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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. 11 
\ Boston, Thomas, 1677-1732. 
The whole works of the late 
Reverend Thomas Boston, of 





















* AND 











1 Thess. v. 17 Pray without ceasing, ... ... ... ... 9 

Romans viii. 26. — Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know 
not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh iater- 
cession for us with groanings which cannot be uttereil, ... ... 19 


John xvi. 23 Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it 

you, ... ... ... . . ... ... ... 81 


Psalm \xv. 2 O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come, . . 97 


2 CoR. viii. 12. — For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to 

that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not, ... ... 123 



Eph i. 6 His grace wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved, ... 149 




Gen. ii. 17 explained, ... ... ... 178 

The Covenant of Works, betwist God and Adam, a Proper Covenant, 180 

Confirmed from five Considerations, . ... ... ib. 

God the First Party in the Covenant, ... ... .. ... 183 

Adam, as a Public Person, the other Party, ... ... . , 184 

The Paits of the Covenant of Works, .. .. . ... 189 

The Condition of it, ... ... ... 190 

Man was under a Twofold Law, Natural .ind Symbolical, ... . . 191 

The Nature of the Obedience due tiy IMan to the Law, . . ... 194 



The Promise of the Covenant of Worlts, . . . . 200 

A Prosperous Natural Life Promised, .. ... ... 201 

A Prosperous Spiritual Life Promised, ... ... ... 202 

Eternal Life in Heaven Promised, ... ... ... ... 203 

The Difference between Adam's and the Saints' Heaven, ... ... 205 

The Penalty of the Covenant of Worts, . . .. ... 207 

Legal Death, .. ... ■ ■ .•• ... ... 208 

Real Death, . . . . ..• — ... J^- 

Spiritual Death, . . ... • • • • ... ... ib. 

Natural Death, -.. ... ... ... ... 210 

Eternal Death, ... ... ... ... ... ... 213 

The Seals of the Covenant of Works, ... ... ... ... 215 

The Doctrine applied for Instructiou, ... ... ... ... 216 

Refutation, ... ... ... ... 218 

• Exhortation, ... ... ... ... 219 


Hosea vi. 7 explained, ... ... ... ... ... ... 220 

The Fatal Step hy which tlie Covenant of Works was Broken, ... 222 

The Ingredients of this Sin, ... ... ... ... ... 224 

The Aggravations of it, ... ... ... ... ... 225 

How this Fatal Step was brought about, ... ... ... ... 227 

Of Satan's Tempting to this Sin, ... ... ... ... ib. 

God left Man to the Freedom of his own Will, ... ... . 229 

Man abused the Freedom of his Will, ... ... ... 230 

How the Covenant of Works was Broken, .. ... ... ... ib. 

The Doctrine Improved as a Memorial, . . ... ... ... 231 

a Watchword, ... . . ... . . 232 

— a Demonstration of the Necessity of being United to 

the second Adam, ... ... ... ... ... ib. 



Rom. v. 19. explained, ... ... ... ... ... ... 233 

Of the Extent of the First Sin, which is ours, ... ... ... 236 

Proof of the Imputation of Adam's First Sin to his Posterity, ... ■,, 241 

The Ground and Reason of this Imputation, ... ... ... 245 

The Doctrine Improved for Information, ... . ... ... 246 

— — — — ■ as a Motive to stir up to several Duties, ... 248 



Gal. iii. 10 explained, ... ... . . ... ... 261. 

That many Persons still continue under the broken Covenant of Woiks, proved, 253 

A Description of these Persons, ... ... ... ... ... 264 

The Effect of this broken Covenant of Works upon those who are under it, 259 

1. It has a Commanding Power, ... ... .. ... ,'j_ 

2. It has a Debarring Power, ... ... ... ... ._. 261 

3. It has a Condemning Power, ... ... . ... ... 263 

4. It has an Irritating Power, ... .. ... .,, ... 264 

Why so many Persons still remain under this broken Covenant, ... 266 



The Doctrine applied for Infuimation, ... ... ... ... 269 

The Doctrine applied for Exlioitation, ... ... ... .. 270 

Characters of those under this Covenant, ... .. .. 272 

The Vanity of some Pleas offered by such to prove that they Trust not to their 

own Works for Salvation, but to Christ, discovered, ... .. 276 



What the Curse is which Natural Men are under, . . 279 

What it is to be under the Curse, . . ... . . 280 

Proof, that ]\Ian, being under the broken Covenant of Works, is under the Curse, 284 

The Condition of the Natural Man under the Curse, in this Life, ... 285 

1. His Soul is under the Curse, .. ... ... . . ib. 

2. His Body is under the Curse, ... . . ... ... 294 

3. The Whole Man is under the Curse, .. ... ... ... 299 

The Condition of the Natural Man under the Curse, after this Life, ... 304 

1. He Dies under the Curse, ... . . ... ... 305 

2. He is dragged before God's Tribunal, .'. ... „ ... 306 

3. His Soul is shut up in Hell, ... .. ... ... 308 

4. His Body goes to the Dust, ... .. ... ... .. 310 

5 He shall Rise again under the Curse, ... ... .. 312 

6. He shall appear before Christ's Tribunal under the Curse, ... ... 315 

7. The World shall be Burnt with Fire in virtue of the Curse, ... 316 

8. The Sinner shall Lie for ever, under the Weight of the Curse, in Hell, 317 
The Doctrine Improved, 1, for Conviction to the Saints, ... .. 320 

2, for Conviction to Sinners, in many Particulars, 324 

. for Exhortation, l,to Unbelievers, ... ... 338 

for Exhortation, 2, to Believers, ... ... 339 


Chapter I. Of Personal and Family Fasting and Humiliation in the general, 343 

Chapter II. Of Personal Fasting and Humiliation in particular, ... 349 

Sect. 1. Of the Divine Warrant for Personal Fasting and Humiliation, ib. 

Sect. 2. Of a Providential Call to Personal Fasting and Humiliation, 352 

Sect. 3. Directions anent Personal Fasting and Humiliation, ... 300 

Chapter III. Of Family Fasting and Humiliation in particular, ... ... 386 

The Conclusion. ... ... ... ... ... ... 389 



1 Thess. V. 17, 
Pray without ceasing. 

These words are an exliortation briefly delivered, as laws use to be; 
and therein we have, 1. A duty proposed, "Pray." 2. The manner 
of it, " without ceasing." 

I. We have the duty itself, " Pray." It may be asked. What is 
prayer ? I answer, It is " an offering up of our desires to God, for 
things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of 
our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies." Here I 
shall consider, 

1. The object of prayer, or whom we are to pray to. 

2. The parts of prayer. 

3. The matter of it. 

4. In whose name we are to pray. 

5. The several kinds of prayer. 

First, I am to consider the object of this duty, or whom we are to 
pray to ; that is, God : not to saints and augels, as the Papists do ; 
for prayer is a part of religious worship, and therefore due to God 
only, Matth. iv. 10 ; and he only knows all things, and is present 
everywhere to hear us, Isa. Ixiii. 16. To all the three persons in 
the Trinity prayer is due. That it is so to the Father, nobody 
doubts. That it is due to Christ, the Son, appears from Stephen's 
calling upon him in his last moments, and saying, " Lord Jesus, re- 
ceive my spirit," Acts vii. 59. Even Christ the Mediator is to be 
worshipped, though his divine nature is the reason why he is wor- 
shipped, Heb. i. 6, " And let all the angels of God worship him." 
The Holy Ghost also is to be worshipped, as appears from the apos- 

*The substance of two Seinioos preached at Etterick, in the year 1727. 

Vol. XI. n 


tolical benediction, 2 Cor. xiii. 14, " The communion of tlie Holy- 
Ghost be with you all." 

In respect of the object of worship, people would do well to satisfy 
themselves, in their addresses to God, with the belief of the Trinity 
of persons in the Godhead, who are but one object of worship, and 
not think to comprehend God, but to make use of the names and 
titles he has taken to himself in the word. Beware of imaginations 
of God or the three persons, and of dividing the object of worship, as 
if praying to the Father, you did not also pray to the Son and the 
Holy Ghost. 

It is most necessary our prayers begin with such a description of 
God, as may both strike fear and dread in our hearts, and confi- 
dence of being heard; as, " Our Father which art in hea\en ;" " 0, 
Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant, and mercy," 
&c., Dan. ix. 4. And this will readily be the case, if we have due 
thoughts of his glorious majesty and infinite excellency. 

Secondly, The parts of prayer are three, (1.) Confession, (2.) 
Thanksgiving, and (3.) Petition. 

1. Confession, Dan. ix. 4, 5, " I prayed unto the Lord my God, 
and made my confession, and said, Lord the great and dread- 
ful God, keeping the covenant, and mercy to them that love 
him, and to them that keep his commandments : we have sinned, 
and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have re- 
belled," &c. It vi'ell becomes sinful dust and ashes, in addresses to 
God, to come with a blush in the countenance, and tears in the eye, 
arid confession in the mouth. It is necessary to humble us in the 
sight of God, and it is the humble only that are heard. Psalm x. 17- 
Confession is the vomiting up of the sweet morsel, and God has 
joined pardon and confession together, 1 John i. 9, " If we confess 
our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse 
us from all unrighteousness." God's cars are shut to those whose 
mouths are bound up from this. Some say they cannot pray : can 
ye not confess what you are, have done, and daily are doing ? How 
can ye want matter of prayer, while ye have so many sins to 
confess ? 

2. Thanksgiving, Phil. iv. 6, " In every thing by prayer and 
supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known 
unto God." Every man is God's debtor for mercies, as well as 
sins ; the least return ye can make, is to acknowledge debt. He that 
is unthankful for what he has got, cannot think to come speed in 
addresses for more. 

3 Petition, wherein prayer properly consists. It is an offering 
up of our desires to God. Wherein we may note the act of prayer. 


" ofteriug up our desires." The prayer that God makes accouut of is 
first in the heart, 1 Cor. xiv. 15, " I will pray with the spirit, and 
I will pray with the understanding also." It is a pouring out of the 
heart to God, Psalm Isii. 8. The Spirit of God moves on the waters 
of our affections, and then they are poured out before the Lord, as 
the water of the well of Bethlehem was by David. Many times our 
prayers come as mud out of a vessel ; but as water they should flow 
freely. Then 

In prayer there are real desires of what we seek of God, which de- 
sires are offered to the Lord. The mouth must not speak out any- 
thing but what is the desire of the heart. It is dangerous to mock 
God, who knows the heart ; to confess sin, and not have the heart 
affected with it ; to seek supply of wants from him, and not have the 
heart impressed with a due sense of the want of them. There are 
two sorts of desires. 

(1.) There are natural desires, which are the mere product of our 
own spirits, offered unto God, but not regarded as prayer (Hos. vii. 
14.) by the Lord. These may be not only for temporal things but 
for spiritual also, as those who said to Christ, " Lord evermore give 
us this bread." A natural man, from a gift of prayer, may seek 
grace and glory, as a bridge to lead him over the waters of 
wrath ; but coming only from their own spirits, such a prayer is not 

(2.) There are spiritual desires, Zech. xii. 10 ; which the saints 
breathe out unto God, having them first breathed into them by the 
Spirit, Rom. viii. 26. And these may be for temporal things, as 
well as spiritual, accepted, seeing they are put up in a spiritual man- 
ner. These are always sincere and fervent, so as the soul earnestly 
craves the things sought. 

Thirdly, The matter of prayer, or what we are to petition and seek 
for. These are, the things that are agreeable to God's will. To 
pray for the fulfilling of unlawful desires, is horrid. Jam. iv- 3. 
But the will of God is the rule of our prayers, 1 John v. 14, " This 
is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything ac- 
cording to his will, he heareth us." We find the will of God in his 
commands and promises. Whatever God has commanded us to 
seek, whatever he has promised, that we may and ought to pray for. 
These are, (I.) Spiritual mercies, grace, glory, the increase of grace, 
comforts, &c. (2.) Temporal mercies, health, strength, &c., mercies 
relating to our bodies and temporal estate in the world. 

Some have no freedom to bring their temporal concerns to their 
prayers. Ans. That we may and ought to doit, is plain. 

1. In that God has given them a place in his covenant ; they are 



promised as well as spiritual mercies, 1 Tim. iv. 8, " Godliness is 
profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, 
and of that which is to come." Isa. xxxiii. 16, " Bread shall be 
given him, his water shall be sure." Psalm i. 3, " Whatsoever he 
doth shall prosper." 

2. It has been the practice of the saints in all ages. Memorable 
is Agur's prayer, Prov. xxx. 8, " Give me neither poverty, nor 
riches, feed me with food convenient for me." 

3. Christ teaches us so to do in that pattern of prayer, Matth. vi. 
9, &c., " Give us this day our daily bread," where we may observe, 
that they ought to have a place in our prayers daily. 

4- God has commanded it, Phil. iv. 6, " Be careful for nothing : 
but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, 
\et your requests be made known unto God. Ezek. xxxvi. 37, " Thus 
saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of 
Israel, to do it for them." Compare vers. 30, 33, &c., " I will multi- 
ply the fruit of the tree," &c. It is a general command, " In all thy 
ways acknowledge him," Prov. iii. 6. 

5. Sin and duty are very large. Men are under a law as to their 
management of temporal concerns, and light and wisdom should be 
sought for the same from the Lord, Psalm cxii. 5, '' A good man 
will guide his aflPairs with discretion." No doubt many things go the 
worse with us, that God is so little owned in them. If that be true, 
that " God doth instruct the plowman to discretion, and doth teach 
him," Isa. xxviii. 26, there is a good reason we pray, that " God may 
establish the work of our hands upon us," Psalm xc. ult. Surely 
those Christians that neglect it, deprive themselves of many expe- 
riences of the Lord's kindness. For the temporal mercies they meet 
with, were they answers of prayer, would be so many experiences of 
the Lord's love, Isa. xli. 11. Nay, I think it were a piece of Chris- 
tian prudence, for the child of God, when he finds his heart not so 
affected as he would have it for spiritual mercies, to make an errand 
to God of a temporal mercy, whereby his heart may be the more fit- 
ted for asking spiritual blessings ; as we have instances often in 
the Psalms, and also in the famous wrestling of Jacob. Only, 

(1.) Pray for temporal mercies for the sake of spiritual, not con- 
trariwise, Matth. vi. 33, " Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and 
his righteousnesss, and all these things shall be added unto you. 
Prov. XXX. 8. 9, " Give me neither poverty, nor riches, feed me with 
food convenient for me : lest I be full, and deny thee, and say. Who 
is the Lord ? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my 
God in vain." 

(2 ) Keep within the bounds of the promise. Now, all promises 


of temporal tilings have this condition, if they be for God's glory and 
his children's good. Pray so as you may be content to want them, 
if God see it meet. But as for grace, the favour of God, and com- 
munion with him here and hereafter, it can never be our duty to be 
content to want them, 1 Thess. iv. 3, " For this is the will of God, 
even your sanctification. 

Fourthly, In whose name are we to pray ? In the name of Christ, 
John xiv. 13, 14, " Whatsoever ye shall ask in ray name, that will f 
do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any 
thing in my name, I will do it." This is to j)lead the merits of 
Jesus Christ. We must come to God in the name of Christ, laying 
all the stress upon his merits. All thiugs go by favour in the court 
of heaven ; the Father hears us for the Son's sake. This implies 
that we must be in Christ, before we can pray acceptably. But I 
shall consider this particular more fully, when I come, in course, to 
speak of praying in the name of Christ. 

Fifthly^ There are several kinds of prayer. I shall speak a word 
to these three, ejaculatory, secret, and family. 

1. Ejaculatory prayer, which is a sudden dispatch of the desires 
of the soul to heaven, upon any emergent occasion ; sometimes with 
the voice, and sometimes without it. I will say of it, 

(1.) It has been the practice of the saints. Thus Jacob, when 
making his testament, says. Gen. xlix. 18, " I have waited for thy 
salvation, Lord." And when giving charge to his sons concern- 
ing Benjamin, chap, xliii. 14, " God Almighty give you mercy be- 
fore the man," &c. Moses, when brought into a great strait at the 
approach of the Egyptians, Esod. xiv. 15, " The Lord said unto 
Moses, Wherefore criest tliou unto me ? Speak unto the children of 
Israel, that they go forward." David, when told of Ahithophel's be- 
ing among the conspirators with Absalom, says, 2 Sam. xv. 31, " 
Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness." 
And Nehemiah, when in the king's presence, and asked by him his 
request, says, chap. ii. 4, " I pray to the God of heaven." 

(2.) Such prayers are very necessary. Light and strength for 
duty, against temptation, &c., are often needed, when we cannot get 
to our knees. 

(3.) They are very useful for present help, and are notable means 
to keep the soul habitually heavenly and in a proper frame, when 
we make more solemn approaches to God. 

(4.) It is no small mercy, tliat God's door stands always open, and 
that our prayers may be at heaven, before Ave can be at a secret 

2. Secret prayer, wherein the man or woman goes alone to a secret 
place, and they pour out their souls before the Lord. 


(1.) It is commanded expressly by our Lord, Matth. vi. 6, " When 
thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy 
door, pray to thy Father which is in secret," &c. 

(2.) They will have much ado to evidence their sincerity, whose 
prayers are all before men, Matth, vi. 5, 6, " When thou prayest, 
thou shall not be as the hypocrites are : for they love to pray, stand- 
ing in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they 
may be seen of men," &c. A hypocrite may pray in secret ; but a 
sincere soul will be loath to neglect it. 

• (3.) As no man knows our case so well as ourselves, so it is a sign 
of little acquaintance with our own hearts, if we have not something 
to tell Christ, which we cannot tell before others. Cant. vii. 11, 12, 
" Come, my Beloved, let us go forth into the field : let us lodge in the 
villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards, let us see if the vine 
flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud 
forth : there will I give thee my loves." 

(4 ) The greatest enjoyments of the people of God have been in se- 
cret prayer ; as in the case of Jacob, Daniel, &c. 

3. Family prayer. God must be worshipped in our families, as 
well as in our closets. 

(1.) God commands it, in so far as he requires every kind of 
prayer, Eph. vi. 18, " Praying always with all prayer." The scrip- 
ture speaks of a church in Aquila's house, Rom. xvi. 5. Surely the 
family was not such a one that shut God out of doors. The family sa- 
crifice was God's ordinance, Exod. xii. 21, " Draw out, and take yon 
a lamb, according to your families, and kill the passover." 

(2.) It was the practice of Christy Matth. xxvi. 30, John xvii. and 
of the saints, as Job, chap. i. o, Joshua, chap. xxiv. 15, and Corne- 
lius, Acts X. 2. Elisha prayed with his servant, 2 Kings iv. 33. 

(3.) The master of the family has the charge of the souls under his 
roof; and surely the case of a family requires family prayer. Are 
there not family wants, sins, and mercies, that require such an ex- 
ercise ? 

what a heavy vengeance abides families that are without the 
worship of God ! Jer. x. 25, " Pour out thy fury upon the heathen 
that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name." 
That house that is not sanctified by prayer, is like to be the house of 
the wicked, where God's curse is. How will ye answer for the souls 
committed to your charge, who do not pray in your families ? Ko 
wonder godly persons should scare at your family ; though indeed it 
is to be lamented, that many professors like Jonah will flee from the 
presence of the Lord, out of a praying family to a prayerless one ; 
whom a storm sometimes pursues. 


Before proceeding to tlie otlier head, the manner of praying, per- 
mit me to make a very brief improvement of what has been said. 

1. Let me address myself to those that live in the total neglect of 
this duty of prayer. repent and amend, and set about this neces- 
sary duty. Consider, 

(1.) A prayerless person is a graceless person, in a state of wrath, 
in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity. No sooner is Paul 
converted, but, "behold, he prayeth." Still-born children cannot 
be heirs. The Spirit of grace is the Spirit of supplication. The 
Spirit makes us to cry, " Abba, Father." 

(2.) A prayerless person is a thief and a robber of what he pos- 
sesses in the world. How darest thou use God's creatures, and not 
ask his leave ? 1 Tim. iv. 4, 5, " For every creature of God is good, 
and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving : for it 
is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." Surely, thou prayerless 
one, a curse is on thy house, thy basket, and thy store. But, alas ! 
many live like swine ; they never look up to heaven, nor cry till the 
knife of death be at their throat. 

(3.) It is a privilege that God will allow us to come so near him, 
and to pour out our hearts before him, a privilege bought by the 
blood of Christ. The prayless person undervalues this rich privi- 
lege, trampling on that blood that bought it, which will be a worm 
in his conscience in hell that will gnaw it for ever. 

(4.) Thy soul lies at stake. That dumb devil that possesses thee, 
must be cast out of thee, or thou art undone for ever. Thou art lost 
by nature; wilt thou not cry for the life of thy poor soul ? God says 
to thee, as Pilate to Christ, John xix. 10, " Speakest thou not unto 
me ? knowest thou not, that 1 have power to damn thee, and have 
power to save thee ?" Thou canst not be saved, without calling on 
the Lord by prayer. 

But perhaps one may say, I will pray on a deathbed. Aksw. 
"What if God cut thee off in a moment ? what if thou die in the rage 
of a fever? how knowest thou that God will then hear thee? Pon- 
der and seriously consider what the Lord says, Prov. i. 24 — 31, 
"Because I have called, and ye refused, I have stretched out my 
hand, and no man regarded ; but ye have set at nought all my coun- 
sel, and would none of ray reproof : I also will laugh at your cala- 
mity, I will mock when your fear cometh ; when your fear cometh 
as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind ; when 
distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, 
but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not 
find me : for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear 
of the Lord. They would none of ray counsel : they despised all my 


reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and 
be filled with their own devices." And remember that such a con- 
duct will bring you to that miserable pass described, Isa. viii. 21, 
22, "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 up- 
ward. And they shall look unto the earth : and behold trouble and 
darkness, dimness of anguish ; and they shall be driven to darkness." 

Another may say, I cannot pray. Answ. Will ye try, for God 
calls thee; tliou mayst expect assistance, Exod. iv. 11, " Who hath 
made man's mouth ? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, 
or the blind? have not I the Lord?" Seriously consider thy state 
and sins, and thou shalt have matter for confession ; consider thy 
mercies, and thou shalt have matter for thanksgiving ; consider thy 
wants, and thou shalt have matter for petition. Though thou canst 
not express thyself as some others, yet be sincere. Parents love to 
hear their babes that are learning to speak ; and God will never 
refuse to hear the sincere language of a heart, though it is not ex- 
pressed in the most proper words. 

2. To praying persons I would say. Continue constantly in this 
duty of prayer, and never give it over as long as you live. Consider, 

(1.) Your need, wants, temptations, snares, &c. never cease, nor 
will cease while ye are here ; and why should ye cease to pray ? 
God will have his people live from hand to mouth, because he loves 
to have them always about his hand. 

(2 ) Praying is a soul-enriching trade. It is a trade Avith heaven, 
and brings down temporal and spiritual mercies. He that drives 
this trade most diligently, will be found the most thriving Christian. 
Surely the leanness among professors is owing to this neglect in a 
great measure. 

(3.) If ever a time called for prayer, this time does, while the ark 
of God is in hazard, and damnable errors are spreading. then 
pray, and pray frequently, and ere long your prayers shall be turned 
to praises. 

II. I proceed to consider the manner of j)raying, or to shew, in 
what respects we are to " pray without ceasing." This is not to be 
understood as if we should spend our whole time in the exercise of 
prayer: for there are many other duties, both of our station in life 
and as Christians, that we are bound to perform ; and these must 
have their time ; and God does not bind us to inconsistencies. But 
we must. 

1. Pray frequently, as David did, Psalm cxix. 164, " Seven times 
a-day do I praise thee : because of thy righteous judgments." 


The Christian should be no stranger to, but often at that work. It 
is a piece of walking with God, wherein the soul seeks communion 
with Heaven, and wherein he should abound, Col. ii. 6, 7. We find 
Daniel frequently at it, when it was death to pray, Ban. vi. 10. 
See Psalm Iv. 17, " Evening and morning, and at noon will I pray, 
and cry aloud : and he shall hear my voice." Hereby may be known 
what case the soul is in ; the more diligent one is in this duty, he 
will be the more thriving. 

2. Pray statedly, without ceasing from the set times of prayer. 
These are evening and morning. The morning and evening sacrifice 
were called '' the continual burnt-oftering," Exod. xxix. 39, 41, 42., 
as being offered continually at these times. And these times were 
the times of prayer, Acts iii. 1. The light of nature itself teaches 
us to begin and end the day with the worship of God. And they 
should be reckoned lost days that are not so begun and ended. 

3. Pray occasionally, without ceasing from embracing occasions 
of praying which the Lord puts in your hand. Do as David did, 
Psalm xxvii. 8, "When thou saidst. Seek ye ray face; my heart 
said unto thee. Thy face. Lord, will I seek." An observing Chris- 
tian will sometimes find himself called to pray between hands ; and 
it is dangerous to sit the motion of an occasional tryst that God 
sometimes sets a person. To such a tryst there concurs, (1.) An 
inward moving of the soul to converse with God by prayer. Psalm 
xxvii. 8, just cited ; the Sj)irit of the Lord exciting to duty, by re- 
presenting a particular need, or fit occasion of converse with God, 
and so pressing a man forward to the throne to supplicate. (2.) A 
fair opportunity for it. Gal. vi. 10. And forasmuch as there may 
be motions to prayer, that are not from the Spirit of God, they may 
thus be discerned by the unseasonableness of them ; for the Spirit of 
God puts people to duty seasonably. Psalm i. 3. 

4. Pray constantly, Eph. vi. 18, "Praying always with all prayer 
and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all per- 
severance." There must be a persevering in this duty, in the several 
kinds thereof, as the Lord gives opportunity. And this imports a 
continuing the course of praying, never giving up with it while 
breath remains, nor giving it over for a time. Psalm cxix. 112. The 
latter makes way for the former, as swooning does for dying for 
good and all. 

5. Pray " importunately," not fainting nor giving over your tabled 
petitions as long as your needs remain, but resolutely pursuing 
them before the throne; Luke xviii. 1, " And he spake a parable 
nnto them, to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to 
faint." Pray till you get the answer of your prayers, if it should 


be never so long delayed. God loves to have such petitioners ahout 
him as are resolute, and will not take a nay-say, as in the woman of 
Canaan's case ; Matth. xv. 22 — 28. 

6. Be habitual in the use of ejaculatory prayer; for this is a 
kind of prayer that can be mixed with whatever other good thing 
ye are about. There is an occasion for lifting up the heart to the 
Lord in an ejaculatory petition, in every business that is lawful, and 
in every company ; and there is always an opportunity for it too. 
All our actions should be seasoned with it. 

7. Lastly, Keep your hearts always in a praying frame ; that 
whenever God calls you, you may be ready as the soldier at the 
sound of the trumpet ; Eph. s'\. 18. Hereto two things are neces- 
sary. (1.) That ye keep a clean conscience, watching against sin, 
haA'ing habitually recourse to the blood of sprinkling ; Heb. ix. 14. 
(2.) That ye use moderation in all things, Phil, iv- 5. That joy or 
sorrow, eating or drinking, working or diversion, that unfits a man 
for prayer, is too much ; for glorifying God is our chief end, to 
which all other ends must be subordinated ; 1 Cor. x. 31, " Whether 
ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 

Use I. Of reproof to those that, being come to years of discretion, 

1. Have not yet begun to pray ; but live like beasts, eating, work- 
ing, or playing, and sleeping, but have not begun to pray to the God 
that made them. Ah ! know ye not that ye must die, and live 
eternally in another world ? that ye are criminals, and have forfeit- 
ed your life by your sin ? that ye must be pardoned, or perish ? 
And ye that have not set up God's worship in your families, will ye 
not give God house-room with you ? Know your danger, and flee 
from the fury which the Lord will pour out on those who call not 
on his name. 

2. Those that have left off praying. Sometimes they have prayed, 
but have given it over now ; some in secret, and some in their 
families, llemember that this makes you apostates, and that apos- 
tasy is very dangerous. Consider the two following scripture- 
passages ; 2 Pet. ii. 21, " It had been better for them not to have 
known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it, to 
turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them." Heb. x. 
38, *' If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." 

3. Those that pray now and then only, as it suits with their con- 
veniency. Some will pray on the Sabbath-day, when they have no 
other thing to do. Sometimes they are in a good mood, and take a 
start of praying ; at other times they will rise from bed, and go to it, 
without ever bowing a knee to God. They will pray at even, but 
not at morn. Some cannot bo got to set up the worship of God in 


their families in the morning, others for several days in a week 
have no family worship, sometimes in the year in the throng of 
business. Let conscience say, if that be " praying without ceasing." 
Is it not a contempt of God in his worship, and like the hypocrite; 
Job xxvii. 10, of whom it is said, " Will he always call upon God ?" 
Use II. Pray without ceasing. For, (1.) Satan never ceases to 
seek your destruction, 1 Pet. v. 8. (2.) Your need of the Xord's 
help never ceaseth ; ye need direction, protection, life, strength, 
mercies of all kinds, spiritual and temporal. (3.) Lastly, Time 
never ceases to run, and ye know not when it may run out. There 
is good reason we pray always, since we know no time wherein 
death may not overtake us. 


Romans viii. 26, 

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities ; for we know not what 
we should fray for as we ought ; hut the Spirit itself maketh interces- 
sion/or us with groanings which cannot he uttered. 

SoiiEWHAT of the nature of i)rayer in general, with the import of 
praying without ceasing, has been explained to you ; but it is not 
every kind of prayer that is acceptable to God. Among praying 
people there is a twofold cry that goes to heaven, (1.) The cry of 
strangers, not known and approved there. That is prayer wrought 
out by ourselves, in virtue of a natural sense of want, by a gift of 
knowledge and utterance. (2.) The cry of children ; that is prayer 
wrought in us by the help of the Holy Spirit dwelling and acting in 
us, and is accepted of God. Of this our text speaks. In which, 

1. The connection is to be noticed, " likewise." This chapter is 
an inventory of the privileges of believers. (1.) Freedom from con- 
demnation, ver. 1, " There is therefore now no condemnation to them 
which are in Christ Jesus." (2.) Sanctificatiou, ver. 5, " They that 
are after the Spirit, do mind the things of the Spirit." (3.) Cora- 
fort against death, ver. 10, " If Christ be in you, the body is dead, 
because of sin ; but the Spirit is life, because of righteousness.'' 
(4.) Sonship to God, ver. 14, " As many as are led by the Spirit of 
God, they are the sons of God." (5.) Glorification abiding them, 
ver. 18, " For I reckon, that the sufferings of this present time, are 

* Several Sermons preached at Etterick, in tbe year 1727. 


not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed 
in us." From this high privilege the apostle looks down on the 
cross and afflictions here laid on believers, and shews there is no 
comparison betwixt these afflictions and that glory, they being but 
like a prick with a pin received by one in his way to a crown. And 
this is a first grand consolation against the cross laid on believers- 
(6.) The help of the Spirit for the present, in the text. And this is 
the second grand consolation of believers under the cross. They 
have not only, under all their afflictions, eternal glory made sure 
to them in end ; but for the present time, while they are going 
under their burden, they have the Spirit of the Lord helping them, 
and particularly in prayer, the noted relief of the distressed, " Like- 
wise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities," &c. And that is a 
great consolation under the cross. 

2. The words themselves, in which we may observe two things : — 

1st, A general assertion of the Spirit's assisting of believers in 
the midst of their infirmities. And here, (L) There is something 
supposed, namely, That they are compassed with infirmities while 
here. They are recovered of their deadly sickness of sin, but they 
are still weak ; they are restored to life, but they have as yet little 
strength, and are much bowed down with pressures on them. (2.) 
Something expressed, namely, the Spirit's helping of them in that 
case. Weak people need help, especially under heavy burdens. 
And believers want not help under theirs; they have the best of 
help, the help of God himself, the eternal Spirit of the Father and 
the Son, the third person of the glorious Trinity, by whom the Fa- 
ther and the Son do act in them. He " helps our infirmities," i. e. 
helps us in our infirmities, to whatsoever we have to do or bear. 

This help of the Spirit is a joint action, as the word imports. Q. d. 
He " together over-against" takes a lift of our burden. Where the 
Spirit helps, the man is not idle ; but while the believer is going 
under his burden, he lifts the heavy end of it, and makes it the 
lighter to us ; he does as the nurse with the child learning to go ; 
the child moves his feet, but she holds him up and helps him, hold- 
ing it by the arms. ; 

2dly, A particular condescension, namely, his helping them in 
prayer, which brings great relief under the cross. And here, 

(1.) We have a general infirmity that believers labour under, 
and that is little skill of praying. Whenever the grace of God 
touches their hearts, they are set a-praying ; however, they are in it 
but like children beginning to speak ; while unbelievers meanwhile are 
but like dumb people making a roar. Their weakness and unskil- 
fulness in praying lies in two things. 


1 1.1 In tlie matter of prayer, " We know not what we should 
pray for." We are apt, instead of bread, to ask a stone ; instead 
of a fish, a scorpion ; to pray for what would do us ill, and against 
what is for our good. 

[2.] In the manner of prayer, " We know not what we should 
pray for as we ought." We cannot put our prayers in right shape, 
even when we are right as to the matter of them. We cannot put 
our petitions in form, in the style of the court of heaven. 

(2.) The Spirit's help afforded them in this case: "But the 
Spirit itself maketh intercession for us," &c. Where we may 

[1.] The agent in this help, "the Spirit itself," rather "the 
Spirit himself;" the meaning certainly is so, for the Spirit here 
spoken of is a person, not a thing; though, by reason of the lan- 
guage the apostle wrote in, it is expressed neutrally. 

[2.] The help itself. He " maketh intercession for us." Christ in-"* 
tercedes for us in heaven ; the Spirit intercedes in us, by his ef- 
fectual working in us, helping us to pray aright, and make inter- 
cession for ourselves. He forms our petitions for the court of hea- 
ven. No gifts could avail to this end. If the best gift without the 
Spirit were bestowed on a man, he could not make a prayer that 
would be acceptable to God, though it might be much admired of 

[3.] An instance of a particular, whereto the Spirit helps fn^ 
prayer " with groanings." Not that the Spirit's help in prayer ap- 
pears in these only ; but that even these groanings for divine aid, 
which believers have in their prayer, though they may be reckoned 
small things, yet are really great and prevalent with God, as pro- 
ceeding from and produced in them by his own Spirit ; and they are 
more forcible and expressive of the desires of the soul than any 
words ; so they are " groanings which cannot be uttered." It is 
evident, that the Spirit of God in himself doth not groan ; but 
groanings are attributed to him, so far as he causes us to groan, by 
exciting our affections. Therefore his intercession is to be under- 
stood of his causing and helping us to intercede in prayer for our- 

The following doctrines may be observed from the words thus ex- 

Doctrine I. It is a comfortable case under affliction, where the 
party is helped from heaven to pray under their burden. 

Doctrine II. It is the privilege of believers to have the help of 
the Holy Spirit, under the infirmities with which they are compassed 
while here. 


Doctrine III, Such is the weakness of God's own children, that 
they have not skill to manage even their addresses to God by 
prayer aright, without the Spirit. 

Doctrine IV. All our praying aright is so far done by the help 
of the Spirit, that it is justly reckoned his work, his making inter- 
cession for us. 

Doctrine Y. ult. The Spirit helps believers to pray, particularly 
causing in them gracious groauings, which cannot be uttered. 

DocT. I. It is a comfortable case under affliction, where the party 
is helped from heaven to pray under their burden. This doctrine 
arises from the connection and scope of the words. 

In discoursing from it, I shall consider, 

I. What is the help from heaven to pray under a burden. 

II. The comfort that is in this case. 
JII. Make improvement. 

I. What is the help from heaven to pray under a burden. I take 
it up in these two particulars. 

1. Help to lay the case before the Lord, and to table petitions 
before the throne of grace upon the case. , If any are thus helped 
it is a token for good, they may take comfort of it ; Psalm Ixvi. 
16, 17, " Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare 
what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him with my mouth, 
and he was extolled with my tongue." Little do we know how to 
table petitions on our case at the court of heaven ; but if a shower 
of trouble should fall on us, and withal the spirit of prayer be poured 
on us, we would have no cause to complain. Though the Lord press 
down a person with the one hand, and stir him up to the exercise of 
prayer with the other, it is a hopeful case, as was that of Jonah, 
chap. ii. 1. 

2. Help to insist and resolutely to hang on and not faint, however 
longsome the hearing may be, Col. i. 11. Thus the Spirit helps the 
children of God in prayer ; Psalm cxxxviii. 3, " In the day when I 
cried thou answeredst me ; and strengthenedst me with strength in 
my soul ;" 2 Cor. xii. 9, " And he said unto me. My grace is sufficient 
for thee ; for my strength is made perfect in weakness." The pa- 
tience of others in applications to the throne of grace will soon be tired 
out ; they cannot wait, so they drop the matter. Job xxvii. 10, and 
go to another door. But those in whom the Spirit dwells see no 
other door, John vi. 68, and the Spirit is a spring of living water 
in them, which causes them to hold on. 

II. What is the comfort that is in this case. It is manifold. I 
instance in the following particulars. 


1. That is comfortable in it, that the native effect of affliction is 
stopped in such a person by influence from heaven. Affliction in its 
own nature is a whip, a brier, a thorn; and the native efl'ect of it is, 
to drive the sinner away from God, to harden his heart, irritate his 
corruption, and make his heart a hell ; Job xxxvi. 13, " The hypo- 
crites in heart heap up wrath ; they cry not when he bindeth them." 
Eutj by divine institution, it is a medicine, having a promise annexed 
to it ; Isa. xxvi. 9, " When thy judgments are in the earth, the in- 
habitants of the world will learn righteousness ;" and so it brings 
the believing sinner to God, as the bitter potion causes the sick man 
turn to his physician, who would all he could teep himself out of 
the way of an enemy that had given hira such a bitter draught, Rom. 
X. 14. 

2. It is comfortable, even that the party gets a vent to his full 
heart. Those in a trouble find a kind of relief in pouring out their 
heart into the bosom of a sympathising friend; and it is an aggra- 
vation of affliction, when the fire must burn in the bosom, and there 
is no access to give it a vent. How much more is it a solid comfort, 
to be helped to pour out one's heart unto a gracious God, able and 
willing to help in due time ? Micah resolved to take comfort this 
way ; Micah vii. 7, " I will look unto the Lord ; 1 will wait for the 
God of my salvation ; my God will hear rae." And Hannah got it ; 
1 Sam. i. 15, 16, " And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I 
am a woman of a sorrowful spirit ; I have drunk neither wine nor 
strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. Count 
not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial ; for out of the abundance 
of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto." Yer. 18, " And 
she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman 
went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad." 

3. It is comfortable that the Lord takes that way to draw the 
sinner to him, and keep him about his hand, and it is efi^ectual ; 
Hos. V. ult., " I will go and return to my place, till they acknow- 
ledge their offence, and seek my face ; in their afiliction they will 
seek rae early." We reckon in the world, that they are in the best 
case that hold all within themselves ; but in respect of spiritual 
thriving, they are fairest for that who are kept from han-l to mouth, 
and never want a new errand to God's door. The Lord loves to 
have his children always about his hand, but they would be like 
children at their play about meal-time, that would never mind home 
if hunger did not bite them ; and so in effect it fares with many. 

4. That is comfortable in it, that it is a sign of eternal good-will 
and everlasting love to such persons ; Luke xviii. 7, " And shall not 
God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though 


he bear long with them ?" They would be tired out, if they were not 
God's chosen, possessed by his Spirit. Do ye see a place which is 
always full of water, summer and winter, in the greatest drought ? 
ye may be sure that is no pool, but a spring, John iv. 14. The 
man prays and wrestles against a body of death, cries and goes on 
under a weight of trials ; he holds on notwithstanding of seeming 
fruitlessness. See the verdict ; Matth. xxiv. 13, " He that shall 
endure unto the end the same shall be saved." 

5. That is comfortable in it, that his prayers shall be heard at 
length to his heart's content, if it should not be till he get into hea- 
ven ; Luke xviii. 8, " I tell you that he will avenge them speedily." 

f The help of the Spirit in prayer is a certain pledge of the hearing 
of prayer, Jam. v. 18. If a jjoor man were to petition the king, but 
had no skill to draw his petition ; and the king should send one 
from about his hand to help that poor man, and draw his petition 
for him ; would not that be a sign that the king had a good mind to 
grant it ? So it is equally a certain sign of God's good-will to the 
praying person, and a certain token that his prayers shall be heard 
to his full satisfaction at length, that the Spirit now helps him in 
prayer, and, as it were, draws his petitions for him. 

6. It is comfortable, that the party is now and then getting some 
off-fallings about the Lord's hand ; otherwise he would give over. 
In the way of duty, wherein people are not formal, but truly serious, 
there is a concomitant reward; Psalm xix. 11, " In keeping of them 
there is great reward;" and particularly in prayer; Isa. xlv. 
19, " I said not unto the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain." 
Though the Lord does not give the main request for the time, yet he 
gives something that keeps the heart from fainting ; Lam. iii. 57, 
" Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee; thousaidst, 
Fear not." So we find it happened to Paul ; 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9, " For 
this thing I besought the Lord thrice that it might depart from me. 
And he said unto me my grace is sufficient for thee ; for my strength 
is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather 
glory in ray infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 

From what is said on this doctrine, the following things may be 
shortly observed for improvement. 

1. The Lord's cross on his people's back, is better than the world's 
crown on the head of his enemies. For there is more comfort in the 
one's being helped from heaven to commit their case to the Lord, 
and depend on him for it, than in all the prosperity of the wicked. 
For all is well that ends well ; and the former will have a joyful 
end, the latter a sad one, Prov. i. 32, 33. 

2. They are doubly to be pitied, who are under an afflicted lot, 

OP believers' infirmities. 25 

and withal strangers to the duty and comfort of prayer. This world 
is a place wherein neither good nor bad will miss their share of 
crosses. But to see this world frowning on a man, and in the mean- 
time him not seeking his comfort from heaven ; to see a person full 
of matter of complaints, and yet having no heart to pour them out 
into the bosom of our heavenly Father, is a sad sight. 

3. Let praying people beware of afflictions deadening them, and 
taking heart and hand from them in prayer. Satan will do his 
utmost to work up afflictions to this pitch ; and when he has got it 
done, he has what he would wish, he has an envenomed arrow stick- 
ing in their flesh. Let them haste to get it away, as ever they would 
cast a coal of hell out of their bosom ; and remember that " God is 
love ; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in 
him," 1 John iv. 16 ; that " the Lord doth not afflict willingly, nor 
grieve the children of men," Lam. iii. 33 ; and that " all things work 
together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the 
called according to his purpose," Rora. viii. 28. 

4. Lastly, Let those who are helped to pray under their affliction 
be thankful, and acknowledge God has not forgotten them. "When 
the Lord's people have plied the throne of grace long for a mercy, 
and yet it comes not, they are ready to think that the Lord re- 
gards them not. But if ye be helped still to hang on, that very 
thing is an evidence that it is not true ; and is a token for good in 
your case. 

DocTKiNE II. It is the privilege of believers to have the help of 
the Holy Spirit, under the infirmities with which they are compassed 
while here. 

Here I shall shew, 

I. What are the infirmities believers are compassed with here. 

II. Why in the depth of sovereign wisdom, believers are left 
compassed so with infirmities while here. 

III. Consider the Spirit's helping believers under these infirmities. 

IV. Make some practical improvement. 

I. I am to shew what are the infirmities believers are compassed 
with here. 

First, They are always compassed with natural infirmities. 

1. Pure natural infirmities, which though they be their weights 
and burdens, yet are n&t their sins. There is a natural weakness 
inwrought with human flesh, though at its prime of vigour, Isa. xl. 
6, so that it was found even in the man Christ, 2 Cor. xiii. 4. This 
makes God's children objects of their Father's pity, Psalm ciii. 13, 
14, " Like as a Father pitieth his children : so the Lord pitieth tliera 

Vol. XI. c 


that fear him. For he knoweth onr frame : he remembereth that we 
are dnst." Such are the need of meat, drink, sleep, &c., whereby 
the tabernacle must be daily underpropped, Matth. xxvi. 41. Even 
Samson was sore pressed with such infirmity, Judges xv- 18, " He 
was sore athirst." 

2. Sinful natural infirmities, which are both pressures on them, 
and defilements of them, wounding and polluting. 

(1.) Common to them all, namely, the remains of the corruption 
of nature, which makes them all a company of poor weaklings, 
groaning under their infirmities, Rom. vii. 24. Their sanctification 
is imperfect ; every grace in them has the contrary weed of corruption 
growing by the side of it. Grace indeed has got the house, but 
dwells not alone in it ; the Canaanites are left in the land, and they 
cannot quite drive them out. Hence is the struggle not only with 
those without, but those within. 

(2.) Peculiar to every one of them, namely, the particular bias of 
corrupt nature in each of them, arising from their natural constitu- 
tion and temper ; and this is a cast of disposition to some particu- 
lar evil, commonly called " the predominant sin, the sin which doth 
so easily beset us," Heb. xii. 1. Thus the peculiar infirmity of some 
is passion, of others vanity, worldliness, &:c. Every one will knowtheir 
own, for it will be that which costs more struggle than anything else, 
and in which they will find need of the peculiar help of the Spirit. 

Secondly, They are often compassed with accidental infirmities. 

1. Sinless ones. Such are afflictions, trials, and temptations, 
which though not their sins, yet are heavy weights to them, causing 
them much need of help, as in Paul's case, 2 Cor. xii. 7, 8, 9. Thus 
diseases and ailments of whatsoever nature go under the name of 
infirmities, as weakening body or spirit, Luke v. 15. Timothy had 
frequent attacks by them, 1 Tim. v. 23. And in the road to hea- 
ven such weights and pressures one way or other will not be missed. 
Acts xiv. 22. 

2. Sinful ones, being wrong casts of spirit, arising from education 
or other circumstances, giving them as it were a second nature. 
Such was the infirmity of the disciples, whereby they were ready on 
all occasions to mind a temporal kingdom of Christ, and to be 
stumbled at his sufferings ; and the bias towards the ceremonial 
law, which the believing Jews had remaining with them ; Rom. xv. 1. 

Hence the infirmities of believers may be taken up in the follow- 
ing particulars : — 

1. They have weak heads for discerning and understanding sin 
and duty, snares, temptations, and proper means for eviting the one, 
and compassing the other, Jer. x. 23, " It is not in man that walk- 


eth to direct his steps." The subtle enemy is ready to outwit them, 
and by his devices to triumph over their weakness. Therefore we 
are warned not to trust our own understanding, Prov. iii. 5. 

2. They have weak hearts for venturing on difficulties, which 
make them ready to faint at the appearance of them, Isa. xxxv. 4. 
And the formidable enemy is ready to damp them, and discourage 
them. They know themselves how little strength they have ; and 
their faith being weak withal, they are apt to sink in their courage 
for doing and suffering. 

3. They have weak hands for doing of duties in the right manner, 
Isa. xxxv. 3. They are not in themselves man enough for the most 
ordinary duties of religion, and therefore being left to themselves, 
they quite mismanage them, John xv. 5, 2 Cor. iii. 5. And some- 
times the Lord calls them to extraordinary duties. 

4. Lastly^ They have weak backs for bearing burdens, so that 
they are easily bowed down, yea and foundered under them, 2 Cor. 
ii. 16. Their suffering strength is small, considering the weak frame 
of their bodies, and the remaining distempers in their souls. 

II. I come now to show why, iu the depth of sovereign wisdom, 
believers are left compassed so with infirmities while here. Surely 
it is not for want of power in their Father to deliver them : for he 
is almighty, and in the moment he gave them grace, could have per- 
fected them in soul and body. Neither is it for want of love to 
and concern for them ; for he has the bowels of a Father, and gave 
them his own Son, which was more than all that. But so it is 

1. That the members may be conformed to the head, Rom. viii. 
29. Our Lord Jesus did not enter to his glory, but after a long 
track of sufferings, Heb. ii. 10. This was necessary in the case of 
Christ the head, for the purchasing of our salvation, Matth. viii. 17 ; 
Luke xxiv. 26. And it is necessary in the case of believers, that 
they may be conformed to him, bearing the image of his sufferings, 
for his glory. 

2. That the emptiness of the creature may be discovered, and the 
pride of all created glory stained, and that the crown may be put 
on the head of free grace only ; so that we may say, '' The Lord of 
hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring 
into contempt all the honourable of the earth," Isa. xxiii. 9. There- 
in a scene is opened, wherein there is a full display of the nothing- 
ness of the creature, that heaveu may appear to be peopled with 
those that could have no pretensions to it, but on the score of mere 
free grace. 

3. That all the graces of the Spirit in believers may be brought 

c 2 


forth into the field of battle, and exert themselves, 1 Pet. i. 6, 7' 
There are some graces whose exercise is to be eternal, as love, re- 
verential fear, &c. these will be exerted in heaven as well as here. 
But there are others that are occasional in their exercise, such as 
faith, hope, patience, watchfulness, &c. which agree only to a state 
of imperfection : and there they have occasion to shew themselves. 
So, for the exercise of these, and trial of both sorts, the Canaanites 
are left in the land. And therefore some are loaded with peculiar 

4. That the power of the grace of Christ may be magnified. The 
infirmities wherewith believers are compassed, make a scene wherein 
the power of Christ is signally displayed, as, says the apostle, 2 Cor. 
xii. 9, " Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, 
that the power of Christ may rest upon me." God could have seated 
Israel in Canaan, without stroke of sword ; but then Joshua's va- 
lour, which appeared in the conquest of that land, had lain hid. 
Believers are committed into Christ's hand, as the great Pilot, to 
guide them through the sea of this world, to the shore of Immanuel's 
land : and it will magnify the power of his grace, that by his con- 
duct so many broken ships are brought safe ashore, through so many 
rocks and shelves, and suffering so many storms. 

6. That the bruised serpent may be beat the more shamefully, and 
Christ's victory and triumph over him may be the more signal. He 
encountered Christ in person on the cross ; and there he was over- 
come, the Son of God being an overmatch for all the powers of hell. 
But that his defeat may be more shameful, he is yoked with poor 
believers with a heap of infirmities about them ; and by them too, 
after he has done his worst, he is baffled at length, Rom. xvi. 20. 
" The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. 

And here it is worth observing, that our Lord Jesus singles out 
some of his people to combat with Satan, loaded with some uncom- 
mon infirmity, whereby he has a peculiar advantage against them, 
that he has not against others : and all to make that malicious spi- 
rit's defeat yet more shameful. As if one, to pour contempt on his 
enemy, should say, I will take such an one of my children that are 
not quite recovered out of their sickness, and I will bind one of his 
arms behind his back, and yet make him throw you down, and tread 
on you. Thus Job was stript of all his comforts, his children, 
wealth, and health ; nothing left him but his life, and his unkind 
wife that Satan had use for ; and Satan makes a furious attack on 
him to blaspheme, when he had him at all this disadvantage. And 
yet he was baffled in the end. Jam. v. 11, " Ye have heard of the pa- 
tience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord ; that the Lord is 



very pitiful and of tender mercy. And when the gospel was to 
be spread in the world, Satan had the power of the sword and the 
learning in the world engaged in the defence of his kingdom ; and 
Christ singles out a few fishermen, neither swordsmen nor bookmen, 
Paul excepted, and they pull it down ; notwithstanding all the ma- 
gistrates could do by their force, and they learned by their subtilty 
to support it. 

6. Lastly, To screw up the glory of the exceeding riches of grace 
to a height, Eph, ii. 7, " That in the ages lo come he might shew the 
exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us, through 
Christ Jesus." According to this dispensation, believers are drowned 
deeper in the debt of free grace, than otherwise they would have 
been, Rom. v. 20. By these infirmities wherewith they are com- 
passed, it comes to pass that their accounts of pardoning and sup- 
porting grace are swelled with many items ; the view of which will 
make them sing the praises of God in heaven, on a higher key than 
innocent Adam would have done. 

III. We shall consider the Spirit's helping believers under those 
infirmities they are compassed with. And here I shall sliew, 

1. The import of this. 

2. How the Spirit helps them under their infirmities. 

First, I am to shew the import of the Spirit's helping believers 
tinder their infirmities. It imports in it, 

1. A bent of heart in the believer toward his work and duty, set 
bim by the great Master, Rom. vii. 22 ; for what people have no 
mind to, they need no help for. The heart of every child of God is 
reconciled to the whole law, Heb. viii. 10. And what God carves out 
for him either to do or suffer, he would fain come up to, Matth. xxvi. 
41. Even when there is a felt averseness to it, this bent in the re- 
newed part remains with him, to which that averseness is a burden, 
Rom. vii. 22, 23. 

2. The infirmities hanging about the believer, make duty difiicult 
to him : if it were not so, what need would he have of help ? Matth. 
xxvi. 40, 41. These hang like weights on him, and draw him down, 
when he would mount upwards ; so his executive powers cannot an- 
swer his will. He is at best like a bird flying with a stone tied to 
its foot ; whereby it comes to pass, that it cannot fly far till it light, 
and the short way it flies is with difficulty. 

3. The believer is sensible of his infirmities, for it is supposed 
that he is wrestling under them, Rom. vii. 23, 24, He sees, he feels, 
that he is not man enough for his work ; that his own hands are not 
sufficient for him, nor his own back for his burden; this is what 
drives him out of himself to the grace that is in Christ Jesus^ 2 Cor. 


iii. 5. And thus he lies open to the help of the Spirit, while proud 
nature in unbelievers is left helpless, 1 Pet. v. 5, " Godresisteth the 
proud, and giveth grace to the humble." Isa. xl. 4, " Every 
valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be 
made low." 

4. Tiie believer aims at and attempts to do his duty, over the 
belly of his infirmities. For helping is a joint action, Phil. iii. 
14, " I press towards the mark." Many feel a difficulty in the 
weightiest parts of religion, that makes them at length to give them 
over. They neither have ability in themselves to master such a lust, 
nor have the grace to betake themselves to Christ for the help of 
his Spii'it. But they sit down contented under it, soothing them- 
selves with this, that every one has his infirmity, and that is theirs ; 
and so they discover their hypocrisy. But real saints wrestle with 
their infirmities, sit not down, but go on though they go halting. 
I 5. Lasthj, The spirit of the Lord comes in to the believer's help in 
this case, so as the work and duty is got done. " For the Spirit 
helpeth our infirmities." As the nurse helps the child attempting to 
go, or one helps a man attempting to lift up a weighty burden ; so 
the Spirit helps the weak believer essaying his duty, to perform it. 
He stretches out the withered hand, and with the aiming to stretch 
it out, power is sent in from above. , 

Secondly, I am next to show how the Spirit helps believers under 
their infirmities. 

1. He helps them by his influence in gifts. Here he does two 

1st, He bestows on them gifts necessary for the performance of 
what the Lord calls them to, of whatever nature that be, temporal 
or spiritual, 1 Cor. xii. 8 — 11, " To one is given by the Spirit, the 
word of wisdom ; to another the word of knowledge by the same 
Spirit ; to another faith by the same Spirit ; to another the gifts of 
healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles ; to 
another prophecy ; to another discei'ning of spirits ; to another di- 
vers kinds of tongues ; to another the interpretation of tongues. 
But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to 
every man severally as he will." The gifts of believers are various, 
according to the variety of their stations in life, and the respective 
particular duties required of them in their stations. Every one has 
not all, nor will ever have all ; because there are many of them 
which they have no necessity for, in respect of what God calls them 
to. But there are two things I would have you advert to. 

(1.) Whatever good gift a child of God has, he will get use for it, 
for God, soon or late, 1 Cor. xii. 7; though for a time he may have 


little or none for it. For in that case the Spirit lays in aforehand for 
their help. David had the gift of music in his younger years ; the 
use of it for God appeared afterwards, when on that account he was 
sent for to Saul's court, and afterwards he ordered the temple ser- 
vice in that point. Paul had a gift of human learning; he got use 
for it afterwards, when he fought those at Athens with their own 
weapons, Acts xvii. 28. Moses had a gift of extraordinary meek- 
ness of temper, and Job of extraordinary patience ; each got as much 
ado with them for God. 

An unbeliever indeed may have a gift, which he never has any 
use for, for God. For he always does one of two things with it ; 
either he hides it in the earth, and makes no use of it all, Matth. 
XXV. 25 ; or else he uses it to the service of his own lusts, Jam. iv. 
3, 4. But God will not let any good gift in his own people lie 
by useless. 

(2.) Whatever duty, in temporal or spiritual things, God calls a 
believer to, he will, in a way of believing, get the gift from God ne- 
cessary for it, Prov. x. 29, " The way of the Lord is strength to the 
upright :" and iii. 6, '' In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall 
direct thy paths." For it is the office of the Spirit to help his peo- 
ple's infirmities. And so a call from the Lord to any piece of work, 
imports a promise of a gift of ability for it, the sap of which pro- 
mise is to be sucked by believing it ; and it is withal a call to look 
to the Lord for the help of his Spirit. For the Lord treats not his 
children as the Egyptian taskmasters did, who would have the Is- 
raelites make brick without giving them straw. Moses is called to 
go Jehovah's ambassador to the court of Egypt ; he is sensible of 
an infirmity, but the Spirit's help is secured to him, Exod. iv. 10, 
12. Bezaleel and Aholiab must work the curious work of the 
tabernacle. Where should they have learned it, when they were 
slaves ia Egypt at the brick-kilns ? But the Spirit helps their infir- 
mity, bestowing on them necessary gifts, Exod. xxxi. 2, ^fc 

But in case the believer do not go to God for the gift, in the way 
of believing, no wonder he want it. For is it anything strange that 
the help of the Spirit is not given a man, in a particular, wherein he 
does not look for it ? as he is commanded to do, Prov. iii. 6. 

2dly, He influences them to the exercise of these gifts, Matth. x. 
19, 20, " But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or 
■what ye shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same hour 
•what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of 
your Father which speaketh in you. As every good gift is from the 
Spirit, so the same Spirit has not given them away so to any, but 
that be has still lock and key on them, opening them out, and shut- 


ting them up as he will, Isa. xxix. 14. Therefore there ought to be 
a dependance on the Lord, for the help of his Spirit, to the exercise 
of any gift necessary for what the Lord calls one to. That unbe- 
lievers have a common influence of the Spirit, in the way of com- 
mon providence, to the exercise of their gifts, though they look not 
to the hand it comes from, is for the benefit of human society; but 
even the Spirit's influence on gifts, coming to believers in the chan- 
nel of the covenant, their blunders and mismanagements in the ex- 
ercise of their gifts, are rebukes to them for their not looking more 
to the help of the Spirit therein, and to bring them to their duty. 

2. He helps them by his influence in grace. Here he helps their 
infirmities three ways. 

1st, He preserves the grace he has planted in believers, so as it 
never dies out ; 1 John ii. 27, " The anointing which ye have re- 
ceived of him, abidetli in you ; and ye need not that any man teach 
you ; but, as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is 
truth, and is no lie ; and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide 
in him." The quickening spirit of Christ being communicated to 
the dead elect in the time of loves, they are made to live and believe 
in Christ, and so are united to him ; upon which union the same 
Spirit takes of the treasure of grace in Christ, and plants in the be- 
liever grace for grace in Christ Jesus, Eph. i. 13, with John i. 16. 
And this for all time after he preserves ; 2 Tim. i. 14, " That 
good thing which was committed unto thee, keep by the Holy Ghost 
which dwelleth in us. John x. 28, ''I give unto them eternal life, 
and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of ray 
hand." Deut. xxxiii. 3, " All his saints are in thy hand ; and they 
sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words," i.e. thy 
Spirit. Luke xi. 20 ; with Matth.xii, 28. Now, this is a great help- 
ing of their infirmities, if ye consider jointly these four things. 

(1.) That holy quality called grace, is in its own natnre a thing 
liable to be lost. Adam at his creation was endowed with a far 
greater measure of it than any believer has in this world ; yet that 
holy fire in hira was quite extinguished ; that heavenly plant, by 
one bite of the venomous teeth of the old serpent, died out quite, and 
withered away. How then is it preserved in believers compassed 
with infirmities, but by the help of the Spirit? Free-will in Adam 
lost it, but the free grace of the free Spirit preserves it in weak 
ones of his family. 

(2.) It dwells with an ill neighbour, even the corruption of na- 
ture, that is quite opposite to it. The old man of sin had the first 
possession, the new man of grace is brought in upon him, and meets 
with a continual resistance, yet is preserved. There is the weight 


of a body of sin and death pressing grace in the believer, yet is it not 
crushed to death. Whoso looks into his own heart, and sees what 
powerful lusts are there, must needs wonder to see the pearl kept 
in such a dung-hill, and the spark of holy fire kept in the midst 
of an ocean of corruption ; and must own it to be entirely owing to 
the help of the Spirit ; Gal. y. 17, " The flesh lusteth against the 
Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the 
one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." 

(3.) The whole force of hell is bent for its extinction ; 1 Pet. v. 8, 
" Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, nalketh about seek- 
ing whom he may devour." The image of God repaired in a believ- 
er, though but in part, is an eye-sore to Satan, he cannot endure to 
look at it. Therefore he uses all his subtilty, power, and unwearied 
diligence to rase it. He works against it incessantly, turns himself 
into all shapes that he may overturn it ; employs his friends within 
and his friends without to the same purpose, yet it is preserved. 
How ? but by the help of the Spirit ; 1 John iv. 4, " Te are of God, 
little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he that 
is in you than he that is in the world. 

(4.) Lastly, The believer in himself is but a weak creature ; he has 
a weak head, heart, hands, and back ; is easily outwitted by a subtle 
enemy, discouraged, overthrown, and bowed down. Innocent 
Adam's strength and skill failed in preserving the grace received in 
his creation ; yet the believer's grace received in his new creation 
is never lost ; though of itself it is a perishing quality, is surrounded 
with corruption, and the whole force of hell is employed to extin- 
guish it. For why ? the almighty Spirit helps their infirmities. 

2dly, He excites grace in them, and brings it forth into exercise ; 
Phil. ii. 13, " For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and 
to do of his good pleasure." If the exercise of gifts depends on a 
common operation of the Spirit, surely the exercise of grace on a 
special operation of the same Spirit. As the fire buried under the 
ashes will not serve the purposes of the family's provision, nor the 
tree with its sap retired into the heart and root bring forth fruit ; 
so grace in the habit only is not sufficient for duty. The holy fire 
must be blown up, and through the return of the sap to the branches 
they must bud and blossom. And this is the work of the Spirit, 
Cant. iv. ult., "Awake, north wind, and come, thou south, blow 
upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out; let my Be- 
loved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits." Now the 
Spirit axcites grace in believers, 

(1.) Presenting objects to their minds fit to rouse it up; and so 
he acts as a teaching Spirit; John xiv. 2G, " He shall teach you all 


things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have 
said unto you." Corruption thrives most in darkness, because it 
belongs to the kingdom of darkness. But light let into the soul 
stirs up grace, therefore it is called the light ot life, John viii. 12. 
Thus the Spirit presenting a man's sin to him in its ugly colours, 
stirs up the grace of repentance, Psalm li. 3; discovering the glory 
of God in the face of Jesus Christ, it excites love ; and discovering 
the creature in its emptiness, excites contempt of the world. And 
this is a great help, for, 

(1.) We are apt to forget these things when we have most need to 
mind them ; as to forget human frailty and divine might, when there 
is greatest need of confidence in the Lord, against the terror of man; 
and the Spirit in that case is the believer's remembrancer, and so 
excites grace ; Isa. li. 12, 13, " I, even I, am he that comforteth 
you ; who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall 
die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass ? and for- 
gettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens 
and laid the foundations of the earth ? and hast feared continually 
every day, because of the fury of the oppressor as if he were ready 
to destroy ? And where is the fury of the oppressor ?" Our weak- 
ness in such points makes us need a monitor, being often like Hagar, 
whose eyes saw not the well, though it was very near by, until God 
opened them, Gen. xxi. 19. So that when such a thing is suggested, 
one is often made to wonder how they saw it not. 

(2.) When we do mind them, we cannot command a lively sight 
of them, without the blowing of the Spirit, Hos. viii. 12. They lie 
before our eyes as so many dry bones, till the Spirit set them in mo- 
tion, by setting them in a due light. Joseph's brethren could not 
forget that they had been guilty concerning him, nor David that he 
had sinned in the matter of Uriah ; but till the Spirit set these 
things in another light to them, they were not moved to repent. 

(2.) By touching their hearts and affections, and immediately 
bringing them forth into exercise. Thus the sleeping spouse was 
awakened ; Cant. v. 4, " My Beloved put in his hand by the hole of 
the door, and my bowels were moved for him." And so he acts as 
a quickening Spirit. The hearts of men are in the hand of the 
Lord, to turn them what way he will; and so he moves them by a 
touch in common things, as he did the band of men that went with 
Saul to Gibeah, " whose hearts God had touched," 1 Sam.x. 26; and 
lie also moves them by a touch in gracious actions, as the spouse 
found ; Cant, vi. 12, " Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like 
the chariots of Ammi-nadib. As the thaw wind makes the frozen 
waters to flow amain, and the air in the bellows blows up the fire ; 
so there is an influence of the Spirit on the hearts of believers, open- 

now THE SPiraT helps believers' infirmities. 35 

ing them in the exercise of grace, Phil. ii. 13. This is a great help 
to believers ; for, 

(1.) Their hearts are oft-times very dead within them, whencalled to 
duty, either doing or suffering, Cant. v. 2, 3, " I sleep, but my heart 
waketh : it is the voice of my Beloved that knocketh, saying, Open 
to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled : for my head is 
filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. I have 
put off my coat, how shall I put it on ! I have washed my feet, how 
shall I defile them ?" Their affections are flat, and their souls indis- 
posed for spiritual action. But when the Spirit touches their hearts, 
they are fitted for duty ; their spiritual life is brought forth into 
liveliness and activity. Psalm Ixxx. 18, " Quicken us, and we will 
call upon thy name. 

[2.] They can by no art of theirs remove their deadness of 
heart and affections, 2 Cor. iii. 5, but they will lie windbound 
in the harbour, till the Spirit blow. They may be long toil- 
ing in rowing in the use of means, and yet be still but where they 
were, for all they can do. But the influences of the Spirit rising and 
filling their sails, they will presently make way, Cant. vi. 12. 

Now, this double action of presenting to their minds, and touching 
their hearts, whereby the Spirit excites grace, is signified to us by 
comparing the Spirit to fire, which has both light and heat with it, 
Matth. iii. 11. And there is a twofold mean the Spirit makes use of 
for that purpose, viz. the word and providence, of which after- 

2>dly, He strengthens and increases grace in them, Eph. iii. 16, 
" That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to 
be strengthened with might, by his Spirit in the inner man." Grace 
is a heavenly seed capable of growth, 2 Pet. iii. ult., and so admits 
of various degrees of strength, not only in difterent persons, in re- 
spect of which some are little children, others youths, others fathers, 
1 John ii. but in the same person at different times. Is. xl. ult, " They 
that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." And indeed 
of its own nature it is a growing thing, as a seed ; grace hath a 
seminal virtue in it, that fits it for growing and receiving more 
strength, John iv. 14. Meanwhile the seed will not grow unless it 
be watered from above ; so grace grows not, but by the influence of 
the Spirit, Hos. xiv. 5, " I will be as the dew unto Israel : he shall 
grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon." Now the 
Spirit doth strengthen and increase grace, 

(1.) By frequent exciting it into action. The habits of grace, as 
well as others, are strengthened by the repeated exercise of them. 
The more it shines, it shines the brighter, Prov. iv. 18. It is for 


this cause that God has bound converts also to the hearing of the 
word, whereby their graces are brought forth into one act after 
another, as the object is still anew proposed ; and for this cause he 
trysts his people with a variety of incidents, afflictions, and trials, 
which bring their graces into frequent exercise, whereby at length 
they become strong. 

(2.) By bringing forth into exercise one grace, he strengthens the 
rest, 2 Pet. i. 5, 8, " And besides this, giving all diligence, add to 
your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, 
temperance : and to temperance, patience ; and to patience, godli- 
ness ; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kind- 
ness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make 
yon that ye shall neither be barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledge 
of our Lord Jesns Christ." As a mason by laying on a new stone 
in his wall, fastens the rest under it ; or the sheaves of corn stand 
the more firmly, that one is set at the side of another ; so one grace 
is still the better of another joined to it in the exercise thereof. So hu- 
mility strengthens meekness and patience, love strengthens obedience 
in all points, and faith strengthens altogether; like a band or key- 
stone in an arch, the more firm it is, the firmer is the whole arch ; so 
the Spirit, by bringing forth one grace in the believer's heart after 
another, strengthens the whole collection, and makes it the more firm 
and steady. 

(3.) By afl'ording them Christian experiences, whereby they find 
the truth and reality of what they have believed, and the blessed 
sensible advantage of the exercise of grace, Rom. v. 3, 4, 5, " We 
glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience ; 
and patience, experience ; and experience, hope ; and hope maketh 
not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, 
by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Experienced Christians 
are therefore always the strongest Christians, even as the spoil got 
in one battle helps the soldier to fight the more stoutly in the next, 1 
Sam. xvii. 36, 2 Tim. iv. 17> 18. Former experiences are the travel- 
ler to Zion's way-marks in dark steps, and his cordials in difiicult 
ascents. Every taste of divine goodness and grace refreshes and 
strengthens. Now it is the Spirit that gives these experiences, John 
xvi. 14, " He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." 

(4.) By immediate supplies of grace, Phil. i. 19, " I know that 
this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the sapply 
of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." As the lamp is preserved from going 
out, and is caused to burn more vigorously, by new oil poured in ; 
so grace is strengthened by the Spirit giving new supplies thereof, 
Isa. xliv. 3, 4. Hence the Spirit is said to " build us for an habita- 


tion to God," Eph. ii. ult. He works the first grace ; and all 
the intermediate supplies of it, and the perfecting of it, are his. 
Psalm cxxxviii. ult, " The Lord will perfect that which concerneth 
me." Now, this is a great help ; for, 

[1.] Weighty is the work that lies to the believer's hand; doing 
work, suffering work. The Christian life is no easy life, however 
men that go no further than the outside of it, may make it so to 
themselves. It is a striving, taking by force, running, labour- 
ing, fighting, &c. How could it be managed, without the helps 
of the Spirit ? 

[2.] Great is the opposition that they must work against, Eph. vi. 
12, " For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against prin- 
cipalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this 
world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." The wind will 
be blowing in their face from hell at all times ; and sometimes they 
Mill meet with violent storms. How could they stand against it, if 
the Spirit did not help ? 

[3.] "Weak are the hands that work is put into, that has all that 
opposition. There is a feebleness natural to them, that makes them 
oft hang down. How could they ever do that workmaugre so much 
opposition, without the helps of the Spirit? 

The means which the Spirit of God makes use of to preserve, ex- 
cite, and strengthen grace in believers, and so to help them, are two. 

1. Providences ; Psalm xcii. 4, " For thou. Lord, hast made me 
glad through thy work ; I will triumph in the works of thy hands." 
The kingdom of providence is put into the hand of the Mediator, for 
the behoof of the kingdom of grace ; and he guides it by his Spirit. 
The wheels of providence are managed by the Spirit ; Ezek. i. 20, 
and so managed as to help believers iu their infirmities. And hero 
two things are especially to be noticed, 

(1.) Seasonable turns of the wheel of providence, whereby the be- 
liever's wain is often kept up when it is at the oversetting ; 1 Cor. 
X. 13, " God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above 
that ye are able ; but will with the temptation also make a way to 
escape, that ye may be able to bear it." Psalm xciv. 18, " When I 
said. My foot slippeth ; thy mercy, Lord, held me up." Thus 
many times the believer is brought to an extremity, as Isaac when 
the knife was at his throat, when providence seasonably interposes 
for his relief and ontgate ; Psalm cxxv. 3. 

(2.) Seasonable intermixtures of providence. Thus the Spirit in- 
termixes encouraging dispensations with difficult duties, Judg. vii. 
13, 14., merciful incidents with their sharp afflictions; and, on the 
other hand, afflicting incidents with their prosperity ; and all that 


they may neither be swallowed up with adversity, nor destroyed 
with prosperity. 

2. Ordinances, Isa. xii. 3, " Therefore with joy shall ye draw wa- 
ter out of the wells of salvation." These are instituted by the King 
of Zion, for the special means of grace, whereby his Spirit is to 
work, and to render them effectual. And the experience believers 
have of the Spirit's helping their infirmities by these, makes them 
very precious in their sight. And among these there are two espe- 
cially used for this end. 

1st, The sacraments. They are exciting and strengthening ordi- 
nances particularly, and consequently preservative of grace. The 
eunuch's experience witnesseth this as to baptism, Acts viii. 39, he 
" went on his way rejoicing." And the Lord's supper is " the com- 
munion of the body and blood of Christ," 1 Cor. x. 16., which, by 
the Spirit's working, has been to the experience of many a great help. 

2,dli/f The word. This is the most special mean. Providence has 
its efficacy from the word, and so have the saci'araents. It is their 
continual mean of help, their every-day's meal, which they can go 
to when providence is most lowring, and sacramental occasions offer 
not. And the Spirit uses it for their help three ways. 

(1.) Preached, 1 Cor. i. 21, " It pleased God by the foolishness of 
preaching to save them that believe." This affords to the attentive 
believer a continued occasion of the exercise of his faith and love, 
while a variety of spiritual truths and objects are represented to 
him, in their turn ; which the Spirit makes use of to draw forth his 
graces into exercise. Whence believers go away instructed, warmed, 
strengthened, in a word, edified, by reason of so many actings of 
grace, during their hearing, like the two disciples going to Emmaus, 
when they said, " Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked 
with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures ?" Luke 
xxiv. 32. 

(2.) Eead, 1 Tim. iv. 13, " Till I come, give attendance to read- 
ing." This has the same advantages attending it. Thereby the 
Spirit of God speaks immediately to the believer by his own word in 
his own express terms. And the experience of the usefulness of this 
mean has made saints prize their Bibles as their life. 

(3.) Suggested, John xiv. 26, " He shall bring all things to your 
remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." The bringing of 
the word to mind with a man is the office of the Spirit; and by that 
means he helps believers' infirmities, bringing a word suitable to 
their case, into their remembrance, whether to clear them in doubts, 
comfort them under pressures, direct them in difficulties, or check 
them for their debordings, &c. And herein he uses often the very 


words of the Bible, always what is the sense and doctrine of the 
Bible. And, 

[1.] Sometimes the Spirit barely suggests the word to the mind 
without any peculiar light about it, or power impressing it, John 
xiv. 26, just cited. Thus it is presented as an object for the believer 
to act faith on, and is a call to look up to the Spirit to enlighten it 
and help to believe it, Acts viii. 30. 31. And thus a word at first 
coming in this way, comes afterwards to be illuminated by the Spi- 
rit's shining on it to the man. 

[2.] Sometimes there is a peculiar light and power that comes 
along with it at the very first, clearly holding out the meaning of it, 
and impressing it so on their hearts, that they must needs believe 
and embrace it, John ii. 17, " And his disciples remembered that it 
was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up." There 
were many Old Testament passages speaking more clearly of Christ 
which they understood not, but the Spirit thus suggested this to 

Meanwhile it is to be observed, that all suggestions of the word 
are not from the Spirit of God. That Satan may suggest scripture 
to a man, is evident from Matth. iv- 6. Therefore is that warning, 
1 John iv. 1, " Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits 
whether they are of God ; because many false prophets are gone out 
into the world." But the cloven foot may be discerned in such cases 
two ways. 

[1.] They are always of a tendency to drive sinners away from 
Christ, 1 John iv- 2, 3, "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God : every 
spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. 
And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in 
the flesh, is not of God. And they tend to drive out of the road 
of duty, Matth. iv. 6, " And saith unto him. If thou be the Son of 
God, cast thyself down : for it is written, He shall give his angels 
charge concerning thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, 
lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." This was the 
design of the testimony he gave to Christ, and to his apostles; while 
the testimony was indeed true in itself, he gave it maliciously for an 
ill end. Therefore mark the tendency of suggestions of the 
word. Whatever tends to carry off from faith in Christ, or from 
any point of commanded duty, is not from the Spirit. For his work 
tends to faitli and sanctification. Hence, 

[2.] They are always applied by him contrary to their true sense 
and scope, forasmuch as the Lord's word cannot serve an ill purpose, 
unless it is wrested ; as is evident from what the devil says to Christ, 
Matth. iv. 6, above cited, compared with Psalm xci. 11, 12, " For 


he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy 
ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy 
foot against a stone." And therefore the scripture-passage is to be 
considered, and how it agrees with other scriptures as to the sense 
and scope in which it is suggested, Matth. iv. 7> " Jesus said unto 
him, Jt is written again, Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God." 
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, and leads to the true sense 
and scope of scripture, John xvi. 13. 

I add one observe more on the means, namely, that sometimes the 
Spirit helps believers' infirmities, by a particular providence trysting 
the word to their case. This often comes to pass in hearing the 
word preached, while the word in its ordinary course is brought di- 
rectly to what is their case in the time; so that it is like the Midian- 
ite's telling his dream, Judg, vii. 13, while Gideon, unknown to 
him, was overhearing ; or they are providentially led to such a 
place, where such a word suitable to their case is handled. Cant iii. 
3. The same particular providence appears often in the reading of 
the word, whether at family worship, or in secret, or by some provi- 
dential casting of it in one's way.* I think it dangerous to make a 
fortune-book of the Bible, as some under temptation have opened the 
Bible, to know their case by the first word that should cast up to 
them. This is an unwarrantable and dangerous practice, though a 
merciful God may sometimes condescend to outshoot the devil in his 
own bow as in the case of her who threw the glass at the wall, and 
it broke not. But when people are thus met in the way of their 
duty, or surprised, with a word suited to their case, the work of the 
Spirit is to be owned in it, as an accomplishment of the promise, 
Isa. XXX. 21, " Thine ear shall hear a word behind thee, saying, 
This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and 
when ye turn to the left." Certainly the Spirit gives instruction, 
reproof, invitations, to unbelievers this way ; and much more helps 
the infirmities of his people the same way, for so the word is in its true 
use, 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17, " All scripture is given by inspiration of 
God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for 
instruction in righteousness : that the man of God may be perfect, 
throughly furnished unto all good works. And this should recom- 
mend the reading of the word of God in an ordinary. 

I shall now make some short improvement of this doctrine. 

Use 1. Of information. This teaches us and shews, 

1. That believers owe their spiritual strength and comfort to the 
same hand that they owe their spiritual life to. As the mother who 

Many instances of this are to be found- in the author's own experience, in his 


brought forth the child nurses it witli her own breasts ; so the Spi- 
rit, who is to the elect the Spirit of life to quicken them lying dead in 
sin, is likewise the Comforter to strengthen them under their infir- 
mities when spiritually alive, John vi. 63, and xvi. 13; compare 
Psalm cxxxviii., ult. 

2. The Lord calls none of his people to any duty, but they may 
get it done acceptably, however difficult it is. For the help of his 
own Spirit is their allowance ; Phil. iv. 13, " I can do all things 
through Christ which strengtheneth me." Here is the great differ- 
ence betwixt those under the law and under grace. The law or 
covenant of works exacts duty rigidly, but aflPords no help ; the 
covenant of grace affords the promise of help with the command ; for 
the latter is, but the former is not, the ministration of the Spirit, 
2 Cor. iii. 8. 

3. How that gospel-paradox ; 2 Cor. xii. 10, " When I am weak, 
then am I strong," is so often verified in the experience of the saints. 
Many a time when they are strong and well buckled in all appear- 
ance for a work, it miscarries ; why, they do not go out of them- 
selves in a way of believing, and so the Spirit withdraws. At other 
times they see themselves quite out of case and ability to manage 
snch a work, and yet it succeeds ; why, the Spirit comes in to their 
help, while they are sensible of need. 

Use II. Of reproof. It may reach a reproof, 

1. To believers sometimes venturing on duties, more in confidence 
of their own abilities, than of the Spirit's help, as Peter did when 
he said, "Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will 
I never be offended," Matth. xxvi. 33. This is the cause that the 
duty is marred ; the bow so bended cannot miss to break. It is 
sometimes marred as to the very getting it done, and always as to 
its acceptance with God. 

2. To unbelievers, who neither have the Spirit, nor are careful to 
have him dwelling in them, and influencing them. Their best works 
are dead works, having nothing of the quickening and sanctifying 
Spirit in them ; and they them.selves are but natural men spiritually 
dead, Jude 19. Whatever flourish they make with their gifts in 
duties, their best duties will no more be accepted of God than car- 
rion, or a beast that died of itself would have been accepted on the 

3. To those who press on men still this and the other duty, with- 
out leading them to Jesus Christ for his Spirit and grace. This is 
another gospel, that will never make men holy, Gal. iii. 2, for it is 
not the ministration of the Spirit. And the same veil they cast over 
the Spirit and grace of Christ, they will always be found to cast 

Vol. XI. I) 


over the corruption of man's nature too, that they may with some 
decency say to every man, Physician, heal thyself. 

Use III. Of exhortation. And, 1. To natural men void of the 
Spirit. Be concerned to get the Spirit first to quicken you, and 
then to assist and help you. Ye can do nothing acceptable to God 
in that state ; and no wonder, for ye have not the gracious help of 
the Spirit, without which ye can have no access to God, Eph. ii. 18. 
So ye and your works are both dead carcases before him. 

Therefore come to Christ in the way of believing; for the fulness 
of the Spirit is lodged in him to be communicated, Rev. iii. 1. So 
uniting with him, ye shall receive the Spirit. The fire that was set 
to the incense, was brought from the altar of burnt-offering. See 
John XX. 22, and Gen. ii. 7- 

2. To believers. (1.) Let this comfort yon under, and reconcile 
you to, the state of infirmities, wherewith ye are compassed ; 2 Cor. 
xii. 9, 10. Though sinless infirmities are not to be desired, and sin- 
fal ones are much to be lamented ; yet it is matter of rejoicing, 
that in these the Spirit gives sweet experience of his help. 

(2.) Learn to look habitually for the help of the Spirit under 
yonr infirmities. While ye consider what ye have to do or bear, it is 
reasonable you cast one eye on your infirmity, but another eye up- 
ward for the Spirit's help. And by this means you will get his help. 
Luke xi. 13, " If ye being evil, know how to give good gifts unto 
your children ; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the 
Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?" 

Doctrine Ill.^Such is the weakness of God's own children, that 
th(By have not skill to manage even their addresses to God by prayer 
aright, without the Spirit. For we know not what we should pray 
for as we ought ; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us." 
They are like children putting their hand to a work, but with so 
little skill, that they must needs have one to stand over them, and 
direct them at every turn, i 

In discoursing from this point, I shall shew, 

I. What is implied in this truth. 

II. Wherein believers are ready, through their weakness, to mis- 
take, go wrong, and mismanage in their prayers. 

III. Lastly, Apply. 

I. I shall shew what is implied in this truth. It implies, 

1. That they are not of themselves able for what is to be done 

and borne in the Christian life ; 2 Cor. iii. 5. So far from it, that 

they do not well know what is necessary for their help, what to seek 

of God for that end, and how to seek it. If a duty is to be done, a 


cross to be borne, they are at a loss there through weakness and in- 
firmity ; that sets them to their prayers : but then they are at a loss 
there again, they know not what, and how to ask. 

2. That the children of God are all praying persons; Zech. xii. 
10. If they can speak at all, they will speak to God by prayer; 
and even when they either cannot speak, or have no access to speak, 
if they have the exercise of judgment, they will pray in their hearts ; 
1 Cor. xiv. 15. So the habitual neglect of prayer is none of the 
spots of God's people. There is no child so unnatural, as to be still 
in his father's presence, and never to converse with him. 

3. A gift of prayer, without the Spirit of prayer, cannot be suffi- 
cient to make one right prayer, that will be acceptable to God ; 
John iv. 2-4. Gifts of prayer are bestowed on believers, as well as 
others ; but still they know not what to pray for as they ought, 
without the Spir-t prompting them. The prayer that is the mere 
exercise of a gift, may indeed be edifying to the hearers, but can- 
not be acceptable to God. 

4. Nay, habitual grace is not sufficient for praying aright ; for 
still there is a necessity of actual assistance from the Spirit ; Psalm 
Ixxx. 18, " Quicken us, and we will call upon thy name." Life is 
not sufficient for making a discourse to our prince ; a man may have 
life, and yet not be able to speak a word ; but some vigour and live- 
liness is necessary to such a purpose. So spiritual life never de- 
parts wholly from the believer ; 1 John iii. 9, but it must be breath- 
ed on anew to fit him for praying ; Cant. iv. ult. New influences 
are still necessary ; hence is the promise ; Isa. xxvii. 3, " I will 
water it every moment." 

5. Lastly, Prayers are marred so far as the Spirit of God does 
not assist the party in them ; thoy are marred so far in point of ac- 
ceptance with God; Eph. ii. 18. As no prayer can be accepted but 
through Christ's intercession, so none will be offered to God by the 
Intercessor farther than it is the product of the influence of his own 
Spirit. Nadab and Abihu's hearth-fire offered with the incense, was 
a costly lesson of this ; Lev. x- 1, 2, 3. So if, through the whole 
prayer, the Spirit's assistance is wanting, the whole will be unac- 
cepted ; if in any of it, that wherein it is wanting will be so. 

II. The next head is to show, wherein believers are ready, 
through their weakness, to mistake, go wrong, and mismanage in 
their prayers. They are ready to do so both in the matter and man- 
ner of them. 

First, In the matter of prayer, " We know not what to pray for." 
Even the things to be prayed for, they are not so well versed in them, 
but they are ready to go wrong therein. So that they need the 

D 2 


Spirit's teaching, to tell them and make them take up their errand, 
when they are going and come to God in prayer ; tliej need to be 
set right, and kept right in the very matter of prayer. ' Their weak- 
ness in this point appears, in that, 

' 1. They are apt to pray against their own mercy. Thus did Job, 
chap. vi. 8, 9, " that I might have my request ; and that God 
would grant me the thing that I long for ! even that it would please 
God to destroy me ; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me 
off." When Satan was permitted to take all from him, there was 
an express reserve of his life as the greatest mercy ; but he prays 
very earnestly against it, though no doubt at long-run Job blessed 
God from his heart that he did not hear him in that. We are so 
weak, that in God's dispensations many times we take our friends 
for our foes, and call what is for our good, evil, as Jacob did when 
he said, " All these things are against me," Gen. xlii. 36. 

2. They are apt to seek what is not so good as God has a mind 
to give them ; 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9, " For this thing I besought the Lord 
thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My 
grace is sufficient for thee." To be freed from the messenger of Satan 
was good, but to have God's grace poured in sufficiently to maintain 
the combat, was better. And therefore Paul upon reflection takes 
God's way to have been better than what he himself proposed, ver. 9, 
" Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that 
the power of Christ may rest upon me.''j' Narrow asking ofttimes 
makes narrow receiving. It fares with believers sometimes as with 
Joash ; 2 Kings xiii. 18, 19, *' Elisha said unto him. Take the ar- 
rows ; and he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, 
Smite upon the ground ; and he smote thrice, and stayed. And the 
man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldst have smit- 
ten five or six times, then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst 
consumed it ; whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice." 
They are straitened in their own bowels in asking, and therefore 
they come not speed. 

3. They are apt to seek what would be for their hurt. So did 
Jonah, when he wished in himself to die, and said, it is better for 
me to die than to live ; chap iv. 8. It would have been very ill for 
Jonah to have died in such a bad frame and temper of spirit, as he 
was then in. And if God had struck him immediately, it is like he 
would immediately have changed his note. David prayed for the 
life of the child, 2 Sam. xii. 16, but God took it away, for it would 
have been a living blot upon him. As a foolish child seeks a knife 
to play with, which he can do nothing with, but hurt himself; so 
we are apt to seek from God, what in mercy he keeps from us. 

4. They are apt to seek food for tlieir corrupt lusts and affections ; 


Mattli. XX. 20, iil, " Then came to him tlie mother of Zebedee's child- 
ren, with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of 
him And he said unto her, What wilt thou ? She saith unto him, 
Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, 
and the other on the left in thy kingdom." James and John were 
tickled with a lust of ambition, and they seek honour to satisfy it. 
And it is God's goodness to his people in such a case, not to do with 
them as he did with the lusting Israelites; Psalm cvi. 15, " He gave 
them their request, but sent leanness into their soul." . Men may go 
wrong here, and not see their error, till the Lord correct it; for they 
may take lust for love ; Luke ix. 54, 55, and so seek to feed their 
enemies whom they should starve. 

i5. They are apt, through ignorance or inadvertency, not to pray 
for what they really need for their case ; as the children of Israel, 
when they " went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, 
and said, which of us shall go up first to the battle against the chil- 
dren of Benjamin ?" Judg. xx. 18. To pray for God's presence with 
them, was not in their head ; but that they really needed it, they 
afterwards felt to their cost. [ Many sad experiences praying people 
may have of this, which may shew the need of the Spirit's assistance. 
Hence general and formal prayers, little suited to the i^articular 
cases and exigences of the party ; which is but trifling in so solemn 
and serious a matter as prayer to God. 

6. Though they do know and advert to it before they go to prayer, 
they are ready to forget it in the time. There is a forgetting of 
particular petitions designed or coming of course, which is an efl'ect 
of the Spirit's influence ; in that case the forgotten petition is from 
one's own spirit, not from the Spirit of God, as in the instance of 
the prodigal son, Luke xv., what he designed to say to his father, 
ver. 19, " Make me as one of thy hired servants," when he came to 
him, he forgets, ver. 21. There is such a forgetting which is an ef- 
fect of our own weakness ; in that case the petition forgotten is from 
the Spirit of God, the forgetting it from ourselves, Heb. ii. 1. 

Thus going to God sometimes, we forget much of our errand, 
whether by wandering of heart or being left to ourselves in the mat- 
ter. In a word, 

'7- Lastly, They are apt to pray for things not agreeable to the 
will of God, that there is neither precept nor promise for. The 
many petitions in which they are not heard evince this ; because " if 
we ask anything according to his will he heareth us," 1 John v. 14. 
There is so much remains of corruption in the best, that it is hard 
even in our prayers to keep within the compass of what is agreeable 
to his will.! 


I sliall now endeavour to assign the reasons why God's own chil- 
dren are so apt to mistake and go wrong, even in the matter of 

The great reason is, the remains of darkness that are on the minds 
of the best, while here ; Job xxxvii. 19, " Teach us what we shall 
say unto him ; for we cannot order our speech by reason of dark- 
ness." It is true, God's children are not in midnight darkness, 
but their light is but a twilight, in which they are apt to mistake 
their way. And the more sensible they are of this, the more need 
they will find of the Spirit's help in prayer. More particularly, we 
know not what we should pray for, but are ready to go wrong in the 
matter of prayer, 

1. Because we have at best but little knowledge of our own case ; 
and no wonder that they who are not thoroughly acquainted with 
the nature of the disease mistake as to the remedy. The blind man, 
Mark viii. 22 — 25, is an emblem of the natural man, the true con- 
vert, and the glorified saint. The child of God while here, " sees but 
in part," 1 Cor, xiii. 12. Every believer is a mystery. Cant. iii. 6, 
a mystery to the world, a mystery to himself. There are many folds 
and plies in his case, which he himself cannot unfold; plies of grace, 
sin, temptation, danger, &c. 

'2. Little knowledge of what is good and best for us, Gen. xlii. 
36. We see the weakness of understanding in children makes 
them often to desire of parents what really is not for them ; even so 
it is with God's children, and therefore it is fatherly love that denies 
some of their petitions; as in the case of Job, Jonah, and others. 
We are apt to think that that is best for us that is most pleasant 
and most easy, but that is often a very deceitful rule. 

3. Little acquaintance with the word, particularly the commands 
and the promises, the measure of our petitions. There is much need 
of the Spirit's help in that matter, John xiv. 26. We are ready to 
measure our petitions rather by our own inclinations than by the 
word ; and many read the Bible often, that have but very little skill 
of making a practical improvement thereof in their prayers, Mark 
X. 35, 37. 

4. We are apt to take the subtle cravings of lust for the cravings 
of grace or innocent aff"ection, Luke ix. 54, 55. And thence good 
people unwittingly are made intercessors for their spiritual enemies; 
which, if they did discern, they would confess their error, and retract 
their request. Sin dwells in the believer together with grace, and 
that so closely that the language of the one is often taken for that 
of the other. 

5. Believers are liable to prejudices and wrong notions of things, 


which they have drunk in from their education, manner of life in 
the world, &c. Such was the disciples' notion of the temporal king- 
dom of Christ, that was the spring of that rash petition of James 
and John ; Mark x. 37, " Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy 
right hand, and the other on thy left hand iu thy glory." Such was 
that of the case of Gentiles among the believing Jews, that was the 
spring of the ofTence taken at Peter ; Acts xi. 2, 3, " They that were 
of the circumcision contended with him, saying. Thou wentest in to 
men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them." An erring conscience 
will mislead men under pretence of divine authority, John xvi. 2; 
Acts xxvi, 9. No wonder then it form wrong requests in prayer, 
Luke ix. 54. 

6. Lastly, They are subject to much confusion iu prayer, both 
through natural and si)iritual indisposition. Psalm Ixxvii. 4. Hence 
they are ready as Job did, chap, xxxviii. 2, " to darken counsel by 
words without knowledge." The exercise of their very gift is not 
always ready at hand with them, far less the exercise of their grace. 
An influence of the Spirit is necessary both for the one and the 
other. And when it is wanting, so that they are in no case for pray- 
ing, no wonder they know not what to pray for. 

1 Secondltj, Believers are ready to go wrong in the manner of prayer; 
" We know not what we should pray for as we ought." It is not 
in vain our Lord gave his disciples a direction in that point ; Matth. 
vi. 9, "After this manner pray ye," &c. The prayer may be right 
as to the matter, that yet may be mismanaged in the manner of per- 
formance, 1 Cliron. XV. 13. And therefore there is need of the Spi- 
rit's help iu this point too; not only to teach us what, but how to 
pray. Their weakness iu this point appears, in that, 

1. They are apt to slip th« best season for managing their address 
before the throne. Thomas missed an opportunity of communion with 
Christ, that left him under the feet of unbelief, while the I'est were 
delivered from theirs, John xx. 24, 25. The best season is, when 
the signal is given from heaven to the petitioner, to come forward ; 
sometimes the door is as it were cast open to him, and there is a 
sign given by some inward motion of the Spirit, or some providential 
call moving him to come forward. The spouse missed this; Cant. 
V. 2, 3, •' I sleep, but ray heart waketh," &c., and she smarted for 
it ; ver. 6, " I opened to my Beloved, but my Beloved had withdrawn 
himself, and was gone ; my soul failed when he spoke : I sought him 
but I could not find him ; I called him, but he gave me no answer." 

Moses was very careful to fall in with it immediately ; Exod. 
xxxiv. 8, 9, " And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward 
the earth, and worshipped. And he said. If now I have found grace 


in tby sight, Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go amongst us (for 
it is a stiff-necked people) and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and 
take us for thine inheritance." 

'2. They are apt to enter on prayer with a temper of spirit very 
unfit for such a holy exercise ; being either entangled with worldly 
cares, or discomposed with unruly passions, Luke xxi. 34; 1 Tim. 
ii. 8. They both make the Spirit of a man like troubled water, unfit to 
receive the image of the sun, unfit for divine communications.] Jo- 
nah's prayer behoved to be marred when he was in a fret. Therefore 
the apostle exhorts married persons to take heed to their behaviour 
one towards another, that their prayers might not be hindered, 1 Pet. 
iii. 7, nothing being more apt to do it than domestic jars, Mai. ii. 13. 

i 3. They are apt to be formal,, lifeless, and coldrifc in prayer. Cant. 
iii. 1 ; Eev. iii. 2. We are called to be " fervent in spirit, serving 
the Lord." But even where the fire of grace is in the hearth, unless 
it be blown up by the influence of the Spirit of God, the pray- 
ers will be mismanaged. Psalm Ixxx. 18. There will be bands of 
iniquity on the heart which they will not be able to loose, more than 
to dissolve the ice with their breath ; but " where the Spirit of the 
Lord is, there is the liberty." 

4. Their hearts are apt to wander in duty, and will do so if the 
Spirit fix them not. Therefore David prays, " Unite my heart to 
fear thy name," Psalm Ixxxvi. 11. When Abraham had divided 
the carcases, the fowls came down on them ; so when one is convers- 
ing with God, evil spirits will be at work, to cast in something that 
may divert him from the present duty, Kom. vii. 21. Many a prayer 
is lost this way, while the heart steals away after some other thing 
than what it should then be on. 

5. They are apt to content themselves with exercising their gift, 
without exercising their grace. Therefore Paul warns the Ephe- 
siaus, chap. vi. 18, " to pray always with all prayer and supplication 
in the Spirit, and to watch thereunto with all perseverance." Hence 
many petitions, conftssions, thanksgivings, all of them just ; yet lost 
for want of suitable affections coming along with them. For it is 
the exercise of praying graces, reverence, faith, love, humility, &c., 
and not the exercise of praying gifts without them, that is pleasing 
to God. 

6. They are apt to disproportion their concern to the weight of 
the matters they pray for. This is carefully guarded against in the 
Lord's prayer, Matth. vi. 9, &c., where the glory of God has the first 
place, and there is but one petition for temporals, and two for spi- 
rituals. But how ready are we to be more concerned for our own 
interest, than for the honour of God ; more fervent for temporal 


than for spiritual mercies ? This makes the prayers like the legs of 
the lame that are not equal, the affection being disproportioned to 
the matter. 

7. They are apt to be too peremptory in circumstances, without 
leaving a due latitude to sovereignty. That is limiting the holy One 
of Israel. This is often done as to time, the timing of mercies, in 
which we are too apt to take upon us to prescribe to the sovereign 
manager, John ii. 3, 4, as to the manner of bringing about a mercy, 
which, short-sighted as we are, we are very ready to determine. 
And the same may be said as to the measure of mercies. 

8. They are apt to mix their own wild fire with the holy fire in 
prayer. So did the disciples, Mark iv. 38, when they say, " Master, 
carest thou not that we perish ?" The language of passion is sometimes 
mixed with the language of grace in the prayers of saints; which when 
they discern, they will be ready to correct. Psalm Ixxvii. 7 — 10. 
Hence there are expressions of saints unto God, recorded in scrip- 
ture, not for our imitation, but for our warning of this corrupt bias 
of the heart ; as Job xxx. 21, " Thou art become cruel to me ; with 
thy strong hand thou opposes! thyself against me." Jer. xv. 18, 
" Why is my pain perpetual ? and my wound incurable, which re- 
fuseth to be healed ? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and 
as waters that fail ?" These he looks on as the ravings of his sick 

9. They are apt to lay too much weight of their acceptance in 
their prayers, on what will bear none of it. It is certain, that there 
is nothing will bear any weight of that, but the merit and interces- 
sion of Jesus Christ ; Rev. viii. 4. But the natural bias of the heart 
lies another way, to lay weight on tlie very performance of the duty, 
and the way how it is performed, as with such affection, pointedness, 
length, nay the very voice, as insignificant a thing as it is before the 
Lord. Hence our Lord cautions against ''using vain repetitions" in 
prayer, " as the Heathen do ; for they think (says he) that they 
shall be heard for their much speaking ;" Matth. vi. 7. And that 
the Heathen laid ranch stress on a loud voice in prayer, appears 
from what Pharaoh says to Moses ; Exod. ix. 28, (Heb.) Make ye 
supplication to the Lord, and much, i. e. Make much supplication. 
Compare 1 Kings xviii. 28, where it is said of Baal's prophets, that 
" they cried aloud." There are remains of that legal bias in the 
hearts of God's own children ; Matth. xix 27- And it is only by 
the Spirit that saints are brought to lay their whole weight on Jesus 
Christ; Eph.ii. 18; Phil. iii. 3. Otherwise their deceitful hearts 
will be found disposed to slip aside that way, they being very ready 
to believe the acceptance of some fluent prayer of theirs, and hard 


to believe the acceptance of one that goes not so fluently though se- 
riously ; yet the blood of Jesus is still the same security. 

