot, they will not, they must 
not stay. Others may do as they please ; but, with Joshua, they 
peremptorily say, " We will serve the Lord," Josh. xxiv. 15. If all 
the world should sit still, they will go, though they should go alone. 
Satan may frame many objections against their departure, and enter 
into terms for their staying, as Pharaoh with the Israelites, about 
their departure from Egypt. But converting grace makes their ears 
deaf to all proposals of this nature. If they should leave all they 
have in the world, they must leave sin, Luke xiv. 26, if it should be 
never so much to their loss as to their temporal interest, they will 
depart; if they must go through fire and water, make their way 
out of it through briars and thorns, — any thing but sin ; Rev. xiv. 
4, '' These are they who follow the lamb whithersoever ho goeth." 
These were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto 


God and to the Lamb. He whose departing from iniquity depends 
on ifs and ands, effectual grace has not yet reached his heart. 

[i.] They depart from iniquity speedily, without delays ; Psalm 
cxix. 60, " I made haste, and delayed not, to keep thy command- 
ments." Many good purposes come to nothing by delays. The man 
intends to part with such and such a sin, to comply with such 
and such a duty, only he cannot do it yet. And whereas there is 
cue hinderance in his way at present, there are two after ; and so 
the project flies up for good and all. But they who belong to God 
are snatched away as brands out of the burning. They will delay 
no longer to depart from sin, than one delays to fling a burning 
coal out of his bosom, or a stinging serpent. Being determined to 
depart, they are determined to depart without delay, because a mo- 
ment's delay in this matter may be an eternal loss. 

[•5.] They depart from it universally ; Psalm cxix. 104, " Through 
thy precepts I get understanding : therefore I hate every false 
way." Ezek. xviii. 31, " Cast away from you all your transgres- 
sions whereby you have transgressed, and make you a new heart 
and a new spirit ; for why will ye die, house of Israel ?" "Whoso 
departs from one sin sincerely, and as sin, departs from all sin 
known to them to be such ; because the reason moving him to de- 
part from one, is to be found in all. Every sin is a deadly wound 
to the soul ; and therefore, if but one remain uncured, the man is a 
dead man ; Matth. v. 29, " If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, 
and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy 
members perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into 
hell." One sin retained will make all our reformation naught, as 
Abimelech, the son of Jerubbaal's concubine, was the death of his 
seventy sons by his wives, excepting one, Jud. ix. 5. Hence those 
who belong to God depart from all sin without exception, however 
others may have their reserved idols. Thus they depart from that 
sin which is the sin of their constitution, that sin which attends 
their calling in the world, that sin to which they have the strongest 
and most frequent temptations ; Psalm xviii. 23, " I was also up- 
right before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity." That sin 
which most easily besets us, Heb. xii. 1, is the predominant evil the 
heart must be loosed from, the right hand, and right eye, the one 
thing lacking, which mars all other things ; from which, however 
loath they be to part, they will be made willing to part with it in 
the day of power. Thus, all who belong to God do come freely 
away from sin in conversion; and so the charge is effectual. 

(2.) It is effectual in all who belong to God, in so far as they 
never again return to it as formerly, but persevere in that course of 


holiness which is once begun. They who have ouce freely departed 
from the tents of wickedness, shall never again come back to them, 
they shall never mix again with the ungodly world, from among 
whom they have come out; Psalm xii. 7, "Thou shalt keep them, 
Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." Con- 
verting grace fixes a gulf betwixt the two, which they shall never 
repass. I own a gracious soul may fall from its first love, to carnal 
sluggishness, remissness, and indisposition for duties. Thus it was 
with the church of Ephesus, Rev. ii. 4. Yea, they may fall into 
some enormous offences and gross transgressions of the law, as Peter 
did, and they may for some time lie in these unrepented of, as David 
and Solomon did ; and they may relapse into the same sins formerly 
mourned over, Rev. xxii. 8 ; compare chap. xix. 10. Thus, Abra- 
ham denied his wife twice. They may thus fall after solemn en- 
gagements to the Lord, as Peter did, after the first communion, and 
after gracious manifestations, Song v. 1 — 3. To be more particular, 

[1.] They shall never fall back to sin, with the same heart and 
good-will which they had to it before ; not with a full consent, but 
with reluctance ; Rom. vii. 19, " For the good that I would, I do 
not; but the evil which I would not, that do I." They may be sin's 
captives while they are here, driven back to some iniquity or other 
by the force of temptation ; but sin's ready subjects they shall never 
more be. There is a principle of grace within them, which, at the 
lowest ebb, will check that full spring-tide of sin which they were 
wont to have before they departed from it, Song v. 2. 

[2.] Tliey shall not lie still in sin, but sooner or later rise again 
to repentance. So did Peter, David, and Solomon. They shall not 
live in the habitual practice of any known sin. Hypocrites, after 
solemn engagements to God, may return and live in the habitual 
practice of their former lusts ; like the mixed multitude sounding 
a retreat into Egypt, they may fall away and never recover. But 
though a straying slave never be sought after, a straying son will 
be. Those who belong to God may fall in the way, but they shall 
never fall out of God's way of holiness ; Job xvii. 9, " The righte- 
ous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall wax 
stronger and stronger." Having once departed from iniquity, they 
shall hold on their way ; for he that set them on the way shall keep 
them in it ; 2 Thess. iii. 3, " The Lord is faithful, who shall stab- 
lish you, and keep you from evil." The Lord is the keeper of all 
those who have departed from iniquity, and he watches night and 
day, Isa. xxvii. 2. They are kept by the word of God, which is a 
sufficient defence against the powers of darkness. Their keeper 
never leaves them, nor forsakes them, Heb. xiii. 6. When once 


Christ takes hold of a soul, he will never part with it again, however 
low the pass to which they may be brought ; Psalm Ixxiii. 23, 
** Nevertheless, I am continually with thee ; thou hast holden me by 
my right hand." None can loose his hold, nor plnck them out of his 
hand, John x. 28. Again, they have an immortal principle within 
them for carrying them forward. The Spirit of Christ dwells in 
them for ever, John xiv. 16. Grace is a never-dying seed, which 
remaineth in them, 1 John iii. 9. This, by virtue of the covenant, 
secures the continuance of their departure from iniquity, Jer. xxxii. 
40. Hence, when the believer steps aside from the Lord, there is 
still in him a restlessness, more or less, until he return, like the 
dove into the ark. Song v. 2. Farther, sin can never recover that 
dominion over him which it has lost, and that irrecoverably ; Rom. 
vi. 14, " For sin shall not have dominion over you." And though, 
in the war with sin, corruption may sometimes get the upper hand, 
yet grace shall overcome at length ; Gen. xlix. 19, " Gad, a troop 
shall overcome him ; bnt he shall overcome at the last." 

3. It is effectual, in so far as they go farther and farther from it in 
the progress of sanctification Prov. iv. 18, " But the path of the just 
is as the shiniug light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect 
day ;"Isa. xl. 31, " But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew 
their strength," &c. Grace is of a growing nature; and though it 
grows not at all times, yet it does grow. The life of a saint is a going 
up out of the wilderness of this world ; and the farther he goes, he is 
the nearer his journey's end. And thus a gracious soul is still de- 
parting from iniquity, and shall depart. He departs, by watching 
against it ; and always the more watchful, the farther from it ; Psalm 
xxxix. 1. ** I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my 
tongue ; I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is be- 
fore me." Any distance we can be at from sin while here, is a dis- 
tance of opposition ; and the more the Christian has his eyes in his 
head, to observe the motions of the enemy, to avoid occasions and 
temptations to sin, he is set at the greater distance from it. Un- 
watchfulness is the ruin of many. They who belong to God shall be 
made to watch ; and if they be at a time taken nodding, it shall 
serve to make them more awake afterwards. Again they shall de- 
part, by keeping up a struggle against sin ; Gal. v. 17, " For the 
flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh." Sin 
may get quiet harbour in the breast of a hypocrite, but in those who 
are the Lord's it can get no more ease than mud in a spring-well, 
where there will be a working it out ; John, iv. 14, " The water that 
I shall give him," saith Jesus, " shall be in him a well of living 
water, springing up to everlasting life." And this struggle will con- 


tiuue as long as there is a Canaanite in the land; for it is not, as in the 
hypocrite, against some kind of sins only, but against the whole kind 
of them. And the gracious soul will be groaning, longing, wrestl- 
ing for the perfect delivery, no truce being to be made here, but the 
war undertaken for extirpation, Rom. vii. 24. Phil. iii. 13, 14. 
Finally, he departs, by growing in grace: Psalm, xcii. 12, " The 
righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree; he shall grow like a 
cedar in Lebanon." Many go back to their old lusts again, because, 
though they seem to depart from some sins, yet, being destitute of 
grace, they cannot grow in the opposite graces, and therefore it fares 
with them, as in Matth. xii. 44, 45, " Thus their last state is worse 
than the first." But as a man is always the farther from his disease, 
the more that nature is strengthened ; so the gracious soul is set the 
farther from sin, the more that the contrary graces are made to grow 
in him. From this part of the subject, we may learn, 

1. That if ye be the Lord's people by sincere dedication, his cove- 
nant-people, ye have come away freely from all your lusts, unto 
himself. You have been at his table solemnly devoting yourselves 
to him ; if you have dealt honestly with him, and have not eaten 
and drunk unworthily, your hearts are loosed from all your idols, 
you have with heart and good-will turned your back on the Sodom 
of sinful courses, with sincere resolutions not to look back. How- 
ever little influence this charge has had on others, it is eftectual on 
you ; you have taken the alarm, and have begun your march out of 
the tents of sin, you dare no more be disobedient to the heavenly 
vision. If so, it is well; if otherwise, you have but mocked God, 
and wronged your own souls. You may learn, 

2. That if you be indeed the Lord's people by covenant savingly, 
you will not go back to your former lusts : Luke, ix. 62, " And Jesus 
said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and look- 
ing back, is fit for the kingdom of God." You are not to return to 
your vain conversation. You have lifted up your hand to the Lord, 
and you cannot go back in point of right ; and unless you have been 
dealing deceitfully with God, you will not go back. Apostacy and 
backsliding take the mask of hypocrites ; and fearful is their con- 
dition, for fallen stars were never genuine stars, but stars only in 
appearance : 1 John, ii. 19, " They went out from us, but they were 
not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have con- 
tinued with us; but they went out, that they might be made mani- 
fest that they were not of us." Think on this when temptations come, 
that to return into the tents of sin, is to prove yourselves not to be 
the Lord's. Wo may learn, 

Lastly, That if you be the Lord's by election you, shall part with 


those sins which now part betwixt the Lord Christ and you. Tor though 
you hide yourselves from him who came to seek you, he notwithstand- 
ing will find you out ; and as fast as your lusts hold you, and you them, 
the Lord will make you fain to cast them as fire out of your bosom, 
if he has any thoughts of eternal love to you. If he has not, you will 
get them kept, and you may embrace and hug them during life and 
through eternity ; they shall clasp about you like serperts, stinging 
with endless despair. But it looks fearfully ill, while the trumpet 
of the gospel, day after day, and year after year, is soundiug an 
alarm to depart from sin, and others are marching away in your 
sight, that you are still staying behind. 

The life of a saint is a departing from iniquity, and this is their 
work while here ; so that although it still cleaves unto them, yet 
they are not sitting down contented in it, but endeavouring the sepa- 
ration for altogether. Thus the charge is effectual, in so far as they 
go farther and farther from it. Here there is another, 

QuKSTiojsr, But is it not often seen, that Christians are farther from 
iniquity at first than ever they are afterwards ? hence many com- 
plain that their days, after a long standing in religion, are not 
found to be by far so good as when they were but young Christians. 
In answer to this, I observe, 

1. That there are not a few who, though never found converts, yet 
had awakening grace at their first setting out in a profession, mak- 
ing a mighty reel among their affections, and a great change on their 
life; which wearing away by degrees, they settled on a lifeless 
empty form of godliness, and so were farther from iniquity then 
than ever before. But this will not prove it to be so with the truly 
godly. I observe, 

2. That Christians of a long standing in religion have their sleep- 
ing and decaying times, and young Christians also have theirs. In 
Song, V. 2, we find the spouse asleep after great manifestations; and 
in Matth. xxv. 5, we find the wise, as well as the foolish virgins, 
slumbering and sleeping. And if we compare the sleeping days of 
aged Christians with the waking days of those who are only young, 
no doubt the latter has the advantage of the former, even as a wor- 
king boy is in less danger of the enemy's surprise, than a sleeping 
man. But since the power of grace effectually stirs up both from 
their spiritual slumbers, it is but just the comparison pass betwixt 
them, in the waking frame. I observe, 

3. That there is a difference betwixt the bulk of religion, and the 
solidity and weight of it ; the vehement commotions, and its firmness 
and rootedness. Young Christians may be of more bulk than the 
old in respect of many glistering affections, arising from the new- 


ness of the thing, which are mixed with it, and afterwards go off. 
But with old Christians, though there be less bulk, it is more solid 
and weighty ; as the gold, the oftener it is in the fire, is the more re- 
fined, though not so bulky. Young Christians have more vehement 
affections, but the old have thera more regular, rooted, and firm ; 
thus the old is better. The longer one stands in Christianity, cer- 
tainly he has the more experience of the goodness of God, and of 
the corruption of his own heart, and of the danger from spiritual 
enemies. Hence he must be more resolute in solid serious depen- 
dence upon the Lord of all; more humble, self-denied, and more firm 
against temptation ; and, in one word, have more of a regular com- 
posed tenderness, with respect to sin and duty. And herein lies the 
stress of departing from iniquity : 1 John, v. 3, " For this is the 
love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments 
are not grievous." 

Young soldiers may rush upon the enemy with greater briskness, 
but the old ones stand the ground best, and abide the shock more 
firmly. Wherefore, let no Christians of long standing in religion be 
discouraged as if they were not departing from iniquity, because 
they do not make such visible progress as when religion was new to 
them, if there remain with them a rooted tenderness with respect 
to anything that may be displeasing to God, with a sincere purpose 
and endeavour to keep a conscience avoid of offence towards God 
and towards man : 2 Cor. i. 12, " For our rejoicing is this, the testi- 
timony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not 
with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our con- 
versation in the world." Add to this, a serious longing to be freed 
from the body of death, Rom. vii. 24. ; and to be perfected in holi- 
ness, Phil. iii. 13. 14. For as the progress of the ship in the main 
ocean is not so discernible as when it was coming off from the 
shore, tho' it may move as fast ; so it is no wonder that the progress 
of the Christian of long standing be not so visible as at the first; 
or as the growth of a tree the first year is more discerned than after, 
so it may be with the Christian. 

Having thus shown how far the charge is eftectual in this life, we 
add upon this head, 

That it is effectual in all who are the Lord's people, at death ; 
and this in so far as that then they perfectly depart from sin, and 
sin from thera. They come then to the spirits of just men made 
perfect, Heb. xii. 23. There is a great difference betwixt tho godly 
and the wicked in life, and a still greater at death. As the wicked 
do in life hold fast their iniquities amidst all the means of justifica- 
tion and sanctification offered them ; so at death all these means are 


removed for ever out of their sight ; and thus their iniquities meet 
upon them, to prey on their souls for ever. Then sin is settled in 
its full power in their souls, as on its own base. No more hopes 
nor possibility of sanctification ; and the several pieces of guilt, as 
cords of death, are twisted about them for ever. As sin in the god- 
ly is in their life loosed at the root, so at their death it is rooted 
up ; as in life they depart from it sincerely, so at death perfectly. 
The body of death goes with the death of the body, that as death 
came in by sin, so sin may go out by death. Now, sin is in the god- 
ly as the leprosy in the walls of the house, which, therefore, being 
taken down, the leprosy is removed ; when the gracious soul drops 
the mantle of the body, it will, at the same instant drop all the un- 
cleanness cleaving to it. Amen. 



2 Tnx. ii. 19, 
And let every one that nameth the name of Chiist depart from iniquity. 

Having, in the preceding discourse, shown that this charge is effec- 
tual with all who are the Lord's, both in this life and at death, we 
now proceed, as was proposed, 

II. To evince the truth of the doctrine, that the charge is effectual 
in all who belong to God. With this view I would have you to 
consider the following things. 

1. Consider that it was for this purpose that they "were elected; 
Eph. i. 4, " According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foun- 
dation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame, be- 
fore him in love." All whom God has chosen to life, are chosen to 
holiness ; so that the decree of election in their favour, secures their 
departure from iniquity. If a person had determined to save a cer- 
tain number of madmen, going about to kill themselves, with knives 
in their hands, the resolution to save them would import the taking 
the knives out of their hands ; so here, reprobates may get their 
lusts kept, but the elect shall not. "Wherefore, as sure as the elect 
cannot perish, and the Lord will lose none who are his, so sure shall 
all who are his depart from iniquity. There is no separating of the 
means and the end, which, in God's decree, are firmly joined toge- 
ther. Life is the end, departing from iniquity the means ; there- 


fore, they who are ordained to life shall infallibly depart from it. 
As sure as the purpose of God cannot be broken or disappointed, so 
sure shall they who are his depart from iniquity. It is God's pur- 
pose in election, to bring them out of their sin, to everlasting life : 
Eph. i. 4, " According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foun- 
dation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame, be- 
fore him in love-" 

This purpose cannot be broken, for says God, " My counsel shall 
stand, and I will do all my pleasure," Tsa. xlvi. 10, Therefore, they 
shall depart from iniquity ; and whoever holds it fast, are strangers 
to the grace of God. Consider that, 

2. It is the end of their redemption by Christ. "Why did Christ 
give himself for those who are his ? It was that he might redeem 
them from all iniquity, and purify them unto himself, a peculiar 
people, zealous of good works," Tit. ii. 14. Why gave he himself 
for his church ? It was that " he might sanctify and cleanse it, with 
the washing of water, by the word," Eph. v. 26. He came to save 
them, but from what? From their sins, Matth. i. 21. Sin had a 
double hold of those who were his ; it held their consciences, by the 
cords of guilt ; and held their heart, will, and aflections, by the in- 
terest it had got there. Christ shed his blood, by the efficacy there- 
of to loose the former, and procured the influences of his Spirit, who, 
by his indwelling might loose the latter. 

Those for whom Christ did not die will continue in their sins, and 
perish in them. They are not willing to part with them, and the in- 
fluences of the Spirit are not procured for them to make them will- 
ing. Had Christ been to save sinners in their sins, then those who 
will not be saved from their sins, might have been saved from death. 
But it is not so. Those for whom Christ died, shall infallibly depart 
from iniquity ; and such are all those who are the Lord's ; John x. 
15, " I lay down my life for the sheep." Otherwise, the design of 
Christ's death is frustrated ; he died in vain, aud all the promises of 
a seed, made by the Father to his Son, in the covenant, turn to no- 
thing ; to imagiue which, is blasphemous. 

Christ bare a good will to those who wore his from eternity, and 
and would have them made happy. But they were unholy, there- 
fore he must redeem them from their iniquity, by his blood ; other- 
wise, the gates of the city would have remained closed for ever on 
them. And now, that the ransom of the blood of the Son of God is 
paid, is it possible that the prisoners can remain undelivered? Some 
may be apt to say, ! will ever Christ sanctify such an unholy 
creature as I am ? I will surely perish by the hand of my lusts, 
and will never get free of them. Why, poor soul, if this be thy ex- 


ercise, to depart from thy iniquity, it is an evidence thou art his ; 
and it is his honour and interest to make thee holy, and deliver thee 
from the dominion and power of thy powerful lusts, in so far as he 
shed his blood for this end. And, however worthless thou art in thy- 
self, thou art dear bought, and therefore must not, canst not, be lost. 

3. Consider, that it is the end of their effectual calling. They are 
called to be saints, Rom. i. 7- The world lies in wickedness. Those 
who are the Lord's by election, lie among them, till the effectual call 
come, which brings them out from among them ; " "Wherefore come 
out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch 
not the unclean thing, and I will receive you," 2 Cor. vi. 17. This 
call is necessarily connected with election, and it can never be effec- 
tual without the soul's being brought to depart from iniquity ; 
" Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called," Rora. 
viii. 30. The conversion of all the elect, their regeneration, their 
translation from the power of darkness, are infallibly secured, and 
consequently their departing from iniquity. For what is conversion, 
but turning from sin unto God ? and regeneration, but arising from 
the death in sin ? 

4. Consider that it is the end of all providences. Providence has 
an eye on all the children of men, but has a special eye on those 
who are the Lord's people. Favourable dispensations are cords of 
a man, to draw sinners from their iniquity : Luke i. 74, 75, " That 
he would grant us, that we being delivered out of the hands of our 
enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness 
before him, all the days of our life." Aiflictive dispensations are 
scourges, to drive them from their iniquity ; Isa. xxvii. 9, " By this 
therefore, shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged ; and this is all the 
fruit to take away his sin :" Heb. xii. 10, " He chasteneth for our 
profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness." True, 
they are not effectual on many; mercies do not allure them, judg- 
ments do not affright them. But wisdom is justified of her children. 
And can it be imagined that they shall not be effectual to them ? 

5. Consider, that it is the end of all ordinances. Wherefore does 
the Lord send the gospel to sinners, but that they may depart from 
iniquity ? Titus ii. 11, 12, " For the grace of God, that bringeth sal- 
vation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodli- 
ness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and god- 
ly, in this present world." The word is designed for the sanctifica- 
tion of souls ; John xvii. 17, *' Sanctify them through thy truth, thy 
word is truth." The promises, the threatenings, the doctrines, all 
lead away from sin. The sacraments of the New Testament are 
also appointed for this same end. In a word, all gospel ordinances 

Vol. X. D 


whatever, Eph. iv. 12. They are all " for the perfecting of the 
saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of 
Christ." These will have their effect on those who are his, however 
they be in vain to others 

Lastly, Consider, that since all who shall be saved shall depart 
from iniquity, and all who are the Lord's shall be saved, it is evident, 
that all who are his shall depart from iniquity. Such as continue 
in their sin can have no communion with God hero, ranch less here- 
after. Psalm V. 4 — 6, and Psalm xv. throughout. No sooner did the 
reprobate angels depart from holiness to sin, but God thrust them 
down to hell, 2 Peter ii. 4. Adam was driven from the tree of life, 
on his sinning, Gen. iii. 22. "Who then can expect to see the face 
of God in heaven, without departing from iniquity ? We now 

III. To make a practical improvement of the whole ; — and this, 
First, In an use of information. — This subject informs us, 

1. Whence the success of the Gospel is derived. We see it has 
its effect on some, in turning them from their sins unto God, while 
others, having the same means of grace, are untouched by them. 
Trace this to the spring-head, and it must be ascribed, neither to the 
free-will of the party, the piety or parts of the preacher, but to the 
eternal love of God terminating on some. There is a time of loves 
set in the counsel of God, respecting all the elect ; and when this 
time comes, they shall infallibly answer the call. — We may see, 

2. That the unsuccessfulness of the gospel, barrenness and irapeni- 
tency under the means of grace, are matters which di'aw very deep. 
Men think little of disobeying God's charge, sounded continually in 
their ears, by the gospel ; think little of going on in sins, from 
which they are charged to part; but did they consider that the 
charge must be infallibly complied with, by all who are the Lord's, 
their own sitting of it would be a terror to themselves. For, in so 
far as they comply not with it, so far they show themselves not to 
belong to God. Where God has much people, the gospel will have 
much success. — We may learn, 

3. That iniquity is that abominable thing which God hates. It is 
the greatest of all evils, and therefore, as it is that thing which God 
sets himself particularly against, so we in a special manner should 
set ourselves against it. Poverty, meanness, and contempt in the 
world, God suffers in those who arc dear to him ; but ho will not 
suffer sin to have dominion over them, and at length will quite expel 
it from those who are his. Ue will not bear with it in his own, as 
he hates it for itself. — Wo arc informed, 

4. That there is a divine power comes along with the charge, to 


all who are the Lord's people, when once the time of love is come. 
This is that which makes them depart, while others hold fast tlieir 
iniquity : Isa. liii. 1, " "Who hath believed our report ? and to whom 
is the arm of the Lord revealed ?" The elect of God are as much 
dead in trespasses and sins as others are ; sin has the same domi- 
nion over them as over others. But with the word the Spirit enters 
into them, and brings them away from the tents of sin, causes them 
to rise up out of their graves, while others lie still in them. — We 
may learn, 

Lastly, That departing from iniquity is absolutely necessary to 
evince that we belong to God, because all such do depart from iniquity. 
It is the fruit of election and conversion ; and so the great evidence of 
interest in God's eternal love, and his present favour. — For under- 
standing this, three things are to be noticed. 

(1.) That a person's being in his sin, still under the dominion of 
it, unsanctified, unholy, is a certain evidence of his being in a state 
of enmity with God, in a state of wrath, and that he does not ac- 
tually belong to God, but to Satan. One may pretend faith in 
Christ, and a covenant interest in God, while he is going on in a 
course of sin. But his pretences art vain, his works disprove his 
faith, his unholy life discovers his graceless state : James ii. 17, 
" Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." 

(2.) That a person's being still in his sin, under its dominion, will 
not, while he lives, prove him to be none of God's elect, excepting 
only in the case of the uni)ardonable sin, which is most rare. The 
reason is, that the charge is elfectual in all the elect, yet it may be 
long in taking its effect on some, as in the case of the thief on the 
cross. So that while there is life, there is hope. This I note, to 
baffle that temptation, with which Satan attacks some, namely, 
That they are not elected, and therefore they need not set their minds 
towards religion, for it will not do with them. This is barefaced 
reasoning from hell ; for be your case never so hopeless, though ye 
be quite graceless, and this never so long continued in, while you do 
not obstinately, and altogether maliciously, reject salvation by 
Christ, it cannot prove you to be none of God's elect; for at the 
eleventh hour you may be called. Yet, 

(3.) Without departing from iniquity, no person can certainly 
know he is elected, or that he belongs to God. By this, indeed, a 
person may know it, 2 Peter i. 10 : but without it, no man can ; for 
God does not allow us, nor can we at first hand go and road our 
names in the book of life. We must learn it by sanctification, 
which is the fruit of election, by which we come to know both our 
election and our effectual calling. — We may improve the subject, 

D 2 


Secondly, In an use of trial. 

Hereby you may try wlietlier you be tlie Lord's coA^enanted peo- 
ple or not. This may be known by your departing from iniquity, or 
your not departing. Here, to assist you, we shall mention the two 
following marks : — 

Mark 1. If you are departing from iniquity, there will be a sin- 
cere endeavour after universal obedience, Psalm cxix. 6 ; aiming to 
please God in all things, and not indulging yourself in any known 
sin, being content to know, in all cases, what is sin and what is duty. 
The truly godly will set themselves against the first motions of sin, 
Rom. vii. 7 ; against secret sins. Psalm xix, 12 ; even against that 
sin which most easily besets them. Psalm xviii. 23 ; and will witness 
against self, in various shapes, Matth. v. 3. 

Mark 2. If you are departing from iniquity,you will be weary- 
ing and groaning under the remains of sin, Rom. vii. 26. However 
ranch the hypocrite may content himself with as much grace as seems 
necessary to secure heaven to him, yet the godly man is going on, 
and pressing forwards towards perfection, though he cannot reach it; 
and looks on the remains of sin as iron fetters, which he would fain 
be quit of, that he may be holy, as God is holy; and perfect, as his 
Father in heaven is perfect. — We may improve the subject, 

Lastly, In an use of exhortation. 

We beseech you, sinners ! to depart from iniquity. You have 
dwelt too long in the tents of sin. You are called now to arise and 
depart from all your sins, freely to part with them, never to return 
to them, but to be still departing farther and farther from them. 
The exhortation concerns both saints and sinners. 

There are three motives, which the text affords us to prevail with 
sinners in drawing them from their sins. These are, — the evil of 
sin, — the necessary connection betwixt a person's departing from it 
and their belonging to God, and the obligation lying on sinners to 
part with it, from their naming the name of Christ. We shall con- 
sider these separately, as in their nature important and weighty; 
and that we could improve them, so as to draw you all from your 
sins. We begin with. 

Mot. 1. Sin is an evil, a groat evil, from which you are called 
to depart. Sinners are deceived with an appearance of goodness, 
of profit, or of pleasure in their sins. Rut, God knows, it is the 
worst of evils, and therefore from it by all means God will have his 
own to depart. that I could draw the monstrous evil in its own 
colours, to bring you all from it to holiness ! Could you get a genuine 
sight of it, you would run from it as from a fire, as from hell fire ; Rom. 
xii. 9. ** Abhor that which is evil." Sin is the greatest evil. This 
will appear, if the following things are attended to. Sin is an evil. 


1. In the eyes of God : Jer. xliv. -i, " Oh ! do not this abominable 
thing that I hate." God, who knows all things, and cannot be de- 
ceived with fair appearances, looks ou this, which men naturally set 
their hearts on, as the worst of ills. Oh ! shall we not think of it 
as God does ? Consider, 

(1.) It is the only thing which he condemns, and he everywhere 
condemns it in his word. The world cries out on many things 
which are not sin, but God on nothing else. Many would persuade 
themselves, that God looks on their sins as they do. But this he 
takes as an aftVont to his holiness: Psalm 1. 21, " These things hast 
thou done, and I kept silence ; thou thoughtest that I was altogether 
such an one as thyself; but I will reprove thee, and set them in order 
before thine eyes." Look to his word, which is the indication of his 
his mind ; and there you will see he never speaks good of sin. 

(2.) It is the only thing which he pursues with his wrath, and he 
does this wherever it is found. It is the enemy he pursues through 
the whole creation, wherever it appears. It entered in among the 
angels, and fixed itself in the reprobate ones ; wrath immediately 
pursued it, and tumbled them down to the pit ; " God spared not 
the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered 
them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto the judgment," 
2 Pet. ii. 4. It got place with mankind in paradise ; and wrath 
was at his heels there ; Adam's prosperous state was quickly turned 
into misery. The very ground ou which the sinner treads, is cursed 
for its sake. The sinner, in his sinful state, is in a state of wrath. 
It abides ou him, John iii. 36. The sky never clears on him, while he 
is a sinner. Even with his own children, God writes his indignation 
on it ; John xii. 24, " Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the 
robbers ? — Did not the Lord, he against whom we have sinned ?" 
The earth is made to groan under it ; and when the end comes, the 
defiled creation has to go through the fire to purge it. But above 
all, see how he pursued sin in his own Son, though it was only on 
him by imputation ; Rom. viii. 32, " He spared not his own Son, but 
delivered him up for us all." The sins of the elect met on him, and 
therefore the sorrows of wrath met in him, and left him not, till 
they brought him to the dust of death, 

(3 ) Departing from it is the only testimony of his creatures' love 
to him which he requires, and nothing less can bo accepted. He 
does not seek rivers of oil, nor other costly sacrifices : *• But he hath 
shewed thee, man ! what is good ; and what doth the Lord require 
of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly 
with thy God ?" If he call them to lay down their lives for him, it 
is only in the way of tlieir standing ofi" from sin ; otherwise it is not 


acceptable, nor required, but his law is, Suffer any thing rather than 
sin. Behold it in one word, " Ye that love the Lord, hate evil," 
Psalra xcvii. 10. 

2. Sin is an evil, and a great evil, in the eyes of the truly godly. 
Whenever the eyes of any person are opened by grace, then imme- 
diately they are of this mind ; while the rest of the deluded world 
hug the serpent in their bosom, they are for flying from it at any 
rate. If they lose this opinion of it at any time, it is owing to the 
loss of their light, their falling asleep. But in their settled judg- 
ment, it is the worst of evils. For, 

(1.) Of all evils it has lain nearest their hearts, and produced the 
heaviest complaints and groans. Psalm li. 3; Lam. xiv. 17. Hear 
Paul's complaint ; Rom. vii. 24, " wretched man that I am ! who 
shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" Did ever persecu- 
tions, prisons, reproaches, or all the ills he suffered, draw such a 
complaint from him ? In tribulations he rejoiced, in a prison he 
sang; but in the fetters of the body of death, he groans like a 
dying man. 

(2.) Sin or suffer being put to their choice, they have always, 
when themselves, choosed to suffer rather than sin : Acts xx. 24, 
" But none of these things move me ; neither count I my life dear 
unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the 
ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gos- 
pel of the grace of God." It is true, a godly man may sometimes 
be bemisted, so as not to see a thing to be sin which is sin ; nay, 
sometimes, in a hurry of temptation, to avoid suffering, he may fall 
into sin against light; but otherwise, by divine grace, they will 
choose poverty, imprisonment, banishment, death, rather than sin ; 
even the greatest temporal evil, rather than the least sin. Thus the 
cloud of witnesses gave their testimony. From these they did not 
" accept deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection," 
Heb. xi. 35. 

3. Sin is indeed in its own nature and properties the greatest of 
all evils. — To make this evident, consider, 

(1.) That of all things sin is most contrary to the nature of God, 
who is the chief good, and therefore it is the chief evil, Lev. xxvi. 
It is walkiug contrary to God; it is worse than all penal evils; 
these met in Jesus Christ, who was God as well as man, but sin was 
not found in him ; Heb. vii. 26, " For such an Iligh-Priest became 
us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." God 
owns himself the author of penal evils, but it is blasphemy to father 
sin upon him. This fights against God ; and, as one says, the sin- 
ner, so far as in him lies, destroys the nature of God, dethrones him. 


and strikes at his very being. God, swearing by his holiness, 
swears by himself; but nothing is so opposite to holiness as sin is, 
nothing can be more or as much so : nay, it is the very thing which 
makes the devil evil, and therefore it is more evil itself than even 
the devil. Consider, 

(2.) That sin is most contrary to the rational nature. Right rea- 
son condemns it ; and no reason approves it, but as blinded and pre- 
judiced. It degrades men, and makes them like beasts, the iillhiest 
of beasts, dogs and swine, 2 Pet. ii. 22 ; more beastly than the 
beasts themselves; Isa. i. 3, "The ox knoweth his owner, and the 
ass his master's crib ; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not 
consider." Thus the wicked man is a vile man, though never so 
honourable, Psalm xv. 4. Hence it is, that although there are some 
who glory in their shame, yet sin is such a work of darkness, that no 
person ordinarily is disposed to father the monstrous brat. Con- 

(3.) That sin is the deformity of the soul. That is the seat of 
sin, which is the noblest part of man. But it is the deformity of 
that part ; and the corruption of what is the best is certainly the 
worst evil. Even a deformity in the face is worse than in another 
part ; a bloody man on a throne is worse than such a person on a 
dunghill. Thus the ill of sin appears in what it does to the soul ; 
it defaces God's image there, and so mars its beauty ; Psalm xiv. 3, 
*' They are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy ; there is 
none that doth good, no not one." No running sore, canker, or 
gangrene, is comparable to it, for these do but prey on the body, sin 
on the soul. It makes men unlike God, and like the devil. God 
is holy, just, and good ; the devil is unholy and wicked ; and so is 
the sinner going on in his sin. It makes a person like the devil, as 
a child is to his father, John viii. 44, therefore both go to one place 
in the end; Matth. xxv. 41, "Then shall he say also unto them on 
his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, pre- 
pared for the devil and his angels." Consider, 

(4.) That sin is a hereditary evil, and these are the worst of evils, 
the hardest to be cured. We were born with it; Psalm li. 5, " Be- 
hold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive 
me." It is woven into our very natures, it cannot bo taken away 
without a miracle of grace ; even such a power is necessary as is 
required in raising the dead, and quickening them. The whole man 
must be born again, uew moulded, uew framed, ere the person can 
depart from iniquity. Consider, 

(5.) That sin is the mother of all those evils which ever were, 
arc, or shall bo ; the teeming womb of all mischief. What cast the 


angels out of heaven, Adam out of Paradise ? What deluged the 
old world, and burned Sodom ? It was sin. Of all the evils on 
soul and body to which man is liable, sin leads the van. Behold 
how death, in numberless shapes, has overflowed the world ! What 
a flood of miseries is overflowing mankind, kingdoms, churches, fa- 
milies, persons, souls, bodies ! What has opened the sluice of these ? 
Rom. V. 12, afi'ords the answer, " Wherefore as by one man sin en- 
tered into the world, and death by sin ; so death passed upon all 
men, for that all have sinned." There is never a sigh nor a groan 
in this world, under any hardship whatsoever, but it rises from the 
sting of this serpent ; and it has filled hell with groans which will 
last for ever. Consider, 

(6.) That where sin is removed in its guilt and power, the great- 
est evils cannot harm us ; 2 Pet. iii. 13, " And who is he that will 
harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good ?" Diseases, 
crosses, death itself, without it, is like a serpent without a sting, 
1 Cor. XV. 55, 56. The severe lashes of the just judge of heaven and 
earth, are turned into the rods of a loving father. Psalm Ixxxix. 
31, 32. Death is but the falling asleep, and dying only the shadow 
of death. Nay, they shall do us good ; Rom. viii. 28, " And we 
know that all things work together for good to them that love God, 
to them who are the called according to his purpose." Out of the 
most dark, troubled, and confounding case, God will raise a beauti- 
ful frame. Every stone cast at them shall be a precious stone, 
sanctified for their good. Consider, 

(7-) That whatever sin is in force, it not only strengthens othei 
evils, but blasts and poisons all that good which a person enjoys. 
It not only arras diseases, death, and hell, against a man, but turns 
his very blessings into curses; Mai. ii. 2, " If ye will not hear, and 
if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the 
Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse 
your blessings; yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not 
lay it to heart." In all the enjoyments and comforts of a sinner 
out of Christ, there is death in the pot. One man's crosses ruin 
him, another man's prosperity ensnares him, and proves his ruin, 
Prov. XXX. 8, y. Kay, the very means of grace are a savour of 
death unto death unto some, 2 Cor. ii. 16. What is the reason why 
sin poisons the fountain ? Thus, be the waters sweet or bitter, they 
are killing. Consider, 

(8.) That sin is the most painful and tormenting evil, when once 
the pain of it is raised, and the poison begins sensibly to operate ; 
Prov. xviii. 14, " The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity ; but 
a wounded spiiit who can bear?" It is true, that it is so long '"n 


working with some, that it may never thus work till in hell they 
lift up their eyes ; but how dreadful must it then be ! Conscience 
is a tender part ; and this, sin torments. What torment was Cain 
in, when his conscience got upon him ! It made Felix tremble, 
Belshazzar's knees to smite one against another; it involved Judas 
in utter despair, so as to_ make away with himself. See Job xx. 12 
— 16. Consider, 

(9.) That sin is a most deadly evil ; Rom. vi. 23, " The wages of 
sin is death." It brought temporal death into the world ; and the 
body of man, which by its creation was not liable to death, it made 
mortal. But more than this, it is the cause of spiritual death. It 
kills the soul, separating it from God and communion, with him, 
and makes many a man dead while he lives, so that his living body 
is but a coffin to a dead soul, Eph. ii. 1. And, finally, it brings on 
eternal death. Consider, 

(10.) That sin is a most infectious evil. No plague nor pestilence 
is so dangerous. Many persons, in times of a raging plague, have 
been preserved. But as for the plague of sin, when once it seized 
Eve, she infected Adam, and he all his posterity. And now the 
world is a pest-house, where not one is quite free. Some are under 
the cure of grace, and in the way of recovery ; but the most part 
are pining away in their iniquity, and every one of them infecting 
another more and more ; Eccl. ix. 18, " One sinner destroys much 
good." This one sinner may have the blood of many at his door, 
whom he has ruined by his advice, carelessness, and evil example. 

(11.) That the giving up of a sinner to sin, is the concluding 
stroke which God gives him, so that it is the worst thing a person 
can meet with. Here I would have you more particularly to con- 
sider, — that when God in wrath gives a man over in this life, he 
leaves him, and gives him up to his sin. God deals with sinners to 
part with their sins, they will not ; God's offers are slighted, then, 
as in Psalm Ixxxi. 12, " He gives them up to their own hearts' lust ; 
and they walk in their own counsels." He is at much pains with 
them by providences and ordinances, but nothing does with them ; 
then in anger he gives them over : Ezek. xxiv. 13, " In thy filthi- 
ness is lewdness ; because 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 on thee." Thus, " Ephraim is joined 
to his idols, let him alone," Hos. iv. 17. Of the heathen world it is 
said, ** For this cause God gave them up to vile affections," Rom. 
i. 26. We read of one who was given up to the devil, that he was 
again recovered. But where find ye a man given up to himself, to 
his lusts, reclaimed? Wherefore better be given up to the devil, 


than to sin. Fearful sentence ! " Let him that is filthy be filthy- 
still." Consider, when at death the impenitent sinner is carried 
out of the world into the pit, there is no more endeavours to sepa- 
rate betwixt him and his sin. In life he would depart from God, 
and so his doom is, " Depart from me, ye cursed." Then his sius 
are left to prey upon his soul for ever ; no more pardon, no more 
sanctification ; Prov. xiv. 32, " The wicked is driven away in his 
wickedness." God strives with the man in life to part him and his 
sins, but he will not part from them ; so the whii'lwind of death 
rises, and carries both away together to the pit. Consider, 

(12.) When God has brought in all his elect to himself, and the 
last man of them has left the tents of sin, then shall the world be at 
an end. The sheep shall be separated from the goats, the sinners 
driven away in their wickedness to hell; this world defiled by sin 
shall be burnt up ; and they, and sin, with all its effects, shut up in 
hell for ever, Rev. xs. 14, 15. Then shall there be new heavens 
and a new earth, but no sin there, 2 Pet. iii. 13. It shall be settled 
in hell for ever, as on its own base. Sin must be an evil, a great 
evil : For, 

4. If you will continue in sin, of all things Satan loves most to 
have it so. It gratifies the enemy of mankind most ; and this in 
two things, on which he is most particularly set. 

(1.) The dishonour of God. Satan is a rebel against God, who 
has not the smallest hopes of peace, and is utterly desperate, there- 
fore rages and maliciously sets himself against God, sinning against 
God himself, and tempting men to sin and continue in it, that he 
may have the satisfaction of their dishonouring God, and despising 
his Son ; thus grieving his Spirit, and trampling on his laws. Satan 
is set upon, 

(2.) The ruin of souls ; 1 Pet. v. 8, " Be sober, be vigilant ; be- 
cause your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, 
seeking whom he may devour." lie loves to keep them in subjection 
to himself, that he may reign freely in their hearts, which will be as 
long as they are under the dominion of sin ; and to have them com- 
panions with him in eternal misery ; which he is sure to accomplish 
if he can keep them in their sius. I come now to 

Mot. 2. To prevail with you in departing from iniquity, observe 
this is necessary from your belonging to God, your departing from 
sin. Whoso arc his, infallibly do depart from iniquity, whatever 
others do. This has been proved before. — Now, upon this consider, 
the weight that lies here, whether a person belongs to God or not. 
You need to have this cleared, whose you arc, whether the Lord's 
peoi>le or not. For consider, 


(1.) Your state for time turns upon this point. All the world 
is divided into two parties ; one belonging to God by covenant and de- 
dication, Heb. viii. 10 ; another to Satan, the god of this world, 
2 Cor. iv. 4. See them distinguished, 1 John v. 19, " And we know 
that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness." The 
one is the family of heaven, the other Satan's family. If you be- 
long to the former, you are justified, adopted, all is yours, and ye 
are Christ's. If to the latter, ye are in a state of wrath and en- 
mity against God. Consider, 

(2.) Your state for eternity turns upon this point. If ye be the 
Lord's, ye shall be for ever happy with him. Your names will be 
found written in the book of life. If not, your names will not be 
found there ; and see the doom of such ; Rev. xx. 15, " And whoso- 
ever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the 
lake of fire." You shall infallibly evidence, by your departing 
from iniquity, that you are the Lord's, Rev. xiv. 1 — 5. Sanctifica- 
tion is an infallible proof of election and justification, and an in- 
fallible pledge of glorification. It is a middle link of the indis- 
soluble chain which begins with election and ends with glorification, 
Rom. viii. 29, 30 ; Thess. ii. 13. The spirit of holiness is God's 
seal upon them that are his, by which they come to be owned and 
discerned to be his ; Eph. i. 13, " In whom also, after that ye be- 
lieved, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." But as 
long as you depart not from sin, it is a positive evidence that you be- 
long not to God by accepting of the covenant, Jer. xxxii. 30. Your 
cleaving to sin is an evidence you are not united to Christ, and you 
can have no positive concluding evidence that you belong to God by 
election. It is but at best a peradventure it may be. And as always 
the longer that a person continues in sin, there are less the hopes of his 
recovery, so there is the less probability of his belonging to the elec- 
tion of grace. And if you die in your sin, it will be beyond dispute, 
that you do not belong to God at all. 

Depart, then, from iniquity, as ever you would have any concern 
for shewing yourselves to be the Lord's. Upon this let me ask you, 
Is it a matter of indiflference to you whether you be the Lord's or 
not? Truly this is the language of souls careless about their salva- 
tion, and particularly about their sanctification. It is declared to 
you, that all who are the Lord's depart from iniquity. Yet you are 
careless about your departing from it. This speaks your indifference. 
I would further ask you, can you over be happy if you be not the 
Lord's ? How can you live without his favour, living on his ground, 
and at his cost? Acts xvii. 25, " He giveth to all, life and breath, 
and all tilings." How can you think to look the king of terrors in 


the face, without the favour of the King of heaven, which you can never 
have, while you do not depart from iniquity ? Rora. i. 18, " For the 
wrath of God is revealed from heaveu against all uugodliuess and 
unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness." I 
would ask you, lastly, Is it not a miserable offence against your own 
souls, to dispute away any saving relation betwixt God and you ? 
Every new disobedience to this heavenly charge, is a new argument 
against yourselves, that you are not his. This charge in the gospel is 
addressed to all to whom the gospel comes ; it is like a fanning wind 
separating the wheat from the chaff. By it the grace of God brings 
away the elect out of the tents of sin, leaving others to perish there. 
What a dismal thought, then, is it to be left, time after time, in 
iniquity ! I come now to urge the 

3. And last motive, which is, that obligation which is lying on 
those who name the name of Christ to depart from iniquity. The 
Christian profession obliges all who make it to be holy, and to walk 
as Christians. And here I would consider, 

1*^, The obligation which lies on all to depart fi*om sin who name 
the name of Christ, who are Christians by profession, as we all are. 

2dly, The obligation which specially lies on communicants. I 
would consider, 

1st, The obligation which lies on all to depart from sin who 
name the name of Christ, who are Christians by profession, as we 
all are. Here consider, 

1. That your baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity, by which 
vou were to be engaged to renounce the devil, the world, and the flesh, 
and to obey the Lord Jesus, Matth. xxviii. 19, 20. This is a seal of 
God's covenant, to which you have thereby consented. Aud since 
you bear the badge of Christianity, you ought to live Christian and 
holy lives. And God will treat you as covenant-breakers if you do 
not. Consider, 

2. The author of your profession, from whom you take your name ; 
Acts xi. 26, " And the disciples were called Christians first in 
Antioch." From Christ we are called Christians. And pity it is that 
ever those who profess Christ should be called by the names of sin- 
ful and wicked men. You know those who are named for men, are 
so named, because they are followers of them. And so tiio name 
Christian signifies a follower of Christ, one who follows that way 
which Christ taught. Now, consider him, the Apostle and High- 
Priest of our profession Jesus Christ, Ueb. iii. 1. What was the 
author of your profession ? He was holy, Heb. vii. 26. His name 
is a name of holiness : anointed of God, for a Prophet, Priest, and 
King. A Christian indeed partakes of the anointing of the Holy* 


Spirit : " Ye have an unction from the Holy One," 1 John ii. 20. 
They are made kings and priests unto God and his Father, Rev. i. 
6. Now, how does a sinful life agree with the holy name, example 
and doctrine of Christ ? Consider, 

3, The faitli and religion you profess. Surely the principles of 
our religion are holy, and teach us to depart from iniquity, and give 
no allowance to live in sin. Even reason says, men ought not to 
give, nor can they rationally live, in contradiction to their profession 
and its principles. Other religions allow something sinful, but the 
Christian religion, proceeding from him who is holiness and truth 
itself, condemns every even the least evil ; and therefore Christians 
by their profession are obliged to depart from iniquity. Consider, 

Lastly, The end of your faith and profession, the way to which it 
directs, namely, heaven, which is a holy place. The gospel has dis- 
covered life and immortality, 2 Tim. i. 10. A happy state after 
this life, where holiness is perfected, Heb. xii. 23. And meanwhile 
it directs to a life agreeable to this holy and happy state ; for it 
" teaches to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, 
righteously and godly in this present world," Tit. ii. 12. Have you 
no hopes, no expectations of heaven ? If you have, surely you 
ought to depart from iniquity ; for it cannot be expected that that 
holy place is for dogs and swine, for such as are strangers to holi- 
ness here. 

2dly, I would consider the obligations to depart from iniquity 
which lie on communicants in a special manner. You have in a 
very solemn manner named the holy name of Jesus, by partaking of 
the sacrament of our Lord's body and blood. Let this then engage 
you to depart from iniquity. Consider, 

1. That these additional vows of God are upon you to depart from 
iniquity. You have lifted up your hand to God, and you cannot 
go back. The terms of the Christian life were told you, and you 
have, after deliberation, engaged yourselves to the Lord. Beware 
that after vows you begin to make inquiry, Luke ix. 62. Consider, 

2. That religion will be wounded by you if you do not depart from 
iniquity ; Rom. ii. 24, " For the name of God is blasphemed among 
the Gentiles through you." You will be accounted betrayers of 
Christ, for you will give false testimony against his way in favour 
of sin, as if you had tried the way of religion, and after trial found 
cause to cast it oflF. And therefore, as you would not more than 
ever dishonour the Lord and his way, depart from iniquity. Con- 

3. That you will be great losers if you do not depart from iniquity. 
You will lose all the pains which you have been at in religion : 2 


John 8, " Look to yourselves that we lose not those things which 
we have wrought." It may be, you have been at some pains to get 
something, and have done much in the way of God, but one thing 
lacking will mar all. You will lose your souls, for it is only they 
who depart from iniquity, so as never to return to it, that are saved : 
" He that endureth to the end shall be saved." Backsliding is most 
dangerous : Heb. x. 48, " If any man draw back, my soul," says 
God, " shall have no pleasure in him." The very setting off once in 
the Lord's way obliges to hold forward. They can never sin at such 
a cheap rate as before ; heavier vengeance abides backsliders, and a 
fall from heaven's threshold is worst of all. 

Now, the Lord is saying to the sinners in Zion, as Jerem. vi. 8, 
" Be thou instructed, Jerusalem ! lest my sonl depart from thee ; 
lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited." He is threatening 
to depart from the generation, since they will not depart from ini- 
quity ; and sad will the departure be : Hosea ix. 12, " Woe also be 
to them when I depart from them." There are three sad conse- 
quences of God's departure when provoked to it, with which we are 
threatened this day. — There is, 

(1.) Confusion in the church, the breaking of the staves of beauty 
and bands. There is a melancholy account of this consequence of 
the Lord's departure, Rev. viii. 7, 8. We have already felt the for- 
mer, and were threatened with the Lord's making, in his wrath, the 
whole mountain of his house, a burning mountain with the fire of di- 
vision. A sad sight it will be, come when it will, however fond of 
it many have appeared. Zion's work will be heavy work, when 
Zion's builders are, by the Lord's anger, made like Babel builders. 
— There is, 

(2.) Calamity in the state. Many perhaps would little value what 
should become of the church, if they might otherwise live at ease. 
Bnt God's departure from a generation often brings nations into 
the deepest perplexity and distress, 2 Chron. xv. 3 — 6. When God 
departs from a generation to see what their end will be, it will be a 
sad end. Dent. xxii. 19, 20. There is, 

(3.) The ruin of many souls and bodies also. When God so 
leaves a generation, there are many snares for the soul. Confusion 
in the church brings deadness and darkness on, and makes havoc 
of the case of many souls. Calamity in the state, which removes 
peace far away, tends always to the ruining of temporal concerns, 
and often of men's souls concerns also. 

then depart from iniquity, as ever you would that God should 
not depart from you, nor from the generation ! Our iniquities are 
the Achaus in the camp which trouble us ; the Jonah in our ship 


which threatens to raise the storm, God has been long calling by 
his word and providence to us to depart from iniquity, and reform. 
But, instead of this, the generation has been filling up the cup of 
their iniquity, and want by some one thing or other to make it run 
oyer. But whatever befal us, departing from sin will be your secu- 
rity; Isaiah iii, 10, " Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well 
with him ; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings." God's way 
is the only way of safety ; Prov. x. 9, *' He that walketh uprightly 
walketh surely, but he that perverteth his ways shall be known." 
And a good conscience will be a feast in midst of trouble, 2 Cor. 
1. 12. Whereas an evil conscience, made such by continuing in sin, 
will be a bad companion at any time, more especially in the evil 
day. If any should propose this 

Question, What shall we do that we may depart from iniquity ? 
I answer. Impress your spirits with your own sinfulness. Consider 
your sinful nature. Psalm li. 5, " Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, 
and in sin did my mother conceive me." Observe how it spreads 
itself through the whole of your hearts and lives ; Isaiah Ixiv. 6, 
" But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses 
are as filthy rags ; and we do all fade as a leaf ; and our iniquities 
as the whirlwind have taken us away." How contrary is it to God's 
nature and law, how inconsistent with your interests for time and 
eternity ! Make application to Christ by faith for its removal. To 
his blood to remove the guilt of sin, 1 John i. 7. To his Spirit to 
break the power of it, and to sanctify you. Faith is the great mean 
of sanctification ; " Purifying their hearts by faith," Acts xy. 9. 
We exhort you, 

icwrfy. To watch. Be ever on your watch-tower. Tour spiritual 
enemies are still about your hands. Watch, therefore, against all 
occasions, temptations, and appearances of evil. Improve the sea- 
son of duties. Study to be always doing good, and so your hand 
will be filled with other work. When departing from evil you will 
do good, you will seek peace, and pursue it earnestly. Amen. 





Deut. v. 29, 
that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and 
keep all my commandments always, that it might he well with them 
and with their children for ever. 

That dreadful appearance which God made on mount Sinai, in the 
giving of the law, and that effect it had upon the Israelites, Moses 
here puts them in mind of. "When the Lord spoke with a great and 
terrible voice out of the darkness and fire, the people were affrighted, 
and they see their absolute need of a mediator, and therefore desire 
Moses would mediate betwixt God and them ; and in this event they 
promise all obedience. The Lord gives his verdict concerning this, 
which consists of two parts. 

1. That the words Tvere very good. If words could have proved 
them saints, they would have been among the foremost. If promises 
could have passed for performances, they had wanted neither faith 
nor good works ; ver. 28, " They have well said all that they have 
spoken." They have said two things ; 

(1.) They had desired a mediator, ver. 27, " Go thou near," said 
they to Moses, *' and hear all that the Lord our God shall say ; and 
speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee, 
and we will hear it and do it." They saw so much of the majesty 
of God, and of their own sinfulness, that they beg of God he would 
not deal with them immediately, but by a mediator ; and this was 
the great end in giving the law on mount Sinai, and that with so 
much terror, Dent, xviii. 15. — 18. 

(2.) They promised obedience, that they would take the law out 
of Moses' mouth, and perform it ; that they would no less highly 
esteem it as coming by his hand, than if God should thunder 
it with the greatest terror into their ears. What could look liker 
faith and obedience, according to the Old Testament dispensation ? 
"What could look liker accepting of the great Mediator in all his 
offices, according to that dispensation of the covenant, wherein 
types and figures of him who was to come did so much abound ? 
How ready seem they to sit down at the feet of a prophet and learn ? 

* This and the following discourses were delivered in 1709. 


So that upon tins the Lord promised Christ under that very notion, 
Deut, xviii. 18, How plainly do they take with guilt, and stand 
as criminals who have nothing to say on their own defence, acknow- 
ledge their need, and profess their desire of an intercessor, being 
unable to stand before the Lord without a shelter, or on their own 
legs. How readily do they subject themselves to the laws of their 
King, and stoop to take on his yoke without any exception whatso- 
ever? But all is not gold that glitters, the heart of man seldom 
holds foot with the tongue. 

2. Tlie other part of the verdict follows in the text; "0 that 
there were such an heart in them!" By which he discovers their 
hypocrisy, and precipitancy, their tongues running before their hearts 
in their engaging themselves to the Lord.- The Lord speaks thus 
after the manner of men, so that they who would hence conclude, 
that man's will by nature is such, as that it is of himself flexible, 
either to spiritual good or evil, while the Lord stands by as an idle 
spectator, and puts to no hand of power, may as well conclude, that 
God hath eyes and hands of flesh, and that he who is not the son of 
Man that he should repent, and with whom there is no variableness, 
may even with propriety repent as to what he has done. Ineflicacious 
wishing, properly understood, argues imperfection. (Hebrew, who 
will give their heart to be such in them ?) Now, it is certain, God 
can give such a heart; Ezek. xxxvi. 26, " A new heart also will I 
give you." And if he will do it, who can hinder him ? Job xi. 10. 
— This declaration therefore imports, 

(1.) That such an heart was not in them, for all their fair 
words and high pretences ; that though they looked well out- 
wardly, yet within they were naught. They had learned to speak 
better than they were wont ; but though they had got the new 
tongue, they had but the old heart still; Deut. xxix. 4, "Yet the 
Lord hath not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and 
ears to hear, unto this day." When they were in Egypt, they 
were sunk into stupidity, the instructions of the patriarchs had 
worn out of their minds, they had almost forgotten their fall in 
Adam, and what sin was ; and though God had made the promise to 
Abraham, yet they were now grown proud and secure. And though 
sin, and also death, were reigning over them, yet being without the 
law, to evidence sin and death to their consciences, they would not 
charge themselves with it, and so found no need of a Mediator, Rom. 
V. 13 — 20. But now the law being proclaimed with so great terror, 
laid their peacock-feathers a little ; but though they had more 
knowledge of their sin and misery than before, yet they had still 
the old heart. Tiiis declaration imports, 

Vol. X. B 


(2.) That such an heart should have been in them, it was their 
duty to have it, God required it of them : " Make to yourselves a 
new heart." God requires the conformity of the heart, as well as 
of the conversation, to his will. It imports, 

(3.) That the want of such an heart was a dead fly in all their en- 
gagements, which made all the ointment to stink ; " that there 
were such an heart iu them !" The chief thing is wanting still, they 
have not yet brought up their heart to their work. It imports, 

(4.) The great excellency and worth of such an heart. The Lord 
speaks honourably of it, as that which would bear weight in the ba- 
lance of the sanctuary. It is pleasing to the Lord, it is God's de- 
light; they want only this to make them liappy. For illustrating 
this subject, we shall propose and consider the following doctrines. 

Doctrine I. That men often make what ought to be the most so- 
lemn transactions with the Lord about their souls' concerns, but 
solemn trifling with him. 

Doctrine II. That a heart sincerely and suitably corresponding 
with the profession of a covenanting people, is a most valuable and 
excellent thing. 

Doctrine III. That the work of covenanting with the Lord is 
slight work, when it is not heart work. Or, in other words, solemn 
covenanting with the Lord is but solemn trifling with him, when the 
work of covenanting is not heart work. 

"We begin with 

Doctrine I. That men often make what ought to be the most so- 
lemn transactions with the Lord about their souls' concerns, but 
solemn trifling with him. 

Never was there a more solemn transaction which men had with 
God than what was here. Their ears were filled with the noise of 
the thunder, the lightnings flashed in their eyes, they heard God 
himself speak, they were most express in covenanting with God ; all 
this time their hearts were not right with hiui, nor sound in his sta- 
tutes. In discoursing from this doctrine, we propose, 

I. To shew how far a man may go in transacting with, and engag- 
ing himself to the Lord, and yet after all ho may be but trifling. 

II. Shew wherein this trifling and slight work in such a weighty 
business doth appear. 

III. Point out how people come to turn such solemn work into 
mere trifling. 

IV. Apply the subject. 
We are, then, 

I. To shew how far a man may go in transacting with, and engag- 


ing himself to the Lord, and yet after all he may be but trifling. 
Upon this head we observe, 

1. That a person may formally and expressly covenant with God, 
to be the Lord's, and yet after all be but trifling with God. So did 
this people, ver. 27, (quoted above). A person may make a cove- 
nant with God, both by word and writ, when there is no such heart 
in him, and the heart goes not along either with tongue or pen. It 
is an easy thing to say unto the Lord, that he shall be our God, but 
not easy to say it with the heart. The tongue is not always a faith- 
ful interpreter of the heart, especially in these things. — "We ob- 

2. That a person may make a very full covenant with the Lord, 
and yet after all be but trifling. What exception was there in this, 
ver. 27, " All that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee, we will 
hear it and do it." How large a promise was this, Mattli. viii. 19, 
" Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest." No doubt, 
had their hearts kept pace with their words, they had engaged to 
purpose. Had there been as few secret as there were open reserves, 
they had dealt honestly. — We observe, 

3. That persons may even be morally serious in all this, thinking 
and resolving in the time to do as they say. It was not a season 
for gross dissimulation, nor to make a jest of transacting with the 
Lord anent soul-concerns, when the Lord was speaking out of the 
darkness and fire to them. Persons in this case are like those who 
trifle with merchants, in ofi'ering to bargain for their wares, out of 
mere simplicity and ignorance as to the worth of these wares, who, 
if they had matters set in their due light, would never once propose 
again so to bid for them. The foolish virgins saw not their lamps 
out till it was past time. — We observe, 

4. That persons may do all this from a sense of their need of a 
Mediator. Thus did they in the text. What was it that brought 
this people to this? Why, they had formerly engaged with a whole 
heart to be the Lord's : Exod. xix. 8, " And all the people answered 
together, and said. All that the Lord hath spoken, we will do." But 
now they fall more solemnly and seriously to work. God sets the 
mountain on fire for a tribunal of justice ; there is a trumpet whose 
voice waxes louder and louder ; by all which God doth, as it were, 
summon them to compear before him. There are dreadful thunder- 
claps to carry the sentence of death to their hearts ; there are light- 
nings, by the glancings of which they read the wrath of God against 
sinners. Yet they must not touch the mountain, lest they-be con- 
sumed, to teach them how sin had laid the bar as to access to God. 
This fills them with terror and fear of death, and now they feel 



the necessity of a mediator; Exod. xx. 19, "And they said unto 
Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear ; but let not God 
speak with us, lest we die." And yet, after all, " that there were 
such an heart in them !" 

"We are now, 

II. To shew wherein this trifling and slight work in such a 
weighty business does appear. 

(1.) It appears in persons engaging themselves to the Lord, with- 
out being at pains to prepare themselves, and bring up their hearts 
to the duty. what a liglit thing do most people make of cove- 
nanting with God ! It is but the saying of a word in prayer ; 
and this is soon said. It is but taking the sacrament ; and this 
is soon done. In the meantime, the heart, like Abraham's ass, 
is left at the foot of the hill ; Gen. xxii. 5, Matt. xv. 8^ 
" This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honour- 
eth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." They 
are strangers to God who are strangers to heart-work. They 
who find no difficulty in bringing their hearts to duties, do not 
bring them to them at all. The true Christian finds much difficulty in 
this. " I find," says Paul, " a law that when I would do good, evil is 
present with me." It is but trifling to give the hand to the Lord, 
while the heart is far from any due concern about the business, and 
from tliat solemn seriousness requisite to get it rightly managed. 
This appears, 

(2.) When people engage tliemselves to the service of tlio Lord, 
but do not give their Iiearts to him. Many engage with the Lord, 
as a married servant with a master ; the master is to get his service, 
but anotlier has his lieart ; Jer. xii. 2, " Thou art near in their 
mouth, and far from their reins." The heart may remain glued to 
lusts, while the soul pretends to be engaging itself to the Lord; and 
if it were not so, there would not be such a sad account of many who 
covenant with God. This is but to trifle with God, who requires the 
heart, or nothing; Prov xxiii. 26, " My son, give me thine heart." 
Jer. XXX. 21, " For who is tliis that engaged his heart to approach 
unto me ? saith the Lord." It is an ill-made second marriage, 
when there is neitlier the death of, nor a divorce from the first lius- 
band. There is no right engaging with tlie Lord, but where tliesoul 
forsakes all others for him, and the lieart takes up its eternal rest 
in Christ. This trifling appears, 

(3.) When people have any secret reserves in their closing with 
Christ, as is the case Avlien tlio heart is not well content to take 
Christ with whatsoever may follow this choice : Luke xiv. 26, " If 
any man come tome, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, 


and cliildren, and bretliren, and sisters, yea, and bis own life also, he 
cannot be my disciple." There is none make right work here, but 
those who, weighing all things, are content to put a blank in Christ's 
hand, saying, "Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?" Acts ix. 
6. They do but trifle who have their right hand sins which they 
wish not cut off, for they will in this case mar the bargain ; and also 
those who cannot digest that tribulation which is in the way to the 
kingdom. No cross, no crown. That heart which is not reconciled 
to the cross, is not such an heart as is required. This trifling ap- 

(4.) "When people overlook the Mediator in their covenant of 
peace with God, bat transact with God for peace and pardon without 
respect to the atoning blood of Christ. It is natural to all men to 
come immediately to God without a Mediator ; Exod. xix. 8, " And 
all the people answered together, and said. All that the Lord hath 
spoken, we will do." They are thus for coming without a Mediator, 
till the terror of God correct their rashness, and they see what a 
consuming fire God is, and that, if they would be safe, they nuist 
come to him under the covert of Christ's wings. If a soul sincerely 
desires to come to God, the first person to which they must go, is to 
Christ, the secretary of heaven. For " by him we have access into 
that grace wherein we stand," Rom. v. 2. And he is " the Mediator 
of the new covenant," Heb. xii. 24. God out of Christ is a consum- 
ing fire. But there are be:ists that will touch the niount;iin, though 
they be thrust through with a dart. Would you transact with God 
a covenant of reconciliation ? then go to him on the mercy-seat? not 
the seat of mercy merely for mercy's sake, such a mercy-seat has no 
being in heaven, but only in the vain imaginations of men on earth ; 
but to the mercy-seat for Christ's sake, where mercy is abundantly 
distributed with the cordial consent of justice : 2 Cor. v. 19. " To 
wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the Avorld to himself, not 
imputing their trespasses unto them." It is to God as vailed with 
flesh, that the guilty can only approach ; otherwise it is but trifling. 
For Jesus is " the way, and no man cometh to the Father but by 
him," John xiv. 6. 

(5.) This is turned into solemn trifling with God, by people's not 
taking Christ for all, but only for making up that of which they may 
come short ; thus endeavouring to patch up a garment of their own 
righteousness and of his together. Thus many think to please God 
by doing what they can to fulfil the law, and looking to Christ to 
make up that of which they come short. It was forbidden, under the 
law, to wear a garment of divers sorts of woollen and linen together 
And they will find themselves befooled, who will adventure their 


salvation on this party-coloured garment : Gal. iii. 12, " And tlie 
law is not of faith ; but the man that doth them shall live in them." 
A garment pieced up of sundry sorts of righteousness, is noi meet 
for the court of heaven. That heart which would share the glory 
betwixt Christ and the man himself, is not right with God, and will 
be left to its own weight. — This trifling appears, 

(6.) By persons making a covenant of works with Christ; the tenor 
thereof is, that if Christ will save their souls, they shall serve him as 
long as they live. If Christ will give them wages, they will give 
him work. If he will pay their debt, they shall be his servants, 
while they have breath in them. And upon this, men may take the 
sacrament to bind them the faster. And thus, I fear, many make 
sad work at sacraments and other ordinances. That this is but 
solemn trifling with God, appears, if ye consider, that this is a cove- 
nant which hath no warrant in the word of God, and therefore 
Christ will never set his seal to it, though we should seal it with our 
blood. It is quite opposite to the covenant of grace ; the design of 
which is to draw the sinner into the debt of free grace, and to set the 
crown only on Christ's head, Rom. iv. 14 — 16, and xi. 6. The 
covenant of grace, is an everlasting covenant ; once in, never out : Isa. 
Iv. 3, " I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure 
mercies of David." But this is a tottering covenant, broken every 
day. This is a servile covenant, to give Christ service for salvation. 
The other is a filial covenant, where the soul takes Christ and salva- 
tion freely off'ered, and so is a son : " For to as many as believed 
on him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, John, i. 
11. Therefore, they do not serve, that they may get the inheri- 
tance ; but because the inheritance is theirs, therefore they serve. Gal. 
iv. 24. and downwards. To take hold of God's covenant, is for a poor 
empty-handed sinner to come and live freely on Christ; this is to 
come and buy from him. In order to bring this charge home, I shall 
mention some evidences of the above practice. — Such as, 

(1.) Persons looking upon, and making use of the sacrament only 
as seals of their vows, and not as seals of God's premises. I do not 
say but the sacrament is a seal, to seal our engagement to be tho 
Lord's; but this is but tho one half, and even the least half as I 
take it, 1 Cor. x. 16. "Why then do people so overlook this, bn^ 
because, not being shaken out of themselves, they look more to the 
confirmii'g of their resolutions, than their faith and communion with 
Christ in his fulness? 

(2.) A second evidence is, persons coming to tho Lord in this ordi- 
nance, rather to engage themselves to duties, than to get strength 
for the performance of them. 


(3.) A third evidence is, persons drawing ilieir peace and comfort 
ratlier from their duties, and the performance of that to which they 
have engaged, than what Christ makes over to sinners in the cove- 
nant of grace. It was not so with David, for the covenant itself 
was all his salvation, and all his desire, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. But when 
the other works, he expects his wages ; when he fails, he has no 
hope, as one Avho has broken covenant with Christ. But, when the 
true covenanter fails in his duty, yet all that his soul depended upon 
still remains a covenanted righteousness ; all that he trusted to for 
his duties also remains, to wit, covenanted strength, Rom. vii. 24, 
25, and viii. 1. And so there is new application for covenant-bene- 
fits ; whereas when many fail in their covenant, all is gone, and it 
must be made over again, ere he can have any new footing. This 
trifling appears, when, 

7. Persons lay hold on Christ with a faith of which the mighty 
power of God was not at the forming, Eph. 1. 19 ; but is merely the 
product of a person's natural faculties. Most men's faith is like wild 
oats, that grow up without the labour of the husbandman. They come 
too easily to it to make any sure work by it. The evil heart of un- 
belief is not so easily shaken oft' as men imagine. Those who find 
no difficulty, do but trifle and beat the air ; if the work were heartily 
plied, it would not be so easy. "We now proceed, 

III. To inquire how people come to turn such solemn work into 
trifling. They do so, 

1. Because they have no due consideration of the worth and pre- 
ciousness of their souls, they do not suitably value the great salva- 
tion ; Matth. xxii. 5, " But they made light of it, and went their 
ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise." Men will 
not trifle in matters which appear to them of great concern. But 
men who do not duly value their souls will venture them on they 
know not what. Bat who considers eternity, and the weight which 
lies on the soul's transacting with God ? If men had eternity in 
their eye, and were transacting as for eternity, communicating for 
eternity, they would act in another manner, and not thus trifle in so 
important a business. They do so, 

2. Because they know not what a God they have to do with, thoy 
think that he is altogether such a one as themselves, Psalm I. 21. 
Men transact in their duties with they know not whom, and there- 
fore they know not what ; Joshua xxiv. 19, " And Joshua said unto 
the people. Ye cannot serve the Lord ; for he is an holy God, 
he is a jealous God, he will not forgive your transgressions, nor 
your sins." When people have mean thoughts of God, they are 
ready to think any little thing may serve him. They thus trifle, 


3. Because they know not their own hearts, and their deceits; 
Jer. xvii. 9, " The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately 
wicked ; who can know it? There are many secret biases there, to 
which they do not advert. Men may be hypocrites, and not know 
themselves to be such. The heart has a depth of deceit, which is 
not easy to fathom, which will make men say, with Saul, I have per- 
formed the commandment of the Lord, while, after all, the bleating 
of the sheep will discover the deceit. They thus trifle, 

4. Because sin has never been made bitter enough to them. It is 
hard to wean us from the love of lusts, if the breasts of them be not 
laid over with gall and wormwood. We must dig deep, and build 
upon the rock. Where the fallow ground is not plowed up, there 
will be a sowing among thorns, Jer. iv. 3. The consent of many to 
take Christ, such as it is, is too lightly win to be solid. — They thus 

5. Because they are hasty and indeliberate in their engaging. 
They fall a-building ere they count the cost, Matth. xiv. 25. ; what 
is rashly done, is but slightly done in this matter. He that would 
make sure work, must lay his account beforehand with what he may 
meet with in the Lord's way. Then, meet with what they will, they 
will not be off"ended. — They thus trifle, 

6. Because they have never got a sufficient discovery of their own 
utter weakness and insufficiency. They think they have a stock, and 
therefore may trade with it, and are very ready to undertake, though 
their heart will certainly misgive in the performance. Ti)is is build- 
ing on the old foundation of nature ; whereas, there will never be 
sure work, till this foundation be razed. If any man will come after 
Jesus, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow him. 
It only remains that, 

IV. Wo make some application. This doctrine may help us to 
see the reason why so many return with the dog to his vomit. There 
is an error in the first concoction. That you may beware of this, we 
would exhort you, to make sure work in your transacting with the 
Lord. do not trifle in so important a concern ! To guard you ef- 
fectually against this, consider the following things. 

Consider, this is to put, so far as you can, a solemn cheat on the 
great God : Gal. vi. 7, " Be not deceived, God is not mocked ; for 
whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. " It is a danger- 
ous thing to mock God. His all-seeing eye knows how you deal with 
him, and can penetrate through all your pretences. Consider. 

2. It is to put a solemn cheat on your own souls ; you thus deceive 
your own souls. If you trifle with God, you will find at length a sad 
disappointment; Is«i. .1 11, " Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that 


compass yourselves about with sparks; walk in the light of your 
fire, and in the sparks tliat ye have kindled. This shall ye have of 
mine hand ; ye shall lie down in sorrow." As ye sow, ye will reap. 
Sow the wind of hypocrisy, and you will reap the whirlwind of 

3. Consider the weight of the matter; the salvation or damnation 
of the soul is no small business; if you manage it right, you may get 
your salvation sealed ; if not, see Luke xiv. 24, " For I say unto 
you, that none of those men which were bidden, shall taste of my 

4. Consider, if you thus trifle with God in this matter, you will 
be discovered. The man without the wedding-garment was soon 
found out. You will not hold right to the end ; you will return to 
the vomit ; your latter end will be worse than your beginning. 

5. That you have a deceitful heart ; it is necessary to be sure with 
it ; it will soon give you the slip, and break the bonds, if they be 
slightly put on. Consider, 

Lastly, If you make sure work, you will find the eternal advan- 
tage of it. All the blessings of the covenant will be your portion. 
You may get a feast ; " To this man will I look, saith the Lord, who 
is of an humble and contrite spirit, and who trerableth at my word." 
I shall close with the following short DiRECTioisrs : — 
Set about the work of self-examination. Inquire particularly at 
your hearts, whether they be willing to take Christ, and renounce 
all other lovers, and to take him wholly, only, and everlastingly. 
Pray that God may examine you, and discover yourselves to your- 
selves ; lay yourselves open to self-searching. Lastly, Put your 
hearts into the Lord's hand, as sensible that in yours they will mis- 
carry. " Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him, and ho 
shall bring it to pass." 



Deut. v. 29, 
that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and 
keep all my commandments always, that it might he well with them, 
and with their children for ever. 

You have been this day avouching the Lord to be your God. You 
have all had an ofi"er of Christ, and there was none heard tell of 


protesting against liim ; nay, did not your hearts say within you, 
Even so I take him ? Majiy of you have, before angels and men, 
sealed a covenant with him this day, and we may report to the Lord, 
that you have said you are content to be his. that there were 
such an heart in you, all would be well ! 

Having, in the preceding discourse, offered all that we intend 
from the first doctrine, we now proceed to 

Doctrine II. That a heart sincerely and suitably corresponding with 
the profession of a covenanting people, is a most valuable and ex- 
cellent thing. 

Here I shall, 

I. Shew what a heart such a heart is. 

IT. Make it appear, that such a heart is a most valuable thing. 

I. We are to shew what a heart such a heart is ; and on this 
head, the particulars shall be mostly taken out of the context. We 

1. That such an heart is a heart that has got a view of the 
majesty and glorious perfections of that God with whom we have to 
do : Deut. v. 24, " And he said, Behold the Lord our God hath 
shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice 
out of the midst of the fire ; we have seen this day that God doth 
talk with man, and he liveth." The eye saw this ; all. would 
have been right, if the glory of the Lord had thus shined in 
their hearts. An unenlightened heart in the knowledge of the Lord 
looks so like hell, and unlike heaven, that it cannot be such a heart. 
A dark heart will make a dark confused conversation. There is no 
right worshipping of an unknown God. This view of the Lord's 
glory is necessary. Moses desired it, Exod. xxxiii. ; and all get it 
in a greater or less degree : 2 Cor. iii. 18, " But we all beholding as 
in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, 
from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." If ye have 
seen the King in his glory, and his train filling the temple, it is a 
token of good. But, alas ! many see the chair of state, who be- 
hold not the King sitting in it. 

2. It is a heart filled with the fear of God. " that thei'e were 
such a heart in them, that they would fear me." Indeed they pro- 
fessed it, and they had a tolerably sufficient measure of it, had it 
been but of the right stamp, and had it got leave to have soaked 
kindly into their hearts. But, alas ! it was only like a scud of rain, 
violent in the time, but wetting only the surface of the ground, and 
soon dried up. But for such a heart as would fear always! not with- 
a slavish distrustful fear, but a filial reverential fear, a fear of cir- 
cumspection. Such a heart as would keep the eye upon the majesty of 


tlie Lord, would promise to keep right : Heb. xii. 28, " Wherefore, 
we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, 
whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly 
fear." A heart wanting this, will be like an unruly horse without 
a bridle; Prov. xxv. 28, " He that hath no rule over his own spirit, 
is like a city that is broken down, and without walls." 

3. It is a humble heart. how humble did they seem to be now 
under the sense of their own sinfulness, and the holiness of that 
(xod with whom they had to do ! A heart humbled indeed is a va- 
luable blessing. When Christ lances the swelling of the heart, and 
lets out the filthy stuff of pride and self-conceit, makes the man low 
in his own eyes, he is even preparing a house for himself on earth ; 
for the Lord " dwells with him who is of a contrite and humble 
spirit, to revive the heart of the humble, and to revive the heart of 
the contrite ones," Isa. Ivii. 15. They durst not go near the moun- 
tain to touch it, they looked as they would rather have rolled them- 
selves among the dust of the Lord's feet. " that there were such 
an heart in them !" The honest heart is shaken out of self-confidence, 
for a right sight of the Lord in his glory, and of our own vileness, 
go always together ; Isa. vi. 5, " Then said I, Woe is me, for I am 
undone, because I am a man 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." 

4. It is a heart filled with wonder at the goodness of God, his con- 
descension and patience towards sinners, vers. 24 and 26. That 
soul will wonder that God should ever have come in speaking- 
terms with vile man ; that ever anything should have proceeded 
out of his mouth, but arrows dipped in the vinegar of the curse, to 
have slain the traitors outright. And will God thus indeed deal 
with man ? It will be the wonder of that soul, that God hath not 
consumed it, mingled its blood with its sacrifices, struck it dead at 
the communion-table. how wonderful that they should have spoke 
with the Lord, and are yet alive ! 

.5 It is a heart convinced of the need of a Mediator, and resolved 
to emjiloy him in all causes betwixt God and them, ver. 27. It is 
not every one that sees their need of Christ, and their need of an 
Advocate to go betwixt God and them. But he who has such a 
heart will look on himself, in himself, as dry stubble, as he looks 
on God as a consuming fire ; and all his own duties and attainments 
as a wall of dry boards which will not keep the fire from him, but 
increase it, and desire to have Christ betwixt them and a holy God, 
as a crystal wall, which may let through the light, but not the 
llames of that fire. His very name will be precious to that heart, 


for it is " as ointment poured fortli," Song i. 3. How sweet is the 
name of a Redeemer to a captive, and to a bumbled sinner, one who 
may lay his hands on both ! 

6. It is a heart taking the Lord only for their God. They pro- 
fessed they would have no more to do with idols, though it was not 
long ere their hearts turned to their old bias: Exod. xxxii. 8, " They 
have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them, 
they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and 
have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, Israel, 
■which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." But such a 
heart renounces all other lovers, gives Christ's rivals their leave, 
and halts no more betwixt two opinions. If thou wonldst be perfect, 
sell all, that is, part with all but Christ. When a man gets such a 
heart, there is an extraordinary uproar made in the soul ; when it 
enters the man's breast, Satan cries as these, " They that turn the 
world up-side down, are come hither also." Tiiere is a strange over- 
turning of thrones there. As when Christ and the gospel came into 
the world, the world, which before was wholly given to idolatry, 
then made great reformation ; oracles were struck dumb, idols were 
cast to the moles and to the bats ; so when the man gets such a 
heart, down goes the clay-god, the world, and Christ mounts the 
throne ; neither back nor belly must be gods longer to the man, king 
self loses his crown, which is put upon the head of Christ, and free 
grace. The heart, which was divided among many lusts before, 
enters now on Jesus, the beauty of the Upper house. 

7- It is a heart for the Lord's work, ver. 27. It is a heart which 
inclines the man who has taken Christ's enlisting money to fight his 
battles; which willingly stoops to the yoke of Christ's command- 
ments, and is set to walk in the way of obedience. It is a heart re- 
conciled to the law of God ; the soul being married to Christ, may 
not be barren, but must bring forth fruit unto God. When the Lord 
charges the heart, the bullock is tamed, and accustomed to the yoke. 
To bo more particular here, we observe, 

(1.) -That it is a heart for universal obedience, ver. 27. It wishes 
to neglect none of God's commands, but to have respect to them all, 
Psalm cxix. 6. When the heart is straight, it makes the conversa- 
tion uniform. The Lord's stamp on every duty recommends it to 
the care of such a heart. The heart naturally is like some servants 
who promise to do all at the bargain-making, but fail in the accom- 
plishment, like the sluggard who will not plow because of the 
cold. But such a heart puts a blank in the Lord's hand, and makes 
DO exceptions. Some sins lie nearer the heart than others, some a 
right eye, some but a left toe. The right eye must bo plucked out ; 


thou must put to thine own hand to this hard work, it must be with 
thine own consent. Amen, says such a heart; let bosom-lusts yield 
to Christ. 

(2.) It is a heart for constant obedience. They limit no time. 
Compare the text with John viii. 31, "Then said Jesus to those 
Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in ray word, then are ye 
my disciples indeed." We have a sad account of Rehoboam, 2 
Chron. xii. 1, "When he was established in the kingdom, and had 
strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel 
with him." He was like many men, who make use of religion like 
a net, who, when they have catched their prey, fold up and lay by 
their net. But see the fountain of his apostacy, ver. 14, " And he 
did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord ;" pre- 
pared or fixed, or established not his heart. But such an heart is 
for following the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, in foul and fair 
weather, and will abide with Christ in a storm when the summer 
vermin is not to be seen : Psalm xix. 9, " The fear of the Lord la 
clean, enduring for ever." Trees planted in Grod's vineyard, watered 
by his grace, having such a heart, are not like common trees, green 
only one while of the year, but those are ever green, and are yield- 
ing their fruit in their season, Psalm vii. 3. Such an heart takes 
with the stock, and so lives by its sap. 

(3.) It is a heart resolute in obedience. We will do it, say they, 
stand in the way what will. See the portraiture of such a heart, 
Micah iv. 5, "For all people will walk every one in the name of his 
God, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and 
ever." Such a heart had Caleband Joshua, they followed the Lord fully. 
It made them row against the stream. It gives the man courage for 
the arduous enterprise. Heaven is sweet in the eyes of all ; why 
then do so many go to hell ? why, they have not such a heart. 
There are difficulties in the way to heaven, they have no courage 
to grapple with these. They see heaven afar, but there is a great 
gulph betwixt them and it, and they have not such a resolute heart 
as to venture on it, and heaven will not drop into their mouths. 

(4.) It is a heart that is content to know what is duty and what is 
sin : " Speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak 
unto thee, and we will hear it and do it." And indeed that is a 
very rare heart; for most people are glad to lodge lust; as some 
lodged intercommuned people, they are willing tliey should get 
liouse-room, but are desirous that they themselves should not see 
them, so as to know that they are there. But such a heart loves to 
know the whole counsel of God : John iii. 20, " But he that doth 
truth Cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that 


they are wrought in God." It is a nonsuch heart, which is con- 
tent to have all anatomized and searched out ; which in every case 
is ready to say, " Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth;" which is 
content to sit down at Christ's feet and learn all; while others lodge 
their lusts under disguise, and loathe the discovery of them, rebel 
against the light, and shut their eyes, till God judicially blind them, 
so as that they at last come to believe lies. 

(5.) It is a heart to which God's bare will is a sufficient reason 
both for faith and practice. Such a heart receives the speaker for 
the word's sake, and not the word for his, but for God's sake. Such 
a heart receives the kingdom as a little child, who has authority 
enough if father or mother say it. Such a heart had Abraham ; he 
gets a strange commandment, for which he could see no reason but 
the will of God, Gen. xxii. Father and son must part, not to see 
other more in this world, though the son of the promise. The Fa- 
ther himself must do the dsed. Here were many deaths both to the 
father and to the son ; but God's will was revealed, and they were 
about fully to obey ; then says the Lord, ver. 12, "Lay not thine 
hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him, for now I 
know that thou fearest God ;" that thou hast such a heart. "We go 
on to observe, 

8. It is a heart that has high and honourable thoughts of God, 
ver. 24, " Behold the Lord our God hath shewed us his glory, and 
his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire ; 
we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liv- 
eth." His greatness ; " that there were such a heart in them !" 
They professed this. High and honourable thoughts of the 
husband is necessary to the comfort of the married state, and to the 
performance of duties. The queen stands upon the right hand, 
Psalm xlv. 9. Mean thoughts of God are the neck-break of right 
obedience to him. They think him such an one as themselves. Psalm 
1. 31. Hence mean, pitiful services are thought sufficient. They 
forget that he '' will be sanctified in them that come nigh him, and 
before all the people will he be glorified, Lev. x. 3. Such a heart is 
let into the view of his greatness in some measure, so that its 
conclusions will be, Psalm xcv. 3, " The Lord is a great God, 
and a great King above all gods." So that the soul's familiarity with 
God will yet bo managed with a duo regard to the awful greatness 
and infinite distance betwixt God and the creature. And this may 
serve as a help to distinguish true communion with God from delu- 
sions, Hebrews xii. 28, 29. John xx. 28. 

It is a heart which the voice of God has reached, ver. 24, (quoted 
above.) that this voice had had as much access to their hearts as 


to tlieir ears ! Paul spoke, and God spoke, and Lydia's heart was 
opened. "My sheep," said Jesus, "hear my voice, and I know them, 
and they follow rae," John x. 27. To honest covenanters there is 
something more in preaching than a bare sound, something more in 
sacraments than bread and wine : these are bat the vehicles of the 
Lord's voice to the soul, and the ordinances are empty things when 
there is no divine fire infolded in them. There is a voice of the Lord 
in our mother's house ; in the public ordinances there is a good report 
of Christ. Sinners are invited, obtested, commanded to hear and be- 
lieve. But Christ comes into the inner chamber of the elect's 
hearts, and there he gives his voice, which is a majestic voice, 
a heart-melting sound ; Jer. xxiii. 29, " Is not ray word like 
as a fire ? saith the Lord ; and like a hammer that breaketh the 
rock in pieces ?" It thaws the frozen affections. A quickening 
voice that puts activity in the soul ; it puts the spirit in motion, so 
as that it rests not till it has taken up its rest in Grod; John vi. 63, 
'* It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing ; the 
words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." 

10. It is a heart which takes up with the Lord for its God, even 
when he appears in the glorious robes of his perfect holiness. This 
they professed ; but " that there were such a heart in them !" 
The truth is, the carnal mind is enmity against God ; and none but 
saints indeed can give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness, 
Psalm XXX. 4. God is glorious in his holiness indeed ; but none 
will love him for that glory, but such as are partakers of his divine 
nature. Those who love him for this, love him for himself. And 
indeed such a heart, being a holy heart, will cleave to the fountain 
of holiness, to the end that they may bo transformed into the same 
image. To take God in the robes of mercy, is not strange ; but 
God's holiness chaseth unholy hearts away from him. 

11. It is a heart sensible of that vast distance which sin has made 
betwixt God and the soul, which has got such a sight of his own sin- 
fulness, and God's holiness, that it sees there is no transacting with 
God but by a Mediator, ver. 27. Such a heart will say as Luther, 
" I will have nothing to do with an absolute God." Such will not 
ofi'er to come into the presence of God but as introduced by the 
King's Son, nor will desire to look on God but as vailed with flesh, 
knowing that a sight of unvailed majesty is enough to confound a 
sinner. And truly, till the Lord touch the heart, it will not be such 
a heart, but, like a fearless beast, will touch the fiery mountain. 
Such a heart will highly prize Christ, and come to the Lord under 
the vail of Christ's flesh, and will have no boldness of access but 
what flows from the blood of Christ, Heb. x. 19, 20. 


12. It is a heart reconciled to the whole law of God, ver. 27. It 
is not every heart which is such. They only have it, " who walk 
not after the flesh but after the spirit," Rom. viii. 1. Hypocrites' 
hearts are never reconciled to the whole law of God. They cannot 
say they are not ashamed in having respect to all God's command- 
ments, Psalm cxix. 6. There are always some parts of the Bible, 
tvhich hypocrites would spend their blood on to blot them out, if 
that would do. Here, there is a raging lust says, yea ; there, there 
is a holy law says, nay ; the heart cannot be reconciled to both at 
once. Both may be in the experience both of the sincere Christian 
and the hypocrite. What is the difference ? why, the hypocrite would 
fain have the law bow to his lusts, the sincere soul would have his 
lusts bow to the law. For he "delights in the law of the Lord after the 
inward man," Rora. vii. 22. And his heart will approve the law, 
when it forbids, accuses, and condemns his corruptions, ver. 16, " If 
then I do that which I would not, I consent to the law, that it is 

13. It is a heart which is for taking the law only out of Christ's 
hand as Mediator, ver 27. The Mediator first makes the peace between 
God and the sinner, then bids the man work. But the law of itself 
first bids sinners work, and tells them they shall have their 
peace according to their work ; which would be dreadful news 
to such a heart. Under the law to Christ, 1 Cor. is. 21. The 
law, cast into a gospel-mould, is the only law such a heart de- 
sires to meddle with, that, " being married to Christ, they may bring 
forth fruit to God," Rom. vii. 4. ; that being by Christ made par- 
takers of the adoption, they may serve as sons, not as hired servants 
or slaves. 

Lastly, It is a heart ready for obedience, ver. 27- The soul then 
stands at Mount Zion, and says, " Speak, Lord, thy servant hear- 
eth." They have had Christ's banner, in the banqueting-house, as 
being ready to rise up and fight his battles, under the conduct and 
influence of their glorious leader. Such a heart has eaten the pass- 
over with its loins girt, and with a staff in its hand, ready for the 
journey. The heart that is for obedience, but uot yet, is not such a 
heart ; it is but a shifting heart, which will end in a refusal. It is 
but a civil way of putting off for altogether ; Psalm cxix. 5, " that 
my ways were directed to keep thy statutes !" 

"We now proceed, 

II. To shew that such a heart is a most valuable thing. — It must 
be so ; For, 

1. Such a heart is God's delight ; " that there were such an 
heart in them !" This would give content to the heart of Christ. 


This is his rest. The very prayer of the upright is his delight ; 
Psalm xi. 7, " For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, his 
countenance doth behold the upright." Such a heart is pleasing to 
God ; and it cannot be otherwise, for it is shapen out according to 
his mind. The person who has such a heart is another David, a mau 
according to God's own heart. It is a heart which, as believing, 
pleaseth God ; a heart well pleased with him, in which God is well 

2. It is that heart without which the largest profession, and the most 
express covenanting with God, is little worth. Without this heart 
men do but as the Lord's enemies, they lie unto him. And it is a 
dangerous thing to lie unto the Lord, like Ananias and Sapphira, 
who died with a lie in their mouth. They take God's name in 
vain. The voice indeed is Jacob's, but the hands are Esau's. It is 
but mocking God, and juggling witb the Holy One. It is but doing 
the work of the Lord deceitfully, and offering the blind and the 
lame for sacrifice, which will bring down a curse instead of a bless- 
ing. Let a man be at never so much pains in duties, yet still the 
one thing is lacking while they have not such a heart. 

3. The want of this heart is very grievous to the spirit of Christ. 
The Lord dotli thus, in the test, lament their want of it. If anything 
pierce the heart of God, it is when, with a covenanting people, there 
is wanting such a heart. "What can be more grievous in a married 
lot than when the husband has not the wife's heart ? Ezek. vi. 9, 
" I am broken, says God, with their whorish heart, which hath de- 
parted from me, and with their eyes, which go a-whoring after their 
idols." There can be no contentment in that condition, as Ilaman 
said, " yet all this availeth me nothing," Esth. v. 13. And a soul's 
grieving the Lord's Spirit, is a forerunner of the Lord's grieving 
them; Psalm xvi. 4, " Their sorrow shall be multiplied that hastens 
after another god." 

4. God accepts of the duty, and is well pleased with the bargain, 
where there is such a heart ; " that there weresuch anheart in them !" 
There wants no more to complete the bargain betwixt them and me. 
Then, as they call me their God, so would I call them mypeople by a 
saving relation. But where such is not, the contract betwixt Christ and 
the soul is written indeed, but it is not signed. "Would you know, 
then, if Christ be yours, with all the benefits of the everlasting cove- 
nant ; why, if you have such a heart, you have Christ's heart, you 
are married to the Lord, and shall never be put away. A voice of 
the word without, and an echo to it of the heart within, closes the 
bargain ; Psalm xxvii. 8, " "When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my 
heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek." See also Jer. iii. 22. 

Vol. X. F 


5. Where there is such a heart God will be well pleased with the 
person, and accept the duty, though it have many defects ; albeit he 
be not pleased with these defects, yet in mercy he will overlook 
them ; " that there were such an heart in them !" As if he had 
said, if they were but honest in the main, I would not be severe 
on them for every escape. The Lord will use the indulgence of a 
father for such infirmities; Song v. 1, " I have drunk my wine with 
my milk." Milk, that is, he accepts the meanest work where there 
is such an heart. A groan, a tear, a breathing after the Lord, is 
accepted ; as the father loves more the lisping child's expression of 
its affection to him, than all the towering compliments of a flatter- 
ing tongue, 2 Chron. xv. 17; the eye of their fiiith, though, like 
a bleared eye. Song iv. 9 ; the fire of their love, though weak, ver. 
10 ; the hand of their confidence, though a trembling hand ; the 
anchor of their hope, though feeble. Psalm xlvii. 11 ; their feet of 
obedience, though lame, like Mephibosheth, yet shall they be set at 
the king's table ; though their very sincerity be not without a mix- 
ture of hypocrisy. Gal. ii. 13, yet it holds weight in the balance ; 
Christ takes their petitions, though not every way well drawn, blots 
out some, fills up other things in them, and gets them answered. 
Their will is accepted for the deed; their grief for want of will, for 
the will itself; all this wliere there is such a heart. 

6. They will never prove stedfast in the Lord's covenant without 
such a heart ; " that there were such an heart in them !" They 
have spoke fair, but they will never keep a word they say, for they 
have not such a heart ; Psalm Ixxviii. 37, " For their heart was 
not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant." 
The heart is the principle of actions ; such a heart is the principle 
of perseverance ; and there can be no stedfastness without a princi- 
ple ; Matth. xiii. 6, " And when the sun was up, they were scorched, 
and because they had not root they withered away." The tree 
which is set in the ground but does not take root in it, will be easily 
blown over. The house without a foundation cannot withstand the 
storm, Matth. vi. 23. They who have covenanted with God without 
such a heart, will make foul work, it will appear that the devil has 
gone down with the sop, their former lasts will be swallowed over 
again, 2 Pet. ii. 20 — 22. Their last state will be worse than the 
first. Their vows will be no stronger than Samson's withs ; their 
resolutions, like the walls of Jericho, will fall down at the sound of 
the horn of temptation. 

7. Such an heart will fence the man against apostacy ; " that 
there were such an heart in them !" They would not then turn away 
from me; they would keep by their covenant: Luke vii. 15, "But 


that on the good ground are they which in an honest and good heart, 
having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. 
Clearing to Christ with constancy, without apostacy, is the very es- 
sence of such a heart. Gold is not gold but dross, if it do not continue 
in the fire. Men's hearts may get some light strokes of the Spirit, some 
fleeting motions of the same, and the heart still unsound as the stony 
ground. But the Spirit of God and of glory rest not on the heart, 
it is not such an heart : 2 John, ii. 27. " But the anointing which 
ye have received of him, abideth in you ;" the fire of true love will 
be preserved, though it flame not, whatever cools there may be tak- 
ing place. Such an heart has learned so much of the grace of God 
as to deny worldly lusts, and all forsaken lovers, when they come to 
court the soul. Where such a heart is, there is the root of the mat- 
ter in the man. Job, xix. 28. ; and there is sap enough to keep in the 
life of it, Prov. xii. 3. *' The root of the righteous shall not be mov- 
ed. Yea, the Root of Jesse has engaged that this root shall not 
fail," John iv. 14. They are kept through the power of God. God 
is careful of the leaves of Christianity, Psalm i. 3. much more of real 
Christians themselves ; therefore says Job chap. xvii. 9, " The right- 
eous shall hold on his way ; and he that hath clean hands shall be 
stronger and stronger." Be their light never so weak, it will last, 
yea it will grow, and shine more and more unto the perfect day. It 
is the abiding seed of God. 

Lastly, Such a heart enriches the man who has it ; "0 that there 
were such an heart in them!" they want no more to make them 
happy here and hereafter, Grace and glory, and all good, is the 
portion of those who have such an heart. Such an heart has taken 
Christ, is married and knit to him, and then Christ is yours, all is 
yours ; pardon, peace, and every blessing ; as he who gets a hold of 
the main link of a chain, draws all after him ; " There the Lord 
commands the blessing, even life which never ends." 

"We shall conclude this discourse with beseeching you to be in ear- 
nest that you have such a heart. This is that which you all need, that 
without which you must be miserable for ever. — It is a most invalu- 
able blessing, what you should highly prize; what is precious in 
God's esteem, and what he is urgent with you that you may possess : 
" that there were such an heart in them !" 

F 2 




Deut. v. 29, 

that there were such an heart in them, that they would, fear me, and 
keep all my commandments alivays, that it might he ivell with them 
and with their children for ever. 

HAViNa considered, in tlie two preceding discourses, the first and se- 
cond doctrines proposed from this subject, we now go on to 

Doctrine III. and last, That the work of covenanting with the 
Lord is slight work, when it is not heart-work ; or. That solemn 
covenanting with the Lord is but solemn trifling with him, when the 
work of covenanting is not heart-work. 

In treating this point, we shall, 

I. Produce some evidences, that solemn covenanting is often no- 
thing but solemn trifling, and not heart-work. 

II. Shew when solemn covenanting is not heart-work. 

III. Shew how people come to make solemn covenanting but a 
trifling business. 

lY. Shew the danger of trifling, and not making heart-work of 
this weighty business. And then, 

Y. Apply the whole. 

We are, 

I. To produce some evidences, that solemn covenanting is often 
nothing but solemn trifling, and not heart-work. It is of import- 
ance that you may be stirred up to take heed to the deceits which 
we may discover in this weighty business. "With this view, we ob- 

L That apostacy and defection from the good ways of the Lord, 
persons returning again openly to the same courses which they pur- 
sued before. This is an evidence, 2 Peter ii. 19 — 22 ; Matth. xii. 
45, " Then the evil spirit goeth, and taketh with himself seven other 
spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there, 
and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall 
it be also unto this wicked generation." They who have no root 
soon wither away, Matth. xiii. 6. There are many who, since the 
revolution, have solemnly covenanted with the Lord at sacraments, 
and many who have done it, Avhen they durst not so well avow it as 
now, who have given a sad account of themselves since that time, 


having relumed to their former courses of wickedness and profanity. 
Fallen stars were stars never but in appearance. To lose both life 
and leaf is a dreadful symptom ; John xv. 6, " If a man abide not 
in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered ; and men gather 
them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." Another 
evidence is. 