10. Lastly, They are apt to faint and give over, upon the Lord's 
delaying to answer ; whereas it is a chief piece of right manage- 
ment of business at the court of heaven, resolutely to insist and 
hang on, Luke xviii. 1, 8. We are naturally hasty, and long 
trials are apt to run us out of breath. There is need of much faith, 
that patience may have her perfect work ; and that is not to be 
reached without the help of the Spirit; Rom. xv. 13. 

I shall now give the reasons why believers are so apt to go wrong 
in the manner of prayer. They are the following : — 

1. Because of the sublimity of the work, that is so far above our 
reach, that we can by no means know how to manage it, but as we 
are taught by him with whom we have to do in it. To say a prayer 
in a formal uttering of words, is no such hard work indeed. But 
rightly to manage an address at the throne of heaven, on which sits 
the Sovereign Majesty; and that about the weightiest of all con- 
cerns, is such sublime work, that it passes the skill of the greatest 
orator on earth to do it without the Spirit; Eccl. v. 1, 2. Were 
any of us to go on business to our earthly king, would we not need 
to be directed by some knowing the way of the court ? How much 
more do we need direction from the Holy Spirit in our addresses to 
the throne of grace ? , 

2. Because of the remains of corruption that yet hang about them ; 
Rom, vii. 24. This is a clog at their heels at all times, and will 
not miss to exert itself in holy duties, ver, 21, " When I would do 
good, evil is present with me." There is much darkness yet in the 
minds of the best, as to spiritual things ; no wonder they know not 
how to pray as they ought. Much perverseness there is in the will, 
both with respect to God's precepts and providences. There is much 
carnality and disorder iu the affections, as they all soundly feel, 
that are concerned to get the heart fit for praying, kept right in it, 
and kept right after it. 

3. Because there is a subtile adversary busy to mar them in that 
their work ; Zech. iii. 1. He well knows that all the hope in their 
case is from the divine help ; and therefore while they are before 
the throne of mercy, he will bestir himself effectually to mar their 
application. He is an enemy to prayer, and therefore ho will keep 
back from it if he can ; if he cannot, he will do his utmost to mar it. 

4. Lastly, Because of the weakness of grace in them. Grace dis- 
poses men to pray ; Zech xii. 10. But the weakness of that grace 
leaves them in hazard of mismanaging in it. Sometimes it is not 
in exercise ; at bo&t it is but weak, and mixed with corruption, in 


the struggle with which it will be overcome, if the spirit come not 
in to its help. 

I shall now make some practical improvement. 

This doctrine may be of use, both unto strangers to God, and to 
his own children. And, 

FiiisT, Ye that are strangers to God, yet in your natural state, 
without the Spirit, and therefore children of Satan, we may take 
you up in these two sorts to be spoken to, viz, prayerless natural 
persons, and praying natural persons. 

First, Prayerless natural unconverted persons, such as are living 
in the state they were born in, and withal living without praying to 
the God that made them. I have two things to say to you from 
this doctrine. 

1. Learn from it, that this prayerless life of yours declares your 
case a very sad one. It declares you, 

(1.) None of God's children ; for whatever mismanagements of it 
they fall into, they all practise the duty of prayer. So of you that 
is verified : Dent, xxxii. 5, " Their spot is not the spot of his child- 
ren." And if so, ye are the children of the devil ; John viii. 44, of 
the family of hell. And his possession of you remains undisturbed 
to this day, since ye have never been so far awakened, as to set you 
to, and keep you at prayer. 

(2.) Without the Spirit of God ; Jude 19. And being without 
the Spirit, ye are spiritually dead in sin ; for so are all naturally ; 
Eph. ii. 1, and it is " the Spirit that quickeneth ;" John vi. 63. So 
that whosoever are without the Spirit are dead still. You are then 
dead souls in living bodies. It is plain you are dead, for your 
speech is laid, your senses are gone, there is no moving nor breath- 
ing towards God in you, and the Spirit of life is departed from 

2. Be exhorted from it to reform. And, 

(1.) Set about prayer, 1 Thess. v. 17- Remember ye are God's 
creatures, and therefore obliged to worship him. Ye are men, and 
not beasts, and therefore should distinguish yourselves from them 
by religion, Isa. xlvi. 8. Ye have souls that will not die, and 
therefore ye should be concerned to pray for them, that ye live not 
in eternal misery. 

(2.) Be concerned to partake of the Spirit, and come to Christ for 
that end, who " hath the seven Spirits of God," Rev. iii. 1. Ye 
say ye cannot pray. If the Spirit of Christ were in you, it would 
not be so, Zech. xii. 10, Gal. iv. 6. Ye say ye have no time for 
prayer, or ye have no place to pray iu. If the Spirit of Christ 
were in you, ye would have a heart to pray; and if ye had the 
heart for it, yc would find both time and place. 


Secondly, Praying natural unconverted persons. People may be 
praying persons, and yet in the gall of bitterness, and none of 
God's children ; praying persons, and yet profane, Isa. i. 15, 16 ; 
formal hypocrites, Matth. xxiii. 14, 27, 28. They may have a gift 
of prayer, that are void of the spirit and grace of prayer. To such 
I would say from this doctrine, Then, 

1. Certainly ye can pray none at all aright; an evidence of which 
is, All your prayers are rejected of God , Prov. xv. 8, John ix. 31. 
If God's own children cannot pray aright without the Spirit, how is 
it possible ye should do so, who neither have the Spirit, nor yet are 
children of God ? If the weak man cannot go without help, sure 
the man void of life cannot move at all. View your own case in 
the case of the true saint, and think, if it be so in the green tree, 
what must it be in the dry ? They are God's children, yet cannot 
pray aright to their Father without the Spirit ; how much less can 
ye who are none of his family, and therefore never have the Spirit? 
They always have the Spirit dwelling in them as a Spirit of life, 
yet cannot pray aright without actual influence from him ; how, 
then, can ye ever pray aright, who are so far from his actual in- 
fluence, that he is not so mnch as in you, since ye are not in Christ ? 

(1.) Your praying, though continued never so many years, with- 
out coming to Christ by faith, is but like so many ciphers, which 
being without a figure at their head, the value is just nought. 
There is never one right or acceptable prayer among them all, 
Heb. xi. 6. They are all lost labour. And such a life of duties is 
but a wandering in the wilderness of duties, like Israel's wandering 
forty years in the wilderness, where they died at length, and never 
entered Canaan. 

(2.) All your prayers are turned to sin, Psalm cix. 7. If ye 
have never prayed aright, ye have always prayed wrong, spilled 
and marred that duty, profaned that holy ordinance. And so what 
ye reckon so much praying to God, God will reckon so much taking 
of his name in vain, for which he will not hold you guiltless. 
"Wherefore let praying persons look well to their state. 

2. Think not ranch of your gifts of prayer, for a gift of prayer 
will go short way before God. If it were never such a ready, full, 
and taking gift, it cannot make a man pray one petition aright 
without the Spirit, John iv. 24. Yet how are men puff'ed up with 
such a gift, that have it, and have not grace to keep them humble 
under it? They think themselves something on account of their 
gift, while God knows they are nothing, as being without the 
Spirit ; for they see wherein they excel others, but see not wherein 


they come short of true prayer in the sight of God, Gal. vi. 3, 4. 

I have four things to say of a gift of prayer without the spirit of 

(1.) It is a " good gift" of God indeed, James i. 17. But it is a 
left hand gift, which may be lost and taken away from him that has 
it now ; Zech. xi. lalt., " "Wo to the idol shepherd that leaveth the 
flock : the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye : 
his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly 
darkened ;" compared with John x. 12, for the prophecy relates to 
the Scribes and Pharisees. It is of that sort that is common to 
Christ's sheep and the devil's goats. The spirit of prayer is a 
grace-gift, a right hand gift, which can never be quite lost ; Rom. 
xi. 29, " For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." 

(2.) It may be useful to others for the profit of their souls, but 
in that respect it is useless to yourselves, 1 Cor. xiii. 1, 2, 3. 
Others may have communion with God in your exercise of your gift, 
but you yourself can have none, Prov. xv. 8. Gifts are bestowed on 
hypocrites for the good and behoof of the saints, as the purse bearer 
to a young prince gets his purse filled for the needs of the prince, 
1 Cor, iii. 21 — 23. The raven, though an unclean creature, was 
employed to feed Elijah. The gift the carpenters had that built the 
ark, was of use to the saving of Noah and his family, but they them- 
selves perished in the deluge, for all their skill of urk-building. 

(3.) It cannot but be hurtful to your own souls ; which hurtful- 
ness is not from the good gift itself., but from the light and foolish 
heart it is lodged in, Prov. i. 32. The very gospel, 2 Cor. ii. 16, is 
hurtful that way ; yea Christ himself is a stumbling-block by that 
means. A man with a gift of prayer, without the Spirit, is like a 
ship without ballast ; the more sail she has, she is in the greater 
danger of being overwhelmed, 

(4.) You may perish for ever, for all that gift. Judas had a gift 
of praying doubtless given him with the gift of preaching; yet for 
all it he fell from his ministry, and is gone to his own place, Acts i. 
25. The light of a gift without the warmth of the Spirit of grace, 
serves to show the way to outer darkness. And such a gift will ag- 
gravate the condemnation of the possessor, being like a bag of gold 
on a drowning man, that makes him only to sink the sooner and 
the deeper. 

3. Lastly, Come forward then another step in religion, and be 
concerned for a higher attainment in it, than ye have yet reached. 
Ye have come the length of praying, that is good, but it is not 
all ; if ye stick there, ye perish ; come forward to Christ, out of all 
confidence in your prayers, by believing, uniting with the Son of 


God. Ye liave attained to the gift of prayer ; come forward till ye 
reach the Spirit of prayer, which Christ communicates to all his 
members, John i. 12 ; with Gal. iv. 6. 

Secondly, Ye that are God's own children, to you I would say, 

1. Surely many a mismanaged prayer hath gone through your 
mouths, so that ye may say, '' We are all as an unclean thing, and 
all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags," Isa. Isiv. 6. So much 
prayer as has been made by you without the Spirit, so much mis- 
managed unacceptable prayer has there been, for which ye need par- 
don. Ye may here view, 

(1.) The many prayers of yours, that have been the mere lifeless 
exercise of a gift without the Spirit from the beginning of them to 
the end. All which have been lost prayers by the lump. Since ye 
were acquainted with Christ, ye have kept a constant course of pray- 
ing daily ; but at this rate it will be found there have been many 
days, and perhaps weeks and months, wherein ye have prayed none 
at all aright and acceptably. So that if ye seek your prayers in 
heaven, which ye think ye have sent thither, it will be found that 
many of them never came there ; they wanted the wings of the Spi- 
rit's influences, and so fell upon the earth, and are lost. 

(2.) The many parts of some of your prayers, and some parts of the 
best of them, that have been the mere product of your own spirits, 
and not of the Spirit of God. How much of the prayer has been over 
many times, ere your lips have been touched with the live coal ? 
And perhaps ere ye have done, ye have quenched the coal, provoked 
the Spirit to depart. And when it has been best with you, the de- 
ceitful heart has made a sinful mixture in it. At this rate seeking 
many a long prayer before the throne, ye would find that but a short 
part of it came thither ; perhaps but a few sentences. For alas ! 
the skin and dung of our sacrifices are often more bulk, than the 
flesh that comes on the altar. 

2. Be humbled under a sense of your mismanagements in the prayers 
ye have prayed all along to this day; "for in many things we of- 
end all," Jam. iii. 2. See the need ye have of the blood of Christ 
to purge away the guilt of your prayers, and apply it by faith for 
that end, Rev- vii. 14. Lament the too little concern ye have 
had to get the Spirit's help to your praying, and see for the pardon 

3. Lastly, Learn that praying is a more solemn serious work than 
it is generally looked on to be ; and that it is not such an easy thing 
to pray to purpose, as we are apt to imagine. Take these three 
warnings then. 

(1.) Trust not to your gift of prayer, neither be vain of it. Pro v. 


iii. 5; 1 Cor. i. ult. Oh ! it is sad to think of that vanity, and airi- 
ness, and self-seeking that is to be found in some people's exercise 
of their praying gift. It is an argument that the person forgets 
both God and himself. And nothing can be more contrary to the 
help of the Spirit in prayer. The heart is deceitful in this point, 
and we have need to watch it. 

(2,) Trust not to your frame. One may have a good frame be- 
fore he go to prayer, and yet when ho comes to the work, may not 
find his hands ; hence often least is got when most is expected ; be- 
cause it is expected rather on what we have, than what we look for 
from the Spirit. A person may have a good frame in prayer, that 
may quickly leave him ; the wheels of the soul in swift motion may 
suddenly stop, 2 Tim. ii. 1; Prov. xxviii. 26. 

(3 ) When ye go to prayer, be impressed with a sense of your ina- 
bility to manage it aright, Josh. xxiv. 19 ; and then, and all along 
in prayer, lay yourselves open, and look for the help of the Spirit. 
Lay the sacrifice on the altar, and look to the Lord for fire from 
heaven to consume it, as Elijah did, 1 Kings xviii. 33, 37, 38. The 
Spirit is that fire. 

I proceed to another doctrine from the text. 

DocTEiNE IV. All our praying aright is so far done by the help 
of the Spirit, that it is justly reckoned his work, his making inter- 
cession for us. ' 

In handling this point, I shall shew, 

I. What is to be understood by praying aright. 

II. That all our praying aright is done by the help of the Spirit. 

III. In what respects our praying aright is so far done by the help 
of the Spirit, that it is justly reckoned his work. 

lY. What is the Spirit's work in our praying aright, or wliat his 
making intercession for us is. 
y. Lastly, Apply the whole. 

1. I am to shew what is to be understood by praying aright. 
Negatively, 1. It is not praying aright in a legal sense, without 

any imperfection in the eye of the law, attending the prayer. There 
was never a prayer in the world of that sort since Adam's fall, ex- 
cept the prayers of the man Christ. The best prayers of the best 
saints have always been attended with blemishes visible to the eyes 
of God, though not to ours, Isa. Ixiv. 6. Such praying is our duty 
indeed, Matth. v. ult., but the attainment of none in this life, by any 
measure of grace to be expected, Phil. iii. 12. 

2. It is not praying aright in a moral sense, wherein the most 
rigid hearer can discern nothing contrary to the precepts of morality. 


A prayer may be so far right as no unlawful thing may be prayed 
for in it, and yet may be naught, Luke xviii. 11. The matter may 
be very good, where the manner of praying spoils all. If that were 
enough, the book-prayers of formalists would be sufficient help, in 
some cases, to pray aright. 

3. It is not praying aright in a rhetorical sense, a well-worded 
prayer, with a suitable delivery. Words, voice, and gesture are of 
little moment before God, 1 Sara. xvi. 7; 1 Cor. ii. 4. It may be a 
right prayer, where the expression is far from being polite, where 
sentences are broken off before they make a complete sense ; as in 
Psalm vi. 3, '' My soul is also sore vexed ; but thou, Lord, how 
long?" The Lord himself knows what is the mind of the Spirit, 
though the words do not fully express it. And where all these 
things are accurate and exact, the prayer may be all wrong before 
God : where there is not a wrong word, there may not be one right 

Positively, It is praying aright in an evangelical sense, so that in 
the eye of the gospel it passes as acceptable prayer before the throne. 
This implies two things. 

1. Sincerity in prayer, 1 Cliron. xxix. 17) in opposition to formal- 
ity and hypocrisy, 2 Tim. iii. 5; Psalm xvii. 1. The righteous God 
loveth uprightness of heart in duty, Prov. xv. 8 ; and though there 
may be many blemishes in the duty, where the man is sincere in it, 
the Lord will regard it, notwithstanding of these blemishes. Hereby 
the heart is really for God as the chief good, and goes along with 
the tongue in prayer. 

2. A perfection of parts in prayer, though not of degrees. That 
is to say, praying aright is, 

(1.) Praying for things agreeable to God's will revealed in his 
word of command or promise, 1 John v. 14. Nothing can make 
praying for things without the compass of the command and pro- 
mise, to be praying aright. For there faith has nothing to bottom 
itself upon, and " without faith it is impossible to please God." Heb. 
xi. 6. 

(2.) Praying in a right manner in a gospel-sense, Jer. xxxix. 13, 
" Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for mo with 
all your heart." Hereunto are required praying graces and affec- 
tions in exercise, as faith, fervency, humility, reverence and the like. 
These are the soul and life of prayer, whereas the expressions of the 
lips are but the body of it. Where these are wanting, the duty will 
be reckoned but bodily exercise, 1 Tim.iv. 8. 

Such praying is right in so far as it is acceptable in the sight of 
God, i. e. capable of being accepted according to the rule of the gos- 


pel. It is a sacrifice fit to be laid on God's altar ; a prayer wliicV 
may be put in the Mediator's hand, that through his intercession it 
maybe actually accepted. For it is not anything in our prayeis 
themselves for which they are accepted, but only the intercession of 
Christ, for the best things in them are mixed with sin. Only such 
prayers are fit to be put in the Mediator's hands, and he will take 
them off the sinner's hand to present them to the Father, and the 
Father will accept them at his hand ; whereas other sorts of prayer, 
wherein the petitioner is not sincere, or where they are wrong as to 
the matter of them, or are not made in the right manner, they can- 
not come into the Mediator's hand, he will never present them for 
acceptance ; and so it is impossible they can be accepted. 

Hence it is evident that none who are out of Christ, unregene- 
rate, unconverted, can at all pray aright, or pray as they ought. 
For what sincerity can be there, where converting grace has never 
touched ? What faith, fervency, or humility can be exercised by 
unbelievers dead in sin, whose stony heart is not yet removed? 
Therefore the form of prayer, Matth. vi. begins, " Our Father," &c., 
shewing that none can pray aright or acceptably but GoJ's own chil- 
dren, or those who have an interest in him as their Father ; and it 
is the Spirit that teaches them so, Gal. iv. 6. 

II. I am nest to shew that all our praying aright is done by the 
help of the Spirit. This is to be understood aS comprehending these 
two things. 

1. It is done by the help of the Spirit dwelling in us, Gal. iv. 6. 
Ye are not to think that the Spirit as an external agent helps us to 
pray aright ; nay, but the Spirit helping to pray is as a Spirit of 
life, dwelling in the man as a member of Christ, 1 John ii. 27. So 
that till we have the Spirit dwelling in us we can never pray aright. 

2. It is done by the help of the indwelling Spirit actually influ- 
encing us. Gal. iv. 6, " Crying, Abba, Father," i. e. so influencing us 
as to make us cry. Even the indwelling of the Spirit is not enough 
for that eff'ect ; but there is requisite an agency of the Spirit in us, 
whereby we may be acted in prayer, which is called *' the blowing of 

the wind," John iii. 8, Cant. iv. ult. 

* — 
, 'Now that all our praying aright is done by the help of the Spirit 

indwelling and influencing, is clear, 

1. From scripture-testimony. The Spirit is the author of our 
whole sanctification, whereof praying aright is a part, 2 Thess. ii. 
13, particularly of all our acceptable worship, Phil. iii. 3. It is by 
him we have access to God in worship, Eph. ii. IB. And prayer by 
name, if of the right sort, is owing to his help, Eph. vi. 18, and that 

Vol. XI, K 


as an indwelling Spirit, a Spirit of adoption, Rom. viii. 15, with 
Gal. iv. 6, and an influencing Spirit, 1 Thess. v. 17, 18, 19. i 

2. We are spiritually dead without the Spirit indwelling, and spi- 
ritually asleep without the Spirit influencing, Eph. ii. 1, Cant. v. 2. 
Neither a dead man^ nor a sleeping man is fit to present a supplica- 
tion to the king ; so neither is a dead sinner, nor a sleeping saint 
capable to pray aright. The former, praying, is like a ghost walk- 
ing and talking ; the latter, like a man speaking through his sleep. 
It is the Spirit that quickens the dead soul, John vi. 63, who coming 
to dwell in the heart makes the first resurrection ; and it is he also 
who awakens the sleeping saint, Cant. v. 4. 

3. There is no praying aright without sanctifying grace, nor with- 
out that grace in exercise, John ix. 31, Cant. iii. 1. "Where sancti- 
fying grace is not, the filth and pollution of sin remains, and defiles 
all, Tit. i. 15. So that such a man's praying is like the opening of 
an unripe grave, Rom. iii. 13. Accordingly the praying Pharisees 
are called " whited sepulchres," Matth. xxiii. 27. Where grace is 
not in exercise, there is incense indeed, but no pillar of smoke as- 
cending from it to heaven ; spikenard indeed, but no smell thereof. 
Now it is the indwelling Spirit that works sanctifying grace, 2 Thess. 
ii. 13, puts that grace in exercise, Cant. iv. 16, and so fits men to 
pray, Zech. xii. 10. 

4. Lastly/, To praying aright is required light and warmth, a light 
of the mind, and warmth of aff"ections ; the former for the matter, 
the latter for the manner. And it is a false light and warmth that 
makes some natural men think that sometimes they pray aright, Isa. 
Iviii. 2. But all genuine light, and vital warmth comes from the 
Spirit, Eph. i. 17, 18 ; 2 Tim. i. 7. Hence the emblem of the virtue 
of the Holy Spirit was " cloven tongues, like as of fire," Acts ii. 3, 
4. And the efi'ect thereof is someway compared with that of drunk- 
enness (which excuses it no more than Christ's being compared to a 
thief excuses stealing. Rev. xvi. 15); for as the liquor being re- 
ceived to excess, influences the man, so that things come in his head 
which otherwise would not, and the afi'ections and passions are 
wrought up by it, Prov. xxiii. 33, so the Spirit indwelling and influ- 
encing, presents to the mind matter of prayer, and works up tne , 
aftetcions suitable thereto, Eph. v. 18, 19, Cant. vii. 9. 

III. I shall shew in what respects our praying aright is so far 
done by the help of the Spirit, that it is justly reckoned his work. 
That it is so reckoned in scripture, is evident from the text, where 
his interceding for us with groanings cannot be understood of him- 
self as the subject, but of us according to the analogy of faith. It 
is plain also from Gal. iv. 6, "Because ye are sons, God hath sent 


forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father," 
Now the Spirit's crying Abba, Father, is meant certainly of our cry- 
ing so, by the help of the Spirit, not of a crying whereof the Spirit 
is the subject ; for God is not the Father of the Spirit, because it is 
the second person, and not the third, who is the Son of God ; and 
Father and Son are the relatives. And thus the apostle explains it, 
Rom. viii, 15, "Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we 
cry, Abba, Father." Now the reasons of this are, 

1. Because all that is right in our prayers is from the Spirit, and 
all that is wrong in them fi'om ourselves, either as to matter or man- 
ner, 1 Cor. xii. 11 ; 1 Pet. i. 22 ; with 2 Cor. iii. 5. In the incense of 
our prayers there is smoke that goes up towards heaven, ashes that 
remain behind on the earth ; it is the fire from the altar that sends 
up the smoke, it is the earthly nature of the incense that occasions 
the ashes. The flesh of any such spiritual sacrifice is wholly owing 
to the Spirit, the skin and dung is our own, and ours only. There- 
fore all our right praying is justly reckoned the Spirit's work. 

2. None pray aright but as they are members of Christ, and chil- 
dren of God, Gal. iv. 6, Rom. viii. 15, John xv. 5. Now it is the 
Holy Spirit of the Head that dwells in and actuates all the members 
acting as members, 1 Cor. xii, 11, 12. Therefore as the soul sees by 
the eye, and hears by the ear ; so whatsoever the members of Christ 
do aright as members, is justly ascribed to the Spirit that actuates 
the mystical body, and is the Spirit of adoption. But there may be 
a defect in seeing by the eye, and hearing by the ear ; these are not 
to he ascribed to the soul, but to some disease in the eye or ear. So 
whatever defects may be in the members of Christ, these are not to 
be ascribed to the Spirit, but to the remains of corruption in them, 
and their state of imperfection while here. 

3.1 The Spirit is the principal cause of our praying aright, we are 
but the instrumental causes of it. The act of praying in heart and 
expression is done by us ; but the grace, ability, frame for prayer, 
and the exciting and bringing forth into exercise that grace and 
ability, is from the Spirit, Phil. ii. 12, 13. Hence prayer is said to 
be inwrought in us. Jam. v. 16. If the wind blow not, the spices 
send not forth their pleasant smell. Cant. iv. 16. As the sound of 
the horn ceases as soon as one ceases to wind it, so does our praying 
aright on the withdrawing of the Spirit, 2 Cor. iii. 5. 

4. Lastly, All our praying graces, as all others, are in thtir exercise 
the product of the Spirit, and his work in us, Gal. v. 22, 23. There 
is a root and stock of grace in the believer, implanted and preserved 
by the Spirit, 1 John iii. 9. In prayer these are brought forth into 
exorcise, the man acts faith, love, &c., and therein the soul of prayer 


lies ; bat look on them as they aro so brought forth from the stock, 
and they are the fruit of the Spirit, though the believer is the tree 
they hang on. For the Spirit is the vital fructifying sap of the trees 
of righteousness, Isa. xliv. 3, 4. Thus the holy lustings, longings, 
and desires of a believer against sin, are called *' the Spirit's lust- 
ing," Gal. V. 17 (compare ver. 16, 18), in the same sense as the groan- 
ings in our text. See 1 John iv. 4. 

Object. If our praying aright is the work of the Spirit, what need 
have we of the intercession of Christ, for the acceptance of our 
prayers ? Surely the Spirit needs no intercessor betwixt him and 
the Father. Answ. Though it is the Spirit's work, it is not his 
work separately by himself without us; but it is his work in us, and 
so our work too, Gal. iv. 6, with Rom. viii. 15. And so far as it is 
done by us, we groaning, lusting, crying in prayer, every thing has 
a sinful mixture from us at best ; so there is need of Christ's inter- 
cession still. The water comes pure from the fountain, the Spirit; 
but running through a muddy channel, such as every saint here is, 
it cannot be accepted in heaven, but as purified and sweetened by 
the intercession of Christ. 

IV. I come now to consider, what is the Spirit's work in our praying 
aright, or whathis making intercessionforusis. Andhere I shall shew, 

1. The difference betwixt Christ's intercession and the Spirit's. 

2. The help of the Spirit in prayer. 

First, I am to shew what is the difference betwixt Christ's inter- 
cession and the Spirit's. 

1. Christ intercedes for us in heaven at the Father's right hand ; 
Rom. viii. 34. The Spirit intercedes in our hearts, upon earth ; 
Gal. iv. 6. We have no intercession made for us in heaven, but by 
Christ the only intercessor there. 

' 2. Christ's intercession is a mediatory intercession, wherein he 
mediates or goes between God and us ; an office peculiar to him 
alone ; 1 Tim. ii. 5. But the Spirit's intercession is an auxiliary in- 
tercession to us, whereby he helps us to go to God in a right man- 
ner, prompting us to intercede for ourselves arightj 

3. The Spirit's intercession is the fruit of Christ's intercession, 
and what is done by the sinner through the Spirit's intercession, is 
accepted of God through the intercession of Christ. Christ by bis 
death purchased the Spirit for his people, and through his interces- 
sion the Spirit is sent into their hearts, where he helps them to pray 
for themselves ; and these prayers are accepted of God by means of 
the Mediator's intercession, John xiv. 16, and xvi. 7, 13 ; Rev. viii. 
4. In a word, 

The difference is such as is between one who draws a poor man's 
petition for him, and another who presents it to the king, and get^ it 


granted. The Spirit does the former, and Christ does the latter, for usj 
Secondly, I shall consider the help of the Spirit in prayer, 
which is his making intercession for us, in the style of the scripture. 
'We shall view this work of the Spirit, more generally, and more 

FiEST, More generally, and that in two things. He acts in it, 
1. As a teaching Spirit ; John xiv. 26. It is our inSrmity in 
point of prayer, " We know not what we should pray for as we 
ought." He enlightens our minds, and helps our ignorance as to 
the matter and manner of prayer, 1 John ii. 27.. ' He is the great 
Teacher of the church, and none teacheth like him. He will teach 
them who are so weak that no other can teach tliem ; so that hear- 
ing some of God's weak children pray, one must needs say, " This 
is the finger of God." 

'2. As a quickening Spirit ; Psalm Ixxx. 18. Therefore the Spi- 
rit is compared to fire, which gives both light and heat. He re- 
moves spiritual deadness, and stirs up praying graces iu the heart ; 
"whence his influences are compared to the blowing of the wind, that 
puts things that were at rest in motion. Thus he is said to " make 
intercession with groanings which cannot be uttered," setting the 
gracious heart a labouring and working towards God, with the ut- 
most earnestness, as one groaning. 

Secondlt, More particularly, the work of the Spirit in our 
prayers lies here. 

First, He excites us to pray, Rom. viii. 15, " Ye have receiv- 
ed the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father." He 
prorapteth us to go to the throne of grace, who otherwise would be 
negligent of it, and backward to it^ Cant. v. 2, 3, 4, " I sleep, but 
my heart waketh, &c. My beloved put in his hand by the hole of 
the door, and my bowels were moved for him." Thus he leads us to 
God (Eph. ii. 18, Gr.) as an internal moving principle. This lies in 
two things, 

1. He impresses our spirits with a sense of a divine call to it, and 
so binds it on our consciences as duty to God, Psalm xxvii. 8. 
Heb. '' My heart said unto thee, Let my face seek thy face, when 
thou saidst. Seek ye my face." Thus he applies the general com- 
mand for praying to particular times, that the man is made in effect 
to say, now God is calling me to this duty ; and so he sees he can- 
not slight it without disobedience, but must go to it from conscience 
of duty. This cuts off the low motives to prayer, of custom, credit, 
regard to the commands of men, &c. 

2. He disposes our hearts for it, inclines us to the duty, that we 
willingly comply with it. "When thou saidst, Seek ye my my 
face ; my heart said unto thee, Thy face. Lord, will I seek," Psalm 


xxvii. 8. Men may have a sense of the command on them, who for 
want of a disposition to the duty commanded, either neglect the com- 
mand, or else are but dragged to obey it. But the Spirit powerfully 
inclines the will to the duty, so that the man obeys out of choice, 
Psalm ex. 3 ; Cant. vi. 12. This cuts off the low motives of fear of 
man, and slavish fear of God too, which move many. 

Secondly, He gives us a view of God as a gracious and merciful 
Father in Christ; Gal. iv. 6, ' Without this there can be no accept- 
able prayer. Where there is no spiritual view of God at all in 
prayer, we worship we know not what. Where we view him as an 
absolute God out of Christ, we may be filled with terror of him, but 
can have no true confidence in him. But by the Spirit viewing him 
in Christ, we have at once the sight of majesty and mercy. And 
hereby he works in us, 

1. A holy reverence of God, to whom we pray, which is neces- 
sary in acceptable prayer, Heb. xii. 28. By this view he strikes us 
with a holy dread and awe of the majesty of God, whereby is ba- 
nished that lightness and vanity of heart, that makes such flaunting 
in the prayers of some, as if they were set down on their knees to 
shew their gift, and commend themselves. 

2. A holy confidence in him, Eph. iii. 12, " Abba, Father," speaks 
both reverence and confidence, whereof the Spirit is the author, Rom, 
viii. 15. This confidence respects both his ability and willingness 
to help us, Matth. vii. 11. Without this there can be no acceptable 
prayer, Heb. xi. 6 ; Jam. i. 6. This is it that makes prayer an ease 
to a troubled heart, the Spirit exciting in us holy confidence in God 
as a Father. Hence the soul, though not presently eased, draws 
these conclusions. (1.) He designs my good by all the hardships I 
am under, Rom. viii. 28. (2.) He pities me under them. Psalm 
ciii. 13. (3.) He knows the best time for removing them, and will 
do it, when that comes, 1 Sara. ii. 3. 

Hereby is cut off" that unbelieving formality, whereby some expect 
nothing by prayer, and get as little ; as also the despondency, where- 
with others are struck, from the sense of God's justice, and their 
own sinfulness. 

' Thirdly, He gives ns a view of ourselves in our own sinfulness and 
unworthiness, John xvi. 8. This always accompanies the view the 
Spirit gives of God, Tsa. vi. 5, " Wo is me, for I am undone, be- 
cause 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." We are very ready to become strangers to ourselves, 
and to lose sight of our sinfulness. But the Spirit of prayer, according 
to the measure of his influence, opens out the man before his own 


eyes, casts abroad the many foul plies of his heart and life, Luke 
xviii. 13 ; Isa. Ixiv. 6. Hereby he works in us, 

1. Hurailiatioa of heart before the Lord, fills us with low thoughts 
of ourselves before him, Gen xviii. 27 ; makes us see ourselves un- 
worthy of the mercies, that either we have got, or desire to have, 
Gen. xxxii. 10 ; fills us with holy shame, and self-loathing, Luke 
xviii. 13 ; Ezek. xxxvi. 31. This fits us for the receipt of mercies of 
free grace ; and the want of it makes sinners to be in their prayers, 
as if they came to buy of God, and not to beg, and so to be sent 
empty away. 

2. Cordial confession, that comes away natively from seen and 
felt sinfulness, Psalm Ixii. 8. Thus the influence of the Spirit in 
prayer causes full and free confession of sin with the mouth, to the 
honour of God, and our own shame. And the things thus being im- 
pressed on the heart, there follow natively words to express them 
by; and where they fail, groans do well compensate them before the 
throne. This cuts oft' the formal, hale-hearted confessions of sin, 
wherewith prayers are often vitiated. 

3. Hearty thanksgiving for mercies received. Psalm cxvi. 11, 12. 
Hereby the smallest mercies appear very big ; and the sinner, that 
wondered at other times how he came not to get more mercies, 
begins to wonder he has any at all left him, Lam. iii. 22. But with- 
out a discovery of our sinfulness by the Spirit, all our thanksgiv- 
ings for mercies are but empty compliment, like the Pharisee's, 
Luke xviii. 11. 

4. A high value for the Mediator, and his righteousness, which lies 
out of the view of the unhumbled heart, Phil. iii. 9. As the stars are 
best seen from the bottom of a deep and narrow pit, so Christ cru- 
cified is best discovered in his excellency and suitableness, by the 
humbled soul. The lower the soul is in its own eyes, the higher 
will the Mediator be in its eyes; and the higher the Mediator is, the 
more fit one is to pray. 

fourthly, He gives us a view of our wants, and the need we have 
of the supply of them, Luke xv. 17. This may be seen, comparing 
the Pharisee's and Publican's prayers, Luke xviii. 11, 12, 13. The 
Spirit taught the one, and not the other. The want of this mars 
prayer, Luke i. 53, " He hath filled the hungry with good things, 
and the rich he hath sent empty away." Here he acts, 

1. As an enlightener, opening the eyes of the mind, to discern the 
wants and needs we are compassed with, Eph. i. 17, 18. The Spi- 
rit's shining in on the soul, as the sun on a moth-eaten garment hol- 
den up betwixt us and it, the soul gets a broad sight of its wants ; 
whence it is made to say, as Isa. Ixiv. 6, " We are all as an unclean 


thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Luke xviii. 
13, " God be merciful to me a sinner." Psalm xix. 12, " Who can un- 
derstand his errors ?" This the Spirit doth by opening up the law 
in its spirituality, and giving us a view of our own circumstances in 
a present evil ensnaring world. 

2. As a remembrancer, bringing seasonably to mind the wants we 
have, or might have adverted to, John xiv. 26. To everything there 
is a season ; but ofttimes in the season of getting supply at the 
throne of grace, our wants and needs escape us, they come uot in 
mind, till the market is over. The Spirit is a remembrancer in this 
case, seasonably suggesting to us our needs for ourselves or others. 
So he sets things before us in time of prayer. 

3. As a forewarner of what we may need, John xvi. 13. So we 
find Job not only offering sacrifice, with a view to what he could not 
know, chap. i. 5 ; but also possessed with a fear of a trial before it 
came, chap. iii. 25. Thus men are led to lay up for what they may 
meet with, and in prayer to have a view to the grace that may be 
needful in such and such emergents. Hereby he helps us, 

(1) To matter of prayer, sets before us things to be prayed for. 
Where the Spirit is thus at work in the soul, persons will be taught 
to pray, and it will supply the want of a form ; and therefore they 
that soothe themselves with that, they cannot pray, do but bewray 
themselves to be void of the Spirit of God. 

(2.) To the right manner of praying ; for hereby he, 

[1.] Impresses us with a sense of need, that we are made to 
pray feelingly, that the tongue does but express what the heart feels, 
Luke xv.*17, 18, 19. Insensibleness of our needs makes us formal 
in prayer, and therefore to be sent empty away, A mere rational 
sight of our wants will not cure it ; but the light of the Spirit is the 
light of life, John viii. 12 ; that will not miss to affect the heart. 

[2.] Hereby we are rendered sincere in our addresses to God, 
Psalm xvii. 1. Feigned lips in prayer proceed from a dark and in- 
sensible heart. He that really sees his disease, and is persuaded of 
the need of the Physician, there is no doubt of his being in earnest 
for his help. 

[3.] Hereby we are made importunate in prayer. Necessity has 
no law, and hunger breaks through stone walls, as we see in the wo- 
man of Canaan, who did hang on, over the belly of discouragement, 
and would take no refusal. Importunate praying is prevailing, 
Luke xi. 8 ; and felt need that one cannot bear without relief, makes 

[4.] Hereby we are made particular in prayer, laying our hand on 
our sores, and laying out our particular wauls before the Lord, Luke 


xviii. 41, General prayers, like general preacTiing, have little of 
tlie Spirit in thera. They that go \yhere help is to be found, being 
indeed pinched, will readily tell where they are pinched. 

Fifthly^ He gives us a view of the grace and promises of the cove- 
nant. Psalm, XXV. 14; John xiv. 26. Without this, the sinner, 
pressed with a sense of need, has nothing to support him, and there- 
fore cannot pray in faith. Our Lord Jesus Christ has purchased all 
the grace and promises of the covenant for his people, and there is 
enough there for all they can need. It is the office of the Spirit to 
open them out before their eyes, and apply them, i And here the 

1. Brings to their remembrance the grace and promises suited to 
their case, Gen. xxxii. 11, 12. The promises are the rule and en- 
couragement of prayer ; but while they lie out of our sight, we can 
neither have suitable direction nor encouragement from them ; but 
when the Spirit draws near with the promise to us, there is help at 
hand in prayer. 

2. He unfolds that grace aud these promises, causing to un- 
derstand thera in a spiritual and saving manner, 1 Cor. ii. 12. The 
letter of the promise can only help to words in prayer ; but the 
Spirit shining on the promise, will help to pray in a gracious manner, 
for the demonstration of the Spirit is always with power. Hereby, 

(1.) The Spirit teaches what to pray for, according to the will of 
God. While the promises rightly understood regulate our prayers, 
and they are agreeable to the grace of the covenant, we may be 
sure we do not err in the matter, 2 Sam. vii. 28, 29. These are 
God's bills and bonds to his people, and by them he shows what he 
allows us to ask of him. What he is debtor to his faithfulness for, 
we may crave. 

(2.) In what terms to pray for it, the terms of the promise, terms 
agreeable to the grace of the covenant. And this is the rise of some 
expressions of God's children in prayer, which may seem strange 
and uncouth to others, that have not their view of the grace of the 
covenant, which want makes them appear unseemly to them ; yea, 
they may seem strange to themselves. And hence also is the agree- 
ment to a nicety, that is sometimes to be found betwixt the answer 
of prayer, and their expression in prayer. 

(3.) Hereby he fills our mouths with arguments, helping us to plead 
and pray, Job xxiii. 3, 4. The grace and promises of the covenant, 
held before the eyes by the Spirit shining on them to the soul in 
prayer, is such a fountain of heavenly oratory that will make a 
weak and unlearned Christian plead and pray at the rate that others 
are strangers to, and which themselves at another time are quite 
unable to reach. 


(4.) Hereby he stirs up in us a faith of particular confidence as to 
the thing prayed for, so that we are helped to pray belie vingly, and 
not doubtingly and distrustfully. The necessity of this faith in 
prayer is evident from the scriptures, Matth. xxi. 22 ; Mark xi. 24 ; 1 
Tim. ii. 8 ; James 1. 6 ; and the Spirit is the author of it, 2 Cor. iv. 
13. He gives a view of the promise and grace of the covenant with 
relation to that thing, and helps to regulate the prayer thereby, 
strengthens to believe the accomplishment of the promise in that 
particular for the Mediator's sake, and consequently the hearing of 
prayer in that particular. Hereby it appears what this faith is, 
namely, a confidence agreeable to the promise as demonstrated by 
the Spirit ; absolute as to the particular thing, where the promise is 
demonstrated absolute, or by the Spirit particularly applied to the 
thing. Psalm cxix. 49, which may be in things not absolutely neces- 
sary, as Mark v. 27, 28, 34. Or indefinite, where the promise is 
left so by the Spirit, that is to say, a confidence of the thing itself, 
or of what is as good. And hereby also this faith is distinguished 
from presumption, in that it is founded on a word of God, and the 
merit of Christ. 

(5.) Lastly, Hereby he works in us a holy boldness in prayer, 
Eph. iii. 12. Faith coming before the throne, and spreading out 
the word of promise with the grace of the covenant, makes bold 
there for a gracious answer. How bold was Jacob in that case, " I 
will not let thee go, except thou bless me ?" Gen xxxii. 26- Foolish 
men have ignorantly censured this boldness in the prayers of God's 
children, but God is well pleased with it, when he says, " Ask me of 
things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my 
hands command ye me, Isa. xlv. 11 : though the counterfeiting of 
this holy oil must needs be dangerous. It is distinguished by its 
attending humility, as in Jacob, Gen. xxxii. 10, ** I am not worthy 
of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth which thou hast 
shewed unto thy servant." 

' S'lxMy, He raiseth in us holy desires for the supply of our wants; 
" groanings which cannot be uttered." The Spirit working as fire, 
fires the heart in prayer, sets it in motion, Cant. v. 4, a lusting, long- 
ing, panting for what may tend to the perfection of the new crea- 
ture, either removing the impediments of its growth, or supplying it 
with fresh incomes of grace for its growth. Of this more afterwards. 
But thus we are made to pray fervently, Jam. v. 16 ; Rom. xii. 11. 
t Seventhly, He gives us a view of the merit and intercession of the 
Mediator, Eph. i. 17- This is the work of the Holy Spirit, without 
whose illumination Christ will be a hidden beauty to us. ' He shewed 
Zechariah the intercessor, at his work, Zech. i. 12, and Stephen, 


Acts vii. 56, and lie shews believers the same sight for substance by 
the eye of faith, 1 Cor. ii. 12. Hereby, 

1. He points us to the only way of acceptance of our prayers, 
John xiv. 6 ; while hypocrites overlooliing Christ lose all their re- 
quests. He teaches us to pray as we ought, and so to pray in the 
name of Jesus Christ, depending on his merit and intercession alle- 

2. He lays before us a firm foundation of confidence before the 
Lord ; 1 John ii. 1, " If any man sin, we have an advocate with the 
Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;" an Advocate who never loses 
the plea he takes in hand, John xi. 42, having an undisputable 
ground to go upon, namely, the purchase of his own blood. A fresh 
view of this makes faith in prayer renew its strength, and fills with 
confidence ; Eph. iii. 12, " In whom wo have boldness and access 
with confidence by the faith of him." 

3. Lastly, He furnishes us with an answer to all objections, that 
an unbelieving heart and a subtile devil can muster up against us, in 
prayer; Rom. viii. 33, 34, "Who shall lay anything to the charge 
of God'g elect ? It is God that justifieth : who is he that condemneth ? 
It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at 
the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." Are we 
sinful and vile ? The merit of Christ is of infinite value. Are we 
unworthy for whom God should do such a thing ? Yet the Mediator 
is worthy. Can our prayers, smelling so rank of sinful imperfec- 
tions, not be accepted at our polluted hands ? Yet being perfumed 
with his merit, they can be accepted at his hand. Rev. viii. 4. 

Eighthly, He manages the heart and spirit in prayer, which every 
serious soul will own to be a hard task ; Jer. x. 23, '* Lord, I know 
that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh 
to direct his steps." Gal. v. 16. Therefore the psalmist says, Psalm 
xxxi. 5, " Into thine hand I commit my spirit." And, 

1. He composes it for prayer ; Psalm Ixxxvi. 11, " Unite my 
heart to fear thy name." He frames the heart, that is out of frame 
for it; commands a heavenly calm in the soul, whereby it maybe 
fitted for divine communications ; saying to the heart tossed with 
temptations, troubles, and risings of corruption, " Peace and be 
still ; and ho blows up the fire of grace into a flame, 2 Tim. i. 7- So 
the preparation of the heart is owing to him ; Psalm x. 17, " Lord, 
thou hast heard the desire of the humble ; thou wilt prepare their 
heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear." 

2. He fixes it in prayer, that it wander not away in the duty ; 
Ezek. xxxvi. 27, " I will put ray Spirit within you, and cause you to 
walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." 

68 WnAT I? THE spirit's work in our praying aright, 5iC. 

There is need not only of quickening grace in duty, but of estab- 
lishing grace ; for the heart itself is apt to wander off from the se- 
rious purpose, and the powers of hell exert themselves to divert 
from it. But the supply of the Spirit in prayer keeps the heart 
fixed. And, in the case of wandering, 

3. He reduces it from its wanderings in prayer; Psalm xxiii. 3, 
" He restoreth my soul ; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness 
for his name's sake." It will always cost a struggle to hedge in the 
heart in duty, and the help of the Spirit is necessary to maintain the 
struggle, Rom. vii. 21 ; Gal. v. 17. But sometimes the heart is 
quite carried off by its wandering disposition, ihat the prayer is 
quite marred, the heart leaving the tongue. In this case the Spirit 
convinces and humbles the soul under the sense of that sin, and so 
makes it more serious than before, from thence shewing the corrup- 
tion of nature, Rom. viii. 37. 

Ninthly, and Lastly, The Spirit causes us to continue in prayer from 
time to time, till we obtain a gracious answer ; and so makes us pray 
perseveringly, Eph. vi. 18. The Lord may keep his people long 
hanging on for an answer ere they get it. The promise may be big 
with the mercy prayed for, and yet it be not only many months but 
years ere it bring forth, as in the case of Abraham and David. 
This is a sore trial, and there would be no keeping from fainting if 
the Spirit did not help our infirmity. But he helps to hang on, 

1. By accounting for the delay of our answer, in a way consistent 
with God's honour and our good, and so satisfying us in that point; 
Psalm xxii. 2, 3, " my God, I cry in the day-time but thou hearest 
not ; and in the night season and am not silent. But thou art holy 
O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." He helps to discern 
the unsoundness of the subtile reasonings of unbelief, tending to de- 
spondency, and so hinders from making rash conclusions ; Psalm 
Ixxvii. 10, " I said, this is my infirmity ; but I will remember the 
years of the right hand of the Most High." And so he keeps up in 
us kind thoughts of God's dispensations. 

2. By strengthening faith and hope, which have the battle to fight 
in this case, Eph. iii. 16. Hangers on at the throne of grace may 
get a long stand, but they will get their strength renewed, Psalm 
xxvji. 13, 14. This the Spirit does, by shining anew on the promise ; 
adding other promises to it tending to the same scope; giving some 
present experience and ofi'-fallings from the Lord's hand, whereby 
the soul is refreshed in the time ; and helping to observe the signs 
of the approaching day while yet the night continues. 

3. Lastly, Continuing and reviving on our spirits the sense of our 
need, which, pinching us anew, obliges to renew our suit for relief 


until the time we get it, 2 Cor. xii. 8, " For this thing I besought the 
Lord thrice, that it might depart from me." If in this case we were 
left to our own spirits, we would seek our help from another quar- 
ter, than hanging on about the Lord's hand, and our sense of need 
would wear off, and we would drop our petition. But the Spirit per- 
fects what he begins ; Psalm cxxxviii. ult., *' The Lord will perfect 
that which concerneth me." 

I shall now make some practical improvement of this subject. 

Use I. Of information. This may let ns see, 

1. That men in this world are under the influence of that part of the 
other world which they are in the road to. If ye are in the road to the 
happy part of the other world, ye are under the conduct and influence 
of the Holy Spirit, prompting and helping you to do your duty to 
God. "Whence ye may gather, that they are in the road to destruc- 
tion, who are under the conduct and influence of the spirit of the 
world, prompting and helping them to a course of sin. Consider the 
prevailing course of your lives, and trace it to the spring, and ye will 
find it is the spirit ye are acted by, 1 John iv. 4. One part of men 
is led by the Spirit of God, and they are holy, heavenly, and spirit- 
ual ; another by the evil spirit, and they are unholy, hellish, and 
carnal. He is a spirit of covetousness in some, of uncleanness in 
others, &c. 

2. Praying is another thing than men generally take it to be. It 
is not the exercise of a gift, but of grace ; not a piece of task laid on 
men, but a privilege they are advanced to ; not a work to be done in 
our own strength, but by help from heaven ; not a piece of the form 
of religion, but of experimental religion. Consider prayer in this 
scripture view of it, and among many that bow their knees in 
pi'ayer to God, there will be found few really praying persons ; 
many whose hearts must say on what they have heard of it, Ezek. 
XX. 49, " Doth he not speak parables ?" 

3. True praying will always make people holy and humble ; for 
the Spirit by which it is done is the Spirit of holiness and light, 
Matth. iii. 11. Does a man value himself upon, and appear proud and 
conceited of himself on the account of his good praying? still con- 
tinue in his profane, untender, unholy course ? His prayers are his 
own, they are not by the help of the Spirit in him. God regards 
them not. 

4. Great is the encouragement that poor sinners have to apply 
themselves to serious and spiritual praying. The weakest are left 
inexcusable, if they neglect prayer still ; and the formal professor, 
if he continue with his formal task-work of praying still. We have 
the Hearer of prayer to go to, the Father of our Lord Jesus, with 


our petitions ; an Intercessor in heaven, to present them ; and an 
Intercessor on earth, to draw them for us, and help us to make our 
petitions. This is the office of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, 

Use II. Of exhortation. Set yourselves for praying in the 
Spirit, Eph. vi. 18. Prayerless persons, give yourselves to praying, 
and to this kind of praying. Praying persons, satisfy not your- 
selves without this kind of praying. Stand not still in the outer 
court of prayer, with hypocrites and formalists ; come in to the 
inner court, with God's own children. Look for the help of the 
Spirit, employ the Spirit in all your duties, and particularly your 
prayers. Remember that all the prayers are lost that are not done 
in the Spirit. 

I shall give you some advices, how to get the help of the Spirit in 

1. Come to Christ in the way of believing the gospel. The ful- 
ness of the Spirit is lodged in Christ, Rev. iii. 1. He communicates 
the Spirit to dead sinners, 1 Cor. xv. 45, with John xx. 22, and this 
in the word of the gospel, Gal. iii. 2. It is vain to expect the help 
of the Spirit in prayer, till once we have received the Spirit to 
dwell in us, Eph. iii. 17, with 1 John iii. ult. To receive the word 
of the gospel as an engrafted, quickening word, whereby we close 
with Christ for all, is the necessary foundation for all this. 

2. Beware of maltreating the Spirit. And so, 

(1.) Resist not the Spirit, Acts vii. 51. Do not stave off convic- 
tions, and awakenings out of a state or course of sin. Beware of 
sinning over the belly of light, and persisting in sin against calls to 
repentance. That is to resist the Spirit, and so to provoke him to 
leave you. 

(2.) Quench not the Spirit, 1 Thess v. 19. If this holy fire begin 
to burn at any time, so as you see the light and feel the heat of it, 
do not withdraw fuel from it by neglecting the motions and opera- 
tions of it, not taking care to cherish them ; do not smother them ; 
by not giving them vent in prayer : far less drown it out, by taking 
your swing in any sinful course ; Luke xxi. 34, " Take heed to your- 
selves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, 
and drunkenness, and cares of this life." 

(3.) Grieve not the Spirit, Eph. iv. 30. The Spirit is grieved by 
undervaluing his graces, comforts, influences, and his means of 
communicating them ; by sins gross in their nature or aggravations, 
whereby the conscience is wasted and signally defiled, whereby some 
have quite withered away, the Spirit leaving them. 

(4.) Vex not the Spirit ; Isa. Ixiii. 10. Vex him not by your 
still relapsing into the same sins ; Numb. xiv. 22, especially after 


convictions of the ill of them, confessions thereof, resolutions against 
them, and smarting for them. This is the great trial of the divine 
patience, whereby men are in hazard of being given up of God, 
Numb. xiv. 27. 

(5.) Blaspheme not the Spirit in his operations, particularly 
praying in the Spirit. Take heed of making a mock of religion, 
preaching, praying, seriousness, talking slightingly of these things, 
and of making persons the objects of your derision and spite on 
these accounts. Sometime these things were only to be found among 
malignants and persecutors ; but now they are to be found among 
people that pray themselves, and partake of the Lord's table. These 
Satan is training up for greater service, when such times shall come 
again. But take heed, it is a dangerous course, as these young blas- 
phemers of the Spirit in his operations felt ; 2 Kings ii. 23, 24, " As 
Elisha was going up by the way, there came forth little children 
out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou 
bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked 
on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord ; and there came 
forth two she-bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children 
of them." 

3. "Walk tenderly and circumspectly; Eph. v. 15. A loose and 
uutender walk, wherein peoijle let down their watch over the frame 
of their heart, and the course of their life in words and actions, pro- 
vokes the Spirit to withdraw ; when a tender walk is followed with 
the tokens of his favour; John xiv. 21, "He that hath my com- 
mandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me, and he that 
loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and 
will manifest myself to him." 

4. When ye go to prayer, be convinced of your absolute need of 
the Spirit. Look for him, and wait, and lay yourselves open to his 
influences ; Luke xi. 13. Labour to revive that conviction at every 
occasion of prayer, and to keep it up throughout it. Look for the 
Spirit in the promise, believing it with application ; Ezek. xxxvi. 
27, " I will put my Spirit within you," &c. Lay yourselves down 
at his feet, to be enlightened, quickened, &c., Jer. xxxi. 18, as one 
lays open himself to receive the fresh air. 

5. Be habitually concerned for answers of prayer. They that are 
in good earnest to have their petitions granted, will be careful to 
have them right drawn ; but they that are indifferent in the one, 
will be so in the other too ; Psalm v. 3, " In the morning will I di- 
rect my prayer unto thee," says David, " and will look up." If ye 
be concerned for Christ's intercession for you in heaven, so will ye 
be for that of the Spirit in your own heart. 


6. Let the Bible be dear to you, and look on it as God's 
word to you in particular, Rom. xv. 4, " For whatsoever things were 
written aforetime, were written for our learning ; that we through 
patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." Rev. iii. 
ult., " He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto 
the churches." The word is the vehide wherein the Spirit is con- 
veyed to us; it is the channel of communicating his influences to 
us ; and the instrument he works by in us, in all the parts of his 
working in us, exciting, enlightening, &c. Isa. lix. ult, " As for me, 
this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord, My Spirit that is 
upon thee, and ray 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." 

7- Re careful observers of providence. Psalm cvii. ult., " "Whoso 
is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand 
the loving kindness of the Lord." The spirit is iu these wheels ; 
and the more people are set to observe their motions, the more they 
will readily get to observe. This is a way to carry you off for- 
mality in prayer, and give you an errand in good earnest to the 
throne of grace, whether in the way of petition, confession, or 

8. Lastly, Be watchful in prayer, Eph. vi. 18. The evil spirit 
watches against us at all times, and iu a special manner the fowls 
come down on the carcases of our spiritual sacrifices. When ye sit 
down on your knees, the heart will be apt to fall a-wandering, and 
it will be much if before the end it do not give the slip. The Spi- 
rit of the Lord only can mauage our spirits, and he will be provoked 
by our wanderings to withdraw. Therefore take that watchword, 
Prov. iv. 23, " Keep thy heart with all diligence ; for out of it are 
the issues of life." 

I shall now proceed to the last doctrine observable from the 

Doctrine V. ult. The Spirit helps believers to pray, particularly, 
causing in them gracious groanings, which cannot be uttered. 

In discoursing this point, I shall, 

I. Consider the nature of these groanings caused by the Spirit in 

IL Shew how the Spirit makes intercession for believers with 

III. In what respects these groaning are groanings that cannot be 

or THE anOANIPTOS caused by the spirit IX BELTF.VERS, 73 

IV. Concliuie with two or three reflections. 

I. We shall consider the nature of these groauinga caused by the 
Spirit in believers. And here I shall shew, 

1. Of what kind they are. 

2. The moving causes of them. 

FiEST, I am to shew of what kind these groanings are. There is a 
twofold groaning. 

First, A natural groaning, the efl'ect of pain, and any heavy pres- 
sure that lies on men's spirits, Jer. li. 52, " Through all her land the 
wounded shall groan." This is common to men with beasts, Joel i. 
18, " How do the beasts groan ?" And men may groan so, without 
any gracious moviugs of heart towards God ; therefore they are none 
of the groanings in the text. Job xxxv. 9, 10, " By reason of the 
multitude of oppressions, they make the oppressed to cry ; they cry 
out by reason of the arm of the mighty. But none saith. Where is 
God my maker, who giveth songs in the night ?" 

Secondly, Spiritual and gracious groanings, whereby the gracious 
sonl natively expresses its movings towards God under some heavy 
pressure, 2 Cor. \. 4, "We that are in this tabernacle do groan, 
being burdened." These are they with which the Spirit helps be- 
lievers, and which he causes in them. When men are in a swoon, 
they groan none ; but when they are recovering, they will discover 
it by groaning ; an argument that their sense and feeling is re- 
turned. So by these groanings believers are distinguished from the 
dead in sin. 

These spiritual groanings of believers speak, 

1. Their feeling of a weight and pressure upon them, 2 Cor. v. 4, 
above cited. Such is the imperfection of our state in this life, that 
if there is life in a soul, it must groan, because there is no escaping 
of pressures, from an evil world without, and an evil heart within. 
And the easy jovAal life that men lead without these groanings, they 
owe it to spiritual death, which has taken away their feeling, Eph. 
iv. 18, 19. 

2. Their labouring under these pressures, like one under a burden. 
Psalm vi. 6, " I am weary with my groaning, (Heb.) " Laboured to 
■weariness in my groaning." This imports, 

(1.) An earnest endeavour to get them off, or to bear them while 
they are kept on. The new creature is surrounded with weights of 
various kinds, which in their own nature tend to hinder its growth, 
and coming to perfection ; and there are mighty labourings and work- 
ings of it against them, that it may get forward to its desired per- 
fection ; Phil. iii. 14. 

(2.) Great difficulty in that labouring, so that the man is as it 

Vol. XI. 1 


were ont of breath wrestling with his bnrden which natively issues 
in a groan, Eph vi. 12. There is difficulty in the Christian life, 
that will try what metal men are of, and will put them to the exert- 
ing of their utmost vigour ; and therefore it is compared to the ex- 
ercise of wrestlers and runners. 

3. The working of their affections under them ; especially, 

(1.) Grief of heart, Jer. xlv. 3. Groaning is the natural expres- 
sion of sorrow : and sighs, sobs, and groans, are what a heart pierced 
and weighed down with grief naturally vents itself in. Christ was 
" a man of sorrows, and so we find him groaning, John xi. 38 ; and 
true Christians, wliatever their natural temper is, will be found to 
resound as an echo to a groaning Saviour. 

Particularly, groans are the more heavy, when they arise from a 
double grief, a grief for such a thing, and a grief that it is beyond 
our power to help it; and of this sort mostly are the groans of be- 
lievers, Rom. vii. 24. 

(2.) -Earnest desire of help and relief, 2 Cor. v. 2. Here the 
heart of the believer in these groanings moves directly towards God, 
with eyes lifted up to heaven. And hence these groanings are 
prayers in effect, and are so reckoned before God, Rom. viii. 27- 
"Whence it appears how the Spirit makes intercession for us with 
groanings, that helping to groan before the Lord, he helps to pray.) 
These groanings may be considered two ways. 

[1.] As they are joined with solemn prayer. When a Christian 
is seriously praying, and is so weighted, that his prayers are here 
and there interrupted with groanings ; these groanings which the 
prayers are interspersed with, are in God's account parts of the 
prayer, and as acceptable parts as are in it all ; whether they come 
in when a sentence is closed, or come in before it be perfected. 
Psalm vi, 3, " My soul is sore vexed ; but thou, Lord, how long ?" 
Men know not distinctly the meaning of such groans, but the Lord 
sees it as plain as if expressed by words. 

[2.] As they are separate from solemn vocal prayer. And thus 
we may also consider them two ways. 

(1.) As they come in the room and stead of vocal prayer intended. 
' I believe it is very possible, that a child of God may go to his 
knees to pray, and may rise again without having been able to 
speak a word, but only to groan ; and though he thinks he could 
pray none at all, he is mistaken ; as far as the Spirit helped him to 
groan, he helped him to pray, though none could understand that 
prayer of his but God himself who searcheth the heart, Rom. viii. 
27.] As a full bottle does not orderly empty itself, so a heart may 
be too full to empty itself by words, but by groans. Psalm Ixxvii. 


4, "Thou hoklest mine eyes waking; I am so troubled that I can- 
not speak." 

(2.) As they are without any design of solemn prayer. When a 
man is walking or sitting, musing on the sinfulness of his own heart 
aud life, or on the wickedness that is done in the world, with the 
dishonour that comes on the holy name of God thereby ; till his 
heart, swelling with grief, natively vents itself in a groan ; that 
groaning is in God's account a prayer, and a prayer that shall be 
heard at length, as proceeding from the influence of his own Spirit. 
What was it that set the wheel of providence in motion, to stoj) the 
wicked career the Egyptians were in, Exod. ii. 24 ? Why, God 
heard the groaning of the children of Israel. 

Secondly, I come now to shew the moving causes of these groan- 
iugs of believers. Believers by the Spirit, have their groanings unto 
the Lord, 

1. Under a pressure of trouble. While they are here, they can- 
not miss so much of a suftering lot, as will make them groan ; Rom. 
viii. 18, 23 j and by the Spirit, these groans are directed towards 
God, as those of a child, under the difficulties of the way, are di- 
rected to his father. 

(1.) Sometimes they are groaning to him under outward troubles. 
So Israel groaned under the Egyptian bondage ; Exod 11. 23, 24 ; yea 
Christ himself; John xi. 33, 38. These are weights that press their 
spirits, make them to groan, and look upward for relief; Rom. viii. 
23, longing for the day when they shall be beyond them. 

(2.) Sometimes they are groaning under inward troubles ; Psalm 
XXX. 7, " Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled." While 
here they are liable to spiritual desertions, wounds in their spirits 
under the apprehensions of the Lord's anger against them. And 
they groan out their case towards the hand that smites them. Both 
outward and inward troubles often meet together, as in the case of 
David ; Psalm vi. 2, 3, 6, " Have mercy upon me, Lord, for I am 
weak ; Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed. My soul is also 
sore vexed ; but thou, Lord, how long ? I am weary with my 
groaning, all the night make I my bed to swim ; I water my couch 
■with my tears ;" and In that of Job : chap, xxiii. 2, '\Even to-day is 
my complaint bitter; my stroke is heavier than ray groaning." 

2. Under a pressure of temptations. These are a heavy weight 
to a gracious soul ; they made Paul to go groaning to God again and 
again ; 2 Cor. xii. 7, 8. Our Lord Christ had experience of an hour 
of the power of darkness ; Luke xxii. 53, " When I was daily 
with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me ; but 
this is your hour^ and the power of darkness." And his followers 

F 2 


will not want experience of the same, wherein temptations come on 
thick and vigorous. These cause groanings, 

(1.) Because of their disturbing the peace of the soul ; they turn 
the calm into a storm, that the soul is tossed thereby as on a raging 
sea, which makes them cry, " Lead us not into temptation." 

(2.) Because of the difficulty of one's keeping his ground against 
them; Eph. vi. 12, 16. Every temptation has a friend within us, 
and men's nature is unto temptation as tinder to sparks of fire, apt 
to take fire ; so that it requires hard wrestling to keep our ground. 

(3.) Because of the danger of falling thereby into sin. Tempta- 
tion is the precipice, and sin is the devouring gulf; and they who 
have a sense of their danger, no wonder they groan, groan under the 
pressure, and groan for relief. 

3. Under the pressure of sin. This is a light burden to the most 
part of mankind, but it is the heaviest burden to a child of God, 
and causes in him, through the Spirit, the heaviest groans. For it ia 
of all things the most contrary and opposite to the new nature in 
him, whence are these continued strugglings ; Gal. v. 17, '' The flesh 
lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh ; and these 
are contrary the one to the other ; so that ye cannot do the things 
that ye would." Many troubles Paul met with ; but did any of them 
all ever cause in him such an exclamation as that ; Rom. vii. 24, 
" wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of 
this death ?" Now the children of God groan, 

1st, Under the weight and pressure of their own sin, the sin of 
their nature, and the sin of their life ; Psalm li. 3, 5, " I acknow- 
ledge ray transgressions ; and my sin is ever before me. Behold, I 
was shapen in iniquity ; and in sin did my mother conceive me." 
It lies on them heavy as a body of death, while others being dead 
in sin, it is no burden to them ; no burden to their heart,, though 
sometimes it may be to their conscience. And there are three things 
in their sin that press them sore. 

(1.) The filthiness of it, that deformity that is in it, being the 
quite contrary of the holiness of God expressed in his law. The 
soul seeing the glory of the holiness of God, and how its sin is the 
very reverse of that glory ; that fills it with shame ; Ezra ix. 6, 
and self-loathing; Ezek.xxxvi. 31. Beholding itself in the glass of 
the pure and holy law, as a polluted and defiled creature, it groans 
under it as one pressed down to the earth with a burden ; Jer. iii. 
ult., "We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us; 
for we have sinned against the Lord our God." 

(2.) The prevailing power of it ; Psalm Ixv. 3, " Iniquities pre- 
vail against me, (Heb.) Have been mightier than L" The new na- 


ture struggles against sin ; Gal. v. 17- The new man of grace and 
the old man of sin are engaged in combat ; and ofttimes the old man 
prevails, and the new man is cast down. Now the believer taking 
part with grace against corruption, groans under this prevailing 
power of corruption (Rom. vii. 23, 24,) as an insupportable tyranny 
that he longs to be rid of. 

(3) The guilt of it; Psalm li. 4, ''Against thee, thee only have I 
sinned, and done this evil in thy sight." In the eyes of a believer, 
life lies in the favour of God> the shinings of his countenance ; but 
their guilt binds them over to his anger, and overclouds his coun- 
tenance. And that is a weight that makes them groan ; that when 
it is removed, they rejoice as one that has got a burden taken off 
his back ; Psalm xsxviii. 4, " Mine iniquities are gone over mine 
head ; as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me." Compared 
with Hos. xiv. 2, " take away all iniquity, and receive us gra- 
ciously; so will we render the calves of our lips." 

2dly, Under the weight and pressure of the sin of others; Ezek. 
ix. 4, " Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Je- 
rusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh 
and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst 
thereof." As one cannot but loath an abominable thing on another 
as well as on himself; so sin, wherever it appears, on others, as well 
as on ourselves, will be a burden to a gracious soul, that will make 
it groan ; Isa. vi. 5, " Wo is me, for 1 am undone, because I am a 
man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean 
lips." Thus Lot was under a continued burden in Sodom, while he 
was among them ; 2 Pet ii. 7, 8. And none groan spiritually under 
their own sin, that do not groan also under the sins of others 
amongst whom they live. There are three things in the sins of 
others that make them groan. 

(1.) The dishonour to the holy name of God that is in them ; 
llom. ii. 23, 24. To see men trampling under foot the holy laws of 
God, and, by their profane courses, affronting the God that made 
them, and walking after their own lusts, cannot but be a burden to 
any who truly love the Lord, and are concerned for the honour of 
his name ; Psalm cxix. 136, " Rivers of waters run down mine eyes," 
says David, " because they keep not thy law." Zeal for the honour 
of God, as it is native to his children ; so, where it cannot prevail 
against sin, natively vents itself in groaning under the burden ; 
Psalm Ixix. 9. 

(2) The ruin to the sinner's own soul that is wrapt up in it; Jer. 
xiii. 17. There needs no prophetical eye, but an eye of faith in the 
Lord's word, to foresee the ruin of those that go on iuipenitently in 


their sinful course ; Rom. vi. 21. When sinners are fighting against 
God, by going on in their trespasses ; it is easy to see whose head 
must be wounded in the encounter ; Psalm Ixviii. 21, and who must 
fall at lengtli, however long they keep foot ; Deut. xxxii. 35. Now 
the prospect of this is enough to make a gracious soul groan for 
those that cannot groan for themselves ; Psalm cxix. 119, 120, 
" Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross ; there- 
fore I love thy testimonies. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, 
and I am afraid of thy judgments." So Hab. iii. 16. 

(3.) The hurt that is in it to others. It is Solomon's observation 
that " one sinner destroyeth much good," Eccl. ix. ult. And there 
is a woe pronounced on the world, because of offences, Matth. xviii. 
7. Sin is a noxious vapour, spreading its infection over many ; 
wounding some, and killing others ; grieving to the godly, and hard- 
ening to the wicked. And a serious view of the mischief it does to 
others, beside the sinner himself, makes the godly groan. 

From what is said it appears that sin is the fundamental and chief 
cause of the believer's groaning. Troubles outward and inward 
rise from it, temptations lead to it. That is it within them, and that 
is it without them that makes them groan. That is the burden 
to the Spirit of God that grieves him, as one groaning under a 
burden, Amos ii. 13; Tsa. i. 24. That is it that makes the whole 
creation groan, Eom. viii. 22. And it is that which makes the be- 
liever groan. 

rjl. The second general head is to shew how the Spirit makes in- 
tercession for believers with groauings. 

1. He works in them a si)iritual feeling of their burdens ; Rom. 
viii. 23, "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first 
fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves."' The 
time was, when they lay with the rest of the world without sense or 
feeling of the burden on them, and lie gave them life ; and some- 
times spiritual life in tliem has been so low, that they could have 
but little true feeling of their own case ; and it was a burden to 
them to bestir themselves to rid themselves ; Cant. v. 3, '' I have 
put off my coat ; how shall I put it on ? I have washed my feet ; how 
shall I defile them ?" But the Spirit excites grace, and gives them 
a lively feeling of their spiritual case ; ver. 4, " My Beloved put in 
his hand by the hole of the door and my bowels were moved for 

2. He gives them a view of the free and unburdened state where- 
in mortality is swallowed up of life, 2 Cor. v. 4. There is such a 
state, it is represented iu the word of truth. The Spirit strengthens 
the eye of faitli, whereby the soul sees it clearly, though afar off; a 


state wlierein there is an eternal putting off of the burden of trouble, 
temptation, and sin. 

3. He excites in them ardent desires of riddance from their bur- 
den, and of arriving at the unburdened state ; 2 Cor. v. 2, " For in 
this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house 
which is from heaven." Rom. viii. 23, " Even we ourselves groan 
within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of 
our body." What ardent desire of deliverance would a man have 
who was kept lying among dead corpses, rotting and sending forth 
their stench into his nostrils ? Such ardent desire will a Christian 
have, when, through the Spirit, grace is put in lively and vigorous 
exercise, while the dead world without him. and the body of death 
within him, conspire to annoy him with their savour of death, Rom. 
vii. 24. Hence, 

4. He engages them in earnest wrestling with their burden, in 
order to get clear of it, that the new creature of grace may get up its 
back, and run the way of God's commandments, Gal. v. 17- 'Here 
grace has a mighty struggle with its enemy, longing and panting for 
the victory, and pressing towards a state of perfection, Phil. iii. 14. 

5. Lastly, Finding themselves still entangled with their burden, 
notwithstanding of all their wrestling, he helps them to groan out 
their case before tlie Lord, as a case that is beyond their reach to 
help; Rom. vii. 23, 24,." I see another laAv in my members, warring 
against the law of ray mind, and bringing me into captivity to the 
law of sin which is in my members. wretched man that I am ! 
who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" But the groan- 
ing through the Spirit's aid is not groaning and dying, but, 

(1.) Groaning and looking to the Lord for help ; Psalm cxxiii. 1, 
" Unto thcb lift I up mine eyes, thou that dwellest in the heavens." 
The believer groans and looks upward to God for relief. His bur- 
den of trouble, he will lie under it, till the Lord take it off, and will 
not take any sinistrous course for his deliverance ; Isa. xxviii. 16, 
" He that believeth shall not mak« haste." The burden of sin, he is 
never to be reconciled with that, but however long he wrestles with 
it without the desired success, he will over be looking and longing 
for deliverance, Phil. iii. 13, 14. 

(2.) Groaning and waiting for relief, Rom. viii. 23. Unbelief 
makes one to groan and despair of deliverance, either in temporals 
or spirituals, Jer. ii. 25. But the Spirit makes the believer to groan 
and wait in hope, Gal. v. 5. Though the eyes fail while they wait 
for their God, yet still they will wait in hope of the promise, Luke 
xviii. 1. 

Til I come now to shew in what respects these groanings arc 
groanings that cannot be uttered. 


1. The worlcing of their affections, thus set in motion by the Spi- 
rit, is sometimes such as stops the course of the words. This is often 
seen in the workings of natural affections, how that either joy or 
grief filling the heart, mars the ordinary course of words ; the heart 
being too full, to be vented easily in expression. It is not then to 
be thought strange, that it so falls out in the case of spiritual affec- 
tions put in mighty motion by the Spirit. Yea they do, 

(1.) Sometimes interrupt the expression, and the groaning fills up 
what is wanting in the words, Psalm vi. 3. Even as a hurt and 
pained child tells his case to his mother, in imperfect expressions, 
filling up the want with tears, sighs, and sobs ; so that she may have 
difficulty to understand what ails him ; but our Father in heaven has 
no difficulty in coming at the meaning of his children so expressed, 
Rom. viii. 27, " He that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what is the 
mind of the Spirit." Our elder Brother sometimes spoke by broken 
sentences from the same cause, Luke xix. 41, 42, "And when he 
was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou 
hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which be- 
long unto thy peace ! but now they are hid from thine eyes." So Gen. 
iii. 22. 

(2.) Sometimes stoj) the expression altogether, like as a multitude 
of people rushing all together to a door, they all stick, and none can 
get out, Psalm Ixxvii. 4, " I am so troubled that I cannot speak." 
I So a child of God may go to prayer, and not be able to speak a word. 
But let them go to their knees before the Lord for all that; and if 
they cannot speak a word, let them groan their case before the Lord. 
That is a proper way of praying in the Spirit, and God will certainly 
hear and accept that kind of praying, though there be nothing but 
groaning in it. Do ye put away dumb people without an alms, be- 
cause they cannot speak ? are ye not more moved with their signs and 
humming noise, than with the cries of common beggars ? Do not the 
sighs and sobs of your frighted or hurt children move yon more 
than their complaints formed in words ? And do ye think that God 
will disregard the groans and sighs of his people, when they cannot 
speak a word to him ? No, surely ; he will hear the groaning of the 
prisoner, Psalm cii. 20, 

2. What they feel and see in this case, by the Spirit, is always 
beyond what they can express in words. I own that what a child 
of God sometimes feels and sees in prayer, is so small, that their 
words may sufficiently express it; but when the Spirit helj^eth them 
to these groanings, it is quite otherwise, their words cannot come up 
to their affections. "When the Spirit gives a Christian an experi- 
mental feeling of the burden of sin, realizes to him the glory of the 


unburdened state, and makes bim groan between tbe two, there is 
something there that is truly unspeakable. As the gift of Christ is 
unspeakable to those who truly see it, 2 Cor. ix. 15, and the joy in 
the Holy Ghost to those that feel it, 1 Pet. i. 8, so are the groanings 
by the Spirit unutterable to the groaners. 
I conclude with two or three reflections. 

1. God's people are a groaning people. For they have the Spirit 
of Christ, and he makes intercession for them with groanings ; they 
have put on Christ, and he was a groaner. And those that are 
strangers to these groanings, their groaning time is coming; walking 
now in the vanity of your minds, will make eternal groaning. 

Quest. How are God's people regarded when they get leave to 
groan on ? Answ. They must abide the trial of their graces, and 
be conformed to the image of a groaning Saviour. In due time 
their burden will be taken off, and they will groan no more. 

2. Prayer is a business of great weight and seriousness. It is one 
thing to say a prayer, another thing to pray indeed acceptably. 
Wherefore from this, and all that has been said, 

3. Lastli/, Learn to pray by the help of the Spirit, for no other 
praying is acceptable to God ; look to him in all your addresses to 
the throne, and depend upon his guiding and influence ; that through 
Christ Jesus ye may have access by one Spirit unto the Father, Eph. 
ii. 18. 


John xvi- 23, 

Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in iny name, he will give it you. 

Our Lord Jesus is here comforting his disciples under the want of 
his bodily presence which they had so long enjoyed, showing them 
that it should be well made up to them. They should see him again 
after his resurrection, though not to return to that familiarity with 
them as before ; they should see him by the Spirit, in his exalted 
state ; and should find God so reconciled to them by his sacrifice of 
himself, that they should have a boldness of access to the throne in 
heaven, which they had not before ; that in that day they should 
ask him nothing in that manner they used while he was with them 
in the days of his flesh ; but in a manner more to his honour and 
their comfort. Here he declares, 

* Tbe substance of some Seiuions preached at. Etterick in the year 1728. 


1. What that manner is, and that in two things. (1.) They 
should apply themselves, in asking or petitioning, directly to the 
Father as their God and Father allowing thera access to him, for 
the supply of all their needs. (2.) They should apply to him in 
the name of the Son, the exalted Redeemer, expressly, seeing more 
clearly the way of sinners treating with God through the Mediator, 
than either the Jewish church had done, or they themselves while 
they had his bodily presence with them. 

2. The success of that manner of applying to God. It should be 
successful in all points. Whatsoever, in spiritual or temporal 
things, they should petition the Father in the name of Christ, he 
should give it them for his sake. 

The following doctrine arises from the words. 

Doctrine. — Whosoever would pray to God acceptably, must pray 
to him in the name of Jesus Christ. 

In treating this point, I shall, 

I. Shew what it is to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. 

II. Give the reasons why acceptable prayer must be in the name 
of Christ. 

III. Lastly, Apply. 

I. I am to shew what it is to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. 
That this takes in whatever is necessary in prayer, both as to mat- 
ter and manner, is evident from the text, " Whatsoever ye shall 
ask in my name," &c. And no man can thus pray but by the Spi- 
rit, 1 Cor. xii. 13. 

Negatively, It is not a bare mentioning his name, in prayer, and 
concluding our prayers therewith, Matth. vii. 21, '' Not every one 
that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of hea- 
ven." We must begin, carry on, and conclude our prayers in the 
name of Christ, Col. iii. 17, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, 
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the 
Father by him." The saints use the words, " through Jesus 
Christ our Lord," 1 Cor. xv. 57 ; but the virtue is not in the 
words, but in the faith wherewith they are used. But alas ! these 
are often produced as an empty scabbard, while the sword is 

Positively, we may take it up in these four things. 

First, We must go to God at Christ's command, and by order 
from him. This is the import of the phrase " in his name," Matth. 
xviii. 20, " Where two or three arc gathered together in my name, 
there am I in the midst of them." If a poor body can get a recom- 
mendation from a friend to one that is able to help him, he comes 
with confidence and tells, such a one has sent mo to you. Our Lord 


Christ is the friend of poor sinners, and he sends them to his Father 
to ask supply of tlieir wants; and allows them to tell that he sent 
them; John xvi. 24. And coming that way, in faith, they will not 
be refused. This implies, 

1. The soul's being come to Christ in the first place ; John xv. 7> 
"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what 
ye will, and it shall be done unto you," Sense of need brings the 
soul to Christ, as the poor man's friend, who has the favour of the 
court of heaven, that through his means the soul may get its wants 
supplied there. See Acts xii. 20. We must first come to Christ by 
faith, ere we can make one acceptable prayer to God. 

2. That however believers in Christ are relieved of the burden of 
total indigence ; John iv. 14, yet while they are in the world, they 
are still compassed with wants. God will have them to live from 
hand to mouth, and so to honour him by hanging on daily about his 
hand for their supply from time to time. In heaven they shall be 
set down at the fountain ; but now the law of the house is, " Ask, 
and ye shall receive;" Matth. vii. 7- 

3. That Christ sends his people to God by prayer, for the supply 
of their wants. This he does by his word, commanding them to go, 
and by his Spirit inclining them to go. For thus the whole Trinity 
is glorified by the praying believers, the Father as the Hearer of 
prayer, the Son as the Advocate and Intercessor presenting their 
prayers to the Father, and the Spirit as the Author of their prayers ; 
Eph. ii. 18, " For through him we both have an access by one Spirit 
unto the Father." 

4. That acceptable prayer is performed under the sense of the com- 
mand of a God in Christ ; Isa. xxxiii. 22, " For the Lord is our 
judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king, he will save 
us." Men may pi'ay, though not acceptably, with little or no sense 
of the command of God on their consciences ; that is, not serving 
God, but themselves. They may pray under the sense of the com- 
mand of an absolute God out of Christ; that is but slavish service 
to God. But the believer has the sense of the command, as from 
Jesus Christ, where majesty and mercy are mixed in it ; and that 
is sou-like service. 

5. Lctstly, That the acceptable petitioner's encouragement to pray 
is from Jesus Christ; Ueb. iv. 14 — 16, " Seeing then that we have a 
great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Sou of 
God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High 
Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities ; 
but was in all points tempted like as wo are, yet without sin. Lot 
us therefore come boldly uuio the throne of grace, that we may ob- 
tain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." It is Christ's 


token that lie has given them to carry with them, that affords them 
all their confidence with God ; that is the promises of the covenant 
sealed with his own blood. Faith laying hold on these, carries 
them as Christ's token to the Father, upon which a poor criminal 
may expect to find acceptance and supply. 

Secondly. "We must pray for Christ's sake, as our motive to the 
duty. This also is imported in the phrase, '' in his name ;" Mark 
Ix. 41, " Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink, la my 
name, because ye belong to Christ, — he shall not lose his reward." 
As we must be influenced by his command, as the reason of our 
praying, so with regard to him as our motive. As there is no coming 
to God but by him ; so there is no kindly drawing of us to God, but 
by the allurement of the glory of God in the face of Jesus ; 2 Cor. 
iv. 6. Any other sight of the glory of God would fright the sinner 
away from him, as from a consuming fire. So we must behold God 
in Christ, and go to him as the object of our love and adoration. 
This implies, 

1. An high esteem of Christ in the acceptable petitioner ; 1 Pet. 
ii. 7j *' Unto you which believe, he is precious." No man's prayer 
will be acceptable to God, who wants a transcendent esteem of the 
Lord Christ ; for God is honoured in his Son ; John v. 23. And the 
more the esteem of Christ has place in one's heart, the more it will 
be found, he will give himself to prayer. 

2. Complying with the duty out of love to Christ ; Heb. vi. 10, 
" God is not unrighteous, to forget your work and labour of love." 
The soul must discern Christ's stamp on every duty, and so embrace 
it for his sake. The duty of prayer some embrace and use, because 
of the usefulness of it to themselves ; but God's children embrace it 
for the sake of Christ; 2 Cor v. 14, "For the love of Christ con- 
straineth us." Love natively leads to desire communion with the 
party beloved ; and love to Christ recommends prayer to a holy 
heart, as a means of communion with God in Christ. 

3. Complying with the duty out of respect to his honour and 
glory ; Phil. i. 21, " For to me to live is Christ." Christ humbled 
himself, and therefore the Father has glorified him ; chap. ii. 9 — 11. 
And every act of praying in his name glorifies him, being an ac- 
knowledgment before God of the unspeakable dignity of his merit 
and intercession, as procuring that access for sinners unto God, that 
no other way could have been obtained. 

4. Lastly, Doing it with heart and good-wili ; for what is done 
for Christ's sake by a gracious soul, must needs be so done j Isa. 
Ixiv. 5, " Thou meelest him that rejoiceth, and worketh righteous- 
ness, those that remember thee in thy ways." One praying indeed 
in the name of Christ, is acted by a principle of love to him, which, 


oiling the wheels of the soul, sets all in motion, so that the heart is 
poured out like water before the Lord. And where that principle 
is wanting, there is acting by constraint. 

Thirdlt. We must in praying to God act in the strength of 
Christ. This also is imported in the phrase ; Luke x. 17, " And 
the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils 
are subject unto us through thy name." So Zech. x. ult., " I will 
strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk up and down in 
his name." We must go to prayer, as David went against Goliath ; 
1 Sam. xvii. 45, " I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts." 
And here consider, 

1. What this pre-supposes. 

2. Wherein it lies. 

First, Let us consider what this acting in prayer in the strength 
of Christ pre-supposes. It pre-supposes, 

1. That praying acceptably is a work quite beyond any power in 
us; 2 Cor. iii. 5, " Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think 
any thing as of ourselves." The want of this persuasion mars many 
a prayer, and makes many a rash and inconsiderate approach unto 
God. To manage aright an address to God on his throne of glory, 
cannot miss to appear such a work in the eyes of all, who have due 
thoughts of God's majesty, or of their own ignorance and weakness. 

2. That there is a stock of grace and strength in Jesus Christ, for 
our help, as to other duties, so for this duty of prayer ; 2 Cor. xii. 
9, " My grace is sufficient for thee." Man at first had his stock of 
grace in his own band, and he made a sad account of it. Now the 
Lord has lodged it in the Mediator, as the head of believers; Col. i. 
19, " For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell." 
In him there is not only a fulness of sufficiency for himself, but of 
abundance for his people, as of water in a fountain, or of sap in the 
stock of a tree ; John iii. 34, " God giveth not the Spirit by mea- 
sure unto him." 

3. Sinners are welcome to partake of this stock of grace and 
strength in Christ ; 2 Tim. ii. 1. For it is lodged in him as a store- 
house, to be communicated. The fountain stands open, and whoso- 
ever will may come and take ; Zech. xiii, 1. They are very wel- 
come ; as it is an ease and pleasure for the mother to have the full 
breast sucked by her babe, so it is a pleasure to Christ to commu- 
nicate of his fulness ; Isa. Ixvi. 12, 13, " For thus saith the Lord, 
Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the 
Gentiles like a flowing stream ; then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne 
upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his 
mother comfortelh, so will I comfort you ; and ye shall be comforted 
in Jerusalem." 

86 cF rnAvixG ix titk name of jehvs cnrasT. 

4. We must be nnited to Christ, as nierabcrs to the head, and 
branches to the vine, if we would act in prayer or any other duty 
in the strength of Christ ; John xv. 5, '' I am the vine ye are the 
branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth 
forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing." We cannot 
partake of the stock of grace and strength for duty in Christ, with- 
out partaking of himself; Rom. viii. 32. As the soul in a separate 
state doth not quicken the body, so the soul not united to Christ 
cannot be fitted for duty by strength derived from him. The graft 
must knit with tlie stock, ere it can partake of the sap. 

Secoxdly. I am to shew wherein acting in prayer in the strength 
of Christ lies. It lies in two things : — 

1. The soiil's going out of itself for strength to the duty ; that is, 
renouncing all confidence in itself for the right management of it ; 
2 Cor. iii. 5, forecited. Every duty is to be undertaken, begun, and 
carried on, under a sense of utter weakness and insufficiency for it 
in ourselves. 

(1.) Gifts are not to be trusted to ; Prov. iii. 5. That is the way 
to get gifts blasted, for they are but an arm of flesh ; Jer. xvii. 5, 6. 
And though ye should have the free exercise of your gift ; yet a 
bare gift can never make a man do a duty graciously. The work 
will still be but a dead work, without the life of grace derived from 
Christ the Lord of life. 

(2.) Nay grace received and implanted in us is not to be trusted 
to for this end. Learn ye, that even of our gracious selves we can 
do nothing ; 2 Cor. iii. 4, 5. There must be continued supplies of 
grace from Christ unto us, else we will bring forth no fruit ; John 
xv. 5. It is true, grace is a seed that in its nature tends to fruit ; 
but what will come of the seed, if the showers, and dew, and heat of 
the sun be withheld ? 

2. The soul's going to Christ for strength to duty, by trusting on 
him for it ; Isa. xxvi. 4, " Trust ye in the Lord for ever ; for in the 
Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." This is the exercising of faith, 
by which the saints live; Gal. ii. 20, and derive grace and strength 
from Christ their head; John i. 16. Faith is that grace by which 
the weak soul fetches in strength and grace from the fountain of it 
in Christ. So he prays in the name of Christ, in this respect, who 
goes about the duty in confidence of, and trusting in Christ for, 
strength and ability to manage it acceptably; Psalm Ixxi. 16, "I 
will go in the strength of the Lord God ; I will make mention of 
thy righteousness, even of thine only." To make this more plain, 

(1.) By faith a Christian sees, in the glass of the word, an utter 


inability for duty in himself, believing, on the testimony of the 
word, that of himself he is unable to work any good work, Isa. xxvi. 
12 ; nay, not to begin it well ; Pliil. i. 6, to will it ; chap. ii. 13, nor 
so much as to think it; 2 Cor. iii. 5. In all which the Christian's 
faith is strengthened by experience. 

(2.) By faith he sees also a fulness of grace and strength trea- 
sured up in Christ the head, to be communicated to the members of his 
body; 2 Cor. xii. 9, " And he said unto me. My grace is sufficient 
for thee ; for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Col. i. 19, 
*' It pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell." And 
he beholds the promises he has made of it, as the conduit pipes by 
which it is conveyed unto them ; 2 Pet. i. 4, " Whereby are given 
unto us exceeding great and precious promises ; that by these yon 
might be partakers of the divine nature." These things the Christian 
believes on the testimony of the same word of God ; and thus he 
sees a sufficiency to oppose to his own emptiness, and a fulness of 
strength to remedy his own weakness. 

(3.) By faith he trusts that this fulness in Christ shall be made 
forthcoming to him, in a measure of it, for the duty, according to the 
promise ; Psalm xviii. 2, " The Lord is — my God, my strength, in 
whom I will trust." Ilab. iii. 19," The Lord God is my strength, and 
he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk 
upon mine high places." Thus there is a particular application in 
faith, that the Christian trusts in the word of promise, that grace and 
strength shall be given to him. So the word holds it out for particular 
application by faith ; 2 Cor. xii. 9, " My grace is sufficient for thee ;" 
and this is the way to bring in strength, as the Psalmist's expe- 
rience testifies ; Psalm xxviii. 7, " The Lord is my strength and my 
shield, my heart trusted in him, and I am helped ;" and so the pro- 
mise secures it; Jer. xvii. 7, 8, "Blessed is the man that trusteth 
in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree 
planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the 
river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be 
green, and sliall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall 
cease from yielding fruit." Take away that trust, that particular 
application, the soul is left helpless, having nothing to gripe to, and 
the communication of strength is blocked up; according to what the 
apostle James says, chap. i. 6, 7, " Let him ask in faith, nothing 
wavering ; for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven 
with the wind, and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall 
receive any thing of the Lord." 

FouETniiY. We must in praying to God pray for Christ's sake, as 
the only procuring cause of the success of our prayers ; Dan. ix. 17, 


" Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his 
supplications, and cause thy face to shine upou thy sanctuary that 
is desolate, for the Lord's sake." Going to God in prayer, we must 
as it were put off our own persons, as not worth noticing in the 
sight of God, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ ; come and receive 
the blessing ia the elder Brother's clothes, having all our hope from 
the Lord's looking on the face of his Anointed. This is the main 
thing in the text, a relying on the Lord Jesus for the success of our 
prayers in heaven. Here I shall shew, 

1. What is pre-supposed in this. 

2. "Wherein it consists. 

First. I am to shew what is pre-supposed in praying to God for 
Christ's sake. It pre-supposes, 

1. That sinners in themselves are quite unacceptable in heaven, 
even in their religious duties. Not only are the wicked so ; Prov. 
XV. 8, but even the saints considered in themselves ; Isa. Ixiv. 6. 
The reason is plain, God is holy, we are impure and defiled. There 
is such a rank smell of sinful pollution about us, that the opening of 
a sinner's moutli in prayer is liRe the opening of an unripe grave ; 
Rom. iii. 13. It is too strong, that we cannot sweeten ourselves. 
The loathsome savour of the sins about the best, cannot be mastered 
by any sweet savour of their duties, but only by the sweet savour of 
the sacrifice of Christ; 2 Cor. ii. 15, with Eph. v. 2. 

2. Christ is most acceptable there ; he is the darling of heaven, 
the prime favourite there ; Matth. iii. ult., '• This is my beloved Son, 
in whom I am well pleased." He is acceptable there as God, the 
only begotten of the Father from eternity ; but that is not it. He 
is acceptable as God-man, Mediator, who has in our flesh fulfilled 
his Father's will, by his obedience and death ; Eph. v. 2, " Christ — 
hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a 
sweet-smelling savour. And he is accptable to the Father, 

(1.) Iq himself; Matth. iii. ult., above cited. The Father is well 
pleased with his person, and delights in him, as the brightness of his 
own glory, and his own express image. He is well pleased with his 
undertaking the work of our redemption, and his management of 
that work ; he is pleased with his holy birth, righteous life, and 
complete satisfaction ; so pleased with his humbling himself, that 
he has " highly exalted him ;" Phil. ii. 9. 

(2.) He is so well pleased with him, that he accepts sinners for 
his sake ; Eph. i. 6, " He hath made us accepted in the Beloved." 
For his sake rebel sinners are accepted to peace and favour, 
criminals, to eternal life, their performances, mixed with much sinful 
imperfections, are accepted as pleasing in his sight. The sweet 


smell of his sacrifice so masters tlie rank savour of siu about tliem, 
that they are for his sake brought into liis presence and made near. 
The Father knows not to refuse him any request ; John xi. 42, " I 
knew that thou hearest me always." 

3. Sinners are warranted to come to the throne of grace in his 
name ; Heb. iv. 15, 16, " We have not an High Priest which can- 
not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all 
points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore 
come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obiain mercy, 
and find grace to help in time of need." It is sinners of mankind, 
not of the angel tribe ; chap. ii. 16, " For verily he took not on him 
the nature of angels : but he took on hira the seed of Abraham." 
Whatever be our case, he will do for us to the uttermost ; Heb. vii. 
25. He is an Advocate that will take our most desperate causes in 
hand, carry them through, and that in a way agreeable to justice ; 
1 John ii. 1, " If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Fa- 
ther, Jesus Christ the righteous." The petitions put into his hand 
cannot miscarry. 

Secondly, I am now to shew wherein this praying to God for 
Christ's sake consists. And, 

First, In general, it consists in our relying on the Lord Jesus 
only, for the success of our prayers in heaven. And, 

I, Consider what we are in this matter to rely on him only for. 

(1.) We are to rely on him only, for access to God in our prayers ; 
Eph. iii. 12, " In whom we have boldness and access with confidence 
by the faith of him." In vain do we pray, if we get no access to 
the prayer-hearing God ; and there is no access to hira, but through 
Christ; John xiv. 6. Whoever attempt to draw near to God other- 
wise, will get the door of heaven cast in their face ; but we must 
take hold of the Mediator, and come in at his back, who is Heaven's 
favourite and the sinner's friend. 

(2.) For acceptance of our prayers ; Eph. i. 6, forecited. Our 
Lord Christ is the only altar that can sanctify our gift; Heb. xiii. 
10, 15. If we lay the stress of our acceptance on any person or 
thing, but Jesus Christ, the crucified Saviour, we cannot be accepted. 
For our best duties being mixed with sinful imperfections, cannot 
be accepted of a holy God but through a Mediator; and there is no 
Mediator but he ; 1 Tim. ii. 5. 

(3.) For the gracious answer of prayer in granting our petitions. 
So the text, " Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he 
will give it you." We have forfeited all other pleas for Heaven's 
favours, by Adam's fall. And now no prayers can be heard and 
answered in heaven ; but for Christ the second Adam's sake. A 

Vol. XI. u 


sinner cannot have the least favourable glance from the throne of 
God, but what is given for Christ's sake. What men get otherwise, 
they get with a vengeance, an impression of wrath on it ; Hos. xiii. 
11 ; Psalm Ixsviii. 29. 

2. Consider how we are to eye Christ as the object of this re- 
liance. We are to eye him in it as our great High Priest ; 
Heb. iv. 15, 16, forecited. A believer is to eye Christ in his 
prayers, in all his offices. We are to eye him as our Prophet, 
teaching us by his Spirit how and what to pray for ; as our King, 
having the office of distributing Heaven's favours to poor sinners ; 
but in point of our access, acceptance, and hearing, we are to eye 
him as a Priest ; for it is in that office only we can find what to rely 
on before God, for these ends. And here we find, 

(1.) The infinite merit of his sacrifice to rely on ; Eom. iii. 25, 
*' Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his 
blood." Man by sin lost himself, and all Heaven's favours from the 
greatest to the least, from heaven's happiness to the least drop of 
water to refresh him. Accordingly Christ redeeming sinners by his 
blood, paid the ransom not only for their persons, but for all Hea- 
ven's favours to them, from the greatest to the least. Therefore he 
says, " Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul 
shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even 
the sure mercies of David ; Isa, Iv. 3. He bought their seat in 
heaven, their peace, and pardon, yea and their seat on earth, their 
bread, and their water ; Isa. xxxiii. 16, " He shall dwell on high ; his 
place of defence .shall be the munitions of rocks, bread shall be given 
him, his waters shall be sure." Now, would we pray in his name ? 

Then in prayer eye Christ on the cross, bleeding, dying, and by 
his bloody death and sufterings paying for the mercy thou art seek- 
ing. Is it a spiritual mercy, or a temporal mercy ? It is a pur- 
chased mercy, the purchase of the blood of Christ ; seek it of God 
as such, as the i^urchase of the blood of Jesus. 

(2.) His never-failing intercession to rely on ; Heb. vii. 25, 
*' Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come 
unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for 
them." Our great High Priest having offered his sacrifice on earth, 
is now gone into the heavens, presenting there the blood of his sa- 
crifice in the infinite merit thereof before his Father; that he may 
obtain the purchased mercies for his people. So that the supply of 
the needs of his people, is his business in heaven, as well as it is 
theirs on earth. And he ofi'ers their prayers to his Father ; Rev. 
viii. 4. Therefore if ye would pray in his name, 

In prayer eye Christ as your Intercessor at the right hand of God, 


Rom. viii. 34. If tlio price of his blood was extended to the purclias- 
ing of all the mercies we need ; surely his intercession extends from 
the greatest to the least of them also. And therefore wo need not 
stick to put our petitions for any mercy we need, in his hand. 
Hence it may appear, 

Secondly, More particularly, wherein praying in the name of 
Christ, and for his sake consists, 

1. Renouncing all merit and worth in ourselves, in point of ac- 
cess, acceptance, and gracious answer, saying with Jacob, Gen. 
xxxii. 10, " I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of 
all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant." If we 
stand on personal worth, from the consideration of our doings or 
sufferings, or any thing in or about ourselves, we pray in our own 
name, and will speed accordingly. Self-denial is absolutely neces- 
sary to this kind of praying, that stopping our eyes to all excel- 
lencies in ourselves or duties, we may betake ourselves to free 
grace only. 

2. Believing that however great the mercies are, and however un- 
worthy we are, yet we may obtain them from God through Jesus 
Christ; Heb, iv. 15, 16. There can be no praying in faith without 
this. If we do not believe this, we dishonour his name, whether our 
unbelief of it arise from the greatness of the mercy needed, or from 
our own unworthiness, or both. For nothing can be beyond the 
reach of his infinite merit and never-failing intercession. 

3. Seeking in prayer the mercies we need of God, for Christ's 
sake accordingly. So we present our petitions "in his name;" 
John xvi. 24. We are to be ashamed before God in prayer, asham- 
ed of ourselves, but not ashamed to beg in the name of his Son. 
Our holy shame respects our unworthiness ; but Christ's merit and 
intercession are set before us, as a ground of confidence. 

4 Pleading on his merit and intercession ; Psalm Ixxxiv. 9, " Be- 
hold, God our shield, and look upon the face of thine Anointed." 
We are not only to seek, but to plead in prayer, as needy peti- 
tioners whose pinching necessity makes them fill their mouths with 
arguments ; Job xxiii. 8, 4. Christ's merit and intercession is 
the fountain of these arguments ; and to plead on mere mercy, 
mercy for mere mercy's sake, is too weak a plea. But faith found- 
ing its plea on Christ's merit, urges God's covenant and promise 
made thereupon ; Psalm Ixxiv. 20, his glorious perfections shining 
in the face of Jesus, the honour of his name manifested in Christ. 

5. Lastly, Trusting that we shall obtain a gracious answer for 
his sake ; Mark xi. 24, " What things soever ye desire when yo 
pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." The 

fi 2 


sonl praying according to the will of Ood, is to exercise a faith of 
particular confidence in God through Christ, which is not only war- 
rantable, but necessary ; Jam. i. 6, 7. This glorifies the Mediator, 
and glorifies the faithfulness of Crod in the promise; and the want 
of it casts dishonour on both. 

II. The second general head is, to give reasons why acceptable 
prayer must be iu the name of Christ. I offer the following : — 

1. Because sinners can have no access to God without a Mediator, 
and there is no other Mediator but he ; Isa. lix. 2 ; 1 Tira. ii. 5. Inno- 
cent Adam might have come to God immediately in prayer, and 
been accepted ; for while there was no sin, there was no need of a 
Mediator. But now the justice of God bars the access of sinners to 
him ; and there is none to mediate a peace betwixt God and the sin- 
ner but Christ ; John xiv. 6. 

2. Because the promises of the covenant were all made to Jesus 
Christ, as the party who fulfilled the condition of the covenant ; 
Gal. iii. 16. The promises are the measure of acceptable prayer • 
what God has not promised, we cannot warrantably pray for. In 
prayer we come to God to cLira the promises ; and we cannot claim 
them, but in the right of Christ the head of the covenant, to whom 
they were made ; that is to say, we cannot pray acceptably but in 
his name. 

3. Because our praying in the name of Christ is a part of the 
reward of Christ's voluntary humili;ition for God's glory and the 
salvation of sinners ; Phil. ii. 9, 10. He gave his life a ransom for 
sinners, and a price of redemption of their forfeited mercies ; there- 
fore God has statuted and ordained, that sinners shall crave and re- 
ceive all their mercies in his name, that they shall kneel in him to 
receive the blessing, as his members. 

4. Because it is not consistent with the honour of God, to give 
sinners a favourable hearing otherwise ; John ix. 31, with 2 Cor. v. 
19, 21. "Where is the honour of God's justice, if Heaven's favours be 
bestowed on sinners otherwise than on the account of a satisfaction ? 
— the honour of his holiness, if they may have communion with him 
as they are in themselves ? — of his law, if they may get their peti- 
tions of mercy answered, but in the name of one who has answered 
its demands ? They dishonour God, his Son, and his mercies, that 
ask any thing but in the name of Christ. 

5. Nothing can savour with God, that comes from a sinner, but 
what is perfumed with the merit and intercession of Christ ; 2 Cor. 
ii. 15 ; Eph. i. 6. It is not the inward excellency of the prayers of 
tho saints, that makes them acceptable in God's sight ; but the 
righteousness of Christ, which is by faith on the praying saint pray- 
ing in faith j Heb. xi. 4. The merit of his righteousness, presented 


in liis interoessiou, with tlie prayer, makes it acceptable ; Rev. viii. 
4. It savours in heaveu out of his mouth. 

6. Lastly, The stated way of all gracious communication between 
heaven and earth, is through Jesus Christ, who opened a commuui- 
catiou between them by his blood, wheu it was blocked up by the 
breach of the first covenant ; John xiv. 6. Whatever favour is con- 
veyed to us from heaven in a way of grace and love, whatever we 
offer to God in a way of duty or desire, must go through him. This 
was represented in Jacob's ladder ; Gen. xxviii. If we would come 
to God, or present a petition to him, it must be through Christ; 
Heb. X. 19, 20. If the Lord comes to us, or sends us a gracious 
answer, it is through him ; 2 Cor. v. 19. 

I shall now make some practical improvement of this subject. 

Use I. Of information. From this doctrine we learn, . 

1. "What a holy God we have to do with in prayer, who hath 
said, *' I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all 
the people I will be glorified ; Lev. x. 3. He sits oa his throne of ma- 
jesty, and we can have no access to him, being sinners, but through 
Christ. His very throne of grace, from which he breathes love and 
good-will to sinners, is founded on justice and judgment ; Psalm 
Ixxxix. 14. We must come to him under the covert of the Media- 
tor's broad righteousness and efficacious blood; otherwise we cannot 
stand before his spotless holiness. 

2. Let us prize the love of Christ, in making an entrance for us 
into the holy place, through the vail of his flesh ; Heb. x. 20. The 
flaming sword of justice, which guarded the way to the tree of life, 
was bathed in his blood, to procure us access to God. He bought 
again the estate that Adam forfeited for us, and he bought it with 
his precious blood ; that since we could not have it again in our own 
name, we might have it in his. 

3. There can be no acceptable praying to God but by believers 
united to Christ, having on the garment of his righteousness; John 
ix. 31, '' God hcareth not sinners." An uuregenerate man, living 
in his natural state, may pray ; but can never pray acceptably, 
while in that state ; for he cannot pray in the name of Christ, which 
is not the work of the tongue using these words, but the work of the 
heart by faith relying on Christ, his merit and intercession. 

4. Even believers cannot pray in the name of Christ, and so not 
acceptably, without faith in exercise. It is not enough for this 
end, thai one have faith in the root and principle ; but faith must be 
exercised in every duty ; Gal. ii. 20, " The life which I now live in 
the flesh," says Paul, " I live by the faith of the Son of God." It 
is as necessary to every acceptable performance, as breathing to tlie 
common actions of life ; John xv. 5. 


5. J^ustli/, We have great need not to be rash iu our approaches 
to God in prayer, but that we prepare our hearts and compose them 
aforehand for such a solemn duty ; Eccl. v. 1. Vfe should beware 
lest custom in these things, and particularly in the more frequent 
and less solemn approaches to God in prayer, at our meals, turn us 
to formality ; but should labour to impress our hearts with the holi- 
ness of God, the necessity of a Mediator, and stir up grace iu our 

Use II. Of reproof to all those who approach unto God in prayer, 
otherwise than by and in the name of Jesus Christ. The idolatrous 
Papists allow other mediators of intercession, besides the one only 
Mediator; and pray to, employ, and rely on saints and angels, to 
intercede in heaven for them, though religious worshipping of the 
creature is directly forbidden ; Matth. iv. 10, and angel-worship ; 
Rev. six. 10, and the saints deparied are not acquainted with our 
particular cases; Isa. Ixiii. 16. But those also among us are to 
be reproved, as approaching to God in prayer otherwise than in 
Christ's name, 

1. "Who make approach unto God in prayer, as an absolute Go«3, 
without consideration of the Mediator. This is the effect of the na- 
tural blindness and ignorance of men's minds ; not knowing God, 
nor discerning the flaming sword of justice guarding the tree of life, 
they rush forward on the point thereof to pull the fruits. Let such 
consider their dangerous rashness, and reform ; Heb. xii. ult., " For 
our God is a consuming fire ;" knowing they can never worship God 
acceptably in that way; John v. 23, '' He that honoureth not the 
Son, honoureth not the Father which hath sent him." Hence the 
knowledge and belief of the doctrine of the Trinity is the founda- 
tion of all acceptable worship, without which it cannot subsist; Eph. ii. 
18, " For through him we both have an access by one Spirit unto the 
Father;" and the Christian church is thereby distinguished from 
the rejected Jews ; 1 Thess. i. 1, and it must be practically improved 
in every piece of true worship. 

2. Those who, in their approaches to God, put other things in the 
room of the Mediator, or join other things with him. For as there 
is no access to God without a Mediator, so there is none but by the 
one Mediator only; John xiv. 6, " No man cometh unto the Father, 
but by me." But who do that ? Even all those who in th.eir ap- 
proaches by prayer, lay the stress of their access and acceptance 
with God, iu whole or in part, on any thing but Christ. Whatever 
thou reliest on for these ends, besides Christ, has his room, and so 
mars the duty; Phil. iii. 3, and provokes God; Jer. xvii. 5, 6. 
There is a bias in the hearts of the best this way. 


There are four things which men are apt to put thus in the room 
of Christ, in whole or in part, 

(1.) Their own worth, in respect of their qualifications and good 
things done by them ; Judg. xvii. ult. This the proud Pharisee re- 
lied on in his approach; Luke xviii. 11, 12, " God, I thank thee," 
says he, " that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, 
adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I 
give tithes of all that I possess." So proud and conceited professors 
go to their prayers, and with their money in their hand miss the 
opened market of free grace. They say they beg for Christ's sake, 
but yet in reality they have more expectation from their own per- 
sonal worth, than from the merit of Christ's blood. Their want 
of a humbling work of the Spirit raises the value they have for 
themselves ; and the want of saving illumination sinks the value of 
Christ's merit with them. 

(2.) The mercy of an unatoned God, that is, mercy considered in 
God without a view to the satisfaction of his justice by the Media- 
tor. This the ignorant and profane are apt to stumble on, whose 
eyes are open to the mercy of God, but blind to his justice, which 
therefore they are in no concern about the satisfaction of. It never 
enters into their hearts, to question, how it is consistent with the 
honour and justice of God to accept them ; but the notion they have 
framed of the mercy of God answers all their difficulties. Howbeit, 
no such mercy is proposed to sinners in the gospel; Isa. xxvii. 11 ; 
Psalm Ixxxv. 10. It is true, it was a good prayer of the publican, 
Luke xviii. 13, "God be merciful to me a sinner;" but his words 
bear an eye to mercy through a propitiation ; and so was the mercy 
of God held forth to the Old Testament church in the mercy-ssat, as 
well as to the New. 

(3.) The manner of their performing the duty itself. Great 
weight is laid here, as if a well-said prayer were sufficient to re- 
commend itself and the petitioner too. Cain laid such weight on 
his sacrifice ; Gen. iv. 4, 5. A flash of aff'ections and seeming ten- 
derness in prayer, is in the eyes of many a prayer that cannot be 
rejected ; Isa. Iviii. 3, '' Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and 
thou seest not ? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou 
takest no knowledge ?" Enlargement in duty raises the value of it 
so in their own eyes, that they cannot think but it must be valuable 
in the eyes of God too. So in the earnestness of the prayer, and 
many words used ; Matth. vi. 7- Let men examine their expecta- 
tions, and they will be fair to find more weight laid there than on 
the merit of Christ, though this only can bear weight. 

(4.) Their own necessity ; llos. vii. 14, " They have not cried 

96 DIEECTIUNS FOU rilAYlNG IX (.liiilbl'b >'AME. 

unto me with tlieir lieart, when they howled upon their beds; they 
assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me." 
Sense of need is a necessary qualification in acceptable prayer; but 
pinching necessity, where the heart is unhumbled, is apt to be set in 
a room higher than becomes it, as if of itself it were a sufficient plea. 
When it is thus abused, may be known by this, That on the not 
hearing of the prayer, the heart riseth against God ; a sign that 
the petitioner is not as a needy beggar craving an alms, but a needy 
creditor craving his own. Our necessity should quicken us to seek, 
but it is the merit and intercession of Christ alone that is to be re- 
lied on for our access. 

Use III. Wherefore rely on Christ, and on him only, for access 
to God in, and acceptance of, your prayers ; that is, pray in the 
name of Christ. 

Mot. 1. In this way of praying ye may obtain any thing ye really 
need. So says the text, " Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in 
ray name, he will give it you." There is no mercy so great, nor 
any sinner so unworthy, but he may have it, coming to God this 
way ; Heb. vii. 25, with John xi. 42. God can bestow it in that 
way with the safety of his honour, the sinner may confidently ex- 
pect it on good grounds. For Christ's merit is infinite, his inter- 
cession always prevalent. 

2. There is no access to God, nor acceptance of prayer another 
way; John xiv. 6. It is through him our persons can be accepted, 
Epb. i. 6 ; and through him our duties can be so ; Heb. xi. 
4. Every sacrifice not offered on this altar, however valuable it 
seems, will be rejected. There is no return of prayer in a gracious 
manner otherwise. 

I conclude with giving you a few directions for praying in the 
name of Christ. 

1. Labour to impress your hearts with a sense of the spotless ho~ 
liuess and exact justice of God, Psalm Ixxxix. 7. This will shew 
the necessity of a Mediator to interpose, as in Israel's case. 

2. Be sensible of your need of, and look for, the help of the Spirit 
in every approach, Rom. viii. 26. As the sending of the Spirit is 
the fruit of Christ's merit and intercession ; so the Spirit being come 
leads back to the Mediator, Eph. ii. 18. 

3. Shake off all confidence in yourselves, and see your utter un- 
worthiness of the least mercies, how great soever your need of them 
be. Gen. xxxii. 10. As Jacob put off his own raiment to put on his 
elder brother's for the blessing, so do ye cast off your own filthy 
rags, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. 

4. Satisfy not yourselves with bare seeking for Christ's sake ; that 


is not enough : but be confident that yo sliall get access, acceptance, 
and a gracious return for his sake, Mark xi. 24. Raise a believing 
expectation in him. 

Question, How may one reach that ? Answer, (1.) By a believ- 
ing view of Christ on the cross purchasing, and at the Father's right 
hand, interceding for, our mercies; and particularly eying his suffer- 
ings, agreeable to yonr wants, as in the case of your want of light, 
the darkness came on him ; in the case of your want of bread, his 
hunger, &c. (2.) By a believing application of the promises suitable 
to your needs. (3.) Considering this as God's ordinance for com- 
munication between heaven and earth, Gal. iii. 8. 

5. Lastly, Watch against your hearts going off to any confidence 
in the duty itself ; for that is to dishonour the name of Christ, and 
will provoke the Spirit of the Lord to depart from you. 


PsALJI Ixv. 2, 
thou that hear est prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. 

"What avails prayer, if it be not heard ? But God's people need 
not lay it aside on that score. Our text bears two things with re- 
spect to that matter. 

1. A comfortable title ascribed to God, with the unanimous con- 
sent of all the sons of Ziou, who are all praying persons, " thou 
that hearest prayer." lie speaks to God in Zion, or Zion's God, 
that is, in New Testament language, to God in Christ. An absolute 
God thundereth on sinners from Sinai, there can be no comfortable 
intercourse betwixt God and them, by the law ; but in Zion from the 
mercy-seat in Christ, he is the hearer of prayer ; they give in their 
supplications, and ho graciously hears them. Such faith of it they 
have, that praise waits there for the prayer-hearing God. 

2. The effect of the savour of this title of God, spread abroad in 
the world, " Unto thee shall all fiesh come ;" not only Jews, but 
Gentiles. The poor Gentiles, who have long in vain implored 
the aid of their idols, hearing and believing that God is the hearer 
of prayer, will flock to him, and present their petitions. They will 
throng in about his door, where by the gospel they understand beg- 
gars are so well served. They will " come in even unto thee," (Heb.) 
They will come in even to thy seat, thy throne of grace, even unto 
thee thyself, through the Mediator. 


e bul)6tance ot sooie yeiiiioiis jjreaclieil at Eilerick in tho yiar 17iS, 

98 GOD i>' ciirasT tub hearer of peayee. 

The doctrine 1 chiefly propose speaking to, is, 
Doctrine, God in Christ is the hearer of prayer. 

In handling this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. Wherein God's hearing of prayer lies. 

II. The import of his being the hearer of prayer. 

III. "What prayers they are that God hears. 

IV. More particularly consider the hearing and answering of 

V. Lastly, Apply. 

1. I am to shew wherein God's hearing of prayer lies. God being 
omniscient and every where present, there can nothing be said or 
done in the v/orld. but he hears or discerns it. But the hearing of 
prayer in the sense of the scripture is a peculiar privilege of the 
Lord's people, and lies in the following things. 

1. God's accepting of one's prayer, Psalm cxli. 2, " Let my prayer 
be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands 
as the evening-sacrifice. Many prayers are said in the world, that 
are so far from being accepted of God, that they are an abomination 
to him, Prov. xxviii. 9. God turns tliera away from him, as one 
flings a petition over the bar, that he is displeased with, Psa^m Ixvi. 
ult. But the prayers that he hears, he is well pleased with them, he 
approves of them. Hence he is said to attend, hearken to the voice, 
and consider prayer, as one listens to a sound that pleases iiim, and 
dwells on a pleasing thought, Psalm Ixvi. 19, " Yerily God hath 
heard me ; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer." lie de- 
lights in the petition, Prov. xv. 8, "The prayer of the upright is his 
delight." He loves to hear the petitioner's voice, Cant. ii. 14, " Let 
me hear thy voice ; for sweet is thy voice." He accepts the peti- 
tioner's person, and his petition too, as the angel said unto Lot, Gen. 
xix. 21, " See I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I 
■will not overtlirow tliis city, for the which thou hast spoken." For 
where prayer is heard, the person is accepted too, as Gen. iv. 4, 
" The Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his off'ering : Job xlii. 9, 
" The Lord also accepted Job." 

2. His granting the request, Psalm xx. 1, 4, '' The Lord tear thee 
in the day of trouble ; — grant thee according to thine own heart, and 
fulfil all thy counsel." The sinner coming to God with a petition, 
lays it before him, and his desire is granted. God wills it to be unto 
him accordingly, Matth xv. 28, "0 woman," said Christ to the wo- 
man of Canaan, " great is thy faith ; be it unto thee even as thou wilt." 
The mercy prayed for is ordered for the sinner, in kind or equiva- 
lent. Thus prayer is liciird in licaveii, heard and granted. 


3, Uis answering of prayer, Psalm cii. 2, " In the day when I call 
answer me speedily " This is more than granting the request, being 
a giving unto the petitioner's hand what is desired. It is an answer 
not i.i word to the believer's faith only, but in deed to the believer's 
sense and feeling. Thus Hannah prayed for a child, and she got one ; 
Paul prayed for the removal of a temptation, and he got grace suf- 
ficient to bear him out against it. Thus prayer heard in heaven comes 
back like the dove with the olive-branch of peace in her mouth. 

II. I shall shew the import of God's being the hearer of prayer. 
These comfortable truths are imported in it. 

1. God in Christ is accessible to poor sinners, 2 Cor. v. 19, " God 
was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their 
trespasses unto them." Though he sits on the throne of glory, and 
we are guilty before him ; yet he is on a throne of grace, so as we 
may have access to him with our supplications. The flaming sword 
of justice guards the tree of life, on the side of the law; so that on 
that part our God is a consuming fire, which sinners are not able to 
dwell with ; yet behold him in Christ, and through the vail of his 
flesh he is accessible to the worst of sinners. 

2. He is a sin-pardoning God, Esod. xxxiv. 6, 7, " And the Lord 
passed by before him, and proclaimed. The Lord, The Lord God, 
merciful and gracious, long suff'ering, and abundant in goodness and 
truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and trans- 
gression, and sin." Prayer is made particularly for the pardon of 
sin ; the daily cry at the throne is, " Forgive us our debts." If then 
he is the hearer of prayer, he is a sin-pardoning God. We cannot 
j)ay our debt, but God can forgive it, and will forgive it to all that 
come to him in Christ for forgiveness. All kinds of sin he forgives 
freely, Micah vii. 18 ; Isa. i. 18. There is no exception, but of the 
sin against the Holy Ghost, which in its own nature makes the 
guilty refuse pardon, Matth. xii. 31. The pardon is proclaimed in 
the gospel, Acts xiii. 38 ; not to encourage presumpiion in any, 
but to i>revent despondency in all, Psalm cxxx. 4, "There is for- 
giveness with thee ; that thou mayest be feared." 

3. He is an all-sufficient God, GJen. xvii. 1, " I am the Almighty 
God, (Heb) "All sufficient." He is self-sufficient for himself, and 
all-sufiicient for his creatures. If he were not so, he could not be 
the hearer of prayer ; the needs of praying persons would soon ex- 
haust his treasure. But though all flesh come to him for supply of 
their various wants, he is the hearer of prayer; he has enough for 
thtm all, to answer all their needs, come as oft as they will. He is 
a fountain of goodness, that never runs dry, but is ever full. 

4. He is a bountiful and compassionate God, Psalm Ixxxvi. 5, 


" TIlou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive ; and plenteous in 
mercy unto all them that call upon thee." He is willing and ready 
to communicate of his goodness and mercy to poor sinners for the 
supply of all their needs. He is more ready to give, than we to 
ask ; we are not straitened in him, for he is the hearer of prayer ; 
but in our own bowels. He has laid down a method, how we are 
to ask ; and in that method, it is ask and have, James i. 5, 6, 7, 
" If any of you lack wisdom, let hira ask of God, that giveth to all 
men liberally, and upbraideth not ; and it shall be given him. But 
let him ask in faith, nothing wavering; for he that wavereth is like 
a wave of the sea, driven with the wind, and tossed. For let not 
that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord." The 
faith of this is necessary to acceptable prayer, Heb. xi. 6. " For he 
that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewar- 
der of them that diligently seek him." 

5. He is an omnipresent and omniscient God, Psalm cxxxix. 7, 
" Whither shall I go from thy Spirit ; or whither shall I flee 
from thy presence ?" Heb. iv. 13, '' Neither is there any creature 
that is not manifest in his sight ; but all things are naked, and 
opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." How else 
could he be the hearer of prayer ? What part of the world soever 
the petitioner is in, whether he prays with the voice or with the 
heart only, God is the hearer of prayer. Idolaters might choose 
high places to worship their idols in; but it is all one to the hearer 
of prayer, whether the petitioner be on the top of the highest moun- 
tain, or as low as the centre of the earth. Jonah was heard out of 
the whale's belly. Though thousands of voices be going in prayer 
to the throne at the same time, the infinite mind comprehends them 
all, and every one, as easily as if there were but one at once. 

6, Lastly, He is a God of infinite power. Rev. iv. 8, '' They rest 
not day and night, saying. Holy, holy, holy. Lord God Almighty." 
— While there is such a variety of cases, that the creatures have to 
lay before him in prayer, he could not be the hearer of prayer, if 
there were anything too hard for him to do. But nothing is impos- 
sible with hira ; he calleth things that are not to be as if they were, 
at the Voice of prayer. 

III. I proceed to show what prayers they are that God hears. 
It is not every prayer, nor every one's prayer that God hears. 
But it is the prayers of his children, for things agreeable to 
his will, made by the assistance of his Spirit, and oftered through 

1. They are the prayers of his own children, who are justified by 
faith, and reconciled to him, James v. 16, " The tfi'tciual fervent 


prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Our Lord teaching how- 
to pray, teaches us to call God " our Father;" which can be only 
through faith. Our persons must be accepted in justification, ere 
any work of ours can be so. Where there is no peace betwixt God 
and the sinner, what communion can be there ? Amos iii. 3, " Can 
two walk together, except they be agreed?" The scripture is plain, 
" God heareth not sinners," John ix. 31. God's way of giving gra- 
ciously, is to give other things with Christ, Rom. viii. 32, " He that 
spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall 
he not with hira also freely give us all things ?" It is in the 
covenant only that one can have a bottom for acceptance of his 

Objection. Then it is in vain for any to pray, but true believers. 
Answ. There is less evil in praying by an unbeliever, than in his 
omitting it ; and consequently less punishment will be. But going 
to pray, go to Christ by faith, and so your prayer shall be accepted ; 
and no otherwise. 

2. They are such prayers of theirs as are for things agreeable to 
God's will, 1 John v. 14, " This is the confidence that we have in him, 
that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us." Even 
in saints there are remains of a corrupt will, and so it is not left to 
them to pray for what they please ; not what is the choice of their 
corruption, but what is the choice of their grace. When James 
and John would have prayed for fire from heaven to consume the 
Samaritans, Christ rebuked them, and said, '' Ye know not what 
manner of spirit ye are of," Luke ix. 54, 55. Elias did it, but they 
might not, not having his spirit. 

3. They are prayers made by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, 
hence called " inwrought," (Gr.) Jam. v. 16. No language is ac- 
ceptable in heaven, but what is learned from thence. It is not the 
art of payer, but the Spirit of prayer, that is pleasing in the sight 
of God. The former may be reached by God's enemies, whose false 
heart may vent itself by a flattering tongue, as Israel did, Psalm 
Ixxviii. 36, 37, " Nevertheless, they did flatter him with their 
mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart 
was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant." 
The latter is the peculiar privilege of God's children, yet common to 
them all; Gal. iv. 6, " Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the 
Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." 

4. Lastly, They are prayers offered to God through Christ the 
Mediator, the soul trusting on his merit and intercession alone for 
the hearing of them, Dan. ix. 17, " Now therefore, our God, hear 
the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy 


face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's 
sake." John xiv. 14, " If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will 
do it." Christ is the altar on which our spiritual sacrifices can be 
accepted ; and it is not consistent with the honour of God, to hear 
the prayers of sinners otherwise. 

The doctrine being thus explained in the general, I come in the 
next place more particularly, 

1. To confirm it, and shew that there is such a thing as hearing of 
prayer, the privilege of the Lord's people in this lower world. 

2. To shew in what manner the Lord hears prayer. 

First, I am to confirm it, and shew that there is such a thing as 
hearing of prayer, the privilege of the Lord's people in tliis lower 
world, Grod is in heaven, they are on the earth ; voices from heaven, 
or angel-messengers to report the acceptance of prayers there, are not 
to be expected. Nevertheless we are sure there is such a thing still 
in being, and it is necessary to prove it. 

1. For the sake of a profane generation, who, as they are stran- 
gers to, so they are despisers of, communion with God. 

2. For the sake of formalists, who go about the duty of prayer as 
a task, but are in no concern for the fruit of it ; send away the mes- 
senger, but look for no report. 

3. For the sake of discouraged Christians who go bowed down, 
because they cannot perceive it as they desire. 

That God is the hearer of prayer, and will hear the prayers of his 
people, is evident from these considerations. 

First, The supernatural instinct of praying that is found in all that 
are born of God, Gal. iv. 6, forecited. It is as natui'al for them to pray, 
to fall a praying when the grace of God has touched their hearts, as tor 
children when they are born into the world to cry, or to desire the 
breasts ; Zech. xii. 10, " I will pour upon the house of David, and 
upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of suppli- 
cations." Compared with Acts ix. 11, where, in the account that is 
given of Paul, at his conversion, it is particularly noticed, " Behold 
he prayeth." Hence the whole saving change on a soul comes under 
the character of this instinct; Jer. iii. 4, 19, " Wilt thou not from 
this time cry unto me, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth ? 
I said, Thou sluilt call me, My Father, and shalt not turn away from 
me." This supernatural instinct being the work of God in the new 
nature, cannot be in vain. Accordingly it is determined ; Isa. xlv. 
19, " I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain." But 
it would be a vain appetite, if it were not to be satisfied by hear- 

Secondly, The intercession of Christ; Rom. viii. 34, " It is Christ 


that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right 
hand of God, who also niaketh intercession for us." It is a great 
part of the work of Christ's intercession, to present the prayers of 
his people before his Father, llev. viii. 4, to take their causes in 
hand contained in their supplications, 1 John ii. 1. So we find him 
interceding for his church of old in her low condition, Zech. i , and 
in the New Testament, John xvii. He is ever at the work, and 
cannot neglect it, Heb. vii. 25, and it cannot be without effect ; John 
xi. 42, " I knew that thou hearest me always," said Jesus to his Fa- 

Thirdly, The promises of the covenant, whereby God's faithfulness 
is impawned for the hearing of prayer; as Matth. vii. 7, "Ask, and 
it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall 
be opened unto you." Isa. Ixv. 24, " And it shall come to pass, that 
before they call, I will answer, and whiles they are yet speaking, I 
will hear." Psalm cxlv. 19, "He will fulfil the desire of them that 
fear him ; he also will hear their cry, and will save them." The 
promise of hearing of prayer, is one of the great lines of the cove- 
nant ; Hos. ii. 20, 21, " I will even betroth thee unto me in faithful- 
ness, and thou shalt know the Lord. And it shall come to pass in 
that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens," &c. ; 
and it is so proposed with his being his people's God ; Zech. x. 6, 
" I am the Lord their God, and will hear them." 

Fourthly, The many encouragements given in the word to the peo- 
ple of God, to come with their cases unto the Lord by prayer. He 
invites them to his throne of grace with their petitions for supply of 
their needs ; Cant. ii. 14, " ray dove that art in the clefts of the 
rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, 
let me hear thy voice ; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance 
is comely." He sends afflictions for to press them to come ; Hos. v. 
ult, " 1 will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge 
their offence, and seek my face ; in their affliction they will seek me 
early." He gives them ground of hope of success. Psalm 1. 15, 
whatever extremity their case is brought to ; Isa. xli. 17, '' When 
the poor and needy seek water and there is none, and their tongue 
faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel 
will not forsake them." He shews them, that however long he may 
delay for their trial, yet praying and not fainting shall be success- 
ful at length ; Luke xviii- 8, " I tell you that he will avenge them 

Fifthly, The gracious nature of God, with the endearing relations 
he stands in to his people ; Exod. xxii. 27, '' And it shall come to 
pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear ; for I am gracious." 


Matth. vii. 9 — 11, " "What man is there of you, whom if his son ask 
bread, will he give hira a stone ? or if he ask a fish, will he give 
hira a serpent? If ye then being evil, know how to give good 
gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father 
which is in heaven give good things to them that ask hira ?" He 
wants not power and ability to fulfil the holy desires of his people ; 
he is gracious, and will withhold no good from them that they really 
need. He has the bowels of a Father to pity them, the bowels of a 
mother to her sucking child. He has a most tender sympathy with 
them in all their afflictions, the touches on them are as on the apple 
of his eye ; and he never refuses them a request, but for their good ; 
Rom. viii. 28. 

Sixthly, The experiences which the saints of all ages have had of 
the answer of prayer. The faith of it brings them to Grod at first in 
conversion, as the text intimates ; and they that believe cannot be 
disappointed. Abraham, Moses, David's and Job's experiences of 
this kind are in record, with many others, Paul's, &c. The Psalmist 
sets up his case as a way-mark to all the travellers to Zion ; Psalm 
xxxiv. 6, " This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him ; and saved 
him out of all his troubles." And to this day the saints' experience 
seals the truth thereof. 

Lastly, The present ease and relief that prayer sometimes gives 
to the saints, while yet the full answer of prayer is not come; Psalm 
cxxxviii. 3, " In the day when I cried, thou answeredst me; and 
strengthenedst me with strength in my soul." The unbosoming of 
themselves to the Lord in prayer, comforts and strengthens the 
heart; 1 Sam. i. 18. This is on the faith of the Lord's hearing of 
prayer; Micah vii. 7, " I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for 
the God of my salvation ; my God will hear me." 

Secondly, I come to shew in what manner the Lord hears prayer. 
For clearing of this, I lay down the following observations thereon, 

First, A thing desired of God may be obtained, and yet the 
prayer not heard and accepted, as in Israel's case ; Psalm Ixxviii. 29, 
"So they did eat, and were well filled; for he gave them their own 
desire." For as it is plain on the one hand, that sinners out of Christ 
may sometimes obtain a thing they pray for, as in the case of the 
Ninevites, it is as plain on the other, that no prayer of theirs can 
be accepted of God, according lo John ix. 31, " God heareth not sin- 
ners." It is one thing to get a thing prayed for, another to get it 
as an answer of accepted prayer ; Psalm Ixxviii. 34 — 38. Now this 
falls out in two cases, 

1. When the thing prayed for is given downright in wrath, as it 
was in the case of the Israelites seeking a king ; Hos. xiii. 11, " I 


gave thee a king in mine anger." Men often need no more to ruin 
them, but to get their will; and God may give it them with a vengeance. 
They get their desire, but it is far from being accepted ; for it is in 
anger it comes to them. 

2. When it is given in the way of uncovenanted condescendence. 
Thus sinners out of Christ may get particular requests of theirs 
answered, as Ahab ; 1 Kings xxi. 29. For though God does not ac- 
cept their persons, nor any performance of theirs ; yet he may ?hew 
regard to his own ordinance of prayer, and therefore make it not 
fruitless even to them. And thus the Lord does to train sinners 
to the yielding themselves to him, and to depending on him by faith 
and prayer ; Hos. xi. 3, " I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them 
by their arms." 

Answers of accepted prayer come in the way of the covenant of 
grace, but these in the way of common providence. And they may 
be discerned by these attending signs. 

(1.) "Wilfulness and unhumbledness of spirit in asking; 1 Sam. 
viii. 19, " Nevertheless tlie people refused to obey the voice of Sa- 
muel ; and they said. Nay, but we will have a king over us." When 
one's will is peremptory, and is not brought to a holy submission to 
God in the matter, but they will wring the mercy out of God's hand, 
and have it at any rate, whether with or without his good will ; be 
sure that is what comes in the way of common providence only. 

(2.) Strengthening and feeding of lusts by them when received. 
Psalm Ixxviii. 29", 30. Hence on such receipts men commonly grow 
worse, and their mercies are short-lived ; being greedily snatched 
off the tree of providence, ere they are ripe, their teeth are set on 
edge with them, vers. 30, 31. 

(3 ) A frame of spirit, in asking and receiving, not of the mould 
of the gospel, but of the law ; whereby more stress is laid upon our 
own necessity than on the intercession of Christ; there is much de- 
sire of the mercy, but no believing dependence on the Lord for it in 
the promise as a free promise through Christ; and ordinarily it 
leaves the heart fixed on the gift, and does not carry it back to the 

Secondly, A prayer may be heard and accepted, and yet the de- 
sire of it not granted. That is to say, God may be pleased with, 
and accept of the prayer as service to hira ; and yet may see meet 
not to grant the thing prayed for. Even as a father going to cor- 
rect one of his children, may be very well pleased with another child 
of his interposing for sparing, though he may not see it meet to for- 
bear for all that. 

The truth of this is put out of doubt, in the case of Jesus Christ 
Vol. XI. H 


himself, Matth. xxvi. 39, who prayed, saying, " ray Father, if it 
be possible, let this cup pass from me ; nevertheless, not as I will, 
but as thou wilt." Compare, Heb. v. 7, " Who in the days of his 
flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong 
crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death, and 
was heard, in that he feared." If it was so done with the Head, no 
wonder it be so with the members too, as David, 2 Chron. vi. 8, 9, 
" But the Lord said to David my father. Forasmuch as it was in 
thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it 
was in thine heart ; notwithstanding, thou shalt not build the house, 
but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build 
the house for my name." A thing may be very agreeable to the 
command of God, to be prayed for, which yet may be otherwise 
ordered in the holy wise providence of God. It is one thing what 
he requires of us by his revealed will, another what in his secret will 
he minds to do, Deut. xxix. ult., " The secret things belong unto the 
Lord our God : but those things which are revealed, belong unto us, 
.and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this 

Now of prayers accepted and not granted, it is to be observed, 

1. They are not absolute and peremptory, but with holy submis- 
sion to the divine pleasure, as of our Lord's, Matth. xxvi. 39. If 
we pray absolutely, for what God has not so promised, and such a 
prayer is not granted, it is not accepted neither. So all that this 
amounts to is, that God sees meet to refuse what the petitioner did 
seek, but with submission to his will either to grant or refuse it. 

2. Where a prayer is accepted and not granted, there is in the 
bosom of the denial an unseen greater mercy. Had that cup passed 
from Christ, where had been the glory of God the Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost, in the salvation of an elect world, that was wrapt up in the denial 
of that sinless desire of Christ's holy human nature ? Had David's 
child lived for whom he prayed, he had been a lasting stain on his 
father's reputation ; but God refused David's petition in that, where 
the refusal was a greater mercy than the granting would have been. 

3. Hence that treatment of such prayers is agreeable to the chief 
scope and aim of the petitioner, which is God's glory and his own 
good. This is the design of believers in all their accepted prayers, 
which, being agreeable to the promise, there is no jarring there be- 
twixt God and them. Only, they in this case look on such a thing 
as they pray for to be the most proper mean for that end ; God sees 
it is not, and therefore refuses it. So all that this amounts to is, as if 
one should desire one to lead him such a way to such a place ; he 
refuses not to lead him to the place, but he will not lead him that 
way, but a nearer and better way. 


QuESTiOK. How may I know such prayers of mine to be accepted, 
when they are not granted ? 

Answer 1. When the heart is brought to submit to the denial as 
a holy and righteous dispensation; Psalm sxii. 2, 3, *' my God, 
I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not ; and in the night sea- 
son, and am not silent. But thou art holy, thou that inhabitest 
the praises of Israel." When the sinner from his heart clears the 
Hearer of prayer, leaving his complaint on his unworthy self, such 
an effect is an argument of prayer accepted, though not granted. 

2. When though the thing bo denied, yet divine support under the 
denial is granted, and made forthcoming, Luke xxii. 42, 43. Christ 
having prayed, saying, " Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup 
from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done; there ap- 
peared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him." And 
he was carried through all his sufferings by his Father, so that 
he was victorious over death itself. Thus often God, denying the 
petitions of his children, with respect to temptations, troubles, &c., 
yet testifies his acceptance of their prayers by the supports given 
under the same ; Psalm cxxxviii. 3, " In the day when I cried," says 
David, " thou answeredst me ; and strengthenedst me with strength 
in my soul." 

3. Lastly, When such a soul is helped to go back to the same God 
with new petitions in faith and hope of hearing ; 2 Sam xii. 20, 
" Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed him- 
self, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord 
and worshipped." This argues a faith of the promise of all things 
working together for good, Rom. viii. 28, a leaving a latitude of 
dispensation to sovereignty, well becoming a submissive and re- 
signed petitioner. 

Thirdly, The desire of a prayer may be heard and granted, and 
yet it may be long ere it be answered. That is to say, all pray- 
ers not answered to our sense and feeling, are not lost; they may 
stand granted in heaven, and yet it may be many a day ere the an- 
swer of them come to us. A prayer may be granted, and yet the 
mercy prayed for bo still withheld, so that the petitioner may be 
obliged to send new petitions day by day for it still. 

I shall first confirm this, and then shew why it may be so ordered. 

First, To confirm the truth of this, consider, 

1. Scripture instances. Abraham prayed for an heir, it was 
granted. Gen. xv. 3, 4, yet it was more than thirteen years before 
that prayer was answered, in the birth of Isaac, Gen. xvii. 25. So 
the Israelites in Egypt, Exod. ii. 23, 24 ; and Daniel, chap, ix, 23. 
Such instances are recorded for our learning. 

H 2 


2. There is a difference betwixt the granting of a petition, and 
the intimation of that grant to us ; betwixt Heaven's order for our 
getting of the mercy, and the execution of it. The one is the hear- 
ing and grant of prayer, the other is the answer ; and though these 
sometimes may come both in one instant, as Matth. xv. 28, " Jesus 
answered and said unto her, woman, great is thy faith ; be it 
unto thee even as thou wilt ; and lier daughter was made whole from 
that very hour ;" yet often they are at a great distance of time, as in 
Abraham's case. 

3. The hearing and granting of prayer is an object of faith, the 
answer of prayer an object of sense and feeling, 1 John v. 14, 15; 
Matth. XV. 28. A prayer made through the assistance of the Spirit, 
according to the will of God, and offered to God through Christ, is 
heard and granted in that instant wherein it is made; and this is 
what we are to believe, on the ground of the faithfulness of God in 
the promise, before we get the answer to our sense and feeling ; for 
" faith is the substance of things not seen, and we walk by faith 
not by sight ;" and therefore this is the ordinary way to put the 
grant and answer at some distance of time, though not always, Isa. 
Ixv. 24. 

Secondly, I shall shew why the answers of prayers heard and 
granted, are kept up for a time, and may be for a long time. 

1. To keep the petitioners hanging on about the throne of grace; 
Prov, XV. 8, " The prayer of the upright is his delight." The Lord 
by this means gives them many errands to the throne, so that they 
must always be going back again, and renewing their suits. So fa- 
thers make their little children follow them, and hang about them, 
and speak to them as they can ; and no father has such delight in 
the company and converse of his children, as God has in his, Cant, 
ii. 14. 

2. For the trial of their graces ; Jam. i. 12, " Blessed is the man 
that enduretli temptation ; for when he is tried, he shall receive the 
crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." 
This life is the time of trial, and God's withholding for a time the 
answers of granted prayers, is a piece of trial that will go in through 
and out through the child of God. It tries their sincerity and ear- 
nestness for an answer. Job xxvii. 10 ; with Luke xviii. 7 ; their 
patience and disposition to wait on God, Hab. ii. 3 ; their hope in 
God, Psalm cxlvii. 11 ; and xlii. 5 ; especially it tries their faith in 
the word of promise, and that is a trial of great estimation in the 
sight of God ; 1 Pet. i. 6, 7, " Wherein ye greatly rejoice, tbongh 
now for a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness through manifold 
temptations. That the trial of your faith being much more precious 


than of gold that perislieth, though it be tried with fire, might be 
found unto praise, and honour, and glory at the appearing of Jesus 
Christ. Every new act of faith in the word, is more valuable than 
all the famed exploits of carnal, selfish men; especially when faith 
keeps hold of the promise like a rope in the water, while providence 
is bringing one wave after another over the man's head, Psalm Ivi. 
10. So Matth. XV. 21—28. 

3- Till they be prepared and fitted for receiving the answer; 
Psalm X, 17, *' Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble ; thou 
wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear." Mer- 
cies we need, but we are not at all times meet to receive them. God 
gives his left-hand gifts to strangers, in the way of common provi- 
dence, whether they be prepared for them or not ; and hence many 
are ruined getting much laid to their hand before they have the 
grace or wisdom to manage it, for God's honour and their own good. 
But his right-hand gifts to his children, in the way of the covenant, 
though they be ready for them, yet he will keep them back till they 
be made ready and prepared for them too. So he is at pains to 
humble them, and work them for that thing. Saul was brought to 
the kingdom easily, but David not so. 

4. Lastly, Till the best time come, for their getting it, when it 
may come to them with the greatest advantage ; Eccl. iii. 14, '' I 
know that whatsoever God doth, it shall be for ever; nothing can 
be put to it, nor anything taken from it; aud God doth it, that 
men should fear before him." There is much in the timing of a fa- 
vour ; the same thing may be worth double to a man at one time, 
beyond what it will be at another. And be sure, if God is keeping 
back the answer of a granted prayer, he is only reserving till the 
best time of bestowing it ; John xi. 14, 15, and ii. 4. 

Quest. How may a Christian know his prayer is heard and 
granted, while yet it is not answered ? 

Answ. 1. If ye have prayed in faith, no doubt your petition is 
heard and granted, though it should not be answered for ever so 
long after; Matth. xxi. 22, " All things whatsoever ye shall ask in 
prayer, believing, ye shall receive." God refuses not, nor rejects 
any prayer for things agreeable to his will, made in faith of the 
promise, through the assistance of the Spirit, and off'ered to him 
through his Son. And ye ought to believe, that such prayers are 
granted, but that God for holy wise ends delays the answer. 

2. If ye are strengthened to hang on about the Lord's hand for 
the answer, hoping and waiting for the Lord ; Psalm cxxxviii 3. It 
is a certain truth, which ye may build upon; Gal. vi. 9, " In duo 
season we shall reap, if we faint not." This is the very character 


of an elect believer, on his trials for glory ; Luke xviii. 7, " Shall 
not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, 
though he bear long with them ?" Granted prayer brings something 
in hand, namely, grace to wait on ; Psalm xxvii. ult., " Wait on the 
Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; 
wait I say on the Lord." Compare ver. 13, " I had fainted, unless 
I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the 

3. Lastly, It is a good sign when ye are encouraged to wait for 
the desired answer, by the Lord's answering you in other things 
that fall out in the meantime of the delay. For the Lord lays these 
to your hand to support your faith and hope in point of the delayed 
answer. How was David's faith of the promise of the kingdom kept 
up, so many years during Saul's reign ? Why, David in that time 
had many experiences of answers of prayer, and fulfilling of pro- 
mises in other things, as Psalm xxxiv. 6, " This poor man cried, and 
the Lord heard him ; and saved him out of all his troubles." 

Fourthly, Prayers accepted and granted, shall certainly be 
answered to the believer's sense and feeling at length. The answer 
may be delayed, but it cannot be forgotten nor miscarried. Such 
prayers will surely be turned into praise at long-run ; and faith 
will bring in sense and feeling, when it is tried a while. 

I shall first confirm the truth of this, and then shew when they 
shall be so answered to their sense and feeling. 

First, To confirm this, consider, 

1. The interest the Mediator has in the matter, which secures and 
puts it beyond doubt. It is upon his merit that the prayer is ac- 
cepted, on his intercession that it is granted ; so that he is nearly 
concerned in the obtaining of the answer; and then he is the 
great Steward in heaven, into whose hands the whole fulness of co- 
venant-benefits for sinners' supply is put. How then can it fail, 
when the mercy petitioned for is lodged in the hand of our Inter- 
cessor ? 

2. The faithfulness of God in his word; Psalm Ixxxix. 8, '* 
Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee ? or to thy 
faithfulness round about thee ?" This stands as a rock immoveable 
in all the changes that befall his people. His word must be ac- 
complished, and his promise fulfilled, whatever stand in the way of 
it. Heaven and earth shall rather be removed than it fail, or fall a 
minute behind the set time of its bringing forth ; Hab. ii. 3, "For 
the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, 
and not lie ; though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, 
it will not tarry." 


3. The love and pity God has to his children that cry to hira. 
" His ears are open to their cry ; Psalm xxxiv. 15. He forgets it 
not; Psalm ix. 12. As he is their God, so he will be "a God to 
them," as the expression is; 1 Chron. xvii. 24, namely, to do the 
part of a God to them ; that is, to hear and answer their prayers. 

4. Lastly, Such prayers are the product of his own Spirit in 
them; Rom. viii. 26. And be sure, the mouths that he opens, he 
will fill ; the holy appetite and desires that he creates in them, he 
will satisfy. 

Secondly, I shall shew when they shall be answered to their sense 
and feeling. There are two periods in general, wherein God gives 
answers of prayers accepted and granted. Answers of prayer are 

1. In time, during the petitioner's life in this world ; Psalm Iviii. 
ult., " Verily there is a reward for the righteous ; verily he is a 
God that judgeth in the earth." Believers in this life have com- 
munion with God, and do get answers of prayer, as provision allowed 
them of their Father, for their journey through the wilderness. But 
one may wait a long time of his life for an answer of some prayers, 
and ere he go off be made to say, " Lord, now lettest thou thy ser- 
vant depart in peace, according to thy word ; for mine eyes have 
seen thy salvation ;" Luke ii. 29, 30, 

Of the seasons of life for answers of prayer, we may say in the 
general, there are four seasons thereof. 

(1.) A time of the Lord's return to a church and people from 
whom he had hid his face ; Psalm cii. 16, 17, " When the Lord 
shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. He will regard 
the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer." The 
children may cry long to their Father, ere he let on he notices them, 
when he is angry with their mother ; but when he is pleased with 
her, they get speedy answers from him ; Dan. ix. 1, 2, 23. Times 
of reformation, and outpouring of the Spirit on a land, are times of 
answers of prayer to particular persons ; which should move us to 
carry along the public case, with our private cases, as David did ; 
Psalm li. 18, 19, ''Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion; build 
thou the walls of Jerusalem ;" &c. 

(2.) A time of greatest extremity, when matters are carried to the 
utmost point of hopelessness; 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." When 
God's people are brought to that, they can do no more, then is the 
special season of God's doing for them ; Isa. xli. 17, " Wiien the 
poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue 


failetli for thirst, I tbe Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will 
not forsake them." Vfhen the child was laid by for dead, tbe well 
was discovered. When the knife was at Isaac's throat, the answer 
comes from heaven, " Stay thine hand." A sentence of death is 
often passed on all probable means, the thing is put as it were in 
the grave, and the stone sealed ; and then comes the resurrection of 
it ; 2 Cor. i. 8 — 10. Psalm cxxvi. 1, " When the Lord turned again 
the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream." 

(3.) A time of the petitioner's deepest humiliation, when he is 
beat down from all his heights, and brought as low as the dust of the 
Lord's feet, as in Job's case; chap. xlii. 6, 7, &c., and the woman of 
Canaan's ; Matth. xv. 27, 28. It is the Lord's way with his children 
to lay them very low, before he raise them up; to empty them 
soundly of themselves, before he fill them. They must be made to 
see their own utter unworthiness, that God is no debtor to them, be 
wholly resigned to the divine pleasure, and become as a weaned 
child. And that may cost much hewing ; but it is the way they are 
prepared for mercy ; Psalm x. 17. 

(4.) Lastly, A time wherein the mercy may come most seasonably 
for God's honour and their comfort, Gal. vi. 9, " In due season we 
shall reap, if we faint not," The husbandman expects to reap his 
crop in the harvest, for that is the most proper sea.son. Our God is 
the best judge of time for this or that purpose, and he does all in 
judgment, Deut. xxxii. 4. So that the petitioner shall be fully sa- 
tisfied as to the delay of the answer, and the whole steps of provi- 
dence in the matter, and be made to sing as Rev. xv. 3, saying 
" Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty ; just 
and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 

2. In eternity, when the believing petitioner is got into another 
world, then will be a season of answers of prayer, ]\Ial. iii. 17, 18, 
'* They shall be mine, saitli the Lord of hosts, in that day when I 
make up my jewels, and I will spare them as a man spareth his 
own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return and discern be- 
tween the righteous and the wicked ; between him that serveth God, 
and him that serveth him not." I do not say, they will pray in 
another world, but prayers poured out in this world will be answer- 
ed in another world, partly after death, and fully and completely 
at the resurrection. For consider, 

(1.) There are accepted and granted prayers that are never an- 
swered on this side of time ; yet they cannot miss to be answered, 
Psalm ix. 18, "For the needy shall not alway be foi gotten ; the 
expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever." Therefore they 
are answered in eternity. Such is that prayer of all the children 
of God, Rom. vii. 24, " wretched man that I am, who shall de- 


liver me from tlie body of this death ? The complete victory over 
all their enemies, and being set beyond iheir reach, which is delayed 
till the resurrection, 1 Cor. xv. 26, " The last enemy that shall be 
destroyed, is death." 

(2.) There are prayers that are answered here in part, but are not 
fully answered till the petitioner comes into another world. The 
prayers for the coming of Christ's kingdom are begun to be an- 
swered now, but they will not be fully answered till the last day. 
Petitions for deliverance from temptation, the power of lusts and 
corruptions, are answered so as an earnest is given, but the full 
answer is till then in reserve, Rom. xvi. 20, " The God of peace 
shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." 

(3.) Lastly, All the accepted prayers of those that wait for the 
Lord, whether for their souls or their bodies, will be at once an- 
swered in heaven fully ; there the promises will be told out to them 
for ever in full tale. There are many prayers for deliverance from 
temptations, trials, and troubles, which God sees not meet to an- 
swer now ; but they will be all answered at once then, Rev. xxi. 4, 
" God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes ; and there shall bo 
no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any 
more pain ; for the former things are passed away." 

Therefore, let none think that all the prayers are lost that are 
not answered during this life ; for prayers here made in faith, may 
be delayed as to their answer, till the petitioner come home to 
his Father's house ; and there will be a second crop there of prayers 
here answered. 

Quest. When an answer of prayer comes, how shall it be known 
to be an answer of accepted and granted prayer, and not come in 
the way of common providence ? 

Answ. 1. Mercies that come so make the soul more holy, tender, 
and watchful, whereas others prove snares and fuel to men's 
lusts, Psalm vi. 8, "Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; 
for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping." Common 
providence filled the rich man's barns, then said he, " Soul take 
thiue ease." 

2. They enlarge the soul in thankfulness to God, Psalm cxvi. 1, 
12, " I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice, and my sup- 
plications. "What shall I render unto the Lord, for all his benefits 
towards me ?" And they make it to rejoice more in the Giver, 
than in the gifts, 1 Sam. ii. 1, " My heart rejoiceth in the Lord." 
The signature of God's good will that is upon the mercy, makes it of 
a great bulk, though it may be a small thing in itself, Gen. xxxiii. 
10, '* I have seen thy face, said Jacob to Esau, as though I had seen 


the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me." Thus coming from 
God in the way of the covenant, it leads back to God ; but others 
not so. 

3. Lastly, They come seasonably, the heart being in some measure 
prepared for the receipt. Psalm x. 17, when the soul is moulded in a 
submissive disposition. Exercised souls will be afraid of a mercy 
coming too soon. 

Fifthly, God answers prayer, either by giving the very thing it- 
self asked, or the equivalent of it. As a man may pay his bond, 
either in money, or money worth. So there are two ways of God's 
fulfilling his promises, and answering his people's prayers. 

1. Sometimes God answers prayer by giving the very thing desir- 
ed. So he answere'l Hannah's prayer for a child, and Solomon's 
prayer for wisdom. And what comes that way will bear much bulk 
in the eyes of a gracious soul, because of the good will of God that 
is stamped on it, whereby it is distinguished from what comes in the 
common road. 

And what comes that way, readily comes with a good incast to it, 
especially if the petitioner has been kept long hanging on for it. 
Such an incast got Solomon, 2 Chron. i. 12, " Wisdom and knowledge 
is granted unto thee, and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and 
honour, such as none of the kings have had, that have been before 
thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like." They that 
wait long for their answer, ordinarily get as it were both the stock 
and interest together. So Abraham and Sarah waited long for the 
promised seed, even till they were come to extreme old age ; and 
then they got it with a renewing of their age. 

2. Sometimes by giving, though not the thing itself, yet the equi- 
valent of it, that which is as good ; as one may pay his bond, by giv- 
ing, though not money, yet what is as good as money. Thus though 
God did not give David the child's life, yet he gave him a So- 
lomon, a mercy as good and better. Paul, though he got not free 
of the temptation at his asking, yet he got grace sufficient to bear 
him up under it, 2 Cor. xii. 9. 

And God's as-good that he gives his people, will readily be found 
better, all things considered. That is best which is best for God's 
honour and our good, and God knows better than we what is most 
suitable to these purposes. It would have been more easy for Paul, 
to have been freed from the messenger of Satan ; but it was more 
for God's honour and his spiritual good, to be helped to fight that 
messenger and overcome. 

Learn then, that your prayers may be answered, though ye get 
not the very thing ye ask. Tliough God answer you not in kind, 


if he answer you in kindness, you have no reason to say your prayer 
is not heard. If he take not off your burden, yet if he gives you 
support, he hears you, Psalm cxxxviii. 3. There are two ways how 
God gives his people as good. 

(1.) Sometimes he gives them as good in the same kind : though 
he gives them not the same temporal mercy they would have had, he 
gives them another of the same kind as good as it. Though he gave 
not David the life of the child he asked, he gave him a Solomon. So 
God reserves to himself the choosing. 

(2.) Sometimes he gives them as good in another kind ; as not 
giving them such a temporal mercy, he gives them a spiritual mercy 
and enjoyment in the room of it; and surely there is no loss there. 

Question, Uow may one know that God answers his prayer, by 
giving him the as-good. 

Answer 1. When that which is given answers or serves the pur- 
pose as well as the thing desired would have done. David desired 
the child's life as a token of God's reconciliation with him ; but So- 
lomon's birth answered the same purpose, 2 Sam. xii. 24, 25. So 
there was no loss as to the main thing in view. 

2 When the heart is brought to rest contented with what is given 
in the room of what was desired. So Moses was sufficed with a sight 
of the land from Pisgah, instead of entering into it. When the 
thing given takes the heart off what is withheld, it is a sign it comes 
as an answer of prayer by the way of an as-good. 

3. When a person is to his own conviction a gainer by the choice 
God makes for him. Thus the Lord sometimes answers his people's 
prayers in trouble for deliverance, by giving them manifestations of 
his love and mercy, which they would not have gotten if the trouble 
had been removed. Lam. iii. 57, " Thou drewest near in the day that 
I called upon thee ; thou saidst. Fear not." 

Sixthly, God's answer of prayer sometimes agrees with the expres- 
sion used in prayer, though not with the preconceived design and de- 
sire of the petitioner. There is a special help of the Spirit allowed 
God's people in prayer, beyond what they have otherwise, Rom. 
viii. 26. Hence going to God on such a particular errand, they are 
sometimes carried so to express their desire, that the answer agrees 
exactly to the expression used in the petition, though the petition as 
expressed doth swerve somewhat from wliat they intended. 

It will therefore be profitable on the receiving an answer of prayer, 
to compare it with the expression in which the petition was made ; 
and the harmony betwixt them being observed, will set the matter 
of the answer in a clear light. 

Lastly, One mercy may bo the answer ol the prayers of many. 


"Whether it be a public mercy to a society, or a private mercy to a 
particular person, it may be given in answer to the prayers of many, 
and many may take the comfort of that answer. As when the 
prayers of a congregation are heard, or a mercy is given which many 
have privately prayed for, though the answer is one, it may belong 
to many. 

Question, How may one know that in such a case there has been 
any regard had to his prayer for the mercy ? 

Answer 1. If thy heart did join in prayer for the mercy, with 
others, thy affections being touched with earnest desire of the mercy, 
thy soul lifted up to depend on the merit and intercession of Christ 
for the granting it, thou needest not doubt but it is an answer to 
thy prayer as well as to others, Matth. xviii. 19, " I say unto you, 
that if two of you shall agree on earth, as touching any thing that 
they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in 

2. If thou findest thy heart enlarged in thankfulness to God 
for the mercy when it is obtained, that is another evidence that 
it is an answer to thy prayer as well as others, 2 Cor. iv. 15, " For 
all things are for yoursakes, that the abundant grace might, through 
the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God." Many a 
prayer had been put up for the coming of the Messiah ; Simeon when 
he saw him is transported with thankfulness of heart, as having ob- 
tained his desire, Luke ii. 29. 

I shall now shut up this subject with some practical improvement. 

Use I. of information. Hence see, 

1. How much we poor sinners stand indebted to free grace provid- 
ing a Saviour for us. We could have had no access with our prayers 
to an absolute God; justice would have barred our acceptance. So 
fallen angels have no access to God allowed them ; for Christ took 
not on their nature. But great is our privilege in this point; 1 
John ii. 1, " For if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the 
Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 

2. The heinousness of the sin of neglecting prayer. A price is 
put in men's hands to get wisdom, but they have no heart to it. 
The door of mercy and grace stands open, but they will not come 
to it; God sits on a throne of grace, ready to answer petitions; but 
they have none to put in his hand. 

3. The impiety and profaneness that is in abusing of prayer, 
making a scorn of it in ordinary conversation, as " God pity you, 
help you, bless us, save us," &c. How lamentable is it, that the 
name of God, and the ordinance of prayer, should be thus prostituted 


to the lusts of men at every trifle I The day will come, when God's 
pity, help, &c., which ye make so light of now, will appear more 
valuable than ten thousand worlds, and ye shall not have them, if 
ye repent not of that contempt which ye now treat them with. 

4. The folly of those who are in no concern for the hearing of 
their prayers. Surely, they forsake their own mercy. Ye would 
have little satisfaction in your meat, if it did not feed you ; in your 
clothes, if they did not keep you warm. What satisfaction then can 
ye have in your praying, if ye cannot find it is heard ? 

5. Lastly, This shews why serious souls do so ranch value prayer, 
and betake themselves thereto in all their straits. Slight it 
who will, it will not be slighted by those who have experience of the 
Lord's hearing their prayers, Micah vii. 7, " I will look unto the 
Lord ; I will wait for the God of my salvation ; my God will hear 
me." Daniel was such a man ; and he would rather venture on the 
den of lions, than forego his praying to God. The neglect of it, is 
a sign of unacquaintedness witli that. 

Use II. Of direction and comfort to the people of God, in all the 
trials and troubles they meet with in the world. Here is your 
course ye should take, go to God with your case, whatever it be, and 
make your prayer to him about it, Phil. iv. 6, *' Be careful for no- 
thing ; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanks- 
giving, let your requests be made known unto God." Here is your 
comfort, God is the hearer of prayer, Isa. xlv. 19, " I said not unto 
the seed of Jacob, Seek ye my face in vain." There are four things 
I would suggest to you here for your direction and comfort. 

1. God has made the way to heaven lie through many tribula- 
tions, that his children might have the more errands to his throne of 
grace. That this is the path-road to the kingdom of God, is clear 
from scripture testimony, Acts xiv. 22, " we must through much tri- 
bulation enter into the kingdom of God ; John xvi. ult, " In the 
"world ye shall have tribulation;" and the experience of Christ the. 
Head, and the saints in all ages. That this is the design of it, ap- 
pears also from the word, Hos. v. ult. " I will go and return to my 
place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face ; in their 
affliction they will seek me early." Prosperity seldom fails to issue 
in forgetting of God, Dent, xxxii. 15. Adversity causes to feel a 
need of his help, Zeph. iii. 12. So God keeps the thorn of affliction 
at the breast of his people, to keep them waking, and sends the cross 
to invite them to the throne of grace. 

2. The way to heaven in that respect never alters, though the ex- 
ternal circumstances of the church in the world do alter. Sometimes 
there is persecution in the church, sometimes peace ; but in the 
most peaceable time of the church, God's people shall go through 

118 USE OF t;xiioktation. 

tlie world to the kingdom through much tribulation. The seed of 
the serpent will vent their enmity one way or other against the 
people of God, though they have not law on their side to bear them 
out in persecuting them. God will have his people tried, and caused 
to suflfer in their bodies, goods, liberty, and life, if not by the hands 
of persecutors, yet by his own hand one way or other. For that is 
a perpetual rule, Matth. xvi. 24, *' If any man will come after me, 
let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Luke 
xiv. 26, " 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." So there is no change, 
but only as to the means and instruments of trial. 

3. Whatever be your trial, whether it be in temporal or spiritual 
things, ye are welcome to the throne of grace with it, Phil. iv. 6, 
forecited. Whether it come on you immediately from the hand of 
God, or men, ye may carry it to God by prayer, and pour out your 
heart before him as a prayer-hearing God, in confidence that he can 
help you, and will do it in due time. 

4. The more trials and afflictions God's people meet with, the 
more experience readily they will be found to have of God's hearing 
prayer; Rom. v. 3, 4, " And not only so, but we glory in tribula- 
tions also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience 
experience ; and experience, hope." Of all the patriarchs Jacob 
had the most trials, and accordingly was richest in experiences. 
The more battles the Christian soldier is engaged in, the more is he 
enriched with spoil. The Israelites had not sung that triumphant 
song recorded Exod. xv., had they not been in that great strait at 
the Red Sea. 

Use last, of exhortation. Then, 

1. Improve your privilege of access to God through Christ in 
prayer. Since God has cast open the gates of mercy, come enter 
in by them ; since he is saying to you, " What is thy petition and 
it shall be granted thee ?" slight not the golden season of petition- 
ing. Consider, 

(1.) Your need is great. Whatever ye have or want in tempo- 
rals, surely ye need a resting place for your conscience and for 
your heart ; you need something to make you happy in time and 

(2.) The whole creation cannot answer your needs. There is an 
emptiness in every creature, that it cannot be a resting place to 
you, Isa. Iv. 2. The soul is of such a make, that no less than an in- 
finite good can satisfy it. Only God in Christ can make you happy. 

(3.) He offers to supply all your needs ; Psalm Ixxxi. 10, " I am 


the Lord thy God; open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." Ask 
in faith, and ye shall receive. 

(4.) Lastly, This door of access will not always stand open ; 
Matth. XXV. 10, 11, 12, "And while they went to buy, the bride- 
groom came, and they that were ready went in with him to the mar- 
riage, and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other vir- 
gins, saying. Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, 
Verily I say unto you, I know you not." Now is the accepted time. 

2. Be concerned for God's hearing of your prayers ; look after 
them and see what speed they come. There are two things wherein 
this concern should appear. 

(1.) In making your addresses to the throne of grace, being care- 
ful so to manage that, as ye may be accepted. They who are rash 
in their approaches to God, and careless how their petitions are 
formed and presented, cannot be duly concerned for a hearing of 
them. Labour, therefore, so to pray, as your prayers may be heard 
and accepted. 

(2.) In depending and waiting on after prayer for an answer ; 
Psalm V. 3, *' My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, Lord ; in 
the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up." Do 
not drop your suits, but insist for an answer, depending for it on the 
promise of God in his word. 

Thus far of God's hearing of prayer. I shall shut up this with a 
word to another doctrine for the use of the whole. 

Doctrine. Such is the glory of God as the hearer of prayer in 
Christ, that it will make all flesh that discerns it come unto hira. 

Here I shall shew, 

J. What is that glory of God as the hearer of prayer in Christ, 
that is so attractive. 

II. How this glory of God in Christ is discerned by a sinner. 

III. What that coming unto God is, that is the effect of discerning 
that glory. 

IV. Lastly, Deduce an inference or two. 

I. I am to shew what is that glory of God as the hearer of prayer 
in Christ, that is so attracti\e. It is twofold. 

1. The glory of his all-sufficiency ; Gen. xvii. 1, " I am God all- 
sufficient." He is not only all-sufficient for himself, but for his crea- 
tures ; if he were not so, he could not be the hearer of prayer. But 
sinners in the darkness of their natural state discern it not ; they can- 
not comprehend what way he can be so, and therefore they traverse 
the round of the creation, seeking in the creature that sufficiency ; 
till the light of the glory of God's all-sufficiency shine into their 


hearts in Christ. Then it shines unto them with a threefold ray of 

(1) An absolute suitableness to their case, which must needs be 
very glorious in their eyes, since that is what they were always 
seeking, but could never find before, according to that; Isa. Iv. 2, 
" Wherefwre 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." Therefore with the wise merchant they " sell all to buy 
the one pearl," Matth. xiii. 45, 46. The heart of man is an empty, 
hungry thing, going among the creatures seeking a match for itself, 
in which it may rest; but there they cannot find it ; but discovering 
it in a God in Christ, they are attracted with the glory of that sight. 

(2) A complete fulness for them ; Col. i. 19, " For it pleased the 
Father, that in him should all fulness dwell." In his all-sufficiency 
the soul sees the fulness of a Godhead, an infinite boundless fulness, 
to answer and satisfy the boundless desires of an immortal soul. 
That is a fountain for the thirsty soul to drink at to the full ; a 
treasure to enrich the soul oppressed with poverty ; a salve for all 
its sores, and a remedy for all its wounds. So it cannot miss to at- 

(3.) An ability to help in all possible incidents, Heb. vii. 25, 
" Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost, that 
come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession 
for them." The arm of the creature is weak in all cases, and quite 
too short in many cases; but so is not the arm of an all-sufiicient 
God ; Isa. lix 1, " Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it 
cannot save ; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear." There is 
nothing too hard for him, there is nothing that Omnipotency can 
stick at. Who can but draw towards such a one for a Friend ? 

2. The glory of his free grace and good-will to poor sinners ; 
hence the heavenly host sang; Luke ii. 14, '' Glory to God in the 
highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men." When the 
Lord would shew Moses his glory, he proclaimed the name of the 
Lord before him ; Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7, " The Lord, the Lord God, mer- 
ciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and 
truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and trans- 
gression, and sin." The glory of all-sufficiency may attract the de- 
sire of sinners; but the sinner cannot come to him, while that trea- 
sure appears to be locked up from him, a gulf fixed betwixt him and 
it. But when once an all-sufficient God appears in the glory of his 
free grace in Christ, the treasure appears open to the sinner, there 
is a bridge for him laid over the gulf ; and so he comes freely away 


to God in Christ. This sliines to tlie coming sinner with a three- 
fold ray of glory. 

(1.) Readiness to forgive sin ; Psalm cxxx. 4, 7, 8, " But there is 
forgiveness with thee; that thou raayest be feared. Let Israel hope 
in the Lord ; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plen- 
teous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his ini- 
quities." He is gracious to pardon the sins for which he might justly 
condemn the sinner ; he is willing to be reconciled to offenders, and 
receive them into peace, 2 Cor. v. 19. This is an attractive glory 
where the conscience is awakened. 

(2.) "Willingness to give and communicate all that is needful to 
make the sinner happy ; Rev. xxi. 7, " He that overcoraeth shall 
inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." 
He is gracious to give, as well as to forgive ; Hos. xiv. 2 ; not only 
to lay by his wrath against the sinner, but to load him with benefits. 

(3.) And all this freely, without any view to any worth in the 
creature, as 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." No 
condition, no qualification is required; only the sinner is welcome 
to take and have, whatever he has been. 

II. The next thing is to shew, how this glory of God in Christ is 
discerned by a sinner. 

1. The mean of discerning it is the gospel ; 2 Cor. iii. ult., " Be- 
holding as in a glass the glory of the Lord." As by means of light 
in the air we discern bodily objects, so by the means of the gospel 
we discern this glory of God, 2 Cor. iv. 4. By the law we discern 
the glory of an absolute God terrifying and confounding to a sinner, 
but by the gospel the glory of God as in Christ, attracting and re- 
freshing to a sinner, ft is as a looking-glass wherein we see the 
image of things ; 2 Cor. iii. ult. It brings before us the lovely 
image of a God in Christ reconciling the world to himself. 

2. The organ or instrument of discerning it is faith, Hab. iv. 2. 
Though there be full light in the air, and the looking-glass present- 
ing the beautiful image of a person, be set before one's face, if the 
man's eyes be out, he cannot discern it. So the glory of God in 
Christ is held forth unto men in the gospel ; but they are spiritually 
blind who are unbelievers, they perceive it not ; 1 Cor. ii. 14, " The 
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God ; for they 
are foolishness unto him ; neither can he know them, because they 
are spiritually discerned." But faith sees the glory ; John i. 14, 
" The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld 

Vol. XI. I 


his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father) full of 
grace and troth." 

3. The author of sinners discerning it is the Spirit, 2 Cor. iii. ult. 
It is he that illuminates the dark mind, that cures sinners of their 
natural blindness. He works faith in the soul, brings home the 
gospel-report to the sinner in particular, demonstrating it to be the 
word of God, and God's word to him in particular, and so makes the 
soul embrace it by believing it, Isa. liii. 1. 

III. The third head is to shew what that coming unto God is, 
that is the effect of discerning that glory. The sinner discerning 
the glory of God in Christ as the hearer of prayer, 

1. He comes away from all other doors, which before he used to 
hang about for supply. He despairs at length of coming speed 
there, Jer. iii. 22, 23, " Return ye backsliding children, and I will 
heal your backslidings ; behold, we come unto thee, for thou art the 
Lord our God. Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, 
and from the multitude of mountains; truly in the Lord our God is 
the salvation of Israel." The light of the glory of God shining into 
his heart, discovers the emptiness of all the poor shifts the sinner 
makes to get supply in his natural state of blindness. 

(1.) He comes away from the door of the empty creation, where 
he had long laboured to find a rest ; and despairs of finding it there 
any more. The profits, pleasures, comforts, and conveniencies of 
this world, appear lying vanities that can never give rest to the 
heart ; and they must have another portion ; Jer. 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." 

(2.) From the door of sin, where he expected a satisfaction in the 
fulfilling of his lusts ; and he despairs of ever finding it there. Job 
xxxiii. 27. He finds that puddle-water will not quench his thirst, 
that the pleasure of it is but short, but the pain and sting of it 

(3.) From out of the world lying in wickedness, 2 Cor. vi. 17, as 
ho would escape away from lions' dens and raountaius of leopards, 
Cant. iv. 8. He despairs of ever finding his account in the way of 
the world. 

2. He comes away unto God in Christ, for all, and instead of all ; 
Jer. iii. 22, " Behold, we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our 
God." And he comes unto him, 

(1.) As a Saviour, that will save his submissive supplicants, Jer. 
iii. 22, 23. Faith apprehends him as God our Saviour, and so comes 



to liira and trusts on hira for salvation from sin and from wratli, 
Matth. I. 21, " Thou slialt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his 
people from their sins." 

(2.) As a portion, that will eternally make up impoverished and 
ruined creatures, Psalm cxlii. 5, and in which the poor petitioner 
may find what he has so long sought for in vain, in the world and 
the way of sin. 

(3.) As his resort for ever in all his needs, whatever they shall 
be. Psalm Ixxi. 3. The soul coming unto Grod, comes to him as one 
that will never go back to another, but will hang on about his door, 
though he should die at it. 

I conclude with an inference or two. 

1. Whoso come not unto God in Christ, as a Saviour, &c., are 
certainly ignorant of him, and see him not in his glory; " For they 
that know thy name," says the psalmist, *' will put their trust in 
thee," Psalm ix. 10. 

2. Great and powerful must that glory be, which draws sinners 
from all other doors unto God. By nature we are backward to come 
unto God ; it must be a very ravishing glory that has such an eifect 
on perverse sinners. 

3. Lastly, Be concerned to discern that glory ; to discern it by 
faith, and by experience, in order to your coming to hira as your 
Saviour, portion, and continual resort. 


2 Con. viii. 12, 

For if there he first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a 

inan hath, and 7Wt according to that he hath not. 

The Christians in Judea being in much distress and poverty, there 
was a contribution through the churches of the Gentiles for them. 
The communion of saints extends not only to spiritual, but temporal 
things too ; that tliey be ready to help one another out of their sub- 
stance. And this communication of worldly things to the supply of 
the saints, is not confined to those of our own church ; but is to be 
extended to strangers on occasion, at the greatest distance. The 

* The substance of several sermons preached at Etterick in the year 1726. 



gospel came from Jndea to the Gentiles ; and now money must go 
from the Gentiles for the relief of those of Jadea. Hereby God 
took a trial of the Gentile churches, their love to, and esteem of, 
the gospel. Many will pretend to great esteem of the gospel, but 
they must have it for nothing. Any of their money that is desired for 
any public use, for the furtherance of the gospel, it is all accounted 

This contribution is here recommended to the Corinthians. They 
readily fell in with the proposal, ver. 11- Now they are desired to 
pejform, each according to his ability. 

In the text, an objection of the poorer sort is answered, who might 
fear that any thing they had to give was so little, that it would not 
be accepted. In answer thereto, they are told that God regards 
men's works rather by the quality than the quantity ; by the mind 
it is given with, rather than by the thing given. 

1. The case of acceptance is put, " If there be first a willing mind, 
it is accepted." The acceptance here is of a man's work, not of his 
person ; though the former always presupposeth the latter, in the 
gospel way. And it refers to God, for he only can judge with what 
mind a thing is done. Now God accepts a man's service, if there be 
first a willing mind ; that is, a readiness and good will to the work 
of his service. If the heart go before and lead the hand, it is accept- 
ed ; otherwise it is not. 

2. "What regard is had in this acceptance of one's work to the 
quantity of it. (1.) That it be according to one's ability, that it be 
done to his power. Some are able to do more, and be more useful 
than others; but if men have a willingness to the work, and do 
what they are able accordingly, it is accepted through Christ ; his 
that can do but little, as well as his that can do much. But this 
cuts off" the pretences of those who content themselves with lazy 
wishes, and lay not out themselves to do what they may do. (2.) 
That want of power to do more, shall not mar the acceptance of 
what is done according to power with a willing mind, Mark xii. 43. 
The Lord will take the little piece of service off his people's hand, 
when the heart is right ; as well as the great service of those of his 
that have great abilities. Not but that where the inability is 
brought on by people's own fault, it is their sin that they do not do 
more ; but that sin shall be forgiven them, and what they do be ac- 
cepted, " if there be first a willing mind." 

The scope and substance of the text may be taken up in the fol- 
lowing doctrines. 

Doctrine I. Works may be done in service to God, that are not 
accepted of him. 


Doctrine II. It should be our main concern in our works, that 
they may be accepted of God. 

DociEiNE III. Where there is a willing mind carrying out a man 
to do and serve the Lord to his ability, what is so done is accepted 
of God. 

Doctrine IY. "Want of power to do more, shall not mar the ac- 
ceptance of what is done from a willing mind according to one's 
power. In that case, God will accept of his people's will for the 

I shall speak to each of these doctrines in order. 

Doctrine I. Works may be done in service to God, that are not 
accepted of him. 

In treating this point, I shall, 

I. Confirm the doctrine. 

II. Assign the reasons thereof. 

III. Make some improvement. 

1. In order to confirm the doctrine, consider, 

1. Oft-times God hide? his face from the man and his work too, 
and people have no communion with God in their services to him ; 
Hos. V. 6, *' They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to 
seek the Lord ; but they shall not find him, he hath withdrawn him- 
self from them." When a master will not look on his servant's 
work, it is an evidence he is not pleased with him, nor it, Isa. i. 15. 
This may be the case of the godly sometimes, and it is the case of 
the wicked always. how many lost services are there this way. 

2. Such services may be so far from being accepted, that they are 
really loathsome to a holy God ; Prov- xv. 8, *' The sacrifice of the 
wicked is an abomination to the Lord." He reckons them to be to 
no purpose, he is full of them, they are vain in his esteem, he can- 
not endure them, they are a trouble, a burden, and a weariness to 
him, Isa. i. 11 — 14. So it is often fulfilled in this case, " That which 
is highly esteemed amongst men, is abomination in the sight of God," 
Luke xvi. 15 The man thinks highly of his own work, and others do 
so too; but in the mean time God abhors it. 

3. God may put such services out of the roll of services to him, 
and set them down in the roll of sins against hira. That is a terri.- 
ble word, Jer. vii. 21, " Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of 
Israel, put your burnt-ofi'criugs unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh;" 
i.e., Put your sacrifices that should be all burnt on the altar, to your 
other sacrifices, and eat all together as common flesh to fill your 
bellies; ^.c?.. Let your prayers, and your common discourse, your 
hearing of sermons and yonr idle talcs go together; I esteem the 


one no more than the other. And that ia another dreadful word ; 
Amos iv. 4, " Come to Bethel and transgress, at Gilgal multiply 
transgression ; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your 
tithes after three years ;" q.d., Go to your knees now, and take the 
name of God in vain ; go to the church, and put off a little time of 
a Sabbath day. 

4. They may bring a curse and a stroke on men, instead of a 
blessing and token of God's favour; Hos. viii. 13, "They sacrifice 
flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it ; but the Lord 
accepteth them not ; now will he remember their iniquity and visit 
their sins." Nadab and Abihu were consumed by a fire that came 
out from the altar they were serving at ; Ananias and Sapphira 
were struck dead on occasion of selling their laud for the service of 
the church ; and men may be smothered with the dung of their sa- 
crifices spread on their faces, Mai. ii. 3. 

5- Lastlt/, This may take place while the service stands the man 
both cost and pains. The Israelites were at cost for spices for the 
altar, but all was rejected, Jer. vi. 20; they were at pains in attend- 
ing ordinances, and endured a stress in fasting, but all to no pur- 
pose, Isa. Iviii. 2, 3. Bodily exercise profiteth little before God, 
who is a Spirit, and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth. 

II. I am next to render the reasons of the point, That works may 
be done in service to God, that are not accepted of him. God is no 
austere master, but very indulgent to his servants, and will take a 
very small service kindly off their hands ; but men often serve him in 
a way that is provoking to him, and to his dishonour ; and thence 
are the reasons why their services are not accepted. 

1. Sometimes that is ofiered for service to God, that is forbidden 
by him, Johu xvi. 2, '' They shall put you out of the synagogues : 
yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he 
doth God service." A blinded conscience gets the leading of a man, 
and leads him out of the way of God ; it dictates what is sin to be 
duty, and what is duty to be sin ; so that the man thinks he is serv- 
ing God, while he is really serving his own corruptions ; and so 
instead of a " Well done, good and faithful servant," he meets with 
a '' Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil ; that put dark- 
ness for light, and light for darkness," Isa. v. 20; and " lies down" 
at Itngth " in sorrow," Isa. 1. ult. 

2. Sometimes that is oft'ered that is not commanded or required ; 
Matth. XV. 9, " In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines 
the commandments of men." Nothing can be acceptable to God, 
but what is required by some one or other command of his ; " for 
whatsoever is not of faith, is sin," Rom. xiv. ult. See Isa. i. 12. 


Horrid idolatry is condemned on that very ground, that it was un- 
commanded service, Jer, vii. 31. It is an affront to the sovereignty 
of God, and his mastership, for men to order his service according 
to the devices of their own hearts, and not to keep precisely to his 
orders. Hence are the superstitions of Popery, and the uuiustituted 
ceremonies of the Church of England, which are the product of hu- 
man device, without any countenance from the word of God. 

3. Ofttimes, though the work be commanded of God, yet it is 
marred in the making. There is something about the person, or the 
work, that ruins all. 

1st, About the person, that mars the acceptance. As, 

(1.) He may be in a state of separation from Christ, not united to 
him by faith, and so not accepted of God, John xv. 5. No accept- 
able work can be done by any man while he is out of Christ ; Eph. ii. 
10. For a man's person must be accepted, before his work can be 
accepted, since his work being imperfect, cannot procure the accept- 
ance of his person. Now no sinner's person is accepted but in Christ, 
Eph. i. 6, and we come to be in Christ by faith ; therefore faith in 
Christ must go before acceptable obedience, Heb. xi. 6. Faith makes 
the tree good, ere it can bring forth good fruit, Matth. vii. 17. And 
no fruit of obedience is accepted of God, but what grows on a branch 
of Christ the true vine. The blasting curse lies on all other. See 
Gen. vi. 9. 

(2.) He may be in a state of enmity with God ; and as no man 
will like the services of his enemies, so God will not accept the ser- 
vices of one not reconciled to him ; Amos iii. 3, '' Can two walk to- 
gether, except they be agreed?" Every unbeliever is an enemy to 
God, Rom. viii. 7, for his sin remains unpardoned, and his nature 
unchanged; and therefore his best works are but splendid sins, him- 
self but a whited sepulchre ; and when he speaks and acts fairest, 
there are seven abominations in his heart. How then can an all- 
seeing God accept such services ? 

(3.) He may be an unregenerate man, and so like Simon " in the 
gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity," Acts viii. 23. Who- 
soever are out of Clirist, are unregenerate ; for it is by being in him, 
and so partaking of his Spirit and fulness, that we become new crea- 
tures, 2 Cor. V. 17; Eph. i. 13. Now how can the corrupt trte 
bring forth good fruit? or the old nature acceptable obedience ? If 
the fountain be poisoned, can the streams be wholesome ? Could 
one like the best liquor in a vessel wherein there is no pleasure ? 

(4.) He may be habitually unholy or profane in his life, or as to 
the body of his conversation ; Prov. xxviii. 9, " He that turneth away 
his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination." 


So the Lord rejects tLe sacrifices of the Israelites, Isa. i. 15, 16 
The Psalmist tells us, that " the man who sliall ascend into the hill 
of the Lord, and stand in his holy place," must " have clean hands, 
and a pure heart," Psalra xxiv. 3, 4. The apostle wills to " lift up 
holy hands, without wrath and doubting ;" 1 Tim. ii. 8, if we would 
be accepted. Their conversation must be of a piece, whose works will 
be accepted ; for God will never accept the services of men, that for 
the most part serve the devil, the world, and their lusts. Many are 
like the harlot; Prov vii. 13, 14, as if they thought their duties 
would purge away their sins. Nay but tiieir sinful courses otherwise 
will pollute and render abominable their duties. Hag. ii. 11 — 14. 

2dly, About the work, that may mar its acceptance. 

(1.) It may be none of the work of the Spirit of Christ in the 
man, but proceeding from a man's self allenarly. All good works 
accepted of God are the product of the Holy Spirit in believers, as 
the sap which the vine-stock communicates to the branches. There- 
fore to " the works of the tlesh ;" Gal. v. 19, are opposed " the fruits 
of the Spirit ;" ver. 22. Aud '' all goodness is the fruit of the 
Spirit ;" Eph. v. 9, and a Christian's life is " a walking after the 
Spirit ;" Rom. viii. 1, as a borrowed life. And as no common hearth- 
fire could be accepted at the altar, but only the holy fire that came 
from heaven ; so no work will be offered to the Father for ac- 
ceptance by the Son, but what is the work of his own Spirit ; and 
no work will be accepted by the Father, but what is offered by the 
Son as intercessor. See Eph ii. 18. See what prayer is accepted, 
Jam. V. 16. Not the prayer of every one, but of a " righteous man ;" 
not every prayer of a righteous man neither, but " the inwrought"' 
{Gr.) " prayer" of his, viz. that which is inwrought by the Spirit. 

(2.) It may be no work of love to God, or of a willing mind ; but 
done awkwardly and against the grain; 1 Tim i. 5; some bye-cou- 
sideraiions moving the man to serve the Lord ; and no liliing of him 
or his service. Forced service can never be accepted, that which 
people are constrained to. It is the obedience of slaves, not of sons, 
that natural men do perform ; and flows from a spirit of fear, more 
than a spirit of love ; 2 Tim. i. 7. See Isa. Ixiv. 5. 

(3.) It may be not done in faith, and so cannot be accepted ; Heb. 
xi. 6. Acceptable service is done in the faith of the command, having 
authority on the man's conscience; aud in the faith of the promise, the 
promise of strength to perform, and the faith of the reward of grace, 
believing the labour shall not be in vain in the Lord, 1 Cor. xv. 
ult. But instead of that, most of our good works are done without 
any regard to God's authority, without any deiieudence on him for 
strength, and without the true hope of the gratuitous reward of 
grace won by Christ to be communicated to us. 

now A tekson's woek may not be accepted. 129 

(4.) It may be done selfishly ; men seeking their own profit in 
them, more than God's honour ; seeking to please their own con- 
science that otherwise will not let them rest, rather than to please 
God ; seeking a name to themselves, rather than to glorify his name ; 
and to save their own souls from hell by them, rather than to tes- 
tify tlieir thankfulness to the Saviour, who has purchased salvation 
by his blood. This is to pervert the end of duties, to use them for 
unhallowed ends ; in a word, to serve ourselves, and not God ; and 
therefore no more to be accepted than a servant's working his own 
instead of his master's work, H03. ix. 4 ; Zech. vii. 6. Yea good 
things may be done downrig!it to serve a lust, or to satisfy a pas- 
sion, Matth. xxiii. 14 ; 2 Sam. iii. 9. 

(5.) It may be done by chance rather than design; Lev. xxvi. 21 ; 
(Heb.) There are who are chance-customers to religion, who fall in 
with a good work, rather because it falls in their way, than because 
God lays it in their way ; as the Danites, Judg. xviii. 5, God looks 
to the heart, and undesigned service to him will be reckoned no ser- 
ving of him, but serving one's own fancy. This is another thing than 
one's embracing an opportunity which the Lord puts in his hand ; 
Gal. vi. 10, wherein one is glad of an occasion of serving God. 

(6.) It may be done by the power of custom, rather than of con- 
science. Custom, fallen into by education, or otherwise, is the 
spring of many duties done by men ; wherein men move, by that, 
as a clock by the weights ; rather than from an inward principle; 
which can never be acceptabls to the heart-searching God, who re- 
quires reasonable service. 

(7.) It may be done in a slighting manner, dealing scrimply and 
grudgingly with God. As when there is no proportion between the 
work and one's ability, as in the rich men casting in their little 
piece of brass-money, Mark xii. 41 ; when men ofi'er to God, not the 
best, but the most worthless they have ; so did Cain, Gen. iv. 3, 4. 
Thus men by thinking any thing may serve in the service of God, 
pour contempt on the holy One, and bring on themselves a curse 
instead of a blessing ; Mai. i. 14. 

(8 ) Lastly, When it is not offered to God for acceptance through 
Christ. It is God's appointment ; Col. iii. 17, " Whatsoever ye do 
in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." A young 
pigeon would have been accepted on the altar of Jerusalem, when 
a bullock would not have been accepted on the altar of Bethel. 
If the service of men be never so great and costly, if it is offered to 
God otherwise, and the acceptance of it looked for because of its 
own worth, it will be rejected, Rev. vii. 14. No works savour with 
God, but as tlicy savour of Ciirist, 2 Cor. ii. 15. 


I now proceed to make some short improvement of what has been 

1. People may do much in the service of God, and yet do nothing 
to purpose, Eccl. x. 15. A man may go ma.iy a weary foot, and 
yet never come to the place he designed, while he wanders from the 
right way, 2 John 8, Such wanderers in religion are all uure- 
generate men, who set about duties; they are busy doing nothing. 
They do many good things like Herod, and yet they never do one 
thing acceptably. For their persons are not accepted; and so their 
works cannot be so. 

2. Even among the duties of a godly man, there may be much re- 
fuse ; many unaccepted duties. A believer's person is always ac- 
cepted of God, Eph. i. 6, for the state of justification is perpetual- 
But such may be the prevalence of faithlessness, selfishness, &c., in 
some particular works of his, that they may never come to be ac- 
cepted of God ; for sanctification has its ups and downs, being liable 
to many changes. 

3. How little reason is there to boast of our works ! There is 
nothing we can do, can be accepted for its own worth. If it be 
accepted, the meanness of it is seen, the soul is humbled, and no ac- 
ceptance of is looked for, but for the sake of Christ. If we be so 
conceited of our work, as to boast of it; it is an evidence that God 
accepts it not ; hence said our Lord unto the Pharisees, Luke xvi. 
15, " Te are they which justify yourselves before men; but God 
knoweth your hearts ; for that which is highly esteemed amongst 
men, is abomination in tlie sight of God." 

4. What will come of them that do nothing in the service of God 
at all; bnt live in the habitual neglect of known duties, are prayer- 
less, slighters of the means of grace, &c. ? I Pet. iv. 18. If they 
that set off to the heavenly city may miss the way, and never reach 
it; sure those that sit still, and never move that way, will never see 
it. Many soothe themselves in the neglect of duties, because some 
that do them walk so unlike them ; but tlie case of such is very dan- 
gerous ; for no habitual neglecters of duties can be saved ; and it is 
in vain for men to make the practice of others an excuse for evil 

5. Lasfly, Take heed how ye perform duties, and satisfy not your- 
selves with the bare performance, without being solicitous as to the 
manner, Luke viii. 18. Better is oue duty so managed as to be ac- 
cepted than a hundred otlierwise; as one piece of gold is more 
worth than a hundred counters. But this brings me to 

DocTKiNE II. It should be our main concern in our works that 


tliey may be accepted of God. 
Ill handling this point, I shall 

I. Shew what is the acceptance of our works with God. 

II. Give the reasons of the doctrine. 

III. Make improvement. 

I. I shall shew what is the acceptance of onr works with God. It 
lies in these two things. 

1. Ilis being pleased with them ; Col. i. 10, " That ye might walk 
worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing." The accepted work God ap- 
proves of, and is well pleased with. Though the saints do no works 
that they are every way pleased with themselves; yet there are 
some works of theirs that are very pleasing to God. He delights in 
them, Prov. xv. 8. They are sweet to him, as honey to the mouth, 
Cant. V. 1. They are sweet as music to the ear, and as beauty to 
the eye. Cant, ii- 14. 

This pre-supposeth them to be good, and agreeable to his will. 
For evil cannot be pleasing to him, Psalm v. 4. He who is goodness 
itself, can never be pleased but with what is good, Heb. xiii. 16. 
The unregenerate do nothing good, Psalm xiv. 2, 3, and so nothing 
they do is accepted, Heb. xi. 6. The saints do some things good, 
some things evil ; the good is accepted, and the refuse is cast away. 

2. His taking them off their hand, as service done to him. God 
testified his acceptance of the sacrifice by fire. Lev. ix. ult. for the 
fire made them go up in flames towards heaven, Judg. xiii. 20. See 
Psalm XX. 3, Gen. iv. 4, 5. So he received them off their hand. 
He reckons such a work a piece of service done to him, sets it down 
as it were in his book, in due time to give it a reward of grace, Lev. 
vii. 18, Mai. iii. 16. 

Hence is the after-notice God takes of the good works of his 
people ; — in time, as it fared with Moses, who, refusing to be called 
the son of Pharaoh's daughter, was afterwards advanced to be king 
in Jeshurun ; — in eternity, as Matth. xxv. He will not forget any 
of them, Heb. vi. 10, but a plentiful sowing of them will have a 
plentiful reaping. So they are the surest riches, 1 Tim. vi. 18. 
Not that the reward is given for their sake, but for Christ's sake ; 
and such is the covenant connection. 

Question. How can any of our Avorks bo accepted of a holy God, 
or he be well pleased with them, &c , since there is so much sinful- 
ness attending the best of them ? 

Answer 1. In point of justification they are not, nor cannot be 
accepted ; i. e. our persons cannot be accepted as righteous for our 
works, since they are not legally perfect, perfect in every point. 
In the way of the covenant of works, the work was first to be ac- 


cepted for its own sake, as absolutely perfect; and then the person 
for the works' sake. So that whosoever seek by their works to be 
accepted of God, they go back to the covenant of works ; and must 
either bring works every way perfect, or be rejected ; and because 
they cannot do such works, " therefore by the works of the law 
shall no flesh be justified," Gal. ii. 16. 

2. In point of sanctification the good works of the justified may 
be accepted ; i. e. one's person being accepted, his works may be ac- 
cepted, being evangelically perfect, though not legally ; being per- 
fect in parts, though not in degrees. For in the way of the co- 
venant of grace, the person is first accepted in Christ, and then his 
work though imperfect. Hence it appears, 

(1.) That to a person's being accepted of God in Christ, there is 
no working, but believing required ; Mark v. 36. For till the per- 
son be accepted of God in Christ, he can do no acceptable work. He 
can yield no savoury fruit till he be ingrafted by faith in Christ. 

(2.) That the way to bring sinners to good works, is to bring 
them to Christ in the first place by faith, that they may be justified 
and accepted in him. Men may be made proud legalists otherwise, 
but not evangelical Christians ; whited sepulchres, but still full of 

(3.) That there is very good reason why the good works of un- 
believers are rejected, because they are imperfect ; and yet the good 
works of believers are accepted, though they be imperfect. For be- 
sides that the principle, motives, and ends of their works are vastly 
difi'erent, there is a great odds between, 

[1.] Their states. The one is the King's friend, the other an 
enemy ; the one the King's son, the other but his hired servant- If 
a man is pleased with a little piece of service that his own child 
does him, can the hired servant expect that as little will be taken 
off his hand? Can our enemy expect the same acceptancj of his 
service, as our friend ? 

[2J The desired acceptance. The unbeliever desires his work 
may be accepted for his salvation ; but the believer desires his work 
may be accepted as only a token of his gratitude to his Saviour, who 
has saved him already. Can any man rationally think, that as little 
can be accepted at his hand, for the price of salvation, as may be 
accepted for an acknowledgment of salvation received ? 

But further to clear this question, consider, 

1. Even the acceptance in point of sanctification, is not for the 
sake of the work itself, nor for the worker's sake neither; but for 
Christ's sake, and by the means of his intercession. This is clear 
froui the necessity of Christ's intercession to the acceptance uf our 


works ; and tliat intercession being a pleading of the merit of his 
own obedience and death ; Col. iii. 17 ; Rev. vii. 14, and v^iii. 3. It 
is for the same merit of Christ, that first the believer himself, and 
then his imperfect works are accepted of God. 

2. The sinfulness and imperfections that attend the works of the 
believer, are not, nor cannot be ever accepted. God is displeased 
and angry with the dross of sin that cleaves to the believer's best 
performances ; and he never is so well pleased with the good in 
them, as to accept the ill too. Yea, he may write his indignation 
against these, when he is pleased with the substance of the work. 

3. The main of the accepted work is good, however sinfulness at- 
tends it. For the matter of it, it is commanded ; for the form of 
it, it proceeds from aright principle, the love of God; it is done 
in faith, and to the glory of God. And this is the work of 
God's own Spirit in the believer ; the weaknesses that attend 
it, proceed from the believer himself. And such works as are 
good in the main, God will not reject, for the infirmities that attend 
them. As for those works even of believers that are not thus good 
in the main, they are not at all accepted. 

4. Christ separates the precious from the vile part, and offers the 
former perfumed with his merit, unto the Father for acceptance, 
Heb. X. 21, 22; Rev. viii. 3. In every sacrifice there were two very 
different things, the flesh and the skin and dung. The former came 
to the altar, the latter never. So Christ separates in a believer's 
duties that which is from his own Spirit, and that which is from the 
believer himself puts away this, and presents that to his Father. 
This was lively represented in the burning of the incense, where the 
fire being set to it, the finer part went up in flame and smoke, to- 
wards heaven ; and the gross part, the ashes, remained, and a 
priest eame and carried them away in a golden dish. So is the case 
here, — the finer part in the saints' services, that which is done by the 
assistance of the Spirit and in faith, ascends to heaven for accept- 
ance ; and the ashes that remain are carried away, in virtue of the 
free promise, Ezek, xxxvi. 25. 

5. Lastly, The Father then accepts the precious part for the Son's 
sake, and for the same sake pardons the guilt of the vile part, the 
infirmities attending it. Rev. viii. 4 ; Psalm cxli. 2. The accepted 
duties go through two hands, first the believer's, then Christ's; their 
prayers are first said on earth by themselves, then they are repeated 
in heaven by the Mediator. It is from the second hand only, and 
on the repetition only, that they are accepted, 1 Kings viii. 32 ; and 
in the second hand, and on the repetition, they are not so bulky, but 

II. I shall next give the reasons of the point, That it should be 


our main concern in our works that they may bo accepted of God. 

1. As God is the first cause, so he is the chief end of all things ; 
Rom. xi. ult., " For of him, and through him, and to him are all 
things." So as we are his creatures, our chief end in all our duties 
should be to please him ; as all the waters coming from the sea do 
return to it again. This was the duty of Adam in the covenant of 
works, as sure as he was not to have another God, as in the first 
command ; though he was to gain life by his works, which we are 
not, and therefore it is surely ours much more. 

2. Our duties are a matter of gratitude ; we owe them to God, 
not only in point of justice, but thankfulness, for benefits received, 
creation, preservation, and redemption; Exod. xx. 2, "lam the 
Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, 
out of the house bondage." We are in debt to him, and we cannot 
pay, but only acknowledge by small tokens, Hos. xiv. 2. If we are 
to ofi'er to a fellow creature a token of our obligation to him, the 
first question is. What is it that I can give that will be most ac- 
ceptable to him ? How mnch more should the first question be, What 
is it that I can give that will be most acceptable to God ? 

3. God looks mainly to the heart with which a duty is done, and 
knows whether he gets it or not, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. Though a ser- 
vant do well, yet if he hath no regard to his master's pleasure in 
what he docs, it is disobliging ; and whatever men do, if it is not 
their main aim to please God, it is provoking. Our aims may be 
hid from men ; but they are as open to God as our overt actions. 

4. Lastly, It is a necessary ingredient in a good work, so that a 
work cannot be good without it, 1 Cor. x. 31. For such a work is 
pointed wrong as to the end of it, Zech. vii. 5. It is a sacrifice 
wanting the heart, the thing that God mainly requires and delights 
in, Prov. xxiii. 26. So whatever we may account it, God will not 
account it a good work. 

I come now to the practical improvement of this doctrine, which I 
shall discuss in a twofold use, viz., of conviction, and of exhortation. 

Use I. This doctrine may serve for conviction, humiliation, and 
reproof to men, who generally are strangers to it, and at best very 
defective in it. It may convict men, 

1. In point of ill works. These are fruitful in the world, things 
that are altogether evil, and cannot be good, Gal. v. 19. In the 
midst of gospel-light they overflow, and there is no true repentance 
for them, because there is no reformation. To such workers I 
would say, 

(1.) How far are ye from regarding at all God's acceptance of 


your works, who take the liberty to do against the letter of his 
law, what ye know his soul abhors ? The drunkard, swearer, sab- 
bath-breaker, or unclean person, is not so abandoned as to think 
tliat these his actions can please God. But the truth is, the pleasing 
of God is what he is not anxious about, but he is resolved to please 
himself in his lust, let his Maker take it as he will. What must be 
the end of these things ? Rom. i. 18, " For the wrath of God is re- 
vealed from heaven against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of 
men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness." 