2. When some lusts are maintained in Christ's room, as when an 
adulterous woman takes another man instead of her husband. There 
are some lusts from which tlie heart is never loosed, right eyes they 
cannot part with ; this is secret apostacy from the Lord : Heb. iii. 
12, "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart 
of unbelief, in departing from the living God." When the Lord 
offers himself to sinners, ho says, if you will take me, let these go 
their way. Some enter into a marriage-covenant with the Lord, but 
they give their hearts to other lovers. Psalm xiv. 4, (quoted before). 
This is hypocritical dealing with God, which is a disease in the vi- 
tals of religion, Psalm Ixxviii. 37, (quoted above). Another evi- 
dence is, 

3. Persons making their covenant with the Lord, a cover to their 
sloth, and a pander to their lusts. It is sad work which jjersons 
make of covenanting, when it serves only to conjure their con- 
sciences, who hence can sleep more securely in their sins. Many 
are never more light, vain, and frothy, than after such a work ; a 
most shi'e wd sign of a whorish disposition : Prov. vii. 14, " I have peace- 
offerings with me. This day have I paid my vows. Therefore came 
I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face." The covenant of 
God is a covenant of peace and war, which inclines the sinner to be 
at peace with the Lord's friends, and at war with his enemies. It 
makes the soul to say to former lusts, I have learned from the gos- 
pel, to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, 
righteously, and godly, in this present world," Tit. ii. 12, Hence, 
Christ no sooner enters the heart, but he comes as Captain of the 
Lord's host ; and the person's heart thus becomes the seat of war : 
Gal. V. 17, " For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit 
against the flesh ; and these two are contrary the one to the other." 
And these lusts which were formerly gold chains, are now turned 
into heavy iron fetters: Rom. vii. 24, " wretched man that I am, 
who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" — Another evi- 
dence is, 

4. The barrenness of the lives of professors, nothing of the fruits 
of holiness appearing in their lives. We are, Rachel-like, barren, 
having no more but the leaves of a profession, the performance of 
external duties, to give us the name of Christians. Alas ! firo from 


heaven seems to have blasted many of us, and the curse of the Lord 
is as a worm at our root. Married to the Lord, and yet barren, is a 
contradiction, Rom. vii. 4. For the very end of this marriage is, 
that we may bring forth fruit unto God. Where the soul is joined 
to the Lord, it is made the habitation of the Spirit : and this is that 
which produces the fruits of holiness , Eph. v. 9, " For the fruit of 
the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth." 

Here some may say, Alas ! this speaks death to me, for do what 
I will, the weeds in the cursed soil of my heart suffers no fruit to 
appear there. To such I answer. — There is no fruit which grows in 
the heart of a believer in the world, but it has a weed of corruption 
by the side of it ; their faith is marked with unbelief, their hope 
with diffidence, their very sincerity with hypocrisy. But are you at 
pains to pluck up these ? If you should look into a garden, and saw 
nothing but weeds in it, yet if ye saw the gardener weeding it, you 
would conclude there must be something else there ; so in this case. 
"Will you see if there be any thriving of undergrowth in your hearts, 
if you be growing downwards in humility, self-loathing, self-denial, 
depending and cleaving more from a sense of need to the Lord ? 
Eph. iv. 15, 16. Barren trees use not to have their branches hang- 
ing down to salute the ground, unless they be broken off by a violent 
wind. — Another evidence is, 

5. The having no communication of the life of grace from Christ 
to the soul : John xiv. 19, " Because I live, ye shall live also." Food 
and raiment are what every soul married to the Lord get from him. 
If the soul be truly united to Christ, it will partake of the root and sap 
of the vine : John vi. 57, " He that eateth me, saith Jesus, even he 
shall live by me." True faith opens a way for a stream of blood to 
run through the heart, by which the soul is purged and quickened. 
The blood of Jesus " purges the conscience from dead works, to 
serve the living God," Heb. ix. 14, But, alas ! the faith of many is 
like a pipe laid short of the fountain, and so brings none of the wa- 
ter of life into the soul. Many covenant with the Lord as the seven 
women, Isa. iv. 1, who take hold of one man, as it is there said, they 
will be called by his name ; for so is Christ's spouse, in token of her 
marriage-relation, she loseth her name, and takes her husband's, 
Isa. xliv. 5, " One shall say, I am the Lord's ; and another shall call 
himself by the name of Jacob." This will take away their reproach 
before the world, and it will do much to silence the blustering 
tongue of an ill-natured conscience. Yea, but after all this, they 
will eat their own bread, Isa. iv. 1. They will live upon their own 
slock of natural and acquired abilities, for they are not, as in Matth. 
iii. 5, " poor in spirit." They come not, as true believers, with a 


weak soul to a strong God, an empty vessel to a full fountain. Thus 
does the true believer, who says, Gral. ii. 20, " 1 am crucified with 
Christ; nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and 
the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son 
of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." But the other 
will live on their lusts ; Christ gives rest to their consciences, and 
their lusts give rest to their hearts ; he shall bear up their hopes, 
and their lusts shall satisfy their desires. — They will wear their 
own apparel . Rom. x. 3, " For they being ignorant of God's righte- 
ousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have 
not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God." Their 
duties make a great figure in their own eyes, and therefore are 
cyphers in God's account. Hence the more they do and the better 
they do, the more they are in conceit with themselves, and the further 
fi'om Christ. It is quite contrary with true covenanters ; Phil. iii. 
3, " They rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the 
flesh :" Rev. ii. 14, " They wash their robes, and make them white 
in the blood of the Lamb." — We shall only add as an evidence, 

Lastly, The having no contentment in Christ alone. "Where the 
soul heartily closes with Christ, he is to the soul a covering to the 
eyes : Psalm Ixxiii. 25, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and 
there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee." Hence the 
triumph of faith, even when all external things fail ; Hab. iii. 17, 
" I will rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation." 
But, alas ! how many of us have no comfort, but when the cisterns 
of creature-comforts are running full ! how few arrive at the height 
of rejoicing in the Lord, when these cisterns are dried up ! Matth. 
xiii. 45, 46. Every person's house stands upon two props, Christ 
and the creature, but the weight lies only upon one of them. Take 
away the world from the believer, he stands firm on the rock Christ; 
take away the world from the hypocrite, and all falls down together. 
A person may bear to have some branch of his comforts cut ofi"; but 
when God strikes at the root of creature-comforts, then may the 
hypocrite say, Thou hast taken away my gods, and what have I 
more ? Some can endure any thing but poverty, for covetousness 
reigns in them ; others any thing but disrespect, for pride is their 

Here again some may say, If this be an evidence, we know not 
who will make sure work, for many time gracious persons are as 
much, if not more, cast down with the loss of creature-comforts, 
than others; To this I answer. No doubt gracious souls will some- 
times be more joyful on the receipt of a temporal mercy, and more 
oast down on the loss of them, than others : for the chief thing 


which affects him is the face of God appearing in it, either as favour- 
able or frowning ; so that they will be ready to say on such an oc- 
casion, as in Gen. xxxiii. 10, "For therefore I have seen thy face, 
as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with 
me." And this will make a mole-hill mercy or cross appear like a 
mountain. The godly in this case fetch their comfort from the 
Lord, others fetch theirs from something else in the world ; when 
one stream runs dry, they go to another, like the prodigal before he 
came home. The drying up of the streams sends the gracious soul 
to the fountain. 

We now proceed, 

II. To shew when covenanting is not heart-work, but a trifling 
business. — It is so, 

1. When the soul is not divorced from sin. The heart is na- 
turally glewed to sin, and it is impossible that the heart can at 
once be both for the Lord and lusts, Matth. vi. 24. The first mar- 
riage must be made void before a second can be made sure. They 
must have their covenant with their lusts broken, who will have 
their covenant with the Lord sure; Hos. xiv. 8, " Ephraim shall 
say, What have I to do any more with idols ?" Living lusts and 
the living Lord will not both get the throne of the heart. In the 
day of espousals, when Christ gets the crown, lusts get the cross. 
Many will be in suit of the heart, and the heart for a time may be 
halting betwixt two ; but in a covenanting day with the Lord, all 
others must be discharged; Psalm xlv. 10, " Hearken, daughter ! 
and consider, and incline thine ear ; forget also thine own people, 
and thy father's house." Here some may inquire, How may a per- 
son know if their heart be divorced from sin ? Answ. That which 
makes the man and his lusts one, is the greedy grip which the heart 
takes of sin, it is the heart cleaving to its lusts : Jer. viii. 5, " Why 
then is the people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual back- 
sliding? They hold fast deceit, they refuse to return." The heart 
and affections in sin are like the hot iron, where the iron and the 
fire are very close together. The man's lusts are to him like a leg 
or an arm which is knit to the body with joints and bands. Now, 
where the heart is divorced, it loaths that sin which before it loved. 
Though sin cleaves to the man, yet he cleaves not to it, Rom. vii. 
17 — 22. Never was the captive more desirous to bo loosed of his 
bands, than that soul to be free from sin. Like a weak honest vir- 
gin, though it cannot shake itself loose of its grips, yet it would 
be content if one would set it free. Solemn covenanting is trilling, 

2. When the soul is not divorced from the law, Rom. viii. 4, 
*' Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the 


body of Christ ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who 
is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God." 
Legal professors do but trifle with the Lord, and never make heart- 
work of covenanting with him. They may bind themselves faster 
and faster to duties, but there is no engaging their heart to the 
Lord of duties ; they are as they who would draw up with the hand- 
maid instead of the mistress ; and do but bind themselves to the 
work of spinning out their own ruin out of their own bowels. There 
is a generation who get some convictions of their misery by sin, the 
law comes and takes them by the throat, and then they cry, Have 
patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Hence they bestir them- 
selves, and fall a trading to gain something for heaven and eternal 
life ; they set about secret duties, attending public ordinances, and 
take the sacrament, and the effect of all is but to wreath their necks 
faster in the yoke of law-bondage, and to remove themselves far- 
ther from Christ. This is but trifling. — If it be inquired, How may 
one know if they be divorced from the law ? you have the word. 
Gal. ii. 19, " For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might 
live unto God." The law comes home to the soul with such force 
and power, that it cuts off all hopes of the soul's ever mending itself 
by its works ; makes the soul see its utter emptiness and weakness ; 
and hence it dies off, and lies at the foot of free grace, with that 
prayer in its mouth, Jer. xxxi. 18, " Thou hast chastised me, and I 
was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke : turn thou 
me, and I shall be turned ; for thou art the Lord my God." Then 
Christ's blood is the soul's only refuge for guilt, Christ's Spirit for 
holiness ; and the soul will have no peace but what comes from this 
blood ; Avhile many instead of this, lick themselves whole of their 
wounds by confession, mourning, prayer for pardon, and engaging 
not to do so any more. But it is quite different from this, when, as 
above, the Spirit of Christ leads his divorced bride out of the house 
of her former husband to Jesus himself. — It is so, 

3. When the soul comes not heartily and freely to the Lord in 
his covenant. Psalm Ixxviii. 34 — 37. The Lord will not meet that 
soul. He cares not for persons giving the hand, when they do not 
give him their hearts. Indeed this is a covenant which speaks out 
the extreme naughtiness of men's hearts, by their coming into it 
grudgingly and per force. The sacrifice that is dragged to the altar, 
will not be accepted, it will run away from it again. It will be like 
the strong bough which is forcibly bowed, which will soon fly back. 
"Wheu the Lord comes to a soul, he deals with the heart. He 
touches the heart, as he touched the hearts of Saul's companions, 
1 Sam. X. 26 ; Jer. xxxi. 3, " The Lord hath appeared to mo of old, 


saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love : therefore 
with loving-kindness have I drawn thee." There is grace in the 
Lord's lips, heavenly rhetoric to catch a sinner's affections, Psalm 
xlv. 2. "When the Spirit of the Lord pours in overcoming grace, 
then the man pours out his heart before him, Psalm Ixii, 8. Thus 
the people become willing in the day of his power, Psalm ex. 3. 
Here we may shortly state and consider two cases : — 

Case 1. What shall become of those, then, who are driven to the 
Lord by terror ? I answer, Those who are only driven by terror, 
they will even leave him again when the terror is over, for ter- 
rors will break a heart of stone, but will not melt it. At the same 
time, terror may begin the work, which love will crown : Hos. ii. 
14, " Therefore, behold I will allure her and bring her into the 
wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her." "When the Lord is 
to match with sinners, they are bold and perverse, they will not 
speak to him, till he has shot an arrow into their flesh, till he has 
made them prisoners of war ; and then, Avhen he has them in chains, 
he makes love to them. He first drives the sinner, and then he 
draws him like Noah's dove into the ark, Gren. viii. 9. The Lord 
sets the avenger of blood in pursuit of the poor criminal, he with a 
heavy heart leaves his own city, and his old acquaintances, and flees 
for his bare life to the city of refuge, to which he has no inclination, 
but must do is a great thing. When he comes to the gates, and sees 
the beauty of the place, the excellencies and loveliness of the city 
charm him; then he says, This is my rest, here will I dwell. 

Case 2. I often find, when I am to go to the Lord's table, a great 
backwardness to the duty. What should be done in this case ? 
I answer, There is a great difi'erence betwixt a man's turning his 
back and running away from his friend, and a sickly man's coming 
slowly to him. And if I might be allowed so to speak, I should 
distinguish between a backward heart, and a backwardness upon 
the heart; Matth. xxvi. 41, " Watch and pray, that ye enter not in- 
to temptation ; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." 
A backward heart is a foolish heart, and will make sad work of a 
communion ; Prov. xvii. 16, " Wherefore is there a price in the 
hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?" I 
wish the Lord may turn this people from the Lord's table, till he 
has turned their hearts back to himself; or else, when they have put 
their hands to the plough, they will after all leave it, and injure re- 
ligion more than if they had never meddled with it. But for others, 
our Master allows you to come as you arc able, with your burden 
upon your back, and lay it down at his feet ; Matth. xi. 28, " Come 
unto me, all yo that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give 


you rest. Psalm. Ixv. 3, " Iniquities prevail against me ; as for our 
transgressious, thou slialt purge them away." The great Physician 
knows very well his patient comes with heart and good will, though 
his sickness and indisposition makes him come with a slow pace. 
It is trifling, 

4. When the soul comes to the Lord in his covenant for peace to 
their consciences, but not for victory over their lusts. Many come 
to the Lord, as a sick man to the physician, to cure him of his 
wounds, but not to live upon his charges ; Psalm Ixxviii. 34, " When 
he slew them, then they sought him ; and they returned and inquired 
early after God." They have use for the blood, not for the water, 
which came from the side of Jesus. This is but half-work, not 
heart-work. Enemies to the spirit of holiness are enemies to Christ. 
I never think it the best frame for a communion table when people 
sit down at the Lord's table chiefly for peace and comfort. A view 
of the King, a transforming sight which might strengthen the soul, 
to have this before our eyes sitting down at the feast, would certain- 
ly be most safe. To get a touch of the hem of Christ's garment, for 
stopping the issue of sin, will be salutary indeed. It is so, 

5. When the soul accepts of conditional promises, but does not ac- 
cept of and receive the Lord himself in absolute promises. This is to 
agree upon the less points of the covenant, and to neglect the main 
point, Heb. viii. 10. The great thing God offers in the gospel is Christ. 
He is a foolish man that would claim the benefit of the contract, while 
he neglects to marry the woman. It is a dreadful thing to turn the 
covenant of grace into a mere servile or mere social covenant, as passes 
betwixt neighbouring independent states. It is most properly a mar- 
riage-covenant, where the soul first takes the Lord himself, and 
then looks for the benefits accruing to it by the happy match. Na- 
tural men fancy a very easy covenant in, — " He that confesseth his 
sins, shall find mercy. — Call on me, and I will answer thee. — What 
doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and 
to walk humbly with thy God?" — He will accept the will for the 
deed ; not considering that all the promises are yea and amen in 
Christ ; and suppose they could perform the condition of these pro- 
mises, yet they could not have benefit by them while they have not 
the Lord Christ, dwelling, living, and reigning in them. — It is so- 
lemn trifling, 

Lastly, When there is not an absolute resignation of the will to 
the will of the Lord. This is to have reserves in our covenanting 
with the Lord. Man's will is the great rebel against the Lord, and 
must, if we make sure work, be bound hand and foot in a covenant- 
ing day. There must be a double resignation, (1.) To the precep- 


tive will : Rom. vi. 17, " Ye have obeyed from the heart that form 
of doctrine which was delivered unto you." The soul most no more 
snarl with duty, but be content to take on the yoke of Christ's com- 
mands. And they who are not content to stand and receive the 
same commands from mount Zion, which were thundered into their 
hearts from mount Sinai before, their hearts are not for this work. 
(2.) There must be resignation to the providential will of God. It 
has been long a question between the Lord and you, who shall be 
master of your process, who shall carve out your lot ? Are you 
come to a point now ? feven to that point ? Psalm xlvii. 4. " He 
shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he 
loved." It is well, you are wise ; for our own will, and nothing else, 
is our wreck. 

We should now, 

III. Shew how people come to make solemn covenanting but a 
trifling business. But for this, see the third head of doctrine first. 

"We proceed, then, 

lY. To shew the danger of trifling, and not making heart-work of 
this weighty business. — This will appear if we consider, 

1. That the Lord rejects the work : Mai. i. 13, " Ye said also, 
Behold what a weariness is it, and ye have snuffed at it, saith the 
Lord of hosts, and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, 
and the sick ; thus ye brought an ofi'ering ; should I accept this of 
your hands ? saith the Lord." "Whatever pains persons may be at 
about covenanting, the Lord has no regard to it while it is not 
heart-work, Isa. i. 11. It is true, you may even sign the contract, 
but the Lord will not subscribe it, seeing it has not the upright con- 
sent of your hearts. Psalm 1. 16, 17. You may expect the enter- 
tainment recorded, Matth. xxii. 12, " Friend, how camest thou in 
thither, not having a wedding-garment ? And he was speechless." — 

2. That it puts men more securely in Satan's grips than before. 
In this sense that holds true which you have in Isa. xxviii. 22, 
" Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong." 
Publicans and sinners will enter before these. Such are twice dead, 
where the devil goes out and returns with seven other spirits worse 
than himself. The last end of such a person is worse than his be- 
ginning. — Consider, 

3. That it exposes men to spiritual strokes ; Jer. xlviii. 10, 
" Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord deceitfully." Dead- 
ening strokes. These are silent arrows which fly from the hand of 
God into the soul without noise ; Isa. vi. 10, *' Make the heart of 
this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes ; 


lest they see with their eyes, aud hear with their ears, and under- 
stand with their heart, and convert, and be healed." Sometimes 
men are like Saul among the prophets, but afterwards they are 
knocked in the head by the secret judgment of God, because of their 
hypocritical dealing with him, it may be at a communion table, in 
so much that they have never a day to <1o well after ; and from that 
time God answers them not, but they live and rot above the ground; 
their hearts are deadened, their affections dozened, their gifts 
withered, and their souls blasted ; John xv. 6, " If a man abide not 
in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered ; and men gather 
them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." Quickening 
strokes, whereby the man is dreadfully alarmed, the conscience is 
awakened, and made like Mount Sinai, where nothing but fire and 
smoke appear. God takes the filthy rags of their mock covenanting, 
wraps them in brimstone, and sets them in fire about the sinner's 
ears. Their wounds which were scurfed over bleed more dreadfully, 
while the plaster they made will not stick. Besides these, there are 
strokes upon their bodies. As Nadab and Abihu, Lev. x. 1, 2. A 
wrong look into the ark cost the men of Bethshemesh dear, 1 Sam. 
vi. 19. God smote Uzzah,and he died by the ark, 2 Sam. vi. 7. 
And the apostle tells us, 1 Cor. xi. 30, " For this cause many are 
weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." Consider, 

Lastly, Tliat however quietly people may get it carried in life, it 
will bring them a sad disappointment at death. The house built on 
the sand fell by the storm, and great was its fall. A great fall 
from high hopes into deep despair ; like the foolish virgins, who 
were unexpectedly shut out. 

"We are now, 

V. To apply the subject. Which we shall do only in an use of 

I would then exhort one and all of you to make heart-work and 
sure work in your covenanting with the Lord, and not to trifle in so 
solemn a business. You have heard the danger you incur by 
trifling with it. But perhaps some will say with a whole heart, that 
as they are resolved to keep themselves out of harm's way, they 
will not come to the Lord's table. To this I would answer. Well, 
will you not enter into covenant with the Lord ? if not, then you 
will never see heaven ; Eph. ii. 12, " Strangers from the covenants 
of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." Where 
will you appear at the great day ? Psalm 1. 1 — 5. You must take 
hold of the Lord's covenant, or be damned. Sirs, if ye enter at all 
into this work, my exhortation reaches you. You may trifle with 
God upon your knees, as well as at his table. And if you be not 


minded to refuse this covenant, why stand you back from the seals of 
it? why do you not prepare yourselves for it ? why slight you this 
love token of our dying Lord ? I would think if yon were in ear- 
nest for the covenant, you would not slight the seal of it. Make 
sure work then. To induce you to be serious in this weighty work, 
I would mention and urge the following motives. 

Mot. 1. You have need to make sure work, for you have deceitful 
hearts to deal with, Jer. xvii. 19. Let not the bands be put on 
slightly, or it will soon slip them all. Therefore dig deep, by serious 
solemn examination of your consciences before the Lord, that you 
may build as on a rock. 

Mot. 2. Consider the weight of the business ; the business of sal- 
vation, or damnation, is not a matter to trifle with. Sirs, life and 
death are before you. Your eternal state lies at the stake. I be- 
seech you then, by all that weight of glory that awaits the saints, as 
you would not ruin your souls which a thousand worlds cannot re- 
pair, for the loss of the soul cannot be made up, that you seriously 
consider the business. 

Mot. 3. Consider the Lord is not trifling, but is in good earnest 
with you ; " that there were such a heart in them !" There is a 
match proposed betwixt the King of glory and the daughter of 
Zion, the bridegroom is willing ; Rev. iii. 20, *' Behold I stand at 
the door and knock." There is nothing wanting on his part ; Matt, 
xxii. 4, "All things are ready, come unto the marriage." How passion- 
ately does he call for her consent in the text : And now, when the 
Lord is thup oflPering himself to you, why will you refuse or trifle 
with him ? Here some may propose this. 

Objection. This is a flourish which may pass well enough in a 
pulpit. But, ! if the Lord were really off'ering himself to me, 
I would never refuse. To this I answer. The offer is real, though 
ministerial. "We have our commission from our Lord to bear us out 
in it, and he would do the same if he were here bodily present ; 2 
Cor. V. 10, " Now then wo are ambassadors for Christ, as though 
God did beseech you by us : we pray you in Christ's stead be ye 
reconciled io God." Hence, in the days of his flesh, he oft'ored him- 
self both to those that did, and those that did not receive him. 
Consider, he said to his disciples, " He that heareth you, heareth 
me." We are the friends of the Bridegroom ; as Abraham's ser- 
vants, we are come to bring you to our Master's son. What would 
yon have to make the ofter real, if you may not take it as such from 
the mouth of his messengers ? Would you have him leave his glory 
a second time, and come in person to make the oflor ? Or would 
you have him come down in his glory ? If so, you know not 


what yea ask. It would set you better to do as Abigail, bow your- 
self to the earth, and humbly accept of the offer, 1 Sam. xxv. 40, 
41. So real is the offer, that if you refuse, ye will be damned for 
the refusal ; Mark xvi. 15, 16, " And he said unto them, go ye into 
all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that be- 
lieveth and is baptized, shall be saved ; but he that believeth not, 
shall be damned." John xvii. 20, "Neither pray I for these alone, 
but for thera also which shall believe on me through their word." 
See then what ye do. It is a serious business on the Lord's part, 
and there is a prize in your hands, which you would do well di- 
ligently to improve. Does he indeed offer himself to me? do 
you say ? notwithstanding my unworthiness. Yea, to you, 
we make no scruple to offer him particularly to every one of 
you, the vilest of you all ; Rev. iii. 20, '* Behold I stand at 
the door and knock : if any man hear my voice, and open the door, 
I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me." It 
is not unworthiness, but unwillingness, that will mar the bargain ; 
" The Spirit and the bride say. Come, and let him that heareth say, 
Come, and let him that is athirst say. Come, and whosoever will let 
him take the water of life freely." 


IsA. xxv. 6, 

And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a 
feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of 
marrovi, of wines on the lees well refined. 

The prophets of old prophesied of the grace of Christ which should 
come unto us, 1 Pet. i. 10 ; and of these none more than our evange- 
lical prophet, who, in the verse before us, foretells a rich spiritual 
entertainment which should be made by the Saviour Jesus Christ 
unto a starving world of prodigal sinners, reduced by their extrava- 
gance into extreme want. Here there is to be observed, 

1. The Maker and Master of the feast, the Lord himself; it is a 
royal feast, with which the King of Zion entertains his own subjects. 
Particularly, it is the Lord Christ, the Son of God, who, pitying the 

* An action-sermon, delivered June 7, 1719. 


famished condition of poor sinners, was at the expense of this costly 
feast for them ; for the maker of it is the same who swallows up 
death and victory, ver. 8. A warlike title is ascribed to him, the 
" Lord of hosts," for there is a banner in Christ's banqueting-house ; 
and this feast looks both backward and forward to a war. You will 

2. The guests for whom this feast is provided : it is made for " all 
people." Not that every person does actually partake of it, nor 
that every person without exception is invited to it ; the event shows 
the contrary, there being many to whom the sound of the gospel 
never comes ; but intimating, that the invitation is given to all who 
come in its way, without distinction, or exception of any sort of 
persons ; Matth. xxii. 9, " Go ye therefore into the highways, and 
as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage." The invitation is to 
the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews, to those in the highways and 
hedges, as well as those in the city. All who will come are welcome. 
You may observe, 

3. The guest-chamber where this feast is held ; " In this moun- 
tain," namely, mount Zion, that is, the church. To that society all 
must join who would partake of this feast. And as mount Zion re- 
presents both the church militant and the church triumphant, so 
these are one church, one body; and it is one feast, as to its sub- 
stance, Heb. xii. 22 — 24. You will observe, 

4. The matter of the feast : a feast imports abundance and va- 
riety of good entertainment ; and here nothing is wanting which is 
suitable for hungry souls. This is held forth under the notion of 
the best meat and drink, because what these are to the body, the 
same is the gospel-feast to the soul. In this valley of the world 
lying in wickedness, there is nothing for the soul to feed on but car- 
rion, nothing but what would be loathed, except by those who were 
never used to better : but in this mountain, there is a " feast of fat 
things," things most relishing to those who taste them, most nourish- 
ing to those who feed on them ; and these are " full of marrow," 
most satisfying to the soul. — In this valley of the rorld, there is 
nothing but muddy waters, which can never quench the thirst of the 
soul, but must ruin it with the dregs ever cleaving to them ; but 
here, on this mountain, are " wines on the lees," that is, the best 
of wines, which having been kept long upon the lees, are there- 
fore strong and nourishing. And these wines are well refined, being 
carefully drawn off, and quite separated from the lees or dregs, and 
therefore clear and fine. They are undreggy comforts ; they aff'ord 
the most refined satisfaction and delight. From this subject we 
take the following 


Doctrine, That Jesus Christ has prepared a most rich and deli- 
cious feast for the souls of all those who will come to him, and par- 
take of it as presented to thera. 

In speaking upon this pleasant and interesting subject, it is in- 

I. To shew the absolute need that there is of this provision. 

II. To explain what the provision is which Christ has prepared 
for the souls of a famished world. 

III. To consider what sort of a feast it is. 

IV. To confirm, that all people who will come, may come, and 
partake of this feast. And then, 

V. Conclude with a i)ractical improvement of the subject. 
We are then, 

I. To show the absolute need that there is of this provision. 

The distinguishing need for this provision was the extreme neces- 
sity of a lost world, which, by Adam's fall, the great prodigal, was 
reduced to a starving and famishing condition. The King of heaven 
set down Adam, and his posterity in him, to a well-covered table in 
paradise, in this lower world, making a covenant of friendship with 
him, and with them in him. Man consists of an earthly part and a 
heavenly part, a body, and a soul : and as every thing must have 
nourishment suitable to its nature, so, although the body might, yet 
the soul could never be nourished by the best produce of the earth. 
Therefore, by virtue of that covenant, it was concluded, that, upon 
condition of perfect obedience to it, they should have provision for 
their souls from the King's country. But man being drawn into re- 
bellion against God, this prospect was lost, and their table is drawn ; 
Adam and all his posterity in his loins were driven out of the gutst- 
chamber, the family was ruined, broken, and scattered, having no- 
thing left them. — To impress this the more upon us, let us view how 
our first father left us. 

1. In point of need, he left us with hungry hearts, like the pro- 
digal ; Luke xv. 16, " And he would fain have filled his belly with 
the husks which the swine did eat ; and no man gave unto him." 
Every man and woman naturally has a gnawing appetite after hap- 
piness and satisfaction. This is so interwoven with man's nature, 
that it never leaves him in any state whatever, and so will make a 
part of the torment of the damned : Isa. viii. 21, *' And they shall 
pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry ; and it shall come to 
pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, 
and curse their King and their God, and look upward." Every one 
finds himself not self-suflicient, and therefore his soul cleaves to 
something without itself to satisfy it. Listen, Christless sinner ! 

Vol. X. a 


who a,rt destitute of holy desires, aud thou shalt hear a voice within 
thine own breast, saying, Give, give, a continual noise. Look into 
thine own heart, and th6u wilt see it, in respect of desires, like a 
nest of young birds, all gaping for a fill, but never satisfied, still 
gaping, after all that is put in their mouths. — He left us also with 
thirsty consciences, scorched and burned up with heat, so that most 
of them are in the dead-thraw, and many of them quite seared. 
Hence the gospel-invitation is, Isa. Iv. 1, " Ho ! every one that 
thirsteth, come ye to the waters." In a natural state there can be 
no conscience but an evil conscience, the thorn of guilt is not pulled 
out of it ; it is a defiled conscience which needs to be sprinkled, 
Heb. X. 22. And though a sleeping conscience in many, yet such is 
the thirst of it in all the sons of Adam, that, when awakened, they 
cry out, We die, we perish, we all perish, Luke xv. 17. 

2. In point of supply, he left us without any prospect, for all com- 
munication with heaven was stopped. War was declared against 
the rebels, so that there could be no transportation of provisions 
from thence. Gen. iii. 24. Truth had said, Gen. ii. 17, " But of the 
tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it ; for in 
the day thoa eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." And therefore, 
though mercy might incline to supply a starving world, justice inter- 
poses, and pleads that there could be no communication betwixt God 
and the sinners, without a satisfaction, which they nor angels could 
not make; and therefore, without satisfaction, they must be famish- 
ed for ever. Thus heaven's doors were closed on a starving world. 
— Now, there was a mighty famine upon the earth, such as was with 
the prodigal, Luke xv. 14, " And when he had spent all, there arose 
a mighty famine in that land ; and he began to be in want." Adam's 
sons, abandoned of Heaven, fell a-begging at the world's door, if so 
be they might find rest and satisfaction in the creature. They go 
after a law-righteousness, if so be they might find a rest to their 
consciences. But it fares with them in this search, as with the un- 
clean spirit gone out of a man. He goes through dry places seeking 
rest, and finding none returns disappointed. When they have tra- 
versed all the mountains of vanity for something to satisfy their 
hungry hearts, they find nothing but husks to feed on with the 
swine ; which are the empty and unsatisfying things of the world, 
that can never feed their souls, Luke xv. 16. The poor sinner out 
of Christ, is like the hungry infant, which sucks at every thing to 
which its mouth comes near, and shifting about, and getting nothing, 
falls a-weoping ; but the appetite continuing, the infant falls a-suck- 
ing again, where formerly it was disappointed. Such is the life of 
every natural man, a continued tract of lustings after, and disap- 


pointraeuts from the creature. So that he is born weeping, lives 
seeking, and will die disappointed, if not brought to the feast of fat 
things. Again, they find but dust to feed on with the serpent ; Isa. 
Ixv. 25, " And dust shall be the serpent's meat ;" that is, they suck 
at the defiled breasts of their lusts, which can never satisfy, but 
poison the soul. They cannot find their satisfaction in lawful 
worldly comforts ; and therefore, like hungry beasts, they break 
over into forbidden ground, and all to satisfy a gnawing appetite 
after happiness. But there they are as far from their mark as 
ever. For, though the enjoyment of a lust may please them for a 
while ; yet it is but like a man, eating or drinking in a dream, he 
awaketh, and behold he is faint, and his soul has appetite, Isa. xxiv. 
8. There is a bitter dreg remaining behind. Striking at this rock 
for water, they cause fire to flash out on their faces ; and sucking 
at these breasts, draw out blood instead of milk. Travelling through 
the barren region of the law for something to satisfy their scorched 
consciences, they can find nothing but muddy and salt waters, which 
can give no ease truly satisfying, but raises the thirst again. For 
the purging of the conscience is what the law cannot do, Rom. vi. 3 ; 
compared with Heb. ix. 14. What can duties do to the purging of 
the conscience ; Isa. Ixiv. 6, " But we are all as an unclean thing, 
and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags ; and we all do fade as 
a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Will 
mud wash out mud ? What can tears do for this end ? Without 
shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. Even our tears 
must be washed in the Mediator's blood, or they will defile the con- 
science, and leave a new stain in it. What can trusting to unco- 
venanted mercy do ? and such is the mercy of God in respect of all 
who are not in Christ, Acts iv. 12; 2 Cor. v. 19. They may make 
a plaster for their wounded consciences of these, they may lay it on, 
but all their art can never make it stick, it will fall ofi" before the 
wound heal. 

We corae now, 

II. To explain what the provision is which Christ has prepared 
for the souls of such a famished world. — This, in a word, is his pre- 
cious self; the Maker of the feast is the matter of it, even Christ 
crucified ; his body broken for us, is that feast to which hungry souls 
are called, and which they are to feed upon : " Take, eat, this is my 
body broken for you." Gal. ii. 20, " I am crucified with Christ : 
nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me : and the life 
which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, 
who loved me, and gave himself for me." We have heard of mo- 
thers who have eaten their own children, but who ever gave them- 

G 2 


selves to be meat nnto them ? But Jesus died that we might live, 
gave himself to enliven and nourish our souls. — Let us consider, 

1. The meat which is served up in this feast for the hungry heart. 
This is Christ's body ; John vi. 55, " For my flesh is meat indeed, 
and my blood is drink indeed." Never was there such a costly feast 
in the world as this, Christ's body broken and bruised by justice, 
that it might be food to us. This is the provision off'ered to you all 
in the word, exhibited to you, believers ! in the sacrament. And 
ye may eat, and must eat of it, or you will perish : John vi. 53, 
" Then Jesus said unto them. Verily, verily, I say unto you. Except 
ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink liis blood, ye have no 
life in you." Take him by faith, receive him with a faith of appli- 
cation, and unite with him in the covenant ; relish the sweetness of 
Christ, improve every part of Christ, his low birth, his sorrowful 
life, his bitter death, bis burial, resurrection, and ascension to hea- 
ven. — Christ's body is the fat things of this feast, which will com- 
pletely satisfy the hungry heart ; so that thy soul feeding upon it 
by faith, shall be filled and satisfied, like the hungry infant, when it 
is set to its mother's full breasts : Psalm Ixxxi. 10, " Open thy 
mouth wide, and I will fill it." How can these things be ? will an 
unbelieving world say. We answer, in two things, 

(1.) There is a fulness of the spirit of sanctification in him, which 
is communicated unto all who receive him : John i. 16, " And of his 
fulness have all we received, and grace for grace." And the more 
eagerly that the soul feeds on him, the more of that spirit they re- 
ceive. The first entering of his spirit into the soul gives life ; the 
further measure of the spirit, gives life more abundantly. And 
there is a double effect of the spirit of sanctification received from 
Christ. — [1.] The spirit of Christ in the soul dries up the devouring 
deeps of unmortified desires after the world of lusts, stops their 
mouths by stabbing them to the heart, that the soul may live spiri- 
tually : John iv, 14, "But whosoever drinkcth of the water that I 
shall give him, shall never thirst ; but the water tliat I shall give 
him, shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting 
life." Never thirst, that is, at tlio rate he did in his natural state. 
Gasp they may, as a thief upon the cross, but they shall never gape 
so wide and so incessantly as before, the soul being determined to 
starve them. — [2.] The spirit of Christ in the soul stirs up holy de- 
sires in the heart, which are the predominant motions and aficctions 
there : Psalm xxvii. 4, " One thing have I desired of the Lord, that 
will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the 
days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Jjord, and to inquire 
in his temple." The man's choice is altered, his desires run in 


another channel. Sometimes it was, Who will shew us any good ? 
but now it is, Lord, lift upon us the light of ihy countenance, Psalm 
iv. 6. Now his longings are after the Lord, Psalm xlii. 1, and Ixiii. 
L His sorrowings are for the want of his presence ; his comfort is 
enjoying the light of his countenance. If he has a God in Christ to 
be his God, you may take from him what ye will ; Psalm Ixxiii. 25, 
" Whom haven in heaven but thee ? and there is none in all the 
earth that I desire besides thee." Let these desires be satisfied, 
and ho is filled as with marrow and fatness. 

(2.) The fulness of the Godhead is in Christ : Col. ii. 9, " For in 
him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." The taberna- 
cle of meeting betwixt God and the sinner is the flesh of Christ ; in 
him they have the enjoyment of God as their God. Taking Christ 
by faith, God is theirs, for he and the Father are one : thus in 
Christ they are complete. Col. ii. 10. They are at the utmost stretch 
of their desires as to the substance of them; for having God to be 
their God, they have all. And thus the soul may feed on all the 
perfections of God : on his power, as theirs to protect them ; his 
wisdom, as theirs to guide, &c. ; on his word and all the promises of 
it, which are theirs. Here there is both plenty and variety. — Let 
us consider, 

2. The drink which is afforded at this feast for the thirsty con- 
science. This is the precious blood of Christ : John vi. 55, " My 
blood is drink indeed." This is that spiritual drink which is offer- 
ed in the word, and exhibited in the sacrament : " This cup is the 
New Testament in my blood." If ever you would have life, you 
must all drink of this blood, by a believing application of it to your 
own souls : Rom. iii. 25, " Whom God hath set forth to be a pro- 
pitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness, for 
the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." 
— This is " wines on the lees, well refined," effectual for purging the 
conscience of the most guilty creature, when it is believingly ap- 
plied to the soul : Heb. ix. 14, " How much more shall the blood of 
Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot 
to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living 
God ?" This blood is atoning blood, it answers all the demands of 
justice, affords a covert under which a guilty creature may stand 
before God, and not be condemned : Rom. viii. 1, " There is there- 
fore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus." — It is 
sin-expiating blood, '* shed for remission of sins unto many." Lay 
all your guilt over on this blood. It will blot out all tho items out 
of the debt-book of justice ; it will draw the sting out of yonr con- 
science, for which all other persons and things have been physicians 


of no value. — It is peace-making blood. Lay the weight of your peace 
with God on it : " Christ is our peace," Eph. ii. 14. — It is justifying 
blood ; by it is brought in an everlasting righteousness. — It is hea- 
ven-opening blood, for time, in access to God and communion with 
him on earth ; and for eternity, that believers in it may be ever 
with the Lord, Heb. x. 19, 20. How can these things be ? "Why, 
in one word, this wine is the juice of the choice vine of heaven, it 
is the blood of the Son of God, and therefore of infinite value, 
1 John i. 16. When the blood of bulls and of goats could avail no- 
thing to cool the heat of scorched consciences, when rivers of oil, and 
the fruit of one's body, could avail nothing for the sin of the soul ; 
the Son of God took on him man's nature, and in that nature died, 
shed his precious blood, to be a ransom for elect sinners, to deliver 
them from the pit, Job xxxiii. 22 — 30. 

We are now, 

III. To consider what sort of a feast it is. — Upon this we observe, 

1. That it is a feast upon a sacrifice : 1 Cor, v. 7, 8, " For even 
Christ our passover is sacrificed for us : therefore, let us keep the 
feast." Justice was provoked by the conduct of self-destroying sin- 
ners. God's anger was incensed against us, and the fire of his wrath 
has burned up many. And when wrath was gone out against the 
world, the great High Priest stept in, and offered up himself a sa- 
crifice to atone for sin, and turn away divine wrath. Here we are 
called to a feast on that sacrifice, to partake of its virtue and effi- 

2. It is a covenant-feast, Heb. xiii. 20, 21. When Jacob made 
the covenant with Laban, they feasted together on the mount. Gen. 
xxxi. 44 — 54. There is no partaking of this feast, but by the way 
of the covenant. All the guests must be covenanters, and they who 
are not pleased with the covenant of friendship and peace with God, 
as held forth in the gospel, cannot taste of this supper. But those 
who are well pleased with it, and sincerely consent to it, Christ says 
to them, " Eat, friends ! drink, yea, drink abundantly, beloved !" 

3. It is a marriage-feast, a marriage-supper, Matth. xxii. 1 — 4. 
The Lord Christ is the Bridegroom, and the captive daughter of 
Zion the bride. He offers himself to each of you to whom the gos- 
pel comes, to be yours in a marriage- relation. Consent then to the 
match, and yo shall eat of this bread, and drink of this wine which 
he hath mingled. He is yours, and you have all, which he hath pur- 
chased, to feed on for time and for eternity. 

4. It is a feast which has a respect to war. The Lord of hosts 
made it. It looks backward to that terrible encounter which Christ 
had with the law, with death, with hoU, and the grave, upon the ac- 


count of his ransomed ones, and that glorious victory which he ob- 
tained over thera, by which he wrought the deliverance of his peo- 
ple. The gospel-feast is a feast upon the back of that victory, and 
the Lord's supper is particularly a feast in commemoration of that bat- 
tle and victory. It looks forward to a war : Song ii. 4, " He 
brought me to the banqueting-house, and his banner over me was 
love." It is provided for and presented to his people to animate 
and strengthen them for the spiritual warfare against the devil, the 
world, and the flesh ; and none can truly partake of it, but those 
who are resolved on that battle, and are determined to pursue it, 
till they obtain the complete victory at death. 

Lastly^ It is a weaning feast, Gren. xxiii. 8. There is a time pre- 
fixed in the decree of God, at which all who are his shall, by con- 
verting grace, be weaned from their natural food. And with this 
their sitting down to this feast agrees. Where is the soul which is 
now weaned from their sucking so long at the dry breasts of the 
world ? that soul shall have the sweet enjoyment of this feast ; 
and the more that they feed, the more they will be weaned. 

We now proceed, 

IV. To confirm, that all people who will come, may come, and 
partake of this feast. Not that all may immediately partake of the 
sacrament, but that all may and should receive Christ, with his 
benefits, offered to them in the gospel ; they are made most heartily 
welcome. — To make this appear, consider, 

1. Christ invites all without distinction, even the worst of sinners, 
to this spiritual feast : Isa. Iv. 1, " Ho every one that thirsteth, 
come ye to the waters." John vii. 37, " If any man thirst," said Jesus, 
" let him come to me and drink," Rev. xxii. 17, " And whosoever 
will, let him take of the water of life freely." These are gospel- 
invitations, clogged with no conditions, comprehending all who are 
willing to receive Christ, whatever their case is or has been. — Con- 

2. For what end does Jesus send out his messengers with a com- 
mission to invite all to come, if they were not welcome ? Matth. 
xxii. 9, " Go ye, therefore, into the highways, and as many as ye 
shall find, bid to the marriage." Nay, the Lord is very express in 
the welcome given to the worst of sinners, Jer. iii. 1 ; Isa. i. 18 ; 
and directs his messengers to invite the most unworthy and un- 
sightly persons to this feast : Luke xiv. 21 — 33, " Go out quickly," 
says he, " into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither 
the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. Go out into 
the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my 
house may be filled." — Consider, 



Lastly, That he takes it heinously amiss when any refuse to come : 
Luke xiv. 21, " He was angry ;" angry, because those who were in- 
vited would not come. He not only invites you, but you are com- 
manded on your peril to comply with the invitation : 1 John iii. 
23, " And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the 
name of his Son Jesus Christ." And do what ye will, if ye slight 
the offer, ye cannot please him ; for without faith it is impossible to 
please God. — It only remains, that, 

V. We make some practical improvement ; and this shall be con- 
fined for the present to a use of exhortation. 

1. We would exhort all hungry hearts who are suing for satis- 
faction in the world and their lusts, and whose consciences have no 
solid resting-place, ! come to Jesus Christ in his covenant, and sit 
down to this feast prepared for you and the like of you. — To pre- 
vail with yon, I would mention the following Motives : — 

Mot. 1. While ye come not to Christ, you have nothing commen- 
surable nor suitable to the cravings of an immortal soul. All other 
things are but as stones or ashes, they are not bread; Isa. Iv. 2," Where 
fore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour 
for that which satisfieth not ?" The man was a fool, who bid his soul 
take ease from what he had in his barns. Nothing less than a God 
in Christ can ever satisfy the cravings of an immortal soul, a soul 
which was created capable of enjoying an infinite good. And no- 
thing but the blood of the Redeemer will ever give solid peace to your 

Mot. 2. Should not the continued tract of disappointments ye 
have met with at other doors, engage you to come to Christ's ban- 
queting-house ? Jer. iii. 23, " Truly in vain is salvation hoped for 
from the hills, and from the multitude of moimtaius : truly in the 
Lord our God is the salvation of Israel." Have you not always 
found creature-comforts greater in expectation than in fruition ? 
How often have ye looked for much comfort, where you got little ? 
And has not your greatest crosses arisen sometimes from those 
quarters whence ye expected your greatest comfort ? 

Mot. 3. In what ye are now pursuing, consider that there is not 
only vanity and emptiness, which will disappoint you, but there is 
death in the pot, which will destroy your souls. There needs no 
more to ruin you, but that you be loft to your own heart's lusts, and 
take your swing. Fearful will the reckoning be, when so much 
time, pains, and labour, are laid out on the pursuit of the world, and 
the immortal soul is quite neglected as to its eternal welfare, 
Eccl. xi. 9. 

Mot. 4. If you will come to Christ, yo shall got true rest ; rest 


to your hearts, rest to your consciences, Matth. xi. 28. Whatever 
your wants be, there is a suitable fulness in him ; a fulness of merit, 
to carry off your guilt ; a fountain, even the depth of the sea, to 
wash it away ; a fulness of the Spirit to kill your corruptions ; of 
righteousness to cover your unrighteousness ; of light for your dark- 
ness ; of strength for your weakness. 

Lastly, Consider, if you will come, you shall be happy for time 
and eternity. When the lower table is drawn, you shall sit down 
at the upper. If not, you shall never know satisfaction, nor find 
rest to your souls. — I would exhort, 

2. Communicants to feed on Christ at his table. Let not the 
feast be in vain to you. Dead sinners, those destitute of spiritual 
life, are not fit guests for the Lord's table, for they cannot feed. 
Such will eat and drink judgment to themselves, not discerning the 
Lord's body. — Here it may be inquired, How may one know if he 
has any spiritual life ? To this we answer. Whosoever has spiritual 
life will be sincerely longing to be rid of the grave-clothes of sin; 
Matth. V. 6, " Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righte- 
ousness, for they shall be filled." They will be content to part 
with all sin, and resolved henceforth to oppose every lust, as a limb 
of the body of death ; not only sin in general, but the iniquity 
which is in their hearts, and with which they are most easily beset. 
They are willing also to lay aside the grave-clothes of self; Matth. 
T. 3, " Blessed are the poor in spirit." They will look on the rags 
of their own righteousness but as grave-clothes also, and set them- 
selves against all motions of this tendency. In a word, they are for 
doing all as if they were to win heaven this way ; at the same time, 
overlooking all as if they were doing nothing. 

Now, to you living and believing communicants, we acquaint you 
with Christ's welcome : Song v. 1, " Eat, friends ! drink, yea, 
drink abundantly, beloved !" Take it and use freedom in his 
house. Eat, drink abundantly. Let your souls feast indeed at this 
gospel-feast, and miss not the opportunity. — I will only say to you, 
as the angel to Elijah, 1 Kings xix. 7, " And the angel of the Lord 
came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and 
eat, because the journey is too great for thee." You have a great 
journey to go, and it is a question if you get such another meal set 
before you, ere you be at the end of it. You have a twofold jour- 
ney, each of which requires you to eat. — You have, 

1. Your journey through the world, towards the Canaan above. 
It is dilficult at all times ; so as that many never dare venture on it 
others never make it out, for it lies through many difficulties. The 
devil, the world, and the flesh, will struggle with you, to give over this 


journey, of living well through the world. It is like to be more than 
ordinarily difficult in our times. A spirit of delusion threatens a 
dark and misty day. Labour to taste the power of truth, if you would 
be established in it. A Popish and malignant spirit threatens with 
darkness, blood, and confusion. This is evident, if we consider the 
apostacy in these nations from the once covenanted work of refor- 
mation, the blood of the saints yet lying at their doors, with the 
profanity and irreligion which is abounding among all ranks. As 
we have reason to think the Popish and malignant party in these 
nations, setting up for a Popish pretender, are infatuated of God to 
their own ruin, that they may get blood to drink; so we have 
ground to fear God may make them a scourge to the nations, and 
perhaps by them he may drive them to reformation. "Whatever, 
then, the clouds may turn to, eat for a wilderness-journey. — You 

2. Your journey out of the world, that is, to die well. It is a 
weighty journey from time to eternity. Eat for it this day, and do 
as you will wish to have done when you come to a dying-hour. It 
may be seme will not have as much time to think on it when it 
comes, as they will have this day at a communion table. And 
that at a communion-table you may eat, — labour to have your ap- 
petite after Christ sharpened. Open your mouths wide, and he will 
fill them. Consider well your own needs, and his fullness. — Adore 
the wonderful condescension of the great God. Reverence his great- 
ness; but beware of slavish fear and amazement. Look to God 
through the veil of Christ's flesh. — In a word, beware of unbelief. 
Rest not in a general faith, but exercise a faith of application : 
Gal. ii. 20 " I am crucified with Christ ; nevertheless I live ; and yet 
not I, but Christ liveth in me : and the life which I now live in 
the flesh, I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave 
himself for me. Amen. 




ExoD. xxiv. 11, 

And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand : also 
they saw God, and did eat and drink. 

The Lord is calling us to come up to him into the mount of solemn 
ordinances ; and though there be some who will abide at the 
foot of the hill, unconcerned and stupid, like Abraham's ser- 
vant and the ass, I hope there are others who will desire to go 
forward, though it is likely there may be a struggle betwixt hope and 
fear about their eutertainment there. How are your hearts affected 
upon this awful approach ? are they saying within you, as these 
Greeks, " We would see Jesus ?" Or, as the prodigal Jew, Luke xv. 
17, " We perish with hunger." And at the same time with the men 
of Bethshemesh, 1. Sam. tI. 19, " Who is able to stand before this holy 
Lord God ?" Our text gives you encouragement from this instance 
of the nobles of Israel. Upon God's call they came up to the 
mount ; and (which divides the text into two parts), ^r^^, They were 
safe : *' And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his 
hand ;" Secondly, They were kindly entertained ; " Also they saw 
God, and did eat and drink." — We shall attend to these separately. 

The /rsf part is, they were safe in their approach. Moses re- 
marks this, to the praise of the divine clemency in a Mediator, 
through whom sinners may see God, and not die. Sin has set man 
at such a distance from God, and put his body into such a weak and 
mouldering condition, that consciousness of guilt and a sight of the 
divine glory meeting together, is more than enough to exanimate 
and make him faint away, to break to pieces the corrupt earthen 
pitcher the soul dwells in. Hence it was a common opinion, that such 
a sight was deadly. — Consider here, 

1. The parties whose safety is particularly remarked, the nobles 
of the children of Israel. Some reckon Nadab and Abihu among 
these ; but if so, why not Moses and Aaron ? It is plain they were 
all there, ver. 9, and 10. I think, however, it is only the seventy 
elders who are meant ; and therefore it is expressed emphatically in 
the Hebrew, intimating, that not only was Moses, the typical Media- 

* This and the following discourse were delivered at Maxton, August II aud 12, 


tor, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, who were designed to be priests, 
preserved ; but even the elders, the representatives of the people, 
these also were safe. — You will accordingly observe, that the people 
are as welcome to the divine favoui", and to gracions manifestations 
of God, as ministers. Tho' ministers be employed to open the doors 
of the temple, the people stand as fair for a sight of the glory witli- 
in as they do. Though Moses, &c. went up foremost to the mount ; 
yet no man should either value himself before the Lord, or be dis- 
couraged upon the character which he bears. Ordinarily, people 
will pray that ministers may be helped in their public ministrations, 
to preach, &c. ; but they should even also be concerned, that they 
may be helped to believe, taste, feel, and feed, with the rest of the 

They were nobles, great men, rulers of the people ; yet they went 
up to the mount with Aaron, and sat down to the sacred feast there, 
after they had taken the national covenant of Israel with the rest of 
the people, ver. 8 9. — You will thence observe, that it is the honour 
of the nobles of a land to see God, and to be seen upon the mount 
with God, at the sacred feast, as covenanters with him. This w^as 
some time the honour of Scotland's nobility and gentry ; they were 
forward in the national covenant with God ; and we have heard the 
days have been, when scarlet-cloaks and velvet-hoods bare great 
bulk in such meetings as this. But, ah ! how is our gold become 
dross ! they leave these things now mostly to the common people, 
with contempt of both. What wonder is it that they have been left 
to make themselves the tail, and not the head ! to row us into deep 
waters, where the state is sunk, and the church is broken : to turn 
Babel-builders, so that for once the scaffolding is broken, and the 
builders, with many others, heavily crushed. For, " these that ho- 
nour God, he will honour; but they that despise him, shall be lightly 

There were seventy of these nobles, the number of the children of 
Israel when they went down to Egypt, and so a fit number to re- 
present tho body of the people, who were now solemnly taken into 
covenant with God. God saw it not meet to give this sight of the 
divine glory to the multitude, and to set all down to the sacred feast 
on the mount; but, since it was covenant-entertainment, the se- 
venty were brought to it, as the representatives of the people. Thus 
also the New-Testament church is represented by twenty-four elders 
about the throne, Rev. iv. 4 — From this you may learn, that safe com- 
munion andfollowship with God is tho privilege of the church of believ- 
ers, the Israelites indeed. — That all the people of God have not alike 
nearness of access to (iod; sonic come farther forward than others. 

OF god's faithful servants. 101 

Peter, James, and John, were taken up to the mount of transfigura- 
tion, and not the rest of the apostles. — That it is a mercy to have an 
interest in, and relation to, these who are brought near to God, especial- 
ly such as will act for us in the mount with God. There may be some 
young ones here, whose fathers or mothers are to approach the table 
of the Lord. I would advise them to tell them to mind them there. 
Say, '* I cannot go, but, ! give up my name to Christ, consent you 
in my name to the covenant, and tell your covenanted God. I am 
also content to be his." Or, if you have not father or mother, tell 
any other godly person ye know. And so may one distressed Chris- 
tian do with another : Song, r. 8. " I charge you, daughters of 
Jerusalem ! if ye find my Beloved, that ye tell him that I am sick of 
love." We may observe, 

(2.) How their safety is expressed : " He laid not his hand upon 
them," that is, did not hurt or destroy them, Gen xxxvii. 22. Though 
they saw God, (ver. 10.) yet they died not, their lives were preserved. 
This imports, that he might in point of justice have laid his hand 
on them. They were sinful creatures ; and though they were on 
the mount of God, yet they had a sinful nature with them, which did 
leave the marks of it even upon what they did there. But he over- 
looked their weakness, and in mercy spared them. This instructs 
us, that when we are at our best, if God should mark our iniquity, 
we could not stand before him. We are ever in mercy's debt, and 
cannot be one moment safe without being under the covert of blood. 
Even in heaven, it is under that canopy the saints will feast for ever, 
Heb. vii. 25. — It also imports, that the weight of his hand would 
have crushed them. If he had but laid it on them, it would have 
done their business. If he had but put forth his hand and touched 
them in wrath, they would have gone like a moth with a touch of the 
hand. — From this we may learn the utter weakness and nothingness 
of the creature before the Lord. He can touch it to destruction, 
and can frown it back, when he will, into the womb of nothing. 
Why, then, should we strive with our Maker? — More particularly, 
that the greatest of men are nothing before the great God ; Ujjon 
the nobles he laid not his hand. Though they caused terror to their 
inferior fellow-creatures, they were as unable to bear the terror of 
God as the meanest in the camp of Israel. All flesh is alike before 
God. You vrill observe, 

(3.) How they came to be safe. The word nobles signifies select, 
separate ones, who had been set apart. They were selected out of 
the covenanted body of the people, to come up into the mount to 
the Lord, at his call. Moses gets an order for so many to come up 
with him, ver. 1. Having that order, he first proposes a covenant 


to the people, and they declare their acceptance, ver. 3. ; then he 
writes the words of the covenant, and the covenant is most solemnly 
entered into, ratified, and sealed ; there is an altar built to re- 
present God in Christ, ver. 4, and twelve pillars to represent the 
twelve tribes. Thus these were the parties. Sacrifices were of- 
fered, ver. 5, shewing the covenant to be founded on the blood 
of a Mediator. The half of the blood was sprinkled on the 
altar, ver. 6, shewing it was not an absolute God with whom 
they were to covenant, but a God atoned by the blood of a cruci- 
fied Saviour. Then he read the book of the covenant ; thus pro- 
posing it to the people ; and their second thoughts are as their 
first, they solemnly consent to it, ver. 7- ; and he sprinkles the rest 
of the blood on them, and so it was sealed and ratified. Then, after 
all this, he and these selected elders go up to the mount, in obe- 
dience to the call formerly given ; and there they saw God, and were 
safe notwithstanding. Thus, their separation was their security. 
From which you may observe, That there is safety in following 
God's call, be the calling never so high. Had any of the people at- 
tempted to have gone whither they went, they had smarted for it ; 
but being called, they were safe. Some, who measure reverence of 
God more by their own carnal wisdom than by God's word, cry out 
on us for not kneeling, but sitting, at the Lord's table. But though 
sitting be a gesture of more familiarity than kneeling, yet seeing it is 
institutedjWe may expect more safety in it than in their kneeling, 
which at the Lord's table, wants both precept and example, — We 
now come to the 

Second part of the verse. They were kindly entertained in their 
approach : Also (or but) theif saw God, and did eat and drink. — 
Here observe, 

1. A glorious sight which they got. — Where consider, 
(1.) The object, God more largely expressed, ver. 10, " The God 
of Israel." Not any visible resemblance of the divine nature, but 
some glorious appearance and token of God's special presence. Our 
Lord Jesus Christ was known to the Old Testament church by this 
name, the God of Israel. And that this was the Son of God, seems 
very plain from that word, ver. 1, " Ho said, Come up unto the Lord." 
Compare ch. xxiii. 20 — 23, with Exod. iii. 2 — 8. Now, ho who sends 
is the Father, and it is the same who speaks here ; and he speaks of 
another person, who also is the Lord. And, seeing wo read of his 
feet, ver 10, ho seems to have appeared in a glorious human shape, 
as a pledge of his future incarnation. This, then was a most glori- 
ous sight of Jesus Christ. Nothing is here described but what was 
under his feet ; though the text seems to intimate they saw more, an 

OF god's faithful servants. 103 

inconceivable glory wliicb mortals cannot make words of. — Consider, 

(2.) Tlie act, " they saw." This seeing imports something more 
than in ver. 10, for it is evident that the first part of the verse 
relates to that seeing, ver. 10. And so the sense requires some- 
thing more to be in this. Accordingly, they are different words in 
the original; this here signifies to contemplate and fixedly be- 
hold ; from it our word gaze seems to be derived. It might bo read, 
" They beheld Grod ;" importing, not a transient glance, but a fixed 
view : John i. 14, " And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among 
us ; and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of 
the Father, full of grace and truth ;" which is still more admirable 
condescension, and accordingly it is emphatically expressed. 

Now, consider this as following upon the solemn transaction of 
the covenant made by sacrifice. — It holds out to us, (1.) That the 
great end of the covenant, next to the divine glory, is the happiness 
of the covenanters in seeing and enjoying God. There it is 
completed. And beyond this the creature cannot go. — (2.) That 
not the sight of an absolute God, but of a God in Christ, is the cove- 
nanters happiness. None can see God in mercy but they, for there is 
no other way bat that of the covenant; and their happy sight is no 
thing other than a sight of God in Christ. In Christ, all the lines 
of our hope meet for time and eternity. Observe, 

2. A blessed feast of which they were partakers : " They did eat 
and drink." — Here consider, 

(1.) What they did, "they did eat and drink" upon the mount. 
They feasted upon the remains of the sacrifices of the peace-off"er- 
ings, ver, 5. And this in token of their hearty satisfaction with the 
covenant now made, their ready acceptance of the benefits of it, and 
their communion with God in pursuance of it. Thus the believers 
feeding on Christ and gospel-dainties is expressed in scripture : 
Psalm xxii. 25, 26, " My praise shall be of thee in the great con- 
gregation ; I will pay my vows before them that fear him ; the 
meek shall eat, and be satisfied." Thus they were admitted to a 
holy familiarity with God, to eat and drink in his presence : " They 
saw him, and they did eat and drink." — Consider, 

(2.) How they did it, with holy joy and comfort. This is im- 
plied in the connection, or opposition betwixt the parts of the text. 
They were so far from being slain with the sight, that they were 
not faithlessly frightened at it ; but with a holy composure of spirit, 
they did eat and drink. What they saw was not like a cloudy sky 
to damp them, but as a clear one to refresh them. Holy reverence 
is necessary, but faithless fears in solemn approaches to God, are dis- 
pleasing to him, and hurtful to our own souls, for they hinder us 


from eating. Happy they who can believe and fear. — From this 
subject, we may take the following Doctrines, viz. 

Doctrine I. That a sight of God in Christ, and a holy familiarity 
with hira, with all safety, is the privilege of God's covenant-people, 
especially in these solemn approaches to which he calls them. 

II. That it is a wonder of grace that sinful creatures, in their 
solemn approaches to God, see God, and are familiar with him, and 
yet come off safe. 

We begin with 

Doctrine 1. That a sight of God in Christ, and a holy familiarity 
with him, with all safety, is the privilege of God's covenant-people, 
especially in these solemn approaches to which he calls them. 

In handling this doctrine, we shall, 

I. Shew what is that sight of God in Christ, which is the privilege 
of his people in their solemn approaches to him. 

II. What is that holy familiarity which is their privilege in their 
solemn approaches to him. And then, 

III. Improve the subject. 
We are then, 

I. To shew what is that sight of God in Christ, which is the pri- 
vilege of his people in their solemn approaches to him. — There is a 
twofold solemn approach of God's people to him. — There is a right 

1. When God calls them up to the mount of myrrh, where our 
Lord abides till the day break, Song iv. 6 ; when he calls them to 
come up to the hill of God in Imraanuel's land, where stands the 
King's palace, namely heaven. This call comes to the believing 
soul at death. Then, as Rev. iv. 1, there is a door opened in heaven 
to the heaven-born soul, which is now, as it were, wrestling in a 
mire of corrupt flesh and blood in the body, and the voice is heard. 
Come up hither. This will be a solemn approach when the soul of 
the meanest believer shall go up thither, attended with a company 
of holy angels, and, like Lazarus, be carried by them into Abra- 
ham's bosom, Luke xvi. 22. — It will come to both souls and bodies 
of believers at the last day : Psalm 1. 6, " Gather my saints to- 
gether unto me ; those that have made a covenant with me by sa- 
crifice." And then God's covenant-people, who dwell in the dust, 
shall awake from their sleep, come out of the lowly darksome house 
of the grave, and enter into the King's palace. Psalm Ixv. — Then 
they shall see God in Christ to the completing their happiness for 
ever. Then they shall bo like him, for they shall see him as he is. 
1 John iii. 2. We know little now of this sight in glory, 1 Cor, ii, 
9 ; but it vastly transcends all sights got of him here. — There it 


will be immediate, tliey shall see him face to face, 1 Cor. xiii. 12. — 
Perfectly transforming, 1 John i. 2. — Everlasting, without inter- 
ruption, without intermission. They shall be ever with the Lord. 
But ou this we insist not. There is a right approach, 

2. "When God calls them to come up to the mount of ordinances, 
to meet him at the sacred feast, as the nobles of Israel in the text, 
and as we at this time are called, to feast on the great sacrifice in 
the sacrament. This is a solemn approach. Now, what is the sight 
of God in Christ which is the privilege here ? As to this we ob- 

(1.) That it is a believing sight of God in their nature, John i. 
14, (above). The nobles saw the Son of God in human shape, with 
their bodily eyes. But the great design of it was to shew the pri- 
vilege of the saints by faith. glorious sight ! to see God in our na- 
ture, the divine nature, in the person of the Son, united to our na- 
ture ? high privilege ! to sit at his table, and under the teaching 
of his Spirit, to spell the glorious name Immauuel, God with us. 
the sweetness of every letter and syllable ! God the fountain of all 
holiness and happiness, we, the sink of all sin and misery : yet God 
with us. The personal union, the foundation of the mystical union ; 
and so an holy God and sinful creatures are united through Christ. 
We observe, 

(2.) That it is a sight of this God in the place of his special 
residence ; on the mount to which they were invited, where he 
stood, as it were, on a pavement of sapphire. It is their privilege 
to see him on the mount of ordinances, at his table, the glorious 
place of his feet, Isa, xxv. 6, 7. the high privilege of the saints ! 
We were all born under a sentence of death, to see the Lord no 
more in the land of the living, and (as in Haman's case, Esth. vii. 
8.) as the word goes out of the King's mouth, our face is covered. 
Some live all their days in this case, come to communion-tables, and 
go away in it. But the believer laying hold on the covenant, Christ 
draws off the face-covering, and then, with open face beholding, as 
in a glass, the glory of the Lord, they are changed into the same 
image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. They 
see the bread, the Lord. 

(3 ) It is a sight of the glory of the place of his feet, ver. 10. It 
is a promise relating to gospel-days : Isa. Ix. 13, " The glory of Le- 
banon shall come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box 
together, to beautify the face of my sanctuary ; and I will make the 
place of my feet glorious." The ark in the temple, and gospel-or- 
dinances in the gospel-church. It is their privilege to see a glory 
there, where the world see none ; to see a majesty in the sacrament. 

Vol. X. H 


a spii'itual glory and heavenly lustre in the bread and wine at the 
Lord's table, as sacred symbols of the body and blood of Christ, 
1 Cor. xi. 29. This glory and majesty in the ordinances, must be 
discerned by faith ; and because it is beyond the stretch of the na- 
tural eye, therefore carnal wisdom in Rome, and the church of Eng- 
land, has gone about to supply its place with a great deal of ex- 
ternal pomp, that may work upon the senses, defacing the simplicity 
of the institution. But after all, to a spiritual discerner, the external 
glory is as far below the spiritual glory, as artificial painting would 
in the eyes of the nobles have been below the natural clearness of 
the body of heaven. 

(4.) It is a sight of God as reconciled in Christ. They saw God, 
and did eat and drink as in the house of their friend. This is the 
sight to be seen in the gospel-glass, 2 Cor. v. 18 — 20. A refreshful 
sight to a soul pained with the sting of guilt. Christ has died, and 
his blood has quenched the fire of God's wrath against the sinner ; 
so that when on the mount he looks to the Lord, he sees as it were a 
clear sky under his feet : a sure token, that the storm is blown over, 
that there is peace from heaven, and an offended God is reconciled 
to us through his own Son. 

(5 ) It is a sight of God as their God. They saw the God of 
Israel. Here lay the surpassing sweetness of their sight. Such a 
sight got Thomas, when his faith got up above his unbelief: John 
XX. 28, " My Lord, and my God." And for this sight is the sacra- 
ment especially appointed, that the child of God may say, " I live 
by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for 
me," Gal, ii. 20. The nature of the ordinance leads to it, which 
brings the word preached in the general to every believing commu- 
nicant in particular : " This is my body broken for you." 

Lastly, It is a sight of transcendent glory in him. Nothing is de- 
scribed but what was under his feet. For, search the universe, there 
is no person, no thing like him. Even what was under his feet, is 
described to have been a sapphire stone. But the best things on 
earth are not suflicient to set forth the glory even of this, and there- 
fore it is added, " as if it were the body of heaven in his clearness." 
They who see him, see that of which they can never see the like. 
We are now, 

II. To shew what is that holy familiarity which is the privilege 
of God's people in their solemn approaches to him. — It is a believ- 
ing, holy, humble freedom before their Lord ! Eph. iii. 12, " In 
•whom we have boldness and access, with confidence, by the faith of 
him." In the sight before us, the sense of their own unworthiness, 
and a sight of his glory, did not mar their faith, nor put thera in an 

OF god's faithful servants. 107 

unbelieving frame. They did eat and drink ; neither did the fami- 
liarity of faith mar their holy fear, or make them forget their dis- 
tance : compare v. 1, where they were commanded to worship afar 
off, which no doubt they did. I will mention some instances of fa- 
miliarity allowed them, 

1. They were allowed to come forward to God, when others must 
stand back, Isa. Ivi. 6, 7 ; when others must abide at the foot of the 
hill, (and it is at their peril if they venture forward), believers may 
come up to the mount, and are welcome. They have a token from 
the Master himself: Song v. 1, " Eat, friends ! drink, yea drink 
abundantly, beloved !" 

2. They were allowed to feast on the sacrifice set before them. 
Christ the sacrifice typically slain, and believers are allowed to 
feast on this sacrifice, to eat his flesh and drink his blood ; to make 
a believing application of a whole Christ to their own souls for their 
spiritual nourishment : " Take, eat, this is ray body, broken for you." 
You know what it is to feed your eyes on some pleasant object that 
is your own. The covetous man can feed his eyes on his bags of 
money. So believers are allowed to feed their eyes on Christ ; be- 
holding, and delighting in Christ ; solacing themselves with his 
sweetness, and the sweetness of every part of the mystery of Christ. 

3. They were allowed to converse with Grod freely, as one at the 
table of his friend. The peace being made by accepting of the co- 
venant, the nobles were, and all believers are, set down to the feast 
in token of their communion with him : 1 John i. 3, " And truly 
our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." 
The believer has liberty to tell the Lord all his mind, Eph. iii. 12, 
(quoted above) ; to unbosom himself to a gracious God, and point 
particularly at what he would have, what he would be quit of. 
" "What is thy petition ?" says the King at the feast. 

4. They were allowed to be in his secrets, to see what others have 
no access to. They saw God. Believers are allowed to see the glory 
of his person, John i. 14, (above.) The glory of his covenant : Psalm 
XXV, 14, " The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and 
he will shew them his covenant." — The glory of his redeeming, his 
everlasting love to them : Jer. xxxi. 3, " I have loved thee with an 
everlasting love." — The hidden glory of his word ; Luke xxiv. 32, 
" And they said one to another. Did not our hearts burn within us, 
while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the 
scriptures ?" Hence, 

Lastly, They were allowed to lay all their wants on him. When 
believers come to the mount, in his light they see light clearly, and 
at his table they are fed. Christ says to his guests, as Judges xix. 

II 2 


20, " Peace be on thee ; -howsoever, let all thy wants lie upon me." 
Psalm Iv. 22, " Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sus- 
tain thee." The Lord allows his people to lay all their burdens 
upon him ; — the burden of their debt, the guilt of sin, he will answer 
for it ; — the burden of the strength of sin : Micah vii. 19, " He will 
subdue our iniquities." — The burden of our duties, and through- 
bearing in the way of God : 2 Cor. xii. 9, " My grace is sufficient for 
thee : for my strength is made perfect in weakness." — The burden 
of afflictions, crosses, trials ; Isa. xliii. 2, " When thou passest 
through the waters, I will be with thee," &c.^ — The burden of their 
families; Jer. xlix. 11, " Leave thy fatherless children, I will i)re- 
serve them alive ; and let thy widows trust in me." — The burden of 
their souls for time and for eternity : Isa. xlvi. 4, " And even to 
your old age, I am he ; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you : I 
have made, and I will bear : even I will carry and will deliver you." 
We now come, 

III. And last place, to make some practical improvement. — And 
as a suitable improvement, we may observe, that this doctrine, like 
the cloudy pillar, has a dark and a bright side. — Dark to those that 
are not in the covenant. — Bright to all God's covenanted people. 

1. It has a dark side to all natural men, strangers to the co- 
venant, who are none of God's covenant-people. — Such are these, 

(1.) "Who are grossly ignorant of the doctrine of the covenant. 
It is a promise of the covenant : John vi. 45, " It is written in the 
prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man, there- 
fore, that has heard and has learned of the Father, cometh to rae." 
And therefore, such as are not thus taught, are not in it. No per- 
son stumbles in the dark into this covenant. 

(2.) Those who never found the intolerable weight of the first co- 
venant, the law. Ye cannot be in both covenants at once, Rom. vii. 
4. And if ye be brought into the second, ye have found the yoke 
of the first intolerable ; Gal. ii. 19, " For I through the law am 
dead to the law, that I might live unto God." Ye have been awa- 
kened to see your natural misery, and your utter inability to help 
yourselves by your doing or suffering; to despair of salvation in 
any other way, but through the obedience and death of a Hedeeraer. 
(3.) Tlioso who were never yet pleased with the frame of the co- 
venant as God made it, who in all their pretended closing with 
Christ, have still had some secret reserves as to some beloved lust, 
or as to the cross. 

(4.) Those who arc still in league with their lusts, their hearts 
never divorced from them : " If ye take me," says Christ, " let these 
go away." If Christ get the throne, the most beloved lusts will be 

OF god's faithful servants. 109 

crucified. — It has a dark side to you as long as you continue in this 
state. It accordingly says to you, 

If you see God at all, it will be a dreadful sight you will get of 
him. It will be the- sight of an absolute Grod out of Christ, breathing 
out fury and vengeance against you. And he that is a refreshing 
sua to others, will be a consuming fire to you. And how will you 
be able to abide this sight ? Isa. xxxiii. 14. — It says again, Though 
you come to his table, you cannot come iu safety. You run a dread- 
ful risk while you go thither, breaking up into the mount, without a 
warrant from the Lord. And it is a dangerous business for an un- 
holy soul to be found in holy ground, 1 Cor. xi. 29. — It says also, 
Though ye sit down at the feast, ye cannot taste the sweetness of 
it, the sap and juice of it, namely, a sight of God in Christ as your 
own God; and a holy familiarity with him as such will be denied 
you. For what have ye to do with the covenanted-feast, who are 
strangers to the covenant itself? — It says, lastly, If ye snatch at 
the saints' familiarity with God, you put forth your hand to that to 
which you have no right, and go beyond God's allowance. Remem- 
ber, Matth. XV. 26, " It is not meet to take the children's bread, and 
to cast it to dogs." And therefore you can expect no other than 
this entertainment: Matth. xxii. 12, " Friend, how earnest thou in 
hither, not having a wedding-garment ? and he was speechless." — 
But as this text and doctrine has a dark side to those who are not 
in the covenant, 

2. It has a bright side to all God's covenant-people. Here is 
your privilege, covenanters ! you who are savingly in covenant. 
Ye are come into covenant, ye are divorced from the law ; Rom. 
vii. 4, " Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the 
law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even 
to him who is risen from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit 
unto God." If divorced from the law, ye have given it fair count 
and reckoning at parting, and fallen on a way of payment to it ; for 
the covenant to which you now belong was not made but by sacri- 
fice. Some are like an obstinate woman, who will not stir out of 
her husband's house, though he should slay her ; these are despe- 
rate ones. Some like a foolish woman, who runs away from her 
husband, without suing out a divorce, or reckoning with him for the 
wrongs done to him ; these are the presumptuous, Avhom the law will 
bring back from the horns of the altar. But Christ's spouse, at 
parting with the law, acknowledged all its demands just ; but being 
sensible of utter inability to pay, goes to Christ as the great cau- 
tioner, and turns it over upon him for all. — If divorced from the 
law, the law also will be dead to you. Where one is divorced from 


the first husband, he is as dead to her. The stream of your com- 
fort by the law will be dried up, and it will flow from Christ alone. 
You will rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 
You will not draw your comfort from your repentance, resolutions, 
vows, or reformation ; but from the application of the blood of the 

2. If ye be come into the covenant, your league with your lusts 
is broken. Though sin cleaves close to you, your hearts are loosed 
from it, and turned against it, Rom. vii. 17. You will hate it for 
itself, for its contrariety to the holy nature and law of your covenanted 
God, and not for the grievous consequences of it on yourself only. 
It will be to you as the fetters on the captive, he cannot get loose of 
them ; but well he knows they are not his choice, though they were 
of gold. — Your hearts will be loosed from all sin, your hearts will 
hate it universally ; Psalm cxix. 128, " I hate every false way." 
You will have a special eye for evil on your iniquity, so that you 
will gladly yield the oftending right eye to be plucked out, and give 
your consent to the cutting oif of the right-hand idol. — In a word, 
you have taken Christ, not for a shelter to your sins, but for a des- 
troyer to them, 1 Cor. i. 30. Your business with the Mediator of 
the covenant will be as much for sanctification as justification, to 
partake of his holiness as well as his righteousness, his Spirit as 
well as his blood, Matth. i. 21. 

Lastly, Ye have come into the covenant, if ye have the covenant's 
mark. The beast has his mark, and many are fond of it this day. 
Christ has also his mark, which he sets on his covenant-people. — 
There is the ear-mark ; John x. 27, " My sheep," says he, " hear 
my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." See also Exod. 
xxiv. 7. Christ bores the ears of all that are his. They are taught 
of God, and have taken Christ for their teacher ; they have a cer- 
tain sense suited to discern Christ's voice from that of others, agree- 
able to their new nature : " A stranger they will not follow." They 
know the voice of their beloved, Song ii. 0. They look to him to bo 
taught the way in which they should go ; tlieir cars are open, and 
their hearts willing to know his will, that they may do it. They 
wish to have shown them his truths, his ways, and ordinances, that 
they may cleave to them. Acts ix. 6. — Again, There is a fire-mark : 
Luke xiv. 2G, 27, " If any man come to me, and hate not his father, 
and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, 
and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever 
doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot bo my discii)le." 
He reconciles all his to the cross ; and they are content to follow 
him at all hazards, and are fully resolved to follow the Lamb, 

OF gob's faithful servants. Ill 

whithersoever he goeth, Rev. xiv. 4 ; to side with him whoever side 
against him, being determined neither to be bribed nor boasted from 
him. Now, this doctrine has a bright side to all snch, and bespeaks 
them as from the holy monnt in this manner , 

1. Come up hither to the Lord. Rise, the master calleth you to 
the feast at his table. Come in, ye blessed of the Lord, to Christ's 
banqueting-house, why stand ye without ? Trample on all your 
doubts, whether they arise from the heaven above you, or from hell 
within you, and come forward to that God whose covenant you have 
laid hold on. 

2. If you open your eyes, ye shall get a glorious sight of God in 
Christ. A sight which will be satisfying, and will darken all creat- 
ed glory. Though but bread and wine appear at his table, a greater 
than Solomon is there. Only believe ; faith is the eye of the soul. 
Let us not have occasion to challenge your hearts after this commu- 
nion with that which Christ said, John xi. 39, " Take ye away the 

3. Use a holy freedom in Christ's house, for he allows you. And 
do not reckon yourself a stranger at his table, seeing the feast is to 
confirm the covenant. Song v. 1. Make a believing application of 
all the benefits of his purchase. Say first of all, Song v. 16, " This 
is my beloved, and this is my friend ;" and then conclude, that with 
him all is yours. 

Lastly, Fear not, trembling soul ! Entertain indeed a pro- 
found reverence of God, but away with your faithless fears, which 
confuse and discompose the soul on the mount with God. Remem- 
ber, upon the nobles he laid not his hand. Being in the covenant, 
you are under a covert of blood, and, by virtue of it, may assuredly 
expect, safety. — Here some may propose this question. How shall we 
manage that we get this sight ? To which I answer. 

Be exercised to take up the covenant in a suitable manner, ver. 
4 — 1. Take some time this night by yourselves, and consider the co- 
venant, — your undone state without it, — the suitableness of it to 
your case, — the absolute necessity of being in it. Labour to under- 
stand it, and examine yourselves, as to your willingness to come into 
it. — Solemnly enter this night into the covenant, ver. 3. Though 
ye have done it before, do it again, and do it with more heartiness, 
ver. 7. Let this solemn transaction with God go before your so- 
lemn approach, and do not venture to set God's seal to a blank, to 
sit down at his table, while ye have not honestly accepted of his co- 
venant. — Again, sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on your souls, be- 
fore ye venture to go forward, ver, 8. Apply Christ's blood by faith 
to your own souls, laying the weight of all your guilt over upon it; 


believing firmly, tliat it is sufficient to purge you from all siu ; and 
in this way come forward to the Lord with holy boldness, under the 
covert of this blood. — Once more, shake off all worldly thoughts and 
affections : labour to be in a heavenly frame ; the nobles left the 
crowd at the foot of the hill, and went up into the mount. Put off 
your shoes, when you come on this holy ground. — Still farther, come 
forward under a due sense of the command of God ; they went up 
because they were called, and so must you from conscience of Christ's 
command : " Do this in remembrance of me." Labour to have the 
sense of this command increased upon your spirits, as necessary to 
produce suitable obedience. — Lastly, open the eyes of faith, and 
look ; the mouth of faith and eat what is set before your soul there, 
a slain Saviour, with all his benefits. Amen. 


ExoD. xxiv. 11, 

And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand : also 

they saw God, and did eat and drink. 

Having, in the preceding discourse, considered the first doctiine 
taken from these words, we go on to a short illustration of 

Doctrine II. That it is a wonder of grace, that sinful creatures, 
in their solemn approaches to God, are favoured with special sights 
of, and an holy familiarity with him, and yet come off safe. 

In speaking to this point, we shall, 

T. Shew that it is a wonder of grace, that sinful creatures are ad- 
mitted to see God, and to be familiar with him. 

II. Shew that it is a wonder that in their solemn approaches, and 
when they are thus favoured, yet they come off safe. 

III. Explain how it comes to pass, that their safety, when thus 
favoured, is secured. — And then, 

IV. Make some short improvement. 
We are, 

I. To shew that it is a wonder of grace that sinful creatures are 
admitted to see God, and be familiar with him. We think we need 
say little for proof of this. Only consider, 

1. The infinite distance that there is between God and the crea- 
ture in respect of perfection. The distance betwixt an angel and a 


moth is but finite ; but betwixt God and us the distance is infinite. 
And therefore, no wonder that beholding the glorious perfections of 
God, we dwindle into nothing in our own eyes, and say with Abra- 
ham, Gen. xviii. 27, " Behold now, we have taken upon us to speak 
unto the Lord, which are but dust and ashes ;" and cry out with 
Solomon, 1 Kings viii. 27, " But will God indeed dwell on the earth ? 
behold, the heaven, and heaven of heavens, cannot ^contain thee ; 
how much less this house that I have builded ?" Remember, ye 
saints that though God has laid by his enmity, he retains his so- 
vereignty over us ; and therefore it is admirable condescension, that 
he is pleased to allow us to see him, and to enjoy holy familiarity 
Avith him. Consider, 

2. That it is the same God who is such a severe and dreadful aven- 
ger of sin ; Psalm v. 5, " The foolish shall not stand in thy sight : 
thou hatest all workers of iniquity." Hab. i. 13, " Thou art of purer 
eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity." This same 
God who allows his covenant-people a sight of his glory, and a holy 
familiarity with him on the mount of ordinances, is he who thurst 
Adam out of paradise, — drowned the old world, — rained fire and 
brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah. He who gives some the cup 
of salvation at his table, is the same who makes otiiers of their fel- 
low-creatures drink the wine-cup of his fury. He who makes some 
feast in his presence, is the same from whose presence others shall 
be punished with everlasting destruction. 

We are, 

II. To show that it is a wonder of grace tbat sinful creatures, in 
their solemn approaches to God, and when they are thus favoured, 
come oflT safe. This will appear if we consider, 

1. The infinite holiness and spotless purity of that God before 
whom the sinful creature appears. He is glorious in holiness, and 
fearful in praises, Exod. xv. 11. Even angelical purity is dim in 
his light, and is a sort of impurity, when compared with the infinite 
holiness of God, Job xv. 15. Even they are chargeable with folly 
in his sight ; potential folly, (though not actual), a kind of imper- 
fection inseparable from the nature of the creature, in any state 
whatsoever ; Job iv. 18, " Behold, he put no trust in his servants ; 
and all his angels are charged with folly." [Hebrew, He puts, 
chargeth). And therefore, even the confirmed angels cover their 
feet with their wings, Isa. vi. 2, as if they would tell us that per- 
fect created holiness is but a dark and smoky light before uncreated 
holiness. Shining holiness in some of the saints on earth, has a 
damping power with it. The very sight of one that convincingly 
walks close with God, is enough to strike a damp on the heart of a 


loose professor or apostate. How much more may tlie sight of in- 
finite holiness strike the most spiritual saints to the ground ! Con- 

2. That the best carry a sinful nature even up into the mount 
•with them. Paul, rapt up to the third heavens, brought a sinful na- 
ture down with him again, an evidence he had carried it up, 2 Cor. 
xii. 7. Look on thyself, saint ! in thy nearest approaches, and 
thou wilt see the humbling sight, a sinful heart, life, and lips, Isa. 
Ixiv. 6 ; sin woven into thy very nature, and mixed with thy flesh 
and blood, making a vile body, Phil. iii. 21 ; sunk into the marrow 
of thy spirit, and diffused through thy whole soul. And then canst 
thou cease to say, as in Lam. iii. 22, " It is of the Lord's mercies 
that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not." Is it 
not a wonder of grace, that hell, so near heaven, has not sunk with 
its own weight ? Consider, 

3. That sinful creatures never miss to leave the marks of their 
foul feet, even when they are on holy ground . Rom. vii. 21 " I 
find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me." 
Peter falls a-roving even on the mount, Luke ix. 33. Even in the 
greatest light which ever shone about the saints, they never wrote a 
line so fair, but there was a blot in it. The sacrifices were carried 
np to the mount with the nobles, for God knew they would need 
them even there. And if ye will look back to your carriage, when 
at a communion table, you will see such mismanagements, as may 
make you wonder that he laid not his hand upon you. Consider, 

4. The particular jealousy which God has manifested about his 
worship. Therefore Joshua told the people, chap. xxiv. 19, " Ye 
cannot serve the Lord : for he is an holy God : he is a jealous God : 
he will not forgive your transgressions, nor your sins." And he 
himself declared, "he would be sanctified in them that come nigh 
him, and before all the people he will be glorified," Lev. x. 3. And 
upon this he wrote a commentary, with flaming evidence, in the 
blood of Nadab and Abihu, even two of these on whom he laid not 
his hand at this time. A slip in the holy ground is most dangerous 
and provoking in its own nature. To affront a king in his palace, 
his presence-chamber, or on his throne, stirs up his anger with a 
peculiar keenness. IIow dear did the men of Bcthshemesh pay 
for a look, 1 Sam. vi. 19 ; Uzzah, for a touch, 2 Sam. vi. 6, 7; An- 
nanias and Sapphira, for a word. Acts v. Now, who is able to 
stand before the piercing eye of his jealousy ? Is it not a wonder 
of his grace, that the fire of his indignation burns not up sinful 
creatures in their solemn approaches to him ? Consider, 

5. That there is a solemn aw fulness about the very ordinances of 


grace, which the sinner could not bear if he were not supported, 
Dan. X. 8, 9 — 19. Psalra Ixviii. 35, " God ! thou art terrible out 
of thy holy places." Jacob understood this when he had one of the 
most comfortable sights which ever mortal had : Gen. xxviii. 17, 
" And he was afraid, and said. How dreadful is this place ! This 
is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." 
The very throne of grace stands on justice and judgment, which are 
its habitation, Psalra Ixxxix. 14. {Hebrew, its base); the covenant 
founded on blood, the blood of his own Son. All our mercies from 
the throne are dyed red in the blood of a Mediator. Thou canst not 
have a gracious look from the throne, but through the Redeemer's 
wounds ; nor a pardon, but what is written with his blood. So that 
such sights are sufficient to make one faint away, if they are not 
supported by grace. Consider, 

Lastly, That the emanations of the divine glory would overwhelm 
sinners, burst the earthen vessels, if a gracious God did not graci- 
ously support them. Some have felt this, when they have been 
made to cry to the Lord to hold his hand, for the earthen pitchers 
were able to hold no more. "We know not what spirit we are of. 
It is our mercy we see but through a glass darkly, and not face to 
face now ; for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, 
1 Cor. XV. 50. The flesh and blood of a giant vrould not be able to 
bear that glory now. And therefore, it is observed as an instance 
of his goodness. Job sxvi. 9, " He holdeth back the face of his 
throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it." 

"We now go on, 

III. To explain how it comes to pass that the safety of God's 
people, when thus favoured, is secured. It is so, 

1. Because they are God's covenant-people by marriage with his 
Son. They are married to Christ, and the Son of the Father's bo- 
som is their husband. He has all freedom in his Father's house, 
and so it cannot be a strange house to them. Where he sits, his 
spouse may stand safely at his hand : Psalra xlv. 9, " Upon thy 
right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir." They have free- 
dom in the house of God, in the right of their Husband. He has 
brought them up into bis chariot of the covenant ; and this has ac- 
cess to drive up into the mount, while it procures all safety to those 
who are in it, " being paved with love," Song iii. 9, 10. 

2. Because they come up under the covert of the Redeemer's 
blood, Heb. xii. 22 — 24, By faith, they have the propitiation, 
whereby God is atoned, and becomes their friend, Rom. iii. 25. Tho 
flesh of a slain Saviour is a suflicient screen from divine wrath, and 
his rod garments from the canopy under which they may safely feast 
while on the mount. Their safety is secured, 


3. Because God looks on them as in his own Son, and not as in 
themselves ; and so after a sort he overlooks their infirmities : 
Numb, xxiii, 21, " He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither 
hath he seen perverseness in Israel." He looked on them in Adam, 
their first representative, and so drove them out of his presence ; 
but now he looks upon them in Christ as their head, and so brings 
them in again. And, ! but they look fair in him, each one re- 
sembles the son of a king. In Jesus they are complete, Col. ii. 10 ; 
Song iv. 7, " Thou art all fair, my love ; there is no spot in thee." 
They are safe, 

4. Because, though they be unclean creatures, they come up into 
the mount, to bathe in the fountain opened there, for sin and for 
uncleanness, Zech. xiii. 1. They come to the blood of sprinkling. A 
physician will not drive away his patient, because his running sores 
drop in his chamber. I will bear with this, says he, for the poor 
man has come to get himself healed. Their safety is secured, 

Lastly, Because it is the end of the covenant, to bring them to 
God. Jacob might well promise himself to see Joseph, when the 
waggons were come from him for that very end, to bring him to him, 
Gen. xlv. 27, 28. The covenant looks very very low, as low as the 
earth, to secure the believer's daily bread, Isa. xxxiii. 16. Nay, in 
the bowels of the earth, to bring forth his dead body, mouldered in 
ashes : " I am the God of Abraham." Nay, as low as hell : '\And thou 
hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell," Psalm Ixxxvi. 13. And 
it looks very high, to bring the believer up into the midst of the mount 
of enjoyment with God in ordinances, nay, to the top of the mount, 
to bring them to where the Lord of glory dwells, where they shall 
see him as he is : Isa. xxxiii. 17, " Thine eyes shall see the King in 
his beauty : they shall behold the land that is very far ofl"." 

It only remains, that, 

IV. We make some improvement of this subject. 

1. Let us, then, never more think lightly of solemn approaches to 
God, whether in private or in public ordinances. ! it is sad to 
think of our rashness in venturing on holy duties, not considering 
that in these we sist ourselves in the awful presence of God : Eccl. 
v. 1, " Keep thy foot when thou goest into the house of God, and be 
more ready to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools." Whenever 
we are to go to God, wo should consider where wo aro going, put oflT 
our shoes, for the i>laco is holy. Were wo thus frequently exercised, 
we would have more access to God in our ordinary approaches. 

2. Let this commend Christ and the covenant to us, especially to 
those who stand off from hira and his covenant. It is in tho Me- 
diator the sinner may meet with God in peace; for Jesus is our 


peace, Eph. ii. 14. It is within the bond of the covenant, he is safe 
from avenging wrath. There is no safety without it, God will be a 
consuming fire to all who live and die out of Christ and the co- 

Hearken, ye careless spectators, and be wise at length. Are you 
resolved to have no part in Christ and the covenant, that ye keep 
so far from the place of his feet, and the seal of his covenant. Con- 
sider, you also must come before God. You must die and come be- 
fore the tribunal. Could you secure yourselves a place to be mere 
onlookers, when the rest of the world are dying about you ; and 
when the world shall stand before the jadgment-seat, then perhaps 
you might be allowed to be mere spectators on such an occasion as 
this. But it will not be so. You must take your part with the rest. 
And what will it be to get the first sight of your Judge then, with 
whom you might have been accepted, but would not ? Consider, if 
it be a matter of such awful solemnity to approach the throne of 
grace, what will it be to stand before the throne of avenging justice ? 
If it be so solemn to come up into mount Zion, where communion is 
to be had with God in Christ, what will it be to come to mount 
Sinai, where there is such blackness, darkness, and tempest, as will 
confound the adversaries of the Lord ? Bless not yourselves that 
you have not gone up into the mount, for monuments of justice you 
shall be, if you be not thus monuments of grace. — Consider, what 
madness is it to lift up the heel against God, the weight of whose 
hand can crush you as a moth. Would it not be your wisdom to 
lie down among the dust of his feet, to approach him through his 
Son, and in the way of his covenant, trembling, if so be that he may 
be pleased to stretch out the golden sceptre, and save your life ? 
Nay, come forward yet, strive to take hold of an offered Christ and 
covenant. Let not his terrors deter you from him. As the lepers 
at the gate of Samaria did, so reason ye. 

3. Let us praise him for this, that upon us he has not laid his 
hand ; that we have not left a name to the place, Perez, from the 
Lord's making a breach upon us ; but that we may set up a pillar 
here, and call it Ebenezer. There has been strange fire off'ered to 
the Lord here this day ; wrong touches given to the ark ; unworthy 
communicating, faithless, fearless, stupid, confused, and hypocriti- 
cal managements ; who dare say they have made no stumble on the 
mount ? The bread and wine in the sacrament have as deep relative 
holiness as the ark had ; but had spectators and communicants been 
taken up as hot for their profane looking to the one, as the men of 
Bethsheraesh were for their looking to the other, there had been a 
sad sight among us ere now. Glory be to our gracious God, that on 
us he hath not laid his hand. 


4. Let us long for that day which will put an end to our sinful- 
ness, weakness, and imperfection, when we shall see him as he is, 
without any danger of sinning or suffering, which is far better, Phil. 
i. 23. It would be a token for good that we had seen the Lord, if 
we were now longing for that blessed day. 

Lastly, Let us apply ourselves to the duties which a gracious 
God calls for at our hands. — And, 

1. Is there any among us who have been admitted to an holy fa- 
miliarity with God ? Song i. 4. Then, — Wonder at the freeness of 
grace, and be thankful that ever the like of you should have come 
so far forward ; 2 Sam. vii. 18, " Who am I, Lord God ! and what 
is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ?" — Double your 
watch, and walk very softly, being careful to keep your nearness, 
Song iii. 5 ; Isa. xxxviii. 15. — If there be any special errand to the 
throne for yourselves, or for the church of God, as no doubt there 
is, strike in with this golden opportunity, and lay it before the 
Lord, Exod, xxiv, 8, 9. — Beware of being proud of your attainments. 
There is a hazard here ; but when you see your peacock-feathers, 
remember they are borrowed, and look to your black feet, 2 Cor. xii. 
7. — Lay your account with a storm, and be on your guard. If you 
have got a larger meal than others, it is not unlike you have more 
to do than they. But accept that kindly, and bless God who is be- 
forehand with you, laying in the provision before he lays on the 

2. Is there any among us who have seen the God of Israel ? Then 
walk as becomes those who have beheld his glory. Blessed are 
your eyes, for they see. But here some may say, Alas ! this sight 
has been withheld from my eyes. — In answer to such, I observe, 
that some saying this, no doubt speak true ; others belie tlie work- 
ing of God's grace towards them. Therefore we must put it to the 
trial ; for one may get a sight of Christ, and not know that it is he, 
John XX. 14 ; Luke xxiv. 16. I ask you, then, what effect on you has 
the sight which you have got this day ? — Has this day's sight humbled 
you more, made you more vile and loathsome in your own eyes, filled 
you with shame and blushing, and self-loathing ? It is a sign you 
have seen the Lord, Job xlii. 5, 6. — Has it weaned you more from 
the world, sunk the value of all created excellency with you, made 
you see through the bulky vanity of the world, that you are re- 
aolved you shall feed no more on these husks ? Matth. xiii. 45, 46. 
Rev. xii. 1. — Has it made the body of sin and death heavier than it 
used to be ? — Maybe some of you think, ye have been undone at 
this communion with an ill heart, that drew a vail between Christ 
and you; and now ye are crying, Rom. vii. 24, " wretched man 


that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" 
to be quit of this burden at any rate ! to be beyond a sinning 
condition ! welcome grim death, so that it would take off the burden. 
Truly, if it be so, it has been so thin a vail, that you have got a 
sight of Christ through it, Isa. vi. 5 ; Luke ii. 29, 30. — Has it kindled 
a superlative love in your own heart to this unseen Lord ? Do ye 
love him more than all persons and things else ? Psalm Ixxiii. 25. 
If it be so, ye have seen hira, Luke xxiv. 32. Sick of love, argues a 
blink of the face of the lovely one received. Therefore, bless God, 
and be thankful. It is bastard humility to belie the grace of God. 
Walk so as the world may take notice that you have seen what 
they never saw, and have been where their ungracious feet never 
carried them. And show this in personal and relative holiness, 
Acts iv. 13. Commend the way of God to others. Tell them 
it is good to be on the mount. Speak good of God's house, and 
give it your testimony, before despisers of Christ and ordinances ; 
especially before poor discouraged sinners, those who desert or- 
dinances, alleging God not to be found in them, — Finally, quench 
not the Spirit, cherish his motions, and follow on to know the Lord. 

3. Ye who have made this solemn approach, but really have not 
seen the Lord, set ye about your proper duty. — Search out, mourn 
over the cause of this, and quickly flee to the blood of Christ for its 
removal. You have not seen the Lord ; and is there not a cause ? 
yes, sure he has a quarrel with you, and therefore has withdrawn 
himself. Seek it out. The fault has been either in your state, that 
you are yet in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity. This 
is a fundamental mistake. Or it has been in your frame. Either 
you have not been at pains to prepare, or have sat down on your 
preparation ; or some idol of jealousy has been nourished : — or it 
has been in your faithless management. "Wonder ye in a special 
manner, that ye have come off safe, and that upon you the Lord has 
not laid his hand. Do not fret that you are come off with nothing ; 
but, bless him that you are come off at all ! 

Lastly, Go back to the throne with all speed. Though the com- 
munion-table be drawn here, it is not yet drawn to yon in heaven ; 
Joel iii. 21, " For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed ; 
for the Lord dwelleth in Zion." Follow on to know the Lord. Be 
not like the mixed multitude, who, disappointed of the milk and honey 
of Canaan, would needs go back to the onions and the garlic in 
Egypt. If you do so, his soul will abhor you : Heb. x. 38, " If any 
man draw back, ray soul shall have no pleasure in him." Say not, 
I will never see the Lord now : for, wherefore has he spared you, 
but that you might have occasion to have your marred work amend- 


ed ? And if ye wait on long, wonder not, it is a mercy ye liave ac- 
cess to wait on. Lay down the resolution in Lam. iii. 49, 50, " Mine 
eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without intermission, till the 
Lord look down, and behold from heaven ;" and in Isa. viii. 17, " I 
will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, 
and I will look for him." Amen. 



Heb. xi. 16, 

Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God : /or he hath 
j>repared for them a city. 

God has a peculiar people in the world, though these are few in 
number. Satan is called the god of this world ; and indeed is so, 
in regard the greater part of the world, even the whole natives of 
the weary land, are his. But there is a select company, who are in, 
but not of the world ; a people of a peculiar character, who are 
strangers and pilgrims in the earth ; whose heads and hearts are 
towards the better country. — In the text we have their peculiar pri- 
vilege, " God is not ashamed to be called their God." More is im- 
plied than is here said. God, who is the God of the whole earth, 
is their God in a peculiar manner, by a special covenant-relation ; 
and he will own it before all the world, however they be despised by 
the world. They are savingly interested in him, and he is peculiarly 
interested in them. As they are not ashamed to be called his peo- 
ple, unless it be for this, that they do not look more like him ; so 
he is not ashamed to be called their God. {Greek, to be sirnamcd.) 

There are two things which make men ashamed to own a relation ; 
one upon the part of their relatives, another upon their own part. 
But neither are in this case. 

1. He is not ashamed on their part, to bo called their God. Ho 
is not ashamed of them, (as the Greek text bears expressly), as men 
sometimes are of their relations because of their scandalous cha- 
racter, as our Lord says he will be ashamed of some, so as that he 
will not own them, Mark viii. 38. The reason of this is intimated 
in the text, in the particle ivherefore, which leads us back to the 
character of those who are indeed God's people, exemplified in Abra- 

■ Delivered October, 172'J. 


ham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob, ver. 13 — 16. The sum of it lies here : 
That upon the faith of God's promise of a better world, they forsook 
this world, and went through it even to the grave, as persons not 
come to the place where they expected and desired to settle. Where- 
fore, since they forsook this world for God, and trusted him for a 
better inheritance to themselves, and, npon the faith of his promise, 
were easy in all their wanderings and hardships, God is not ashamed 
of them to be called their God : Exod. iii. 6, " I am," said he, " the 
God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the 
God of Jacob." In these steps all the true children of Abraham 

2. He is not ashamed on bis own part, to be called their God ; as 
men are ashamed, when they have no suitable entertainment to 
give to those who have left all others for them, and depend entirely 
upon them. For he has prepared for them a city. These patriarchs 
dwelt in tents, and went from land to land at God's call ; but a city, 
even the New Jerusalem, heaven itself, was prepared for them by 
their God ; a city suitable to his dignity ; a city, the like of which 
all the world could not have furnished them. He is not ashamed to 
be called his people's God, whatever hardships they suffer for his 
sake ; for he has enough to make up their losses, ready for them. 
He would reckon it a stain on his honour, that any of them should be 
losers at his hand ; if he should not fully answer the trust they put 
in him ; if he did not give them as good, nay, better than the best 
thing which they ever were denied for his sake. — From this subject, 
we observe the following Doctrines, viz : — 

DocTEiNE I. That however mean and low those bo who have for- 
saken this world for God, looking for a better, God is not ashamed 
of them, or on their part, to be called their God. 

DocT. II. That whatever hardships they may suffer for his sake, 
he is not ashamed on his part to be called their God, having pre- 
pared for them a heavenly city, which will make up for all their 
losses. — These we shall shortly illustrate in their order. 

"We begin with 

Doctrine I. That however mean and low those be who have for- 
saken this world for God, looking for a better, God is not ashamed 
of them, or on their part, to be called their God. 

We shall here, 

I. Explain the import of this their privilege. 

II. Give the reasons of the point. And then, 

III. Improve it. 
We are then. 

Vol. X. I 


1, To explain the import of this their privilege. — It imports, 

1. That he is their God, how mean soever their lot be. What- 
ever they want, they have him for their God : Heb. viii. 10, " And 
I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." The 
patriarchs had a wandering life of it in the world, were always pil- 
grims and strangers, they could never count themselves at home, 
while in the world. But whatever they wanted, they had a God in 
Christ for their own God. ! ye who are coming away from Leba- 
non, forsaking this world for God, breathing and panting for the 
better world, assure yourselves, he is your God, by this good token, 
that the heart of man will never in this case loose one foot till it 
has another fastened, never quit the present world till it be possess- 
ed of a God to fill up its room. It will never let go the grip the 
one hand has of this world, till it has a believing grip of a God in 
Christ with the other. Hence believing is compared to buying, 
where the man will not part with his money, till the commodity) 
which for the time is better to him than money, is made over to him. 
So, though you were reduced to this, that ye could not tell carnal 
Israel's tale, Hos. ii. 5, " I will go after my lovers, that give me my 
bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink :" 
yet ye may tell David's tale, a far better one : Psalm xviii. 2, " The 
Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer : my God, my 
strength, in whom I will trust : my buckler, and the horn of my 
salvation, and my high tower." — Here some may propose this 

Question, But what can persons make of this in the want of 
earthly enjoyments ? We answer, They may make all of it that is 
necessary to full satisfaction and contentment of heart, Hab. iii. 17, 
18. Full protection, full provision, for time and eternity, there is 
nothing more can be needed : Psalm cxlii. 5, " I cried unto thee, O 
Lord : I said, thou art my refuge, and my portion in the land of 
the living." — It imports, 

2. That he takes such a pleasure in them, and puts such an hon- 
our on them, that though the world should cast out their name as 
evil, he sirnaraes himself by them, and brings their name into his. 
Hundreds of times, the expressions, " The Lord thy God," " The 
Lord your God," occur in scripture, applied to God with respect to 
his people. Yea, he bears up their name in his, when they are dead 
and gone out of the world, since they still live unto him : Matth. 
xvii. 32, " I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the 
God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." 
This is a memorial of them that will last, when the monuments and 
marble tombs will not keep the memory of the wicked from rotting. 
— It imports, 

CALLED HIS people's GOD . 123 

3. That he allows them to call him their own God : John xx. 28, 
" And Thomas answered, and said unto him, My Lord, and ray God." 
They can say this, how little soever they have in the world which 
they can call theirs. Why should they not call him by his own 
name ? The Lord their God is the name he has taken to himself ; 
a plain indication of his being pleased to be called by this name. — 
It imports, 

4. That ho allows them to depend on him as their God, and to 
improve their relation to him for all which they need ; whoever 
casts them off, or refuses to help them, God will never put off his 
people with names, without the things signified by these names. If 
he is called their God, he will own his name in eflTect and reality; 
and indeed be a God to them, to all the intents and purposes of the 
covenant : Gen. xvii. 7, " And I will establish my covenant between 
me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their genei'ations, for an 
everlasting covenant ; to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after 
thee." They may look for all which they need from him, and are 
welcome to a fill of the fulness of God ; whatever their case re- 
quires, this God will be all in all to them. Hence the expectation 
of faith ; Psalm xxvii. 10, *' When my father and mother forsake 
me, then the Lord will take me up." — It imports, 

5. That he will own himself to be their God before the world, 
whoever disown them. He is content that strangers call him by 
this name, as Nebuchadnezzar did, Dan. iii. 29 ; and Darius, chap, 
vi. 16. He puts marks of his respect and relation to them upon 
them before the world, so that the world shall be obliged to take 
notice of his owning them. Rev. iii. 9, ** Behold, I will make them 
of the synagogue of Satan, (which say they are Jews, and are not, 
but do lie) ; behold, I will make them to come and worship before 
thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee." If their corruptions 
will not suffer them to acknowledge so much, yet their consciences 
shall not get it refused. Hence David prays. Psalm Ixxxvi. 17, 
" Shew me a token for good, that they which hate me may see and 
be ashamed, because thou. Lord, hast holpen me, and comforted me." 
— It imports. 

Lastly, That he reckons it his honour to be their God, even though 
men should be ashamed to rub shoulders with them. Accordingly 
we find him call them his glory : Isa. xlvi. 13, " And I will place 
salvation in Zion for Israel my glory." And in 2 Cor. viii. 23, they 
are called the glory of Christ. He glories in his special interest in 
them, and takes a pleasure to come over it : Song viii. 12, " My 
vineyard, which is mine, is before me : thou, Solomon, must have 



a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred." 

We are now, 

II. To give the reasons of the point. Among other reasons, there 
are the following : — 

1. Because they have embraced him in the covenant, for their all, 
in opposition to the world, and all that is therein ; which shows a 
nobleness of spirit in them, the certain product of his own Spirit : 
Psalm iv. 6, " There be many that say. Who will show us any good ? 
Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us." Psalm 
Ixxiii. 25, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none in 
earth that I desire besides thee." There are two offers made to 
every one of us : God says, " I will be thy God," the world says, " I 
will be thy God." Most men fall in with the world's offer, and all 
men naturally incline this way. But these noble souls, as partakers 
of the divine nature, pour contempt on the clay idol, God's rival, 
refusing it; and honour him by believing and embracing his offer ; 
80 that when the Lord says in the gospel to the man, " I will be thy 
God," his soul echoes back again, " Then thou art mine, my God, 
my portion ; I take possession upon the credit of thine own offer :" 
Psalm cxlii. 5, " I cried unto thee, Lord ; I said, Thou art my re- 
fuge, and my portion in the land of the living." Thus he is not 
ashamed to be called their God. 

2. Because they quit the world's certainty for divine hope, and 
trust him for an unseen portion to themselves, as preferable to all 
that the world can afford, believing he will glorify his all-sufficiency 
and his faithfulness in the promise, laying all their weight upon 
them ; Rom. iv. 20, 21, " He staggered not at the promise of God 
through unbelief; but was strong in faith giving glory to God ; and 
being fully persuaded, that what he had promised he was able to per- 
form." Such a trust they have in God, else they would never for- 
sake the world : for plain it is, according to the measure of the be- 
lief of a better world to one's self, so is their forsaking the present 
world. And since they thus honourably trust him for their all, he 
is not ashamed to be called their Gcd. 

3. Because they can take up with nothing less than a God for 
their portion, by which they discover a peculiar elevation of 
spirit, the effect of divine grace : Phil. iii. 8, " Yea, doubtless, and 
I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of 
Christ Jesus, my Lord ; for whom I have suffered the loss of all 
things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." They 
can no longer feed with the prodigal upon the husks of the empty 
creation. Their soul's cry is, " Give me a God in Christ, or else I 
die." All the world, nay, a thousand worlds, cannot fill up his room : 

CALLED HIS people's GOD. 125 

Song viii. 6, " Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine 
arm ; for love is strong as death : jealousy is cruel as the grave : 
the coals are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame." And 
so they press forward through temptations, and the greatest danger 
which the world can lay before them, to hold him as their portion, 
and to come to the full enjoyment of him. Song viii. 7, " Many 
waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it : if a 
man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would ut- 
terly be contemned." So he is not ashamed to be called their God, 
because they thus love and desire him. 

4. Because, in their way and walk, they are of a character dis- 
tinguished from the men of the world, Phil. iii. 18 — 21. They dare 
not take the way of the world, their souls hate it, as being opposite 
to the manners of the country to which they are going. Therefore 
they are nonconformists to the world, in so far as it is disconformed 
to the way of the Lord. 

We shall now, 

III. Improve this point. — Hence see, 

1. That carnal worldlings are none of those whose God the Lord 
is, Matth. vi. 24. Those whose hearts are not loosed from the pre- 
sent evil world, are not brought within the bond of the covenant, 
and have no right before the Lord to the sacrament, which is the 
seal of it. He would be ashamed to be called their God, who make 
that clay idol their God. I offer two evidences of this disposition. — 
(1.) When it is the world, and not God himself, which has the chief 
room in men's hearts and affections; Matth. vi. 21, " For where 
your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Consider what it is, 
whether God or the world, which your hearts do most desire, and are 
most set upon, Psalm iv. 6, (quoted above). What it is your chief 
joy lies in, in the enjoyment of God, or the enjoyment of the world. 
Whether your chief sorrow arises from crosses in the world, or from 
sin that offends God, or from the hidings of his face ? — (2.) When 
the heart can never rest in God, but must still have its rest in the 
creature ; or no rest for it at all : and so the man's life of comfort 
just depends on the smiles or frowns of the present world, not upon 
the having or wanting the favour of God, his smiles or frowns. Per- 
haps the man might find a rest betwixt God and the world, but no 
rest of the heart in God alone, Luke xiv. 26. — Hence see, 

2. That such as having weighed all things, have forsaken the 
world for God, and fixed their desires on him and the better world, 
intent to be there whatever their lot in this world be ; and to enjoy 
God in Christ as their God and portion, however small their por- 
tion be of this world's good things : they may be sure God is their 


God, and he will own it, though, by reason of the weakness of their 
faith, they have much ado to plead it. They may come to the com- 
munion-table, and fully assure their hearts of it, by the seal of the 
covenant, which he has provided for this purpose, to shew that he is 
not ashamed to be called their God. It is the pilgrim's table. — 

3. That God is worthy to be chosen for our God in covenant ; 
and therefore I exhort you to make choice of him for your all, and 
give up with the world henceforth, that ye may be pilgrims and 
strangers in it. — To prevail with you as to this, consider, 

(1.) He is content to take in outcasts : Psalm cslvii. 2, " The 
Lord doth build up Jerusalem ; he gathereth the outcasts of Israel." 
Never do any seek after a God in Christ for their God in earnest, 
till such time as they see there is no satisfaction for them to be had 
in the creature. Thus they find they need a God. The gospel dis- 
covers God's offer to be their God, and grace determines them to 
choose him for their God. And they are not rejected, because they 
came not till their need drove them : but are welcome, since they 
came on the discovery of their need. 

(2.) Consider, he is a fast friend, and forsakes not on any emer- 
gency whatever. If you take him for your God, and forsake the 
world, he will stand by you at all times, and own you, though all 
the world should forsake and disown you. ! have you not need 
of such a friend ? 

(3.) Does not the world reward your love with hatred in many in- 
stances ? How often is your rest in it disturbed ! take God for 
your God this day, and you thus make the best exchange, of a 
changeable world for the unchangeable God. 

Lastly, If you continue to forsake God for this world, the time 
will come when the world will fail you, and you will not have a God 
to own you, and so will be absolutely helpless. He offers himself 
to you in the covenant. Believe and embrace him this day. Give 
up with the world, and all things in it. Take him for all in time 
and through eternity, as an upmaking portion. "We now go on to 
a short illustration of 

Doctrine II. That whatever hardships his people may suQer for his 
sake, he is not ashamed on his part to be called their God, having 
prepared for them the heavenly city, wliich will make up ail losses. 
We are not here to launch out into the consideration of heaven 
under a notion of a city ; but only shall, 

I. Show in what respects the heavenly city is prepared for the 
pilgrims who have forsaken this world for God, looking for a better. 


II. Lay before you the reasons of the point. And then, 

III. Make some improvement. 
We are then, 

I, To show in what respects the heavenly city is prepared for the 
pilgrims who have forsaken this world for God, looking for a better. 
It is prepared. 

1. In respect of eternal destination in the decree of election before 
the world was made ; Matt. xxv. 34, " Then shall the King say 
unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, 
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the 
world." Their forsaking of the world in time, is an evidence and 
fruit of their election from eternity. Their being called out of, and 
separated from the world lying in wickedness, is owing to that eter- 
nal free-love, which in the decree separated them from the rest of 
the corrupt mass of mankind. The seal of God upon them from 
everlasting, though undiscernible till the day of their conversion, is 
the cause of their departing from the tents of wickedness ; 2 Tim. 
ii. 19, " Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having 
this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And let every one 
that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity." It is pre- 

2. In respect of purchase, by the sufferings and death of Christ. 
It is therefore called the purchased possession, Eph. i. 13. And the 
price of the purchase is his blood, Acts xx. 28, " To feed the Church 
of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." Eternal hap- 
piness is the proper reward of Christ's works, not of ours. It had 
been in vain for any of the children of Adam to have looked for 
a better country than this world, had not the Lord Jesus, by his obe- 
dience and death, bought it for them. None of the pilgrims had ever 
got footing there, had it not become the land of our Immanuel by 
his own purchase. It is prepared, 

3. In respect of possession taken of it already in their name, by 
our Lord Jesus entering into it, as a public person, at his ascen- 
sion : Heb. vi. 20, " Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even 
Jesus, made an high priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec" 
As Christ died in their name, and so they died in him, the law hav- 
ing them all legally on the cross, when it had him there ; therefore 
it is said, " They are crucified with Christ," Gal. ii. 20 ; so he rose 
again, and ascended into heaven, and took possession of it in their 
name. Thus they are actually and really, though not in their per- 
sons, but in the person of Christ, possessed of the city already : Eph. 
ii. 6, " And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in 
heavenly places in Christ Jesus." This Christ himself told to be his 


errand in going away : John xiv. 2, " I go," said he, "to prepare a 
place for you." — It is prepared, 

4. In respect of readiness to receive them in their own persons. 
They are made habitually ready for it, in respect of their state of 
justification and sanctification : Col. i, 12, " Giving thanks unto the 
Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance 
of the saints in light." And it is ready for them, of which we have 
two evidences. 

(1.) A new gate is erected, and opened for their entry into the 
city. It may be called the pilgrims' gate, to distinguish it from that 
of the natives of the city. See it, Heb. x. 19, 20, " Having there- 
fore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Je- 
sus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us 
through the veil, that is to say, his flesh." All the pilgrims enter by 
it, and it was erected purposely for them. And it is always open, 
never shut : Rev. xxi. 25, " And the gates of it shall not be shut at 
all by day; for there shall be no night there." 

(2.) The notice is already there before them, that they are coming. 
The King's son has carried it thither : John xvii. 24, ". Father, I 
will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I 
am ; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for 
thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." And this his 
efl&cacious intercession removes all lets or hindrances out of the way. 

We are now, 

II. To give the reasons of the point — 1 take them up in these 

1. Because the happiness of the city, if they were once come there, 
will more than balance all the hardships in their pilgrimage that 
they had to undergo for his sake. Why should he be ashamed to be 
called their God, be their lot in the world as bad as it can be ? The 
glory of the city will more than balance all the contempt, reproach, 
and disgrace cast on them for his sake. He will not be in their 
debt for lying among the pots on his account. The glory of the 
city will make them whiter than ever the world could make 
them black, Psalm Ixv lii. 13, " Though ye have lien among the 
pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver 
and her feathers with yellow gold." The rest of the city will more 
than balance all that toil, pain, weary work, in doing or suffering 
which they had for God in the weary land. What though it cost 
them many a weary step ere they get thither ? If they were there, 
it will all be forgotten. Then they will for ever rest from all their 
labours, Ilev. xiv. 13. Abraham's bosom will make the weary body 
and languid spirit fresh for evermore. The riches of the city will 


more than balance all their wants and losses in this world, even 
though they should lose their very lives in the cause. Whatever 
their wants are now, there is enough before them in the city above. 
And God has more, ten thousand times more to give them, than 
they can lose for him : Rev. xxi. 7- " He that overcometh shall in- 
herit all things, and I will be his Grod, and he shall be my son." 
The eternity of the city, and all that is in it, will more than balance 
the continuance of their hardships in this world> to whatever length 
holy Providence sees meet to spin them out : 2 Cor. iv. 17. " For 
our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far 
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." However dark and 
long their night be, that morning cometh which will never be suc- 
ceeded by another night. 

2. Because they are not far from the city : They will soon be 
there : Psalm xc. 10, " The days of our years are threescore years 
and ten ; and if by reason of strength, they be fourscore years, yet 
is their strength labour and sorrow ; for it is soon cut olf, and we 
fly away." They are within a hand-breadth of the city, Psalm xxxix. 
5. It is but through the wilderness, over Jordan, and they are at it. 
And they cannot complain then, they are so near home, however 
harsh their entertainment be in the way. 

3. Because in the meantime there is a communication betwixt 
them and this city, so that the whole of what they need may come 
from it. Pilgrims need never go to the world's door. They always 
may have provision from this city for their wilderness-journey. 
Though the Israelites could neither have provision and supply from 
Egypt, nor Canaan, while they were in the wilderness, they wanted 
not, they got it from heaven. 

Lastly, Because the very faith and hope which they entertain as 
to this city, is sufficient to support them under all their hardships, 
2 Cor. iv. 17. 18. Faith believing the word of promise, and hope 
waiting for its accomplishment, bring down heaven to them till they 
go up to it ; Heb. ix. 1, " Now, faith is the substance of things hoped 
for, the evidence of things not seen." Rom. viii. 24, " For we are 
saved by hope." Thus there is no reason he should be ashamed on 
his part to be called their God. 

We now come, 

III. To improve this point. — It serves, 

First, To pour shame on the wisdom and way of the world. And 

1. In that they reckon it wisdom not to quit a seen advantage 
for an unseen one, certainty (as they call it) for hope : Psal. iv. 6. 
" Who will shew us any good ?" Therefore they embrace the pre- 


sent world, tack about, aijd sail with every wind ; making the way 
of the world, and their own ease, the mark by which to steer their 
compass, rather than the word and glory of God, and the dictates of 
conscience, according to the word. When they have done this, they 
reckon they have done wisely : Hosea xii. 7, 8. " He is a merchant, 
the balances of deceit are in his hand : he loveth to oppress. And 
Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance." 
Bat either this is brutish folly, or God may be ashamed to be called 
the God of pilgrims in this world, who take quite another way, and 
look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are 
not seen, 2 Cor, iv. 18. But God is not ashamed of pilgrims, there- 
fore the men of the world are fools ; and they will be seen to be so 
with a witness ; for God's promise is better than the world's hand- 
payment. It pours shame upon the wisdom of the world, 

2. In that they are ready to be ashamed of God's people, because 
of the hardships they are laid under in their pilgrimage through 
the world. This their way is their folly ; for whatever their lot be 
God is not their God and portion. The world's esteem is little 
worth, but heaven's esteem of the saints never alters, whatever altera- 
tions may be in their outward condition. This point, 

Secondly, Serves to instruct in several duties, those who profess to 
be pilgrims in the world, and to have taken God for their God, look- 
ing for a better world. Such as, 

1. Be not ashamed of him, to be called his people ; Mark viii. 38, 
" Whosoever, therefore, shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, 
in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son 
of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father, with 
the holy angels." Be not ashamed to own him, and avouch him 
to be your God. Whatever bears his image and the stamp of his 
authority, cleave to it confidently. Be not ashamed of any of 
his truths, ways, ordinances, whatever may bo thought of them by 
the world, for worldly men are not the proper judges of these things, 
and cannot discern their real worth. 

2. Be not yo a shame and dishonour to him, by your cleaving to 
the world, and the way of the world ; Horn. ii. 24, *' For the name 
of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you." Remember 
it is they who forsake the world, whom God is not ashamed to be 
called their God. If you go back again to your former lusts, you 
blot out your name out of that number, and rank yourselves among 
those who have their portion in this life. If he be your God, cast 
not dishonour on him, by hanging on about the door of the world, 
and your lusts, like them who have no other God to depend on. If 
you make as little conscience of your thoughts, your words, your 

CAIiLED HIS 1'EOI'Le's GOD. 13l 

actions, and dealings with God or man, as the men of the world do, 
for all your profession, God will do with you as a man with burs 
which stick to his clothes, he plucks them off, and casts them into 
the fire. 

3. Do not decline the hardest piece of the doing-work of religion 
for him. Engage in the whole without exception. Have respect to 
all his commandments, Psalm cxix. 6. The internal duties of reli- 
gion must by all means be done by you, at the same time leave not 
the external undone. Mortification of your lusts, and watchings 
against them, in the faith of the promise, should be your daily work, 
and stick not at catting off right hands, and plucking out right-eye 
sins. All this is but a very small thing in comparison of what he 
has prepared for you : Rom viii. 13, *' If ye live after the flesh, ye 
shall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the 
body, ye shall live." 

4. Shift not the cross of Christ, but be ready to suffer for him as he 
may call you ; 2 Tim. ii. 12, " If we suffer, we shall also reign 
with him ; if we deny him, he will also deny us." No Christian 
sufferers for him shall ever be losers by him, lose what they will 
in the world. Narrow not your notion of suffering for Christ, to 
suffering of violence by persecutors. But remember, that though 
it may come to this, that you must either sin or have to suffer some 
hardships to keep your conscience clean, (and this you may meet 
with in the most peaceable times of the church) ; yet then the 
Lord calls you to suffer for him. And suffering hardships for 
your adherence to any duty of the ten commandments, out of 
love to God and his holy law, is as really suffering for Christ, as 
if you laid down your liberty or life in defence of the articles of 
year faith. 

5. Walk like the expectants of heaven, citizens of the city above 
prepared for you by your God. This city will far more than 
compensate for your sufferings, for all the difficult and hard steps ye 
may have in your way thither. — Live by faith, and keep the pro- 
mise in your eye ; — the promise respecting the end of your journey, 
the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory which awaits 
you, 2 Cor. iv. 17 ; — the promise respecting your throughbearing by 
the way ; 2 Cor. xii. 9, " My grace is sufficient for thee, for my 
strength is made perfect in weakness." Carry meekly and patiently 
under all the hardships of the weary land, like the followers of 
Christ. Men do not fret and vex themselves, because the midges 
flee about them, when they travel in a hot summer-day. Chris- 
tians need be as little surprised that they meet with one rub after 
another in the way through this wilderness ; and because they 


may be of long continuance, Christians should arm themselves 
with patience in the faith of a better world ; Col. iii. 15, 
" And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which 
also ye are called in one body ; and be ye thankful." Be resolute 
to get through, and never to make truce with the world, come what 
will come, but press forward in the way of duty over all impedi- 
ments, where the Lord points out your way ; Matth. xi. 12. " And 
from the days of John the baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven 
suflFereth violence, and the violent take it by force." — Carry cheer- 
fully and courageously, as knowing better times are coming : Heb. 
X. 34. " For ye had compassion on me in my bonds, and took joy- 
fully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourself that ye have in 
heaven a better and an enduring substance." 

Lastly, Spend the time of your sojourning in making ready and 
preparing for that city which the Lord has prepared for his people; 
Rev. xix. 7, " Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him ; 
for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself 
ready." There was much cost and pains at preparing it for them ; no 
wonder that pains be necessary in them to make ready for it. All 
the Lord's people are habitually, in respect of their state, prepared 
for heaven ; but what they have to do is, to get themselves prepared 
actually, in respect of their frame ; therefore labour to be dying daily 
to this world, and to get your hearts more and more weaned from 
it ; that ye may be like ripe corn forsaking the ground. — Cherish 
quick and vigorous longings to be rid of the body of sin and death ; 
maintain the battle against heart-corruptions constantly ; and this 
will make you long for deliverance. Be watchful, as not knowing 
when your Lord cometh. — In a word, be much conversant in this city ; 
solace yourselves with believing prospects of it; and see that your 
heart be there, for there unquestionably your heart must be where 
your treasure is, Col. iii. 1 — 5. Amen. 






Heb. xi. 28, 

Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he 

that destroyed the first-horn, should touch them. 

SoLOMOK tells us, Prov. xxii. 3, " A prudent man foreseeth the evil, 
and hidetli himself : but the simple pass on and are punished." "We 
may be sure there is a sad and trying time abiding the world, God 
will have his day when the world has got theirs. Of this there is 
no great ground to doubt, that there is a sad and trying time abid- 
ing these nations. At the last occasion of this nature we had, the 
Lord seemed to be giving the word to cut up the cumber-ground fig- 
tree of the Church of Scotland ; yet, beyond hope, he has let it alone 
another year. But let us take heed ; there may be more depending 
on the elFects of the digging and dunging this year than we are 
aware of. It has got deep, very deep snegs already, and the axe is 
still lying at the root. And therefore I think we have the duty of 
this day, this communion-day, in the text ; and that is, that we 
make it a hiding day under the covert of blood, for time and for 
eternity ; as Moses did in the like case. 

God had long sat still, and his enemies had been provoking him ; 
now he was risen up, and was begun to reckon with them ; and, 
after several lesser strokes, the warning is given, that the root-stroke 
was at hand. What does Moses, with other believing Israelites, in 
this trying time ? 

1. He goes to his duty, in a sealing ordinance, and makes a co- 
venant with God by sacrifice ; he " kept the passover," &c. He 
saw that he and his Israelites deserved the stroke, as well as the 
Egyptians ; that God would have a sacrifice oflf both their hands ; 
that the destroying angel should either find blood on their houses, 
or shed blood in them. Then says Moses, Let the Egyptians do as 
they will, the Lamb shall be our sacrifice this night ; we will sprinkle 
the blood on our houses. So he "kept the passover," {Gr. made) ; 

* A sermoD preached immediately before the celebration of the Lord's supper, at 
Ettrick, June 7, 1713. 


not that lie gave a being to it, instituting it at the command of God, 
though that was true ; but it is an Old Testament expression, 
2 Chron. xxxv. 1, well rendered, "he kept," i.e. celebrated this holy 
ordinance, whereof we have an account, Exod. xii. The passover was 
a Lamb slain and eaten by the Israelites, a sacrament of the old co- 
venant of grace. The apostle speaks of " the sprinkling of blood," as 
a distinct thing ; for though it was the blood of the paschal lamb, yet 
it was not used in the after passovers, after they left Egypt. The lamb 
represented Christ ; and " the sprinkling of the blood," the believ- 
ing application of his. 

2. He managed this duty rightly. He had need ; for there was 
much depending on it. He did it believingly " through faith." I 
may not stand on the detail of the actings of Moses's faith in this 
matter. Only I will give an instance of it both these ways, ver. 1, 
" Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of 
things not seen." The object of faith is twofold. (1.) Things that 
have a being, but fall not under our sense. So Moses's faith was to 
him " the evidence of things not seen ;" i. c. the spiritual instrument 
■whereby he discerned and applied that in the ordinance which his 
eye could not see. He saw Christ in it, and the grand contrivance of 
salvation : and by the same mean he applied him. What else could 
give ease to a guilty sinner whose eyes were opened ? And there- 
fore, notwithstanding of Pharaoh's rage against him, and that they 
were all to march the next day, and that there was to be such a 
dreadful stir in Egypt that night, he keeps his temper and goes 
about his duty. (2.) Things that have no being but in the promise. 
So his faith was to him " the substance of things hoped for ;" i. e. the 
spiritual instrument whereby he assured himself, that the deliver- 
ance which was not yet done should certainly be performed ; and 
so the future deliverance was to him thereby as present. And our 
faith must act both these ways, if we manage this sacrament aright. 

3. He had a particular view in his managing of it; " lest he that 
destroyed the first-born, should touch them." He saw there was a 
bloody time at hand, that God was to make the most dreadful time 
in that land that ever they saw with their eyes. The destroying 
angel was to pass through the land of Egypt that night, to smite all 
the first-born, both man and beast. He was afraid of the least touch 
of that angel armed with vengeance, knowing it would crush him as a 
moth. Therefore he takes the blessed opportunity which the Lord 
had put into his hand, to secure himself and his people ; flying in 
under the covert of blood, to be hid in the day of the Lord. Ho 
does not gather his people together to stand to their own defence ; 
that would not do : they must go into their houses, and lie at the 


feet of mercy. To close the windows, bar the doors, &c. will not do 
it; but the blood of the lamb on the door-posts will. Therefore he 
" sprinkes that blood" for that very end. 

DocTKiNE. The believing management of the sacrament of Christ's 
body and blood, is the best security for a sinner against the day of 

In handling of this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. What is that believing management of the sacrament of Christ's 
body and blood, which is the best security for a sinner against the 
day of wrath. 

II. What security this will be against the day of wrath. 

III. Confirm the doctrine. 

IV. Lastly, Make application. 

I. First, I shall shew, what is that believing management of the 
sacrament of Christ's body and blood, which is the best security for 
a sinner against the day of wrath, We will be helped to a view of 
this, by considering the ordinance pointed at in the text. 

1st, The Christian and communicant that would manage this or- 
dinance so as he may be secured against the day of wrath, must have 
his bunch of hyssop ready ; that is, he must have faith, by which 
alone that blood can be sprinkled on the soul. An unbeliever can 
never believiugly manage this or any other ordinance ; for there can 
be no acting without a principle. Faith is the hand that must re- 
ceive the atonement, that transfers the guilt on the head of our 
great sacrifice, the feet whereby we flee into the city of refuge, and 
the hand that draws the cover from wrath over our heads, and signs 
the covenant of peace betwixt us and an angry God. 

^dly, He must believe his own desert of wrath, that he himself 
deserves to fall amongst them that fall. Blood on the door-posts of 
the Israelites proclaimed them guilty, as well as blood on the houses 
of the Egyptians did them. He must sit down at this table under 
a sense of sin, and desert of wrath ; acknowledging that he deserves 
rather to be led to the altar for a sacrifice for vengeance to feed 
on, than to sit down at the table to feed on this costly sacrifice. If 
ye be this day to be marked with the sign of salvation, ye will be 
sensible ye have hung the sign of destruction before your own doors; 
and while others, in the view of wrath on the land, are dealing all 
the causes of wrath about them, ye will smite on your breasts, say- 
ing, with the publican, (Luke xviii. 13), " God be merciful to me a 
sinner;" a self, a land, a church destroyer. 

2tdly, He must, with an eye of faith, discern the sacrifice, and the 
virtue of it, seeing that in the ordinance which a carnal eye cannot 


discern; as Esod. xii. 26, 27, " And it shall come to pass, when 
yonr children shall say unto you, What mean you by this service ? 
that ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover, who pass- 
ed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote 
the Egyptians, and delivered our houses." The apostle tells us, 
how the spiritually blind bring wrath on themselves, instead of se- 
curing themselves against wrath, 1 Cor. xi. 29, "For he that eateth 
and driuketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, 
not discerning the Lord's body." And here faith will say two 
things : — 

1. Faith will look in through the ordinance, and seeing Christ in 
it, will 'say, " There is a hiding-place from wrath," John i. 29, 
" Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." 
Eph. ii, 14, " For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath 
broken down the middle wall of partition between us." The be- 
liever will see the grand device of salvation in a crucified Redeemer : 
he will say. There is the Lamb that was slain to turn away the 
destroying angel ; the " Lamb of God," that is, the Lamb which 
God himself hath provided, as he did the ram in the thicket; 
Jehovah-jireh, (i e. " God will provide"), said Abraham's faith 
long ago, Gen. xxii. 14. 

2. Faith will look more narrowly yet, even through the hiding- 
place itself ; and where the fearful unbeliever sees many faults, the 
believer will see none, but say, " He is able to save them to the ut- 
termost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make 
intercession for them," Heb. vii. 25. There is a bottom on which I 
may venture for time and eternity ; there is a sufficient shelter, 
blow the storm from what airth it will. There will be safety there 
when the Lord in anger will rain snares on a generation of his 
wrath ; it will be safe there when the waters of Jordan swell to the 
brim. In a word, he will believe, (1.) That Christ is the appointed 
refuge against wrath ; and, (2 ) That he is a safe refuge, and that 
there is no other. 

Stilly, He must dip his bunch of hyssop in the bason where the 
blood of the Lamb is. Christ is our paschal Lamb, 1 Cor. v. 7 ; 
the covenant is the bason wherein the blood of the Lamb is poured, 
Heb. xiii. 20 : and the cup the New Testament. The believing 
communicant will lay hold on the covenant made by sacrifice, that 
he may bo safe in the day of wrath. Psalm 1. 3 — 5. God offers 
himself to the sinner in the covenant ; now must the man say, " I 
am the Lord's. The marriage of the Lamb is come," the Bride- 
groom has given his consent already, and he exhibits himself in the 
sacrament : and the soul by faith presents itself, and they join hands 


and hearts at once. The Judge of the earth appears in the quality 
of a Bridegroom ; and so they take him and are safe. 

bthly, He must sprinkle this blood, make an effusion of it ; apply 
it by faith, and receive the atonement. He must not stand afar, and 
say, I dare not meddle with that blood, though others may ; I dare 
not lay my foul fingers on it. He must not sit down at the table, 
and only bathe himself in tears ; not daring to bathe himself in the 
blood of a Redeemer. Call that what ye will, God will call it 
unbelief with a witness ; and ye will rise even as clean as ye would 
come out of mire, notwithstanding ye would pretend to throw your- 
selves into it for washing. Therefore ye must touch, take, and ap- 
ply that holy thing : say, This blood is for me, my peace, my par- 
don, my sanctification, &c., and on it I venture my all for time and 
eternity. Heaven and earth are my witnesses also, that I embrace 
the offer, and that it is mine, and that I must be found under the 
covert of it in the day of wrath, Gal. ii. 20, " Who loved me, and 
gave himself for me." 

Qthiy, He must sprinkle it on the lintel and side-posts, only not 
on the threshold. Look with an eye of faith on it as precious blood ; 
and sprinkle it over your whole man, above you, on every side ; 
only not under your feet. Despise it not ; consider that awful 
word, Heb. x. 29, " Of how much sorer punishment shall he be 
thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and 
hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, 
an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace ?" 
It is the blood of God; tbe price and ransom of precious souls, the 
foundation of all the precious promises. But wrath from heaven 
hangs over your head, and over the land : sprinkle it above you, 
over your heads ; take that blood for your sconce, shelter, and de- 
fence. Satan will attack you on every side, and may be his honnds 
will be let loose on you ; therefore sprinkle it on every side ; and 
by all means on your weak side. Ye have weak heads, and weak 
sides ; this blood is for all. 

Ithly, He must not sprinkle it only on the back of the door, but 
on the outside, the lintel and side-posts, that the angel may see it. 
The Lord is coming to call the land to a sad account, and to exa- 
mine every one. On with your mark this day, on your fore- 
heads. Antichrist's followers may take his either on their fore- 
heads or their right hands, to serve a turn : but not so Christ's, Rev. 
xiv. 1, " And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, 
and with hira an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Fa- 
ther's name written on their foreheads." Your precious faith with- 
in must shine forth in an open profession, 2 Gor. iv. 13, " We also 

Vol. X. K 


believe, and therefore speak." Ye must not think to quit your pro- 
fession, come what will come ; but list yourselves this day among 
Christ's witnesses in the world, in Scotland, willing to seal your tes- 
timony with blood : Rev. xii. 11, " And they overcame him by the 
blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony : and they 
loved not their lives unto the death." 

1. The substance of Christ's testimony; and that is holiness. The 
world with one voice is telling a lie of God, That he is a God that 
delights in wickedness ; that folk may be happy with him in heaven, 
and come there, some say, in the way of profanity, or morality, or 
formality. Ye must give your testimony against this ; and for holi- 
ness ; That God is holy, and that there is no coming nor likeness to 
him, but in holiness ; and this by a strict and holy walk, over the 
belly of the example of the world and your own lusts. This was the 
substance of the saints' testimony from the time of the righteous 
Abel, Gen. iv. 7, to this day. Rev. iii. 4 ; and xiv. 4. This is the 
substance of our covenants, national and solemn league ; and will be 
the substance of the testimony of the Lord's people to the end of 

2. The necessary appendages of the testimony ; and these are 

(1.) The revealed truths of God made known to you. You must 
bear witness to these, whoever run them down : the truths of doc- 
trine, Prov. xxiii. 23, " Buy the truth, and sell it not." Mark viil. 
38, " "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this 
adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Sou of man 
be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father, with the 
holy angels." This land is under the bond of a covenant to the 
maintenance of the truth of doctrine : and till the Lord raise up the 
spirits of his people to renew the covenant together, ye must seal 
the covenant for that effect at the Lord's table. If ye quit the truth 
of doctrine known to you, ye quit the substance of the testimony ; 
for it is " the doctrine which is according to godliness," 1 Tim. vi. 
3. It is the channel in which the sanctification of sinners, the 
great end of divine revelation, does run. Gal. iii. 2, " This only 
would I learn of you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the 
law, or by the hearing of faith ?" 

(2.) The instituted ordinances of God which ye have received. 
Ye must bear witness to these, though our beautiful house should 
be laid in rubbish, and men's ordinances and institutions set up in 
their room by law. We are under a covenant for the " pure ordin- 
ances," and against " men's ordinances." And ye must bear testi- 
mony to these divine ordinances : for so far as ye quit them, ye quit 


the substance of the testimony ; for they are the means appointed of 
God for the sanctification of an unholy world. When we come to 
heaven, we will strive with no body for Presbytery against Prelacy, 
for the simplicity of gospel-worship against idolatry and supersti- 
tion ; for then the end, holiness, is obtained, and we have no more 
need of the means. But we are not there yet : and therefore we 
must contend for these ordinances of God ; we must not lay by our 
staflF, ere we arrive at our journey's end : we must nse, and contend 
for the means, till we have obtained the end. Abana and Pharpar, 
rivers of Damascus, may be pleasanter rivers than Jordan ; but 
dipping in them will not cure us of our leprosy ; for they want one 
thing Jordan has, a word of divine appointment. Prelacy and cere- 
monies make a greater figure in the eye than purity and simplicity : 
but they are not means of holiness ; God never made them, and 
men cannot make them so. Accordingly we have found them cursed 
trees of men's planting, under whose shade piety went always to 
wreck, and profanity grew. 

Qthly, He must feed on the body and blood of Christ. Faith 
must taste, and feed, and relish the sweetness of Christ, and of every 
part of Christ ; unite the soul with him, and so draw virtue, sap, 
and strength from him, to stand before the Lord ; the tempter and 
an evil world without, and lusts within. And I am sure, if faith be 
in exercise, it will take up a crucified Christ, as fit for this, as the 
eating of a lamb was to strengthen for work or travel. And, 

1. Ye must take and feed on a whole Christ; Christ in all his 
offices. As your prophet. A day of wrath is a dark day, wherein 
many mistake their way, stumble into by-paths, and fall into error. 
But, says the believing communicant, I renounce my own wisdom and 
wit ; and take this Christ to be my guide ; and he has promised to 
guide me even unto death. A day of wrath is a day of sad chal- 
lenges, of revenging strokes of justice ; but here is my priest, I 
shelter under his righteousness. Such a day is a day of fearful 
attacks from the devil, the world, and the flesh ; but I take him to 
be my king, and rely on his promises. 

2. Ye must eat with the bitter herbs of repentance and sorrow 
for sin. If faith be stirring in thy heart, it will make a hole in 
your heart, though like a rock otherwise, Zech. xii. 10, " And I will 
pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusa- 
lem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications, and they shall look 
upon me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, 
as one mourneth for his only son ; and shall be in bitterness for him, 
as one that is in bitterness for his first-born." Thou wilt sorrow for 
thy own sins, and the sins of the land, that bring on wrath ; for the 

K 2 


dishonour doue to Christ by yourself and all ranks, Ezek. ix. 4, 
"And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, 
through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads 
of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abomination that be 
done in the midst thereof." Hab. iii. 16, " When I heard, my belly 
trembled : my lips quivered at the voice : rottenness in my bones, 
and I trembled in myself, that^I might rest in the day of trouble." 

3. Ye must eat in a departing posture ; turning your backs on 
the world and your lusts, and setting your face stedfastly to Im- 
manuel's land. Ye must this day go to that table, joining your- 
selves to the Lord, resolute to " save yourselves from this untoward 
generation," Acts ii. 40 ; that if Christ mind to leave the land, ye 
will not stay behind, but go with him, and follow him whithersoever 
he goes. If ye can but have him present with you in the furnace of 
affliction, in exile, prison, or blood, ye are content. For this end ye 
must take hold of him never to part. 

II. The second thing proposed, was, to shew what security this 
will be against the day of wrath. 

\st, Thus ye will be secured from eternal wrath. "When the great 
day of wrath comes, and all the enemies of God are before him in 
one body on the left hand, ye will be on the right. Ye will stand 
with Christ on the field, till ye see with him the backs of all his 
enemies, while they are driven with horrible roarings into the bot- 
tomless pit. And when they are closed up there under the load of 
everlasting wrath, ye shall get your " crowns on your heads, and 
palms in your hands," and help to make heaven ring eternally with 
your hallelujahs. 

2dly, In a day of wrath upon the land ; though the storm blow 
never so hard, ye shall have a manifold security. Though ye must 
not promise yourselves security from trouble, yet, 

1. Ye shall be kept from mixing with the generation under God's 
wrath. Ye are to set up the partition-wall this day betwixt you 
and them ; do it firmly, and assuredly in the heat of the wrath it shall 
stand. Build ye the partition-wall, and God will build the pro- 
tection-wall. Psalm xii. 7, " Thou shalt keep them, Lord, thou 
shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." There are two 
generations in the world, the righteous and the wicked ; those who 
fear God, and those who fear him not ; but they are separate par- 
ties, opposite to one another : and they shall never mix. J confess, 
the two parties at this day are too near one another in the Church 
of Scotland. They are like the toes of Nebuchadnezzar's imago, 
part of clay, and part of iron ; yet *' iron is not mixed with clay," 
Dan. ii. 41, 43, &c. And when God kindles his fire, it will make men 


of like natures run together, aud make the separation greater ; and 
the one generation may be less bulky, but nothing less worth ; 
and the other generation more bulky, but less worth. 

2. " It may be, ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger," 
Zeph. ii. 3. May be God may hide you in heaven ere then, as he 
has been doing with many eminent ministers and Christians of late, 
" taking them away from the evil to come." Or he can hide yon 
under heaven, for " the earth is the Lord's :" and though men allow 
you not a hole to hide your head in, he can give you a broad place, 
whether they will or not. Though it be a very open place, he can 
draw a curtain over you, where the sharpest-sighted enemy shall not 
see[through. He has an invisible lock and key on everyplace, where 
the most resolute and quick-sighted searchers may not be able to 
open the door, and see who is therein. 

3. Ye shall not be straitened for provision, though it be a scarce 
time, Psalm cxlii. 5, " I cried unto thee, Lord, I said, thou art my 
refuge, and my portion in the land of the living." Though it may 
be hard to get a sermon without, ye shall have two preachers within. 
(1.) The bosom-preacher will be with you, that has his pulpit in the 
breast ; that is a good conscience, one of the sweetest preachers that 
ever opened a mouth, that fills all his hearers with joy, 2 Cor. i. 
12, " Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience," &c. 
(2.) The heart-preacher, that has his pulpit in the heavens ; that is, 
Christ himself by his Holy Spirit, who is always a successful 
preacher, whose hearers are ever taught to profit : Psalm xxxii. 8, 
" I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt 
go : I will guide thee with mine eye." He will be to you as a " little 
sanctuary." And these will carry you through till ye come to your 
journey's end. 

4. Though the weight of common calamity should bruise you, yea, 
and crush you, '' there shall no evil touch you," Job v. 19. (1.) No 
evil that is an only evil ; mercy shall always be predominant in thy 
cup. (2.) The evil shall be taken out of the evils that come on 
thee. So that (ver. 22), " at destruction and famine thon shalt 
laugh : neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth." 
Thou shalt say as Paul, 1 Cor. xv. 55, " death where is thy sting ? 
O grave where is thy victory ?" " There shall be no more curse." 
God shoots poisoned arrows at his enemies, but none of these at his 
friends. The serpent shall be unstinged. May be thou wilt 
think, ere all be done, thou feelest a sting ; but assure yourself it 
will be but a bee-sting, that goes only skin-deep, Matth. x. 28, " Aud 
fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul," 
&c. (3.) The evils that may come on thee, shall be turned to good, 


Rom. viii. 28, " And we know, that all things work together for 
good to them that love God, to them who are the called accordin^g 
to his purpose." Every stone thrown at thee, shall turn a precious 
stone ; and the most cross wind shall drive thee to thy harbour. 

III. The third thing proposed, was, to confirm the doctrine. And 
here only two things may be noticed. 

\st, He that thus manageth this ordinance, unites with Christ, the 
peace-maker ; Christ is his; his security is in him, for Christ is in hira, 
Gal. iv. 19, he cannot die. His blood is sprinkled on his people, and 
that marks them for the Lord. The Father has given all into his 
hand ; and now though he be a lion to others, he is a lamb to them ; 
and so he will not hurt them himself : a Lamb, a male of the first 
year, in his prime ; not a bone broken, in his full strength, though 
sacrificed for them ; therefore he is able to defend them, and will not 
let his enemies hurt them ; slain and roasted with fire, therefore 
justice has no more to crave of them : without blemish, and therefore 
can cover all theirs. 

Idly, He gets all this sealed under the broad seal of Heaven in 
this ordinance. Herein the covenant of peace between God and 
sinners is sealed in both hands ; and all these, and much more, 
are promises and articles of the covenant. And what greater se- 
curity can ye imagine in this world ? 

IV. Fourthly, I proceed to the application. 
Use I. For information. 

\st, The slighters of this ordinance, especially at such a time, are 
great fools, and despisers of their own mercy. Some remain in their 
gross ignorance, and have no such esteem of it, as to set them on to 
great knowledge. Some live in their profanity; and having no 
mind to be abridged of their sinful liberty, have slighted all 
these, and, it seems, will slight them to the last. Some, if the 
least demur be made about their admission, if but spoke to about 
amending what is a reproach to the gospel in their conversation, 
presently cast it off, and inquire no more about it. And some that 
formerly have sat down at that table, cast at that and other ordin- 
ances altogether. Well, sirs, I must tell you, ye are slighters of 
your own mercy ; and the slight redounds to Christ himself, whose 
ordinance it is, and will lie heavy on your souls if ever your eyes be 
opened. The day of wrath will either rouse and bow, or break your 
careless, proud, and presumptuous spirits. Those things may serve 
to blind your consciences now, that will fall off like fig-leaf covers, 
when God comes to call you to an account for your opportunities of 

2c%, The misnianagors of this ordinance are great fools, who sit 


down at the Lord's table, but communicate not believingly. They do 
the outward work, but it is not in faith ; they bring no faith, no sense, 
no discerning, &c. ; and so instead of securing themselves against the 
day of wrath, do mark themselves out for wrath. Ah ! miserable 
work, for men to turn the food of their souls into poison ; so to ma- 
nage the treaty of peace with God, that they part greater enemies 
than before ! The sin of mock-covenanting, and unworthy communi- 
cating, will be a dreadful item in the day of wrath here and hereafter. 

Use II. Of exhortation. 

l^^, Ye that are not communicants, ye are in hazard of the day 
of wrath as well as others, though ye sit not at the table. Will ye 
by faith embrace the sacrifice exhibited there ; receive and sprinkle 
the blood, the covenant sealed there. 

2dly, Communicants, manage this work so as ye may be secured 
against the day of wrath. All of you, flee into Christ Jesus as the 
city of refuge ; and make sure work, and lay down your measures 
for time and for eternity. 

Motive 1. Consider that there will certainly be a great day of 
wrath upon the world. " Our God will come." The day is coming 
when the dead shall be raised, and all shall be sisted before the tri- 
bunal. Eternal wrath will then sweep away all that shall be found 
oat of Christ at that day. "Where will ye then appear, slighters 
and despisers of Christ ? 

Mot. 2. We have all imaginable grounds to look for a day of 
wrath against this church and these lands. The plague is begun 
already as to this poor church ; her beauty is defaced ; we have all 
left God, and he has left us in great measure : we have broken off 
from God, and are broken among ourselves. There is much of the 
carved work of Zion broken down already : and we have all ground 
to expect a root-stroke to the whole of the covenanted work of re- 
formation. Matters are brought to that pass, that our lands can 
hardly miss to be a field of blood. The sins of the late times are 
like the iniquity of Baalpeor, which kindled the anger of the Lord 
against the congregation of Israel, and brought on a plague among 
them ; and the iniquity of these times has not been suitably mourned 
over to this day. A spirit of apostasy and declining is on the grow- 
ing hand amongst all ranks ; the cry of our sins is gone up to heaven : 
and, notwithstanding all the alarming dispensations of the day, 
there is a visible hardness and stupidity on the generation, and the 
spirit of prayer is restrained, that we cannot see how we can escape. 
Prepare then to meet your God ; and how will ye do it but in 
Christ ? 

I would only say two things . — 


(1.) Seeing the glorious gospel-light has so shined among us, and 
that contempt of it and of religion does so appear in the sight of the 
sun, and a profane spirit does so much rage, it is very like Grod will 
have a particular eye for evil on the profane contemners of religion 
amongst us. 

(2.) Seeing there is some ground to think that we shall yet have 
glorious days, it is like God will shovel out of the way many, that 
their eyes shall never see it ; and that it will make a sad scattering 
among formal professors, strangers to the life of godliness. 

Mot. 3. Consider Christ is now offering himself and the covenant 
of peace to us. It is time to be going when the Lord is risen up, 
and is drawing out his armies against us ; to tremble when the lion 
roars. Come then, lest ye " mourn at the last, and say. How have 
I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof? and have not 
obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that 
instructed me ?" 

I close with two or three words of advice to those that resolve so 
to manage this sacrament, as that they may be secured against the 
day of wrath. 

(1.) Let not the thoughts of wrath prevail to darken your view of 
the love of Christ in the gospel and in this ordinance. Particularly 
assure yourselves if ye be willing to be the Lord's, and take him for 
your God, the white side of the cloud is to you ; and that though 
God were to destroy the whole land from off the face of the earth, 
if there were but one soul who would take shelter in the covenant 
of peace, he should be welcome. 

(2.) As ye give yourselves to the Lord, so give your families too. 
Take all yours that way, and lay them over on him, and leave them 
with him for the evil day. 

(3.) Let it be your main concern to get strength to be carried 
cleanly through ; that ye be not led away with the sins and snares of 
the evil time, and so fall from your stedfastness. 

(4.) lastly^ Be not peremptory and particular as to what other- 
wise may be your portion of common calamity ; but leave that on 
the Lord. Only in this be particular, that the sting of the curse must 
be taken away, and therefore that ye must put yourselves in the 
bottom of the everlasting covenant, and give yourselves to Christ as 
the great Steersman through the sea of this world, leaving that to 
him what weather ye shall meet with in your voyage to Immanuel's 

Thus I have delivered my message to you from the Lord, as that 
which I judged is God's mind and call to you at this day. I desire 
to venture myself for time and eternity on this bottom ; and it is my 


request to you, that ye will take this method this day for your se- 
curity against the day of wrath. And if I should never have another 
occasion of this nature to speak unto you, I would leave it with you, 
That this, and this only, is the way to be secured against the day of 


Jer. ii, 13, 

For my people have committed two evils : they have forsaken me the 
fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns 
that can hold no water. 

This text is ushered in with a strange preface, wherein the heavens 
are called to stand amazed, to be filled with horror, and to dry 
up. Why, what is the matter ? the sin and folly of Israel. " My 
people have committed two evils," &c. In which words there is. 

First, A general charge against them : they have done " two evils," 
two ill things. Why, two is not many ; yea, but they are two lead- 
ing ill things, two mother evils. They are two fountain-sins, each 
of them casting out their thousands, as a fountain doth her waters. 
They are enough to overwhelm them with sins and sorrows. And 
the evils are the greater, that they are *' my people," in covenant 
with me, that have done them. It is not the isles of Chittim, nor 
Kedar; but Israel. 

Secondly, A particular condescension on these evils, these foun- 

\st, Deserting of God : " They have forsaken me," left me, and 
gone away from me. T am their King and Lord, and they have 
shaken off their subjection to me ; their Head and Husband, and 
they have run away from me. I am their confederate, who took 
them into covenant with me ; and they have broken the bands, and 
burst the yoke. I am their God in covenant, whom they have for- 

Idly, Taking up with the creature. They have betaken them- 
selves to the creature in my room and stead. They have " hewed 
them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." {Hch. 
for to cut out, &c.) Thus they have made an exchange. They have 

* Several sermons, preached at Ettrick in the vear 1725. 


left me, to go to them ; like traiterous subjects, casting ofF their 
rightful lord, for an usurper ; an unfaithful wife, deserting her 
husband, for her adulterer ; a wretched creature, deserting his God, 
for an idol. So here, 

1. There is something supposed. It is supposed, 

(1.) That Israel was no more self-sufficient than any other people 
under heaven. They were not able to satisfy themselves from them- 
selves ; they were as much in need of supply for the satisfaction and 
rest of their hearts, as ever a thirsty man was of drink to refresh 
him. And as proud as they were, they behoved to hang on about 
some door or other for their supply ; either God's or the creature's. 

(2.) That, in this their necessitous case, God look them home to 
his house, as one would take in a beggar in rags, and set him down 
with the children : and told them, they should not want, if they 
would stay with him. Dent, xxxii. 10, " He found him in a desert 
land, and in the waste howling wilderness : he led him about, he 
instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye." He called 
them his people, took them into the covenant, and set them down at 
the fountain-head, the well-spring of mercy and goodness. 

2. There is something expressly declared. It is so declared, 

(1.) That Israel had made a wilful exchange of his condition, cast 
himself out of God's house, into the devil's common again ; " changed 
his glory, for that which will not profit ;" forsaken the God that 
took him in, and gone back to the empty creature, where he was 

(2.) That Israel had sinned and played the fool egregiously in 
making this exchange. And accordingly his sin and folly is here 
proclaimed. And, 

1. Israel was a holy people ; but the text proclaims them a sin- 
ful people with a witness. Their forsaking him " the fountain of 
living waters," and betaking themselves to " broken cisterns," are 
signal evils. There is a heap of evil in each of them. They could 
not have made a worse choice, to the dishonour of God, and to make 
his name to be blasphemed among the heathen. So they affronted 
their God. 

2. Israel was a wise people ; but the text proclaims them fools 
with a witness ; that were as blind to their own interest, as they 
were unfaithful to God's honour. Men's wisdom or folly appears in 
their bargains : let us see what a blind exchange they had made. 
They had exchanged, 

1st, A spring-well, for cisterns. A cistern is a hollow place cut 
out in the earth, in wood, or stone, for receiving and keeping 
rain water, or water otherwise put into it j whereas the fountain or 


spring Iiath the water from itself. God in Christ is the fountaia, 
all-sufficient in himself. All the creatures are but cisterns ; if there 
is no water brought into them from heaven, or from the spring, they 
are dry, "Who then would exchange a fountain living and spring- 
ing, for a cistern ? 

2(i(i/, A fountain made ready to their hand, for cisterns that were 
to be hewed out. Happiness is ready in God for us, and we need 
only to draw out by faith the waters of consolation. But what 
hard work is ii to hew out the cisterns of created enjoyment ! It 
is desirable to have comfort ready. Who then will be so foolish, as 
to exchange a fountain made ready to their hand, for cisterns that 
require much labour to hew them out ? 

Mly, One spring-well, sufficient for all their needs, for many 
cisterns. There is no one cistern that will do one's business ; when 
the man has hewed out one cistern, the water is lacking and unpleasant 
there, and he must hew out another, and so on. And thus the soul 
once forsaking God, becomes restless ; there is no end of cisterns. 
It is a great couveniency, to have what we need in one place, and 
not to be obliged to go here and there for it. Who then would for- 
sake God, the fountain of all blessings, and betake themselves to 
the creatures, which though tried one after another, cannot supply 
their wants ? 

4:thly, Fresh and sweet waters of the spring, for the dead un- 
savoury waters of the cistern, l e. springing waters, bubbling up 
through the earth, cool, and fresh, for the standing, stinking waters 
of the cisterns. Who then will be so foolish, as to forsake the liv- 
ing waters, and betake themselves to the stinking waters of the 
cisterns ? 

Lastly, A spring-well, for broken and cracked cisterns, that let 
the water through them, and cannot hold it in. So that when the 
man comes to drink at his cistern, for his thirst ; behold there was 
a crack in the cistern, and the water is all gone ; and there is no- 
thing left but sediment, mud, and mire. 

The scope and substance of these words may be taken up in these 
two doctrines : — 

Doctrine I. Forsaking of God in Christ, and betaking one's self 
to the creature in his stead, are two ill, signally ill things. 

DocT. II. To forsake God in Christ, and take the creature in his 
stead, is a wretched exchange. 

I return to the first of these, viz : — 

DocT. I. Forsaking of God in Christ, and betaking one's self to 
the creature in his stead, are two ill, signally ill things. 


In discoursing this doctrine, we shall consider the two branches 
of it separately, viz : — 1. The forsaking of God in Christ; and, 2. 
The betaking one's self to the creature in God's stead. 

First, As to the Jirst of these ill things, the forsaking of God in 
Christ, we shall consider, 

1st, The object forsaken. 

2clli/, How sinners forsake God in Christ. 

Sdly, Why they forsake him. 

4:thly, The ill of this practice. 

Lastly, Make application. 

I. First, We shall consider the object forsaken. It is not simply 
God, but God in Christ : for the object in the text is " the fountain 
of living waters" to sinners, to refresh them, and satisfy their souls : 
but God out of Christ, an absolute God, is a consuming fire to them. 
We can no way, according to the scripture, conceive of God, as " a 
fountain of living waters" to us, but in Christ Jesus, Zech. xiii. 1, 
" In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of 
David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin, and for unclean- 
ness." John iv. 10, " Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou 
knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee. Give me to 
drink ; thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given 
thee living water." It is true, there is an infinite fulness of good- 
ness, mercy, and grace, in the nature of God; but to sinners it 
would have been a sealed fountain for ever, had not the Mediator 
interposed. So there is, 

1st, A forsaking of God simply as God. Thus Adam, falling 
from his integrity, forsook God, shaking off" the yoke of obedience 
to his Creator. This was a horrid evil, and it lies on all men in 
their natural state. They are in a state of desertion, having left 
God, Eph. ii. 12, " At that time ye 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." The 
first covenant tie is no longer able to hold them with him. In this 
sense, the Pagans have forsaken God, who never heard of Christ. 

2dli/, A forsaking of God in Christ. And thus only his visible 
church and people called by his name, are capable of forsaking him ; 
as the text hints. lie becomes their God in a visible church state, 
bidding them welcome to all his fulness, for the supply of their needs 
and making over the same to them in the gospel offer : they profess- 
ing their acceptance, by receiving the seal or seals of his covenant. 

So the God forsaken by the hearers of the gospel, must be consi- 

1. As God in our nature, for communion with guilty us, Mattli. i. 


23, " Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, 
and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted is, 
God with us." We could have no communion with an absolute 
God : the rays of his Majesty would have burnt us up, as fire does 
the dry stubble. But he clothed himself with our nature, that he 
might be a refreshing spring to us, 2 Cor. v. 19, " God was in Christ 
reconciling the world unto himself," &c. The rock of ages was 
found in our wilderness, and there he was smitten with Moses' rod, 
and the waters gushed out, the living waters, for us. He taberna- 
cled among us. 

2. As God in our nature, ready to communicate his fulness to us, 
for making us happy in time and eternity, John iv. 10, forecited. 
The spring is not to dig now ; it is digged already, and running, 
that " whosoever will, may take of the water of life freely," Rev. 
xxii. 17. The invitation is given out, to come and drink, John vii. 
37. All the saints have drunk, but the spring is running as much 
as ever for us. 

3. Lastly, As a God we have professed to betake ourselves to for 
our happiness, Jer. xvi. 19, "0 Lord, my strength and my fortress, 
and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto 
thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, surely our fathers 
have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit." 
We have found the scorching thirst that hath seized us, through the 
disorder brought into our souls by Adam's fall ; and have professed 
to look for our relief in God only ; and so have sit down by the well. 

II. The second thing on this head is. How sinners forsake God in 
Christ ? Sinners forsake him. 

Step 1. Lowering their esteem of him, the value and honour they 
had for him sinking low, Psal. 1. 21, " Thou thoughtest that I was 
altogether such a one as thyself." It is the high esteem of Christ 
that brings sinners to him ; and as that sinks, they will go away, 
John vi. 68, " Simon Peter answered him. Lord, to whom shall wo 
go ? thou hast the words of eternal life." The mystery of Christ is 
ready to be despised by j)roud nature, because there is no seeing of 
the glory of it without a peculiar light. Hence God in Christ is a 
stumbling stone to the blind world, Matth. xi. 6, " Blessed is he 
whosoever shall not be offended in me." And a stroke in the eye, 
whereby one sees no beauty in him, leads here. 

Step 2. The heart's falling off its rest in him, and turning restless, 
so that the fulness of a God cannot quiet it, Isa. xxx. 15, "In re- 
turning and rest shall ye be saved, in quietness and in confidence 
shall be your strength." If the wife begin to harbour a discontent 
as to her husband, she is in a fair way to forsake him ; and the 


heart that cannot be content with the fountain, will forsake it, to 
hew out cisterns for itself; when the view of the broad covenant, 
with all its benefits, is not sufficient to lay bands on the heart, and 
make it to say, "This is all my desire," 2 Sam. xxiii. 5, it is as 
good as gone from the Lord. 

Step 3. Ceasing to cleave to him by faith, and letting go believ- 
ing gripes of the promise, Heb. iii. 12, " Take heed, brethren, lest 
there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing 
from the living God." It is by faith one depends on and hangs 
about him for happiness and satisfaction. It is the hand by which 
his children hold him. Cant. iii. 4. It is the eye which they are to 
keep on him for the supply of all their wants, Isa. xlv. 22. While 
they do so, they are safe ; and the fountain will spring forth to 
them ; as in the case of Jacob, Gen. xxxii. 26, when he said, " I will 
not let thee go, except thou bless me ;" and in the case of the Syro- 
phenician woman, Mark vii. 24 — 30. But as soon as they let down 
their hands, and keep their eyes no more upon him for their supply, 
they are forsaking him. In the next place, they will be found, 

Step 4. Looking out some other way, for something to rest their 
hearts in. And then they are on their way away from him, Heb- 
iii. 12. Unbelief says, One may long wait at this fountain, ere he 
get wherewith to quench his thirst ; then he begins to think of hew- 
ing out cisterns. It says the promises of a rest are but fair words, 
not to be trusted to ; then they are for turning back to Egypt again 
and think they must seek a seen good, Psalm iv. 6, " There be many 
that say, who will shew us any good ?" Thus the restless heart, 
giving over to seek its rest and satisfaction in God, goes to the crea- 
ture to find in it what it cannot find in God. 

Step 5. Growing remiss in duties, and slighting opportunities of 
communion with God ; a form of duties may bo kept up, but the 
heart is away, what avail they ? Cant. iii. 1, "By night on my bed 
I sought him whom my soul loveth ; I sought him, but I found him 
not." Prayer is posted over; for it is for fashion's cause, rather 
than from faith or hope of gaining thereby, that they seek him at 
all : and by their coldrifenessin their addresses, they court a denial. 
At sermons, they are not all there, their heart is away after some 
one idol of jealousy or other, like those spoken of, Ezck. xxxiii. 31, 
" And they come unto thee as the people comcth, and they sit be- 
fore thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not 
do them ; for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart 
goeth after their covctousncss." Satan strikes in, picks up the word 
as it is sown, and fills their hearts otherwise, Prov. v. 14, "I was 
almost in all evil, in the midst of the congregation and assembly." 


And Sabbaths become a burden, like those who said, " "When will 
the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn ? and the Sabbath, 
that we may set forth wheat ?" Amos viii. 5. 

Step 6. Having no regard to please him in their ordinary walk, 
Ezek. xxiii. 35, "Therefore thussaith the Lord God, Because thou hast 
forgotten me, and cast me behind thy back, therefore bear thou also 
thy lewdness and thy whoredoms." Hence they are in no concern 
to acknowledge God in their ways, to seek counsel of God in parti- 
cular cases, and to carry along with them a regard to his glory in 
all things ; but are like the princes of Israel, Josh. ix. 14, that 
*' took of the Gibeonites, victuals, and asked not counsel at the 
mouth of the Lord." So, if they do a good thing, it is not because 
it pleases God, but because it pleaseth themselves ; and if they do 
evil, and are touched for it, it is not because it is displeasing to him. 

Step 7- Laying aside the word for a rule, and regulating them- 
selves by another standard, Psalm cxix. 53, "Horror hath taken 
hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law." Satan 
shuffles in the course of the world, the voice of the multitude, in- 
stead of the Bible into their hand ; and it is enough for them that 
they see a throng in the way before them, though they hear not the 
voice behind them, saying, " This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye 
turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left," Isa. xxx. 21. 
But God speaks to us by his word, and binds us to it, Isa. viii. 20, 
" To the law and to the testimony," &c ; and it is the appointed 
means of communion betwixt God and us; the rule of our obedience, 
and must be the reason of it ; and it is the appointed channel of in- 
fluences, Isa. lix. 21, " As for me, this is my covenant with them, 
saith the Lord ; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which 
I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out 
of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed 
saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever." So whoso forsake 
the word, forsake God. 

Step 8. Forsaking his people for their companions, Prov. xiii. 
20, " He that walketh with wise men, shall be wise ; but a com- 
panion of fools shall be destroyed." Like as it is with the sinner re- 
turning unto God, he turns his back on the world lying in wickedness, 
and forsakes his former companions in sin, Psalm xlv. 10, for there 
is no going in the way of life otherwise, Prov. ix. 6 ; so men for- 
saking the Lord, are ready to forsake his people too. Indeed men 
may keep by God's people, and yet forsake God ; but none can for- 
sake the people of God, and not forsake God himself; more than 
they can throw off a living body, and yet hold by the head. 

Step 9. Forsaking ordinances, and the comraonion of saints there- 


in. Ordinances are the trysting-places for the meeting betwixt God 
and sinners; he walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks: he 
will account himself forsaken by people's turning their back on the 
trysting-place where he is to be met with. Mark Heb. x. 25, 26, 
*' Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner 
of some is ; but exhorting one another, for if we sin wilfully after 
that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there reraaineth 
no more sacrifice for sins." He hath sent out his messengers with 
an awful certification, Luke x. 16, " He that heareth you, heareth me; 
and he that despiseth you, despiseth me ; and he that despiseth me, 
despiseth him that sent me." Therefore says Jeremiah, chap. xvii. 
13, " Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be asham- 
ed, and they that depart from me, shall be written in the earth, be- 
cause they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters." 
It is an ill sign in a wife, when she is not to be found in the house of 
her husband ; and of one forsaking God, when his feet are giving 
up treading his courts. 

Step 10, lastly, Throwing away the form of religion, casting olf 
the mask, and giving the swing to their lusts. Thus the forsaking 
of God is completed, 2 Pet. ii. 22, " But it is happened unto them 
according to the true proverb. The dog is turned to his own vomit 
again ; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." 
Then the devil re-enters with seven worse than himself, into where 
he had gone out. Thus men come to the end of this wretched rout. 
Yet even in this case all are not alike. Some give up themselves 
but to some one abomination or other ; others give up themselves to 
all manner of abominations that come in their way, swimming in a 
sea of wickedness, as the former in a pool. Some again continue 
indiflferent as to others yet in the way of God : others are possessed 
with a rancour and spite against the way of God, and those that 
follow it ; so in times of peace, they are cruel mockers, and will do 
any ill turn they can ; and in time of the church's trouble, will turn 
down-right persecutors. 

III. The third thing is, Why they forsake him ? how it comes they 
do so? 

1. There is a natural bent to apostacy in all men ; saints and sin- 
ners, Hos. xi. 7, " And ray people are bent to backsliding from me : 
though they called them to the Most High, none at all would exalt 
him." In saints it stirs, and often carries them very fearful lengths, 
as it did in Peter; in sinners it reigns, and so may carry them the 
full length. Tliis woful set of heart is natural to us. Gen. viii. 21, 
— " The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth." Our 
hearts, by Adam's fall, have got a bias to departing from God : tliere 
is need to take heed to it. 


2. Many were never truly joined to the Lord, though they seemed 
to be so: so having never knit with him, no wonder they fall away 
from him ; 1 John ii. 19, " They went out from us, but they were not 
of us, for if they had been of us they would no doubt have continued 
with us ; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that 
they were not of us." Professors, strangers to saving faith, in whom 
dwells not the Spirit of God, but of the world, lie fair to make apos- 
tates ; Heb. x, 39, " But we are not of them that draw back unto per- 
dition ; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." An 
error in the first taking up of religion, often makes it come to a 
sorry and shameful account at the long-run ; men building without 
a foundation, Luke xiv. 28 — 30, 

3. They often have some idol of jealousy secretly reserved, when 
they are at their best ; and that upon a proper occasion does the 
business ; like the young man in the gospel, that went away from 
Christ grieved, because " he had great possessions," Mark x. 22. 
It was not without reason that Pharaoh would have Israel leave 
their cattle : for then he knew this would bring them back again. 
One son of a stranger was the death of Gideon's seventy sons. One 
Inst unmortified, and secretly spared, will be the death of a thou- 
sand good motions and inclinations. That proves the man's snare. 
So Judas' covetousness was sometimes peeping out, while he was 
following Christ ; at last it broke out like a flood, and carried him 
quite away to betray his Master. 

4.*Their not pressing in to the sweet of religion, in an experi- 
mental feeling of the power of it. It is not for nought that exhor- 
tation is given with so much earnestness ; Psalm xxxiv. 8, " taste, 
and see that the Lord is good !" Experience is the best way to 
keep a sinner with God ; he feels how good it is " to draw near to 
God," Psalm Ixxiii. 28. Disappointment causes forsaking, as in the 
case of Israel in the wilderness. And they who press not in to the 
inner court of religion by faith, hope, and diligence, but satisfy 
themselves with the form of it, cannot miss these fatal disappoint- 

5. The want of a living principle of grace in the heart, that may 
bear out in all changes of one's condition ; Psalm Ixxviii. 37, " For 
theii heart was not right with him." It fares with sinners as with 
springs and pools ; when there is a shower fi'om the clouds, 
the pools are full ; but then when drought comes, the pool drys 
up, there being no spring in it. But the spring-well bears out 
then as at other times. The newness of religion serves people a 
while, to keep the affections astir ; but when that is over, and there 
is no living principle of grace, the affections are lost, and religion 

YoL. X. L 


turns unsavoury. They cool like a stone taken from the fire, and 
•wither like a branch that takes not with the stock. 

6. Unwatchfuluess. Thereby men are stolen off their feet, Prov. 
iv. 23, " Keep thy heart with all diligence : for out of it are the 
issues of life." Considering that we have a deceitful heart within, 
an ensnaring world without, and a busy devil going about us, no 
man can keep his feet without watching. By unwatchfulness there 
is a breach made in one's case, the conscience is defiled, and the 
heart is deadened ; Eccl. x. 18, " By much slothfulness the building 
decayeth, and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth 
through ;" and no care being taken to make up the gap, it grows 
still wider and wider : a strangeness gets in betwixt God and the 
soul ; and that not being removed, they even wear out of acquaint- 

7. A conceit of being able to live without him ; Jer. ii. 31, " 
generation, see ye the word of the Lord : have I been a wilderness 
unto Israel ? a land of darkness ? wherefore say my people. We 
are lords, we will come no more unto thee ?" 

8. Lastly, 111 company carries many away from God ; 1 Cor. xv. 
33, " Be not deceived : evil communications corrupt good manners." 
Joash kept the way of God as long as his good tutor Jehoiada lived ; 
but when he was gone, and fell into the ill company of the princes, 
he went quite wrong, 2 Chron. xxiv. 17, 18. Many an apostate has 
ensnaring company made ; and therefore we find God's people re- 
solute to cleave to the Lord, will beware of it, as of a pest-house ; 
Psalm cxix. 115, "Depart from me, ye evil-doors; for I will keep 
the commandments of my God." 

lY. The fourth thing here is. The ill, the ill of sin that is in for- 
saking God in Christ. 

1. It is a downright perversion and deserting of the end of our 
creation. As God is the first cause of all things, so he is the chief 
and last end, whcreunto all ought to have a tendency, Rom. xi, 36, 
" For of him, and through him, and to him are all things." "When 
God made man, he gave him a disposition to bend towards him in 
all things, as his chief end; when he re-made the world in Christ, he 
set sinners on the same way again. Psalm cv. 4, " Seek the Lord, and 
his strength ; seek his face evermore." To forsake him, then, is 
quite contrary to our chief and last end. And for a man to forsake 
God, is as much opposite to the order established in things at the 
creation, as if the sun should leave his giving light, and the earth 
its yielding its fruit to men ; as if the fire should go downward and 
the waters run upwards, and the whole course of nature should be 
turned upside down. 


2. There is in it a setting up another in the room of God ; there- 
fore it is the first command, " Thou shalt have no other God." For 
what is the forsaking of God, but going away from him to another ? 
there is no mids : for seeking ourselves instead of God, is a deifying 
of self. So the scripture points it out as spiritual adultery, Ezek. 
xvi. 32 ; and idolatry, Phil. iii. 19. See it then as a pulling down of 
our sovereign Lord God from his throne over us, and setting up a 
creature in his room, to pay it that homage which we owe to him alone. 

3. Fearful ingratitude for the greatest mercy and kindness, Jer. 
ii. 2, 12, " Thus saith the Lord, I remember thee, the kindness of 
thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me 
in the wilderness ; in a land that is not sown. Be astonished, ye 
heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the 
Lord." God has condescended to vail himself with our ilesh, that 
he might keep communion with us, with the safety of his honour ; 
" God was in Christ," that he might be a refreshing fountain to a 
starving world ; he has brought us to him by the gospel, to drink of 
the waters of his consolations, while many of the world have the foun- 
tain sealed to them. "What monstrous ingratitude must it be for 
us to forsake him ! Jer. ii. 31, forecited. 

4. Notorious unfaithfulness to our kindest Head and Husband ; 
Jer. ii. 20, " For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy 
bands, and thou saidst, I will not transgress : when upon every high 
hill, and under every green tree, thou wanderest, playing the har- 
lot." We cannot forsake him, but we must be false to our profes- 
sion, our solemn vows and engagements. Our forsaking of him is 
treachery with a witness, casting off the strongest bands taken on 
us with our own consent, to abide with him and cleave to him. It 
is an aggravation that is not in the devil's deserting him, nor the 

5. Notorious unfaithfulness to our own interest, and folly with a wit- 
ness. It was a pertinent answer which Peter gave ; John vi. 68, 
" Lord, to whom shall we go ? thou hast the words of eternal life." 
It were good for sinners under temptation to forsake God, to pro- 
pose it to themselves, and stay till they get a satisfying answer. 
Will men forsake one they are with, if they cannot do better, or as 
well with another ? But we can never do as well with any other, 
1 Sam. xii. 21, " Turn ye not aside from following the Lord : for 
then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver, 
for they are vain." Nay, whatsoever we go to, from God, will do 
us hurt, and not good, Ezek. xxix. 7- It is taking poison, leaving 
wholesome food. So those forsaking God sin against themselves, cut- 
ting the throat of their own interest, Prov. viii. 36, "But he that 

L 2 


sinneth against me, wroiigeth his own soul : all they that hate me, 
love death." 

6. An aifronting of God before the world, casting dishonour on 
him, bearing false witness against him ; Jer. ii. 31, " Have I been a 
wilderness unto Israel ? a land of darkness ? wherefore say ray peo- 
ple, We are lords, we will come no more unto thee ?" That bears 
the language of their deserting to have been, that God had been to 
them as a wilderness. Those forsaking God are as the spies that 
brought up an ill report on the good land ; Rom. ii. 24, " For the 
name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles, through you." What 
must the world say, seeing God's people forsake him, but"that it is in 
vain to serve him, and that there is not that satisfaction and com- 
fort to be found in him that the Word says there is ? 

7- A practical commendation of the way of the world, contemn- 
ing God, and seeking their happiness in things that are seen ; Prov. 
xxviii. 4, " They that forsake the law, praise the Avicked : but such 
as keep the law, contend with them." Deserters of God do not only 
cease to give a testimony against the world lying in wickedness, but 
give testimony for them, as if " they only were the people, and wis- 
dom would die with them." And thus they fly in the face of the 
testimony of God in the world. 

8. It is a sinning against the remedy of sin, and makes one's case 
very hopeless ; Heb. x. 26, " For if we sin wilfully after that we 
have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more 
sacrifice for sins." When man forsook God as God and his God in 
the first covenant, there was a way found for bringing him back to 
God ; 2 Cor. v. 19, " God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto 
himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them ;" but if men shall 
forsake God in Christ, there is not another way to be expected for 
salvation. If the sinner fall at the Mediator's door, he must lie 
there, there is none to take him up. This is the last method of sal- 
vation ; those who spurn it cannot escape perishing. 

9. Lastly, It is an opened sluice for all other sins. So the text 
holds it out as a mother-sin. The man that forsakes God, ho ex- 
poses himself a prey to all temptations, to be picked up by the first 
finder, Prov. xxvii. 8, "As a bird that wandereth from her nest; 
so is a man that wandereth from his place." He breaks off from 
communion with God in sanctifying, guiding, and strengthening in- 
fluences ; his soul being rendered as a pipe laid short of the foun- 
tain. He casts off his guide and protector in the wilderness ; and 
no wonder to find him in all evil, who forsakes the fountain and 
only spring of goodness. 

Use I. Then, let us be deeply humbled in tlio sense of our depart- 


ures from the Lord, which we have had at any time in our life ; Jer. ii. 
19, " Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings 
shall reprove thee ; know therefore and see that it is an evil thing 
and bitter that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my 
fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of Hosts." How often have 
our hearts been found in this way, gadding after other lovers ? Be- 
hold the wickedness, ingratitude, and unfaithfulness in it. What 
great lengths have we gone in alFronting our God before the world, 
and causing his name to be blasphemed ? Matth, xviii. 7, " Wo unto 
the world because of offences ; for it must needs be that offences 
come ; but wo to that man by w^hom the offence cometh." It may 
be humbling to us, 

1st, That we live, in a land infamous for apostasies; a covenanted 
land solemnly married to God, but which in a national capacity did 
forsake her covenanted God, pursuing even to death such as durst 
not go into the national apostasy. It is like, when God shall raise 
the process against the land for these things, it will be terrible, 
especially to those that are still forsaking him. 

2(iA/, We live in a generation that is fast apostatizing, not going, 
but running away from God. The sluice of untenderness is opened 
among all ranks, wickedness abounds ; the current is so forcible, that 
it is taking away many, one after another, with it, stripping them 
of their form of godliness ; driving them into sinful courses that 
once a day would have said, " Am I a dog that I should do such 
things ?" And it is hard for any to keep their feet. 

Let us be humbled under our own and the generation's forsaking 
of God, considering the dishonour to God thereby, and the danger 
to ourselves. 

2. Beware of and watch against the beginnings of forsaking of 
God. We may apply that, Prov. xvii. 14, " The beginning of strife 
is as when one letteth out water ; therefore leave off contention be- 
fore it be meddled with," When the soul begins to decline from 
God, it is hard to say where it may stop ; but one step still makes 
way for another. I doubt not there are many, who, when they 
first left God, going out of his way, they did not think to have been 
so long away from him as they have been ; nor to have gone so far 
as they have gone. And it would have been a terror to them then, 
to have thought that they should run the length they are now at. 
But it is easier holding off the first step, than off the second, and so 
forward ; for men are like those going down a precipice, that can- 
not stop till they be at the bottom. Therefore watch against the 
beginnings, and " let him that standeth take heed lest he fall." 

3. Ye that are far on, stop, and go no further ; 1 Pet. iv. 3, " For 


the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of 
the Gentiles," &c. Hold in time, lest ye run to the utmost, and lie 
at the end of it a sacrifice to your own wilfulness. God is calling 
you to return, and promising to take you home again ; Jer. iii. 22, 
" Return, ye backsliding children, and 1 will heal your backslid- 
ings." Are not your consciences convinced, that it was better with 
you before ye went away than it is now ? say then as Hos. ii. 7, " I 
will go and return to my first husband, for then was it better with 
me than now." Proceed not then in your course, to make ill 
worse. "Why will ye rush on " as the horse rusheth into the battle ?" 
Jer. viii. 6. 

4. Lastly, You forsakers of God, return, return ; whatever length 
ye are gone, whatever step ye are in, return to God in Christ. 

\st, Return by faith, and let the marriage- covenant betwixt Christ 
and you be renewed. There is access to it yet ; Jer. iii. 1, " Thou 
hast played the harlot with many lovers ; yet return again to me, 
saith the Lord." Many a time matters are gone such a length be- 
twixt Christ and sinners solemnly espoused to him, that there must 
be as great a solemnity to the agreement and coming home again, as 
there was to the first taking them in ; Rev. xix. 7, " Let us be glad 
and rejoice, and give honour to him : for the marriage of the Lamb 
is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." 

2dly, Return by repentance; Jer. xxxi. 19, " Surely after that I 
was turned, I repented ; and after that I was instructed, I smote 
upon my thigh ; I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did 
bear the reproach of my youth." Return with the blush in your face, 
the tear in your eye, grief and sorrow in your heart, your hand smit- 
ing on your breast, and the rope of humiliation about your neck, for 
your going away. Rake through your departures, search your ways, 
and be converted from them. Many times matters go such a length 
in people's forsaking the Lord, that there must be a going over the 
road of conversion again, in the several steps of it, as at first, Matt, 
xviii. 3, " Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye 
shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." There must be new 
conviction, compunction, humiliation, &c. 

Motive I. If ye will continue to forsake God, he will forsake you 
utterly, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. We may say, God does not quite for- 
sake us, though wo have forsaken him ; he is still doing us good, fill- 
ing our hearts with food and gladness. But that will not last al- 
ways so; the God that now follows us with mercy, will forsake us 
too, and give up with us, 2 Chron. xv. 2, " The Lord is with you, 
while ye be with him ; and if ye seek liim, lio will bo found of you ; 
but if ye forsake him, he will forsake yon." 


Motive 2. Heavy will be your case, if God shall forsake you ; 
Hos. ix. 12, " Yea, wo to them when I depart from them." It is 
comprized there in a word of two letters ; but men and angels can- 
not sufficiently unfold the import of it. Saul got a taste of it in this 
world, and what a dreadful weight was it on him? 1 Sam, xxviii. 
15, " And Saul answered, I am sore distressed, for the Philistines 
make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth 
me no more, neither by prophets nor by dreams." How much more 
dreadful will it be in another world ? 

Mot. 3, It is a hell by choice ; and when it comes to be felt in its 
vigour, it will be nothing the easier, but the hotter, that it was your 
own choice. The sentence of damnation runs in these terms, " De- 
part from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the 
devil and his angels," Matth. xxv. 41. 

Now men will not stay with him, they will be away. The sending 
them to hell will be a giving them their will ; a forcing them to 
that in a penal way which is now their sinful choice. 

Mot, 4, Lastly, The Lord calls you to return, and is courting you 
to come back. He needs us not; but he sees that we are ruined if 
we do not come back. 

Secondly, As to the second evil, The betaking one's self to the 
creature in God's stead. 

In speaking to this, let us consider, 

\st, The object taken up with in God's stead. 

2dly, How sinners take up with the creature in God's stead. 

Zdly, Why sinners take up with the creature in God's stead. 

'ithly, The ill of this practice. 

Lastly, Improve the doctrine. 

I. First, Let us consider the object taken up with in God's stead. 
It is the creature : A sorry exchange, Rom, i. 25. " They changed 
the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature 
more than the Creator." It has two names in scripture, a negative 
and a positive one. 

\st, It is not God; Deut. xxxii. 21. "They have moved me to 
jealousy with that which is not God." This is the name of all the 
cisterns, of the whole creation, chosen in God's room. Whatever 
it is, whatever excellency be conceived in it, it is a not-god. They 
take it for a god, and so they take it for what it neither is nor can 
be ; and so they cheat themselves. We may take up this name in 
these two syllables. 

1. It cannot satisfy ; Isa. Iv. 2, " Wherefore do ye spend money 
for that which is not bread ? and your labour for that which satis- 
fieth not ?" There are a great many empty spaces in the liungry 


heart, and it cannot fill them up. God's name is All-suffident, Gen. 
xvii. 1 ; Heb. q. d. that which is commensurable. Hereby he is dis- 
tinguished from all not-god ; none of them all will measure out, nor 
all of them together, with the necessities of any of us. 

2. It cannot profit ; 1 Sam. xii. 21, " And turn ye not aside : for 
then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver, 
for they are vain." "Whatever not-god one betakes himself to, it 
can not only not do him good enough, but it can do him no good ; 
Jer. ii. 11, "Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no 
gods ? but my people have changed their glory, for that which doth 
not profit. Yea, it can do him no good, even though it were a 
whole world gained ; Matth. xvi. 26, " For what is a man profited, 
if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? or what 
shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?" Paul was not out in 
his reckoning, when he said, (Phil. iii. 8.) " Yea doubtless, and I 
count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of 
Christ Jesus ray Lord ; — and do count them but dung, that I may 
win Christ." A cistern of one's own hewing out for the fountain, is 
not only scant of water, but the little that is of it is naught. 

Idly, It is the world, 1 John ii. 15; the great bulky vanity, Eccl. 
i. 2; the passing world, 1 John ii. 17; the present evil world, Gal. 
i. 4 ; that there is a curse upon, whereby it is doomed to be burnt to 
ashes, and so can neither last, nor satisfy in the time it does con- 
tinue. It is a name consisting of three syllables. 

1. " The lust of the flesh," 1 John ii. 16, i. e. things grateful to 
the vile body. There is nothing in it for a pure holy soul, but what 
is noisome to it ; as appears from the entertainment it gave to 
Christ. But the vile world aff"ords for the vile body the pleasures 
of eating and drinking, of fleshly lusts, luxurious ease. It has 
wherewith to gratify the senses of touching, tasting, and smelling. 
And though " the Lord is for the body," 1 Cor. vi. 13, and can and 
will gratify its senses more than ten thousand worlds ; yet men for- 
sake God, and take up with the world and its lusts of the flesh. 

2. "The lust of the eyes," 1 John ii. 16, i.e. things grateful to 
the covetous eye ; Psalm iv. 6, "Who will shew us any good?" 
There is nothing in it for the single eye but grievousness, which 
makes them cry, Ilab. i. 3, and makes it a weary land. But it has 
fuel for feeding the vitiated lusting eye ; it aflbrds silver and gold, 
houses and lands, farms and merchandize, cloths and ornaments, pom- 
pous and gaudy sights and shows, husbands and wives, children and 
servants, &c. And though there is a perfection of beauty in God in 
Christ, while ho is represented as fairer than the sons of men. Psalm 
xlv.2, and altogether lovely, Cant. v. 16; yet he is torsaken for the 


lust of the eyes the world affords ; while in the meantime it never 
satisfies the eye, Eccl. i. 8, 

3. " The pride of life," 1 John ii. 16, i. e. things grateful to the 
vain mind. There is nothing in it for the pure mind, but what is 
vain, or eke vile; 2 Cor. v. 4, " For we that are in this tabernacle 
do groan, being burdened." Phil. i. 23, "For I am in a strait be- 
twixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is 
far better." But it affords abundant entertainment for the vain 
mind ; airy honours, credit, reputation, and esteem for this and the 
other fancied or real excellency in a person; a variety for enter- 
taining the musical, light, or malicious ear; airy castles enough, 
for the fancy to rove up and down in at large, in vain projects, and 
vile desires, and dreaming enjoyments ; and enough to busy the 
curious, while they live, if they were to live as long as Methuselah, 
that with all their learning and researches they shall never come to 
the end of. In God in Christ are " hid all the treasures of wisdom 
and knowl^-dge," Col. ii. 3, full satisfaction for the mind, 1 John iii. 
2. But he is forsaken for the world's pride of life, that will fall in 
a moment like foam on the water, Hos. x. 7. 

11. Secondly, Let us consider, •'How sinners take up with the 
creature in God's stead." This is done by setting the heart on the 
creature, giving it the chief or supreme room in the heart which is 
due to God only. And so men take up with the creature in God's 
stead. The steps of it are these. 

Step 1. Raising their esteem of and value for the creature, till it 
come to overtop their esteem of God in Christ, like Eve with respect 
to the forbidden fruit, Gen. iii. 6. Men looking on the creature, are 
often as one standing looking over a precipice, till the head growing 
giddy, they fall over. Thus Achan came to forsake God for the 
wedge of gold, Josh. vii. 21. The creature grows more and more 
bulky and glorious ; and the beauty of a God in Christ is more and 
more vailed; till in end the soul gives the preference to the creature, 
and determines it is best for it. Now the unhappy match is begun, 
and the soul is in a fair way to go off to the creature. 

Step 2. Bending their chief desire towards the creature. Psalm iv. 
6, to obtain it, and the satisfaction they apprehend is to be found in 
it. The heart goes after it on the wings of desire, the soul flying 
after it as a ravenous bird on its prey, Prov. xxiii. 5. So the heart 
is boiling hot upon it, and grows cold towards God, and Esau, Gen. 
XXV. 30, 32. Then the man is making away to it as fast as he can. 

Step 3. Embracing and knitting with it in love, 2 Tim, iv. 10. 
So Demas loosed his gripes of Paul and the gospel, and fastened his 
gripes on the world. It gets more of his love than God in Christ, 


and all the riches of Christ. He looks for his happiness from it, 
thinks he would be happy if he could be master of what is in it ; and 
so he cleaves to it in love, till the love of God is extinguished in his 
heart, 1 John ii. 15. And thus the man has betaken himself to it 
instead of God, and the fatal new match is made up. 

Step 4. Seeking a rest for their hearts in it ; Matth. xi. 28, " Come 
unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give 
you rest." The man has a restless heart in his breast, that is gap- 
ing for something to satisfy it ; and he carries it away to the crea- 
ture, to rest there ; to the cisterns, to drink there. And there he 
sucks at the breasts of the world's consolations, the consolations of 
God being now tasteless with him. 

Step 5. Trusting in it, and having their chief dependence on it, 
notwithstanding of the curse pronounced against such trust, Jer. xvii. 
5. 6. It is their prop that supports them, the pillar they lean on. 
Happy had they been, if they had had such trust to God as they give 
to the creature. Though it frowns on them, they trust it will yet 
smile, and they will wait on ; it has disappointed them often, and 
yet with the greatest confidence they will promise on its head. God's 
promises, that might be deferred but never failed, they can trust 
nothing to ; but the deceitful promises of the world they trust in. 

Step 6. Using their chief and most earnest endeavours for it. 
Their trust in it is backed with suitable endeavours ; they spare no 
cost, to get out of the creature what they are seeking; Isa. Iv. 2, 
" Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread ? and 
your labour for that which satisfieth not ?" They will spend their 
money on their lusts, and what is better than either gold or money, 
they will spai-e no pains ; they will labour for it ; they will labour 
in the very fire, and that to weariness, Hab, ii. 13. It is not the 
sinner's fault, that he gets no satisfaction in the creature ; if it were 
in it, he would surely have it out of it. Meanwhile, as is his trust 
and dependence on God, so are his endeavours that way; his trust 
nothing, and his endeavours languid. 

Step 7. Hejoicing most in their enjoyment of it, and delighting 
most in it. It is no more God, but the creature that is the man's 
chief joy; 2 Tim. iii. 4, " Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of 
God." The joy of the corn and wine, the crop and cattle, is more to 
them than the light of the Lord's countenance. They can relish no 
other joys but what are carnal ; let the world smile, the heavens 
may lower for them, they can be easy ; and reign as kings without 
God, if the kind world will but set a fading crown on their head. 

Step 8. Sorrowing most of all for the want of it, under the 
frowns of it; 2 Cor. vii. 10, "The sorrow of the world worketh 


death." They can bear the frowns of the God that made them, 
better than the frowns of the creature ; for the latter has more of 
their heart than the former. Though God's displeasure is burning 
against them, forsaking of him is not their grief; it will not 
mar their joy in the world, but their joy in the world will be 
an antidote against it; Hos. xii. 7, 8, " He is a merchant, the balan- 
ces of deceit are in his hand ; he loveth to oppress. And Ephraim 
said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance ; in all 
my labours they shall find none iniquity in me, that were sin." But 
all the joys of the gospel will now weigh down their sorrows from 
the creature, Exod. vi. 7 — 9. 

Step 9. Still cleaving to it, under never so many disappointments 
from it ; nor forsaking it, but trying another mean, when one mis- 
gives ; Isa. Ivii. 10, " Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way ; 
yet saidst thou not. There is no hope ; thou hast found the life of 
thine hand ; therefore thou wast not grieved." When their expec- 
tations in God were deferred, they said, " Why should we wait on 
the Lord any longer ?" and so they forsook him. But do they treat 
the creature so ? No indeed ; but when it raises their hope in one 
thing to the very foundation, they shift about from one creature to 
another, but never come back to God ; when one cistern runs dry, 
they go to another, but return not to the fountain. 

Step 10. Lastly, Following the creature whithersoever it goes, 
even quite over the hedge of the law of God ; Eccles. x. 8, " He that 
diggeth a pit, shall fall into it ; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a 
serpent shall bite him." The man that has betaken himself to the 
creature, he may hold within the compass of lawful enjoyments, 
and perish by them, Matth. xxiv. 38, 39, " For as, in the days that 
were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and 
giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 
and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away ; so shall 
also the coming of the Son of man be." But the sinner, disappointed 
of the satisfaction expected in lawful things, takes at length the 
liberty of unlawful ; like a beast, that, having ate up all to the red 
earth within his pasture, breaks over the hedge, and eats up that 
which is [not allowed. Thus the sinner is come to the last step, 
giving himself the swing in his lusts. 

III. The third thing is, Why sinners take up with the creature in 
God's stead. 

1. Because the heart of man is naturally wedded to the creature; and 
that bond not being truly broken, it is apt to return upon occasion 
to its natural bias. Adam, sinning, loft God, and joined the creature ; 
BO there is the natural bond, there is the object that gets our first 


love. Hence, though the sinner seem to join himself to the Lord, he 
is apt to return to the creature ; and will do it, if the power of grace 
prevent it not, Hos. xi. 7, " And my people are bent to backsliding 
from me; though they called them to the Most High, none at all 
would exalt him. 

2. Because man's corrupt nature finds a suitableness and agree - 
ableness in the creature to itself, Isaiah Ivii. 10, forecited. Corrupt 
lusts, which otherwise must starve, find an agreeable entertainment 
in the creature, an entertainment they can relish or favour, while 
they cannot favour the things of God, Rom. viii. 5. Even as a 
swine brought into a palace will get back into an unclean place, 
where it will get mire and dirt which it cannot get there. 

3. Because the creature takes by the eye and other senses ; God 
and his favour is the object of faith, which is rare in the world. Men 
are naturally much addicted to sense, and apt to be led thereby, 
and are most feelingly touched by objects of sense ; while it requires 
the exerting of a supernatural power on them to raise on them the 
faith of things invisible. Hence the natural cry, Psalm iv. 6, " Who 
will shew us any good ?" And therefore God gives his people a 
spiritual sensation to balance it ; ver. 7, " Thon hast put gladness 
in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine 

4. Because the creature promiseth a present good, whereas the 
greatest things of God are reserved to another world. Though God 
does ofter great things in hand to the sinner, Psalm xix. 11, yet the 
greatest is in hope ; but the world's good is ofi"ered as a present good ; 
as that which is soon rotten is ordinarily soon ripe too, and con- 
trariwise. Hence the sinner, making the comparison, looks on the 
spiritual good as the bird in the bush ; on the temporal as the bird 
in hand, and so grips to it, letting the other go. 

5. Because, by the ijower of a strong delusion, conveyed into 
the nature of man by the serpent in paradise, they expect a satis- 
faction and happiness in the creature. Gen. iii. 5, 6. It is repre- 
sented to them in a magnifying glass, as the forbidden fruit was to 
our first parents ; and so strongly is this hope rivctted in them, that 
though they meet with thousands of disappointments, yet still in 
new hopes they renew their endeavours to extract it out of them ; 
Isa. Ivii. 10, " Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet 
saidst thou not. There is no hope. 

6. Lastly, Because they must needs betake themselves to some- 
thing without tlicrosclves, not being self-sullicient ; so, having lost 
God, they fall of course to the creature in his stead ; Eph. ii. 12, " At 
that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from tlio common- 
wealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, hav- 


ing no hope, and without God in the world :" compared with ver. 
3, " Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past, in 
the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the 
mind." The sun being gone down on them, they sei up their candles 
to enlighten their darkness, and compass themselves about with their 
own sparks. When the prodigal wanted bread, he fed on hnsk§ : 
when bread was not in Samaria, asses' heads and doves' dung were 

lY. The fourth thing is, The ill of this practice, taking up with 
the creature in God's stead ; the ill of sin in it. 

1. It is an egregious wrong done to God, and his infinite excellency, 
Jer. ii. 11, "Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no 
gods ? but my people have changed their glory, for that which doth 
not profit." To take up with the creature in God's stead, is to afi'ront 
him, cast dishonour on him, and, as far as lies in us, to ungod him. To 
pull down the king from his throne, and to put a beggar from the 
dung-hill upon it ; to pull down the sun from the firmament, and 
set up in its room a twopenny candle ; the angels from their seats, 
and set glow-worms in their stead — would be no such injury as 
here ; for the distance betwixt these is but finite; but that betwixt 
God and the creature, infinite. 

It is a heap of practical blasphemies against God, and vilely mis- 
represents him, as if he were not, 

(1.) The chief good. He is originally good, and the fountain of 
all goodness that is to be found in any creature ; Matth. xix. 17, 
" There is none good but one, that is God." Therefore he is the 
chief good. But this practice says, the creature is better than he ; 
else why do men take up with it in his stead ? "What is our choice, 
in a plurality" of things, one of which we may have, will always be 
reckoned the best in our judgment. 