(2.) Ye thereby evidence, that it is not the pleasing of God, but 
yourselves, that ye seek in your good works ; and that therefore 
your ill works and your good works will all go one way, being re- 
jected of God ; your swearing and your praying, &c. will be reckon- 
ed all one. If it were your main design in one thing to please God, 
it would be so in all, Jam. ii. 10, 11 ; and therefore since ye do 
not endeavour to please him in all, know that ye can please him in 
nothing; Psalm cxxv. ult., " As for such as turn aside unto their 
crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of 

2. In point of good works, namely, those that for the matter of 
them are good, wherein men may be accepted of God, if they rightly 
manage them. These are of three sorts : — 

1st, Natural good works, such as eating and drinking, sleeping, 
&c. I call them good works, because they are commanded of God, 
are necessary to be done, and it would be sin to omit them. They are 
duties of the sixth command, the neglect whereof is sinful, Col. ii. ult., 
and one may be accepted of God in them, Rom. xiv. 3, or rejected 
of him, Zech. vii. 6. Bring these works of ours to this rule. That 
it should be our main concern in our works, that they may be accept- 
ed of God ; and how may we stand convicted of, 

(1.) Regardlessness of God's approbation and acceptance in these 
things ; having no eye to God in them, but going about them as men 
without God in the world, or as beasts, Matth. xxiv. 38, without any 
regard to God's command requiring our use of them, dependence on 
God for the benefit of them, or design to be strengthened by them 
for serving God in the duties of religion and our particular calling. 

(2.) Dishonouring of God in them. In the way of purchasing them, 
many an ill shift is made for the belly ; and if men can get it, to satisfy 
the appetite, they are not anxious about their right to it before God, 
whether it be with a good conscience their own bread, got with ho- 
nest labour and industry, 2 Thess. iii. 12 ; or whether doing their 
utmost with their industry, they have a right to it as charitable 
supply. In the way of using them, without conscientious raodera- 


tion, by gluttony or drunkenness; a sinful eagerness to satisfy a lust 
for them ; and unfitting themselves for the service of God by them. 

It is but a little the time of eating and drinking will last; there 
is an eternity to be spent without them. If we endeavour to be ac- 
cepted of God in them while they last, it will be our comfort when 
we shall for ever lay them aside ; if not, the regardlessness and dis- 
honouring of God in them, will be an eternal sting in the con- 

2dhj, Civil good works, which are the duties of men's station, in 
the common affairs of this life ; such as the management of family 
affairs, the duties of service, of a man's lawful trade or employ- 
ment. These are good works on the matter, being commanded 
of God, and in which one is to walk with God, 1 Cor. vii. 24 ; and 
therein one may be accepted, Eccl. ix. 1, or rejected, Prov. xxi. 4. 
Here again men may be convicted of, 

(1.) Regardlessness of God's acceptance, Luke xvii. 28. These 
things mostly are managed without any eye to God, or to be ac- 
cepted of him in them. His command and call by his providence unto 
them is not waited for; or if men have it, yet they do not regard 
it, to go about their business under a sense of God's command, Eph. 
vi. 7. The Lord is not looked to for direction, but men trust them- 
selves for conduct in these matters, Prov. iii. 5, 6. He is not de- 
pended on for success, but men are either flushed with presumptu- 
ous confidence, or tormenting anxiety as to events, Psalm cxxvii. 1. 
And not God's word is the rule they act by in them, but their own 
worldly interest or ease. 

(2.) Dishonouring God in them. As by pride, passion, and self- 
ishness, which are to be found in people's managing of their family 
affairs ; if they get their business done, there is no concern how their 
families should serve the Lord. He is dishonoured by the unfaith- 
fulness, dishonesty, eye-service, and perverseness of servants ; and 
dishonoured by the lying, cheating, and injustice used by men in 
their dealings in their several employments. 

These things are but time things either; and all the hurry of 
worldly business will be hushed ere long; and death will draw the 
busiest man out of the throng, as clean as if he had never been in it, 
Eccl. ix. 6. It will be your interest to seek to be accepted of God 
in them; otherwise ye will lay up bitterness from them, that will be 
lasting when they are gone for ever. 

Mly, Religious good works, the duties whether of the first or se- 
cond table, which are duties of our Christian calling, such as prayer, 
giving alms, &c. In them also men may here be convicted of, 

(1.) Regardlessness of God's acceptance in them. Men proclaim 


this by their rash approaching to them, without coiisideriag what 
they are to be about, Eccl. v. 1 ; by their formality iu them, satisfy- 
ing themselves with the doing of the thing, without any anxiety to 
get their hearts up to the duty, to do it in a right manner, which is 
mere bodily exercise, 1 Tim. iv. 8; and their carelessness after 
them, unconcernedness as to their success, Avhen once the task is off 
their hand, Psalm v. 3. 

(2.) Making other things our main concern in them : As, [1.] A 
name for religion, Matth. vi. 2. An unholy heart, that is an enemy 
to religion at bottom, may be very fond of a name for it. And to 
advance this empty name, many times good gifts are prostituted, 
and enlargements in duty, and great performances for God ; all of 
them running in that channel of ambition, to be highly esteemed 
of men as religious. [2.] Some worldly interest, John vi. 26, 27. 
So it was with Jehu. They will please men for their carnal inter- 
est, and do religious duties to please men. Often doth the fear of 
men go deeper here than the fear of God; and the loss of some 
worldly interest deeper than the loss of the soul. [3.] Peace in 
their own minds. There is a conscience within men that will drive 
to duty, when there is no love to God drawing ; so men by such du- 
ties rather seek to please themselves than to please God. And, 
(1.) To keep conscience quiet, while it is quiet ; so duties are made 
a bribe to cause conscience hold its tongue. And certain it is, that 
many could not live so quietly in their sins as they do, were it not 
for their duties, as appears from the case of the adulterous whore, Prov. 
vii. 14, 15. This is the reason that publicans and harlots enter into 
the kingdom of heaven before Pharisees ; and Laodicea's case was 
the most hopeless of all the seven churches. (2.) To still it again 
when it is roused, Psalm Ixxviii. 34. Men may be very anxious for 
comfort by duty, that have no concern for sanctification thereby. 
[4.] Salvation from hell and wrath, Matth.- xix. 16 — 20. One may 
follow duties on this account, without any love to God, as appears 
ver. 22, " But when the young man heard that saying, he went away 
sorrowful : for he had great possessions." Self is a strong motive, 
and heaven and hell are strong arguments for duty ; but the misery 
is, they seek not God for himself, but for themselves, and so are re- 
jected, 2 Tim. i. 7- 

In these duties we are now on our trials for heaven; in a littk; 
the sentence will be passed, according to our works. And those 
who are not now accepted of God in their duties, will then bo re- 
jected of God for ever. 

Use II. Let it be your main concern in your works, that tliey 

Voii. xr. K 


may be accepted of Grod ; whether they be natural, civil, or religions. 
For motives, consider, 

1. This is a distinguishing character of one's state, whereby ye 
will prove yourselves either gracious or graceless. It is a native 
result of justification and acceptance of one's person with God, to be 
mainly concerned for God's acceptance of them in their work, 2 Cor. 
V. 9, So Noah's integrity and uprightness is traced to his justifica- 
tion as the source. Gen. vi. 9. For so the love of Christ constrains. 
Whereas the soul being in a state of enmity with God, natively is- 
sues in no concern to please him. 

2. God is a great God and King, infinitely above the greatest on 
earth ; he cannot be profited by our services, but requires us to 
labour to please him in them, Mai. i. 14. He gave us our being, 
and hath put each of us in our station, and carved out our work for 
us ; whence it necessarily follows, that it should be our main con- 
cern to please him, 2 Tim. ii. 4. And would men moi-e narrowly 
consider this, that it is God that has set them their business and 
station, and consequently, that he will call for the account of our 
work, it would stir them up to make it their main care in their 
works, that they may be accepted of him. 

3. There is a costly provision of an altar on which our sacrifices 
of praise may be accepted, Heb. xiii. 10, 15. There was nothing a 
sinner could have done, that could have been accepted, had there 
not been an altar to sanctify the gift. Now it is provided, a cruci- 
fied Christ is that altar ; he by his death has become a proper inter- 
cessor for acceptance, both of our persons and our works. How 
heinous will our sin be, if we seek not to bring our gift to this 
altar, for acceptance with God ? 

4. Whatever good work, natural, civil, or religious, we do, may 
be accepted of God, as pleasing service to him through Christ, 
Ileb. xiii. 15, 13. Men are hugely mistaken to think that it is 
only works strictly called religious, that God accepts as service to 
him ; nay, whatever God calls for at thy hand, as to tend the 
sheep, as well as to attend his worship, if thou act in it to please 
him, and offer it to him for acceptance through Christ, it will be ac- 
cepted. Col. iii. 23, 24. It is observable, that the apostle having 
given that general direction, ver. 17, " Whatsoever ye do in word 
or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus," &c. falls immediately 
on relative duties, ver. 18, " Wives, submit yourselves unto your 
own husbands," &c. 

5. The example of Christ may be very moving here, Rom. xv. 3, 
"For even Christ pleased not himself." His work was heavy work, but 
to please his Father he undertook it, set about it, and went through 


with it, John viii. 29, Psalm xl. and John iv. 34. And shall not we be 
concerned to i^lease him in our imperfect works, to please whom 
Christ laid down his life ? 

6. If ye be mainly concerned for acceptance with God in your 
work, ye may expect help from the Lord in it. The waters and 
rivers run all to the sea, and so they are fed again by the sea, that 
they never run dry. That work that has God's pleasure for its 
end will get God's hand to it for its help, Phil. ii. 12, 13, Prov. iii. 
6. The man that slights God in his natural and civil actions, pro- 
vokes God to leave him in them, Josh. ix. 14, and then his own un- 
derstanding that he leaned to, proves folly. And he that slights 
God in his religions duties does the same, and his gifts prove a 
broken reed. 

7. Whatever be the success of your work, ye will have solid peace, 
satisfaction, and comfort, in your having been mainly concerned in 
your works for God's acceptance, Isa. xlix. 4. Men are great fools, 
to promise themselves success on their own wise management of their 
natural and civil actions. It has been a truth from the beginning, 
and will be to the end of the world, that "• the race is not to the 
swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor 
yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill, Eccl. 
ix. 11. And it is equally foolish to expect the world's thanks for 
doing them a good turn ; for ye will be fair to be disappointed, 
2 Tim. iii. 1, 2, and look blunt on the disappointment. Nay, such 
an ill-natured world it is, that it is one to a thousand if they be not 
heavy on you for it. For, says Solomon, Eccl. iv. 4, '' I considered 
all travel, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of 
his neighbour." But when this is one's main concern, he has what 
he looked for ; 2 Cor. i. 12, " For our rejoicing is this, the testimony 
of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with 
fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversa- 
tion in the world, and more abundantly to you-wards." 

8. If ye do not thus, your works will be lost ; lost with God, and 
lost for eternity ; and if that be, all that ye will find of them in the 
world, will be little worth, Matth. vi. 2. This is our sowing time, 
good works are the seed ; will it not be sad to lose all, so as in the 
harvest ye have nothing to reap ? So it will be, if in this your sow- 
ing time ye do not throw in the seeds of good works, and make it 
your principal concern to look for acceptance with God in them ; 
all ye do will bo lost for ever, ye will have nothing to reap in the 
harvest at the last day. 

9. Lastly, If ye do not, your best works will be turned to sin, 
Prov. XV. 8, and ye will be surprised to find so many actions of 

K 2 


yours that ye set down in the roll of good works, appear in God's 
book in the roll of sins ; as cockle instead of barley. There is such 
a thing, Psalm cix. 7, " Let his prayer become sin," 

For direction in this point, we proceed to 

DocTRixE III. Where there is a willing mind carrying out a man 
to do and serve the Lord, to his ability, what is so done is accepted 
of God. 

Here I shall shew, 

J. What sort of works they are that are accepted of God. 

II. How or in what respect they are accepted. 

III. Why they are so. 

IV. Lastly, Apply. 

I. I am to shew what sort of works they are that are accepted of 

First, They are works done with a willing mind. Wherein we 
are to consider, 

1. What this willingness relates to. 

2. What it is. 

First, Let us consider what this willingness relates to. This will- 
ingness of the soul respects the will of God, as that which the soul 
is willing to comply with. The will of God is contained in his com- 
mands, summed up in a word, 1 Thess. iv. 3, " This is the will of 
God, even your sanctification ;" and it is the duty of all of us to be 
willing to that will of God, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9, and to say as Psalm 
xl. 8, " I delight to do thy will, my God." Hence, 

1. A work accepted of God is a commanded work, required of us by 
God himself, and not an unrequired work. Rev. xxii. 14, ** Blessed 
are they that do his commandments." Matth. xv. 9, " In vain they 
do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." 

(1.) Nothing in itself sinful can ever be accepted of God ; though 
people may pretend they have no iil in their mind against God in 
doing it ; yea though they may have a good intention in it to serve God 
by it, John xvi. 2. Yet how many do, on these pretences, lie with- 
out any check, and do other ill things ? Prov. xxvi. 18, 19, " As a 
madman who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death ; so is the man 
that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith. Am not I in sport ?" 

(2.) Nothing, that is not required of God, though it be not in it- 
self sinful, can be accepted of him, Matth. xv. 9, For there can be 
no obedience, where there is not a command ; these are relatives. If 
God command us not, we cannot be said to obey him, nor be ac- 
cepted of him. Hence, [1.] Will-worship is false worship, and ser- 
vice to God just of men's own devising is not, nor can be accepted; 
Col. ii. 21 — 23, '•' Devised of one's own heart," is a brand of rejec- 


tion fixed on a -work, that is not in itself evil, 1 Kings xii. ult. 
And Saul lost the kingdom on such a work, 1 Sam. xv. 21. [2.] Dor 
ing a duty not the duty of one's station cannot be accepted, 1 Cor. 
vii. 2-1. It was a duty to sacrifice, and to burn incense ; yet Saul 
provoked the Lord by his doing the one, and Uzziah was smitten 
with leprosy for doing the other; because though they were duties, 
yet they belonged not to their stations. In a well-ordered family, 
one servant must not take his neighbour's work and post. 

2. The command of God requiring the work must be known to 
the doer ; for otherwise men serve the Lord but at a venture, not 
knowing whether it be his will or no, which can never be accepted. 
Lev. xxvi. 21. The acceptable work must be done in faith, faith of 
the command of God, implying knowledge of it, Rom. xiv. ult. 

The sum of the whole lies here. If ye would have your work ac- 
cepted of God, ye must (1-) Know it to be a commanded duty. 
(2.) Commanded to you. The want of either will mar the accept- 
ance, as a duty not proceeding from a willing mind. 

Secondly, Let us consider what this willingness of mind is. It is 
twofold, habitual and actual. 

1. Habitual ; which is a disposition of the soul to comply with 
the will of God's commands, arising from the new nature given in 
regeneration or the saving change ; Heb. viii. 10, " 1 will put my 
laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts." Psalm ex. 3, 
" Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the 
beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning." The carnal 
unrenewed mind is enmity against God and his law, Rom. viii. ?• 
And while that corrupt set abides on the heart predominant, as in 
all natural men, there can be no true willingness to comply with the 
will of God. Hence, that any work of ours may be accepted of God, 
we must be, 

(1.) United to Christ by faith, John xv. 5. While we continue in 
our natural state, growing on the old stock of the first Adam, we 
can bring forth no fruit acceptable to God ; for the whole nature is 
corrupt according to the stock, and so must the fruit be, Kom.vii. 5. 
Particularly there is a reigning refractoriness in the will, whereby 
the soul is as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke of God's will. 
"Whereas the soul being in Christ is changed, according to the na- 
ture of the new stock, and made willing, 2 Cor. v. 17, and gets his 
image, opposed to Adam's, 1 Cor. xv. 49. 

(2.) We must be regenerated, and have our nature changed. The 
tree must be made good, before the fruit can be so, Ezek. xxxvi. 
26, 27. How can there be a willing mind for duty, while the will 
is unrenewed ? How can there be new obedience, while one is not 


partaker of the new nature ? The dark mind, the perverse will, and 
disorderly affections, not rectified by regenerating grace, being all 
of them opposite to good, shew the want of a willing mind. 

(3.) "We must have a predominant love to God, 1 Tim. i. 5. This 
disposeth the soul, by a constraining force, to fall in with whatsoever 
the Lord requires ; and constitutes one's obedience labour of love. 
And where it is wanting, good things may indeed be done, for some 
by-ends, and from some by-principles ; but there is not first a willing 

This is the habitual willing mind, whereby the soul being in 
Christ, regenerated, and having the love of God dwelling in it, is 
in such a disposition to fall in with the will of God, that getting 
a touch of a particular command, it readily complies therewith in 

2. Actual ; which is an actual compliance of the heart, with such 
and such a particular duty, laid before one at such a time and in 
such a place ; and ariseth from the habitual disposition. The one 
looks to the whole law ; the other to particular commands requiring 
such and such a particular duty, as of the Corinthians to help the 
poor saints of Judea. And it implies, 

(1.) An approbation of the command of God for the duty. What 
the Lord by his word and providence requires of the man as duty, 
he has a love and liking of it from the heart, Rom. vii. 12. The 
carnal heart rises against this and the other command laying such a 
duty on the man ; and he takes it on as a slave does his bui'den, 
because he cannot help it. But the willing 'mind has a liking of it, 
1 John V. 3, as the little child has a liking of being bid do any 
little piece of service for his father. 

(2.) A sincere resolution to set to the work in the season thereof, 
Josh. xxiv. 15; Psalm csix. 106. The willing mind goes not about 
to seek how to shift obedience to the divine call ; nor does it seek 
offputs and delays, till the season of the duty is away ; nor does it 
muster up difliculties, saying, " There is a lion in the way," to pal- 
liate disobedience ; but resolves to put to hand timely ; Psalm cxix. 
60, " I made. haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments." 

(3.) A compliance of the heart with the command to the duty, be- 
cause it is God's command, Psalm cxix. 4. The authority of God 
has weight with the man's conscience ; and the love of God inclines 
his heart to obey. So the will of God is the reason, as well as the 
rule, of his obedience. As he believes the promise, because God 
has said it; so he obeys the command, because God has bid it. So 
the man's great aim is to answer the call of God, and please him. 
(4.) A delight and cheerfulness in the duty, Isa. Ixiv. 5 ; 2 Cor. 


ix. 7- Love to the Lord oils the wheels of the soul, and the work 
goes on, not as of necessity, but as of choice, 1 John v. 3. The 
awfulness of the command is vailed with prevailing love ; take off 
the threatening of wrath from the command, and the willing soul 
would not stop for all that ; for the love of God iu the heart is a 
law, and a powerful one too, Cant. viii. 6. Terror drives to duty, 
but weakens; love draws to duty, and strengthens, 2 Tim. i. 7. 
Terror will make men find their hands, but they lose heart ; but love 
gives heart and hand too. 

(5.) A design to honour God by the duty. The general direction 
is plain ; 1 Cor. x. 31, " Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye 
do, do all to the glory of God ;" and thereto the willing mind echoes 
back, "To me to live is Christ, Phil. i. 21. The willing mind is 
not obtained but by faith, whereby the conscience is made good, and 
the soul put iu a state of salvation ; hence natively follows the de- 
sign of glorifying God by good works, and by them adorning the 
doctrine of God our Saviour, 1 Pet. ii. 9. The faith of Christ's sal- 
vation makes a powerful impression of gratitude on the soul, that it 
is glad of an occasion to glorify him, and express its love ; Psalm 
cxvi. 12, " What shall I render unto iho Lord, for all his benefits 
towards me ?" 

(6.) Lastly, A looking- out for promised help to the duty, by faith, 
Heb. xii. 1, 2. The willing mind is not blind to its own weakness, 
but sees that better than others. But what one is really willing 
and hearty for the doing of, he will use all means for reaching his 
end. Carnal men say they are willing but they cannot ; in that 
they deceive themselves, for if they were really willing they would 
go to the fountain of strength for help. So do they with whom is 
first a willing mind, they set about the duty in the faith of the pro- 
mise. Hence they will go forward on God's call, however difficult 
the work be, and get through too ; as the women came to the sepul- 
chre, though not knowing how the stone would be rolled away. 

Secondly, They are works that from a willing mind are done to 
their ability. We may take up this in these four things. 

1. They are works which people having ability for, are done; 
they are not merely wished and wonlded to be done, as the sluggard 
uses to wish well with folded hands, Prov. xxi. 25. For where the 
heart is to a work, the hand will be put to it, so far as in them lies. 
Men do but deceive themselves, who please themselves with good 
desires and wishes, without endeavours backing them ; Matth. vii. 
21, " Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into 
the kingdom of heaven ; but he that doth the will of my Father 
which is in heaven." Jam. i. 22, " But bo ye doers of the word, 
and not hearers only, deceiving your own solves." 


2. They are done according to the ability they could get in. That 
is, not only according to the ability in hand, but the man labours to 
get more ability for the work, whereby he may be fitted for it. We 
are naturally impotent for any good work ; but there is a store- 
house of strength opened to us in Christ, to be brought in by faith, 
Isa. xlv. 24. Wherefore they that are not concerned to fetch in 
strength for duty, but are unable for duty, and hold themselves so, 
will not be accepted ; for there is no willing mind there. 

3. They are not done quite below what they might have done, and 
was in the power of their hand, Isa. xxxii. 5. Where there is an 
utter disproportion betwixt one's ability and service, it cannot be ac- 
cepted but that service brings a curse instead of a blessing, Prov. 
xi. 24. Hence a certain quantity of service may be accepted off 
one's hand that will not be accepted off another's, Luke xii. 48. 
Where God gives much, he requires the greater returns. 

4. Lastly, They are works wherein the willingness of the mind car- 
ries out the hand to do, as far as it can reach, 2 Cor. viii. 3. The 
willing mind loves to serve the Lord, and to serve him liberally ; 
and so carries a man to do to his power. 

IL The next general head is to shew how or in what respect such 
a work is accepted. God accepts such works, 

1. As obedience to him and a doing of his will, Matth. xxv. 21. 
As the willing mind is peculiar to those within the covenant of grace, 
so it is the privilege of those in that covenant to have their works 
so done, accepted, though imperfect. There is not one piece of obe- 
dience they can do that is perfect, or could be sustained as obedience 
according to the covenant of works; but God in Christ, in virtue of 
the covenant of grace, accepts such imperfect works as obedience 
pleasing to him, Acts xiii. 22. 

2. As a token of their love to God, Heb. vi. 10. A love-token is 
accepted, though not great, if according to the ability of the giver ; 
especially with God, who looks more to the heart it is given with, 
than the gift. Some offered gold and precious stones for the service 
of the tabernacle ; some but goats' hair and rams' skins ; the latter 
as well as the former was accepted, where they gave according to 
their ability with willingness. 

3. So as to be rewarded, 1 Cor. xv. uU. As believers' good works 
are tokens of their love to God, so God gives them tokens of his 
good pleasure with their works, not of debt, but of grace. To those 
that improve the abilities they have, he oft-times gives more ability, 
"To him that hath shall be given." However, accepted good works 
are a seed that will never miss a rich harvest sooner or later. 

in. I proceed to shew why such works are accepted. It is not 


for their own worth ; for the best works of the saints are attended 
with such sinfulness, that they could not be accepted in the eye of 
the law ; but ha\e in them more than sufficient matter of condemna- 
tion, Isa. Ixiv. 6. But they are accepted through special privilege. 

1. Being sanctified through the Spirit, Rom. xv. 16. Every work 
of ours is defiled by us, being in ourselves unclean creatures; but 
the Spirit works in believers, sanctifying them and their works. 
And he sanctifies their works, by influencing them to work, and 
in their work exciting them, giving gracious abilities ; par- 
ticularly working in them that approbation and liking of the com- 
mand, that resolution to set about the work, that compliance of the 
heart with it, that delight and cheerfulness in the duty, that design 
to honour God by it, and that looking out for promised help, which 
I have spoken of before, and causing them to offer their works to 
God through Christ. 

2. They are presented for acceptance, by the Mediator to the 
Father. Christ is the believers' resident in the court of heaven, 
managing all their matters there by his intercession, Heb. vii. 25. 
He takes tl'eir imperfect works, perfumes them with the merit of 
his obedience and death, and gains their acceptance with the Father, 
according to the covenant of grace, Rev. viii. 3, 4. The sum of the 
matter lies here ; they are the work of his own Spirit in his child- 
ren, presented for acceptance by the Son, and so they are acceptcl 
of the Father, Eph. ii. 18. 

Use. From what is said, we may draw the two following infer- 
ences : — 

1. See here of what concern it is to get the heart up to every 
duty, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. The doing of the bare work is of small 
account with God ; and where there is not a heart to it, God regards 
it not. A good work done grudgingly, whatever use it may be for 
among men, is an ill work in God's sight. 

Question. How may one get up his heart to every duty ? 

Answer (1.) Accept of Christ's free salvation by faith, that ye 
may be brought into a state of salvation. We have a spirit of 
slaves, a backwardness to good, derived from Adam. It is from 
Christ we must get the spirit of sons, and the willing mind, uniting 
with him by faith, John i. 16. Faith trusting on Christ for salva- 
tion to be received freely, works that willingness of mind. 

(2.) Exercise faith for every duty anew. Believe the promise, 
[1.] Of assistance by the Spirit, Ezek xxxvi. 26, 27. In the cove- 
nant of grace commands arc turned to promises, as Dent. x. 16, 
" Circumcise the foreskin of your heart." Compare Deut. xxx. 6, 
*• The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart." Every call to 


duty implies a promise of assistance. The belief of this makes 
willing, Phil. ii. 12, 13. [2.] Of acceptance through Christ. The 
apostles' work was heavy, but that made them willing, 2 Cor. ii. 15, 
"For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are 
saved, and in them that perish." It is hard to be willing to a work, 
which one does not believe will be accepted. 

2. See of what concern it is to put hand to every duty commanded 
us, and to do in it according to one's power ; and not to content our- 
selves with lazy wishes as some do, and slack and scrimp perform- 
ances as others, Eccl. ix. 10. Neither will to wish and do nothing 
be accepted ; nor to do, but do niggardly. It is not in every case 
that God will accept the will for the deed. 

1st, God will not accept the natural or unregenerate man's will for 
the deed, in any case. For such a one is under the covenant of 
works, and no less than works every way perfect can be accepted 
off his hand, Gal. iii. 10. But this is a privilege of the covenant of 
grace, which they are not under, not being in Christ. It is the 
privilege of sons, but they are but at best hired servants, working 
for hire, nay slaves, as under the curse. Their persons are not 
accepted ; therefore nothing they are, have, or can do, can be ac- 
cepted. Therefore deceive not yourselves, looking for this benefit, 
while ye are out of Christ. 

2cZ(y, God will accept no man's will for the deed, 

(1.) When they content themselves with wishing only they could 
do a duty commanded them, but yet never essay it, nor put hand to 
it, Prov. xsi. 25. The sluggard unwilling to obey, makes a cover 
for his sloth, of the difficulty and his inability for duty, Prov. xxii. 
13. But God will rend off that cover, and shew them in their own 
colours, Matth. xxv. 24 — 30. Men cannot deny but that such a 
thing is their duty, and they wish they could, but that is all. 

(2.) "When they do not what is really in their power to do, Rom. 
i. 20, 21. Men's power is indeed little, but their doing is far less. Men 
are not as stocks and stones, but there are many things acts of moral 
discipline, that they may and can do, but they will not. But they 
grasp at the principle, that they can do nothing, and so fold their 
hands, sitting down contented. They cannot do all, therefore they 
will do nothing. But will that be accepted ? No, Exod. xiv. 15. 
The women did not so, Mark xvi. 2, 4. 

(3.) Lastly, "When they do not by faith fetch in grace from the 
Lord Jesus to strengthen them to duty, 2 Tim. ii. 1, compared with 
John V. 40. Many a good work is laid by, because of inability, and 
marred because we can carry it no further; but God will take no- 
tice what course is taken for getting in strength for duty. There 

god's acceptaxce of iirs people's vill fou the deed. 147 

are full promises lying between us and the full fountain, as 
the conduit-pipes at which faith is to suck and draw, Isa. xl. 
29 — 31. Assure yourselves that the will "will not be accept- 
ed for the deed, while this is neglected. And why should 
it ? Is that man willing to pay his debt, who though he has 
nothing in hand, yet has a gift lying in a rich friend's hand, 
but he will not lift it? See the decision ; Matth. xxv. 27, " Thou 
oughtest to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my 
coming I should have received mine own with usury." 

I shall now consider in a few words the last doctrine I offered from 
the text, viz. 

Doctrine IY. Want of power to do more, shall not mar the accept- 
ance of what is done from a willing mind according to power. In 
that case, God will accept of his people's will for the deed. 

Here I shall shew, 

I. In what particular cases God accepts his people's will for the 

II. "SVhy he does so. 

III. Apply. 

I. 1 am to shev7 in what particular cases God accepts his people's 
will for the deed. 

1. "Where there is a sincere will to serve him in a piece of work, 
requiring some external abilities which are wanting. If it be hin- 
dered only by such want, the will is accepted. The disciples would 
fain have watched more, but the weak body conld not bear up with 
their mind ; and Christ kindly takes notice of it ; Matth. xxvi. 41, 
" Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation ; the Spirit 
indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Sometimes Satan makes a 
rack here to God's children ; such a duty they would do, but bodily 
strength will not answer, and hereupon they are disquieted ; but that 
is from Satan, and their own weakness ; for God does not require 
that external duty from us, that we have no bodily strength for. 
That is a sweet word, 1 Cor. vi. 13, " The body is — for the Lord, and 
the Lord for the body." Peter would fain have given to the poor 
man, but had it not, and it was accepted in the will, Acts iii. 6. 

2. When doing the best we can through grace, onr work after all 
is attended with many blemishes ; the Lord will not reject it for 
these blemishes, but accepts the will to do better for the deed, Cant. 
V. 1. There is a broad cover of Christ's righteousness cast over the 
believer's spots, that they appear not, Cant. iv. 7 ; and the Lord ac- 
cepts of the will to that perfection they would be at. 

3. Going as far as we have access in a work, but meeting with a 


providential stop, the will to complete it is accepted for the deed, 
as if it had been fully done, as in the case of Abraham's offering up 
Isaac, Heb. xi. 17. There is a great difference betwixt the stops 
men make in these, and those which God makes ; the former argues 
an unwilling mind, but the latter not so. 

4. Services that one really desires, and fain would perform for 
God, but have not opportunity ; the will to them is accepted for the 
deed, as in the case of David's purposing to build a house for the 
Lord, 2 Chron. vi. 8 ; and the Philippians care about supplying 
Paul's wants, Philip, iv. 10. Some have opportunities of usefulness, 
but slight them ; that is their sin ; others may have a heart to be so 
and so useful, but they cannot have the opportunity ; this God 

5. Lastly, In services performed with a real desire of success for 
God's honour and men's good ; the Lord accepts the good will to the 
success denied, as if it had succeeded according to their wish, Isa. 
xlix. 4; 2 Cor. ii. 15. The want of success may mar their present 
comfort, but neither the acceptance nor reward. 

II. Why does God accept such will for the deed ? 

1. The sincere will to a work is present, which God mainly re- 
gards. The person sincerely aims at doing such a piece of service 
for God, but not attaining what he really desires, his good will 
thereto being present before the Lord, it is accepted, as if the work 
had been done. 

2. We have a merciful High Priest to present that will for accept- 
ance, notwithstanding all the weaknesses, blemishes, providential 
hindrances, want of opportunity, and failure of success, that it may 
be attended with, Heb. iv. 15, 16. 

3. We have a merciful Father to deal with. Psalm ciii. 13, 14, 
who pities the weaknesses and infirmities of his i)eople, and gracious- 
ly accepts of their upright designs to serve and honour him. 

Use 1. If the Lord accepts the will for the deed in his own peo- 
ple, then men must answer for the ill they had a will to have done, 
as if they had done it. Numb. xiv. 42 — 45. A will and intention to 
do an evil action, though it be not actually done, is in God's account 
the same thing with doing it, and will be resented and punished ac- 

2. God is a gracious master to his servants, taking kindly off 
their hands through Christ their sincere will to his service, giving 
them ample testimonies of his regard in all circumstances, and be- 
stowing upon them the special comforts of his grace here, as pledges 
of the full reward laid up for them in glory hereafter. 



Eph. i. 6, 
His grace, wherein he hath made ics accepted in the Beloved. 

Before onr works can be accepted, oar persons must; and how that 
is attained is here declared. 

The apostle taking a view of the state of salvation that believers 
are brought into, in the fulness of it, ver. 3 ; runs it up unto the 
prime author of it, the Father, ib. the eternal plan of it in the de- 
cree of election, ver. 4 ; whereof the great design to be accom- 
plished on them, their true sanctification, ib. to be begun here, and per- 
fected in glory ; the reason of this design, that they were predesti- 
nated to adoption into his family, for it was inconsistent with the 
honour of a holy God, to have unholy children, ver. 5. In this 
verse ai'e two things. 

1. The great end of God's predestinating the elect to be his own 
children ; " the praise of the glory of his grace." It was a display 
of his free grace that he aimed at. Grace is love and favour freely 
flowing, without anything in the object to draw it out. This grace 
shown to sinners is glorious grace, like a shining sun, casting such a 
lustre, as is most admirable and attractive. And it is to be praised 
by the sons of men ; but they that do not see, and do not feel the 
glory of it, cannot praise it, more than the blind the light of the 
sun. But God purposed to bring the elect out of the devil's fa- 
mily, and make them his own children freely; that they seeing, 
tasting, and feeling this glorious grace, might raise a song of praise 
of it here, and joining voices in heaven, might carry it on in the 
highest strain there for ever, praising the glorious grace appearing 
in their adoption ; opening the various folds of it, and admiring the 
glories of free grace, for ever and ever. It is dangerous then to cast 
a veil over it, doctrinally or practically. 

2. A particular fruit of this glorious grace ; " Wherein he hath 
made us accepted in the Beloved." "Where we have, 

(1.) The fruit itself, the acceptance of the persons of believers 
with God ; *' He hath made us accepted." The acceptor is the Fa- 
ther, vers. 3, 5. The accepted are us, believers, who are "blessed 
with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ," ver. 3. 
The acceptance is emphatically expressed. The word is, as if he bad 

* The substance of several sermons preached at Etterick io the year 1726, 


said, he hath graced us ; and imports not only that he hath accepted 
us, but freely accepted us, without anything in us to render us ac- 
ceptable ; and bears not only free love and favour, but also all kinds 
of real benefits and favours flowing therefrom, Luke i. 28. 

(2.) The way and manner of the acceptance. How can a sinner 
be accepted of a holy God ? " In the Beloved," that is, Christ. It 
is not only for his sake, but God looking on the sinner in Christ, 
united to him, accepts him. He calls Christ here " the Beloved," to 
intimate that the accepting love and favour of God is first pitched on 
him, and then for his sake comes down on his members ; so he is 
the Beloved by way of eminency. He saith not, " his Beloved," 
though doubtless he mainly aims at that, but " the Beloved," that 
he might give a vent to that love to Christ that his heart swelled 
with on the mention of this ; and so uses a general term, whereby 
Christ might be pointed out as the object whereon the loves of hea- 
ven and earth meet together. 

(3.) The original spring and source of this acceptance, intimated 
by the relative wherein. It refers not only to the word grace, but 
to " the glory of his grace," q. d. From, through, and by which 
glorious grace and free favour, he hath freely accepted us undeserv- 
ing and ill-deserving creatures ; that glorious grace finding a way to 
accept the sinner, with the good leave of justice, in Christ. 

From the text, thus explained, ariseth the following savoury 
points of doctrine. 

DocT. I. Jesus Christ is the beloved, the eminently beloved One. 

DocT. II. The way how a sinner comes to be accepted of God, is 
freely, in Christ. 

DocT. III. Glorious free grace shines forth in the acceptance of 
sinners in the beloved Jesus. 

DocT. I. Jesus Christ is the beloved, the eminently beloved One. 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Shew in what respects Christ is the eminently beloved Oue. 

II. Make some improvement. 

I. I am to shew in what respects Christ is the eminently beloved 

First, He is the beloved of the excellent ones of the earth. "Who 
these are, ye may see. Psalm xvi. 3. They are " the saints." Him 
all the saints love with a love above all persons and all things, 
Luke xiv. 26. And, 

1. They meet altogether in him in love, however they are scat- 
tered through the world ; hence is he called, " the desire of all na- 
tions," Hag. ii. 7. So that lovers of Christ and saints are of equal 
latitude ; Eph. vi. 24, " Grace be with all them that love our Lord 


Jesus Christ in sincerity." Tbe American saints and the European 
saints take him all for their Beloved. As it is the same sun in the 
firmament that warms all their bodies, it is the same Sun of righte- 
ousness, Christ, that warms all their hearts in love. They diflFer 
vastly in their languages, customs, and particular dispositions ; but 
they perfectly agree in their love of one beloved Jesus ; Gen. xlix. 
10, " Unto him shall the gathering of the people be." And so they 
are knit as one body, whereof Christ is the beloved head. 

2. Each one of them loves him with a superlative and transcen- 
dent love ; Psalm Ixxiii. 25, " "Whom have I in heaven but thee ? 
and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." They have 
a general love to mankind, a special love to their respective coun- 
tries, a more special love to their relations, but the most special and 
peculiar love, leaving all the rest behind, is to Christ, Luke xiv. 26. 
In the other they are divided, but in this they meet in one ; their 
beloved ones are very different, but their beloved One is one and the 

3. They love other persons and things for his sake, Rom. xv. 2, 
3 ; Tit. iii. 3 — 5. "When the soul is in its natural state, other per- 
sons and things have the man's love, but Christ has none of it; 
when Christ discovers himself in his glory to the soul, then the man 
hates all in comparison of him ; but Christ regulates the soul's love 
to other things, and takes it not away, but makes it run in another 
channel, springing from himself. Now other things being loved for 
him, himself is the best beloved. 

4. The liker any thing is to him, they love it the more. Hence 
the godly that bear his image, are therefore beloved by them ; and 
the more godly they are, the more beloved are they, 1 John iii. 14. 
They love his ordinances, because they bear the impress of his autho- 
rity, his law as the image of his nature ; his way and example, be- 
cause of the tread of his steps therein to be seen. All which bear 
liim to be their eminently beloved. And, 

1st, They love him with a love of good-will ; and vent it in prayer 
and praise ; Psalm Ixxii. 15, " Prayer also shall be made for him 
continually, and daily shall he be i)raiscd." It is not in their power 
to profit him, and he needs nothing at the creature's hand, being 
completely happy in his Father ; but they shew good-will to him, in 
concern for his glory in the world, that his kingdom may prosper, 
his name spread far and wide, and be perpetuated to all generations. 

2(i(y, They love him with a love of delight and complacency, 1 
Pet. ii. 7, *' Unto you which believe he is precious." His name and 
every letter of it is sweet to them, Cant. i. 3. They delight in him 
as a sister in a brother, a child in a father, and a spouse in a bus- 


band. Everything in Christ is sweet to a believer ; therefore they 
are said to eat his flesli, and drink his blood : for as by eating one 
finds the sweetness of the meat, and every bit of it, so by faith the 
soul finds the sweetness of Christ and every thing in Christ. And, 

(1.) They love him for what he is in himself, Cant. v. 10 — 16. 
The glorious excellencies of his person and natures, his attributes 
and perfections, make him the object of their love. Their hearts 
are framed to the love of God : so they love him for himself, they 
love him for that holiness and purity for which carnal men hate 
him, as the owl doth the sun. Psalm xxx. 4. 

(2.) They love him for what he is to them. Cant. v. 16. And as 
he is best in himself, he is the best to them. They love him for all 
his offices ; for what he has done for them, and for what he will do 
for them. They love him as the foundation of all their hopes, the 
scope of all their desires, and the spring of all their joys. And 
fitly does he go under the name, " the Beloved," even in respect of 
the saints : for, 

[l."| They profess him to be the beloved of their souls; they 
are not ashamed of their choice. So the spouse calls him, Cant, per 
tot. See chap. iii. 3, " Saw ye him whom my soul loveth ?" as if she 
■would have all to know him by that name, " her Beloved;" sup- 
posing there is none so but he. 

[2.] They show him to be so, by their life and actions before the 
world, Cant. viii. 6, 7- Where love to Christ is, it will discover it- 
self by the soul's preferring Christ to all persons and things, so as 
to part with any thing when it comes in competition with him. 

Secondly, Christ is the beloved of the glorious ones in heaven. 
All eyes are upon him there, for he is there the light of the pleasant 
land. Rev. sxi. 23, as the sun is in this world. And he is there, 

1. The beloved of the glorified saints, who now love him in per- 
fection, Rev. vii. 10. Their love to him is now perfected, and they 
love him with a pure and ardent love. They see him now no more 
through a glass, but face to face ; they behold the glories of his per- 
son, the glories of his actings and sufferings for them ; his eternal 
undertaking, his going through with his undertaking in his birth, 
life, and death ; and the glory he now hath from his Father as the 
reward. So their love to him is in a continual flame. 

2. The beloved of the holy angels. Rev. v. 11, 12. In the temple 
the cherubiras were posted, looking towards the ark or mercy-seat, 
a type of Christ; which signified the angels looking to Jesus with 
love and admiration, 1 Pet. i. 12. They behold his glory, and can- 
not but love him. They love him as the brightness of the Father's 
glory, as the elder Brother of the family, the heir of all things, and 


their Lord, Heb. i. C, as the Saviour of sinners, and the head of an- 
gels, by whom they and all things do consist, Eph. i. 10. 

3. The Father's beloved, Matth. xvii. 5. And here we may con- 
sider Christ two ways, as God, and as Mediator. 

1st, As God, equal and co-eternal with the Father and Holy Spi- 
rit. He was the beloved of the Father and the Spirit. The Scrip- 
ture teacheth that " God is love," 1 John iv. 8, and that love must 
be eminently among the persons of the glorious Trinity one towards 
another. Thus, Prov. viii. 30, he is held out as the Creator's delight. 
See John i. 18, Heb. i. 2. But what our text mainly aims at, is, 

2dl^, As Mediator, God-man, having a common relation to God 
and sinners of mankind, as the representative of an elect world, and 
the bond of union and communion betwixt God and sinners, for the 
glory of God and the salvation of sinners. 

(1.) As such he is the Father's beloved, his prime favourite, and 
most accepted, his " well Beloved," Mark xii. 6, in whom he is " well 
pleased;" Matth. iii. ult, the perpetual rest of his eyes and heart, 
2 Chron. vii. 16. And he is his beloved, 

[1.] In respect of his person; John i. 18. He " is in the bosom 
of the Father." For he is " the brightness of his Father's glory," 
Heb. i. 2. The glory of God shines forth in his face, 2 Cor. iv. 6. 
He is " the image of God" in a peculiar manner, ver. 4. Therefore 
says he, John xiv. 9, " He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father." 
See Col. ii. 9, and i. 19. So he is the most beautiful object in the 
eyes of God, in heaven or in earth ; and accordingly has the highest 
place in his love, Heb. i. 13. 

[2.] In respect of his office. The Father is well pleased with him 
in the character he took on. And, 

(1.) He was well pleased with his undertaking for the great work 
of sinners' salvation. See with what satisfaction he speaks of it ; 
Psalm Ixxxix. 19, " I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I 
have exalted one chosen out of the people." He cordially accepted 
him as the sinners' surety, and took his single bond for all tho 
elect's debt, and his security for the injured honour of his name. 
He was the Father's own choice, and he delighted in his choice, 
Isa. xlii. 1. He so loved the Undertaker, that, 

[l.J He promised to be with him, and furnished him with all 
things necessary for the work, Isa. xlii. 6, and Ixi. 1. 

[2.] He bestowed eternal salvation on many, before the time the 
Saviour paid the ransom ; he set them free, and gave them their 
discharge, before the death of Christ. He rested in the Beloved's 

(2.) He was well pleased with and accepted him in his carrying on 

Vol. XI. L 


the work that he hafl undertaken. — Witli his birth, therefore the 
angels were employed to carry the tidings of it, and sung solemnly 
on that occasion. — With his entering on his public work at his bap- 
tism, testified by a voice from heaven, Matth. iii. ult., and all along, 
testified by his being always with him, John viii. 29. 

(3.) He was well-pleased with his perfecting of the work, by his 
death and burial. He did in it the most acceptable piece of ser- 
vice to God that ever was done, John x. 17. His sacrifice of him- 
self was of a sweet savour nnto God. He so loved him for it, that 
he raised hira up, and set him on his right hand for ever for it, Phil, 
ii. 8, 9, and accepts the worst of sinners in him, for his sake. 

(2.) As such he is the rest of the Holy Spirit, Tsa. xi. 2. The Spirit 
came on the prophets, but he rested on Jesus as the beloved, Matth. 
iii. 16. All the saints as beloved ones have the Spirit in a measure ; 
but he without measure as the Beloved, John iii. 34. The Spirit is 
in hira as water in the fountain, to be communicated to others, Rev. 
iii. 1. 

I shall conclude this point with a word of application. 

ITsE. I. Hereby ye may try whether ye be saints or not, par- 
takers of the divine nature. If so, Christ will be your Beloved, 
your eminently beloved One ; for so he is to the saints, and so he is 
to God. And if be is your Beloved, 

1. Ye will love him above all. Psalm Ixxiii. 25, which will shew 
itself in desiring him above all, prizing him beyond all, rejoicing 
most in his favour, and sorrowing most for the want of him ; and in 
loving other persons and things for his sake. 

2. Ye will hate sin above all things, because it is most contrary 
to him, his nature and will. Gen. iii. 15. Ye will hate it universally, 
constantly as to the habitual bent of your heart, and irreconcilably. 

U.SE IT. Of reproof to those who love hira not eminently, above 
all. It is an evidence, that, 

1. Ye know him not, John iv. x. None can be let into a disco- 
very of Christ in his glory but must love hira, Matth. xiii. 44 — 46. 
It is to the blind world only there is no beauty in hira for which 
lie is to be desired. 

2. That ye are in love with your sins and a vain world. For who 
would loath the physician but he that loves his disease and cannot 
part with it ? 

Use III. Let him be your Beloved then, and give him your heart. 

1. He is best worth your love. None has done so much for sin- 
ners as Christ has, dying for them. None can do so much for you ; 
ho can satisfy the cravings of your souls, and make you happy. 

2, If ye love him not, ye will be constructed haters of him, and 


enemies to him; 1 Cor. xvi. 22, *' If any man love not the Lord 
Jesas Christ, let him be anathema, maranatha. 

Doctrine II, The way how a sinner comes to be accepted of God, 
is freely, in Christ. 

In handling this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Shew what is implied in it. 

II. Consider the nature of a sinner's acceptance with God. 

III. The way of it. 

IV. Make some practical improvement. 

I. I am to show what is implied iu the doctrine. And there are 
these things implied in it. 

First, A state of non-acceptance, or unacceptableness with God, 
that sinners are in, while they are not in Christ. And wo may take 
up this in these following things. 

1. They are offenders ; they have sinned, and provoked him, Rom. 
iii. 23. Men's doing their duty, and men's misery, may make them 
unacceptable to men, yea, one may be unacceptable to another, who 
cannot shew wherefore, only they cannot endure them. But nothing 
can make us unacceptable to God but sin. So the unacceptable to 
God are undoubtedly sinners, offenders against him. 

(1.) They are sinners in Adam, Rom, v. 12. The root was cor- 
rupted, and all the branches withered and rotted in him. So his 
guilt lies on us by nature, we are deprived of righteousuQss of na- 
ture, and instead of that we have derived a corrupt nature from 
him; all which makes us unacceptable to God by nature. 

(2) They are sinners in their own persons, who are capable of 
actual sinning, Gen. vi. 5. They imitate sinning Adam, as well as 
fall heirs to his offence. The debt left by him on their heads, they 
do not clear, but increase daily ; they continue their rebellion while 
condemned for it. And so they are more and more unacceptable. 

2. They are unpardoned offenders. All have sinned, but some 
are pardoned and accepted ; but none are pardoned wlio are out of 
Christ, John iii. nit. The sentence of the broken law stands in force 
against all those who are not in him, who has fulfilled the law. Ho 
is '' the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believ- 
eth," Rom. x. 4. And, 

(1.) Their original guilt lies on them, unremoved, unforgiven, 
1 Cor. XV. 22. God has never forgiven them their guilt of Adam".-, 
first sin, their want of original righteousness, and the corruption of 
their whole nature. The debt left on them by their father, they 
were never cither able or willing to pay ; and though they may 
have forgot it, God has neither forgiven nor forgot it, but it lies on 
tboM still, to all effects and purposes of a dreadful pursuit for it. 

L 2 


(2.) The guilt of all their actual sins lies on them, Gal. iii. 10. 
All the sins they have been guilty of, from the first sproutings of 
corruption in their childhood to this day, are hard and fast on them. 
None of all their sins of omission or commission, of heart, lip, or 
life, are forgotten by God, Amos viii. 7. but the accounts are closely 
kept, Deut. xxsii. 34; Hos. xiii. 12. They may have made a fashion 
of repenting, and begging pardon, for some of their grosser sins ; but 
since they are not in Christ, there is not one of them blotted out; 
for " without shedding of blood is no remission," Heb. ix. 22, and 
there is no saving benefit of Christ's blood, but by being in him, 
chap. xii. 24. 

3. God is not pleased with them ; for his being pleased with any 
of mankind is in his son Jesus Christ, and without him he can be 
pleased with none of them, Matth. iii. ult. ; Heb. xi. 5, 6. He is not 
pleased with their persons nor with any of their works; because 
they themselves are not in Christ ; but yet in the old stock, Rom. 
viii. 8, and their works are not wrought in him, John xv. 5. So the 
apostle teacheth, that it was faith that made the difference between 
Abel's offering and Cain's, Heb. xi. 4. 

4. He is highly displeased with them. There is a cloud of divine 
displeasure ever upon them, John iii. ult. "Whatever case they be 

. in, rejoicing or weeping; whatever they be doing, serving God in 
their way, or serving their lusts, his countenance is never towards 
them, because they are not in Christ, Isa. lxvi.2, 3. There is a dis- 
pleasure conceived against them on the justest grounds, not to be re- 
moved till they be in Christ. 

5. He cannot endure them to have any communion or intercourse 
with them, farther than in the way of common providence, Psalm v. 
5. He and they are at enmity, he legally, they really ; so there can 
be no communion, Amos iii. 3. And they cannot have it till they 
come to Christ, John xiv. G. God may lay common favours to their 
hand, health, wealth, &c. ; as the condemned man is allowed his 
meat till the execution ; but he grants them no special saving fa- 
vours, no peace, pardon, &c. He may allow them to come, and call 
them into the outer court of ordinances, and make them offers of 
grace ; but they cannot come into the inner court, nor partake of 
grace, not being in Christ, John x. 9. 

6. He loaths them, his soul abhors them, as abominable. They 
are abominable in their persons unto God, as wholly corrupt and de- 
filed. Tit. i. 15, 16. The whole herd of them is so, Psalm xiv. 3. 
Their works are abominable, even the best of them, like precious 
liquor in a filthy vessel, Prov. xv. 8. Sin is the abominable thing 
unto God, Jer. xliv. 4. And all their sins lie on them, and there is 


nothing on them to correct the abominable savour of the sinner by 
them. Sin is abominable in believers too ; but the sacrifice of the 
sweet-smelliug savour of Christ corrects it, and is a savour of rest, 
Gen. viii. 21. 

7. Lastly, The wrath of God is upon them, and they lie under his 
curse, John iii. ult.. Gal. iii. 10. They are " children of wrath," 
Eph. ii. 3. There is much wrath on them, and they are liable to 
more. There is wrath in God's heart against them, in his word, 
and in his providential dispensations. And if the thread of their 
life be cut while they are in that state of wrath, they are for ever 
undone without remedy. 

Secondly, A way provided, how sinners may be accepted. The 
case is not hopeless, but he that is not, may be accepted. The ac- 
ceptance of some with God is now secured, and cannot be lost. Be- 
lievers on earth may fall under the frowns of a Father, but never 
out of the state of acceptance with him ; being *' accepted in the 
Beloved." The acceptance of the saints in glory is not liable to 
the least cloud. The acceptance of some, again, is absolutely hope- 
less. The fallen angels never can, nor could have been accepted : 
the damned sometimes might, but can no more now for ever be ac- 
cepted ; they sat their accepted time. But there is a way how sin- 
ners in life may be accepted. 

1. God is ready to accept of them now, that will come to him in 
his own way ; 2 Cor. v. 19. The Judge of all the earth is set down 
on a throne of grace, for receiving sinners into favour ; and 
therefore we have now an " accepted time," and *' day of salvation," 
chap. vi. 2. 

2. There is ready for sinners what may procure them acceptance 
with a holy God, Matth. xxii. 4. There is a sacrifice slain and of- 
fered, that is of such a sweet-smelling savour, that the most loath- 
some sinner having the savour of it about him cannot miss to be ac- 

3. There is open proclamation made in the gospel, that all may 
have the benefit of that sacrifice, and be accepted of God, 2 Cor. v. 
19, Matth. xxii. 4. Who they were whom the Father gave to the 
Son to be redeemed, is a secret ; but the ransom is paid, the sacrifice 
is offered for you to lay hold on and be accepted by. And that is 
the voice of the gospel. 

Thirdly, The sinner's bestirring himself for acceptance with God. 
There is a way to acceptance, but the sinner must take that way, 
else he will not get acceptance. Uo cannot sit still careless, and 
bo accepted : ho must be where ho is not yet, that is, in Christ ; 
otherwise he can have no acceptance. The sinner's bestirring' him- 
self in this matter, takes in these three things. 


1. A conviction of unacceptableness to God, John xvi. 8. Men 
must bo convinced of their being unacceptable to God, ere they will 
corae to Christ. It is their not seeing their own loathsomeness, 
that makes them slight the sacrifice of sweet savour ; and think to 
be accepted of God, while yet they are not in Christ. And for that 
cause it is needful they get a sight of God's holiness and their own 

2. A weighty concern and uneasiness about it. They must not 
go on to be easy, whether they be accepted of God or not. As long 
as a man can live contented without it, he will never be accepted. 
But the soul shall be brought to that, that all shall be sapless with- 
out it. 

3. Anxiety of heart for it, Acts ii. 37. There must be earnest 
longings to be accepted of him, yea the soul must be brought to 
esteem and so prize it, as to be content with it upon any terms, Acts 
IT. 6. Not as if these were required to qualify us for acceptance 
with God ; but that without them we will never come into Christ to 
be accepted in him. 

II. The next general head is to consider the nature of a sinner's 
acceptance with God ; and this I shall do, 1. In itself, and 2. In its 
effects and consequents. 

First, I shall consider the nature of a sinner's acceptance with 
God in itself. And in itself it is a great and unspeakable benefit, 
and implies these following things. 

Fh'st, In general, it implies an acceptance of the sinner with God, 
as a righteous person. A righteous God cannot accept a son of 
Adam, but as righteous, that is, as being really righteous before him. 
And so a believer in Christ indeed is, and by faith pleading Christ's 
righteousness for his righteousness in the sight of God, he is accepted 
accordingly. The Lord reputes, accounts, and accepts him into fa- 
vour as a righteous person, 2 Cor. v. 21, Rora. iv. 6, and v. 19. So 
it stands in two things. 

1. God's owning and sustaining a righteousness upon the believer, 
as answering the demands of the law fully, Rom. iii. 22, and hold- 
ing him a righteous person thereupon. The sinner standing before 
him in the Beloved, pleading the Mediator's righteousness, the plea 
is sustained, and God saith, " Deliver him from going down to the 
pit, I have found a ransom," Job xxxiii. 24. The law gives in its 
demands against him, of holiness of nature, righteousness of life, and 
satisfaction for sin. And it is found that all these demands are sa- 
tisfied, and that the righteousness upon him fully answers them all, 
that the law has no more to crave. And so in the very eye of the 
law, he is through grace held righteous. 


2. On the account of that righteousness he is accepted iuto favour 
with God, Rom. iii. 24, 25. It was the sinner's unrighteousness that 
cast him out of God's favour, and held him out of it. Now that 
bar is taken away, and the righteousness upon him procures the fa- 
vour of a righteous God, who loveth righteousness. God is perfectly 
pleased with that righteousness, as much as he ever was displeased 
with the party's sin ; and he is so well pleased with it, that notwith- 
standing of all the sins the party ever committed, he accepts him 
into favour for its sake. 

Sccondhj, More particularly, it implies, 

1. The ceasing of wrath against the soul, Hos. xiv. 4. The wrath 
of God no more abides on the accepted person; that cloud clears. 
And it clears so, that that shower shall never come on again, nor 
one drop of it, of revenging wrath, for ever and ever, Isa. liv. 9. 
The small rain of fatherly anger may come on him for his after-mis- 
carriages ; but the great rain of his revenging wrath shall never 
return. Cant. ii. 10, 11. 

2. The curse is removed, Gal. iii. 13. That is the sentence of the 
broken law, that lay on the sinner binding him over to revenging 
wrath; which seized all mankind in Adam, and which is fortified 
daily by actual sin, while the sinner is out of Christ. But being 
accepted in Christ, that is taken away, Rom. viii. 1. The sentence 
is reversed, ver. 33, 34, the cursed sinner is loosed from that dread- 
ful stake to which he was tied as the mark for the arrows of God. 

3. He is fully pardoned, Isa. xliii. 25. The accepted sinner gets 
the King of heaven's pardon, under his great seal ; whereby his 
guilt of eternal wrath is for ever removed, as if he had never sinned. 
God takes the pen, dips it in the blood of the Belored, and blots out 
his whole accounts. All his i:)ast and present sins are formally par- 
doned, and all his sins to come are secured not to be imputed to him, 
for guilt of revenging wrath, Rom. iv. 6 — 8. 

4. He is reconciled to God, Rom. v. 1. The Lord lays down the 
legal enmity he bore against that person, never to take it up again ; 
and he gives him peace through the Beloved, Eph, ii. 14. So that 
though all the world should be at red war w ith him, he has a firm peace 
with heaven, that he needs fear no hostilities from that quarter 
again for ever ; which is enough to settle the heart amidst all 
troubles, Phil. iv. 7- 

5. God is pleased with him, fleb. xi. 5. Still they are sinners 
indeed, and God can never be pleased with their sins; but their sins 
hinder not that he be pleased with their persons iu Christ. The 
prodigal son returns to his father in rags, poverty, and want, with 
not a shoe on his foot; the father is not pleased with the rags on 


his SOD, but natural affection embraces him notwithstanding of his 
rags, he being his own son. So God embraces the sinner in the Be- 
loved, becaube he is in him. 

6. He is highly pleased with him, Isa. xlii. 21. He is as much 
pleased with the believer's person, as ever he was displeased -with 
him. He is pleased with him, as one is with his jewels, Mai. iii. 17; 
as if he saw no sin in them, Num. xxiii, 21 ; as if there were no spot 
on them. Cant. iv. 7- In a word, he is infinitely pleased with them, 
and can never cease to be so. For the only ground of his being 
pleased with them, is the Beloved in whom they are, his righteous- 
ness which is upon them ; and he is infinitely pleased with the .Be- 
loved and his righteousness, and they are not liable to any altera- 
tion, John xvii. 21. Indeed, if their acceptance depended on what 
is wrought by them, or in them, it could not be so; but it is not set 
in such a slippery foundation. He is displeased with their sins, and 
they may smart for them ; but the pleasedness with their persons 
in Christ is not alterable. Col. ii. 10. 

7- He admits them into communion with him, 1 John i. 3. The 
person is let into the inner couri, into the chambers of the King, 
Cant. i. 4. The Lord treats him as a friend, and not as a mere ser- 
vant, John xv. 15. They are now agreed, and so walk together; 
and not only agreed, but received into special favour; and are 
made God's favourites, courtiers of heaven in the Beloved, in the 
court kept below, Isa. Ivii. 15. He dwells and walks in them, 2 Cor. 
vi. 16; and they dwell in him ; 1 John iv. 15; Psalm xc 1. 

8. Lastly, God hath a delight and complacency in them, Isa. Ixii. 
4. He looks on them in his own Son, and takes pleasure in them, 
as covered with his righteousness. As Isaac smelling the smell of the 
elder brother's garments on Jacob; so believers are to God a sweet 
savour of Christ, 2 Cor. ii. 15 ; and therefore he delights in them, 
whom before he loathed. 

Secondly, Let us consider this acceptance in its eiFects and conse- 
quents. It is in these an unspeakable privilege. By means of it, 

1. The springs of mercy are opened to the sinner, that rivers of 
compassion may flow towards him, Rom. v. 1, &c. Many look for 
mercy while unaccepted ; but the unsatisfied law will draw a bar 
betwixt all saving mercy and them. But the believer being accepted, 
the law's month is stopf, and mercy may flow freely. 

2. He is adjudged to eternal life, 2 Thess. i. 6, 7; Acts xxvi. 18. 
Life was promised in the first covenant, upon the fulfilling of the 
law ; now the believer being accepted of God as a righteous person, 
for whom the law is fulfilled, is accordingly adjudged to live for ever. 

3. The channel of sanctification is cleared for him, and the do- 


minion of sin is broken in him, Rom. vi. 14. While the sinner is 
unaccepted, and under the curse, communion with God is stopt, and 
death preys on his soul ; for " the sting of death is sin, and the 
strength of sin is the law," 1 Cor. xv, 56. As long as the law has a 
cursing and condemning power over a man, sin reigns in him, like 
briers and thorns in the cursed ground ; but these being removed, sin 
loseth its strength, and the blessing coming in their room makes him 
fruitful. So faith sanctifies. 

4. He is privileged with peace of conscience. Peace with God 
makes peace within one's breast, Phil. iv. 7- While one is unac- 
cepted of God, guilt lies on the conscience, which makes a foul and 
condemning one, that will gnaw like a worm, and blast all outward 
peace and prosperity ; but being accepted, the conscience is cleans- 
ed, Heb. ix. 14, and turns a good conscience, that will make one re- 
joice in trouble, 2 Cor. i. 12. 

5. Access to God with confidence, Eph. iii. 12 ; 1 John iii. 21. 
God allows them whom he accepts, access to him in duties, that they 
may come to him, as children to a father, with all their wants, com- 
plaints, &c, expecting all from hira that is really good for them. Job 
xxxiii. 24, £6. They are privileged with the hearing of their 
prayers, communion with him in word and providences, receiving, by 
the means of grace, light in darkness, strength in weakness, health 
in sickness, &c. 

6. Acceptance of their works, Prov. xv. 8. God accepting a man's 
person in Christ, does next accept his work, Gen. iv. 4. If it were 
never such a small work, a cup of cold water given one in name of 
a disciple, though attended with many imperfections, yet being fruit 
that grows on a branch ingrafted into Christ, it is accepted of God, 
as savouring of the stock. 

7. The unstinging of afflictions and death, 1 Cor. xv. 55. It alters 
the very nature of these ; afflictions are no more properly penal, but 
correctory and medicinal, Isa. xxvii. 9, and death perfects the cure. 
A bee-sting they may have, but the serpentine deadly sting is gone ; 
for the curse is removed out of their crosses, and they are blessings. 

8. Lastly, All things working for good, Rom. viii. 28. In a state 
of non-acceptance, all things work for evil to a man ; his prosperity 
destroys him ; the very gospel is a savour of death unto him, that he 
draws death out of what others get life. But being accepted, the 
worst of things tend to his profit, God being for hira, nothing can be 
eventually against him ; but whether the wind blow on his back or 
face, it drives him to the harbour. 

III. I proceed to shew the way of a sinner's acceptance with God. 
First, It is " freely." There is nothing in the sinner himself to 


procure it, or move God to it, Rom. iii. 24, but as the sun shines 
without hire on the dung-hill, so God accepts sinners of mere grace. 
It is done freely, in that, 

1. It is without respect to any work done by the sinner, Tit. iii. 
5. Grace and works are inconsistent in this matter. Men may 
render themselves acceptable to men, by some work of theirs, that is 
profitable or pleasant to them ; but no work of ours can render us 
acceptable to God. It is natural for men to think to gain acceptance 
with God, by their doing better ; and when they have set themselves 
to do and work for that end, they please themselves that they are 
accepted. Uut mistake it not, that way of acceptance is blocked up- 

(1.) All works of ours are excluded from our justification, where- 
of our acceptance is a part, Rom. iii. 20, and faith and works are 
opposed in that matter, ver. 28; Gal. ii. 16. 

(2 ) Our best works are attended with sinful imperfections, Isa. 
Ixiv. 6, and mixed with many evil works, Jam. iii. 2. So in them 
there is ground for God's loathing and condemning us ; how then 
can we be accepted for what is in itself loathsome and coudemnable ? 

(3.) We can do no good works before we be accepted, John ix. 31 ; 
Heb. xi. 6. The tree must be good, ere the fruit can be so. The 
person out of Christ can work no works, but dead works, John xv. 
5, for he is, while so, in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of 
iniquity. And what is all that the man can do before he believe 
and be accepted in Christ, but a parcel of hypocritical works ? 

2. It is without respect to any good qualification or disposition 
wrought in the sinner ; Rom. iv. 5, " To him that worketh not, but 
believeth on him that justificth the ungodly, his faith is counted for 
righteousness." Men may be accepted of men, if though they have 
done nothing, they yet are well qualified for doing, or are agreeable 
in their disposition ; but that is not the way of a sinner-'s acceptance 
with God, though the bias of our nature lies that way to expect it. 

(1.) The way of a sinner's acceptance with God excludes all boast- 
ing, Rom. iii. 27- And it is the design of the gospel to exclude it; 
but if there were a respect to any good qualities in the party ac- 
cepted, there would be some ground for boasting. 

(2.) What good qualities can there be in the sinner before he be 
accepted in Christ ? Heb. xi. 6. It is true he may be touched with 
a sense of his sin, may be filled with sorrow and remorse for it, and 
desiring to be delivered ; but all these are but legal and selfish dis- 
positions, whereof not God, but self is the end. It is by union with 
him that gracious qualities must be wrought in the soul, Acts 
xxvi. 18. 


(3.) When the man comes to be endued with gracious qualities, as 
he is by that time already accepted, so if his acceptance depended 
on them, he would come short ; for still they are imperfect, having a 
great mixture of the contrary ill qualities, that need to be covered 
another way. And how can one expect acceptance on that, for 
which he needs a pardon ? 

Secondly, It is in Christ the sinner is accepted. It implies, 

1. The cause of a sinner's acceptance with God. It is for Christ's 
sake ; Rom. iii. 24, 25, " Being justified freely by his grace, through 
the redemption that is in Jesus Christ : whom Grod hath set forth to 
be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righte- 
ousness for the remission of sins." And v. 19 — " By the obedi- 
ence of one, shall many be made righteous." He is the Beloved of the 
Father, so highly acceptable to him, that sinners are accepted for 
his sake, Matth iii, ult. The acceptance of the Mediator is so full, 
that like the oil on Aaron's head, it runs down to the skirts of his 
garments. He is the Mediator, that brings in the sinner to the 
throne of grace, mediates his peace, and procures his acceptance 
into favour with God. This is, 

(1.) The sole cause of the sinner's acceptance with God, Rom. iii. 
24. As in purchasing the sinner's acceptance, so in procuring it, ho 
alone is the actor. No righteousness is mixed with his, no works 
with his works. God has an eye to none but him, and nothing but 
him, in accepting the sinner. Some are better than others indeed, 
before they are accepted, but both are absolutely free grace's debt- 
ors for acceptance. 

(2.) The full cause, fully proportioned in its efficacy to the accept- 
ance of the worst sinners, Heb. vii. 25. As there is Qothing else 
that can procure our acceptance, so we need nothing else for 
that end. Corrupt nature reckons it is too great a venture, to 
lay our acceptance with God on Christ's righteousness alone ; and 
therefore, to make sure work, requires such and such works to be 
done, and such and such good qualities the sinner is to be adorned 
with. But what needs wood, hay, and stubble, to be laid in with 
the Rock for a foundation. 

2. The state of acceptableuess of a sinner, wherein he may, and 
will be, and cannot but be accepted of God ; it is being in Christ, 
united to him by faith. One must not think to be accepted for 
Christ's sake while out of Christ ; no more than the branch of one 
tree can partake of the sap of another, while not ingrafted into it ; 
or the slayer could be safe, while he was not yet got within the gates 
of the city of refuge. For, 

(1.) "Where there is no union with Christ, there can be no com- 
munion with him ; John xv. 6, " If a man abide not in me, he is cast 


forth as a branch, and is withered." Can a branch be nourished by 
the juice of a stock with which it is not knit ? Neither can a man 
be accepted for the sake of Christ's righteousness, while he is not 
united to him. As it is the marriage with the woman that makes 
her portion the man's ; so it is a spiritual marriage-union with 
Christ by faith that makes his righteousness actually ours, so as to 
be accepted for it. 

(2.) Christ's salvation is in the event confined to his body, though 
in the offer it is extended to all. He is the Saviour of the world 
indeed, John iv. 42. But does he save all the world ? No ; thou- 
sands perish for all that, because they do not unite with him, are 
not in him. He is the Saviour of the body, Eph. v. 23. His body 
he actually saves, every member thereof, and none else. He is the 
Saviour of the world oflicially, of his body only eventually. An ark 
there was provided before the universal deluge, but none were 
saved that were not in it. 

(3.) The Father's good pleasure with mankind-sinners goes not 
without him, Matth. iii. ult. As without the verge of the city of re- 
fuge the slayer could expect no protection ; so without Christ there 
is nothing but the curse, wrath, and death. God cannot accept us 
as righteous, while he sees no righteousness on us ; there can be no 
righteousness on us before God, but as we are in Christ, shaded with 
his righteousness, 2 Cor. v. 21. Therefore he cannot be pleased 
with a sinner out of Christ. 

(4.) Lastly^ The covenant of peace reaches not without him, Isa, 
xlix. 8, and there is no acceptance of a sinner but in it. He was 
the only party-contractor in it, and contracted only for his seed; 
and it is only by faith uniting with Christ that we are actually in 
it. Know then that the whole of your salvation lies here. Ye must 
be in Christ, or ye can have no saving benefit by him. For God 
will not accept you even for Christ's sake, if ye be not in him. 

But in Christ the sinner is in a state of acceptableness to God. 
We take up this in these five things following: — 

1. In Christ the sinner may be accepted of God; 2 Cor. v. 19, 
*' God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imput- 
ing their trespasses unto them." There God may, with safety of his 
honour, meet with the sinner, and receive him into favour. While 
the sinner is out of Christ, it is inconsistent with the honour of God 
to accept of him ; where is the honour of his justice and holiness, 
and of his law, if that should be ? But the sinner being in Christ, 
these bars are removed, Matth. xxii. 4. 

Reason. Christ has fully satisfied the law, in the name and stead 
of all his, Rom. x. 4. The law can demand nothing of them, but 


vrliat it has got of their Surety for them ; so justice cannot hinder 
their acceptance. And it has got, 

(1.) Holiness of nature. It is true, it is not in them in their own 
persons, in the eye of the law ; but in Christ as a public person it 
is ; for he was born perfectly holy, brought a holy spotless human 
nature into the world with him, which was never in the least stained, 
Lukei. 35; Heb. vii. 26. 

(2.) Righteousness of life. They cannot pretend to it in their 
own persons ; but Christ has furnished it for them ; Phil. ii. 8, " He 
humbled himself, and became obedient unto death." All the ten 
commands had their due from him. His obedience was universal, 
constant without interruption, voluntary without constraint, and per- 
fect without the least failure in degree or measure. 

(3.) Satisfaction for sin. That is quite beyond their reach ; but 
he has satisfied fully ; Gal. iii. 13, " Christ hath redeemed us from 
the curse of the law, being made a curse for ns." Death in all its 
shapes preyed on him. The forerunners of it met him, at his en- 
trance into the world; it hung about him all his days; in end it 
came on him with all its joint forces, carried him to the dust 
of death, kept him in the prison of the grave, till the debt was de- 
clared to be completely paid. 

2. In Christ the sinner will be accepted. Any, even the worst of 
sinners shall certainly be accepted in Christ; Acts xvi. 31, " Be- 
lieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." "Whoso- 
ever shall make their escape into this city of refuge shall be safe. 
Christ will refuse none that come to him ; and God will reject none 
that are in Christ. Let this be secured, and all is safe. 

Reason. The promise of the gospel ensures this. The truth of hea- 
ven is plighted for it, that sinners may have all encouragement to 
come to Christ ; John iii. 16, " For God so loved the world, that he 
gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should 
not perish, but have everlasting life." It is an unalterable statute, 
that " he that believeth shall be saved," Mark xvi. 16. The word 
is full of promises of this nature. See Isa. Iv- 1, 2. So that as 
Christ's satisfaction shews it is in the power of a holy God, to accept 
sinners ; the promise of the gospel ascertains it to be his will. 

3. In Christ the sinner cannot but be accepted. It is impossible 
it should fail or miscarry ; Heb. vi. 18, " That by two immutable 
things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a 
strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the 
hope set before us." Heaven and earth may pass away sooner than 
a sinner in Christ should not be received into favour with God. 
Reason. There is a right of a third party in this matter, which it is 


impossible to bo baulked, it is not only God and the sinner that 
are here concerned, but the Mediator Christ appears for his interest. 
In the covenant that passed from eternity betwixt him and the Fa- 
ther, it was promised him, that on condition of his fulfilling all his 
righteousness, sinners should be accepted in him ; he has fulfilled the 
condition, and so demands it as his own right, to whom the promises 
were made, Tit. i. 2. 

4. That moment a sinner is in Christ, he is accepted, Rom. viii. 1, 
•' There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in 
Christ Jesus." No sooner does the soul come into Christ, by faith, 
but all is safe ; the man is in a state of favour with God, the day is 
risen with him, and the long and black night of the state of wrath 
is at an end. For then, 

(1.) Heaven's oflfer is accepted as it was made. In the gospel 
there is an offer of Christ and his righteousness made to the sinner, 
Rom. i. 17; and of acceptance in him, Acts xiii. 38. The soul by 
faith coming to Christ, accepts the offer; so the acceptance with God 
offered, becomes actually his. 

(2.) Faith uniting the soul to Christ, upon that union with him 
follows a communion with him in his righteousness, yea, in his ful- 
ness ; as in marriage there is a communion of goods, 1 John i. 3. 
So the soul wants nothing to commend it to God for acceptance, 
having all in its head Christ, 1 Cor. i. 30 ; Col.ii. 10. The holiness 
and purity of his birth is theirs ; all the good works he did during 
his life are theirs ; and all that he suffered in life and death is theirs. 
All fullness being united to all emptiness, the empty creature is 
filled, and rendered accepted ; the transcendent beauty of the Head 
casts a lustre on all the members. 

(3.) The soul pleading Christ's righteousness, and Christ interced- 
ing for the soul on that ground, the imputation of it, and acceptance 
of the person upon it, must immediately ensue. Faith's plea is well 
bottomed, and cannot be refused : Christ's intercession is always ef- 
fectual ; so the righteousness that is theirs by faith, cannot miss to 
be reckoned theirs, and they accepted as righteous thereon, 2 Cor. 
v. 21. 

5. Lastly, "While they abide in Christ, they remain accepted ; so 
their union with him being everlasting, the acceptance of their per- 
sons can never be interrupted ; John x. 28, " I give unto them eter- 
nal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them 
out of ray hand;" Rem. viii. 1. It continues in their adversity, as 
well as prosperity, Job. xlii. 8. Their sins may bring them under 
heavy strokes, yet still their persons are accepted in Christ, Psalm 
Ixxxix. 30 — 34. It continues in death, as well as in life, John xi. 


11, and will continue through eternity, Heb. vii. 25, for that righte- 
ousness of Christ put on by faith will ever continue on them; their 
union with Christ can never be dissolved; and being in Christ, they 
can never be but accepted. 

I come now to the improvement of this subject. 

1. Then the door of acceptance with God is open to all ; none are 
excluded, Isa. Iv. 1, 2. What is given freely, one has access to, as 
well as another, whatever they have been. Not that God will accept 
of any who will continue in their sin, and will not come to Christ ; 
bnt that none shall be refused, who will come for acceptance in the 
method God has laid down 

2. Seek then acceptance with God, that ye may find favour with 
him. This should be your main aim, 2 Cor, v. 9. Here your hap- 
piness lies in time and eternity ; Psalm xxx. 5, " In his favour is 
life." The favour of the world is both insufficient and uncertain ; 
it cannot satisfy in life, much less in death. God is the best friend, 
and the most terrible enemy ; for he is an everlasting friend, and 
an everlasting enemy too, 

3. Seek it freely, without pretending to anything in yourselves to 
recommend you to his acceptance or favour. Put no confidence in 
whole or in part, in your doings, suflFerings, attainments, Phil. iii. 
7, 8 ; otherwise ye do put a bar in your own way, and will meet 
with that, " Thy money perish with thyself." Mind that this may 
procure your rejection, and therefore not your acceptance. 

4. Seek it through Jesus Christ only, that is, by faith in him, 
laying the whole stress of your acceptance on his righteousness. 
The Jews missed it, because they sought it not this way, Rom. ix. 
32. No person nor thing else can procure you the favour of God ; 
no righteousness else will cover you; nothing but the blood 
of the Redeemer can be a covert from revenging justice ; nor will 
anything else purge the conscience. All other things will be but as 
a wall of dry boards betwixt you and the consuming fire. 

5. Lastly, Therefore as ever ye would have acceptance or favour 
with God, seek to be in Christ ; to be united to him. For as there 
is no acceptance with God, but for his sake ; so there is no accept- 
ance for his sake, but to those that are in him. Col. i. 27- There is 
salvation in Christ, but none partake of it that are not in him ; a 
righteousness in him, but it covers none but the members of his 
body. And, 

(1.) This is the only way to be safe in time ; for it is the only 
way to be without the verge of wrath, John iii. ult. And they that 
are without it are safe, go times as they will, John xvi. ult. 
While the Lord is threatening a rousing stroke on the generation, 


the only safety will be in Christ, Micah v. 5. ; Isa. viii. 14 ; and 
xxvi. 20. 

(2.) It is the only way to be safe in eternity, Phil. iii. 9. We 
must launch out of time into eternity, and there is no escaping the 
gulf of eternal wrath, but in him. They that are not in hira must 
depart from him ; and departing from him, they must go into ever- 
lasting fire. 

QcTEST. How may we then get into Christ. 

Answ. 1. The only way to get into him is by faith, Eph. iii. 17. 
And faith is the convinced soul's renouncing all confidence in itself, 
and trusting on him entirely for salvation from sin and wrath, upon 
the ground of the faithfulness of God in the promise of the gospel. 
Kereby the soul knits with Christ, hangs on him, depends on hira, 
wholly to stand or fall, according as he shall deal with them. 

2. The only way to get that faith, is by his Spirit in us, 2 Cor. 
iv. 13. Christ communicating his quickening Spirit unto the dead 
soul, it believes ; and believing is united to Christ, and accepted 
in him. Wherefore breathe, pant, and long for the Spirit of Christ, 
Luke xi. 13. 

I shall now drop a word very briefly to the last doctrine, and so 
conclude this subject. 

DocT. III. ult. Glorious free grace shines forth in the acceptance 
of sinners in the beloved Jesus. 

"We shall consider, wherein it shines there. It shines, 

1. In his admitting a Surety to mediate for the acceptance of 
sinners, when he might have insisted that the soul that sinned 
should die, Rom. v. 8, " God commendeth his love towards us, in 
that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for ns." The necks of 
all the elect were on the block, and it was in the hand of spotless 
justice to reach them the fatal stroke. But glorious free grace ad- 
mits a surety in their room. 

2. He provided the Surety, John iii. 16; as he did the ram to 
come instead of Isaac lying bound on the altar. All the beasts of 
the field could not have afforded a sacrifice sufficient for the sinner's 
acceptance ; nor the angels in heaven a cautioner ; but glorious 
grace gave God's own Son ; Psalm Ixxxix. 19, " I have laid help 
upon one that is mighty ; I have exalted one chosen out of the peo- 
ple." So the righteousness is the righteousness of God, not only of 
one who is God, but provided by God. 

3. He demands nothing of us, to render us acceptable in whole or 
in part; but the cause of his accepting sinners is wholly without 
them; Rom. iii. 24, " Being justified freely by his grace, through the 


redemption tliat is in Jesus Christ." To us it is in no wise, Givo 
and get ; but Take and have ; Rom. iv. 16, " Tlicrefore it is of faitli, 
that it might be by grace ; to the end the promise might be sure to 
all the seed." So nothing in us has any hand in it, but faith, as the 
hand whereby it is received. 

4. The very hand of faith whereby it is received is God's free 
gift ; Eph. ii. 8, " For by grace are ye saved through faith ; and 
that not of yourselves ; it is the gift of God." Philip, i. 29. That 
one believes while another doth not, is owing purely to free grace, 
which makes the difference ; giving the quickening spirit to one, 
that is not communicated to another. 

5. In its breaking over all impediments lying in its way, such as 
these in the case of the Corinthians, to whom the apostle says, 
" Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit t4ic kingdom 
of God ? Be not deceived ; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor 
adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 
nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortion- 
ers shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you : 
but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the 
name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God," 1 Cor. vi. 
9 — 11. In the best of sinners, there is that loathsomeness and un- 
worthiness found, that proclaims a glory of grace in their acceptance ; 
Jer. iii. 19, " I said, How shall I put thee among the children ?" 
But in the worst of them there is nothing found but what glorious 
grace will break over, to accept them in Christ, as in Manasseh, 
Mary Magdalene, Paul, &c. 

6. In the thoroughness of the acceptance ; Isa. i. 18, " Come now, 
and let us reason together, saith the Lord ; though your sins be as 
scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like 
crimson, they shall be as wool." Acceptance among men is often 
coldrife, and by halves, so as the heart is not freely toward the par- 
doned offender. But God's acceptance of sinners in Christ is per- 
fect the first moment ; they are perfectly beloved in him, John xvii. 

7. Lastly, In the perpetuity and constancy of it ; sinners are so 
accepted in Christ that they shall never be cast out of God's favour 
again ; John x. 28, 29, " And I give unto them eternal life, and they 
shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. 
My Father which gave them me is greater than all ; and none is 
able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." They are not put on 
their good behaviour as to the acceptance of their persons with God, 
but it is secured unalterably in Christ. The smiles and frowns of a 
Father will indeed be as they cm ry. 

Vol. X[. ' m 


Use 1. Let us loath Popery then, as the smoke of the bottomless 
pit darkening the glory of grace in the acceptance of sinners, by 
their merit of works, and other corrupt doctrines and practices, lay- 
ing another foundation than Christ. It is evident we are in danger 
of it, and it will be our wisdom to be on our guard, that we be not 
catched napping, come what will. 

2. Let all be encouraged to come to God through Christ for ac- 
ceptance, assuring themselves they may have it through him, God 
being well pleased with him, and with every one who believes in 
him for life, pardon and acceptance. 





the parties in" 
that covenant ; the keality op it ; its parts, 
conditionaey, promissory, and minatory ; our father 
Adam's breaking of it ; the imputation oe that breach to his 
posterity ; and the state of man under that broken co- 
venant, and under the curse thereof, are dis- 
tinctly considered : 



' Earth felt the wound, and Nature from hor =eat 
Siofhing', tlu-ough all her works, g'avo sig^ns of woe. 
That all was lost."— Milton. 

M 2 

P K E F A C E. 

Though the doctrines and precepts of Christianity are unalterable 
in their nature, and must necessarily be the same in all ages and 
places ; yet we find that the foolish caprice of men has made them 
appear in various shapes, in different periods and countries. 

In the golden days of Christianity, before men had learned the 
art of making gain of godliness in a literal sense, and contracted 
the ridiculous humour of modelling religion according to their re- 
spective tastes and tempers, the religion of Jesus was then seen in 
its native simplicity, unadulterated with the unnatural additions 
and embellishments of human invention. In process of time, when 
it was found that religion was not unsubservient to worldly interest, 
some of its votaries, inclining to make the kingdom of Christ re- 
semble the kingdoms of this world, stripped religion in a great mea- 
sure of its native unadorned simplicity, and dressed it in garments 
of their own manufacture. 

This dangerous spirit of innovating, when it once begins, knows 
no bounds or limits. It is like a river, or flood, whose current has 
been stopped, when once let loose it will disregard its proper chan- 
nel, and carry every thing down with its impetuous torrent. The 
rapid progress which this wild spirit has made, is clearly seen in 
those enormous corruptions which gradually crept into the Church 
of Rome, until at length she arrived at the monstrous absurdity of 
a wafer god, created by the benediction of a priest- 
It had not however been so fatal to the interests of true religion, 
if the inventions of men had been confined to circumstantials, or 
things of lesser importance. Had this been the case, the blessed 
religion of Jesus would not have had so much reason to put on her 
widow's weeds. The Christian world was pleased to indulge some 
ingenious triflers in forming refined theories of the creation of all 
things, and was not offended whether they chose a volcano or a long 
tailed comet for the iuatrument of their dissolution ; nor has the 


Christian denied the same gracious indulgence to such of the same 
kidney as have tried to lash their lingering " moments into speed," 
by attempting curious calculations with respect to the prophecies in 
the book of the Revelation, nor will he laugh, I ara persuaded, when 
they out-live their calculations. A decent company will not readily 
quarrel with a conceited cook for garnishing the dishes with herbs 
that are not eatable ; but if he infuses these herbs into the sauce, 
every one who regards liis life and health, will immediately take 
the alarm, and refuse to eat. In like manner the friends of Jesus, 
for the sake of peace, will be disposed to bear with men's foibles 
and humours, when they are, comparatively speaking, harmless, and 
do not alter the system, or affect the essentials of our holy religion ; 
but, on the other hand, if men take it into their heads to new-model 
the system of Christianity, and to prescribe a new plan of salvation 
such criminal liberty can never be permitted, and those who regard 
the health and welfare of their souls, will neither taste, relish, nor 
digest such poisonous unwholesome food. 

That such attempts have been made (and with considerable suc- 
cess too), the present state of the religious world is a sufficient proof. 
The rusty armour of Pelagius and Socinus has, with unparalleled 
effrontery, been buckled on, and the self-flattering doctrines of 
Arminius have, with sanguine hopes of success, been furbished up 
anew. Nor has the wild-fire stopt here. As Pelagius took away 
original sin, another adventurer, determined not to be out-done by 
the arch-heretic, at one blow rids us of actual transgression. Strange 
hypothesis! Sin, revelation as well as expereince and fact tell us, 
has an actual existence in the world. There are only two kinds of 
it, viz. original and actual ; how then can any of these species of sin 
exist, if man is guilty of neither ? 

One could scarce believe that such chimeras as these would ever en- 
ter into men's heads, to whom the uncorrupted sources of divine truth 
are accessible. But the truth is this : — Men have generally formed 
such conceptions of the present state of human nature, and the extent 
of its powers, as they wish to be true, and wishing them to be true, 
have asserted them to be so ; and after dressing her up in a gay attire 
of their own making, to complete her honour, and fix the crown of glory 


upon her head, have complacently enough given her salvation of her 
own working out. Hence it is, that human merit and personal righte- 
ousness pass so currently in this refined age as the only, conditions of 
onr acceptance with God, and justification in his sight. The suc- 
cess of this modern method of Christian-making is easily accounted 
for. For as it ascribes the whole praise of his salvation to man 
himself, it is much more agreeable to the pride of the human heart, 
than the gospel method of salvation, which resolves the whole into 
the free grace of God in Christ Jesus. But though such a scheme 
of salvation is greedily swallowed by the human heart, yet if it has 
not the sanction of the infallible oracles of truth, it must be looked 
upon as " a cunningly devised fable." 

"Whilst such unscriptural principles as these, with respect to the 
way of access to the divine favour, are assiduously propagated 
by some, and greedily swallowed by others, the following publica- 
tion cannot be deemed an unseasonable one. It turns upon a capital 
article in the Christian system, upon our notions of which all our 
views of the method of acceptance with God must depend. For if 
one man maintains that hnman nature, by proper culture and im- 
provement, may acquire strength and integrity equal to that which 
it had in the days of primaeval rectitude, salvation by works will to 
him appear quite practicable. But on the other hand, if another man, 
according to sacred writ, believes that the descendants of Adam are 
obnoxious to the curse of the law, and " dead in trespasses and sins," 
he will clearly see the necessity of Christ's satisfaction to remove 
the one, and the power of the Spirit to raise from the other. 

As the following sheets therefore are designed to give us the 
scriptural account of the original transactions betwixt God and the 
first parent of the human race, to express the nature and extent of 
the efi"ect8 of the fall, and consequently to lead us to right concep- 
tions of the method of salvation prescribed in the gospel ; they will 
not, the editor fondly hopes, be an unacceptable offering to the 

As to the performance itself, the reader, when it comes into his 
hand, must judge of its merit. To attempt a character of it, would be 
too delicate a task for the pen of so near a relation as the author's 

176 rUEFACE. 

grandson. He only begs leave to inform tlie public, that the work is 
genuine, and is printed from tl)e author's manuscript, without any 
alterations or additions, but such as are merely verbal, and do not 
affect the sense. It was preached in a course of sermons to his own 
congregation by the worthy author, in the latter end of the year 
1721, and in the beginning of the year 1722. And it appears from 
the following paragraph, extracted from his diary, that he was led to 
undertake the subject, on account of the controversy agitated before 
several, General Assemblies of this National Church, concerning a 
book entitled " The Marrow of Modern Divinity." " I was now led," 
says the author, " for my ordinary, to treat of the two covenants, 
which lasted a long time.* I began on the covenant of works, August 
27, this year [1721], and handling it at large from several texts, I 
insisted thereon till May in the following year. I studied it with 
considerable earnestness and application, being prompted thereto, as 
to the close consideration of the other covenant too, afterwards, by 
the state the doctrine in this church was then arrived at." — N.B. 
The author here alludes to the controversy above mentioned. 

Tha Editor did not think himself at liberty to change its orignal 
form of sermons. He has, however, for the ease of the reader, 
divided the treatise into parts, and added general titles to them, as 
well as to the subdivisions of each part, which he thought himself 
snfl&ciently warranted to do, as the author himself has followed the 
same method in his " View of the Covenant of Grace." 

The reader will find, in the book, several references to the cele- 
brated Br. Witsius' " Economy of the Covenants," which, though 
they arc not in the original manuscript, the Editor has added, with 
a view of referring the reader to that great work, for a further illus- 
tration of some of the subjects of this essay. 

It would be unnecessary to offer to the public the reasons why this 

* The author's manuscript bears, that the seroions od this subject were beguu 
August 27th, 1721, .nnd euded May Gth, 1722, having preached on other subjects 
during that period. On the first of July that year he began his sermons on the co- 
venant of grace, and ended them on the 14th of June, 1724. So that this important 
subject, the doctiine of the two covenants, employed his public labours a considerable 
part of near thiee years 

PliBFACE. 177 

performance remainetl so long iu manuscript, or wliy it now emerges 
from its obscurity so long after its rev. Author's death. Readers 
of a certain class will perhaps think that it has come to light soon 
enough, and those of another complexion will not relish it less be- 
cause they have wanted it long. It now ventures out an orphan 
into the world ; and as some of the same family [" The Fourfold 
State," &c., &c,], have met with a candid reception from the pub- 
lic, the orphan hopes, even under the disadvantages common to 
posthumous publications, that it will meet with some regard for its 
parent's sake. 


A Y I E W 




Genesis ii. 17, 

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of 

it ; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. 


My design is, under the divine conduct, to open up unto you the twa 
covenants of works and grace ; and that because in the knowledge 
and right application of them the work of our salvation lies ; the 
first covenant shewing us our lost state, and the second holding 
forth the remedy in Jesus Christ ; the two things which, for the sal- 
vation of souls, I have always thought it necessary chiefly to incul- 
cate. And I think it the more necessary to treat of these subjects, 
that, in these our declining days, the nature of both these covenants 
is so much perverted by some, and still like to be more so. And as 
I desire to lay a good foundation among you, while I have oppor- 
tunity ; so I intreat all of you, and particularly the younger sort, to 
hearken and hear for the time to come. I begin with the first cove- 
nant to shew the nature of it from this text, " But of the tree of the 
knowledge," &c. 

In which words we have an account of the original transaction 
between God and our first father Adam in paradise, while yet in the 
state of primitive integrity. In which the following things are to be 
remarked, being partly expressed and partly implied. 

1. The Lord's making over to him a benefit by way of a condi- 
tional promise, which made the benefit a debt upon the performing 
of the condition. This promise is a promise of life, and is Included 
in the threatening of death, thusj If thou eat not of the tree of the 


knowledge, &c., thou sbalt live ; even as in the sixth commandment, 
" Thou shalt not kill" is plainly implied, Thou shalt preserve thy 
own life and the life of others. And thus it is explained by Moses ; 
Rom. X. 5, " The man which doth those things shall live by them." 
Besides, the license given him to eat of all the other trees, and so of 
the tree of life, which had a sacramental use, imports this promise. 

2. The condition required to entitle him to this benefit ; namely, 
obedience. It is expressed in a prohibition of one particular, " Of 
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it." 
There was a twofold law given to Adam ; the natural law, which 
was concreated with him, engraven on his heart in his creation. 
For it is said, Gen. i. 27, that " God created man in his own image ;" 
compared with Eph. iv. 24, " That ye put on the new man, which 
after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." This law 
was afterwards promulgated on Mount Sinai, being much obliterated 
by sin. Another law was the symbolical law, mentioned in the text, 
which, not being known by nature's light, was revealed to Adam, 
probably by an audible voice. By this God chose to try, and by an 
external action, exemplify his obedience to the natural law concreat- 
ed with him. And this being a thing in its own nature altogether 
indifferent, the binding of it upon him by the mere will of the divine 
lawgiver, did clearly import the more strong tie of the natural law 
upon him in all the parts of it. Thus perfect obedience was the con- 
dition of this covenant. 

3. The sanction, or penalty in case of the breach of the covenant, 
" In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." For if 
death was entailed on a doing of that which was only evil, because 
it was forbidden ; much more might Adam understand it to be en- 
tailed on his doing of any thing forbidden, because evil, or contrary to 
the nature or will of God, the knowledge of which was impressed 
on his mind in his creation. The sanction is plainly expressed, not 
the promise ; because the last was plainly enough signified to him 
in the tree of life, and he had ample discoveries of God's goodness 
and bounty, but none of his justice, at least to himself. And it 
does not appear that the angels were yet fallen ; or if they Avere, 
that Adam knew of it. 

4. Adam's going into the proposal, and acceptance of those terms, 
is sufficiently intimated to us by his objecting nothing against it. 
Thus the Spirit of God teaches us Jonah's repentance and yielding 
at length to the Lord, after a long struggle, chap. iv. 11 ; as also 
Adam's own going into the covenant of grace, Gen. iii. 15. Besides, 
his knowledge could not but represent to him how beneficial a treaty 
this was ; his upright will could not but comply with what a bountiful 


God laid on him ; and he, by virtue of that treaty, claimed the pri- 
vilege of eating of the other trees, and so of the tree of life, as 
appears from Eve's words. Gen. iii. 3, " But of the fruit of the tree 
which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said. Ye shall not eat 
of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." 

Now it is true, we have not here the word covenant ; yet we must 
not hence infer, that there is no covenant in this passage, more than 
we may deny the doctrine of the Trinity and sacraments, because those 
words do not occur where these things are treated of in scripture, 
nay, are not to be found in the scripture at all. But as in those 
cases, so here we have the thing; for the making over of a benefit to 
one, upon a condition, with a penalty, gone into by the party it is 
proposed to, is a covenant, a proper covenant, call it as you will. 

The Covenant of "Works, between God and Adam, a proper 


The truth deducible from the words is this : — 

DocT. — There was a covenant of works, a proper covenant, be- 
tween God and Adam the father of mankind. 

In handling this important point, I shall, 

I. Confirm the great truth expressed in the doctrinal note, and 
evince the being of such a covenant. 

II. Explain the nature of this covenant. 

III. Conclude with practical uses. 

The truth of the Covenant of "Works confirmed. 

1. I shall confirm this great truth, and evince the being of such 
a covenant. It is altogether denied by the Armiuians that there 
was any such covenant, and amongst ourselves by Professor Simson,* 
that it was a proper covenant. The weight of this matter lies 
here, that if the covenant made with Adam was not a proper covenant, 
he could not be a proper representing head ; and if he was not, 
then there cannot be a proper imputation of Adam's sin unto his 

* Mr. Johu Simson was Professor of Divinity in the College of Glasgow, and was 
twice prosecuted before the judicatories of the church, first for Pelagian and Arminian 
errors, and lastly for Arianism. Among his Arminian and Pelagian errors, vented 
in his answers to the libel exbiliited against him by the Eev. Mr. James Webster of 
Edinburgh, and in his letters to Mr. Rowan, he held, in express terms, " That there 
ivas no proper covenant made with Adam for himself and his posterity : That Adam was 
not a federal head to his posterity ; and that if Adam was made a federal head, it must 
be by divine command, which is not found in the Bible." These dangerous errors 
were solidly and judiciously refuted by the Rev. Messrs. James Fliut and JuhuMaclaren, 
both ministers of Edinburgh. 


posterity. None could over dream, but there must be a raanifest 
difference betwixt covenants between God and man, and those be- 
tween men and men. There is no manner of equality betwixt God 
and man ; God couUl require all duty of men without any covenant ; 
yea, they have nothing but what is from him, and so owe it to him. 
But those things do not hinder, that, upon God's condescending to 
enter into a covenant with man, there may be a proper covenant be- 
twixt them. Though all similitudes here must halt ; yet let us sup- 
pose a father to propose to his son, that if he will obey his orders, 
and especially in one point give him punctual obedience, for in- 
stance, labour his vineyard, he will give him a certain sum of 
money; and the son having nothing to labour it with, the father fur- 
nishes him with all things necessary thereto ; the son accepts of this 
proposal. Can any man say that there is not a proper bargain, or 
covenant, in this case betwixt the father and his son, although the 
son was tied by the bond of nature to obey his father's commands 
in all this antecedently to the bargain, and though he has nothing to 
labour it with, but what he has from the father ? Let him perform 
his father's orders now according to the covenant, and he can chal- 
lenge the sum as a debt, which he could not do before. For proof 
of this, consider, • 

1. Here is a concurrence of all that is necessary to constitute a 
true and proper covenant of works. The parties contracting, God 
and man ; God requiring obedience as the condition of life ; a pe- 
nalty fixed in case of breaking ; and man acquiescing in the proposal. 
The force of this cannot be evaded, by comparing it with the consent 
of subjects to the laws of an absolute prince. For such a law pro- 
posed by a prince, promising a reward upon obedience to it, is in- 
deed the proposing of a covenant, the which the subject consenting 
to for himself and his, and taking on him to obey, does indeed en- 
ter into a covenant with the prince, and having obeyed the law 
may claim the reward by virtue of paction. And so the covenant 
of works is ordinarily in scripture called '' the law," being in its 
own nature a pactional law. 