(2.) All-suflicient. He declares himself all-sufiicient in himself, 
and to his creatures. Gen. xvii. 1. There is enough in him to make 
all the world of men, yea, a thousand worlds of men, happy ; for his 
perfections are infinite. But the taking up with the ci'eatnre in his 
stead, says. There is not enough in him for us. If it is not so, why 
do not we hold by him ? if there is enough for us in God, why are 
we found at the creature's door ? if the fountain is not dry, why at 
cisterns ? 

(3.) The most lovely. God is the perfection of beauty and ex- 
cellency ; for whatever is lovely in the creature, is a ray of beauty 
darted from him ; James i. 17, "Every good gift, and every perfect 
gift, is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights." 
Every thing has its spots; only "he is altogether lovely," Cant. v. 



16 ; SO lie is " fairer than tlie sons of men," Psalm xlv. 2 ; and no- 
thing is so desirable. But the taking up with the creature gives the 
lie to this testimony. If the water is sweeter in the fountain than 
in the cistern, why is the cistern chosen instead of the fountain ? 

(4.) Communicative, willing to impart of his goodness to his crea- 
tures, Matth. XXV. 21. He has parted with his own Son for us, and 
is willing " with him to give us all things," Rom. viii. 32. And this 
is the testimony of the gospel of God. Yet sinners by this practice 
give it out, that all this is false ; that they must needs take up with 
the creature, since the Creator locks up himself from them. 

2. It is a wrong done to the creature, as being a putting it out 
of its proper place. It is a rape committed upon it, a violence done 
thereto, which makes it groan, Rom. viii. 21, 22. When Rachel put 
her husband in God's stead, he complained bitterly of it, saying, 
Gen. XXX. 2, " Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee 
the frnit of the womb?" So did the king of Israel, when the king 
of Syria, he thought, treated him so ; 2 Kings v. 7, " Am I God, (said 
he), to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to 
recover a man of his leprosy ?" So would the whole creation com- 
plain of men, if they had a mouth to speak. It exposes the creature 
to the fire of God's jealousy, Ezek. xxiv. 25. As there is not a 
readier way to break a bow, than to overbend it ; so there is not a 
readier way to ruin the creature, than to make an idol of it. No- 
thing sits safe that sits in the seat of God. 

3. It is a wrong done to the whole generation of the saints. Asaph 
takes notice of this in his case, Psalm Ixxiii. 12 — 15, " Behold, these 
are the ungodly, who prosper in the world, they increase in riches. 
Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in 
innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chasten- 
ed every morning. If I say, I will speak thus ; behold, I should 
offend against the generation of thy children." As it affronts their 
God, it grieves them to the heart ; as it declares them to have made 
a foolish choice, it dishonours them, and proclaims them fools. Thus 
they sadden the hearts of those whom God has not made sad ; and 
hold them for fools whom he counts wise. 

4. Lastly, It is an egregious wrong to the sinner's own soul, putting 
the arrantest cheat upon it that one is capable to do, Prov. viii. 36, 
" But he that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul ; all they 
that hate me love death." It is the putting one in the hand of the 
soul, for an end it will never be able to answer. God says, lie will 
be for a God to the sinner ; but behold, the sinner says to his own 
soul, Let the creature be for a God to thee. This is, instead of 
bread, to give a stone; instead of a fish, to give a serpent. 


Use. Then have a horror of taking up with the creature in God's 
room and stead : look on it as a signal evil, and tremble at the very 
thoughts of it. And, 

1. Look back on your guilt of that kind, and repent. what of 
this idolatry has there been, and is there among us ! See it, and be 
convinced and humbled under the sense of it. 

(1.) Has not some creature or other had your chief affection set 
upon it ? 1 John ii. 15, " Love not the world, neither the things 
that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the 
Father is not in him." How warmly have your hearts been carried 
towards it, while nothing for God but coldrife love, languishing de- 
sires ? &c. The heart has been like a common inn, so thronged with 
strangers, that there was no room for the Master. 

(2.) Have you not served the creature more than God ? Rom. i. 
25. Ye have all been at pains for the world, and to serve that inte- 
rest; but so long as ye have lived, what have ye done for God and 
his interest ? Alas ! are there not many who set themselves in op- 
position to it ? and at best they think they do very well if they do 
not act against it ; but how few set themselves to advance it. Do 
ye serve the creature so ? No. Then do ye not serve the creature 
more than the Creator ? 

(3.) Has not your greatest care been to please another rather than 
God ? yourselves, your lusts, this and the other person, whose favour 
ye have valued rather than a God in Christ ; Gal. i. 10, " For do I 
now persuade men, or God ? or do I seek to please men ? for if I yet 
pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." How often 
have sinners pleased themselves and others, at the expense of God's 
high displeasure ; and made their way to their own pleasure, over 
the belly of all the intimations of God to the contrary. 

Look back on these things, see how ye have set up another in 
God's stead ; be ashamed, loathe yourselves, mourn, and repent for 
these things. 

2. Reform, pull down your idols of jealousy ; whatever it is that 
has had God's room with you, cast it down from the throne, and set 
it in a low place at his footstool; Hos. xiv. 3, " Ashur shall not save 
us, we will not ride upon horses, neither will we say any more to the 
work of our hands. Ye are our gods, for in thee the fatherless find- 
eth mercy." Restore the throne to your Sovereign Lord, reduce 
the usurper ; let a God in Christ command, and let all things else 
be at his disposal, and modelled according to his will and pleasure, 
2 Cor. X. 5. 

3. Lastly, Watch, and beware of any creature's stepping at any 
time into the room of God ; Prov. iv. 23, " Keep thy heart with all 


diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." Keep a jealousy of 
this sort over your hearts at all times ; for there is a propensity in 
it to fall into this course ; and it will he off to the creature, if ye do 
not guard against it ; and in special at some times, particularly, 

(1.) When the Lord delays to answer. This is a time when the 
unbelieving heart, being in a haste, is ready to make its address to 
the creature instead of God, that it may do for the man what God 
defers to do. This was the ruining thing to those in the wilderness. 
God was not like to bring them into Canaan, and therefore they 
■were for going back to Egypt. Resolve ye with the church, Lara, 
iii. 49, 50, " Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not without any 
intermission ; till the Lord look down, and behold from heaven." 

(2.) When the creature courts, and the world smiles ; Prov. i. 32, 
" For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prospe- 
rity of fools shall destroy them." We are ready to hang by a frowning 
world ; how much more dangerous is it when it smiles on us. Many 
have been hugged to death thereby. When, therefore, things go ac- 
cording to your wish, take heed ye be not ruined, as the scum the 
higher it rises, the sooner it runs over and is lost. 

Doctrine. IT. To forsake God in Christ, and take the creature in 
his stead, is a wretched exchange. 

For clearing of this doctrine I shall take it up in these four 
points: — 

Point I. Forsaking of God for the creature, is an exchanging of a 
fountain for a cistern. 

Point IL Forsaking of God for the creature, is an exchanging of 
a fountain made ready to our hand, for a cistern that remains to be 
hewed by ourselves. 

Point IlL Forsaking of God for the creature, is an exchanging 
of a fountain for many cisterns. 

Point. IY. ult. Forsaking of God for the creature is an exchang- 
ing of a fountain for cracked and broken cisterns, that can hold no 

I return to the first of these, viz., 

Point I. Forsaking of God for the creature, is an exchanging of a 
fountain for a cistern. This is a wretched exchange, if ye consider, 

1. The water in the cistern is borrowed water; that in the foun- 
tain is from itself. Mark x. 18, " There is none good but— God ;" 
none good essentially, underivedly, but God himself. All the cisterns 
of created enjoyments must be filled from God as the fountain, or 
else remain empty. The fountain has a spring in itself, the cistern 
none. If God communicate not to the creature, it is sapless and 
foysonless. The whole creation shines with borrowed light. Wha 


ever sNfoetness is in any person or thiu^ created, it is a drop from 
the fountain, from God. Would one exchange the sun for the stars ? 

2. The water must needs be sweeter and fresher in the fountain 
than in the cistern. Who would not drink rather from the spring, 
than from a vessel of water within the house ? The enjoyment of 
God in Christ is far sweeter than of the whole the creation can af- 
ford ; Psalra iv. 6, 7, " There be many that say, Who will show us 
any good ? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. 
Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their 
corn and their wine increased." Every thing is best in God as in 
the fountain. Heaven's riches, the riches of Christ, are better than 
worldly riches, Avhich are but a stream from the other; Psalm civ. 24, 
" Lord, how manifold are thy works ! in wisdom hast thou made 
them all ; the earth is full of thy riches." The beauty of Christ sur- 
passes all created beauties ; Psalra xlv. 2, " Thou art fairer than the 
sons of men." The knowledge of Christ is more excellent than all 
other knowledge, Phil. iii. 8, " Yea doubtless, and I count all things 
but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my 
Lord ; — and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." The 
comfort of the creature is often unsavoury, in God it is ever sweet. 

3. The water in the cistern is no more but a certain measure ; in 
the fountain it is uumeasurable. Whatever perfection or goodness 
is in any creature, there is an end of it which one may reach unto ; 
Psalm cxix. 96, " I have seen an end of all perfection ? but thy com- 
mandment is exceeding broad." But God's perfections are infinite, 
there is no end of them. So in all created things there is a want, 
and therefore the heart cannot find true rest in them ; but in God 
there is no want, the heart may rest in him, Ileb. iv. 2, " For we 
which have believed, do enter into rest." No creature is commen- 
surable to the boundless desires of man's heart; but God is; so in 
him sinners may be happy for ever. 

4. The water in the cistern is mostly very scanty ; the fountain is 
ever full. There is a want in the creature at its best; it cannot 
satisfy the desires of the heart of man, Isa. Iv. 2, " Wherefore do ye 
spend money for that which is not bread ? and your labour for that 
which satisfieth not ? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that 
•which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." But even 
what may reasonably be expected from it, oft-times cannot be had 
from it ; it sinks far below the measure of what it promises ; so that 
often it is as Hag. ii. 16 ; " When one came to a heap of twenty 
measures, there were but ten ; when one came to the pi ess-fat, for to 
draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty." But 
there is a perpetual fulness in a God in Christ, that one can never 

ii 2 


come amiss to him, if he should come never so oft. How wretched 
an exchange must it then be, to exchange the fulness of a Godhead 
for the empty creature ? 

5. The water of the cistern is always dreggy ; the fountain clear 
and pure. Hence the end of the one is sorrow, but the other not so ; 
Prov. X. 22, " The blessing of the Lord it maketh rich ; and he addeth 
no sorrow with it." There is a thorn of uneasiness in the softest bed 
one can make to himself in the whole creation ; and the fairest rose 
wants not its prickles. Lawful enjoyments leave behind them a 
sting in the heart ; and the more comfort one has in them, the more 
bitter is the parting with them, which cannot be evited. Unlawful 
ones leave a sting in the conscience, which will sting through eter- 
nity, if bitter repentance prevent it not; Prov. v. 8, " Remove thy 
way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house." See 
Isa. 1. 11, "Behold all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves 
about with sparks ; walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks 
that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand, ye shall lie 
down in sorrow." A devil of covetousness, uncleanliness, &c., rages 
in some ; but bitter will be the dregs of it. But whoso hold by a 
Grod in Christ, shall swim in joy unspeakeable for ever. 

6. Lastly, The water of the cistern is soon dried up ; the fountain, 
never. A few days or years will put an end to all our lawful and 
unlawful comforts in the creature. A touch of the hand of God, by 
some heavy disease on the body, may soon make the now healthiest 
incapable of comfort either of these ways. And if such should spend 
their days in health and wealth, the moment they go to the grave, 
the candle will be put out, and they will pay for their folly by ever- 
lasting bitterness. But a God in Christ will be an eternal spring of 
comfort to those that are his. 

Use. See then the wretchedness of this exchange, and repent that 
ye have made it. The result of it in end will be, 

1. Cutting disappointment, Luke xii. 19, 20, " And I will say to 
ray soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take 
thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou 
fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee : then whose shall 
those things be which thou hast provided ?" No body forsakes God 
for the creature, but they think to better their condition thereby : 
but that is impossible ; therefore they must be disappointed, and 
their expectations frustrated. Isa. xx. 5, 6, " And they shall be 
afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt 
their glory. And the inhabitant of this isle shall say in that d.iy, 
Behold, such is our expectation, whether we flee for help to be de- 
livered from the king of Assyria : and how shall we escape ?" They 


may get an offputting for a while with the creature to which they 
betake themselves in God's stead ; but the day will come when they 
shall complain of it, as Job vi. 15, " My brethren have dealt deceit- 
fully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away." 

2. Bitter remorse, Prov. xxiii. 32, " At last it biteth like a ser- 
pent, and stingeth like an adder." "What comfort had Jndas of his 
thirty pieces of silver, when he saw the end ? the rich man of his 
faring deliciously every day, when in hell he lift up his eyes ? Since 
there is a God, and a judgment to come, he will certainly make those 
who swill down the cup of sin with so much pleasure now, wring out 
and drink the dregs thereof too at long run, Psalm Ixxv. 8, " For 
in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red : it is 
full of mixture, and he poureth out of the same ; but the dregs thereof 
all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them." 

Point II. Forsaking of God for the creature, is an exchanging of 
a fountain made ready to our hand, for a cistern that remains to be 
hewed out by ourselves. The wretchedness of this exchange does 
appear in that, 

1. The fountain is always ready for us, the cisterns often are un- 
ready. There is access at any time to be had unto God, through 
Christ, by faith, Psalm xlvi. 1, " God is our refuge and strength, 
a very present help in trouble." The man that came to his friend 
at midnight, had access, and was served of all he wanted, Luke xi. 
5 — 8. God in Christ is that friend, and he will help early. Psalm 
xlvi. 5. But the 'creature is an unready help; so that the man's 
case is often past cure, ere help can be had from that airth. 

2. The fountain is made ready for us by another hand, the cis- 
terns must be prepared by our own ; Zech. xiii. 1, " In that day there 
shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inha- 
bitants of Jerusalem, for sin, and for uncleanness." Jesus Christ 
has opened the fountain of the divine fulness, that we may come to 
it and drink. It is set wide open in the gospel, John vii. 37. — 
" Jesus stood, and cried, saying. If any man thirst, let him come 
unto me and drink." Adam's sin stopt all the wells of creature- 
comforts to us ; so that we find much ado to get them so far opened, 
as thence to get a little to quench our thirst : and what pains it 
costs men to open them again ! 

3. At the fountain one has nothing ado but to drink, John vii. 37, 
but it is no little pains that is necessary to fit out the cistern for 
us. It is a labour, Isa. Iv. 2, " Wherefore do ye spend — your la- 
bour for that which satisfieth not ?" Matth. xi. 28, " Come unto me, 
all ye that labour," and ofttimes a weary labour ; Hab. ii. 1 3, " Behold, it 
is not of the Lord of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, 

M 2 


and the people sliall weary themselves for very vanity ?" For the cis- 
terns must be hewed out, as out of a rock ; and this hewing work is 
the work that fills most men's hands all the days of their lives, till 
death make their tools drop out of their hands. Hewing work is, 

1. Hard and sore work. But no hewing is harder than hewing 
out cisterns of creature-comforts in God's stead. Others may rack 
the whole body ; but this racks the soul and conscience always, and 
sometimes the body too, Hab. ii. 13, forecited. How is the heart 
racked with anxious desires and impetuous lustings ! the mind rack- 
ed to contrive how to gratify them ; the executive faculty, how to 
bring it to pass ; and the conscience, to make way over its belly for 
them ; and the body itself treated in the pursuit, as they would be 
loth to treat their beast ? Psalm vii. 14, " Behold he travelleth 
with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth false- 

2. Longsome work, that one comes but little speed in. The truth 
is, it is so longsome, that it is never at an end with men, till either 
God's grace reaching the heart cause one give it over as vain work, 
or else death drag him away from it ; Job xv. 20, " The wicked man 
travelleth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden 
to the oppressor." It is a cursed work that one can never by their 
labour get to the end of. The worldly man must still be hewing; 
Eccl. iv. 8, " There is one alone, and there is not a second ; yea, he 
hath neither child nor brother ; yet is there no end of all his labour, 
neither is his eye satisfied with riches, neither saith he. For whom 
do I labour, and bereave my soitl of good ? this is also vanity, yea, 
it is a sore travel." The sensual man must be hewing, to please 
his fleshly lusts ; Prov. xxiii. 35, " They have stricken me, and I 
■was not sick ; they have beaten me, and I felt it not ; when shall I 
awake ? I will seek it yet again." The proud man must be hewing, 
till he get his nest set among the stars; Obad. ver. 4; though ere 
he gets there justice will throw him down. 

3. "Weary work on these accounts ; sore and long toil, and that 
many times for nought, makes weary work, Hab, ii. 13. forecited. 
it is an ungrateful world men set their hearts on, that causeth 
them to go many a foot to no purpose. It is a hard rock, the crea- 
ture, to work upon, where many a stroke is given for no effect. The 
man is thirsty, and he hews, but can get no water, Isa. Ivii. 10, 
" Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way." Many a man has 
much toil, and weary on-waiting, to get his own soul ruined, Jer, ix. 
5; the mischievous man wakes while others sleep. Psalm, xxxvi. 4; 
the murderer, the adulterer, and the thief wake also. Job xxiv. 14 


Three things make this work about the cisterns such a hewing work. 

(1.) The emptiness of the creature, brought into it by man's sin. 
There is an original emptiness in it, which took place in the state of 
innocence, that it could never afford a rest to the heart of man. 
There is an accidental emptiness in it by sin ; the scripture calls it 
vanity, Rom. viii. 20, that it cannot now afford the satisfaction it 
sometimes could have given, being like an empty husk, a dry and 
parched ground, in comparison of Avhat it once was. Psalm cii. 26. 
Now here lies the case ; there is less in the creature now, than some 
time there was ; yet men's hearts eagerly seek out of it, and expect 
from it more than ever was in it. When, then, men in these cir- 
cumstances fall a-hewing at it, how can it miss to be hard, long- 
some, and weary work. 

2. The curse lying upon it for man's sin ; Gen. iii. 17. This has so 
locked up the little comfort that is in it, that it is made hard work 
to get at it. Hence so many disappointments, so often falling short 
of the comfort that otherwise it might really give. Thus, whereas 
God in Christ is an open fountain, the creature is a sealed cistern 
many times ; Mai. ii. 2, " If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it 
to heart, to give glory to my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will 
even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings ; yea, I 
have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart." And 
no wonder one find hard work in breaking through Heaven's seal 
on the creature. 

3. Lastly, The opposition from Heaven the sinner must lay his ac- 
count with in this work of his. It is a work which is against God, 
and God will be against it, and it is hard to kick against the pricks ; 
Acts ix. 5. Providence may let the man thrive in it a while, as the 
builders of Babel did ; but they shall be sensible at length of God's 
working against them ; Hos. ii. 6, " Therefore, behold, I will hedge 
up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her 
paths." They shall plant, and God shall pluck up ; build, and he 
shall destroy ; they shall beautify, and he shall blast ; fill their cis- 
terns, and he ^mpty them. They may find God working against 
them, and the effect of it on their wicked hearts may be, to cause 
them how the more forcibly and eagerly, as if they would carry on 
their work in spite of opposition from Heaven ; but assuredly God 
shall dash them to pieces that contend with him ; 1 Sam. ii. 9. 10, 
" He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent 
in darkness ; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries 
of the Lord shall be broken to pieces, out of heaven shall he thunder 
upon them." 

Use. Sinners, then, lay by your work of hewing out cisterns to 


yourselves in God's room and stead. Ye are at a great deal of work 
in seeking to get tlie sap and foyson of the creature, in lawful and 
unlawful enjoyments, for a meal to feed your hungry hearts ; and 
neglect God in Christ. Repent, and come drink of the fountain 
ready to your hands, and cease your hewing. 

Motive 1. Consider, it is unblessed work. Psalm cxxix. 6 — 8, 
" Let them be as the grass upon the house-tops, which withereth 
afore it groweth up; wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor 
he that bindeth sheaves his bosom. Neither do they which go by 
say, The blessing of the Lord be upon you ; we bless you in the name 
of the Lord." God never set man to it ; but Satan, and the corrupt 
heart, and they, are cruel masters, that fill the hand with self-ruin- 
ing work. You cannot look to God for a blessing on it. 

Mot. 2. It is vain and fruitless work, where ye will never get 
worth the pains and cost wared on it ; Isa. Iv. 2, " Wherefore do ye 
spend money for that which is not bread ? and your labour for that 
which satisfieth not ?" Ye are seeking out of the creature what is 
not in it ; ye are waring your all upon it ; and the cost will quite 
overgo the profit ; Matth. xvi. 26, " For what is a man profited, if 
' he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or A?hat shall 
a man give in exchange for his soul ?" Hard work may be the 
better borne that has a proportionable advantage following it ; but 
see the emblem of this; Ilab. ii. 13, " Behold, is it not of the Lord 
of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people 
shall weary themselves for very vanity. 

Mot. 3. Ye have found it heavy work already ; why will ye insist 
when God calls you to leave it ? 

(L) Have you not in your hewing given many a fruitless stroke? 
sought and found nothing ? Yea we may say as Isa. xxvi. 18, " We 
have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were 
brought forth wind, we have not wrought any deliverance in the 
earth, neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen ;" having 
been like those hewing at a rock, where no impression could bo 

(2.) Have not the chips in your hewing flown out upon yon, to your 
wounding? Instead of the good and comfort ye have sought from 
the creature, ye have got hurt by it; Ezek. xxix. 7, " When they 
took hold of thee by the hand, thou didst break, and rent all their 
shoulder ; and when they leaned upon thee, thou brakcst, and 
madest all their loins to be at a stand." Where yo have expected 
your greatest comfort, thence has arisen your greatest cross ; where 
the soundest rest, there greatest vexation. 

(3.) Have ye not often found, that all your cistern could hold 


when ye got it, was not worth the pains ye had been at in hewing it 
out ? How often has your comfort in the enjoyment of the creature 
sunk vastly below the expectation ye had of it ? 

(4.) Has not one touch often broke your cistern all in pieces, after 
ye had been at all pains in hewing it out ; and so ye have in a mo- 
ment lost all your expectation together, with all your pains. How 
many fine projects for this world do misgive, just when one is look- 
ing for the fruit of them ? Sometimes a little providential incident, 
or a piece of one's own mismanagement, breaks all to pieces. 

Motive 4. Lastly^ How will ye answer it, that ye are at so great 
pains for the cisterns, and will not be at pains to go to the fountain ? 
Men refuse not to labour, to hew for the creature ; but they will be 
at no tolerable pains for the enjoyment of God. how well might 
it be with men, if they would be at as much concern to seek their 
happiness in God, as they are at in seeking it in the creature ! But 
the opened fountain is slighted, while the cistern is hewn out of the 
hard rock. 

Point III. Forsaking of God for the creature, is an exchanging 
of a fountain for many cisterns. When one forsakes God, and be- 
takes himself to the creature, can he hold himself with one creature, 
as a man with one God ? No, he cannot ; he must have a plurality, 
a variety, a multitude of them, in his room ; because, 

1. None of them are sufficient, but all of them defective. All- 
sufficient, is a name peculiar unto God alone, Gen. xvii. 1, not com- 
municable to the whole creation, in which, Eccl. i. 14, " That which 
is crooked cannot be made straight ; and that which is wanting, can- 
not be numbered." So the man must needs have a second, to make 
up the want of the first, and a third to make up the want of the se- 
cond, and so on without end. This labours under one defect, that 
under another ; so there is no rest in any of them. 

2. There is something disagreeable and vexing in them all ; Eccl. 
1. 14, " I have seen all the Avorks that are done under the sun ; and 
behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit." There are some 
prickles in the fairest rose, except the Rose of Sharon ; some thorn 
of uneasiness in the softest bed, except the bed of the covenant, the 
true Solomon's. Did ever anything bear so much delight, but it had 
withal something to fret yon iu it or attending it ? The agreeable- 
ness of it is seen afar ; but when one comes near he is made to feel 
the vexation too. So recourse must be had to oue cistern, to put 
away the bitter taste or unsavouriness of another. 

3. They enlarge the appetite, but do not satisfy it ; Hab. ii. 5, 
'* Yea also, because he trausgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, 
neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as 


deatli, and canuot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, 
and lieapeth unto him all people." The more men drink of the cis- 
terns for satisfaction, the more they would drink. As one draught 
of salt water makes the necessity of another, so the gratifying of a 
lust doth but open its mouth wider ; as is evident from the case of 
those, who having once given themselves loose reins, nothing can 
prevail to bind them up, till the grace of God change them. They 
go from ill to worse. 

Now, this is a wretched exchange ; for, 

(1.) The access to one fountain is far more ready than to many 
cisterns. He that has but one door to go to for sufficient supply, is 
certainly in better case than he that must go to many ; so he that 
has the fulness of a God to satisfy himself in, is in circumstances a 
thousand times better than he who must go from creature to crea- 
ture for that end. In God you would find happiness, as corn in a 
heap ; whereas in the creature you would have it to pick up here 
and there, as corn that is sown abroad. 

(2.) The water is better that is altogether in one fountain, than 
that which is parted into many cisterns. United force is strongest; 
and that which is scattered, the farther it is scattered abroad, it is 
the weaker. So the consolations of God are mighty, as liquor kept 
together in one vessel ; while the comfort of the creature is compara- 
tively weak, as water spilt on the ground. 

(3.) It is with greater ease of mind that one may apply to the one 
fountain, than to the many cisterns. The multitude of the cisterns 
to go to for what we need, fills the heart with much perplexity and 
distracting cares ; while the oneness of the fountain creates ease; Jer. 
xvii. 5 — 8. what case has the man that goes to God's door for all, 
in comparison of him who begs at the doors of the creatures, ranging 
up and down among them ! 

Use. Repent then of this folly, and take the one fountain instead 
of your many cisterns; go to one God instead of the multitude of 
created things. 

Motive 1. This will contract your cares now so diflusive, lesseu 
your labour, and spare you many a weary foot. 

Motive 2. Ye shall find enough in God, that ye shall see no ne- 
cessity of seeking any happiness without hira ; John. iv. 14. ; more 
than shall supply the want of the corn and wine; I'salm. iv. 7. ; 
that shall be commensurable to your whole desire ; 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. 

Motive 3. Lastly, Heap up as many cisterns as ye can, they shall 
never do for you what the one fountain can, never make you easy or 

Point IV. ult. Forsaking of God for the creature, is an exchang- 


ing of a fountain, for cracked and broken cisterns that can bold 
no water. A cistern as a cistern holds but little ; the broken cistern 
spills the little put into it. Every created comfort is a cistern con- 
taining little at best ; but withal it is cracked and broken, that can- 
not keep the little it has at any time. 

(1.) At its best it is cracked ; has such rifts in it, as that it begins to 
lose of the little that is in it. There is a powerful mixture of cor- 
ruption in the best of persons in the world, whereby no body wants 
some remarkable defect ; and in the best of things there, there is a 
defect with respect to the heart of man. 

2. At length it is broken in pieces. Being always cracked, it is 
easy broken. All persons here are liable to death, all things to cor- 
ruption or destruction, whereby they become useless as to our com- 
fort ; Matth. vi. 19, " Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon 
earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break 
through and steal." These cisterns can hold no more water for us. 

So this exchange is a wretched one ; for, 

1, The fountain is always certain to go to, the cisterns always un- 
certain ; and worldly men here quit certain for uncertain hope. 
It is certain, we can never come amiss to God ; but as for the crea- 
ture, it is so uncertain, that there may be nothing in it at all but mud 
and mire, when we come to drink. 

2. The fountain is lasting ; the cisterns being broken, guide as we 
will, will last but a short while. God is an everlasting fountain of 
comfort ; the creature is but for a time, and draws to an end. The 
whole universe is a cracked vessel, and in a little time it will be all 
in pieces by the general conflagration. 

Use. Come away then from the broken cisterns of the creature, to 
the fountain of happiness in God. Seek no more your happiness in 
any thing below the sun ; but seek it in a God in Christ. 



Isaiah ix. 6, 
For unto us a child is born, unto tis a son is given, and the government 
shall be upon his shoulder ; and his name shall be called Wonderful, 
Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Evrlasting Father, the' Prince of 

These words bear a joyful intimation or declaration of a great pri- 
vilege afforded to the children of men ; in which the prophet himself 
shares as one of them, and so is the more feelingly touched with it ; 
and therefore God has employed men to preach Christ to men, that 
the glad tidings may be brought by such as have equal need of and 
interest in them with themselves. " For unto us a child is born," 

The words are thus plainly connected with the preceding ; for the 
discovery of which we must look back to ver. 2 : where the prophet 
speaks of the light of the gospel breaking up in a dark world by 
Jesus Christ, as is clear from Matth. iv. 12 — 16. See the case of 
sinners before Christ appears to them ; they are all in darkness, in 
a blind, uncomfortable, and dangerous condition. (1.) Some are 
walking in that darkness, they are bestirring themselves for happi- 
ness, and to mend their condition, but they see not their way. Such 
were the Jews, and all formalists. (2.) Some sitting in that dark- 
ness, thickest darkness, pining away in their sin, and not aiming to 
mend their condition, but like condemned malefactors in a dungeon. 
Such were the Gentiles, and all profane, carnal persons, having no 
view but to this world's happiness. 

Christ coming unto them, their darkness is dispelled. They that 
walk, see light which they so much wanted; it breaks up to them in 
their way. Those that sit, it shines in on them, makes its way into 
their dungeon. Both see where they are, and how to get their con- 
dition mended, how hopeless soever it was. 

The effect of this light or saving illumination by means of the gos- 
pel; ver. 3, "Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased 
the joy; they joy before thee, according to the joy in harvest, 
and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil." (1.) The increase 
of the church, by the enlightened sinner's coming to Christ ; as 
where a light is struck up in darkness, all gather about it. (2.) 
Great joy ; some indeed, viz. the unbelieving party among the Jews, 
had no more joy in it, than owls have in the sun's shining; they 

' Scvernl sermons preaclicd at Ettrick in iho \ear8 1725 and I72G. 


grudged it, and fretted at it. And so do the enemies of Christ's 
kingdom at the success of his gospel. But to the spiritual nation of 
believers the joy is great on that occasion. Christ's new friends on 
their coming in, and bis old friends whom they join, rejoice toge- 
ther ; the former on the happy change of their condition, the latter 
on the increase of the family. 

This joy for the greatness of it is compared, (1.) To the joy of 
harvest, when people get the corn happily cut down and gathered 
in. (2.) To the joy of a victorious army, when the battle is over, 
and they are dividing the spoil of their enemies. A gospel harvest, 
wherein sinners are reaped and gathered in to Christ, a gospel 
victory over the devil, and dividing the spoils, are most joyful 
times ; as much more joyful than these, as souls are more precious 
than sheaves of corn, or the precious things of the world. 

The cause of this joy, is a great deliverance or salvation brought 
about to the nation, ver. 4, " For thou hast broken the yoke of his 
burden, and the staff of his shonlder, the rod of his oppressor, as in 
the day of Midian." They were under a burdensome yoke ; that is, 
the yoke of the law as a covenant of works, binding them to obe- 
dience under pain of the curse ; now that is broken, and they re- 
joice on that account. They were obliged to carry heavy burdens 
on their shoulders, by a staff over their shoulder, as the Levites 
carried the ark ; that is, they were under the power and dominion 
of sin, as real drudges to it, in the several lusts thereof, as those 
who, to the worst of masters, never want the burden-bearing staff off 
their shoulder ; now that is broken, and they joy. They were under 
a rigid exactor, a tyrant swaying a sceptre over them ; that is, they 
were under the power of the devil ; now his sceptre is broken, he 
has lost his power over them ; and they joy. 

How quickly was it done ? (Heb. Thou hast made to knap asun- 
der.) The yoke, staff, sceptre, were broken with a touch, suddenly 
and freely; and that by means very unlikely in the eye of sense, as 
in the day of Midian, when Gideon with his three hundred men, 
holding lamps in pitchers in their hands, and breaking the pitchers, 
and blowing with trumpets, but fighting none, routed Midian quite, 
Judg. vii. So Christ overcame the devil, by his dying on the cross, 
and the preaching; of the gospel mostly by a few fishermen. 

The perfection of it shall be such, that the yoke, staff, and sceptre, 
shall become a burning and fuel of fire, ver. 5, it shall be absolute ; 
or rather the knapping asunder shall become a burning. 

Now in the text, the prophet leads us to the author of all these 
great events ; and answers the question, How can these things be 
done, and done in favour of us poor sinners? " For unto ns a child 


is born," &c. says he. The events are indeed great beyond expres- 
sion, but so is the author of them. There is a great deliverer work- 
ing this great deliverance, viz. the Messias, Jesus Christ, of whom 
only it can be understood, and tlie ancient Jews did understand it. 
And herein we have, 

1st, His relation to us. Wherein he is held forth, (1.) As "a 
child born to us," viz., as Samson was to Israel, born to be our de- 
liverer ; Judg. xiii. 5, brought into the world on that very occasion. 
(2.) As a son given to us, given of the Father as a gift suitable to 
our necessity. (3.) As one upon whom the management of the 
ruined affairs of lost sinners is devolved, in order to retrieve them. 

2dl(/, The incomparable excellency of this our relative. He is a 
Child, a Son, a Governor, quite extraordinary. Hear his name 
shewing his nature and perfections. We cannot comprehend his 
glorious excellencies ; he is " Wonderful ;" we may see and wonder 
at them, but can never fully reach them. For wisdom, he is the "Coun- 
sellor," with whom the Father took counsel, and whom he has ap- 
pointed the Counsellor of poor sinners in their most perplexed cases. 
For power, he is " The Mighty God," to whom nothing is too hard to 
do. For continuance, he is " The Everlasting Father," abiding for 
ever and ever ; so that through the whole of time, and through 
eternity, bis wisdom and power shall be forthcoming. And then for 
meekness, and accessibleness to poor rebel sinners, though he be a 
" Prince," he is " The Prince of Peace ;" speaking, working, grant- 
ing peace, yea, he died for pease. A wonderful one ! 

Thus mucb for a general view of the words ; to be in our progress 
more particularly explained. 

The expression may be observed to be full of holy exultation. The 
prophet expresseth himself in a triumphant manner on this subject. 
In his days Christ was not come ; but he saw him in the promise, 
by faith ; and he speaks of him with as great certainty as if he had 
been come. He saw the need the world had of him ; ho felt tho 
need he himself had of him ; he believed him to be given to lost sin- 
ners for a Saviour, a Saviour in whose hand no one's case could mis- 
carry ; and that he was given to himself among others ; therefore 
he cries out as in a rapture, " To us a Child is born, to us a Son is 
given," &c. Q. d. " my lost brethren, sons of Adam, to us a Child 
is born, to us a Son is given," &c. Hence observe this 

Doctrine. Felt concern in the glad tidings of the gospel, fills one 
with warm aiFection towards them. It is that same way in other 
things ; where one's own dear interest is concerned, he will be much 
concerned about that thing ; as in tho case of partners in trade, 
where there is a good market. 


In discoursing this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. Wherein this felt concern lies. 

II. "What is the warm affection which that felt concern fills with. 

III. Lastly, Apply. 

, I. First, Wherein does this felt concern lie ? It lies in these 
two : — 

1. Felt need of the benefit of the gospel ; Prov. xxvii. 7, — " To 
the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet." When an indemnity 
is proclaimed, the man that is not liable to the lash of the law, has 
no great moving of heart about it ; but it makes the condemned 
man's heart leap within him for joy ; Matth. ix. 12, " They that be 
•whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." While men 
are not sensible of their sin and danger, the gospel will be tasteless 
and unsavoury to them ; but no sooner are the sinner's eyes opened, 
but it will be sweeter than the indemnity proclaimed to rebels 
can be. 

2. Felt liberty of access to the benefit of it, with others, " To us," 
says the prophet. While a man sensible of his need of an indemnity, 
yet finds himself excepted in it ; that it is for others, but not for 
him ; this strikes a damp in him, he cannot rejoice in it. And un- 
belief prevailing so far as to say, " There is no hope," will suck the 
sap out of the gospel-tidings to you. 

II. What is the warm aflfection that felt concern fills with ? It is, 

1. A warm affection of joy in it. They rejoice in that it is so, 
that " to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given," even though 
that they have not as yet a special saving interest in him ; Matth. 
xiii. 44, " The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; 
the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof 
goeth and sellsth all that he hath, and bnyeth that field." The sick 
will joy in the tidings of a physician able and willing to cure them, 
even before they are actually cured ; and sensible sinners believing 
they may have access to Christ, will joy in that. 

2. A warm affection of desire, actually to partake of the benefit. 
The sinner's felt need tells him he must go to Christ, as felt liberty 
of access tells him that lie may go. And both inflame his desire. 

Use 1. The reason why the gospel is so very tasteless to most 
of the hearers of it, is, they do not feel their own concern in it. 
They believe not tlie doctrine of the law, nor the doctrine of the 
gospel neither, with application to themselves. They are either 
under the plague of stupidity and insensibleness of their need, or 
else under the plague of unbelief and hopeless. The news of a 
good or ill market affects them, for they see their concern in either; 
but they are not affected by either the threatenings of the law, or 
the joyful tidings of salvation in the gospel. 


2. Labour to see your interest in the gospel, if ever you would be 
brought to relish it, and entertain it. You need this Saviour, with- 
out him ye are undone ; ye may have this Saviour ; if ye miss him, 
it is your own fault. Tour great interest for eternity lies in this 
gospel, however ye entertain it. 


Isaiah ix. 6, 
Unto us a Child is born. 

This is the first part of the glad tidings so much aflfecting the pro- 
phet. The world waited long for Christ's coming into it ; and here 
the prophet gives the news, that long-looked for is come at last. 
The " Child is born." The word rendered child, is a name of the 
sex, " a man-child," and is just a lad, a lad-child; such was our 
Lord Jesus Christ. It is a name common to the young of the male 
sex, competent to them whenever they are born, and continuing 
with them during their younger years, till they be grown men. The 
word rendered born, doth signify more, even to be shewed or pre- 
sented born. It is a custom so natural, that it has ever been in the 
world, that when a child is born and dressed, it is presented or 
shewed to its relations, for their comfort. So Machir's children 
were presented to Joseph their great grandfather, and on that oc- 
casion given him on his knees ; Gen. 1. 23 ; and Ruth's son to 
Naomi ; Ruth iv. 17. So says the prophet. This Avondcrful child is 
presented, viz. to his relations. And who are these ? He has rela- 
tions in heaven ; the Father is his Father, the Holy Ghost his Spi- 
rit, the angels his servants ; but it is not these who are hero meant. 
It is to us, the sons and daughters of Adam ; wo are his poor rela- 
tions; and to us as his poor relations on earth, sons of Adam's fa- 
mily, whereof he is the top-branch, this Cliild is presented born, for 
our comfort in our low state. 

Doci'RiNE. Our Lord Jesus Christ is upon his birth presented unto 
us mankind-sinners, as his relations. 

In speaking to this presenting of Christ as a born Child, I will 

I. What is presupposed in it. 

II. To whom he is presented. 

III. How he is presented. 

IV. The import of this being presented to us. 


V. Wherefore he is presented to us on his birth. 

VI. Lastly, Apply the doctrine. 

I. I shall sliow what is presupposed in it. It presupposeth, 

1. The birth of Christ was expected and looked for. The church, 
his mother, Cant. iii. 11, had an early promise of it; Gen. iii. 15. 
And it was in virtue of that promise he was conceived and born ; 
all mankind besides, by another word, viz., Gren. i, 28, " Be fruitful, 
and multiply, and replenish the earth." Though Mary his mother 
in a proper sense, was no longer than ordinary big with him ; yet 
the church, his mother in a figure, was big with him from that time ; 
Gen. iii. 15, for about four thousand years. Many a time the de- 
livery was looked for ; and she was in hazard of thinking it a false 
conception, it was so long a coming forward. Kings and prophets 
looked and longed for the day ; Luke x. 24, " I tell you, that many 
prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and 
have not seen them ; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have 
not heard them." The whole church of the Old Testament also 
longed for Christ's day ; Cant. viii. 14, " Make haste, my beloved, 
and be thou like to a roe, or to a young hart, upon the mountains of 

2. Christ is now born. The happy hour of the long-looked for 
birth is come, and the Child is come into the world. Angels pro- 
claim it; Luke ii. 10, 11, " And the angel said unto them, Fear 
not ; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be 
to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, 
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." The fathers, kings, and pro- 
phets were in their graves, who died in the faith he would be born ; 
and now it is come to pass. He was really born ; a little Child, 
though the Mighty God ; an Infant, not one day old, though the 
Everlasting Father. Wonderful birth ! such as the world never 
saw before, nor ever shall see again. 

3. Some have been employed to present this Child to the friends 
and relations ; and they are still about the work. honourable 
employment ! more honourable than the office of presenting a new- 
born prince of the earth to a king, his father. Joseph and Mary 
had the office of presenting him to the Lord ; Luke ii. 22. But who 
has the honour of presenting him to us ? Why, 

(1.) The holy Spirit has the office of presenting him internally to 
us ; 1 Cor. ii. 2, 4, " For I determined (says Paul) not to know any 
thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And my 
speech, and my preaching, was not with enticing words of man's 
wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power." And by 
him his Father presents him to us; Matth. xvi. 16, 17, "And 


Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art Christ, the Son of the 
living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him. Blessed art 
thou Simon Barjona ; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto 
thee, but my Father which is in heaven." Thus sinners have pre- 
sented to them in his heavenly glory, so as they get a broad sight of 
him, such as is to be had on earth, by faith ; John i. 14, " The Word 
was made flesh, and dwelt among us ; and we beheld his glory, the 
glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 

(2.) Ministers of the gospel have the oflice of presenting him to us 
externally, in the swaddling-clothes of word and sacraments. They 
are employed to present believing sinners to Christ, 2 Cor. xi. 2, 
"For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you 
as a chaste virgin to Christ ;" and to present Christ to sinners, to 
be believed on. They come with old Simeon, with the holy child 
Jesus in their arras in gospel-ordinances, Rom. x. 6, 7, 8, and say 
with John Baptist ; John i. 29, *' Behold the Lamb of God, which 
taketh away the sin of the world." 

4. Lastly, This child is actually presented to us on his birth. 
Few, if any, were witnesses to his birth, it was so very mean and 
low in its circumstances ; but that there might be no doubt of his 
being born, he has been, and still is presented to multitudes. Gal. 
iii. 1. 

II. To whom is Christ presented ? 

1. Negatively, He is not presented to the fallen angels ; he was 
not born for them, they are none of his relations, Heb. ii. 16, " For 
verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him 
the seed of Abraham." Their house was originally more honourable 
than the house of Adam ; but Christ has put an honour on the house 
of Adam, above the house of angels. The holy angels are his ser- 
vants, the evil angels his executioners ; but holy men are his bre- 

2. Positively, lie is presented to mankind sinners, those of the 
house of his father Adam. To them is the voice directed, John i. 
29, " Behold the Lamb of God," &c. " To us a child is born," Luke 
ii. 10, 11. lie was first presented to the Jews, shewed to Israel, 
John i. ol ; but then to all the world indifferently, of whatsoever 
nation. Murk xvi. 15. Hence, from the uttermost parts of the earth, 
songs are heard, upon occasion of shewing him born to them, his 
glory appearing unparalleled. Particularly, 

(1.) He is presented to the visible church, even to all and every 
one of them. There are indeed many in the world to whom he is 
not presented ; they have neither his voice or fame, nor seen his 
shape represented in the vrord ; but wheresoever the gospel comes, 


there Christ is presented to every person as bora to them ; Acts xiii. 
26, " Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and \7h0- 
soever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation 
sent." He is now bodily in heaven indeed ; yet really, though spi- 
ritually in the word and sacraments, presented to sinners, and seen 
by faith ; though the most part will not behold him. 

(2.) He is presented effectually to all the elect. Christ is revealed 
in them. Gal. i. 15, 16. Hence they believe on him, and so it is with 
all them, however others entertain him; Acts xiii. 48, "As many 
as were ordained to eternal life, believed." They are all as Paul 
was, in a sense, chosen to see the just one ; and their seeing him 
with a spiritual eye, makes them willing to part with all, and pur- 
chase the field and treasure, and the one pearl. 

Use. Since Christ is presented to us as a child born, then see well 
how you entertain the honour done you, in the Prince of Peace be- 
ing upon his birth presented to you. Some at this season pretend 
to honour his birth, by observing a day they count the day of it.* 
But where is the divine appointment of that day ? is it not like Je- 
roboam's feast ? 1 Kings xii. 33, " So he offered upon the altar 
which he had made in Bethel, the fifteenth day of the eighth month, 
even in the month which he had devised of his own heart ; and or- 
dained a feast unto the children of Israel, and he offered upon the 
altar, and burnt incense." And can men soberly think, that their 
feasting, eating, and drinking, as usual on that day, does indeed 
honour Christ ? But, 

1. Embrace him, with old Simeon, in the arms of faith. Knit 
with him, open your heart to him. 

2. Kiss the Son, receiving him as your Lord, and King, and God. 
III. How is Christ presented ? He is presented, 

1. In the preaching of the gospel, Gal. iii. 1, "0 foolish Gala- 
tians, who hath bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, 
before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, cruci- 
fied araoug you ?" To whomsoever the gospel comes, Christ is pre- 
sented to them, as being in the word of the gospel to be discerned 
by faith; Rom. x. 6 — 8, "But the righteousness which is of faith, 
speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, who shall ascend into 
heaven ? (that is, to bring Christ down from above) ; or Who shall 
descend into the deep, (that is, to bring up Christ again from the 
dead ;) but what saith it ? The word is nigh thee, even in thy 
mouth, and in thy heart; that is the word of faith which we preach." 
In the word the bridegroom's picture is drawn, in his birth, life, 

* This discourse was preached on the 26th of December, 1725, the day nft.r what 
is usually called Christmas. 

Vol. X. V 


death, &c. ; in his willingness and ability to save, &c. It is the 
looking-glass held before their eyes, in which they may see him ; 
2 Cor, iii. 18, ** But we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass 
the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory 
to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord. 

2. In the administration of the sacraments. As in the word he 
is presented to the ears, in the sacraments he is presented to the 
eyes. In them there is a lively representation of Christ bleeding 
and dying on the cross for sinners ; " This is my body," &c. Though 
he is not corporeally present in the sacraments, yet he is really and 
spiritually so, to the faith of believers, which realizeth invisible 
things; Heb. xi. 1, "Faith is — the evidence of things not seen." 
And glorious views are to be had of him there ; Luke xxiv. 36, 

* And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was 
known of them in the breaking of bread." 

3. In the internal work of saving illumination. The Spirit of the 
Lord not only gives light, but sight, to the elect ; not only opens 
the scriptures to them, but opens their eyes, and reveals Christ in 
them; Gal. i. 15, 16. This is that demonstration of the Spirit 
Paul speaks of, which is the immediate antecedent of faith ; 1 Cor. 
ii. 4, 5, forecited ; without which no man will believe. This is the 
finding of the treasure, the one pearl, Matth. xiii. 44, 46. 

IV. What is the import of his being presented to us ? It bears, 

1. Our special concern in his birth. The birth of Christ concerns 
us nearly; why else is he presented to us ? The holy angels had a 
concern in it, as servants of the family, to carry the tidings of it ; 
the fallen angels found themselves concerned in it, as a birth that 
would be the ruin of their interest in the world ; but we have a pe- 
culiar interest in it, as the birth of a Saviour to us ; Luke ii. 11 ; 
the bringing in of a better hope. 

2. Our relation to him. He is presented to ns as his relatives. 
Sinners of mankind have a common relation to Christ ; a relation to 
him in respect of his nature he assumed, the human nature ; Eph. v. 
30, " For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his 
bones ;" a relation to him in respect of his office ; he is born the 
Saviour of the world, and therefore our Saviour; John iv. 42, 
"This is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." 1 John iv. 
14, " The Father sent the Son, the Saviour of the world." He 
was born to save sinners, to seek that which was lost, &c. ; there- 
fore our Saviour, our seeker. 

3. An owning of our relation to him. Tlie presenting of him to 
us upon his birth, is an open testimony given of our being related 
to hira. Though we are poor and naughty relatives, he is not 


ashamed to own us, nor does our unworthiness make him disown us ; 
Heb. ii. 11, — "He is not ashamed to call them brethren." He is 
born for our help, to raise up again Adam's broken family; and 
since he comes to help us, and set us up again, the more poor, and 
needy, and worthless wo are, the more honour redounds to his name 
at length. 

4, Lastly, The comfortableness of his birth to us. Children are 
presented on their birth to their relations, for their comfort; and 
so is Christ to sinners of mankind. Never was there such a com- 
fortable birth in the world as this. The whole world of mankind- 
sinners was born in sin. never so much as one of them all missed the 
contagion; and so are born children of wrath. By this means the 
whole world was sitting in a most miserable and deplorable case 
when Christ, as a public person, was born with a sinless, holy human 

V. Wherefore is Christ presented to ns on his birth ? 

1. That we may see the faithfulness of God in the fulfilling of 
his promise. The promise of Christ was an ancient promise, the 
accomplishment whereof was long delayed ; but now we see it is 
performed in its time ; and thence may conclude, that all the rest of 
the promises depending thereon shall be fulfilled in their season. 

2. That we may rejoice in him. The very birth of his forerunner 
was to be a joy to many, Luke i. 14 ; how much more his own ? 
The angels sang for joy at the birth of Christ, Luke ii. 13, 14. And 
he is presented to us, that we may join them in their song; for it is 
matter of great joy ; Luke ii. 10, 11. And whoever see their danger 
by sin, will rejoice on Christ's being presented to them, as a con- 
demned man on the sight of the Prince by whom he is to obtain a 

3. That we may look on him, see his glory, and be taken with 
him, John i. 14. For this cause sinners are often invited to look 
unto him, Isa. xlv. 22, " Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the 
ends of the earth." Cant, iii. 11, " Go forth, ye daughters of 
Zion, and behold King Solomon with the crown wherewith his 
mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of 
the gladness of his heart." The looking on the forbidden fruit has 
so vitiated the eyes of mankind, that the things of the world appear 
as in a magnifying glass; and there is no getting a right view of 
them, till we behold Jesus in his glory. 

4. Lastly, That we may acknowledge him in the character in 
which he appears, as the Saviour of the world, and our Saviour. 
For he is presented as a young prince, to be acknowledged heir to 
the crown. Tlio Father has made choice of him to be the Saviour 



of the world by office, and given liim to us for our Saviour, and pre- 
sents him accordingly for our acknowledgement. 

Use. I exhort you then to believe, that Christ is on his birth pre- 
sented to you as his relations. And if ye enquire what is your duty 
on that occasion ? I answer, 

1. Embrace him cordially; Psalm xxiv. 7, "Lift up your heads, 
ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of 
glory shall come in." Old Simeon, when he was presented in the 
temple, took him in his arms with full satisfaction of soul ; Luke ii. 
28, 29. He is now in heaven as to his bodily presence ; but he is 
presented to you in the gospel, embrace him by faith, with the heart 
believing on him for all his salvation, renouncing all other saviours 
for him, betaking yourselves to him for all, for a rest to your con- 
sciences and your hearts. 

2. Kiss him, Psalm ii. 12, with a kiss of love ; giving him your 
hearts, "My son, give me thine heart;" with a kiss of honour, 
honouring him in your hearts, lips, and lives ; and with a kiss of 
subjection, receiving him as your Lord, King, Head, and Husband. 

3. Bless him ; his name ; Psalm xcvi. 2, " Bless his name." He 
is God blessed for ever. But we are to bless him, as we bless God, 
declaratively, (^proclaiming him blessed ; Psalm Ixxii. 17 ; praying 
from the heart that his kingdom may come ; Psalm Ixxii. 15. 

4. Worship him. So did the wise men of the east; Matth. ii. 11. 
He is the everlasting God, therefore to be adored; Psalm xlv. 11. 
" He is thy Lord, and " worship thou him ;" thy Husband, thy King, 
thy God. "Worship him with internal worship, consecrating your 
whole souls to him ; and worship him with external worship. 

5. Lastly, Present unto him gifts. So did the wise men, Matth. 
ii. 11. Make a gift of your hearts to him ; Prov. xxiii. 26 ; of your- 
selves wholly, 2 Cor. viii. 5 ; to glorify him in your souls, and 
bodies, your substance, your all. 


Isaiah ix. 6, 
Unto us a Son is given. 

This is a second part of the glad tidings which did so much affect 
the prophet. And therein Christ is proposed, (1.) As a Son. This 
is not to denote the sex ; that was done already in the former part. 


But it denotes a Son by way of eminency, " fairer than the sons of 
men." Oar Lord Jesus was the Son of God from eternity, he be- 
came the Son of Mary in time ; Luke ii. 7. According to his human 
nature, he was the Son of Mary ; but he is not in respect of that 
nature called the Son of God, though even in that respect he was a 
Son quite extraordinary. For as he was man, he was " without Fa- 
ther;" Heb. vii. 3; and as he is the Son of God, he was *' begotten 
* of the Father ;" Psalm ii. 7, and *' the only begotten of the Father ;" 
John i. 18. But as he was man, he was not begotten at all ; and 
he has " brethren ;" Heb. ii. 11. Therefore he is not called " the Son 
of God" in respect of his human nature. Now, in the preceding clause, 
he is proposed as a Son in respect of his human nature, being called 
a lad-child born ; therefore here he is called a Son, as the Son of God 
in respect of his divine nature. And thus he is held forth to us here 
as God-man, with two distinct natures. (2.) As a " Son given to 
us." The Father has made a free gift to us poor sinuers, of his own 
Son, for the remedy of our misery. As our misery was great, so the 
gift is fully proportioned to it, being the greatest that Heaven had 
to afford, oi" the world could receive. 

DocTEiNE, The Son of God in man's nature, is given to us poor 
sinners for remedy of our misery. 

Here let us consider, 

I. The gift itself. 

II. The Giver. 

III. The party to whom he is given. 

IV. Lastly, -A-Pply the doctrine. 

I. First, Let us consider The gift itself. Many precious gifts 
have come from heaven to earth, yea, all we have is Heaven's gift ; 
James i. 17, " Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, 
and cometh down from the Father of lights." But this is the great 
gift. On this head, let us consider, 

1st, What this gift is, 

2dly, "Wherein it appears and comes to us. 

Mly, What a gift it is. 

First, Let us consider What this gift is. It is, 

1. A person. Persons are more excellent than things, in their 
several kinds. All a man hath he will give for his life ; a soul is 
more precious than a world. So this gift is more precious than the 
whole world. Whatever thou wantest, if thou have Christ, ihou 
art better than to be emperor of the world ; if thou hast him not, 
thou bast nothing that can compensate that want. 

2. A divine person. This gift of God is God ; Joiin i. 1, " In the 


beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the 
Word was God." what a gift must God himself be ! it is there- 
fore an '' unspeakable gift ;" 2 Cor. ix. 15. The possesser of this 
gift must needs be blessed ; Psalm cxliv. 15, " Happy is that people 
whose God is the Lord." Here is a mystery, a divine person gifted 
to poor sinful persons. God has given angels to be ministering 
spirits to his people; Heb. i. 14; but we will cease to wonder at 
that, when this comes in view. 

3. The second person, the Lord Jesus Christ ; John iv. 10, " Jesus 
answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and 
who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink ; thou wouldst have 
asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The 
third person, the Holy Spirit, is also given to poor sinners ; Luke 
xi. 13, — " How much more shall your heavenly Father give the 
Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?" But hero it is the Son that is 
given, and the gift of the Spirit follows thereupon. Man, by crea- 
tion the son of God, fell out of God's family ; and the beloved Son 
of the Father is given to bring him in again. He was pitched upon ; 
for he only could be both sent, and send the Spirit, according to the 
manner of working of the adorable Trinity. 

Secondly, Let us consider. Wherein this gift appears and comes to 
us. Those who send gifts, precious gifts, to others, wrap them up 
in something that is less precious. And a treasure sent in earthen 
vessels, is the method of conveyance of the best gifts from heaven 
to earth. And the Son of God being the gift, was sent vailed and 
wrapped up in our nature; (Tim. iii. 16.) to us. The Son becomes 
a lad-child, born of a woman. This vail laid over the gift sent to 
poor sinners, was, 

1. Less precious than the gift itself. The human nature of Christ 
was a created thing, his divine nature uncreated. What dispro- 
portion is between the clay and potter, the creature and the Creator ; 
that was between the vail and the gift wrapped up in it. Hence it 
was like a most precious pearl, sent in an earthen pitcher; which 
uses not to contain such a precious thing. Therefore the world re- 
ceived him not, because they perceived him not, seeing only the vail, 
a few only excepted; Mark iv. 11, " Unto you it is given to know 
the mystery of the kingdom of God ; but unto them that are with- 
out, all these things are done in parables." Nay, the gift was 
never clearly seen, till the pitcher it was in was broken in pieces, by 
his death ; and the shells gathered up, by his resurrection, and new 
cast; and set up in the upper house, by his ascension. 

2. Howbeit, it was a cleanly thing. Though men send their pre- 
cious gifts in some coarse thing, yet it will always be cleanly; they 


will not seud their gifts in a foul thing. The human nature of Christ, 
though infinitely below the dignity of his divine nature, yet was a 
holy thing; Luke i. 35, "That holy thing which shall be born of 
thee, shall be called the Son of God." His &oul was holy, and his 
body too, perfectly holy; without the least stain or spot; Heb. vii- 
26, " Such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, unde- 
filed, separated from sinners." This gift could not have remained 
in a vail, having the least spot of sin, more than flaming fire in a 
tainted cloth, which it would presently burn up. Now, this gift ap- 
peared and was sent to us in the vail of the human nature, 

(1.) That it might be capable of the treatment it behoved to un- 
dergo for our relief. It behoved the Son of God to suffer ; Luke 
xxiv. 26, " For without shedding of blood, there could be no re- 
mission ;" therefore he behoved to be incarnate, and to appear in 
our flesh. He put on our nature, as his suffering attire, as prison 
garments ; and so the gift was, as it were, sent us in a winding- 
sheet ; and the Son, the Lord of life, came down, as it were, in a 
suit of dead-clothes of our flesh ; because he was to die in it. How- 
beit, this suit of our flesh is not now laid aside, but turned into a 
suit for the court, being no more mortal, but immortal, bright, and 
shining more gloriously than the sun ; so that the gift now appears 
through it, and will for ever most illustriously. A pledge hereof 
was given in his transfiguration ; Matth. xvii. 2. 

(2.) That it might be suited to the weakness of the capacity of 
the receivers. As he who gifts a sword, sends it in a scabbard, and 
not naked, lest it should harm the receiver ; so God giving his Son 
to sinners, gave him wrapped up in the vail of human flesh. The 
Son of God in his unvailed glory would have no more been an ob- 
ject for our eyes to have looked on, than the shining sun to the eyes 
of an owl. A few rays of bis glory, breaking out from under the 
vail, made his enemies fall to the ground ; what would have come 
of us then, if there had been no vail at all ? 

Thirdly, Let us consider, What a gift this is. The gift of the 
Son of God to poor sinners as a matchless gift, singular for, 

1. The worth of it; Prov. viii. 11, *' Wisdom is better than 
rubies ; and all the things that may be desired, are not to be com- 
pared to it." Many worthy gifts God has given ; but this is " the 
gift of God" by way of eminency, as if he had never given another ; 
John iv. 10, " If thou knewest the gift of God," &c. Never did 
Heaven's bounty appear so much as in this gift ; John iii. 16, " God 
so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," &c. If it 
were led in the balance with ten thousand worlds, they would be 
lighter than vanity in comparison of it ; nay, balanced with the gift 


of created graces, and the created heavens, it would downweigh 
thero ; as the bridegroom's person is more worth than his jewels and 

2. The unsuitableness of it. Ransack the earth and seas, the 
whole vault of heaven ; go through the upper house amongst all the 
shining angels ; no person, no thing, shall be found so suitable for 
our case as this gift which is given us ; Acts iv. 12, " Neither is 
there salvation in any other ; for there is none other name under 
heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." Heb. vii. 25, 
" Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost, that 
come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for 
them." The earth, seas, and air, afford for the back, belly, and 
purse ; but there is nothing there to give life to a dead body, far 
less to a dead soul. But (1 John v. 12.) " He that hath the Son, 
hath life ; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life." The 
angels in heaven might have condoled our loss, but could not repair 
it like him; Ruth iv, 6, " And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it 
for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance; redeem thou my right 
to thyself, for I cannot redeem it." Nay, they could not have shown 
how to do it ; Rev. v. 3, 5. Bat there is in Christ what»is suitable 
to all the cases of all sinners. 

3. The seasonableness of it. Many a gift has been marred, by 
its coming out of season ; but this gift was given most seasonably. 
No sooner was mankind broken and mined, but as soon the upmak- 
ing gift was proclaimed, Gen. iii. 15, in a promise that the seed of 
the woman should bruise the head of the serpent. Seasonably was 
the ram afforded for Isaac, while he lay bound on the altar ; a type 
of the Son given to and for poor sinners, when justice had the knife 
at their throat. 

4. The comprehensiveness of it. It is all in one ; Rom. viii. 32, 
" He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, 
how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?" Who- 
ever have Christ, have all in him, and are complete in him ; Col. ii. 
9, 10, " For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality 
and power." All grace is in him, relative and real. God giving 
Christ to sinners, gives them remission of sin, and sanctification. 
All glory and happiness is in him ; 1 John v. 11, " And this is the 
record, that God hath given to us eternal life ; and this life is in 
his Son." All that is necessary for our bodies in this life is in 
him, for he is " heir of all things," and is Lord of the whole crea- 
tion ; Psulm viii. G, &c. Whatever we want is in him, formally or 
virtually. He is moat, drink, and clothing, lodging for the soul 


directly. He is all this for the body indirectly, as money answereth 
all things. 

5. Lastly, The unrestricted freeness of it. As it is absolutely 
free to some, so it is absolutely free to all ; 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." 
What is freer than a gift ? The joint-stock of the whole world 
could not have purchased this gift. It is quite below the honour of 
the Giver and gift, for any to pretend to come with money in their 
hand to grace's market; Isa. Iv. 1, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, 
come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money ; come ye, buy 
and eat, yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without 
price." And all are alike free and welcome to it; Rev. xxii. 17, 
" And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth, 
say. Come. And let him that is athirst, come ; and whosoever will, 
let him take the water of life freely." 

Use 1. Beware of slighting this gift. It is a person, to take 
notice of the slight put upon it ; a divine person, to make the slight 
highly criminal, and to avenge it; the second person, the Saviour, 
the Mediator, whose office is to make peace, and there is not another 
Mediator ; Psalm ii. 12, " Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye 
perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled bat a little." The 
slighting of this gift is the sin of this day. 

2. Take heed ye miss not to perceive this gift. The Jews were 
ruined in their unbelief; for they could not see through the vail 
that the gift was wrapt up in. And so it is to this day. Most men 
see no farther into the mystery of Christ than the outward appear- 
ance it makes in the world, as administered in the word, sacraments, 
&c. ; and they despise it. Look ye inward. 

3. Admire the wisdom of God, and his infinite condescension, in 
the manner of the conveyance of this gift of the Son. Behold him 
in our nature, that he might suffer, and guilty ones may approach 

4. Lastly, See here how you may be made up and enriclied for 
time and eternity. And prize and receive this gift singular for its 
worth, suitableness, seasonableness, comprehensiveness, and freeness 
as ye have heard at large. Why should we continue in such a poor 
condition, when such a gift is made to us, and nothing remains but 
to receive it ? 

II. Secondly, Let us consider the Giver, And, 

\st, Who is the Giver ? The Giver is God ; John iv. 10, " If 
thou knowcst the gift of God," &c. ; and could bo no other, since 
the gift is a divine person. And it is particularly God the 


Father; John iii. 16, *' God so loved the world, that he gave his only 
begotten Son," »Sic. ; and could be no other person of the Godhead, 
since the gift is the Son. Here is the spring and original source of 
our salvation. The Father saw mankind was ruined, no help for 
them in the creation ; and rather than they should perish without re- 
medy, he makes a gift of his Son to them, for remedy of their misery. 
And to exalt the Giver's free love and grace herein, observe from 
the word three things there marked about it. 

1. It was his own Son he gave ; Rom. viii. 32, " He spared not 
his own Son, but delivered him up for us all," &c. All the sons in 
the world were at his disposal ; but as none of them could redeem his 
brother, so none of them were made the gift. The angels were his 
sons improperly ; to have parted with one of them, would have been 
much : but they could not answer the end ; so he gave his proper 
Son, the express image of his person. 

2. It was " his beloved Son" that he gave ; Luke xx. 13, " I will 
send my beloved Son," &c. He loved upright Adam as his son ; he 
loved the holy angels as his sons ; but he had one, the express image 
of his person, and brightness of his glory ; who was " the beloved 
Sou," whom he loved more than them all ; and him he gave. Jacob 
had a beloved Son, Benjamin ; and he could not think to part with 
hira, to venture him to Egypt ; but God gave his beloved Son into 
the world, though to die there without peradventure. 

3. It was " his only begetten Son" he gave ; John iii. 16. Jacob 
thought it a good reason for refusing to let Benjamin go down to 
Egypt with his brethren ; Gen. xlii. 38. And every body knows it 
is hard to part with an only son; Zech. xii. 10, So that was 
Abraham's trial; Gen. xxii. 2, "And he said, Take now thy 
sou, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the 
land of Moriah ; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon 
one of the mountains which I will tell thee of;" a type of the 
Father's giving his only Son for sinners. 

2dly, What has he given sinners, gifting his Son to them ? The 
tongues of men and angels cannot fully express this. I shall give a 
general view of it in three things. Giving his Son, 

1. He has given them himself. For the " Father is in hira," John 
xiv. 11 ; and " they are one," John x. 30. He is "the true God," 
1 John V. 20. " The fulness of the Godhead dwells in him," Col. 
ii. 9. So, if you will receive his Son, ye are possessed of the Father 
for your Father, &c. All the persons of the Godhead are yours, all 
the perfections of God, all his works, &c. wonderful gift of the 
Father ! 

2. He has given them eternal life. The Son of God is tbe life ; 


John xiv. 6 ; '* eternal life," 1 John v. 20. Sinners are naturally in 
a state of death, yea, they are liable to dying eternally; but be- 
hold, in the gift of the Son, the Father has given them eternal life 
1 John V. 11. enriching gift ! Life to the dead is the greatest 
gift that can be bestowed on them. Here is life, legal life, moral 
life, a life of comfort ; and all eternal. 

3. He has given them all things ; Rom.viii. 32, " He that spared not 
his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with 
him also freely give us all things ?" Therefore says the apostle of 
those who have received Christ, 1 Cor. iii. 21, " All things are 
yours." The Son of God is the " heir of all things ;" Heb. i. 2. Re- 
ceiving him, we become "joint-heirs with him," Rom. viii. 17; and 
so " inherit all things," Rev. xxi. 7. 

Use 1, Let us admire the love of the Father to poor sinners of 
Adam's race. The love of the Father is proposed as an object of 
admiration, in making sinners his sons ; 1 John iii. 1, " Behold what 
manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should 
be called the sons of God !" But here is a step higher, his giving 
to them his Son ; John iii. 16, " God so loved the world, that he 
gave his only begotten Son," &c. But, ah, how is it lost on a blind 
ungrateful world, that take no notice of it ! They will be apt to 
conclude God's special love to them, from his laying to their hands 
plenty of common favours ; but the love of the Father, in giving 
them his Son, comes not in mind. 

2, Dreadful must the hazard of slighting this gift be, as the crime 
in it is atrocious. As ye would not run in to the deei)est of guilt, 
and expose yourselves to God's fiercest wrath, slight not the gift of 
his Son made you. God has given us his own Son, his beloved Son, 
his only begotten Son, and in him, himself, &c. The greater the 
gift, the greater the love in making it, the greater is the sin, and 
the greater will be the wrath, for the slighting of it ; John iii. 
19, " And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the 
world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their 
deeds were evil." 

III. The third thing is, The party to whom he is given. Here let us 

\st, To whom he is given. 

2d/j/, In what respects he is given. 

^dly, In what character he is given. 

First, To whom ia ho given ? He that believes the Son of God to 
be given to sinners, and lays the matter to heart, will be ready to 
say, but whom is ho given to "^ I fear he is not given to me ; and 
what am I the better then ? But 



Christ is given to mankind-sinners indefinitely. It is not to the 
elect only, but to sinners indefinitely, elect or not elect; sinners of 
the race of Adara without exception, whatever they have been, 
whatever they are ; whatever qualifications they have, whatever 
they want. The Father, in making of this gift to us, had no eye to 
any qualification in ns, but our misery and extreme need ; and, in 
the view of that, he made this gift for their remedy. 

1. This gift and grant is conceived in the most ample terms, 
without any restriction to any particular set of men ; John iii. 16, 
" God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that 
whosoever believeth in hira should not perish, but have everlasting 
life." You see here it goes as wide as the world, the world of men, 
to exclude fallen angels, but none of the family of fallen Adam. 
Therefore, says the prophet, " To us a Son is given." They will 
get no approbation of Christ nor his Father, who curtail and hem in 
this grant, as they consult not his nor his Father's honour therein. 

2. Christ is given to mankind-sinners, as the manna was given to 
the Israelites. Now the manna was giv^en to the Israelites indefi- 
nitely; to them who loathed it as well as to them who loved it; 
John vi. 31 — 33, " Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it 
is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Verily, verily I 
say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven ; but my 
Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of 
God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the 
world." And therefore Christ is given to sinners indefinitely, with- 
out exception of any ; therefore says Christ to the unbelieving Jews, 
verse 32, " My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven." 

3. There is made to mankind-sinners indefinitely a gift of the 
benefits of his purchase, which yet are never given but in and with 
himself ; Rom. viii. 32, " How shall he not with him also freely give us 
all things?" There is a gift of righteousness made to them, Rom. 
V. 17, which is revealed to faith, chap. i. 17, «. 6-, to be believed on 
and trusted to. Eternal life is given them, 1 John v. 11 ; and a 
promise of entering into his rest is left them, Heb. vi. 1. 

4. Lastly, If Christ were not given to mankind-sinners indefinitely, 
but there were some in the world who have no part in the gift of 
Christ, then the ministers of the gospel might not ofier hira to all, 
nor might all receive him. Not the first; for no man has power 
to offer to any the Father's gift, to whom it is not given of the Fa- 
ther ; more than a servant has power to offer his master's gift to one 
to whom his master has not made the gift. Not the second, for none 
can lawfully take what God does not give him; John iii. 27, "John 
answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it bo given 


liiin from heaven." It would be presumption in thee to take a bit 
of bread, or a drink of water, if God gave it not thee ; much more 
it would be presumption in thee to take his Son, if he gave him not 
to thee. But it is no presumption in any sinner of mankind to take 
Christ ; 1 John iii. 23, " And this is his commandment, that we 
should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ." Mark xvi. 
15, 16, " And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and 
preach the gospel to every creature," &c. 

Secondly, In what respects is Christ given to them? "To us the 
Son is given." 

1. In respect of allowance to take him. Ye all have the Father's 
allowance to take Christ, to possess yourselves of him, without fear 
of vicious intromitting with him. The Father's allowance was pro- 
claimed by a voice from heaven ; Matth. xvii. 5, " This is my be- 
loved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; hear ye him ;" and by his 
messengers ; Matth. xxii. 9, " Go ye therefore into the high-ways, 
and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage." If you were 
desiring something of a neighbour that you needed, and he should 
use no other solemnity in giving it you, but only say, Well, I allow 
you, take it ; would ye question the gift of it, or fear to take it ? 
Now, the Father gives you the same allowance, Well, 1 make an 
offer of my Son to you, and allow you to take him ; take him then 
as I offer him. 

2. In respect of legal destination. That is more than a simple 
allowance. There is an act passed in the court of heaven, destinat- 
ing and appointing a crucified Christ for the world of mankind-sin- 
ners, as a Saviour; 1 John iv. 14, " And we have seen and do 
testify, that the Father sent the Son the Saviour of the world." As 
the brazen serpent was the ordinance of God for cure to the stung 
Israelites, the cities of refuge for manslayers among them ; so is 
Christ the ordinance of God for mankind-sinners, John iii. 14 — 
16. If ye had an act of parliament appointing a thing for you, ye 
would not question its being given you ; here ye have more, 

3. In respect of real offer. The word in the book of God offers 
him to all without exception, and the preachers of the gospel per- 
sonally make, or may make the offer, wheresoever they come; Mark 
xvi. 15, " Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every 
creature." Hear God's own offer ; Rev. iii. 20, " Behold, I stand 
at the door and knock ; if any man hear my voice, and open the 
door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with mo ;" 
the ministerial offer ; Matth. xxii. 4, " And he sent forth other ser- 
vants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared 
my dinner ; my oxen and my failings are killed, and all things are 


ready ; come unto the marriage." Tt is so real, that they will be 
condemned for refusing it to whom it is intimated. So all are not 
only allowed and have the gift legally destinate for them; but it is 
offered to them ; God says, Take, and welcome. 

4. In respect of the freeness of the offer. There are some gifts so 
hampered and clogged with conditions in the offer of them, that they 
are not free gifts, and are in effect put out of the reach of the party- 
receiver. But this gift is absolutely free ; no qualification, no con- 
dition, is required of us, that we may have it, but to receive it; 
Rev. xxii. 17, " And the Spirit and the bride, say. Come. And let 
him that heareth, say, Come. And let him that is athirst, come ; 
And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." No 
money, no price, is here demanded, Isa. Iv. 1. More than all that, 

5, Lastly, In respect of exhibition. God not only allows, has des- 
tinate, and offers freely, this gift to you ; but it is exhibited to you, 
presented and held forth as with the hand, God saying, Ho, sinner, 
here is my Son, take him. This is done in the word of the gospel to 
all. The gospel not only offers salvation, which it might do, though 
the salvation were far off; but it brings salvation along with it to 
the lost sinner. Tit. ii. 21, " For the grace of God that bringeth sal- 
vation, hath appeared to all men." And God doth not stay the 
exhibiting of his Son to sinners, till they say they will take him, as 
we do sometimes the bringing out of meat to our friends ; but as his 
voice reacheth their ears, his hand holds him forth, saying, Here he 
is for you, take him. Ye must take him, as we do sometimes with 
our meat, holding it out in our hand to our friend, and telling him 
and pressing him to eat. 

Thirdli/, In what character is Christ given to sinners ? He is given 
of the Father to sinners of mankind in the character of a Saviour. 
He is given to the elect, and was from eternity, in the character of a 
surety, undertaking the payment of their debt for them. But he is 
given to the world indefinitely in the character of a Saviour ; John 
iv. 42, " This is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." 1 
John iv. 14, "The Father sent the Son the Saviour of the world." 
The world of mankind is a company sick unto death, the earth is 
the hospital where the sick and wounded lie, Christ is the physi- 
cian given them by his Father's bounty. It is his office to be physi- 
cian of the hospital, to cure the sick, and that without any fees from 
them. Every sick man and woman in the hospital may come to 
him, and employ him as their own physician. Such a gift in the 
case of men's bodies would bo highly esteemed ; but this is a thousand 
times greater, as the soul is of more worth than the body. 

Under this, much is comprehended ; but I shall comprehend the 
same in a threefold character. Ho is given to mankind-sinners, 


1. In the character of a light set up; John viii. 12, " I am the 
light of the world ; he that followeth me, shall not walk in dark- 
ness, but shall have the light of life." He is given to sinners in a 
suitableness to their case. It is a dark world ; by Adam's fall the snn 
set on mankind ; but Christ is arisen the Sun of Righteousness, to 
whose light sinners are as free as to the light of the sun and moon, by 
the gift thereof made ; Gen. i. 17, " And God set them in the firmament 
of heaven, to give light upon the earth." And nothing Is to hinder 
their access to it, but their love of darkness ; John iii. 19, " And 
this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men 
loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." 

2. In the character of an atoning sacrifice, slain and offered up. 
He died in the room and stead of the elect only ; but being offered 
for tliera, and being of sufficiency for the needs of all, he is made 
the ordinance of God for taking away the sin of the world of man- 
kind, and as such is gifted to them of the father ; even as the brazen 
serpent to the stung Israelites, and the cities of refuge to the man- 
slayers, to look to and be healed, to flee to and be safe ; John iii. 14, 
15. This is what John asserts in very express terms ; 1 John ii. 2, 
*' And he is the propitiation for our sins ; and not for ours only, but 
also for the sius of the whole world." Thus the Baptist pointed him 
out ; John i. 29, " Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the 
sin of the world." He taketh away the sin of the world, not even- 
tually, but officially. Compare chap. vi. 33, " For the bread of God 
is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the 
world." And thus Christ himself holds out himself as a slain sa- 
crifice, set down for all to eat of and feast on ; Matth. xxii. 4, ac- 
cording to the prophecy; Isa. xxv. 6, " And in this mountain shall 
the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast 
of wines on the less, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the 
lees well refined." 

3. In the character of a crowned king, mighty to destroy the king- 
dom of Satan, to rescue mankind-sinners his captives and prisoners; 
1 John iii. 8, " For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, 
that he might destroy the works of the devil." 1 Cor. i. 30, " But 
of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us — redemp- 
tion." Therefore they are called to receive him into their hearts in 
this character ; Psalm xxiv. 7, " Lift up your heads, ye gates, and 
be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come 
in." The case of the conquered world, conquered by the king of the 
bottomless pit, was so hopeless, that none was able to head them for 
recovery among angels or men ; God therefore anointed and gave 
them his own Son for a King-deliverer ; Psalm ii. 6, " Yet have I 


set my King upon my holy hill of Zion." Isa. Iv. 4, " Behold, I 
have given him — for a leader and commander to the people." 

Use 1. Believe it, then, that to us poor sinners the Son of God in 
man's nature is given ; that Christ is given to you in particular ; 
that the Father has made a free gift and grant of his Son Jesus 
Christ to you, and every cue of you. 

If ye believe it not, ye make God a liar, disbelieving his gospel ; 
1 John V. 10, 11, " He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar 
because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And 
this is the record. That God hath given to us eternal life ; and this 
life is in his Son." And unless ye believe it, ye will never see 
Christ ; for who can receive from God his Son, when he does not be- 
lieve he has given him ? John iii. 27, " John answered and said, A 
man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven." As there 
can be no taking from God without a prior giving, so thei'e can be 
no receiving of Christ by faith without a prior belief that he is 
given. Why will ye not believe it ? 

1. Is the gift too much to be granted ? Consider the giver, and 
it is not too much for an infinite God to give. Gifts are expected 
agreeable to the state of the giver ; what is too much for an ordinary 
person, is not too much for a King. And can any thing be too 
much for an infinite God ? 

2. Is the party gifted too great to be made a gift of? Why, con- 
sider he is gifted by his own Father ; and the gifting of him tends to 
his own and his Father's honour, Heb. xii. 2 ; and he is gifted as 
Mediator ; in which respect he says, " My Father is greater than 
I ;" John xiv. 28. 

3. Is the party-receiver too mean and low to have such a great 
gift conferred on him ? Why, truly, this is the language of unbe- 
lief. Ye could easily believe that Christ is given to the righteous 
and holy ; and so could the Pharisees. But to believe that he ia 
given to the ungodly and sinners, there lies the difficulty. But pray 
consider, this gift is not given according to our worth, but our 
need; and it is evident such need him most; Matth. ix. 11 — 13, 
" And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples. Why 
eateth your master with publicans and sinners ? But when Jesus 
heard that, he said unto them. They that be whole need not a physi- 
cian, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that mean- 
oth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice ; for I am not come to call 
the righteous, but sinners to repentance." And Christ and his 
Father will have the greater glory in that case. 

Use. 2. Receive the gift of Christ then at his Father's hand ; 
take him, and possess yourselves of him by faith. 


Motive 1. Consider ye liave an absolute need of this gift, Matth. 
ix. 12, forecited. Ye perish without him ; Acts iv. 12, " Neither is 
there salvation in any other ; for there is none other name under 
heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved," "What need 
a man starving for hunger has of bread, the naked of clothing ; that 
and more ye have of Christ. That soul of thine that is lost, is cry- 
ing to thee, slight not a Saviour ! that soul that is sick unto death, 
Slight not the Physician ! 

Motive 2. There are some who have as much need as you, to 
whom yet he is not given, viz. the fallen angels ; Heb. ii. 16, " For 
verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him 
the seed of Abraham." They must perish for ever without remedy, for 
Christ was neither given for nor to them. Trample not on sove- 
reign love, that has made the gift to you then, and not to them. 

Motive 3. Yc must either receive or refuse. The fallen angels, 
nay, the poor pagans, to whom the gift is not intimated, are neither 
receivers nor refusers. But in your case there is no midst, to whom 
he is both given and intimated. Therefore we say, as Heb. xii. 25, 
" See that ye refuse not him that speaketh ; for if they escaped not 
who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, 
if we turn away fi-om him that speaketh from heaven." It will be 
heavy to bo marked refusers of Christ. 

Motive 4. Consider the worth of the gift. Men and angels cannot 
toll it; Prov. viii. 11, " For wisdom is better than rubies; and all 
the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it." Look 
into its superlative worth, and resolve to have it, not to let it go. 
Never such a gift will or can come in your offer again. Therefore 
buy the truth, and sell it not ; take it at any rate, part with it at 
no rate. 

Motive 5. Consider the hand it comes from. Respect to the 
giver often causeth embracing the gift that one would otherwise 
slight. The giver is the infinite God. If he should send you a 
piece of bread out of heaven, as he did the manna, or a cup of cold 
water ; could you take it on you to refuse it ? How then will ye 
adventure, when he sends and gives you his own, his beloved, his 
only begotten son ? 

Motive 6. Consider that others before you have received it, and 
have been made up by it for ever. The saints in glory were once as 
poor as you ; they received this gift ; and now they are kings and 
priests, they inherit all things ; and of their happiness there will be 
no end. So you see that ye may receive it, and that it will be up- 
making to you. 

Motive ?• Consider that this gift will not always be for the tak- 

VoL. X. o 


ing as it is now ; Heb. iii. 15, " While it is said, To-day if ye will 
hear Lis voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation." If 
men will go on to refuse it, God will call in his gift, and set a bar 
between them and it for ever ; Luke xiv. 24, " For I say unto you, 
that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper." 
So that the day will come when, if ye would give a thousand worlds 
for another offer of the gift, ye will not get it ; Heb. xii. 17, " For ye 
know howthat afterward when Esau would have inherited the blessing 
he was rejected ; for he found no place of repentance, though he 
sought it carefully with tears." 

Motive 8. Tour not receiving will be very heinously taken, as the 
deepest slight put upon both the giver and the gift. When you 
make an offer of a gift to a friend, how do ye take that of having it 
slighted ? Think then, how will the father take your slighting the 
gift of his Son ; his Son to be slighted in quality of a gift ? 

Motive 9. Lastly, It will set you at greater distance from God 
than ever ; and will kindle a keener flame of wrath against you, to 
burn for ever, than if the gift had never been offered you. The Lamb's 
wrath is dreadful above measure, 2 Thes. i. 7 — 9, " The Lord Jesus 
shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming 
fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey 
not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ ; who shall be punished with 
everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the 
glory of his power." Matth. xi. 22, " But I say unto you. It shall 
be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for 
you." Rev. vi. 15 — 17, " And the kings of the earth, and the great 
men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, 
and every bond man and every free man, hid themselves in the dens, 
and in the rocks of the mountains ; and said to the mountains and 
rocks. Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the 
throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb ; for the great day of his 
wrath is come, andwho shall be able to stand ?" 

See then, salvation is brought to your door, Christ is exhibited as 
the gift of God his Father to you. Think how you will entertain it, 
and that ye must answer before his tribunal for what entertainment 
you give this offer. 



Isaiah ix. 6, 
And the government shall be upon his shoulder. 

As a people whose aifairs are ruined have great need of an active 
and expert governor ; so the government of such a people is a great 
burden. Such a people are lost sinners ; and with respect to them 
these words speak two things. 

1. The burden and weight of heading of them, taking the govern- 
ment of them, and management of their aifairs. The shoulder is the 
instrument of bearing burdens ; Gen. xlix. 15, — " and bowed his 
shoulder to bear," &c. Sinners' affairs were so ruined, that it was 
hard to find one Avho had a shoulder fit for the government of them ; 
bnt infinite wisdom finds out one who had shoulders sufficient for 
the weight. 

2. Jesus Christ, the person on whom this burden was laid. The 
word signifies the principality. The principality in this case was 
laid upon this Child, this Son. It has been (Heb.) upon his shoul- 
der. It was laid from eternity by his Father, and is, and shall be 
on him for ever. Princes are, in the style of the Holy Ghost, bur- 
den-bearers ; Numb. xi. 17, — " And they shall bear the burden of 
the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone." On him 
was laid the heading of lost sinners, the retrieving of their despe- 
rate affairs, and the government and management of them to salva- 

This is a part of the glad tidings of the gospel, and refers to both 
the preceding clauses, the copulative being used instead of the re- 
lative. Q. d. " Unto us a Child is presented born, unto us a Son is 
given, on whose shoulder the government is laid." So the sense is. 
He is born, presented, and given to us, a Prince and Governor; 
whom we ought therefore to submit to and receive as our native 
prince. In this Samson was a special type of him. 

Doctrine. Jesus Christ is presented and given to us of the Father 
as onr Prince and Governor, on whose shoulder the burden of the 
government of ruined sinners of mankind is laid for salvation. 

In prosecuting this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. The occasion of setting up this Prince and Governor. 

II. The import of this principality and government laid on Jesus 
Christ for the benefit of mankind-sinners. 

III. The honour, power, and authority belonging to this princi- 
pality and government of Jesus Christ. 



IV. The burden of this principality and government laid on him. 

Y. Lastly, Improve the doctrine. 

I. First, I shall shew the occasion of setting up this Prince and 
Governor. It was sinners' absolute need, from which free grace 
took occasion to set up Jesus Prince over them. Their need will 
appear in three things. 

1. Their first prince was gone, to manage their affairs no more. 
Adam, their natural head, mismanaged the government quite, sunk 
their interest, rendered himself incapable of the government, be- 
trayed his trust, and deserted them ; their matters being brought to 
such a pass that it was quite beyond his reach to retrieve them. 

2. They were left in confusion, in the hand of the enemy Satan. 
They were no more a people, as not being God's people ; Rom. x. 
19 ; broken from God, and broken among themselves. They were 
scattered like sheep without a shepherd, having none to head them 
for their good, or to care for them. 

3. Their affairs were desperate. They were in a state of enmity 
with heaven, a state of slavery to hell. None in earth, nor among 
tlie angels in heaven, could be able for the government of them. 
Allude to Isa. iii. 6 — 8, " When a man shall take hold of his bro- 
ther of the house of his father, saying. Thou hast clothing, be thou 
our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand : In that day shall he 
swear, saying, I will not be an healer ; for in my house is neither 
bread nor clothing; make me not a ruler of the people. For Jeru- 
salem is ruined, and Judah is fallen ; because their tongue and their 
doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory." For 
their matters were beyond recovery by any creature, and no created 
shoulder fit for the burden. 

For such a time as this came Jesus to the kingdom, when none 
other could or would take the burden of it. When the whole earth 
could not afford one. Heaven gave sinners a Prince, of shoulders 
sufficient for the burden. 

II, Secondly, I shall shew the import of this principality and 
government laid on Jesus Christ for the benefit of mankind-sinners. 
It speaks, 

1. His near relation to them ; as between a king and his subjects 
by right, head and members. He is to make one body with them ; 
ho the Head, they the members; ho the Prince, they the people. So 
that their interest becomes a joint interest ; his honour and their 
advantage are closely linked together. 

2. His eminency among them. Whatever persons come into the 
blessed society, he alone is the Prince there. The kings and 
monarchs of the earth arc but subjects in Christ's kingdom, to receive, 
not to give laws. His eminency quite overtops all other. 


3. His honourable office he has over thera. He is the Governor, 
the only Lawgiver, to whom they all must submit. His Father 
put this honour on him, and sinners ought to acknowledge it, and 
honour him accordingly; John v. 22, 23, *' For the Father judgeth 
no man ; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son ; That all 
men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He 
that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath 
sent him." 

4. His sovereign power and authority over them. He is made a 
sovereign Prince over the children of men, therefore called the 
Prince of the kings of the earth ; Rev. i. v. He has an illiraited 
power and jurisdiction vested in his person, in this and the other 
world ; Matt, xxviii. 18, " All power is given unto me in heaven and 
in earth." He has power of life and death ; so he is called the 
Prince of life, Acts iii. 15. ; and the keys of hell and death hang 
at his girdle, Rev. i. 18. 

5. Lastly, The burden of the care and duty belonging to the 
oflSce and station. Many of the princes of the earth value them- 
selves on the honour, little regarding the duty of their place. But 
this Priuce bears on his shoulder, takes the weight of the charge on 
him, and performs the duty of it ; therefore he is called a Shepherd 
and Bishop of souls, 1 Pet. ii. 25. 

III. Thirdly, I shall shew the honour, power, and authority belong- 
ing to this principality and government of Jesus Christ. I take np 
this in these four honours vested in his person. 

1. The legislative power belongs to him solely; Isaiah xxxiii. 22 
" The Lord is our Lawgiver." He gathers a church, which is his 
kingdom. He is the sole legislator in it ; Matth. xvii. 5, *' This is 
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him ;" a minis- 
terial explication and application of them being all that any can 
pretend to, being the officers of this Prince. He is an absolute mo- 
narch, whose will is the only law; and none but he has the wisdom 
and goodness to be trusted with absolute power. To him only be- 
longs the appointing of offices, officers, and ordinances in his king- 
dom. And whatsoever of that sort has not his stamp and super- 
scription on it in his kingdom, is null. 

2. The supreme executive power is lodged with him ; John v. 22, 
" The Father judgeth no man ; but hath committed all judgment 
unto the Son." And whosoever execute the laws of his kingdom, 
must have their commission from him, or they intermeddle to their 
peril. By him rewards and punishments are distributed, and he 
is Judge of all. Now he judgeth particular persons, churches, and 
nations ; and the time is coming wherein he will appear on his throne 


with awful solemnity, and judge and sentence the whole world, 
Matth. XXV. 

3. The power of granting remissions, receiving into peace with 
heaven, pardoning and indemnifying criminals and rebels ; Acts v. 
31, " Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and 
a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and forgiveness of 
sins." He exercised that power when he was on earth, and much 
more now. The scribes quarrelled it ; Mark ii. 5 — 7, " When Jesus 
saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be 
forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, 
and reasoning in their hearts, "Why doth this man thus speak blas- 
phemies ? who can forgive sins but Grod only?" And he wrought a 
miracle to confirm it; verses 10, 11, "But that ye may know that 
the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the 
sick of the palsy), I say unto thee. Arise, and take up thy bed and 
go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up 
the bed, and went forth before them all," &c. 

4. Lastly, A large and vast dominion, reaching to both worlds, 
earth, heaven, Matth. xxviii. 18, and hell, and the passage between 
the two worlds, viz., death ; Rev. i. 18. In his hand is, 

1. The kingdom of grace ; Eph. i. 22, " And gave him to be the 
head over all things to the church." All grace and favours of hea- 
ven are at his disposal. Kings of the earth can bestow silver and 
gold, houses and lands, on their favourites ; but he righteousness, 
peace, and joy ; Rom. xiv. 17, " For the kingdom of God is not meat 
and drink ; but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy 

2. The kingdom of glory; Luke xxii. 29, 30, "And I appoint 
unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me ; that 
ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom," &c. The eter- 
nal weight of glory is in his hand ; he is the righteous Judge, whose 
it is to give the crown of glory ; he who admits to, and excludes out 
of that kingdom. 

3. The kingdom of Providence ; Eph. i. 22, " And hath put all 
things under his feet." He rules not only over his kindly subjects, 
but in the midst of his enemies. The wheel of providence through 
the world is directed by him. In the same hand the government of 
the church is lodged, the government of the world is lodged also. 

IV. The fourth thing is, the burden of this principality and go- 
vernment laid on Christ Jesus. It is sevenfold. 

1. The burden of the purchase of it. It behoved to bo purchased 
by a price of infinite value, and it was laid upon him to do it. 
" Without shedding of blood there was no remission." And so he re- 


deemed the subjects, not '' mth silver and gold, but his own blood," 
1 Pet. i. 18, 19. The Father is indeed said to give it him, Psalm ii. 
8 ; but that giving is the delivering it upon the paying down of the 
price; Acts xx. 28, " Feed the church of God which he hath pur- 
chased with his own blood," 

2. The burden of a war with the devil, for recovering of it. How- 
ever dear it cost him, he could not have the possession thereof, with- 
out vanquishing the power and force of hell, that was engaged to 
hold fast what they had got. So on the cross he encountered the 
serpent ; Gen. iii. 15 ; and by his Spirit in the gospel he carries on 
the war, raising his kingdom out of the devil's kingdom, rescuing 
the captives and prisoners out of his hands. 

3. The burden of subduing them. The designed subjects of his 
dominion, are born subjects of the devil's kingdom, unwilling to quit 
with their old master, and to submit to this their new prince ; and 
therefore cannot be brought over without being conquered and sub- 
dued, and the burden of this lies on him. Psalm ex. 3 ; who is 
mighty in battle, and with the sword of the Spirit makes it effectual 
in their conversion. 

4. The burden of their reconciliation with heaven ; Eph. ii. 14, 
" For he is our peace, who hath made both one," &c. He has the 
peace to make up betwixt God and sinners, that his dominion may 
be happy in peace with God. And as he purchased the peace by his 
blood, so he becomes God's messenger of peace to sinners, and tra- 
vels between the parties till it be made up, and confirmed by a sure 
covenant of peace entered into. 

5. The burden of their defence and protection; Isa. xxxiii. 21,22, 
" But there the glorious Lord will be unto us as a place of broad 
rivers and streams ; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither 
shall gallant ship pass thereby. For the Lord is our judge, the 
Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king, he will save us." The 
subjects of this prince have many enemies, without them and within 
them. Satan, the prince of this world is continually making war 
on them, to withdraw them from their allegiance to their rightful 
Lord, employs the men and things of this world, and the corruptions 
lodged within their own breasts, to advance his designs against 
them : but Christ defends them. 

6. The burden of their provision, in all things necessary for life 
and godliness. He cares for them in all these, from the least to the 
greatest of their wants ; 1 Pet. v. 7, " Casting all your care upon 
him, for he careth for you." Their food and raiment for their bo- 
dies he has the providing of ; and his visitation preserves their spi- 
rits, laying in new supplies of grace, exciting, quickening, and 
strengthening it. 


7. Lastly, The burden of the whole management and conduct of 
them through the wilderness, till they come to the heavenly Canaan. 
Great was the burden that Moses had of the people of Israel through 
the wilderness. How unmanageable did they often prove ! But 
that was a light burden in comparison of that laid on this Prince. 
He has the burden of all believers through the world on him, in 
their life and death. Great are their wants, and he has them to 
supply. Their weakness and follies are innumerable ; he has them 
all to bear and correct. They are broken and shattered ships, often 
dashed on many rocks, he has them all to bring to land. 

Use 1. Of Information. This informs us, that, 

1. Jesus Christ is the alone head of his church, and supreme 
governor thereof ; and the headship of it, and supremacy over it, is 
neither competent to Pope nor any earthly King. It is a burden too 
heavy for the shoulder of any mortal, and none is fit for it but him- 
self alone. And the government appointed by him in it is not 
alterable by any power on earth, civil or ecclesiastic. 

2. That the interests of the church, the kingdom of Christ, and 
of every particular believer, the members thereof, will certainly be 
seen to, and brought to a comfortable account at length. Such a 
governor must needs make his dominion happy ; Matth. xvi. 18, *' I 
say unto thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my 
church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." What- 
ever enemies they have, he is able to master them, and will do it; 
1 Cor. XV- 25, " For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under 
his feet." ' Whatever wants they have, he is able to supply them, 
and will do it ; Phil. iv. 19, " But my God shall supply all your 
need, according to his riches in glory, by Christ Jesus." Whatever 
is necessary to make them completely happy, he has purchased, 
and will confer on them ; Psalm Ixxxiv. 11, " For the Lord God is 
a sun and shield ; the Lord will give grace and glory ; no good 
thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." 

3. Believers have all reason to be quietly resigned to the divine 
disposal, and to live by faith in confidence of a blessed issue, what- 
ever be the difficulties tlicy have to grapple with, either in respect 
of the case of the church, or of their own private case. That holds 
always sure anchor ground ; Isa. lii. 7, " How beautiful upon the 
mountains are the feet of him that bringcth good tidings, that pub- 
lisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth 
salvation, that saith unto Zion, " Thy God reigneth !" 

The case of the church is often very low, as now ; backslidings 
are multiplied, ini<iuity abounds, the Spirit's iufiuenccs are with- 
drawn, the disease is proof against all means of cure that can be 


used by men. "We must in that case table the complaint before the 
great governor himself, roll it on him, leave it with him, and be 
going on in our duty ; Micah vii. 7, " Therefore I will look unto the 
Lord ; I will wait for the God of my salvation ; my God will hear 
me." Psalm cxix. 126, " It is time for thee, Lord, to work ; for 
they have made void thy law." 

The believer's own private case may be very difficult, in respect of 
various afflictions, temptations and trials. But even here, there is 
a broad foundation for the rest of faith ; James i. 2, " My brethren, 
count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." There is not 
one circumstance in all their case, but it is ordered by the governor, 
John V. 22, for wise ends; Heb. xii. 10. And it is still under his 
management, to go or come, increase or decrease precisely according 
to his order ; Matth. viii. 8, 9. And he will turn them all about for 
good ; Rom. viii. 28, as being all medicinal ; Isa. xxvii. 9. 

Use II. Of Exhortation. Receive him then as your prince and 
governor, renouncing all other Lords which have had dominion over 
you ; Isa. xxvi. 13. Receive him really as your prince and gover- 
nor ; Matth. xi. 29, " Taking his yoke upon you, and learning of 
hi:n;" and not in profession only. The most part of this genera- 
tion do, in their practice, send Christ that message ; Luke xix. 14, 
** We will not have this man to reign over us ;" and they will not 
be governed by him. But, 

1st, Receive him as your prince, and governor of your life, to 
walk according to his orders in your whole conversation ; and walk 
no more after your lusts. And, 

1. Let his Spirit be your guide and leader ; John xvi. 13, *' When 
he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." 
How long will ye be led with the Spirit of the world, and your own 
corrupt Spirit ? Renounce these, and give up yourselves to be led 
by his Spirit, or in vain do ye profess Christ to be your Lord and 
governor ; Gal. v. 18, " But if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not 
under the law." The fulfilling of the lusts of the flesh, speaks you 
not to be led by the Spirit; ver. 16, " Walk in the Spirit, and ye 
shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." 

2. Let his word be your rule ; Gal. vi. 16, " And as many as 
walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy," &c. Let 
that determine you what to do, how to speak, and what and how 
not. David laid it before him, as the pattern he was to copy after ; 
Psalm cxix. 30, " I have chosen the way of truth ; thy judgments 
have I laid before me." But this generation for the most part 
throw it by, as a thing they have no use for. The way of the world 
and their own carnal interest, arc the rule they walk by. 


3- Let his will be the determining point to you. Let your owu 
will be a captive to his ; and follow his will, though it should be 
against the will of all the world. Why will men profess him to be 
their governor, and will not be swayed by his authority ? Luke vi. 
46, " And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which 
I say ?" 

And receive him as governor, 

1. Of your hearts and spirits ; Prov. xxiii. 26, " My son, give me 
thine heart." Let the proud heart be made to stoop to him, let the 
covetous heart be purged by him, and the vain foolish heart be 
made to find the weight of his awful authority. While Christ has 
not the government of thy heart, thou hast not given him the throne. 

2. Of your tongues. Who governs the lying tongue, the wicked, 
bitter, and malicious tongue ? Not Christ, surely ; but the devil. 
Men that will frame lies, and deliberately tell lies, their tongues 
are their own, not Christ's. Satan fills their hearts to lie, and they 
run a risk of being struck down with a lie in their mouth, as 
Ananias was ; Acts v. 3. See Isa. Ixiii. 8, " For he said. Surely 
they are my people, children that will not lie." 

3. Of your practice. And then ye will have a practice of true 
piety towards God, and exact justice towards man. Tit. ii. 12. That 
is what Christ's true subjects will exercise themselves in ; Acts xxiv. 
16, viz. in " having a conscience void of oftence toward God, and to- 
ward men." the fraud and deceit, the injustice and covetous prac- 
tices that are to be found with many at this day, speak to them to 
be under the government of the god of this world, not of Christ. 

2dly, Receive him as your prince and governor of your lot and 
condition in the world, resigning the same to his disposal, Psalm 
xlvii. 4, " He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of 
Jacob whom he loved." And, 

1. Be content with the lot carved out for you ; Heb. xiii. 5, " Let 
your conversation be without covetousness ; and be content with 
such things as ye have ; for he hath said, I will never leave thee, 
nor forsake thee." And be not murmurers and complainers, grudg- 
ing, repining at, and blaming your lot. That is a sad character, 
Jude ver. 16, and betrays into many snares. There is nothing in 
your lot but what the supreme governor sees meet; and whore 
Christ has the government on his shoulders, it is unbecoming and 
dangerous to bo malcontents. 

2. Never go out of God's way to mend your condition, nor do the 
least ill thing to better your circumstances. That is to pull the 
government of your lot out of Christ's hand, and take it into your 
own. And ye may be sure ye will have won nothing by it at long- 


run ; Rfatth. xvi. 26, " For what is a man profited, if he shall gain 
the whole world, and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give 
in exchange for his soul ?" If you should gain some worldly profit 
by it, ye get it, and the curse of it ; Zech. v. 4, " I will bring it 
forth, (viz. the curse), saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter 
into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth 
falsely by my name ; and it shall remain in the midst of his house, 
and shall consume it, with the timber thereof, and the stones there- 

3. In all changes of your lot, acknowledge him for direction and 
guidance ; that whatever way you dispose of yourselves, you may 
have the comfort of being in the way of God ; Prov. iii. 5, 6, 
*' Trust in the Lord with all thine heart ; and lean not unto 
thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and 
he shall direct thy paths." He sets us our stations, and we are 
not to change but at his direction. Let householders in the change 
of their dwellings, servants in their change of families, single per- 
sons in the change of their lot, and, generally, all in every change 
of their condition, own the governor. 

In all these respects receive Christ as your prince and governor, 
give up yourselves to his government, surrender and submit your- 
selves to him. And, 

1. Take him for your only governor. Renounce all other lords, 
saying, Isa. xxvi. 13, " Lord our God, other lords besides thee 
have had dominion over us ; but by thee only will we make men- 
tion of thy name." One throne contains not two kings. If ye 
will have Christ for your Lord, he must have the government of 
you solely. Let not Satan lord it over you any more, to be led 
captive at his pleasure. Let not the world be your lord, nor your 
lusts your lords. 

2. Take him for your absolute governor. Christ's government is and 
must be absolute and illimited; for he is essentially just and good, 
and we are naturally unjust and evil ; therefore we can be allowed no 
hand in determining how he shall govern us ; but, without limita- 
tion, we must resign the government of ourselves to him, saying 
with Paul, Acts, ix. 6, *' Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" 

3. Take him for your •peiyetual governor, giving up yourselves 
to his government for ever, Psalm cxix. 112, •' I have inclined 
mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end." 
Some swear allegiance, to him at a time, and, enduring for a 
while, they afterwards apostatize. But he is a prince of whose 
kingdom there must be no end. 

4. Take him for your prince and governor presently, without 


delay, Heb. iii. 15, " While it is said, To-day if ye will hear his 
voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation." His royal 
proclamations are emitted instantly requiring your submission, and 
he is presented to you as your innnce. Delay not, then, a moment 
longer ; the time past may have sufficed to have wrought the will 
of the Gentiles, and to have subjected yourselves to other lords. 

5. Lastly, Take hira heartily and willingly. Let your whole souls 
open to receive this glorious prince ; and cordially submit your- 
selves to his royal sceptre, as a prince whose government will make 
you happy. 

Motive 1. Consider what an excellent prince and governor he is, 
to whom you are required to submit. The excellencies competent 
to him as a prince and governor are to be found in none other. 
He is as far above all the princes of the earth in the excellency 
of his government, as he is in the dignity of his person. 

1. He is perfectly just in his administration, Deut. xxxii. 4. " He 
is the rock, his work is perfect : for all his ways are judgment ; a 
God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he." His laws 
for the government of your life, and your lot, too, are absolutely 
spotless ; and his government, and execution of these laws, are 
absolutely holy and pure, without the least stain of injustice. Be- 
hold his commands, they are most pure. Psalm xix. 8, " The sta- 
tutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart ; the commandment 
of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes ;" and that in all points, 
Psalm cxix. 128, " I esteem all thy precejits concerning all things 
to be right." His providence is spotless ; Psalm cxlv. 17, " The 
Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works." 
What faults men think they espy therein, are owing to their own 

(2.) He is most wise, infinitely wise ; and that wisdom shines 
forth in the whole of his government ; Isa. xxviii. 29, " Wonderful 
in counsel, and excellent in working." His designs are wisely laid, 
and the means for compassing his designs are wisely managed, so 
as to prove infallibly successful. The " wheels are full of eyes," Ezek, 
X. 12. So Isa. xlvi. 10, " My counsel shall stand, and I will do all 
my pleasure." So that one may without hesitation absolutely re- 
sign himself to his conduct; and so faith makes men do; Ueb. xi. 8, 
" By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place 
which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he 
went out, not knowing whither he went." 

(3.) He is most vigilant and careful ; Zech. iv. 10, *' The eyes of 
the Lord run to and fro through the whole earth." Nothing can bo 
a-contriving against any of his subjects by their enemies, far loss 


can befall them, but he is perfectly apprised of it. There is no 
surprising of tlie keeper of Israel, who neither slumbers nor sleeps ; 
and he sees all with his own eyes, which no prince on earth can 
pretend to. 

(4.) He is most tender of his subjects, and of all their interests, 
his government being exactly calculated for making them truly 
happy ; Rom. viii. 28, " All things work together for good to them 
that love God." There is such a close connection of their duty and 
interest, that it is impossible for them to neglect their duty ; but 
as far as they do neglect it, they prove false to their interest. He 
governs them as a father, with the tender affection that one does 
his own family, Is. xl. 11, " He shall feed his flock like a shepherd ; 
he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his 
bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." 

Motive 2. While ye are not under his government, ye are under 
the government of Satan, Acts xxvi. 18. "While this prince governs 
you not, the prince of darkness doth. And his government, as it 
is most imperious, so it is most unjust, and destructive of the true 
interest of souls. He is a cruel lord, and delights in and seeks the 
misery and ruin of his subjects. "We may frame a true notion of 
his governmeut from his managing of those among whom his power 
is absolute. "What a wretched way does he manage the poor Pa- 
gans, the possessed, and those who are in express compact with 
him ? So does he with others, though in a spiritual and covered 

Motive 3. Jesus Christ is your rightful prince and governor. 
Satan is an usurper, the throne belongs to Jesus of right. He is 
so by the irreversible constitution of heaven ; Psalm ii. 6, " I have 
set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." He was born a king. 
Ye were devoted to him in baptism, and as members of his church, 
ye profess yourselves his subjects, Luke vi. 46. 

Motive 3, Lastly, If ye submit not to him, he will treat you as 
rebels, who have broken your faith and allegiance to him, and cast 
off the yoke of his government. He is presented to you as your 
lawful prince born ; it will be dangerous to refuse him. The day 
is coming wherein he will judge the world, and behold the end of 
the rebels against his government ; Luke xix. 27, " But those mine 
enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring 
hither, and slay them before me." 

"Wherefore consider how other lords have had the dominion over 
you ; the necessity of taking him for your lord and governor ; if he 
be your Saviour, he must be your king, Hos. xiii 9, 10, " Israel, 
thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thine help. I will be 
thy king." Solemnly give up yourselves to him. 

214 cheist's name above every name. 


Isaiah ix. 6, 

And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellcr, the Mighty God, 
the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. 

Here is held out the incomparable excellency of this Prince and 
Governor presented to us. " His name is called," so the original 
carries it. "One hath called his name," i.e. " His name is called, 
Wonderful," &c. The connection is, " Unto us a Child is born, unto 
us a Son is given, on whose shoulder the government is laid, and 
whose name is called. Wonderful," &c. ; so that the scope of this 
latter part of the text is, to commend the Prince presented to us 
from his " name," which is here unfolded, to be " a name above 
every name." 

DocTEiNE. The name of Christ by which he is called, is a name 
above every name, fit to commend him to the souls of poor sinners. 

The name is that which follows in several parts here, viz. : 
"Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, 
the Prince of Peace. Many glorious names are used by the princes 
of the earth ; but there is no name among them all like this. None 
so high and honourable, none so sweet and lovely, none so adapted 
to make the subjects happy. Consider here, 

I. Who calls him by this name. 

II. What his being called by it imports. 

III. Lastly, Apply. 

I. Who calls him by this name ? And, 

1. His Father has called him by this name, Phil. ii. 9, " God hath 
highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name." 
His Father best knows what ho is, to give him a name expressive 
of his nature. And ho has, by his spirit in the prophet, given him 
this glorious one. In effect he proclaimed it ; Matt, xvii- 5, " This 
is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 

2. All his people call him by this name, flying to him in their first 
believing as such a one, and depending on him all along their course 
of life as such a one. 

II. What does his being called by this name import ? 

1. That ho really is what this name boars. God gives no empty 
titles, nor will empty titles answer the necessities of believers. As 
his name, so is his nature ; the name truly expresses what he is. 

Christ's name wonderful. 215 

2. He manifests himself to be what the name bears. What he is 
called, he is found to be in the experience of saints. 

Use. Study the name of Christ, as represented in the word, so as 
your souls may be enamoured of him. 


ISAIAII ix. 6, 
His name shall be called Wonderful. 

Here begins the name of him whom the Father presents and gives 
to us for our prince. The first syllable of it is " Wonderful." 
The word signifies " miracle," a work past reach of the creature's 
power and skill, or knowledge, and so competent to God alone ; 
Exod. XV. 11, " Who is like unto thee, Lord, amongst the Gods? 
who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing 
wonders ?" Psalm Ixxvii. 14, " Thou art the God that dost won- 
ders." Every miracle is wonderful, but every wonderful thing is 
not a miracle. Our Lord Christ is not only a wonderful one, but 
a miracle, a miraculous one, one most wonderful. He is beyond the 
creature's comprehension. So that this is fitly made the first 
syllable of his name, that men may know, that whatever they 
know of his excellencies, there is still more behind ; and though 
they may apprehend, they cannot comprehend what he is. 

Doctrine. Jesus Christ, who is presented and given to us of the 
Father for our prince, is and appears to be a miraculous one, a 
most wonderful personage. 

In prosecuting this doctrine, I shall enquire, 

I. Under what notion Christ is held forth as a miracle, a miracu- 
lous person. 

II. What is the import of Christ as God-man his being and 
appearing to be a miraculous one. 

III. In what respects he is so. 

IV. Lastly, Apply the doctrine. 

I. I shall enquire, Under what notion Christ is held forth 
as a miracle, a miraculous person. Ye have heard already, a 
miracle is a divine work, and competent to God alone, beyond the 
reach of any creature. Now, Christ is and appears a miracle. 
Hence it follows, that he is not so called. 

216 Christ's name wondi^eful. 

1. In respect of Ins being a miracle-worker. For it is himself, 
and not his work, that is here called a miracle. Moreover, the 
prophets and apostles were miracle-workers, John xiv. 12. Yet 
this name is above every name, not competent to them, but to him 

2. Nor in respect of his divine nature simply, and his eternal 
generation of the Father. This part of his name does not point 
him out to us simply as God For besides that that is, by itself, 
another syllable of his name, " The Mighty God," the scripture, for 
all that I can discern, doth not warrant us to call him the work 
of his Father in that respect. And the Father works miracles 
through the Son by the Spirit ; Luke xi. 20, compared with Matt. 
xii. 28. But the eternal generation of the Son is proper to the 
Father alone. 

3. Nor in respect of his human nature simply. This part of 
his name does not point him out simply as man neither. For 
though man is indeed a divine work, yet he is not a work com- 
petent to God alone ; for the scripture owns man himself to be the 
father of man's flesh ; Heb. xii. 9. But, 

4. Christ is held forth as a miracle, a miraculous personage, as 
God-man in one person. This part of his name points him out to 
us precisely as our incarnate Redeemer, and is given him precisely 
in respect of his incarnation. Behold him, God-man, the Word 
made flesh ; and ye behold the miracle, the miraculous person. So 
the text, " A child, a son, his name Wonderful." 

Thus he is a work done or made ; John i. 14, " The word was 
made flesh;" a divine work : Heb. x. 5, " When he cometh into the 
world, he saith, — A body hast thou prepared me ; competent to God 
alone, as a work of creating power; Jer. xxxi. 22, "The Lord hath 
created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a man." 
The Son of God in our nature is a miracle indeed, a work beyond 
the reach of the creature's capacity. Many miracles had been 
wrought before the Son of God was incarnate, The sea had been 
divided, the dead raised, a world created out of nothing, which was 
more ; but a greater miracle than any of these, was the incarnation 
of the Son of God ; after all these had been done, this was the creat- 
ing of a now thing, never any of the kind before. 

Wherefore this is the name of our incarnate Redeemer; and 
when wo hear it named, it must represent to us the Son of God in 
man's nature. 

Use 1. the love of God to poor sinners of mankind ! John iii. 
16, " God so loved the world, that ho gave his only begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have ever- 

chiust's name wonderful. 217 

lasting life." The greatest work tliat ever God did, was for their 
salvation. He made the world for man, and gave it liim, Psalm 
cxv. 16; and the visible lieaveus too, Gen. i. 17; (Heb.) yea the 
highest heavens also he made for them, and gives to them in his 
Son, Matt xxv. 34. But a greater work than all these he did for 
them, when he did this miracle of the incarnation of his own Son 
for them, and gave him, an incarnate Redeemer, to them. how 
can we escape the most fearful doom, if we neglect this great 
salvation ! How worthy are they to perish, that vrill not be saved, 
when God has wrought this greatest miracle to save them? 

2. "What unaccountable stupidity is it in men, not to consider, ad- 
mire, and be swallowed up in contemplation of this miracle ; and 
not to be in deepest love with this miraculous personage given to 
them ? Ah ! have we not all been careless, unmoved spectators of 
this miracle ? How many have never spent a few minutes in the 
consideration and admiration of him ? Have ye not gazed on and 
wondered at some trifle, more than at this greatest of the works of 
God ? Have ye not been more deeply in love with some person or 
thing for its shadowy excellencies, than with this miraculous per- 
son ? Cease to wonder at the Jews' obstinacy, in not being moved 
to believe by all his miracles ; for a ci'eater than them all is here, 
to wit, his miraculous self; and yet we are unmoved 

II. What is the import of Christ as God-raan, his being and ap- 
pearing to be a miraculous, most wonderful one ? Considering this 
as the name of Christ, to commend him to sinners ; it imports, 

1. The excellency of his person as God-man. He is an excellent, 
glorious, and lovely one; Heb. i. 3, " Being the brightness of his 
Father's glory, and the express image of his person." Though the 
blind world perceive not his excellency, saying as Isa. liii. 2, 
"He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, 
there is no beauty that we should desire him ;" it is not but through 
their own default, by reason of their blindness ; for his glory shines 
forth, to be perceived by those whose eyes are opened ; John i. 14, 
" We beheld his glory," &c. But the glory of the sun is not seen 
by the blind man, nor the glory of Christ by unbelievers, 

2. The fulness of excellencies in him, our incarnate Redeemer. 
His name is Miracle, a collective word. There is a confluence of 
excellencies in him; look to him in every part, and all is excellent 
in him ; Cant. v. 16, " He is altogether lovely." Some excel in one 
thing, some in another ; as Moses in meekness, Samson in strength, 
Solomon in wisdom : but none but Christ in all. Moses, we would 
say, was a miracle of meekness, Samson of strength, and Solomon 
of wisdom. But Christ is miracle all over: meekness, strength, 

Vol. X. p 

218 Christ's name wonderful. 

wisdom, and all oilier excellencies, meet in him, to a miracle, 
There is no blemish, no want at all in him ; Col. i. 9, " For it 
pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell." 

3. The uncommonness and singularity of his excellencies. Miracles 
are but rare, in respect of the common operations of providence. 
And Christ among the sons of men is as '' a standard bearer among 
ten thousand ;" Cant v. 10 ; he is a personage of singular excellencies. 
It is observed, that what is done by miracle, doth in its kind excel 
what is the product of nature in that kind. The water that was 
made wine was far better than the wine of the vine, John ii. 10. 
So the man Christ is "fairer than the sons of men," Psalm xlv. 2. 
So every excellency in Christ is beyond that excellency in another ; 
so was Christ's meekness beyond Moses's meekness, his strength 
beyond Samson's, and his wisdom beyond Solomon's, as the sun's 
light beyond that of the stars. 

4. The absolute matchlessness of his person, for excellency and 
glory; Prov. viii. 11, " Wisdom is better than rubies; and all the 
things that may be desired, are not to be compared to it." Seek 
through all the creatures in heaven and earth, and there is none 
comparable to him ; Psalm Ixxiii 25, " Whom have I in heaven 
but thee ? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." 
His match is not to be found among all the ranks of created beings. 

1. Among created persons, the like to him is not to be found ; 
Jer. xxxi. 22, *' The Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, a 
woman shall compass a man." Consider them in all their ex- 

(1) What are men to this miracle of men? Great men are 
contemptible, wise men fools, good men's goodness disappears, in 
comparison with him. 

(2) Consider devils in their knowledge and might, the only ex- 
cellencies remaining with them ; and their knowledge is but igno- 
rance in comparison of his. Rev. v. 3, 5 ; their power weakness, Matt, 
xii. 29. He can bind them as easily as a giant a little child. 

(3.) What are glorified saints, but so many bright stars shining 
with his borrowed light, wonders of his mercy, monuments of his 
free love ? Rev. iv. 10. 

(4.) What are angels that never sinned ? They are all his ser- 
vants, Heb. i. 14, to worship him, verse 6. Ho is the son of the 
house, they are but servants of it. He is the Lord of angels. 
Moses was not content with the offer of an angel, but would have 
himself; Exod. xxxiii. 15, "If thy presence go not with me, carry 
us not up hence ;" nor was Mary content, till she got himself. 

2. Among created things his match is not to be found, however 
men take the shadow for the substance. 

Christ's naue wonderful. 219 

(1.) Worldly good things are not comparable to him, in their 
greatest abundance and choice of them. Riches, honour, strength, 
&c. are a poor portion in his room and stead ; " Prov. viii. 11, 
" Wisdom is better than rubies ; and all the things that may be 
desired, are not to be compared to it." All of them are greater in 
expectation than fruition, broken cisterns soon running dry, bitter 
sweets uncommensurable to the desires of the soul ; he the quite 

(2) Spiritual good things do come from him as rays from the sun. 
Grace is a created quality, heaven itself is but the place where he 
keeps his court. And as the prince himself is preferable to all the 
jewels in his crown, and to his palace ; so is Christ above all these. 
5. The shining forth of his excellencies, fit to draw all eyes upon 
him. A miracle is the centre of men's eyes, to which all men are 
ready to look ; it is a sight every one would desire to see, and to 
see narrowly. There is an attractive beauty and glory in this 
wonderful one. This is a mystery to the world, who are ready to 
say, as Cant. v. 9, " What is thy beloved more than another be- 
loved, that thou dost so charge us ?" seeing nothing in him to fix 
their eyes on him. But, 

(1.) His Father's eyes are fixed on him, as the object of his good 
pleasure ; Matt. iii. 17> " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well 
pleased." The Lamb is in the midst of the throne above. Rev. v. 6. 
It is a strange word that is said of the temple ; 2 Chron. vii. 16, 
" For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name 
may be there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there 
perpetually." But a greater than the temple is meant there. The 
eyes of the lloly Spirit are on him ; Zech. iii. 9, " Behold, the stone 
that I have laid before Joshua ; upon one stone shall be seven eyes; 
behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of Hosts." 
Compared with Rev. v. 6, " In the midst of the throne, and of the 
four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had 
been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven 
Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." 

(2.) The eyes of the angels arc drawn after him, as a most won- 
derful sight. The faces of the cherubims were therefore made 
looking towards the mercy-seat ; Exod. xxv. 20, to teach us, that 
Christ the Mediator, reconciling God and sinners, is the object of 
the angel's wonder ; 1 Peter i. 12, " Which things the angels desire 
to look into." 

(3.) The eyes of all the saints are drawn after him, as the object 
of their admiration and aft'ection. No sooner are the eyes of the 
blind soul opened, bnt they fix on him; John iv. 10, "If thou 

p 2 


knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me 
to drink; thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given 
thee living water." Therefore faith is called a "looking unto Christ ;" 
Isa. xlv. 22, " Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the 
earth." Cant. iii. 11, " Go forth, ye daughters of Zion, and 
behold king Solomon," &c. And it is not a looking after a wonder 
of a few days ; but it must remain all along their course through 
the world; Heb. xii. 1, 2, " Let us run with patience the race that 
is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our 
faith." And when they come to glory, they will fix their eyes on 
hira for ever, never weary, but always refreshed with the sight. 
Therefore " the Lamb is in the midst of the elders," Rev. v. 6 ; 
" and the multitude before the Lamb," chap, vii- 9. 

And that the eyes of all men are not upon him, is because they 
know him not, are not capable to discern his glory ; Psalm ix. 10, 
" And they that know thy name, will put iheir trust in thee." 

6. Lastly, The iucomprehensibleness of him to any creature. He 
is a miracle past their reach, the reach of their knowledge as well 
as their power; Eph. iii. 19, " And to know the love of Christ, which 
passeth knowledge." Men are soon non-plussed in the works of 
nature ; there are things there which they cannot comprehend ; Job 
xxxviii. and xxxix., as in the wind that bloweth ; John iii. 8, "The 
wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, 
but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth." Eccl. 
xi. 5, " As thou knowest not what is the way ot the Spirit, nor how 
the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child ; even so 
thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all." How much 
more must they find themselves at a loss in miracles, where the laws 
of nature are neglected, and God works quite beyond them ? Then 
how must they be quite lost in this great miracle : the Son of God 
become man? Agur long ago challenged the wit of all mankind to 
comprehend his name ; Prov. xxx. 4, " Who hath ascended up into 
heaven, or descended ? who hath gathered the wind in his fists ? 
who hath bound the waters in a garment ? who hath established all 
the ends of the earth ? what is his name, and what is his Son's 
name, if thou canst tell ?" And the Son of God himself declared 
his name to be past reach ; Judges xiii. 18, " "Why askest thou 
thus after my name, seeing it is secret ?" Whatever the saints 
know of it, the half is not known, there is still more behind. 

Use I. Whosoever do truly discern what Christ is, cannot choose 
but to love him above all persons and things, and choose him for 
their portion being offered to them ; " Psalm ix. 10, " They that 
know thy name will put their trust in tliee." John iv. 10, " If tliou 

Christ's name avonderful. 221 

knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me 
to driBk ; thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given 
thee living water." His matchless excellencies make him such a 
lovely one, that the discovery of them does command the surrender 
of the heart to him, and captivates the affections ; sinks the value 
of all created things in competition with him, and enthrones him in 
the heart ; Phil. iii. 8, " Yea doubtless, and I count all things but 
loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." 
Psalm Ixxiii. 25, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is 
none upon earth that I desire besides thee." Hence true believers 
can neither be boasted nor bribed, frightened nor flattered from his 
love ; Cant. viii. 6, 7, " Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal 
upon thine arm ; for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the 
grave ; the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehe- 
ment flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods 
drown it ; if a man would give all the substance of his house for 
love, it would utterly be contemned." 

2. Believers' love to Christ must needs be lasting, everlasting, 
for his excellencies are infinite and incomprehensible. When we 
meet with an object among the creatures that commands our admira- 
tion and love, we are taken with it ; but some defect comes after- 
wards to be perceived in it. an4 then the admiration ceaseth, or 
turns into contempt. At least, the perfections of the object are all 
seen through, and they become familiar, and the admiration dwin- 
dles away into nothing ; and what was at first sight admired as new, 
ceaseth to be so when it aftords no more new. But no defect or ble- 
mish can ever be espied in him, who is fairer than the sun ; and 
there being an incomprehensible depth of excellencies in him, there 
is ever place for new discoveries ; so the admiration must be kept 
up for ever ; Rev. xxii. 2, " In the midst of the street of it, and of 
either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve 
manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month ; and the leaves 
of the tree were for the healing of the nations." 

3. Those whose greatest admiration and supreme love Christ is 
not the object of, are yet certainly in the midnight darkness of their 
natural state. Whosoever of you admire and love any created per- 
son or thing as much or more than Christ, ye have never yet seen 
nor known him ; Psalm ix. 10, " They that know thy name, will put 
their trust in thee." Luke xiv. 26, "If any man come to me, and 
liate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and 
brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my 
disciple." The predominant love of the world, prizing and esteem- 
ing tlw) things thereof above him, is a concluding evidence, tliat ye 

222 Christ's name avonderful. 

are walking in the dark, that the scales are yet on your eyes, and 
that Christ is a vailed Christ to you. 

4. Lastly, See here how it is not to be thought strange, that there 
are who stumble at the doctrine of an incarnate God our redeemer. 
Corrupt nature is blind and venturous. Our incarnate Redeemer 
is a miracle, past the reach and comprehension of the creatures. 
They are blind, and cannot apprehend his glory ; yet they are proud 
and lofty, and will not admit the mystery, because they cannot com- 
prehend it. Now, it cannot be comprehended ; therefore either they 
must be humbled, or stumble at it as a stumbling stone. See Matt, 
xi. 6; 1 Pet. ii. 6—8. 

III. In what respects is our incarnate Redeemer a miraculous one, 
a most wonderful personage ? This is a subject which no man can 
fully comprehend, and will never be exhausted by the saints in glory 
through eternity. We will touch on a few things to show that he 
is miracle all over. He is wonderful, 

\st, In his person and natures. He is Grod-man, Grod and man in 
one person. None such in heaven or earth. 

1. The man Christ is the true God, the second person of the glo- 
rious Trinity, the one supreme most high God, with the Father and 
the Spirit ; 1 John v. 20, " And we know that the Son of God is 
come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know him 
that is true ; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus 
Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." He is " the bright- 
ness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person," 
Heb. i. 2, 3. Therefore he said to Philip, John xiv. 9, *' Have I 
been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip ? 
He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father." He is the Father's 
fellow, Zech. xiii. 7; his equal, Phil. ii. 6. 

2. Christ the Son of God is true man. The eternal Son of the 
Father is a Son of Adam ; Luke iii. 23 — 38, being, as was supposed, 
"the son of Joseph, which was the son of Adam." He was really 
human flesh ; John i. 14, " The Word was made flesh ;" and our 
flesh, as " made of a woman," Gal. iv. 4. He is a man, consisting 
of a soul ; Matth. xxvi. 38, and a body of flesh, and blood, and 
bones; Luke xxiv. 39; as really man as any man whatsoever. 

So he is God and man in one person. Here is a wonderful per- 
son indeed, whom we cannot comprehend; true God, yet man; true 
man, yet God ; a mysterious person, undiscerned by most that saw 
him with their eyes, perceived only by the enlightened eye; John i. 
14. The uniting of a soul to an earthly body, forming one person 
called man, was a work of wonder ; but what is the putting together 
of two pieces of clay, in comparison of the Potter's uniting with liis 

cujust's name wonderful. 223 

own clay ? Should we behold an angel assuming to himself and ap- 
pearing in a crawling worm, as his own body ; we would cease to 
wonder at it, beholding this surpassing wonder, an incarnate God \ 
Here eternity and a being of yesterday meet together in one person, 
a child, and yet the Everlasting Father; here infinite and finite meet 
in one; God and his own creature ! 

2dly, In his perfections and qualifications ; Psalm xlv. 2, " Thou 
art fairer than the children of men ; " grace is poured into thy lips." 
All qualities that render one desirable and lovely meet together in 
him ; and all these are in him to a miraculous pitch. So his Father 
is well-pleased in him, Matth. iii. 17; and the Spirit rested on him, 
ver. 16. And every soul beholding him with an eye of faith, will 
take up its eternal rest in him. Particularly he is wonderful, 

1. In his spotless and unchangeable holiness and purity; Heb. 
vii, 26, " For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, 
undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." 
The fulness of the Spirit of holiness is in him ; John iii. 34, " God 
giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him," The brightest of the 
saints here below want not their spots; at best they are but fair as 
the moon ; but there is no darkness in him at all. The saints and 
angels in heaven have but each one their measure of holiness, the 
fulness of a vessel ; they have none to communicate to others ; but 
in him there is the fulness of a fountain, to fill all with holiness ; 
John i. 16, " And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for 

2. In his wisdom ; Col. ii. 3, " In whom are hid all the treasures 
of wisdom and knowledge." The least portion and the greatest that 
any have of it in the world, is from him ; John i. 9, " That was the 
true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." 
The apostle challenges the whole world with that; Rom. xi. 34, 
" For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his 
counsellor ?" But his name is the Counsellor, and he hath known 
the mind of his Father ; Matth. xi. 27, and can open the sealed 
book, and look into the secrets there. the admirable wisdom of 
Christ, appearing all along in the conduct of his providence in the 
church and in the world, whereby men and devils are outwitted ! 

3. In his power. There is nothing too hard for him to do. What 
astonishing works of power did he while he was in the world! Matt, 
xi. 5, "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers 
are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the 
poor have the gospel preached to them." And he is the beginning 
of the creation of God ; Heb. i. 2. How often has the song of vic- 
tory been raised in the church to his praise ! Psalm xcviii. 1, "0, 

224 cueist's kame wonderful, 

sing unto the Lord a new song, for he hath done marvellous things ; 
his right hand, and his lioly arm hath gotten him the victory." His 
triumphing over death, devils, hell, and the grave, are lasting monu- 
ments of his power. 

4. In his goodness, mercy, and grace. The Prince of the kings of 
the earth is the Prince of peace. There is grace in his lips, whereby 
he speaks to poor sinners ; Psalm xiv. 2, " Grace is poured into thy 
lips." Though he has power sufficient to strike terror into the stout- 
est of his enemies, yet he is a matchless mirror of goodness, patience, 
and meekness. 

5. Lastly, In a word. He is wonderful in the concentering of all 
perfections in him, each in its perfection ; Cant, v. 16, " His mouth 
is most sweet, yea, he is altogether lovely." 

Zdly, He is wonderful all along in his duration. Some are wonder- 
ful in one part of their life, some in another ; but he is miracle all 
over his duration. And particularly he is wonderful, 

1. In his eternal generation of the Father ; Psalm ii. 7, " The 
Lord hath said unto me, Thou art ray Son, this day have I begotten 
thee." He was before he was born; John viii. 58, "And Jesus 
said to them; Yerily, verily I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I 
am." He was in the beginning of time ; John i. 1, " In the begin- 
ning was the Word ;" before time, from everlasting; Prov. viii. 22> 
23, " The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his 
works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, 
or ever the earth was." See Micah v. 2, "But thou, Bethlehem 
Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet 
out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel, 
whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Won- 
derful One! A Son, and yet from eternity, without beginniug of days 
Heb. vii. 3. A Son, and yet his duration of equal extent with his 
Father's. An incomprehensible One ! Who can comprehend this 
his generation ? Begotten from eternity ! The same numerical 
divine essence communicated from the Father to him ! 

2. In his birth; Matth, i. 23, "Behold, a virgin shall be with 
child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Em- 
manuel, which being interpreted, is, God with us," Adam's body 
was made of the dust, without help of man or woman ; Eve of 
Adam's without the help of a woman ; before the laws of gene- 
ration took place. But after they took place, and had gone on 
uninterrupted for four thousand years, Christ was conceived of a 
virgin, without the help of a man, Heb. vii, 3. This was a mir- 
acle, a wonderful birth, incomprehensible to us ; Luke i, 35, "The 
angel said unto Mary, the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the 

Christ's name wonderful. 225 

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

3. In his life. In his private life, a wonderful infant, lying in a 
manger, yet worshipped as God ; Herod set to kill him, yet he pre- 
served, while the several babes about were slain, that he might not 
be missed ! A wonderful child, ruling the whole world ; yet subject 
to Joseph and his mother. A wonderful youth, engaging the doctors 
at twelve years of age, having never learned, John vii. 15. His 
public life was one continued wonder, in his temptations, preachings, 
and miracles, especially in the untainted holiness which ran through 
his whole life ; never a wrong action, word, nor thought, notwith- 
standing of all he suffered from an ungrateful world. 

4. In his death. Betrayed by one of his own ; forsaken by them all; 
acquitted by his judge as innocent, yet condemned to a most cruel death. 
Astonishing wonder, God dying in man's nature ! the beloved Son 
of God hanging on a cross ; heaven, earth, and hell, all pouring in at 
once floods of suffering on him : but he in the meantime wholly 
resigned, and patient to a miracle under all ; taking the bitter cup 
of wrath kindly out of his Father's hand, and maintaining his con- 
fidence in him, praying for men his enemies, and triumphing over 
devils on the cross. Cease to wonder at men's laying down their life 
for their friends ; at Samson's dying with the Philistines. A greater 
wonder is here. The sun had never seen such a wonder, and was 
struck blind with the sight, and death, astonished, let go its prisoners. 

5. In his burial. The Lord of life lying down dead in a grave; 
the spotless Jesus making his grave with the wicked : the great 
deliverer frv. m death carried prisoner to its dark regions ; is a won- 
der that may hold us in admiration for ever ! The beautiful fabric 
of heaven and earth pulled down, heavens rolled up and cast by like 
old rags, would be no such wonder, as the Christ of God laid down 
in a grave, and the powers of hell seeming so to have carried the 
day against him. 

6. In his resurrection. Behold him dead and buried, a rock the 
walls of his grave, closed up with a huge stone, the stone sealed, a 
guard of soldiers set to watch there ; and so for two days the 
wicked world and hell triumphing over him ; but all of a sudden, on 
the third day, the earth and rocks fall a-quaking and shaking ; an 
angel rolls away the stone ; the guards become as dead men ; death 
itself loses its gripes of him ; the bands of all the elect's guilt, where- 
with it held him, become as tow touched with the fire ; and the slain 
Redeemer rises again, and comes forth ; stan Is conqueror on the 
field of battle, laden with the spoils of his enemies, death and hell ; 
bringing away the keys of them with him. 

226 Christ's! name wonderful. 

7. In his ascension into heaven. Behold him ascending into hea- 
ven from the earth, where he stood with his disciples; making his 
way through the air upward, they looking on, till a cloud received 
him out of their sight, Acts i. 9, being carried up into heaven, Luke 
xxiv. 51. Then he was returning conqueror from the battle unto his 
Father's palace ; and he is attended in his triumphal chariot with 
his captives ; Psalm Ixviii. 18, " Thou hast ascended on high, thou 
hast led captivity captive ;" andwith joyful acclamations and sound of 
trumpet ; Psalm xlvii. 5, " Gfod is gone up with a shout, the Lord with 
the sound of a trumpet." Behold how he is admired by those of the 
upper house, while he is coming towards them, as a most^ wonderful 
one ; Isa. Ixiii. 1, " Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed 
garments from Bozrah ? this that is glorious in his apparel, travell- 
ing in the greatness of his strengh? I that speak in righteousness, 
mighty to save." Then he enters the gates, and sets them open for 
all his people to follow. 

8. In his sitting at the right hand of Grod, Heb. i. 3. When the 
man Christ came into the highest heavens, his Father seated him at 
his right hand. Psalm ex. 1. The most favourite angel never had at 
any time such an honour put upon him, as this most wonderful man 
was fixed in, at his first arrival in the upper house, Heb. i. 13' 
There he sat, there he sits, and there he will sit, in a state of glory, 
rest, and expectation of his enemies becoming his footstool, till the 
mystery of God be finished. 

9. In his coming again to judge the world, 2 Thess. i. 7 — 10. 
What tongue can express, or heart conceive the wonders that shall 
then take place about him ? The attendance of all the holy angels 
on him as the Judge, the voice of the archangel, and the trump of 
God, the resurrection of all the dead at his coming, their compear- 
ance before him, the separating of the sheep from the goats, the 
sentencing of both, driving the wicked away into hell, and taking 
the righteous along with him to heaven, will shew him wonderful at 
that day to those who now see no glory in him. 

10. Lastly^ In bis continuing for ever to be the eternal band of 
union, and mean of communion, between God and the saints for ever ; 
Rev. vii. 17, " For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne 
shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters : 
and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Heb. vii. 26, 
" Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost, that come 
unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for 
them." Every saint shall shine there as a star in the firmament ; 
but he is the Sun for ever, from whom they shall derive all tlieir 
light and glory ; Rev. xxi, 23, " And the city had no need of the sun, 

cueist's name wonderful. 227 

neither of the moon to shine in it : for the glory of God did lighten 
it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." If they are to be as the 
seven lamps in the temple above, he is and will be as the bowl 
in the candlestick from which they will all be fed; he only im- 
mediately communicating with the Godhead. 
4ithly, He is wonderful in his offices. And, 

1. In his prophetical office. How would men rnn together to see 
a prophet of the Lord ; how would they admire him ? But he is 
the great prophet, never was there such a one as he. The Spirit 
came at the times on the Prophets, but he rested on him; Isa. xi. 2. 
They had their foreknowledge of future events at second hand ; but 
it is his privilege to look with his own eyes into the sealed book ; 
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." 
All that they could do, was to teach externally ; but he can render 
his teaching effectual, and that on the weakest and foolishest crea- 
tures that are. Hence he hath chosen the foolish things of the 
world. So we may conclude, Job xxxvi. 22, " Behold, God exalteth 
by his power ; who teacheth like him ?" 

2. In his priestly office. The priests under the law had their al- 
tars of stone, or brass, or gold; their sacrifices of beasts, their offer- 
ings of divers sorts. But here is a most wonderful Priest ; who is the 
priest, the altar, and the sacrifice, all in one. He offered himself a 
sacrifice unto God; and from himself was the sacrifice rendered ac- 
ceptable. All the sacrifices offered before his, were but as hand- 
writings to own the debt of sin ; but could pay none. His sacrifice 
was truly expiatory, purchased the Spirit, reconciliation with God, 
and eternal life for sinners. Never was there such a priest nor 
sacrifice. And he is the great Intercessor, wonderful in respect of 
the ground of his intercession, the objects of it, the manner of it, 
and the infallible success of it continually, 

3. In his kingly office. Such a wonderful King the world never 
saw, among all the crowned heads that ever were on it. Zion's King is 
most wonderful in his victories, rescuing men from the power of the 
devil, subduing their hearts to him, and conquering their wills ; in 
his defence of his subjects, from the devil, the world, lusts, frowns, 
and flatteries of the world ; in ruining his enemies totally, and com- 
pleting the happiness of his friends. Christ's kingdom is the most 
ancient kingdom, being erected on the sixth day of the creation ; the 
most extensive kingdom, reaching both heaven and earth. Never a 
kingdom had so many enemies and so potent ; yet has it stood 
through all ages, and will stand for ever and ever, without end. 

biUy, He is wonderful in his relations. And, 

228 Christ's name wonderful. 

1. He is nearly related to tlie Iiouse of lieaven, and so lias the 
highest possible relation. The monarchs of the earth are the crea- 
tures of Grod, the angels are the servants of the house of heaven ; 
but Christ is the Son of that house, the Son of God, Heb. i. 5 ; and 
has the management of it all in his hand, John v. 22. 

2. He is nearly related to the house of Adam. He is a Son of 
that house too, the top-branch of it ; Luke iii. 3, 8. He has a common 
relation to them all. He is their Saviour by office ; 1 Tim. iv. 10 ; 
the Saviour of the world ; 1 John iv. 14. He has a nearer relation 
to the elect. He is their surety and representative, who undertook 
for them in the covenant ; Heb. vii. 22, John x. 15 ; and a yet nearer 
relation to believers. He is their brother ; Heb. ii. 11 ; their father, 
Tsa. ix. 6 ; their husband, 2 Cor. xi. 2 ; and their head. Col i. 18. 
And thus by his relation to both, 

3. He is the centre of union to the two. In him they meet ; John 
xvii. 2, " I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect 
in one." There was war declared between the two houses ; and the 
house of Adam could never have made their part good against 
Heaven ; but the Son of God married our nature to himself, and so 
brings together the two houses, making peace through the body of 
his flesh. So, as he is the foundation-stone, on which all believers 
are laid ; he is the corner-stone, joining and knitting heaven and 

6th Lastlt/, He is wonderful in his love ; Eph. iii. 18, 19, " And 
to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge," viz. his love 
to the children of men. His love will appear wonderful, if ye con- 

1. The subject of it, the party loving us. He is the eternal Son 
of God, the Prince of the kings of the earth. That ever there should 
have been an eye of love cast from heaven on us, not from among the 
courtiers, but from the throne, the King himself, is wonderful. That 
the Father's delight should have made the sons of men his delight, 
Prov. viii. 30, 31, may cause us to cry out. Psalm cxliv. 3, " Lord, 
what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him ? or the son of man, 
that thou makest account of him ?" 

2. The objects of it, the parties beloved; men, sinful men. Con- 
sider them as to their rank of being, and they are the lowest of the 
rational creatures; but a superior rank, viz., angels, were passed 
over, and they were made the objects of it ; Tit. iii. 4, '' The kind- 
ness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared." Consider 
them as to their i|uality,and they were enemies to him ; Kom. 5. 10, 
" For when they were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the 
death of his Son." 

cuiiist's name wondeuful. 229 

3. Tlie effect, force and energy of this love. It is absolutely 
matchless ; never did any love work so powerfully as his. It began 
(if I may so say) before the world was ; Prov. viii. 31 ; and engaged 
him in suretyship for the debt of an elect world. In time he died 
for thera, he so loved them, Rom. v. 8. It rests not till he have them 
with himself in the highest heavens, John xvii. 24, for ever. 

4, Lastly, The qualities of it. These are wonderful. 

(1.) It is free love; Hos. xiv. 4, "I will love them freely." 
There was nothing in the object lovely, to engage it. But as the 
sua shines without hire on the dunghill, as well as on the bed 
of roses; so Christ's love was unhired. See the freeness of it, Ezek. 
xvi. 8, " When I passed by thee, and looked upon thea, behold, thy 
time was the time of love, and I spread my skirt over thee, and 
covered thy nakedness, yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a 
covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine." 

(2.) It is sovereign love. There were objects equally miserable 
with fallen man ; yet there was no love to them. Christ looked on 
the fallen part of the creation, and the angelic tribe, and the human 
tribe, were both before him ; and sovereignty passes the former, but 
fixes the love on the latter. 

(3.) It is preventing love ; John xv. 16, " Ye have not chosen me, 
but I have chosen you." Love begets love, as one coal kindles an- 
other. But Christ's love to us had nothing from us of that kind, 
nor of any other, to kindle it. We never love him, till he love us 
first ; 1 John iv. 19. 

(4.) It is tender love ; Isa. xl. 11, " He shall feed his flock like a 
shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them 
in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." It 
is tender as of a father to his children ; Psalm ciii. 13, " Like as a 
father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him ;" 
as of a mother to her sucking child; Isa. xlix. 15, 16, "Can a wo- 
man forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion 
on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget 
thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of ray hands, thy 
walls are continually before me." It is tender, as one is to the 
apple of his eye ; Zech. ii. 8, " He that toucheth you, toucheth the 
apple of his eye." 

(5.) It is unchangeable love; John xiii. 1, "Having loved his 
own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. 2 Tim. 
ii. 19, " The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The 
Lord knoweth thorn that arc his." Whatever falls out in the course 
of the believer's lot and life, though the manifestations of that love 
may bo very variable, yet the love itself never alters. See Hos. ii. 
19, " I will betroth thee unto me for ever." 

230 Christ's name wonderful, 

(6.) Lastly, It is everlasting love. It never had a beginning, and 
will never have an end ; Jer. xxxi. 3, " I have loved thee with an 
everlasting love." 

And thus Christ appears to be all over wonderful. 

Use 1. For Information. See here, 

1. The greatness of the Father's love in giving to us such a won- 
derful one for our Prince; John iii. 16, " God so loved the world, 
that he gave his only begotten Son," &c. The love of God appears 
here to a wonder. what honour is put upon man, by making 
such a gift to him, than which Heaven could not give a greater ! O 
what happiness appears to be designed for man by this gift ! We 
may say, as Hiram King of Tyre said to Solomon, 2 Chron. ii. 11, 
" Because the Lord hath loved his people ; he hath made thee king 
over them." 

2. The reasonableness of the believer's superlative love to Christ. 
Every believing soul loves Christ above all persons and all things. 
They will love him more than all the world, and all that is therein, 
and more than their own life ; Luke xiv. 26. And good reason 
there is for it ; for there is no object so lovely. If we look to con- 
fessors parting with their goods, their liberty, and their worldly 
comforts, for Christ, to the martyrs parting with their lives, embracing 
fires, gibbets, &c., the most cruel deaths for Christ, we will cease to 
wonder at their so doing, when we consider what a wonderful One 
he is for whom they undergo the loss of all. Gaining Christ, they 
are the greatest gainers, whatever they lose ; Phil, iii. 7, 8, 

3. The reasonableness of the gospel-demand of all to receive and 
submit to Christ as their Prince and Governor. His transcendent 
excellency entitles him to the principality and government over the 
sons of men. His merit requires our absolute resignation to him. 
He is the Father's choice ; and in making that choice, he has acted 
like himself, having chosen for us this most wonderful personage. 

4. Lastly, The dreadful sin and danger of the slighting of Christ. 
The more wonderful and excellent he is, the deeper will the guilt be 
of refusing him ; the deeper the guilt, the more fearful will be the 
vengeance for rejecting him ; Heb. ii. 3, " How shall we escape if 
we neglect so great salvation ?" 

Use 2. Of Exhortation. Be exhorted then to give this wonder- 
ful one your heart ; Prov. xxiii. 26, " My son, give mo thine heart." 

1. Make him the choice of your soul, saying. Psalm. Ixxiii. 25, 
" Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth 
that I desire besides thee." Take him for your portion, as one who 
is the best of portions. Let your souls solemnly consent to the gos- 
pel -ofTcr. 

chkist's namk wondekful. 231 

2, Part with all for hira, as the wise merchant, who sold all that 
he had, and bought the one pearl of great price, Matth. xiii. 44, 45. 
Give up with your lusts and idols ; renounce the devil, the world, 
and the flesh, resting on Christ for all, for time and eternity. 

3. Dwell in the contemplation of his matchless excellencies. Let 
it be the substance of your religion to love him, to admire him, to 
be swallowed up in his love. And let love to him set your souls 
a-moving in all holy obedience. 

Motive 1. Ye can never bestow your hearts so well. What is 
all the world in comparison of Christ, but loss and dung ? Alas ! 
that shadows should have our hearts, while the most substantial good 
courts it. 

Motive 2. Consider that it is for this end Christ is commended 
to you. We preach Christ, that ye may fall in love with him. 

Motive 3. Lastly, Consider how ye will answer it to him before 
the tribunal, that ye have preferred other lovers to the lovely one. 


Isaiah ix. 6, 
His Name shall he called — Counsellor. 

The scope of this part of the verse being to commend the Prince 
presented and given to us for our Prince and Governor, this syllable 
of his name refers to his singular capacity for management of mat- 
ters, in respect of his vast reach in point of wisdom. Other princes 
must have their counsellors, by whose advice they may act : but he 
himself is, and shews himself to be Counsellor, an oracle of govern- 
ment, a Prince in whose own breast is the oracle for right manage- 
ment of all things relating to his dominion. 

Doctrine. Jesus Christ, who is presented and given to us of the 
Father for our Prince, is and shews himself to be the great Coun- 
sellor, an oracle of government. 

In prosecuting this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. In what respects Christ is the Counsellor. 

II. What is the import of this part of his name. 

III. Lastly, Improve the subject. 

I. In what respects is Christ the Counsellor. 

\st. He is of the secret council of Heaven; Zech. vi, 13, "The 
counsel of peace shall be between them both." He is a member of 


the cabinet-council of Heaven, to which the most favourite angel is 
not admitted. He has access to the sealed book of the divine de- 
crees ; Rev. V. 5 ; and there is nothing transacted there, nor has 
been from eternity, but what he is acquainted with ; John v. 20, 
" For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that 
himself doth." With his Father and the Spirit he is of the council. 
2dly, He is the oracle of counsel for the earth ; 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." Matth. xi. 27, 
" All things are delivered unto me of my Father, and no man 
knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the 
Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal 
him." Many counsellors are to be found in the earth; and wicked 
counsellors for men's destruction, as the house of Ahab were coun- 
sellors to Ahaziah, King of Judah, to his destruction, 2 Chron. xxii. 
4. But he is the Counsellor for salvation, outshining all other good 
counsellors, as the sun doth the twinkling stars. And, 

1. He is the Counsellor of the world of men ; John viii. 12, " I 
am the light of the world ; he that followeth me, shall not walk in 
darkness, but shall have the light of life." They have all lost their 
way, their affairs are all in confusion, they know not how to right 
them. But he is, 

(1.) Their Counsellor in respect of office. As the sun is set in the 
firmament to give light on the earth, so is Christ given for a light to 
the world, that whosoever will, may have his counsel, and by his 
counsel get the affairs of their souls retrieved ; John xii. 46, " I am, 
come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should 
not abide in darkness." "Whoever will consult him, are welcome ; 
none shall be refused his wise counsel ; John vi. 37, " Him that 
cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." 

(2.) Their Counsellor in respect of capacity. Col. ii. 3, " In him are 
hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." The multitude 
and variety of their cases cannot confuse him; for his understand- 
ing is infinite. Nothing can perplex him, who with one glance of his 
piercing eye, sees at once through all cases of all men, and can pre- 
scribe suitable remedies. 

2. He is the Counsellor of the visible church more especially, 
Micah iv 9, and that in two respects. 

(1.) He consults her interest, for her protection and preservation 
in the world ; Micah iv. 9, " "Why dost thou cry out aloud ; is 
there no king in the ; is thy counsellor perished." There are con- 
stant conspiracies of devils and wicked men to ruin her ; and ofttimes 
their plots arc laid so subtilly, and so powerfully managed, as that 


tlie church is brought to the briuk of ruin ; but he, as her Counsellor, 
discovers the snare, and powerfully counteracts her enemies; so that 
she is still preserved. A remarkable instance of which we have in 
the conspiracy of Haman to destroy the whole nation of the Jews, 
the history of which you may read in the book of Esther. 

(2.) He is still actually counselling her by his word. And her 
members have the advantage of Heaven's counsels, inculcated on 
them for their spiritual welfare. The counsel of God in providing 
a Saviour, is proclaimed there ; the salvation is offered, and they 
are counselled again and again to embrace it ; their way to happi- 
ness is cleared ; Rev. iii. 18, " I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried 
in the fire, that thou mayst be rich ; and white raiment, that thou 
mayst be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not ap- 
pear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayst see." 

3. He is the Counsellor of the invisible church, of believers, and 
of every particular believer in it, Eph. i. 22, and that most especi- 
ally. And, 

(1.) The care and management of all and every one of them lies 
on him ; 1 Peter, v. 7, " Casting all your care upon him, for he car- 
eth for you." He is the great Shepherd who brings in the sheep 
from their straying, feeds and protects them, and at length completes 
the well-being. To him the Father has committed the charge of 
all the elect ; and on him it lies to bring them into himself in con- 
version, to manage them during their stay in the world, and to 
bring them all safe to glory in the end. 

(2.) He counsels them effectually, by his word and Spirit, Psalm 
XXV. 14, " The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he 
will show them his covenant." He has established a communication 
between him and them, whereby they have his direction and in- 
struction in their particular cases, what way to steer their course. 
Prov. iii. C, " In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct 
thy paths." He is their oracle, whom they are to consult in all 
things ; and his word bears his counsel to them ; Psalm cxix. 24, 
" Thy testimonies also are my counsellors ;" his providence points 
out their way ; Psalm xxxii. 8, " I will instruct thee, and teach thee 
in the way which thou shalt go ; I will guide thee with mine eye ;" 
and his Spirit makes all effectual ; John xvi. 13, " When the Spirit 
of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth." 

II. "What is the import of this part of Christ's name ? We may 
take it up in these seven particulars following. 

First, He is of singular wisdom for conduct and management of 
affairs, Isa. xi. 2, 3, " The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, 
the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and 

Vol. X. Q 


might, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord ; and 
shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord, and 
he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after 
the hearing of his ears." Great is the truth committed to him, in 
bringing an elect world to glory ; but he has a head sufficient for the 
difficult task, which would be too hard for the skill of angels to 
manage. Nothing can be so intricate for him, but his wisdom can 
unfold it. For, 

1. The fulness of the Spirit of wisdom is lodged in him, to lit him 
for the great trust of bringing many sons to glory, Isa. xi. 2, fore- 
cited; and that not by measure, as saints have the same ; but with- 
out measure, to fit him for every emergency in the case of his trust; 
so that he can never be at a loss to know what to do ; John iii. 34, 
" For God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him ;" being fur- 
nished with wisdom, as the spring with waters continually. 

2. He is wisdom itself, the Eternal "Wisdom of the Father ; under 
which name Solomon speaks of him, Prov. viii. And Christ's chil- 
dren are wisdom's children, Matth. xi. 19. 

Use. 1. How fit and suitable is Christ for us then, to conduct us 
through an evil world, to the place of perfect safety ? "We live in a 
deceitful world, where we are environed with snares ; how will we 
ever make our way through it ? Let us betake ourselves then to 
the great Counsellor for conduct, the deceit of the world prompting 
ns to go to him. 

2. Put your case in his hand, and trust him with it, how intricate 
and perplexed soever it is. Though you cannot give a name to it, 
he can ; though you can find no remedy for it in the whole creation ; 
but all says, " It is not in me;" the wisdom of the Counsellor will 
reach it. 

3. See how weak and foolish things fall on and keep the way to 
happiness, while worldly wise men are bemisted and bewildered, that 
they never reach it, Isa, xxv. 8, " And an highway shall be there, 
and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness ; the unclean 
shall not pass over it, but it shall bo for those ; the wayfaring men, 
though fools shall not err therein." The Counsellor is on their 
head, ver. 4 ; while those slighting him lean to their own under- 
standing, and so wander; Eccles. x. 15, " The labour of the foolish 
wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to 
the city." 

Secondly, He is a prince of great and noble designs and projects, 
requiring counsel and wisdom. All the designs and projects of the 
princes of the earth are but trifles, and childish in comparison of 
his ; they arc quite too high for creatures of the deepest reach, 
1 Cor. ii. 9, We may take them up in these three. 


1. He entertained, and lias accomplished a design of ransoming 
an elect world, and so became their Redeemer; 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6> 
"There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the 
man Christ Jesus ; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testi- 
fied in due time." This was such a high design, that no man what- 
soever was able to have fallen on a method of ransoming one of 
them ; Psalm slix. 7, 8, " None of them can by any means redeem 
his brother nor give to God a ransom for him ; for the redemption 
of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever," Silver and gold 
could not effect it ; it behoved to be by blood ; that blood behoved 
to be of infinite value. So the great Counsellor falls on a method 
to effect it, his own incarnation ; 1 Pet. i. 18, 19, " Tc were not re- 
deemed with corruptible things as silver and gold ; but with the 
precious blood of Christ, as a Lamb without blemish and without 

2. He has been, and is on a project of rescuing one and all of 
them from the power of the devil; John x. 16, " Other sheep I have, 
which are not of this fold ; them also I must bring, and they shall hear 
my voice ; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." This is 
a difficult task ; all the wit and power of hell is engaged against it ; 
and what is favourable on Satan's side, is, that he is in possession; 
they are his captives, prisoners and slaves ; and they themselves 
side with him against Christ, being unwilling to be rescued. Yet 
the Counsellor will not give over the project; but as he has hither- 
to, so he will to the end carry it on, till there is not one of them all 
left unrescued ; John vi. 37, " All that the Father giveth me, shall 
come to me ; and him that cometli to me, I will in no wise cast 

3. He is on a design to have them all together at home with him- 
self in his Father's house, in a state of complete happiness, John 
xvii. 24, " Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me 
be with me where I am ; that they may behold my glory which thou 
hast given me," There are mountains of difficulties lying in the way 
of this project; but the wisdom of the Counsellor will find a way to 
roll them all away. This is the building of the temple of the Lord 
which he has in view, Zech. vi. 12 ; and will perfect over the belly 
of all difficulties ; Zech, iv. 7, " Who art thou, great mountain ? 
before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain ; and he shall bring 
forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace 
unto it." For effecting this, there are to be rolled away moun- 
tains of difficulties casting up in their case. 

(1.) Before death. Their passage through the wilderness is diffi- 
cult, through their manifold wants, weaknesses, snares and teropta- 



lions there, that if they were not under the wise conduct of the 
great Counsellor, it would be impossible they could miss their car- 
cases falling there ; but he will have all safe through ; Psalm Ixxiii. 
24, " Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards receive 
me to glory." 

(2.) In death. It is hard to get safe through the dark valley ; 
but he will have them safe there, where many split, and are broken 
in pieces. Be the voyage never so dangerous, he will be their pilot ; 
Psalm xxiii. 4, " Yea, though I walk through the valley of the sha- 
dow of death I will fear no evil ; for thou art with me ; thy rod and 
thy staff they comfort me." Be the way never so much haunted 
by instruments of destruction, he will carry them safely through ; 
Isa. XXXV. 9, " No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall 
go up thereon, it shall not be found there ; but the redeemed shall 
walk there." 

(3.) In the grave. There their bodies lie, when they leave this 
world, under the power of death. The bands of death wherewith 
they are held there, are mighty ; the bars of the grave cannot be 
broken in sunder by created power ; but he designs to loose the one, 
and break the other ; Hos. xiii. 14, " I will ransom them from the 
power of the grave ; I will redeem them from death ; death, I will 
be thy plagues ; grave, I will be thy destruction ; repentance 
shall be hid from mine eyes." 

Use 1. Let us then, each for himself, fall in with the noble and 
great designs of this prince. Satan, the prince of this world, is car- 
rying on designs of destruction : and men fall in with his designs, 
pursuing their worldly interest as their chief interest, and going on 
impenitent in their sins. Christ's designs are designs of salvation ; 
fall in with these, seeking chiefly the advancing of your eternal in- 
terest, Matth. vi. 33, repenting, and turning every one from his evil 

2. Let us be concerned for the prospering of his counsels ; Psalm 
Ixxii. 15, " Prayer shall be made for hira continually, and daily 
shall he be praised." Compare Matth. vi. 10, " Thy kingdom come. 
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Satan and his agents 
are engaged against them, and counteract them all they can ; stand 
not unconcerned spectators ; for neutrals in this case are enemies to 
Christ ; Matth. xii. 30, '* He that is not with mo, is against me ; and 
he that gathoreth not with me, scatteroth abroad." Rejoice in the 
prospering of his kingdom, and mourn for the dishonours done to 

3. They that reject and oppose his counsels, are fools, and do it 
to their own loss and hurt ; Luke vii. 30. For all his counsels are 


great and noble ; and whoso set themselves against them, work for 
their own ruin ; Prov. viii. 36, " He that sinneth against me, wrong- 
eth his own soul ; all they that hate me, love death." They must 
perish without remedy, rejecting the counsels of salvation. 

Thirdly, He can manage all by himself, and needs no counsel of 
men, the name of the wisest on earth, may be Consultor; the wisest 
of men says so ; Prov. xi. 14, " Where no counsel is, the people fall ; 
but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety." But his name 
is counsellor. He is so far a Counseller, that he is a Consultor of 
none ; Rom. xi. 34, " For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or 
who hath been his counsellor?" His servants are about his throne, 
but not to pretend to give him counsel. Consider, 

1. His understanding is infinite. He sees all things at once, and 
he sees through every thing ; whereas the creature's capacity is but 
finite, seeing but some things, and but some parts of them too. 
There can then be no lack of counsel in him ; and if there were, we 
would be utterly unfit to make it up. Can the light of a small 
candle increase the light of the shining sun, or a drop from one's 
finger the waters of the ocean ? Far less can finite add to what is 

2. His counsels were all concerted before we had a being. The 
plan and method of his government, in every part, was laid down 
immutably, before there was a man or angel. He hath not councils 
of yesterday, wherein we might give advice ; but " known unto God 
are all his works from the beginning of the world," Acts xv. 18. 
The elect were chosen to the kingdom from eternity, Eph. i. 4 ; and 
the kingdom prepared for them, Matth. xxv. 34 ; and all the dispen- 
sations of his providence immutably laid down, Zech. vi. 1. 

3. The execution of them was begun entirely without us. What 
a sweet surprise was the conduct of the great Counsellor to our 
guilty first parents in paradise ? Did he consult with the guilty 
pair, how to remedy their case ? No ; but he surprised them with 
his counsel. He made us without us at first ; and he re-makes us, 
not only without us, but over the belly of opposition from us, there- 
fore he can manage us without us, both in nature and grace. 

4. How often have we seen, that our counsels, had they been mix- 
ed with those of the great Counsellor, would have marred all ? 
David would have the child to live, but the great Counsellor would 
have him to die ; for had he lived, he had lived to the reproach of 
David. Jacob says, " All these things were against him ;" yet were 
they for him ; so that if they had not taken place, his family had 
been in ill case. 


Use 1. Let us therefore wholly resiga the disposal of our lot to 
Jesus Christ the great Counsellor; Psalm xlvii. 4, "He shall choose 
our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved." 
Let us not carve for ourselves, but leave that to him ; believing that 
to be best for us, which he sees best. First commit your souls to 
him for eternal salvation, and then put a blank into his hand as to 
all other concerns. If we are his children, let our Father dispose of 
us ; if his subjects, let our King rule us. •' The Father has commit- 
ted all judgment to the Son," John v. 22. Let not us refuse for our 


2. Let us wait on him patiently in the way of his dispensation to- 
wards ourselves, and towards the church ; Isa. xxvi. 8. The church 
of God, and the interest of religion, are at a very low pass at this 
day ; we are rowed into deep waters, from which no human skill 
can row us out again. But Christ is the great Counsellor; let him 
alone ; he will see to his own work, and will awake as a giant re- 
freshed with wine. Are we in depths of affliction, trials, and diffi- 
culties ? The storm is never so boisterous, nor the passage so 
hazardous, as the pilot Christ needs to call a council what to 


3. Let us beware of murmuring and fretting at, and quarrelling 
his conduct. There may be pieces of it which we cannot account 
for ; but there is nothing in it that is wrong, Deut. xxxii. 4. Though 
we cannot see how all is well that he does, let us believe that he 
does all well, Jer. xii. 1. Murmuring is a charging of the great 
Councillor foolishly, as if he were not wise enough for to manage 
us; and that we might pretend to direct him. Remember his name, 
and be silent, and satisfied in all his disposals. 

Fourthly, His manner of conduct, and method of management, is 
deep and uncommon. Solomon tells us, that '* counsel in the heart 
of man is like deep waters," Prov. xx. 5. Christ's name is Coun- 
sellor, pointing out his counsels as great deeps ; and so they are ; 
Psalm xcii. 5, " Lord, how great are tliy works ! and thy thoughts 
are very deep." The contrivances of the greatest wits among men, 
are but thin and shallow, in comparison of the way of the great 
Counsellor; Psalm Ixxvii. 19, "Thy way is in the sea, and thy path 
in the groat waters, and thy footsteps are not known." 

1. It is not easily seen into. His way in his conduct of matters 
is truly mysterious; there is need of wisdom to discern it; Psalm 
cvii. 43, and carnal wisdom will not do it ; 1 Cor. ii, 14, " For the 
natural man receivcth not the things of the Spirit of God ; for they 
are foolishness unto him ; neither can lie know thorn, because tho^ 


are spiritually discerned," Earthly princes have their secrets of 
government ; and therefore no wonder that Christ has his secrets of 
government, who is the great Counsellor. It is such a deep, and so 
hard to be seen into, that, 

(1.) Carnal, unrenewed men make wretched blunders about it, 
and quite mistake it. They cannot at all see into the mystery; it 
is as a parable to them that they cannot understand, Mark iv. 11. 
They are none of the king's friends, and they cannot penetrate into 
his counsels, nor find out his designs, in his dispensations ; Psalm 
xcii. 5 — 7, " 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." Yea, they quite mistake the matter to their 
own destruction ; 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 Ave have walked mournfully before the Lox'd of Hosts ? 
And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness, 
are set up ; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered." Hos. 
xiv. 9, " Who is wise, and he shall understand these things ? pru- 
dent, and he shall know them ? for the ways of the Lord are right, 
and the just shall walk in them ; but the transgressors shall fall 

(2.) Even the godly themselves are often mightily puzzled and 
perplexed about it, they know not what to make of it. How was 
Asaph plunged in the case of the prosperity of the wicked, and ad- 
versity of the godly ? He was brought to the borders of Atheism 
by it. And there was no recovering, till he gave over looking 
with the eye of carnal wisdom, and looked with the eye of faith, 
Fsalm Ixxiii. 12, &c. 

2. His manner of conduct, and method of management, is not to 
be seen through while we are here, by any whatsoever; 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 !" Even those who see into his conduct, cannot see through 
it. There are many plies of the manifold wisdom of God that they 
cannot unfold ; but will remain hid till the light of glory do dis- 
cover them. By faith we may see so far as to say, " He does all 
things well." But when the whole web of providence being cut out, 
is laid before the saints in the light of the upper house, they will 
doubtless discern a great deal of beauties therein, which they do 
not now see. For a swatch of these depths, you may take these. 
"1. Things let go on to the utmost point of hopelessness, before a 

240 ciuasT THE counsellokV 

hand is put to, to work the delivery. This is not the' manner of men, 
whose maxim is, to withstand the beginnings, before the disease 
grows desperate : 

Princlpiis obsta : sero mediclna paratur, 
Cum longa per moras invaluere mala. 

Eut nothing is more ordinary in the conduct of the great counsellor, 
than to let things go on to the utmost extremity, and then to take 
the opportunity ; Deut. xxxii. 36, " For the Lord shall judge his 
people, and repent himself for his servants ; when he seeth that 
their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left." The chief 
thing in the dispensation was about himself; before he was de- 
livered, he was dead, and buried, the stone sealed, the watch set, 
he lying still so long in the grave ; and after that pattern, the 
greatest deliverances his church or any believer gets, is wrought, 
as in the case of Joseph. 

2. The prince's friends treated like enemies, and his enemies 
treated like friends. Solomon observes it ; Eccl. viii. 14, "There 
is a vanity which is done upon the earth, that there be just men 
unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked ; 
again, there be wicked men to whom it happeneth according to the 
work of the righteous." This is not the way of men neither, to 
caress their enemies, and heap favours on, them; and to pinch, and 
lay their hand heavy on their friends. Bnt this is one of the 
counsellor's depths of management. The ungrateful butler is at 
court in favour, but Joseph in the dungeon ; waters of a full cup 
wrung out to the ungodly, but godly Asaph plagued every day ; 
Herodias dancing and making merry, but John Baptist's head 
struck off in a prison. 

3. The most unlikely instruments and means chosen, and the 
most promising laid by. This is not the way of men neither, who 
choose what bids fairest for the purpose ; but it is the way of the 
counsellor. When the people choose a king, he was one that was 
the most stately man among them ; but not so was the counsellor's 
choice, 1 Sam. xvi. 7- Cain was rejected, and Abel accepted. 
Sarah, who had no procreative faculty, is chosen, when wasted and 
worn with age, to bo the mother of the seed promised to Abraham ; 
and not Hagar, who was in the bloom of youth. So Mary espoused 
to a carpenter, and none of the ladies ot Judea, was pitched upon 
to bo the mother of our Lord. JIo chose his apostles from among 
fishcrnicn generally, not from among the learned men of the ago, 
J'aul only excepted. 

4. Things brought about by means in their own nature, and in 


the eyes of men, quite contrai'y to the design. Neither is this 
the manner of men, but it is his. The blind man is cured with clay 
laid on his eyes. Joseph is advanced by means of his being sold 
as a slave, and put iuto the dungeon. The wheel of providence 
that seems to drive away from the design, doth often but take an 
unknown road to it. 

Use I. Let us judge nothing before the time, nor be hasty in 
our conclusions on the conduct of providence. It will but proclaim 
our rashness and folly, and we will be forced at length to retract 
our censures; Psalm cxvi. 11, 12, " I said in my haste. All men are 
liars." His method of management is often what we cannot rightly 
judge of till we see the end; Jam. v. 11, " Behold, we count them happy 
which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have 
seen the end of the Lord : that the Lord is very pitiful, and of 
tender mercy." 

2. Let us beware of penning up the great counsellor to our 
known roads. Hence God's people often torment themselves in 
vain, thinking that, because they cannot see him in all the roads 
within their view, he is not coming to them at all. In the mean- 
time, he may be making speed towards them, though in a darkened 
road, where they look not for him, as in the conduct of Jesus towards 
the disciples ; Matth. xiv. 25 — 27. " And in the fourth watch of the 
night, Jesus went unto them walking on the sea. And when the 
disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, 
It is a spirit ; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus 
spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid." 
There are many methods of deliverance known to the counsellor, 
that fall not within the compass of our narrow view ; and when we 
are set on them, we know not whither they do lead ; Isa. xlii. 16, 
" And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not, I will 
lead them in paths that they have not known ; I will make dark- 
ness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things 
will I do unto them, and not forsake them." 

3. See here the necessity of acquaintance with the Scriptures, 
and of faith ; 2 Pet. i. 19, *' We have also a more sure word of 
prophecy, whereunto 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." There the mysteries of the kingdom are 
unfolded, and by faith the beauty of them is perceived. Those who 
are strangers to the book of the word, cannot miss to blunder in 
the book of providence to their own soul's hurt ; and unbelief of 
the word makes beautiful pieces of providence look very odd ; for 
it fixes men's eyes, as if one should stare on the wrong side of arras 


hangings, having no power to turn up the right side of them ; Psalm 
Ixxiii. 16, 17, " When I thought to know this, it was too painful for 
me. Until I went into the sanctuary of God, then understood I their 

Fifthly. He does nothing without a becoming reason. There is 
not one random stroke in the whole of the conduct of providence ; 
Eph. i. 11, "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being 
predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all 
things after the counsel of his own will." The red and black horses 
came out between the mountains of brass, as well as the rest, Zech. 
vi. 1, 2, and every event is written in the sealed book, Rev. v. 
There is a reason for every dispensation, and it is a reason that is 
good and valid. This appears, if ye consider that, 

1. His infinite wisdom sees all things at once perfectly ; Psalm 
cxlvii. 5. " His understanding is infinite." The fitness of a means 
for compassing an end, cannot be hid to him, as it is often unto 
men ; and he cannot be liable to mistake in that matter, though 
men, through their weaknes, as often pitch on means unfit as fit, 
Ezek. i. 18, and x. 12. Therefore he does all fitly and reasonably, 
since he is withal infinitely good. 

2. Even those things which sometimes cannot be discerned to 
have a fitness in them for any good purpose, do in end appear 
beautiful ; those that appear confused at first, when done out ap- 
pear orderly, so that in end his people are made to say, He has 
done all things well. So was the dispensation anent Joseph ; Gen. 
1. 20, " But as for you, ye thought evil against me ; but God meant 
it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people 
alive." All of them, whatever compasses they make, do by virtue 
of the promise concenter in God's glory and his people's good, Rom. 
viii. 28, and ix, 22, 23. 

Thus are the mysterious steps of providence before named all 
managed, and may be accounted for. 

1. Things are let go on to the utmost point of hopelessness, that 
the power of God may appear the more in bringing about the do- 
livery, and that it may be the more signal mercy to his people, and 
fill them the more with joy and wonder, John xi. 14, 15. The Lord 
left his people in Babylon, till they were like dry bones lying about 
the graves ; why ? see Ezek. xxxvii. 13, " And ye shall know that 
I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, ray people, and 
brought you up out of your graves." Psalm cxxvi. 1. 4, "When 
the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, wo were like them 
that dream. Turn again our captivity, Lord, as the streams in 
the south." Deliverance is sweet at any time; but the more hope- 
less, the more sweet and surprising is it when it comes. 


2. By treating his friends with afflictions and trials, he pours 
contempt on the world, and all its honour, wealth, and ease ; shew- 
ing to all thereby, that those things which carnal men set their 
hearts on, are such things as he hath no value for, else he would 
never dispose of them at the rate he does. Thereby he invites his 
enemies to repentance, and renders them inexcusable if they be not 
gained thereby, Rom. ii. 4. And he tries the faith, love, and pa- 
tience of his own, and thereby lays up for their greater weight of 
glory, 1 Pet. i. 6, 7. 

3. He chooseth the most unlikely instruments and means to ac- 
complish his purposes, that he may stain the pride of all glory. 
Is. xxiii. 9, that all may be referred to himself as the first cause 
and last end of all things, which is the reasonable order, 1 Cor. i. 31. 
Therefore he " put the treasure in earthen vessels," 2 Cor. iv. 7, 
and for the same reason not in the finest, but the coarsest of the 
sort. . 

4. He works by contrary means, that he may shew himself to be 
above means, and to have them at his beck, and to surprise his 
people more sweetly with the unlooked-for efi"ect of them. The 
character of divine power is the more deeply engraven on the 
effect, that the means of themselves are not of that tendency. 

Use 1. Then all that the Lord does is well done. There is 
nothing amiss in it. Dent, xxxii. 4; in the blackest dispensation 
there is a line of purity. The smoking oven is joined Avith a 
burning lamp. Gen. xv. 17. Compare Isa. Ixii. 1. In the whole 
fabric of providence towards the children of men, there is not one 
wrong pin, there is nothing awry, but everything lies straight to its 

2. "When ye cannot find out the reason, a becoming reason of 
some dispensation towards the church or yourselves, yet believe 
that it is not without a becoming reason, and be satisfied in your 
minds that it is well done, because the counsellor has done it. 
When you put a straight stick in the water, it appears to your eyes to 
be crooked; yet you do not think or believe in your judgment that it 
is really crooked. That appearance is owing to your eyesight, not 
to the stick itself, which remains straight. So is it with us oft-times in 
respect of the dispensations of providence. But let faith correct 
tl^e errors of sense in this matter, Jer. xii. 1. 

3. "Wait ye, and the reason of the most mysterious disi)ensation 
will appear in a clear light at length. There is a promise for it ; 
John xiii. 7, " What I do thou knowest not now ; but thou shalt 
know hereafter," Since the counsellor does nothing without a 
reason, he will for his own honour satisfy all his friends with it, 


and silence liis enemies for ever ; and thereby he will bountifully 
reward believing waiters, and confound unbelieving quarrellers of 
his conduct. 

Sixthly, He raanageth all with a depth of wisdom. Counsel speaks 
not only a reasonable management, but a depth of wisdom ; for it 
is to things of the greatest weight and difficulty that counsellors 
are required; Prov. xx. 5, "Counsel in the heart of man is like 
deep water ; but a man of understanding will draw it out." Hereof 
take the following evidences. 

Evidence 1. His compassing a great variety of ends by one and 
the same means, and all these designed. "What a vast variety of 
ends did he compass by Joseph's being sold into Egypt ? Hereby 
Jacob was tried, the naughtiness of his sons discovered, Joseph him- 
self proved, Jacob's posterity provided for, Christ was typified, way 
was made for the greatest events under the Old Testament, &c. So 
some suffer, and the Counsellor designs the good of many thereby ; 
2 Cor. i. 6, " And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation 
and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same suffer- 
ings, which we also suffer ; or whether we be comforted, it is for 
your consolation and salvation." In men's management there may 
be happy undesigned hits; but all these are designed by the infinite 
mind of the Counsellor. 

EviD. 2, That no man can fully reach what is in the womb of pro- 
vidence, in the most open and obvious steps of it. He may see this 
and the other design in it, but still there is something beyond what 
he sees ; Psalm, xcii. 5, " Lord, how great are thy works ; and 
thy thoughts are very deep." Sober-minded men of learning will 
own, that they cannot have a full and comprehensive notion of the 
least insect ; they know not but the Creator may have put in it some 
quality which they cannot discern. And sober-minded Christians 
will own the same in the most obvious steps of providence ; 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 
finding out !" 

EviD, 3. The greatest variety of designs in a dispensation is 
guarded on every side by the wisdom of the Counsellor, that one 
shall not overthrow, nor interfere with another. Man's wisdom can- 
not prevent, that where they have many irons in the fire together, 
some of them must cool, while others of them are working ; but 
every the least design of the counsellor must take, by his wise ma- 
nagement ; Isa. xlvi. 10, " My counsel shall stand, and I will do all 
my pleasure." See Joel ii. 7, 0, "They shall run like mighty men, 
they shall climb the wall like men of war, and ihcy shall march 


every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks, neither 
shall one thrust another, they shall walk every one in his path : and 
when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded." For 
the wheels are full of eyes round about. 

EviD. 4. His bringing the greatest of things out of the smallest 
beginnings. how often does the Counsellor, in the depth of his 
wisdom, rear up golden pillars on leaden bases, and make the cloud 
like a man's hand at first, cover the whole face of the heavens ? 
Thus he manages in the kingdom of nature ; for an instance of 
which, man needs not go without himself; but consider what a mi- 
nute thing it is from which this body of his, growing to such a bulk, 
in such comely j)roportion, with such a variety of organs doth take 
its rise ; Psalm cxxxix. 14, " I will praise thee, for I am fearfully 
and wonderfully made ; marvellous are thy works, and that my soul 
knoweth right well." In the kingdom of grace ; in its beginning in 
a soul, and in the world, it is as a grain of mustard seed, Matth. xiii. 
31. So Psalm Ixxii. 16, " There shall be an handful of corn in the 
earth upon the top of the mountains ; the fruit thereof shall shake 
like Lebanon, and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the 
earth." How low were the beginnings of that kingdom which has 
now filled the earth ? The stone is become a great mountain, fill- 
ing the earth, Dan. ii. 35. 

EviD. 5. His making the most weighty and surprising turns in 
matters, upon the smallest of events. If we trace the turn the 
afi'airs of the church took in Mordecai's days, to the overthrowing of 
Haman's desperate plot, to the first spring of it; we will find it was 
a vapour that had got up into Ahasuerus's head that he could not 
sleep, Esther vi. 1. In the smallest of things God is very great. 
He that hangs the earth upon nothing, often makes a very minute 
circumstance to be the hinge on which great things turn ; 2 Kings 
iii. 23. 

EviD. 6. His counteracting successfully the united force of devils 
and men, in all ages, set for the overthrow of his kingdom ; Prov. 
xxi. 30, " There is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against 
the Lord." The subjects of Christ's kingdom are weak, and easily 
beguiled ; Satan is most subtle, watchful, and incessant in his acting 
against them ; the war has been carried on by hell against them 
through all ages ; the generality of the world is on Satan's side ; 
often the feet of the saints are almost slipt ; yet the church is pre- 
served, not one of Christ's kindly subjects lost. This proclaims 
aloud the depth of wisdom in her King, Micah iv. 9. See Gen. 
iii. 15. 

EviD. 7. Lastly, His outshooting the devil in his own bow, and 


bringing good out of evil, Phil. i. 12. Tlie malice of hell never ap- 
peared more, than in the sufferings Christ himself was put to : yet 
out of these was the salvation of an elect world brought ; and these 
were they that shook the kingdom of Satan to the foandations. The 
very temptations and falls of the saints are overruled to some ad- 
vantage, Rom. viii. 28. 

Use I. Then whatsoever he doth, is not only well done, but best 
done, Eccl. iii. 14. If thou art out of Christ, whatever thou meet- 
est with in the providence of God, it is that which for the time is 
best for the glory of Grod. If thou art in Christ, whatsoever thou 
meeetest with, is for the time best for God's honour, and best for thee 
too. For all is the product of the depth of wisdom. The reason of 
the difference is, that the believer being in God's covenant, God's 
honour and his good are joint interests secured by the covenant; 
unbelievers are not so. 

2. The believer may securely trust him to whom he has committed 
his soul, with the management of all that concerns him ; Psalm 
xxxvii. 5, " Commit thy way unto the Lord : trust also in him, and 
he shall bring it to pass." Our anxiety should be confined to our 
duty ; to be otherwise anxious, as for provision, protection, and the 
like, is but the fruit of unbelief; Luke xii. 29, "And seek not ye 
what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful 
mind." Since God stands in the relation of a Father, and is infi- 
nitely wise, there is complete ground for the security of faith ; Matth. 
vi. 8, " Tour Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before 
ye ask him." 

3. In the case of doubtful events, believe that the Counsellor will 
do what is best. This is what ye are to believe in such a case ; Psalm 
Ixxxv. 12, " The Lord will give that which is good." Here is the 
rest of faith in cases of a doubtful issue : and here one may securely 
rest waiting the issue, which the depth of wisdom shall in due time 
bring forth. Domimis incus omnia, 6fc. — Luther. 

Seventhly, and Lastly, He is the best Coiinsellor ; there is none 
like him. There are many counsellors, nobody wants some ; but his 
name is Counsellor, as if there were not another ; for he is the Coun- 
sellor by way of eminency. 

Here we shall, 

\st, Confirm the truth of this assertion, That Christ is the best 

2dly, Shew wherein he counsels sinners. 

Zdly, How he gives his counsel. 

First, To confirm the truth of this assertion, That Christ is the 
best Counsellor, consider. 


1. He is of the Father's choice and nomination for a Counsellor to 
us ; 1 Cor. i. 30, " He is made of God unto us wisdom." "When the 
Father from eternity, pitying fallen man in his ruined state, was 
thinking on a Counsellor, that might by his wisdom retrieve their 
sinking aiFairs, he pitched on Jesus Christ; Psalm Ixxxix. 19, "I 
have laid help upon one that is mighty." The highest angel was 
too weak for such a burden ; but the Son, who was of the cabinet-coun- 
cil of heaven, was the choice ; and sinners are referred to him, 
Matth. xvii. 5. 

2. He is the saint's choice in all ages for a Counsellor ; who all 
with one voice say ; Psalm Ixxiii. 24, 25, " 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." Men are by nature out of themselves, 
and so will keep the guiding of themselves in their own hands ; but 
as soon as they come to themselves, they renounce their own wisdom, 
will no more believe their own eyes, but by faith choose him for 
their Counsellor. 

3. He never misseth the point in his counselling, Prov. xxx. 5. 
" Every word of God is pure : he is a shield unto them that put their 
trust in him." The best of counsellors among men will miss at a 
time ; but infinite wisdom is not liable to mistake. He sees, and sees 
through all that is past and present, and thoroughly foresees all that 
is to come. How can he err in his counsel ? 

Secondly, Wherein doth Christ counsel sinners ? He counsels 

1. In their greatest concerns, their concerns for eternity. In 
these they have least skill ; in these a mistaking of their measures 
is most fatal ; so his counsel respects these chiefly. And he coun- 
sels them, 

(1) To the way of peace, which they know not, Rev. iii. 18. 
The gospel is Christ's counsel to sinners; thereby he points them the 
way to the favour of God, the pardon of their sin, the securing to 
themselves a right to heaven, and freedom from the wrath and curse 
of God. He presseth and plies them to take that counsel, with the 
strongest arguments. 

(2.) In the way to peace and happiness, how they being set on it, 
may keep it till they arrive at perfect happiness, Psalm Ixxiii. 24. 
His clients are in a wilderness while in this world ; and he is to be 
instead of eyes to them there. In every new emergent difliculty, 
they have access to his counsel, what course to take in such a temp- 
tation, dark step, or case. 

2. In their lesser concerns, viz. the things of time. He refuses 


not to be their Counsellor in the matters of this present life. And, 

(1.) In their matters of greater weight, he allows sinners to seek 
his counsel ; and it is their sin that they neglect it. Josh. ix. 14. 
There is an oracle to be consulted in our temporal, as well as in our 
spiritual affairs ; for the promise reacheth the one as well as the 
other; Psalm cxii. 5, "A good man — will guide his affairs with 

(2.) In tbeir smallest matters ; Prov. iii. 6» " In all thy ways ac- 
knowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." There is nothing so 
small but the providence of God reaches it, even to the very hairs 
of the head, Matth. x. 30 ; and on very small things great matters 
may depend. Things small in themselves may be very great in their 
consequences ; therefore we have need of a Counsellor in the least. 

So Christ is a Counsellor for sinners in all their matters, of what- 
soever kind. And this is a peculiar excellency of this Counsellor, 
that he can give counsel in every thing. Men consult divines in 
their soul's case, physicians in the case of their body, lawyers in the 
case of their estate, men experienced in their occupation ; but Christ 
is a Counsellor in them all. 

Thirdly, How doth Christ give his counsel. 

1. He proposeth his counsel in and by his word ; Psalm cxix. 24, 
" Thy testimonies are my counsellors." If ye would have his coun- 
sel, ye must go believingly to his word. That is it by which the an- 
swer is given to those that consult the holy oracle. And there is 
no case can happen to one, but in the word there is proper counsel 
for it. This is a mystery to the formal and profane ; but the exer- 
cised Christian knows it by experience to be true. 

2. He clears it, and opens it, and confirms it by his providence ; 
Psalm xxxii. 8, " I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way 
which thou shalt go ; I will guide thee with mine eye." Providence 
taken by itself, without respect to the word, is a very uncertain 
light to walk by, as in Jonah's finding the ship going to Tarshish ; 
but when providence is considered in subordination to the word, it 
is of eminent use for discovering the Lord's mind in particular 
cases; as in the case of Peter; Acts x. 17, "Now while Peter 
doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, 
behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius, had made inquiry 
for Simon's house, and stood before the gate." And therefore all 
tender Christians will bo serious observers of providence ; Psalm 
cvii. 43, " Whoso is wise, and will observe those things, even they 
shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord." 

3. He makes it effectual by his Holy Spirit; John xvi. 13, 
" When he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all 


truth." He shines on the word, and on the work of providence, sets 
both in a clear light, and enables, as well as determines the believer 
to follow it. So the counsel of the great counsellor is the light of 
life, John viii. 12; promised to all Christ's followers. Men follow- 
ing their own wisdom and delusive counsels, cannot expect the Spi- 
rit's efficacy ; and the word and providence cannot be effectual with- 
out the Spirit ; but the Spirit makes both effectual to those that 
wait for Christ's counsel. 

Use 1. Then take him for your Counsellor, renouncing all other. 

1. Renounce your own wisdom, do not lean to your own abilities 
for the management of yourself; but know your own wisdom to bo 
but weakness and folly ; Prov. iii. 5, 6, " Trust in the Lord with all 
thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy 
ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Fallen man 
lost his spiritual eye-sight, and he can see nothing aright in spi- 
rituals till he go to the Counsellor, Rev. iii. 18 ; and he is apt to go 
wrong even in other things. 

2. Renounce the counsel of the world, and shut your oars to it ; 
Prov. xis. 27, " Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth 
to err from the words of knowledge." Mind it is the character of a 
happy man, that he " walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor 
standeth in the way of sinners," Psalm i. 1 ; and the character of 
one in a natural state ; Eph. ii. 2, " to walk according to the course 
of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air." 
They who make the way of the world their rule, must perish with 
the world. 

3. Take Christ for your Counsellor instead of all other ; Prov. 
xxiii. 26, " My son, give me thine heart ; and let thine eyes observe 
my ways." Give up yourselves wholly to his management; let him 
be your sole Counsellor, and that for all things ; you need a guide, 
the Father has given him to you for that end; Isa. Iv. -1, "Behold, 
I have given him for a leader unto the people." Close with him as 
your guide and counsellor. 

Use 2. Follow the counsel that he is giving you. Christ is coun- 
selling you all in the gospel ; even those that will not consult him, 
and have refused his counsel, ho is counselling still. His counsels 
arc two. 

1. He is counselling you to believe in himself, John vi. 29 ; to 
come to him, to come to his market of free grace, and buy there, 
without money or price, Rev. iii. 18; Isa. Iv. 1 ; to take him for a 
Head, and husband, for all. 

2. To bo holy; to give up with your sinful courses, tliat will ruin 
Vol. X. K 


you ; and to betake yourselves to the way of holiness, without which 
there is no seeing the Lord ; Ezek. xviii. 31, " Cast away from you 
all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed, and make you 
a new heart, and a new spirit ; for why will ye die, house of 
Israel ?" See both together ; Prov. ix. 5, 6, " Come, eat of my 
bread" saith Wisdom, " and drink of the wine which I have mingled. 
Forsake the foolish, and live ; and go in the way of understanding." 
Use 3. Lastly/, Then make use of Christ as a counsellor, by your 
consulting him daily, that ye may not walk but by his direction. 

1. Be habitually tender in labouring to know the mind of God, as 
to sin and duty, in particular cases ; and in your common, as well 
as in your religious affairs, Isa xxviii. 26. 

2. Be upright and sincere in your consulting him, lying open to 
the divine determination, Jer, xlii. 20 ; compare chap. xli. 17- 

3. Humbly entertain the divine determination, though it fall to 
be cross to your inclination. Do not, like Baalam, tempt God, till 
ye get an answer to your own mind. Numb, xxii, 

4. Beware of going cross to duty cleared, and rejecting God's 
counsel given, 1 Kings xiii. 

5. Lastli/, Pray much ; ejaculatory, and secret ; and carefully ob- 
serve providences, while ye are waiting for the Lord's counsel. The 
light is from the Lord, if it is strengthening to duty, and overpower 
corruptions against it. 


ISAIAU ix. 6, 
His Name shall he called — The Mighty God. 

These words in the Hebrew are, God Mighty One. This is the 
third syllable of the name of our Lord Redeemer ; and as this name 
is given to him as God-man, so this syllable of it natively respects 
both, as he is God, ho is the true God ; as he is man, he is the 
mighty one ; the greatest heroes are but weaklings to him. 

Doctrine. Jesus Christ, the prince presented and given to us 
of the Father, is and shews himself to be true God, the Mighty 

In discoursing this doctrine, I shall shew, 
I. That Christ is the true God. 


II. That the mau Christ is the Mighty One. 

III. Lastly, Apply. 

I. I shall shew, that Christ is the true God. This appears froir 
these following things. 

1. That he is the true God, the scripture expressly calls him, and 
asserts him to be so; John i. 1, ** In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was God." Acts xx. 28, " Feed the church of God, 
which he hath purchased with his own blood." Rom. ix. 5, " Of 
whom as concerning the flesh, Christ carae, who is over all, God 
blessed for ever;" the true God ; 1 John v. 20, " Tiiis is the true 
God, and eternal life;" Jehovah or Lord; Mai. iii. 1, "The Lord 
whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple ; even the messen- 
ger of the covenant." This name is peculiar to God only ; Psalm 
Ixxxiii. 18, " That men may know, that thou whose name alone is 
Jehovah, art the Most High over all the earth." 

2. The attributes or perfections of God, distinguishing God from 
all created beings, are in him, and ascribed to him, He is eternal, 
or from everlasting, Micah v. 2; independent and almighty. Rev. i. 
8; everywhere present, John iii. 13; omniscient, John xxi. 17; and 
unchangeable, Heb. i. 11, 12, 

3- The works peculiar to God alone, are done by him, and ascribed 
to him. He is the creator of all things, John i. 3 ; and preserver 
of them in their being, Heb. i. 2, 3. He raiseth the dead by his own 
power, and at his own pleasure, John v. 21, 26. He is the Saviour 
of sinners, Hos. i. 7 ; and there is no Saviour besides God, chap, 
xiii. 4 ; yea, whatsoever the Father doth, he doth, John v. 19. 

4. Divine worship, which must be given to God only, Matth. iv. 
10, is due to him; for the angels are commanded to worship him 
Heb. i. 6. Every one is to give the same honour to him, as to the 
Father, John v. 23. They are blessed that trust in him, by faith 
resting on him, Psalm ii. 12; while they are cursed that put their 
trust in man, Jer. xvii. 5. He is the object of prayer, Acts vii. 59 ; 
and we are baptised in his name, Matth. xxviii. 19. 

5. Lastly^ He is equal with the Father, Phil. ii. 6; and one with 
him, John x. 30. Now, seeing God will not give his glory to an- 
other, Isa. xlviii. 11 ; it follows, that though Christ is a distinct per- 
son, yet he is not a distinct God from the Father. And therefore 
he is, with the Father and Holy Ghost, the one supreme Most High 

II. I shall shew, that the man Christ is the mighty one. 

\st, He doth and has done works that no other could do, John xr. 
24. His works proclaim him the mighty one in all respects; mighty 
in the reach of his wisdom, mighty in treasures, mighty in moyen 



and interest, and mighty in battle. And tlicre are four mighty 
works of Christ to which there is an eye in this his name. 

1. His fully answering all the demands of the broken law in the 
room of the elect, Psalm Ixxxix. 19. A work none else could have 
done ; a weight none else could have borne ; a vast debt none else 
conld have paid, and cleared. But ho did it by his birth, life, and 
death ; and completely, so that he got up the discharge, 1 Tim. iii. 

2. His destroying of sin, Gen. iii. 15. The whole sin of the whole 
elect, he gave a death blow to, at once upon the cross ; to the guilt 
and power of it ; so that its utter destruction in them all was as 
much secured thereby, as Christ's death by his being nailed to the 
cross; Rom. vi. 6, "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified 
with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth 
we should not serve sin." He is now pursuing that blow, in the 
conversion and sanctification of the elect ; driving out sin by degrees 
from among them ; he will give the last stroke at the last day, and 
then that hellish flood shall be as much dried up as it had never 

3. His victory over death and the grave ; Hos. xiii. 14, " I will 
ransom them from the power of the grave ; I will redeem them from 
death ; death, I will bo thy plagues ; grave, I will be thy de- 
struction." Sin entering, death went out over the world a conqueror, 
armed with a sting that none could pluck out. But Christ encoun- 
tered death, and dying was the destruction of it, and of the grave 
its fellow, viz. in respect of all his. The victory will be complete 
at the last day ; 1 Cor. xv. 26, " Then the last enemy that shall be 
destroyed, is death." Isa. xxv. 8, " Then God will swallow up death 
in victory. 

4. Lastly, His victory over the devil, Gen. iii. 15. Satan con- 
quered all mankind in Adam ; but here was a man match and more 
for him. He engaged with the enemy as a tempter, in the wilder- 
ness, and he foiled him ; as a roaring lion, on the cross, and over- 
came him. Col. ii. 15; as a violent possessor, in the hearts of the 
elect, from time to time, and he turns him out, out of one after an- 
other, till ho shall not have a foot of ground in the elect world. 
And then he will attack him in his proper possession, viz. the repro- 
bate, standing on the left hand of the Judge, and drive him and 
them away off the earth into the pit. So may we say ; Psalm xcviii. 
1, " sing unto the Lord a now song, for ho hath done marvellous 
things ; his right hand and his holy arm hath gotten him the vic- 

2dly^ He hath all at his command in heaven and earth, whether 


created persons or things, Mattli. xxviii. 18. The man Christ is heir 
of all things, Heb. i. 2 ; Lord of all the works of God's hands, Psaira 
viii. What a mighty one must he then be ? 

Zdly, Lastly, Being God as well as man, his power is infinite. 
Not that infinite power is subjected in the human nature of Christ, 
a created thing, and srch is his human nature, is not capable of in- 
finite perfections. But the human nature and divine nature make 
but one person in him ; and so he who is the man, is of infinite power. 

Use 1. This serves to refute the damnable heresy of those who 
impugn the supreme Godhead of our Lord Jesus Christ. This ago 
of apostacy, having been unfruitful under the gospel, comes na- 
turally to question the foundation-points of Christianity, And such 
is this, that overthrows all our salvation at once. When the Father 
provided a prince for lost sinners to save them, he gave them one 
who was God mighty one. None of inferior dignity could serve the 

2. It speaks terror to all the enemies of Christ, in principles or 
practice. Ah ! sinners, why do ye reject him for a prince, trample 
on his laws ? &c. Ye cannot make head against him, who is God 
mighty one, who can crush you in pieces as a moth. True, he does 
not at every occasion exert his power against the rebellious sons of 
men ; but pray, consider this is the time of his grace, wherein he 
is waiting for your repentance ; if that were over, then follows that; 
Luke xix. 27, "But those mine enemies, which would not that I 
should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before rae." 

3. It speaks comfort to the church and every believer in their low 
estate. Whatever be your wants, he is able to supply them ; your 
weakness, there is might enough in him ; be yoarcase never so hope- 
less, it is never without the reach of his help. Let believers learn 
to rejoice in their prince, their head in whom they are complete. 

4. Lastly, It serves to exhort all to take him for their prince. 
kiss ye the Son presented to you in the gospel-offer ! renounce 
other lords, and by faith embrace him. And therefore consider, 

(1.) His might will be for you, for your provision, protection, and 
happiness, if ye be his. 

(2.) It will be against you for time and eternity, if ye refuse him. 



Isaiah ix. 6, 

His name shall be called the Everlasting Father. 

This is the fourth syllable of Christ's name. Having called him a 
child, a son, a child born, a son given ; it is shown here, that though 
he is a son, he is a Father too ; yea, though he is a child born, he is 
the Father of eternity, i.e. The Everlasting Father, which plainly 
leads us to his divine nature. 

Doctrine. Jesus Christ, the prince presented and given to us of 
the Father, is himself the Everlasting Father. 

In handling this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. In what respects Christ is the Everlasting Father. 

II. "What a Father he is. 

III. Lastly, Improve the subject. 

I, In what respects is Christ the Everlasting Father ? 

\st, He is the Father of all things, who was from everlasting, be- 
fore all. He is, with his Father and Spirit, one God, the common 
Father of all by creation ; 1 Cor. viii. 6, " But to us there is but one 
God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him ; and one 
Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." Hence 
he is called the beginning of the creation of God, Rev. iii. 14 ; from 
whom all had their beginning. So he is the Father of all men, more 
particularly, Mai. ii. 10; of their souls and bodies, but especially of 
their souls, Heb. xii. 9; all men, yea, all creatures whatsoever, 
owing their being to him, as a son to the father. And so being be- 
fore all creatures, himself is uncreated and eternal, Prov. viii. 23. 

Idly, He is the Father of all believers, in a peculiar manner, who 
will be to everlasting ; and that in two respects. 

1. As he is, with his Father and Spirit, one God, Eph. iv. 6 ; the 
one God and Father of the family of heaven, who has adopted be- 
lievers for his sons and daughters, 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. And thus we 
call him, with the Father and Spirit, our Father, Matth. vi. 9. 

2. As he is Mediator, God man; Heb. ii. 13, " Behold, I, and the 
children which God hath given me." So believers are his children, 
his seed, Isa. liii. 10; standing in a peculiar relation to him as such. 
And of this relation there is a threefold ground. 

(1.) Believers are of his flesh and of his bones, Eph. v. 30. A 
plain allusion to the woman's being formed of Adam's body ; where- 
by it comes to pass, that all mankind do entirely owe their original 


to Adam ; all his posterity being born of the woiuau who was made 
of him. So all believers owe their original entirely to the body of 
Christ, cast into the sleep of death on the cross ; Rom. vii. 4, " Ye 
are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be 
married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead." Isa. 
liii. 10, " When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall 
see his seed." And herein Abraham was a type of him ; of whose 
body, when in a sort dead, a seed innumerable as the stars did 
spring, Rom. iv. 18, 19; Heb. xi. 12. So from the body of Christ 
dead on the cross and grave, spring the innumerable company of be- 
lievers that ever were, are, or shall be; John xii. 24, 32, " Yerily, 
verily, I say unto you, " Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground 
and die, it abideth alone ; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." 
(2.) They are begotten of him into their new life and nature, 
which they have as believers, Deut. xxxii. 6, 18. The seed is the 
word of the gospel, James i. 18 ; that incorruptible seed, 1 Pet- i. 
23 ; quickened by his Spirit, John vi. 63 ; whereby being made to 
believe, and so united to Christ, they are made new creatures, Eph. 
1. 13 ; 2. Cor. v. 17. So that as they owe the purchase of their gra- 
cious being to his merit, they owe their actual gracious being to his 
Spirit, both wholly. 