2. It is expressly called a covenant in scripture, Gal. iv. 24, " For 
these are the two covenants, the one from the Mount Sinai," &c. 
This covenant from Mount Sinai was the covenant of works as being 
opposed to the covenant of grace, namely, the law of the ten com- 
mandments, with promise and sanction, as before expressed. At 
Sinai it was renewed indeed, but that was not its first appearance 
in the world. For there being but two ways of life to be found in 
scripture, one by works, the other by grace; the latter hath no 
place, but where the first is rendered ineffectual ; therefore the co- 


venant of works was before the covenant of grace in the world ; 
yet the covenant of grace was promulgated quickly after Adam's 
fall ; therefore the covenant of works behoved to have been made 
with him before- And how can one imagine a covenant of works 
set before poor impotent sinners, if there had not been such a co- 
venant with man in his state of integrity ? Hos. vi. 7, " But as for 
them ; like Adam, they have transgressed the covenant." Our 
translators set the word Adam on the margin. But in Job xxxi. 33, 
they translate the very same word, " as Adam." This word occurs 
but three times in scripture, and still in the same sense. Job xxxi. 
33, *' If I covered my transgressions, as Adam," Psalm Ixxxii. 7, 
" But ye shall die like Adam." Compare ver. 6, *' I have said. Ye 
are gods ; and all of you are children of the Most High ;" com- 
pared with Luke iii. 38, " Adam, which was the son of God." And 
also here, Hos. vi. 7- While Adam's hiding his sin, and his death 
are made an example, how natural is it that his transgression, that 
led the way to all, be made so too ? This is the proper and literal 
sense of the words ; it is so read by several, and is certainly the 
meaning of it. 

3. "We find a law of works opposed to the law of faith, Rom. iii. 
27, "Where is boasting then ? It is excluded. By what law? ef 
works? Nay; but by the law of faith." This law of works is the 
covenant of works, requiring works, or obedience, as the condition 
pleadable for life ; for otherwise the law as a rule of life requires 
works too. Again, it is a law that does not exclude boasting, 
which is the very nature of the covenant of works, that makes the 
reward to be of debt. And further, the law of faith is the covenant 
of grace ; therefore the law of works is the covenant of works. 
So Rom. vi. 14, " Ye are not under the law, but under grace." 
And this was the way of life without question, which was given to 
Adam at first. 

4. There were sacramental signs and seals of this transaction in 
paradise. As it has pleased the Lord still to deal with man in the 
way of a covenant, so to append seals to these covenants. God's 
covenant with Noah, that he would not destroy the earth again with 
water, had the rainbow as a sign of it to confirm it. Gen. ix. 12, 13. 
The covenant with Abraham had circumcision ; that with the Israel- 
ites, circumcision and the passover ; and the new covenant with the 
New Testament church, baptism and the Lord's supper. So to the 
covenant of works God appended the two trees ; the tree of life, 
Gen. iii. 22, '' And now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of 
the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever;" and the tree of the 
knowledge of good and evil, mentioned in the words of the text. 


"When we find then confirming seals of this transaction, we must 
own it to be a covenant. 

5. Lastly, All mankind are by nature under the guilt of Adam's 
first sin ; Rom. v. 12, " As by one man sin entered into the world, 
and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all 
have sinned." And they are under the curse of the law before they 
have committed actual sin: hence they are said to be "by nature 
children of wrath," Eph. ii. 3, which they must needs owe to Adam's 
sin, as imputed to them. This must be owing to a particular rela- 
tion betwixt them and him ; which must either be, that he is their 
natural head simply, from whence they derive their natural being; 
but then the sins of our immediate parents, and all other mediate 
ones too, behoved to be imputed rather than Adam's, because our 
relation to them is nearer ; or because he is our federal head also, 
representing us in the first covenant. And that is the truth, and 
evidences the covenant of works made with Adam to have been a 
proper covenant. 

The Nature of the Covenant of Works. 

II. I shall explain the nature of the covenant of works. In order 
to this, I shall consider, 

1. The parties contracting in this covenant. 

2. The parts of the covenant ; and, 

3. The seals of it. 

The parties in the Covenant of Works. 

First, I shall consider the parties contracting in this covenant. 
These were two. 

God the first party in the covenant. 

First, On the one hand God himself, the Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost, Gen. ii. 16, *' And the Lord God commanded the man, say- 
ing," &c. God, as Creator and Sovereign Lord of man, condescended 
to enter into a covenant with man, his own creature and subject, 
whom he might have governed by a simple law, without proposing to 
him the reward of life. Thus it was a covenant betwixt two very 
unequal parties. And here God shewed, 

1. His supreme authority over the creature man, founded on man's 
natural dependence on him as his Creator, Rom. xi. 36, " For of 
him, and through him, and to him, are all things." He gave him a 
law which he was to obey, under the greatest penalty ; not only the 
natural law, but that positive law depending on the mere will of the 
Lawgiver ; Job xxv. 2, " Dominion and fear are with him." The 


troth is, it is a flower of the imperial crown of heaven, due to him 
only who is absolutely supreme, to stamp mere will into a law bind- 
ing men. 

2. His abundant goodness, in annexing such a great reward to 
man's service, which it could never merit ; Heb. xi. 6, " He is a re- 
warder of them that diligently seek him." Here was a full fountain 
of goodness opened afresh, after he had let out signal goodness to 
man in his creation and settlement in tlie world, after all appears a 
method how to make him eternally happy in another and better 

3. His admirable condescension, in stooping to make a covenant 
with his OAvn creature. It is true he was a holy creature, yet he was 
but a creature. "What God might have exacted of him by mere 
authority, ho is pleased to require by compact, so making himself 
debtor to man upon man's obedience, which without a covenant he 
could not have been. 

Adam, as a public person, the other party in the Covenant. 

Secondly, On the other hand was Adam, the father of all mankind. 
He must be considered here under a twofold notion. 

1. As a righteous man, morally perfect, endued with sufficient 
power and abilities to believe and do whatever God should reveal 
to or require of him, fully able to keep the law. That Adam was 
thus furnished when the covenant was made with him, 

\st, Appears from plain scripture ; Eccl. vii. 29, " God hath made 
man upright." There was an agreeableness of the powers of his 
soul to the holy law of God, which is habitual righteousness, here 
asserted ; and likewise, Gen. i. 31, " God saw everything that he 
had made, and behold it was very good." Not only were all things 
made good, but very good. Everything had the goodness agreeable 
to its nature; it was fit for the end God made it for; and so man, 
being made to serve God, was fitted for that service. So man was 
very good morally ; for that is agreeable to his rational nature, with- 
out which he could not be reckoned very good. 

2dly, Man was created in the image of God, Gen. i. 27' And so, 

(1.) His mind was endowed with knowledge; for that is a part 
of the image of God in man, Col. iii. 10, where believers are said 
to " have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge af- 
ter the image of him that created him." We have a most ample tes- 
timony of this, Gen. iii. 22, {Heb.), "Behold the man that was one 
of us, to know good and evil." He was sufficiently able to know 
good and evil; good, to follow it; and evil, to avoid it. He had a 
light of knowledge within him, which, rightly improved, might have 


directed Ins way, through all dangers, during the time of his trial. 

(2.) His will was endowed with righteousness, Eph. iv. 24, where 
" the new man" is said to be " after God created in righteousness." 
It was, by its natural set received in creation, straight to the will 
of God. The holy law was not only written in his mind by the 
knowledge of it ; but in his heart, by the inclinations of his will to- 
wards it. No contrary bent was in him, nor propensity to evil ; 
that was inconsistent with the image of God in perfection, and 
would have been sin in him. 

(3.) His affections were holy ; hence, Eph. iv. 24, forecited, " the 
new man" is also said to be "after God created in true holiness." 
This speaks out the purity and orderliness of his affections. He 
was not created without passions and afTectious, as love, joy, de- 
light, &c., for these belong to man's nature ; Acts xiv. 15, where 
the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, said to the people at Lystra, " We 
are men of like passions with you." These affections are like winds 
to the ship at sea ; but there were no poisonous blasts to be found 
among them ; and no violent and impetuous blasts neither, as is the 
case since the fall. But there was a pleasant, regular gale of them, 
Avhereby he might have made way through all dangers.* 

(4.) He had an executive power, whereby he was capable to do 
what he knew to be his duty, and inclined to do. He was made 
very good. Gen. i. 31, forecited; which implies not only a power to 
do good, but a facility in doing it free from all clogs and hinder- 
ances. Now, the spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak. But 
there was no such thing with Adam ; there was no mixture of cor- 
ruption in his soul, and nothing from the body to hinder his course 
of obedience. 

'6dli/, and Lastly, If he had not been so, that covenant could not 
have been made with him. It was inconsistent with the justice and 
goodness of God to have required that of his creature, which he had 
not ability to perform given him by his Creator. Wherefore before 
Adam could be obliged to perfect obedience, he behoved to have abi- 
lity competent for it ; otherwise that saying of the wicked and 
slothful servant had been true ; Matth. xxv. 24, " Lord, I knew 
thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, 
and gathering where thou hast not strawed." The case now is not 
the same with us, Adam having received and lost that power for 
himself and us. For although one cannot demand payment of a 
debt which he never lent or gave any manner of way ; yet having 

* The reader may see all the three preceding particulars more especially illuitrated 
in our author's work, entitled, " Human Nature in its Fourfold State," State i., 
under the title, " Of mao's original righteousness. " 

Vol. XI. N 


once lent tlie sum, he may require it of tlie debtor and his heirs, 
though they be not able to pay. 

Thus Avas man perfectly furnished and fitted to enter into this 
covenant. Let me therefore improve this point in a very few words, 
before I proceed further. 

Use 1. How low is man now brought, how unlike to what he was 
at his creation ! Alas! man is now ruined, and sin is the cause of 
that fatal ruin. 

2. What madness is it for men to look to that covenant for sal- 
vation, when they are nowise fit for the way of it, having lost all 
the furniture and ability proper for the observation thereof. 

3. Lastly, See how ye stand with respect to this covenant ; 
whether ye are discharged from it, and brought within the bond of 
the new covenant in Christ or not. But I proceed, 

2. Adam, in the covenant of works, is to be considered as the first 
man, 1 Cor. xv, 47, in whom all mankind was included. And he 

\st, The natural root of mankind, from which all the generations 
of men on the face of the earth spring. This is evident from Acts 
xvii. 26, " God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to 
dwell on all the face of the earth ;" which determines all men to be 
of one stock, one original, or common parentage. And this also ap- 
pears from Gen. iii. 20, " Adam called his wife's name Eve ; because 
she was the mother of all living ;" which determines that to be only 
Adam's family. And of him was also Eve, who was not only 
formed for him but of him. Gen. ii. 21, 22, 23. Thus Adam was the 
compend of the whole world. 

'Idly, The moral root, a public person, and representative of man- 
kind. And as such the covenant of works was made with him. As 
to this representation by Adam, we may note, 

(1.) That the man Christ was not included in it; Adam did not 
represent him, as he stood covenanting with God. This is manifest, 
in that Christ is opposed to Adam, as the last and second Adam 
to the first Adam, 1 Cor. xv. 45, one representative to another, ver. 
48. And if that covenant had been kept, Christ had not come, 
whose work it is to repair the loss by the breach of the first cove- 
nant, by establishing another covenant for that end. Besides, Christ 
was not born, as all others are, by virtue of that blessing of fruitful- 
ness given before the fall, under the covenant of works, while it yet 
remained unbroken; but by virtue of a special promise given after the 
fall, which promise was the erecting of another covenant, namely, the 
covenant of grace, whereof Christ was the head. Gen. iii. 15. 

(2.) Whether Eve was included in this representation, is not so 


clear. I find she is excepted by some. It is plain, that Adam was 
the original whence she came, as he and slie together are of all their 
posterity. He was her head, Eph. v. 23, " For the husband is tlie 
head of the wife." The thread of the history, Gen. ii., gives us the 
maicing of the covenant of works with Adam before the formation of 
Eve. The covenant itself runs in terms as delivered to one person, 
ver. 16, 17, " Thou mayest — Thou shalt." From whence it seems to 
me that she was included. It is true, she fell by her own transgres- 
sion ; and so might any of Adam's posterity have fallen to them- 
selves, as she did to herself, during the time of probation in this 
covenant; but the ruin of mankind was not completed till he did 
eat. And therefore Adam is first convicted, though Eve was first 
in the transgression. Gen. iii. 9. 

(3.) Without question, all his posterity by ordinary generation 
were included in it. He stood for them all in that covenant, and 
was their federal head, that covenant being made with him as a 
public person representing them all. For, 

[l.J The relation which the scripture teaches betwixt Adam and 
Christ evinces this. The one is called tho Jirst Adam, the other the 
last Adam, 1 Cor. xv. 45 ; the one the Jirst man, the other the second 
man, ver. 47. Now, Christ is not the second man, but as he is a 
public person, representing all his elect seed in the covenant of 
grace, being their federal head ; therefore Adam was a public per- 
son representing all his natural seed in the covenant of works, being 
their federal head ; for if there be a second man there must be a 
first man ; if a second representative there must be a first. Again, 
Christ is not the last Adam, but as the federal head of the elect, 
bringing salvation to them by his covenant keeping ; therefore the 
first Adam was the federal head of those whom he brought death 
upon by his covenant-breaking, and these are all, ver. 22, " For as 
in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." And 
therefore the apostle, Rom. v. 14, calls Adam a figure or typo of 
Christ. Accordingly each of these representatives are held forth with 
their respective parties represented by them, being made like unto 
them, 1 Cor. xv. 48, " As is the earthly, such are they also that are 
earthly ; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly." 

[2.] Adam's breaking of the covenant is in law their breaking of 
it ; it is imputed to them by a holy God, whose judgment is accord- 
ing to truth, and therefore can never impute to men the sin of which 
they are not guilty. Rom. v. 12 — " All have sinned." Now, if we en- 
quire what is the particular sin here meant ; the apostle makes it 
evident, that it is Adam's first sin, vers. 15, 19, — " If through the 
off"ence of one many be dead. — As by the oft'ence of one judgment 

N 2 


carao upon all men." And that sin was the breaking of the co- 
venant. Now, we conld never be reckoned breakers of the covenant 
in him, if we were not reckoned first makers of it in him ; that is, 
that Adam -was our federal head in that covenant, so that it was 
made with us in him. 

[3.] The rains by the breach of that covenant fall on all mankind, 
not excepting those who are not guilty of actual sin. Hence be- 
lievers are said to haA^e been " the children of wrath, even as 
others," Eph. ii. 3, and that " death hath reigned over them that 
had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression," Rom. 
V. 14. All were excluded from paradise, and from the tree of life, 
in the loins of Adam; the ground was cursed to them, as well as to him. 
Yea, all die spiritually, and that in him, 1 Cor. xv. 22, forecited. 
Yet it is only " the soul that sinneth, shall die," Ezek. xviii. 4. They 
thus die who are not chargeable with personal sins, Rom. v. 14, also 
above cited. It must be by virtue of that original threatening then, 
Gen. iii. 17, — " Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." 
And if they die by virtue of that threatening, they were under that 
law to which it was annexed ; but they could no other way be under 
it, than as in Adam their federal head and representative. 

[4.] Lastly, The sin and death we come under by Adam, is still 
restrained unto that sin of his by which he brake the covenant of 
works, Rom. v. 15 — 19, " Through the offence of one many be dead. 
The judgment was by one to condemnation. — By one man's offence 
death reigned by one. — By the offence of one judgment eame upon 
all men to condemnation. — By one man's disobedience many "wero 
made sinners." As for Adam's after sins, the scripture takes no 
notice of tliera that way. If our communion with him in sin and 
death did depend merely on his natural relation to us, the convey- 
ance of guilt from liim unto us could not have ceased, till his whole 
guilt contracted all his life over had disburdened itself upon us ; 
because the natural relation ceased not, but was still the same. It 
depended then upon some supervenient relation, the which could bo 
no other but that he was constituted a public person, representing 
us in the first covenant ; the which ceased, when he went in for him- 
self into the second covenant. The ship whereof he was made steers- 
man being split, the covenant of grace, as another ship came up, of 
•which Christ was the steersman ; and this covenant was let out as a 
rope to hale the passengers to land. This Adam laid hold on, and so 
quitted his first post, that his after mismanagement could no more 
harm as formerly. 

The equity of this representation. 

This representation was just and equal, though we did not make 


clioice of Adam for that effect. The justice and equity of it appears, 
in that, 

1. God made the choice ; he pitched on Adam as a fit person to 
represent all mankind ; and there is no mending of God's work, 
which is perfect, Eccl. iii. 14. There was infinite wisdom at making 
of it, and sovereign authority to establish it. The covenant pro- 
posed to Adam, could not but in duty be consented to by him ; and 
there is the same obligation to his posterity. If judges on earth may 
name and give tutors to minors, might not the Judge of all the earth 
do the same to his own creatures ? 

2. Adam was undoubtedly the most fit choice. He was the com- 
mon father of us all ; so being our natural head, he was fittest to be 
our federal head. He was in case for managing the bargain to the 
common advantage, Eccl. vii. 29, being "made upright," and fur- 
nished with suflicient abilities. And his own interest was on the 
same bottom with that of his posterity. Thus his abilities, and na- 
tural afi'ection concurring with his own interest, spoke him to be a 
fit person for that office. 

3. Lastly, The choice was of a piece with the covenant. The co- 
venant, in its own nature most advantageous for man, though it 
could not be profitable to God, Job xxsv. 7. was a free benefit and 
gift on God's part ; for as much as man had not a claim to the life 
promised, but by the covenant. So that as the covenant owed its 
being, not to nature, but a positive constitution of God ; so did the 
choice owe its being to the same. God joined the covenant and re- 
presentation together ; and so the consent of Adam or his posterity 
to the one, was a consenting to the other. 

The parts of the Covenant of Works. 

Secondly, I come now to discourse of the parts of the covenant. 
These are the things agreed upon betwixt God and man in this tran- 
saction ; the which God proposed, and man assented to, which made 
it properly God's covenant. It was himself Avho settled and drew 
all the articles of it, by himself alone ; Rom. xi. 34, " For who hath 
known the mind of the Lord ? (says the apostle), or who hath been 
his counsellor?" Nothing was left to man, but to receive, acquiesce 
in, and consent to it, as is manifest from the text. This was be- 
coming the inequality of the parties ; suitable to God's sovereign 
authority over man, whose proposals to his creature are in effect 
laws ; and suitable to the meanness of man in his best estate, who hath 
nothing but what he receives, and can never profit his Maker. Hence 
niay be inferred, 


1. That for a man's entering into the covenant of grace, there is no 
more required but the soul's hearty consent to the proposal of the cove- 
nant made to him in the gospel. For surely there is no more re- 
quired of a sinner to instate him in the second covenant, a covenant of 
grace, than was required of Adam in innocence to instate hira in the 
covenant of works ; Isa. Iv. 3, " Incline your ear^ (says the Lord), 
and come unto me ; hear, and your soul shall live ; and I will make 
an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." 
Herein the two covenants are at least equal. What casts the ba- 
lance on the side of the covenant of grace is, that it is an everlast- 
ing one, and a soul once in it can never fall out again, Cant iii. 10. 

2. That surely God has made the second covenant himself; he 
proposes it to us, and requires us to embrace it ; and has not left it 
to us to frame and mould it according to our mind, and then call on 
Lira to consent to the covenant we have franked. If he drew the 
whole of the first covenant to innocent man, much more has he drawn 
the whole of the second covenant for sinners. Let them know then, 
that it is their duty to study what God has proposed in his gospel, 
to examine themselves as to iheir liking of that way of salvation ; 
and if their souls be content with it as it is laid down, let them em- 
brace it. 

3. Forasmuch as faith is the soul's assent to the covenant of grace, 
it cannot be the condition of that covenant properly so called. For 
consenting to a covenant is a consenting to the condition of it, and 
all the rest of the parts thereof ; as we see in the first covenant, and 
may perceive in the second also in respect of Christ, where his doing 
and dying were the only proper conditions which he assented to ; 
Psalm xl. 7, where he says, " Lo, I come ; in the volume of the_book 
it is written of me." But assenting to the condition of a covenant 
cannot be the condition itself properly speaking ; otherwise we own 
faith to be the condition on our part, that is, the mean by which we 
are interested in Christ and the covenant, even as the woman's tak- 
ing of the man may be called the condition of the marriage-cove- 
nant ; which any may see is not the proper condition of it, but mar- 
riage faithfulness. 

Now the parts of the covenant of works agreed upon by God and 
man were three ; the condition to be performed by man, the promise 
to be accomplished to man upon his performance of the condition, 
and the penalty in case of man's breaking the covenant. 

The Condition of the Covenant of Works. 

FiKST, The first part is the condition to be performed ; which was 
obedience to the law, fulfilling the commands God gave him, by 


doing what they required, Kora. x. 5, upon the doing of whicli ho 
might claim the promised life in virtue of the compact. So this was 
a covenant, a covenant properly conditional. For understanding of 
this, we must consider, 

1. What law he was by this covenant obliged to yield obedience 
to. And, 

2. "What kind of obedience he was obliged to yield thereto. 

1st, Let us consider what law he was by this covenant obliged to 
yield obedience to. 

Man under a twofold law, Natural and Symbolical. 

1. The natural law, the law of the ten commandments, as the 
New Testament explains it, 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." The sum of this law is comprehended in 
what our Lord says ; Matth. xxii. 37 — 39, " Thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all 
thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the se- 
cond is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." 
That this law was given to Adam, is manifest, if it is considered 
that he was created rigliteous and holy. Gen. i. 27, compared with 
Eph. iv. 24. And all created righteousness and holiness is a con- 
formity to the moral law, the perpetual rule of righteousness. And 
that he knew that law is evident, in that the knowledge of it is an 
essential part of righteousness and holiness, or the image of God, 
Col. iii. 10. Moreover, the remains of this law with the very hea- 
thens, Rom. ii. 15, are an evidence of its being given to Adam in 
perfection ; as the remains of a fallen house shew that sometime a 
house stood there. 

If it be inquired, How that law was given him ? It was written 
on his mind and heart, Rom. ii. 15; and that in his creation, Eccl 
vii. 29. Therefore it is called the natural law. He was no sooner 
a man than he was a righteous man, knowing the natural law he 
was under, and being conformed to it in the powers and faculties of 
his soul. That same law which God gave from Sinai with thunder 
and lightning, in all the precepts of it was breathed into Adam's 
soul, when God breathed into him the breath of life and he became a 
living soul. 

This law was afterwards incorporated into the covenant of works, 
and was the chief matter of it. I say, afterwards ; for the cove- 
nant of works is not so ancient as the natural law. The natural 
law was in being when there was no covenant of works ; for the 
former was given to man in his creation, without paradise; the lat- 


ter was made with him after he was brought into paradise, Gen. ii. 
7, 8, 15, 16, 17- The natural law had no promise of eternal life ; 
for God might have annihilated his creature, though he had not sin- 
ned, till once the covenant of works was made. But then God put 
to the natural law a promise of eternal life, and a threatening of 
death, and so it became a covenant of works. 

How then can men make such ado against believers being deliver- 
ed from the law as it is the covenant of works, as if the law could 
no more be a rule of life to believers if that be so ? It was a rule 
of life to Adam before the covenant of works, and it may, yea and 
must be a rule of life to believers, after the covenant of works is 
gone as to them. God made it once the matter of the covenant of 
works, and in that covenant a rule of life to Adam and all his 
natural seed ; and why may it not be made the matter of tlie law 
of Christ, and therein be a rule of life to them that are his ? 

To shut up this point, see your deep concern in this covenant ; 
and consider that your help is not therein, but in laying hold on 
Christ, the head of the second covenant. 

2. Another law which Adam was obliged, by the covenant of 
works, to yield obedience to, was the positive symbolical law, for- 
bidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, 
recorded in the text. This lav,^ Adam had not, nor could have, but 
by revelation ; for it was no part of the law of nature, being in its 
own nature indifferent, and altogether depending on the will of the 
Lawgiver, who, in a consistency with his own and man's nature too, 
might have appointed otherwise concerning it. But this law being 
once given, the natural law obliged him to the observation of it, 
inasmuch as it strictly bound him to obey his God and Creator in all 
things, binding him to love the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind, 
and strength. Hence it follows, 

1st, That in as far as this law was obeyed, the natural law was 
obeyed ; and the breaking of the former was the breaking of the 
latter also. They were but several links of one chain, constitutions 
of the Supreme Lawgiver, which, in point of obedience, stood and 
fell together. 

2dl>/, That whatever is revealed by the Lord to be believed or to 
be done, the natural law of the ten commandments obliges to the 
believing or doing of it ; Psalm xix. 7> " The law of the Lord is 
perfect." Hence faith is reckoned a duty of the first command. 
The gospel reveals the object of faith, and the natural law lays on 
the obligation to the duty of believing. 

This law was not given, because of any evil that was in the fruit 
itself of that tree } for " God saw everything that he had made, and 


beliold it was very good," Gen. i. 31. It was not forbidden because 
it was evil; but evil because forbidden. Yet was the giving of that 
law an action becoming the divine perfections, however small the 
matter seems to be in itself. In the most minute things God ap- 
pears greatest. 

(1.) Herein man's obedience was to turn upon the precise point 
of respect to the will of God, which was a trial of his obedience 
exactly suited to the state he was then in, and by which the most 
glaring evidence of true obedience would have been given. So 
this was a most fit probatory command. To love God and one's neigh- 
bour, nature itself taught Adam. Not to have another God, wor- 
ship images, take God's name in vain ; to keep the Sabbath, re- 
turning once a-week only ; these could not have given such a de- 
monstration of man's obedience to his Creator, having such affinity 
with the nature of God, in themselves, and with his own pure nature 
too. As little could the commands of the second table have been 
so, he having no neighbour then in the world with him, and Eve 
only his own flesh for a considerable time after. 

(2.) Thus his obedience or disobedience behoved to be most 
clear, conspicuous, and undeniable, not only to himself, but to other 
creatures capable of observation ; forasmuch as this law respected 
an external thing obvious to sense, and the discerning of any, who 
yet could not judge of internal acts of obedience or disobedience. 
So that God might be '* clear in judging," Psalm li. 4 ; in the eyes 
of angels good and bad, and of man himself. 

(3.) It was most proper for asserting God's dominion over man, 
being a visible badge of man's subjection to God. God had made him 
lord of the inferior world, set him down in paradise, a place fur- 
nished with all things for necessity and delight; so it was becoming 
the divine wisdom and sovereign dominion, to discharge him from 
meddling with one tree in the garden, as a testimony of his hold- 
ing all of him as his great Landlord. 

(4.) It was a most proper moral instrument, and suitable mean, 
to retain man in his integrity, who though a happy creature, was 
yet a changeable one. So far was it from being a bar to his further 
happiness, as Satan alleged. Gen, iii. 5. The tree of knowledge, as 
it stood under that prohibition, was a continual monitor to him to 
take heed to himself, a watchword to beware of the enemy ; a plain 
lecture of his mutable state, wherein he might learn that he was 
yet but in favour on his good behaviour. Besides, it was a sign of 
emptiness hung at the door of the creation, with that inscription, 
"Here is not your rest;" so pointing him to God, as the alone 
fountain of happiness, forasmrch as there was a want even in 


(5.) It was a compend of the law of nature. Love to God and 
one's neighbour was wrapt up in it ; and all the ten commands were 
eminently comprehended therein. For in not eating thereof he 
would have testified his supreme love to God, and his due love to his 
posterity; and in eating thereof he cast off both, and so broke all 
the ten commandments.* 

The nature of the Obedience due by man to the Law. 

Secondly, Let us consider what kind of obedience to the law Adam 
was, by this covenant, obliged to yield, as the condition of it. To 
this twofold law he was to yield, 

1. Perfect obedience. Imperfect obedience could not have been 
accepted under this covenant; neither for justification, for it would 
have condemned man, Gal. iii. 10, formerly cited; nor under the 
covenant of grace could it be accepted for that end neither, Matth. 
iii. 15 ; as it became the second Adam to fulfil all righteousness; 
nor yet could it be accepted in point of justification under that co- 
venant, though under the covenant of grace it is. The reason 
is, because under the first covenant the woi'k must be accepted for 
its conformity to the law, and then the person for the work's sake ; 
but imperfect obedience could never be accepted of God for its own 
sake; for God is "of purer eyes tlian to behold evil, and cannot 
look on iniquity," Hab. i. 13. But under the second covenant the 
persons of believers are first accepted for Christ's sake, Eph. i. 6; 
and then their works for the same Christ's sake, Heb. xi. 4. 
So then the condition of this covenant was perfect obedience, and 

(1.) Perfect in respect of the principle of it. His nature, soul, 
and heart behoved always to be kept pure and untainted, as the 
principle of action. So the law is explained, Luke x. 25 — 28, 
" And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying 
Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life ? He said unto him. 
What is written in the law ? how readest thou ? and he answering, 
said, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with 
all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind : and 
thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou has answered 
right ; this do, and thou shalt live." Where the least blemish is 
in the soul, mind, will, or affections, it must needs make the actions 
sinful ; " Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ?" Job 
xiv. 4 ; " A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit," Matth. vii. 

* How Adam, by eating the forbidden fruit, broke all the ten commandments, see 
proved in the Fourfold State, state 2, Head 1; under the title, " How man's nature 
was corrupted." 


18. Where there is any indisposition for, or reluctancy to duty, 
there is a blemish in the frame of the soul. Therefore of necessity 
man behoved to retain a perfect purity in his soul, as the condition 
of tliat covenant. God gave man a heart perfectly pure, and com- 
manded him to keep it from being in the least tainted ; put on 
him a fair white garment of habitual inherent righteousness, and 
commanded it to be kept free from the least spot, under the pain of 

(2.) Perfect in parts, nowise defective or lame, wanting any part 
necessary to its integrity ; James i. 4. And it behoved to be thus 
perfect. [1.] In respect of the parts of the law, Gal. iii. 10. His 
obedience behoved to be as broad as the whole law, natural and po- 
sitive ; extending to all the commands thereof laid on him; nothing 
committed that the law forbade, nothing omitted that the law re- 
quired. One link of this chain being broken, all was broke toge- 
ther; '' For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in 
one point, he is guilty of all," James ii. 10 ; [2.] in respect of the 
parts of the man, Luke x. 27, 28, foreclted. His mind, will, and 
affections, his soul and his body, all of them behoved to be employed 
in obedience to the law; and it behoved to be the obedience, as 
of the whole law, so of the whole man. Thus was he bound to inter- 
nal and external obedience in the whole compass of both, according 
to the law. [3.] In respect of the parts of every human action. 
Gal. iii. 10. The law requires in every such action, a goodness of 
the matter, manner, and end : a failure in any of these in any one 
action broke this covenant. So in every action what he did behoved 
to be good, well done ; and all to the glory of God, as the chief end. 
The least mismanagement in any of these, the least squint look, 
would have marred all. 

(3.) Perfect in degrees, Luke x. 27, 28, above cited. His obe- 
dience, as the condition of the covenant, was to be not only of equal 
breadth with the law, but of equal height with it, in every point. 
Every part of every action behoved to be screwed up to that pitch 
determined by the law ; all that was lower than it was to be rejected 
as sinful. 

2. Adam was obliged to perpetual obedience. Gal. iii. 10. Not 
that he was for ever to have been upon his trial ; for that would 
have rendered the promise of life vain and fruitless, since he could 
never at that rate have attained the reward of his obedience. But 
it behoved to be perpetual, as a condition of the covenant, during 
the time set by God himself for the trial ; which time God has not 
discovered in his word. The time of this life is now the time of 
trial. Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the room of the elect, obeyed the 


law about the space of tliirty-tliree years ; for so long he lived. 
Whatever was the time appointed for man's trial, according to the 
covenant; his obedience behoved to be perpetual during that time, 
without interruption of the conrse of it, without defection and apos- 
tasy from it I till that time had expired in a course of continued 
obedience, he could not have claimed the final reward of his work. 
But that time being so expired, he would have been confirmed in 
goodness, so that he could no more fall away, as a part of the life 
promised. And the covenant of works would have for ever remain- 
ed as man's eternal security for, and ground of his eternal life ; but 
no longer as a rule of his obedience, for that would have been to re- 
duce him to the state of trial he was in before, and to have set him 
anew to work as a title to what he already possessed, by virtue of 
his supposed keeping of that covenant. Yet man could be in no 
state, wherein he should not owe obedience to his Creator, no not in 
the state of glory ; and if he owed obedience still, he behoved still 
to have a rule ; and for that efi'ect, the law of nature, which is per- 
petual, would have returned to its primitive constitution, the form 
of the covenant of works being done away from it ; and so have 
been man's rule in the state of confirmation. Hence it follows, 

(1.) That forasmuch as the Lord Jesus Christ has mended and 
perfected that work, which Adam marred ; believers being united 
to him, are so confirmed in a state of grace, that they cannot but perse- 
vere, and that for ever. Hence it is observable, that the just by 
faith are declared to be entitled to that very benefit which Adam 
was by his obedience to have been entitled to ; Hab. ii. 4, '' The just 
shall live by his faith ;" namely, a life which shall persevere and en- 
dure for ever. And therefore the apostle useth that scripture to 
prove the perseverance of believers, and the certainty of their eter- 
nal salvation ; Heb. x. 38, 39, " Now the just shall live by faith ; 
but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 
But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition ; but ot them 
that believe to the saving of the soul." And believers are declared 
actually to have eternal life, though that life is not yet come unto its 
full vigour, which is reserved for heaven, John xvii. 3, " This is 
life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus 
Christ whom thou hast sent." 1 John v. 13, "These things have I 
written unto you, that believe on the name of the Sou of God ; that 
ye may know that ye have eternal life." 

(2.) As it is in vain for Christless sinners, utterly impotent for any 
good, to pretend to work that they may procure to themselves life ; so 
believers ought not to work for life, or that they may, by their holi- 
ness and obedience, gain life. For believers in Christ have life 


already in him, by yirtue of his working perfectly and perpetually 
in their room and stead ; and for them to pretend so to work for if, 
is to cast dishonour on Christ's perfect and perpetual obedience. 
The truth is, holiness is a main part of that life and salvation we 
have by Jesus Christ. " Of him [i. e. God] are ye in Christ Jesus, 
who of God is made unto us — sanctificatiou," 1 Cor. i. 30. " Not 
by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his 
mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of 
the Holy Ghost;" Tit. iii. 5, '' Who gave himself for us, that he might 
redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar 
people, zealous of good works," Tit. ii. 14. And were there more 
pressing of faith to obtain holiness, and less dividing of holiness 
from life and salvation, making the former the means to procure to 
ourselves the latter, there would be more true holiness in these 
dregs of time. 

(3.) They that are not holy have no saving interest in Jesus 
Christ ; and while they continue so, shall never see the face of God 
in peace ; Heb. xii. 14, " Follow — holiness," says the apostle, " with- 
out which no man shall see the Lord." Where is the man that pre- 
tends to be in Christ, and to have faith, and yet makes no conscience 
of a holy life, of the duties of piety towards God, righteousness and 
mercy towards his neighbour ; but tramples on any of the ten com- 
mandments ; I say to him with confidence, as the apostle Peter said 
to Simon Magus, Acts viii. 21, "Thou hast neither part nor lot in 
this matter; for thy heart is not right in the sight of God." Has 
Christ fulfilled the covenant which Adam broke ; and are not all 
that are united to him made thereupon partakers of life? How 
can it be otherwise according to the faithfulness of God? Surely, 
then, thou who art living in sin, and so art dead while thou livest, 
hast no saving interest in him. 

(4.) Though the believer is under the law of the ten command- 
ments as a rule of life, he is not under the law as a covenant of 
works in any sense ; neither does the law he is under adjudge him to 
eternal life upon his obedience, nor lay him under the curse, and ad- 
judge him to eternal death for his sins. But the law as to him is 
stript of its promise of eternal life to obedience, and of its threat- 
ening of eternal death to his sins. This is the apostlo Paul's doc- 
trine ; " Ye are become dead to the law by the body of Christ," 
Rom. vii. 4 ; " Ye are not under the law, but under grace," chap, 
vi. 14 ; " There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ 
Jesus," Rom. viii. 1 ; '' That no man is justified by the law in the 
sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. And 
the law is not of faith; but the man that doth them, shall live in 


them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being 
made a curse for us," Gal. iii. 11, 12, 13. Aud how can it be other- 
wise, unless one will say that Christ, by his perfect and perpetual 
obedience, has not set his people beyond the reach of the curse, nor 
secured their life ? 

3. Adam was obliged to personal obedience. Hence says the 
Lord, '' Ye shall keep my statutes and my judgments; which if a 
man do, he shall live in ihem," Lev. xviii. 5, which words the apos- 
tle Paul quotes ; Rom. x. 5, " Moses describeth the righteousness 
which is of the law, That the man which doth these things shall live 
by them." It behoved to be personal obedience. Not that every 
person of Adam's race, according to the original constitution, be- 
hoved to yield this obedience for himself, in order to obtain the 
life promised. It is true, indeed, that all Adam's children, 
who should have been born and grown up, before the time 
of his trial was expired, would have been obliged, (it would seem) 
to that obedience for that end, in their own persons ; and if they 
had failed in it, the loss would have been to themselves, and to them- 
selves only. This may be learned from the case of Eve, noticed be- 
fore. But that in case Adam had stood out the whole time of his 
trial, every one of his posterity after that should yet have been 
obliged to yield obedience for life in their own persons is what I 
cannot comprehend. For then, to what purpose was the represen- 
tation of mankind by Adam ? for what end was he constituted their 
federal head ? It is plain, that by Adam's breaking of the covenant, 
death has come on them, who had no being in the world in Adam's 
time ; and how this can be consistent with the goodness of God, and 
the equity of his proceedings, unless they were to have had the pro- 
mised life upon running the set course of his obedience, I see not; 
and therefore must conclude, that after Adam's standing out the set 
time, all mankind then standing with him, would have been con- 
firmed ; and those who should afterwards have come into the world, 
would not only have had original righteousness conveyed to them 
from him, but have been confirmed too in holiness and happiness, so 
that they could not have fallen. 

It is true, the covenant of works now proposes the same condi- 
tion to every man under it, that it did to Adam, to be performed in 
his own person for himself, if he will have life by it. The reason 
is plain, Adam sinning is no more the representative in that cove- 
nant, to act for them ; so they must take the same way every one 
for themselves, that he was to have taken for himself and all his 
posterity. While the pilot manages the ship carefully and skilfully, 
so as she makes her way tow&''ds the port, the passengers have no- 


thing to do for their own safety, all is safe by his management ; 
but if he run the ship on a rock, and split it, and make his escape, 
every one of the passengers must be pilot for himself, and work for 
his own life and safety. 

But this obedience behoved to be personal in the following respects. 
It behoved to be performed, 

(1.) By man him&elf, and not another for him. Lev. xviii. 15, fore- 
cited. The covenant of works knew nothing of a surety or media- 
tor. " In the day thou eatest thou shalt die," plainly imports, 
that man, the moment he sinned, broke the covenant, and was a dead 
man in law. If he could have provided a surety who should have 
obeyed, when he disobeyed, that would not have fulfilled that cove- 
nant, or kept it. If a surety was to have place, it behoved to be by 
a new bargain, wherein a new representation was settled. 

(2.) By one person, and not by more ; that is, the righteousness 
of the covenant behoved to be of one piece, and not one part wrought 
by one, and another part by another. The sinning soul behoved to 
die; and imperfect righteousness could not be accepted in part, 
more than it could be in whole, because such righteousness is not 
righteousness indeed, but sinful want of conformity to the law. 
Hence it follows, 

[1.] That God's accepting of a surety, as well as his providing 
one for lost sinners in the second covenant, was purely of free grace. 
For " in him," says the apostle, " we have redemption through his 
blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace," 
Eph. i. 7; he might have held man to the first bargain, and made all 
mankind utterly miserable without remedy, having once broke the 
first covenant. But the riches of sovereign free love and grace 
brought forth a new bargain, wherein a surety was admitted, when 
that benefit to us might have been refused ; yea, and was provided 
by liira too, when we could never have procured one to take that 
burden on him for us. 

[2.] That the purchase of our salvation by the precious blood of 
Christ, which was a full price for it, is so far from lowering the 
riches of free grace in it, that it exceedingly heightens the same. 
When you hear of free pardon and salvation to sinners, through the 
satisfaction of Christ, beware of imagining, that satisfaction spoils 
the freedom of it; but remember, that God the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost, might have in justice insisted on our own personal, per- 
fect satisfying of the demands of the covenant of works; and yet 
such was their love and grace to poor sinners, that the Father parts 
with his Son to die for us, the Son lays down his life in our stead, 
and the Holy Spirit freely applies his purchase to sinners. So that 


all is of free grace to us. If it had been consistent with the nature 
of God, to have forgiven sin without satisfaction, such remission 
would have been of free grace ; but when there behoved to be a sa- 
tisfaction made, and God admitted a surety, and provided the same 
himself, this speaks unspeakable riches of grace ; As if a king 
should give his own son to satisfy the law for a traitor, John iii. 
16, " For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have ever- 
lasting life." 

[3.] That there can be no mixing of our own righteousness, in 
greater or lesser measure, with the righteousness of Christ, in our 
justification, by the second covenant, Gal. iii. 12, '' For the law is 
not of faith ; but the man that doth them shall live in them." We 
must betake ourselves wholly to the one or to the other. For the 
demands of the first covenant must be answered, by that righteous- 
ness on which we can be justified ; and unless we have of our own 
a perfect righteousness to produce for that end, nothing we have can 
be accepted in that point, since there is no admitting of a pieced 
righteousness. And evident it is, that we cannot pretend to a per- 
fect righteousness of our own, and therefore must go wholly to 
Christ for one. 

The Promise of the Covenant of Works. 

Secondly, The promise to be accomplished to man upon his per- 
formance of the condition. That was a promise of life, Rom. x. 5, 
forecited, which was implied in the threatening of death in case of 
sinning. For understanding the promised life, we must consider the 
condition to be performed, two ways. 

\st, In the course of its performance, while man should have been 
in the way running the race of his obedience to obtain the crown; 
while he should have been on his trials for thp subsequent reward, 
holding the way of God's commandments, and walking in the path 
chalked out to him by the divine law, during the time of his proba- 
tion, without going off the way in the least. In this case the pro- 
raise would have held pace with his continuance in the course of 
obedience. And by virtue of the covenant, he would have enjoyed 
a concomitant reward of life. " For in keeping of God's commands," 
says the Psalmist, " there is great reward," Psalm xix. 11. This 
is evident from the terras of the covenant in the text, which mani- 
festly iraply this, namely, While thou dost not eat thereof, thou shalt 
surely live. Now, this promised life was twofold, natural and spi- 
ritual, each of them perfectly prosperous : for, in scripture lan- 
guage, to live is to live prosperously, or in prosperity, 1 Sara. xxv. 


6. Aud man's prosperity in the state of integrity, could not be a 
mixed prosperity, as now in this sinful state, but truly perfect, with- 
out mixture of anything that might mar it. And as for the life it- 
self, natural and spiritual, they were both given him in his creation. 
So then the life promised, and to be accomplished in the course of 
his performance of the condition of the covenant, was, 

A Prosperous Natural Life Promised. 

1. A prosperous natural life, perfectly prosperous. The natural 
life was given to man by God's breathing in him the breath of life, 
Gen. ii. 7; knitting a rational soul unto his body, and so animating 
it which was presently discovered by man's breathing at his nostrils. 
While that union betwixt the soul and body remains, man lives a 
natural life. And thus man should have lived prosperously, while 
performing the condition of the covenant. This implied a threefold 

(1.) The continuation of natural life, Rom. vi. 23. Man's body 
was indeed made of dust ; but, by virtue of the covenant-promise, it 
would have been secured from returning to the dust again. As it 
was created without any principle of death within it, so the covenant 
barred all hazard of death from without it, from any other hand, as 
long as that covenant should be kept. Till the bond of the co- 
venant was treacherously loosed by man himself, there was no loos- 
ing of the silver cord that knits soul and body together. 

(2.) The vigour of natural life. The keeping of the covenant was a 
perfect security against all decay and languishing of natural life, which 
tends unto death. Since man even in that state was to eat, drink, 
and sleep, no doubt his body was to be supported by these means ; 
but the fruits of the untainted earth were fitted for the preservation 
of such a life ; and while his soul continued pure, he could not but 
make a regular use of them, according to the appointment of the 

(3.) The comfort of natural life, pure and unmixed with the sor- 
rows of it, which are now felt, but not till sin entered. All men 
know, that life is one thing and the comfort of life another ; but 
these could not be divided till the wedge of sin was driven to sepa- 
rate them. This lay in these two things : — 

[1.] Freedom from all evils and inconveniencies of life, which might 
embitter it to him. What these are, we all know from experience ; 
a flood of them being let out on the world with the first sin, not to bo 
dried up till the world end, and death and evil be cast into the lake 
of fire ; Gen. iii. 17 — 19, " And unto Adam he said. Because thou 
hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the 

Vol. XI. 

202 THE PEOMisE or the covexant. 

tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; 
cursed is the ground for thy sake ; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all 
the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to 
thee ; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy 
face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground ; for out 
of it wast thou taken ; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou 
return." Hence labour was to be without toil, strength without 
mixture of weakness and uneasiness, health without pain, or sick- 
ness, or indisposition of body. 

[2.] The comfortable enjoyment of life with the conveniencies of 
it. Gen. ii. 16, where the Lord God said unto man, " Of every tree 
of the garden thou mayest freely eat." Life itself sometimes is 
burdensome now, and the good things of it are beset as with thorns 
and briers ; but innocent Adam could have had none of these things 
to complain of. Ho was lord of the inferior creatures, and they 
were at his disposal. What joy and comfort the creatures could 
yield to him, he was master of, and could not but have a more ex- 
quisite taste of than any man since. He was clothed with the 
greatest honour, and had it with the profits and refined pleasures of 
life, together with God's favour. 

We know then where to lay the blame of the miseries of this life 
and death itself. The breaking of that covenant opened the sluice 
to that flood of them which now overflows the world. 
A Prosperous Spiritual Life Promised. 

2. A prosperous spiritual life, perfectly prosperous. The soul of 
man was and is in its own nature immortal, not liable to the disso- 
lution to which the body is subject. But besides, it was endowed 
with spiritual life, whereby it lived to God in union and communion 
with him, as bearing the image of God, a lively image of his righte- 
ousness and holiness, Gen. i. 7, Eccl. vii. 29. And thus man would 
bave lived prosperously, performing the condition of the covenant. 
And this implied a fourfold benefit. 

(1.) The continuation of the image of God in him, the uprightness 
of his nature in which ho was created. Nothing could have marred 
that while the covenant was kept. The knowledge of his mind 
would have remained with him, as would also the righteousness of 
his will and the holiness of his afi'ections. That glorious likeness to 
God in which he was created, was a beauty which nothing but sin 
could mar. 

(2.) The continuance of the love and favour of God. He was the 
friend of God, the favourite of heaven ; and as long as he kept the 
covenant, nothing could dissolve the friendship. Life lies in God's 
favour, and upon his good behaviour he was surely to enjoy it still. 


It could never have left liira, as long as he kept God's way. For 
God cannot but love, favour, and delight in his own image, in whom- 
soever it is preserved entire. 

(3.) Ready access to God, and fellowship with him. The cove- 
nant was a covenant of friendship ; and while sin was kept out 
there was nothing to mar his intercourse with God, He would still 
have had immediate communion with God ; for there was no need of 
a mediator where there was no breach, Gal. iii. 20. The means of 
communion with God, prayers, praises, &c. would at no time have 
been dry wells of salvation to him ; no desertions, nor hidings of 
God's face, could have place. 

(•4.) Lastly, The daily comfort of his performance. He would 
still have had the pleasure there is in the very keeping of God's 
commands, and the comfortable feast of the testimony of a good 
conscience, upon every piece of obedience performed. And the 
greater this would have been, the longer he had continued, and the 
nearer he had come to the end of his race, where was the crown to 
be received. 

Thus we may see God's bounty and man's ingratitude. He had 
wages in hand allowed him, a present reward of his work, accord- 
ing to that, " Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that tread- 
eth out the corn." Yet would he needs better his condition before 
the time, and so quite marred it. 

Eternal Life in Heaven Promised. 

2dly, We may consider the condition to be performed, as ac- 
tually performed, and completely fulfilled. God had appointed to 
man a time of trial and probation, during which he was carefully 
to take heed to himself, that he obeyed perfectly and perpetually, as 
being liable to sin ; and so to give proof of himself, of his awful re- 
spect to his Creator's will, and his right management of the talents 
given him by his great Lord to trade with. In this case, viz , upon 
man's standing in his innocence till that time was expired, eternal 
life was by the promise secured to him as the reward of his work, 
Matth. xix. 17. And in it these four benefits were implied. 

1. The confirmation of his soul in innocence, righteousness, and 
holiness, that he should be set beyond hazard of sinning, and that 
for evermore, as the confirmed angels are. Being justified upon his 
perfect, personal, and perpetual obedience, this would have followed 
of course, according to the tenor of the covenant; otherwise he 
would have been for ever upon trial, which is inconsistent with the 
nature of the covenant. Mutability is woven into the very nature 
of the creature, and so Adam was created mutable ; but he would 
have been, upon iiis obedience, secured from actual liability to 



change for evermore. The need of watching would have been over 
with him in that case, as it is with the saints in heaven. 

2. The setting of his body absolutely and for ever out of all ha- 
zard of death, even remote hazard. "While he was in the state of 
trial, there was a possibility of death's making an approach to it, 
viz., on supposition of sin. But had the condition of the covenant 
once been fully performed, there had been no more any possibility 
of his dying, Rom. vi. 31, because no more possibility of sinning. 

3. The settling of the love and favour of God upon him for ever, 
without any hazard of his falling out of it. This also necessarily 
would have followed on his confirmation in righteousness. The sua 
of favour from God, from that time, should have shone so upon him, 
as it could never more have gone down. The friendship would have 
been so confirmed, that there should have been no more a possibility 
of a breach for ever. 

4. Lastly, The transporting of him soul and body to heaven, there 
to enjoy the perfection of blessedness through eternity. He should 
not always have lived in the earthly paradise, where he was to eat, 
drink, sleep, &c., but, in God's own time, been carried to the hea- 
venly paradise, to live there as the angels of God. He was happy 
while he was in the course of obedience, and had communion with 
God. But there he would have been perfectly happy, and had more 
near and full communion with God, Psalm xvi. ult. 

I am not here to launch forth into the subject of heaven's happi- 
ness, which man should have enjoyed by this covenant, had he kept 
it. Only in a word, for the substance of it, it would have been the 
same that the saints shall enjoy for ever; for it was the life which 
Adam lost for himself and his posterity that Christ purchased by 
his obedience and death for his spiritual seed, Rom. x. 5, compared 
with Hab. ii. 4, both forecited. And that was eternal life in hea- 
ven without controversy. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself proposing 
the covenant of works to a legalist, holds forth eternal life as the pro- 
mise of it to be had on the performance of the condition ; Luke x. 
25 — 28, " And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, 
saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life ? He said 
unto him. What is written in fhe law ? how readest thou? And he 
answering, said. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy 
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all 
thy mind ; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, 
Thou hast answered right ; this do, and thou shalt live." And the 
weakness of the law to give eternal life now, proceeds only from 
our inability to fulfil that condition of it, Rom. viii. 3. For which 
cause, Christ put himself in the room of the elect, to fulfil that obe- 


dience which they were unable to give, Gal. iv. 4, 5, and so conse- 
quently gained the life to them which they should otherwise have 
had if man had not sinned. Besides, it is evident, that by the 
breach of this covenant man now falls under the sentence of eternal 
death iu hell ; therefore, on the grounds of the goodness of God, 
and the equity of his proceedings, one may conclude that eternal life 
in heaven was promised. 

The difference between Adam's and the saints' heaven. 

Yet there would have been considerable difference betwixt inno- 
cent Adam's heaven, and the Mediator's heaven, which the saints 
shall be possessed of; but the advantage lies to the side of the 
latter. There are four things that would have been wanting (if I 
may so speak) in innocent Adam's heaven, that will be found in the 
saints' heaven. 

(I.) The additional sweetness of the enjoyment that arises from 
the experience of want and misery. Two men are set down at a 
feast ; the one never knew what hunger and want meant ; the other 
never got a full meal all his days, but want and hunger were his 
daily companions. "Which of the two would the feast be sweetest 
to ? The case is plain. Sin is the worst of things, there is no good 
in it; the effects of sin, sorrow, misery, and trouble, are bitter ; 
but God permitted the one, and has brought the other on, in depth 
of wisdom ; for out of these is a sauce drawn that will give an ad- 
ditional sweetness to the supper of the Lamb in the upper house. 
While the saints walk in their white robes, and remember the 
filthy, ragged, black garments they went in some time a-daj', it 
will raise their praises a note higher than innocent Adam's, while h© 
should have looked on his, which there was never a spot upon. 
When after many tossings on the soa of this world, and the numer- 
ous floods of difficulties and dangers from sin and Satan which have 
beset them, the saints happily arrive on the shore of the heavenly 
Canaan, their relish of the pleasures to be enjoyed there will be 
the greater and the more delightful, 

(2.) The fairest flower iu heaven to be seen by bodily eyes, would 
have been wanting in innocent Adam's heaven, namely, the man 
Christ. It is a groundless, anti-scriptural notion, that the Son of 
God would have been incarnate, though man had never sinned, John 
iii. 16; 1 Tim. i. 15. It was for sinners the Saviour was sent. 
The ruin of man's nature in the first Adam, was the occasion so- 
vereign love took to raise it up to the highest possible pitch of glory 
and dignity, in the person of the Son of God. There our nature is 
personally united to the divine n ,ture, even in the person of the 


Son ; and the man Christ is in heaven more glorious than a thousand 
suns. It is true, Adam would have had the sight and enjoyment of 
God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; but he could not have said, as 
they, Behold God in our nature, our elder brother, &c. 

(3.) The charter, written with blood, securing the enjoyment of 
heaven's happiness. Adam would have had good security indeed for 
it, by the fulfilled covenant of works ; but behold a more glorious 
charter, the covenant of grace, written with the blood of the Son of 
God, Heb. xiii. 20. Every draught of the well of the water of life 
innocent Adam would have had in his heaven, he might have cried 
out with wonder concerning it, the gracious reward of my obedi- 
ence ! But the saints shall say of theirs, The glorious purchase of 
ray Redeemer's blood ; this is the purchase of the Son of God, Rev. 
vii. 9, 10, " After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude which no 
man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and 
tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with 
white robes, and palms in their hands ; and cried with a loud 
voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, 
and unto the Lamb." 

(4.) Lastly, The manner of living, as members of the mystical body 
of Christ. Innocent Adam would have lived for ever in heaven as 
Ihe friend of God ; but the saints shall live there as members of 
Christ, John vi. 57, and xiv. 19. They shall be more nearly allied 
to the Son of God than Adam would have been, Eph. v. 30. He 
will be their husband in an everlasting marriage-covenant, their 
elder brother, the head, of which they are members, and through 
whom they will derive their glory, as they do their grace, from the 
Godhead, as united to Christ, the prime receptacle of grace and glory. 
Rev. vii. nit., *' 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." Rev. xxi. 23, " And the 
city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it ; for 
the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." 

Thus have I shown you the nature of the promise of the cove- 
nant of works, and the life therein made over conditionally to man. If 
we consider the life Adam could have expected from God, in a 
course of obedience, though there had been no covenant, we say, 
Adam performing obedience, according to the natural law written in 
his heart, would have had a prospei'ous life and being, while he had 
a being ; this Adam might conclude from the good and bountiful 
nature of God. But still it would have been consistent with the na- 
ture of God, to have withdrawn his supporting hand from man, so as 
he might have ceased to be any more. And this would have been 


bnt taking away freely what ho gave freely, being under no obliga- 
tion to continue it ; for even Adam's innocent works could not have 
properly merited at God's hand, Rom. xi. 35, " Who hath first given 
to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again ?" They could have 
only merited improperly, by virtue of compact, not by the intrinsic 
worth of the thing. Here, 

[1.] The continuation of life to Adam, even while he continued 
obedient, was entirely due to the covenant God was pleased to make 
with him. And here was grace even in the covenant of works, that 
God was pleased by. promise to secure the continuance of man's be- 
ing, while he continued obedient. 

[2.] The right that Adam could have pled to eternal life in hea- 
ven, by virtue of his obedience, was entirely founded on the cove- 
nant. If God had not revealed to him the promise of it, he could 
not have known that he should have had it, nor could he have de- 
manded it. The natural law had no such promise. And hei-e was 
more grace in the covenant of works. And therefore it is no won- 
der, that though men overturn the gospel-doctrine of free grace, yet 
they will not take with it. The Pharisees of old, Luke xviii. 11, 
and the Papists to this day, own free grace in their profession ; and 
what wonder, since innocent Adam, pleading life upon his works, 
could not have denied but he was debtor to free grace ? But here 
lies the matter ; they pat in their own works, their repentance, ho- 
liness, and obedience, (turning faith into a work, that it may go in 
with the rest), between free grace and them, making themselves but 
debtors to it at second hand for life and salvation. And if one shall 
tell sinners, Here you are to do or work nothing for life and salva- 
tion, but only receive the free grace gift of life and salvation from 
Christ by faith, and be debtors at first hand ; though withal we tell 
them, that repentance, holiness, obedience, and good works, are the 
inseparable attendants of faith ; they cry out, Error, Antinomian- 
ism, Licentious doctrine ! Yet it is the doctrine of the gospel, Tit. 
iii. 5; Eph. ii. 8. And it is not the doctrine of the gospel, nor does 
the apostle say, "By grace ye are saved, through works;" for so 
would Adam have been saved according to the covenant of works, 
being debtor to free grace at the second hand, which the proud Pha- 
risee was content to be. It is true, Adam's obedience was perfect, 
ours is not ; but buying is buying still, though one buy ten times be- 
low the worth, as well as when he buys at the full value. 

The Penalty of the Covenant of Works. 

Thirdly, We come now to consider the penalty in case of man's 
breaking the covenant, not fulfilling the condition. This was death. 


death ia its full latitude and extent, as opposed unto life and pros- 
perity. This death was twofold. And we may speak of it as a thing 
that has fallen out. 

Legal Death. 

First, Legal deatli, whereby man sinning became dead in law, 
being a condemned man, laid under the curse, or sentence of the law, 
binding him over to the wrath of God, and to revenging justice ; 
" For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse. 
For it is written, Cursed is every one that continuetli not in all 
things which are written in the book of the law to do them," Gal. iii. 
10. Thus was man to die the day he should break the covenant ; 
and thus he died that very moment he sinned, because by his sin he 
broke the holy, just, and good law of God ; set himself in opposi- 
tion to the holy nature of God, and cast off the yoke of submis- 
sion to his Creator. This was an actual liableness to all miseries 
for satisfying offended justice. Thus the clouds gathered over his 
head, to shower down upon him ; and thus was he girded with the 
cords of death, which neither himself nor any other creature could 

Real Death. 

Secondly/, Real death, which is the execution of the sentence, Dent, 
xxix. 19, 20; the threatened evils, and punishments contained in 
the curse of the law, coming upon him. And of this there are se- 
veral parts, all which man became liable to, or fell upon him, when 
he sinned. We take them up in these three ; spiritual, natural, 
and eternal death. 

Spiritual Death. 

1. Spiritual death, which is the death of the soul, and spirit of 
man, Eph. ii. 1, where the apostle mentions a being "dead in tres- 
passes and sins," This results from the separation of the soul from 
God, by the breaking of the silver cord of this covenant, which knit 
innocent man to God, causing him to live, and live prosperously, as 
long as it was unbroken ; but being broken, that union and commu- 
nion was dissolved, and they parted, Isa. lix. 2. Thus man was se- 
parated from the fountain of life, upon which death necessarily en- 
sued. This death may be considered, 

1st, As immediately seizing him upon the breaking of the cove- 
nant. And thus a twofold spiritual death seized him, as the pe- 
nalty of the covenant; a moral and a relative death. 

(1.) A moral death of the soul, by which it was divested of the 


image of God, viz. saving knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; 
and the whole nature was corruptod, Eph. ii. 1 ; and so left destitute 
of a principle of vital spiritual actions, tliat it can no more think, 
will, or do anything truly good, than a dead man can perform the 
functions of life, Rom. iii. 10, 11, 12, where a dreadful picture of 
the corruption of human nature is given; " As it is written. There 
is none righteous, no not one ; There is none that uaderstandetb, 
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." The soul of man was a curious piece of work- 
manship, made by the finger of God ; it was set up, and set a-going 
for its Master's use, like a watch ; but sin broke the chain and 
spring ; so that all the wheels of a sudden stood moveless and could 
go no more. 

(2.) A relative death of the soul, by which the blessed relation 
man stood in to God was extinguished. He was no more the friend 
of God, and the favourite of his maker. This was death indeed. 
Psalm XXX. 5. He enjoyed the friendship, favour, and fellowship 
of God, upon his good behaviour ; he sinned, and so he behoved to 
lose them. Thus God became his enemy as Rector and judge of the 
world, and he was set up as a mark for the arrows of wrath. 

2c?/y, As preying upon the soul of man, through the course of his 
natural life in the world. Sin laid the soul as it were in the grave, 
the house of death ; and there being dead while the man liveth, de- 
vouring death works and preys in, and upon it, two ways : — 

(1.) In the progress of sin and corruption in the soul, as the body 
in the grave rots more and more, Psalm xiv. 3. The soul being 
spiritually dead, the longer it lies in that case, the more loathsome 
and abominable it becomes. Swarms of reigning lusts breed in it, 
and are active therein ; the remains of the image of God are defaced 
more and more in it, and the soul still set farther off from God. All 
actual sins are the workings of this death, the motions of the ver- 
minating life of the soul in the grave of sin, Eph. ii. 1, 2. So that 
they are not only sins in themselves, but punishments of the first 
sin, which cannot cease to follow on God's departiEg from the soul ; 
which may persuade us of the absurdity of that principle, That there 
is no sin in hell. 

(2.) In strokes of wrath on the soul. Where the carcase is, there 
these, like so many eagles, gather together. The sinning soul be- 
comes the centre, wherein all manner of spiritual plagues meet to- 
gether, as worms do in bodies interred, to feed thereon. Job xx. 26. 
These are manifold ; some of them felt, as sorrows, terrors, anxieties, 
losses, and troubles, crossing the man's will, and so vexing, fretting, 


and disquieting him. Those are indeed a death to the soul, having 
a curse in them, like so many envenomed arrows shot into man ; 
some of them not felt, so as to make the man groan under them, as 
blindness of mind, hardness of heart, strong delusions, but they are 
the more dangerous, as wounds that bleed inwardly. 

Natural Death. 

2. Natural death, which is the death of the body. This results 
from the separation of the soul from the body. It is twofold ; 
stinged and unstinged death. Unstinged death parts the soul and 
body indeed, but not by virtue of the curse for sin. This is the lot 
of the people of God, 1 Cor. xv. 55, and is not the penalty of the 
covenant of works ; for that is death with the sting of the curse, 
Gal. iii. 10, which death Christ died, which penalty he paid, and so 
freed believers from it, Gal. iii. 13. So that there is a specifical 
difference betwixt the death of believers and that death threatened 
in the covenant of works ; they are not of the same kind, no more 
than they die the death that Christ died. 

The natural death, the penalty of the covenant of works, then, is 
not simply the death of the body, but the stinged death of the body, 
the separation of soul and body by virtue of the curse ; that as they 
joined in sin against God, they might be separated for the punish- 
ment of it for a time ; though afterwards to be reunited at the re- 
surrection, with a change of their constitution. For that there will 
be a change on the bodies of the wicked, as well as on those of the 
godly, is evident in that they shall continue united to their souls in 
hell, without food, and under torments ; either of which, according 
to their present constitution, would dissolve their frame, and issue 
in death. Now, this natural death may be considered two ways, as 
the penalty of the covenant of works, inwardly' and outwardly. 

1st, Inwardly, in the body of man. There death got its seat in 
the day that he sinned; there it spread itself from the soul, where 
it began that fatal moment of yielding to the tempter. And thus 
it may be considered three ways ; in its beginning, progress, and 

(1.) In the beginning of it. That day that man sinned he became 
mortal. Gen. iii. 19. The crown of immortality, which he held of 
his Creator, by virtue of the covenant of works, fell from off his 
head, and he became a subject of the king of terrors. That day he 
got his death's wounds, of which he died afterwards. The mutiny 
then began among the constituent parts of the body, (witness the ter- 
ror, anxiety, and shame, causing a motion of the blood and spirits, 
which before their sinning they were unac<iuaiuted with); and the 


end of that was the destruction and dissolution of the whole frame. 

(2.) In the progress of it, in maladies and diseases, whereby death 
carries on its subjects towards the house appointed for all living, 
Eccl. iii. 20. Every pain, gripe, or stitch, is death's working like a 
canker in the body of nan. Every sickness and disease is a fore- 
runner of death, coming before to give warning of the approach. 
The sweat, toil, and weariness that man is liable to, are fore-tokens 
of the body's falling down at length into the dust. Gen. iii. 19. 
Man has now his morning, mid-day, and afternoon ; and then comes 
the night. He has his spring, summer, and autumn, and then winter. 
Like a flower he has his bud, blossom, fading, and then his falling 
ofi'. But innocent man would have had a lasting mid-day, summer, 
and blossom. "What follows these respectively, is owing to the 
breach of the covenant. 

(3.) In the consummation of it, by the separation of the soul from 
the body, Heb. ix. 27- The pins of the tabernacle being loosed, it 
lies along upon the earth at length. The body of man like an old 
house, falls all down together, while the soul, the inhabitant, makes 
its escape, and leaves it. They joined in breaking of the covenant, 
and are punished with separation ; the body going to the dust, and 
the soul to God who gave it, to receive its sentence. 

2dly, Outwardly, upon the creatures, upon which the body of man 
has a dependence as to its life and welfare. What dependence we 
have on the creatures as to this, every one knows by experience. 
Without the air we cannot breathe ; and as the temperature of it is, 
it is well or ill with our bodies. On the product of the earth we 
live ; the fruits thereof are the support of our natural life, with the 
beasts that feed on them. The earth depends on the heavens ; and 
according to their influence upon it, so it is serviceable to us. See 
the chain of dependence among the creatures ; Hos. ii. 21, 22, •' And 
it shall come to pass in that day; I will hear, saith the Lord, I will 
hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth ; and the earth shall 
hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil ; and they shall hear Jez- 
reel." Now man's natural life being so much bound up in these, 
the life promised him in the covenant could not but comprehend the 
continuing of these in their original constitution. Gen. i. 31, and fit- 
ness for the support of man's natural life and vigour, as means for 
that end. And so death, the penalty of the covenant, must needs 
spread itself even to them, and that upon the same score. Thus also 
it may be considered three ways : in its beginning, progress, and 

(1.) In the beginning of it. And that was the curse laid upon 
the creature for the sake of the sinner man ; Gen. iii. 17, " Cursed 


is tlie ground for thy sake," said the Lord unto Adam. Man be- 
came vanity by his sin, and the creatures were made subject to 
vanity on his account ; so that they could not reach the end of their 
primitive constitution, but fainted as it were in the way ; " For," 
says the apostle, Rom. viii. 20, " the creature was made subject to 
vanity." Nay, such a burden lies on the creation, as makes the 
whole to " groan and travail in pain," ver. 22. Where can we turn 
our eyes now, but we may see death riding in triumph ? The earth's 
barrenness often paints death on the faces of the inhabitants there- 
of, by scarcity and famine ; the air is sometimes empoisoned with 
pestilential vapours, that kill and sweep away multitudes ; the fire 
often burns and torments men ; the waters swallow them up ; beasts 
wound, bruise, and kill them ; nay, we are not secure from the 
very stones of the field. The very sun in the heavens approaching 
to them scorches and causes languishing ; and removing from us, 
causes us shiver with cold; and holding itself under clouds, damps 
men's spirits. For death has spread itself over all. 

(2.) In the progress of it, Psalm cii. 26. Man's declining in the 
several ages, is manifest. Men are of less stature, less bones and 
strength, than sometime they were. And why, but because our 
mother earth is past her prime, and entered into her old age, and 
her breasts aiford not such nourishment as in her youth ? Hence 
man's days are very few now in comparison of what they were be- 
fore the flood, when the curse had not sunk so deep into the earth, 
as it has done from that time, when it had well nigh extinguished 
her vigour. And whence is this weakness in the earth, but from 
this, that the heavens also faint, are waxed old, and afford no such 
influences as before ? And whence is that but from the sin of man 
in breaking the covenant of friendship with God, pursued by death, 
which extends itself to all things that have any hand in preserving 
that life, which it has a commission to take away ? 

(3.) In the consummation of it, in the destruction by fire that is 
awaiting the world. For " in the day of the Lord the heavens shall 
pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fer- 
vent heat, the earth also, and the works tliat are therein shall be 
burned up," 2 Pet. iii. 10. The visible heavens and the earth are 
now like an old worn garment ; then shall the old worn garment be 
rent in pieces, and cast into the fire. Man's old house, the earth, 
that has often been made to shake with earthquakes, shall then fall 
all down to ashes together ; and the noble furniture of it, God's 
works and men's works in it shall be burnt up. Tlie roaring seas 
shall be silent at length, and be no more. Yea, the sun, who now 
runs his race like a strong man, shall fall as breathless. And the 


world, that beautiful fabric of heaven and earth, shall have a dying 
day. The death threatened in the covenant of works shall pull 
all down together. And then death itself, with all the appurtenances 
thereof, shall be pent up in hell for ever, Rev. xx. 14, by the power 
of the glorious Mediator, Isa. xxv. 8. 

Eternal Death. 

(3.) Eternal death, which issues from the eternal separation of 
both soul and body from God in hell, MalLh. xxv. 41. This is the 
full accomplishment of the curse of the covenant of works ; and pre- 
supposes the union of the soul and body, in a dreadful resurrection 
to damnation ; the criminal soul and body being brought forth from 
their separate prisons and joined together again, that death may ex- 
ercise its full force upon them for ever and ever. That this was the 
penalty of the covenant of works, is manifest from the event testi- 
fied by the holy scriptures, this being the lot of all those who, not 
embracing the covenant of grace, live and die under the covenant of 
works. For, says the apostle, 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 his power." And this death may be considered t\vo 
ways, as flowing from the sanction of the covenant of works, and 
from the nature of the creature fallen under that sanction. 

1st, As it flows from the sanction of the covenant of works, re- 
quiring satisfaction to off"ended justice, and all the wronged attri- 
butes of God. And thus it is a punishment inflicted to satisfy for 
the off"encc, and repair the honour of God impaired by man's sin. 
And that punishment is twofold ; the punishment of loss, and the 
punishment of sense,* 

(1.) The punishment of loss ; Matth. xxv. 41, " Depart from me, 
ye cursed." Man having sinned, and this death once seizing him, he 
is deprived of God's favour, and all comfortable communion Avith 
him of any sort is blocked up. The sun sets upon him, and the 
midnight darkness of God's forsaking of his creature falls on. Jus- 
tice suffers not one grain of comfort to be put into the sinner's cup. 
All the least chinks, by which the least beam of the I^ord's counte- 
nance might shine into the soul are stopt, and the creature is left 
absolutely comfortless. Thus it is with the damned in hell ; and 

• The reader, if he pleases, may peruse, for a more full account of this awful sub- 
ject, what our author has said upon it in the Fourfold State. State iv., head 6. 


thus Christ, as man's surety, had the sun of his Father's countenance 
eclipsed, Matth. xxvii. 46, when he cried with a loud voice, " My 
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?" 

(2.) The punishment of sense, in most grievous torments of soul 
and body ; Matth. xxv. 41, " Depart from me, ye cursed, into ever- 
lasting fire." When death has proceeded thus far with the sin- 
ner, the waves of God's wrath go quite over his head, arrows of 
vengeance dipt in the poison of the curse fly at him continually. 
Who knows the power of them? Psalm xc. 11. The damned are 
inexpressibly miserable under them for ever and ever. By them 
was the heart of our glorious Redeemer " melted like wax, in the 
midst of his bowels," Psalm xxii. 14. 

All this is requisite to shew just indignation against sin, and to 
wipe off the stain left by it on the honour of God. 

^dly, As it flows from the nature of the creature fallen under 
the sanction of the covenant. And thus in this death, these dreadful 
circumstances do concur. 

(1.) An irrecoverable loss of God's friendship, favour and image, 
Matth. xxv. 41. No more communication for ever can be between 
God and the creature brought to this dreadful case. All passage of 
sanctifying influences is stopt ; the curse lies on the creature, which 
bars all emanations of love and favour from heaven, and leaves it 
under unalterable barrenness. The holy frame of the soul marred 
by sin, must remain so, never to be mended. 

(2.) Perpetual bitter despair, Mark ix. 44. The creature once 
sunk into this sea of wrath, can never get up its head, nor see the 
shore ; and knows it never shall. Hence absolute despair seizeth 
them, and all hope is plucked up by the roots. This lies as a talent 
of lead upon them, and must continually cut them to the heart. 
When the man Christ was forsaken of his Father, he knew he was 
able to get through the floods of wrath, and that he would at length 
joyfully set his foot on the shore ; but that was because ho was God 
as well as man. But weak man can never get through. 

(3.) Continual sinning. Think and act they must; and how can 
they but sin, when their corrupt nature remains with them in hell ? 
Submission to just punishment is their duty; but how can they do 
that in whose hearts is not the least measure of God's grace ? Nay, 
they will gnash their teeth, in rage against God. 

(4.) The eternity of the whole. Because they cannot pay out the 
debt to the full, therefore must they ever lie in the prison. The 
wrong done by sin to the honour of God is an infinite one, because 
done against an infinite God ; and therefore the satisfaction can 
never be completed by a finite suff'erer. So the yoke of punishment 


is wreathed aboat the neck of tho sinner for ever and ever, never to 
be taken off. 

This was the penalty of the covenant of works- And thus much 
of the parts of the covenant. 

Tho Seals of the Covenant of Works. 

Thirdly, I shall consider the seals of the covenant of works, 
whereby it was confirmed to Adam, It has pleased God to append 
seals to his covenants with men in all ages, for the confirmation of 
their faith of the respective covenants ; and this covenant seems not to 
have wanted some seals appended thereto for the same effect. Though 
innocent Adam was not called to faith in a redeemer, no such object 
of faith being revealed, or competent in that state ; yet was faith in 
God always a duty of tho first command, and innocent Adam under 
this covenant was required to have and exercise a faith agreeable to 
the nature of the covenant he was under. That was, a firm persua- 
sion that he should have life upon his performing of perfect obe- 
dience, but should die upon the least disobedience to his Creator. 
And according as he maintained this faith so was his obedience. 
Therefore Satan set himself first of all to attack the faith of our 
first parents. Gen. iii. 4 ; and when he had got it knocked oh the 
head, then he carried his ruining project according to his wish. No 
wonder then he still sets himself in a peculiar manner against that 
grace. Now, for confirming this his faith, there were two sacra- 
mental seals appended to the covenant. 

1. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Gen. ii. 17. What 
sort of a tree it was the scripture doth not determine, nor do the 
Jews pretend to define. Some gather from Cant. ii. 3, that it was 
an apple tree. But it is plain from the original text, that these are 
not the words of Christ, but of the spouse to Christ ; and the book 
being allegorical, it is too slender a ground at best to build such a 
fact upon. Whatever it was, it was not so called, as having a 
power really to make men wise. So the tempter pretended, Gen. iii. 
5, but he was a liar from the beginning, John viii. 44. But it was 
a sign both of good and evil ; sealing to him all good while he should 
abstain from it, and evil if he should eat ot it; and so confirming 
his faith in both parts of the persuasion of it. And eventually, by 
eating of it, ho knew good by the loss of it, and evil by the feeling 
of it. Though it was not to be touched, it might be seen, even as 
the rainbow, the seal of the covenant with Noah. 

2. The tree of life, Gen. ii. 9. The which, though it might be an 
excellent means of preserving the vigour of natural life, as other 
trees of paradise also, yet it could not have a virtue in itself of mak- 


ing man every way immortal. But it was a notable sacramental, 
sign of life and eternal happiness, according to the nature of that 
covenant. The which is intimated by the eternal quickening virtue 
of our Lord Jesus Christ to the perfect happiness of the saints, com- 
ing under that name in the New Testament, Rev. xxii. 2; he 
being that in reality which the tree of life did signify. And 
thus the eating of it served to confirm Adam's faith, according 
to that covenant, namely, his persnasion of life upon perform- 
ing of perfect obedience. The which is clearly intimated. Gen. iii. 
22. But man having, by his sin, lost his right to the life signified, 
could no more be admitted to the partaking of the sacramental siga 
of it. 

The Doctrine of the Covenant of Works applied. 

Use. "What is said upon this subject, serves for instruction, refu- 
tation, and exhortation. 

Use I. For instruction. Here as in a glass ye may see several 
things, concerning God, concerning man in his best estate, concern- 
ing Christ, and concerning man in his present fallen state. 

1. Concerning God, look into this covenant, and behold, 

1st, The wonderful condescension of God, and of his goodness and 
grace toward his creature man. lie stoopt so low as to enter into a 
covenant with his own creature, a covenant wherein he shewed him- 
self a most bountiful and gracious God towards man. Man was not 
at his own, but God's disposal. Death was the natural wages of sin, 
but the life promised could not have been pleaded, but upon the foot 
of a covenant. Before that covenant man was bound to all obe- 
dience ; but God was free to have disposed of him, after all, as he 
should see meet. But he made himself debtor to man for eternal 
life, upon his performing of perfect obedience ; yet in the meantime 
his strength to obey was all from God, and there was no proportion 
betwixt man's work and the reward. 

2dli/, The spotless holiness and exact justice of God against sin. 
"When we look to the condition and the penalty of this covenant, we 
must needs cry out, "Who is like unto thee, Lord, glorious in ho- 
liness?" Exod. XV. 11, and, " Thou art of purer eyes than to behold 
evil, and canst not look on iniquity," Hab. i. 13. See here, sinners, 
how God looks on the least sin. Is it not the abominable thing 
which he hates with a perfect hatred ? Such an evil it is as is 
enough to ruin a world of creatures among whom it spreads its 
baleful influence, and to dissolve the nrhole fabric of heaven and 

2. Concerning man in his state of primitive integrity. 


1st, Man was a holy and happy creature in his first state. He 
was a spotless creature, meet to transact with God, and to entertain 
commuuion Avith him, immediately by himself without a Mediator. 
He was able to obey perfectly all the ten commandments. He was 
happy in God's favour and covenant-friendship. Ah ! how is he 
now fallen like a star from heaven. 

2dli/, Man at his best estate, standing on his own legs, is a fickle 
creature, liable to change. The penalty set him in the covenant, 
spake him to be mutable, capable of forgetting his duty to his 
Maker, and his own interest ; and the doleful event confirmed it. 
Why should men put their trust in men, and make flesh their arm ? 
The most accomplished mere man that ever was on earth, was cap- 
able of being unfaithful to his trust, and actually was so. No won- 
der now that every man be a liar. 

3. Concerning Christ the Saviour of sinners, behold here, 

1st, The absolute necessity of a Surety in the event of a breach 
of this covenant. The condition was so high, and the penalty so 
dreadful, in this covenant, that being once broken, it was beyond 
the power of man to retrieve the matter. He must bear the heavy 
penalty, and that he could never discharge. He must begin again, 
and fulfil the condition ; and that was beyond his power. Therefore 
there behoved to be a surety to act and sufi'er for man, or he was 
ruined without hope of relief. Hence said our blessed Surety, 
" Ought not Christ to have suffered these things?" Luke xxiv. 26. 
No creature was able to have undertaken this important office ; it 
was a burden too heavy for angels. Only he who was God as well 
as man could perform the arduous task. 

2dli/, The love of Christ to poor sinners in becoming Surety for 
broken men. " Greater love" (says our Lord, John xv. 13.) *' hath 
no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." " God 
commendeth his love towards us," (says the apostle, Rom. v. 8.), 
'* in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." None less 
than God man was able to answer the demands of this covenant, 
when once broken ; therefore the Son of God was pitched upon 
to be the second Adam, to repair the breach made by the first ; 
Psalm Ixxxix. 19, '* I have laid help upon one that is mighty ; 
I have exalted one chosen out of the people." And when there 
was no helper, he offered himself to undergo the burden; Psahu 
xl. 6, 7, " Sacrifice and offering," said this blessed Helper, " thou 
didst not require ; mine ears bast thou opened ; burnt-offering and 
sin-oflcring hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come." If 
ever ye would see what Christ has done for sinners, so as to be ra- 
vished with admiration of his matchless performance, study the 

Vor.. XI. r 


covenant of works which he fulfilled as the second Adam, after it 
was broken by the first. 

4. Concerning man in his fallen state. 

1st, It is no wonder, that however scarce good works are in the 
world, yet working to win heaven is so very frequent. Legal 
principles and practices are natural to men ; the covenant of works 
being that covenant that was made with Adam, and in him with all 
mankind, and so after a sort engrained in man's nature. And no- 
thing less than the power of grace is able to bring man from off that 
way, to the salvation by Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. i. 23, 24, " Christ cru- 
cified is unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolish- 
ness ; but unto them which are called both Jews and Greeks, he is 
the power of God, and the wisdom of God." We are like those who 
being bred merchants, though their stock is gone, must still be traf- 
ficking with small wares. 

2dli/, Salvation by works of our own is quite impossible ; there is 
no life nor salvation to be had by the law. Gal. iii. 10, " For as 
many as are of the works of the law are under the curse." Will ye 
bring your good meanings and desires, your repentance, your obedi- 
ence, such as it is, and think to get life, and salvation, and accept- 
ance with God thereby ? Eemember, if ye will be for doing to live 
your obedience must be perfect and perpetual ; and that if you fail, 
you are under the curse. That is the tenor of the covenant of works, 
and it will abate nothing. And therefore ye must quit the way of 
that covenant, or perish for ever ; for ye are absolutely incapable to 
answer its demands. 

Use II. For refutation. With what is said these three things fol- 
lowing are inconsistent. 

1. That there was no proper covenant of works between God and 
Adam. The contrary has been already proved from the holy scrip- 
ture, and the nature of the thing. If we yield that point, the impu- 
tation of Adam's sin will have slender grounds to stand on ; and if 
that fail, the doctrine of the imputation of Christ's righteousness will 
be in hazard. 

2. That believers are not wholly and altogether set free from the 
law as a covenant of works ; from the commanding power of it, as 
well as the condemning power of it. If that be so, believers in 
Christ are yet in a miserable case ; for the commands of the cove- 
nant of works are no less than commands of perfect and perpetual 
obedience, under the pain of the curse; Rom. iii. 19, "Now we 
know that what things soever the law saith, it sailh to them who are 
under the law ; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world 
may become guilty before God." Compare Gal iii. 10, "For as 


many as are of the works of the law are under the curse." But be- 
lievers are set beyond the reach of the curse ; ver. 13, " Christ has 
redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." 
Rom. viii. 1, " There is no condemnation to tliera that are in Christ 
Jesus." They are dead to the law as a covenant of works, Rom. vii. 4, 
" Ye are," says the apostle, " dead to the law by the body of Christ;" 
and death sets one altogether free. They are under the covenant of 
grace, and they cannot be under both at once ; Rom. vi. 14, " Ye 
are not," says Paul, " under the law, but under grace." 

3. That believers must do good works to answer the demands of 
the law, as a covenant of works, if they will obtain salvation. Truly 
our good works will never be able to answer these demands; and if 
we pretend to do them for that end, as the covenant of works will 
never accept them, so we cast dishonour on Christ, who has answer- 
ed all these demands already for believers, by his perfect and per- 
petual obedience. "When God set Adam to seek salvation by his 
works, he was able for works ; it was a thousand times easier to 
him to give perfect obedience than for us to give sincere obedience. 
So we may be sure God bringing in a second covenant for the help of 
lost sinners, would never put them again on seeking salvation by 
works, after their strength for them was gone. 

Use III. For exhortation. Consider seriously of this covenant, 
with application to the particular state and case of our own souls. 
Here was a solemn bargain made with our first father, of the utmost 
importance to him and all his posterity. Will ye not lay to heart 
your own case with respect to it? Consider, 

1. That this covenant was made with Adam in your name, for you 
in particular, as well as the rest of his posterity. So that you were 
all once under it, as really as if you had in your own persons consent- 
ed to the terms of it ; and the obedience it required of Adam was 
equally required of you ; and the curse he subjected himself to by 
the breach of it, lies heavy on you as well as him. 

2. Whether ye be delivered from it or not. If ye be, happy are 
ye; if ye be not, there is a weight lying above your heads that will 
sink you for ever in the bottomless gulf of perdition, if ye get not 
loose from that covenant. Gal, iii. 10, forecited. 

3. None are delivered from it, but those whom God himself, man's 
covenant party, has discharged. The breaking of a bargain can never 
deliver the breaker from it, but lays him under the penalty. Nothing 
can deliver him but a discharge from the party he bargained with. 

4. God discharges none from it, but upon full satisfaction made to 
all its demands on them. For our Lord has determined the matter 
thus, " Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or tittle shall in no wise 



pass from the law, till all be fulfilled," Matth. v. 18. The sinner 
shall be obliged to give the law fair count and reckoning, and pay- 
ment, else he cannot have his discharge. Consider if ye have any 
experience of this being done in your own case. 

5. Lastly, The only way to satisfy this covenant, is by faith to lay 
hold upon Jesus Christ the surely, and to plead his obedience and 
death. The believer counts up to the law all that Christ has done 
and suffered, as done for him ; so the accounts are cleared, the be- 
liever is discharged, the discharge being written with the blood of 
his Surety. And so he is set free from it for ever. 

Thus much of the reality, nature, parts, &c. of the covenantof works* 



Hose A vi. 7, 
But thexf like men have transgressed the covenant. 

In the beginning of this chapter, we have the Jews brought in re- 
penting and turning to the Lord ; which looks to that conversion of 
theirs that is yet to come, and hereby is insured, and that by virtue 
of the resurrection of Christ. Meanwhile they were to be laid under 
heavy strokes, and after a sort rejected. They were to be under a 
long eclipse of God's favour, the valley of vision being turned into 
a land of darkness. This looks to the Assyrian and Babylonish 
captivity, and further, to the ruin of the whole nation by the Ro- 
mans, and their long rejection, which they are under to this day. 

The causes of this are specified, to justify God's proceedings 
against them. (1.) Their inconstancy in that which is good, ver. 4, 
" Your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it 
goeth away." Sometimes they seemed to promise fair for reforma- 
tion, but all their fair blossoms quickly fell oif. Such was the pro- 
mising appearance Israel made when Jehu came to the kingdom, 
and such was that made by Judah in the days of Hezekiah and 
Josiah. Such too were the hosannas and loud shouts made at Christ's 
triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, which were soon changed into 
" Crucify him, crucify him." Therefore did the prophets and apos- 


ties testify against tliem, and denounce the judgments of God against 
them, and thereby ministerially hew and slay them ; ver. 5, " There- 
fore have I hewed them by the prophets ; I have slain them by tho 
•words of my mouth." (2.) Their breach of covenant with God ; 
quite slighting and perverting, instead of pursuing the ends of tho 
covenant; vers. 6, 7, " For I desired mercy and not sacrifice ; and 
the knowledge of God more than burnt offering. But they like men 
have transgressed the covenant ; there they have dealt treacherously 
against me." (3.) An universal deluge of sin and defection from God, 
that had spread itself over all ranks. Israel and Judah both were 
carried away with it, " Israel was defiled," ver. 10, &c. ; and Judah 
was ripe for destruction; ver. 11, "Also, Judah, he hath set an 
harvest for thee," &c. Priest and people were quite wrong, vers. 9, 
10, magistrates and ministers, church and state ; Ramoth-Gilead, a 
city of refuge, protecting wilful murderers, or delivering up those they 
ought to have protected; the priests profane, no better than robbers 
and murderers, vers. 8, 9. General defection is a cause and presage 
of a sweeping stroke. It is the second of these that concerns our pur- 
pose; "Tliey like men have transgressed the Covenant." Wherein two 
things may be considered. 

1. The crime charged on them, transgressing the covenant, cove- 
nant-breaking. This is a crime of a high nature ; it strikes at the 
root of society among men, and therefore is scandalous and punish- 
able though it be but a man's covenant. How much more atrocious 
is the crime where God is the one party ? God took the Israelites 
into covenant with himself when he brought them out of Egypt. It 
was entered into with awful solemnity, Exod. xxiv. The design 
and ends of it were to lead them to Christ, and so to real holiness in 
the practise of the duties of the moral law. But, instead of this, 
they rejected Christ and sat down upon the poor performances of 
the ceremonial law, ver. 6, without faith and love. So they trans- 
gressed the covenant, and broke it, Jer. xxxi. 32 ; Heb. viii. 9. 

2. Whom they resembled in breach of covenant. In this they 
acted like men, as our translators and others turn it ; that is vain, 
light, fickle, and inconstant as man. But tho Ynlgate, Tigurine, 
Castalio, Arias Montanus, Rabbi Solomon, Grotius, and the Dutch 
translation and our own translation in the margin, read, like Adam. 
There is nothing about the Hebrew word to weaken this ; on the con- 
trary, at this rate the word is taken in the proper sense, and this reading 
is evidently the more forcible of the two; and therefore is the preferable 
and genuine one, agreeably enough to the context. Besides, as I shewed 
before, the original word does but twice more occur in the scripture, 
viz., Job xxxi. 33; Psalm Ixxxii. 17; and in both these places is 


taken the same way. So the sense is, " They like their father 
Adam, have transgressed the covenant," for so the word is. He 
broke covenant with God, and so have they ; he the covenant of 
works, they the covenant of grace, which they externally entered 
into. God set down Adam in paradise in covenant with him, the 
end of which was to make him completely happy ; but he perverted 
the end of the covenant, preferred the fruit of a tree to his moral 
duty to God, so broke the covenant, and was cast out of paradise ; 
and God set Israel down in Canaan, in covenant with him, the end 
of which was to lead them to Christ, as the end of the law ; but 
they perverted the end of that covenant, and, preferring ceremonial 
observances to Christ and moral duty, transgressed the covenant, 
and therefore must be cast out of Canaan. The tree of the know- 
ledge of good and evil was, by God's appointment, a seal of the 
covenant, fitted to help man to the keeping of it ; but he used it the 
quite contrary way ; the ceremonial law was, by God's appointment, 
for sealing the covenant of grace, and leading the Jews to Christ; 
but they used it the quite contrary way ; and so it was a stumbling- 
block to them. 

The doctrine clearly arising from the text is, 

DocTKiNE. Our father Adam broke the Covenant of "Works. 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Consider the fatal step by which that covenant was transgres- 
sed and broken. 

II. How this fatal step was brought about. 

III. How the covenant of works was broken by it. 

IV. Apply the subject. 

The Fatal Step by which the Covenant of Works was broken. 

I. I shall consider the fatal step by which that covenant was 
transgressed and broken. I think I need not stand to prove that 
this covenant was broken by Adam. The truth of Moses' narration, 
Gen. iii., puts it beyond controversy ; as also doth the doleful ex- 
perience of his posterity, Rom. v. 12. Our father Adam was once 
in a flourishing condition, had in his hand a noble portion of holi- 
ness and happiness for every one of his children ; and he had more 
in hope for himself and them, which would have made them eternally 
and completely happy. He had a goodly stock to set up with at 
first ; and a trade with heaven to improve his stock in, which, rightly 
managed, would have made all his family happy for ever ; the which 
trade was opened to him by this covenant. But, alas ! the whole 
family is ruined, we are all born beggars, we have nothing left us ; 


nay, we are pursued for our father's debt as well as our own, Rom. 
V. 18, "By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to con- 
demnation ;" and we are in hazard of dying in prison for evermore. 
A plain evidence that our father was broke, his trade mismanaged, 
and he run in debt, the communication with heaven stopt ; and so 
the covenant was broken. Besides the Lord's making a new co- 
venant, a covenant of grace, with Christ, as the second Adam, for 
the salvation of lost sinners of Adam's family, is a plain proof that 
the covenant of works was broken, and the transgressors thereof 
ruined by the first Adam. And what was the fatal step ? 

It was the eating of the forbidden fruit, Gen. iii. 6, " "When the 
woman saw that the tree was good, &c. she took of the fruit thereof, 
and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did 
eat." This was that by which the covenant was broken, and man 
ruined. No wonder eating and drinking is the destruction of many 
to this day; this engine of ruin had too much success iu the hand 
of the great deceiver, not to ply it still. God gave Adam a domi- 
nion over the creatures, to use them soberly for his own comfort and 
God's glory. He " put all things under his feet ;" he only kept 
one tree from him, that he might not eat of the fruit thereof, and 
that for the trial of his obedience. He was discharged, under the 
pain of death, to meddle with it ; to which prohibition he consented ; 
and yet, over the belly of the solemn covenant, he laid hand on it, 
ate of it, and broke the covenant. Here, for the understanding of 
this sin aright, consider the progress, the ingredients, and the ag- 
gravations of it. 

The Progress of the Sin of breaking the Covenant of Works. 

First, Consider the progress of this sin. It is not to be imagined, 
that Adam and Eve were innocent till they had the forbidden fruit 
in their mouths ; the coveting of it in their hearts behoved of ne- 
cessity to be before that ; but the eating of it was that whereby sin 
and apostasy from God was completed. The beginning of their sin 
was unbelief and doubting. At the suggestion of Satan they 
doubted the truth of God in the threatening, Gen. iii. 3 — 6. So, in 
this fatal battle, their faith got the first stroke. And it being once 
foundered, their heart plied to the temptation, and the lust after the 
forbidden fruit arose, and then the sin was completed by actual eat- 
ing, Gen. iii. 6. The eye of the mind was first blemished ; a mist 
arose from hell, which they admitted, that by degrees darkened their 
understanding, so that they first doubted, and then disbelieved the 
threatening of the covenant. Then their will was easily con- 
quered to a compliance with the temptation, and turned away from 


the comiuand, the rule of duty. A Inst and corrupt affection to the 
tree seized them, discovering itself at the eye, in a lustful looking 
at it, Gen, iii. 6. So the hand took it, and the mouth ate it, and 
the fatal morsel was lodged within the body. 

Thus the cool of temptation raised a flame, which quickly spread 
itself over the whole soul and body. The which is often reached in 
the case of their sinful posterity, who by these means are frequently 
cast down from their excellency as it were in a moment, and plung- 
ed into a gulf of misery. 

There is more ill in doubting and unbelief than men are aware 
of. It was the devil's master-piece for the ruin of souls under 
the covenant of works ; and so it is still under the covenant of 
grace; Mark xvi. 16, "He that believeth not shall be damned." 
Men were first ruined by their doubting and unbelief of the threaten- 
ing of the first covenant ; now men are ruined by their doubting and 
unbelief of the promise of the second covenant; Isa. liii. 1, "Who 
hath believed our report?" says the prophet. And what that report 
is, see 1 John v. 10, 11, "He that believeth on the Son of God, 
hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God, hath made 
him a liar, because he believed 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." Though doubting may consist 
with faith, so that it be not reigning; yet it belongs not but is con- 
trary, to the nature of faith, which in itself is a firm persuasion, 
more or less firm, according to the strength of it. 

The Ingredients of this Sin. 

Secondly^ Let us consider the ingredients of this sin. If it is opened 
up, one may see it to be a complication of evils ; not a little sin, 
but a great one, and in some sort the greatest sin. 

1. Horrid unbelief was in it. By it the truth and faithfulness 
of God to his word was questioned, disbelieved, and denied; the 
lie was given to the God of truth, 1 John v. 11, forecited. And to 
make the affront the blacker, the devil was believed in his contradic- 
tion to God. God said. Yea ; Satan said. No; and the decision was 
in favour of the latter. 

2. Pride, ambition, bold presumption, and curiosity, took place in 
this sin. No less was attempted by it, than to be like God himself ; 
Gen. iii. 5, " Ye shall be as gods," said the old serpent. God had 
set them in paradise ; but they would, in a manner, ascend above 
the height of the clouds, and set their throne above the stars, as the 
proud monarch of Babylon did, isa. xiv. 13, 14. They had full li- 
berty as to the use of all that was in paradise ; only God locked up 


from sliem that one treo ; and tliey boldly forced tlie lock, and ate 
that Avhich God forbade them to touch ; as if nothing was to be hid 
to them. 

3. There was in this sin monstrous ingratitude, and discontent 
with their condition. They wanted nothing for necessity, conve- 
nience, or delight, beseeming their state of trial. A bountiful God 
had heaped favours on them; they "bore God's image, were fit to be 
companions of angels, were the envy of devils, had the dominion of 
the lower world, and were God's confederates. But all this was 
sunk and lost in unthankfulness; and they were so little contented, 
that they would needs have that in very deed which they had no want 
of, as is often the case with their children. 

4. This sin contained in it contempt of God, rebellion against 
him, and downright apostasy from him, going over to the devil's 
side. Thus it was a renouncing of the covenant, and a conspiring 
with Satan against God. They carry themselves as if they had been 
decoyed into a foolish bargain ; and, forgetting the majesty of God, 
and their own dependence on him, they break his bands, and cast his 
cords from them ; pretending they would see better to themselves, 
and so they cast oft his yoke at one touch. 

5. Lastly, In one word, this sin was a breaking of the whole law 
of God at once. By this one deed, not only was the positive law 
trampled under foot, but the natural law written in their hearts 
was broken in all the ten commandments of it at once, as I have 
shewn elsewhere.* 

The Aggravations of this Sin. 

Thirdly, Let us view the aggravations of this sin. Consider, 

1. The person who did it; righteous Adam; one who was not 
tainted with original sin, as others now are, but was endued with 
original righteousness ; one in whom Satan had nothing, till he 
winded it in by his subtilty. There was no blindness of mind, per- 
verseness of will, or unholiness of aftections, to graft his temptation 
on. So having these advantages, the sin was in that respect of all 
sins the most heinous. And therefore he having found mercy, is a 
pattern of mercy to all who will believe in Christ. 

2. The object by which he was enticed, and for which he broke 
God's law. it was not a wedge of gold, as in Achan's case ; nor 
thirty pieces of silver, as in that of Judas ; but a morsel of fruit. 
The smaller the thing was, the greater the sin ; and the more inex- 
cusable the sinner, whom Satan catched with so sorry a bait. What 

' Sue Foatfolil State of Man, state 2. Lead 1, uudtir the title, '' flow man's natuie 
was corrupted," 


need had he of that, who had enough besides ? Bnt when once the 
mind is bewitched with temptation, it is enough to stir up a longing 
after fruit, if it be but forbidden ; as the wayfaring man in Na- 
than's parable was entertained by the rich man with his poor neigh- 
bour's lamb, though he had a flock of his own. 

3. The nature of the thing. Though it was a small thing, yet it 
was a sacred thing, set apart for a holy use, not to be touched. 
This sin was theft, and theft of the worst kind, namely, sacrilege. 
It was a profanation of holy things, and that of the worst kind ; 
profanation of a sacrament, a seal of the covenant. No wonder it 
brought on a curse, 

4. The place where it was committed. In paradise, where every 
flower was proclaiming the glory of God, where he wanted nothing 
necessary for him, but was surrounded on every hand with tokens of 
the Lord's kindness to him. Eden was the pleasantest spot of the 
virgin earth, and paradise the pleasantest spot of Eden. But there 
the rebellion was begun against God, who set him in that delightful 
place. In the presence-chamber, as it were, rebel man, by this act 
of his, struck at his sovereign Lord. So it was aggravated like the 
murder of Zacharias, who was slain between the temple and the altar, 
Matth. xxiii. 35. 

5. The lime when it was committed. He had not been long in the 
world, till he lifted up his heel against his Creator. He had stood 
short while, till, being giddy with pride and ambition, he fell into 
disgrace, "What time Adam fell, is a question. It is the common 
opinion, that he fell the same day he was created. Some think he 
stood longer, supposing the events recorded about him. Gen ii. and 
iii. to require more time than one day. And the deists improve that 
against the credit of Moses' history, but entirely without ground, 
I think the common opinion is true. The devil's envy and malice 
would set him a-work on the first occasion to ruin man ; and, for 
all that appears, whenever he tried it, he carried his point. If our 
first parents had stood longer, the blessing of marriage would have 
taken place in a state of innocence. The scripture says, Satan was 
" a liar, and a murderer from the beginning," John viii. 44. Yet 
" Adam in honour could not night ; he became like as the beasts, 
they were alike," Psalm slix. 12. From this text the Hebrew doc- 
tors gather, that the glory of the first man did not night with him ; 
and the ancient translators understand it of Adam. The work of re- 
demption is the more illustrious, that man could not stand one day 
without the Mediator's help.* 

* See more on this subject in the author's notes on the '' Marrow of Modern Divi- 


6. Lastly, The effects and consequents of this sin. These are all 
evils that came on Adam himself, and on his posterity to this day, 
and that "will come, even to the end of the world. Hereby all man- 
kind were ruined. That siri was the wide gate at which sin and death 
entered into the world. It spread its malignant influence over the 
creation, loosed the pins of the fabric of the world, which it will pull 
down at length altogether, according to the import of the threaten- 

How the Fatal step, in the breach of the covenant of works, was 
brought about. 

IT. I shall consider how this fatal step was brought about. For 
clearing of this, three things are to be considered ; Satan's tempting 
to it ; God's leaving man to the freedom of his own will in the mat- 
ter ; and man's abusing this freedom of will, and complying with the 

Of Satan's tempting to this Sin. 

First, Satan tempted to it. God created all the angels holy spirits, 
yet mutable, as the event in some of them has proved. Some of them 
were elected to eternal happiness from eternity, and some of them 
not elected, 1 Tim. v. 21, where the apostle speaks of elect angels. 
They were all created the first day, as appears from Gen. i. 1, 2, 
compared with Job sxxviii. 7- In the former it is said, " In the be- 
ginning God created the heaven and the earth." And in the latter 
place it is said that, when God " laid the foundations of the earth, 
the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for 
joy ;" by whom are most certainly to be understood the angels. The 
reprobate angels were not fallen before the sixth day ; for it is said, 
Gen. i. 31, that, on that day, " God saw everything that he had 
made, and behold it was very good." On the sixth day man was 
made, and the same day he fell, as has been shewn before. The re- 
probate angels were fallen before him, and therefore they fell the 
same day too. And it seems they lost no time, but immediately, with 
the first occasion, one of them sets to work against man, and gain- 
ed his point by temptation, John viii. 44, forecited. 

Concerning this temptation we may remark, 

1. The instrument of the temptation was a serpent. Gen. iii. 1. 

1st, It was a true and real serpent, as appears from Moses com- 
paring it with the rest of the beasts ; Gen. iii. 1, "Now the serpent 
was more subtle than any beast of the field." "What sort of a ser- 


pent it was is not determined. Some think it to have been a beau- 
tiful creature of a shining colour ; for there are serpents mentioned, 
Dent. viii. 15, called in the original text Serajyhim, which is a name 
given to angels. And so possibly Eve might take the serpent to 
have been acted by one of the good angels, or Seraphims. What- 
ever sort it was of, serpents have been of great note in the kingdom 
of the devil since. The Egyptians worshipped serpents. The 
genius of a place was painted as a serpent. And in the old Greek 
mysteries they were wont to carry about a serpent, and cry, Evah 
— a memorial of the extraordinary service it had done the devil. 

2dly, It was acted by the devil. For since serpents could not 
speak, and far less reason, neither of which was wanting in this 
case, one may surely conclude, that it was the devil who abused 
the body of the serpent to his wicked purpose, and therefore is call- 
ed that old serpent the devil and Satan, Rev. xii. 9, and chap. 
XX. 2. 

2. Satan set upon the woman first, the woman the weaker vessel, 
that having once overcome her^ he might by her means the more 
easily conquer the man. And thus he readily manages his temp- 
tations still, observing where the wall is weakest, that there he 
may make his attack with the more success. And he chose the 
time when she was alone, not with her husband, from whom she 
seems to have had the knowledge of the covenant God entered into 
with hira. Had they been together, they might have jointly with- 
stood him who conquered both, one after another. 

3. He moveth a doubt concerning the command ; Gen. iii. 1, 
" Tea hath God said ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden ?" 
And thus he does subtilly and ambiguously. He does not at first 
bring forth the whole venom of the temptation, but pretends, as one 
in doubt, that he would be informed by the woman. It is hard to 
tell whether he meant this of God's forbidding to eat of any, or only 
not of every tree of the garden. It is the design of the tempter to 
draw us unto a contempt of the commands of God. The woman, 
however, gives him a round answer, wherein she makes a very am- 
ple profession of the truth ; vers. 2, 3, " And the woman said unto 
the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but 
of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath 
said, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." 
They may resist at first, who are afterwards overcome. 

4. Quitting the attack on the command, which he perceived her 
to adhere to, Satan falls on the threatening, and contradicts it. Gen. 
iii. 4, " And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely 
die." He tells her it was not so sure as she imagined, that God 


would punish them at that rate. He puts her in hope of escaping 
punishment. Thus Satan resisted, flies ; but where one method fails 
he will try another, and, through hopes of impunity entertained in 
one's heart, he often gains his purpose. 

5. He proceeds as one that wished well to her and her husband, 
and pretends to shew how they might both arrive at a high pitch of 
happiness speedily : even to be as gods, and that in knowledge or 
intellectual delights ; insinuating withal, that, by the very name of 
the tree, the truth of what he said might appear. For (said the 
serpent) '' God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, then your 
eyes shall be opened ; and ye shall be as gods knowing good and 
evil." Thus the liar and murderer still ruins men, pretending to 
make them happy, while he carries on their destruction. 

6. Lastly, She being ensnared, he makes use of her to tempt her 
husband, and prevails, Gen. iii. 6, " And when the woman saw that 
the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and 
a tree to be desired to make one wise ; she took of the fruit thereof, 
and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat." 
And thns he often conveys his temptations to us, by those whose in- 
terest in us and affection to us, we doubt not, and whom there- 
fore we suspect not ; and so ho rends men with wedges of their own 
timber, making one a snare to another. 

God left Man to the Freedom of his own Will. 

Secondly, God left man to the freedom of his own will in this mat- 
ter. He was not the cause of his fall ; he moved him not, nor could 
he move hira to it ; James iii. 13, " For God cannot be tempted Avith 
evil, neither tempteth he any man." Such is the holiness of his na- 
ture. He gave him a power to stand if ho would, and he took not 
away from him any grace given; but, for his trial, left him to his 
freedom of will, with which he was created. God made hira good and 
righteous, and the natural set of his will was to good only, Eccl. vii. 
26. But it was liable to change, yet only to change by himself; he 
could only be made evil or sinful by his own choice. 

If it be asked, why man was not set beyond the possibility of change. 
Itis to be remembered, that absolute immutability is the peculiar pre- 
rogative of God himself, and every creature, in as far as it is a 
creature, is incapable of being so immutable. Yet the creature may 
be in some sense made immutable, that is, so as it shall not be pos- 
sible for it actually to fall from its goodness, though there is still a 
changeableness in its nature. Now, if man had been created with- 
out so much as a remote power in himself to change himself, he had 
not been a free agent ; but God might have so established him, as 


that he could not actually have fallen ; yet that would have been 
owing to confirming grace. The which why the Lord did not bestow 
on him, it belongs not to us to define ; only he was no debtor to him 
for it. 

Man abused the Freedom of his Will. 

Thirdly, Man abused his own liberty or freedom of will, and com- 
plied with the temptation, and so broke the covenant. He only him- 
self was the true and proper cause of his own falling ; not God, for 
he can never be the author of sin ; not the devil, nor Eve, for ihey 
could only tempt and entice, but not force him It was his own 
choice, he did it freely without coaction or compulsion ; and he could 
have stood if he would. And thus was the fatal step made, whereby 
the covenant was broken. 

How the Covenant of "Works was Broken. 

III. I shall consider how the covenant of works was broken by this 
fatal step. We may take up this in three things. 

1. The command was violated. The covenant required perfect 
obedience, but it was not given ; perpetual obedience, but man did 
soon come to a stand in the course of obedience, and went no fur- 
ther. Here he disobeyed, here he shook off the yoke, here he sin- 
ned against his God. Thus the condition of the covenant of works 
was broken. 

2. The right and title to the promised benefit by that covenant was 
undermined. The promised life was lost, man had no more any pre- 
tensions to it ; he could no more i)lead the reward, which was to be 
given him in hand ; and the prospect of the reward, which before 
his disobedience he had in hope, was entirely cut off. Thus failing 
in his performance of the condition of the covenant, he rendered 
the promise of the covenant null and void, as if it had never been 

3. He fell under the penalty of the covenant, became liable to 
death in its utmost extent. As he had no more ado with the pro- 
mise, the threatening now bound him to bear the wrath threatened 
for the satisfaction of divine justice. The blessing of the covenant 
being lost, the curse of it seized him, and he was bound with the 
cords of death; the which was let out as a flood, at that breach 
which was made in the covenant, and overflowed. 

(1.) The soul of man, so that it died spiritually, losing the image of 
God, and losing the favour of God. Man turning from God as his 
chief end, the image of God in his soul was defaced, Gen v. 1, 3, 
His saving knowledge was lost; witness the cover of fig-leaves which 


our first parents prepared for covering of their nakedness, and 
their pretending to hide themselves from the presence of God, Gen. 
iii. 7. The righteousness of his will was lost; witness their aversion 
to God, hiding themselves from him, their excusing of their sin, 
transferring of their guilt, the man laying the blame on the woman, 
the woman on the serpent ; nay, Adam not obscurely reflected on 
God himself. The holiness and regularity of their affections went 
off; they were filled with disorder, confusion, and shame. They lost 
God's favour, were seized with horror of conscience. Gen. iii. 8, were 
driven out of paradise, like a divorced woman out of the house of 
her husband, declared incapable of communion with God, and de- 
barred from the tree of life, the seal of the covenant. 

(2.) The body of man became mortal, death working within it 
and without it, fiom that moment the covenant was broken. He 
was condemned to toil and weariness for life, and then to return to 
the dust at length, the frame and constitution of man's body having 
become deadly from the moment of his breaking the covenant. 
And sorrow and pain in breeding and bringing forth of children, was 
laid on the female sex, as a particular mark of displeasure with the 
first sin ; and the ground was cursed for man's sake, because of the 
dependance of the life of man upon it. 

(3.) Lastly, Soul and body were subjected and bound over to eter^ 
nal death in hell. For this was comprehended in the threatening 
of the covenant of works, as has been already shewn. 

Thus was the covenant of works broken. Yet man was not, 
and could not thereby be freed from that covenant ; still he was 
bound to obedience, according to the command of it; and to satis- 
faction, according to the threatening. Only God was no more 
obliged to fulfil his promise, since it was conditional, and the condi- 
tion was broken. 

Application of the Doctrine of the Breach of the Covenant of 


Use I. Here is a memorial which we have need ever to c&,rry 
about with us, while we live in this world ; A memorial, 

1. Of the nothingness of the creature, when left to itself. God 
left some of the angels to themselves and they turned devils; he left 
innocent Adam to himself, and he turned apostate. the need of 
continual supplies of grace ! There was no bent .and inclination to 
evil naturally in them ; but in us there is a natural propensity to 
turn from God. What need have we then to cry, " Lead us not into 
temptation ?" What need of continual dependence upon the Lord ? 

2. Of the hopelessness of salvation by works. That was the way 


which man was first set ou,and that is the way which man naturally 
is set to follow unto this day. But what hope can there be that 
way ? Adam was able to work for life, having sufl&cient strength 
laid to his hand, and yet he miscarried in it ; how can it prosper in 
our hands, who are without strength, and whose work-arm is broken ; 
he had less to do than we have now, only perfect obedience was re- 
quired of him at first ; but of us now is required not only perfect 
obedience, but satisfaction for sin done. "We have more work and 
less strength than Adam had. When he fell a-workiug for heaven, 
which work was marred in his hand, it may justly make us to despair 
of salvation that way. He could not stand, how shall we that are 
fallen raise up ourselves ? How unlikely is it that self-destroyers 
shall be their own saviours ? 

Use II. Here is a watchword which we ought never to forget. 

1. "Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The devil 
still goes about seeking whom he may devour. No state, while ye 
are here, can secure you from temptation. Though ye be in a state 
of friendship with God, he will attack you. No place, though a pa- 
radise can protect you. He has malice enough to drive you to the 
greatest sins ; subtilty and long experience to manage the tempta- 
tion so as it may best take. Do not parley with temptation, lis- 
teuing to the tempter may bring on doubting, doubting will bring on 
disbelieving, and disbelieving will bring on full compliance. 
therefore watch ! 

2. Take heed of forgetting the covenant of your God. When 
men lose the sense of the bond of the covenant, they cannot long for- 
bear the breaking of it. We see this iu Adam our father, and we 
may see it daily iu men's personal covenants, and the national cove- 
nants these lands are under the bonds of. Tlie impression of them 
is worn off, and so the duties of them are cast behind men's backs. 
No wonder that this is the sin of the land, and of particular persons, 
seeing we are all children of the great covenant transgressor, Adam. 

Use III. Lastly, Here is a demonstration of the absolute neces- 
sity of being united to the second Adam, who kept the second cove- 
nant, and thereby fulfilled the demands of the first covenant. See 
your absolute need of him ; prize him, and flee to him by faith, be- 
hold him with an eye of faith who has repaired the breach. The 
first Adam broke the fi^rst covenant, by eating of the fruit of the for- 
bidden tree ; Christ has repaired the breach by hanging on a tree 
and bearing the curse for his people. Adam's preposterous love 
to his wife made him sin; Christ's love to his spouse made him suffer 
and satisfy. In a garden Adam sinned, and therefore iu a garden 
Christ was buried. Eating ruined man, and by eating he is saved 

Adam's fihst sin imputed to us. 233 

again. By eating the forbidden fruit all died ; and by eating Christ's 
flesh and drinking his blood by faith, the soul gets life again, John 
vi. 57. then have recourse to Christ ; and thus shall you be 
saved from the ruins of the fall and have an interest in the cove- 
nant made with Christ, the condition of which being already fulfilled 
by him, can never be broken, or they who are once in it ever fall 
out of it again. 



Romans v. 19, 

For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the 

obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 

Ye have heard of the making of the original contract betwixt God 
and man, the covenant of works ; as also of the breaking of it by 
our father Adam. This text shews our concern in the broach of 
that covenant ; and it is necessary we be sensible of it, that we be 
not eternally ruined thereby, but, being convinced of that debt lying 
on our head, may flee to and make use of the great Surety for re- 
moving it from us. 

In this chapter, ver. 14, the apostle shews Adam to have been a 
figure or type of Christ ; and from ver. 12, and downwards, he in- 
stitutes a comparison betwixt these two, the common heads and re- 
presentatives of mankind, though Christ's representation is not so 
extensive as Adam's ; but each of them represented his seed ; Adam 
his natural seed, and Christ all his spiritual elect seed. Adam by 
his disobedience broke the first covenant ; Christ by his obedience 
to the death fulfilled the second covenant. The disobedience of the 
one brings condemnation and death on those that are his ; the obe- 
dience of the other brings justification and life to all that are his. 
The reason of both is given in the text ; namely, that by the one 
all his are made sinners, and sinnei's are justly condemned and die ; 
by the other all his are made righteous, and the righteous must, ac- 
cording to the covenant, be justified and live. 

So the text is a comparison made betwixt the effect of Adam's 
disobedience, and the effect of Christ's obedience. The clauses are 
quite contrary the one to the otlier, as light and darkness ; and so 

Vol. XI. q 


are tlio effects redounding from tliem to those wlio are respectively 
affected by tliera. The former makes men sinners, the latter makes 
men righteous. It is the former that concerns our present purpose ; 
" By one man's disobedience many were made sinners." Where 

1. The malignant cause to which all evil among men is owing; 
" one man's disobedience." This is the impure fountain of all, the 
original of all evils. Here two things must be cleared, (1.) Who 
that one man was. Who but Adam, the first man ; him the apostle 
had expressly named, ver. 14, as the great transgressor, the head 
of the rebellion, the fountain of sin, opposed to Christ Jesus as the 
fountain of righteousness ; and unto him our text in the Greek ex- 
pressly points, which saith not simply, tVi ivo ; di>9pu)TTov, By one man, 
&c., but Sid rrjc jrapaKoijg tov tvog dvOfjcoTrov, by that One man's disobe- 
dience, that man Adam whom he had mentioned before. (2.) What that 
disobedience was. No question but Adam was guilty of many acts 
of disobedience through the whole course of his life after his fall ; 
but the text speaks of this disobedience emphatically, and as such 
by way of erainency, that disobedience, plainly referring to the first 
sin of Adam, that was the sin which first broke into the world, and 
opened the sluice to death, ver. 12 ; the transgression of Adam, 
?) vapafidcTiQ ASdfi, Tcr. 14 ; that offence or iall, ver. 15. So then this 
disobedience is Adam's breaking of the covenant of works, by his 
eating of the forbidden fruit. The transgression of Adam was his 
transgressing of the covenant, which set him the bounds he was to 
keep within, on pain of death, Rom. v. 14, compared with Hosea vi. 
7- He set off in a course of covenant obedience running for the 
prize ; but he stumbled and fell in breaking the covenant. 
Though he was a son by creation, he was God's hired servant by 
covenant ; but by disobedience to his master he broke the covenant. 

2. The answerable effect ; " Many were made sinners." The poi- 
sonous fountain being opened, the waters kill wherever they come. 
Here also two things are to be cleared. (2.) Who these many are. 
Even the all mentioned ver. 12. All Adam's natural seed compre- 
hended with him in the first covenant, as the many made righteous 
are all Christ's spiritual seed comprehended with him in the second 
covenant, but the apostle uses the term many here, though all are 
meant, not only because all are many, but because one man, viz., the 
man Christ, is excepted ; so, in strict propriety of speech, Adam's 
disobedience did not touch all men simply, but many, there being 
one man excepted ; and also because the scope of the apostle here is 
to shew that many shall be made righteous by the obedience of one; 
to prove which, proceeding on that principle. That the deed of one 

Adam's fiust sin imputed to us. 235 

may be imputed to many, he instancetli in Adam's disobedience, who 
being one man, yet his deed was imputed to many ; and ho being a 
type or figure of Christ in that respect, it plainly follows, that as by 
his disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of 
Christ shall many be made righteous. (2.) How by Adam's disobe- 
dience they were made sinners. There are but three ways how by 
the sin of another we may be made sinners. [1.] By adopting it 
through consent and approbation ; so Ahab was the murderer of 
Naboth, though not he, but the magistrates of Jezreel did the deed, 
1 Kings xxi. 19. But this is not the way we are made sinners by 
Adam's disobedience ; for infants, and many in the world who never 
heard of Adam or his sin, and therefore are incapable of adopting it 
at that rate, are yet made sinners by it. Or, [2.] By imitation, as 
Pelagians would have it. So indeed one may be made a sinner by 
imitating sinners. But this cannot be it neither in this case ; (1.) 
Because infants who are not capable of imitation, are involved here 
as well as others, Rora. v. 14, where death is said to " reign over 
those who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgres- 
sion." So also are Pagans included here, who know nothing of the 
copy that Adam cast us. (2.) Because wo are made sinners by 
Adam's disobedience, as we are made righteous by Christ's obedience. 
But it is not by imitation, but by imputation of Christ's obedience 
we are made righteous ; therefore it cannot be that we are made 
sinners by imitation of Adam's sin. (3.) All men of all ages, sexes, 
conditions, &c., are made sinners. But it is incredible, that, if imi- 
tation were the way, there should never have been so much as one 
mere man to refuse to imitate the ruining example. Therefore, (3.) 
It necessarily follows that we are thereby made sinners by imputation ; 
fiven as we are made righteous by Christ's obedience, the same being 
reckoned our obedience, though not done by us in our own persons. 
We are not only made liable to punishment by this disobedience, 
but we are made sinners by it. Not only is the guilt ours, but the 
fault is ours; we not only die in Adam, 1 Cor. xv. 22, but we sinned 
in him as our federal head, Rom. v. 12 ; we broke the covenant in 
him ; that breach in law-reckoning is ours, and is reckoned ours be- 
cause it is ours by virtue of our being one with him, in his loins, as 
our natural and federal head. 

The text affords the following doctrine, plainly founded upon it. 

Adam's Sin in Breaking the Covenant of Works, is the Sin 
of his Posterity. 

Doctrine. Adam's breaking of the covenant of works, by his eating 
«f the forbidden fruit, is our sin, our breaking of it, as well as his. 



For the illustration of this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Consider the extent of this sin which is ours. 

II. Shew how Adam's sin of breaking the covenant of works is 
our sin, our breaking it. 

III. Evince the truth of the doctrine, and prove the imputation 
of Adam's first sin, the sin of breaking the covenant of works, by 
eating the forbidden fruit, to his posterity. 

lY. Shew the ground and reason why this first sin is ours. 
V. Lastly, Improve the subject. 

Of the Extent of the first Sin, which is ours. 

I. I shall consider the extent of this sin which is ours. There is 
a twofold breaking of the covenant of works. 

1. There is a private and personal breaking of it by such persons as 
are still under it. And thus it is to this day broken every day ; 
John vii. 19, " Did not Moses give you the law," said Christ to the 
Jews, " and yet none of you keepeth the law ?" Let none imagine 
that the covenant of works being broken by Adam, was laid by as 
an useless thing, which men were no more concerned in. It is true, it 
is no more useful now as a way to salvation and happiness ; but that 
is not from itself, but from man's weakness, whose weak head, heart, 
and legs, cannot serve him to walk in so high a way to heaven, from 
which he fell down headlong before in Adam, and received such a 
bruise as made him quite incapable for it alter. But the covenant 
itself stands firm still iu all the parts of it. The promise of it still 
stands to perfect obedience, which now takes in suftering as well as 
doing; as appears from what passed between our Lord and a cer- 
tain lawyer, Luke x. 27, 28. The lawyer had put the question to 
him, " Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life ?" Our Lord 
answered, " What is written in the law ? how readest thou ?" The 
lawyer having replied, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all 
thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and 
with all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thyself;" our Lord there- 
upon said, " Thou has answered right ; this do, and thou shalt live." 
So that if any could answer the demands of this covenant, he should 
have the promised life. The threatening of it stands firm as moun- 
tains of brass, that without satisfying it by one's self or surety, 
none shall escape ; for " without shedding of blood there is no re- 
mission," Heb. ix. 22 ; and " God will by no means clear the guil- 
ty," Exod. xxxiv. 7. The commands of the covenant are in as full 
vigour as ever ; for the breaking of a law can never take away the 
binding force and authority of it; so that it demands perfect obe- 
dience of all that are under it, with as much authority still as ever 


it did of Adam, Rom iii. 19 ; For " what tilings soever the law 
saith, it saith to them that are under the law." And all men con- 
tinue under it till they be ingrafted into Christ, be dead to it, and 
married to Christ, Rom. vi. 14. Wherefore all ye Christless sin- 
ners are under it, and are breaking it every day, in every thought, 
word, and action of yours ; and so the curse of it is raining down 
upon you incessantly; Gal. iii. 10, " Cursed is every one that con- 
tinueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law 
to do them." John iii. S6, " He that believeth not — the wrath of 
God abideth on him." 

Some of you stand off from the sacrament of the Lord's sup- 
per, and from personal covenanting with God in embracing the 
covenant of grace, and think ye do wisely to hold your necks out of 
the yoke of a covenant with God. But, poor soul, thou art hard and 
fast under covenant to God, the covenant of works, by which thou 
art bound to perfect obedience, under the pain of God's curse ; and 
every sin of thine is covenant-breaking with God, laying thee under 
the curse of the covenant. So all this wisdom of yours amounts to 
a holding fast of the covenant of death, and refusing a covenant of 
life. But this breaking of the covenant of works, by violating the 
commands of it now, is not what we aim at. 

2. There was a public breaking of it by Adam, the father of all 
mankind, standing as the representative of his posterity. This 
breach was made in paradise, where Adam broke the covenant by 
eating the forbidden fruit. And even this is our sin, and breaking 
of the covenant ; viz. the first breaking of it is ours, and brings us 
under guilt. 

The extent of this breach of the covenant may be considered two 
ways ; in reference to the persons to whom the guilt of it reaches, 
whose sin it becomes ; and in reference to the sin itself. 

1st, The extent of this sin may be considered in reference to the 
persons to whom the guilt of it reaches, whose sin it becomes. And 
thus we say, 

(1.) It extended not to the man Christ. , Adam's breaking of the 
covenant was not his : he sinned not in Adam, as the rest of man- 
kind did. Though he was born of a woman, he was born sinless ; 
hence i\\& angel said unto the virgin Mary, " That holy thing which 
shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God," Luke i. 35. 
And Heb. vii. 26, he is said to be " holy, harmless, undefiled, and se- 
parate from sinners." He came '' to destroy the works of the devil," 
1 John iii. 8, and " to take away sin," John i. 29, which he could not 
have been fit for. if he himself had been one of the sinful multitude. 
If he had needed a sacrifice for himself, he could not have been an 
atoning sacrifice for us. 


He was indeed a son of Adam, as appears from his genealogy 
brought np to Adam, Luke iii. And it was necessary he should be 
so, that he might be our near kinsman, to redeem us ; that man's sins 
might be expiated by man's sufferings, and so justice might be satisfied 
of the same nature that sinned. But Adam was not the man Christ's 
federal head, nor was he comprehended with him in the covenant 
of works; forasmuch as he did not come of Adam in virtue of tho 
blessing of frnitfulness given to the man and woman before the fall, 
but was the seed of the woman only, born by virtue of a spiritual 
promise made after the breach of the covenant of works. So the 
breach of that covenant could not be imputed to him, or counted his, 
by virtue of his relation to Adam. 

Nay, he is another public person, as the first Adam was; the fe- 
deral head in the second covenant, erected to repair the ruins made 
by the breach of the first ; and so he is called the Second Adam, and 
is represented as the antitype to the first Adam, Rom. v. 14, unto 
whom the first Adam, having mismanaged his own headship, did as a 
private person commit himself for salvation, being in a mystical 
union by faith joined to Jesus Christ, as the quickening Head in the 
second covenant. But, 

(2.) It extended to all mankind besides Christ, without exception 
of any one from the first son and daughter of Adam, to the last child 
that shall be born into the world, 1 Cor. xv. 22, '' In Adam all die." 
It is the common portion of all the children of our father's family, 
from the oldest to the youngest ; the common inheritance of th© 
whole tribe of Adam, from the least to the greatest. The man a 
hundred years old may say. It is my sin ; and the child at its first 
moving in the womb may say. It is mine. The guilt of it is removed 
indeed from believers upon their union with Christ ; but once it lay 
upon them to condemnation also, as it still lies on all unregenerate 
persons, Rom. v. 18, '* By the offence of one, judgment came upon all 
men to condemnation." The saints in heaven are singing glory to 
him who washed them from it in his own bloody and the damned in 
hell are lying, and will lie for ever under the weight of it. 

2dly, The extent of this sin may be considered in reference to the 
sin itself. There is something in this sin peculiar to Adam's person, 
in so far as though the whole mass of mankind was concerned in it, 
yet there was this difference betwixt Adam and his posterity, that 
he was the representative, they were the party represented ; he sin- 
ned this sin in his own person, they only in him ; and consequently 
he ruined not himself only, but all the world by it ; they ruined 
themselves only by it. Wherefore, setting aside what was in this 
sin peculiar to Adam, as the head of the covenant; otherwise, 


This sin of breaking the covenant of works is our sin in the whole 
compass and extent of it. We must look back to the state of in- 
nocence, and behold the human nature adorned with the glorious 
image of God in our father Adam, and us in his loins, taken into co- 
venant with God, a covenant of life upon condition of perfect obedi- 
ence, which we in him were able to give, and fenced with a threaten- 
ing of death, which we were not liable to before we sinned. And 
we must consider, with sorrow of heart, how we broke that covenant 
in Adam ; and, with bitter repentance, shame, and self-loathing, la- 
ment over the eating of that forbidden fruit, and all the ingredients 
of it, our horrid unbelief, pride, ambition, presumption, and bold cu- 
riosity, our monstrous ingratitude, &c. The fearful aggravations of 
it must accent our lamentation, that it was in the state of righteous- 
ness of our nature the fact was committed, how small and sorry an 
object was the covenant broken for, a thing though small yet sacred, 
the place where, the time when, and the direful effects and conse- 
quents of it on ourselves. And we must apply to the Head of the 
second covenant for our reparation, pardon, and reconciliation with 

Yain men who have never been deeply convinced of sin by the 
working of the Spirit on their hearts, but measure their religion more 
by their corrupt reason than God's word, will be apt to look on these 
things as idle tales, and to say in their hearts, Would to God we may 
mourn for our own sins, the sins that we ourselves have been guilty 
of. Alas, sirs, that sin, with all the ingredients and aggravations 
of it, as is said, is as really your own sin, as the lies ye have made 
with your own tongue, the profane oaths ye have sworn, &c , Rom. 
V. 12, 19, "By one man's sin, death entered into the world, and 
death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have 
sinned." " By one man's disobedience many were made sinners." 
And if it be not forgiven you, through the atoning blood of Christ, 
it will sink you into hell ; and we know no sins that are forgiven, 
but they are repented of expressly, if known, and virtually if un- 
known. We find David mourning over it, Psalm li. 5, " Behold, I 
was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." And 
so ought all of us to mourn over it every day of our life, and have 
recourse to the blood of Jesus for pardon of it. And I shall shew^ 

How Adam's sin, in breaking the Covenant of Works, is the 
sin of his Posterity. 

II. How Adam's sin of breaking the covenant of works is our 
sin, our breaking it. 

1. It is really ours in itself. It is not ours in its effects only, as 

240 now Adam's first sin is our sin. 

a father's sin in riotously spending his estate, reaches his whole fa- 
mily, reducing them to poverty and want. Though the effects of 
that riotous spending, the poverty, misery, and want, be theirs ; yet 
the riotous spending is the father's only. But so is it not in this 
case. It is true, the effects of it, the sinful and penal evils follow- 
ng this sin, are ours ; we see them, we teel them, and the most stu- 
:pid groan under them ; but the sin itself is ours too. And, 

(1.) The guilt of it is ours, Rom. v. 18, " By the offence of one, 
judgment came upon all men to condemnation ;" that is, the guilt of 
sin, whereby the soul is bound over to God's wrath, by virtue of the 
sanction of the law. Thus that word is used frequently in the scrip- 
ture, as appears from John iii. 18, " He that believeth not, is con- 
demned already." E.om. viii. 1, " There is no condemnation to them 
that are in Christ Jesus ;" though it is often mistaken for what we 
call damnation, by which is understood the full execution of the law's 
sentence after death. So the guilt of the eating of the forbidden 
fruit lies on all men naturally as their guilt; though but one man's 
mouth tasted it, the guilt of the crime seizes all men. Every man is 
bound over to God's wrath for it, till the Lord Jesus, by an appli- 
cation of his blood to the soul, loose the cords of death. 

(2.) The fault of it is ours, Rom. v. 1, "All have sinned," name- 
ly, in Adam. The fault lies in its contrariety to the holy command- 
ment ; this made it a faulty deed, a criminal action, a sin against 
God; and as such it is ours. "We in Adam transgressed the law, 
broke through the hedge, and so broke the covenant. If the fault 
M-ere not ours, a holy God would never punish us for it : but certain 
it is, that he does punish the children of Adam for it, Rom. v. 14, 
" Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not 
sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression." It is true in- 
deed, God may punish one that is not really faulty, for the fault of 
another, if he do voluntarily substitute himself in the room of the 
faulty, having a full power so to dispose of himself; and that was 
the case of Christ the Mediator ; but that cannot be pretended to bo 
our case with respect to Adam's sin. 

(3.) The stain and blot of it is ours. The whole natnre of man 
was tainted with it, vitiated, and blackened, and, through defiileraent 
and loathsomeness thereby, rendered incapable of, and quite unfit for, 
communion with God, Gen. iii. 24. This sin defiled the whole 
mass of man's nature, from our father Adam going through all his pos- 
terity, like leaven through the whole lump, 1 Cor. xv.22, " In Adam 
all die ;" their souls die spiritually ; his whole race, by this sin, be- 
came as dead carcases. 

Thus Adam's sin, in itself, is really ours- 

2. It is ours in law-reckoning ; God imputes it to us, charges it 

HOW Adam's iciest sin is our stn. 241 

upon us all once, in oui* natural state ; tliough whenever a soul be- 
lieves in Christ, it is disimputed to that soul, Rom. viii. 1, " There 
is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." But, by 
a sentence passed in the court of heaven, all mankind are decerned 
sinners, transgressors of the law, guilty of the first sin, and there- 
fore liable to death, the penalty of the covenant, Rom. v. 12, 19, 
" All have sinned. — By one man's disobedience many were made 
sinners." And for as much as the judgment of God is according to 
truth, the matter must stand in itself, as it is found in that law-re- 
ckoning ; that is to say, because we are really sinners in Adam, there- 
fore we are reckoned in law to be so. So that the imputation of 
Adam's sin to us, necessarily presupposes its being really ours. 

Proof of the Imputation of Adam's First Sin to his Posterity.' 

III. I shall evince the truth of the doctrine, and prove the impu- 
tation of Adam's first sin, the sin of breaking the covenant of works, 
by eating the forbidden fruit, to his posterity." 

1. The scripture plainly teacheth, that all sinned in Adam, and 
were made sinners by his first sin, which was the breaking of the 
covenant of works, by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, Rom. 
v, 12, 19, both forecited. Where it is to be remarked, (1.) That 
the apostle speaks of the first sin in both texts ; for as in the 19tli 
verse, he calls it " that disobedience ;" so in ver. 12, the or that sin, 
by way of erainency, as vers. 14, 15, in opposition to that ohediencey 
by way of eminency, ver. 19, whereas, speaking of sin in general, 
ver. 13, he calls it simply sin. Besides, he speaks of that sin, by 
which death entered into the world ; as by one man that sin entered 
into the world, and by that sin death ; but it is evident, that it was 
by the first sin that death entered into the world ; therefore all 
sinned in Adam in breaking the covenant of works. This also is 
clear from the scope of this chapter, which is to account for the jus- 
tification of sinners by the obedience of Christ, which the apostle 
does by shewing that Christ died in our room and stead, vers. 7 — 11> 
and he sums up the whole matter in this conclusion ; ver. 12, 
'' "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death 
by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sin- 
ned ;" and this conclusion he afterwards enlarges upon. The words, 
it is plain, must have something understood, to make up the sense ; 
and I conceive it is this ; " Wherefore it is even as by one man that 
sin entered into the world," »Sic. i. e. The matter of the justification 
of a sinner before God lies even as the condemnation and death of 
sinners by that sin of one man, &c. (2.) That the apostle deter- 
mines all men to have sinned that sin. For that, or in whom* (as 

* In Greek t((>' y. 


Mark ii. 5 ) all have sinned. But that this is the sense, however, 
the words be rendered, appears, if it is considered, [1.] That death 
entered into the world by that sin, and so passed on all men ; but, 
according to the apostle, it could not pass ou all men for that sin, 
but for that all were the sinners ; for where death comes, sin must 
needs be before ; by the rule of justice no man can die for a sin he 
is not guilty of. [2.] If all sinned, infants sinned too; but infants 
are not capable of having sinned otherwise than in Adam. The 
apostle teaches very plainly, that infants are comprehended in 
these all, and that they sinned, ver. 14, " that had not sinned after 
the similitude of Adam's transgression," which clearly bears them 
to have sinned another way. (3.) By that sin we were constituted ov 
made sinners^ ver. 19, not by consent and approbation, nor by imi- 
tation, but by imputation, as was argued before ; and conse- 
quently, since the judgment of God is according to truth, we sianed 
that sin. 

2, All are under the guilt of that sin in Adam, till it be removed 
in justification by faith in Jesus Christ ; they are, by virtue of that 
sin, bound over to death, and the eternal wrath of God. This the 
scripture teaches evidently, 1 Cor. xv. 22, " In Adam all die." But 
how can they die in him, if they did not sin in him ? Rom. v. 12, 
" By one man — death passed upon all." Sin then behoved in the 
first place by him to pass on all ; ver. 15, " Through the olfence of 
one many be dead." That offence therefore behoved to be their of- 
fence, ver. 18, " By the offence of one, it luas (viz. the offence) upon 
all men unto condemnation," i. e. the guilt of eternal wrath ; but 
how could they be condemned by a holy and just God for an offence 
that was not their offence, it being undeniable that they did not 
substitute themselves, nor were they substituted by another, in the 
room of the offender ? When the apostle tells us, that "there is 
therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus," 
Rom. viii. 1, does he not plainly teach us, (1.) That all who are not 
in Christ, are under condemnation, whoever they be, whether guilty 
of actual sin in their own persons or not, as infants and idiots ? 
(2.) That even such as are now in Christ, were under condemnation, 
all along while they were not in him ? Let men take a view of our 
guilty state in Adam, that wrath which by nature we stand adjudged 
to, Eph. ii. 8, which the scripture plainly teaches ; and then consi- 
der the holy, just nature of God ; they shall be obliged to own that 
we sinned in Adam, and that his sin is ours as well as his, and that 
that wrath on that account is just. But corrupt unsubdued nature 
firstf rames to itself a notion of God's justice, according to its own 
principles, and then rejects this imputation as inconsistent therewith, 


and then puts a sense on clear scripture texts agreeable to its pre- 
conceived notions. 

3. The universal depravation and corruption of human nature is 
a glaring evidence of this. Man is now despoiled of his primitive 
glory and integrity, the image of God, the rectitude of his nature, 
with which he was created ; and instead of it his whole nature is 
corrupted, there is in it a bent aud propensity to evil. His mind is 
darkened, his will perverse, his affections altogether disorderly. 
He is born in this case, corruption is woven into his nature from the 
time he has a being in the womb ; Job xiv. 4, " "Who can bring a 
clean thing out of an unclean ? not one." John iii. 6, *' That which 
is born of the flesh is flesh." Gen. vi. 5, " Every imagination of the 
thoughts of man's heart is only evil continually." Psalm li. 5, 
" Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother con- 
ceive me." There is a necessity of regeneration, without a man bo 
born again he is ruined for ever, John iii. 3. He is naturally dead 
in sin, he must be raised from death, he is so marred that he must 
be new made, created to good works, else he will lie for ever void of 
spiritual life, utterly unable to do anything but sin, Eph. ii. 5, 10. 
Such a nature and such a frame of soul is a sin, a fountain of sin. 
But without question it is a misery too, and the greatest of miseries 
human nature is capable of, as setting men at the greatest distance 
from God the chief good. Therefore it must be concluded to be a 
punishment of sin too, and of some sin previous to it, which can be 
none else but Adam's first sin. And that sin must be our sin, the 
sin of all mankind, since it is punished at this fearful rate in us and 
all mankind. It is not possible to account for the justice of this 
dispensation otherwise. It was inconsistent with the nature of God 
to have created man in this case ; yet thus we are from the time we 
have a being as men. Is this from the Creator otherwise than as a 
punishment of sin? Must it not be from ourselves, (Hos. xiii. 9, 
" Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself,") as the authors of our 
misery, by sinning against God, namely, sinning this sin, for no 
other can have place here ? The law of natural generation without 
this will not salve the matter; for so justice would have required 
either the stopping of generation, or else that even corrupt Adam 
should not have generated corrupt children. It is within the com- 
pass of omnipotency though not the compass of created power, to 
bring a clean thing out of an unclean, as was done in the case of the 
man Christ ; otherwise the greatest misery and punishment which 
might have been averted, is inflicted upon mankind without any 
fauU of theirs; which is more than absurd. 
- 4. Though men venture to deny sin in infants, who are without 


question incapable of actual sinning in their own persons, Rora. r. 
14, and ix. 11, yet it is undeniable they are liable to misery, pains, 
sickness, and die as well as those who are grown person. The groans 
and tears of parents over the cradles, the raoans and distress of poor 
liarmless babes, the graves of the smallest size in the churchyard, are 
demonstrations of these. Yea, look to the old world, swept away 
with the flood, and there you will see the infants drowned with the 
sinners a hundred years old. Look to the overthrow of Sodora, and 
you will see them burnt in the fire from heaven with the lustful pa- 
rents that begot them. Look to Jerusalem when it was destroyed, 
and there you will see them pining to death by famine, with the 
aged sinners. Then look up to heaven, and behold a holy, just God, 
who sent these plagues, and consider if it be consistent with 
his holy nature to treat innocent senseless persons at that rate. 
And after all look into your Bible, and you will see how God is 
justified in all these. There you will see the threatening of death 
annexed to the sin of breaking the covenant of works, Gen. iii. 17> 
and seeing it executed upon them, ye must needs conclude they are 
guilty. There you find '' death passes on all, for that all have sin- 
ned;" Rora. V. 12, "reigns over them that had not sinned after the 
similitude of Adam's transgression," ver. 14, and thence you must 
conclude them sinners. There it appears, that *' the wages of sin is 
death," Rom. vi. 23 ; they receive the wages, they must have then 
wrought the work of sin ; not in their own persons surely, for they 
were not capable ; therefore they sinned in Adam. As for the cor- 
ruption of their nature, it justifies this procedure indeed; but yet 
the propagation of it to them is owing to this first sin ; and the dis- 
pensation of God in that matter must be justified, by their guilt of 
that sin. 

5. Lastly, The comparison stated in scripture, betwixt Christ and 
Adam, plainly evinceth this. The apostle, Rora. v. 14, tells us that 
Adam was a type or figure of Christ ; and 1 Cor. xv. 45, he calls the 
one the " first Adam," the other the " last Adam." Whence it ap- 
pears, that as Christ was the federal head in the covenant of grace ; 
so Adam was the federal head in the covenant of works. Whence 
we may gather, 

(1.) That as Christ, in his obedience and death, stood not as a 
private person, but what he did and suff'ered, he did and sufi'ered as 
.a public person, to bo imputed to all his spiritual seed ; 2 Cor. v_ 
21, " For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that 
we might be made the righteousness of God in him ;" so Adam sin- 
ning, and breaking the covenant of works, did what he did not as a 
private man, whose guilt remains with himself, but as a public per- 


son, whose deed was to be imputed to all his posterity, or natural seed ; 
Rom. V. 18, " By the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to 

(2.) That since Adam was eventually a head of destruction and 
ruin to all his seed, and Christ a head of reparation and salvation 
to all that were his seed of the shipwrecked multitude ; 1 Cor. xv. 
22, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made 
alive j" then as God laid on Christ the iniquities of all that are his, 
making them to meet on him, Isa. liii. 6, so Adam's sin was from 
him diffused, and came upon all that were his, Rom v. 12; for the 
one was to repair those whom the oiher had destroyed ; to pay theii; 
debts which they had been involved in by the other. 

(3.) As believers obeyed and satisfied in Christ their head in the 
second covenant, so all men sinned in Adam their head in the first 
covenant. The former is the doctrine of the scripture. " The righte- 
ousness of the law was fulfilled in them," Rom. viii. 4. They were 
*' crucified with him," Gal. ii. 20 ; which further appears, in that 
they were " raised up, and set in heaven in him," Eph. ii. 6. Hence 
the latter is established ; we broke the law in Adam, and sinned 
against God in him. 

(4.) Lastly, As we are made righteous by the obedience of Christ ; 
so we are made sinners by the disobedience of Adam. So says the 
text. But we are made righteous by the obedience of Christ impu- 
ted to us, therefore we are made sinners through the disobedience of 
Adam imputed to us. Christ's righteousness is really ours, not in 
its effects only, but in itself, being that very righteousness on which; 
we are acquitted and justified. So Adam's sin is really ours, not in 
its effects only, but in itself, being that upon which we are all by 
nature condemned persons, Rom. v. 18. As soon r.s we have a spi- 
ritual being in Christ, and are united to him by his Spirit and by 
faith, so soon is Christ's righteousness ours; and as soon as we have 
a natural being as children of Adam, Adam's sin is ours. 

So much for the proof of this doctrine, That Adam's first sin, the 
sin of breaking the covenant of works, by eating the forbidden fruit, 
is our sin, our breaking of it, or is imputed to his posterity. 

The Ground and Reason of the Imputation of Adam's first sin to 

his Posterity. 

TV. I shall show the ground and reason why Adam's first sin, or 
breaking of the covenant of works, is our sin, our breaking of it. 
This is the foundation of the imputation of that sin to us, and lies in 
these two things jointly. 

1. He was our natural or seminal head, the natural root of all 


mankind, Acts xvii. 26. God set np the human nature in him pure 
and undefiled, blessed him with fruitfulness, Gren. i. 28, and from 
him all mankind derive their pedigree. So that as Levi, being in 
the loins of Abraham, when Melchisedek met him, paid tithes in 
Abraham, Heb. vii. 9, 10, so we, being in the loins ot Adam, when 
the tempter met him, sinned and broke the covenant in him. But, 

2. Which is the main thing, He was our federal head in the 
covenant of works, our representative in that bargain. There was 
a proper covenant betwixt God and Adam ; and in it Adam was not 
considered as a private person, but stood as the head of all man- 
kind in it, acting for himself and for his posterity whom he repre- 
sented ; even as the second Adam in the covenant of grace. And 
thus his sin was ours. Even as Abraham, having the covenant made 
with him, was the federal as well as natural head of Levi, being the 
covenant-head of the Jewish nation ; and therefore Levi in his loins 
is reckoned to have paid tithes to Melchisedek. 

The sum of the matter lies here ; all mankind being originally 
one in Adam, were made legally one in him and with him, by the 
covenant of works entered into with Adam, as the head of all man- 
kind, constituted by God himself, the infinitely wise and absolute 
Lord of all the creatures. By the bond of the covenant superadded 
to the natural tie betwixt him and us, we were made one with him, 
to all the purposes of the covenant. And being thus one with him, 
his sin in breaking of the covenant was ours as well as his. The 
being of this covenant I have already proved, and have also ac- 
counted for the equity and justice of this dispensation. 

The Doctrine of the Imputation of Adam's First Sin to his Posterity 

TJsE L This truth serves to discover, and set before our eyes, 
1. The malignant nature of sin. It is an infectious vapour, a 
plague, a pest to mankind, of a killing nature, wherever it comes. 
One sinner of mankind infected the whole race ; one morsel of that 
leaven leavened the whole nature of man. It is the spiritual pesti- 
lence in the world, that makes more spiritual havoc than fire and 
sword ; an emblem of which God is giving this day in France by a 
bodily pestilence, with which also he is threatening these nations.* 
It is Solomon's observation, " That one si.nner destroyeth much 
good," Eccl. ix. 18. This is emphatically represented to us in the 
case of Adam, and often in the case of many particular sinners 

* This part of the subject was preached in November, 1721, at which time the 
plague raged in France. Happily, Great Britain and Ireland escaped that dreadful 


among us, whose sphere of activity is more narrow ; but what de- 
struction do they make witliin their bounds ! thi? malignity of it ap- 

(1.) In its spreading from the sinner to all that are concerned in 
him, destroying and breaking down like a flood where it comes. 
The peace and purity of the whole world was marred by Adam's 
sin ; and the peace and purity of lesser societies are still marred with 
the sins of others, Heb. xii. 15. The apostle exhorts Christians to 
" look diligently, lest any root of bitterness springing up, trouble 
them, and thereby many be defiled." How many such roots of bit- 
terness are sprung up in our land, wherewith the peace and purity 
of church and state are both marred together at ihis day. How 
many such have sprung up and are still springing up among us, 
whose pangs of lust mar the quiet of families, leave a blot on them, 
make the congregation a reproach, and to stink in the nostrils of 
the sober part of their neighbours. 

(2.) In that when the sinner is dead and gone, his sin lives and 
works after him. It is long since Adam died, but still his sin is 
working. Jeroboam sinned so in his life, as that he opened such a 
sluice as ran for several generations after he was silent in the grave. 
And thus do the sins of many still live and destroy much good after 
they are gone. And therefore, besides the particular judgment at 
death, there is a general judgment at the end of the world, where 
people must answer for the mischief done by the current of their sin 
in the world after they were gone out of it. 

2. The awful and tremendous holy sovereignty of God, whose 
judgments are always just, but often unsearchable. When one 
considers how God made the angels independent upon one another 
as to standing and falling, but comprehended the whole race of man- 
kind under one federal head ; whom also, in the depth of his sove- 
reign wisdom he permitted to fall, when he could have held him up ; 
so as all mankind are ruined in him; must we not cry out, " tho 
depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! how 
unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out," Rom. 
xi. 33, The dispensation was just, ho can do us no wrong ; it was 
becoming the divine perfections, and designed for holy ends in the 
depth of wisdom. But in the meantime, there is need of a holy, 
humble spirit to adore the sovereignty of it. 

3. The impossibility of our obtaining salvation by the way of this 
covenant. What hopes can wo have of living by doing, when it has 
misgiven in our head already, when we were fitted for working at 
another rate than we can pretend to be now ? We have already 
broken that covenant, fallen under the penalty of it, the which we 


must needs discliarge before we can have access to begin again on 
new ground, to look for life by keeping it better. And who of us is 
able to discharge that debt to the justice of God? " Therefore by 
the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight," Rom. 
iii. 20. 

4. The glory of the contrivance of the second covenant by the 
ever-blessed Trinity, and of the performance of it by the second 
Adam in our nature. Look here and behold the necessity of it for 
our salvation ; what could they have done for themselves, who had 
ruined themselves, and were brought into the world in a state of 
condemnation ? There was a necessity of the obedience and death 
of Christ in that case ; Luke xxiv. 26, " Ought not Christ to have 
suffered these things?" Behold the suitableness of it; man was 
mined by Adam's breaking the first covenant, and the remedy is 
provided by Christ's keeping the second covenant. Behold the per- 
fection of it- It takes away not only this sin, but all other sins too. 
How strong is the grace of Christ, that is able to stop the torrent of 
Adam's sin, increased with innumerable personal sins running with 
it in one channel ? Rom. v. 16. 

5. Lastly, A notable confirmation of believers' faith as to the im- 
putation of Christ's righteousness and death unto them, upon their 
embracing the covenant of grace. Is Adam's sin ours by virtue of 
our union with hira as the federal head in the covenant of works ? 
Surely Christ's righteousness, obedience, and death, are no less ours 
in virtue of our union with Christ, the federal head in the second co- 
venant. That God who imputes the one to all mankind for condem- 
nation, will much more impute the other to believers for justification. 

Use IL This doctrine serves to stir up to several duties. And, 

1. Be convinced of this sin as your sin. Take it homo to your- 
selves among the rest of the pieces of guilt, chargeable upon you be- 
fore the Lord. God charges it on all mankind as their sin ; all men 
therefore ought to charge it on themselves, since he is the Amen, 
faithful and true "Witness, and cannot charge any with guilt falsely 
or by mistake. It is hard to convince men of this ; but when the 
Spirit of the Lord comes to carry the work of conviction through, he 
will fasten this conviction on the conscience among others; and how 
can one sue for the pardon of that sin which he will not admit the 
conviction of? 

2. Confess and mourn over this sin before the Lord. Be humbled 
under the sense of it, and anxiously inquire how ye may be saved 
from it, and tlie wrath and curse of God duo to you for it. Consider 
seriously how this debt is on your head by nature, how you are trans- 
gressors from the womb, breakers of covenant with God, fallen un- 


der the penalty of the covenant of works, hf your not fulfilling the 
condition of it, but transgressing the covenant. Live no more uncon- 
cerned about it, but sist your guilty consciences in this point parti- 
cularly before the Lord ; and let that fear and sorrow work in your 
souls ou this head, that ought to be in the case of sins coraraitted by 
you in your own persons. I shall enforce this with some motives. 

Motive 1. Consider that it is really your sin, by which you have 
oifended God, broken his covenant, and made yourselves liable to 
eternal wrath. And shall it not lie heavy on your spirits, that you 
have thus sinned ? Rom. v. 19. If it be really your sin, your debt 
ye are involved iu by the mismanagement of your first father ; can 
it be safe to be unconcerned about it, while a holy just God is the 
party ye have to do wish ? 

Mot. 2. It is the fountain of all the sins and miseries that ever have 
been found with you. Ye are guilty before God of sins of heart, lip 
and life : these must sometime be a terror to the soul. But whence 
did all this flow, but from your corrupt nature, averse to all 
good, and prone to all evil ? And whence had you that nature, but 
from the guilt of this sin lying on you ? Ye have been plunged in 
a gulf of miseries; even from the womb to this day, the clouds have 
been returning after the rain. Trace them to the spring-head, and 
you will find they all issue from this sin. And what sin can ye 
truly mourn over to purpose, if ye do not mourn ovet the fountain of 
all ? What calls more loudly for repenting and mourning than this 
leading sin ? 

Mot. 3. While the guilt of this sin lies upon you ye lose all your 
labour in striving to get the guilt of other sins removed, or to get 
your lives reformed. That is but to shut the door while the grand 
thief is in the house; to labour to dry up the streams, while ye are 
at no pains to get the poisonous fountain slopt ; the which is la- 
bour iu vain. And it is the overlooking of this that is the cause 
of the apostacy of many who sometimes have made such a fair ap- 
pearance; and is also the cause of the prevalence of a legal dispo- 
sition that is so much at this day among professors. 

Mot. 4. Lastly, If ye get not the pardon of it, it will ruin you 
for ever, Rom. v. 18. Hereby ye are condemned ; and a pardon only 
can reverse the sentence. Ye must then sue out the pardon of it ; and 
if you come to God on that errand, be sure your souls will bo 
humbled and broken within you for it. 

And if ye would have your hearts duly affected with this sin, (1.) 
Labour to lay aside your carnal reasonings, and believe God's word 
as the word of truth and righteousness, which fixes this guilt on all 
mankind, and particularly on you. These reasonings in this matter 



are dangerous, and can tend to nothing but hardening the heart, 
and casting dishonour on God. (2.) How ye naturally trace the 
steps of Adam in his breaking of the covenant, so bearing fallen 
Adam's image most lively, as I showed elsewhere.* The considera- 
tion of this may serve to prove the fact upon us, while we do so 
readily fall into the same way again, as far as we have occasion. 
(3.) Consider the righteousness of Christ, which is to be the same 
•way imputed to all believers, and shall be imputed to you on your 
believing. There is a gift of righteousness to be imputed, as well 
as that debt of sin is charged upon you. 

Lastly, Let this stir you up to quit your hold of the first Adam 
and his covenant, and flee for life and salvation to the second Adam 
in the second covenant, uniting with him by faith. The ofi'er of the 
gospel is made to you : the Lord has made a grant of his son as a 
quickening head to poor sinners. Believe it, embrace the offer, ac- 
cept heaven's gift; otherwise ye will be ruined, not only by the breach 
of the first covenant, but by despising of the second. 

If ye be of those to whom that iniquity is forgiven, ye will highly 
prize the second Adam ; for " unto them that believe he is precious," 
1 Pet. ii. ?• Ye will be holy and tender in your walk, the power of 
sin being broken where the guilt is removed, Rom. viii. 1. Ye will 
be dead to the law, and denied to your own righteousness, making 
Christ's fulfilling of the covenant your only plea for life and salva- 
tion, Matth. V. 3, Phil. iii. 3. 

Thus far of the breach of the covenant of works, and the extent 
of it. 

* See " Fourfold State," State ii. Head 1. under the title, " that man's nature is 






Galatians 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 wntten in the book of the law to do them. 

Having discoursed of the breaking of the covenant of works by all 
mankind in Adam, we are next to inquire into the state and case of 
sinners under that broken covenant. And that the text shews to be 
a very lamentable and dangerous one. In a shipwreck, when the 
ship is dashed in pieces upon a rock, how heavy is the case of the 
crew among the raging waves ? The ship can no more carry them 
to the harbour, but failing them, leaves them to the mercy of the 
waves. If one can get a broken plank to hold by, that is the greatest 
safety there ; but that doth often but hold in their miserable lives 
for a little, till the passengers are swallowed up. Such, and un- 
speakably worse, is the case of sinuers under the broken covenant 
of works, which leaves thtm under the curse, as we see in the text. 
In which we have, 

1. The covenant-state of some of mankind, yea, of many of them. 
They ''are of the works of the law;" it is the same thing as to be 
of the law of works; that is, to be under the covenant of works. 
So '* the works of the law" are opposed to " the hearing of 
faith," Gal. iii. 2, that is, the law to the gospel, the covenant of 
works to the covenant of grace. But the apostle in our text intimates 
their covenant-state by a phrase which, in the first place, designs 
their habitual course and practice, viz. to seek life and salvation by 
the works of the law ; but, in the next place, designs the covenant 
they are under, wher"'^^ ti.oi'r practice is a plain evidence. They are 
opposed to those who are of faith, who, being under the covenant of 
grace, by faith look for life and salvation by Christ's works. 

The phrase, " As many as are of the works of the law," imports, 
that there are others who are not under that covenant. In the 



scripture we read of " two covenants." Gal. iv. 24. Each of these 
have their children ; and so the world is divided into two sorts of 
men ; some under the covenant of grace, others still remaining un- 
der the covenant of works ; which the phrase " under the curse,' 
doth also bear ; for since they are under the curse of the law, or 
covenant of works, they are surely under the law or covenant itself; 
for whatsoever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the 
the law," Rom. iii. 19. 

2. The state and case of men under that covenant ; they ♦' are under 
the curse." The covenant is broken, and so they are fallen under 
the penalty ; the duty of the covenant is neglected and cast oif ; and so 
they are under the curse of the covenant. As the blessing or pro- 
mise, which they have lost, comprehends all good for time and eternity, 
soul and body ; so the curse comprehends all evil on soul and body, 
for time and eternity. To be under the curse is to be by the law's 
sentence separated and destined to evil, according to the threaten- 
ing. Gen. ii. 17, " In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt 
surely die." 

3. The proof and evidence of this their miserable state and case ; 
** For it is written, Cursed is every one that continueih not in all 
things which are written in the book of the law to do them." There 
is an extract of the sentence of the law which is standing against 
them, Deut. xxvii. 26, " Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the 
words of this law to do them." That sets the matter in full light, 
from whence the conscience of every man under that covenant may 
conclude him under the curse. 

The two following doctrines comprehend the full scope of the 
words, namely, 

DocT. I. There are some, yea, many, of mankind, who are still 
under the broken Covenant of Works. 

DocT. II. Man in his n.atural state, being under the broken 
covenant of works, is under the curse. 

DocT. I. There are some, yea, many, of mankind, who are still 
under the broken Covenant of "Works. 

In the prosecution of this subject. I shall, 

I. Evince the truth of the doctrine, that there are some, yea 
many, of mankind, who are still under the broken covenant of works. 

II. Describe who they are that are under this broken covenant. 

III. Shew what is the effect of the broken covenant of works upon 

lY. Shew why so many remain still under this broken covenant. 
V. Lastly, Apply the subject. 


Proof of the doctrine that many persons still continue under the 
broken covenant of works. 

I. I shall evince the truth of this doctrine, that there are some, 
yea, many of mankind, who are still under the broken covenant of 
works. This will clearly appear, if ye consider, 

1. That there are but " few that shall be saved," Matth, vii. 14. 
Christ's flock is but a very little flock, Luke xii. 32. But all who 
are brought from under the covenant of works, are brought into the 
covenant of grace ; Rom. vi. 14, they are not under the law but 
under grace; and all who are within the bond of the covenant of 
grace, are of Christ's flock, and shall be saved, Heb. viii. 10. Hence 
it follows that the most part of mankind are left under the cove- 
nant of works. The truth is, all men by nature are under it, and so 
are born under the curse, Eph. ii. 3. And many live and die under 
it ; and therefore the sentence against the whole wretched herd of 
the condemned world inns in these terms, "Depart from me, ye 
cursed, into everlasting fire," &c. 

2. The scripture is plain on this head. The apostle tells us that 
there are some under the law, Rom. iii. 19, to whom the law doth 
say what it says, for conviction and condemnation ; and that is 
under the law as a covenant of works, for otherwise all are under it 
as a rule of life. It curseth and condemneth many; Gal. iii. 10, 
*' Cursed is every one," viz., who is under the law ; for its curse 
cannot reach others, there being " no condemnation to them that are 
in Christ Jesus," Rom. viii. 1. It condemns all unbelievers; John 
iii. 18, "He tl^at believeth not is condemned already," viz., by the 
sentence of the law as the covenant of works ; for the covenant of 
grace condemns no man, John v. 45, said our Lord to the Jews, " Do 
not think that I will accuse you to the Father ; there is one that ac- 
cuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust." Chap. xii. 47, *' And if 
any man hear my words and believe not, I judge him not ; for I 
came not to judge the world but to save the world." 

3. As all men in Adam were taken into the covenant of works, so 
no man can be freed from the obligation of it, but they who are dis- 
charged from it by God who was man's party in it. Tliis is evident 
from the general nature of contracts. And none are discharged from 
it but on a full answering of all it could demand of them, Matth. v. 
18. For said our Lord, " Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one 
tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." This 
no man can attain unto but by faith in Jesus Christ, whereby the 
soul appropriates and applies to itself Christ's obedience and satis- 
faction off"ered in the gospel ; and so pleading these gets up the dis- 
charge ; " For being justified by faith, we have peace with God 
through our Lord Jesus Christ." Rom. v. 1. But certain it is that 


all men have not faith, nay, few have it; therefore few are discharged 
from the covenant of works, but most part are still under it. 

4. Freedom from the covenant of works is snch a privilege as re- 
quires both price and power, each of them infinite, to invest a sinner 
with it. The sinner is by nature under the covenant of works, 
bound to perfect obedience to its commands, to complete satisfaction 
of its sanction. None but Christ was able to purchase the sinner's 
freedom from that covenant, since none but he could answer its high 
demands. When the sinner's freedom is purchased, he is so loath 
to part with that covenant, that none but the Spirit of Christ, in his 
day of power, can make him willing to come away from under it. So 
it is the peculiar privilege of the elect, for whom Christ died ; yea, of 
believers, whom the Spirit of Christ has translated from the kindom 
of darkness into the kingdom of light, Rom. vii. 4; Gal. ii. 19. 

5. There are many who still live as they were born ; in the same 
state wherein their father Adam left them, when he broke ; who 
were never to this day in any due concern how to be discharged from 
the debt he left upon their head, or of the bond of the covenant of 
works which in him they entered into. How can it be then, but 
that the debt remains, and the bond is uncancelled as to them ? In 
one of the two Adams all mankind stand to this day ; some in the 
first Adam, bearing the image of the earthly, sin and death ; others 
in the second Adam, bearing the image of the heavenly, life and 
salvation. The translation from the first to the second none meet 
with in a morning-dream ; both law and gospel have a part to act 
in their souls, ere this work can be effected. 

6. Lastly, There are but two covenants, viz. of works and grace, 
Gal. iv. 24, as there never were but two ways of life and salvation, 
by works and by grace ; and but two federal heads of mankind, the 
first and second Adam. Under one of these covenants, and but 
under one of them, every son and daughter of Adam must be ; 
either under the law or under grace, Rom. vi. 14. The covenant of 
grace has not been so much as externally revealed or preached to 
many in the world ; and among those to whom it is, how few are 
there who have really and truly embraced it ? how do many stand 
at a distance from it, as they would do from fetters of iron ? Since 
therefore but few are within the bond of the covenant of grace, it is 
evident that most men are under the covenant of works. 

Hence the case of many, yea, most men, is most miserable, they 
are under the curse. 

Those who are Under the Covenant of Works described. 

II. The second thing proposed was, Who they are that are under 
the broken ovenant of works ? This is a weighty enquiry ; it is 


in effect, who are tliey that are under the curse ? because all that 
are under it, now that it is broken, are under the curse. Therefore 
take heed to it, and apply what may be offered on this head. I 
premise these four things, to make this the more clear. 

1. Men may be under the covenant of works, and yet living under 
the external dispensation of the covenant of grace. There is a 
great difference betwixt one's visible church state, and the state of 
their souls before the Lord. The covenant of grace was preached 
to Adam in paradise. Gen. iii. 15, yet was he in hazard of running 
back to the covenant of works, ver. 22. The Jews had the dispen- 
sation of the covenant of grace among them, and the ceremonial 
law clearly held out the way of salvation by the Messiah, yet most 
of them were under the covenant of works, being sons of the bond- 
woman. So, under the gospel dispensation to this day, many to 
whom the covenant of grace is offered, continue under the covenant 
of works. It is one thing to hear the new covenant proclaimed, 
another thing to accept of it by faith. 

2. Men may receive the seals of the covenant of grace, and yet be 
under the covenant of works. Circumcision was a seal of the cove- 
nant of grace, yet many who received it were still sons of the bond- 
woman, to be cast out from inheriting with the children, Gal. iv. 
24, 25, 30. And so will many who are baptized in the name of 
Christ, and have partaken of the Lord's supper, yet be disowned at 
the last day, by the Head of the second covenant, as none of his, 
Luke xiii. 26, forasmuch as they never truly came into the bond of 
that covenant. 

3. Men may be convinced in their consciences of the impossibility 
of obtaining salvation by Adam's covenant of works, and yet remain 
under it still. Where are they who are so very stupid, as to think 
that they can obtain salvation by perfect obedience to the law ? 
The Pharisees of old, and the Papists to this day, will not venture 
their salvation on the absolute perfection of their own obedience ; 
yet the former lived, and the latter do live, under that covenant. 
Let no man deceive himself here; such a conviction as hardly any 
man can shun, is not sufficient to divorce a man from the law or co- 
venant of works. 

4. Lastly, Men, upon the offer of the covenant of grace made to 
them, may aim at accepting of it, and so enter into a personal cove- 
nant with God, and yet remain uuder the covenant of works. Many 
miss their mark in their covenanting with God, and, instead of ac- 
cepting God's covenant of grace, make a covenant of works with 
God, upon other terms than Adam's covenant was, for which there 
is no warrant in the word. The Galatians did not cast off Christ's 
righteousness altogether, but only mixed their own works with his i 

256 wuo TiiEy are that are under 

and thus do many still, looking on their faith, repentance, and obe- 
dience, such as they are, to be the fulfilling of a law, upon which 
they are to be accepted of God. 

But more particularly, and directly, 

\st, All uuregenerate persons are under the covenant of works. 
Where is the unconverted man or woman, living in the state of irre- 
generacy, strangers to a saving change on their souls ? That man 
or woman is yet a branch of the old Adam, growing on the old stock, 
a stranger to the new covenant, because not in Christ, the head of 
the covenant. For " if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature ; 
old things are passed away ; behold, all things are become new," 2 
Cor, v. 27. Such an uuregenerate person is still under the covenant 
of works. This is evident, in that the death contained in the threat- 
ening of that covenant has full sway over them, so that they are 
dead in trespasses and sins, Eph. iii. 1, 5. They lie yet without spi- 
ritual life, as the first Adam left them. They have no communion 
with the second Adam, else they had been quickened; for he is a 
quickening head, as the other was a killing one. 

2dli/, All that have not the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them are 
under the covenant of works ; For " if any man have not the Spirit 
of Christ, he is none of his," Rom. viii- 9. And says the same apos- 
tle, Gal. V. 8, " But if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the 
law." It is one of the first promises of the covenant of grace, the 
giving of the Spirit, Ezek. xxxvii. 27, " A new Spirit will I put with- 
in you." And the Spirit of Christ once entering into a man never 
changes his habitation. For, saith Christ himself, John xiv. 16, " I 
■will pray the Father, and lie shall give you another Comforter : that 
lie may abide with ycu for ever." "Wo to those, then, that have not 
the Spirit of grace, they are under the curse. And such are all 
prayerless persons, Zech. xii. 10 ; ignorant, unconvinced sinners, who 
have not yet seen their lost and ruined state, John xvi. 8 ; refractory 
and rebellious ones, who will not, be hedged in within the Lord's 
■way, Ezek. xxxvi. 27 ; carnal men, who are under the government 
of their own lusts and unruly passions. Gal. v. 16. 

3. All unbelievers, John iii. 13. "Whosoever is destitute of sav- 
ing faith is under the covenant of works ; for it is by faith that one 
is brought within the bond of the covenant of grace, is married unto 
Christ, being dead to the law. Every soul of man is under one of 
the two husbands, Christ or the law. All believers have their 
Maker for their husband ; and all unbelievers have the law as a cove- 
nant of works for theirs, a rigorous husband, a weak one, who can 
do nothing for their life and salvation, but for their ruin and destruc- 
tion. Faith unites the soul to Christ, Eph. iii. 17. The unbeliever. 


■wliat though he go about the duties of religion, walk soberly and 
strictly, he is not joined to Christ, therefore he remains under the 
covenant of works, under the curse. 

4. All unsanctified, unholy persons, Rom. vi. 14. The doctrinal 
staking sinners down under, and wreathing about their necks the 
yoke of the law as a covenant of works, is so far from being a pro- 
per method to bring thera to holiness and good works, that contrari- 
wise they shall never be holy, never do one good work, till such 
time as they are fairly rid of that yoke, and sit down under the 
jurisdiction of grace. So that true holiness is an infallible mark of 
one delivered from the law ; and unholiness, of one that is yet hard 
and fast under it, Gal. v. 18, forecited. Legalism is rank enmity 
to true holiness, is but a devil transformed into an angel of light, 
and never prevails so in the church as in a time of apostacy, grow- 
ing unholiness, untenderness, regardlessness of the commands of God, 
when all flesh has corrupted their ways- Take for an example, Popery, 
the grand apostasy. What set of men that call themselves Chris- 
tians, set up for the law and good works in their doctrine, more than 
they do ? and among whom is there less of these to be found ? How 
can they be but unholy, who are under the covenant of works ? for 
there is no communion with God in the way of that covenant now ; 
so sanctifying influences are stopt, and they must wither and pine 
away in their iniquity. Whereas when once the soul is brought out 
from that covenant into the covenant of grace, the course of sancti- 
fying influences is opened, the clean and cleansing water flows into 
their souls ; the head of the covenant is a holy head, conveying ho- 
liness to his members ; the spirit of the covenant is a sanctifying 
Spirit ; the promises cf the covenant are promises of holiness ; the 
blood of the covenant is purifying blood ; and, in a word, every 
thing in the covenant tends to sanctifying and making holy the co- 

5. All profane, loose, and licentious men, are under the covenant 
of works,. Rom. vii. 5, and viii. 2. These men of Belial are under 
that heavy yoke. For under that covenant, being broken, sin and 
death have the force of a law upon the subjects, as the worms, stench 
and rottenness, domineer in the grave without control. When one 
sees so many profane lives, unclean, drunkards, swearers, liars, 
thieves, cheaters, oppressors, and others, walking after their own 
lusts ; he may conclude all these to be evidences and consequents of 
the curse of the broken covenant on them ; even as when ye go 
through a field full of briers, thorns, thistles, nettles, &c., ye may 
sigh and say, These are the product of the curse laid on the earth. 
These peoj^le think they walk at liberty; but what liberty is it? 


Even such as tliat madman enjoyed, Mark v. 4, wlio had been often 
bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked 
asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces; neither could any 
man tame him. The truth is, they are the arrantest slaves on earth, 
who are slaves to their own domineering lusts and passions ; 2 Pet. 
ii. 19, " While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the 
servants of corruption ; for of whom a man is overcome, of the same 
is he brought in bondage." Such kindly slaves are they of the worst 
of masters, that they have lost all just notion and sense of true 
liberty, Psalm cxix. 45. 

6. All mere moralists, such as satisfy themselves with common 
honesty and sobriety, living in the meantime strangers to religious 
exercises, and without a form of godliness. These are under the cove- 
nant of works, as seeking justification and acceptance with God by 
their conformity (such as it is) to the letter of the law. Gal. v. 4. 
These are they who please themselves, in their wronging no man, 
doing justly betwixt man and man, and in their pretended keeping 
of a good heart towards God ; while in the meantime, the rottenness 
of their hearts appears in their ignorance of God and Christ, and 
the way of salvation by him, their estrangedness from the duty 
of prayer and other holy exercises. Some of these have that scrip- 
ture much in their mouths ; Micah vi. 8, " What doth the Lord re- 
quire of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk hum- 
bly with thy God?" little considering that the last clause thereof 
writes death on their foreheads. They are under the covenant of 
works with a witness, having betaken themselves to their shreds of 
moral honesty, as so many broken boards of that split ship. 

7. Lastly, All formal hypocrites, or legal professors, these sons 
and daughters of the bond-woman. Gal. iv. 24, 25. These are they 
who have been convinced, but never were converted ; who have been 
awakened by the law, but were never laid to rest by the gospel ; 
who are brought to duties but have never been Lvought out of them 
to Jesus Christ ; who pretend to be married to Christ, but were 
never yet divorced from nor dead to the law ; and so are still joined 
to the first husband the law as a covenant of works. Though they 
be strict and zealous professors and therein go beyond many ; they 
are as really enemies to Christ as the profane are ; Rom. x. 3, " For 
they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to 
stablish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to 
the righteousness of God." Though they will not let an opportunity 
of duty slip, but take heed to their ways, and dare not walk at ran- 
dom, as many do ; all that they do is under the influence of the 
covenant of works, and therefore God regards it not, but they re- 
main under the curse. 


Of the Commanding, Debarring, Condemning, and Irritating Power 
of the Covenant of Works, upon those who are under it. 

III. I proceed to show what is the eflfect of the broken covenant 
of works upon those who are under it. 

Of the Commanding Power of the Covenant of "Works. 

First, It has and exercises a commanding power over thera, bind- 
ing them to its obedience, with the strongest bonds and ties of au- 
thority. Its commands are contained in the fiery law delivered from 
Mount Sinai, out of the midst of the fire, Deut. v. 22. The obe- 
dience of them, which it binds unto, is perfect obedience, every way 
perfect, Luke x. 27, 28. It has its full commanding power over 
them all that are under it. It has become a question whether or 
not believers are set free from the commanding power of the cove- 
nant of works, as well as from the condemning power of it. We 
own the ten commands, which were delivered on Mount Sinai, to be 
the eternal rule of righteousness, and that these are given of God in 
the hand of Jesus Christ to believers, for a rule of life to them ; 
that they require of them perfect obedience, and have all the 
binding power over them that the sovereign authority of God 
the Creator and Redeemer can give them, which is supreme 
and absolute. But that believers are under that law as it 
stands in the covenant of works, that these commands are bound on 
believers by the tie of the covenant of works, or that the covenant 
of works has a commanding power over believers, we must deny. 
For believers are dead to the law as a covenant of works, Rom. vii. 
4, and therefore as a husband cannot pretend to command his wife 
after she is dead and the relation dissolved ; so believers being dead 
to the law as a covenant, it cannot have any commanding authority 
over them. They are not under it, Rom. vi. 14, how then can it 
have any commanding power over them ? They are not under 
its jurisdiction, but under that of grace; so though the commands 
be the same as to the matter, yet they are not to take them from 
the covenant of works, but Irom the law as in the hand of Christ. 
Our Lord Jesus did, in the name of all his people, put himself un- 
der its commanding power, and satisfied all its commands, to deliver 
his people that were under it. Gal. iv. 4, 5, " God sent forth his 
Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that 
were under the law." And shall they dishonour him by putting 
their necks under it again ? After Christ has got up the boud, hav- 
ing fully paid all the law's demands, shall we pretend to enter in 
payment again ? 


Let uf take a view of the commanding power of the covenant of 
works, which it has over all that are under it. 

1. It commands and binds to perfect obedience, under pain of the 
curse ; 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." Every 
the least duty is commanded with this certification, and this is the 
risk they run upon every the least slip. The law in the hand of 
Christ unto believers commands obedience too, and that under a pe- 
nalty. But it is a soft one in comparison of that, namely, strokes of 
fatherly anger; as appears from Psalm Ixxxix. 30 — 33, "If his 
children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments ; if they 
break my statutes, and keep not my commandments ; then will I 
visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with 
stripes," &c. This penalty is not the curse of a wrathful judge. 
Gal. iii. 13, " Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, 
being made a curse for us." But the covenant of works has no less 
certification, it cannot speak to its subjects in softer terms; so that 
though the stroke itself be never so small, yet there is a curse 
in it, if it were but the miscarrying of a basket of bread, Deut. 
xxviii. 17- 

2. It commands without any promise of strength at all to per- 
form. There is no such promise to be found in all the Bible, be- 
longing to that covenant. It shews what is to be done, and with all 
severity exacts the task ; but furnishes not anything whereof it is 
to be made. So the case of men under that covenant is represented 
by Israel's case in Egypt, Exod. v. 18, " Go therefore now aud 
"work," said Pharaoh to that people ; " for there shall no straw be 
given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks." Under the co- 
venant of grace, duty is required, but strength is promised too, 
Ezek. xxxvi. 27, " A new heart also will I give you, and a new spi- 
rit will I put within you ; and I will take away the stony heart out 
of your flesh, aud I will give you an heart of flesh." And the com- 
mands in the hands of the Mediator are turned into promises, as ap- 
pears from Deut. x. 16, " Circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and 
be no more stifi'-necked." Compare chap. xxx. 6, '' And the Lord 
thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to 
love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, aud with all thy soul, 
that thou mayest live." Tea, the Mediator'SjCalls and commands to 
his people bear a promise of help ; Prov. x. 29, " The way of the 
Lord is strength to the upright." But there is no such thing in the 
covenant of works ; the work must be performed in the strength 
that was given ; they must trade with the stock that mankind was 
set up with at first : but that strength is gone, that stock is wasted ; 


howbeit the law can neither make it up again, nor yet abate of its 

Of the Debarring Power of the Covenant of Works. 

Secondly, The broken covenant of works has a debarring power 
over them that are under it, in respect of the promise ; it bars them 
from life and salvation, as long as they are under its dominion, Gal. 
ii. 16, "For by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." 
"While Adam kept this covenant, it secured eternal life to him ; 
but as soon as it was broken, it set it beyond his reach ; and neither 
he nor any of his descendents had ever seen life, if another cove- 
nant had not been provided. The broken covenant of works fixes a 
great gulf betwixt its territories and life and salvation ; so that no 
man can pass from the one to the other If any would be at hea- 
ven, they must get out from under the law, and get into the cove- 
nant of grace ; so shall they have life and salvation ; but not other- 
wise. There are two bars which this broken covenant draws 
betwixt its subjects and life and salvation. 

1. There is no life to the sinner without complete satisfaction to 
justice, for the wrong he has done to the honour of God and his 
law ; Heb. ix. 22, for " without shedding of blood is no remis- 
sion." The terms of the covenant were — " In the day that thou 
eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die," Gen. ii. 17. Now the covenant 
is broken, the penalty most be paid, in the true sense and meaning 
of the bond ; the sinner must die, and die infinitely, die till infinite 
justice be satisfied. Can the sinner get over this bar ? Is ho 
able to satisfy, can he go to that death, a sacrifice for 
himself, and return again ? Can he pay the penalty of the 
bond? No, no. In his blindness and ignorance, he thinks per- 
haps to get over it by his mourning and afilicting himself for his sin, 
by bearing as well as he can the afflictions God lays on him ; but all 
his sufi'erings in the Avorld are but an earnest of what he must suflfer 
hereafter. For at best they are but the sufferings of a finite being, 
which cannot compensate the wrong his sin has done to the honour 
of an infinite God; and besides, he sins anew in his suffering too; 
he cannot bear a cross without some grudge against God, and some 
impatience, which are new sins. So the sinner in this does but at- 
tempt to wash himself in tlie mire. Wherefore he can never get 
over this bar. And if he were over it, there is yet a 

2. Second bar betwixt him and life and salvation, namely. There 
is no life and salvation without perfect obedience to its commands 
for the time to come ; Matth. xix. 17, " If thou wilt enter into life," 
says Christ unto the young man in the gospel, " keep the command- 


ments." This was the condition of the covenant ; and it is not 
enough that a man pay the penalty of a broken covenant, but he 
must perform the condition of it, ere he can plead the benefit. Per- 
fect obedience to the commands of God is the terms of life in that 
covenant ; no less was proposed to Adam, who broke it ; no less to 
Christ who fulfilled it in the room of his elect. Gal. iv. 4, 5, forecited. 
As there was a necessity of passive obedience to it, Luke xxiv. 26, 
" Ought not Christ to have suffered these things ?" so was there of 
active obedience, Matth. iii. 15, " It becometh us to fulfil all righte- 
ousness." And there is no less proposed to all that are under it. 

Is the sinner able to get over this bar ? His stock of strength is 
gone ; the fall in Adam has so bruised him, that his arm is broken, 
he cannot work for life ; he is not fit to be God's hired servant now 
for life ; for till he get life of free grace in Christ, he can do nothing, 
John XV. 5. He must be saved before he can work one good work, 
saved from sin, the guilt and power of it ; saved from the spiritual 
death he is lying under, as the penalty of the covenant of works ; 
how then can he work for salvation ? The scripture is express on 
this head, not only that we are not justified by works, but that we 
are not saved by works : for " By grace are ye saved," says the 
apostle, *' through faith ; and that not of yourselves : it is the gift 
of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his 
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God 
hath before ordained that we should walk in them," Eph. ii. 8 — 10. 
" Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according 
to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renew- 
ing of the Holy Ghost," Tit. iii. 5- 

I know the sinner, in his blindness, will think to please God by 
his doing as well as he can ; by his pretended sincerity, though he 
cannot attain to perfection ; by the will, where he cannot reach the 
deed. But alas ! he considers not that the covenant of works will 
admit of none of these, all which are rejected by that one sentence 
of the law, " Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things 
which are written in the book of the law to do them." Besides that 
there is not one thing that he does that is well done, while he is not 
in Christ ; there is no sincerity with him, but selfishness ; no will 
but self-will. 

And as there is no getting over either of these bars, so there is 
no removing them out of the way, that so the sinner may have a 
passage, without concerning himself with them, Matth. v. 18. Some 
fancy to themselves a removing of them by mere mercy. God knows 
that we cannot answer the demands of the covenant of works, so, 
think they, mercy will pass them for the safety of the sinner. But 


has not God sufficieatly declared the contrary, in the sending of his 
own Sou, who, before he could redeem the elect, behoved to get over 
them both by perfect obedience and satisfaction in their stead, Rom. 
viii. 22. If the terms of life and salvation could have been abated, 
might not God's own Son have expected the abatement in his favour, 
while he stood in the room of elect sinners ? but he got no abate- 
ment ; how can ye expect it then ; See Exod. xxxiv. 7- 

Of the Condemning Power of the Covenant of Works. 

Thirdly, The broken covenant of works has a cursing and con- 
demning power over them that are under it, iu respect of the 
threatening. " Cuvsed is every one that continueth not in all things 
which are written in the book of the law to do them," Gal. iii. 10. 
Compare Rom. iii. 19, " 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." 
Every man and woman under it, is in a state of condemnation ; they 
are condemned persons, bound over to the wrath of God in time and 
eternity, John iii. 18, " He that believeth not is condemned already." 
So that there have never any come to Christ but with the rope about 
their necks, as condemned criminals. Christ's kingdom is the juris- 
diction of grace, where grace, life, and salvation reign through Jesus 
Christ. It is peopled by fugitives out of the dominion of the law ; 
and they that flee thither are all such as find there is no living for 
them at home ; they are such as the sentence of death is passed 
upon, and there is no access for a remission to them under the do- 
minion of the law. And they never think of fleeing into the jurisdic- 
tion of grace, till once the sentence of death is intimated unto them, 
by their own consciences, and they begin to see they are in hazard 
every moment of being drawn to death ; for till then, they will not 
believe it. Then they bethink themselves of making their escape 
out of the law's dominion. 

This power the law, as a covenant of works, has over them by sin, 
forasmuch as it was a clause in the covenant, that man sinning should 
die the death. Gen. ii. 17. It had no such power over man, till once 
sin entered ; but upon the breach of the command, the penalty took 
place. And since every man is born a sinner, he is also born a cur- 
sed and condemned man by the sentence of the law, which abides on 
him so long as he continues under that covenant. And upon every 
sin committed, the yoke is wreathed faster and faster about his 
neck ; so that upon every sin committed by persons while in 
that state, there is a new band by which they are bound over to 



Of the Irritating Power of tlie Covenant of Works, 
Lastly, The broken covenant of works has an irritating influence 
upon all that are under it, so that instead of making them better, it 
makes them worse, stirring up their corruptions, like a nest of ants, 
being troubled by one's touching of them, Rom. vii. 9, 10, 11, "For 
when we were in the flesh, says the apostle, the motions of sin which 
were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto 
deatli. — And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found 
to be unto death. For sin taking occasion by the commandment, 
deceived me, and by it slew me." Men under this covenant, whose 
corruptions lie dormant after a sort, while the law is not applied to 
their consciences, when once the law is brought homo to their souls, 
and they are touched with it, their corrupt hearts swell and rage ia 
siu, like the sea troubled with winds. See a notable instance of it, 
Acts vii. 54, in the case of the Jews after Stephen's speech to them, 
*' When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they 
gnashed on him with their teeih." And hence is that direction of 
our Saviour, Matth. vii. 6, " Give not that which is holy unto the 
dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them 
under their feet, and turn again and rend you." You may look to 
another instance, Hos. xi. 2, "As they called them, so they went 
from them." And thus it is, that by the law sin abounds, and be- 
comes exceedingly sinful. 

Now, this is accidental to the law as the covenant of works ; for 
it is holy, and just, and good ; and therefore can never bring forth 
sin as the native fruit of it. But it is owing to the corruption of 
men's hearts, impatient of restraint, Rom. vii. 12, 13, forecited. 
While the sun shines warm on a garden, the flowers send forth a 
pleasant smell ; but while it shines so on the dunghill, it smells more 
abominably than at other times. So it is here. There are two things 
here to be considered in the case of the law. 

1. It lays an awful restraint on the sinner with its commands and 
threatenings. Gal. iii. 10. The unrenewed man would never make a 
holy life his choice; might he freely follow his own inclination, he 
would not regard what is good, but give himself a liberty in sinful 
courses. But the law is as a bridle to him ; it crosses and contra- 
dicts his sinful inclinations ; it commands him to obey under the 
pain of the curse, and threatens him with death and damnation, if 
he shall transgress the bounds it sets him. It is to him as the bridle 
and spur to the horse ; as the master and his whip to the slave. So 
that the sinner can never cordially like it, but all the obedience it 
gets from him is mercenary, having no higher springs than hope of 
reward and fear of punishment. 


2. In tlie meantime it has no power to suMue his corruptions, to 
remove his rebellious disposition, to reconcile his heart to holiness, 
or to strengthen him for the performance of duty ; " For the law was 
given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ," John i, 
17- As it finds the man without strength, so it leaves him, though 
it never ceases to exact duty of him. Though no straw is given to 
the sinner by it, yet the tale of tho bricks it will not suflfer to be di- 
minished. Hence, 

(1.) The very restraint of the law, as the covenant of works, 
awakens, and puts an edge upon the corruj)tion of the heart, Rom. 
vii. 11, forecited. It breeds in the corrupt heart a longing after 
the forbidden fruit, though it have nothing more to commend it than 
allowed fruit, but that it is forbidden. The sinner perceiving the 
thorn-hedge of the law betwixt him and sin, conceives a keenness to 
bo over the hedge. And hence it is, that many are never so ready 
to break out into extravagancies, as after their consciences have 
been most keenly plied by the word. And thus many never give 
such a loose to their lusis, as after solemn occasions of communion 
with God. 

(2.) In the encounter betwixt the law and lusts, lusts gather 
strength by the law's crossing them. They are irritated, provoked, 
and stirred up the more, that the law goes about to hold them down, 
Rom. vii. 5. They swell, theyjally all their forces, to make head 
against their enemy, that they may get the victory. The sinner, the 
more he is plied by the law to hold him back, runs the more fiercely 
down the steep place into the sea, like the swine possessed by the 
devil. If the law come into the heart without gospel grace to water 
the soul, it shall be like one with a besom sweeping a dry floor ; the 
more forcibly one sweeps, the more thick will the dust flee up, and 
flee about into every corner. The sinner is like the unruly horse, 
which the more he is checked with the bit, rages the more. And 
hence the issue often is that which we find in Hos. iv. 17, " Ephraim 
is joined to idols ; let him alone ;" and in Psalm Ixxxi. 11, 12, " But; 
ray people would not hearken to my voice ; and Israel would none 
of me ; so I gave them up unto their own heart's lust, and they 
walked in their own counsels." 

(3.) The sinner, finding the case hopeless, hardens himself, and 
goes on, like treacherous Judah, Jer. ii. 25, *' Thou saidst, There is 
no hope. No ; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go." 
He looks to the height of the law's commands, and finds himself inca- 
pable to reach them ; and he looks to the terror of the law's threat- 
enings, and finds them unavoidable. So he gives up with hope, sits 
down hardened in secret despair, using all means to stop the access 

Vol. XI. s 


of light from the law for his conviction and disquietment. Thus he 
is like a tired horse, that bears the spur, but will not answer it ; or 
if he be moved by it, turns back to bite the rider, but goes not one 
foot faster for all it. 

(4.) Lastly, Hence the heart is filled with the hatred of the holy 
law, and of the holy God who made it, and holds by it. This is the 
fearful issue of the matter, Prov. i. 29, " They hated knowledge, and 
did not choose the fear of the Lord." Rom. i. 30, — " Haters of 
God." As the condemned criminal hates the judge and the law, so 
do they. They cannot bring up their hearts to the purity the law 
requires, and cannot get the law brought down to the impurity of 
their hearts, but still it reads their doom ; hence the heart cannot 
miss to rise against the law, being girded with the cords of death by 
it; and against God in secret grudges at his holiness and justice, 
and secret wishes that he were not such an one as he is. 

This is a short account of what is called the irritating power of 
the law ; from which alone one may see, what a fearful case it is to 
be under the law as it is the covenant of works. It tends to make 
the heart of man a very hell ; and the truth is, in hell it comes to 
its height ; and so they are held like wild bulls iu a net. 

The Reasons why so many persons still remain under the broken 
Covenant of Works. 

IV. I now proceed to shew, why so many do still remain under 
the broken covenant of works. As for those who never heard of, nor 
had the offer of the covenant of grace, we need not inquire much. 
The case is plain ; they know no other way. But men to whom the 
covenant of grace is proclaimed, yet remain under the covenant of 
works ; they will still hang on about Sinai for all the thunders and 
lightnings there, and will not come to Zion. The following reasons 
of this conduct may be given : — 

1. It is natural to men, being made with Adam, and us in his 
loins ; it is engrained in the hearts of all men naturally. " Tell 
me," says the apostle, Gal. ii. 21, ''ye that desire to be under the 
law, do ye not hear the law ?" And there are impressions of it to 
be found in the hearts of all, among the ruins of the fall. The law 
as a covenant of works was the first husband that human nature was 
wedded to ; and so it is still natural to men to cleave to it. And 
we have a clear proof of it, 

(1.) In men left to the swing of their own nature ; they all go this 
way in their dealing with God for life and favour. Look abroad 
into the world, and behold the vast multitudes embracing Paganism, 
Judaism, Mahometism, and Popery. All these agree iu this, that it 


is by doing man must live, tlioagli they hugely differ in the things that 
are to be done for life. Look into the Protestant churches, and you 
shall see readily, that the more corrupt any of them is, the more 
they incline to the way of this covenant. Consider persons among 
us ignorant of the principles of true religion, who, not having receiv- 
ed instruction, speak of the way of life and salvation as nature 
prompts them, and you shall find them also of the same mind. 
Finally, consider all unrenewed men whatsoever, having the know- 
ledge and making profession of the expectation of life and salvation 
in the way of the covenant of grace ; yet they in practice stumble 
at this stumbling-stone, Matt. v. 3. 

(2.) In men awakened and convinced, and in moral seriousness 
seeking to know what course they shall take to be saved, and plying 
their work for that end. They all take this principle for granted, 
That it is by doing they must obtain life and salvation, Matth xix. 
16, " "What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life ?' 
Luke X. 25, " What shall I do to inherit eternal life ?" And this 
obtains when they are pricked to the very heart, and the law as the 
covenant of works has wounded them to the very soul. They never 
think of a divorce from the law, that they may be married to Christ ; 
but how shall they do to please the old husband, and so be saved 
from wrath ; as is plain in the case of Peter's hearers, Acts ii. 27, 
■when, being pricked in their hearts, they said, " Men and brethren, 
what shall we do ?" and in the case of the Philippian jailor, Acts 
xvi. 30, who being awakened by a train of very alarming incidents, 
and trembling through terror, cried out, " What must I do to be 
saved ?" 

(3.) In the saints, who are truly married to Jesus Christ, what 
hankering after the first husband, how great the remains of a legal 
spirit, how hard is it for them to forget their father's house ? Psalm 
xlv. 10. Adam having embraced the promise of the Messiah, yet was 
in hazard of running back to this covenant. There is a disposition to 
deal with God, in the way of giving so much duty for so much grace 
and favour with God, in the best, that they have continually to 
strive with. Self-denial is one of the most difficult duties in Chris- 

2. The way of that covenant is most agreeable to the pride of man's 
heart. A proud heart will rather serve itself with the less, than 
stoop to live upon free grace, Rom. x. 3. Man must be broken, bruis- 
ed, and humbled, and laid very low, before he will embrace the co- 
venant of grace. While a broken board of the first covenant will 
do men any service, they will hold by it, rather than come to Christ; 
like men who will rather live in a cottage of their own, than in 



anotlier man's castlo. To renounce all our own wisdom, works, and 
righteousness, and to cast away all those garments as filthy rags, 
which we have been at so much pains to patch np, is quite against 
the grain with corrupt nature, Rom. vii. 4. 

3. It is most agreeable to man's reason, in its corrupt state. If 
one should have asked the opinion of the philosophers, concerning 
that religion which tanght salvation by a crucified Christ, and 
through the righteousness of another; they would have said, it was 
unreasonable and foolish, and that the only way to true happiness 
was the way of moral virtue. The Jewish Rabbis would have de- 
clared it scandalous, 1 Cor. i. 23, where the preaching of Christ cru- 
cified is said to be to the Jews a stumbling-block, (in the Greek, a 
scandal) ; and would have maintained the only way to eternal life to 
be by the law of Moses. To this day many learned men cannot see 
the reasonableness of the gospel-method of salvation, in opposition 
to the way of the covenant of works ; and therefore our godly fore- 
fathers, who reformed from Popery, and maintained the reformed 
truth against Popery by their heroic zealous wrestlings even unto 
blood, while they shewed that acquaintance with practical godliness 
and real holiness, whereof there is little in our day, are in eflfect 
looked upon as a parcel of well-meaning simple men, whose doctrine 
must be reformed over again., and rendered more agreeable to reason. 
A rational religion is like to be the plague of this day. But assure 
ye yourselves, that wherever the gospel comes in power, it will make 
the reason of the wisest sit down at its feet, and learn, and give 
over its questions formed by Hows and "Whys, 2 Cor. x. 5, It " casts 
down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against 
the knowledge of God, and bringeth into captivity every thought to 
the obedience of Christ." 

Even unlearned and simple men, in whom this appears less, be- 
cause they do not enter deep into the thought, will be found sick of 
the same disease, when once they are thoroughly awakened, and take 
these matters to heart. How will they dispute against the gospel- 
method of salvation, against the promise, against their believing 
their welcome to Christ, who are so sinful and unworthy ! The mat- 
ter appears so great, as indeed it is, that they look on the gospel-<« 
method as a dream, and they cannot believe it. 

4. Ignorance and iusensibleness of the true state of that matter, 
as it now is. There is a thick darkness about Mount Sinai, through 
the whole dominion of the law ; so that they who live under the co- 
venant of works, see little but what they see by the lightnings now 
and then flashing out. Hence they little know where they are, nor 
what they are. 


(1.) They do not understand the nature of that covenant to pur- 
l)ose, Gal. iv. 21. Any notion they have of it, is lame and weak, 
without efficacy. They see not how forcibly it binds to perfect obe- 
dience and satisfaction, how rigorous it is in its demands, and will 
abate nothing, though a man should do to the utmost of his power, 
and with cries and tears of blood seek forgiveness for the rest. They 
are not acquainted with the spirituality of the law, and the vast 
compass of the holy commandment, but stick too much in the letter 
of it. Hence they are alive without the law, Rom. vii. 9. They 
narrow the demands of it, that so they may be the more likely to 
fulfil them. 

(2.) They are not duly sensible of their own utter inability for 
that way of salvation j " There is one that accuseth them, even 
Moses," or the law, " in whom they trust," John v. 45. They know 
they are oif the way, and that they have wandered from God ; but 
they hope they will get back to him again by repentance ; while, in 
the meantime, their heart is a heart of stone, and they cannot change 
it ; and " the Ethiopian shall" be able as soon to " change his skin, the 
leopard his spots, as they may do good that are accustomed to do 
evil," Jer. xiii. 23 ; and there is no coming to God but by Christ, 
John iv. 6. They know they have sinned, and provoked justice 
against them ; but they hope to be sorry for their sin, to pray to 
God for forgiveness, and bear any thing patiently that God lays on 
them; while in the meantime they see not that none of those things 
will satisfy God's justice, which yet will have full satisfaction for 
every the least sin of theirs, ere they see heaven. They know they 
must be holy ; but they hope to serve God better than ever they 
have done ; while in the meantime they consider not that their 
work-arm is broken, and they can work none to purpose till they be 
saved by grace. 

Application of the Doctrine of the Condition of Men under the 
broken Covenant of Works. 

This doctrine may be applied for information and exhortation. 
Use I. Of information. Hence learn, 

1. That some, yea many of mankind, are under the curse, bound 
over to wrath. For that is the case of all persons under that cove- 
nant. Their necks are under a heavy yoke ; they are liable in pay- 
ment of a penalty, which they will never be able to discharge, and 
to put off their heads. They may pay more or less of it in this 
world ; but if they get not rid of it another way, it will not be paid 
out through all the ages of eternity. 

2. See here whence it is that true holiness is so rare, and w'.cked- 


Tiess and ungodliness so frequent in the world. Most men are under 
that covenant, under which sin and death reign ; and there is no 
holiness, there are no good works under it, Rora. vi. 14. It has, 
being broken, barred communion betwixt God and sinners under it; 
and therefore of necessity there must be a pining away in iniquity 
while one is under it. It is only in the way of the second covenant 
that sanctifying influences are had. 

3. Here ye may see the true spring of leg?.lism in principles as 
well as in practice. Many are really under that covenant; no 
wonder then there be many to set up for that way. It is the way that 
backsliding churches in all ages have gone. It soon began in the pri- 
mitive apostolical churches ; and that mystery of iniquity wrought 
till it issued in Popery, the grand apostasy under the New Testament. 
■4. See whence it is that the doctrine of the gospel is so little un- 
derstood, and in the purity of it is looked at as a strange thing. It 
is like other things which are not known in the country in which 
one is bred, and therefore stared at, and often mistaken. Hence it 
gets ill names in the world. "When Christ himself preached it, he 
was called a friend of publicans and sinners ; when Paul preached 
it, they would not believe but he made void the law by it, and that 
he opened a door for licentiousness of life, Rom. iii, 8. 

Use II. Be exhorted then seriously and impartially to try what 
covenant ye are under. It is true there is a covenant of grace 
made, proclaimed and offere.3 unto you, and ye are all under the 
outward dispensation of the covenant of grace ; but yet many are 
notwithstanding really under the covenant of works still. As ye 
love your own souls, try impartially, whether ye be under it or not, 
but under the covenant of grace. For motives, consider 

Motive 1. Ye are all born under the covenant of works, being 
" by nature children of wrath," Ei)h, ii. 3. It is in the region of 
the law that we all draw our first breath. And no man will get out 
from its dominion in a morning dream. We owe it to our second 
birth, whoever of us are brought into the covenant of grace ; but 
that is not our original state. The law is the first husband to all 
and every one of Adam's children. I would have you try whether 
ye be dead to it, and divorced from it or not. 

Motive 2. Till once ye see yourselves under the covenant of 
works, and so lost and ruined with the burden of that broken cove- 
nant on you ; ye may hear of the covenant of grace, but ye will 
never take hold of it in good earnest, Gal. ii. 6. Here lies the ruin 
of the most part who hear the gospel ; they were never slain by the 
law, and therefore never quickened by the gospel ; they never find the 
working of the deadly poison conveyed to them from the first Adam, 


and therefore they see no beauty in the second Adam for which he is 
to be desired. 