(3.) They do in a peculiar manner bear, and were appointed to 
bear Christ's image, as children of that Father, Rom. viii. 29. Be- 
lievers bear not only the image of God, bat the image of Christ. 
There is a difference betwixt these two. The latter implies all that 
the former does ; but it takes in more also. There are two parts of 

1. Conformity to Christ in his holiness. And in this respect be- 
lievers are like him, as the wax impressed with the seal bears the 
like figure, Eph. i. 13. John i. 16. And here is the image of God, 
which all believers do bear, and which is a part of the image of 
Christ. This image of God believers have not at the first hand, as 
Adam had it; but at the second hand, viz. from Christ; as Adam's 
children would have had it from him, if he had stood, and as we now 
actually have Satan's image, impressed by Satan at the fall on Adam, 
and by Adam communicated to us. So God being to restore his 
image to fallen man, first impressed it on the man Christ, that from 
him it might be communicated to believers in him. The man Christ 
was made like God, as a sou is like a father ; and believers are made 
like the man Christ. On the man Christ that image was impressed, 
and from him it is expressed on us, and thence called Christ's image. 
That is, God making the man Christ the second Adam, made hira 


after his own image, iu knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with 
domiHion over the creatures. So believers being created again in 
Christ, he communicates to them of that knowledge, righteousness, 
&c. which image of Christ, begun now, will be perfected after in all 
believers. All this is dear from 1 Cor. xv. 49, " As we have borne 
the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the hea- 
venly ;" Rom. viii. 29, " For whom he did foreknow, he also did pre- 
destinate to be conformed to the image of his Son." Hence believers 
are said to be " created in Christ," Eph. ii. 10. As Eve was made 
in the image of God, being made in the image of Adam, Gen. ii. 18, 
so the church is made in the image of Christ. 

2. Conformity to Christ and his sufferings. This is it that is par- 
ticularly aimed at, Rom. viii. 29, compared with verse 28. Hence 
believers are said to be " partakers of the sufferings of Christ," 1 Pet. 
iv. 13. And their sufferings are called his, 2 Cor. i. 5. In his suf- 
ferings he gave us an example to follow, 1 Peter ii. 21. What can 
be more natural than that the members of a suffering head be suf- 
fering members ? that the followers of a crucified Christ bear the 
cross after him ? 

This conformity lies in three things; for the wicked suffer too. 

(1) Believers' sufferings are destructive of sin ; Isa. xxvii.9, "By 
this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged, and this is all 
the fruit to take away his sin." The more Christ suffered, the more 
the works of the devil were brought near to ruin. The man who by 
his sufferings is made more holy, moi-e loosed from the world, more 
pressing after God in Christ, is conformed to Christ in his sufferings. 
Though indeed the progress may not be sensible sometimes, more 
than that of the sun in the firmament, or a tree in the earth. 

(2) Believers welcome their sufferings on that account, as they 
tend to the ruin of sin ; as the sick man does a bitter drug for the 
sake of health, Matth. xvi. 24, 25. It is true, they may have their 
fits of impatience under the rod, and may be desirous to bo free ; but 
they will turn towards a resignation. Our Lord Jesus, who never 
in the least murmured, said, Matth. xxvi. 39, " my Father, if it be 
possible let this cup pass from me ; nevertheless, not as I will, but 
as thou wilt." 

(3 ) Believers' sufferings will have a happy and glorious issue. 
As Christ went to the crown by the cross, so will they, 1 Tim. ii. 12. 
While the sufferings of others will end in eternal suffering, their 
present sufferings will end in glory : their longest and blackest night 
will have a blessed morning, an eternal day; with which their worst 
nights of trouble are not to be compared, Rom. viii. 17. 

Thus he is the believer's Father, and he is their everlasting 


1, The relation is never interrupted from the first moment it is 
made. Once in God's family, never out of it again, for shorter or 
longer time. Their Father may frown on them, and chastise them, 
and hide his love from them ; but he is their Father still, Psal. 
Ixxxix. 30. — 33. The adoption lasts, they are still of Christ's body, 
their new nature is never lost, and his image is never quite defaced 
in them. 

2. The relation is never ended. He will be their Father through 
all eternity. Among men there is no interruption of the fatherly 
relation, while the father and the son live ; but deatli dissolves it. 
But here death cannot dissolve the relation, Rom. viii. 38, 39. He 
will be, and they will be for ever ; and he will be their Father for 
ever, and they his children, Rev. xxi. 7. 

II. What a Father is Christ ? He is a non-such Father. 

1. He is the most honourable Father; the King of kings, and 
Lord of lords. None whose eyes are opened, but they value this 
relation to Christ more than all the fading honours of a world, 
1 John iii. 1, " Behold, what manner of love the Father hath be- 
stowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God !" Moses 
preferred it to the being called the son of the daughter of a king, 
Heb. xi. 24, 25. 

2. The most loving and compassionate Father. His love has gone 
beyond that of fathers, and mothers too, even to their sucking child- 
ren, Isa. xlix. 15, 16. JDavid wished he had died for his rebellious 
son, but Christ really died for his. 

3. The most helpful Father. Many times fathers, though they 
fain would, cannot help their children : but he can help his in all 
cases. In the greatest danger he is a refuge ; in all wants, he has 
storo for their supply ; if they be held at short commons at any time, 
it is because he sees it best for them. In death, when neither father 
nor mother can help, he will, Psal. xlviii. 14, " This God is our God 
for ever and ever : he will be our guide even unto death." He is 
ever a present help. 

4. The richest Father, that has the best inheritance to give his 
children ; 1 Pet. i, 4, " An inheritance incorruptible, and uudefiled, 
and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for them." He has 
prepared for them a better country, a glorious city, a palace for 
their mansion-house ; and the richest treasures ; and these such as 
shall never go from them, nor they from them. 

5. The wisest Father, " God only wise." To his disposal one may 
securely resign himself absolutely. He ever seeks his childrens' 
welfai'C : and ho cannot be mistaken in his measures. 

G. Lastly, He has provided the best attendants for iiis children in 


their life. Angels are ministering spirits to them during tlieir life, 
Heb. i. 14. ; and at their death they carry their souls into heaven, 
Luke xvi. 22. Yea himself is ever with them, in life and in death. 

Use. Then, sinners, take him for your everlasting Father. Come 
out of Satan's family : " Come out from among them, and be ye se- 
parate. Forget your father's house, and your own people." He is 
presented and given to you the Everlasting Father; receive him. 

1. Ye that are fatherless. The father of your flesh is dead and 
gone ; ye have the fewer to care for you, and see to your welfare. 
Here is an everlasting Father for you. 

2. Ye that see yourselves in a helpless case, like orphans in the 
world. Created props and pillars have been taken from you, one 
after another ; and ye see yourselves fram'd sted*. Here is a Fa- 
ther for you, Hos. xiv. 8, " In thee the fatherless findeth mercy. 

3 All of you will find yourselves in such a case as none in the 
world will be able to relieve. Choose him now for your Father, 
who will be everlasting. 

Motive 1. He is your Father by creation, let him be your Father 
by choice. He has the first and best right to you ; if one is to 
serve, will he not rather choose to serve his father than another ? 

Motive 2. There are blessed privileges of this state. As, 

(1.) You will have access to him with holy boldness, Eph iii. 
12. He will be well pleased with your voice. Cant. ii. 14. 

(2.) Special immunities and freedoms, as king's children ; freedom 
from the law as a covenant of works ; free from the curse ; free 
from the hurt of everything. 

(3.) Fatherly love and pity. Psalm ciii. 13. He will distinguish 
between weakness and wickedness. He corrects with a fatherly 
reluctancy ; Lam. iii. 33, " He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve 
the children of men." 

(4.) Protection ; Prov. xiv. 26, " In the fear of the Lord is strong 
confidence ; and his children shall have a place of refuge." Pro- 
vision both for soul and body, and seasonable correction. 

(5 ) An inheritance and portion, according to the Father's quality. 
Rom. viii. 17, " Heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ." 

Motive 3. Lastly, If ye take him not for your Father, ye cannot 
escape him as your wrathful judge. 

* i. e. In the situation ofslrnugerH. 



Isaiah ix. 6, 
His name shall he called the Prince of Peace. 

This is the last syllable of the name of our glorious Redeemer. It 
consists of two letters. (1.) He is a Prince, an eminent one. (2.) 
Peace. He is the Prince of Peace. As the Father of eternity is 
the everlasting Father ; so the Prince of Peace is the peaceful Prince. 

DocT. Jesus Christ presented and given to us of the Father, is 
the peaceful Prince. 

Of Ciirist's principality we have already spoken ; we are now to 
consider him as the peaceful Prince. And in prosecuting this doc- 
trine, I shall only show in what respects Christ is the peaceful 
Prince ; and then make some practical improvement. 
In what respects is Christ the peaceful Prince ? And, 
First, More generally, we take it up in these three particulars. 
He is the peaceful Prince, 

1. In respect of disposition. He is a prince of the most peaceful 
disposition ; Matth. xi. 29, " Take my yoke upon you, and learn of 
me ; for I am meek and lowly in heart." Peace is woven into his 
nature. Though he is the mighty One, who is of such power as to 
frown a sinner to destruction ; yet his great power is tempered with 
the greatest meekness and peacefulness. The prince of this world 
is the roaring lion ; the Prince of heaven, the Lamb, John i. 29, 
even on his throne, Rev. v. 6. 

2. In respect of action and operation. Peace is his work he pur- 
sued all along, and doth still pursue ; Eph. ii. 14, " For he is our 
peace." He is the great peace-maker. Adam's sin and the sin of 
his posterity set all at red war, and kept them so : but Christ tho 
second Adam travels for peace. " Blessed are the peace-makers," 
and he is blessed for ever on his peace-making, Phil. ii. 8, 9. 

3. In respect of the state of his kingdom ; Rom. xiv. 17, " The 
kingdom of God is peace." Peace in the language of the Holy 
Ghost in the Old Testament is prosperity ; so a peaceful prince is a 
prosperous one. Thus Solomon was a type of him, who had a reign 
of the greatest peace and prosperity. Psalm Ixxii. 7. His subjects 
may enjoy peace whoever want it. 

Secondly, More particularly. And, 

\st, He is the peaceful Prince, peaceful of disposition, in tho fol- 
lowing respects. 


1. He bears long with liis enemies, he is long-suffering, 2 Pet. iii. 
9. Many calls he gives them which they neglect ; but he calls them 
still ; many aifronts they do to him, yet his deserved wrath is held 
in ; and still he waits, if so be they may be brought to repentance, 
Rom. ii. 4. There must be a mighty inclination to peace where it 
is so. 

2. He bears much at the hands of his frien4s, but never casts 
them off, John xiii. 2. the weakness, witlessness, and folly that 
hangs about them ! the ingratitude, untenderuess, and backslid- 
ings they fall into ! They reflect dishonour many times on him by 
their way ; but they experience him to be the Prince of peace. 
Psalm Ixxviii. 38. 

3. He is easy of access, for poor sinners. The worst of sinners 
may have access to him if they will ; John vi. 37, " Him that com- 
eth to me, I vyill in no wise cast out." Papists make mediators to 
him ; but there needs none to him ; whoever comes to him is wel- 
come. And there needs none to God but him. Whatever is their 
business in the court of heaven, he will readily do it for them. 

4. He is ready to forgive. Psalm Ixxxvi. 5. His offending friends 
are readily pardoned, and restored to wonted favour; his rebel- 
lious enemies are readily pardoned on their submission, and received 
into the number of his friends. His peacefulness is such, that peace 
is his delight. 

5. He is very familiar with his true subjects. He treats all his 
servants, not as servants, but as friends ; and communicates to them 
his secrets ; John xv. 15, " Henceforth I call you not servants ; for 
the servant knowcth not what his lord doth: but I have called you 
friends ; for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made 
known unto you." Love and good-will shines forth in his counte- 

6. The afflicting of his people, is as it were against the grain with 
him ; Lam. iii. 33, " He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the 
children of men." There is a necessity for it, for which he is obliged 
to do it ; 1 Pet. i. 6, " Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for 
a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness through manifold tempta- 
tions." The apostle distinguisheth between men's correcting and 
his in Heb. xii. 10, " They verily for a few days chastened us, after 
their own pleasure : but he for our profit, that we might be partak- 
ers of his holiness." And in it he carries along the pity of a father. 
Psalm ciii. 13, 14, and so is afflicted in their affliction, Isa. Ixiii. 9. 

7. Lastly, He boro his own sufferings with the utmost pcaceable- 
ness, meekness and patience. The angels sang at his birth. Peace 
on earth ; and the earth never saw such a pattern of peace. In his 


life, which was a continued suffering, lie never shewed the least dis- 
composure. In his death, he prayed for liis enemies. 

'2dly, He is the peaceful Prince, peaceful in action and operation. 
He acted for peace, as never another did. He brought about such 
peace as had never been known, if he had not taken it in hand. 
And here we may consider, 

1. What peace is effected by this Prince of peace. 
(1.) Peace with God ; Isa. liii. 5, '' The chastisement of our peace 
was upon bini." Sinners were at war with God, and God with 
them ; and there could be no peace betwixt the parties, till the 
Prince of peace turned to be Mediator of the peace. The war Avent 
on, sinners doing as they could against God, and God in a state of 
war with the sinner, blocking up all commerce with heaven of a sav- 
ing sort, &c. But he steps in, lays hands on both, and makes up 
the peace. 

(2.) Peace among; men. Men's peace with God being lost, the 
peace among themselves was broken too. See the case of mankind 
by nature in this point ; Tit. iii. 3, " For we ourselves also were 
sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and 
pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one an- 
other." But Christ brings them together in him again, to love and 
charity one to another, Isa. xi. 6. And wherever he makes peace 
with God for a man, he implants love to men in that man's heart. 
Particularly, he made peace between Jews and Gentiles, Eph. ii. 14. 
(3.) Peace within men, peace of conscience; Rom. xiv. 17, " The 
kingdom of God is righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost." Sin by itself breaks the peace within one's own breast. 
The guilt of it is like a thorn in the flesh, that till it be plucked out 
ceases not to gall ; the reign of it is like a tyrant in the house, that 
enslaves, and keeps in disturbance all therein. Christ the Prince of 
peace, by his blood and Spirit, only can restore the true peace 

2. What is his work about the peace, that threefold peace ? 
(1.) He purchased it by his precious blood, Eph. ii. 14, 15. There 
is a peace the wicked have, that is a stolen and usurped peace, known 
by this mark that it is a peace in siu, James iii. 17. But the peace 
of the Prince of peace is a dear-bought peace. It cost him to be 
denied to his own peace, and swim through a red sea of suffering 
for it ; Isa. liii. 5, " The chastisement of our peace was upon him." 
(2.) He makes the peace by his own efficacy. The covenant of 
grace is the covenant of peace, and he is the Mediator of it. He 
travels betwixt God and the rebel sinner, till the reconciliation is 
made. He does by his Spirit bring the sinner into the covenant of 


peace, and by his intercession obtains peace with God for hini. He 
by the same Spirit unites men to himself by faith, and to one an- 
other in love. And by his blood sprinkled on the soul, he removes the 
guilt of sin, and plucks out the thorn ; and by his sanctifying Spirit 
breaks the power of turbulent lusts, and so creates peace, Isa. 
Ivii. 19. 

(3.) He maintains the peace made ; Isa. xxvi. 3, " Thou wilt keep 
him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee : because he 
trusteth in thee." He is the believer's resident at the court of Hea- 
ven, that takes up emergent diiferences, and hinders matters to come 
to a total rupture betwixt God and them any more. And it is by 
the efficacy of his blood and Spirit that peace within men, and love 
among men who are his, are continued. 

(4.) He restores the peace, when at any time it is brangled ; Isa. 
Ivii. 18, " I have seen his ways and will heal him ; I will lead him 
also, and restore comforts unto him, and to his mourners." "While 
believers are in this world, they are upon a sea ; and in that sea 
they often meet with storms. Sometimes the storm blows from 
above, sometimes from without, sometimes from within ; sometimes 
fightings without, and fears within ; yea sometimes all three blow 
together. But the Prince of peace again clears the sky above. Job 
xxxiii. 23, 24. He " stills the tumult of the people," Psalm Ixv. 7, 
and quells all disturbance within, Isa. Ivii. 19. 

(5.) Lastly, He perfects the peace. It is begun now, but he will 
not leave it imperfect ; Psalm cxxxviii. 8, " The Lord will perfect 
that which concerneth me." He began Israel's peace in bringing 
them out of Egypt, and perfected it in bringing them to Canaan ; so 
he begins his people's peace in their conversion, and perfects it in 
glorification. Their peace now is liable to a great mixture of dis- 
turbance ; but he will render it perfect at length, without the least 
trouble, Rev. xxi. 4. 

"idly, He is the peaceful Prince, in the peaceful stale of his king- 
dom, in the prosperity attending it. He is the true Solomon (peace- 
ful) ; and no king of Israel had such a peaceable and prosperous 
reign as Solomon ; that his kingdom might be a type of Christ's, 
the Prince of peace, as David's was a type of it in the wars thereof. 

1. Every one of his subjects is, by his wise management, put in a 
state of peace ; Micah iv. 4, " They shall sit every man under his 
vine, and under his fig-tree, and none shall make them afraid." Ho 
has procured them peace with God, among themselves, and within 
themselves ; what then should discompose them ? It is true, in the 
world they must have tribulation ; but in their prince they have 

cnrasT the trince of peace. 263 

peace to balance that, John xvi. 33. Having a good God, communion 
with good people, and a good conscience ; they may, in peace, bear 
through all the troubles of a present evil world. 

2. The peace of his kingdom is the fruit of war, and victory in 
that war. What made Solomon's reign so peaceable, was David's 
wars and victories. Our Lord Christ was a man of war; he fought 
and overcame sin, death, and the devil ; and the peace of his king- 
dom now, is the fruit of that. The wicked's peace is the fruit of a 
conquest, like that of Issachar, who " saw that rest was good, and 
the land that it was pleasant ; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and 
became a servant unto tribute," Gen. xliv. 15 ; and like that of the 
strong man's keeping the house, in which case all things are at 
peace. So their peace is merely precarious ; but God's people's 
peace is sure. 

3. Hence in his kingdom is the greatest wealth and abundance. 
There is abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, which 
his subjects receive, Rom. v. 17 ; so that they are made a royal 
priesthood, 1 Pet. ii. 9. The fruits of the victory over sin, death, 
and Satan are among them ; they are enriched with the spoil of 
their enemies ; free commerce is settled between heaven and them; 
and all that oppose their entrance into the heavenly Canaan, are 

4. The good of his kingdom is advanced from all airths, and there 
is nothing but it is turned to the profit thereof, by the infinite wis- 
dom of the Prince, Rom. viii. 28. Go matters what way they will, 
his kingdom is advanced by them ; his subjects reap benefit by them. 
Out of the eater is brought forth meat by our Lord Jesus ; yea, 
peace, order, and prosperity, out of war, by the Prince of peace. 
Is not that a prosperous kingdom that prospers in all emergencies ? 

5. Lastly, In end the peace of his kingdom will be absolute. So- 
lomon's reign was more peaceable in the beginning of it, than toward 
the end. But Christ's kingdom is contrariwise : though indeed it 
will never end. But at last all occasion of disturbance from without 
or from within, will be utterly cut off. 

Use 1. Is Jesus Christ presented and given to us the peaceful 
Prince, peaceful in action and operation, the procurer, maker, main- 
tainor, restorer, and perfecter of peace ? Then, 

1. Sinners in a state of enmity with God, ye may have peace with 
God through him. There is a mediator of peace provided for you, 
able and willing to make up the peace betwixt God and you. This 
is the good news the Gospel brings, Luke ii. 14. If ye perish in a 
state of enmity with God, it is not because ye could not, but because 
ye would not have peace. There is nothing on heaven's part to 


hinder the peace, but all is ready for it on that side, Matth. xxxii. 4, 

2. Apply yourself to the business of making your peace with 
God through hira, 2 Cor. v. 20. Be no more at peace with your- 
selves, till ye be at peace with Grod through Christ. 

Motive. 1. Ye are naturally in a state of enmity with God. So 
Adam left us all ; and the breach is still made wider by actual 
sins, while unconverted. Ye have a real enmity against God, Rom. 
viii. 7. If ye are not sensible of it, your works declare it, Col. i. 21. 
God bears a legal enmity against you, as rector of the world ; even 
as a judge against a malefactor, whom in justice he must pursue and 
condemn, Psalm vii. 11 — 13. 

Motive 2. "While ye are at enmity with God, ye have not one 
fast friend in all the creation ; so you are never safe. The very 
beasts, fowls, and creeping things, are your enemies, as enemies to 
their Creator, and are ready to dispatch you on the least signal from 
him, Hos. ii. 18, Job. v. 22, 23. Frogs, lice, &c. were employed to 
plague Pharaoh and his people, and worms to devour the bloody 
Herod. The meat thou eatest, and the drink thou swallowest, may 
be a means to choke thee, and send thee to the pit. The friendship 
of the world, being enmity with God, can never continue. 

Motive 3. Ye are not able to make your part good against him. 
When the clay strives with the potter, it is easy to see who shall 
have the better. An angry God will be a party too strong for the 
stoutest sinner. And do ye not see how many, flushed with the 
world's smiles, forget God and themselves, and in a moment are 
dashed in pieces, and go out like the crackling of thorns under a 
pot? 1 Cor. X. 22. Infinite wisdom and power are what will be too 
hard a match for you ; Job ix. 4, " He is wise in heart, and mighty 
in strength, who haih hardened himself against him, and hath pros- 
pered." It is wisdom, then, to yield, and make peace with one with 
whom we are not able to war, Luke xiv. 31, 32. 

Motive 4. Consider what losers ye ai'e, while not at peace with 

(1.) Yo lose all the advantages of commerce with heaven. When 
war breaks out betwixt nations, there is no more trade or commerce 
between them, all access to that is blocked up. So you have no 
access to import your prayers, desires, &c. into heaven, nor to ex- 
port pardons, grace, &c. therefrom. 

(2 ) You lose the sap and foyson of all you have in the world. 
There is a blasting, withering curse on it, Prov. iii. 33, Deut. 
xxviii. 17- Hence it will do you no good, but evil, Prov. i. 32. 
The very thought, that ye are at enmity with God, is suflicient to 
blast all your enjoyments. 


(3.) You lose true peace within your own breast. Conscience 
is not your friend, since ye are at enmity Avith God. Therefore 
that joy, 2 Cor. i. 12, is a joy ye cannot intermeddle with. A sleep 
of conscience, which will have a fearful awakening, ye may have ; 
but peace of conscience ye cannot have ; Isa. Ivii. 21, " There is no 
peace, saith my God, to the wicked." 

(4.) Ye will lose your souls in the end. That will be the issue of 
the war with Heaven; and what can countervail that loss? Matth, 
xvi. 26, " For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole 
world, and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange 
for his soul?" That is to lose thyself; Luke ix. 25, " For what 
is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, 
or be cast away ?" The soul is the man. 

Motive 5. The slighting ot offered peace now, will make an eter- 
nal war against you, in the keenest manner. The peace is pur- 
chased by the blood of the Son of God ; it is offered to you on free 
cost ; if ye reject it, ye pour contempt on the blood of Christ, and 
the grace of God ; and while God is God, he will pursue that quar- 
rel, in a more fiery manner than if ye had never heard of peace ; 
Matth. xi. 23, 24, '* And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto 
heaven, shalt be brought down to hell ; for if the mighty works 
which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would 
have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be 
more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than 
for thee." 2 Thess. i. 7 — 9, " The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from 
heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on 
them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord 
Jesus Christ ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction 
from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of hij power." 
Wherefore consider what ye do, for life and death are here set 
before you ; Isa. xxvii. 4, 5, " Fury is not in me ; who would set 
the briars and thorns against me in battle ? I would go through them 
I would burn them together. Or let him take hold of my strength, 
that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me." 

Question. How may we get peace with God ? Answer. Through 
the mediation of Christ ; as those of Tyre and Sidon, in another 
case, made the king's chamberlain their friend, so do ye. It is 
through faith in his blood, Rom. iii. 25. That blood is held out to 
you as a covert to flee in under ; and you will be wrapt up in that 
cover, by believing the eflicacy of it to bring peace to sinners, and 
to you in particular, and wholly trusting on it for your peace with 
God. This implies a desire of peace with God, and a willingness to 
lay down your weapons of rebellion. 

YoL. X. s 


3. Saints, see Lere liow you will get your peace maintained, re- 
stored, and perfected. You must be daily making use of Christ, 
his blood, intercession, and spirit, for maintaining it. What time 
it is broken, exercise faith anew, for restoring it ; Psalm Ixv. 3, 
" Iniquities prevail against me ; as for our transgressions, thou shalt 
purge them away." And hang on him for perfecting it. 

Use 2. Is he the peaceful Prince, peaceful of disposition ? Then, 

1. Whosoever desire to employ him for peace, saints or sinners, 
be not frightened away from him, but come to him with holy boldness, 
as one who is a peaceful prince, of easy access, and ready to help ; 
Heb. X. 22, " Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance 
of faith." There is love and good-will to wretched sinners of man- 
kind in his heart and in his face ; and it is the work of faith to 
perceive it, by means of the glass of the word, John i. 14. 

Satan and an unbelieving heart hold him out to the trembling 
sinner to be an austere man, Luke xix. 21. And this is more rife 
in the world than we are aware of, it being the natural report of a 
guilty conscience concerning him. And hence men are ready to 
say, as Jer. ii. 25, " There is no hope." But oppose to that report 
of him, the report of the word ; according to which he is the Prince 
of Peace ; 1 John iv. 8, " God is love." Hang by this in all 
accusations of conscience, and believe it, Isa. liii. 1. 

2. Then resemble him in that disposition, as ever ye would prove 
yourselves his subjects ; 1 John ii. 6, " He that saith, he abideth in 
him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." Is he the 
peaceful prince ; be ye peaceful men ? Heb. xii. 14, " Follow peace 
with all men." He bids you learn it of him ; Matth. xi. 29, " Learn 
of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart." Nay, if ye be not men 
of peace, ye are none of his, Isa. xi. 6. The proud, fiery, mis- 
chievous spirit that some are possessed with, evidence them to be 
none of his. Tit. iii. 3. 

Use 3. Is he the peaceful Prince in the prosperous state of his 
kingdom ? Then, 

1, Let his enemies, and those of his church and people, know, 
that their attempts against the same shall be in vain, and shall 
return on their own heads, according to that promise, Zech. xii. 3, 
"And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for 
all people ; all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, 
though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it." 
There is a peace of his kingdom that they cannot reach to take 
away ; John xiv. 27, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give 
unto yon. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." 

2, Let his friends rejoice in his peace and prosperity, by faith, 


Rom. XV. 13, particularly knowing tliat his kingdom shall prosper 
over the belly of opposition, yea, that it shall prosper by means 
that threaten to overthrow it, as in the case of Paul's sufferings, 
Phil. i. 12 ; that their particular trials shall promote their pros- 
perity, John XV. 2 ; and that in him they may have peace in the 
midst of trouble, John xvi. 33. 

3. Lastli/, Join yourselves to this prosperous and peaceful prince 
and kingdom. Great is the noise of wars and commotions through 
the nations, strong confederacies on all hands a-forraing. Join ye 
the Prince of Peace in the covenant of Grace ; and ye shall have 
peace, though all should be in red war, Psalm xlvi. 1 — 4. 

Thus Christ has been directly commended to you. 

(1.) Do ye believe the report that has been made of Christ to you 
from the word, or not ? that he is indeed the *' Wonderful One, the 
Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of 
Peace?" that he is presented, yea, given to you of the Father ? If 
ye do, I am sure the vain world, and your lusts, will be sunk in 
their value with you. If they be not, it is an evidence it is not 
believed, Isa, liii. 1. 

(2.) "Will ye take him or not, for and instead of all ? If ye do, 
let these go away, Luke xiv. 26. He will be your " Wonderful 
One," your *' Counsellor," &c. If ye will not, be it known to you, 
you refuse Heaven's present to you, you cast back its gift made to 
you, and ye must answer it. 


Isaiah liii. 1, 
Wlio hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord 

revealed ? 

None spoke so much of Christ as this evangelical prophet. He had 
been speaking of him in the former chapter, verse 13, and down- 
ward, and he was to speak more of him here. But in the words 
now read, he makes a melancholy reflection on the cold entertain- 
ment the word met with in his own time, and would meet with in 
after times. 

* Several sermons preached at Ettrick, ia the year 1726. 



The words are a heavy complaint and lamentation. And if we 

l*^, To whom it was made. We find from parallel scriptures that 
it is made to the Lord himself; John xii. 38, Rom. x. 16, " Lord, 
who hath believed our report ?" &c. From powerful preaching he 
betakes himself to mournful prayer, lamenting the unsuccessfulness 
of his message. 

2dly, Whom it respects. It respects the hearers of the Gospel 
n his own time, and in after times too ; John xii. 37, 38, " But 
though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they be- 
lieved not on him ; that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be 
fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report, and to 
whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed ?" The Jews, to 
whom Christ himself preached ; and both Jews and Gentiles, to 
wbom the apostles preached, Rom. x. 16. No wonder then it extend 
to those to whom ministers now preach. 

^dly, The matter of this heavy lamentation. 

1. The unsuccessfulness of tlie Gospel, and prevailing unbelief 
among them that heard it. Where consider, 

(1.) What the Gospel is. It is a report ; a report from heaven, 
brought by Christ himself, the apostles, and prophets, to be be- 
lieved unto salvation. The word signifies " a hearing," i.e. a thing 
to be heard and received by faith, as a voice is received and heard by 
the ear. Hence is that expression, the hearing of faith, Gal. iii. 2. 

(2.) What faith is. It is a believing that report. The word 
rendered believing, doth properly signify to trust. So it is in the 
Hebrew, " Who hath trusted to our report ?" Faith is a giving credit 
to the Gospel, and a trusting our souls to it, as on a word that 
cannot fail. 

(3.) How rare that faith is ; who hath believed ? Few, very few 
have believed the report. It is brought to multitudes ; but where 
is the man that really trusts it, as news from heaven that may bo 
relied on ? They are but here and there one who trust it ; the 
generality regard it but as idle talcs. 

2. The great withdrawing of the power of God from ordinances; 
" And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?" The arm of the 
Lord is the power of God ; and this arm is said to bo revealed or 
uncovered, when it exerts itself in acting powerfully ; as men put 
up their sleeves when they are putting themselves in order for 
working with the hand. And this implies three things. 

(1.) That there is a necessity of the mighty power of God being ex- 
erted on a man, to cause him believe; John vi. 44, "No man can come 
to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." The trust- 


ing to tlie report of the Gospel is so far from being an easy effort of 
imagiuatioa, that it is beyond the power of nature. 

(2.) That few, very few, felt this power. To whom ? (Heb.) Upon 
whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ? The Gospel was but an 
empty sound to the most part; they found not the power of the 
spirit coming along with it. 

(3.) That hence so very few believed. Where there is no feeling 
of that power, there is no believing. First the arm of the Lord 
must draw, ere the sinner can come ; therefore these two are of equal 
latitude ; Eph. i. 19, " What is the exceeding greatness of his power 
to u8-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty 
power." Four doctrines are deducible from the words. 

Doctrine I. The little success of the Gospel, and great rarity of 
divine power coming along with Gospel ordinances, will be matter 
of heavy lamentation to the godly, and particularly to godly 

Doctrine IL The Gospel is a report from heaven, to be believed 
and trusted to for salvation. 

Doctrine III. Though many hear, yet few believe or trust to the 
report of the Gospel. 

Doctrine IV. There is no true believing or trusting to the re- 
port of the Gospel, but what is the effect of the working of a divine 
power on the soul for that end. 

We shall handle each of these doctrines in order. 

Doctrine I. The little success of the Gospel, and great rarity of 
divine power coming along with Gospel ordinances, will be matter 
of heavy lamentation to the godly, and particularly to godly 

In discoursing this doctrine I shall show, 

I. What is that success which the Gospel sometimes hath ? 

II. What is that divine power which sometimes comes along with 
Gospel ordinances. 

III. Give the reasons of the doctrine. 

IV. Lastly, Apply. 

What is that success which the Gospel sometimes hath ? We 
may take it up in these two generals. It is successful, 

1. When sinners are thereby brought to faith in Christ, Rom. 
i. 17. The Gospel is a good report of Christ the bridegroom of 
souls, spread in the world ; and then the end of it is gained, when 
the sinner is brought to behold him so altogether lovely, as that he 
gives up with all his former lovers, and is married to him, to be his 
only, wholly, and for ever, Psalm Ixxiii. 25. 

2. When they are thereby brought to holiness of life ; when they 


are transformed into the image of him in whom they have believed, 
2 Cor. iii. 18. It is a holy gospel, and true believers of it are cast 
into the mould of it, Rom. vi. 17- ; and being united to Christ, " put 
on Christ," Gal. iii. 27. walking as personating him, 1 John ii. 6. 
These things are so excellent, that it is very lamentable there is so 
little of them among men. 

II. What is that divine power which sometimes comes along with 
Gospel ordinances ? There is, 

1. A heart and life discovering power, 1 Cor. xiv. 24, 25. The 
word comes, and the Lord's arm comes with it, and opens the volume 
of a man's heart and life ; and it is as if the preacher were reading 
the secret history of a man's thoughts and actions ; Heb. iv. 12, 
" For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any 
two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and 
spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the 
thoughts and intents of the heart." This is called the watchman's 
finding the spouse. Cant. iii. 3. 

2. A sharp convincing power, whereby the sinner does not only 
see his sin, but sees the ill and danger of it, and is touched to the 
heart with it; Acts xxiv. 25. That is the finger of God at the 
man's heart, according to John xvi. 7, 8, " When the Spirit is come, 
he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judg- 
ment." So it was with these ; Acts ii. 37, " They were pricked in 
their heart, and said. Men and brethren, what shall we do ?" And 
0, it is promising when men are sent home with a breast full of con- 
victions from the word. But if that arm of the Lord be not re- 
vealed, one will be very easy, come the word never so close to his case. 

3. A drawing and converting power ; John xii, 32, " And I, if I 
be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." Psalm 
xix. 7, "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." 
While the word comes, some secret power comes along, that the man 
is not able to resist it ; but the iron gate of the heart is loosed, and 
of its own accord opens wide, to receive the King of glory. Such a 
power Zaccheus felt with that word, " Come down," that made his 
heart, which was like a strong castle to keep out Christ, come as 
fast down, as ever an old house did being undermined; Luke xix. 
5. While this comes not, sinners will not come to Christ ; John 
V. 40. 

4. A quickening power ; Psalm cxix. 50, " Thy word hath quick- 
ened me." Sometimes the spiritual senses have all been bound up, 
that the soul could neither see, hear, taste, smell, nor fcol spiritually, 
more than it had been dead ; and a word has been dropt in with 
such a power, that it has been like the barlcy-cakc tumbling down 
on tlic tents of Midian, or like the honey Jonathan tasted in the 


wood ; it lias cleared their eyes, unstopped their ears, &o. Cant, vii. 
9. While this is wanting, the word cannot awaken people. 

5. A. clearing power, resolving doubts, removing mistakes and 
darkness in certain particulars, whereby one is retarded in their 
spiritual course ; Psalm xix. 7, 8. Many a time souls have been so 
embarrassed with some doubts or mistakes, that they have thereby 
been made to go like a fettered bird, perhaps many a day and year ; 
till at length they have got a word with such power, that it has 
made these their fetters fall off, like Peter's chains when the angel 
gave him a touch on the side ; Acts xii. 7. Cornelius had sweet ex- 
perience of it ; Acts X. 6 — 44. While the power comes not, they 
come and go with their chains on them. 

6. A comforting power ; Psalm 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." Discouragement is a great load ; the discouraged soul is like 
one going with a clog at his heels. Great pressures of affliction are 
apt to discourage, make the heart faint, the hands weak, and the 
knees feeble ; but sometimes the word comes with such power, as 
that it stays the fainting soul ; Psalm cxix. 92, " Unless thy law 
had been my delight, I should then have perished in my affliction." 
Sometimes such a high spring-tide of power comes with the word, 
that the clog drops off, and the affliction that was so heavy is not 
the weight of a feather, but the man rejoices in the Lord, and leaps 
like an hart ; Isa. xii. 3. For the comfort of the word has loosed 
all his bands ; Rom. xv. 13 ; Heb. x. 34. 

7. A strengthening power ; Psalm xcvi. 6, " Strength and beauty 
are in his sanctuary." Sometimes a man has great temptations to 
conflict with, and he knows not how to stand before them ; till he 
come to the sanctuary with Asaph ; Psalm Ixxiii. 16, 17, and with 
Paul get a word with power ; 2 Cor. xii. 7. Then he is like a giant 
refreshed with wine, and in the strength of that word goes out like 
David against Goliah. The Spirit with the word breathing on the 
dry bones, makes them stand on their feet like a great army. 

8. Lastly, A soul-elevating and heart-ravishing power; Luke 
xxiv. 32, " Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with 
us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures ?" Some- 
times such a power has come along with the word, as if in heaven, 
not a window only, bat a door had been opened ; that the man has 
made no doubt to say. Gen. xxviii. 16, 17, " Surely the Lord is in 
this place. — This is none other but the house of God, and this is the 
gate of heaven." And Christ has come so near him, as he could 
tell what was the smell of his garments ; Psalm xlv. 8; and the 


sermon or communion place would have been gladly embraced as the 

dying place ; Luke ii. 29. 

III. The third thing is, The reasons of the point. And, 

\st, It must be matter of lamentation to the godly in general. 


1. The honour of Christ is thereby overclouded. He is not ho- 
noured, but highly dishonoured by sinners disbelieving the report of 
him, not receiving him in the gospel-offer ; John viii. 49. Hence it 
was a part of Christ's humiliation, that his report out of his own 
mouth was not believed ; John xii. 37, 38; and after his exaltation 
his apostles were to do greater works than he ; John xiv, 12. And 
when he goes forth in the gospel conquering, a crown is said to be 
given him ; Rev. vi. 2. But that crown is obscured in a time of 
the gospel's uusuccessfulness. And Christ's honour will be dear to 
the godly, whatever it be to others ; and the affronts done him by 
unbelievers, will lie near their hearts. 

2. The glory of the glorious gospel is thereby vailed. The gos- 
pel is in itself glorious ; 2 Cor. iv. 4 ; 1 Tim. i. 11. It is a radiant 
jewel, of greater worth than all the glory of the world; but the 
glory of it is hid, while it is not believed, and divine power does 
not accompany it ; therefore having " free course," it is said to be 
" glorified," 2 Thess. iii. 1. And this cannot but affect the godly, 
who relish the gospe). 

3. Souls are thereby lost, while salvation is come to their door. 
The gospel brings salvation ; but none can share of it where it is 
not believed ; Heb. iv. 2. "What a lamentable sight it is to see 
men slighting and despising their own misery ; neglecting the great 
salvation ; continuing filthy still under means of cleansing ; growing 
worse, by the means of grace doing them no good ; and finally, ag- 
gravating their own condemnation ; John xv. 22. 

4. The godly themselves suffer loss. The thronger Christ's fa- 
mily is, the better thriven are the children ; and contrariwise. The 
calling of the Jews will be as " life from the dead;" Rom. xi. 15. 
The saints in the worst of times will always get as much as will 
keep in their life ; Micah ii. 7- But there is a dilference between 
fend and faro well. If there were more converting, there would be 
more confirming work too. 

2dly, And particularly to godly ministers. For, 
1, Thereby their care and pains is much lost, and in vain. To 
toil all night and catch nothing, is a heavy task. Ministers are 
like candles ; while they give light to others, they waste themselves. 
And that is a heavy tale ; Isa. xlix. 4, " I have laboured in vain, I 
have spt nt my strength for nought, and in vain." there is much 


need of faith in tlie work of the ministry ! The husbandman, shep- 
herd and tradesman, sees ordinarily the fruit of his labours ; if 
it miss at one time, it will readily prosper at another; but there is 
much spiritual seed sown, where there is no visible fruit. 

2. Thereby their work is rendered more difficult and wearisome. 
"When the arm of the Lord is revealed to carry on the work on 
men's souls and consciences, it is made lightsome ; they are then 
like a ship going with a fair wind. But when the Spirit is with- 
drawn, they are like the ship in a dead calm, that takes much 
strength to work her, and yet she comes but little speed. 

3. Lastly, Thereby the seals of their ministry are but small. They 
are the savour of death to many, the savour of life to few ; for the 
one or the other they will be to all; 2 Cor. ii. 15, 16. If they be 
not, by men's receiving their testimony, instruments to further their 
salvation, they will be witnesses against them, to aggravate their 

Use. Then let it teach our hearts, and cause us to lament, that 
there is so little success of the gospel, and so great a rarity of divine 
power coming along with ordinances at this day in the land, and 
among us. Of this there are several evidences. 

Evidence 1. The slighting of gospel-ordinances that so much pre- 
vails. How easy is it for many to sit at home, and make to them- 
selves silent Sabbaths, while the Lord puts an opportunity in their 
hands to attend ordinances ! for others if they be but touched 
against the grain, and disobliged, to cast them off for good and all ! 
A sad evidence the gospel has had little success or power with them; 
for the experience of the power would give men a higher value for 
them than to neglect them ; Psalm Ixiii. 1, 2, and Ixxxiv. 1 — 3. 

2. Little reformation of life under the dispensation of the gospel. 
Ministers may say with Jeremiah ; chap. vi. 10, " To whom shall I 
speak and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is 
uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken; behold, the word of the 
Lord is unto them a reproach ; they have no delight in it. He that 
was filthy, is filthy still." The glass of the word is held before 
men's eyes, that they cannot but see their spots; yet do they not 
wipe them off". Under the gospel of the grace of Grod they live un- 
godly lives; in the land of uprightness they deal unjustly; rebel- 
ling against the light. 

3. Much formality in attendance on ordinances; Ezek. xxxiii. 31, 
32. People satisfy themselves with the work done. Few take 
heed how they hear. They seek not to be spiritual in the work, to 
have communion with God in ordinances, nor do they mourn when 
they obtain it not. They do not miss the power of God in ordin- 
ances ; or if they do, they can easily bear the want. 


4. Lastly, Little of the work of conversion or soul-exercise in our 
day. The gospel is the great mean of conversion, of bringing sin- 
ners into a state of grace ; but converts are rare. Conviction, com- 
punction, and humiliation, are rarely made now by the word ; and 
rarely issued in kindly conversion to God. Sometime the word 
would have raised soul-exercise in them that heard it, and the word 
again would have brought the Christian's exercise to a happy issue ; 
but, alas ! that is seldom the case now. 

Now this may be for a lamentation, that it is so ; that there is so 
little success attending the dispensation of gospel-ordinances, and 
that there is a great rarity of divine power coming along with them. 

1. This says, that the Lord is in a great measure departed from 
us, ministers and people ; Isa. Ixiv. 7, " There is none that calleth 
upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee ; for 
thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of 
our iniquities." We may lament, that he is become " as a stranger 
in the land;" Jer. xiv. 8. Ordinances are the trysting-places where 
he is to be met with ; and when he is so little found there, it is 
time to lament his departure. "We may say, as 2 Kings ii. 14, 
" Where is the Lord God of Elijah ?" We have the chair of state ; 
but where is the King himself ? Here is the napkin and linen 
clothes lying, but where is the Lord that was wrapt in them? 

2. That we have sinned away his presence ; Isa. lix. 1, 2, " Your 
iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins 
have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." When the glory 
departed to the threshold, Ezek. x. 4, from the threshold, ver. 18, from 
the midst of the city to the mountain, chap. xi. 23, it was for the 
abominations done in the house ; chap. viii. Why doth he loath our 
sacrifices, refuse to smell in our assemblies, but because we have 
made ourselves and them vile before him ? Isaiah i. 11 — 17. Had 
we entertained the blowings of his Spirit when we had them, he had 
not left us in such a dead calm. 

3. That the Lord has a controversy with us, that we are not 
yet convinced of, and humbled for ; IIos. v. 15. People may be 
long under the Lord's withdrawings, so far insensible of the causes 
thereof, as not to be lamenting over them ; 1 Sam. vii. 2. Now 
there is no convincing us of the causes of God's controversy. 
But if ever the Lord return to ordinances as heretofore, ye will see 
there will be a convincing and humbling influence, that will bring 
ministers and people to their knees, taking shame to themselves. 

4. That wrath and heavy judgments are abiding us, come from 
what aii'th they will ; Matth. iii. 10. It is not to be thought, that 


the contempt of the gospel, and unfruitfnlness under it, will be 
passed without some special mark of the divine indignation. When 
the invitations to the gospel feast prevail not, the King's armies 
are sent forth to destroy ; Matth. xxii. 7. When the white flag of 
peace is contemned, the red flag of war is hung out. 

5. That these judgments will be very sore when they come, ac- 
cording to the measure of light sinned against. Capernaum exalted 
to heaven, is thrust down to hell ; Matth. xi. 23. After the white 
horse, the red and black follow ; Rev. vi. Never did a generation 
enjoy such a clear light of the gospel as the Jews in the time of our 
Saviour and the apostles, and accordingly wrath came to an ex- 
tremity, to the uttermost; 1 Thess. ii. 16. 

6. Lastly, That it is high time to be lamenting after the Lord, and 
wrestling and supplicating for his return to ordinances. Stir up 
yourselves therefore unto this, that it be not said as Isaiah Ixiv. 7, 
" There is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself 
to take hold of thee." Consider, 

1. It is a sad sign to be unconcerned about it. It speaks, (1.) 
Such a one to be a stranger to the experience of the power of the 
word, and the precious enjoyment of communion with God in ordi- 
nances ; Psalm Ixiii. 1, 2. (2.) To be too easily satisfied in the 
matters of God with the husks, the shadows, instead of the foyson 
and substance. (3.) To be unacquainted with Christ, and none of 
his ; since the withdrawing of his presence is not heavy to him. (4.) 
That they could even be content Christ would never come again ; for 
they that relish not his coming in ordinances, can never relish his 
second coming. 

2. Great would be the advantage of his return to ordinances. (1.) 
It would be well for particular hearers of the gospel who should 
share in it themselves. Strangers would be converted, and converts 
strengthened. Duties would be a delight. Whereas a form of god- 
liness is all that can be reached otherwise. (2.) It would be well 
for the church in general ; it would cure our divisions ; all being by 
that means brought to acknowledge their oftences, and return to the 
Lord, and so to one another in him. 

Doctrine II. The gospel is a report from heaven to be believed 
and trusted to for salvation. 

In prosecuting this doctrine, I shall consider, 

I. The gospel as it is a report. 

II. Faith as it is a trusting to this report. 

III. The report of the gospel, and the trusting to it, conjunctly. 
lY. Lastly, Apply. 


I. We shall consider the gospel as it is a report. And here we 
shall view it, 

1st, In the nature of a report in general- 

2dli/, In the nature of a report to be trusted to, for some valuable 

Fhst, We shall view the gospel in the nature of a report in gene- 
ral. And, 

1. There is the subject of a report, or the thing that is reported, 
viz. some design, action, or event, true or false. The subject of the 
gospel-report is, a love-design in God for the salvation of sinners of 
mankind, 2 Tim. i. 9, 10. Such was the gospel-report that was first 
made in the world, Gen. iii. 15. It is the report of an act of grace 
and kindness in God, in favour of them, whereby he has given 
them his Son for a Saviour, John iii. 16, Isa. ix. 6, and eternal life in 
him, 1 John v. 11. The report of the event of Christ's dying for 
sinners, and a crucified Christ's being ready for marriage with 
sinners ; Matth. xxii. 4. A subject of the utmost importance. 

2. There is the place whence the report originally comes. And 
the plice here is heaven, the bosom of the Father. Hence the gos- 
pel is called heavenly things ; John iii. 12, revealed from the bosom 
of the Father. The original jjlace of a report is the place of the 
transaction, and that at some distance from where it is reported. 

(1.) The gospel is a report from heaven, where the design of love 
was contrived, the gift of the Son was made, and from whence he 
came to die for sinners, and where he is ready to match with them. 
The gospel may come from one place of the earth to another, as it 
did from Jerusalem to other places of the world ; Isa. ii. 3 ; Luke 
xxiv. 47. But it came from heaven originally, Luke ii. 13, 14. 

(2.) The gospel is good news from a far country, and so should be 
as acceptable as cold water to the thirsty ; Prov. xxv. 25. The far- 
ther ofi^ a country is from whence a report comes, we think ourselves 
the less concerned in it ; and so do carnal men treat the gospel-re- 
port. Far indeed it is* but as far as it is, we must spend our eter- 
nity in it, or else in hell ; and t'lerefore it does most nearly concern 

3. The matter of a report is something unseen to them to whom 
the report is made. And so is the matter of the gospel-report. It 
is an unseen God, John i. 18 ; an unseen Saviour, 1 Pot. i. 8 ; 
and unseen things, 2 Cor. iv. 18, that are preached unto you by the 
gospel. So the gospel is an object of faith> not of sight ; Heb. xi. 1. 
We receive it by hearing, not by seeing; Isa. Iv. 3. It is not what 
wc credit on our cyc-sight, but upon the testimony of another, viz. 


of God. Hence tlie carnal world are fond on seen objects ; Psalm 
iv. 6. but slow to believe the gospel. 

4. There is a reporter or reporters. And in this case the report 
is made by many. But, 

(1.) The first-hand reporter is an eye-witness, viz. Jesus Christ. 
Christ himself was the raiser of the report of the gospel ; Heb. ii. 3. 
And who else could have been so ? John 1. 18. What he reported 
he saw, and gives us his testimony of the truth of it on his eyesight; 
John iii. 11. Hence he is proposed to us as the faithful and true 
witness ; Rev. iii. 14. who was from eternity privy to the whole de- 
sign revealed to us in the gospel. 

(2.) The prophets and apostles, and ministers of the gospel. They 
are the second-hand reporters. The former had it immediately from 
Christ, the latter from them again. But none of them were eye- 
witnesses, but ear-witnesses properly speaking. For even the apos- 
tles who saw Christ with their eyes, yet owed their knowledge of 
the gospel to their faith originally, though they were confirmed by 
what they saw; John i. 14. So it is determined; Psalm Ixviii. 11, 
"The Lord gave the word; great was the company of those that 
published it." 

5. Lastly, There is a manifestation of the thing by the report, to 
the parties to whom the report is made. So is the grace of God to 
poor sinnero, manifested to them by the gospel ; 2 Tim. i. 9, 10. It 
is no more kept a secret from them, but they are let into the know- 
ledge of the design, action, and events, which concern their salva- 
tion. The gospel opens up and reveals the secret of God's grace to 
sinners, with the method of communicating it, even the whole plan 
of salvation, which from eternity was hid in the breast of God, John 
i. 18. Let us view the gospel. 

Secondly, Jn the nature of a report to be trusted to, for some 
valuable end. And so it is, 

1. A true and faithful report, that one may safely trust; 1 Tim. 
i. 15, " This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that 
Christ Jesus came into ihe world to save sinners." It was originally 
brought from heaven by Jesus Christ ; Heb. ii. 3. the faithful and 
true witness; Rev. iii. 14. Many false reports are going in the 
world ; and those that are brought from afar, we are not in capacity 
to contradict ; but the truth of the gospel has been confirmed by the 
greatest evidence, particularly by the death of Christ, and by the 
experience of the believers of it in all ages. 

2. An infallible report. A report may be true where there is no 
infallibility; but the report of the gospel is an infallible truth. 
Acts i. 3, for it is the word of God that cannot lie ; 1 Thess. ii. 13. 


Though men bring it to you, God has put it in their mouths from 
his written word ; and the speaker is Christ himself, they are but 
the voice. And the Spirit of the Lord demonstrates it to believers, 
as divine truth ; 1 Cor. ii. 4. 

3, A good and comfortable report. It is not only good in itself, 
as the report of the law's curse is ; but it is good for us. Hence it 
is called good or glad tidings, Luke ii. 10. As the contrivance of 
salvation is stated in the gospel, it is adapted iu all points to our 
case. And the convinced sinner, helped to believe, sees it so ; that 
it is a good report of God, bringing the contrivance every way good 
for him. 

(4.) Lastly, A weighty report, even of the greatest weight, as 
concerning man's greatest possible interest, Isa Ixi. 1 It concerns 
a man's eternal interest, how he may be saved from the wrath of 
God, and made happy for evermore. 

II. We shall consider faith as it is a trusting to this report, the 
report of the gospel. And so it is not only divine faith, but saving 
justifying faith, Rom. x. 8, 9. It may be taken up in these two. 
Faith is, 

\st, A trusting of the gospel-report as true. It is a believing of 
the doctrine of the gospel ; Acts viii. 37- Faith is the soul's echo 
to the joyful sound. That Christ came to save sinners is true, saith 
the gospel ; true, saith faith. Hence the gospel is called a hearing 
in our text, and the hearing of faith ; Gal. iii. 2. The voice from 
without entering the ear, is conceived and sounds there ; the voice 
of the gospel entering the heart, is conceived and sounds like an 
echo, from the heart ; and that is faith ; Rom. x- 9. When a word 
is heard that one does not believe, there is as it were a repelling it 
from within ; and it is all one to the purpose of the speaker, as if it 
were not heard at all. So unbelief repels the gospel-testimony, re- 
ceives it not as true ; 1 John v. 10. But faith receives it as true ; 
and the speaker so far gains his design. And faith trusts it as true, 

1. In the general, with respect to the multitude whom it concerns ; 
1 Tim. i. 15, " It is a faithful saying, Christ came to save sinners." 
Here is the gospel ; here is faith's assent to it as true with I'cspect 
to sinners in general. It is the report of a common good, the com- 
mon salvation for sinners of mankind. The great body of mankind 
looks on it as idle tales ; but faith receives it as a true report ; and 
admires the love of God to fallen man, and not to fallen angels. 

2. In particular, with respect to one's self; 1 Tim. i. 15, " This is 
a faithful saying, that Christ came to save sinners; of whom I am 
the chief.'' Here is the application of faith, without which the re- 
port of the gospel is not trusted as true ; Ho came to save me. 


Faith believes there is a fulness in Christ for poor sinners, and for 
one's self in particular; that Christ and all his salvation is in ear- 
nest offered to sinners, and to one's self in particular ; that he is the 
Saviour of the world, and their Saviour in particular, John iv. 42, " We 
know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the ; world.'' 
Chap XX. 28, " Thomas said unto him. My Lord and my God." This 
is evident, if ye consider, that the gospel comprehends you, and every 
one of you ; 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." Prov. viii. 4, " Unto you, 
men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of man." If then you do 
not believe it with respect to yourself, if you should believe it with 
respect to all the world besides, ye disbelieve it ; ye deny credit to 
it, in that which is the main point for your salvation ; 1 John v. 
10. 11. You believe in that case no more than devils do ; Mark i. 
24. Nay, you do not believe so much as the devils do ; for they can- 
not help believing your interest in the gospel, as well as the interest 
of others : and therefore are at so much pains to keep you from be- 
lieving it, lest ye be saved ; if ye had no interest in it, they would 
tell you so much for your torment. 

Object. But where is it written in the gospel, that Christ came to 
save me, or that he is my Saviour ? I am sure my name is not in it. 
I may believe the gospel then, though I do not believe it to hold with 
respect to myself. 

Answ. Where is it written in the law, that Adam ruined you ? 
I am sure your name is neither in the commands of the law, nor in 
the curse of it either. But do you think you could indeed believe 
the law, without believing its commands and curse reaching you ? 
No ; if ye believe not that, you contradict the express terras of the 
law ; Gal. iii. 10, " For as many as are of the works of the law, are 
under the curse ; 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." 0, but say ye, I am comprehended in the curse as a breaker 
of the law ; true, but are ye not as much comprehended in the gos- 
pel as a son of Adam ? Prov. viii. 4 ; is not the promise of the gos- 
pel in as extensive terms (John iii. 16,) as the curse of the law ? 

Wherefore, let none deceive themselves, thinking they believe 
the gospel, while they believe it not with particular application to 
themselves. True faith trusts the gospel as true, with respect to 
one's self; and so trusts it, 

I. As certain truth. It does not receive the gospel-report only as 
a thing that is probable, and likely to be true. That is opinion and 
conjecture, not faith. Faith embraceth the gospel as certain truth, 


as a tiling one is sure there is no falsehood in ; John vi. 69, " We 
believe, and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living 
God." Paul was so much persuaded of the truth of the gospel, that 
he could declare an angel accursed that should contradict it ; Gal. 
i. 8, 9. 

2. As infallible truth, as a thing there can be no falsehood in. 
The reason of which is, That faith trusts the gospel as the testimony 
of God himself that cannot lie, 1 Thess. ii. 13. It receives the joyful 
sound as the voice of God, John iii. 33. To believe the gospel be- 
cause good ministers and good books say so, or because it appears 
agreeable to our reason, is not faith, but opinion. Faith believes it, 
because God says so. The tidings of the gospel are beyond our 
sight, and above our reason, as the mystery of an incarnate God, an 
imputed righteousness, &c. But because we see the divine testi- 
mony for these things, therefore we believe them by true faith, 
just on the credit of God's word, Mark xvi. 15. Hence it appears, 

1. That there is an assurance in the nature of faith, whereby the 
believing person is sure of the truth of the doctrine of the gospel, 
and that with respect to himself particularly ; 1 Thess. i. 2, "For 
our gospel came not unto you in woi'd only, but also in power, and in 
the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." So that whatever were 
his doubts of it, and carnal reasonings against it, he is brought at 
length to assent thereto as most firm truth. 

2. That there is a necessity of an inward illumination by the Spirit, 
in order to the faith of the gospel, 1 Cor. ii. 14, 10, " 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. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spi- 
rit." The Spirit of the Lord opens the eyes, and demonstrates the truth 
of the gospel to the soul ; ver. 4, " My speech, and my preaching, was 
— in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power ;" otherwise there is no 
reaching the divine faith of it ; ver. 5, " That your faith should not 
stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." This casts 
down the man's carnal reasonings against it, and awes him and over- 
comes him into a belief of the truth ; 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. 

Quest. Is there no doubting tlien consistent with the faith of the 
report of the gospel ? Answ. All doubting is contrary to faith ; 
Matth. xxi. 21. But since faith is not perfect more than other 
graces, it may have a mixture of its contrary : chap. xiv. 31, " 
thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt ?" llowbeit, the 
more doubting, the less faith ; and the more faith, the less doubting. 
As long as doubting is predominant in the soul to be brought to 
Christ, there is no faith. But the Spirit of the Lord lays in a weight 


of light, and the balance is cast oa the side of the truth of the 
gospel, and the doubting is dow^nweighed, and faith springs up in the 
soul. The soul is assured of the truth of the gospel, appearing in 
his venturing himself for eternity upon it, in the sight of a holy, 
just God; though perhaps he is not without all doubting ; as there 
may be a moving of the heavier scale by the lighter weight, though 
the balance is fully casten. 

2dly, There is in faith a trusting to the gospel-report as good. 
Faith does not only trust the gospel, but trusts to it, trusts much 
to it, lays stress on it, not only as a true, but also as a good thing. 

1. Looks ou the gospel as a good thing in itself, and desirable. 
For it is done with the heart ; Rom. x 10. Look how a Saviour, 
a righteousness, and a pardon, must needs be good things in the eyes 
of sinners seeing themselves lost ; so the gospel that brings these to 
sinners, must needs appear good. As the belief of the report of 
the law, imports not only an assent to it as true, but a horror of it 
as evil ; so the belief of the report of the gospel imports not only an 
assent thereto as true, but a relish thereof as good. So it is holden 
out to faith under the notion of good ; Isaiah Iv. 2, " Hearken dili- 
gently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul de- 
light itself iu fatness." 

2. Faith looks on the gospel as good for one's self in particular. 
The believing soul says. This is good news, and good forme ; 1 Tim. 
i. 15, " "Worthy of all acceptation." When there is a report of a 
physician come to a country that infallibly cures such and such a 
disease, the -whole people say. That is good ; but the sick of these 
diseases say more. That is good for mo. What makes one think a 
thing good for him, is the suitableness of it to his mind and case. 
Many hearers of the Gospel may account the Gospel good in itself, 
but they do not look on it as good for them, at least as yet : as one 
who may account some kind of meat good, but he is not for it. He 
has better before him, more agreeable to his stomach ; or perhaps 
he has no stomach for the time, so it must be set up. Thus Christ 
is good, and his salvation; but the man has the world and his lusts 
to feed on, that are more agreeable to him ; let them stay off till 
death, and then he will be for them. But the Gospel is to the be- 
liever not only good in itself, but good for him, and that just now. 

And so he trusts to it as good for him. And if ye ask, what it is 
that he trusts to it ? Why, he trusts his salvation to it, in a word; 
for that is it the gospel brings to sinners. Tit. ii. 11. marg. "The 
grace of God that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared." 
And the trust of faith relates to it; Eph.i. 12, 13, " That we should 

Vol. X. T 


be to the praise of liis glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom 
ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word ot truth, the gospel of 
your salvation." The soul sees itself lost ; the gospel offers salva- 
tion. And faith thereupon trusts for it, Acts xvi. 31. Even for 
Christ's whole salvation. Which may be taken up in these two. 

1. The relative part of it ; which comprehends the soul's justifica- 
tion, reconciliation, adoption, and all other benefits of the like kind. 
These the gospel oflers, together with the righteousness of Christ, 
upon which they are founded ; and faith trusts to it for all these ; 
Rom. i. 17, " For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from 
faith to faith." 

2. The real part of it ; which comprehends the soul's sanctification 
and glorification, and all other benefits of that kind. These also 
the gospel offers, together with the Spirit of Christ, by whom they 
are to be wrought in sinners ; and faith trusts to it for all these, 
Gal. iii. 2. 

Thus faith lays the greatest of weight on the report of the gospel, 
even the weight of the man's salvation for time and eternity ; deal- 
ing with God for that his greatest interest, in the way of trust on his 
word of the gospel ; trusting to that report for his own salvation in 
particular ; Acts xv. 11, " But we believe, that, through the grace 
of the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved." 

Now, as faith is a trusting to the report of the gospel for one's 
own salvation, according as salvation is offered in the gospel, it im- 
plies these following things. 

1. Not only a willingness, but a sincere desire to be sanctified, 
and delivered from sin, as well as to be justified, and delivered from 
wrath ; to be delivered from the reigning power, practice, pollution, 
and inbeing of sin, as well as from the guilt of it ; Rom. vii. 2i, 25, 
" wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of 
this death ! I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." A per- 
son may fear from one what he does not desire ; but what he desires 
not, he cannot trust in one for. Therefore where there is no such 
desire, there is no trusting to the gospel, there is no faith. 

2. A renouncing of all other confidence for his salvation. Faith 
trusting to the report of the gospel, quits self-confidence, law-con- 
fidence, and creature-confidence ; Jcr. xvi. 19, " Lord, my strength 
and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles 
shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, 
Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein 
there is no profit." Phil. iii. 3, " Wo are the circumcision, which 
have no confidence in the flesh?" like the woman with the bloody 
issue, who quit all her physicians, trusting for healing to a touch of 
the hem of Christ's garment. 


3. A hearty approbation of the way of salvation manifested in 
the report of the gospel ; Matth. xi. 6, " Blessed is he whosoever 
shall not be offended in me." Faith here views Christ in the glass 
of the gospel as a crucified Saviour ; 1 Cor. ii. 2 ; believes his suffi- 
ciency as such to save sinners, and them in particular, from sin, and 
from the wrath of a holy God, in the eye of the holy law, and to 
make them completely holy and happy ; Phil. iii. 9 ; and acquies- 
ceth in that way for their own salvation ; 1 Cor. i. 24. 

4. A betaking one's self entirely to that way of salvation, by 
trusting to it wholly for our own salvation ; Ruth ii. 12. Even as 
a poor beggar, having riches and wealth made over to him by his 
friend, leaves off his begging, and betakes himself to that entirely 
for his throughbearing. This is the soul's coming to Christ, flee- 
ing for refuge, receiving the atonement, and rolling its burden on 

5. Lastly, A confidence and trust that he will save us from sin and 
wrath, according to his promise ; Acts xv. 11, " We believe, that 
through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved." 
This is that trust which shall never be disappointed; Rom. x. 11, 
that building on Christ which shall never fall ; 1 Pet. ii. 6. 

III. We shall consider the report of the gospel, and the trusting 
to it conjunctly- 

1. The gospel is a report from heaven, of salvation for poor sin- 
ners, from sin ; Matth. i. 21 ; and from the wrath of God ; John iii. 
16, however dear bought, yet freely made over to you in the word of 
promise ; so as that ye may freely take possession of it ; Isaiah Iv. 1. 

This report being brought to the sinner, faith trusts it as a true 
report, believing that God has said it; and trusts to it as good, lay- 
ing our own salvation upon it. So the soul greedily embraceth the 
Saviour, and the salvation brought to it in that report, as ever a 
drowning man would take hold of a rope let down to bring him out 
of the waters ; Cant. i. 3. 

2. The gospel is the report of a crucified Christ made over to sin- 
ners, as the device of heaven for their salvation. It is proclaimed 
by the authority of heaven that Christ has died, and by his death 
purchased life and salvation for lost children of Adam ; and that 
they and every one of them may have full and free access to him ; 
Matth. xxii. 4. 

Faith trusting this report as good and true, the soul concludes, 
The Saviour is mine ; and leans on him for all the purchase of his 
death, for life and salvation to itself in particular ; 1 Cor, ii. 2. 

3. The gospel is the report of a righteousness wherein we guilty 
ones may stand before a holy God ; Rom. i. 17, " For therein is the 

T 2 



righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith." And by faith 
one believes there is sueh a righteousness, that it is sufficient to co- 
ver him, and that is held out to him to be trusted on for righteous- 
ness ; and so the believer trusts it as his righteousness in the sight 
of God, disclaiming all other, and betaking himself to it alone ; Gal. 
ii. 16. 

4. The gospel is the report of a pardon under the great seal of 
heaven, in Christ, to all who will take it in him ; Acts xiii. 38, 39, 
" Be it known unto you that through this man is preached unto you 
the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified 
from all things." This pardon is proclaimed openly by the authority 
of Heaven, full and free, without exception of any of lost Adam's 
race, to whom the report comes. 

The soul by faith believes this to be true, and applies it to itself, 
saying, This pardon is for me ; it is good and suitable to my case ; 
I will therefore lean to this word of grace for my pardon, and come 
in, for this is the word of God that cannot lie. 

5. The gospel is the report of a Physician that cures infallibly all 
the diseases of the soul ; Matth. ix. 12, 13 ; Heb. vii. 26, and freely ; 
Hos. xiv. 4 ; and rejects no patients ; John vi. 37- 

The soul believes it, and applies it to its own case ; and says, 
Then I will trust him for the removing the stony heart out of my 
flesh, for curing me of the falling evil of backsliding, the fever of 
raging corruption, the running issue of the predominant lust, and 
the universal leprosy of the corruption of my nature. 

6. The gospel is the report of a feast for hungry souls, Isa. xxv. 
6, to which all are bid welcome, Christ himself being the maker and 
matter of it too ; Isa. Iv. 2. 

The soul, weary of the husks of created things, and believing this 
report, accordingly falls a-feeding on Christ, his flesh which is meat 
indeed, and his blood which is drink indeed ; believing and applying 
to itself all that Christ was, did, and suffered, as that whereof the 
soul shall reap the benefit ; which is the feeding by faith on a slain 

7. The gospel is the report of a treasure ; 2 Cor. iv. 7. In it are 
the precious promises, within them precious Christ, with his merit, 
like the gold mentioned; Rev. iii. 18, " I counsel thee to buy of me 
gold tried in the fire, that thou mayst be rich." The field it is hid 
in, may be yours ; Matth. xiii. 44 ; the gospel offers you the co- 
venant as that field. 

Faith believes the report; and the soul lays hold on the covenant, 
and trusts entirely to the treasure hid there for the payment of all 
its debt, for its throughbcaring during life, and through death, and 
for procuring it eternal happiness. 


8. The gospel is the report of a victory won by Jesns Christ over 
sin, Satan, and death, and the world; Psalm xcviii. 1, and that iu 
favour of all that will join the glorious Conqueror. 

Faith believes this report ; and the soul trusts to it for its victory 
over all these, as already foiled enemies ; 1 John v. 4. To name no 

9, Lastly, The gospel is the report of a peace purchased by the 
blood of Christ for poor sinners ; Eph. ii. 14, and oifered to them ; 
Isa. xxvii. 5. 

Faith believes it; and trusting to it, the soul comes before God 
as a reconciled Father in Christ, brings in its supplications for supply 
before the throne, believing the communication to be opened betwixt 
heaven and them, which during the war was blocked up. 

Use 1. Of information. This shews, that, 

1. The gospel is the mean of divine appointment for the salvation 
of sinners. Therefore it is called " the gospel of our salvation," 
Eph. i. 13, and to "bring salvation," Tit. ii. 11. The light of na- 
ture is not the external mean or instrument of salvation ; for it 
brings no report of Christ; Acts iv. 12. The law is not it neither ; 
it is the " ministration of death and condemnation ;" 2 Cor. iii. 7, 9 ; 
but the gospel only; for it is in the gospel only that a righteous- 
ness is revealed for the unrighteous; Rom. i. 16, 17, and in which 
the Spirit is conveyed to dead sinners ; Gal. iii. 2. To slight the 
gospel, then, is to slight the only mean of salvation. 

2. The gospel, however, will not be of any saving effect to us with- 
out faith ; Heb. iv. 2, " The word preached did not profit them, not 
being mixed with faith in thepa that heard it." The gospel is the 
net ; but the soul is not catched, to be drawn out of the waters of 
wrath, until it believe ; 1 Cor. i. 21, " It pleased God by the foolish- 
ness of preaching to save them that believe." If the gospel be hid 
to us, it is an evidence we are yet lost; and it remains hid to all 
unbelievers, who see not the truth, goodness, nor glory of the gos- 

3. The gospel-method of salvation takes away all ground of glory-* 
ing in the least, from the sinner ; for it is by the faith of the gospel ; 
Rom. iv. 16, " Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace." 
The way how a sinner is to be brought into a state of salvation, is 
not by doing of a law, or any work of a law ; but by believing or 
trusting to a report. Faith is a believing or trusting, which of all 
things is the farthest removed from the nature of a work ; and it is 
an injury done to the free grace of God, to look upon it as a work, 
or to explain it so, as hardly to leave any believing or trusting in it. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. Let the gospel gain trust with you, as 
ever ye would be saved from sin and wrath. And, 


1st, Trust the gospel as true, as universally true, and that certainly 
and infallibly, as from God himself. 

Motive 1. Consider the manner of its discovery, clearly appear- 
ing to bo from God, being delivered by Jesus Christ and his apostles. 
It is a doctrine confirmed by the life and death of Christ, and parti- 
cularly by his resurrection from the dead ; by the miracles wrought 
by him and his apostles ; John iii. 2. 

Motive 2. Consider the manner of its propagation in the world. 
It overturned Judaism and Paganism, the only two religions in the 
world when it entered; and that neither by the subtlety of men and 
human learning, nor by the force of arms ; but by the means of a 
few fishermen, declaring it in its simplicity; against whom the 
learning of the schools, and the power of the magistrate and sword, 
were engaged. 

Motive 3. Lastly, Consider its effects on men, subduing their lusts, 
rendering them holy as God is holy ; causing them to embrace it, 
over the belly of their worldly interest, and in spite of all hazards 
set before thera by its enemies ; and carrying them up comfortably 
in the midst of the most cruel death. 

2dly, Trust to it, and lay the stress of your salvation on it as 
good. For which cause consider, 

1. It discovers a righteousness in which a sinner may stand be- 
fore a holy God ; Rom. i. 17- The law requires righteousness, a 
perfect righteousness, under the pain of the curse. Gal. iii. 10, but 
it aflfords none, nor any strength whereby it may be wrought ; but 
the gospel tells us of a righteousness already wrought, and offers it 
to the sinner ; Rom. viii. 3, 4, " For what the law could not do, in 
that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the 
likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the 
righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us." And in it there 
is what, in the eye of the law, will justify the sinner before God, and 
give perfect peace in one's own conscience ; Rom. v. 1, " Being jus- 
tified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus 

2. It sets before us the most glorious life of most perfect happi- 
ness, in the clearest and surest way ; 2 Tim. i. 10. The brightest 
scheme of happiness and the most illuminated map of Immanuel's 
land, is therein laid before us; fit to draw men's hearts to it, over 
the belly of all opposition. The researches of happiness made by 
moralists were as midnight darkness ; the discoveries of it in the 
Mosaic dispensation were but as the twilight; but in the gospel as 
the mid-day. 

3. Lastly, It is tlio only channel of salvation, in which salvation 


is conveyed to lost sinners; Acts iv. 12, " Neither is there salvation 
in any other ; for there is none other name under heaven given 
among men, whereby we must be saved." And, 

1. It is the channel of salvation, to which whosoever do betake 
themselves by faith, shall undoubtedly be saved ; Rom. i. 16, " The 
gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believ- 
eth." There they shall find quickening, sanctifying, and saving in- 
fluences ; as by a mean appointed of God for that very end. 

2. There is no other channel of salvation, no not the law as con- 
tradistinguished thereto ; 2 Cor. iii. It was the channel of life to 
innocent man once ; but to a sinner never. When sin entered, it 
quite dried up as to all streams of life ; Gal. ii. 16, " By the works 
of the law shall no flesh be justified." In a sinking state of the 
church, the law and gospel are confounded, and the law jostles out 
the gospel, the dark shades of morality take place of gospel light ; 
which plague is this day begun in this church, and well far ad- 
vanced. Men think they see the fitness of legal preaching for sanc- 
tificalion ; but how the preaching of the gospel should be such a 
mean, they cannot understand, through want of experience of the 
power of the gospel on their own souls. But, 

(1.) The gospel, and not the law, has the word of divine appoint- 
ment for that end ; Eph. i. 13, " In whom ye also trusted, after that 
ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation ; in whom 
also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of 
promise." It is the word of salvation, Acts xiii. 26 ; the word of 
grace, chap. xx. 32; and the word of life, Phil. ii. 16. But the law, 
as contradistinguished to it, is under no such appointment ; but is 
the ministration of condemnation and death, 2 Cor. iii. 7, 9. Abana 
and Pharpar seemed as fit in the eyes of cai*nal men to cure a leper 
as Jordan ; but Jordan had the word of divine appointment. And 
without such an appointment nothing can avail. 

(2.) The gospel and not the law as contradistinguished thereto has 
the blessing annexed to it. There, and only there, is the power of 
God to salvation to be expected ; Rom. i. 16. It alone is the mini- 
stration of the Spirit ; 2 Cor. iii. 8. So the apostle could appeal to 
the experience of the Galatians ; Gal. iii. 2, " This only," says he, 
" would I learn of you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the 
law, or by the hearing of faith ?" Now, that can never be the chan- 
nel of salvation from which the Spirit is separated. 

Wherefore know, that your life lies here, and that there is no sal- 
vation but in the way of trusting to the report of the gospel. 

Doctrine III. Though many hear, yet few believe or trust to the 
report of the gospel. 


In discoursing tliis Doctrine, I shall, 

I. Confirm this point, That though many hear, yet few believe 
or trust to the report of the gospel. 

II. Give the reasons why so few believe the report of the gospel. 

III. Lastly, Apply. 

I. I shall confirm this point. That though many hear, yet few 
believe or trust to the report of the gospel. It is clear, if ye consi- 
der and view these two things. 

\st, A view of the church in all ages, and the entertainment the 
gospel has met with among them to whom it came. 

2dly, A view of the church setting aside those whom the scrip- 
ture determines to be unbelievers. 

First, Let us take a view of the church in all ages, and the enter- 
tainment the gospel has met with among those to whom it came. It 
has been a despised and disbelieved gospel generally in all ages, 
and under all dispensations. Few believed it, 

1. Under the patriarchal dispensation, from Adam to Moses. It 
was first preached in paradise to Adam and Eve, being comprehend- 
ed in the promise of Christ to come. By them indeed it was believ- 
ed, and Adam preached it ; but Cain slew Abel, and headed an 
apostacy. And in the days of Enos, the son of Seth, there was a 
professed distinction made between professors and others; Gen. iv, 
26, " Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord." Noah, a 
preacher of righteousness, his doctrine was so little believed, that 
that generation was swept away with the flood. An unbelieving 
Ham was in the ark ; and Nimrod shortly after headed a generation 
of unbelieving apostates, that built the tower of Babel. Abram was 
called alone from his country, where his father served other gods. 
And his posterity in Egypt had little knowledge of either law or 
gospel left them ; Rom. v. 13, " For until the law sin was in the 

2. Under the Mosaic dispensation, they had the gospel, though 
vailed with types and figures. But the body of the generation that 
came out of Egypt, believed not, but fell in the wildeaness; Heb- iv. 
2. How often did the body of that nation fall oflf into idolatry ? 
What heavy complaints did their prophets make time after time of 
the unbelief prevailing in their generations? 

3. Under the Christian dispensation. The word out of Christ's 
own mouth was generally disbelieved ; John xii. 37, 38, " But though 
he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on 
him ; that the saying of Esaias the prophet might bo fulfilled, which 
he spake, " Lord, who hath believed our report ? and to whom hath 
the arm of the Lord been revealed ?" The gospel never had so great 


snccess as in the apostles' days ; yet even but few believed it in com- 
parison of others in the world ; Rom. x. 16, " But they have not all 
obeyed the gospel." The state of the church for the times there- 
after may be seen, Rev. vi. in the first six seals. Then in the time 
of Antichrist, the world wondered after the beast, the witnesses were 
reduced to two; and the churches of believers driven to the wilder- 
ness. At the reformation the gospel had remarkable success ; but 
yet believers were but few comparatively ; and there have been but 
few all along since that time. 

Secondly^ Let us take a view of the church, setting aside those 
whom the scripture determines to be unbelievers ; and we will soon 
see that but few do remain. Set aside, 

1. The grossly ignorant of Christ, and of the truths of the gospel. 
These God himself casts out of the number ; Isa. xxvii, 11, " It is a 
people of no understanding; therefore he that made them, will not 
have mercy on them ; and he that formed them will shew them 
no favour." There may be a believing in an unseen, but not 
an unknown Christ. How can they believe the gospel, that know 
not what it is ? 

2. The profane, who are Christians in name, because they live in 
a Christian country ; but have not a shape of a Christianity about 
them. Surely these do not believe the gospel ; Tit. i. 16, " They pro- 
fess that they know God ; but in works they deny hira, being abo- 
minable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." 
Sanctification and belief of the truth go together, 2 Thess. ii. 13. The 
gospel is the great mean of God's appointment for reforming the 
world ; if then it prevail not to the reforming of men's lives, it is an 
evidence they believe it not, Heb. iv. 2. 

3. The carnal and worldly, who make the world their chief good, 
mainly seeking that, and favouring it only. These undoubtedly are 
unbelievers ; Phil, iii, 19, 20, " Whose end is destruction, vrhose god 
is their belly ; an4 whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly 
things," No sooner doth a man believe the report of the gospel 
anent the unseen world, but the present evil world sinks in its value 
with him, Matth. xiii. 44, " The kingdom of heaven is like unto trea- 
sure hid in a field ; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, 
and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth 
that field," But to the most part the matters of faith are as the 
bird in the bush ; what they see with their eyes is the bird in hand ; 
Psalm iv, 6, " There be many that say. Who will shew us any 
good ?" 

4. Mere moralists, all whose religion is confined to some pieces of 
the second table. These are they who are just in their dealings with 


men, but know nothing of dealing with God through Christ, and make 
no conscience of the duties of worshipping God. They come but the 
one half of that Pharisee's length, mentioned Luke xviii ; and to be 
sure are unbelievers, for Christ sets them aside ; Matth. v. 20, 
" For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed 
the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case 
enter into the kingdom of heaven." 

5. Gross hypocrites, who have a profession of religion, and wor- 
ship God, but in the meantime are loose and licentious in their 
walk. These are they who on their knees are like saints, but have 
no more religion than what lies in these external duties of worship. 
Them Christ sets aside as unbelievers; Matth. vii. 21, " Not every 
one that saith unto me, " Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom 
of heaven ;" and will disown any saving relation to them ; Luke vi. 
46, " "Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I 
say ?" That gospel that cleanses not a man's hands from unjust 
dealing ; his mouth from lying, swearing, and filthy speaking ; and 
his conversation from the pollutions of the world is certainly not 

6. Close hypocrites, whose outward conversation is blameless in 
the eye of the world, but in the meantime are inwardly strangers 
to God and Christ. Such were those in the church of Sardis, of whom 
our Lord says. Rev. iii. 1, *' I know thy works, that thou hast a 
name that thou livest, and art dead." They are not unacquainted 
with the practice of outward duties both towards God and man ; but 
they are absolute strangers to the life of faith, communion with God, 
and experimental religion. They are walking on in the dark, and 
dreaming they are in the way ; yet have never one foot on it. These 
are unbelievers, for faith purifies the heart ; Acts xv. 9. They are 
self-justiciaries, like the Jews of old, " who being ignorant of God's 
righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, 
did not submit themselves unto the righteousness of God;" Rom. 
X. 3. 

7. Lastly, All unregonerate persons ; for they are certainly un- 
believers, as believers are regenerate; as clear from John i. 12, 13, 
*' But as many as received him, to them gave ho power to become 
the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name ; which were 
born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, 
but of God." And such are all those who have never been con- 
vinced of their sin and misery ; nor humbled, and brought to be 
content with a Saviour on any terms ; who have never had Christ 
revealed in them ; nor been savingly determined and enabled to em- 
brace him. 


Now they of these several sorts make the throng of the multitude 
of the hearers of the gospel. And it is but here and there one that 
is not of one or other of them. Set aside, then, all these, few re- 
main, few believers, few who trust to the gospel-report. 

II. I shall give the reasons why so few believe the report of the 

1. There is a natural impotency in all ; John vi. 44, " No man 
can come to rae, except the Father which hath sent me, draw him." 
This is cured in few ; to few is the " arm of the Lord revealed." Be- 
lieving the report of the gospel, is not, as some think, an easy re- 
port of imagination. It is beyond the power of nature. Yea, every 
thing in nature is against it, and riseth up against it, till the Spirit 
of the Lord overcome them into belief of the report of the gospel. 

2. The predominant power of lusts, to which the gospel is an ene- 
my. TRere our Lord lodges it ; John iii. 19, " This is the condem- 
nation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness 
rather than light, because their deeds were evil." The gospel is a 
light ; but they love darkness better ; and therefore they will not 
receive the light by the belief thereof. They are set upon present 
things, things of sense ; and therefore esteem the things of faith 
but as idle tales ; John v. 44. 

3. There is a judicial blindness on many. Men have refused to 
believe the gospel, that they might get continued in the embraces of 
their lusts, therefore God hath given them over into the hand of Sa- 
tan, who has blinded them so, as they cannot behold the light and 
glory of the gospel ; 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. 

Use 1. Of information. Hence learn, that, 

1^^, There is great odds between hearing and doing ; James i. 22. 
Many hear, but few obey ; many are called, but few chosen. The 
gospel comes to the ears of many, who receive the sound with an 
air of reverence, but never receive it into their hearts by faith. Do 
not then lay stress on your attendance on ordinances, as if that would 
render you acceptablcto God; Jer. vii. 4, " Trust ye not in lying words, 
saying. The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of 
the Lord are these." Such a conceit will be sadly exposed at the last 
day, as is clear from what our Lord says will be the language of some 
at his awful tribunal,'* We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and 
thou hast taught in our streets." Unto all such he would say, " De- 
part from me, all ye workers of iniquity ;" Luke xiii. 26, 27. 

2dli/, This may remove the occasion of stumbling by these three 
things. Do not stumble at it, (1.) Because the gospel hath so few 
friends in an evil day. The scripture has told us before, that few 
believe it at any time. It is a greater wonder, that one adheres to 


it over the belly of persecution, especially even to death, than that 
hundreds forsake it ; considering how rare the faith of it is even in a 
time of peace. (2.) That the foundations of Christianity come at 
length to be attacked by men of corrupt minds. For what wonder 
is it, that, in a time of long peaceable enjoyment of the gospel, they 
that never truly believed it, come at length to question it, and in 
end downright to deny it ? (3.) That the lives either of professors 
or ministers of the gospel are altogether unsuitable to it. For men 
may profess and preach the gospel too, that they never believed. 
Man's arm may fit men to possess and preach it ; but it is the arm 
of the Lord only that can bring men to believe it. 

Object, But is not that ground to question it, that so few believe 
it? Answ. That is no just prejudice against it. For, (1.) There 
are many natural truths, which yet are believed by very few. I 
suppose the thousandth, not to say the ten thousandth perso^ in the 
world that sees the sun and moon, does not believe the sun to be 
bigger than a cart-wheel, or any star to be so big as the moon ; and 
yet learned men demonstrate by reason, that the sun is bigger than 
the whole earth by far, and the moon less than any star. But the 
gospel is supernatural truth, which cannot be comprehended or re- 
ceived by mere reason ; 1 Cor. ii. 14, " For the natural man re- 
ceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God ; for they are foolishness 
unto him ; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually 
discerned." Therefore there is no ground to question the gospel- 
report, because few believe it. (2.) The most part of men are wed- 
ded to their lusts and passions, which the gospel is set for the root- 
ing out of; Tit. ii. 11, 12, "For the grace of God that bringeth 
salvation, hath appeared to all men ; teaching us, that denying un- 
godliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, 
and godly, in this present world." It is the interest of their lusts 
that the gospel be not believed ; and therefore the general unbelief 
of the gospel is no prejudice against it ; because men generally have 
a strong bias against it, from the mighty power of their lusts ; 
John iii. 19, forecited. But the belief of it is of equal latitude with 
a sincere desire of enjoying God, and being like him ; which is man's 
chief happiness. 

Zdhj, The common way of the world is not God's way ; and they 
are rare persons that are right. Tliis is evident from our Lord's ex- 
hortation, Matth. vii. 13, 14, " Enter in at the strait gate ; 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." 
Many will be walled out of thu visible church, and throAvn away as 


naught, till tliey be left bat as one of a city, and two of a family, 
as the gleanings of the vintage, that are to be carried to Zion above. 

They are men wondered at, Zech. iii. 8 ; therefore not ordinary ; 
God's jewels; Mai. iii. 17; therefore not common stuff; Christ's 
little, little flock, Luke xii. 32, (Greek.) 

A.thly, Lastly, Surely many deceive themselves as to their faith of 
the gospel, thinking they believe the gospel while they really believe 
it not ; IIos. viii. 2, 3, " Israel shall cry unto me. My God, we know 
thee. Israel hath cast off the thing that is good." The apostle ob- 
serves ; 2 Thess. iii. 2, that " all men have not faith ;" and our Lord 
shows it to be very rare ; Luke xviii. 8, " When the Son of man 
cometh, shall he find faith on the earth ?" I suppose it will be found, 
that few believe this very truth we are insisting on. For as few as 
there are who believe the gospel, if the question were put to each of 
us. Do you believe the gospel ? Do you believe it ? I reckon few, 
if any, particularly of the unbelievers, but would say. They do. The 
reasons of the mistake are these : — 

1. They were brought up in the profession of the gospel, and they 
never questioned their belief of it. Many among us have no more 
for their belief of the gospel, than Papists in Italy have for their 
belief of Popery, and Pagans in America for their belief of Pagan- 
ism. Their fathers, and mothers, and priests told them so ; and so 
they have a human faith of Popery and Paganism, upon that human 
testimony. And so many a Scotsman has no more but a human faith 
of the gospel, which they have taken up on the word of their fathers, 
niother.-i, and ministers ; and they never questioned it. But the di- 
vine faith of the gospel is another thing, and that they will find 
when they come to a pinch in that matter ; Matth, xvi. 17, " And 
Jesus said unto him, Blessed art thon Simon Barjona; for flesh and 
blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in 
heaven." 1 Tliess, ii. 13, " For this cause also thank we God with- 
out ceasing, because when ye received the word of God which ye 
heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in 
truth) the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that 

2. They never had much ado with their faith of the gospel. Such 
as it is, it has lien by them idle all their days ; like a book by a 
scholar ho never had occasion to consult ; or a piece of money one 
never offered in payment to his neighbour. Their faith of the gos- 
pel was never tried with barefaced Satanical temptations, obstinately 
insisted in ; nor with their afflictions ; nor with sound and thorough 
convictions of their lost and miserable state ; and all is good untried. 
But the trial would have discovered another thing, James i. 12, that 
is true faith of the gospel that will abide a trial, 1 Pet. i. 6. 7. 


3. They satisfy themselves with a general historical faith of the 
gospel, knowing nothing of trusting to it for all Christ's salvation to 
themselves. And if that be the believing of the gospel report, the 
devils are as good believers as they, and better too ; James ii. 19, 
for the devils believe and tremble. They know not what it is to be, 
at the instance of the law, set before the tribunal of God, in the 
court of conscience, and to have the law there pressing them parti- 
cularly with its demands and curse ; and for their own defence to be 
fain to plead there as for their life, the holiness of Christ's nature, the 
righteousness of his life, and satisfaction for sin, and that upon the 
credit of the gospel report. 

But there are four things which may evince that most of the 
hearers of the gospel, whatever they think, do not believe the 
gospel, nor trust it as trne, nor trust to it as good. 

1. It does not purify their hearts and lives ; Acts xv. 9. The be- 
lief of the truth is the means appointed of God for sanctification ; 
2 Thess. ii. 13, " God hath from the beginning chosen you to salva- 
tion, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." 
Eph. V. 25, 26, " Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it, 
that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water, by 
the word." And it is the word of the gospel that is so; John 
XV. 3, " Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken 
unto you." The word of the gospel received into the heart by faith, 
is like a spring that works out the mud; 1 Thess. ii. 13, " The word 
of God eifectually worketh in you that believe." It is like leaven 
that seeks through the whole mass. For the Spirit of sanctification is 
in it ; John vi. 63, " It is the spirit that quickeneth." The words 
that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." So then 
whose heart and life soever is not purified by the gospel, they do not 
really believe it ; Heb. iv. 2. 

The profane man, he that is ungodly with respect to God, un- 
righteous with respect to men, not sober with respect to himself, 
does not believe the gospel ; for it " teacheth us, that denying un- 
godliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and 
godly, in this present world," Tit. ii. 11, 12 ; and is eftectual in be- 
lievers ; 1 Thess. ii. 13, forecited. But such a one is master of it, it 
is not master of him. Horn. i. 18, " He holds the truth in unrighte- 
ousness." The man that is a slave to his passions, his pride, wrath, 
and revenge, believes not the gospel; Isaiah xi. 6. The man whose 
God is the world, the covetous, the unjust, the sensual, the vain, &c., 
believes not ; Matth. xiii. 45, 46, forecited. 

2. It does not make them fruitful to God, as it does in believers ; 
Col. i. 5, 6. That faith is vain that is without works; James ii. 20. 


The word of the gospel is a heavenly seed, which, received into the 
hearts by faith, never misseth to bring forth fruit. As it puts out 
the fruits of the flesh, it brings in the fruits of the Spirit. It makes 
the man to live to Christ, and live for him; Phil. i. 21; as the wo- 
man of Samaria did, who not only lived unto Christ herself, but in- 
duced others, by her example, to believe in him as their Saviour. 
See John, chap. iv. 

The man that makes no conscience of serving his generation by 
doing good to others, that lays not out himself to be useful for God 
in his place and station, that thinks it enough that he does not ill 
to others, and hangs not out a flag of defiance against the honour of 
God, is as really an unbeliever of the gospel, as he that is noxious, 
in respect of God and man ; for where is his fruit ? Col. i. 6, See 
Matth. xii. 30, " He that is not with me, is against me ; and he that 
gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad." 

3. It is not their chief comfort, as it is to the saints ; Psalm 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 scripture calls the believer's 
great hope, " the hope of the gospel ;" Col. i. 23. And it has been 
proven to be so by their sufl'ering for it even unto death ; Mark viii. 
35, " For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it ; but whosoever 
shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's the same shall save 
it." What bears up a man in his greatest straits, must needs be 
his greatest comfort. The gospel is that which bore up the hearts 
of believers, under their greatest hardships. Therefore it has been 
found, that brown bread and the gospel has been pleasant fare to 
many a believer. Take away the gospel, and take the sun out of 
the world. Whatever are their straits or their storms, the gospel is 
their plight-anchor. 

But alas ! there are few thus minded. Give them full pantries 
and a warm fire-side, they could be right cheery without the gospel. 
It is the corn and the cattle, good markets, «&c., they know the com- 
fort of these ; but many that know that, know little of the comfort 
of the gospel. If they be lifted up at any time, it is not the gospel 
that does it, but some creature-comfort. If some affliction befal 
them, some creature-comfort removed; what helps them is not the 
comfort of the gospel, but some other creature-comfort put in its 
room, or hoped for. 

If one had his stock in a ship at sea, whatever joys or sorrows 
that man met with in his means at home, they would not be his 
chief ones ; the chief would be about the ship. The gospel is the 
ship the believer's stock is in ; and whatever joys or sorrows he 


meets with in the world, yet his chief ones are in the gospel ; Hab, 
iii. 17, 18, " A-lthough the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall 
frnit be in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields 
shall yield no meat, the flock shall be cat off" from the fold, and 
there shall be no herd in the stalls ; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, 
I will joy in the God of my salvation." There is such a difi'erence 
betwixt a believer and an unbeliever, as betwixt a laird and a ten- 
ant in a harvest flood sweeping away the corn. The corn being 
swept away, the tenant has nothing left. Micah said, when his gods 
were taken away, " What have I more ?" The other comforts him- 
self, Yet it has not swept away the land. So Job vi. 13, " Is not 
my help in me ? and is wisdom driven quite from me ?" 

4. It is not their chief concern what come of it. Ofttimes they 
have no concern at all about it; they will profanely put that off to 
them that live by it. Be it so, then all that believe it live by it, and 
it will be their chief concern ; Isaiah xxxviii. 16 ; John vi. 63. It 
is the word of life, and believing it is the way to live ; Isaiah Iv. 3, 
" Hear, and your soul shall live." They will be concerned for it as 
for their life ; Dcut. xxxii. 47, and take away their hope from that 
airth, they would reckon themselves most miserable ; 1 Cor. xv. 
19. Therefore they will strive for the faith of the gospel as their 

But I fear many a hearer of the gospel would take it for no ill 
news, if any body could but make them sure of it, that the whole 
gospel is but a fable ; a plain evidence that it is not the thing they 
mainly trust to, else they would be mainly concerned for it. 

Use 2. Be stirred up then to a weighty concern to attain to the 
true faith of the report of the gospel ; that ye may be of those who 
really trust it as true, and trust to it as good. These following 
things may be of use to put a peculiar edge on your spirits for this : — 

1. That there arc so few that really believe it in a saving man- 
ner. When Christ said, " One of you shall betray me," the dis- 
ciples said, " Is it I ?" And the consideration that so few believe 
the report of the gospel, should put every one to see himself, that ho 
be not an unbeliever. 

2. Your salvation or damnation turns on this point ; Mark xvi. 16, 
"He that believeth, shall be saved ; but he that believeth not, shall 
be damned." Many will be affected with some gross sins of theirs 
against tlie law, who never see the venom of their unbelief of the 
gospel. But this is the sin that draws deepest; and therefore that 
is the sin which the Spirit is in a special manner to convince of; 
John xvi. 8, 9, " And when ho is come, he will reprove the world of 
sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment ; of sin because they be- 


lieve not on rae." And that is the great soul-ruining sin ; John iii. 
19, " This is the condemnation, that light is corae into the world, and 
men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds w^ere evil." 

3. Doing this ye do all ; Mark v. 36, " Be not afraid, only be- 
lieve." This is the short way, and the only way to sanctificatiou. 
It is the belief of the gospel that brings sinners to the obedience of 
the law ; for thereby the soul is united to Christ, the storehouse of 
grace, and of the Spirit of holiness ; Eph. iii. 17 ; John i. 16. Hence 
it purifies the heart ; Acts. xv. 9 ; and the heart being purified, the 
life will be so too. So the apostle runs up obedience to it ; 1 Tim. 
i. 5. 

4. If ye do not this ye do nothing ; 1 John iii. 23, " This is his 
commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus 
Christ." John vi. 29, " This is the work of God, that ye believe on 
him whom he hath sent." All that ye do in the way of obedience 
without it, will be but as so many cyphers, that will amount to just 
nothing in the sight of a holy Glod ; Heb. xi. 6, " "Without faith it 
is impossible to please God." Your prayers, tears, justice, sobriety, 
&c., all will be lost without faith. Whatever good works any does 
without faith, are but dead works ; they may have the shape of good 
works, but the soul and life is wanting. Here is the reason why en- 
deavours of reformation with unbelievers do not succeed ; why, 
when the doctrine of the gospel is corrupted, and preachers, instead 
of preaching Christ, turn their sermons into harangues of moral vir- 
tue, they and their hearers lose both grace and virtue, and turn 

5. Lastly, If ye really believe the gospel, nothing can ruin you ; 
if ye do not, nothing can save you. Under the law, the Jews were 
a stubborn > disobedient generation, every now and then falling into 
idolatry, till the Babylonish captivity ; yet were they preserved, 
God minding to try them with the dispensation of the gospel. But 
when they rejected and disbelieved the gospel, though they had quite 
left their idolatry, they were destroyed. 

So whatever is your guilt, if ye believe the gospel, it will be wiped 
out; Acts xvi. 31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou 
shalt be saved ;" if not, whatever good ye do, ye will perish ; John 
iii. 36, " He that believeth not the Son shall not see life ; but the 
wrath of God abideth on him." The gospel is the last method of 
Heaven for the salvation of sinners ; where the law failed, the 
gospel came to help out; Rom. viii. 3. But if ye miss salvation in 
the way of the gospel, there is not another method to follow ; so it 
is the last ship bound for Iraraanuel's land, and therefore the only 

YoL. X. u 


I shall conclude with some directions how to believe the gospel. 

1. Persuade yourselves, that the faith of the gospel is beyond the 
power of nature ; John vi. 41 ; that there is a necessity of a power 
from on high to bring you to believe. This will raze the old foun- 
dation, and cause you look up for it. 

2. Urge on yourselves the faith of the law. It also is the testi- 
mony of God. Believe it with application to yourselves. See the 
authority of God in its commands binding on you ; the truth of God, 
in its threatening and curse, reaching you and holding you fast. 

3. Lastly, With an eye to the Spirit's working in you, consider 
and apply the promise of the gospel ; for that is not only the object, 
but the means of faith ; Rom. x. 17, '' Faith cometh by hearing, and 
hearing by the word of God." 

Doctrine IY. There is no true believing or trusting to the report 
of the gospel, but what is the effect of the working of a divine power 
on the soul for that end. 

In prosecuting this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Evince the truth of it. 

II. Shew what is that working of divine power whereby the soul 
is brought to trust to the gospel-report. 

III. Lastly, Apply. 

I. I shall evince the truth of the doctrine. Consider for it, 

1. Express scripture testimony ; John vi. 44, " No man can come 
to me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw him." The 
apostle calls it therefore " The faith of the operation of God," Col. 
ii. 12; and " the work of faith with power," 2 Thess. i. 11, is ful- 
filled. Hence believing is said to be given ; Phil. i. 29. Yea, no 
less power is put forth in it, than that which was exerted in the 
raising of Christ from the dead ; Eph. i. 19, 20. 

2. The state that by nature we are in, "dead in sin ;" Eph. ii. 1. 
Faith is the first vital act of the soul, quickened by the Spirit of 
life from Jesus Christ ; which therefore a soul without the Spirit of 
life, is no more capable of, than a dead man of breathing, walk- 
ing, &c. The raising of the dead is a work competent to God alone ; 
the raising of dead souls as well as bodies ; John v. 25, 26, " Verily, 
verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the 
dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God ; and they that hear 
shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given 
to the Son to have life in himself." 

3. There can bo no faith without knowledge ; and the knowledge 
of spiritual things man is by nature incapable of; 1 Cor. ii. 14, 
" The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; 
for they arc foolishness unto him ; neither can ho know thoni, be- 


cause thoy are spiritually discerned." How can one trust to the 
report of the gospel, without discerning the gospel in its glorious 
excellency ? But the eye of man naturally is out as to these things. 
Natural truths he can discern by natural powers ; but supernatural 
truths are above his reach without supernatural abilities. 