Motive 3. Tour salvation or ruin turns on this point. What 
covenant ye are under. If thou be within the bond of the covenant 
of grace, thou art in a state of salvation ; " He that believeth shall 
be saved," Mark xvi. 16. David could say, " God hath made with 
me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure ; for this 
is all my salvation, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. If thou art under the covenant 
of works, thou art in a state of death ; for, says the text, " as many 
as are of the works of the law are under the curse." And is this so 
light and trivial a matter that thou shouldst be unconcerned which 
of these covenants thou art under? 

Motive 4. There is no ease for a poor sinner but severity and ri- 
gour, under the covenant of works. One may easily see that we are 
not able to abide that now, when we are become weak and guilty ; 
for, says the Psalmist, Psalm cxxx. 3, " If thou, Lord, shouldst 
mark iniquities ; Lord, who shall stand ?" But while thou remain- 
est under the first covenant, thou canst expect nothing but wrath 
and fury. There is no pardon under that covenant ; the law-statute 
being, " In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die," Gen. 
ii. 17. The sinner must die the death. That ever we heard of par- 
don is owing to the second covenant, which secures pardoning mercy 
to those who come under the bond of it ; for '' by him (Christ) all 
that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not 
be justified by the law of Moses," Acts xiii. 39. Though there is no 
question but the covenant of works requires repentance, a turning to 
God under pain of the curse ; yet there is no grace for helping the 
sinner to it under this covenant ; and suppose one could attain to it, 
it could not help him. There is no accepting the will for the deed 
under it. It is not good will, but perfectly good works that will 
satisfy it. 

Motive 5. "While ye are under that covenant, ye are without 
Christ, Eph. ii. 12. As a woman cannot, by the law of God, be 
married to two husbands at once, so one cannot be under the cove- 
nant of works and married to Christ at once. The first marriage to 
the law must be dissolved by death or divorce, ere the soul can be 
married to Christ, Rom. vii. 4. And being without Christ, ye have 
no saving interest in his purchase. 

Lastly, All attempts you make to get to heaven, while under this 
covenant, will be vain. The children of that covenant are, by an un- 
alterable statute of the court of heaven, excluded from the heavenly 
inheritance; so that, do what you will, while ye abide under it, you 
may as well fall a-ploughing the rocks, and sowing your seed in the 
sand of the sea, as think to get to heaven that way ; for what saith 


the scripture ? " Cast out the bond-woraan and her son ; for the son 
of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman," 
Gal. iy. 30. The way to heaven by that covenant is blocked up to 
sinners, the angel with the flaming sword guards the tree of life, so 
that there is no access to salvation that way, but under a condition 
impossible for you to perform. 

Now, to set this matter in a due light to you, I will, 

1. Gire some marks and characters of those that are under this 

2. Discover the vanity of some pleas that such have, to prove that 
it is not to their own works that they trust for salvation, but to 

First, I will give some marks and characters of those that are un- 
der this covenant. 

1. They have never yet parted with the law, or covenant of works, 
lawfully, which all the saints have done. There are two ways of 
parting with that covenant. One is by running away from it ; and 
thus we may apply to this case Nabal's tale concerning David, 
1 Sara XXV. 10, " There be many servants now-a-days, that break 
away every man from his master." They break its bonds, and cast 
away its cords, value neither its coifimands nor threats ; for they 
look on it like an almanack out of date, as a thing that they are 
not concerned with. This is no lawful parting, and therefore it can- 
not dissolve the relation betwixt them and it- A servant or a wife 
that is run away, is a servant or a wife for all that still. And the 
master can bring back the one, and make him serve or suffer; and 
the husband the other. And so will this covenant deal with such, 
and make them sensible they are under it still, in the strictest 
bonds. It will take them by the throat here or hereafter, saying, 
Pay what thou owest. 

The other is parting with it, after fair count and reckoning with 
it, and payment instructed ; a parting with it upon a divorce ob- 
tained, after a fair hearing given it before the Judge of all the 
earth. It is brought about in this manner. There is a summons 
given at* the instance of the law, or covenant of works, to the con- 
science of the secure sinner, to compear before the tribunal of God. 
Hereby the conscience being awakened, it appears and stands trem- 
bling at the bar; in the meantime the King's Son offers himself in a 
marriage covenant to the guilty soul, with his righteousness, obe- 
dience, and satisfaction. The law appears and pleads, 

(1.) So much and so much owing by the sinner, for his breaking 
its commands. Mountains of guilt appear innumerable articles in 
its accounts ; and the charge must be owned just, for it is just in 


every particular. Here the sinner, betaking himself to Christ, 
pleads by faith the satisfaction of Christ for him; and, embracing 
the gospel oflfers, he sets betwixt him and the law the death and suf- 
ferings of Christ, as full payment of that debt. 

(2.) So much to be done before the sinner can be saved, according 
to the condition of the covenant, perfect obedience due to it by all 
the children of Adam. The sinner cannot deny the debt; but 
pleads by faith the Mediator's payment of it, by his obedience even 
to the death. He counts upon this score unto the law, all that 
Christ the Son of God did for the space of about thirty- three years 
on the earth, in the perfect obedience of all its commands. 

Thus the sinner, embracing Christ, has wherewith to answer it. 
And the plea of payment that way is sustained, and the soul is de- 
clared free from the law or covenant of works, and so lawfully 
parted from it. What experience have ye of this J This will, for 
the substance of it, pass in every soul freed from the covenant of 
works. But alas! how many are there, [1.] "Who were never 
troubled about that, how to get a discharge of that bargain from 
the Judge of all the earth, but have lived at ease without it? [2.] 
Who never saw a necessity of reckoning with the law, in order to 
their getting clear of it ? [3.] Who have still aimed at putting off 
the demands of the law, with their own obedience and suffering, 
such as they were ? 

2. They are of a legal spirit, and have not the spirit of the cove- 
nant of grace. Caleb and Joshua had another spirit than the rest 
of the Jews, so have those who are within the bond of the covenant 
of grace, Gal. iv. 24. In the saints indeed there are wretched re- 
mains of that spirit, but it does not reign in them as in others. 

1st, They are of a slavish spirit who are under that covenant ; 
whereas the saints are acted by a son-like spirit. For, says the 
apostle, Rom. viii. 15 ; " ye have not received the spirit of bondage 
again to fear ; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby 
we cry, Abba, Father." As the slave is moved with fear, not with 
love ; so is it with them. This slavish spirit appears in them thus : 
(1.) They are driven from sin, and to their duty, by the fear of 
hell and wrath, rather than drawn from the one to the other by any 
hatred of the one, and love of the other, in themselves; like the Is- 
raelites of old, of whom it is said ; Psalm Ixxviii. 34, " When he 
[God] slew them, then they sought him ; and they returned, and 
enquired early after God." It is the influence of the covenant of 
works in its terrible sanction, that moves them. Take away that, 
secure them but from hell and damnation, and they would give 
themselves the swing in their lusts ; they have no other kind of 


principle to move them to holiness; all is selfish ahout them. 

(2.) They content themselves with the bare performance of duty, 
and abstaining from any sin, without regarding the true principle, 
end, and manner of doing; even as the slave who is concerned for 
no more, but to get his task over, Isa. xxix. 13. It is not their 
business to get their hearts wrought up to the love of God, concern 
for his glory, and to the doing of their work in faith ; but to get 
the work done, Luke xviii. 11. It may be they dare not neglect 
duty, but it is not their concern to find Christ in duty, nor is it their 
grief if they do not find hira. 

(3) Under terror of conscience they do not flee to the blood of 
Christ, but to their work again, to amend what was done amiss, or 
make it up by greater diligence, Acts ii. 37. Are not the con- 
sciences of men under that covenant affrighted sometimes ? But 
consider how they are pacified again. Not by the sprinkling of 
Christ's blood on them by faith, Heb. ix. 14, but by resolves to do 
better in time to come, by prayers, mourning, &c. And hence it is 
that their corruptions are never weakened for all this, for the law 
makes nothing perfect ; but the believing application of the blood of 
Christ not only takes away guilt, but strengthens the soul. 

2dhj, They are of a mercenary spirit ; they are acted by tho 
spirit of a hireling, who works that he may win his wages. The co- 
venant of works is so natural to us, that we naturally know no 
other religion, but to work and win, do good works that we may 
win heaven by them. Hence the prodigal would be put among the 
hired servants, when he thought of returning ; but when he Return- 
ed, he insists not on that. This spirit appears in those who are 
under the covenant of works thus : — 

(1.) Their work is for reward, to obtain God's favour and salva- 
tion by their works, Rom. x. 3. "Whereas the saints look for salva- 
tion and the favour of God only through the obedience and death of 
Jesus Christ, Tit. iii. 5, "Not by works of righteousness which we 
have done, but according to his mercy he saved us." I own the saints 
may have an eye to the gratuitous reward promised to them to crown 
their work and labour of love, as Moses is said to have " had re- 
spect unto the recompense of the reward," Heb. xi. 26 ; and they may 
be thereby influenced in their duty. But then they look for that re- 
ward as coming to them, not for the sake of their work, but for the 
sake of Christ's work. They are sons, and have a more noble prin- 
ciple of obedience to God, Heb. vi. 10, as God's own children, Rom. 
viii. 15, who, having the inheritance secured to them another way 
than by their working, are prompted to obedience by their love to 
God, and desire to please him. The truth is, those who are under 


the broken covenant of works, being destitute of saving faith, are 
void also of true love to God, 1 Tim. i. 5. It is themselves mainly, 
if not only, that they seek in their duties ; and, were it not the hope 
of gain to themselves by them, they would not regard them. In a 
word, they serve God, not out of any kindly love to him, but that 
thereby they may serve themselves. 

(2.) The more they do and the better they do, they look on God 
to be the more in their debt, like Micah, who said, " Now I know 
that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest," 
Judg. xvii. 13. For it is according to their own doing, not accord- 
ing to their interest in Christ's blood, that they expect favour from 
the Lord. The publican, Luke xviii. 13, pleads mercy through a 
propitiation, " Be propitious to me," according to the Greek; but the 
Pharisee pleads upon what himself had done more than many others, 
ver. 12, '' God, I thank thee," says he, " that I am not as other men 
are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican ! I fast 
twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess." Hence their 
hearts rise against God, if they find not their works regarded and 
rewarded, according to the value themselves put upon them ; like 
the Jews of old, who said, '* Wherefore have we fasted, and thou 
seest not ? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no 
knowledge ? Isa. Iviii. 3. Hence ariseth a very considerable differ- 
ence betwixt the children of the two covenants; those of the first co- 
venant, the better they do their duty, their hearts are the more fill- 
ed with conceit of themselves, their duties, like wind, puflTthem up, 
as in the case of the Pharisee, Luke xviii. 11, quoted above. But 
those of the second covenant, the better they do, they are the more 
humbled and low in their own eyes; like David, who said, " Who 
am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so will- 
ingly after this sort? 1 Chron. xxix. 14, and like the apostle Paul, 
*' In what am I behind the very chiefest apostles," said he, ''though I 
be nothing? 2 Cor. xii. 11. 

(3 ) Their duties make them more easy and secure in some one sin 
or other ; like the adulterous woman, Prov. vii. 14, 15, " I have 
peace oiferings with me ; this day have I paid my vows. Therefore 
came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have 
found thee." The Jews, as profane as they were in Isaiah's time, 
brought a multitude of sacrifices to God's altar, Isa. i. 11. Why did 
they do so, but because they expected that these would make all 
odds even betwixt God and them ? Just so do many with their 
duties ; they pray to God, and many good things ; so they can with 
the more ease do and say many ill things. By their duties they seem 
to themselves as it were to pay the old, and they can the more freely 


take on the new. Thus they " bless God and curse men with the 
same tongue. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and curs- 
ing," James iii. 9, 10. They use their duties for an occasion to the 
flesh, a.id turn the grace of God into lasciviousness ; than which there 
cannot be a more speaking evidence of one under the broken cove- 
nant of works. Publicans and harlots will enter into the kingdom of 
heaven, before such persons. 

Thus you have some characters of those who are under this cove- 
nant, and may perceive that they deal with God in the matter of his 
favour and salvation in the way of that covenant, and not in the 
way of the covenant of grace. But it is hard to convince men of 
this ; therefore, 

Secondly, I will discover the vanity of some pleas that such have, 
to prove that it is not to their own works that they trust for salva- 
tion, but to Christ. 

1. They are so far, say they, from trusting to their own works in 
this matter, that they really wonder anybody can do it. I answer, 
that this is rather a sign of the ignorance of the corruption of man's 
nature, and nnacquaintedness with the deceitfulness of your own 
heart, than of your freedom from that corrupt way of dealing 
with God. Hazael said so in another case, " Am I a dog to do 
this thing ?" Yet was he such a dog as to do it. Ye know not, 
it seems, what spirits ye are of. That way of dealing with God 
is as natural to us, as to fishes to swim in the sea^ and birds 
to fly in the air. The godly themselves are not quite free from 
it. The disciples needed that lesson, '' "When ye shall have done 
all those things which are commanded you, say, "We are unprofit- 
able servants; we have done that which was our duty to do," Luke 
xvii. 10. For they are too apt to think much of any little they 
do ; like Peter, " Behold we have forsaken all," said he, " and fol- 
lowed thee," Matth. xix. 27- The difference then lies here — the 
godly feel this corrupt way of dealing with God, they wrestle 
against it, loath themselves for it, and would fain be rid of it ; 
whereas it reigns in others, and has quiet possession, 

2. This is rank Popery, and they are true Protestants, believing 
that we are not saved for our works, but for the sake of Christ. 
Answer, It is indeed the very life and soul of Popery. But what 
is Popery, but the product of man's corrupt nature, framing a way 
of salvation according to the covenant of works ? So even Protes- 
tants have Popish hearts by nature. A floating principle in the 
head, received by means of education, or other external teaching, 
will never be able to change the natural bent of the heart. It is 
the teaching of the Spirit with power which only can do that. It is 
an article of the profane Protestant's religion, that there is a hea- 


yen and a hell, yet they live as if there were neither of thera. That 
the grace of God teacheth to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, 
and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; 
yet their life and practice is as far from this principle, as the east 
is distant from the west. Men do not always live according to their 
professed principles ; therefore, in this point, the head may look 
one way, and the heart another. 

3, They are persuaded that of themselves, without the grace of 
God, they can do nothing ; that there is no strength in them. 
Answer, Many have this in their mouths, who never to this day 
were let into a view of their own utter inability to help themselves. 
They take up that principle, rather to be a cover to their sloth, and 
a pretence to shift duty, than out of any conviction of the truth of 
it in their own souls. Hence none are readier to delay and put oif 
salvation-work from time to time than they ; as if they could really 
do all, and that at any time. But whatever be of that, this is an 
insignificant plea ; the proud Pharisee might have pleaded that as 
well as you, and yet he stood upon his works with God, Luke xviii. 
11, forecited. The matter lies here ; they profess they can do no- 
thing without the help of grace ; but when by the help of grace they 
have done their duty, they think God cannot but save them, who 
so serve him ; as if God's grace helped men to purchase their own 

4. They are convinced that they cannot keep the law perfectly, 
but when they have done all they can, they look to Christ to supply 
all wherein they come short. Answer. The truth is, that nobody 
is so far from doing all they can, as such men are who pretend most 
to it ; there are many things they never do, which yet are within 
the compass of their natural powers. But the Pharisees, who, no- 
body doubts, dealt with God in this way of works, were convinced 
as well as you, that they did not keep the law perfectly ; but then 
the ceremonial law afforded them a salve, in their apprehension, for 
their defects in the duties of the moral law. Just so is the case in 
this plea, where the deceit lies in that the man lays not the whole 
stress of his acceptance with God and his salvation on the obedience 
and death of Christ ; but partly on his own works, partly on 
Christ, thus mixing his own righteousness with Christ's, which the 
apostle rejects ; " The law is not of faith, but the man that doth 
them shall live in them," Gal. iii. 12. " Christ is become of no 
effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law," chap, 
v. 4. 

Lastly, They trust in Christ for the acceptance of all their duties, 
and are persuaded they would never be accepted but for Christ's 


sake. Answer. Men may do this, and yet still keep tlie way of tlie 
covenant of works. Being persuaded that the best of their duties 
are not without some imperfection, they look to get thera accepted 
as they are for Christ's sake, so as God will thereupon justify and 
save them, give them his favour, pardon their sin, keep them out of 
hell, and give them heaven. Thus they make use of Christ for ob- 
taining salvation by their own works ; as some Papists teach, that 
our own works merit by virtue of the merits of Christ, and that they 
merit not, but as they are dipt in his blood. But the way of the se- 
cond covenant is to look to Christ alone for the acceptance of our 
persons, to justification and salvation ; and then our persons being 
accepted, to look to him also for the acceptance of our works, not in 
point of justification, but of sanctification only. This was Paul's 
way, Phil. iii. 8, 9, " 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, and bo found in him, not having mine 
own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the 
faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." 

deal impartially with yourselves in this matter, and be not too 
easy in this important point. The heart of man is a depth of deceit, 
and if you are not exercised to root up this weed of legality, and 
Lave felt the difliculty of so doing, it is a shrewd sign ye are yet 
under the covenant of works ; the misery of which condition I am 
now to open up to you in the second doctrine from the text. 



Doctrine II. Man in his natural state being under the broken 
covenant of works is under the curse. 

Here is the case in which Adam left all his children, the case of 
all by nature. Behold here as in a glass the doleful condition of 
sinners by the breach of the first covenant, — they are " under the 
curse." I shall consider this dreadful condition, 

I. More generally. 

II. Take a more particular view of the dreadful condition of the 
natural man under the curse of the broken covenant of works. 

III. Apply the subject. 


A General View of tlie Curse under which Men in their Natural 

State are. 

I. I shall consider the dreadful condition in which men in a 
natural state are, under the broken covenant of works. And here 
let us consider, 

1. What curse that is which they are under. 

2. What it is to be under the curse. 

3. Confirm the doctrine, that man in his natural state, being under 
the broken covenant of \korks, is under the curse. 

What the Curse is which Natural Men are under. 

First, I shall consider what curse that is which they are under. 
It is the sentence of the law as a covenant of works, binding over 
and devoting the sinner to destruction. Thus the covenant being 
made with the awful sanction of death, Gen. ii. 17, upon the trans- 
gressing of it, the curse is pronounced. Gen. iii. And so it is, 

1. God's curse, as the sinner's lawgiver and judge ; it is his sen- 
tence of death against the transgressor, the doom pronounced by him 
on the malefactor that has not continued in all things which are 
written in the book of the law to do them. It is expressly called 
" the curse of the Lord," Prov. iii. 33 ; and those under it " the peo- 
ple of his curse," Isa. xxxiv. 5. Man's curse is often causeless, so it 
miscarries, it comes not, it does no more harm than a bird flying 
over one's head, Prov. xxvi. 2. But God's curse is ever on a valid 
weighty cause ; so his justice requires, and it cannot miss, by rea- 
son of his truth, to come, and lie heavy where it does come by rea- 
son of his almighty power, John iii. 36. 

2. It is the curse of the law. Gal. iii. 13, the curse of the broken 
covenant of works, whose penalty is death. So it runs in our text, 
" Cursed is every one that continuoth not in all things which are 
written in the book of the law to do them." The law is armed with 
a curse against the disobedient, and therefore when obedience is not 
performed it is poured out, Dan. ix. 11. Of old when men entered 
into a covenant, they cut a beast in twain, and passed betwixt the 
parts, to signify the curse on the breaker, that he should be like 
that beast. Hence the Loi'd threatens covenant-breakers, Jer. 
xxxiv. 18, ** And I will give the men that have transgressed my co- 
venant, — which they had made before me, when they cut the calf iu 
twain, and passed between the parts thereof," &c. Compare Matth. 
xxiv. 51, " And they shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his 
portion with the hypocrites," &c. As for the curse of the gospel, 
as the scripture mentions no such thing, it is needless ; the law se- 
cures the curse and a double curse on those who despise the gospel. 


Now, in tliis curse there are three tliirags to be considered : — 

1st, The revenging wrath of God is in it, Matth. xxv. 41, " De- 
part from me, ye cnrsed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil 
and his angels." It is the breathing of fiery indignation by vin- 
dictive justice against the sinner. Sin is so opposite to the nature 
of God, that he cannot endure it ; but his wrath (may I say it with 
reverence) takes fire against the sinner, at the very sight of it, and 
makes the curse to fly against him. See this awfully represented, 
Dent. xxix. 20, " 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." 

2c?(y, A binding over of the sinner unto punishment, for the satisfac- 
tion of off"ended justice, Gal. iii. 13, " Cursed is every one that hangeth 
on a tree." As the judge, by his sentence of death, binds over the 
criminal to death ; so God by his curse, binds over the sinner unto 
death in its whole compass, as in the threatening of the covenant of 
works. Thus he is bound to suff'er till justice is satisfied, which 
being without the sinner's reach, the punishment comes to be eter- 
nal. It is not a punishment for the amendment of the party, as un- 
der the covenant of grace ; but for reparation of the honour of the 
Lawgiver and law. 

Sdlt/, A separating of the sinner unto destruction, though not of 
his being, yet of his wellbeing; Deut. xxix. 21, "The Lord shall 
separate him unto evil — according to all the curses of the covenant 
that are written in this book of the law." Hereby the sinner is ex- 
terminated and excommunicated from the society of God's favourites, 
and set up as a mark for the arrows of wrath. As accursed things 
were to be destroyed, and not kept for use ; so the curse on the sin- 
ner is a devoting of him to destruction, as a vessel of wrath, in 
which justice may be glorified ; 2 Thess. i. 9, such '* shall be punish- 
ed with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and 
from the glory of his power." 

"What it is to be Under the Curse. 

Secondly, Let us consider what it is to be under the curse. Man 
in his natural state, being under the broken covenant of works, is 
under the curse, and so, 

1. He is under the wrath of God, " a child of wrath by nature," 
Eph. ii. 3. " The wrath of God abideth on him," John iii. 36, 
God is displeased with him ; he is not, and cannot be pleased with 
him ; as " without faith it is impossible to please God," Heb. xi. 6. 
God is ever angry with him, Psalm vii. 1, " every day," however he 
spend the day, better or worse." He cannot endure the sight of him ; 


*' The foolish cannot staad in hi? sight," Psal. v. 5. That black cloud 
of the wrath of God is over his head from the moment of liis being a 
living soul, and all along during his continuance in his natural state, 
under the broken covenant of works. lie may be well pleased with 
himself, and others may be so too, saints as well as sinners ; but 
God is still Avroth with him. 

2. He is bound over to revenging justice. It has him by the 
throat, saying, "Pay what thou owest;" though perhaps he neither 
feels the gripe, nor hears the terrible demand, because his consci- 
ence is asleep, and all his spiritual senses are fast bound up ; " Now 
we know." says the apostle, " that what things 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;" "guilty" (Gr.) 
compare Acts xxviii. 4, that is, under revenging justice. The ho- 
liness of God gave out the holy commandment in the covenant, jus- 
tice annexed the threatening of death to the breach of it, truth se- 
cures the accomplishment of the threatening, and so lays the sinner 
under justice, without relief. So that there is no parting of them, 
till the utmost farthing be paid (2 Thess. i. 9, " punished with," 
Gr., "suffer justice" or " vengeance, everlasting destruction,") by 
the sinner himself, or a cautioner. 

3. He stands as a mark for the arrows of vengeance ; he is a de- 
voted man in law, tipd to the stake, that the law and justice of God 
may disburden all their arrows into him, and that in him may meet 
all the plagues flowing from avenging wrath ; " If he turn not," says 
the Psalmist, " He [God] will whet his sword ; he has bent his bow 
and made it ready. He hath also prepared for him the instruments 
of death : he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors," Psalm 
vii. 12, 13. Job complains that he was set as a mark for God's ar- 
rows, Job. xvi. 12, 13, but natural men have better reason for that 
complaint. They are in law devoted heads; on which the law has 
laid its hand as on the head of a sacrifice, as a signal for cutting 
off; Psalm xciv. 23, " He shall cut them off in their own wickedness . 
yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off." Psalm xxxvii. 22, 
" They that be cursed of him shall he cut off." 

! If men did believe this to be their condition under the broken 
covenant of works, what rest could they possibly have while in that 
state ? How would they anxiously inquire, what way they miglit 
be discharged from that broken bargain ? But alas ! as the unbelief 
of the threatening was the cause of the desperate adventure to break 
the covenant; so the unbelief of the curse following thereupon, is 
the cause wiiy they are easy nnder it. Therefore I shall next con- 
firm the truth of the doctrine. 
Vol. XI. T 

282 raooF that natukal mek 

Confirniation of the truth of this doctrino, That man under the bro- 
ken covenant of works is under tlie curse. 

Thirdly, I shall confirm the doctrine, that man in his natural 
state, (being under the broken covenant of works,) is under the curse. 

1. This is evident from plain scripture testimony. Our text is 
express. Therein it is proved from the records of the court of hea- 
ven, as to this process ; " It is written, Cursed is every one that con- 
tinueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law 
to do them." This sentence is extracted out of Deut. xxvii. 26, 
" Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law 
to do them." And the apostle plainly designs the persons against 
whom this sentence is passed, namely, those that are under the law, 
Rom. iii. 19, compared with chap. vi. 14. Who then can make any 
doubt of it ? It is as firm as the truth of God can make it, in his 
word, and under his hand and seal. 

2. It is evident from the consideration of the justice of God, as a 
supreme Rector and Judge of the world ; by which he cannot but 
do right, and give sin its duo. Two things will clear it. 

1st, The breaking of that covenaut, whereof all under it are 
guilty, deserves the curse. They broke it in Adam, and they are 
breaking it every day ; and so they deserve the curse. Now, sin's 
deserving of the curse does not arise from the threatening of eter- 
nal wrath annexed for a sanction to the commands in the law, as 
our new divinity would have itj that is framed for bringing be- 
lievers under the curse of the law too. But it arises from sin's con- 
trariety to the command of the holy law ; for it is manifest, that 
sin does not therefore deserve a curse, because a curse is threatened 
against it ; but because it deserves a curse, therefore a curse is 

Now look at sin ia the glass of the holy commandment, and you 
will see it deserves the curse. For the commandment is, 

(1.) An image of the sovereign spotless holiness of God ; '* The 
law is holy," Rom. vii. 12. When God would let out the beams of 
his own holiness to man, he gave him the law of the ten command- 
ments, as a transcript of it, and wrote them in his heart; and 
afterwards, the writing being much defaced, he wrote them to him 
in his word. So the commandment is holy without spot, as God is. 
So that the creature rising up against the commandment, riseth up 
against God. 

(2.) It is an image of his righteousness and equity, whereby he 
does justly to all; "the commandment is just," Rom. vii. 12. The 
commandment is all right in every part, and of perpetual equity ; 
**I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right," Psalm 



cxix. 128. Look to it as it prescribes our duty to God, to our 
neighbour, and to ourselves, Tit. ii. 12. It is of spotless and per- 
fect righteousness, as that God is whose righteous nature and will it 

(3.) An image of his goodness: "The commandment is good," 
Rom. vii. 12. It is all lovely, lovely iu every part ; lovely in itself, 
and in the eyes of all who are capable to discern truly what is good, 
and what evil, Psalm cxix. 97, " how love I thy law !" Confor- 
mity to it is the perfection of the creature, and its true happiness, 
as rendering the creature like unto God, 1 John iii. 2. 

Thus the breaking of the covenant, by doing contrary to the holy 
commandment, is the transgressing of the holy, just, and good will of 
our sovereign Lord ; a defacing of and doing violence to his image, 
who is the chief good and infinite good. Therefore sin is the chief 
or greatest evil, and consequently deserves the curse. 

2dly, Since it deserves the curse, the justice of God, which gives 
everything its due, ensures the curse upon it, Gen. xviii. 25 ; 2 Thes. 
i. 6. If sin did not lay the sinner under the curse, how would the 
rectoral justice of God appear ? He will rain a terrible storm on 
the wicked, not because he delights in the death of the sinner, but 
because he loves righteousness. Psalm xi. 6, 7, and his righteousness 
requires it. 

8. It appears from the threatening of the covenant ; Gen. ii. 17, 
" In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." That 
threatening being a threatening of death in its whole extent, 
ensures the curse on the sinner whenever he transgresseth the com- 
mand. And the truth of God requires that it take eifect, and be not 
like words spoken to the wind. Here is the case then, man came 
under the covenant of works, wherein death was threatened in case 
of transgression ; now the covenant is broken. It behoved then of 
necessity, that that moment man sinned, he should be bound over to 
the revenging wrath of God, or fall under the curse. And in that 
case all natural men lie. And thus the sentence of the law passeth 
immediately on sinning ; Gal. iii. 10, " Cursed is everyone that con-- 
tinueth not," &c., in the present tense ; agreeable to the tenor of the 
threatening, " In the day that thou eatest," &c. 

4. If man had once run the course of his obedience, being come to 
the last point of it, he behoved to have been justified and adjudged 
to eternal life, according to the tenor of the covenant; Rom. x. 5, 
*• The man which doth those things shall live by them ;" the sentence 
of the law would immediately have passed iu his favour, according 
to the promise. Aud therefore man, having once broken the cove- 
nant, falls under the curse, and is adjudged to eternal death ; for the 


284 mak's condition under the curse. 

curse bears the same relation to the threatening, that law-justifica- 
tion bears to the promise. Hence it is that the unbeliever is de- 
clared to be condemned already, John iii. 18. 

Lastly, Christ's being made a curse for sinners is a clear evidence 
of sinners being naturally under the curse ; Gal. iii. 13, " Christ 
liath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for 
us." He took their place in the broken covenant of works. Gal. iv. 
4, 5, that bearing the curse due to them, they might be set free upon 
their union with him. Hence they who by faith are united to Christ 
having his satisfaction imputed to them, are delivered from the 
curse, as borne for them, and away from them, by their Surety, but 
all others remain under it, as not being reputed to have satisfied it. 

Thus far in the general, concerning this dreadful condition. But, 

A more Particular Yiew of the dreadful condition of the Natural 
Man, under the curse of the broken Covenant of Works. 

If. We must take a more particular view of the dreadful condi- 
tion of the natural man under the curse of the broken covenant of 
works. And here opens the most terrible scene that men are capa- 
ble of beholding, in time or eternity. Happy they who timely be- 
hold it, so as to be thereby stirred up to flee to Christ. It compre- 
hends botli the sinfulness and the misery of a natural state, the 
curse being the chain by which the sinner is bound over to death in 
its full latitude, as it stands in the threatening of the covenant. Gen. 
ii. 17, and by which he is slaked down under that death. And we 
shall take a view of this in the natural man's condition, by the 
breach of the covenant of works, in this life, and after this life. 

The Condition of the Natural Man under the Curse, in this Life. 

First, The natural man's condition, under the curse of the broken 
covenant, is very terrible in that part of it which takes place in this 
life. The execution of the curse is not quite delayed to another 
world ; it is begun in this life, carried further on at death, and full 
and final execution comes at the last day. As to that part of this 
condition which takes place in this life, we shall have the more dis- 
tinct view of it, if we take it up in these following parcels ; as to the 
soul, the body, and the whole man. 

The Condition of the Natural Man's Soul under the Curse. 
First, Let us view the condition of the natural man's soul under 
the curse. The natural man's soul is under the curse. It is the 
most noble part of the man, but the heaviest part of the curse lies 
upon it. And therefore Christ's soul-sulTerings, when he was made 
a curse for ns, were the most terrible of all his sufferings. That is 


the inward man into which the curse sinks, like water or oil, Psalm 
cix. 18. In the moment man sinned, his soul fell under the curse. 
And so, 

1. His soul was separated from God, in favour with whom its life 
lay, Psalm xxxvi. 5; Deut. xxix. 21. The course of saving in- 
fluences was stopt, the sun went quite down on him, and he lost 
God, his friend, his life, the soul of his soul. Thus natural men 
live without God, Eph. ii. 12, separated from him, Isaiah lix. 2- 
There is no saving intercourse betwixt God and them, more than 
there is betwixt us and our friends now lying in the grave, Psalm v. 
5, Amos iii, 3. They hear his word preached ; but, alas ! they hear 
not his own voice, John v. 'S7- Tiiey pray to him, but he hears 
them not neither ; John ix. 31, '' God heareth not sinners." They 
hang on about the posts of his doors, but they never get a sight of 
the King's face. 13e where they will, in the church or in the 
tavern, in duty or out of it, they are ever at a distance from God. 
The reason is, they are under the curse, which is as a great gulf 
fixed betwixt God and them, that there can be no communication 
between them, none by any means, but what can dry up the gulf, or 
remove the curse ; which the blood of Christ only, applied to the 
soul, can do. 

2. Hence man's soul-beauty was lost; death seizing on him by 
sin, his beauty went off. As when Christ cursed the fig-tree, it 
withered away ; its blossoms went up as dust, its verdure and green- 
ness were lost ; so the cursed sinner was stript of his original righte- 
ousness, the light of his mind, the rectitude of his will, the orderli- 
ness of his affections, and the right temper of all the faculties of his 
soul, Gen. iii. 7, 8. Thus, under the curse, the natural man's soul 
lies in rnins, " dead in trespasses and sins," Eph. ii. 1, dead to God, 
dead to righteousness, dead to its primitive constitution and frame, 
though in a living body. 

A dead corpse is an awful sight, where the soul is gone. Eut thy 
dead soul, from which God is gone, natural man ! is a more awful 
one. Couldst thou see thy inward man, as well as thou seest the 
outward, thou wouldst see a soul within thee of a ghastly counte- 
nance, the eyes of its understanding set, its speech laid, all the spi- 
ritual senses now locked up, no pulse of kindly affection towards 
God beating anymore; but the soul lying speechless, motionless, 
cold and stiff like a stone, under the curse. 

3. Hence the whole soul is corrupted in all the faculties thereof, 
Gen, vi. 5, " God saw that the wickedness of man was groat in the 
earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was 
only evil continually," Jer. xvii. 9. '' The heart is deceitful above 


all tliiugs, and desperately wicked : who can know it ?" As the 
soul being gone, the body corrupts; so the soul, being divested of 
its original righteousness, is wholly corrupted and defiled, having a 
kind of verminatiug life in it ; Psalm xiv, 3, " They are altogether 
become filthy." And as when the curse was laid on the earth, the 
very nature of the soil was altered ; so the souls of men under the 
curse are quite altered from their original holy constitution. This 
ajipears in all the faculties thereof. 

(1 ) Look into the mind, framed at first to be the eye of the soul ; 
there is a lamentable alteration upon it under the curse. " how 
is the fine gold become dim !" There is a mist upon it, whereby it 
is become weak, dull, and stupid in spiritual things, and really in- 
capable of these things ; 1 Cor. ii. 14, " The natural man receiveth 
not the things of the Spirit of God ; for they are foolishness unto 
him : neither can he know them, because they are spiritually dis- 
cerned." Darkness has sat down on the mind ; Eph. v. 8, " Ye were 
sometimes darkness :" and there spiritual blindness and ignorance 
reign, not to be removed by man's instruction, or any power less 
than what can take off" the curse. This cursed ground is fruitful of 
mistakes, misapprehensions, delusions, monstrous and misshapen con- 
ceptions in divine things; doubtings, distrnst, unbelief of divine re- 
velation, grow there, of their own accord, as the natural product of 
the cursed soil ; while the seed of the word of the kingdom sown 
there does perish, and faith cannot spring up in it, for such is the 
soil that they cannot take with it. 

(2.) Look into the will, framed to have the command in the soul, 
and it is in wretched plight. Its uprightness for God is gone, and 
it is turned away backward from him. It is not only under an ina- 
bility for good, but having lost all power to turn itself that way, 
Rom. V. 6, " We were without strength" ; Phil. ii. 13, " For it is 
God which worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure ;" 
but it is averse to it, as the untrained bullock is to the yoke ; Psal. 
Ixxxi. 11, " My people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel 
would none of me" ; Luke xix. 14, " We will not have this man to 
reign over us"; John v. 40, " Ye will not come unto me that ye 
might have life." The will is set in direct opposition and contrariety 
to the will of God ; Eom. viii. 7, '' The carnal mind is enmity 
against God : for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed 
can be." It is a heart of stone, that will break ere it bow to the 
will of God; and will remain refi'actory and contumacious against 
him, till the curse be removed, and the nature of the soul changed, 
though it should be plied with all the joys of heaven and all the ter- 
rors of hell. It is prone to evil, having a fixed bent unto sin; Hos. 


xi. 7, " My people are bent unto backsliding from me ;" and tliis 
proneness to sin nothing can alter but an omnipotent hand, 

(3.) Look into the aifections, framed to be the arras and feet of 
the soul for good, and they are quite wrong. Set spiritual objects 
before them to be embraced, then they are powerless, they cannot 
embrace them, nor grip them stedfastly ; they presently grow 
weary, and let go any hold they have of them ; like the stony- 
ground hearers, who because they had no root withered away, Matth. 
xiii. 6, But as for carnal objects, agreeable to their lusts, they 
fly upon them, they clasp and twine about them ; they hold so fast a 
grip, that it is with no small ditficulty they can be got to let go 
their hold. Summon them to duty, they are flat, there is no raising 
of them, they cannot stir ; but on the least signal given them by 
temptation, they are like Saul's hungry soldiers, flying on the spoil, 

(4.) Look into the conscience, framed to be in the soul God's 
deputy for judgment, his spy, and watchman over his creature ; 
and it is miserably corrupted ; Tit. i. 15, " Their mind and con- 
science is defiled." It is quite unfitted for its ofiice. It is fallen 
under a sleepy distemper, sleeping and loving to slumber. So it is 
a dumb conscience, often not meddling with the work of directing, 
informing of the will of God, warning against sin, and exciting to 
duty ; and thus men are left as when there was no king in Israel, 
every one doing that which is right in their own eyes. Sometimes 
being consulted, it gives quite wrong orders, calling darkness light, 
and light darkness, having lost its right judgment; like those of 
whom our Lord speaks ; John xvi. 2, " Tlie time coraeth, that who- 
soever killeth you, will think that he doth God service." And ac- 
cordingly it excuseth where it should accuse ; and accuseth where it 
should excuse. And if it be once thoroughly awakened, it drives 
towards despair. 

(5.) Lastly, Look into the memory, framed to be the storehouse 
of the soul, and the symptoms of the curse appear there too. Tilings 
agreeable to the corruption of nature, and which may strengthen 
the same, stick fast in the memory, so that often one cannot get 
them forgotten, though they would fain have their remembrance 
razed. But spiritual things natively fall out of it, and are soon 
forgotten; the memory, like a leaking vessel, letting them slip. 

•1. Man being in these respects spiritually dead, the which death 
was the consequent of the first sin, the curse lies on him as a grave- 
stone, and the penalty binds it upon him, that he cannot recover. So 
he is in some sort, by the curse, buried out of God's sight. Thus 
sinners are said to be " concluded in unbelief," Rom. xi. 32 ; shut 
up, as in a prison, " under the law," viz. with its curse, Gal. iii. 


23. So when Christ comes to sinners with his offers of life and sal- 
vation, ha finds them bound in a prison, Isa. Ixi. 1, '' He hath sent 
me — to proclaim — the opening of the prison to them that are bound." 
They are under chains of darkness, even the chains of the curse on 
all the faculties of the soul ; which they can no more shake off them, 
than a dead man can loose and throw off him his dead clothes, 
hoise up his grave-stone, and come forth to the light. The curse 
cuts off the communication between God and the sinner, and so 
closes up all door of hope, while it remains, but by that which can 
remove the curse. 

5. Hence that corruption of the soul grows more and more. As 
the dead corpse, the longer it lies in the grave, it rots the more, till 
devouring death has perfected its work in its utter ruin ; so the dead 
Boul under the curse grows worse and worse in all the faculties 
thereof, till it is brought to the utmost pitch of sin and misery in 
hell ; 2 Tim. iii. 13, like " evil men and seducers waxing worse and 
•worse." Sin continuing its reign in the soul, must needs gather 
strength ; and the longer the corruption of nature continues, the 
stronger it grows. And hence it is, that ordinarily the longer one 
has lived in an unregenerate state, the pangs of the new birth are the 
more severe. 

6. And hence the corruption of nature shoots forth itself in in^ 
numerable particular lusts, according to its growth, Mark vii. 21, 22, 
23, " For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, 
adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, 
deceit, laseiviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness ; 
all these evil things come from within, and defile the man." These all 
spring up in the soul under the curse, in such plenty as at length to co- 
ver the face of the whole soul, as the cursed earth brings forth thorns 
and thistles without the pains of the husbandman, and as nettles do 
the face of the sluggard's vineyard, Prov. xxiv. 30, 31. The man 
thinks himself very far from such a sin as he has not been tried 
with ; but when a fit temptation offers, he appears in his own co- 
lours? why ? but because the soul under the curse was fit to conceive 
by such a temptation. 

7. And these lusts grow stronger and stronger. The man who 
'' first walks in the counsel of the ungodly," proceeds to " stand in 
th« way of sinners," and at length " sits down on the seat of the 
scornful," Psalm i. 1. The more corrupt one's nature grows, the 
more nourishment it sends forth to feed and flesh particular lusts. 
And these lusts, acting according to their nature, gather strength 
by exercise ; so that custom makes their acting so easy and ready, 
that they come at length to refuse to be managed, like those of 


whom Peter speaks ; 2 Epist. ii. 14, " having eyes full of adultery, 
aud that cannot cease from sin." And the man must quit the reins 
to them, they are quite beyond his control, Jer. xiii. 23. 

But this is not all the misery of the soul under the curse ; there 
are additional plagues, which by the curse they are liable to, who 
are under it. These soul-plagues are of two sorts; silent strokes, 
and tormenting plaj,ues. 

I 1. Silent strokes, which make their way into the soul with no 
uoise ; but the less they are felt, they are the more dangerou& ; 
such as, 

(1.) Judicial blindness ; Eph. iv. 18, " Ilaving the understanding 
darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignor- 
ance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart." They 
are naturally blind, and love not to have their eyes opened ; John 
iii. 19, '' Men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds 
are evil." However, some gleams of light get into their minds, 
while it shines in the word round about them. But they rebel 
against the light, shut their eyes upon it, and so make themselves 
more blind ; Job xxi. 14, " Therefore they say uuto God, Depart 
from us ; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways." Where- 
fore God, in his just judgment, causes the light to withdraw, that 
it shall not enter into their souls, and leaves them to Satan, to be 
by him blinded more than ever; 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4, " But if our gos- 
pel 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, lest the 
light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, 
should shine unto them." 

(2.) Strong delusions. Men living under the gospel-light, having 
the truth clearly discovered to them, do often keep the truth pri- 
soner ; Rom. i. 18, '' Who hold the truth in unrighteousness." They 
receive the true principles into their heads, but they will not allow 
thera to model their lives in conformity to the truth. So they re- 
ceive not the truth in love. For avenging of which quarrel, they are 
given up to a spirit of delusion ; 2 Thess. ii. 10, 11, " Because they 
received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. — For 
this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should be- 
lieve a lie." This is the curse beginning to work at this day, for 
the contempt of the glorious gospel ; and how the fearful plague of 
delusion may spread ere it end, God only knows. 

(3.) Hardness of heart, Horn. ii. 5. Men's hearts are naturally 
hard and insensible; but under softening means they harden them 
more; and God hardens them judicially; Rom. ix. 18, " Whom be 
will he hardcncth ;" withholding his grace from them ; Dcut. xxix. 


4, as Moses said to the Israelites, " The Lord hath not given you a 
heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear ;" blasting all 
means to them, whether providences or ordinances, whereby others 
are bettered, so that they do them no good ; ilos. iv. 17, '' Epliraira 
is joined to idols ; let him alone ;" exposing them in his holy provi- 
dence to such objects, as their corruptions make an occasion of sin- 
ning more, Deut, i. 30 ; giving them over to their lusts, leaving them 
to the temptations of the world, and to the power of Satan, and suf- 
fering them to prosper in an evil course. Whereby it comes to pass 
that they are hardened in sin more than before. 

(4.) A reprobate sense, Rom. i. 28, whereby men lose the faculty 
of discerning betwixt good and evil, as those who are deprived of 
the sense of tasting know no difference betwixt bitter and sweet. 
Thus men, who being wedded to their lusts, and can by no means be 
brought to part with them, but treat that light which discovers the 
evil of them as an enemy, are sometimes, in the fearful judgment of 
God, suffered to proceed this length, that they can see no evil even 
in gross sins, but vile abominations are in their eyes harmless things. 

(5.) Lastly, Vile affection, Rom. i- 26. Many a time vile affec- 
tions stir in the soul, and the grace of God in some, and reason and 
a natural conscience in others, do strive against them, and repress 
their fury. These are the product of the corruption of nature in all 
men ; but this soul-plague is more dreadful. In it the soul is given 
up to these vile affections, so that by them they are commanded, and 
ruled, and led, like beasts without reason. A fearful case ; reason 
and conscience are imprisoned, all power and rule over the soul is 
taken out of their hands ; and the rabble of vile passions and affec- 
tions manage all, without control. So that the soul is like a ship at 
sea without a governor, that is tossed hither and thither, being en- 
tirely under the management of the winds and waves. 

2. Tormenting plagues, which make the soul to feel them, to its 
great pain and uneasiness. Many are the executioners employed 
against the soul fallen under the curse, who together do pierce, rack, 
and rend it as it were in pieces. These are tormenting passions, 
which had never appeared in the soul had it not fallen into sin, and 
so under the curse. Such tormenting plagues, which the soul under 
the curse is liable to, are chiefly these following : — 

\st, Discontent. This haunts the soul like a ghost, ever since 
men fell from God, sometimes in greater, sometimes in lesser mea- 
sure. He would not rest contented in God, and from that time he 
could have no more coutent within himself. He must have all his 
will, otherwise he is discontented; and that he shall never get, till 
God's will be his will ; and that will never be till he be delivered 


from under the curse. Hence wretclied man is born weeping, lives 
complaining and discontented, and dies disappointed. What saws, 
axes, and harrows of iron does this discontent draw through the 
soul, in fre'fulness, impatience, murmuring, grudging, repining, 
quarrelling with God and men; whereby men become a burden to 
the Spirit of God, a burden to others, and a burden to themselves ? 
The discontented soul is ruffled and rankled with very small trials, 
like Ahab, Haman, &c., yea, and often with it knows not what ; 
only there is something wanting, and the mind is uneasy. The mys- 
tery lies here, the peace of God is not ruling in the heart, Col. 
iii. 15 ; Phil. iv. 7- 

'Mly, Wrath. This is a fire in the man's bosom, to burn him up ; 
an arrow, a dagger, a sword piercing to the very soul ; Job v. 2, 
" For wrath killeth the foolish man." This fills him with rage and 
fury, and makes the whole soul like the troubled sea, when it can- 
not rest, but its " waves toss themselves" and roll up and down, 
" casting up mire and dirt." The proud heart with temptation 
swells ; and these will no more he wanting to us while here, than 
the air will be free from midges in the heat of summer, that the man 
may travel undisturbed. The secret discontent in the soul, follow- 
ing on its loss of God, is the cause of this, as well as of other tor- 
menting passions. Hungry folk are soon angry. The gnawing 
hunger in the soul after happinness and satisfaction, from which it 
is barred under the curse, makes them so peevish and wrathful. 

^dly. Anxiety, whereby the soul is as it were stretched on 
tenter hooks, and is drawn asunder by divers thoughts, and put on 
the rack. Many are the grounds of this torture to the soul. Some- 
times it is on the account of carnal things, which come under the 
name of " the cares of this life," Luke viii. 14, and so as many lusts 
as a man has to satisfy, so much anxiety how to get them satisfied 
falls to the share of the wretched soul. Ahab is racked how to get 
his covetousness satisfied, Haman is racked with his ambition and 
revenge, &c. Hence the man travaileih witli iniquity, Psalm vii. 
14, is in pain as a woman with child to bring forth. Sometimes 
it is on the account of his soul's state before God, how to escape the 
wrath and curse of God, while the dreadful sound is in the man's 
ears ; Acts ii. 37, *' Now when they heard this, they were pricked in 
their heart, and said, — Men and brethren, what shall we do ?" Acts 
xvi. 30, " Sirs, what must I do to be saved ?" This, though it comes 
to nought in many, yet the Lord makes use of for bringing the elect 
to Clirist. 

4.tldy, Sorrow of heart, wiiich is a weight on the soul pressing it 
down, the native fruit of sin and the curse. There is a flood of sor* 
row let out on man under the curse, which divides itself into two 


great streams. (1.) The sorrow of the world, 2 Cor. vii. 10. Here 
run over the soul, the floods of sorrow arising from worldly losses, 
crosses, disappointments, which men meet with in worldly things, in 
their bodies, estates, reputation, relations, and the like. And this 
stream never dries up, every day has the evil thereof, Matth. vi. 
ult. And as if the evils coming on men themselves mediately, or 
immediately, could not sufficiently cause these waters to swell, such 
is the disposition of the soul under the curse, that the good which 
others meet with, often serves to increase them, by means of envy, 
ill will, and grudge at their prosperity. Job v- 2, " Envy slayeth 
the silly one." (2.) The sorrows of death, Psalm cxvi. 3, arising 
from a sight of the guilt of sin lying on the soul before the Lord, 
which will make the most stout-hearted bow their heads under the 
weight, Matth. xxvii. 3, 4. These are the most bitter waters caused 
by sin and the curse ; and wo to him with whom they swell to the 
brim, if Christ be not a lifter up of the head to him. 

bthly^ Fear and terror, which seizing on the soul puts an end to 
its ease and quiet. This covereth the soul with blackness, dark- 
ness, and tempest ; takes away its courage, strikes a damp upon it, 
and makes it restless. And it is twofold, both effects of the curse 
on the soul. 

(1.) Terror of heart, from the apprehension of danger and misery 
approaching. Man, having sinned, is by the curse denounced a re- 
bel, yea and adjudged to death ; hence he is in God's world like a 
man under sentence of death, wandering here and there within the 
King's dominions, ready to be frightened at every accident, and no 
where secure or in quietness, like Cain, Gen. iv. 14. How can they 
be fearless among God's creatures, to whom God is an enemy ? 
Guilt is a mother and nurse of fears; and hence it comes to pass, 
that the sinner sometimes is made to tremble at the shaking of a 
leaf. In a special manner, any token, presage, or likelihood of the 
approach of death, the king of terrors, fills the soul with torment- 
ing fear. This is awfully described, Dent, xxviii. 65, QQ, 67, " And 
among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole 
of thy foot have rest ; but the Lord shall give thee there a tremb- 
ling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind. And thy life 
shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear day and night, 
and shalt have none assurance of thy life. In the morning thou 
shalt say. Would God it were even ; and at even thou shalt say, 
Would God it were morning, for the fear of thine heart wherewith 
thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt 

(2.) Horror of conscience, arising from she sense of guilt, and ap- 


prehension of God's wrath against the soul, Isa. xxxiii. 14, " The 
sinners in Zion are afraid, fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. 
Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings ?" This is of 
all terrors in the world tlie greatest, and niaks a deep wound in the 
soul, Prov. xviii. 14, " A wounded spirit who can bear ?" Cain 
could not bear it. Gen. iv. 13. Judas could not endure it, Matth. 
xxviii. 3, 4. Jeremiah prays against it, Jer. xvii. 17, it made Pa- 
shur a terror to himself, chap. xx. 4. This is the dreadful work- 
ings of the curse in the soul, giving it a foretaste of hell. And we 
may observe three degrees of it. 

(1.) A confused fear as to one's soul's state, making the person 
uneasy with suspicions and jealousies that matters are all wrong be- 
twixt God and the soul ; like that of Herod, Matth xiv. 1, 2, who, 
hearing of the fame of Jesus, said unto his servants ; " This is John 
the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works 
do shew forth themselves in him." Conscience may sleep long very 
sound, and yet at length begin to speak, as it were betwixt sleeping 
and waking, so as it may fill the man with uneasiness with its very 
raay-be's. For under the curse it can never be true to a man's ease, 
but will one time or other give alarms. 

(2.) A sharp pang, though passing like a stitch in one's side, 
which, while it lasts, fills the soul with horror, and makes the man's 
heart melt in him like "wax, under clear apprehensions that God is 
his enemy. Such was that of Eelshazzar, Dan. v. 6, and Felix, 
Acts yxiv. 25, " And as Paul reasoned of righteousness, temperance, 
and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way 
for this time ; when I have a convenient season I will call for thee." 
He felt the fire kindled in his bosom, that it was too strong for him ; 
and therefore immediately orders that there be no more fuel laid to 
it, lest it should quite burn hira up. Such one-day fevers of cons- 
cience, no doubt, many natural men do feel under the curse, though 
by methods of their own, they find means to cause the fit wear off. 

(3.) A vehement and abiding horror which they can no more shako 
off, as in Judas' case, Matth. xxvii. 3, 4. Then the guilt that lay on 
the conscience like brimstone, is fired, and burns so that they cannot 
quench the flame. The arrows of wrath, dipt in the poison of the 
curse, and shot into the soul by an almighty hand, work so as the 
poison of them drinks up their spirits. The beginnings of hell then 
are felt. The conscience is, like Mount Sinai, all in fire and smoke. 
The terrors of God are round about them, as set in battle array 
jigainst them, and they become a terror to others too. The threaten- 
ings of the holy law are no more looked on as scare-crows, by the 
most obstinate sinner once brought to pass; their lusts then ara 


bitter to them as death ; and all the comforts of the world sapless. 
Lastly, Despair ; Isa. xvii. 11, " lu the day shalt thou make 
thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to 
flourish ; but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of 
desperate sorrow." This is the very height of the soul's torment in 
this world, and puts the copestone on its misery here, and no won- 
der, for it is the tormenting plague of the damned. A man may be 
under great horror of conscience, and yet there may be a secret hope 
of an outgate which supports him ; but who can conceive, without 
experience, the torment of that soul on whom despair hath seized, 
and hath shut up all doors of hope ? What a fearful case must that 
soul be in, against which the sea of the Lord's wrath so swells and 
rages, that it is in that case. Acts xxvii. 20, " And when neither sun 
nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, 
all hope that we should be saved was then taken away." This leaves 
the soul no ease at all, and sometimes hath a most fearful issue, as 
in Saul and Judas. 

The Body is under the Curse. 

Secondly, The natural man's body is under the curse. The first 
sin was completed by an action of the body ; man ate the forbidden 
fruit, and with it swallowed down death, by virtue of the curse, 
which followed sin hard at the heels. Grod made man a compend of 
the universe, by his creating power raised a body, a beautiful fabric, 
out of the dust, and lodged the soul, a spirit, an immortal substance, 
in it, as in a glorious and convenient habitation, and he blessed the 
house as well as tlie inhabitant, Gen. i. 28. But the house he com- 
manded to4)e kept clean; being defiled by the soul, suddenly he 
cursed the soul's habitation, and the original blessing was succeeded 
with a heavy curse ; Dent, xxviii. 18, " Cursed shall be the fruit of 
thy body." And surely the cursing of the fruit implies a curse on 
the tree it grows on, viz., the defiled body. The condition of the 
body, thus laid uader the curse, we may view in the following par- 
ticulars : — 

1. It is liable to many defects and deformities in the very consti- 
tution thereof. Adam and Eve were at their creation not only 
sound and entire in their souls, but in their bodies, having nothing 
unsightly about them. But how often now is there seen a varia- 
tion from the original pattern, in the very formation of the body ! 
Some are born deaf, dumb, blind, or the like. Some with a want of 
some necessary organ, some with what is superfluous. Some with 
such a constitution of body as makes them idiots, the organs of the 
body being so far out of case, that they are unfit for the actions of 


tlie rational life ; and tlio sonl is by them kept iu a mist during the 
union with that body. All this is owing to sin and the curse, without 
which there had been no such things In the body of man. It is purely 
owing to mercy that these things are not more frequent ; for by the 
curse all the sons and daughters of Adara are liable to them ; 
and it may be an humbling question, therefore, to the most handsome 
and beautiful, 1 Cor. iv. 7. '' Who niaketh thee to differ from an- 
other ? and what hast thou that thoa didst not receive ? now if thou 
didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received 
it ?" And God makes some such instances, that all may see in them 
what by the curse tliey are liable to, John ix. 3. 

2. As the temperature of the body was by the first sin altered, so 
as it disposed to sin. Gen. iii. 7, so by the curse that degenerate 
constitution of it is penally bound on, by which it comes to pass that 
it is a snare to the soul continually. The seeds of sin are in it ; it 
is "sinful flesh," Rom. viii. 3, *' a vile body," Phil. iii. 21, and these 
seeds are never removed while the curse lies on it, being a part of 
that death to which it is bound over by the curse. Thus the case 
of the man must needs be very miserable, while a sinful soul and 
sinful flesh remain so closely knit together, iu the nearest relation, 
each a snare to the other ; the soul disposing the body to sin, and the 
body and the soul on the other hand, the corruption of the whole 
man must make fearful advances under the curse. To this is much 
owing the crowd of '' fleshly lusts which war against the soul," 
1 Pet. ii. 11 ; such as sensuality, gluttony, drunkenness, filthiness, 
&c. which more and more drown the soul in destruction and perdi- 
tion. And the sad efiects of this distemperature of the body are 
never wanting, of one kind or another, in all the periods of life ; 
and by means thereof it comes to pass, that the souls of many are 
in their bodies as sunk iu and overwhelmed with a mire of flesh and 

3. It is under the curse a vessel of dishonour. By its ori- 
ginal make, it was a vessel of honour, appointed to honourable 
uses, and was so used by the soul before sin entered ; and every 
member had its particular honourable service, serving the soul 
in subordination to God. But now it is brought down from 
its honour, and its " members are yielded instruments of unright- 
eousness unto sin," Rom. vi. 13, and is abused to the vilest purposes; 
and it is never restored to its honour till, the curse being removed, 
it becomes the temple of God, by virtue of the purchase of it made 
by the blood of Christ. But while the curse remains its honour lies 
in the dust, being bound to such service as it was at first put to, in 
looking to, taking, and eating the forbidden fruit. Sec a melancholy 


description of this, Rom. iii. 13, and downwards, It is made by tlie 
drunkard like a common sink, by the glutton like a draught, and 
often like a weary beast under the load of divers lusts. Every na- 
tural man's soul makes it a drudge ; in some it must be a slave to 
the vanity of the mind, in others to covetousuess, in others to wrath 
and revenge ; in a word, its union with the sinful soul under the 
curse is become a yoke of iron. 

4, It is liable to many mischiefs from without, tending to render 
it uneasy for the time, and at length to dissolve the frame of it. 
From the heavens above us, the air about us, the earth underneath 
us, and all that therein is, it is liable to hurt. All the creatures are 
in a state of enmity to man, while he is an enemy to God ; and the 
least fly that passeth through the air is able to annoy him now ; so 
that the natural man is ever in the midst of his armed enemies. 
The promise of the covenant was his guard, that while he kept the 
commandment, no evil could approach unto hira ; but now the guard 
is removed, and he is laid under the curse, having broken the cove- 
nant, whereby not only his covenant defence is departed from him, 
but heaven has proclaimed war against him, armed the whole creation 
against the men of his curse, and ordered them to be ready to attack 
him on a moment's warning. Hence the waters swallow up some, the 
fire hurts others, beasts wound and bruise others, and man is 
Dot safe from the stones of the field, yea, every creature's hand is 
against him. And not only so, but by the curse men are become 
mischievous one to another, fighting, beating, wounding, and killing 
one another. 

5. There is a seed-plot of much misery within it. It is by the 
curse become a weak body, and so liable to much toil and weariness, 
fainting and languishing under the weight of the exercise it is put 
to. Gen. iii. 19. And not only so, but it hath in it such seeds of 
corruption, tending to its dissolution, as spring up in many and 
various maladies, which prove so heavy many times, that they make 
life itself a burden. By virtue of the curse, death works in the 
body, all along from the womb, as a mole under ground, till at 
length it lays the whole fabric in the dust, and leaves not, as it 
were, one stone on another, in the grave. No part of the body, 
without or within, is beyond the reach of diseases and torturing 
pains. The greatest care of the body cannot altogether ward them 
off. The curse has turned this world into an hospital, where some 
are groaning under one distemper, some uuder another; some at one 
time, some at another ; and some in that respect are dying daily, 
knowing little or nothing of perfect health. The strongest are 
liable to be so weakened by diseases, as to be unable to turn them- 


selves on a bed ; those who enjoy the greatest ease, to tormenting 
pains; the most beautiful may be a prey to loathsome diseases and 
sores ; an'l the soundest constitution to infectious plagues. 

6. Lasthj, In all these respects the body is a clog- to the soul iu 
point of duty, often hanging like a dead weight upon it, unfitting it 
for, and hindering it from its most necessary AFork. The sinful soul 
is in itself most unfit for its great work, in this state of trial, by 
reason of the evil qualities of it under the curse. But the wretched 
body makes it more so. The care of tlie body doth so take up its 
thoughts with most men, that, caring for it, the soul is lost. Its 
strength and vigour is a snare to it, and its weakness and uneasi- 
ness often interrupt or quite mar the exercises wherein the soul 
might profitably be employed. And one may see the forlorn case of 
the soul of man in this body under the curse, how it is on every 
hand pulled back, from salvation work, in the case of many to whom 
health and strength is such a powerful snare while it remains, that 
they will not, and when they are gone, trouble and distress of body 
do so fill their hand, that they cannot mind their salvation work to 

But it may be objected. That by this account of the condition of 
those under the curse, the case of natural men and of believers in 
Christ is alike ; since it is evident, that not only these bodily mise- 
ries, but many of these soul miseries are common to both. I an- 
swer. Though it seem to be alike in the eye of beholders, iu regard . 
these miseries are materially the same on natural men and on the 
children of God; yet really there is a vast difi*erence. On the for- 
mer they are truly efifects of the curse ; on the latter they are indeed 
effects of sin, but not of the curse ; " For Christ hath redeemed them 
from the curse of the law, being made a curse for them," Gal. iii. 13. 
Sin entering into the world was a fountain of miseries; aad till it 
be dried up, there will be miseries on men's bodies and souls; but 
the poison of the curse is mixed with these bitter streams to some, 
but not to others; and that makes as great a difference betwixt the 
case of the godly and ungodly, as betwixt the case of one man 
to whom poison, and another to whom medicine is administered. 

(1.) The stream of miseries on soul or body to a natural man, 
runs in the channel of the covenant of works ; but to a believer, in 
the channel of the covenant of grace. To the former it comes by 
virtue of the threatening, Gen. ii. 17, " In the day that thou eatest 
thereof thou shalt surely die ;" To the latter it comes by virtue of 
that. Psalm Ixxxix. 30, 31, 32, " If his children forsake my law, 
and walk not in my judgments ; if they break my statutes, and keep 

YoL. XI. V 


not my commandments, then will I visit their transgression with 
the rod, and their iniquity with stripes." Running in the channel 
of the first covenant, they bring the curse along with them ; but in 
the channel of the second covenant, the curse is not to be found ; 
the waters are healed, however bitter they may be, Isa. liv. 9. 
"When one has a slave, he punishes him for his misdemeanors, by 
virtue of his masterly authority over him. But if he be freed 
aud adopted for a son, he chastens him, but no more as a slave, but 
as a son. 

(2.) There is revenging wrath in the one, but fatherly anger 
only in the other, Isa. liv. 9, " For this is as the waters of Noah 
unto me ; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no 
more go over the earth ; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth 
with thee, nor rebuke thee." If it was never such a small stroke on 
the natural man, it is in part of payment of law-debt, for he is 
under the law, in its commanding, cursing, and condemning power; 
it it were ever such a heavy stroke on a child of God, it is no part 
of payment of law-debt, which he is for ever discharged of in his 
union with Christ. An ungodly man's basket of bread miscarries ; 
it is no great loss, one would think, he may bear it ; but alas ! there 
is an impression of wrath upon it, it miscarried by virtue of the 
curse, Deut. xxviii. 17, " Cursed shall be thy basket ;" and so it is 
heavier than the sand of the sea, though he, being insensible of his 
case, feels not the weight of it. Good Eli falls from off his seat, 
and breaks his neck, 1 Sam. iv 18. heavy stroke ! we are apt to 
say ; yea but there was no worse in it than fatherly anger ; the co- 
venant was not broken, though his neck was broken, Psalm Ixxxix. 
34, " My covenant will I not break." He got a soft fall ; as hard as 
it appeared to spectators, he fell on a pavement of love, Cant, 
iii. 10. 

(3.) The miseries of the ungodly in this life are an earnest of 
eternal misery in hell ; but those of the godly are medicines, to keep 
back their soul from death ; 1 Cor. xi. 32, '• When we are judged, 
we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with 
the world." Every stroke a man under the curse gets, he may call 
it " Joseph ;" for "the Lord will add another." The least brook 
that runs, is making towards the sea, as well as the deepest river; 
and the least affliction, by virtue of the curse, laid on a man, looks 
towards hell, as well as the greatest stroke he meets with. Though 
a piece of money be but small in itself, if it be an earnest-penny of 
a great sum, it is valued accordingly. And so the least stroke 
would be frightful to a natural man, if he discerned the nature of it. 
But in the worst afflictions of God's people, there is a seed of joy, 


Psalm xcvii. 11, " Light is sown for the righteous ; and gladness for 
the upright in heart ;" and the darkest night will have a fair clear 
morning. There was more of heaven in Heraan's hell, Psalra 
Ixxxviii. 15, than there is in the greatest ease, joy, and prosperity 
of the wicked. 

The Whole Man is under the Curse. 

T}drdly, The whole man is under the curse. The sinner fallen 
from God, fell under the curse; and like a deluge it has gone over 
him, and surrounded him on every hand. Hence our Lord Christ, 
being made a curse for us, was beset with sorrows, Matth. xxvi. 38, 
" My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death," like a man when 
the devouring waves are compassing him round about, and from 
every hand coming in upon him, ready to swallow him up. Thus 
stands the natural man under the curse ; it is upon him, it is round 
about him ; go where he will, there is no shifting of it, all his days 
he wades through these waters ; he is in the deep mire, Avhere there 
is no firm standing. He is cursed, 

1. In his name and reputation ; " The seed of evil doers shall 
never be renowned," Isa. xiv. 20. Sin laid man's honour in the 
grave, and the curse lays the grave-stone upon it ; and it can never 
rise again till the curse be removed ; Isa. xliii. 4, " Since thou wast 
precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable." What of it ap- 
pears before that, is but as it were a ghost, a spectre of honour, that 
vanisheth away, which vain men please themselves with a little, as 
with illusions of fancy. The sinner's name may shoot up and flourish 
a little ; but it is blasted by the curse, with shame, contempt, re- 
proach, and disgrace. And no heights of worldly grandeur can se- 
cure men against this ; the curse is a worm at the root, which will 
work and cause to wither the sinner's name, whatever pains be taken 
to hold it green. A good name is better than precious ointment ; 
but where the curse lies, the dead fly will be found there, to cause it 
to send forth a stinking savour. Every man is desirous of a name, 
and the raising of it was the snare in which man was first caught, 
" Ye shall be as gods ;" but since that time, man has been laid open 
to many and deep wounds in it, while by the curse the tongues of 
those of his own kind have been as arrows shot from a bent bow 
against it. Psalm Ivii. 4. 

2. In his employment and calling in the world. Gen. iii. 19, " In 
the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the 
ground." Man is put to sore toil, weariness, and distress in his 
worldly employment: and when ho has done, what fruitless pains 
and travel he is made to see ! How often do men labour as in the 



very fire ! and all the issue is, they weary themselves for very va- 
nity. There is sore and hard travel ; and after all men must say, 
" We have, as it were, brought forth wind." The husbandman toils 
in labouring the ground, and the earth by virtue of the curse often 
gives him but a poor reward of his labour. The store-master is dili- 
gent to know the state of his flocks, and looks well to his herds ; but 
oftentimes it is seen that that will not effect it, the curse works 
against him, and all goes to wreck, Deut. xxviii. 17, " Cursed shall be 
thy store." The tradesman is early and late at his work, but often 
has much ado to get bread to his mouth and his family. The mer- 
chant carefully watches occasions of advancing his interest ; but how 
often seeking gain does he find loss ! and some unforeseen events 
discover a secret hand of providence working against him in the ma- 
nagement of his affairs. See Hag. i. 6, " Te have sown much, and 
bring in little ; ye eat, but ye have not enough ; ye drink, but ye 
are not filled with drink ; ye clothe you, but there is none warm ; and 
he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes." 
The case of the labour of the mind, is in this respect no better than the 
labour of the hands. Solomon tells us, from his experience, the griev- 
ous toil of it; Eccl. i. 13, "I gave my heart to seek and search 
out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven ; 
this sore travail hath God given to the sons of men to be exercised 
therewith." And he also tells the sorry issue of that toil ; ver. 18, 
" For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth know- 
ledge, incrcaseth sorrow." No set of men have more remarkable 
symptoms of the curse on their employment, than those whose labour 
is the labour of the mind. The toil is sore, the success small, and 
the disappointments innumerable. The physician and the lawyer la- 
bour, the one to preserve the body, the other the estate ; but after 
all their pains, their art fails, they mistake the case, or it is beyond 
their power to rectify it. The projects of statesmen, laid in the 
depth of their wisdom, liow often are they baffled, and by some small 
occurrence the whole frame thereof is unhinged ! The guides of the 
Church, after all their contrivances for a steady management of her 
course, how often do they row her into deep waters, from whence 
they cannot bring her back, till she is dashed in pieces! Even in 
preaching of the gospel, while men shine, they burn and waste ; and 
when all is done, they must sit down and say, " "Who hath believed 
our report ? I jiave laboured in vain, and spent my strength for 
nought and in vain." Whence is all this, but that man has fallen 
under the curse, and it mars whatever he goes about to make ? 

3. In his worldly substance, Deut. xxviii. 17, " Cursed shall be 
thy basket and thy store." Wherever he hath it, he hath the curse 


with it; whether it be in the field, Deut. xxviii. 16, or whether it be 
in the house, Prov. iii. 33. On the meat he eats, ou the liquor he 
drinks, the clothes he wears, and the house where he lodges, there 
is a curse lying, because they are his. And under the weight of it 
they groan, as longing to be delivered out of his cursed h?.nds, Rom. 
viii. 21, 22. And sometimes even providence recovers them out of 
their hands in this life, as men do goods out of the hands of unjust 
possessors, Hos. ii. 9, " I will return, and take away my corn in the 
time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover ray- 
wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness." Thus under the 
curse men are liable to melancholy alterations and changes in their 
outward estate. Riches make themselves wings by virtue of the 
curse, and fly away, not to be called back again. The man is infatu- 
ated in his management, and so is not aware till he has run himself 
aground. He wants the hedge of the covenant-protection about what 
is his; and he sustains losses and damages at the hands of those with 
whom he has to do. Yea, he gathers and heaps up, and diligently 
watches it; but a fire unblown consumes it, and it melts away like 
snow before the sun ; the curse, like a moth, eats it a<vay, and he is 
wormed out of that on which he set his heart. Or if it stay with 
liim, it is sometimes locked up from him, so as he has not the com- 
fortable use of it, Eccl. vi. 2, " A man to whom God hath given 
riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul 
of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof." 
And so the man never has a blessed use of it, never has power to 
use it for the high and honourable ends it is appointed of God unto, 
when he gives it into their hands as stewards of it for him. The 
loss he has by it, as it turns to his hurt, is never counterbalanced by 
the gain. And all this comes on the natural man in virtue of the 

4. In his relations. Relations are the joints of society, and sin 
going through them all, they are all defiled, and the curse goes 
through them too, Deut. xxviii. 18, " Cursed shall be the fruit of thy 
body." In them men promise themselves comfort; but there they 
find sorrow, pain, and smart. There they lean as it were to a wall, 
and a serpent does bite them. In the state, magistrates often op- 
press, ensnare, and entangle the conscience, and prove a terror to 
those that do well. In the church, ministers are unfaithful, un- 
watchful, unconcerned for the good of souls, or unsuccessful. In 
neighbourhood, men are unjust, selfish, and snares one to another. 
In the family, disorder and confusion are found, through every one's 
unfaithfulness in the duties of their respective relations. How many 
are there unequally yoked, companions of life, through their jarrings 


and discord, a burdeu and a cross to one another ! Husbands such 
men of Belial that their wives cannot speak to them ; wives as rot- 
tenness in the bones of their husbands ; parents unnatural, and un-f 
faithful to, and careless of their children; children fro ward, per- 
verse, and stubborn; sons of youth, hoped to be arrows in the hand 
of their parents, turning to be arrows to pierce them to the heart ; 
daughters, expected to be as corner-stones for their father's family, 
falling down on the heads of their parents, and crushing their spi- 
rits; masters unjust and unfaithful to their servants; and servants 
perverse, rebellious, and unconscionable in their service. For the 
curse has gone wide, and in every relation the weight of it is found; 
though most men that find the weight of it, know it not to be the 
curse indeed. 

5. In his lot, whatever it is, afflicted or prosperous. AfHic- 
tions are cursed to the man who is under the curse ; he is not bet- 
tered by them, though others are. He is not humbled by them, 
but his spirit is embittered ; and, instead of coming to God 
under them, he runs farther away from him. " Why," says the 
Lord to Israel, " should ye be stricken any more ? ye will revolt 
more and more," Isa. i. 5. God binds the man with these cords, but 
he crieth not. He may groan under the weight of his affliction, but 
he turns not unto the Lord; he saith not, " Where is God my 
Maker?" Job xxxv. 10. He remains stubborn, incorrigible, and 
impenitent; Jer. v. 3 — " Thou hast stricken them, but they have not 
grieved ; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive 
correction : they have made their faces harder than a rock ; they 
have refused to return." The man's prosperity in the world is a 
snare to his soul and ruins him, Prov. i. 32, " The prosperity of fools 
shall destroy them." If his ground bring forth plentifully, his barns 
are seen to, but his soul is neglected ; as was the case of the rich 
man in the gospel, Luke xii. 16, &c. If his family prosper, his 
house be in safety, and his stock thrive, they say unto God, '* Depart 
from us : for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is 
the Almighty, that we should serve him ? and what profit should we 
have if we pray unto him?" Job xxi. 8 — 14, 15, "If waters of a 
full cup be wrung out to them, they set their mouths agaiust the 
heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. — And they 
say. How doth God know ? and is there knowledge in the Most 
High ?" Psalm Ixxiii. 8, 9, &:c. Youth, health, strength, and wealth 
togethei', prove ruining by virtue of the curse. Be the man's lot what 
it will, there is a curse on it to him, and it tends to his destruction. 

6. In his use of the means of grace ; Rom. xi. 8, " God hath given 
them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that 


they sliould not hear." The man sits under the dropping of the gospel, 
but it does him no good. He is as the ground that often drinks ia 
the rain, but brings forth no fruit meet for him by whom it is dressed. 
He stands cumbering the ground in God's vineyard, for there is a 
withering curse on him. Good grapes are expected from the pains 
bestowed on him, but behold, only wild grapes appear. His pray- 
ing, hearing, communicating, &c., are but like a withered hand that 
is never stretched out, nor reaches to the throne. His convictions 
and raised affections quickly settle again, and these fair appearances 
come to nothing. The gospel, that is a savour of life to some, is a 
savour of death to him, 2 Cor. ii. 16 ; and Christ himself, who is set 
for the raising of many, is eventually for his falling. Thus the curse 
turns everything against the man, and all is death to him. 

7. Lastly, In his person. Being a sinful man under the covenant 
of works, he is a cursed man ; 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." The curse fixeth not only on what is his, but 
on himself; and it is for his sake that it is laid on other things. 
The curse, as you have heard, is on his soul, and on his body; for 
wherever sin is found under this covenant, there the curse also is* 

(1.) The man is under the power of Satan, Acts xxvi. 18. Into 
the hand of this enemy man fell, when he broke the covenant of 
works. Satan having waged war against heaven, set on man, hea- 
ven's confederate, and gained the unhappy victory, gained him by 
temptation to renounce his allegiance to his rightful Lord by break- 
ing the covenant, and so he fell under his power, as his capti>e taken 
in war, Isa. xlix. 24, was brought under bondage to this worst of 
masters, 2 Pet. ii. 19, and is ruled by him at his pleasure, 2 Tim. ii. 
ult. The curse of the covenant falling on the covenant-breaker, he 
is thereby laid under condemnation, and adjudged to death according 
to the threatening ; and so he falls under the power of him that has 
the power of death, that is the devil, Heb. ii. 14. Every natural 
man is shut up as in a prison, in his natural state ; and there he lies 
in bonds, Isa. Ixi. 1. There are God's bands on him, the bands of 
the curse binding him over to death ; and the devil's bands are on 
him, viz., the bands of strong lusts and corruptions, with which they 
are laden, as a malefactor in prison is laden with irons. And Satan 
has the power of gaoler over them. He keeps the keys of the pri- 
son, and narrowly watches the prisoners that none of them escape. 
They are not all kept alike close ; but none of them can move be- 
yond the bounds of his jurisdiction, more than the prisoner can get 
out of the dungeon. Even when the king's word comes to deliver 


the elect, he will not yield them up; but the prison doors must be broke 
open, and they forcibly taken out of his hand by a stronger than he. 
(3.) The natural man being under the curse is continually in ha- 
zard of utter destruction, of having the copestone put on his misery, 
and being set beyond all possibility of help. If his eyes were opened 
he would see himself every moment in danger of dropping down into 
the pit of hell; Psalm vii. 12, " If he turn not, he will whet his 
sword ; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready." The man is con- 
stantly standing before God's bent bow, and has nothing to secure 
him one moment from the drawing of it. The sentence of death is 
passed against him, John iii. 18, but there is no day intimated for the 
execution, but every day the dead warrant may be signed against 
him, and he led forth to death. His name may be " Magor-missabib," 
a terror round about, Jer. xx. 3. Whither can he look where he 
"will not see his enemies ready to ruin him, on a word of command 
from that God under whose curse he lies ? And what can he do for 
himself amidst his armed enemies ? He is quite naked, Rev. iii. 17, 
and cannot fight them ; he is without strength, Rom. v. 6, and cannot 
■wield armour, though he had it ; he is bound hand and foot, Isa. Ixi. 1, 
and cannot flee ; and if he could, whither could he flee for safety ? 
Heaven's gates are shut upon him ; in the utmost parts of the earth, 
or the most remote rock in the sea, God's hand would find him out. 
Justice is pursuing the criminals under the curse, crying for ven- 
geance on the traitors, and their foot shall certainly slide in due 
time; the law is continually throwing the fire-balls of its curses on 
them, and will at length set them on fire round about; death is on 
the pursuit after them, and has gained much ground of them already, 
and the cloud of wrath hangs over their heads continually in the 
curse, and the small rain of God's wrath is still falling on them ; 
how soon death may overtake them, they know not ; and then the 
cloud breaks, and the great rain of his strength falls down upon 
them, and sweeps them away without hope for ever and ever. 

The Condition of the Natural Man under the curse, after this life. 

Secondlt, The natural man's condition under the broken cove- 
nant of works, is very terrible in that part of it which takes place 
after this life. Then comes the full execution of the curse, and it is 
fixed on the sinner without possibility of deliverance. Then will be 
seen and felt by those who perish under it, what is in the womb of the 
curse of the broken covenant, whereof all that befals them in this 
life is but an earnest. The truth is, it cannot be fully represented 
in words from the tongues of men ; but we shall briefly point at it 
in the following particulars. 


Death under the Curse. 

First, Tlie natural man under the curse must not only die, but die 
by virtue of the curse. Death in any shape has a terrible aspect, it 
is the king of terrors, and can hardly miss to make the creature 
shrink, being a destruction of nature, and carrying him into another 
•world where he never was before, and putting him into a quite new 
state, which he has had no prior experience of. But death to the 
natural man is in a singular manner terrible ; it is death of the 
worst kind. The believer in Christ must die too; but Christ having 
died for them by virtue of the curse, and that death of his being ap- 
plied to them by faith, they die not in virtue of the curse ; Gal. iii. 
13, " Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made 
a curse for us." It is a fatherly chastisement, a medicine to them, 
yea the most effectual medicine, that cures them of all their maladies, 
1 Cor. xi. 30, 32. 

But the natural man dies by virtue of the curse of the broken 
covenant, agreeable to the threatening annexed thereto, Gen. ii. 17- 
Accordingly, upon man's sinning, the curse seized him ; and continu- 
ing under that covenant, it is still working in him, till it works his 
body and soul asunder. Soul and body joined in sin against God, 
and by sin the man was separated from God ; and, as a meet reward 
of the error, the companions in sin are separated by the curse at 
length; which would have remained eternally in a happy union, 
had not sin entered. 

Now, that we may have a view of death to a sinner by virtue of 
the curse, cousider, 

1. It is the ruining stroke from the hand of an absolute God, pro- 
ceeding according to the covenant of works against the sinner in full 
measure ; *' lie shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased 
out of the world," Job xviii. 18. It is the fatal wound, the wound 
of an enemy, for the sinner's utter destruction. To a saint, death is 
a friend's wound, a stroke from the hand of a father, proceeding 
against his children in the way of the covenant of grace, for their 
complete happiness. But the ungodly in death fall into the hands 
of the living God, who then is and ever will be, to them a consuming 
fire. Having led their life under that covenant, they are then 
crushed in pieces by the curse for the breaking of it. 

2. It is the breaking up of the peace betwixt God and them for 
ever : it is God setting his seal to the proclamation of an everlast- 
ing war with them ; after which no message of peace is to go be- 
twixt them any more for ever. It fixctli an impassable gulf, cutting 


of all comfortable communication with heaven, for the ages of eter- 
nity, Luke xvi, 26. Now the sinner under the curse, living witJiiu 
the visible church, has the privilege of offers of life and salvation ; 
but then there is no more gospel, nor are there any more good tid- 
ings of peace, when once death has done its work. The curse which 
in life might have been got removed by the sinner's embracing 
Christ, is then fastened for ever on him without remedy. The door 
is shut, and that for ever. 

3. It puts an end to all their comfort of whatsoever nature, Luke 
xvi. 25. Lazarus is then comforted, but the wicked tormented. It 
utterly quenches their coal, and puts out all their light, Job xviii. 18, 
forecited. To the godly, death puts an end to their worldly com- 
forts, but then it lets them into the full enjoyment ot their Lord in 
heaven ; but as for the ungodly, at death they leave all their 
worldly comforts behind them, and they have no comfort before 
them in the place whither they go. The curse then draws a bar 
betwixt them and every thing that is pleasant and easy. 

4. It is death armed with its sting, and all the strength it has 
from sin, and a holy just broken law. " The sting of death," where- 
by it pierces like a stinged serpent, " is sin," 1 Cor. xv. 56, and 
" the strength of sin is the law." Now, when death comes on the 
ungodly man, all his sins are unpardoned ; the guilt of them all bind- 
ing him, as with innumerable cords, over to eternal wrath, lies upon 
him. And these cords of guilt cannot be broken ; for the law is 
their strength, which threatens sin with eternal wrath ; and God's 
truth and faithfulness therein plighted, cannot fciil. Thus is death 
armed against the unbeliever, and herein lies the truly killing nature 
of it. Where that sting is away, as it is to all in Christ, it can do 
them no real harm, whatever way they die, whether a lingering or 
sudden death, a violent or natural one, under a cloud or in the light 
of comfort, 1 Cor. xv. 55 — 57- 

5. Lastly, It is the fearful passage out of this world into ever- 
lasting misery, Luke xvi. 22, 23. It is a dark valley at best; but 
the Lord is with his people while they go through it, Psalm xxiii. 4. 
It is a deep water at best ; but where the curse is removed, the Lord 
Jesus will be the lifter up of the head, that the passenger shall not 
sink. But who can conceive the horror of the passage the sinner 
under the curse has, upon whom that frightful weight lies ? It leads 
him as an ox to the slaughter ; it opens like a trap-door underneath 
him, by which he falls into the pit, and like a whirlpool swallows 
him up in a moment, and he is staked down in an unalterable state 
of unspeakable misery. 

Secondly, He is immediately after death haled before the tri- 


bunal of that God, under whose curse he lies ; Eccl. xii. 7, " The 
spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Compare Heb. ix. 27, 
*' It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." 
There the soul is judged according to its state, and the deeds done 
in the body ; and there it must receive its particular sentence. 
And what can it be, but " Depart, ye cursed ?" "Where can such 
a soul expect to find its own place, but in the place of torment? 
Luke xvi. 23 The cause is already judged, the sinner is under the 
curse, bound over to hell by the sentence of the holy law. And 
those whom the law has power to curse and does curse while they 
are in this world, God will never bless in the other world. Consider 
the sinner under the curse before this tribunal ; and, 

1. All his sins, of all kinds, in all the periods of his life, from the 
first to the last breathing on earth are upon him. The curse seals 
them up as in a bag, that not one of them can be missing ; Hos. xiii. 
12, " The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up." Where a pardon takes 
place, the curse is removed, and heing once removed, it never re- 
turns ; so where the curse is, there neither is nor has been a pardon ; 
for these are inconsistent, the one being a binding over of the sinner 
to wrath, the other a dissolution of that band, so that God will re- 
member their iniquities no more. But where no pardon is, God has 
sworn he will not forget any of that sinner's works, Amos viii. 7- 
How fearful, then, must the case be, while the sinner stands before 
this tribunal with all his sins whatsoever upon him ? 

2. As the man's sins were multiplied, so the curses of the law 
were multiplied upon him ; for it is the constant voice of the law, 
upon every transgression of those under the covenant of works, 
" Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are 
written in the book of the law to do them," Gal. iii. 10. How then 
can such a one escape, while innumerable cords of death are upon 
him, before a just Judge, with their united force binding him over to 
destruction ? His misery is hereby insured without all peradven- 
ture ; and the more of these cords there are upon him, the greater 
must his punishment be. 

3. There is no removing of the curse then, Luke xiii. 25. The 
time of trial is over, and judgment is to be passed according to what 
was done in the flesh. "When a court is erected within a sinner's 
own breast in this world, and conscience convicts him as a trans- 
gressor of the law, a covenant-breaker, and therefore pronounces 
him cursed ; there is a Surety for the s'uner to fly to, an Advocate 
into whose hands he may commit his cause, a Mediator to trust in 
and roll his burden on by faith. But before that tribunal there is 
none for the sinner who comes thither under the curse. As the tree 


fell, it must lie; that throne is a throne of pure justice to him, 
without any mixture of the grace he despised. By the law of works, 
which he chose to live under, despising the law of grace, he must be 

4. Lastly, Wherefore he must there inevitably sink under the 
weight of the curse for ever, Psalm i. 5. He must fall a sacrifice 
for his own sin, who now slights the only atoning sacrifice, even 
Christ our passover sacrificed for us. In the course of justice sin 
must be satisfied for, and without shedding of blood there is no re- 
mission. The satisfaction must be proportioned to the injury done 
to the honour of an infinite God by it. In the gospel, Christ is set 
before the sinner as the scape-goat before Aaron ; he is called to 
lay his hand oa the head thereof, by faith transferring the guilt on 
the Surety. Since the sinner did not so, but lived and died under 
the curse, his iniquity must fall and lie for ever on his own head. 

Thirdly, The soul is shut up in hell, by virtue of the curse, Luke 
xvi. 22, 23, " And in hell he lift up his eyes." Thus, by the sen- 
tence of the broken covenant, the sinner is cut asunder by the sword 
of death, and his soul receives its portion, where shall be 
weeping and gnashing of teeth, being haled from the tri- 
bunal into the pit. Then falls the great rain of God's wrath on 
the men of his curse, the sinner being, to his own conviction, entered 
in payment of the debt which he can never discharge, and which can 
never be forgiven. The state of the separate soul under the curse, 
after its particular judgment, who can sufliciently express the horror 
of? Consider these things following on that head. 

1. Separate souls under the curse, after their particular judgment, 
are lodged in the place of the damned, called Hell in the scriptures. 
Then the godly and the wicked change places, who lived together 
in this world as a mixed company ; the soul, which, through faith 
received the blessing, is carried to heaven ; and the soul which 
parted with the body under the curse, is carried to hell. This is 
evident from the parable of Dives and Lazarus, Luke xvi. 22, 213. 
In hell the souls of the wicked are lodged as in a prison, reserved to 
a further judgment against the great day, 1 Pet. iii. 19. And who 
can imagine what thoughts of horror must, at its entrance thither, 
seize the soul, which a little before was in the body in this world, 
but then goes into an unalterable state of misery, and hath the bars 
of the pit shut upon it, without hope of relief? the fearful sud- 
den change it will be to them who lived in wealth and ease, and to 
them who lived in poverty and distress here ! Who can say to 
which of them it shall be the most frightful change ? 

2. The dregs of the curse shall there be wrung out to them, and 


they made to drink tliem, in tlie fearful punishment inflicted upon 
Ihera for the satisfaction of oifended justice, for all their sins, ori- 
ginal and actual. Then shall be, more remarkably than ever before, 
accomplished that passage ; Psalm Ixxv. 8, " 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 
eanh shall wring them out and drink them." The separate soul doth 
not sleep, nor is void of feeling, nor is it extinguished till the resurrec- 
tion, as some have dreamed ; no, no; it lives, but lives in misery; it 
feels, but feels nothing but anguish. It is laid under the punishment 
of loss, being at once deprived of all those things wherein it sought its 
satisfaction in this world, and of all the happiness of the other 
world ; and it is punished also with the punishment of sense, the 
wrath of an angry God being poured into it, Luke xvi. 23, 24, 
which is expressed under the notion of being "tormented in a 
flame." Then all the joys of the cursed soul are killed, plucked up 
by the root ; and a flood of sorrows surrounds it, having neither 
brim nor bottom. 

3. They are sensible of their lost happiness, Luke xvi. 23. They 
see it to their unspeakable anguish. "Whatever they heard of hea- 
ven, and the happiness of those who die in the Lord, while they 
were on earth, they will get a more aff^ecting discovery of it then, 
which will cause them to rage against themselves, that ever they 
should have preferred the pleasures of sin and a vain world to such a 
blessed state. And how must it pierce the wretched soul, to think 
that not only all is lost, but lost without possibility of recovery ? 
Luke xvi. 26. that men would be wise in time, and believe that 
the state of trial will end with them ere long, and so bend their 
cares and endeavours, that, amidst the throng of the world's busi- 
ness, cares, vanities, and temptations, they lose not their souls. 

4. Their consciences are then awakened, never to fall asleep any 
more for ever. They will scorch them then like a fire that cannot 
be quenched, and gnaw them like a worm that never dielh. "Without 
question separate souls are capable of calling things past to remem- 
brance, as is evident in the case of the rich man when in the sepa- 
rate state, Luke xvi. 25, where Abraham bids him remember what 
a portion he had in this life ; the rich man remembers his five bre- 
thren, and what a life he and they led, ver. 28. Tiie conscience 
that was seared till it was past feeling, will then be fully sensible. 
The evil of sin will then be clearly seen, because felt ; the threat- 
enings of the holy law will no more be accounted scarecrows, nor 
will there be any such fools there as to make a mock of sin. The 
soul there will be under continual remorse and regret for ever the 


ill-spent life, where there is no place for repentance. The soul that 
wonlcl never search and try its ways, while there was occasion to mend 
■what was amiss, will there go through the several steps of life and 
conversation here ; and every new sin that casts up to it as done in 
the body, will pierce the soul like an envenomed arrow. 

5. They will be filled with torturing passions, which will keep 
the soul ever on the rack Their sinful nature remains with 
them under the curse, and they will sin against God still, 
as well as they did in this life ; but with this difference, that whereas 
they had pleasure in their sins here, they shall have none in their 
sins there ; they shall be for ever precluded from acting that wicked- 
ness that may give pleasure, and the restraint upon them that way 
in their prison may contribute to their torment; for, no doubt, the 
seeds of all sin remain still in them there under the curse; but their 
sins there shall be their felt misery too. The scripture holds out those 
torturing passions which they will be filled with, by " weeping, and 
wailing, and gnashing of teeth;" which intimates to us, that souls 
there are overwhelmed with sorrow, anguish, and anxiety, with 
wrath, grudge, murmuring, envy, rage, and despair. 
. 6. Lastly, In this state they must continue till the last day, that 
they be reunited to their respective bodies, and so the whole man 
get his sentence at the general judgment, adjudging both soul and 
body to everlasting fire, Matth. xxv. For after they are gone out 
of this world, their wickedness may be living behind them, and the 
stream of it may be running when their bodies are consumed in the 
grave, and their souls have been long in the pit of destruction, like 
the sin of Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin; all which must be ac- 
counted for. And hence it appears, that the expectation of reunit- 
ing with their bodies can be no comfortable thought to thera but 
a thought of horror, a fearful expectation. 

The Sinner's Eody goes to the Dust. 

Fourthly, The body goes to the dust in virtue of the curse, Psalm 
xlix. 14, "Like sheep they are laid in the grave, death shall feed 
on thera." Man's body in the state of innocence was immortal, not 
subject to death : sin made it mortal, the curse bound it over to 
death, and to the grave, the dark territory of death, Rom. vi. 23, 
" The wages of sin is death." Hence our Lord Jesus Christ, be- 
coming a curse for his own, was carried prisoner to the grave, Isa. 
liii. 9, lay there for a time, bound with the cords of death. Acts ii. 
24 ; but having fully discharged the debt for which he was laid up, 
disarmed death, and proved the destruction of the grave for all that 
are his ; Hos. xiii. 14, " death, I will be thy plagues : grave, I 


■will be thy destrnclion " But in the meantime death and the grave 
remain as before to all those who have no saving interest in hira ; so 
that wherever the dead bodies of the wicked are laid up, or however 
they are disposed of, whether consumed by the fire, eaten up by 
other creatures, or laid in a grave properly so called ; wherever 
they remain in the state of the dead ; there they are laid up in 
virtue of the curse. But the bodies of the godly are not so. 

The state of the dead body in the grave, under the cnrse, we may 
take up in these three things. 

It is laid up there as in a prison, like a malefactor in a dungeon, 
to be kept there till the day of execution. Hence, in the language 
of the Holy Ghost, Psalm xvi. 10, hell and the grave, or the state of 
the dead, go under one and the same name; so that article of the 
creed, that " Christ descended into hell," is expounded of his con- 
tinuing in the state of the dead. Tlie bodies of the godly go to the 
grave too, but it is a place of rest to them, where they rest as in 
their bed, till the joyful morning of the resurrection, Isa. Ivii. 2. 
For death, armed with the sting, poured out all its venom on Christ, 
when it had him there, in their room and stead. So it is a hiding- 
place to them. Job xiv. 13, "Whither they are carried from the evil 
to come, Isa. Ivii. 1, and where their eyes are held from beholding 
grievousness, and an end is put to their toil, Rev. xiv. 13. But in 
scripture account it is not a place of rest to the ungodly. Remark- 
able to this purpose is that text. Job iii. 17, 18, " There the wicked 
cease from troubling ; and there the weary be at rest. There the 
prisoners rest together, they hear not the voice of the oppressor." 
There are two sorts of men spoke of here, who both go to the 
grave ; ungodly men, troublers of others, persecutors, oppressors ; 
godly men, wearied with trouble, imprisonment and oppression. The 
stale of the former in the grave is, they are laid by from doing mis- 
chief, causing their terror any longer in the land of the living ; the 
state of the latter is, they are at rest. And as great a difference 
there is betwixt the two, though one cannot discern it from the pos- 
ture of their dust, as betwixt a man asleep in his own bed, and a 
man bound hand and foot in a dungeon, Isa. Ivii. 2; 1 Sam. ii. 9; 
Psalm xxxi. 17. And it is their moval or continuance of the curse 
that makes the difference. 

2. Their sin and guilt remains on them there, and that without 
further possibility of a removal ; Job xx. 11, " His bones are full of 
the sins of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust." 
Sin is a dangerous companion in life ; one had better live in chains 
of iron, than in chains of guilt ; but happy they with whom sin parts 
when soul and body part at death. That is the lot of believers ia 


Christ, who at the Red Sea of death get the last sight of it. There 
the Lord says to the dying saint, whether he hears it or not, as 
Exod. xiv. 13, " The Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day ye shall 
see them again no more for ever," Bat the man dying under the 
curse, all his sins take a dead gripe of him never to be let go ; and 
when he lies down in the grave, they lie down with him, and they 
never part. This is not to be discerned neither in the dust, by 
bodily eyes, but it is most certain, and as it is represented in the 
glass of the word, it makes a spectacle of unspeakable horror; Neh. 
i. 14, " I will make thy grave, for thou art vile ;" like a vile, filthy, 
and loathsome thing, which one cannot endure to look at, and there 
is no cleansing of; but a hole is dug in the earth, wherein it is co- 
vered up with all its filthiness about it. When a saint dies, there 
is (so to speak) one grave made for him and another for his vileness ; 
and he is to rise again, but his vileness never to rise ; but for the 
ungodly, there is but one, when he lies down and his vileness' with 
him, both to rise together again. 

3. All the ruin brought on their bodies there, is done by virtue of 
the curse; Job xxiv. 19, ''The grave consumes those which have 
sinned." Death makes fearful havoc where it comes ; not only 
doth it separate the soul from the body ; but separates the several 
parts of the body one from another, uutil it reduce the whole into 
dust, not to be discerned by the quickest eye from common dust. 
Thus it fares with the bodies of the godly indeed, as well as the bo- 
dies of the wicked ; nevertheless great is the difference, — the curse 
working these effects in the bodies of the latter, but not of the for- 
mer, stinged death in the one, unstiuged death in the other; so all 
these effects in the one are pieces of revenging wrath for the satis- 
faction of justice; in the other not so, but like the melting down of 
the crazy silver vessel, to be cast into a new mould. 

The "Wicked shall Rise again under the Curse. 

Fifthly, They shall rise again out of their graves, at the last day, 
under the curse ; John v. 29, " They that have done evil, shall 
come forth unto the resurrection of damnation." Compare Matth. 
XXV. 41, *' Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared 
for the devil and his angels" Our Lord Jesus Christ, who became a 
curse for all his people, was carried from the cross to the grave ; but 
there the debt was fully paid, and the curse was exhausted ; the curs- 
ing law and justice had no more to exact of him ; so he was brought 
forth out of the prison of the grave, as one free person who had com- 
pletely discharged the debt which he was laid in prison for. And 
hence believers in Christ, though they fall down into the grave, as 


well a3 others ; yet they do not fall down into it under the curse, 
far less do they rise again, at the last day, under the curse. But 
the natural man having lived and died under the covenant of 
works, g-oes to the grave under the curse ; and forasmuch as all that 
comes on him, in the state of the dead, cannot satisfy completely for 
his debt, therefore as the curse remains on him all along while he is 
there, so he rises again under it. And in this doleful event three 
things may be considered : — 

1. They shall rise again out of their graves by virtue of the curse. 
This is implied in that forecited, John v. 29. "When the end of time 
is come, the last trumpet shall sound, and all that are in the graves 
shall come forth, godly and ungodly ; but the godly shall rise by 
virtue of their blessed union with Christ, Rom. viii. 11 ; the ungodly 
by virtue of the curse of the broken covenant on them. As the ma- 
lefactor is, in virtue of the sentence of death passed on him, shut up 
in close prison till the time of execution ; and in virtue of the same 
sentence brought out of prison at the time appointed for his exe- 
cution ; even so the unbeliever is, in virtue of the curse of the law 
adjudging him to eternal death in hell, laid up in the grave till the 
last day ; and, in virtue of the same curse, brought out of the grave 
at tliat day. Hence, by the bye, one may see, that there is no force 
in that arguing, viz., The separation of the soul and body was not 
the sanction of the law ; else why should the wicked be clothed with 
their bodies at the resurrection ? It is true, that separation was 
not the whole of the sanction, but it was a remai'kable part of it ; 
and there is no inconsistency in the separation and reuniting of 
Boul and body, being both comprehended in the sanction, more than 
in the laying up of the malefactor for, and bringing him forth to 
execution, being both comprehended in the sentence of death. The 
same curse that separated soul and body at death, and separated 
each part of the body from another in the grave, shall, at the time 
appointed, have another kind of effect in bringing together the scat- 
tered pieces of dust, and joining them together in one body, and 
joining it again to the soul. 