4. Man is naturally under the power of Satan, a captive of the 
devil, who with his utmost efforts will hinder the work of faith ; 
2 Cor. iv. 3, 4, " If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost ; 
in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which 
believe not." Such a case the gospel finds men in ; Isa. Ixi. 1 ; and 
it is the design of the gospel to bring them out of it ; Acts xxvi. 
17, 18. But how can such be the design of the gospel, but because 
it is the instrument of a superior power ; Rom. i. 16, and is render- 
ed effectual by the Omnipotent himself? 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. The strong 
man must bo cast out by a stronger. 

5. Man's trust is by nature firmly pre-occupied by those things 
which the gospel calls them to renounce. He is wedded to other 
confidences naturally, which therefore he will hold by, till a i)ower 
above nature carry him off from them. And therefore it is a dif- 
ferencing character between the Lord's people and all others, that 
they have *' no confidence in the flesh ;" Phil. iii. 3. 

(1) Self-confidence is natural to man. And therefore it is the 
first lesson at Christ's school, to deny ourselves; which is inwarped 
in the very nature of faith, or trusting to the gospel ; Matth. xvi. 
24. Man going away from God as his chief end, set up himself for 
his chief end ; and so it is as natural for him to act from and for 
himself, as for birds to fly in the air. So that to unself a man, 
which is done in the work of faith, must needs be a work of divine 

(2.) Creature-confidence. Man not being self-sufficient, must 
needs seek something without himself wherein to rest his heart. 
Being estranged from God, he goes to the creature ; Jer. ii. 13. 
And to it he is so wedded in confidence, that, after a thousand dis- 
appointments, he still maintains it. And the truth is, it is impos- 
sible to get the heart carried off it, except to absolute despair, with- 
out putting a better in the room thereof ; which is done only by 
faith taking a God in Christ instead thereof; Matth. xiii. 45,46. 
This surely requires a supernatural power ; Jer. xvi. 19. 

(3.) Law-confidence. The law was Adam's covenant ; and as he 
was to work and win his wages, so that is the natural religion of all 
his posterity. Nature knows no other way of acceptance with God; 
and men stick by it till death, and a violent death too, do part 
them ; Gal. ii. 19, ** For I through the law am dead to the law, 



that I might live uuto Grod." Rom. vii. 4, " Wherefore ray breth- 
ren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ." An 
evidence that it is another power than their own must bring them 
off it. 

6. Man has a strong bias and bent against believing or trusting to 
the gospel ; Rom. x. 3, " For they being ignorant of Grod's righteous- 
ness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not 
submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." John v. 40, 
" And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." The con- 
trivance of the gospel lies cross to the mind and will of natural 
men, and they to it ; so that the one is the very reverse of the 
other. Hence the Jews and Greeks both were opposite to the gos- 
pel, and in their wisdom reckoned it folly. So that the soul must 
be new moulded by a divine power, ere it can receive it; 1 Cor. ii. 
l4, forecited. 

7. Lastly, It is the product of the Holy Spirit, wherever it is ; 
Gal. v. 22, " But the fruit of the Spirit is faith." Hence Christ 
is called " the author of it," Heb. xii, 2, as working it in the elect 
by his own Spirit ; 2 Cor. iv. 13. It was promised in the covenant 
for the elect, to be effected by the Spirit ; and so it is peculiar to 
them ; Acts xiii. 48, as being the work of God's Spirit only. And 
the gospel is the only immediate outward mean of it, because it only 
is " the ministration of the Spirit." 

II. What is that working of divine power whereby the soul is 
brought to trust to the gospel-report ? There is a twofold work of 
divine power on the soul for that end. 

First, A mediate work, which is preparatory to it; whereof the 
Spirit is the author, and the instrument is the law. It is twofold. 

1st, An awakening work ; whereby the secure sinner is roused up, 
and made to lay salvation to heart, which he was little concerned 
about before, sleeping securely. And that is done by the Spirit's 
bringing home the law on the sinner's conscience. And, 

1. There is a divine power bringing home on the sinner's conscience 
the commands of the law ; Rom. vii. 9, " For I was alive without the 
law once ; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I 
died." And thereby they are discovered ; 1. In their divine autho- 
rity, as the commands of the eternal sovereign God, which clothes 
them with an awfulness they were not wont to appear in to the sin- 
ner ; each of them being prefaced with a "Thus saith the Lord." 
2. As binding on the sinner in particular ; so that the bond of the 
command is found by him girding him strait, however he felt little 
of it before ; Rom. vii. 10, "And the commandment which was or- 
dained to life, I found to be unto death." It is observable that the 


ten commands are all in the second person, speaking to every man 
as if they concerned no other but him, " Thou shalt not," «Sic. And 
when the Spirit comes, he speaks them the same way to the sinner's 
conscience ; Rom. vii. 7, " 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." 

Now hereby the sinner is convinced of sin, and brought in guilty 
before the Lord, John xvi. 8; Rom. iii. 19. His sins original and 
actual, of heart and life, of thoughts, words, and actions, are set be- 
fore him, Psalm 1. 21. And he is like a thief found, Jer. ii. 26. 

2. This divine power brings home on the sinner's conscience the 
curse of the law ; John xvi. 8, '' And when he is come, he will re- 
prove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." 
And it is discovered to be, 1. God's curse, heavier than mountains of 
lead, which, in virtue of his greatness, is insupportable, in virtue of 
his infiniteuess eternal, and in virtue of his truth infallible ; though 
before it was but like the sounding again of the mountains in his 
conceit. 2. God's curse on him in particular, staking him down to 
revenging wrath. The Spirit of the Lord says within the man, as 
Mai. iii. 9, " Ye are cursed with a curse ; for ye have robbed me, 
even this whole nation." As long as the sinner can ward off the 
particular application of the curse to himself, he will little value the 
gospel, Rev. iii. 17. But the word delivers it in the general ; Gal. 
iii. 10, " Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which 
are written in the book of the law to do them ;" and a divine power 
obliges the conscience to apply. 

Ueieby the sinner is convinced of his misery, and sees himself lost 
and undone, Luke xv. 17. And so he is, 

1. Stung to the heart, and galled with remorse. Acts ii. 37- 
"Waves of killing grief go over his soal ; he sees he has been mur- 
dering his own soul, and he groans out an elegy over his dead self; 
Rom. vii. 9, " I was alive without the law once ; but when the com- 
mandment came, sin revived, and I died." 

2. Frightened with terror. Acts xvi. 29 ; with the terror of God, the 
terror of death, and the terror of eternity. 

3. Racked with anxiety. Acts ii. 37. Sometimes he hopes, some- 
times he fears, but is always anxious. This anxiety fills head, 
heart, and hands; swallows up all other cares, for the man sees 
how true it is ; Matth. xvi. 26, " What is a man profited, if he 
shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? or what shall 
a man give in exchange for his soul ?" 

2dly, An humbling work, whereby the proud sinner is brought 
low to the dust ; not only finding a need of salvation, but an abso- 


lute need of Christ for salvation ; that there is no other way of help 
for hira ; but if he get not Christ he must perish. So he is broken 
off from, 

1. Self-confidence, Luke xv. 17- He sees he has destroyed him- 
self, but cannot help himself, Hos. xiii. 9. He finds that he is with- 
out strength, light, or life ; that his work is quite beyond his reach, 
the debt beyond his ability to pay; the bonds of sin, in the guilt of 
it, and the power of it, quite above his might to break asunder, Eom. 
vii. 9. 

2. Creature-confidence, Luke xv. 16. While his conscience was 
asleep, he pleased himself in his enjoyment of the creature, but now 
that it is awake, the emptiness of the whole creation is felt by him. 
His lawful comforts are foysonless, while he thinks God is his ene- 
my ; his unlawful comforts have left a sting behind them, which the 
whole creation cannot pull out. There is no rest for his heart now, 
but in a God in Christ. 

3. Law-confidence, Rom. vii. 9, 10. Time was when he had hopes 
of acceptance with God by the deeds of the law, and set down his 
duties of first and second table as so much clear gain ; but now he 
sees they are all but loss, Phil. iii. 6, 7- So he despairs of mending 
his case that way ; and that he cannot pay his own debt in whole or in 
part. And all this is by means of the law too, discovered in its spi- 
rituality and severity; Gal. ii, 19, " I through the law am dead to 
the law, that I might live unto God." 

Secondly, This work of divine power is an immediate work ; where- 
by faith is produced in the soul, it caused to trust to the gospel-re- 
port; whereof the Spirit is the author, and the gospel the instrument. 
And it is, 

1. A quickening work; whereby the dead soul is called again to 
spiritual life ; Eph. ii. 1, " You hath he quickened who were dead 
in trespasses and sins." Therefore the same power is said to be 
exerted in that case, as in raising Christ from the dead, re-uniting 
his soul with his body, Eph. i. 19, 20. So the Spirit of Christ en- 
ters into the dead soul, and the dry bones live, Ezek. xxxvi. 27; 
which Spirit is communicated in the word of the gospel, as the vehi- 
cle thereof, so to speak. Gal. iii. 2. Hence the word of the gospel is 
said to bo spirit and life, John vi. 63 ; as being the ministration of 
the Spirit. An emblem of which is in the resurrection of the dry 
bones. And hence there is, 

1. A power to believe, as in a living man to breathe. So the Spi- 
rit of life being the Spirit of faith in the soul, it has a supernatural 
power, for that supernatural act, 2 Cor. iv. 13. In vain do wo call 
the huno man to walk, who has noal)ility of walking ; but the Spi- 


rit with the call of the gospel entering into the sinner, he is enabled 
to embrace Christ on the gospel-report. 

2. A disposition to believe; Psalm ex. 3, "Thy people shall be 
willing in the day of thy power;" as in Lazarus brought to life, to 
come out of the grave, and to lie no longer there. So the soul be- 
comes pliable to the gospel-call, content to come to Christ, content 
to be made clean. Death's bands being loosed, the neck is no more 
as an iron sinew ; but the life given disposes to what is agreeable to 

2. An illuminating work. There is a knowledge in faith, which 
is therefore called knowledge, Isa. liii. 11 ; John xvii. 3. No man 
will trust to the report of the gospel until he know it, and know it 
by a supernatural discovery too, 1 Cor. ii. 14. And the Spirit of 
the Lord makes that discovery, Acts xxvi. 18 ; shewing the trea- 
sure hid in the gospel-field, Matth. xiii. 44. This the Spirit doth by 
bringing home the gospel-report to the soul ; in which he demon- 
strates it to the soul with the greatest certainty, 1 Cor. ii. 4. He 
demonstrates it to be, 

1. God's own word, 1 Thess. ii. 13. The report comes in the word 
that Christ is sent in the character of Saviour of the world ; that he 
is able to save, and willing to save the worst of sinners ; and that 
" whosoever believeth in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting 
life," John iii. 16. The Spirit of the Lord sets this in such a clear 
light, as that the sinner sees it is not a report of fallible men; but 
the word of the eternal God that cannot lie ; the divine testimony, 
which is so certain that it cannot be false, 1 Cor. ii. 4. 

(2.) God's word to that soul in particular, as really as if a voice 
from heaven did speak to him by name, saying, Such an one, Cbrist 
is your Saviour, able and willing to save you ; and you trusting 
on him " shall not perish, but have everlasting life," 1 Thess. i. 5. 
This is as it were an internal word, applying to the soul in particu- 
lar, the external word which is general ; and without it the special 
application of faith will not be. Hence the Spirit is said to con- 
vince of righteousness as well as of sin ; which he does by a parti- 
cular application of the law in the one, and of the gospel in the 
other; John xvi. 8. And the Spirit's testimony of Christ is distin- 
guished from the preacher's testimony ; John xv. 26, 27, "But 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. And yo also shall bear witness, because ye have been 
with me from the beginnin}?." 

(3.) A determining work, effectually and irresistibly determining 
them to believe, so that they can no longer not believe. This is 


called the Father's drawing, viz., by his Spirit ; John vi. 44. The 
Spirit of the Lord freely wins the soul, over the belly of all opposi- 

(1.) To believe, and trust the report of the gospel, as true. For 
the demonstration of the Spirit is accompanied with power ; 1 Cor. 
ii. 4, Some things are so clear to all, as that two and three make 
five, so that none can but believe it. Some things are so demon- 
strated by sight, or by reason, that though one could not believe 
them before, they can as little not believe them, or withhold their 
assent from them, after. So the gospel being demonstrated by the 
Spirit, cannot but be believed, and trusted as true ; and therefore it 
is said to have come in much assurance; 1 Thess. i. 5, as a thing 
seen by the soul, or demonstrated to it. 

And so faith is the soul's echo to this demonstration of the Spirit ; 
the soul saying he is the Saviour of the world, and my Saviour, able 
and willing to save sinners, and to save me ; on whom I trusting 
shall not perish, like Thomas, " My Lord, and my God," John 
XX. 28. 

(2.) To trust to the report of the gospel, as good. For the same 
demonstration of the Spirit so discovers the excellency, and absolute 
suitableness of Christ to the sinner's case, and full security for its 
salvation that is in him, upon the infallible truth of the gospel-re- 
port that it being earnestly desirous of salvation, cannot but trust to 
it as good for them, and good security. 

So then here faith takes up the soul's eternal rest, resting wholly 
on Christ held forth in the gospel for salvation, upon the security 
of the word of the gospel. 

Use I. Of information. Hence learn, that, 

1. The faith of the gospel is to be suspected, that springs up with- 
out a work of mighty power to the producing of it. These are not 
of that sort ; Eph. i. 19, 20, who have experienced " the exceeding 
greatness of his power toward them in believing, according to the 
working of his mighty power ; which he wrought in Christ, when he 
raised him from the dead." Wild oats spring up without any pains 
about them ; but it is not so with good grain. So a false faith may 
spring from nature, without divine influence ; but true faith is the 
fruit of the mighty power of God. It is the loss of many, that they 
come easily by their religion, they know not how, but as in a morn- 
ing-dream, it costs them nothing. 

It is true, grace is a seed that springs and grows up a man knows 
not how ; Mark iv. 17- But it is one thing to spring up without till- 
ing and sowing ; another, to spring up out of grouud tilled and sown, 
one knows not how. The husbandman knows very well how ho comes 


by his crop, what pains he was at in labouring the ground, though 
he cannot account for that how the seed he sowed did turn into such 
a fair braird. So faith springing up in the heart may be mysterious 
to the believer, as to the time and way of it ; who yet knows there 
was an awakening, humbling, enlightening, and powerfully deter- 
mining work on him for that end. 

Some indeed may be sanctified fi'om the womb ; but that will ap- 
pear in grace's exercise beginning with the exercise of reason ; and 
Satan will readily assault their faith after, that they shall find a 
difiSculty in the exercise of it. 

2. See whence it is that most men's faith of the gospel has no 
sanctifying effect on their lives. It is a mere natural faith, and 
therefore cannot change their natures. If their faith were the pro- 
dace of a mighty work of divine power on their souls, whereby they 
were quickened, humbled, enlightened, and powerfully determined, 
it would make a suitable change on the whole man. It would be a 
most holy faith ; Jude verse 20, as making holy ; produced by the 
holy Spirit ; and uniting the soul to the holy Jesus, and drawing 
sanctifying virtue from him. 

3. The salvation of sinners is altogether of free grace. Man can 
do nothing to purpose for himself any manner of way. In the law- 
way, perfect obedience is required ; that is certainly beyond his 
reach. In the gospel-way faith is required ; and that is beyond his 
power too ; Eph. ii. 8, " By grace are ye saved, through faith ; and 
that not of yourselves ; it is the gift of God." The gospel casts out 
a rope to hale sinners to land; but the sinner has no hands to lay 
hold on it ; his very faith must be wrought in him by the Spirit, 

4. Believers have reason to be humble, and to acknowledge that 
whatever difference in the matter of faith and holiness is betwixt 
them and others, it is purely owing to the work of the Spirit, not to 
themselves, agreeable to what the apostle saith ; 1 Cor. iv. 7, " Who 
maketh thee to differ from another ? and what hast thou that thou 
didst not receive ? now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, 
as if thou hadst not received it ?" Sinners are all naturally dead in 
sin ; and free grace sends the quickening Spirit to one, not to an- 
other ; that " he that glories, may glory in the Lord." 

5. The difficulty that some find in believing, is rather a good sign, 
than an ill one. They were the disciples that said ; Luke xvii. 5, 
" Increase our faith." The soul that finds a difficulty in believing 
the gospel, and is loaded with that slowness to believe, and look- 
ing out to the Spirit of the Lord to help him to believe, is in a hope- 
ful case as to the work of faith ; Mark ix. 24. The Lord makes the 
truth of faith, and his own power in working it, to appear the 


better, by letting men feel the power of tbeir unbelieving hearts. 
Use 2. Of Exhortation. Let us look to the Lord for the opera- 
tion of his mighty power, to cause us to believe. There is need of 
this, (1.) For the begetting of true faith in us. Natural powers as- 
sisted with the best means of external revelation, will not do it. (2.) 
For the increasing and exercise of faith. New supplies are necessary 
for this. And with respect to both, both ministers and peoi)le have need 
to look to the Spirit of God. As the ship will make but sorry pro- 
gress, if the wind blow not; so the gospel will be but ill improven, 
if the Spirit of the Lord do not blow. 

Doctrine. The feeling of this power of God is ofttimes very rai'e 
among the hearers of the gospel. 

"We need not insist on the proof of this ; our own case is a visi- 
ble evidence of it. "With I'espect to which we may consider, 1. "What 
are the causes of it ; and, 2. Our duty. 

I. "What are the causes of it ? Why is it so with us ? 

1. An old standing quarrel that God has with our mother. The 
sins of Manasseh were a standing quarrel in the days of his grand- 
son Josiah ; 2 Kings xxiii. 26, and his great-grandson Jehoiakim, 
chap xxiv. 3. God is saying concerning us, as Hos. ii. 4, 5, " And 
I will not have mercy upon her children ; for they be the children 
of whoredoms. For their mother hath played the harlot; she that 
conceived them hath done shamefully; for she said, I will go after 
my lovers, that give rae my bread and my water," &c. Do we ask, 
"Why the Lord has so much withdrawn himself in our land ? Ah ! 
what wonder is it, his soul so much abhores a land, wherein a co- 
venant sworn to him with uplifted hands, was broken purposely, 
burnt disgracefully, his ordinances changed, his saints persecuted 
and murdered, and his name insulted and blasphemed ; and these 
things never yet sufficiently mourned for; I doubt much if ever 
Scotland shall recover lier ancient spiritual glory, through the pre- 
sence of the Lord remarkably and gloriously with her, till she go 
back to God in the manner she came away. 

2. A present course of backsliding among all ranks in church and 
state. In reforming times the Spirit of the Lord returns to a laud ; 
Psalm cii. 16, 17, " When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall 
appear in his glory. Ke will regard the prayer of the destitute, 
and not despise their prayer." And so it was seen among our fore- 
fathers oftcncr than once. Our present case in respect of the Lord's 
withdrawing, doth therefore write us a backsliding generation ; 
whoso judgment and sin, see Isa. Ivii. 17, " For the iniquity of his 
covotousucss was I wroth, and smote him ; I hid me, and was wroth, 
and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart." The generation 


is souring apace ; the elder sort losing the life of religion that some- 
tinie-a-day they had ; and the younger neither knowing any thing 
about it, nor caring for it. A sad evidence of the Spirit's being in 
great measure gone. 

3. Worldliness prevailing through long peace. Times of perse- 
cution were times of much of God's presence ; enemies kept pro- 
fessors stirring. And the more they afflicted them, the more they 
grew : the young folk were engaged to embrace a persecuted re- 
ligion. But now the generation is sunk in worldly cares and ease ; 
and religion is so cheap, that it is quite undervalued. It is as Josh, 
xxiv. 31, " Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all 
the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known 
all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel ;" implying, 
that after the elders were gone too, the generation went away from 
God, for good and all. Truly, we may say in our case. Our Joshuas 
are away long ago ; and our elders that have outlived them, are 
by this time nearly gone. So the Lord, and his great works he did 
in the land, are almost worn out of ken, and out of mind, with this 
generation ; and tlie genfration that knew not Joseph and his afflic- 
tions, are filling the stage fast, and proclaiming themselves uncon- 
cerned in them ; trampling on that religion that others suflfered for. 
But let them take heed that sadder sufferings be not abiding them, 
that they will neither get shifted, nor be so well buckled for. See 
Judges iii. 1, " Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to 
prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all 
the wars of Canaan." 

4. Grieving and quenching the Spirit; Isa. Ixiii. 10. The Spi- 
rit is compared to a fire ; and when that holy fire is cherished and 
nourished, a small spark may become a great flame ; but being ne- 
glected, and sought to be extinguished, it abates. Many have been 
the methods taken publicly and privately to quench the Spirit in 
the generation ; and they have prevailed far, till that which re- 
mains is even ready to die. God who by his own hand has given 
several sharp knocks at the door of some sinners' hearts, who yet 
would not open, has therefore been provoked to go and leave them. 

II. What is our duty in such a case ? 

1. Mourn over it; lament the Lord's withdrawings as those who 
are sensible of the great loss ; 1 Sara. vii. 2. 

2. Pray much and earnestly for the return of his powerful pre- 
sence to ordinances ; Cant. iii. 1 — 4; Isa. Ixiv. 7- 

3. Lastly, Consider the word of the gospel as the word of the 
eternal God ; 1 Thcss. ii. 13, and labour to walk up to what ye 
know of the word ; John vii. 17. If ye do so, ye shall feel, that his 
"words do good to him that walketh uprightly ;" Mic.ah ii. 7- 



Matth. vii. 13, 14, 

Enter ye in at the strait gate : for wide is the gate, and broad is the 
way that leadeth to destruction, and many there he which go in thereat. 

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way luhich leadeth unto 
life, and few there be that find it. 

Men in this life are but on their way, not in their home-house, 
where they are to abide; and it nearly concerns all, since life on 
the one hand, and destruction on the other, are before thera, having 
their different gates and ways leading to them, to take heed which 
gate, which way they choose, to enter and go by. " Enter ye in at 
the strait gate," &c. 

The scope of these words is, to remove a great stumbling-block 
against serious religion, that lies in the way of the world ; that is, 
the great difficulty there is in such a course of life, and the very 
small number of those that follow it. This makes terrible havoc in 
the world, and time after time men fall over this stumbling-block. 
Our Saviour had been preaching his sermon on the mount, wherein 
he gives such a view of true and real religion, as could not miss to 
be very unacceptable to carnal men. They were ready thereupon 
to say. These were hard sayings, few will ever fall in with them ; 
the vote of the plurality of men is against that way, and points to a 
far easier course ; and can we imagine but there is safety in the 
trodden path, and shall we forsake it for an overgrown one ? To 
remove this, our Saviour peremptorily determines the wide and 
beaten road, wherein the throng of the world goes, to be the way to 
destruction ; and that the way to life is a very narrow one, hard to 
find, and hard to walk in ; and therefore, from the necessity there is 
of obtaining eternal life, and escaping eternal destruction, at any 
rate, cost what it will, exhorts us to enter in at the strait gate. 

In the words we have two things. 

I. An exhortation and warning how to direct our course for the 
other world, which this world and life is but the avenue to; " Enter 
ye in at the strait gate," &c. And here we have, 

1. The course pointed out to us which is the safe one, " the strait 
gate." A gate is properly the port of a city, as Acts xii. 10, or of 
a court, as Acts iii. 10, but I do not find it used for the door of a 
house. So hero it is plain there is a metaphor; and some think the 

* Several ttrmous prcacbcd at Ettrick, in tbe year 1731. 


metaphor is double, namely, (1.) That heaven is here compared to a 
house, into which a strait gate Icadeth ; (2.) To a city, to which is 
a narrow way. But if heaven is here compared to a city, hell is so too • 
for there is a wide gate, and a broad way leading to destruction, as 
w^ll as a strait gate and a narrow way leading unto life. But I think 
it is not the scripture way to speak of hell under the notion of a city. 
I judge, then, the metaphor is one : that heaven is here compared to 
a house ; as Luke xiii. 25, " When once the master of the house is 
risen up," &c. ; as hell also is, being held out under the notion of a 
prison, pit, dungeon, &c. ; but such a house as has a court before it 
where is the gate which they must enter by that would enter into 
the house. So it is plain, that the " gate," the " way," and " the 
entering in at the gate," is in this world, and in this life. Gen. 
xxviii. 17. And so it is in the case of hell. Wherefore the godly, 
true converts, are, as it were, in the outer court of heaven ; the 
ungodly and unregenerate in the outer court of hell ; both making 
forward to their place. 

2. A course hinted at which is unsafe. For speaking of the 
strait gate, he supposes there is also a wide gate, the which also 
he directly teaches after. So there are two gates before us, very 
different in themselves, and leading to very different ends. 

3. Our duty and interest with respect to these gates. It is to 
enter in at the strait one. Here the Lord directs our choice as 
to these gates. As soon as we begin to discern betwixt good and 
evil, we begin, as it were, to enter at one of these gates ; and we 
will be sure to choose the wide one as easiest, till we hear the voice 
of Christ, and be persuaded to change our course. Satan invites to 
the wide one, the world throngs in at it, it is most agreeable to the 
flesh ; but our Saviour bids us choose the strait one, warns us to 
beware of the wide one. This is a shocking call and warning to 
nature, hard to digest. Who would choose to thrust in by a strait 
gate, where there were a broad one in which one might have full 
scope 1 Therefore we have 

II. A reason for this exhortation and warning, consisting of two 

First, That though the other gate is easy, and much frequented, 
yet it is most dangerous ; and they are fools that prefer the road 
unto destruction, to the road unto life, because the former is easier 
than the latter ; for what wisdom can there be in fondly embracing 
that present ease, which must end in eternal agony ? Hero, then, 
our Saviour points out the opposite gate, the gate opposite to the 
strait one, that we may avoid it ; and he points it out, together 
with the way conformed thereto. The gate aud the way, I think, are 


not to be conceived as separate things, as a way leading to a city, 
and a gate leading into a house, but as an undivided space ; how- 
ever, the gate and the way may be distinguished ; they are to be 
conceived as making one undivided space, for our Saviour speaks of 
them as one, " that go in thereat," or " by it," not ".by them." 

Some take the way in this metaphor for the space between the 
two sides of the gate, at which rate the gate contains the way. 
Bnt this makes the gate the immediate entrance into the house, 
which I do not find that word used for ; for certainly the way lands 
one in the house, according to the text. Besides, the mention of the 
way of the same nature with the gate, would at this rate be super- 
fluous ; for wherever there is a wide gate, there must be such a 
broad space ; and where a strait gate, there must be such a narrow 
space ; for it is the broadness or narrowness of the space left be- 
twixt the sides of the gate, that makes the gate broad or strait. 
Wherefore I judge the gate and the way are to be conceived as a 
continuous space, the one terminating in the other. 

Some conceive the way to lead to the gate, and so to be first in 
order. But this still makes the gate the gate of the house, or the 
door of it, which, we have found, cannot be admitted ; and our 
Saviour himself distinguishes these two, Luke xiii. 24, 25. 

"Wherefore I conceive, that, according to the order of the text, 
the gate is before the way ; so that entering in by it, we enter into 
the way, as one going in at the gate of an outer court, and passing 
through it, passes on the way into the house. And thus ye have 
the metaphor stated, which is necessary for understanding the mind 
of the spirit in the text, as to the spiritual doctrine taught thereby. 
Now here we have, 

\st, The nature of the gate opposite to that we are called to enter 
in by, and of the way joining it. 

1. The gate is a wide one. The entrance into the way to hell is 
very easy. It is a room port and spacious, whereat multitudes 
may throng in, without troubling one another. None will need to 
thrust through here, it will admit them with all ease ; for it is per- 
fectly agreeable to the flesh, to the natural inclinations. It is so 
wide, that people may close their eyes, run at random, and not miss 
it ; even young ones may get in at it without difticulty. 

2. The way that joins it is broad. When they are through the 
gate, they are on a way that is a broad one, where they will get full 
scope and elbow-room. They will not find themselves pent up 
there, as in a narrow road. There they are not hampered in their 
natural inclinations, by conscience, Bible, &c., but get full scope for 
the vanity of their minds, the aversion of their wills to good, and 
proneness to evil, and all their disorderly afl'ections. 


2dli/, The use made of it. It is much frequented ; " many there 
be which go in thereat." The wideness of the gate, and breadth of 
the way, affording so much ease to passengers, invite people to it : 
and it takes so, that the throng of the world goes that way. There 
are many different dispositions of carnal men, these contrary one to 
another ; there are covetous and prodigals,' profane and formalists, 
&c., but however opposite they are one to another, they meet there ; 
and the gate and the way are so wide, that there are roads therein 
for each of them. 

Sdly, The end of it, and tendency. The end of it is destruction, 
and to that it tends, (Grr.) leads away. However easy the gate and 
way are, every step taken therein is a step to eternal ruin. So, how- 
ever inviting the beginning and progress in it be, the end of it is 
frightful. There is a pit at the end of the broad way, which may 
scare men from entering on it. 

The second part of the reason is, That though the gate we are 
called to enter in by is indeed difficult, yet it is safe, and a happy 

1^^, The nature of the gate and way joining it. 

1. The gate is strait. The entry into the way of religion is diffi- 
cult ; it will require a great deal of resoluteness to get in by it. 
Luke xiii. 24, " Strive to enter in at the strait gate." One must 
thrust through it, cast off their burdens ; they will not get in with 
them on their backs, they must bring themselves into a narrow com- 
pass, leaving all superfluity of naughtiness at the entry. The Jew- 
ish doctors speak of the gate of repentance, the gate of prayer, and 
the gate of tears. These and the like are indeed the gate we are to 
enter by ; and they are strait, 

2, The way joining it is narrow, (Or.), afflicted or compressed. 
It is like a strait shoe that presses the foot. It is not easy walking 
in it, more than in such a shoe, or in a way where there is little room 
for the foot. Afflictions and temptations beset it, and it leads over 
the belly of natural inclinations ; which march cannot be easy. 

2dli/, The unfrequentedness of it ; few find it. There is no diffi- 
culty to find the wide gate, it glares in the eyes of every passenger* 
and no difficulty of entering by it. But there be few that so much 
as find the strait gate ; they seek it not ; blinded with corrupt lusts 
they cannot take it up; and, consequently, few enter by it; either 
they perceive it not, or if they do, the straitness of it frights them. 

ddly, and Lastly, The happy tendency and end of it, notwithstand- 
ing ; (Gr.) which leadeth into life. It is not a stepping into it, 
but a going to it in a continued course. It leads away from the de- 
vil, the world, and the flesh ; and brings at length through many a 


weary step into eternal life in heaven. So all the hardship of the 
gate and way is recompensed at length in the end. 
Several doctrines are deducible from the words. 

Doctrine I. Whosoever would direct their course aright for the 
other world, must necessarily enter in by the strait gate. 

In discoursing this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Shew what is supposed in it. 

II. Consider this strait gate. 

III. The entering in by it. 
TV. Lastly, Apply. 

I. There are some truths supposed in this. It supposes, that, 

1. All men here are on their journey to the other world ; Eccl. 
ix. 10, " "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might ; 
for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the 
grave, whither thou goest." This life is but the avenue to the other 
life, and this world but a thoroughfare to the other world ; like a 
town lying on the road to a city, which passengers go through on 
their journey ; Eccl. i. 4. However men talk, none have a tack of 
life. The young are but on their journey, even as the aged. All 
know what part of their way is passed, but none knows what re- 

2. We will all get there at length one way or other, without all 
peradventure. There is no doubt of finding a course that will carry 
us thither ; all the difficulty is in falling on and steering the right 
coarse ; Psalm xlix. 10. Many have taken journeys which they 
have never got to the end of ; many have been baulked of the end 
of their intended journey, because they took the wrong way. But 
right or wrong, we will all get to the other world. 

3. There is a wrong course for the other world, which wo are in 
hazard of taking. It is a wrong one, as leading, though surely 
enough to the other world, yet to the wrong part of it, the land of 
death and destruction eternal ; " for wide is the gate, and broad is 
the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there bo which go in 
thereat." And we are in hazard of taking that road ; for the na- 
tural bent ot our spirits lies that way. Satan is busy to decoy us 
into it, and the example of the throng of the world has great influ- 

4. Yet there is a right course for that world too ; a way to it 
opened, which if we can fall on, it will bring us safely to that part of 
the other world that is the land of eternal light and life. It is true, 
it was once blocked up ; but Christ, by his obedience and death, 
hath opened it; Heb. x. 19, 20. This should be gladly received by 
us, since it is of such a vast moment to us. 


5. It is possible we may fall on this right course. It is true, we 
cannot without serious consideration, and applying ourselves thereto ; 
we will never stumble on it, nor snapper on it going at random, as 
we may on the course of destruction ; but if we will hear the voice 
of Christ our director, and direct our course accordingly, we will not 
miss it; Prov. ix. 4 — 6 ; Psalm cxix. 9. 

6. But naturally we are oif that course : we have our entrance on 
it to make. Adam, and in him all mankind, was once upon the 
straight road to life : but there was such a mist raised by the breath 
of the old serpent, that he lost his way ; and so we in him were led 
off the way; Rora. 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." And now in the first place we are wandering on 
the mountains of vanity ; there Christ finds us as strays, and gives 
us direction how to direct our course, where to enter, what to stand 
off from. 

7. The gate we must enter by, is a strait one, not easily found, 
hard to enter by. The course to hell, is wide at the beginning of it, 
strait at the end, exceeding strait ; Rom. ii. 9, " Tribulation and 
anguish upon every soul of man that doth evil," &c. The course to 
heaven is strait at the first, and broad at the end ; Rev. xxi. 7, " He 
that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and 
he shall be my son." Happy they who digest the straitening at 
first ! they are in the way to eternal liberty ; Rom. viii. 21. 

8. Lastly, There is no gate but the strait one, to enter on that 
course by. There is no choice here, for heaven ; for however men 
may imagine wide gates to it, the scripture acknowledges only a 
strait gate leading to it ; so that he who cannot endure to think to 
be abridged of his liberty, or to thurst in by a strait gate, must give 
over thoughts of life in heaven. 

II. We shall consider this strait gate. And here we shall shew, 

\st, "What that strait gate is. 

2dly, What makes it so strait. 

First, What is that strait gate ? According to what was said in 
the explication of the words, it is the entrance into religion, where- 
by men become really religious ; John x. 9, " I am the door ; hy me 
if any man enter in, he shall be saved," &c. Heb. iv. 3, " For we 
which have believed, do enter into rest," &c. This is conversion 
unto God, by faith in Jesus Christ ; Hos. xiv. 1, compared with John 
xiv. 6. Hence the " door of faith ;" Acts xiv. 27, is expounded of 
conversion ; chap. xv. 3. This is the gate we must enter by. For, 

1. This is the gate of the outer court of heaven, which one having 
entered through, he is immediately in the court of heaven ; Heb. iv. 

Vol. X. X 


3, forecited. And he is so in the court of it, that he cannot miss it 
in the end ; Pliil. i. 6. No converts nor true believers can perish 
more than one can pluck out of Christ's hand what he minds to hold ; 
John X. 28. And therefore they are reckoned " fellow-citizens with 
the saints;" Eph. ii. 19, making up one family with those above, 
chap. iii. 15. For the one are but within the house, the other are 
in the court of the house. 

2. This is the gate by which men are set on the way to heaven, 
and begin their journey thitherward. They that have passed through 
this gate are travellers to Iramanuel's land, now fairly upon the 
road ; Cant. viii. 5, with the smell of heaven about them ; chap. iii. 
6. They are come out of Egypt, they have passed through the Red 
sea, and they are now ill the wilderness, in their way to the promised 

8. This is the gate that looks directly to the door of heaven, and 
by the way lands them in it. As the wide gate looks directly to 
hell, and lands the passengers there, if they go forward ; so the 
entrance into real religion, by conversion, through faith, looks to 
heaven, and lands the passengers there. 

4. This is the gate by whicli men turn their backs on the wide 
gate and broad way; for it is just opposite to them; Heb. iv. 10. 
Men may shift about from one way and course of life to another ; 
but till they enter this gate, they are still in the broad way to de- 
struction ; Matth. xviii. 3, where there is room enough to shift to 
opposite sides. But once entered here, they are fairly separated 
from the world lying in wickedness, and joined in with the family 
of Grod; 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18, and they shall never mis with them 
again ; Psalm xii. 7, " Thou shalt keep them, Lord, thou shalt 
preserve them from this generation for ever." 

Now, this gate is a strait gate. The entrance into a course of 
ungodliness is not strait ; nay, the entrance into a form of godliness 
is not strait ; men may be got in there by the gentle bow of good 
education, like Joash ; by a common easy work of the Spirit on their 
affections by the gospel ; Matth. xiii. 20, 21 ; by the current ex- 
ample running strong that way at a time, like Simon ; Acts viii. 
12, 13. The straitcst entrance into it, is by an abortive law-work 
as the Israelites; Exod. xx. 18, 19. But even that is so wide, that 
it does not press the unholy heart to purity ; Dent. v. 27, 29. 

But the entrance into real religion by a sound conversion, is a 
strait gate, in these respects. 

1. It is so strait that it is not easily taken up by the eye; Matth. 
vii. 14, " Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that lead- 
cth unto life, and few there be that find it." Most part of the 


world never notice it, more tlian if there were not such a gate at all. 
How many live joyfully year after year, never once troubling their 
heads with the question, "What conversion is ? whether they be as 
yet converted or not ? When the Spirit of the Lord begins to deal 
with others, they mistake it for melancholy fancies. Yea, many 
times the parties themselves do not know what it is that is dealing 
with them, for a time, and it remains still a mystery in great mea- 
sure, John iii. 8. Masters in Israel this day own it not ; but in- 
stead thereof set up the reforming of vicious habits, and applying 
to the practice of virtue, with as little success towards reforming the 
generation, as there is truth in the principle ; though, if we had it, 
it would not carry us beyond the length of some Pagan moralists. 

2. It is hard entering into it at all. Many seeing it at a distance, 
are frightened from it by the straitness of it, John vi. 60, 66. Many 
entered actually, come out again, and make their escape from it, un- 
able to bear the pressure of the very first entry, like Felix, Acts 
xxiv. 25, who trembled at Paul's preachir.g, and said to him, " Go 
thy way for this time ; when I have a convenient season, I will call 
for thee." Sound conviction of the sin of our life and nature, with 
the misery we are therefore liable to, will bring a man to his knees, 
and straiten and press him sore ; like those. Acts ii. 37, who " were 
pricked in their heart, and said, Men and brethren, what shall wo 
do?" Many a man in the entry of it comes to think, that he will 
never get through, but that he will certainly die in his birth. 

3. The passage through it is difficult. Sometimes it is shorter, 
sometimes longer ; and often does men's want of wisdom make it 
longer than otherwise it would be, Hos. xiii. 13. But short or long, 
it is difficult for the time. 

(1.) For men cannot get the scope there, that they were wont to 
have. They are abridged of their sinful liberty. Hence they give 
many a greedy look back to the flesh-pots of Egypt ; which they 
would actually turn back to, were there not a strong hand pushing 
them forward, 2 Thess. i. 11. 

(2.) They cannot get up their head there ; but must as it were 
creep through on their knees. There is a power from heaven that 
brings down the man from his former heights. The converting word 
to Zaccheus was a humbling word, " Come down," Luke xix. 5. And 
if there was no mystery in these words, but they only looked to his 
coming down from the tree, whence arose that mighty change imme- 
diately wrought on him ? Nay, converting work is soul-humbling 
work. Acts ix. 6 ; 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. And they will never get up their 
head, till they be through at God in Christ by faith, Acts xv. 11. 

(3.) They are pressed there, to the laying aside of all their super- 


fluities that they were wont to carry along with them, James i. 21. 
There is no room in the gate for them, and these too. Christ says, 
" If ye take me, let these go away." Hence the wise merchant sells 
all, and buys the pearl. It presses not only to the purging of the 
life of some sins, but all sins, even the darling idol among the rest ; 
and iiot of the life only, but the heart too. Psalm xxiv. 3, 4. 

Secondly, "What makes this gate, the entrance into religion, so 
strait ? 

1. The mighty contrariety of our nature to it, Rom. viii. 7, " The 
carnal mind is enmity against God ; for it is not subject to the law 
of God, neither indeed can be." Take a fish out of the water into 
the open fields, it is restless ; it pants as if it were pent up in the 
narrowest space. There is a strong propensity in our nature to evil, 
and aversion to God and goodness ; so that much of the power of 
converting grace is employed in making the soul willing. Psalm ex. 
3. And when it is made willing, it is presently through the gate ; 
the main work is done, the soul readily comes to God through Christ. 

2. The various lusts hanging about the soul. The gate is room 
enongh for receiving the man ; but it is strait and pinching to him, 
when he comes with all these about him. 

(1.) There is a variety of these lusts unmortified about every unre- 
newed man. Tit. iii. 3. They hang about him like a numerous family 
to be fed, crying, Give, give. "When the man comes to the gate, he 
finds it strait, for there is an old man with him, that is to be put ofi', 
which there is no access for into the house, Eph. iv. 22. But they 
are loth to part. 

(2.) These lusts are of a swelling nature at all times. They are the 
ill weeds in the ground of the corrupt heart, that wax well. He 
brings with him wide desires, that would require much room, Hab. 
ii. 5. And therefore because they must be pressed till they be con- 
tracted, and brought to one for all, the gate feels strait, Psalm 
xxvii. 4. 

(3.) They swell in a particular manner when one is entering the 
gate ; Rom. vii. 9, " I was alive without the law once ; but when the 
commandment came, sin revived, and I died." The law, closely ap- 
plied to an unrenewed heart, has an irritating power upon it ; that 
is, lusts, that, in time of security, lay dormant, awaken for their own 
defence, when there is an attack made on them to throw them out. 
They lift up themselves then, and move like an ant's nest stirred 
and disturbed; and like a furious horse, that rages the more he is 

3. The keen opposition made by Satan to the soul's entry. When the 
soul begins to entertain thoughts of turning to God, hell is alarmed, 


aud its forces brought out to oppose with all vigour, Rev. xii. 12. 
They whom he disturbed not, while his goods were iu peace, are 
then dogged with temptations, and all oars are laid to the water to 
row them against the stream that flows from the Spirit of God to 
carry them into real religion. Satan plies then with, 

(1.) The force of the example of the multitude. Acts xxviii. 22. 
He pi'esses them with the odiousness of being singular in the world ; 
that if there were such danger in the broad way, it could not be so 
throng, that with the multitude there is safety, and if it be ill with 
them, it will be ill with many. That failing, he plies the tempta- 

(2.) Of time enough after, what needs to turn to such a strict course 
so soon ? The young get, by the sleight of hell, a fair broad view 
of many years they have to come, wherein they may get all done at 
leisure, in time enough ; and by that means the time of youth is 
given up with many to the broad way ; the entering on religion iu 
earnest being put oif, till once they be settled in the world. When 
that is come, then they find they have another thing to care for, for 
that time, Luke xiv. 20 ; and it is put off to old age, which most 
part never see. But if they do, custom in sin has taken away the 
sense of it ; and it is put oft' to a death-bed ; and if they get it, there 
the toss of sickness renders them incapable ; or when their time 
comes at last, the wind from heaven rises not ; so they sink in the 
harbour, never get away to the gate. But if that will not do, 

(3.) They are plied with their being too-long a-doing, and that 
the time is past, the day of grace over ; to drive them to despair 
with Judas. Satan will run with them from one extreme to another ; 
and from defender of the secure, he will turn accuser of the 
awakened. He will preach to them then the justice of God, to 
persuade them he will be inexorable ; he will muster up their sins 
before them, to render them hopeless; and shew them their re- 
peated slights of Christ, to bear them in hand that they have for- 
feited the benefit of his mediation. 

(4.) Lastly, And for that cause he will dog them with temptations 
to sin, more than ordinary, that finding corruption more strong and 
prevalent than before, they may bj brought to quit hopes of ever 
obtaining the victory. 

4. The enmity of the world against religion, 1 Cor. xvi. 9, " There 
are many adversaries." These are set up to nip the work of 
heaven in the bud, aud to mar any good work as it begins to ap- 
pear. Cant, ii. 15. The carnal world is the great agent for Satan, 
and carries on his work in this case by giving instruction causing to 
err, by force, or by fraud, by mockeries, or by slight healing of 
the wouuded. 


5. Lastly^ The nature of the thing makes it a strait gate. A law- 
work cannot miss to be straitening to a sinner. Conviction of sin, 
of heart, lip, life, and nature, cannot but press sore ; the spirit of 
bondage, girding the soul with the cords of death, and the curse of 
the broken law, makes a strait entry, Rom. viii. 15, And it will 
be a hard pull for an awakened, law-condemned, and self-con- 
demned creature, to gripe, and hold the gripe of the promise of 
grace in Christ. 

III. We shall consider the entering in by the strait gate. And 
here three things must be spoke to. 

Is^, "What they enter into by it. 

2dly, How they enter in. 

Zdly, What this entering bears. 

First, What do they enter into by the strait gate ? They enter 
by it, 

1. Immediately into the narrow way of the practice of religion, 
in a holy life and walk suited to the Gospel, Acts ii. 41, 42. There 
it is the strait gate sets them. How long there way may be from 
the gate to the house, they know not; but once entered, they hold 

(1.) In a new road, a quite new one ; 2 Cor. v. 17, "Therefore, if 
any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are past 
away, behold all things are become new." They enter into a new 
road they never travelled before, where they have a new rule to 
walk by, new company to walk with, a new guide to follow after, a 
new scope and end to aim at. And thus are they entered, as it 
were, into a new world, being no more of this world, though in it. 

(2 ) In a safe road, however unacquainted with it they were be- 
fore ; Prov. i. 33, " Whoso hearkeneth unto me, shall dwell safely, 
and shall be quiet from fear of evil." Before they entered the 
strait gate, they were in a most dangerous road, however easy and 
safe it appeared, Prov. ix. 17, 18 ; but then they arc entered into a 
safe one, however dangerous it appears. It is covered above, that 
no storms of wrath can fall there ; and what rises from below, they 
will get safely through. Cant. iii. 11. 

2. Mediately, they enter by it into heaven. That is the house 
the strait gate looks to, which none can come into but by that gate ; 
and all that come in by that gate do certainly reach it at length, 
Matth. xviii. 3, Acts iii. 19. Thus entering by the strait gate, they 
enter at length, 

(1.) Into a roomy-house; John xiv. 2, " In my Father's house are 
many mansions." How strait soever the gate is, there is no 
straitening in the house ; while thoy tliat took the wide gate, shall 


when tliey come to their house, be straitened like prisoners cram- 
med together in a pit ; they that enter the strait gate, shall in their 
house walk at liberty in white. 

(2.) Into a house of all ease and fulness. Rev. xxi. 7. There will 
be nothing wanting there for their satisfaction. If it was with 
much anxiety, fear, aud sorrow, they got through the strait gate ; 
yet there will not be the least vestige of these things there ; Rev. 
xxi. 4, " God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes ; and there 
shall be no more death, neither shall there be any more pain, for 
the former things are passed away ;" but they will, by entering the 
strait gate, enter into joy ; whereas others, by entering the wide 
one, shall enter into eternal anguish. 

Secondly, How do they enter in by this gate ? They enter in by it, 

1. Coming out of themselves, Matth. xvi. 24. God by his spirit 
sets fire to their nest, aud brings them out there. He opens their 
eyes in conviction, pricks them to the heart in compunction, brings 
them down to the dust in contrition and humiliation ; till he over- 
turns the foundations of the house of their former rest, and leaves 
them not a foot to stand on. They are made to despair of salva- 
tion by themselves. Their former gain is counted loss, Phil. iii. 7, 8, 
and they are carried off their own bottom, for justification, sanctifi- 
catiou, and eternal life in heaven. 

2. Coming to Christ in the free promise of the Gospel by faith, 
John X. 9. Many think this an easy step; but so far from it, that 
if there is not an arm of omnipotence to thrust the soul forward, it 
will never make that part of the strait gate, Isa. liii. 1. Mean- 
while, the Spirit of God deals with the enterer rationally ; so that 
seeing all refuge else failed, he cannot go back, but thrusts forward 
to Christ in the free promise, Jer. ii. 22, 23, like the drowning man 
cleveriug* to the rope at all adventures. 

3. Coming unto God by Christ ; Hos. xiv. 1, compared with Jolin 
xiv. 6. This is conversion, which true coming unto Christ always 
terminates in; Heb. vii. 25. For man having by sin turned away 
from God as his God, Lord, Lawgiver, and Master ; the Mediator 
Christ was sent, to bring us back to him again ; 1 Pet. iii. 18, " For 
Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that 
be might bring us to God." And by faith in Christ wo do come 
back to him, to live to him, and for him ; Acts xx. 21. This shows 
the faith of many in Christ to be but pretended ; while by it they 
do not return to God as their Lord aud Lawgiver, to live to and for 
him ; Matth. xiii. 20, 21. 

• Griping liastily. 


Thirdly, What does this entering bear which we must set our- 
selves for ? 

1. A discerning of the gate, the strait gate; Matth. vii. 14. 
Many had travelled over that spot of ground called Bethel ; Gen. 
xxviii., who never discerned the gate of heaven there ; but Jacob 
saw it, verse 17- So, many go up and down the world, come to 
ordinances, where the gate is pointed out ; and yet are never able 
to take it up. Nay, that gate is to us like the well to Hagar ; Gen. 
xxi. never seen by us till the Lord open our eyes. pray, that God 
may discover this gate to you. 

2. A finding of an absolute necessity of entering by it ; Luke xr. 
17- We will never enter there, while we are careless and indiffer- 
ent about our state in the other world; while we have the folly to 
think, that we may get a wide gate to heaven. This foolish imagi- 
nation ruins thousands. What need they straiten themselves, en- 
tering by the strait gate, while a more roomy one will do as well ? 
But ye must be convinced, that the strait gate, and it only, is that 
by which you can ever get there. 

3. Resoluteness for a happy arrival in another world at any rate ; 
Matth. xi. 12, " The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the 
violent take it by force." Till once men come to this, they will 
never enter the strait gate ; or if they do, they will never go 
through. The enterers are all such as must be forward, cost what 
it will ; because they see they are ruined for ever, if they get not 
forward ; Luke xv. 17, 18. 

4. A contentment to forego our present ease, in order to our getting 
safe to the other world ; Matth. xxvi. 24, " If any man will come 
after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow 
me." This life is appointed of God for our trial with hardship and 
labour, and the place of rest for the labourers is in the other. But 
how hard is it to bring sinners to be content to forego their ease 
for the present ! They hang by the soft easy course till their nest 
be fired, and their bed of sloth be strewed with thorns and briars, 
that there is no rest there any longer ; Prov. vi. 9, 10 ; Acts ii. 37. 
But till once they are brought content to sacrifice their case, there 
is no entering. 

5. A resolute entering into the gate ; Luke xv. 18. However 
strait and uncouth it appears, they will not bo frightened from it. 
They dare no more meddle with the wide gate, considering whereto it 
leads. The soul in this case is like the slayer lieeing to the city of 
refuge, who, whatever dillicultics bo in the way, breaks through 
them, till he be within the gates of it. 

G. Lastly, A resolute going through it, without turning back from 


it, as Felix did ; Acts xxiv. 25 ; or sticking in it as Ephraim ; Hos. 
xiii. 13. However strait the gate is, the true enterer will thrust 
forward, striving against all difficulties, and restless till he get for- 
ward to God in Christ ; Luke xiii. 24. For he sees, that till he be 
there, there is no safety, how easy soever the blind world is. 
Use 1. Of Information. This informs us, that, 

1. No body walking carelessly, inconsiderately, and at all adven- 
tures, will ever get a safe arrival that way in the other world. 
They may go to the pit that way; for sleeping or waking they go 
with the stream, and it will carry them down ; but the course to 
heaven is rowing against the stream, that will never do at this rate^ 
Wherefore there is need of consideration, and working out our sal- 
vation ; Phil. ii. 12. 

2. They must begin well who would end well ; and enter by the 
strait gate, who would lodge for ever in the roomy and spacious house 
above. It is the narrow way that leads to life, the strait gate that 
enters into the narrow way. To expect life then without entering 
by the strait gate, is a vain thing ; it is in effect to think that hold- 
ing the course to hell in this life, we shall for all that land in hea- 
ven at death. " But (Gal. vi. 7) be not deceived ; God is not 
mocked ; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." 
An ungodly life will make a wretched end. 

3. There is a necessity to bestir ourselves, lay salvation to heart, 
and see what course we take for the other world. The secure sin- 
ner must awake, lest he sleep the sleep of death ; 1 Cor. xv. 34, 
" Awake to righteousness, and sin not." The careless, thoughtless 
about eternity, must begin to look to himself, that he do not perish ; 
Prov. vi. 9, " How long wilt thou sleep, sluggard ? when wilt 
thou arise out of thy sleep ?" There is a strait gate before us, which 
we will not get into sleeping ; and if we get not into it, and through 
it too, we are gone. 

4. There is an absolute necessity of conversion for every one of 
us ; for thalris the strait gate we must enter by, if ever we come to 
heaven ; Matth. xviiii. 3, " Except ye be converted, ye shall not 
enter the kingdom of heaven." If there is not a work of convert- 
ing grace wrought on us, we will never get to glory. We are so 
totally corrupted by nature, that if there is not such a change made 
on us as amounts to a new birth, we cannot see heaven ; John iii. 
5, 6, " Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot 
enter into the kingdom of God." We are so far off the way na- 
turally, that we must be converted. 

5. They do but deceive themselves, who imagine they are in the 
narrow way to life, who are yet strangers to a work of conversion. 


That is an entering into religion, without coming in by the door, but 
climbing up some other way. And to such may that be applied ; 
John X. 8, '* He that enterelb not by the door into the sheepfold, but 
climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." It 
is lamentable, that so few appear to betake themselves to the way 
of religion ; and that among the few who do, there are so many who 
miss or neglect the first step. Many come too easily by their re- 
ligion ; and so fares of it, it comes to no good account in the end. 

6. Lastly, Vain are their pretences to religion, and vain arc their 
hopes of heaven, who are so prejudiced at religious strictness, that 
they cannot endure it, nor think of being bound up to it. "What is 
that, but to be utterly averse to the strait gate and narrow way? 
And where is such people's religion for the present, and what hopes 
can they have of heaven for the future ? Will the course of the 
world, the wide way, ever bring them thither ? Will men pretend 
to be followers of Christ, and yet be loathers of religious strictness ? 
Or will they think to be partakers of heaven, and yet not be fol- 
lowers of Christ ? 

Use 2. Of Reproof. It serves to reprove, 

1. Those who are unconcerned to direct their course aright for 
the other world. And such are all they who make no inquiry for 
the strait gate, nor trouble their heads about it. It is an evidence 
they are not for Zion ; Jer 1. 4, 5. It had been better for these 
had they never heard the gospel ; for at this rate they slight the 
warning Christ has given; they neglect the gate he is pointing out 
to them ; and they say in effect. What needs all this ado about the 
other world, and the safe gate to it ? 

2. Those who keep by the wide gate, despising the strait one, and 
hope to do well enough in the end too. Truly this is to hope that 
the Bible will be found a fable ; and all the warnings of danger to 
sinners, mere scarecrows. Such may read their doom ; Dent. xxix. 
19, 20, " And it come to pass when he heareth the words of this 
curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, 
though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness 
to thirst ; the Lord will not spare him, but then 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 h3aven." And in end they will 
find it not a sound of big words, but such as will press them down 
for ever. 

3. Those who will neither enter themselves, nor suffer others so 
far as they can hinder them; Matth. xxiii. 13. There is a genera- 
tion of enemies to the strait gate, who do what they can to keep 


others from it, as well as themselves, and so vent the malignity of 
their disposition against religion. They lay all the hindrances in 
their way that they can ; take all opportunities to discourage them 
in any attempts that way ; they lay out themselves to tempt them to 
evil, and lead them into sin. Alas ! whose work is it ye do, rhen 
ye do so ? Is it God's work, Christ's work ? Surely ye cannot 
imagine that. Nay, it is Satan's work, who himself is busy at it, 
whom you serve ; and your reward will be accordingly. Parti- 

4. Mockers of religious exercise, who make a jest of seriousness 
and of serious persons. We are warned, that in the last days there 
should be such ; 2 Pet. iii. 3, 4, " Knowing this first, that there 
shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 
and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming ? for since the fa- 
thers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the begin- 
ning of the creation." Observe of them that they were profane ; for 
none but those of very profane spirits will dare to jest on sacred 
things. They are atheistical ; for none that have the belief of the 
being of a God to judge them, and of the Bible's being really his 
word, will be a scoffer at others for regarding it. that such 
would consider their danger, the bands that are abiding them for 
their looseness ; Isa. xxviii. 22, " Be not mockers, lest your bands 
be made strong." 

5. Lastly, Those who being employed to direct others what course 
to take for the other world, make no conscience of directing them to 
the strait gate. They call to them continually, Do, do this and the 
other duty, exercise this and the other virtue, without endeavouring 
to lead them to Christ in the first place, and the great duty of be- 
lieving in him ; as if men needed nothing but application or ply- 
ing themselves to make them Christians. But conversion to God by 
his Spirit is overlooked ; and vital union with Christ, the necessary 
spring of all holy obedience ; John xv. 5, is neglected ; Eph. ii. 10. 

Use 3. Of Exhortation. Then, as ever you would direct your 
course aright for the other world, enter ye in by the strait gate. I 
shall branch out this in two particulars. 

First, As ever ye would direct your course aright for the other 
world, lay aside your prejudices against religious strictness ; lay 
your account with, and peremptorily set yourselves for thrusting 
through the strait gate into the narrow way, that so ye may get to 
heaven, bidding farewell to the wide way of the world. This ex- 
hortation is, 

1. For the young that are setting out in the world. I would have 
yon to set out in the mean time for the otiier world too; because 



whether you do it or not, ye are really going thither ; and how soon 
you may be there, you know not. And pray lake heed how you di- 
rect your course at that time of day ; for according as ye begin 
then, ye will readily hold on after ; Prov. xxii. 6, " Train up a child 
in the way that he should go; and when he is old, he will not de- 
part from it." have a care that prejudices against religious 
strictness get not a seat in you ; but be ye reconciled to it, and set 
to it in earnest. 

2. For the aged that are gone out into the world. I would have 
you to set out at length for the other world also, directing your 
course aright thither ; the rather that ye are far on already in the 
way to it, and for the most part off the right way as yet. It is high 
time you were begun to change your course, lest, if ye go on any 
longer, ye harden in an ill course without remedy. 

Many are the prejudices both old and young have against reli- 
gious strictness, the conceited hardships of it, the singularity and 
unfashionableness of it, and many others I shall not now stand upon. 
But pray, let what our Saviour here advances against them, serve to 
strike the bottom out of them all ; that is, the absolute necessity of 
it. In vain do men dispute about a way to a place, and object 
against it as rough, &c., when there is no other way to it ; for in 
that case it is plain, they must either take the way as it is, or give 
over thoughts of the place. 

Now, our Lord has told us, " The gate is strait ;" and I would 
therefore have you to set yourselves for it, strait as it is ; and pe- 
remptorily to lay your account with enduring hardness now, in firm 
hope that so you may safely arrive at length in the other world, 
where ye shall walk at liberty. Bid an eternal farewell then to the 
wide gate and way, and be resolute to enter and go thi'ough the 
strait one. 

Motive 1. All prejudices you entertain against religious strict- 
ness, are in favour of the corruption of your nature ; and does that 
need any thing to feed and strengthen it ? 2 Thess. ii. 12. Do but 
impartially consider any one prejudice you have against it ; and 
you will find it is in favour of some one lust or other, and that it is 
a screen to defend it ; Rom. i. 18, compared with Jer. ii. 25. It is 
the corrupt affection biasseth the judgment, and sets men on palliat- 
ing licentious courses, and unfavourably representing religious 
strictness. And judge yo, what must bo the issue of feeding the 
corruption of our nature which is to be mortified. 

2. All the difficulty of religious strictness ariseth only from cor- 
ruption in ourselves and others; lloni. vii. 14, " For we know that 
the law is spiritual ; but T am carnal, sold under sin." Religious 


strictness is in heaven carried to its utmost pitch ; Rev. xxi. 27, 
" There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither 
whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie ; but they which 
are written in the Lamb's book of life." Yet there they are at per- 
fect liberty ; Rom viii. 21. Why ? because corruption is purged 
out. Learn therefore, that any uneasiness there is in religious 
strictness, the blame of it is not to be laid at religion's door, but our 
own. Religious strictness grates only on, 

(1.) Our own corrupt hearts ; as the shoe straitens and pains the 
sore foot, and cannot be suffered on it, though it was very easy while 
the foot was whole ; Rom. vii. 23, 24, Though we would think it 
intolerable to be held any considerable time in the water, the fish 
are not at all straitened in it ; for it is agreeable to their nature ; 
and so would the way to holiness be to a holy heart. Now, a course 
of life grating on the corruptions of our hearts, is even as necessary 
for our partaking of Christ's eternal salvation, as Christ's course of 
suffering in his life and death was for the purchase of it; Gal. v. 
24, " They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affec- 
tions and lusts." 

(2.) A corrupt sinful world; Rev. vi. 10, Tliey cannot endure 
il ; they wonder what should carry any unto it, and they are apt to 
reproach one for it ; 1 Pet. iv. 4, " Wherein they think it strange 
that you run not with them to the same excess of riot, " speaking 
evil of you." No great wonder the dempster's voice grate on the 
malefactor's ears ; for he pronounceth his doom ; and so do the 
godly by their religious strictness pronounce doom against the 
wicked ; Heb. xi. 7- But why do we care to please the world lying 
in wickedness, in those things that will sink them in ruins ? or 
seek to walk with them with whom we should not lodge at the jour- 
ney's end ? -^ 

3. The greatest difficulty in religious strictness, is at first entering 
into it. It is with religion as with other useful and profitable 
courses of life, trades, or employments ; the greatest hardship is at 
the beginning ; afterwards it becomes more easy through use ; Matth. 
XI. 29, 30. May be some's experience may contradict this ; it is a 
good while since they attempted, and it is as hard this day as then. 
What is the reason of that ? Ye are ay but beginning, ye do not 
hold close to it. So it fares with you as with children at school, 
who being every now and then kept at home, learning is a constant 
pain to them ; whereas it turns easy to them that are held close to 
it ; Prov. ii. 1 — 6. Therefore be peremptory, and resolute, and con- 
stant ; and of a truth it will be otherwise. 

4. Whether would ye choose your eternal state with tlie religi- 


ously strict, or with the more gay .ind world-like part of mankind, 
that walk more loosely? No doubt that will be the language of 
every heart ; Numb, xxiii. 10, ** Let me die the death of the righte- 
ous, and let my last end be like his." Then pray live with them, 
and walk with thcra. If ye like their end, lay by your prejudices 
against their way, in which they walk unto it. If ye have a horror 
of the end of them that walk loosely, and yet like their way best, 
ye will be self-condemned. If ye would go east, ye would not tra- 
vel with the company going west. 

5. Lastly, Religious strictness is the only course in which any will 
get to heaven ; the loose course will land men in destruction. The 
text is very express ; and makes no exception of great or small, rich 
or poor, young or old. There is no body, but will be straitened 
sometime or other ; it is impossible that any should get always 
walking at liberty. Choose ye then, whether ye will take your 
straitening before or after death, for time or for eternity. 

If ye imagine that some were far from religious strictness, that 
yet got to heaven at length, consider then they were brought to 
repentance for their neglect of it. And will ye follow a pattern, 
that those who gave it bitterly repented of ? If ye do, ye must 
follow it out in repentance too, else ye are ruined. And is it a 
wise course, to be laying up matter for repentance, and to stand off 
from a course, the neglect whereof ye must repent, or ye perish ? 
Pray consider that repentance will be more easy now than on the 
brink of eternity ; and it will be more sure too, for it is what very 
r?rely is reached at that time of day. 

As for some directions or helps, I offer only these two. 

1. Set before you, in the first place, the death of Christ, for your 
justification and reconciliation with God, deliverance from the curse 
and eternal wrath ; and by faith flee in under the covert of his 
blood, for these effects. "Without these men may reach civility, the 
moralist his practice of virtue, the legalist a form of godliness ; but 
EC true religious strictness, more than the cursed fig tree could ever 
bear fruit after, Luke i. 74, 75. 

2. Set before you the life of Christ in the world, as the rule, the 
reason, and the endearment of religious strictness. Every Christian 
should set before him the life of Christ, and often view it, for it is, 

(1.) The rule of religious strictness, the example and pattern we 
are to copy after, John xiii. lb, 1 Peter ii. 21, 1 .John ii. 6. Here 
it is we have the perfect draught of religious strictness. The 
strictest of the saints have had their out-of-the-way steps ; vain 
men have pieces of strictness, which is not according to this pattern, 
being nothing but the product of their blind and proud minds. But 


in the example of Christ we have a perfect pattern of religious 
strictness ; for in him we see what is the sort of walk really pleas- 
ing to God, in as much as we see there how God himself become 
man did walk. And when he has condescended to this, will we not 
eye it ? 

(2.) The reason. We have the naked divine authority, call, and 
command to religious strictness in the law. In the life of Christ 
we have that authority enforced by his own example, obliging us 
the more forcibly unto it. The example of superiors is an ad- 
ditional law, binding the inferiors to conformity. Our Lord Jesus 
Christ is the supreme, the most high God, as well as he is man ; and 
since he was man, he was religiously strict; certainly, for that very 
reason we should be so too. 

(3.) The endearment. How forcible is that exhortation to re- 
ligious strictness ! Eph. v. 1,2, " Be ye therefore followers of God, 
as dear children ; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, 
and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God 
for a sweet smelling savour." There is no such powerful remedy 
against prejudices at religious strictness, as the believing considera- 
tion of the death of Christ. Is it possible that faith's view of the 
death of Christ should leave us indifferent to, and far more averse 
to the life of Christ ? No, sure ; 2 Cor. v. 14, 15, " For the love of 
Christ constraiueth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for 
all, then were all dead ; and that he died for all, that they which 
live, should not live unto themselves, but unto him which died for 
them, and rose again." Let your consciences be sprinkled with his 
blood, and your hearts will be knit to religious strictness. But 
alas ! it is want of faith in his death, that makes us so indifferent 
to the imitation of hira in his life of religious strictness. 

Secondli/, As ever ye would direct your course aright for the other 
world, be concerned, that, in the first place, ye may be truly con- 
verted ; that ye may be found converts in the first place, entering 
the strait gate by a work of thorough conversion wrought on you. 

Motive 1. Consider the necessity of conversion to God. It is ab- 
solutely necessary by our Saviour's declaration ; Matth. xviii. 3, 
" Except ye be converted, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of 
heaven ;" and by the nature of things too ; for how is it possible 
they should walk with God in the narrow way, who have not entered 
by the strait gate, being once truly turned to God ? This is the be- 
ginning of the Christian course, without which it is impossible there 
should be any progress in it, or happy end thereof. 

Motive 2. To think to bo truly religious, without being once true 
converts, is a vain thing, a delusion, because a coutradiction. It is 


a building on the earth without a fouudation ; Luke vi. 49, which 
can turn to no good account in the end. True religion is to walk in 
Christ ; but one must first be in hira ; Col, ii. 16, " As ye have there- 
fore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in hira." It is to 
walk in newness of life, but we must bo new creatures first; Rom. 
vi. 4- It is to walk with God, but we must first be converted to 

Motive 3. Without it all your religion will amount to no more 
but a form of godliness destitute of the power ; 2 Tim. iii, 5. It 
will be but as a body without the soul ; and all your services will be 
but bodily exercise, that will profit little. " For God is a Spirit ; 
and they that worship him, must worship him in Spirit and in 
truth," Johniv. 24. But how can that be without conversion ? Phil, 
iii. 3, " For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the 
spirit." Though the wall is fair plastered, it is loose in the heart ; 
and so makes but a fair show, like a whited sepulchre. 

Motive 4. Lasthj, The want of it is a spring of apostasy ; 1 John 
ii. 19, " They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they 
had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us ; but 
they went out, that they might be made manifest, that they were 
not all of us." How many do for a time blossom fair in religion, 
who at length totally wither ? They give their names to Christ pre- 
tending to have separated from the world ; but afterwards they turn 
deserters, and get away to the enemy's camp. Why, truly, if they 
had ever by sound conversion come out from among them, they had 
never gone back; Psalm xii. 7, "Thou shalt keep them, Lord, 
thou shalt preserve thera from this generation for ever." But the 
axe of converting grace never went to the root of the tree with 
thera ; wherefore though some branches of sin were lopt oft', the 
root of bitterness untouched, spreads again. For your help here, la- 
bour to impress your hearts with concern to have a good foundation 
laid. And, 

1. Think it not enough to reform your lives, and to cleanse the 
outward man. Remember religion is the hidden man of the heart ; 
1 Sam. xvi. 7- So the power of the natural enmity must be broken, 
and the heart reconciled to the holy law, not in some, but in every 
point thereof known to you ; Heb. viii. 10, " This is the covenant 
that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the 
Lord ; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their 
hearts ; and I will bo to thera a God, and they shall be to me a 
people." For this only is true conversion, the heart being turned 
back again to God; 1 Kings xviii. 37, in cordial reconciliation with 
and absolute resignation to his holy will expressed in his law. 


2. For this canse, ye would study to discern the law in its spi- 
rituality and vast extent, and closely apply it to yonr own soul's 
siate and case. Here Paul's conversion began ; Rom. vii. 9, " I was 
alive without the law once ; but when the commandment came, sin 
revived, and I died." By this means ye will be convinced of the 
total corruption of your nature, beart, and life ; what a gulph of 
guilt ye are sunk in under the curse ; the whicb may fill you with 
fear, sorrow, and anxious concern what course to take to be saved. 
Then study to discern the promise of the gospel in its sufficiency 
and suitableness to your case ; and to see Christ in it ; and closely 
apply that to your own soul. For this is it that completes conver- 
sion ; Heb. vii. 19, " For the law made nothing perfect, but the 
bringing in of a better hope did ; by the which we draw nigh unto 
God." By this means ye will be enlightened in the knowledge of 
Christ, as a suitable Saviour, having a fulness of grace in him to be 
communicated for your regeneration, and a fulness of merit to carry 
off your guilt ; which will be a fit means to raise in you a desire of 
him, and hope of remedy through him; and so to draw you to him 
by faith, and by him unto God. 

Doctrine II. There is a wide gate to enter by, and a broad way 
joining it ; but it leads away to destruction. 
Here we shall consider, 

I. The wide gate there is to enter in by. 

II. The broad way joining the wide gate. 

III. This way's leading away to destruction. 
TV. Lastly, Improve the subject. 

I. We shall consider the wide gate there is to enter in by. Were 
there no other but the strait gate in the course to the other world, 
then there would be no fear of going wrong, all behoved to to that 
way, or not at all ; and it would have been so, if there had been no 
part of the other world but the happy one. But there is another 
part of that world, a hell as well as a heaven ; and so there is a gate 
towards the former as well as the latter; and that is the wide one, 
which we are to beware of. 

According to what is said of the strait, the wide gate is the en- 
trance into a course of ungodliness, whereby men become actually 
ungodly. Thus men set their face towards hell, and begin to move 
toward the land of darkness; Eph.ii.1,2. Whensoever this entrance 
is made, then they are on the course whose end is destruction ; and 
it is made very early. 

And that entrance or wide gate, is the gate of the corrupt natural 
inclination of the heart; Prov. iv. 23; Mark vii. 21 — 23. This gate 

Vol. X. Y 


begins to open to us with the first dawnings of reason, and opens 
wider and wider as we grow up; Gen. viii. 21. Our first looks in 
the world are asquint; we discover a cast to the wrong side, an 
averseness to good, and proneness to evil ; Rom. viii. 7, " The car- 
nal mind is enmity against God." That is the natural inclination 
of the heart, that soon shows itself in what we call the innocent babe, 
and widens more and more through the several periods of childhood, 
youth, and manhood ; Prov. xxii. 15. 

This gate was set up by Adam's fall ; Rom. v. 12. He breaking 
the first covenant, broke out this gate to destruction, to and in him- 
self and all his posterity ; and mankind naturally rush in at it, not 
considering whereto it leads. Besides this, there had never been an- 
other gate to the other world, for fallen man, had not Jesus Christ 
by his sufi"ering, life, and death, opened it. 

This gate is a two-leaved gate, opening wide. 

1st, On the one hand, it opens wide toward the creature, away from 
God; Jer. ii. 13. That is the way the natural inclination of the 
heart lies. When God made man he gave him a set of heart to- 
wards himself as his rest and happiness ; Eccl. vii. 29, " God made 
man upright :" without any motion towards the creature, but in God 
and for God ; and good reason, for all the good of the creature lay 
there, it being otherwise but a cypher signifying nothing without 
him ; Matth. xix. 17- But Satan in the first temptation set up the 
creature separately from God, and over-against him ; and though so 
it was mere emptiness, he blew it up with wind from hell, and made 
it appear a rest for the heart, and cheated our first parents into a 
choice of it for their rest ; Gen. iii. 6. So the first leaf was opened, 
and has stood open to this day with mankind. And this I say, 

(1.) Opens wide towards the creature, the vain and empty crea- 
tion; Hab. ii. 5, compared with Prov. xxx. 15, 16. As the beasts 
incline to the earth, the birds to the air, and the fishes to the wa- 
ter ; so does fallen man to the creature. He knows no other happi- 
ness naturally, desires no other, cannot understand how there can be 
another. He falls as naturally to seek it here, as the infant to suck 
the breasts that bare it. 

This is a broad leaf, opening very wide ; because of the boundless 
desires of the heart to bo satisfied, the vast variety of the creatures 
to try the experiment on, and the insufliciency and unsatisfactori- 
ness of them all ; Eccl. i. 2 ; Isaiah Iv. i. 2. The wide hungry heart 
that is without God, the wide world filled with nothing but vanity 
and lies, makes the leaf of the natural inclination to the creature 
very wide. 

(2.) It opens a way from God ; Heb. iii. 12, " Take heed, breth- 


ren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in depart- 
ing from the living God." It is not possible, but that the heart 
turning to the creature for a rest and happiness, must turn away 
from God; Matth. vi. 24, "For no man can serve two masters." 
The heart of man naturally contracting a friendship with the world, 
states and declares an enmity against God ; James iv. 4, " Know ye 
not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God ? Whoso- 
ever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God." 
And the children of men setting out in the world, while they stt 
their face thus to the creature, cast God behind their back ; Ezek. 
xxiii. 35. They know him not, desire him not ; it is a mystery to 
them, how the enjoyment of him can make one happy ; they are apt 
to think it is but a fancy ; Psalm iv. 6. 

Thus this natural inclination of the heart to the creature is the 
one leaf of the wide gate. But here it is 

Objected, How can the inclination of the heart to the creature 
be accounted a leaf of the gate to hell, when every creature of God is 
good, and we are allowed the enjoyment of it, and an inclination to- 
wards it is lawful, and in several cases expressly required ? 

Answ. The creature may be considered two ways. (1.) By itself, 
separately from God. (2.) In God and for him. The first way it 
is regarded as a fountain and original spring to drink at for satis- 
faction ; in the other, as a stream only coming from God, and lead- 
ing back to him. Now, it is not in the latter, but the former re- 
spect, that we call the inclination to it a leaf of the broad gate. 
And it is in that first respect that the heart is naturally inclined to 
it. Upon it, separately from God, the heart naturally fixes, look- 
ing for that from it, which it should only look for in God ; whereby 
it is put in the room of God. And this godless pursuit of the crea- 
ture, separately from God, not in him ; for itself, and ourself, not 
for God, was never allowable, and is no other but the course of 
them that are gone in at the wide gate ; Eph. iv. 17, 18. Consider 

1. The inclination to it separate from God, plainly discovering 
itself, in either a profane neglect of him, or else a crafty shifting of 
him, in our desires after, or enjoyment of the creature. No doubt 
one may lawfully have an inclination towards health, wealth, rela- 
tions, &c. But then it should be in God ; in his fear, regulated by 
his word ; but as an iucast to the great bargain of his favour, not as 
a principal. But the generality of men quite neglect him in these. 
Psalm X. 4, while others that have some principles formed in them, 
craftily lay the thoughts of him aside in these things, that they may 
not be hampered in their desire or enjoyment of the creature ; Jer. 



ix. 6. A glaring evidence of inclination to it separate from God. 

2. The inclination to it for it or ourselves, not for God, discovering 
itself, in that there is no regard had, in the desire, or enjoyment, to 
the honour of God to be advanced thereby, but to please ourselves 
merely ; though (1 Cor. x. 31,) " whether we eat or drink, or what- 
soever we do, we should do all to the glory of God." It is purely 
something in the creature itself, not any thing of God about it, that 
grounds the inclination to it ; and that is a piece of spiritual ido- 
latry, and a debasing of the soul, to desire any creature for itself 

2dly, On the other side, it opens wide towards sin, away from the 
holiness of God expressed in his law ; Psalm Iviii. 3, " The wicked 
are estranged from the womb, they go astray, as soon as they be 
born, speaking lies." When God made man, he gave him a set of 
heart towards holiness, Eccl. vii. 29, so that as God himself was the 
rest of his heart and portion, so his holy will and law was the rule 
of his walk. But the heart of man falling out of its rest in God, 
unto the godless pursuit of the creature, the yoke of obedience to 
him came to be thrown off. So the natural inclination of the heart 
opens wide, 

(1.) To sin ; Jer. xvii. 9, " The heart is deceitful above all things, 
and desperately wicked; who can know it?" The taste is quite 
vitiated ; nothing relishes with men naturally but sin. As, on the 
one hand, they go to the creature, to suck its dry breasts ; so, on 
the other, they are bent on the fulsome breasts of their corrupt lusts ; 
Eph. ii. 3. These corrupt lusts as so many brats of hell, naturally 
bred in the heart, open their mouths wide, crying, Give, Give ; and 
nothing can satisfy them, but the puddle waters of sin, which are 
agreeable to their nature. 

(2.) Away from the holiness of God expressed in his law ; Rom. 
viii. 7- There is not only a carelessness or an indifferency to holi- 
ness, but an aversion to it ; such as an untamed bullock has to the 
yoke. Hence holy walking and spiritual exercises, are naturally 
burdensome to the corrupt heart, which loves sinful liberty, and 
hates to be hampered by the holy commandment. So that what of 
these the man is in a sort brought to, it is but bodily exercise, the 
heart is not in it, Exek. xxxiii. 31, 

This also is a broad leaf, opening very wide. For the corrup- 
tion of nature is an unfathomable gulph, that there is no filling up 
of; the sinner may be surfeited, but never can be satiated. The way 
of sin, as being the way of error or wandering, has no end ; one 
evil step still leading on to, and making way for another. Thus ye 
see the wide gate, that, opening to all the children of fallen Adam, 


they are all ready disposed to inter into. Which entering is next 
to be noticed. 

The entering into this wide gate is, the giving way to the corrnpt 
natural inclination of the heart; the not resisting ot it, but yield- 
ing unto it; Rora, vi. 12, "Let not sin reign in your mortal body, 
that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." This gate should ot 
right be closed ; the bitter fountain should be stopt immediately, 
the weeds of corruption should be nipt in the bud, and men should 
presently begin a war with themselves in mortification of their lusts. 
But instead of that, they soon begin to follow the corrupt natural 
inclination ; and that in, 

1. Giving way to the vanity of their minds ; Eph. iv. 17. They 
find in them a restless heart, and they go in pursuit of that rest, 
not to God, but to the creature. Man's mind is naturally blinded ; 
and what it points out to him for happiness and satisfaction, he 
pursues ; the heart going as the vain mind leads. Thus men are 
lured on. The vain mind first points out a satisfaction to us in meat, 
then in gay clothing, then in mirth and jollity; at length it opens 
as we grow up, into the wide field of pleasures, profits , and hon- 
ours ; and here men wander as in a wilderness, seeking rest, think- 
ing to find it in this and the other vanity, and still disappointed ; 
yet after all disappointments, the vain mind still has a new vanity 
to present unto us, and we go to it with new hopes of satisfaction ; 
Isa. Ivii. 10, " Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way ; yet 
saidst thou not, There is no hope ; thou hast found the life of thine 
hand ; therefore thou wast not grieved." Now, the engaging in this 
pursuit is entering the wide gate with a witness. 

2. Giving way to the corrupt bent of the heart towards sin, and 
against the way of holiness ; Rom. iii. 11, 12, " There is none that 
understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all 
gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable, there 
is none that doth good, no not one." Lusts begin to stir in the 
heart, and crave of them ; and instead of starving them, they begin 
to think of feeding and satisfying them. So they break over the 
hedge of the divine law, and get into the devil's ground, omitting 
their duty to God, and committing sin against him, in compliance 
with the natural inclination. This also is a plain entering of the 
wide gate. Now, there is a twofold entering this wide gate. 

1st, One that is more secret and undiscerned to the party himself. 
Thus we are all once entered into it, ere ever we are aware, by the 
early sproutings of corruption in childhood ; doing sinfully and cor- 
ruptly ere ever we begin to consider what we are doing. Psalm Iviii. 
3; Prov. xx. 11. Thus we are entered into the service of sin and 


Satan, ere we begin to consider who or wliat tliey are. And wliere 
pains are not taken by good education to curb these early sproutings, 
they grow readily too strong afterwards to be holden down, either 
by one or other; Prov. xxix. 15, " The rod and reproof give wisdom ; 
but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." 

2dlr/, Another that is more deliberate, and of choice. Thus when 
the children of men are come to the years of discretion, and can dis- 
cern between good and evil, they see on the one hand the strait gate 
of religion, and the wide gale of sin and vanity; and having a 
bias aiid cast in their nature to the wrong side, they refuse the strait 
gate and choose the wide one as the most agreeable to them, Jer. ii. 
25. Of this there are three more notable kinds. 

1. The throwing off the bonds of good education, as things where- 
with they are hampered. Thus many set out into the broad way, 
and land in destruction at length, Prov. v. 11 — 13. Parental go- 
vernment is the first government that God puts us under ; therefore 
in the Proverbs written to give the young knowledge the very first 
exhortation is ; ver. 8, " My son, hear the instruction of thy father, 
and forsake not the law of thy mother." How dangerous must it 
then be, either to throw it off before God takes it off; or when he has, to 
throw off the impressions made thereby? None of t'lem can be, but in 
compliance with the corrupt natural inclination to give it the swing. 

2. Casting one's self into ill company. The second exhortation in 
the Proverbs respects that ; ver. 10, " My son, if sinners entice thee, 
consent thou not." "We are so ready to be cast into tlie mould of 
the company we choose, especially if it be ill, that when one is so 
engaged, he may be reckoned to be gone in at the wide gate. If he 
had no mind to go with them, why would he choose their fellowship ? 

3. Apostatizing from a profession and appearance of religion ; 
when one having for some time given promising tokens of a religious 
disposition, throws off all, and goes plainly into the way of the pro- 
fane world ; Heb. x. 38, " If any man draw back, my soul shall have 
no pleasure in him." 

The snare loading to this is readily the predominant sin. That 
makes its entrance most easily unto us, and most powerfully pre- 
vails to carry us into the broad way. 

II. We shall consider the broad way joining the wide gate. 
Agreeable to what is said of the gate, the broad way joining it is the 
way of men's own heart ; Isa. Ivii. 17, " For the iniquity of his co- 
vetousness was I wroth, and smote him : I hid me, and was wroth 
and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart:" Which heart 
being naturally a corrupt heart, is the way of irreligion and ungod- 
liness, Psalm i. 1. As soon as men have entered the gate of the 
corrupt natural inclination, giving up themselves thereto, they are 


on the broad way, the way of their own heart. And here I shall shew, 

1st, That the way of one's own heart or natural inclination, is in- 
deed the broad way. 

2dli/, What are the parts of this broad way leading to destruction. 

3dli/, Speak of the broadness of this way. 

First, I shall shew that the way of one's own heart or natural in- 
clination, is indeed the broad way. This appears, 

1st, From that corrupt set or bent which the hearts of men have 
got by Adam's fall. Whatever vain men give out concerning the 
dignity of human nature, the testimony of God concerning the heart of 
man is quite otherwise; Jer. xvii. 9, "The heart is deceitful above 
all things, and desperately wicked ; who can know it ?" Our Savi- 
our represents it as a poisoned fountain, Mark vii. 21, 22, and what 
poisoned it, was the fall of Adam, Rom. v. 12. The way then that 
it leads, must needs be the broad way to destruction, and therefore 
" all we like sheep have gone astray ; we have turned every one to 
his own way," Isa. liii. 6. In that set, 

1. There is a bending away from God, who originally was, and 
of right is our chief end, Psalm xiv. 3, Jer. ii. 13. The heart of man 
has not only left its rest in God, but is filled with natural enmity 
against him, Rom. viii. 7; has a dislike of his nature, which is holy, 
and of his law, which is a transcript of his holiness. There is a down- 
right contrariety in his nature against the nature of God, and in his 
will against the will of God ; Job. xxi. 14, " Therefore they say unto 
God, Depart from us ; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways." 

2. A bent towards the creature as the chief good, in the room of 
God, Jer. ii. 13. Hence the natural voice of the heart in man is, 
" Who will shew us any good ?" Psalm iv. 6. For Adam falling 
from God, betook himself to the creature, to get out of it that satis- 
faction, which he was to have had from God ; and in this case he 
left us ; and naturally we go on that way, till powerfully turned to 
God again by grace. 

3. An aversion to good, such as an untamed bullock has to the 
yoke, Jer. xxxi. 18. It is a pain to the natural man to admit the 
yoke of Christ ; Hos. iv. 16, " Israel slideth back, as a backsliding 
heifer." So that a slavish fear of punishment, and a servile hope of 
reward, are the main things that can move them to duty ; whereas, 
if the heart were left to its free choice, without these extrinsic mo- 
tives, they would never yoke with it. 

4. A proneness to evil ; Hos. xi. 7, " My people are bent to back- 
sliding from me ; though they called them to the Most High, none 
at all would exalt him." The bias of the heart lies that way, so 
that it is the very first way the children of men go ; Psalm Iviii. 3, 


" The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray, as soon 
as they be born, speaking lies." None need to teach' them the way 
of sin ; leave them to their choice, they will as naturally go that 
way, as water will go downward, or sparks of fire upward. Who 
then can doubt, but the way of the heart is the broad way ? 

2dly, This appears from the necessity of regeneration, which is 
absolute and universal ; John iii, 3, " Except a man be born again, 
he cannot see the kingdom of heaven." Men must be made new 
creatures ere they can do good works, Eph. ii. 10 ; united to Christ 
by faith, ere they can do any thing to purpose; John xv. 5, '* "With- 
out me ye can do nothing." This necessity springs from the total 
corruption of our nature, whereby it is indisposed to all good ; John 
iii. 6, " That which is born of the flesh, is flesh." "Whence it is evi- 
dent, that the natural way of the heart is the broad way ; for that 
which is wholly corrupt, cannot act but corruptly ; and that nature 
which must be made new, ere it can do good, must needs, till it be 
renewed, be still going wrong. 

3(i/y, Lastly, This appears from the difilculty there^is in the con- 
version of sinners unto God ; Jer. xiii. 23, " Can the Ethiopian 
change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also'do 
good, that are accustomed to do evil." Great is that difliculty. Mer- 
cies will not do it, judgments will not ; the sinner will trample on 
the goodness of God leading to repentance ; he will go on in sin, 
though the fire of wrath is flashing on his face. A preacher from 
the dead would not convert a sinner ; Luke xvi. 31. It is only the 
irresistible power of grace changing the heart that will do it ; Jer. 
xxxi. 18. This speaks the natural way the heart goes to be the 
broad way, and no other. 

Secondly, "We shall consider " the parts of this broad way leading 
to destruction." It is so very broad, that we cannot enter into a 
detail of the particular parts thereof. But in the general there are 
two parts of it. 1. The way of vanity; and, 2. The way of vile- 

\st, The way of vanity ; Eph. iv. 17' As soon as one has entered 
by that part of the wide gate of the natural inclination, opening to- 
ward the creature, away from God, ho is upon the way of vanity, a 
broad, spacious way to destruction. Ho then begins a vain life, 
a course of vanity of conversation ; 1 Pet. i. 18. And in this way 
most men, yea all, but regenerate men, are going. And it is, 

1. A way that sots a man farther off from God. "With the pro- 
digal, he is then on his journey into the far country ; Luke xv- 13, 
Every step in this way is a step farther away ; and the older he 
grows in it, the relative distance betwixt God and him is increased. 


God and the sinner part at tlie point of original corruption ; and the 
sinner taking the way of vanity, is soon far from him. 

2. A way wherein he applies himself close to the creature for his 
chief good; Jer. ii. 13. Having left God, he takes up with the 
empty creation, to hammer a happiness to himself out of creature- 
comforts ; in imitation of fallen Adam embracing the forbidden 
fruit instead of a God. And here four things are to be considered, 

(1.) The man is sensible of a want; Psalm iv. 6, " Who will 
shew us any good ?" He is conscious to himself, that he is not self- 
sufficient. There is an empty space in his heart, which he must 
needs labour to have filled up. And it cannot be otherwise, since 
he has lost God, and is without him in the world ; Eph. ii. 12; and 
that God is the only object capable of filling the heart, an infinite 
good only being commensurable to the boundless desires of the soul. 

(2.) Having lost sight of God as man's happiness, he looks about 
through the creation for the supply of his want, for a match to his 
soul, which he finds cannot live alone by itself ; Eeccl. vi. 9. Though 
the man has lost God, if he had not lost his eyes too, he would see 
there was no way for him, but to see to recover the enjoyment of 
God again. Bnt his eyes are darkened in this broad way, that he 
cannot see how God, and God only, can be a happiness to him ; 
1 Cor. ii. 14. The word of the gospel tells him this of God, and 
Christians tell it him from their experience ; but he cannot com- 
prehend it ; therefore he looks about for it elsewhere. 

(3 ) In this case the creature shews fair ; the world appears in its 
beauty and gaudy dress. It displays its wealth at a distance, and 
looks out with all its charms, " the lust of the flesh, the lust of the 
eyes, and the pride of life ;" 1 John ii. 16. And the man is taken 
thinking if he had it he would be well. He looks on it as a fit 
match for his heart, and is not without hopes of gaining his point. 
And Satan is busy here to forward the project, representing the 
creature most speciously, and inflaming the sinner's desire after it. 
See Matth. iv. 8. 

(4.) The sinner being taken, falls a-courting of the creature, for 
the enjoyment of the wanted happiness in it ; Psalm iv. 6. Flush- 
ed with big hopes, he sets out on this project, and plies it closely. 
And this is the broad way of vanity, in which he travels endlessly, 
till either the grace of God open his eyes, and turn him back to 
God; or else that in hell he lift up his eyes, and see he has been 
ruined with courting all along a deceitful shadow. 

This courting of the creature to be a match for the heart, is not 
slightly managed. But, 

1. It is begun early ; Psalm Iviii. 3. As soon as ever the child- 


ren of fallen Adam are sensible of a want, they go to that door 
for supply ; while as yet there are no desires after God, they are 
/gaping wide after the creature. Behold the little children, how 
fond of things grateful to the taste, and pleasant to the eye, while 
the compass of their understanding reaches no farther ! "What a 
mighty satisfaction do they promise themselves in these ! And as 
they grow up, and the world opens out to them, and spreads its de- 
ceitful glories ; liow do their desires after it, and hunting for them, 
increase proportionally ! 

2. It is prosecuted assiduously, no time being lost for the thing pur- 
posed. The project is closely pursued, that if it prove successless, 
it is not through carelessness ; Isa. Ivii. 20 ; Psalm cxxvii. 2. They 
are early and late at the creature's door. Whatever disappoint- 
ments they meet with, it makes no change of their mind, nor do 
they go to another airth for their happiness ; Rom. vi. 20. 

3. It is managed vigorously. They are not indifferent about their 
success, but in good earnest ; their heart is wholly set on it. The 
most valuable talents they have, are laid out upon it ; Isa. Iv. 2. 
They take true pains upon it ; they are not loiterers, but labour 
to gain their point ; Isa. Iv. 2 ; Matth. xi. 28, and that to weari- 
ness in the midst of difficulties ; Hab. ii. 13. They are like hewers 
in stone, on the matter : Jer. ii. 13 ; and strike on rocks till the fire 
flash in their faces. 

4. Lastly, It is continued all along, till the Lord from heaven put 
a stop to it ; either in mercy, shewing them their error, and bringing 
them back unto God in Christ, to take up their rest in him ; or else 
in wrath, taking them away from it by death, and so plucking up 
their hopes by the roots ; Matth. xv. 45, 46 ; Luke xii. 20. 

Now this way is the way of vanity, in that, 

1. It is a false and deceitful way. Psalm cxix. 128, and can take 
with men only by means of darkness, blindness, and ignorance, ver. 
104. In it shadows are proposed to the heart instead of a substance, 
the creature promising that which it is not able to perform ; causing 
men to expect that out of it that is not in it. In it the bait ap- 
pears ; but the hook is hidden, which yet effectually ruins ; 1 Tim. 
vi. 10. And in it men hunt their own sorrows and destruction. 

2. It is an unprofitable way. In it a life is spent to no valuable 
purpose, and at the end it appears to have brought no lasting ad- 
vantage ; Rom. iii. 12. But thus men are running in the broad 
way, wearying themselves for a thing of nought ; like children run- 
ning in a sunny day catching butterflies, missing many of them, and 
the beautiful coloured wings of those they catch going to ashes be- 
tween their fingers. It is unprofitable, 


(1.) In that they quite fall short of the great end God proposeth 
to men, viz. bis glory ; Roin. iii. 23. Instead of living to his ho- 
nour, they live to his dishonour, preferring the creature to the Crea- 
tor, and putting it in his room ^ their chief good. And that must 
needs be a vain life, which does not reacb the cbief end it was given 
for. What then can be expected, but the doom of the unprofitable 
servant ? 

(2.) In that they quite fall short of the end they propose to them- 
selves, viz., happiness, or a rest to their hearts ; Hos. viii. ?• This 
is what all their days they seek, but never get in any of their days, 
nor at the end ; nor is it possible to get it in that way ; for it is the 
way of vanity. And is not that a vain life, where one must die 
disappointed of the great thing they mainly sought all their life ? 

3. It is a trifling way, in which one trifles away a lifetime, busy do- 
ing nothing, no substantial lasting good, nothing that will give comfort 
in a dying hour, nothing for the better world ; Psalm xc. 9. God 
has sent us into this world, to do business for eternity, to pass trials 
for the happy world to come ; but men going the broad way, forget 
their business, and trifle away time ; it lies like lumber on their 
hand, and they are fain to go in quest of this and the other vanity, 
to get it driven off", as if they had nothing to do. 

4. It is a restless way ; Matth. xi. 28, 29. Solomon speaks of a 
vanity tossed to and fro ; Prov. xxi. 6. Such is the whole life of 
one in the broad way. There is no rest for the heart in this way. 
Whatever amusements for a time they may get in it, they can never 
lay the heart to rest. Laying down the head upon one vanity to rest, 
the pillow is soon drawn away ; or there is a thorn of uneasiness 
found in it, and they must shift themselves to another vanity, which 
quickly proves as unsatisfying as the other. So that they are like 
one on the top of a mast, they can get no rest. 

5. Lastly, It is a way of endless wandering, through repeated dis- 
appointments. Here men are like the Sodomites about Lot's house, 
struck with blindness. They are going about for satisfaction, and 
groping for it every where, but can never find it ; wearying them- 
selves to find that door, but all in vain. But there is no end ; bat 
after a thousand disappointments a new vanity is tried, and the ex- 
periment made on another ; Isa. Ivii. 10. And so men are still go- 
ing the round of vanities ; till either grace is dropped into their 
hearts, turning them to rest in God ; or else they drop into the 
grave, dying disappointed. 

2dly, The broad way is the way of vileness; Psalm xiv. 1. As 
soon as one is entered by that part of the wide gate of the natural in- 
clination opening towards sin, away from the holiness of Ood ex- 


pressed in liis law, lie is upon the way of vileuess leading straight 
to destruction; Tit. i. 15, 16 ; Rev. xxii. 15. And it is, 

1. A way wherein men vile by nature soon grow more vile, and 
loathsome in God's sight, by going farther away from the holiness 
required in his law ; Jer. ix. 3, " They proceed from evil to evil, and 
they know not me, saith the Lord." Here actual sin is heaped on 
original sin, a sinful life added to a sinful nature, and the natural 
corruption spreads itself in heart, lip, and life ; so the farther they 
go in it, the farther from all good. 

2. A way wherein they apply themselves to the satisfying instead 
of starving and mortifying their lusts; Psalm Iviii. 3. Having no 
heart for the way of holiness, they set themselves to the way of sin, 
and pursue the same at the expense of the honour of God, and the 
wounding of their own consciences, till in end they land in the pit 
of destruction at the end of the way, if repenting not. And here 
four things may be considered, 

1. The heari of man is naturally possessed with a fry of sinful 
corrupt lusts craving to be satisfied. See what proceeds out of the 
heart ; Mark vii. 21, 22, " Evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, 
murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an 
evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness." And if they were not 
in it, they would not come out of it. They are bred in the womb of 
the corruption of our nature ; and by influence from hell they are 
soon brought to spread out themselves. These gape and open wide 
to be satisfied with what is agreeable to their nature. 

2. The sinner, instead of starving them, sets himself to make pro- 
vision for them, instead of denying them to gratify them; Psalm 
Ixxviii. 18. And this is a hard task, the hardest that ever one took 
in hand ; for it is like feeding of a fire, that never saith. It is enough. 
Lusts may be surfeited, but will never be satisfied. So it is a weary 
task the sinner has, Jer. ix. 5, and a laborious one, as in a close 
battle, James iv. 1 — 3. 

3. The creature lying within the bounds of the law, cannot satisfy 
them ; and no wonder, for it was never appointed to be satisfactory 
to us, so as to aflford the rest of the heart. Even in paradise there 
was a want, which nothing but the enjoyment of God could fill up. 
The regular desires of a heart housed in God, and centering in him, 
the creature may satisfy in the regular use of it ; but nothing re- 
gular will satisfy irregular lusts. 

4. Wherefore the sinner breaks over the hedge unto that lying 
without the bounds of the holy law; and the satisfaction not found 
in allowed, it seeks in forbidden fruit, Prov. ix. 17. Thus the man 
wandering in the way of vanity, is every now and then turning to 


the way of vileness; he is like the hungry beast on a bare pasture, 
that having ate up all within the hedge to the red earth, at length 
breaks over the hedge ; as Dinah gadding abroad in the way of 
vanity, at length fell into a pit of vileness and defilement. And 
here two things present themselves for the entertainment of these 
vile lusts. 

1. The desires of the flesh to be fulfilled ; Eph. ii. 3. And here 
is a mire of vileness for the sinner to wallow in, in the broad way, 
called the filthiness of the flesh ; 2 Cor. vii. 1. In it are to be seen 
drenched drunkards, gluttons, unclean persons, filthy speakers, and all 
sensualists, whose great business it is to gratify their senses, neglecting 
their souls ; as if they were nothing but living flesh, or their souls 
only as salt to keep their bodies fiora corrupting. 

2. The desires of the mind to be fulfilled; Eph. ii. 3. This mire 
is called the filthiness of the spirit ; 2 Cor. vii. 1. Here are endless 
depths of enmity against God, rancour of spirit against and distaste 
of true holiness and purity, unbelief of the gospel, pride and selfish- 
ness, covetousness and earthly-mindedness, and innumerable evils 
more, in which sinners indulge themselves in the broad way. 

These two issue in a fourfold road of the broad way, in each of 
which are many walking. 

1. Elack ignorance, wherein not a few rest satisfied without a 
tolerable knowledge of the foundations of religion ; Psalm Ixxxii. 5. 
They are taught to work, but not to read ; if they were, either they 
forget it, or else they make no due use of it. The desires of the 
flesh and mind wholly take them up; and they neither have, nor 
desire to have the knowledge of God and his ways ; Job xxi. 14. 
They know it would but hamper them in those things which take 
best with darkness, and cannot abide the light ; John iii. 20, " For 
every one that doth evil, hateth the light, neither cometh to the 
light, lest his deeds should be reproved." But alas ! they consider 
not, that it will end in everlasting darkness ; Hos. iv. 6 ; Isa. xxvii. 

2. Bare morality, lying in conformity to the letter of the ten com- 
mandments ; whereby they keep some decency in civil society, but 
are utterly estranged from religion, and have not so much as an ap- 
pearance of it. They are good neighbours, but no good Christians ; 
deal fairly in things of this world, but have no dealing with things 
of the other world ; mind their business and afi'airs of life, but quite 
forget the one thing needful. Their greatest excellency lies in ne- 
gatives, like the Pharisee ; Luke xviii. 11, " I thank thee, that I 
am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as 
this publican ;" as if they did not look on themselves obliged to 


honour God, farther than not to affront him openly. This is a 
road of the broad way ; Matth. v. 20, " For except your righteous- 
ness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye 
shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." 

3. A form of godliness wherein men go the outward round of 
the duties of religion, but still continue strangers to the life and 
power of it, 2 Tim. iii. 5. These are the whited sepulchres, men 
who tack a new life to the old heart; who sometimes have taken 
up from their extravagancies, but were never truly converted ; who 
with their religion, such as it is> still retain the predominant "love of 
sin ; and always have some beloved lust, in the room of God in 
Christ. They are like those beasts, of which there is nothing good 
but the skin ; and hence so many apostates, who turning their back 
on religion, and proving scandalous and profane in their lives, do 
but appear in their native colours, and what they always were, be- 
fore they cast off their mask. Let such consider these scriptures ; 
Psalm cxxv. 5, " As for such as turn aside unto their crooked 
ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity." 
Matth. xxiv. 51, " The Lord shall cut him asunder, and appoint him 
his portion with the hypocrites ; there shall be weeping and gnash- 
ing of teeth." 

4. Open profanity ; wherein men bear the devil's mark on their 
foreheads, giving themselves the loose in the open course of scanda- 
lous enormities. Gal. v. 19 — 21. These are they that " declare their 
sin as Sodom, and hide it not" who take pleasure in making them- 
selves vile ; scorn to be hampered with the rules of religion, so- 
briety, and decency ; who make a mock of sin, and are goiug to de- 
struction jovially, as with tabret and pipe. This surely is the broad 
road in the broad way ; and they cannot be thought to be deceiv- 
ing themselves with hopes of heaven, for they cannot think 
it a place for dogs and swine. If they do, they will be disap- 
pointed ; Rev. xxii. 15, " For without are dogs." &c. A profane 
life will make a miserable end; E'ph. v. 6, *' Let no man deceive 
you with vain words ; for because of these things coraeth the wrath 
of God upon the children of disobedience." 

Now this is the way of vileness, wherein men render themselves 
loathsome in the sight of God ; their souls in this way still gather- 
ing more defilement to them, and all the defilement sticking, none car- 
ried off, while they are upon it. Every sin leaves a blot on the 
soul whereby it is laid under pollution agreeable to its nature. 

1. The soul is rendered unlike God ; and the more sinful, the 
more unlike him in his moral perfections. Now, God cannot but 


love himself, and his own purity ; and theretore he cannot but hate 
and loathe what is made unlike him, and contrary to him. 

2. The soul being made unlike God, its beauty is marred, and it 
becomes loathesome. Holiness is the glory or beauty of God ; 
Exod. XV. 11, " "Who is a God like unto thee, glorious in holiness ?" 
and God being the supreme pattern of all perfection, holiness must 
also be the beauty of the creature ; and consequently sin must be 
the deformity of the soul. 

Thirdly, We shall consider the broadness of this way ; which we 
may take up in these two things. 

1. There is large room in it for passengers to walk in. The vain 
and vile mind is an unfathomable depth; and the way to destruction 
is of an uuraeasurable breadth. So the mind has room to wander 
up and down, and to range to and fro in the broad way. Endless 
vanities present themselves there, innumerable vilenesses are to be 
found there, according to Jer. xvii. 9, " The heart is deceitful above 
all things, and desperately wicked ; who can know it ?" so that he 
who has disrelished one, may betake himself to another ; and every 
Inst of the heart may find wherewith to gratify it there. 

2. There is no hampering with hedges in it. It is the way of 
lawless liberty ; the very nature of it is to lay aside all restraints, 
and to allow all licentiousness. In that way the bands are broken 
asunder, and the cords cast away from the travellers. Bible-rules, 
dictates of conscience, and suggestions of the Spirit of holiness, are 
laid aside in that way, as things that would narrow it. Hence, 

1. It is easy to fall on it. It is such a broad way, that there is no 
difficulty to hit it. Psalm Iviii. 3. Though one shut his eyes, and 
walk at all adventures, he will not miss it ; because it is the way of 
natural inclination ; so all the difficulty is to keep off it. 

2. It is easy walking in it. There is full room there for all the sin- 
ner's vain and vile inclinations. They go with the wind while they are 
on it ; they row with the stream ; for the natural bent lies that 
way, Jer. iv. 22. They have no more ado but follow it. 

3. It is not easy to get off it ; Jer. xiii. 23, " Can the Ethiopian 
change his skin, or the leopard his spots ? then may ye also do 
good, that are accustomed to do evil." Many seem to themselves 
and others for a time to leave it ; and yet they do not change their 
way, but only their road ; going off fi'om one road of the broad way 
to another, as from profanity to formality. 

III. We shall consider this way in its leading away to destruction. 

Here we shall, 

\st, Shew the import of it. 

2dly, Confirm it, 


First. We shall shew the import of this. It imports, that, 

1. Destruction is at the end of this way, however the travellers no- 
tice it not; Prov. ix. 17, 18, "Stolen waters are sweet, and bread 
eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead 
are there, and that her guests are in the depths of hell." As sure 
as heaven's happiness is at the end of the narrow way, hell and de- 
struction are at the end of the broad way. There is no separating 
what God has thus joined. 

2. The farther one goes in that way, the further away he is from 
safety, and the nearer to destruction. Progress in the broad way 
carries one still farther from God, from holiness, and from salvation ; 
Psal. cxix. 155, " Salvation is far from the wicked : for they seek 
not thy statutes." They are far from the God of salvation, the way 
of salvation, and so from salvation itself; and still they draw near- 
er to destruction. 

3. Holding on the way, they cannot miss of destruction ; Rom, iii. 
16, 17, " Destruction and misery are in their ways." They will land 
at length in the place of destruction. Psal, ix, 17, " The wicked shall 
be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God," They will 
find themselves in the state of destruction, Matth. xxv. 46. A destruc- 
tion of their well-being, not of their being ; for they will not be sub- 
stantially destroyed, or annihilated, to make an end of their being ; 
but destroyed as to their comfort and ease, or tormented, to make 
an end of their well-being. What is destroyed, is not therefore an- 
nihilated, Luke iv. 34 ; compared with Matth. viii. 29. Annihila- 
tion properly is momentary, their destruction will be everlasting, 
2 Thess. i. 9 ; annihilation brings into a state of negative rest, but 
they will have no rest. Rev. xiv. 11 ; but be tormented for ever and 
ever ; chap, xx, 10, " Their worm that dieth not," must have a sub- 
ject to live in ; and the fire is not everlasting, but for everlasting 
punishment, Maith, xxv. 41, 46. 

Secondly, To confirm that this way leads to destruction, consider, 
1. This is the constant voice of the word, God himself at the be- 
ginning spoke it first of all ; Gen, ii, 17, " In the day that thou eat- 
est thereof thou shalt surely die." The text is Jesus Christ's de- 
claration of it. It was the common and constant voice of all the 
prophets and apostles, to be found iu almost every leaf of the Bible. 
Thus the truth of God insures it ; and if men will promise them- 
selves peace in it over the belly of all this, what help is there for 
it? But they will be miserably disappointed ; Deut. xxix. 19, 20, 
" The Lord will not spare him, but then 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." 


2. The rectoral justice of God demands it, Gen. xviii. 25; com- 
pared with 2 Thess. i. 6, " He that ruleth among men must be just ;" 
and therefore must punish crimes, as well as reward good services ; 
and must not the ruler and judge of the world do justice too ? Tea, 
his own honour, and the good of mankind, require it; and it is the 
intimation of that justice that keeps some decency in the world. 
We see very well, that some* men have a sunshine of peace in the 
broad way, while others have much adversity in the narrow way. 
There must then be a judgment for punishment at the end of the 
broad way. And some sinners are punished now in their way, as 
an earnest of it ; but all are not, for assuring it. 

3. The nature of things, duly considered, manifests it. The soul 
of man is immortal, and dropping the body, still lives. God alone 
can be our happiness, as being alone commensurable to the bound- 
less desires of our souls. Now the broad way leads away from God, 
consequently away from happiness ; and the future state being not a 
state of trial, but of recompence, the separation from God there 
must be total and final, and consequently the misery of the rational 
creature complete. What can be the end of the way of vanity, but 
absolute disappointment, cutting and galling of the soul ; how can 
that disappointment be evited, when men pass away out of this 
world, and this world shall perish, and so they can never have more 
of what they sought their satisfaction in ? What can be the end of 
the way of vileness but destruction, while nothing of their vile ways 
remains with them, but the lust after them, the cutting remembrance 
of them, without any possibility of gratifying their lusts more ? 

4. Lastly, The voice of the natural conscience confirms it; Rom. 
i. 32 ; and ii. 15. There is something within the sinner that fore- 
bodes destruction to him in this way ; though through the violence 
of lusts it prevails not, or is not heeded; Job xv. 21. It is their 
consciousness of this that makes them always in a hurry, and to 
stave off serious communing with themselves ; for if they would de- 
scend into themselves, and give the broad and narrow way a fair 
hearing, they would find conscience within them frighting from the 
former, and pressing to the latter- 

Use 1. Of information. Hence we may learn, 

1. That the way of one's setting out in the world is a matter of 
vast consequence. It is of great weight how one begins his course 
of life. If it is begun well, it will readily end well; if the begin- 
ning be ill, the end will be conform, if there is not a sound change 
made. Ye see there is a wide gate to enter by, and it sets on a 
broad way leading to destruction. What need then is there to enter 

Vol. X. z 


right, since if we enter wrong, we cannot proceed right till we enter 
again by a new gate ? This calls aloud to, 

(1.) The young to look well at what gate they enter, how they 
begin their course, and set off in the world ; Eccl. xii. 1, " Remember 
now thy Creator in the days of thy youth." This for the most part 
is little considered ; but the young go forward at random, thinking 
it of little moment how their first years be spent, hoping their riper 
years may be spent regularly. This is to enter the wide gate, leav- 
ing your soul in pawn, that ye may come back again, and will not go 
forward. But one step makes way for another, and the return for 
the most part is forgot, and the pawn lost. 

(2.) The aged to review their entering; and now that they are 
far on in their way, to consider what gate they entered by. It is 
impossible ye can be on the right way, whatever your way is, if ye 
entered not by the right gate. Maybe your way now is not quite so 
dirty as your entrance was ; ye have perhaps left the follies of 
an ill-spent youth, and taken up yonrgelves ; but ye may have done 
all that, and yet be on the broad way. Is there a sound work of 
conversion in your case ? Are ye become new creatures ? 2 Cor. v. 
17. If not, ye are still in the old way. 

2. That giving scope to the natural inclination of the heart, sets 
one surely on the broad way to destruction. For that inclination 
is the wide gate, which the broad way joins, the former issuing in 
the latter. People generally think little of the opening of their 
hearts towards the creature, and towards sin ; but if there is not a 
struggle begun against both, but way given to any of them, the 
party is entered by the wide gate, and is on the broad way. Our 
worst enemy is within : and that heart will ruin a man, that is not 
struggled against, but yielded to, and carries a man in its way. The 
pliableness that way is frowardness against God; Isa. Ivii. 17- 

3. Lastly, The way and course of life that is most grateful and 
easiest to our corrupt nature, is most dangerous; it is the way to 
destruction. Nature likes not to bo hampered, but to go at liberty, 
ranging the treasures of vanity, and wallowing in the mires of vile- 
ness. But that present ease is a pledge of future destruction ; that 
lawless liberty betrays one into eternal confinement ; that casting 
off of the bands of duty, prepares one for the bands of wrath in the 

Use 2. Of Exhortation. And, 

\st, Consider your way, what way ye are on, whether on the broad 
way or not ; Hag. i. 5, " Thus saith the Lord of hosts. Consider your 
ways." Should one cry to you, that about the place where ye are 
going there is a way that is deadly dangerous, ye would certainly 


look to your feet, to see that ye were not on it. Here is a voice 
from heaven telling you, that in this world where ye are, there is a 
way leading to destruction ; then, be not secure, but consider se- 
riously what way ye are on, whether on it or not. Lay then this 
matter to heart, examine your state and way, and put this question 
to yourselves, What way am I on ? 

Motive 1. This is a piece of duty ye owe to Grod, in return of all 
the calls of heaven to you by ordinances and providences ; Mic. 
vi. 9 ; Rev. iii. 20. Sometimes he speaks to you by his word, some- 
times by providences ; will ye not give him a hearing, standing and 
considering what way ye are on, and whither it leads ? It is dan- 
gerous to give a deaf ear to all ; Prov. i. 24. 

Motive 2. It is a piece of justice ye owe to your own souls, 2 Cor. 
xiii. 5. Were a man driving a parcel of beasts, and one should tell 
him. There is a way thereabouts that ends in a precipice, he would 
certainly consider whether he were on it or not. But it is sounded 
again and again in men's ears, that there is a broad way that leads 
to destruction ; yet they will not do their souls the justice once se- 
riously to consider whether they were on it or not, but just drive 
forward at all adventures. 

Motive 3. As is the way ye are on, so will the end be. Death 
and life hang on the way ye are on. If ye are on the broad way, 
ye are on the way of death aud destruction ; if not, ye are on the 
way of life, and is not that worth your considering the matter ? 

Motive 4. Lastly, It would be of great use to have that point 
cleared. Should ye find yourselves not on the broad way, ye might 
have the comfort of it, that ye are in the way to life, and shall cer- 
tainly get thither. If ye were convincod of your being in the broad 
way ye might get olf from it yet, and so escape being mined by it. 
Some need be at no great pains to find out this, if they would but 
consider things calmly and impartially. But I shall drop these few 
things about it. 

1. Those that never saw themselves on the broad way, and de- 
struction awaiting them at the end of it, are certainly upon it, by 
that token that they are going on their way blindfolded, 2 Cor. iv. 
3, 4. Unconvinced sinners are surely unconverted ; for who will 
ever go right that once are wrong, till they see themselves wrong? 

2. They that have not entered by the strait gate of conversion 
and regeneration, but have climbed up another way to the way they 
are in, Matth. xviii. 3 ; John iii. 3. They who, whatever changes 
have been made in their head, in point of light to discern the truth ; 
in their aff'ections, in point of relish of it ; and in their life, in point 
of escaping the pollutions of the world ; yet their nature has never 

z 2 


been chiiiiged, never got the new lieart impressed with inclination 
towards the whole law, and reconciled to the whole yoke of Christ, 
but the predominant love of sin still remains in them, are certainly 
on the broad way. 

3. They that have a reigning disgust at the narrow way, whether 
in themselves or others, Rom. viii. 7. There is a generation that 
choose such a measure of religion for themselves, but they can have 
no more of it, they cannot think to be bound up to all the rules of 
it ; they hate it in others, and cannot admit it in themselves. These 
are in the broad way, by this token, that all the saints aspire to a per- 
fection of holiness, and love it, Phil. iii. 13, 14. 

4. Lastly, They whose choice is a loose and licentious way, in the 
way of vanity or vileness, and can find no pleasure but in such a 
way, Rom. viii. 5. This argues a temper of spirit wholly carnal, and 
estranged from the life of God ; that cannot favour the things of 
God, but of the flesh ; and that is a deadly condition, Rom. viii. 5, 
6. To such heaven, as a holy i)lace, would be a prison, a place 
wherein they could have no pleasure, and they may be sure they 
shall never be brought thither ; since they are not by heavenly dis- 
positions made meet for it. Col. i. 12, 13. 

Idly, Ye that are brought off the other way, be suitably affected 
with, and walk worthy of the deliverance, as being brought off the 
way of destruction. And, 

1. Be thankful to God for it, who by his grace drew you off from 
it, Psalm cvii. 20, 21. Look back to the precipice that ye were 
once carelessly standing on, to the way of destruction that ye were 
securely going forward in ; bless him that opened your eyes to see 
yonr danger there, and to see another way safe, however narrow ; 
that by his grace determined you to forsake the broad way, and 
choose the narrow ; and by the power of his Spirit drew you off the 
one, and set you on the other. 

2. Entertain no hankering after that way again ; beware of giv- 
ing rueful looks back to it. It is an exhortation given to those 
espoused to Christ ; Psalm xlv. 10, " Uearkcn, daughter, and con- 
sider, and incline thine ear ; forget also thine own people, and thy 
father's house." And it is not given in vain ; for in the best there 
is an old man remaining corruption, which perceiving the free and 
unhampered gate of the carnal world in the way of vanity and vile- 
ness, is apt to envy them in a sort, and secretly to wish they had 
the same scope with them ; Prov. xxiii. 17, " Let not thine heart 
envy sinners ; but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long." 
This is most dangerous, which, if not timely suppressed, will inflame 
the whole soul, and lay it in ruins; Numb. xi. 4 — 6, 33, 34, there- 
fore " remember Lot's wife," Luke xvii. 32. 


3. Do not grudge your difficulties aud hardships in the narrow 
way ; 1 Pet. iv. 12; James i. 2 — 4 In it you meet with correction, 
but in the other ye would have met with destruction ; and there is 
no more reason to grudge, than one brought off a way where he 
would have broke his neck, has no grudge to breaking his toes on 
the safe way that he is brought on. The hardships of the broad and 
narrow way differ as much as the curse and the cross, as the killing 
sword and the surgeon's lance, as eternal wrath and Grod's fatherly 

4. Lastly, Pity them that are on the broad way, and be concerned 
for their recovery. Pity them ; for alas ! they know not what they 
do, where they are, the deadly danger they are in. Be concerned 
for them ; for they are going to destruction and are not aware of it ; 
Prov. vii. 22, 23, and is. 17, 18. How can ye miss to be so affected 
towards them, if ye are sensible what once was your own case ; Tit. 
iii. 3, " For we ourselves also were sometime foolish, disobedient, 
deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and 
envy, hateful, and hating one another." 

3rf/y, Sinners on the broad way turn oft' from it as the way of de- 
struction. "Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye 
die ?" Ezek. xxxiii. 11. 

Motive 1. There is no escaping of destruction continuing on it, 
whatever ye may imagine ; 1 Thess. v. 3. God has said it ; how 
can ye hope for safety in that way, over the belly of an express de- 
claration from heaven ? He is infinite in knowledge, ye cannot out- 
wit him ; in power, and ye cannot outbrave him ; he is essentially 
true, and ye will not be able to make him a liar ; Numb, xxiii. 19. 
See Dent. xxix. 19, 20. 

Motive 2. It will be a total destruction it will brina: you to ; 
2 Pet. ii. 12, 13. A destruction of your souls, bodies, and comforts ; 
Prov. vi. 32, and viii. 36; Isaiah Ixvi. 24; Luke xvi. 24. Look 
as it was with Sodom when it was utterly overthrown, there was 
nothing left, but they and all theirs were destroyed ; so will the end 
of the broad way be to you. 

Motive '3. It will be an eternal destruction ; 2 Thess. i. 9, " Who 
shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of 
the Lord, and from the glory of his power." A destruction not of 
your being indeed, but of your well-being ; ever dying, but never 
dying out; Matth. xxv. 46; Rev. xiv. 11 ; and xx. 10. Your way 
may be long indeed, but the destruction at the end of it will be 
longer ; ye will compass your way at most in a few years ; but the 
destruction will never end, but go on through eternity. 

Motive 4. Ye may get off it now, and so escape destruction in it ; 


Ezek. xviii. 30. Satan and au evil world may persuade you to go on 
in it, but they cannot force you thereto. There is no necessary con- 
nection betwixt your having gone in it hitherto, anil your going on 
in it still. It is a course that may be broken off; the grace of Christ 
is able to bring you off it; and if ye be truly willing, will bring you > 
off it ; Jer. xxxi. 18, 19. 

rJoTiVE 5. God is calling you to turn from it and leave it ; Ezek. 
xxxiii. 11. Christ has opened to you another way, a way of life, and 
is inviting you earnestly into it. He is proposing himself as the 
way ; John xiv. 6, and calling you to him; Matth. xi. 28. This his 
voice sounds in the way, and reaches your ears while ye are on it, 
the broad way ; Prov. ix. b, 6. But it is not to be heard at the end 
of the way. Therefore it is said, " To-day, if ye will hear his voice." 
At the end of the way the voice of the Lamb of God ceases ?s such, 
and becomes the roaring of the Lion of the tribe of Jndah ; Luke 
xix. 27. 

Motive 6. Lastly, The calls you have to turn from it will be an 
aggravation of your destruction if ye go on ; Matth. xi. 22. The 
remembrance of them at the end will be cutting and galling, when 
there will be no remedy. It will be the never-dying worm that will 
gnaw for ever ; to think, that, for the pleasure of walking at your 
liberty in the broad way for a few years, ye brought yourselves to 
be shut up in the pit of destruction for ever. Therefore (Heb. xii. 
25), " See that ye refuse not him that speaketh ; for if they escaped 
not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we 
escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven ;" lest 
(Prov. V. 11, 12) " thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy 
body are consumed, and say. How have I hated instruction, and my 
heart despised reproof ?" 

Now, if ye would change your way, and leave the wide gate, 

1, Be peremptory in it, and resolute for it; for ye will not want 
opposition. Satan will oppose the change violently by his tempta- 
tions ; the carnal world will oppose it ; your former licentious com- 
panions will be sure to counsel, and mock you from it if they can ; 
and your own lusts within will be an active party against it. Bat re- 
member (Matth. xi. 12) *' the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, 
and the violent take it by force." 

2. Do not delay it, but turn immediately, as the psalmist did ; 
Psalm cxix. 60, " I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy com- 
mandments." If your resolutions for it be sincere, they will not ad- 
mit of a moment's delay, moro than the casting of a burning coal out 
of your bosom, if ye delay till the next day or the next hour, ye 
may be at the end of your way before that time ; and what avails 


your purpose of turning then ? As when the cry of fire in a house 
is made, men go immediately to quench it, knowing that every minute 
the fire is proceeding and gaining ground ; so when men are con- 
vinced in earnest, they will forthwith set to turn. 

3. Set yourself by all means for the strait gate, and do not think 
of getting over into the narrow way at the broad side ; Luke xiii. 24, 
" Strive to enter in at the strait gate ; for many will seek to enter 
in, and shall not be able." This is a fundamental mistake in the 
conduct of many ; whereby, leaving the way of looseness and care- 
lessnesSj they commence mere moralists or legal formalists, but no 
more true Christians than they were before. Satisfy not yourselves 
without a deep conviction of your sin and misery, faith in Jesus 
uniting you to him, true repentance and conversion unto God by 

4. Lastly, Be not frightened at, discouraged by, or made to turn 
back because of the straitness of the gate ; but peremptorily enter, 
and resolutely thrust forward, till ye be quite through on the nar- 
row way of holiness ; Luke xiii. 24, forecited. 

Doctrine III. The wide gate, with the broad way joining it, does 
so take with mankind, that the multitude of the world goes in by it, 
at all adventures. 

In discoursing this subject, I shall, 

I. Explain the point. 

II. Confirm this sad truth. That the multitude of the world go in 
by the wide gate into the broad way. 

III. Shew how it comes to pass, that the multitude take the broad 
way, notwithstanding of the destruction at the end of it. 

IV. Lastly, Apply. 

I. We shall explain this point. And we may take up the sense 
and import of it in these four things, all of them the genuine import 
of the text. 

First, There is among mankind a going in at the wide gate. How- 
ever dangerous it is, yet it is frequented by poor unthinking souls. 
Though of right it should be loathed for the pollution of it, and 
should be shunued with a horror of it for the danger thereof, yet 
men do go in at it. That is, 

\st. They enter and pass through the wide gate, giving way to the 
corrupt natural inclination of their hearts, when they begin their 
course of life in the world. Psalm Iviii. 3. This, according to what 
was said, lies in two things. 

1. Giving way and scope to the bias of their heart towards the 
creature, away from God. The children of fallen Adam naturally 


go away from God, wlien they begin their course, Psalm xiv. 2, 3 ; 
and they go to the creature in his room and stead, Jer. ii. 13. 
They find they want, they need, and cannot but desire to have 
supply ; they want a rest to their hearts, a match for their souls, 
something that may satisfy their desires. But what door go they 
to for the supply of their want ? Not to God's, but to the crea- 
ture's. Psalm iv. 6, John v. 40. There they fasten on the dry 
breasts, refusing the Lord's offers, Isa. Iv. 1, 2. 

2. Giving way to the bias of the heart towards sin, away from 
the holiness required by the law. God in Christ calls them to take 
on his yoke, Matth. ix. 29, but they cannot submit their necks to it, 
Rom. viii. 7> They choose sinful liberty, and look asquint on the 
Avay of God's commandments. Beginning their course in the world, 
and sinful liberty and religious strictness being both before them, 
they reject the latter, and readily embrace the former. Sin appears 
delightful and pleasant, holiness rugged and unsightly to them ; so 
they go with the bent sail of their hearts towards sin, hoping to find 
there what will satisfy. 

2dly, Passing through the wide gate, they are set on the broad 
way ; they go in thereat, viz., into the broad way, which the wide 
gate is the entry to, and so they go on, 

1. Walking in the way of vanity, Eph. iv. 17- They spend their 
lifetime in a vain pursuit of happiness in the creature, which all 
along disappoints them, and in the end worst of all ; Jer. ii. 5, 
" Thus saith the Lord, "What iniquity have your fathers found in 
me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, 
and are become vain ?" They weary themselves in the pursuit, and 
in end obtain nothing that can satisfy, Hab. ii. 13. Their whole 
life is filled up with mere amusements ; and beyond this they reach 
not to any solid and lasting happiness, which can only be had in 
the enjoyment of a God in Christ, Luke xvii. 28, 29. 

2. Walking in the way of vileness, Eph. ii. 3. The creature 
within the hedge of the divine law not affording the desired satis- 
faction, they break over the hedge, and range up and down among 
forbidden profits and pleasures, if so bo that stolen waters may 
make up to thera what is wanting in allowed ones. And none of 
these answering expectation neither, they go from one act of vile- 
ness to. another ; and the disappointment still renewed, their lusts 
crave anew of them, and they seek afresh to satisfy them. Thus 
their life is spent, till their way is at an end, and in the end they fall 
into destruction. This is the going in thereat. 

Secondly, They go in thereat at all adventures, rashly and heed- 
lessly, without considering. Great is the danger of that way, de- 


struction being at the end of it. They are told their danger ; con- 
science tells them of it ; they are warned of it from the word ; 
providence sets many frightful examples before them, one being 
made example to another, but all in vain. Their vain minds and 
corrupt lusts hurry them forward; they fix their eyes on the bait 
that is pleasing, but notice not the ruining hook ; and so they go on 
at all adventures, whatever be the issue. 

Tldrdli/, They are many that thus go in at the wide gate into the 
broad way. As destructive as it is, there is a multitude of the chil- 
dren of men on it. Whoever mind for it, they need not fear want 
of company of fellow-travellers therein. They are many, 

1. Absolutely. There is never wanting on the broad way a num- 
ber of travellers, to encourage one another. There is a multitude 
to do evil. There they are of all ranks and qualities, great and 
small, of all professions, ages, and sexes. 

2. Comparatively, in comparison of those on the narrow way. So 
saith the text. There is such an odds between the two parties, that 
the broad way-men make the many, the other but a few. If the 
broad way of sinful liberty, and the strait way of religion and god- 
liness, were put to the vote in the world, the former would undoubt- 
edly carry it ; those for it being so far superior in number to those 
for the other. 

FourtJdi/, The wideness of the gate and broadness of the way in- 
fluenceth this. The agreeableness thereof to the corrupt minds of 
men, inviteth powerfully to enter and come on ; and being entered 
and come on, it keeps them from going back, and prompts to go on. 
It is a powerful influence, which the destruction at the end of the 
way is not able to balance. 

II. We shall confirm this sad truth, That the multitude of the 
world go in by the wide gate into the broad way. This may appear 

1st, Scripture testimony, which is the testimony of God himself, 
who neither can deceive, nor be deceived. Scripture light all along 
discovers the multitude of the world to be on the broad way. This 
it doth several ways; and particularly, 

1. Witnessing the universal corruption of human nature ; Psalm 
xiv, 2, 3; " The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of 
men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God, They 
are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy ; there is none 
that doth good, no not one," If ye think this was meant only of 
those in the^ Psalmist's day, ye may be cured of that mistake, by 
the apostle's application of it to all the world ; " They are all 
gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable, there 


is none that doth good, no not one. Now we know that what things 
soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law ; that 
every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty 
before God." This speaks it to be natural to man to betake him- 
self to the broad way, though not primitively natural ; for, Eccles. 
vii. 29, " God made man upright ;" yet secondarily, and accidentally, 
as our nature was corrupted in Adam, John iii. 6, " That which is 
born of the flesh, is flesh." Job xiv. 4, " Who can bring a clean 
thing out of an unclean ? not one." So that this is the first way all 
men go, and in which they hold on till turned by grace. 

2. "Witnessing the general depravity of men's lives. How forci- 
ble is that testimony; 1 John v. 19, " The whole world lieth in wick- 
edness?" The godly are such a small number in the world, that the 
name of the world is left to the corrupt part ; and they are so very 
corrupt, that they are said to lie in wickedness. The straying in the 
broad way begins very early ; Psalm Iviii, 3, " The wicked are es- 
tranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they be born, 
speaking lies ;" and God's elect ones are once engaged therein as 
well as others ; Isa. liii. 6, " All we like sheep have gone astray ;" 
and go on till returned unto Jesus Christ ; 1 Pet. ii. 25, " For ye 
were as sheep going astray ; but are now returned unto the shep- 
herd and Bishop of your souls." But still the multitude strays on, 
Phil. ii. 21, " For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus 

3. The constant call to the multitude to repent and turn. That 
call supposes them to be quite wrong, and out of the way ; Matth, 
ix. 13, " I am come to call sinners to repentance." It was the sound 
the prophets and apostles made in the world, each of them in their 
time, where they executed the commission. So the house of Israel 
is bespoken; Ezek. xxxiii. 11, "As I live, saith the Lord God, I 
have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked 
turn from his way, and live ; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways ; 
for why will ye die, house of Israel ?" So saith the apostle ; Acta 
xvii. 30, " And the times of this ignorance God winked at ; but now 
commaudeth all men every where to repent." And in all ages the 
necessity of this call to repent does continue, there being but few who 
answer it. 

4. Lastly, The sweeping judgments a holy God has at times sent 
on the world, were sure tokens of the multitude being on the broad 
way. Once the whole inhabitants of the earth, save eight persons, 
were destroyed by a deluge of water. Sodom and Gomorrah were 
consumed with fire from heaven, only Lot and his family escaping ; 
whereas God was ready to have spared the whole, if there had been 


but ten righteous ones in the place. The destruction of Jerusalem 
was another dispensation of that kind, of which our Saviour saith, 
Matth. xxiv. 21, 22, " For then shall be great tribulation, such as 
was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever 
shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should 
no flesh be saved ; but for the elect's sake those days shall be short- 
ened." And the burning up of the world with fire at last, is a speak- 
ing evidence that still the multitude will take the broad way, 

2dly, From our own observation, if we will but take a view of the 
world, as we have access to be acquainted with it by seeing and 
hearing. I shall not speak of the many nations lying in Pagan ido- 
latry, nor others without the verge of the visible church. It is plain, 
that among those that have the light of the gospel shining among 
them, the multitude is on the broad way. 

1. Every body may see, how quite unlike to the rules of the 
gospel are the lives of the generality that hear it; Tit. ii. 11, 12. 
Sobriety, righteousness, and godliness, are taught by it ; but few 
learn the lessons. What excess of passions and vanity of mind 
carry most men beyond all bounds of sobriety, to their own hurt ? 
"What unrighteousness prevails to the injuring of others, so that in 
every society, greater and lesser, there are heavy complaints of this 
kind ? And how little regard to God, his honour, his law, and in- 
terests, is to be seen among men, to the provoking of the eyes of his 
glory ? If the multitude is not on the broad way, how is it thus ? 
Truly, if ye see not that the multitude is upon it, it is an evidence 
ye do not know it by that name, and are unacquainted with the nar- 
row way. 

2. They that have eyes to see may see, how rare experimental re- 
ligion is in the world. The multitude trouble not their heads about 
it ; but live at ease, without any saving acquaintance with Christ, 
ignorant of the life of faith, and struggle against the body of sin 
and death. Conviction of one's lost state by nature is very rare ; 
the work of conversion is yet more rare. Few have a profession 
or appearance of religion ; and among those that have it, how many 
are utter strangers to the power of godliness ? The truly serious 
will be convinced of this ; for they must be ready to take up Micah's 
lamentation ; Mic. vii. 1, 2, &c. See it. 

III. How comes it to pass, that the multitude take the broad 
way, notwithstanding of the destruction at the end of it ? This may 
be accounted for, if we consider these following things : — 

1. It is the most agreeable way to their corrupt nature. It is the 
very way of their heart ; Isa. Ivii. 17. The heart of man naturally 
is a treasure of vanity, a fountain of vileness ; Jer. xvii. 9 ; Mark 


vii. 21. How can the broad way of vanity and rileness miss to be 
agreeable to it? Likeness begets love and liking; so their souls na- 
tively choose the broad way, wherein are to be found what things 
promise, though deceitfully, satisfaction to the vanity of their minds, 
and the corrupt lusts of their hearts. 

2. The blindness of their minds ; Eph. iv. 17, 18. They see not 
the danger, to fright tliem from it; they cannot, they will not see 
it. Their unraortified lusts cast up such mists as darken the eyes of 
their mind ; that though the danger is told them a thousand times, 
they cannot perceive it ; Prov. ix. 17, 18, will not believe it ; Dent, 
xxis. 19, 20, they see not any of those things that might draw them 
from off it ; 1 Cor. ii. 14. There is an attractive virtue, beauty, and 
glory in the contrary way, Prov. iii- 17, but they do not perceive it. 

3. Prejudices against the narrow way. They not only have not 
a good opinion of it ; but they have an ill opinion of it, are prejudiced 
against it ; Acts xxviii. 22. It appears to them an overgrown, 
rough, and frightful path ; which, if they consult their interest, they 
must hold off from. Christ's yoke is taken for an uneasy yoke, his 
burden for a very heavy one. And so they determine against it, 
without giving it a fair trial. 

4. The broad way is really easier for the time ; " Wide is the 
gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many 
there be which go in thereat." In it one has no more ado, but to 
follow the inclination of his own heart ; but to go with the wind of 
corrupt passions and affections ; but in the narrow way he will have 
that wind in his face, and must keep up a struggle against his lusts, 
to mortify them. Thus present ease engages them to that way that 
ends in destruction, and present difficulty frightens them from the 
way that leads to life in the end. 

5. Satan, the enemy of their salvation, has a mighty influence on 
them to carry them to, and keep them on that way. He is " the god 
of this world ;" 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4, and men are naturally under his 
power ; Acts xxvi. 18. He has a favourable party within them ; so 
that the way he would have them go, is the way their natural bent 
lies. Hence he has easy work to jn-ompt them forward, for he rows 
with the tide. Add to this his subtilty, whereby ho can easily over- 
reach them ; and his diligence, whereby ho slips no occasion to put 
them on ; and no wonder he drives the multitude before him. 

6. Example contributes exceedingly to it; Matth. xviii. 7. One 
goes into that way, another follows, and so on. It is true, there 
are examples on the other side too ; but good example has not such 
influence as bad ; because men are naturally corrupt, and therefore 
want but one to go before, that they may follow according to their 


natural iucliuation, like water going down a hill, where the passage 
is cleared. But it is against the grain to follow good example. 

7. Lastly, Want of consideration ; Luke xv, 17. Few are at 
pains to weigh things, and deliberately to choose their way; but 
they take the broad way upon trust, as that which first offers to 
them. They look not afar off, beyond the present time ; they con- 
sider not what the end will be, but embrace the fair appearance for the 
present before them. They are engaged in the broad way ere they 
are aware ; " for childhood and youth are vanity ;" Eccl. xi. 10. 
Youth is headstrong ; and men are hurried on with strong and im- 
petuous passions, till they have got a set they cannot throw off; Jer. 
xiii. 23, " Can the Ethiopian change his skin ? or the leopard his 
spots ? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." 

TJsE 1. Of Information. Hence we may learn, that, 

1. Prevailing sloth, and love to carnal ease, makes terrible havock 
in the world. These are they that make the wide gate and broad 
way so taking, that the multitude go in thereat ; and consequently 
this betrays them into utter ruin ; Pro v. vi. 9 — 11. Sloth so prevails, 
that they cannot think to abide a stress, no not for things of the 
greatest weight; but what is easiest, and requires least pains, that 
is accounted best ; and they cannot be moved with the after-reckon- 

2. The broad way that leads to destruction, is the througest way 
in the world. Some take another way indeed, but the multitude is 
on the broad way. Many are the civil and religious differences 
among men; but here the multitude meet altogether upon one way, 
notwithstanding all their differences. There are different roads 
in this way, for the rich and the poor, the old and the youno- the 
professor and the profane ; but their way is one, and leads to the 
same place, where these differences will subsist no more ; Psalm cxxv. 
5; Matth. xxiv. 51. At present they join to make up the multitude 
in the broad way. 

3. What a poor defence of one's way and manner of life is it 
That it is the way that generally prevails, that the most part fol- 
low ? Alas ! is not the multitude on the broad ray ? But will 
that make it a way for our imitation ? The apostle, describino- the 
walk of the Ephesians when they were dead in sins, tells us, it was 
" according to the course of the world ;" Eph. ii. 2. And he uro-es 
the Romans not to " conform to it ;" Rom. xii. 2. That way is to 
be suspected that is the most taking with the multitude. 

4. What it is that keeps sin and iniquity in countenance in the 
world. It is the multitude of its followers; 1 Pet. iv. 4. Sin has a 
baseness or filthiness about it, which is a spring of shame ; vet men 


will refuse to be ashamed of their vile and corrupt courses ; Jer. viil, 
12 ; and some will pride themselves in them, glorying in their shame 
Why ? The multitude stamp these courses with their authority ; 
and so they may appear with open face ; for blackness is no re- 
proach among blackraoors. But Christ appearing in the glory of 
his Father, and all the holy angels, with him, in the end, will sink 
the glory of the authority of the multitude ; then shame will cover 
them ; Dan. xii. 2. 

5. No wonder the serious godly have a lonely, uncomfortable, and 
despised life in the world. Israel was a type of them in that case ; 
Numb, xxiii. 9, " Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be 
reckoned among the nations." Micah laments his lonely case, be- 
cause of the multitude being on the broad way ; Micah vii. 1, &c. ; 
he could have few to take part with him, few to unbosom himself 
to. Hence God's people are the world's wonder; Zech. iii. 8; 
Psalm Ixxi. 7. They are despised as an humoursome, odd, fantastic 
kind of people, addicted to singularities ; because the multitude is 
on another way they dare not take. 

6. The church's peace and prosperity in the world cannot be long 
lasting; for the corrupt party in the world bears the sway, the mul- 
titude being on the broad way ; Cant. ii. 2. So " the silence in heaven 
is but for half an hour," Rev. viii. 1 ; the corrupt multitude soon 
fill all with confusion again. Hence, 

(1.) Her peace has ofttimes been broken with persecution, the 
prevailing multitude crying " Crucify him, crucify him." The mul- 
titude then like swelling waters go over the head, and threaten to 
swallow her up, to raze Jerusalem to the very foundations. And 
had not the Lord been on her side, they had destroyed her quite and 
clean long ere now. 

(2.) Her peace restored, her purity is removed ; Cant. i. 6. The 
multitude on the broad way deface her glory and beauty, and she is 
made to " lie among the pots ;" for a corrupt multitude will still do 
corruptly, and like the mixed multitude infect all societies, till the 
infection spread, and the corruption become universal. 

We see it is our case this day. Time was when persecution, 
blood, and violence rode in triumph ; and nothing was heard from 
the multitude in church and state, but crucify, raze, &c. Now that 
humour is changed, and the persecutors as well as the persecuted 
are despised ; but there is a general corruption in principles and 
practice, whereby truth and holiness are wounded in the vitals ; a 
hundred times more dangerous to the church than the persecution 

Use 2. Of exhortation. As ever yc would escape destruction in 


tLe end, do not go the way of the multitude, the way the most go. 

1. Believe it, that the multitude is on the broad way to destruc- 
tion. Believe it, since Christ has said it. Open your eyes, and ye 
may see it. Ye have the more need to be fixed in this principle, 
that we are naturally prejudiced in favour of a multitude, and to 
think, that the truth and goodness of a cause must needs be on the 
side of the many. And if that obtain with us in this case, we will 
be ready to embark, and go down the stream with them. 

2. Never think to shelter yourselves in an ill way, among the 
throng of them that are on it. The throng there may blind you as 
to the destruction at the end of the way, but can never afford you 
protection. If the whole world were on the broad way, they could 
not alter the nature of it, and make that which is evil and destruc- 
tive, good and safe. 

3. In your course of life, follow not the multitude of the world, 
but distinguish yourselves from them, though ye should undergo the 
censure of being singular ; Exod. xxiii. 2 ; Rom. xii. 2. Make not 
the many in the world your pattern ; but choose that way which the 
best, not which the most are on. 

Motive 1. Consider the way of the multitude is the way to de- 
struction, as is clear from the text ; and however people may please 
themselves with companions in sin, it will be no comfort to go to 
hell with company, as may be learned from Luke xvi. 28. "Why 
should regard to a multitude prevail with us, to go to destruction 
with them ? 

Motive 2. There will be no getting to heaven without striving 
against the stream of the multitude of the world ; Eph. vi. 12. God 
calls you to come out from among them, 2 Cor. vi. 17; to forget your 
people. Psalm xlv. 10 ; yea, to save yourselves from them, as from 
a company of destroyers. Acts ii. 40. Ye must fight your way 
through them, if ever ye would receive the crown ; resolute not to 
go along with them, cost what it will; as our Lord teacheth; Luke 
xiv. 26, " If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mo- 
ther, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his 
own life also, he cannot be my disciple." 

Motive 3. Tliis was the way the cloud of witnesses went before 
08, refusing the way of the multitude. Thus did Noah in the old 
world ; and thus did Abraham, Moses, and all the prophets. Thus 
our Saviour himself had the multitude against him, he and they walk- 
ing in a way and manner of life quite opposite ; and so all his 
apostles. Can we think to travel with the multitude, and lodge 
with the saints in the end ? 


Motive 4. "What is a multitude against God ? Job ix. 4. Is it 
reasonable that the authority of men should take place against the 
authority of God ? All men are liars ; God neither can deceive, nor 
be deceived. Why then shonld not his word be our rule to be stuck 
to in all things that it requires or forbids, say the contrary who 
will ? Can a multitude secure you from the punishment of sinful 
ways ? No; they cannot secure themselves ; P&alm ix. 17. 

Motive 5. Lastltj, To follow the multitude, is to strengthen the 
conspiracy against God. And how will ye answer it to hira, that 
when ye saw the stream going against him, his work, and his way, 
in the world, ye went along with it, and so added to the force of it ? 
In such a case, he is saying, " "Who is on ray side ? Will ye also 
go away ?" It concerns all to see what they will answer to this. 

Advice. Let not the scarecrow of singularity frighten you into the 
way of the multitude. Noah was a very singular man in the old 
world, and Lot in Sodom ; and had they not been so, they had pe- 
rished with the rest. None will see heaven, but a singular kind of 
folk ; Mark viii. 38. 

Doctrine IV. It is a strait gate and a narrow way that leadoth 
unto life. 

In speaking to this, we will consider, 

I. The strait gate. 

II. The narrow way leading away unto life. 

III. Lastly, Apply. 

I. We shall consider the strait gate. And having spoken of this 
already, I shall here drop but a few things of it, 

\st, The strait gate is the entrance, and the only entrance into 
the narrow way that leadeth unto life. This speaks four things. 

1. That mankind naturally are off the Avay to life; Rom. iii. 12. 
And if they hold on the way they begin, they will never see it. 
There is an absolute necessity for all men once to choose a new 
way, and turn off from the way they are naturally going in. God 
set upright Adam on a way to life, the way of perfect obedience ; 
Eccl. vii. 29 ; but he left it, and all his posterity in him; Rom. v. 
12. There is a new and living way opeued by Christ, the way of 
walking in him ; Col. ii. 6. This is the narrow way ; and that un- 
believers were never on. 

2. There is access for sinners off the way to life, yet to get on it ; 
Prov. ix. 4 — G. Wanderers may yet set right ; they that are going 
in the way of death may yet be set on the way of life. While they 
are not arrived at their journey's end, there is still hope; therefore, 
Matth. V. 25, " Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou 


art in the way with him," &c. But once come to the journey's end 
by death, there is no more hope; Eccl. ix. 10. 

3.' There is a gate, though a strait one, by which they may get 
through to the narrow way to life. This is the appointed entrance 
into it ; whoever would be in on it, must go about, and enter by it ; 
and going through the gate, they shall be undoubtedly on the way ; 
John X. 9. Look about then to discern it. 

4. Lastly, There is no getting on the narrow way, but by the 
strait gate, John iii. 5. To climb up another way, is a vain and 
fruitless attempt. As is one's entrance, so will his progress be. 
The actions must needs be of the nature of the principle ; and there 
will be no bringing forth of good fruit in the narrow way, till once 
the tree be made good by entering in at the strait gate, Matth. vii. 


2dlyf The strait gate being the entrance into the way leading to 
life, it is, in plain terms, an inward and thorough change, relative 
and real, made on a sinner. For this is it, without which there is 
no reaching the way of true holiness, the way leading to life. I say, 

1. It is a change made on the sinner, whereby he is not what he 
was before ; 2 Cor. v. 17, " If any man be in Christ, he is a new 
creature ; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become 
new." This cannot be refused by any, who acknowledge themselves 
born sinners. To continue and go on in sin, in vanity and vileness, 
is inconsistent with entering on the narrow way to life ; Rom. viii. 
13, " For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die ; but if ye through 
the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." You 
must then undergo a change, from what you naturally are and in- 
cline to, if ever you mind for life. 

2. It is an inward change ; Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27. An outward 
change without that will not do. A new life and conversation 
pinned to the old corrupt heart and nature, will make but a painted 
sepulchre, that can never be pleasing to him, who " sees not as man 
sees, but looks to the heart ;" 1 Sam. xvi. 7 ; Matth. xxiii. 27, 28. 
True holiness lies inwardly, though it shines forth in the outward 
man ; 1 Pet. iii. 4 ; and without an inward gracious principle, all is 
hypocrisy, mere form and show. 

3. It is a real change, afi'ecting one's nature, and making it new ; 
2 Pet. i. 4. There must be a new temper of spirit, with a new bent 
and set of the heart ; whereby one is made to incline to the way of 
holiness h« was averse to before ; and disinclined to the vanity and 
vileness he was prone and bent to formerly. Therefore it is called 
a " being born again ;" John iii. 3, a " a putting on the new man ;" 
Eph. iv. 24. And there is a necessity for such a change, in order to 

Vol. X. 2 a 


holiness of life ; for there must be new gracious qualities in our na- 
ture, to be a principle of holy walking. 

4. It is a relative change, affecting one's state ; 1 Cor. vi. 11. 
Children of wrath will always be children of disobedience ; and 
cursed trees will never bring forth blessed fruits. They must be in 
a state of grace and favour with God, standing in new relations, who 
shall walk with God, in the narrow way to life; Rom. viii. 1. To 
expect that those who are not children of God, will obey him ; that 
those who are not at peace with him, shall serve him acceptably ; 
that they who are under the curse of the broken law, shall walk in 
the way of life, is vain. The first covenant may have children ; but 
they will be bond-children; to be cast out, not to be heirs; Gal. iv. 
24, 30. 

5. Lastly, It is a thorough change ; 2 Cor. v. 17. It must go 
through the whole man ; every part being sanctified, though in this 
life no part be wholly sanctified ; 1 Thess. v. 23. Light let into the 
head, while there is no gracious change in the heart ; a casting 
away some sins, while others are still stuck to; a taking of some 
scrapes of the law for the rule of our life, while another part of it 
is staved off; is a plain evidence, that one is not entered by the 

Thus ye see the gate by which one enters the narrow way ; thus 
ye have a general prospect of it. To describe it more particularly, 
there are these seven steps of it: — 

1. Conviction, conviction of sin and misery. This is the very first 
step, the awakening of the sinner, and coming to see himself all 
wrong. A new light shining from heaven, the man by it sees hia 
sin as he never saw it before ; John xvi. 8. His sins are set in 
order before him, and stare him in the face like a ghost. He sees 
his actual sin, and his original sin ; the evil of them, and their con- 
trariety to the holy nature and law of God. He sees his misery, he 
beholds himself lost and undone ; Luke xv. 17 ; Rom. vii. 9, under 
the wrath of God, the curse of the broken law, and the bands of 

2. Saving illumination in the knowledge of Christ ; 2 Cor. iv. 6. 
This is the merchantman's finding the one pearl ; Matth. xiii. 46. 
Hereby the sinner sees a Saviour in the transcendent glory of his 
person and offices, able and willing to help liim out of his state of 
sin and misery ; a Saviour suited to the divine perfections, and to 
his own case ; on whom therefore he may freely venturc^his salva- 
tion. This is a higher step of the gate, whereon the sinner is 
brought in sight of the narrow way. 

3. Renewing of the will, whereby the sinner is made pliable to the 


gospel-call ; Ezek. xxxvi. 26 ; Psalm ex. 3. The iron sinew in the 
neck is hereby broken; the sinner called by the gospel, is hereby 
drawn with cords of love and bands of a man. Christ seen in his 
glory, captivates his heart ; John xii. 32. By this saving work on 
the mind and will, the dead sinner is quickened ; there is a vital 
principle put in the soul, whereby the soul is both persuaded and 
enabled to go up a step. 

4. Faith in Jesus Christ, believing on his name ; John i. 12. Thus 
the merchantman buys the one pearl ; Matth. xiii. 46. The soul 
being drawn comes to Christ, and comes away to him freely, taking 
him for all, and instead of all ; Psalm Ixxiii. 25. The soul bids an 
eternal farewell to the way of vanity and vileness, no more to go in 
quest of happiness there ; Jer. xvi. 19, looks for the supply of all 
its wants in and from Christ alone ; for by faith we are married to 
Christ, and so come to rest in him. 

5. New relations to heaven. This is a glorious step which a sin- 
ner gets up to by faith ; and it lies here. The sinner having be- 
lieved in Christ, is united to him; Eph. iii, 17; being united to 
him, is justified; 1 Cor. vi. 11 ; being justified, is reconciled to God ; 
Rom. V. 1 ; being reconciled, is adopted into the family of heaven ; 
Eph. ii. 16, 19 ; being adopted, God is his God ; John xx. 17. 
Whereas formerly being out of Christ, he was a condemned crea- 
ture, an enemy to God, a child of the devil, without God in the 

6. Habitual sauctification, the sanctification of our nature ; Eph. 
i. 13; 1 Cor. vi. 11. Hereby the sinner's nature is renewed ; Eph. 
iv. 23, 24, his whole person, soul and body, is sanctified ; 1 Thess. 
V. 23. New qualities are infused into the mind, will, and affections ; 
whereby he becomes a new creature, formed after the image of God, 
because formed in a likeness to the man Christ, by receiving out of 
his fulness grace for grace ; John i. 16. Thus the seeds of all graces 
are planted in him, new habits, habits of grace, the immediate prin- 
ciples of every gracious action. 

7. Lastly, Repentance unto life, true gospel-repentance ; Jer. 
xxxi. 18, 19 ; Ezek. xxxvi. 31. This is the highest and last step of 
tbe strait gate, which immediately sets the man on the narrow way 
leading to life. It is not that legal repentance, which being the 
effect of a work of conviction by law, judging and condemning the 
sinner, falls in with the first step of the strait gate. But it is that 
whereby a sinner, not only convinced of his sin and misery, but illu- 
minated in the knowledge of Christ, having his will renewed, be- 
lieving, new related to heaven, and having his nature sanctified, does 
turn from sin unto God, out of love to God, and liatred of sin, as 

2 a2 


contrary to his holy will and nature ; which is the only repentance 
acceptable to God. And before a sinner is thus furnished for it, it 
is impossible he can reach it. 

But until one is brought to this repentance, he can never set a 
foot on the narrow way of holiness leading to life ; Acts ii. 18. For 
before one can go right, he must needs turn right; and he can never 
turn right from sin unto God, till he turn thus. The whole gate is a 
strait gate, and this is a strait step ; but no man, without making it 
first, shall ever go a step in the narrow way ; Luke xiii. 3. 

II. We shall consider " the narrow way leading away unto life." 
And here we shall consider, 1. The narrow way itself. 2. Its lead- 
ing away unto life. 

First, The narrow way itself. That is the way into which the 
strait gate sets a person ; the gate leads him on the way, so that 
having passed through the gate, he is on this way. Here consider 
1. What this way is. 2. The parts of it. 3. The narrowness of it. 

1st, What is this way ? This way is the way of holiness ; Isa. 
XXXV. 8, "An highway shall be there, and a way, and its hall be 
called the way of holiness." The broad way is the way of one's 
own heart ; the narrow way is the way according to the heart of a 
holy God ; the broad way is the way of vanity and vileness ; the 
narrow way is the way of purity and holiness ; Psalm xxiv. 3, 4. 

There is a twofold holiness, habitual and actual. Habitual holi- 
ness is holiness of nature, in a holy new frame and disposition of 
soul, whereby the man is reconciled unto the holy law, which he was 
at war with before ; the heart inclining unto those things which the 
law commands, and disinclining to, and having an aversion to the 
things that it forbids. Hence it is expressed by " the law written 
on the heart ;" the renewed heart and the law lying both one way, and 
agreeing as an honest man's thoughts and written words whereby 
he expresseth his thoughts ; Heb. viii. 10, " For this is the covenant 
which I make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the 
Lord ; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their 
hearts," &c. But this belongs to the strait gate, being that which 
the entering in at the strait gate issues in. 

Actual holiness is holiness of life, in thoughts, words, and actions of 
a holy kind ; whereby a man walks up in some measure to the holy 
principles and dispositions of the new nature, and so adds a now life 
to his new nature ; 2 Pet. i. 5 — 7 ; that is, having gone through the 
strait gate, he walks on the narrow way. So, more particularly, 

The narrow way is the way of obedience ; 1 Pet. i. 14, 15. That 
is the way that leadcth to life; even as Jesus Christ was, during his 
life in the world, obedient even to the death of the cross, and then 


was received up into glory ; whom therefore we must follow in this 
way, if we mind to be with him in the end ; Heb" xii. 1, 2. Now, 
there are two things that go to the constitution of the way of holy 

1. For the matter thereof, it is the way of God's commandmeiits ; 
Psalm cxix. 32. It is the holy law that chalks out this way to us, 
in the several commands of God therein. Where there is no com- 
mandment, there can be no obedience. Whatever shew of holiness 
there may be in things that God has not commanded, it is but su- 
perstition, not holy obedience: Matth. xv. 9. Where there is a 
transgressing of the commandment, by omission or commission, 
there is a going off the way of holy obedience, which is bounded on 
every side by the holy commandment. Thus the narrow way is dis- 
tinguished from the way, 

(1.) Of profanity; wherein men walk after their own lusts, cast- 
ing God's commandments behind their backs. These refuse to be 
narrowed in their \yalk by the rule of life given in the word ; they 
look upon it as a thing that would hamper them, and therefore 
practically say, as Psalm ii. 3, " Let us break their bands asunder, 
and cast away their cords from us." Their lusts, not the holy law, 
is their rule. 

(2.) Of superstition ; wherein men, without the commandment of 
God, pretend to serve and obey him in a holy manner. This is a 
narrow way of men's own making, Matth xv. 2. They themselves 
devise commands of their own hearts, and make things duty or sin, 
which God has not made so, Col. ii. 20 — 22. 

In opposition to both these, the narrow way is the way of God's 
commandments ; that, and that only, which is pointed out to us by 
the authority of God in the moral law of the ten commands ; the 
which the profane man neglects, and the superstitious adds unto; 
but the true Christian takes, as it stands, for the rule, and the only 
rule of his life, afraid either to neglect it, or add unto it. 

2. For the form thereof, it is the way of walking in Christ, Col. 
ii. 6. Without this, the walking in the way of the commandment 
is no holy obedience, but a legal selfish course of life, which, though 
it may be of use in society among men, yet is not acceptable to God, 
because it savours not of Christ, John xv. 5. This makes it true 
Gospel obedience, the only obedience that a sinner can expect to 
have taken off his hand with acceptance in the court of heaven. It 
lies in these four things : 

(1.) In taking the law as out of the hand, not of an absolute God, 
but of a God in Christ, Matth. xvii. 5. Natural men, because of 
their spiritual blindness, receive the law as innocent Adam did, 


from God, without eyeing the Mediator as the channel of its con- 
veyance ; hence they set themselves to obey it as they can and 
think meet, that they may have life by their obedience to it. This 
mars their obedience, makes it servile, and unacceptable to God, 
Gal. iv. 24, 30, because it is not perfect. But the true Christian 
receives the law from a God Redeemer and Saviour in Christ, 
Exod. XX. 1, 2. Hence receiving life by faith in the free promise, 
they set themselves to obey out of love to a reconciled God, in point 
of gratitude to the Redeemer, and as the way in which he has ap- 
pointed them to walk towards the perfection of that life he has 
purchased, and bestows of free grace. 

(2.) In depending on Christ for strength for every step of their 
way, as branches that must bring forth fruit by communication of 
sap from the stock, John xv. 5. This the Apostle exhorts to; 
2 Tim. ii. 1, " Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 
Hence the Christian goes out in the way of holy obedience, as David, 
went out against Goliah, "in the name of the Lord of Hosts;" 
1 Sam. xvii. 45 ; " in the name of the Lord Jesus," Col. iii. 17- There- 
fore in his obedience he is self-denied, and humble, acknowledging 
himself an unprofitable servant when he has done all. 

(3.) In depending on him for acceptance of all their obedience, 
not daring to trust the acceptance thereof to the nature of the work 
itself. Gen. iv. 4, compared with Heb. xi. 4. This is a difficult step 
in the narrow way, which none but true Christians do make, Phil, 
iii. 3. To be denied to our obedience when it is done, to lay no 
stress of its acceptance, on our diligence, sincerity, and attainments 
in it, is not easy. However, it is certain, that the acceptance is for 
Christ's sake only, 1 Pet. ii. 5. 

(4.) Lastly, In daily recourse to Jesus Christ for purging away 
the errors of our way, Zech. xiii, 1. There are none that walk so 
exactly, but they are still making wrong steps, and contracting 
new defilement, which cannot be purged but by the application of 
the blood of sprinkling ; nay, there is not one step the best make, 
but there is some defilement cleaves to them in it, so that still they 
need to wash their feet, John xiii. 10. This, then, is the daily 
exercise in the narrow way; and there is no walking in it but 
in Christ. 

The sum of what is said, is. That the nanow way is the way of 
holy obedience, wherein one walks in Christ, in the way of God's 
commandments. And this way of holy obedience may be taken 
up in these two. 

1. The way of doing or working, in obedience to the preceptive 
will of God, Eccl. ix. 10. God sets every man the work lie has to 


do, liis salvation work, and his generation work ; in every relation 
wherein we stand to God or men, our duty is set us by his com- 
mandment ; he has appointed us what we have to do for his honour, 
and the good of ourselves and others. And to the performance of 
every part thereof we are to set ourselves, in obedience to his will, 
and that in Christ Jesus. 

2. The way of bearing or suflfering, in obedience to his provi- 
dential will, Matth. xvi. 24. God allots to every one their par- 
ticular burden of crosses and afflictions ; and requires them to go 
on their way under them, for their trial. Here is exercise for the 
bearing graces, faith, self-denial, patience, hope, &c. And we 
must set ourselves to the Christian bearing of these things, in 
obedience to his will, and that in Christ Jesus. 

Thus shall we walk in the narrow way, doing and bearing in 
Christ, taking our duly and our trial as out of his hand, and going 
on with both in a believing reliance on him. 

And this way bears a two-fold set of marks upon it, all along 
from the beginning to the end of it. 

1, The footsteps of the flock, Christ's flock. Cant i. 8, It is the 
way wherein the company of the saints have travelled in all genera- 
tions ; so that those who will see, may see the prints of the feet of 
Christ's flock on the narrow way, as those of the devil's drove are 
to be seen on the broad way. On the former you will see the prints 
of the feet of the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, all the Old and 
New Testament saints ; on the latter you will see the prints of the 
feet of Cain, Pharaoh, Judas, and all the wicked in all generations. 
The habitual practice of the saints is what makes these footsteps in 
the narrow way, consisting of two discernible parts. 

(1.) The fore-part, viz., faith, faith in Christ, and the promises 
through him. This is the fore part of their footsteps, that being it 
by which the saints from Abel, in all generations, did and sufi'ered 
great things, Heb. xi. 1 — 39. They believed, and worked their 
good works ; believed, and bore their trials and afflictions. The 
promise of Christ was given, Gen. iii. 15, to set them at first on the 
way, and the very first motion on it was Adam and Eve's believing 
it ; and so it has been in every footstep of the flock since, and will 
to the end, Gal. ii. 20. 

(2.) The hind part, viz., sincere obedience. This is the print of 
the heel, Heb. xi. 4, 5, 7, &c. Believing the truth, they conformed 
to it in their lives being cast into the mould of it ; receiving the 
promise by faith, they sincerely obeyed the command; embracing 
the Gospel, they took the law for the rule of their life, making no 
exception of any of its commands, as seeing them all stamped with 


the authority of their God, Creator, and Redeemer; having re- 
ceived Christ the Lord, they walked in him in all holy obedience. 

Thus the footsteps of the flock are distinguished from all other. 
Many a different footstep is on the broad way, but none of them 
all are of this make. The footsteps of atheists and infidels are to 
be seen there, of profane ones, mere moralists, formalists, and hypo- 
crites ; but as the fore part of all their steps is unbelief, so the 
hind part is profanity, or mere external hypocritical obedience, 
unacceptable to God. Either they are legalists, pretenders to 
obedience, and neglecters of faith ; or carnal Gospellers, pretenders 
to faith, making no conscience of good works, or universal obe- 
dience ; or they are profane contemners of both. But the foot- 
steps of the flock consist ot both together, James ii. 18. 

2. The footsteps of Christ himself; 1 Pet. ii. 21. All mankind 
having gone off their way, and not knowing how to find it again, it 
pleased the Father to send his own Son in our nature into the world, 
that, by his walking in the world, men might see, in a bright ex- 
ample, the way of walking acceptable to God. Accordingly he 
came, and entering on the narrow way, he walked it all along, and 
left the prints of his feet thereon from the beginning to the end 
thereof; Phil, ii, 8. In the example of the best of the saints, there 
are some wrong, out-of-the-way steps ; but his footsteps are perfectly 
regular, without the least imperfection, or the least part of a step 
out of the way. And they also consist of two parts. 

(1.) Faith in God his Father, and the promises of the covenant 
made to him. Christ in his divine nature is the object of faith ; John 
xiv. 1, compared with Jer. xvii. 5 ; but in his human nature he was 
a subject of faith. The man Christ believed in God his Father, 
trusted in him perfectly, and relied on him, upon the ground of his 
faithfulness ; Psalm xxii. 8, 9 ; Heb. ii. 13. He had promises of 
assistance ; Isaiah xlii. 6, acceptance and a glorious reward ; chap, 
xlix. 8 ; Heb. xii. 2. And accordingly he waited for the fulfilment 
of them, and was not disappointed; Psalm xl. 1, and declares the 
divine faithfulness from his experience ; verse 10. Yea even now 
in his exaltation at the right hand of God, he continues his faith and 
assured hope of what of the promises remains to be accomplished ; 
so that the man Christ in glory is a believing waiter still, Heb. x. 
12, 13 ; which should endear to us waiting on God, since the man 
Christ himself was, and still is one of the company of believing 
waiters on God. And this shows us how Christ came to receive the 
seals of the covenant, the sacraments, viz., to confirm his faith in 

Here then we have the print of Christ's own footsteps in believing. 


which also makes the fore-part of them ; for the man Christ be- 
lieved, and so obeyed ; which is lively set forth, Isaiah 1. 5 — 7, " The 
Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither 
turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks 
to them that plucked off the hair ; I hid not my face from shame and 
spitting. For the Lord God will help rae, therefore shall I not be 
confounded ; therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know 
that I shall not be ashamed." Hence when he came into the world, 
he was circumcised on the eighth day ; before he entered on his pub- 
lic ministry, he was baptized, had the voice from heaven, and then 
was carried to the wilderness ; Mark i. 9 — 12 ; and before he en- 
tered on the hardest piece of all his work, he received the sacra- 
ment of the passover and of the supper. 

(2.) Perfect obedience. As his faith was, so was his obedience 
perfect, every way complete and sinless ; 1 Pet. ii. 22. It was per- 
fect in parts; Matth. iii. 15, he fulfilled all righteousness. In the 
doing part, he accounted nothing too hard, loving his very enemies ; in 
the sufi'ering part, he went through the hardest pieces mildly and 
patiently; Phil. ii. 8; 1 Pet. ii. 23; jjerfect in the degrees of it, 
everything carried to the utmost pitch ; Isaiah xlii. 4 ; in the prin- 
ciple of it, love to his Father's glory, and the salvation of sinners ; 
perfect love appearing in the greatest possible instances ; Psalm xl. 
6 — 8 ; and in continuance from the cradle to the grave ; Phil. ii. 8. 

Thus Christ walked the narrow way ; and, by the prints of his 
feet, put another set of marks on it, whereby it is more fully and 
clearly distinguished from all other ways. The imperfections that 
attend the saints' walk, leave the matter of the way in some obscu- 
rity ; so that carnal men noticing them, from thence would make 
the narrow way very broad, since in many paths of destruction, 
they can discern the footsteps of saints. The adulterer sees David's 
footsteps in his way, the drunkard, Noah's ; the curser and swearer, 
and apostate, Peter's ; not considering that these were the out-of- 
the-way footsteps, from which they turned back by bitter repent- 
ance, in which steps they neglect to follow them. But the footsteps 
of the Shepherd of the flock, puts the way beyond all doubt ; that it 
is the way of purity and holiness, the way of faith and obedience, 
that has nothing in common with the broad way, the way of sin. 

Secondly, What are the parts of this way, the narrow way ? 
Many are the steps or pieces of the way, from the beginning of it at 
the point of conversion to God, unto the end of it at death ; and it 
is longer to some than to others, partly because of the various 
lengths of men's lives, partly because some are so happy as to be 
more easily converted than others; which two things make an un- 


eqnal length of the way. But loiiger or shorter, it consists of 
two parts. 

1st, The way of mortification; Rom. viii. 13, " If ye through the 
Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." This is a 
part of the narrow way, which lies all along from the beginning to 
the end of it, in which therefore the saints going towards life must 
still be making progress, since they will never come to the end of 
it till death. The strait gate of conversion and regeneration sets 
one upon it, because these are not perfect ; but still there is a mix- 
ture of the old with the new nature ; of sin and corruption with ho- 
liness. It lies in these two. 

1. Mortification to the creature, in opposition to the way of va- 
nity. This is begun in the soul's coming to Christ ; Jer. xvi. 19, 
and is to be carried on all along the believer's life after ; Cant. iv. 
8, till he be without the reach of an enchanting deluding world, no 
more to be moved either with its smiles or frowns. Paul was on that 
way when he said ; Gal. vi. 14, " God forbid that I should glory, 
save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is 
crucified unto me, and I unto the world." The Lord carries on his 
people in it, by ordinances, giving them there lively views of crea- 
ture vanity and emptiness, in the glass of the word, sacraments, 
prayer, meditation, &c. ; by providences laying gall and wormwood 
on the breasts of the creature, till the believer be as a weaned child ; 
Psalm cxsxi. 

2. Mortification to sin, in opposition to the way of vileness that 
unregenerate sinners walk in, Rom. vi. 6, 7. This is to get the 
mouth out of taste to the pleasures of sin, to be dying to it, to be 
rooting up the weeds of sin daily, that grow up in the soil of an 
evil heart. And it reaches to the whole body of the sins of the 
flesh, if it be genuine mortification. Col. ii. 11, If any one is known 
and spared, it is no true mortification ; the man is in the way to 
death and destruction, as the ship to sinking where one leak is ne- 
glected to be stopped. Psalm cxix. 6. Particularly, it reaches to, 

(1.) Particular lusts and corruptions, the members of this body ; 
Col. iii. 5, " Mortify therefore your members which are upon the 
earth ; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupi- 
scence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." These are many, and 
of divers kinds, fleshly lusts, and spiritual lusts ; pleasing lusts, and 
tormenting passions. All come under the name of worldly lusts, 
which the gospel teaches to deny the cravings of, Tit. ii. 12. On 
every one of them, men in the way to life keep a watchful eye, to 
knock them down as they begin to set up their heads ; to wrestle 
against them, seeking their death and destruction. 


In a special manner, that Inst which one is most addicted to, com- 
monly called one's predominant; whether it be the sin which one's 
constitution, calling, circumstances, or anything whatsoever, makes 
most easily to beset him, Heb. xii. 1 ; that must be mortified, though 
it be as hard to compass as to pluck out a right eye, or cut off a 
right hand, Matth. v. 29, 30. And none can prove himself on the 
narrow way, without the mortification of that. Psalm xviii. 23. And 
we may judge of our progress in the narrow way, by our progress in 

(2.) The sin of our nature, the body itself whereof these particu- 
lar lusts are the members, called the flesh, Gal. v. 24. That sinful 
disposition that is born with us, making us prone to evil, and averse 
to good; ready to comply with temptations to sin, hard to be brought 
up to our duty; holding fast ill impressions made, and letting good 
ones easily slip. The axe of mortification must be laid at the root 
of the tree, if we would take the narrow way. 

Now these are mortified by refusing compliance with them, and 
acting the graces contrary to them. Gal. v. 16, 17. Hereby they 
are starved and weakened, and grace is cherished and strengthened, 
Rom. xiii. 14 ; Heb. v. 14. 

2dly, The way of vivification, or newness of life, Rom. vi. 4 ; in 
the practice of good works. Tit. iii. 8 ; that is, thoughts, words, or 
deeds agreeable to the will of God, and pleasing in his sight. This 
is another part of the narrow way, which lies all along from the 
strait gate to the end of the way at death ; which the grace implant- 
ed in the heart in regeneration exerts itself in ; for the new nature 
must have its fruit in newness of life, whereby a man lives to the 
honour of God, his own good, and the good of mankind. It also lies 
in two things. 

1. Living to God, in opposition to the creature. Gal. ii. 19. The 
unregenerate man is dead to God, but alive to the creature ; all the 
inward motions of his soul are towards the creature, not towards 
God. It is his portion ; his joy is in the having of it, and his sor- 
row in the want of it. He has no kindly motion towards" God for 
himself, more than they that are in the grave. But entering the 
strait gate of regeneration, one becomes alive to God, Rom. vi. 11 ; 
and dead to the creature. Col. iii. 3. And so he goes on the narrow 
way, as dying to the creature, so living to God ; resting in him as 
his portion, seeking him always as his chief good, loving him above 
all, joying and delighting in the enjoyment of him, sorrowing for 
the want thereof, and for sin that mars the light of his countenance, 
Col. iii. 1 — 3. All this the tenor of his life witnesseth, Psalm xxx. 
5 ; and iv. 6, 7- 


2. Liviug to rigliteousness, in opposition to sin, 1 Pet. ii. 24. The 
unregenerate are dead to righteousness, but alive to sin, Rom, vi. 
20; as free from righteousness as those in the grave from what is 
done on the earth, they meddle not with it, Eph. ii. 1. But enter- 
ing the strait gate of regeneration, they are put in a state of death 
to sin, and of life to righteousness, Rom. vi. 4 ; Col. iii. 1 ; they 
awake to it, 1 Cor. xv. 34. And so chey go on in the narrow way, 
living to it as servants of it, Rom. vi. 18. And this their living to 
righteousness extends to the whole will of Grod known to them. Acts 
xiii. 22 ; Col. iv. 12 ; and makes their obedience universal, Col. i. 
10. It lies in these following things. 

(1.) Living to righteousness towards Grod; that is, living godly, 
Tit. ii. 12. There is a duty that in justice we owe to God imme- 
diately, as our Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer ; that is, the duty 
of piety, in all the instances thereof required in the first table. 
Whoso walk on the narrow way, live to pay that duty, as owing, in 
point of righteousness and gratitude too. Therefore they are con- 
cerned to live to honour him in the world, taking that for their 
chief business in it, Phil. i. 21 ; and see no comfortable use they are 
for in the world, if they get him not honoured in their stations. So 
they look on their interest as twisted with the interests of his glory. 

(2.) Living to righteousness towards ourselves ; that is, living so- 
berly. Tit. ii. 12. We owe a duty to ourselves, and it is bound on 
us with a bond of justice or righteousness, in as much as we are not 
our own, but the Lord's. That duty is required of us in the second 
table obliging us to consult the good, honoui% and welfare of our 
own bodies, to treat them as the temples of God, and therefore to 
hold off from all things that may be hurtful or defiling to them ; and 
to advance the good of our own souls, by aiming at and pursuing 
after their perfection in truth and holiness, Phil. iii. 14 ; and to 
hold off from what may darken or pollute them. And this is a 
great part of the business of the life of those on the narrow way. 

(3.) Living to righteousness towards our neighbour ; that is, liv- 
ing righteously, strictly so called. Tit. ii. 12. We are not born for 
ourselves, but for others also ; and we owe a duty to mankind, our 
fellow-creatures, according to the several instances thereof required 
in the second table. Since we are men, we must always keep on, 
never cast off humanity towards any of our kind, be they rich or poor 
above us or below us. Wo should breathe an universal good-will 
toward mankind, seeking the good of our kind, and disposed to acts 
of beneficence towards them, as wo have ability and opportunity. 
This humanity rcquireth, justice makes a debt, and Christianity in- 
spires men with, who are on the narrow way, (Jal. vi. 10; Luke vi. 


36. Ah I how will we answer to our common Father, if we take no 
care to be useful to, and in our generation ? What stock have we 
laid up for the other world, if we have not laid out ourselves for the 
good of others in this ? Lake xvi. 9. That temper of spirit where- 
by one is selfish, concerned for none, but his sweet self, is a flaming 
evidence of being on the broad way ; and much more that whereby 
one is disposed to run down all about them, to spread their terror 
around them, to be a plague to society, disturbing all that are near 
them, Eccles. ix. 18. If those in that temper see heaven, we must 
give up the Bible as a fable, and confound heaven and hell, Isa. xi. 
6 ; Tit. iii. 3 ; James ii. 13 ; Rev. xiii. 10. 

Thus ye see that those on the narrow way look upward, inward, 
and outward, labouring each of these ways to be useful, and to fill 
up their room in the world; so living to righteousness. 

And these two parts of the narrow way Christ hath chalked out 
to his followers by his death and resurrection, which are the exem- 
plary causes of mortification and vivification. 

Thirdly/, Let us consider the narrowness of the way to life. This 
narrowness of the way is not absolute, but respective, in respect of 
the imperfection of our present state ; for the boundaries of it are 
eternal, it being for substance the very same the saints will walk in 
through eternity, when they will walk at greatest liberty. But a 
way may be very narrow and pressing to one, that will be perfectly 
large and easy to another, in regard of the very different sizes the 
passengers may be of. So a shoe may be very strait for a swelled 
foot, that will be large abundantly for the same foot, when it is hale 
and sound- The glorified saints have a hale foot ; so the way is 
large and broad enough to them in life ; we have the swelled one ; 
so the way, though for substance the same, is narrow to us going to 
life. Now the narrowness of the way to life rises from a complica- 
tion of these three. 

1st. The exactness and purity of the law that bounds this way of 
holy obedience. Psalm cxix. 4. No sinful latitude is allowed here ; 
every wrong step is condemned by it. It hems in the traveller on 
every side, and that, 

1. To the right matter of obedience ; which is not to be measured 
by man's choice but God's command ; Matth. xv. 9. If it is devised 
by a man's own heart, whatever species pretext of sanctity it has, it 
is rejected with a " Who hath required this at your hand ?" Isaiah 
i. 12; and far more if it is forbidden of Grod, it is an abomination to 
him, though one should be so blind as to think it good service ; John 
xvi. 2. There is no holy obedience but in what is commanded of God. 

2. To the right manner of obedience. Suppose it be a thing that 


in itself is duty, yet if it is not done in a right manner, it is no 
walking in the narrow way. Here the traveller is hemmed in to, 

(1.) The love of God, as the principle of his obedience. His la- 
bour must be a labour of love, else it is lost labour; Heb. vi. 10. 
Love to God himself must dispose us to obey him, else he will not 
reckon we obey him at all ; for he sees the heart ; and what is not 
with the heart can never be acceptable ; 2 Cor. viii. 12. 

(2.) The will of God must be not only the rule, but the reason of 
our obedience ; Eph. vi. 6, 7- It is no true faith, but where one be- 
lieves because God has said it ; nor holy obedience, but where the 
thing is done because God has bid it. So one may do what God 
commands, and yet not obey him, if he does it not in obedience to 
his command. 

(3.) To the glory of God as the chief end of his obedience ; 1 Cor. 
X. 31. If any thing else have that place, God will not reckon it 
obedience to him ; Zech. vii. 6. So there is much lost labour, where 
though the thing in itself be duty, yet it is marred by the low and 
selfish ends it is done for ; Matth. vi. 1. Thus ministers may lose 
their preaching, people their prayers, any body whatsoever good 
they do, doing the same for selfish ends. 

(4.) Lastly, Faith in God through Christ, as that which casts 
their obedience into the mould of gospel-obedience, the only holy 
obedience of a sinner; Col. iii. 17. The work of faith in the case is 
to fetch in strength from Jesus for holy obedience ; 2 Tim. ii. 1, and 
so to perform it, Phil. iv. 13 ; and then to lay it over on Jesus for 
acceptance with God, Heb. xi. 4, 6. 

2dly, The bias of the heart that lies away from and contrary to 
the holy law. This the apostle complains of as what made his walk- 
ing in the way uneasy ; Rom. vii. 21. There are notable remains 
of the natural enmity in the best while they are here, a woful disposi- 
tion not liking to be bounded by the pure commandment. There are 
lusts of the heart that bend forth on every side, and cannot be 
hedged in without pain. Hence the way appears narrow, and feels 
strait and pinching; and the walking in it is indeed one continued 
struggle to the end; the way of holy obedience lying quite cross to 
the natural inclination, over the belly of which the traveller must 
go. Now there being nothing of this in heaven, the way of obedi- 
ence will not be narrow to the saints there. 

Zdly, The many embarrassments in this way from without. Our 
text (Gr.) calls it an afllicted or compressed way. Had the children 
of God no more ado but to make their way forward in the path of 
God's commandments, over the belly of their own corruptions, they 
might have enough ado with it. But that is not all ; whatever im- 


pediments or entanglements Satan and an evil world can get laid in 
their way, will be sure to be found there. Hence they have thickets 
of temptations, tribulations, discouragements, &c., to break through. 
Sometimes the smiles of the world are fain to flatter them off their way; 
sometimes its frowns to frighten them from it ; and sometimes a speat 
of ill example is like to carry them off their feet. Besides all this, 
there are trials from the hand of God to be met with in it. So that 
it is a way beset with briars and thorns ; Eph. vi. 12 ; John xvi. 33. 
Hence, Heb. xii. 1, 2, " Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin 
which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race 
that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of 
our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the 
cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the 
throne of God." 

Secondly, We are to consider this way its leading away to life. 
And here 1 will show, 1. What is that life it leads to. 2. How the 
narrow way leads to it. 

First, What is that life the narrow way leads to ? That is in a 
word, a happy life in the other world; Mark x. 30. Entering the 
strait gate, the dead sinner gets life, else he could never go on the 
narrow way ; and the life then received is eternal; for from the mo- 
ment it is received, it shall never be extinguished through the ages 
of eternity. But there is so great a difference, in degrees and at- 
tending circumstances, betwixt the believer's life here, and in hea- 
ven, that this last is called life by way of eminency. For, 

1. Heaven is the region of life where no death can enter ; but 
whosoever is there, lives ; Rev. xxi. 4. This world at best is a mix- 
ture of the dead and the living, even above ground ; and more than 
that, the dead always are the far greater part in the mixture, which 
makes this world an unsavoury, melancholy place to them in whom 
spiritual life is begun ; Psalm cxx. 5. But when they come there, 
they will find themselves in the land of life, where there is no win- 
ter, but an eternal spring ; no dead, but all living. 

2. Their life will be perfected there ; Heb. xii. 23. It is begun 
here indeed ; but yet there is a great mixture of death with it, even 
in the liveliest saints here ; they have a whole body of death carry- 
ing about with them ; Rom. vii. 24. But there will not be the least 
member of it about them there. Even their life of comfort will be 
completed there, though they may have much ado to keep it from 
extinction here. 

3. Lastly, No death can ever have access there ; but there life 
will be spun out in joy and comfort to all eternity, without any in- 
terruption. While they are here they still know that death is abid- 


ing them ; but when tliey arrive there, they know they are for OA'er 
beyond its reach any more. They are set down there by the foun- 
tain of life, and allowed a full participation of the waters of life, 
that they can die no more. 

Secondly, How does the narrow way lead to life ? And, 
\st. Neg. Not by way of merit, proper or improper. Proper 
merit is what arises from the intrinsic worth of the thing done, fully 
proportioned to the reward. Such is the merit of Christ's obedience 
and death. But no such merit can be in our works ; for there is no 
proportion between our obedience and eternal life, whatever the pa- 
pists pretend ; Rom. viii. 18 ; 2 Cor. iv. 17 ; and whatever they be, 
they are due from us to God ; Rom. viii. 12 ; Luke xvii. 10. Im- 
proper merit is what arises from paction ensuring such a reward on 
such a work as the condition thereof; so that the work being per- 
formed, the reward becomes a debt. So Adam's perfect obedience 
would have been meritorious, namely by paction. But no such merit 
is in our works. Legal protestants advance this, though they do 
not call it merit, while they pretend that God has promised eternal 
life on condition of our obedience ; thinking it enough to free them 
from the doctrine of merit, that they do not pretend to an intrinsic 
worth in the works, proportioned to the reward. But what more do 
they yield in this, than innocent Adam behoved to have yielded, had 
he perfected his obedience ? Do they not hereby confound the two 
covenants ? for all the difference remains only in degrees, which do 
not alter the kind. The scripture rejects this as well as the other ; 
Rom. iv. 4, and vi. 23. Paul would not lippen to it; Phil. iii. 9. 

2dly, Positively, The narrow way leads to life by way of order 
and connection. It leads thereto, 

1. By way of order in the nature of things, whereby one thing 
necessarily goes before another. Thus the beginning of a thing 
goes before the end of it ; and there is no reaching the end without 
beginning it. So the narrow way is the beginning of the Christian 
course, eternal life in heaven the end of it, Rom. vi. 22. Thus the 
sun rising must go before its getting to the meridian, the seed-time 
before the harvest, and the first fruits before the whole. So walking 
in the narrow way must go before life in heaven, Prov. iv. 18, 
Psalm cxxvi. 5, Rom. viii. 25. This establishes infallibly the ne- 
cessity of holy obedience, it being as impossible for subjects capable 
of holy obedience to see life without it, as to reach the end without 
beginning the work, &c., Ileb. xii. 14. But will any say, that the 
beginning, the sun rising, &c., are the condition upon which the end 
is given, the sun is set to the meridian, «Sic. ? 

2. By way of connection, whereby one thing is knit with another, 


whether in the nature of things, or by special appointment. Thus 
the means and the end, the way and the journey's end, are con- 
nected in the nature of things ; that whoso neglects the means 
cannot reach the end ; that whoso takes not the way cannot reach the 
journey's end. So the narrow way is the mean or mids to be gone 
through, the way to the journey's end eternal life, Phil. iii. 13, 14. 
Thus the wrestling and the prize, the Christian fight and the crown, 
are connected by divine appointment ; but the former does neither 
properly merit the latter, nor is it the condition thereof, 2 Tim. 
ir, 7, 8, compared with Rev. iv. 10. In the narrow way there must 
be fighting, because there is opposition ; but if ye go along that 
way, ye will get to life, even as if ye go by such and such places, ye 
will get to such a city ; yet is not the going that way the condition 
of admission into the city. 

The true state of the matter lies here. Eternal life is freely 
given to the soul here in the first moment of believing ; it is begun 
in them, John iii. 36, and v. 24, 1 John v. 12. It exerts itself, and 
hath its operation and progress in the walking in the narrow way; 
and death being the end of the way, where the body of death is 
dropt, the soul then comes to have that life completed, as one 
having perfected the journey enters the city. The which overthrows 
all merit and conditionality of works as to eternal life, and in the 
meantime infallibly establishes the necessity of them to it, viz., 
considered in its perfection in heaven. 

Practical inferences may be deduced from the whole. 

First, An easy entrance on religion is somewhat suspicious like 
and needs to be examined ; because it is a strait gate that leads to 
life. I will not take on me to deny a sovereign gospel-way of 
conversion, that swallows up any notable law-work, though I have 
no experience of it. A sovereign God must not be limited ; but I 
may say this, 

1. It is not the ordinary way. Ordinarily a law-work, greater 
in some and lesser in others, goes before, according to that Gal. 
iii, 24, " Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster, to bring us 
nnto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." Thus the converts, 
Acts ii., Paul, the jailor, and others. And hereto I believe the 
experience of Christians generally does agree. As for Lydia, she 
was a convert before, a Jewish proselyte. Acts xvi. 14. 

2. The easy way of entering on religion is a flaw in the founda- 
tion, in the case of some ; ilatth xiii. 2U, " But he that received the 
seed in stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and 
anon with joy receiveth it." Where observe, (1.) There is a re- 
ceiving the word of the Gospel at first brush, anon. (2.) There is 

Yoh. X, 2 u 


a mighty stir in the affections at that reception ; the party is trans- 
ported with joy. (3.) The flaw lies in the superficialness of the work, 
its not going deep enough, verse 5, viz., by the digging work of 
conviction and humiliation, Luke vi. 48, so that the party hath no 
root, Matth. xiii. 21. (4.) Lastly, As it came lightly, it goes 
lightly, ibid. 

3. Whoever pretend to it, ought well to examine it before they 
sit down contented with it. And this may be done, to the sufficient 
clearing of the matter. 

(1.) By considering what their entrance, whatever it was, set 
them into. If it set them into a sound and thorough repentance for 
sin, the matter needs no more dispute ; if not, their pretences aro 
vain. If their repentance was sound and thorough, whatever they had 
or had not before, they then got a piercing sight and sense of the 
sin of their lives, and sin of their nature loo, and sincerely repented 
of both ; Gal. v. 24, and particularly of their predominant, from 
which their hearts would then be loosed in a particular manner ; 
Luke xix. 8. 

(2.) By considering what way they are on. If their habitual 
tract and course of life is a course of holy obedience, let them not 
disquiet themselves as to the manner of their entry ; for it is not 
possible to get on the narrow way, but by the right gate ; Psalm 
cxix. 6. But as the straitest law-work issuing in a loose course of 
life, will be found to have been but a foretaste of hell ; so an easy 
way of entering on religion, followed with a loose and licentious 
course of life, will be found to be the wide gate and broad way to 
destruction. That was the religion of some, whom in our fathers' 
days they justly called Antinomians and Eanters, who, pretending 
to a sovereign gospel-way of conversion, gave the swing to their 
lusts, and led scandalous lives, a reproach to the gospel. Jiut if that 
be the gate to life, we may throw by our Bibles, and regard them 
no more ; but (2 Pet. ii. 17.) " these are wells without water, clouds 
that are carried with a tempest, to whom the mist of darkness is 
reserved for ever." 

Secondly, Strictness in religion, nice, exact, and pointed walking 
therein, is not only justifiable, but necessary ; for narrow is the way 
that leads unto life, and it will not allow wide steps. It is the way 
of the world to expose the entering by the strait gate under the 
name of " melancholy, madness," and " distraction ;" and strict 
walking on the narrow way, under the name of " fantastic singu- 
larity, preciseness, and needless nicety." But let the world cry it 
down as they will, the Bible, and particularly our text, cries it up 
as not only justifiable, but necessary. 


But before I come to justify it, and shevv the necessity of it, I 
must first fix the true notion of it. For there is a spurious strict- 
ness in religion, which is oft mistaken for the genuine strictness, 
especially by the parties themselves ; whereas the former belongs to 
the broad way, the latter only to the narrow. That there is such a 
spurious strictness, is without controversy ; Acts xxvi. 5, " After 
the strictest sect of his religion, Paul lived a Pharisee ;" and there- 
fore the apostle's caution is very necessary ; Gal. iv. 18, " It is 
good to be zealously affected always in a good thing." Now, 

1. This spurious strictness in religion, which is to be rejected as 
a work of the flesh, is a strictness of men's own making. It is not 
God's commandment that girds them so strait ; but where God 
leaves them at liberty, they bind up themselves ; and so their strict- 
ness is downright superstition in the sense of the Bible, however 
they may pretend to be enemies to superstition ; Matth. xv. 9 ; Col. ii. 
20 — 22. And so it is, though they may take themselves to be bound 
to it, by God's commandment, while in reality there is no such 
thing ; John xvi. 2. For an erring conscience taking that for God's 
command which is not so, can never make it so ; Acts xxvi. 9. It 
may be discerned by, 

(1.) Its disproportionableness, making men more strict in these 
things, than they are in the things unquestionably commanded 
of God ; Matth. xxiii. 25. Nature is always fond of its own 
brats ; and will treat them as one does his own children, while 
uncoutroverted duties are treated like step-children ; even as the 
earth gives its strength to the weeds, while the flowers have much 
ado to fend. 

(2.) Its justling out some substantial duties of religion ; Matth. 
XV. 2 — 6. So the apostle teaches that the spurious strictness of some 
clashed with the sixth command ; Col. ii. 22, 23. No duty can be 
contrary to another. When therefore some point of strictness 
clashes with some moral duty of the ten commands, carrying one oft' 
from it, be sure it is strictness of the wrong sort. Thus while men's 
strictness bars them from the ordinary means of grace, in which 
Christ feeds his people, and from the duties of love and beneficence 
towards their neighbours, we may be sure it is spurious. 

3. Lastly, Its giving a set to men's spirits quite unlike the spirit of 
the gospel. Spurious strictness ariseth from a legal disposition, and 
gives the spirit a legal set and bias, reckoning highly on their 
strictness; Phil. iii. 6, 7- It puffs up with pride and self-conceit ; 
Col. ii. 18, fills with bitterness of spirit : Tit. iii. 3, and gives a 
fireiness of spirit, inconsistent with the spirit of the gospel, which is 
a spirit of love and meekness : Jam iii. 17. Tins strictness is to be 



avoided, as dislioiiouring to God, injurious to one's own soul, and 
hurtful to our neiglibours. 

2, But there is a genuine strictness for all that, the which is re- 
commended in our text. And it is a strict walking up to the re- 
vealed will of God, so far as we know it, in all things ; not daring 
to come and go on these points, but sticking close to them, though 
to our loss in the world ; being inflexible in them, over the belly of 
temptations, the world's contrary example, its fairest smiles, and 
bitterest frowns. 

What girds the man here, and makes him inflexible, is, the 
authority of God on his conscience ; Acts iv. 19, 20. Wherefore, 
be the thing in itself never so small, and the loss or hazard in cleav- 
ing to it never so great ; yet being commanded of God, he must 
stick to his point. It is enough to him ; Psalm cxix. 4, " Thou hast 
commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently." 

There is a twofold measure of this strictness ; and all that is in or 
over it, is coudemnable as looseness, 

1. The law of God, the law of the ten commandments ; James i. 
25 ; Ezek. xviii. 5 — 9. That is the eternal rule of righteousness, 
which no circumstances whatsoever can make cease to bind. What 
in our practice comes short of that, whether with respect to our 
duty to God, ourselves, or neighbour, is a defect of true strictness, 
and what is over, is spurious strictness, unacceptable to God; for 
there is no wisdom in being wise above what is written. 

2. The example of Christ; 1 Pet. ii. 21. Herein we have the 
former set before our eyes, that we may the more clearly discern it, 
and find it the more powerfully enforced. Our Lord Jesus was in 
his life the jjerfect pattern of true strictness ; 1 Pet. ii. 22. He was 
indeed, by a spuriously-strict generation of legalists, accused as not 
strict enough, because he observed not the traditions of the elders, 
would not go to their heights to refuse tribute to Caesar, scrupled not 
the society of publicans and sinners, that he might do good to their 
souls, nor to make clay on the Sabbath-day to advance a moral duty 
of the sixth command. But in all these things he was the strict 
party, walking closely up to the law of God ; they were the loose 
party, as going aside from it. And so will they be found, who, 
under pretence of strictness, bind up themselves from those things 
wherein they have his example to follow. The closer we are to 
Christ's example, the more truly strict are we. 

This strictness may bo discerned by, 

1. Tlie uniformity of it, Psaira cxix. 6. Truly strict in one, strict 
in all, James ii. 11- For a man to pretend to be strict in some 
opinions, and loose in his practice ; strict in duty to God, but loose 


in duty to ruau, is abominable. The truly strict will be a strict ob- 
server of his words and thoughts as well as his actions ; of his rela- 
tive duties to man, as a parent, child, master, servant, &c. ; as well 
as of religious duties to God, praying, reading, &c. ; of truth between 
man and man, as well as of the truth of religious principles. 

2. The due proportion kept in it, proportioning the concern to the 
weight of the matters. The neglect of this is taxed; Matth. xxiii. 
23, " Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ; for ye pay 
tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier 
matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith ; these ought ye to 
have done, and not to leave the other undone." As the least filing 
of gold is gold ; yet the greater the weight the more is the worth, 
and ought to be the concern for it. So though no revealed truth, 
nor commanded duty is to be slighted ; yet religion and reason say 
that according to their weight and worth our concern for them 
should be regulated. And it is as absurd to let our zeal run out so 
on circumstantial truths, as to swallow up our concern for fundamen- 
tals; to show more concern about ceremonial duties, than the sub- 
stantial duties of morality ; as it is to guard the feet and legs, and 
to leave the heart open to the sword of the enemy. 

3. Lastly, The gospel-spirit wherewith it is managed, Phil, iii. 3. 
True strictness ariseth from faith in Christ in the heart, 2 Cor. iv. 
14, 15. So the man walks strictly, as if he were to win heaven by his 
strictness ; meanwhile he quits it all in point of confidence, as if God 
had not required it. Hence true strictness is always attended with a 
gospel set of spirit ; whereby the man is jointly concerned for the 
honour of the holy law, and of the grace of the gospel ; is adorned 
with self-denial, humility, meekness, love to God, and love to man- 
kind, good-will and beneficence to his fellow creatures. 

Now, the true notion of strictness thus stated, 
1st, It is altogether justifiable, however it is run down in the 
world, and looked on with an evil eye. To justify it, consider, 

1. The infinite majesty of God, whose commands are here strictly 
stuck to, Exod. XX. 2. Will any man come and go upon his prince's 
orders given him, whatever he do with what he is bid by others ? 
The infinite distance betwixt God and us, fully justifies a precise re- 
gard to all his commands, an inflexible adhering thereto in every 
point, though the whole world should countermand them. And were 
it duly considered, it would oblige to exactness of obedience without 
disputing, without shifting. Acts iv. 19. 

2. The risk that is run by tampering in these matters, Matth, x. 
28. Let the matter be weighed in an even balance ; put the greatest 
loss and hazard in the world in the one scale, to bring off" from 


strictness ; the displeasure of God must be laid In the other ; and is 
not that sufficient to downweigh the former, and to determine a wise 
man to the side of strictness. So, as long as God's frowns are more 
terrible than the world's, religious strictness will be justifiable. 

3. The life of Christ in the world. Was it a strict life or not ? 
It certainly was ; for he could say, " I do always those things that 
please the Father," John viii. 29. Was it justifiable or not ? Was 
he to be condemned as too precise ? If his life was justifiable, how 
can they be condemned for strictness, who make it their pattern ? 
especially considering, that he left us an example to follow, and 
that they do not fully come up to the strictness of it. Truly the 
wounds the carnal world give to the strictness of Christians, go 
through their sides to Christ himself, who was vastly stricter than 
they can reach ; and they will reckon for them ; Jude ver. 15. 

4. Man's state of perfection. Every being is allowed to aspire 
towards its perfection ; and shall it be a crime in a man to aspire 
towards his ? Now, man's perfection lies in the religious strictness 
described before. This appears from this, that the glory of God is the 
chief end of man, and man glorifies God by conforming to his law, 
the eternal rule of righteousness ; so that the more exact that con- 
formity is, the more does he reach that end ; and when he is ar- 
rived at a fully strict conformity to it, then he is at his perfection. 
This was the road God set innocent Adam on, who fell by letting 
down his strictness. This is the point the glorified saints in heaven 
are arrived at, where there is perfect strictness, without the least 
deviation. How then comes strictness to be so treated in the world? 
Are they angry that some endeavour to get out of their ruins, going, 
though, alas ! slowly, in the way towards their perfection ? 

2dly, It is not only justifiable, but necessary, 

1. In respect of the command of God ; Psalm cxix. 4, " Thou hast 
commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently," [Hcb. exceedingly ;] 
q. d. to a degree, a pitch of exactness. And what that is, we see, 
Mark xii. 30, 31, " 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 ; this is the first commandment. And the second is 
like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." The 
apostle wills Christians "to walk circumspectly;" Eph. v. 15. \^Gr. 
exactly, nicely, precisely ;] q. d. going up to the utmost of every 
thing. The pure law requires the utmost purity and exactness ; and 
it is blasphemy to think or say, that Christ has relaxed any thing of 
tiic purity required in every command. Therefore strictness is as 
necessary as the authority of God can make it. 

2. In respect of its being commanded on our utmost peril ; Malth. 


V. 19, 20, " "Whosoever sliall break one of these least commaud- 
ments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the 
kingdom of heaven; bnt whosoever shall do, and teach them, the 
same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say 
unto you. That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteous- 
ness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the 
kingdom of heaven." Should we leave ourselves loose in any one 
point, we risk our salvation, as the ship does sinking wherein one 
leak is left unstopped, ver. 29. No length of time will excuse our 
giving ourselves the loose ; Matth. xxiv. 13, nor no hazard in the 
world whatsoever ; Mark viii. 38. 

3. In respect of our necessary conformation to Christ ; 1 John 
ii. 6, " He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to 
walk, even as he walked." How necessary it is that we be confor- 
med to Christ, the apostle teaches; Rom. viii. 29, "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." 
Our baptism shews it ; Gal. iii. 27, " For as many of you as have been 
baptised into Christ, have put on Christ." And that we cannot be 
if we are not strict in religion. By a loose, careless course, we carry 
the image of the first Adam ; and by a strict course of life, we must 
bear the image of the second Adam. 

4. Lastly, As an evidence and character of sincerity ; Psalm cxix. 
6, " Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy 
commandments." The reason hereof is manifest from James ii. 10, 
11, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one 
point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit 
adultery ; said also, Do not kill. Now, if thou commit no adultery, 
yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." For if 
any command is respected as the command of God, all his commands 
will be so ; since they all bear the impress of the same divine autho- 
rity. And one's taking it on him to come and go on God's com- 
mands, is an evidence that God's authority has no due weight with 
him. See the touchstone of sincerity; John xv. 14, "Ye are my 
friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." 

I shall give you the following advices for true strictness iu re- 

1. Begin your strictness at the right end, in entering the strait 
gate by a sound conversion ; Luke xiii. 24. Unconverted strict 
folk their case is most hopeless ; Matth. xxi. 31, 32. Solomon gives 
the reason ; Prov. xxvi. 12, " Seest thou a man wise iu his own con- 
ceit ? there is