2. All their sin and guilt shall rise again with them ; the body that 
was laid in the grave, a vile body ; a foul instrument of the soul in 
divers lusts ; an unclean vessel, stained, polluted and defiled, with 
divers kinds of filthy impure lusts ; shall rise again with all its im- 
purities cleaving to it, Isa. Ixvi. 24, " They shall be an abhoring 
unto all flesh." It is the peculiar privilege of believers to have their 
" vile bodies changed," Phil. iii. 21. If the bodies of sinners be not 
cleansed by the washing with that pure water, Heb. x. 22, viz. the 
blood and Spirit of Jesus Christ ; though they be strained in never 

Vol. XI. X 


SO minute parts, through the earth in a grave, they will lose nothing 
of their vileness and pollution, it will still cleave to every part of 
their dust, and appear again therewith at the resurrection. Then 
s'jall they get a new and horrible sight of the use they made of their 
tongues in profane swearing, cursing, mocking at religion, lying, re- 
proaching, cruel and unjust threatenings, &c., in undue silence, when 
God's honour, their own soul's interest, and their neighbour's good, 
required them to speak ; of the use they made of their bellies, in 
gluttony, and drunkenness, and pampering of the flesh ; of their 
bodies, in uncleanness, lasciviousness, and wantonness ; of their 
hands, in pilfering, stealing, unjust beating and abusing their fellow- 
creatures, immoderately busying them in the things of this life, to 
the neglect of their souls ; in a word, of the use they made of their 
whole body, and every member thereof ; with the qualities and 
endowments thereof, its youth, beauty, comeliness, health, and 
strength ; together with the memorials of dying put into their hands, 
as hurts, wounds, weakness, sickness, old age ; all of them to have 
been improved for God, the good of mankind, and their own eternal 
welfare. 0, if men could look upon these things now, as then they 
will appear, the sweet morsel of sin would be accounted as the poison 
of asps. 

3. Their appearance will be frightful and horrible beyond expres- 
sion, when they come forth of their graves under the curse, and set 
their feet on the earth again. When, at the sound of the trumpet, 
the dead shall all arise out of their graves, and the wicked are cast 
forth as abominable branches, what a fearful awakening will they 
have out of their long sleep ! When they get another sight of this 
eai-th, upon which they led their ungodly lives ; see their godly 
neighbours taken out from among them in the same spot of ground 
where they all lay, and carried away with joy to meet the Lord in 
the air ; and when they see the Judge come to the judgment of the 
great day, in awful state ; and they are going forward to appear be- 
fore his tribunal ; no appearance of malefactors going, under a 
guard, to the place of execution ; no case of a besieged city taken, 
and soldiers burning and slaying, and the inhabitants running and 
crying for fear of the sword ; can sufficiently represent the frightful 
appearance which men risen again at the last day, under the curse, 
will make. What ghastly visages will they then have ! How will 
the now fairest ungodly faces be black as a coal, through extreme 
terror, anguish, and perplexity ! How will they shiver, tremble, 
their knees smite one against another, and their hearts be pierced as 
with arrows, while they see the doleful day they would not believe ! 
what roarings and yellings, and hideous noise will then be amongst 


the innumerable crowd of tlie ungodly, driven forward to the tribu- 
nal as beasts to the slaughter? What " crying to the rocks and 
the mountains to fall on them, and hide them from the face of the 
Lamb," but all in vain ! Rev. vi. 16, !?• Then will the weight of the 
curse be felt to purpose, how lightly soever men now walk under it. 

The Wicked appear before Christ's Tribunal under the Curse. 

Sixthly, They shall appear before the tribunal of Christ under the 
curse, like a malefactor in chains before his judge, Matth. xxv. 41. 
All must appear there, great and small, good and bad ; none shall 
be araissing ; Rom. xiv. 10, " We shall all stand before the judgment 
seat of Christ." But they who now receive the blessing through 
faith shall be in no hazard of the curse then or there. But it is 
not possible, that those who lived and died under the curse, should 
not have it upon them before that tribunal ; for after death there is 
no removing of it. The fearful state of those under the curse before 
that judgment-seat may be viewed in these particulars. 

1. In virtue of the curse they shall be set on the left hand, Matth. 
XXV. 33. No honour is designed for them, but shame and everlast- 
ing contempt ; no sentence, but what will fix them in an unalterable 
state of misery ; so no access for them to the right hand amongst 
the blessed, but they must be ranged together on the left hand as a 
company of cursed ones. 

2. The face of the judge must needs be terrible to them, as being 
under the curse of him who sits upon the throne, Rev. vi. 16, 17. 
When they see him, they shall know him to be he, who with his 
Father and the Holy Spirit gave that law which they transgressed, 
made that covenant which they broke, whose voice the curse of the 
law against transgressors was and is ; the which must needs take 
effect in their everlasting ruin, by reason of his justice, holiness, aud 
truth. And he will be in a special manner terrible to such as had 
the gospel offer made to them, aud the more terrible, the more plain- 
ly, affectionately, and powerfully it was pressed on ihera to accept 
it. how will it strike them as a dart, when ihey look towards 
the throne, thinking with themselves, Lo there he sits to judge me 
now, and destroy me, who so often made offer of life and salvation 
to me by his messengers, which I slighted ! I might through hira 
have obtained the blessing, but now I stand trembling uuder the 
weight of the curse. The despised Lamb of God is turned into a 
lion against me. Consider this, sinners, while God is on a throne 
of grace for you ; lest it be taken down, and a tribunal of pure 
justice be set up for you. 

3. To clear the equity of the curse, aud the execution thereof upon 
them, their " works shall be brought into judgment," Eccl. xii. 14. 



Their whole life shall be searched into, and laid to the rule of the 
holy law, and the enormity and sinfulness thereof be discovered. 
Their corrupt nature, with all the malignity and venom against the 
rule of righteousness, shall be laid open. Their sins shall be set in 
the light of God's countenance, in such full tale, that they shall see 
God is true to his word and oath, that he would not forget any of 
their works. The mask will then be entirely taken off their faces, 
and all their pretences to piety solemnly rejected, and declared to 
have been but hypocrisy. Their secret wickedness, which they re- 
joiced to have got hid, and which they so artfully managed, that 
there was no discovering of it while they might have confessed and 
found mercy, shall then be set in broad day light before God and 
the world when there is no remedy. Conscience shall then be no 
more blind nor dumb; but shall witness against them and for God ; 
and shall never be silent any more. The sin and misery brought 
upon others by their ungodly courses, taking effect when they them- 
selves were gone out of the world, shall then be pursued in all their 
breadth and length, laid to their charge, and proved against them ; 
and so the account of their debt to the divine justice shall be fully 
stated at that day. 

4. Their doom shall be pronounced ; Matth. xxv. 41, " Depart 
from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and 
his angels." Thus shall they receive their final sentence, never to 
hear more from the mouth of him that sits upon the throne. This 
determines the full execution of the curse on the whole man, soul 
and body together. The godly shall get their final sentence too; but, 
! the vast difference betwixt " Come ye blessed," and " Depart ye 
cursed." The unspeakable happiness of the saints in heaven, and 
the unspeakable misery of the damned in hell, will shew the difi'e- 
rence. But the weight of both lies, you see, in the state of the par- 
ties, as under the blessing, or under the curse. There is the turning 
point in respect of one's eternal state. 

This World shall be Burnt with Fire. 

Seventhly, As they shall be, by virtue of the curse now to be fully 
executed, driven from the judgment-seat into hell ; so, in virtue of 
the same curse of the broken covenant of works, this world shall go 
up in flames, and so have an end put to it; 2 Pet. iii. 10, "The 
heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall 
melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are there- 
in shall be burnt up." When sin got place in the earth by the 
breach of the covenant, the curse was laid upon it, and the founda- 
tions thereof were as it were shaken ; by its relation to man, it came 


vr'ithin the compass of the curse for his sin, and so was devoted to 
destruction, which shall then take its full effect. Yea, the whole 
frame of the creation, having relation to sinful man, was blasted for 
his sake, being made '' subject to vanity," Rom. viii. 20, 21. And 
so the heaven, which because it is over the head of the covenant 
breaker, is therefore now sometimes made brass, shall, upon the 
same account, then pass away with a great noise ; even as the earth, 
whidi is sometimes made iron, because it is under him, shall then be 
burnt up, Deut. xxviii. 2^, with 2 Pet. iii. 10, just quoted. So the 
curse is a train laid in the bowels of the creation, which now and 
then gives it terrible shocks, but will at last blow all up together. 
And when once it has done that, and so put an end to this stage of 
vanity and wickedness ; all the effects of it that now lie scattered 
through the creation, shall be gathered together and cast into the 
place of the damned (Rev. xx, 14, 15,) with them ; so that though 
death and misery are everywhere to be found now, it shall be no 
where then but in that one place ; and all that goes under the name 
©f death shall be in that place. The weight comprehended in the curse 
lies now on many backs, and so is the more easily borne ; but then 
it shall all lie on the backs of the men of the Lord' curse, and on 
theirs only; and so shall they feel the full weight of it. 

The Wicked shall lie for ever under the weight of the Curse in hell. 

Eighthly^ They shall lie for ever under the weight of the curse in 
hell, on soul and body together; Matth. xxv. 41, " Depart from me, 
ye cursed, into everlasting fire." Here is their misery completed, 
here is the full execution of the curse. The curse was big with 
wrath,; indignation, and fury of a holy, jealous, just God, against 
sin, and sinners for sin, ever since it first entered, upon the breach 
of the covenant ; and it has since that time still been bringing forth, 
yet there has likewise still been some allay in it, and the storm of 
wrath has not yet come to the height. While men, even the men of 
the Lord's curse, live in this world, much patience is exercised to- 
wards them, and partly through the slenderness of the strokes laid 
on them, partly through their insensibleness, and partly through the 
mixture of mercy in their cup, they make a shift to live at some 
ease ; and if their ease be at any time disturbed, yet they ordinarily, 
though uot always, find some means to recover it ; and even while 
their souls are in hell, during the time betwixt their death and the 
last judgment, their bodies lie at ease in the grave; so but the one 
half of the man is in torment, and a part of him is easy, without 
any sense or feeling of the least annoyance. But when once the 
dead are raised again, and the men of the curse have got their last 


sentence, and time is absolutely at an end, tlie mystery of God finish- 
ed, and a quite new state of the creation brought in, to wit, the eter- 
nal state ; then shall the curse bring forth the threatened death in 
its full strength and force on the undischarged coveuant-breakera ; 
and as Christ, standing surety for the elect, knew by his experience 
so shall the men of the curse know by their experience, what was 
within the compass of the threatening of the covenant of works; 
Gen. ii. 17, *' In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely 
die." Many a commentary has heaven wrote upon it unto men, in 
flaming fire, in blood and gore, in sighs, groans, and swooning of the 
whole creation ; but never a full one yet, excepting in the sufferings 
of the Son of God on the cross. The elect of God get their eyes 
opened to read that, and so they make haste and escape out of the 
dominion of that covenant to which the curse belongs ; but the rest 
are blinded, they cannot read it there. But God will write another 
full commentary on it after the last judgment, whence all the men 
of the Lord's curse shall, in their horrible experience, learn what 
was in it, namely, in the threatening of the covenant of works. The 
dregs of the cup of the curse shall then be brought above, and they 
shall drink them. 

1. In virtue of the curse, the pit, having received them, shall close 
its mouth on them. A fearful emblem of this we have, Numb. xvi. 
32, 33, in the case of Korah and his company ; " And the earth 
opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all 
the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, 
and all that appertained to them went down alive into the pit, and 
the earth closed upon them." Compare that threatening. Psalm xxi. 
9, " Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger, 
the Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall de- 
vour them." They shall be cast into the lake of fire, as death and 
hell are, to be shut up there without coming forth again any more, 
Rev. XX. 14, 15. By the force of the curse upon them, they shall 
be confined in the place allotted for damned men and devils. It 
shall so draw the bars of the pit about them, that sooner shall they 
remove mountains of brass than remove them. It shall be stronger 
than chains of iron to bind them hand and foot that they make no 
escape, Matth. xxii. 13, yea and to bind them in bundles for the fire 
of God's wrath, that companions in sin maybe companions in punish- 
ment, Matth. xiii. 30. 

2. The curse shall shall then be like a partition wall of adamant, 
to separate them quite from God, and any the least comfortable in- 
tercourse with him, Matth. xxv. 41. While on the other side of the 
wall the light of glory shines, more bright than a thousand suns, 



filling the saints with joy unspeakable, and which we cannot com 
prehend, and causing the arch of heaven to ring with their songs of 
praise ; on their side is nothing but utter darkness, without the 
least gleam of light; and there shall be weeping, wailing, and gnash- 
ing of teeth. For why, God himself is the only true happiness of 
the creature, and Christ the only way to the Father ; but then there 
is a total and final separation betwixt God and Christ, and them. 
The day of the Lamb's wrath is come, all possibility of reconciliation 
is removed, and patience towards them is quite ended, and the curse 
hath its full stroke ; so God, the fountain of all good, departs quite 
from them, abandons them, casts them oif utterly, and that moment 
all the streams of goodness towards them dry up, and their candle 
is quite extinguished. Then shall be known what is in that word, 
Hos. ix. 12, " Wo to them when I depart from them." And then 
there is no getting over the wall, no passing of the great gulf for 
ever, Luke xvi. 26. 

3. It shall hence be a final stop to all sanctifying influences to- 
wards them. While they are in this world, there is a possibility of 
removing the curse, and that the worst of men may be made holy ; 
but when there is a total and final separation from God in hell, 
surely there are no sanctifying influences there. The corrupt na- 
ture they carried with them thither, must then abide with them 
there ; and they must needs act there, since their being is continued ; 
and a corrupt nature will ever act corruptly, while it acts at all, 
Matth. vii. 17. And therefore there will be sin in hell after the last 
judgment, unless one will suppose that they will be under no law 
there ; which is absurd, seeing a creature, as a creature, owes obe- 
dience to God in what state soever it be. Yea, they will sin there 
at a horrible rate, in blasphemies against God, and other sins akin 
thereto, as men absolutely void of all goodness, in a desperate stAte 
of misery, Rev. xiv. uU. ; Matth. xxii. 13. The curse will be a dry 
wind, not to fan nor to cleanse, but to wither, blast, and kill their 

4 It shall be the breath that shall blow the fire continually, and 
keep it burning, for their exquisite torment in soul and body ; Isa. xxx. 
33, " For Tophet is ordained of old : yea, for the king it is prepared : 
he hath made it deep and large ; the pile thereof is fire and much 
wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth 
kiudle it." There the worm which shall gnaw them, shall never die, 
for the curse will keep it in life ; the fire that shall burn them shall 
never be quenched, for the curse shall nourish it, and be as bellows 
blowing it, to cause it flame without intermission. The curse shall 
enter into their souls, and melt them like wax before the fire ; it 


shall sink into tlieir flesh and bones, like boiling lead, and torment 
them in every part. It will stake them down there as marks for the 
arrows of God, which, dipt in the poison of the curse, shall be con- 
tinually piercing them and burning them up. No pity, no compas- 
sion to be shewn any more, but the fire-balls of the curse will be 
flying against them incessantly; Rev. xiv. 11, " The smoke of their 
torment ascendeth np for ever and ever : and they have no rest day 
nor night.'* 

5. Lastly', The curse shall lengthen out their misery to all eter- 
nity; Matth. XXV. 41, "Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire." 
It binds the sinner to make complete and full satisfaction, for all 
the wrongs he has done to the honour of an infinite God ; it binds 
him to pay till there be a sufiicient compensation made for them all. 
Now, there being no proportion betwixt finite and infinite, the finite 
creature can never, by its suff"erings, expiate its crimes against an 
infinite God. Hence, when the sinner has suffered millions of ages 
in hell, the curse still binds him down to sufi'er more, because he 
lias not yet fully satisfied ; and since he can never fully satisfy, it 
\\i\\ bind him down for ever and ever. Rev. xiv. 11, and will bring 
new floods of wrath over his head ; and renew its demands of satisfac- 
tion through the ages of eternity, but never, never say, It is enough. 

Thus have I endeavoured to open np unto you th« nature of the curse 
of the broken covenant of works, and the dreadful condition of those 
under it, in this life, and after this life. But after all, who knows 
the power of God's wrath ? No tongue can tell what the frightful 
experience of those who live and die under it, shall teach them. 
But thus much may sufiice to have shewn you the misery of being 
under the covenant of works. 

Application of the doctrine, That natural men being under the bro- 
ken Covenant of Works are under the curse. 

This doctrine shall be improved in two practical uses ; for convic- 
tion and for exhortation. 

Use I. Of conviction. What has been said on this awful subject 
may serve to fix convictions in the consciences both of saints and 

Fh-st, Saints, who are brought from under this covenant, delivered 
from it and the curse thereof by Jesus Christ, view this curse in the 
nature and weight, the length and breadth of it ; and say in your 
hearts before the Lord, 

1. Do ye suitably prize and esteem your God, Redeemer and Sa- 
viour ? Are your hearts suitably afi"ected with the love of God in 
Christ, that set on foot your deliverance, and brought it about ? 


Ah ! this consideration may afford us a breast full of convictions. 
What manner of love was this, that the Father did choose you from 
among the cursed children of Adam to inherit the blessing ? that 
the Son died for you, to redeem you from the curse ? that the 
Holy Ghost applied to you the purchase of Christ's death, to the 
actual removing of this curse from off you ? where is that love, 
that warm, glowing love to the Lord, that this requires ! The Fa- 
ther's love to you while under the curse, moved him to make his 
Son to be sin for you, who knew no sin, that you might be made 
the righteousness of God in him. Christ's love to you made him be- 
come a curse for yon, and drink the dregs of that cup, which ye 
should have drank through eternity in hell. The Spirit's love to 
you made him watch the moment appointed for your deliverance, 
and bring you out with a strong hand from the dominion of the law, 
and transport you into the dominion of grace, where there is no 
more curse. look back to the dreadful curse which ye were un- 
der; look up to the love in delivering of you; keep one eye upon 
the one, and another eye upon the other, till these cold hearts of 
yours warm with love. 

2. Do ye suitably prize the new covenant, the second covenant ? 
Do ye pry into the mystery of the glorious contrivance, stand and 
wonder at the device for bringing cursed sinners to inherit the bless- 
ing ? "Would it not become you well to be often looking into it, 
and saying, " This is all my salvation, and all my desire ?" 2 Sam. 
xxiii. 5. Ah ! why have we not higher and more honourable 
thoughts of the covenant of grace, of the Second Adam, the Head, 
Surety, and Messenger of the covenant, of the gospel, the proclama- 
tion of the covenant, the Bible the book of the covenant) the pro- 
mises of the covenant, the matchless privileges of the covenant, and 
even of the public criers of the covenant too? Isa. lii. 7. To help 
you to this, lay the volume of the two covenants before you ; open 
and read the covenant of works in the first place, where you will find 
nothing butdemandsof perfect obedience under the pain of the curse ; 
a promise of life upon conditions impossible to be performed by you, 
but the curse, wrath, death, hell, and damnation to the sinner. Then 
turn over to the covenant of grace, and read life and salvation 
through Jesus Christ by faith ; no curse, death, hell, damnation, nor 
revenging wrath ; all these discharged by the Surety. And so raise 
your esteem of the new covenant in Christ's blood, 

3. Do ye walk answerably to the deliverance from this curse ? 
Ah ! may not that be applied justly to us; Deut. xxxii. 6, "Do ye 
thus requite the Lord, foolish people and unwise ? is not he thy 
Father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and estab- 


lisbed thee ?" Obedience to all the ten commands is bound on all 
under the covenant of works, under the pain of the curse, 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." Obedience to them all 
is bound on believers too, but by another tie, viz. the tie of their de- 
liverance from the curse, by their God-Redeemer ; Exod. xx. 2, " I 
am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of 
Egypt," &c. And this, and not the former, is the way in which the 
law of the ten commands gets any acceptable obedience, 1 Tim. i. 5, 
from sinful man. look to the curse of the covenant of works, 
from which ye are delivered, and be convinced and humbled to the 
very dust, 

(1.) That ye should walk so untenderly, unwatchfully, and uncir- 
cumspectly, before the Lord that bought you, and that in the midst 
of cursed children, a crooked and perverse generation. What can 
more strike a nail to the heart of a gracious person, than when the 
Spirit of the Lord whispers into his soul, " 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 ?" Jer. ii. 31. And, " Is tliis 
your kindness to your friend ?" Is that yonr compassion to the 
world lying in wickedness, to cast a stumbling-block before the 
blind? You speak, you act untenderly; is that the use of the 
tongue redeemed from the curse ? Is that the use of the eyes, hands, 
and feet, body and soul, delivered from the curse of the broken co- 
venant ? I think, that a believer looking to the cross should say, 
and abide by it, " To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain," Phil. 

(2.) That ye should so dote upon this earth, this cursed earth, 
that the curse of the broken covenant of works has lain upon these 
five thousand years, and has sucked the sap out of, and so dried up 
by this time, that it is near to taking fire, and to be burnt to ashes, 
by virtue of the curse upon it. Let the men of the Lord's curse, 
who have their portion in it, set their hearts upon it, go upon their 
belly, and lick the dust, (it is no wonder they cannot get up their 
back, on whom the heavy curse of the broken covenant lies) ; but 
lift ye up your souls unto the Lord, and hearken to his voice ; Cant, 
iv. 8, " Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Le- 
banon ; look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Her- 
man, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards." 

(3.) That ye should perform duties so heartlessly, coldly, and in- 
diflFerently ; with so little faith, love, fervency, humility, zeal, and 
confidence. look to the curse of the broken covenant, with the 
efifects of it in earth and hell, that ye may be stirred up to the per- 


formance of duty after another manner. I mean not tliat ye should 
look upon it as what ye are actually liable to in case of transgres- 
sioa ; for this to a believer, who is never free from sin one moment, 
may well make his heart die in him like a stone ; it will never 
kindly quicken him ; if may well drag or drive him to his duty, like 
a slave ; it will never cause him perform it like a son ; but look 
upon it as what ye are delivered from, and that will draw, melt> 
and kindly quicken the heart in love, Eph. ii. 11 — 13 ; Luke i. 74» 
75. Deliverance from wrath is the most powerful motive to obe- 

(4.) That ye should bear your troubles and trials so impatiently, 
as if your crosses were so many curses. Look to the condition of 
those under the curse in this world, and you will see your heaviest 
cross is lighter than their smallest ones, which have the weight of 
the curse in them, that yours have not, however you cry out under 
their weight ; yea your adversity is better than their prosperity ; 
the frowns of providence you meet with, are preferable to the smiles 
of providence in their lot ; there is no curse in the former, but in 
the latter there is. Look to the condition of those under the curse 
in hell ; and that duly considered, ye will kiss the rod, and say, " It 
is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his com- 
passions fail not," Lam. iii. 22. Look how Christ redeemed us from 
the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, and you will see the 
poison taken out of the cup, and the pure water of affliction pre- 
sented to you in your cup to pledge him in ; and why not drink it, 
and drink it thankfully ? Bear the cross for him, and take blows 
and buflFetings for his sake, and from him for our own good, who has 
borne away the curse. 

4. Have ye due thoughts of the evil of sin ? Is your horror of it 
suitably raised ? Rom. xii. 9, " Abhor that which is evil," abhor it 
as hell, so the word may bear. If you duly consider the curse, it 
may fill you with shame and blushing on this head. There is much 
blindness in the minds of believers, much hardness in their hearts, 
and coldness in their affections with respect to spiritual things. 
The lively sense of the evil of sin is often very small. We dare not 
own believers to be yet liable to the curse, Christ having, with his 
precious blood applied to them by faith, freed them from it; but it is of 
great and necessary use to them as a looking-glass, wherein they may 
see the evil of sin, the due demerit of it, what their sins do in them- 
selves deserve, what Christ suffered for these sins of theirs, and what 
they should have suffered for them, if Christ had not suffered it in 
their stead. Trace the curse in its effects in this life, and after this 
life, as they have been represented to you ; so will you see God's 


high indignation against sin, the infinite eril that is in the least 
transgression of the holy law. Behold it in this glass, and you 
shall conceive a horror of it; and be ashamed that you have enter- 
tained so slight thoughts of it. 

5. Lastly, Are ye duly affected with the case of those who, being 
strangers to Christ, are yet under the curse ? Are ye at due pains 
for their recovery and deliverance ? How natural is it for men, 
"who with difficulty have escaped the greatest danger, to be affected 
with the case of others who are still in the same danger, in hazard 
of perishing? But though multitudes are under the curse still, and, 
it may be, some such as we have a peculiar interest in ; yet where is 
the due care, compassion, and concern for them, that they may be 
delivered ? They are not concerned for themselves, because they 
have not yet got a broad view of their hazard; but why are not 
such concerned for them, as have had their eyes opened in their own 
case. Sure the case of all men by nature is alike, and therefore the 
past danger of believers gives a clear view of the present danger of 
unbelievers, unless it be out of mind with them, which it should not 
be, that once they were " without Christ, being aliens from the com- 
monwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, 
having no hope, and without God in the world," Eph. ii. 12. The 
apostle's experience of the terror of the Lord stirred him up to per- 
suade others to flee from the curse, 2 Cor. v. 11 ; and it well becomes 
others, who are themselves as brands plucked out of the burning, to 
act with that concern in the case of others, pulling them out of the 
fire, Jude ver. 23, and to mourn for the case of those who continue 
insensible of their danger, as our blessed Redeemer did in the case 
of Jerusalem, Luke xix. 41, 42. 

Secondly, Sinners, ye who are under the broken covenant of works 
still, not united to Christ by faith, and savingly interested in the 
covenant of grace, but living yet in your natural unregenerate state, 
ye may hence be convinced, 

1. That ye are under the curse ; ye are they who are the people 
of the Lord's curse, under the sentence of the law, actually binding 
you over to destruction. Ye are they who by breaking of the ori- 
ginal contract have fallen under the penalty, and are decerned in 
the court of heaven to pay it. Against you, as transgressors of the 
law, is the sentence passed according to the threatening, Gen. ii. 17, 
" In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." 
Against you, and every one of you in particular, is the curse de- 
nounced. So the condition of those under the curse, is your condi- 
tion in particular ; and what such are liable to, you are liable to ; 
for your name is in the black roll of the people of the curse, of those 



appointed to death, and devoted to destruction, in virtue of the 
curse of the broken covenant of works. 

Sirs, admit the conviction, and go not about to bless yourselves 
in your own hearts, putting the thoughts of being under the curse 
far away from you. There is light enough here to convince your 
consciences in that point, if ye will not shut your eyes against clear 
light. All who are under the broken covenant of works are under 
the curse, but you are under that covenant ; therefore you are under 
the curse. If you be not under that covenant, where is your dis- 
charge from it ? The believer's discharge may be read ; Rom. viii. 
1, " There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in 
Christ Jesus." Chap. vii. 4, " Ye are become dead to the law by 
the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another." But 
where is yours ? The unbeliever's discharge is nowhere to be found. 
It is past dispute that covenant is broken, and that being broken it 
curseth the breakers ; it is undeniable that you are breakers of it, 
and therefore you must be under the curse. 

It is your interest to admit this conviction. What will it avail 
you to bless yourselves in your own hearts, when God himself in his 
holy law denounces the curse against you ? It is not by the sentence 
you pass on yourselves that you must stand or fall, but by the sen- 
tence God passeth on you in his word. Nay, men's blessing them- 
selves, against whom God denounceth the curse, does but the more 
expose them to the evils contained in the curse, coming on them 
speedily and furiously ; Deut. xxix. 19,20, ''And it come to pass, 
M'hen 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 my 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 
heaven." The admitting of this conviction is among the first steps 
to a delivery ; and there would be good hopes of one's obtaining of 
the blessing of the gospel at length, if he were once soundly con- 
vinced of his being under the curse of the law. And therefore the 
curse is preached, not that sinners may perish under it, but that 
they, seeing themselves under it, may stir up themselves to make 
their escape. The law does its work to prepare sinners for Christ, 
convincing them of sin, that they are sinners ; convincing them of 
their misery, that they are under the curse ; and they that never yet 
saw themselves under the curse, give a shrewd sign that they were 
never yet brought from under it. But when once a sinner sees him- 
self concluded under the curse of the law, then he is in a fair way 


to prize Christ and the blessing of the gospel, and to get himself 
carefully to inquire what course he should take to be saved. And 
the believing of the curse of the law with a particular application 
to one's self, must necessarily go before the so believing the promise 
of the gospel indeed. 

"Why should it seem strange in your eyes, who yet are not truly 
nnited to Christ by faith, that you should be under the curse of the 
broken covenant of works ? that is the common case of all mankind by 
nature; and the deliverance from under it befals no man in a morning 
dream. And sure it is that most men have never been much in pain 
to get rid of it ; and some there are who, striving to get clear of it 
in a legal way, have but wreathed that yoke faster about their own 
necks. Do not you know that Christ himself, as the elect's surety, 
was made a curse ? How could that be if they themselves had not 
been under it, and likewise unable to bear it so as to exhaust it? 
Now, there is no saving interest in his purchase, till once the 
soul is brought to Christ by faith, and united to hira ; which you are 

It is very consistent with the mercy of God, to lay unbelievers under 
the curse ; for his mercy can never act in prejudice of his exact justice. 
The covenant being made with Adam for all mankind, the curse be- 
hoved to fall on the breakers according to the threatening, by virtue 
of the truth and justice of God, But mercy indeed has a way made 
for it towards the miserable under the curse, inasmuch as the prison- 
ers are made prisoners of hope, by having deliverance from the curse 
proclaimed to them in the gospel ; the which may be actually con- 
veyed to them in the way of God's own appointment ; namely the 
cursed sinner's believing on the name of Christ. But what need 
were there of either purchasing or proclaiming it to you, if you were 
not under it? 

Think not that you cannot be under the curse, because God has 
done much for you, has given you many blessings, as health, strength, 
wit, wealth, and prosperity in the world ; or because he has wrought 
many wonderful deliverances for you, has brought you from a low 
and mean estate to a high one, and mightily increased you in out- 
ward comforts and enjoyments. Remember it, and consider well, 
that all these are but left-hand blessings, which one may have pour- 
ed in upon him in abundance, and yet be under the curse, and they 
be cursed to him ; Mai. ii. 2, " I will send a curse upon you, and I 
will curse your blessings ; yea, I have cursed them already." Neither 
think, that because you are poot and mean in the world, have a 
hard and afflicted lot therein, that therefore you are certainly pos- 
sessed of God's blessing and not under the curse. Nay, these things 


are in their own nature effects of the curse, and so they are in very 
deed to all who are not in Christ, but under the first covenant ; and 
the curse may and doth pursue men in this world, as well as in the 
■world to come ; and one may be very miserable in this life and in 
the other too, by virtue of the curse. Neither deceive yourselves in 
this matter, with external privileges which you do enjoy Jn the 
fellowship of the church. You may be set down at the table of gos- 
pel ordinances there, and yet be under the curse, Rom. xi. 9, and by 
virtue thereof, none of these things doing your souls good. 

Wherefore, young sinners and old sinuers, yet in your natural 
unconverted state, be convinced that ye are under the curse which 
has been described. Lay the matter to heart ; what the law saith 
to them that are under it, it says to you ; take it home then to your- 
selves, and believe you are under the curse. 

2. Be convinced llint ye are in a very miserable condition, being 
tinder the curse ; Eph. ii. 3, " By nature the children of wrath." 
"Whatever your outward lot in the world is, your condition is dread- 
ful in this respect. If you had Samson's strength, Absalom's beauty, 
Solomon's wit and wealth, and Methuselah's long life-time to enjoy 
them in, your case is miserable beyond expression, being under the 
curse of the broken covenant of works. The case of a devoted per- 
son, loaded with the curses of a city or country, and so put to death, 
was lamentable ; but whosoever thou art who art under this cove- 
nant, and so under the curse, thou hast the curse of the Lord of hea- 
ven and earth upon thee, binding thee over to eternal destruction, 
and so art in a thousand times worse case. Your loss is unspeak- 
able, and the whole world cannot compensate it ; namely, the loss 
of God's favour. This burthen is insupportable ; for there is that 
weight in this curse which will sink thee for ever, though now, per- 
haps, thou feelest it not. The curse binds thee to the payment of a 
debt to revenging justice, which thou wilt never be able to discharge. 
You have heard your miserable condition under the curse at large. 

To sum it up in a few words ; your condition is miserable here, 
and will be more miserable hereafter, if you die as you now live. 
In this world, the cloud of wrath hangs over your head, and the 
small rain of God's indignation is continually falling upon you ; in 
the world to come, the full shower will fall, the floods of wrath will 
break out and overwhelm you. Your life hangs in doubt every day ; 
and as you live in the most dangerous circumstances, exposed with- 
out any covert to the arrows of wrath ; so you are not ready to die. 
On this side death you are in the midst of your armed enemies, and 
on the other side death you fall into the hands of the living God. 
lay to heart your misery ere it be too late. 


Refuse not to admit the conviction of the great misery of your 
condition, because you do not feel yourself so miserable. Remem- 
ber, that it is not your feeling, but God's word of truth, which can 
determine you happy or miserable. The judgment of God is always 
according to truth ; and if you will carry your case to the word, you 
will see it a most deplorable case ; view it in the glass of the holy 
broken law which you are under, and you must needs be affected 
with the horror of it ; " For as many as are of the works of the law 
are under the curse." You read, you hear the law, with its ter- 
rible sentence against the breakers, its fearful curses and denuncia- 
tions of wrath ; but do you apply them to yourselves ? Nay, you 
entertain them as if they did not concern you, nor were directed to 
you ; and if at any time they are like to take hold of you, and grip 
your consciences, you flee from them, and labour to divert your minds 
from such thoughts. But remember, " what things soever the law 
snith, it saith to them who are under the law ;" and consequently it 
saith them to you, as if your name were expressed in what it saith. 
And if the law speaks to you indeed, it will have its efi^ect on you, 
however you may persuade yourself it means not concerning you. 

What though you do not feel your misery ? Many think them- 
selves in good case, who in very deed are in a most miserable and 
wretched condition, as it fared with Laodicea, Rev. iii. 17. They 
entertain themselves with dreams of happiness, while ruin abides 
them ; think themselves safe, while they are in the utmost hazard. 
Nay, there are many who are so far gone under the curse, that they 
are past feeling, Eph. iv. 19. Neither the sinfulness nor misery of 
their souls gives them any distress, anxiety, or perplexity of mind. 
And that is a case miserable to a degree, inasmuch as it is so far a 
hopeless case. 

But why are ye not sensible of your miserable case ? Though ye 
feel not the weight of it upon you for the present, yea though ye 
have all ease and prosperity in the world, being neither under 
trouble of body nor mind, nor any disaster in your aflfairs ; yet ye 
ought to remember, that the curse works by silent strokes, as well 
as by tormenting plagues, as ye have heard ; yea, and that the most 
terrible workings of the curse are awaiting the people of the curse, 
on the other side death. Surely then ye have reason to believe, and 
be convinced, that your state is most miserable, though for the pre- 
sent you feel not the weight of it ; for the curse, working like a moth, 
insensibly, makes a ruinous condition, in which the breaking will at 
length come suddenly at an instant ; and they must needs be in a state 
of unspeakable misery, whom eternal destruction from the presence 
of the Lord is abiding, ready to seize them at the time appointed. 


Wherefore believe the doctrine of the law, concerning the curse, 
and tlie misery of sinners under it ; believe it with application to 
yourselves. Believe it upon the testimony of God, who is truth 
itself; believe it, because God has said it, though perhaps you do 
not feel it; so shall you come to be duly aiFected with it, and by 
that means be stirred up to a concern to be saved from it, which 
would be a promising step towards a recovery. 

3. Be convinced, that your case is desperately sinful while you are 
under that covenant. While sin remains, the root of misery re- 
mains, which will spring up ; the fountain abides, which will cast 
forth waters of bitterness ; and it must and will remain in its 
strength while ye are under that covenant; because, being under 
that covenant, ye are under the curse. Hence says the apostle, 
1 Cor. sv. 56, " The strength of sin is the law." While the lav:, 
as the covenant of works, then, hath power over a man, sin will 
have its strength in him, which he can by no means break. While 
ye are under that covenant, and so under the curse, 

(1.) The guilt of your sin lies on you, the guilt of eternal wrath ; 
and it cannot be removed. The curse stakes you down under that 
guilt, it binds it upon you as with bands of iron and brass, that it 
is not possible you should ever get up your head, while the curse 
is on it ; and the curse will be upon it as long as ye are under that 
covenant, Gal. iii. 10. The covenant in the threatening of it said, 
If man sin, he shall die ; and so sinning he contracted the guilt of 
death, he came under debt to vindictive justice. The curse of the 
covenant says, The sinner must die, he must pay his debt to the ut- 
most farthing, he cannot be freed from it without full payment. 
This you cannot do. The justice and truth of God confirm the curse 
of the law on the sinner, that it cannot be balked without an impu- 
tation of dishonour on them. And since it is not posssible for you 
to make full satisfaction, and so to exhaust the curse, no, not through 
the ages of eternity ; it is evident, that the curse does inviolably 
bind the guilt of your sin on you, so that while the fortuer remains 
on you, the latter is immoveable. 

Now consider that ye were born sinners under this covenant, and 
so born under the curse of it ; and that the law is most extensive, 
both as to parts and degrees of obedience, and so condemns every- 
thing you do, because you do nothing in the perfection which it re- 
quires. Hence your sins are innumerable, your several pieces of 
guilt are past reckoning, and you are every day adding to the ac- 
count; but in the meantime the account never suiFers any diminu- 
tion. The state of a sinner under the curse is an unfathomable 
gulf, into which the waters are continually running, but not the least 

Vol. XI. Y 


drop goes out from it again. New guilt is still added, but nothing 
of the old or new guilt is removed; the curse lets in more, but it 
lets none out ; all is sealed up under the curse, from your sin in 
the womb, till your sin of this minute. 

Ye will say, God forbid ! Surely he is a merciful God. I have 
been troubled about ray sins, and I have repented of them, and 
begged forgiveness, and I hope he has pardoned me ; and T hope to 
do the same for the time to come, and he will pardon me still. 
Answek. Not to speak here of what repentance can be found in one 
lying under the curse of the first covenant, ye should take notice, 
that you being still under the covenant of works, God deals with 
you in the way of that covenant, and that covenant admits of no 
pardon to them who are under it. Acts xiii. 39. For a pardon un- 
der that covenant would render the threatening and curse of it vain, 
and of no effect ; and so fasten a blot and stain on the truth and 
justice of God, and would indeed quite overturn that covenant, and 
leave it as little regarded by God himself, as it has been by the 
sinner. Indeed, if you can bear the curse, so as, by your suffering 
what it binds on you, to exhaust it, and fully satisfy justice ; then 
your crime is expiated, and even in the way of that covenant God 
and you are friends again ; but that is as impossible for you, as to 
lift the whole fabric of heaven and earth out of its place. The 
truth is, nothing can procure you the pardon of one sin, but what 
can remove the curse ; while you are under that covenant, you 
have no saving interest in the blood of Christ, so the curse is not 
taken off you thereby ; and certain it is, that your repentance and 
begging forgiveness can never remove the curse from off you, for 
they can never be a full satisfaction to offended justice. And there- 
fore, notwithstanding your pretended repenting and begging pardon, 
your guilt still remains; there is no pardon in the case; though 
your guilt is forgotten by you, it is remembered of God still, and is 
written before him as with a pen of iron, and the point of a diamond. 

(2.) Sin has a reigning power over you ; and it neiiher is nor can 
be broken, you continuing under that covenant, Rom. vi. 14, where 
the apostle plainly teaches, that they who are under the law are 
under the dominion of siu. Man, innocent and holy, entered into 
that covenant ; but once turning a sinner under it, he could never 
turn a saint again under it. It furnished strength to man being 
clean to keep himself clean, but provided no laver for him once de- 
filed, to wash himself clean again. I know that the men of that 
covenant do not make, all of them, an alike black appearance in 
their lives and conversations; some of them bear the devil's mark on 
their foreheads; others have it in the hollow of their hand, which 


tliey can keep from the view of the world. But the whole of them 
are an unsanctified company, and under the reigning power of sin, 
which is in them entire and unbroken, Rom. iii. 10 — 12. So that I 
say your case is desperately sinful as to the reigning power of sin, 
while under that covenant; ye neither are nor can be holy under it. 
And think not this strange. For, 

[1.] Since you are sinners under that covenant, you must needs 
be dead men ; for so runs the threatening ; Gen. ii. 17, *' In the day 
that thou eatest thereof thou shalt die." Your natural life is yet 
preserved, therefore your spiritual life then must be gone, Eph. ii. 
1. So all the men of that covenant are dead and buried in trespas-* 
ses and sins. Death preys on their souls, and bears full sway there. 
Hence it is called " the law of sin and death," Rom, viii. 3, sin and 
death reigning over all that are under its dominion. And therefore 
Christ, the head of the second covenant, was made a quickening 
spirit, death reigning under the first. 

What though you perform religious duties under this covenant ? 
They are all but dead works, but the carcases of duties, without life 
and spirit. They have the matter of duty, but they are not done in 
a right manner ; they are not from a right principle, nor are they 
directed to the right end; they are all selfish, slavish, and merce- 
nary, and can never be acceptable to God. 

[2.] Being under the curse, there is a separation betwixt God and 
your soul, and so the course of sanctifying influences is blocked up, 
Isa. Ivii. 2. While the curse thus stands as a partition-wall of 
God's own making, in the course of justice, betwixt God and you, 
how can there be any saving communion with him ? and without that 
how can ye be made holy ? Our Lord Jesus Christ, by his death 
and sufi'erings, purchased the Spirit of sanctification for those that 
are his ; plainly importing, that there was no access for the Spirit of 
sanctification to the unholy creature by the first covenant. 

You may possibly find an enlargement of heart in duty under that 
covenant ; but mistake it not (or communion with God, there is no 
communion with him but by Jesus Christ the head of the second 
covenant, Eph. ii. 18. And for an evidence hereof, you shall ob- 
serve, that whereas communion with God has a sanctifying and 
humbling efficacy where it is ; these enlargements have no such 
efl'ect, but on the contrary fill the heart with pride and self-esteem, 
and so render the soul more unholy, 1 John i. 6. 

(3.) That covenant is no channel of sanctification to the unholy 
creature. To a sinner it is " the ministration of death," 2 Cor. iii. 
7, and of "condemnation," ver. 9, a " killing letter," exacting obe- 
dience to be performed on the strength given at first, but now quite 



spent; bat promising no new strength for duty, but laying on the 
curse for non-performance. It is the gospel, or covenant of grace, 
that is the " ministration of the Spirit," ver. 8. And for this the 
apostle appeals to the experience of those who have received the 
Spirit, Gal. iii. 2, " Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, 
or by the hearing of faith ?" 

It is true, that under that covenant you may have been influenced 
to reformation of life, and prompted to the performing of duty ; but 
all this amounts to no more in that case, but a change of life, and 
reaches never to a change of one's nature. Fear of punishment and 
hope of reward, are here the springs of all ; not the love of God ; 
and so the result of it is a form of godliness, without the power of it. 

[4.] That covenant, instead of having a sanctifying influence on 
sinners, has an irritating power on their corruptions. The more 
close it comes upon their consciences, the more their lusts are pro- 
voked, as was before explained, Rom. vii. 7. I may herein appeal 
to sinners' experience. Have ye not sometimes found sleeping cor- 
ruptions awakened by the law's forbidding of them ? and weak lusts 
gather strength by the very sight of the hedge which the law has 
set betwixt you and them ? And have not your hearts, on some par- 
ticular occasions, finding how their inclinations were crossed by its 
commands, awed and frightened by its threatenings and curses, even 
risen against it secretly, and against the God that made it ? — Thus 
under that covenant your case is desperately sinful. 

4. Be convinced, that while ye remain under that covenant, ye re- 
main under the curse ; and there is no deliverance from the curse with- 
out deliverance from the covenant. " For as many as are of the works 
of the law are under the curse." It is vain to think one can be under 
that covenant, being a sinner, and not be under the curse ; for the curse 
will be found to take place in the dominion of the law, wherever sin is 
found. So as long as ye live under the broken covenant of works, 
so long ye live under the curse ; and if ye die under that covenant 
ye die under the curse. When innocent Adam entered into that co- 
venant, it did not curse, nor could it curse him or his, while as yet 
there was no command of it broken ; but when once sin entered, the 
curse immediately took place, and seized on him and all his pos- 
terity ; and under it they lie, as long as they remain under that co- 
venant, and are not delivered from that original contract. 

This is a weighty consideration, and may pierce the hearts of all 
who have not got their discharge as to that covenant, who have not 
got that hand-writing that is so much against them, blotted out 
with respect to them. "Whatever ye do, whatever ye suff'er, what- 
ever change be in yonr conversation, or in the temper and dis- 


position of your spirits, while ye remain under that covenant, tlie 
yoke of the curse remains still wreathed about your necks. And, to 
fasten this conviction the more on you, consider, 

(1.) Ye being under that covenant were born under the curse, " by 
nature the children of wrath," Eph. ii. 3. Adam's sin laid all men 
under it ; and as soon as we are Adam's children we are cursed 
children, bound over to death by the sentence of the broken law or 
covenant, Rora. v. 18. Now, there are only two ways how that 
curse may be supposed to be removed and taken off you, viz., either 
by your own bearing it for yourselves so as to bear it off, or by an- 
other's bearing it for you imputed to you ; for that it should be 
taken off you in a way of mere mercy, without any bearing it to the 
satisfaction of justice, is inconsistent with God's justice, truth, and 
covenant, as you heard before. But the former way, it cannot be 
that ye are or shall be delivered from it ; for whatever ye have suf- 
fered in your souls, bodies, or any other way, or whatever ye may 
suffer is still but the sufferings of a finite being, which can never 
compensate the wrong done to the honour of au infinite God by your 
sin ; and therefore the sufferings of the damned have no end. The 
breach made by the creature's sin in the honour of an infinite God, is 
a gulf which swallows up all sufferings of the creature, but can never 
be thereby filled up. As to the latter, it cannot take place, but in 
the way ot the second covenant, which is inconsistent with your con- 
tinuing under this covenant. The imputation of Christ's satisfac- 
tion, and the delivery from the curse thereby are consequents of the 
soul's union with Christ, Rom, viii. 1, which is by one's entering 
into the covenant of grace, whereby they part with the covenant of 
works which they naturally cleave to, Rom. vii. 4. Therefore it ne- 
cessarily follows, that while ye remain under the covenant of works, 
ye remain under the curse, the curse laid on for Adam's sin. 

(2.) Suppose that curse were removed, and no curse were lying on 
you now for the first breach of the covenant ; yet ye cannot refuse 
but that however watchfully yon have behaved yourselves, endea- 
vouring to keep the law you have been guilty of some sins in your 
own persons ; you have, sometimes at least, thought eiil, spoken 
evil, and done evil ; some duties ye have omitted, some crimes 
against God and his law ye have committed. Now these lay you 
under the curse, since you are under the covenant which curseth the 
sinner ; for it is written " Cursed is every one that continuelh not 
in all things which are written in the book of the law to do tliem." 
It is not enough to do some things of the law; if all be not done, 
one is by this covenant staked down under the curse. 

(3.) When you have done the best that possibly you can do to 


keep tlie commaiidments, ye still fall under the curse, while ye are 
under this covenant, because whatever good ye do, ye do it not ; for 
perfection in every point of duty is required under it, Luke x. 27, 
and not only so, (for that is required under the covenant of grace 
too Matth. V. ult.,) but it is required under pain of the curse ; for it 
is written, " Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things," 
&c. So that if you should omit no duty, external or internal, con- 
sistent with one's continuing under that covenant, and should perform 
them with all the vigour, zeal, and carefulness ye are capable of ; 
yet even for these the covenant would thunder out its curse against 
you, for that you fail in them in any the least measure or degree. 

(4.) Forasmuch as the law requires all perfection in all things, 
and at all times ; and that at no time, in any action, you attain to 
that perfection, but are still sinning in all your thoughts, words, and 
actions ; therefore the law is still raining down its curse on you, and 
binding you over with new ties to death, for your new sins, cursing 
for every thing done amiss. "Wherefore since you do nothing but 
what, one way or other, is done amiss in the eye of the law, it is im- 
possible you should ever get your head lifted up from under the 
curse while, you continue in that covenant. 

(5.) Lastly, But put the case, though indeed it is impossible that 
you under this covenant could arrive at perfection, so that you 
should sin no more, either by omission or commission, either in the 
matter or in the manner of what you do ; but that your obedience 
should be from this moment perfect in parts and degrees, and that 
you should obey in as great perfection as the angels do in heaven ; 
I say that, notwithstanding, you remaining under this covenant 
should still remain under the curse. For it is evident that you are 
guilty of many sins already, and what is done by you can never be 
undone ; and for that cause you have fallen under the curse already, 
and your perfect obedience for the present time and the time to 
come, being a debt you owe for the time wherein it is performed, can 
never expiate the former guilt or be reputed satisfying for the debt 
before contracted. Yea, suppose you had never sinned in your own 
persons, but had perfectly obeyed since you were capable of keeping 
or breaking God's law ; yet being under that covenant you should 
still be under the curse, as being born under it, on the account of 
Adam's first sin, which it is plain, on the former grounds, could not 
be expiated by that your supposed perfect obedience. 

Thus it is evident, that while ye remain under this covenant ye 
remain under the curse. 

Say not, that, at this rate, all must be under the curse, since in 
many things we offend all ; for the state of sinners under the two 


covenants is vastly diftereut. By the first covenant, they that are 
under it are liable to the curse in case of sinning ; but by the second 
covenant, they that are under it are not liable thereto in any case, 
but freed from it, Gal. iii. 13. Because Christ's bearing it for them 
is imputed to them. Sin under the former reigns unto death, but 
under the latter " grace reigns through rigliteousness unto eternal 
life," Rom. v. ult. In justilication the obedience and satisfaction of 
Christ, made for all the sins of all his people, past, present, and to 
come, are imputed unto believers, and so they are discharged at once 
of their whole debt to revenging justice, and they can never more 
fall under the curse, nor be liable to it for their sins, more than a 
man can be liable in payment of a debt already paid and dis- 
charged. To pretend that believers may be liable to the curse, and 
yet not fall under the curse upon their sinning is vain ; for if by 
the lavr, or threatening, they be liable to the curse in case of trans- 
gression ; the curse must needs seize them when they do actually 
transgress, in virtue of the truth of God in the threatening ; for 
hath he said it, and shall it not come to pass ? Neither is it pro- 
fitable, in the case of the curse, to distinguish betwixt gross sins, 
and other sins ; for the cursing law makes no such distinction in 
that point, but where it curseth for one sin, it curses for all, of what 
kind soever; Gal. iii. 10, "Cursed is every one that continueth 
not in all things," &c. 

So this misery is peculiar to those under the covenant of works. 

5. Be convinced, that there is no salvation for you under that co- 
venant. You must either quit it, and escape out of its dominion, 
or perish under it. To be saved, and yet be under the curse is in- 
consistent. But while ye are under that covenant, ye are under the 
curse ; and therefore while ye are under it, ye cannot be saved, but 
must needs perish. Therefore, I say, if ye abide in that broken 
phip, ye are ruined, ye will be swallowed up, yo will never see the 
shore of Immanuel's land. be convinced of this, that you may 
despair of ever entering into heaven by that door ; that your hopes 
and expectations by it may die, being plucked up by the roots; and 
you may look out for another door of hope. Consider, 

(1.) That it was the door opened to innocent Adam indeed, but by 
one wrong step missing it, he could never make his entry by it any 
more, but was fain to betake himself to another door, even Jesus 
Christ in the free promise. Gen. iii. 15. How then can ye expect to 
enter by it ? he found that being once a sinner, he was able no 
longer to live under the dominion of the law, and therefore did be- 
take himself to the dominion of free grace ; his garment of fig-leaves 
which he made for himself, he parted with as insufficient, and took 


on the coat of skius (of sacrifices) wliicli the Lord God made unto 
him. Ye must go and do likewise, or ye perish. 

(2.) Sinners being shut up for destruction under this covenant, 
the door was bolted with the bar oi the curse, so that there is no es- 
caping from death by it for them, Gal. iii. 10. ^Yhen Samson was 
shut up for death in Gaza, he took the doors of the gate of the city, 
bar and all, upon his shoulders, and so got out of the city to the 
mountains, Judg. xv. But this bar of the curse is too heavy for the 
shoulders of angels, they are not able to bear it, far less are ye able. 
So there is no access to the hill of God that way for you. That 
gate is like unto what we read of; Ezek. xliv. 2, 3, " No man shall 
enter in by it : it is for the prince," the Lord Jesus Christ, the true 
Samson, who, when all his elect were shut up for death in the pri- 
son of the law covenant, barred with the bar of the eurse, put him- 
self in their room ; and in his might lifted up the gate, bar and all, 
and carried them away, and so made a way for them to escape. 

Take heed you deceive not yourselves in this matter, with the pro- 
mises of life you apprehend to be made to your keeping of the com- 
mandments of God. It is true, there is a promise of life to obedi- 
ence in the covenant of works ; but then it is only to perfect obedi- 
ence. The curse is denounced against tlie least failure, Luke x. 27, 
28, Cal. iii. 10. Now, it is evident you can have no hope by this 
promise, since you cannot perform the obedience to which it is made. 
And there is no promise of life in that covenant on any lower con- 
dition. Sincere obedience will not entitle you to that promise, 
though ye could perform it, as ye really cannot; the will cannot be 
accepted here for the deed ; for the law denounces the curse on every 
one under it for the least imperfection ; and so staves them off from 
any benefit by its promise. The promise of life and salvation is in 
the covenant of grace freely made for the sake of Christ, to be re- 
ceived by faith in him ; and even in it godliness hath the promise of 
life annexed to it, but is made not to the work, but to the worker 
being in Christ; and not for his work's sake, but for Christ's sake. 
But you being under the covenant of works, have no saving interest 
in the promises of the covenant of grace, and so have no part nor 
lot in the life and salvation there promised. And besides, all your 
obedience is servile and mercenary, unacceptable to God ; so far from 
having the promise of life, that on the contrary such workers are 
expressly excluded from it ; Gal. iv. 30, '' Cast out the bond-woman 
and her son : for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with 
the sou of tl.e free-woman." 

Thus ye see there is no salvation for you under the broken cove- 
nant of works. 


6. Be convinced, that there is an absolute necessity of being set 
free from the covenant of works, of being brought into the covenant 
of grace, and savingly interested in the Lord Jesus, the second 
Adam. If you be not set free from the first covenant, ye are 
ruined. For as many as are under tlie bond of it are under the 
curse. To put the question to yourselves, "Whether you had best 
quit that covenant, or not ? is in effect. Whether you had best re- 
main under the curse, or endeavour to escape ? This is a point that 
in reason can admit no more dispute, than whether a drowning man 
should be willing to be preserved from perishing ? or whether a man 
should cast burning coals out of his bosom ? 

If you be not brought into the covenant of grace, interested in 
Jesus Christ by faiih, you can never be freed from the covenant of 
works. No man shall ever get up that bond, but on his instructing 
full pajmeut boih of the principal sum and of the penalty ; that is, 
both of perfect obedience to the law, and satisfaction to justice for 
the breach made by sin. This you shall never be able to instruct, 
do or suffer what you will, unless you embrace and unite with Christ 
by faith in the second covenant, by means of which his obedience 
and satisfaction shall be counted up on your score. 

Here then is the one thing needful ; unless you take this course, 
ye shall never see life or salvation, but perish for ever. 

7. Lastly, Be convinced, that your help must come wholly from 
the Lord Jesus Christ, and that you can contribute nothing by your 
own working for your own relief; Hos. xiii. 9, " Israel, thou hast 
destroyed thyself; but in me is thy help." For being under that 
covenant, ye are under the curse ; and what can one do for himself, 
acceptable to God, who is under these bonds of death ? It is true, 
sinners will not come to Christ, till they be deeply sensible of their 
sin and misery ; but to require such and such qualifications in sin- 
ners before thej may come to Christ, is to lay a snare before them, 
keeping them back from Christ, and teaching them to lay some 
weight upon their qualifications while they are yet under the curse. 

In a special manner to tell sinners that they must truly repent of 
their sins before they may believe in Christ, or before they may ap- 
prehend the remission of sin in the promise, is in effect to say, that 
they must be holy, and repent in a manner acceptable to God, while 
they are yet lying under his curse ; for the curse is not removed but 
in justification. The truth is, there is a legal repentance, agreeing 
to the state of one under the curse, arising from a legal faith, the 
faith of the curse, that goes before saving faith and remission of 
sin ; and however necessary it is to stir up the soul to prize Christ, 
tt cannot be acceptable to God, since the man is still under his curse. 


Bat no doing no worlcing, no repenting of ours can please God, till 
once we are from under the curse, through faith in him who justifies 
the ungodly. And therefore, to effectuate the sinner's passing from 
the one covenant and its curse, into the other, and the blessing 
thereof, no doing, no working of ours is required, but only to re- 
ceive Christ, pardon of sin, deliverance from the curse by faith, they 
being all offered and exhibited, in the free promise of the gospel, to 
the sinner under the curse. And so, the curse being removed, the 
partition-wall betwixt God and the sinner is taken down, and the 
influences of the Spirit unto sanctification, evangelical repentance, 
and new obedience, flow into the soul. 

Use II, Of Exhortation. 

First, Let unbelievers, who are still under this covenant, receive 
these convictions, and be warned, excited, and exhorted timely to 
sue to be delivered from under the covenant of works, aud for that 
end to be instated in the covenant of grace, by faith in Jesus Christ. 
What need is there of further motives than the text gives, in telling 
us, that all under this covenant are under the curse ? which has 
been explained at large to you. Ah ! is it safe to go home and sleep 
another night under the curse ? Is it safe to venture more time 
under it, when you know not which moment of your time may be the 
last ? As ye have any regard to your own souls, lay this matter to 
heart, and delay no longer ; but haste, escape for your life. Con- 
sider, I pray you, 

1. The curse is a weight which you will never be able to bear. 
The weight of God's revenging wrath is in it, aud it is a fearful 
thing to fall into the hands of the living God ; on whomsoever this 
stone falls, it will grind him to powder. 

2. It is a growing weight ; as your sins grow, the curse grows ; 
Rom. ii. 5, '' After thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasnrest 
up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath." The evils thou 
art bound over to are the greater, and the bonds are the stronger. 

3. It is a weight that may be now removed from off you ; 2 Cor. 
vi. 2, " Behold, now is the accepted time ; behold, now is the day of 
salvation." Those whom this weight has sunk dowu into the pit 
already, it can never be removed from off them ; but ye are yet 
within the reach of mercy, the Mediator is ready to take the yoke 
off your jaws. 

4. It the weight of the curse be not removed from off you, it 
will be the heavier that deliverance from it was in your power ; 
Matth. xi. 21, " It shall be more tolerable for Tyro and Sidon at the 
day of judgment, than for you." The men of that covenant will all 


feel the weight of the curse, but it will have a double weight to de- 
spisers of the gospel. 

5. Lastly, it will be an eternal weight, Matth. xxv. 41, " Depart 
from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire." There is an eternal 
weight of glory for the saints in the promise ; and an eternal weight 
of wrath for sinners in the curse, which they shall for ever lie under, 
and never get clear of. 

Let these motives then excite and induce you to flee from the 
curse of the broken covenant of works, unto the covenant of grace, 
where life is only to be found. 

Secondly, Believers in Christ, delivered from this covenant, (1.) Be 
thankful for your deliverance, as a deliverance from the curse. Let 
the warmest gratitude glow in your breasts for so great a deliver- 
ance ; and let your soul, and all that is within you, be stirred up 
to bless your glorious Deliverer for this unspeakable blessing. (2.) 
Walk holily and fruitfully in good works, since the bands of death 
are removed, and your souls are healed. Be holy in all manner of 
life and conversation ; adorning the doctrine of God your Saviour 
in all things. Let the whole tenor of your lives testify that you are 
not under the curse, but that you inherit the blessing of eternal life, 
by living to the praise and honour of Christ, who hath delivered you 
from the wrath to come. (3) Turn not back to the broken covenant 
of works again, in legal principles, nor in legal practices. The more 
the temper and frame of your spirit lies that way, the more unholy 
will ye be ; and the more your duties savour of it, the less savoury 
will they be unto your God. It is only by being dead to the law, 
that ye will live unto God. 








Zechakiah xii. 12, 
*' And the land shall mown, every famRy apart — their wives apart^ 



Religious fasts, kept in secret, by a particular person apart by 
himself, and by a particular family apart by themselves, concerning 
which this Memorial is presented both to saints and sinners, are not 
indeed the stated and ordinary duties of all times, to be performed 
daily, or at set times recurring; such as prayer, praise, and reading 
of the Word are : but they are extraordinary duties of some times, 
and to be performed occasionally, as depending entirely, in respect 
of the exercise of them, on the call of providence, which is variable. 

They are authorised, and enjoined us, in the "Word of God; and 
therefore, when we shall have performed them, we must say, " we 
are unprofitable servants, we have done that which was our duty to 
do;" and must ablior the least thought of meriting thereby. 

Tlie particular seasons of them are determined by providence. 
"Wherefore they who would be practiscrs of them must be religious 
observers of providence; otherwise God maybe calling aloud for 
weeping and mourning, and girding with sackcloth, while they, not 
heeding it, are indulging themselves in joy and gladness, Isa. xxii. 
12, 13 ; a dangerous adventure ! Ver. 14, " Surely this iniquity shall 
not be purged from you, till ye die, saith the Lord." 

Hence the most serious and tender among knowing Christians, 
will readily be found the most frequent in these exercises. It is on 
the pouring out of the Spirit, that the land is to mourn, every family 
apart and their wives apart, Zech. xii. 10, 12. Paul was a scene 


wherein corrupt nature shewed her cursed vigour, he being, when he 
was bad, very bad ; and grace, in its turn, its sacred power, he being, 
when he was good, very good, and then in fastings often, 2 Cor. xi. 27- 

These duties consist of an external and circumstantial part, and 
an internal and substantial part. 

To the external and circumstantial part of thera belong time, 
place, and abstinence. 

I. First of all, a proper time must be set apart for these duties. 
And this is to be regulated by Christian prudence, as best suits the 
circumstance of the person or family. 

We find the saints in scripture ordinarily kept their fasts by day. 
But we have an instance of a personal fast kept by night, 2 Sam. xii. 
16, " David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth." 
This I do the rather notice, to obviate the excuse of those who quite 
neglect this duty, under the pretence of their not being masters of 
their own time. If the heart can be brought to it, one will readily 
find some time or other for it, either by day or else by niglit. It is 
recorded to the honour of one of the weaker sex, viz., Anna, that 
she "served God with fastings and prayers night and day." Luke 
ii. 36, 37. 

As to the QUANTITY of time to be spent in personal or family fast- 
ing and humiliation, the duty, I judge, is to regulate it, and not it 
to regulate the duty. The family fast of Esther with her maidens, 
observed also by all the Jews in Shushan, lasted thret^ days, Esth. 
iv. 16. "We read of the fasting-day, Jer. xxxvi. 6. Sometimes, it 
would seem, it was but a part of a day, that was spent in such ex- 
ercise ; as in Cornelius, his personal fast, which seems to have been 
over before the ninth hour, that is, before three o'clock in the after- 
noon ; Acts X. 30, '' Four days ago I was fasting until this hour, and 
at the ninth hour I prayed in my house," before which time of the 
fourth day, Peter, to whom Cornelius saith this, might be come ; 
there being but thirty-six miles from Joppa to Cesarea, whither he 
came on the second day after he set out from Joppa, vers. 23, 24 ; 
compare vers. 8, 9, 17- Much about that time of the day, Daniel 
got the answer of his prayers, made in his personal fast, namely, 
about the time of the evening oblation, or the ninth hour, Dan. ix. 
21. And the people being " assembled with fasting, (Neh. ix. 1,) 
they read in the book of the law of the Lord their God, one-fourth 
part of the day, and another fourth part they confessed and worship- 
ped the Lord their God," ver. 3. So they continued in the work six 
hours, from nine o'clock in the morning, as it would seem, till three 
afternoon ; that is, from the time of the morning sacrifice, to the 
evening sacrifice, with which the work seems to have been closed, as, 


it may be presumed, they spent tlic morning in private preparation 
for the public duty. 

Wherefore I judge, that none are to be solicitous as to what 
quantity of time, more or less, they spend in these exercisjes, so that 
the work of the time be done. Nay, I very much doubt, men lay a 
snare for themselves in tying themselves to a certain quantity of 
lime in such cases. It is sufficient to resolve, that, according to our 
ability, we will take as much time as the work shall be found to re- 

II. A proper place is also to be chosen, where the person or fa- 
mily may perform the duty without disturbance from others. Time 
and place are natural circumstances of the action ; and all places 
are alike now, under the gospel ; none more holy than another. 
Men may pray everywhere, whether in the house or in the field, 
"lifting up holy hands," 1 Tim. ii. 8. Only forasmuch as family 
fasting is a private duty, it requires a private place ; and personal 
fasting a secret duty, it requires a secret place ; according to the 
caution given us by our Saviour; Matth. vi. 18, " That thou appear 
not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father wluch is in secret." 

III. Abstinence is included in the nature of the thing ; abstinence 
from meat and. drink, and all bodily pleasures whatsoever, as well 
as ceasing from worldly business. The Jews arc taxed for finding 
pleasure, and exacting their labours in the day of their fast, Isa. 
Iviii. 3. A time of religious fasting, is a time for one's "afflicting 
his soul," ver. 5, by denying himself even those lawful comforts and 
delights which he may freely use at other times. Exod. xxxiii. 4, 
" The people mourned, and no man did put on him his ornaments." 
Dan. ix. 3, " I set my face unto tho Lord God, to seek by prayer, 
and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth and ashes." 1 Cor. 
vii. 5, '' Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for 
a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer." 

The rule for abstinence from meat and drink, cannot be the same 
as to all ; for fasting, not being a part of worship, but a means to 
dispose and fit us for extraordinary worshipping, is to be used only 
as helping thereto; but it is certain, that what measure of it would 
be helpful to some for that end, would be a great hindrance to 
others. Wherefore weakly persons, whom total abstinence would 
disfit and indispose for duty, are not called to fast at that rate ; in 
their case, that saying takes place ; Hos. vi. 6, '" I desired mercy 
and not sacrifice." Yet ought they not in that case to indulge them, 
selves the use of meat and drink, with the same freedom as at other 
times ; but to use a partial abstinence, altering the quantity or 
quality ot them, or both, so as tlicy may thereby be afliicted, as the 

Vol. XI. s 


Scripture expresseth it. Lev. xxiii. 29. So Daniel in his raonruing, 
Dan. X. 3, '' Eat no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine into 
his mouth." 

Meanwhile, all these things are but the outward shell of these 
duties ; the internal and substantial part of them lies in the follow- 
ing spiritual exercises, 

1. Serious meditation, and consideration of our ways, Hag. i. 5. 
Such times are to be set apart from conversing with the world, that 
we may the more solemnly commune with our own hearts, as to the 
state of matters between Gfod and us. In them we are diligently to 
review our past life. " Search and try our ways." — Lara. iii. 40. 
And we are to search out our sins, by a sorrowful calling to remem- 
brance the sins of our heart and life, and that as particularly as we 
can ; and to search into them, by a deep consideration of the evil of 
them, and of their aggravations, the light, love, mercies, and warn- 
ing*, we have sinned against ; tracing them up to the sin of our 
nature, the impoisoned fountain from whence they have all pro- 
ceeded. And the more fully and freely we converse with ourselves 
upon them, we will be the more fit to speak unto God aaeut them, 
in confession and pleading for pardon. 

2. Deep humiliation of soul before the Lord; the which was sig- 
nified by the sackcloth and ashes used, under the law, on such oc- 
casions. The consideration of our ways is to be pursued, till our 
soul be humbled within us ; our heart rent, not with remorse for sin 
only, but with regret and kindly sorrow for it, as an offence to a 
" gracious and merciful God," Joel ii. 12, 13; our face filled with 
shame and blushing before him, in the view of our spiritnal naked- 
ness, pollution, and defilement, Ezra ix. 6; and we loathe ourselves 
as most vile in our own eyes, Ezek. xxxvi. 31 ; Job xl. 4. 

3. Free and open confession of sin before God, without reserve. 
This is a very material part of the duty incumbent on us in religious 
fasting; and the due consideration and deep humiliation just now 
mentioned, do natively issue in it; producing, of course, extraor- 
dinary confession of sin, an exercise most suiuible on such an oc- 
casion. Hence the Jews spent " one fourth part of the day in con- 
fessing and worshipping," Neh. ix. 3 ; and the angel, who brought 
the answer to Daniel's supplications about the time of the evening 
oblation, found him still praying and confessing his sin, Dan. ix. 20, 
21. For here the sinner duly humbled has much ado, acting against 
himself the part of an accuser, recounting before the Lord liis trans- 
gressions of the holy law, so far as he is able to reach them ; the 
part of an advocate opening up the particulars, in their nature, and 
aggravating circumstances ; and the part of a judge, justifying God 


in all the evil he has brought upon him, and condemning himself as 
unworthy of the least of all his mercies, and deserving to perish 
under eternal wrath. 

4. The exercise of repentance in turning from sin nnto God, both 
in heart and life, the native result of deep humiliation and sincere con- 
fession ; Joel ii. 12, " Turn ye even to me — with fasting, with weeping, 
and with mourning." In vain will we fast, and pretend to be humbled 
for our sins, and make confession of them, if our love of sin be not 
turned into hatred; our liking of it into loathing; and our cleaving 
to it, into a longing to be rid of it ; with full purpose to resist the 
motions of it in our heart, and the outbreakings thereof in our life ; 
and if we turn not unto God as our rightful Lord and Master, and 
return to our duty again. If we are indeed trne penitents, we will 
turn from sin, not only because it is dangerous and destructive to 
us ; but because it is offensive to God, dishonours his Son, "grieves his 
Spirit, transgresseth his law, and defaceth his image ; and we will 
castaway all our transgressions, not only as one would cast away a 
live-coal out of his bosom, for that it burns him ; but as one would 
cast away a loathsome and filthy thing, for that it defiles him. 

But withal, it is to be remembered, that the true way to deal with 
a hard heart, to bring it to this temper, is to believe the gospel. As 
ravenous fowls first fly upward, and then come down on their prey ; 
so must we first soar aloft in believing, and then we shall come 
down in deep humiliation, sincere and free confession, and true re- 
pentance — Zech. xii. 10, "They shall look upon me whom they have 
pierced, and shall monrn." Therefore the Scripture proposeth the 
object of faith in the promise of grace as a motive to repentance, 
that by a believing application tliereof the hard heart may be 
moved and turned ; Joel ii, 13, " Turn unto the Lord your God, for 
he is gracious." One may otherwise toil long with it; but all in 
vain. ''Without faith it is impossible to please God," Heb. xi. 6; 
and therefore impossible to reach true humiliation, right confession, 
and sincere repentance, wliicli are very pleasing to him, Jer. xxxi. 
18, 19, 20. The unbelieving sinner may be brought to roar under 
law-horror; but one will never be a kindly mourner, but under 
gospel influences. When guilt stares one in the face, unbelief locks 
up the heart, as a keen frost doth the waters ; but faith in the Re- 
deemer's blood melts it, to flow in tears of godly sorrow. Hard 
thoughts of God, w"hich unbelief suggests to a soul stung with guilt, 
alienate that soul more and more from him; they render it like the 
worm, which, when one off'ers to tread upon it, presently contracts 
itself, and puts itself in the best posture of defence it can ; but the 
believing of the proclaimed pardon touches the heart of the rebel so, 


til cat he casts down himself at the feet of his Sovereign, willingly 
yielding himself to return to his duty. 

5. Solemn covenanting with God, entering into, or renewing cove- 
nant with him in express words. As a fast-day is a day to " loose 
the bands of wickedness," so it is a day for coming explicitly into 
the bond of the holy covenant ; Jer. 1. 4, " Going and weeping, they 
shall go, and seek the Lord their God." Yer. 5, " Saying, come, 
and let us join ourselves to the Lord, in a perpetual covenant that 
shall not be forgotten." Accordingly, this was an eminent part of 
their fast-day's work, Neh. ix. 38. It follows of course, on due 
humiliation, confession, and the exercise of repentance, whereby 
the league with sin is broken. And it lies in a solemn professing 
before the Lord, that we take hold of his covenant, believing on the 
name of his Son as the Saviour of the world, and our Saviour, and 
that in and through him, he will be our God, and we shall be his peo- 
ple ; and that we are from the heart content, and consent to take him 
for our portion, Lord and Master, and resign ourselves to him only, 
wholly, and for ever. Heb. viii. 10, '' This is the covenant, I will 
be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." Isa. xlix. 8, 
" I will give thee for a covenant." Chap. Ivi. 6, " Every one 
that taketh hold of my covenant." John i. 12, " As many as re- 
ceived him, that believe on his name." Psalm xvi. 2, " my soul, 
thou hast said unto the Lord, thou art my Lord." Isa. xliv. 5, 
" One shall say, I am ihe Lord's." 

6. Lastly, Extraordinary prayer, in importunate addresses and 
petitions unto our covenanted God, for that which is the particular 
occasion of our fast. The confession and the covenanting are, both 
of them, to be done prayer-wise, as appears from Dan. ix. 4 — 15 ; 
Neh. ix. 6 — 38. Eut besides, there must be prayers, supplications, 
and petitions made for what the person or family hath particularly 
ill view in their fast ; Psalm xxxv. 13, " Wheu they were sick, my 
clothing was sackcloth ; I humbled my soul with fasting, and ray 
prayer returned into mine own bosom." And, indeed, the great end 
and design for which such fasts are to be kept, is, that thereby the 
parties may be the more stirred up unto, and fitted for wrestling 
with God in prayer, anent the case which they have particularly at 
heart. So the Ninevites having their threatened overthrov/ at heart, 
it was ordered, that " man and beast" should be " covered with sack- 
cloth, and cry mightily unto God." — Jon. iii. 8 ; that is, that the 
men should cry in prayer for pity and sparing ; and to the end they 
might be moved to the greater fervency iu these their praying cries, 
it is provided, that they and their beasts too should be covered with 
sackcloth ; and that their beasts, having fodder and water withheld 


from tliem on tliat occasion, should be made to cry for hunger and 
thirst, even to cry unto God, namely, interpretatively, as the " young 
ravens cry unto him." — Job xxxviii. 41. At which rate, the cries 
of the beasts, being mixed with the cries of men, would maite the so- 
lemnity of that extraordinary mourning very great ; and the hearts 
of men being, every now and then during that solemnity, pierced 
with the cries of the harmless brutes, Avould be stirred up to a more 
earnest, fervent, and importunate pleading with God for mercy. 

Thus far o^ personal, and family fasting and humiliation in the ge- 



From what is said, it appears, that a personal fast is a religious 
exercise, wherein a particular person, having set apart some time 
from his ordinary business in tlie world, spends it in some secret 
place by himself, in acts of devotion tending to his humiliation and 
reformation, and particularly in prayer, with fasting. Concerning 
the which we shall consider, \st, The divine warrant for it. 2c?, 
The call to it; and, Zd, Offer advice how to manage it. 


FoRASMUcu as will-worship is condemned by the Word, and that can 
never be obedience to God, whereof his revealed will is not the rea- 
son and rule, it concerneth all who would perforin this duty in faith, 
so as to have accepted it of him, to know who hath required it at 
their hands. And to set that matter in a light sufficient to satisfy 
and bind it upon the conscience, as a duty owing unto God, let these 
few things following be duly weighed : — 

1. God requires it in his Word, and that both directly and in- 

It is directly required; James iv. 9, "Be afflicted and mourn, and 
'weep." It is plain enough from the context, these things are pro- 
posed as agreeing to particular persons in their personal capacity. 
See ver. 8, 10. And what it is that is required of them in these 
words, could not miss to be as plain to those unto whom they were 
originally directed ; to wit, that it is fasting and humiliation that 
was intended by them. For this epistle was written to those who 
were Jews by nation, '' the twelve tribes scattered abroad," chap. i. 
1. And this is the very language of the Old Testament in that case, 
the same manner of expression, in which their prophets called them 
to it. Lev. xxiii. 27. — " On the tenth day of this sveuth month, 


there shall be a day of atonement, and ye shall afflict your souls," 
to wit, *' with fasting." Isa. Iviii. 5, " Is it such a fast that I have 
chosen ? a day for a man to afflict his soul ?" Or, more agreeable 
to the original, " Shall a fast I will choose, a day of men's afflicting 
their soul, be like this ?" Joel ii. 12. — "Turn ye even to me, — 
with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning." And the 
mourning required in these texts, differs from the weeping, as the 
habit and gestures of mourners differ from their tears ; Gen. xxxvii. 
34; Eccl. iii. 4, directly pointing unto the duty of fasting and humi- 

It is also required indirectly in the word, which supposeth it to 
be a duty the saints will practise, inasmuch as divine directions are 
given anent if. Now, it is inconsistent with the holiness of God, to 
give directions for regulating of will-worship, which he doth simply 
condemn, Matth. xv. 9; Col. ii. 23; Jer. vii, 31. But our Saviour 
gives directions about personal fasting ; Matth. vi. 16, " When ye 
fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance ; for they dis- 
figure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I 
say unto you, they have their reward." Yer. 17, "But thou, when 
thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face :" Yer. 18, " That 
thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in 
secret ; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee 
openly." And it is evident, that these directions do concern secret 
and personal fasting ; for, besides that the text speaks expressly of 
that which is done in secret, and, therefore, is to be kept secret, con- 
trary to the practice of the hypocritical Pharisees, who made it their 
business to publish their secret devotions, the outward signs of 
fasting are commended in the case of public fasts, Exod. xxxiii. 
4 ; Jonah iii. 8 ; Joel ii. 15 — 17. In like manner the apostle Paul 
gives a direction about this duty. 1 Cor. vii. 5, " Defraud ye not 
one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give 
yourselves to fasting and prayer ;" where the consent mentioned as 
necessary, determines the fasting to be personal ; forasmuch as, in 
the case of public fasts, that matter is predetermined by a superior 
authority ; and in the case of family fasts, it follows of course, on 
the appointment of such a fast. 

2. It is promised that the saints shall perform this duty; Zech. 
xii. 10, " I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabi- 
tants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplications." Yer. 12, 
" And the land shall mourn, every family apart, — and their wives 
apart." Thus, in virtue of the grace of the covenant, this duty is 
made the matter of a promise, even as other duties of holy obedience 
are. Accordingly our Lord promised it, in the case of his disciples 


in particular, Matth. ix. 15, "The days will como when the Bride- 
groom sliall be taken from them, and then sliall tliey fast ;" to wit, 
personally; for it was not tlie neglect of the public fast appointed 
and stated in the law. Lev. xxiii. 27 — 32, that they were taxed for, 
but the neglect of personal fasting, used by the disciples of John, upon 
the occasion of their Master, the friend of the Bridegroom, his being 
taken from thera ; and also by the Pharisees, out of their super- 
stitious and vain-glorious disposition, Matth. ix. 14, with Luke 
xviii. 12. 

3. It is recommended unto us by the practice of the saints men- 
tioned in Scripture. It was, as we have already seen, practised by 
David, a man '' according to God's own heart." 2 Sam. xii. 16; 
Psalm XXXV. 13. By Daniel, a man greatly beloved. Dan. ix. '6. 
and X. 2, 3 ; and by the devout centurion. Acts x. 30, It was a 
frequent exercise of Paul, the laborious apostle of the Gentiles, 
2 Cor. xi. 27. These all had the seal of God's good pleasure with 
their work set upon it, in the communion with God allowed them 
therein. And it is our duty to go forth by the footsteps of the 
flock, following their approved example 

4. Lastly, That occasional religious fasting and humiliation is a 
duty required in the word of God, and to be performed by societies 
in a public capacity, will not, I presume, be questioned. Now, upon 
that ground, the duty of personal fasting and humiliation may be 
thus evinced. 

\st, There is nothing in the nature of religious fasting and humi- 
liation, that of itself is public, or necessarily requiring a plurality 
of persons to join therein. The preaching of the word, and celebra- 
tion of the sacraments, do, in their own nature, require society, and 
therefore are not to be used by a single person alone in his closet. 
But it is not so in this case. One may keep a fast alone, as well as 
ne may pray, read the scriptures, and sing psalms, alone. Now, 
whatever ordinances God hath appointed, and hath not tied to so- 
cieties or assemblies, nor to any certain set of men, they are the 
duty of every one in particular, who is capable to perform them. 

2dly, The ground upon which the duty of fasting and humiliation is 
bound on societies, in a public capacity, takes place in the case of 
particular persons, namely, that extraordinary duties are called for 
on extraordinary emergents and occasions. If then a church or con- 
gregation is called to fasting and humiliation, on such occasions in 
their case ; is not a particular person called to the same, on such 
occasions in his case ? If abounding sin, or judgments threatened 
or inflicted on a land, require solemn public fasting and humiliation; 
do not the same things, in the case of a particular person, call for per- 


sonal fasting and Inimiliation ? Siirely every one ought to keep his 
own vineyard with the same diligence tlie public vineyard is to be 
kept; if one does not so, it will be bitterness in the end, Cant. i. 6^ 

'6dly, Extraordinary duties to be performed by a whole nation^ 
church, or congregation, cannot be soon overtaken, because all great 
bodies are slow in their motions, and soraenraes the season may be 
over, ere they can move thereto in a public capacity; yea, and ofttimes 
God is calling aloud, by his providence, for national and congrega- 
tional fasting and humiliation, when the call is not heeded by them, 
on whom it is incumbent to appoint thera. Now, what should particu- 
lar persons, discerning the call of providence, do in such cases? 
Must they sit still, and not answer the call as they may, because 
they cannot answer it as they would ? Should they not rather keep 
personal and family fasts, for those causes for which others either 
cannot or will not keep public fasts ? as in the case of God's plead- 
ing with the land of Egypt, '' He that feared the word of the Lord 
amongst the servants of Pharaoh, made his servants and his cattle 
flee into the houses," Exod. ix. 20. When the Jews are dispersed, 
some of thera in one country, some in another, how shall the land 
mourn ? Must they wait until they be gathered together ? No ; but the 
land sliall mourn, families apart, and particular persons apart; even 
as when our neighbour's house is on fire, we do not tarry until the 
whole town or neighbourhood be gathered ; but iu\niediately fall to 
work ourselves, to do what lies in our power for quenching the 

And thus much shall suffice to have spoken of the '' divine war- 
rant" for this extraordinary duty. 


The case of the church, the case of a neighbour, and one's own 
private case, may each of them separately, and much more all of 
them conjunctly, found a providential call to personal fasting and 
humiliation. The prophet Danial kept a personal fast on the 
church's account, Dan. ix. 2, 3. David on his neighbour's account, 
Psalm XXXV. 13, and on his own, 2 Sam. xii. 16. 

Zion's children should reckon her interest theirs ; and as secret 
personal fasting for public causes, argues a truly public spirit ; so 
it is highly commendable, and being rightly managed, is very ac- 
ceptable in the sight of God, Dan. ix. 20, 21. 

The communion of saints is an article of our creed, and a most 
beneficial thing in the practice thereof. Considered only in these 
two parts of it, namely, a communion of burdens, Gal. vi. 2, and a 
communion of prayers, James v. IG, it is one of the best cordials the 


travellers towards Ziou have by the way. For one to love his neigh- 
bour as liiniself, whereof secret fasting on his account is a good evi- 
dence, is more tliau all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices. Mark 
xii. 33. And whether it do good to his neighbour or not, it will not 
fail, if rightly managed, to return with a plentiful reward into his 
own bosom, according to the Psalmist's experience, Psalm xxxv. 13. 

Howbeit, it is hardly to be expected that one will be brought to 
the practice of this duty on the account of others, till once he has 
been engaged therein upon his own account. But surely, if pro- 
fessors of religion were more exercised about their own spiritual 
case, this duty of personal fasting and humiliation would not be so 
rare as it is. Paul, who had much of this kind of exercise, Acts 
xxiv. 16, was " in fastiugs often," 2 Cor. xi. 27 ; " kept under his 
body, and brought it into subjection," 1 Cor. ix. 27. 

Now, any or all of these cases call for this extraordinary duty, iu 
three kinds of events, other circumstances agreeing, and pointing 
thereto iu the conduct of providence. 

Either, 1, When there is any special evil actually lying upon us, 
the church, or our neighbour in whom we have a special concern ; 
whether it be a sinfnl or a penal evil. There are some sins that 
leave such guilt on the conscience, and such a defilement on the 
heart and life, as call aloud for fasting and humiliation, in order to 
a recovery from the dismal effects thereof, Jam. iv. 8, '' Cleanse your 
hands ye sinners, and purify your hearts ye double-minded." Ver. 
9, " Be afiiicted, and mourn, a.id weep." Accordingly the Israelites 
gathered to Mispeh, being sensible of the abominable idolatries they 
had fallen into, " fasted that day, and said, We have sinned against 
the Lord," 1 Sam. \ii. 6, 

In like manner, when the tokens of God's high displeasure are 
gone out in afflicting providences, it is time for us to roll ourselves 
in the dust ; and so to accommodate our spirit and way to the dis- 
pensation, humbling ourselves before him with fasting. Thus Nehe- 
miah found himself called to fasting, upon information received of 
the continued ruins of Jerusalem, and the affliction that the returned 
captives were iu, Neh. i. 3, 4; David, and those with him, upon the 
news of the defeat of Israel, and the death of Saul and Jonathan, 2 
Sam. i. 12; and the people, upon the consideration of the slaughter 
which the Benjamites had made among them, Judges xx. 26. 

()r, 2, When there is any special stroke threatened and impend- 
ing. Thus the inhabitants of Jerusalem, being in imminent danger 
fiom their enemies, were providentially called to weeping and 
mourning, though they heeded it not, Isa. xxii. 12, 13. But the 
Niiievites took such an alarm, and complied with the call of provi- 


dence, Jon. iii. 4 — 9. So did David, when God struck his child 
with sickness, 2 Sam. xii. 15, 16. Yea, and so did even Ahaz, when 
he had heard Elijah's heavy message against him and his house, 1 
Kings xxi. 27. When the lion roars, it becomes us to fear ; when 
God's hand is lifted up, and he appears to be about to strike, it is 
high time for us to strip ourselves of our ornaments, and to lie in 
sackcloth and ashes. 

Or else, 3, "When there is some special mercy and favour to be 
desired of the Lord ; as was the return of the Babylonish captivity, 
for which Daniel kept his fast, Dan. ix. 1 — 3. Christians exercised 
into godliness, will rarely, if ever, want their particular suits, and 
special errands unto the throne of grace. The same God, who makes 
some mercies fall into the lap of others, without their being at much 
pains about them, will give his own children many an errand unto 
himself for them, ere they obtain them, because they must have them 
in the way of the covenant ; whereas they come to others only in 
the way of common providence, in which a blasting curse may come 
along with the mercy. 

To set this matter in yet a clearer light, we shall (xemplify these 
general heads, in one's own private case ; and that in several in- 
stances, to be accommodate to the case of the Church, and of our 
neighbour, by those who are disposed religiously to observe and con- 
sider the dispensations of providence. There is a variety of these 
particular cases, which, with agreeing circumstances to be discerned 
by each one for himself, call for personal fasting and humiliation. 

1. When, through a long track of sinning and careless walking, 
the case of one's soul is left quite in disorder and confusion ; Isa. 
xxxii. 11, "Tremble ye women that are at ease ; be troubled ye care- 
less ones ; strip ye and make ye bare, and gird sackcloth upon your 
loins," Certainly the voice of God unto such is, " Thus saith the 
Lord of Hosts, Consider your ways," Hag. i. 5. Want of considera- 
tion ruins many. They deal with their souls, as some foolish men 
do with their estates, running on without consideration, till they 
have run themselves aground. But those who adventure so to take 
a time for sinning, have need to take also a set time for mourning ; 
for it is not to be expected, that accounts which have been long run- 
ning on, can bo cleared and adjusted with a glance of one's eye. 
careless sinner, consider how matters stand betwixt God and you ; 
are you in any tolerable case for the other world, for death and 
eternity ? are not matters gone quite to wreck with your soul ? are 
you not pining away in your iniquity ? is not the state and con- 
dition of your soul like that of the sluggard's vineyard, that " was 


all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, 
and the slone wall thereof was broken down?" Prov. xxiv. 31. set 
about personal fasting and humiliation. Ordinary pains will not 
serve to recover the long neglected garden ; it must be trenched, 
digged deep. A little may heip the case, that is timely seen to; but 
all this will be little enough for thine, which hath lain so long ne- 

2. When one is under convictions, entertaining some thoughts to 
reform. On such an occasion was that fast kept, Neh. ix. 1, 2, and 
had very good effects, ver. 38, chap. x. 1, 28, 29. This method is, 
in such a case, a proper means to bring men to a point in the mat- 
ter, and to fix their resolutions, otherwise ready to prove abortive. 
Some have convictions, which, at times, coming and passing away, 
like a stitch in one's side^ set them now and then, to their prayers ; 
but never prevail to bring them to a settled course of reformation of 
life ; their disease is too inveterate to be so easily carried off. But 
■were they so wise as to make these convictions a matter of solemn 
seriousness, setting some time apart on that occasion for personal 
fasting and humiliation, they might, through the divine blessing, 
turn to a good account for the interest of their souls. 

3. When the conscience is defiled with the guilt of some atrocious 
sin. Doth national guilt of that kind require national fasting? and 
doth not personal guilt of the same kind, require personal fasting ? 
Yea, sure, God calls men, in that case, to be afflicted, and mourn, 
and weep, James iv. 8, 9. Strong diseases require strong remedies ; 
and conscience-wasting guilt, deep humiliation ; as in David's case, 
Psalm li., and Peter's, Matth. xxvi. 75. This kind of guilt, deeply 
wounding and stinging the soul, defiling and wasting the conscience, 
may be without any scandalous enormities of life, appearing to the 
view of the world. God is witness to secret sins, even to the sins of 
the heart; and men of tender consciences will be sick at the heart 
Avith such sins as are hid from all the world, and will never move 

4. When one would fain get over a snare he is often caught in, 
and have victory over a lust that hath often mastered him. There 
are not a few who have many good things about them, yet lack one 
thing ; and that one thing is like to part between heaven and them ; 
marring all their good things, boih by way of evidence and of efficacy, 
Mark x. 21. They know that it is wrong ; they often resolve to 
amend; and they would fain get above it; but whenever a new 
temptation comes, Satan attacking them on the weak side, down go 
all their resolutions, like a bowing high wall, whose breaking cometh 
suddenly in an instant; and they are hard and fast in the suare 


again. consider, that tliis kind goeth not out but by prayer and 
fasting, Mattli. xvii. 21. Set therefore some time apart for personal 
fasting and humiliation, on the account of that very thing, that you 
may wrestle with God in prayer anent it, and use this method time 
after time, until you prevail against it ; else that one thing may 
ruin you ; and you will be condemned for it, not because you could 
not help it, but because you would not use the means appointed of 
God for relief in that case. 

5. When one is under a dead desertion ; in which case the Lord 
is departed, the wonted influences from heaven are withheld, but the 
wound not smarting by reason of spiritual deadness, the party is not 
much moved therewith. This was the case of the spouse, Cant. iii. 
1, " By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth ; I 
sought him, but I found him not." And f^r a recovery from it, she 
made some extraordinary efforts in the way of duty, vers. 2 — 4. The 
same appears to be the case of many, with whom some time a-day 
it was better than now. God hides his face from them ; their in- 
comes from heaven are rare and scanty, in comparison of what they 
have formerly been ; they are sighing and going backward. Though 
they go the round of ordinary religious exercises still, yet it is 
long since they had a token from the Beloved, access to or commu- 
nion with God in them. fast and pray for a recovery, as did 
Israel, when, after they had been long deserted, and very little 
affected with it, they began at length to lament after the Lord, 
1 Sam. vii. 2, 6. It requires much, in the way of ordinary means, 
for to go to the ground of such a case, wherein by much slothfulness 
the building hath decayed, and through idleness of the hands the 
house droppeth through. Though true grace can never be totally 
lost, yet it may be brought to such a very low pass, that as some 
scholars, for retrieving the loss sustained through long absence from 
the school, must begin anew again; so some Christians, in order to 
their recovery, must be carried t hrough the several steps of conver- 
sion again, as we may learn from our Saviour's words to Peter, with 
relation to his fall; Luke xxii. 32, " I have prayed for thee, that 
thy faith fail not ; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy 

6. When one is under a felt and smarting desertion ; Isa. xlix. 
14, " Zion said. The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath for- 
gotten me." This is a more hopeful case than the former ; howbeit 
it goes to the quick ; Prov. xviii. 14, " The spirit of a man will 
sustain his infirmity ; but a wounded spirit who can bear ?" There 
are many bitter ingredients in it, which make it a sorrowful case, 
exquisitely painful to the soul, like that of a woman " forsaken and 


grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth — " Isa. liv. 6. To one thus 
deserted, wrath appears iu the face of God, and impressed on every 
dispensation, Psalm Ixxxviii. 7, 8. To his sense and feeling, his 
" prayer is shut out," Lam. iii. 8 ; and flashes of hell come into his 
soul," Psalm Ixxxviii. 15, 16. Under the pressure hereof, some very 
grave and solid persons have not been able to contain themselves; 
Job XXX. 28, " I went mourning without the sun : I stood up ,and I 
cried in the congregation." This smarting desertion, in greater or 
lesser measure, has often been the fearful outgoing from the dead 
desertion, as it was in the experience of the spouse, Cant. v. 3 — 7. 
And it is a loud call to personal fasting and humiliation, Matt. ix. 
15, " "When the Bridegroom shall be taken from them, then shall 
they fast." 

7. When one is pressed with some outward affliction, whether in 
his body, relations, name, substance, or otherwise. In such a case, 
" Job rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the 
ground, and worshipped," Job i. 20 ; and David's *' knees were 
weak through fasting," Psalm cix. 24. A time of affliction is a spe- 
cial season for fasting and prayer. The Lord often lays affliction on 
his people on purpose to awaken them to their duty, and as it were 
to necessitate them to it; even as Absalom, who having in vain sent 
once and again for Joab, obliged him at length to come unto him, 
by causing set his corn field on fire. This is the way to get afflic- 
tion sanctified, and indue time removed; Jam. iv. 10, "Humble 
yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift yon up." We 
ought therefore to take heed, that we bo not of those who cry not 
when he bindeth them ; but that in this case we do as Benhadad's 
servants, who upon a signal defeat of his army, " put sackcloth on 
their loins, and ropes on their heads, and went out" as humble sup- 
plicants " to the king of Israel," who had smote them, 1 Kings xx. 31. 

8. When, by the aspect of providence, one is threatened with 
some such affliction. It is an ungracious hardness, not to be affected 
when the Lord is lifting up his hand against us. He was a man of 
an excellent spirit, who said, " My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, 
and I am afraid of thy judgments," Psalm cxix. 120. Though he 
was an hero that feared the face of no man, he laid aside that 
bravery of spirit when he had to do with his God. Wherefore, 
when the Lord was threatening the removal of a child of his by 
death, though the continuing of that child in life would have been a 
lasting memorial of his reproach, yet the impression of the Lord's 
anger on that threatening dispensation moved him to betake himself 
to personal fasting and humiliation before the Lord, for tlio life of 
that child, 2 Sam. xii. 10, 22. 


9. "When one would have light and direction in sorae particular 
matter of special weight. It is much to be lamented, that men pro- 
fessing the belief of a divine providence in human affairs, should, ia 
confidence of their own wisdom, take the weight of their matters on 
themselves, without acknowledging God in them ; aiming only to 
please themselves therein, and not their God, as if their fancy, con- 
yeniency, or advantage, and not their conscience, were concerned in 
their determinations and resolves. Hence it is, that wise men are 
often left to signal blunders in conduct, and feel marks of God's in- 
dignation justly impressed on their rash determinations. Thus 
Joshua and the princes of Israel, in the matter of the league with 
the Gibeonites, finding no need of the exercise of their faith, but of 
their wit, vainly imagining they could see well enough with their 
own eyes, " took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the 
mouth of the Lord," and were egregiously overreached by them, aa 
they saw afterward, when it was too late. Josh. ix. 14, 22, 

We have a divine command and promise, extending to our tempo- 
ral, as well as to our spiritual concerns; and very suitable to the 
necessary dependence we have on God in all things, as creatures on 
their Creator; Prov. iii. 5, ''Lean not unto thine own tfnderstand- 
ing. Yer. 6, " In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall di- 
rect thy paths." We ought therefore, in all our matters, to eye 
him as our director; and steer our \i hole course, as he directs by 
his word and providence. Since he hath said, " I will teach thee in 
the way which thou shalt go : I will guide thee with mine eye," 
Psalm xxxii. 8, it is unquestionably our duty to "set the Lord al- 
ways before us," Psalm xvi. 8; to regulate our acting, and ceasing 
from action, by the divine direction ; even as the Israelites in the 
wilderness removed and rested, just as the pillar of cloud and fire 
removed or rested before them. Num. ix. 15 — 23. 

Sometimes, indeed, an affair may be in such a situation, as allows 
not an opportunity of making an address unto God, for light in it, 
by solemn prayer ; bat we are never so circumstanced, but we have 
access to lift up our eyes to the holy oracle, in a devout ejaculation ; 
as Nehemiah did in such a situation, Neh. ii. 4, 5. And there 
is a promise relative to that case which has been often ve- 
rified, in the comfortable experience of the saints taking that 
method to obtain the divine direction ; Prov. iv. 12, " When thou 
runuest thou shalt not stumble." But Christians should accustom 
themselves to lay their matters before the Lord, in solemn prayer, 
for light and direction therein, as far as circumstances do permit. 
So did Abraham's pious servant, with the affair his master had com- 
mitted to him, Gen. xxiv. 12 — 14. And accordingly he had a plea- 


surable experience of the accomplisliraent of the promise relative to 
that case, Prov. iv. 12, " "When thou goest, thy steps shall not be 
straitened." And where they are to be determined in a matter of 
special weight, such as the change of their lot, the choice of an em- 
ployment, some momentous undertaking, or any the like occurrences 
in life, whereof serious Christians will find not a fevr, allowing 
them time and opportunity to deliberate on them ; that is a special 
occasion for extraordinary prayer with fasting, for light from the 
Lord, the Father of lights, to discover what is their duty therein, 
and what he is calling them too in the matter. So the captives re- 
turning from Babylon with Ezra, kept a fast at the river Ahava, 
" to seek of God a right way," Ezra viii. 21. 

10. When duty being cleared iu a matter of special weight, it 
comes to ihe setting to ; in which event, one needs the presence of 
God with him therein, the divine blessing upon it, and success in it. 
Thus Esther being to go in unto the king, to make request for her 
people, there was solemn fasting, on that occasion, used by her and 
the Jews in Shushan, Esth. iv. 8, 16. And Barnabas and Saul being 
called of God unto a special work, were not sent away to it, but 
after fasting and prayer, Acts xiii. 2, 3, We need not only light 
from the Lord to discover unto us our duty in particular cases, but 
that being obtained, we need also his presence to go along with us 
in the thing, that we may be enabled rightly to make ourVay, which 
he bids us go. Therefore said Moses, Exod. xxxiii. 15, " If thy 
presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." Sin hath defiled 
every thing to us ; and however promising any worldly state, con- 
dition, or thing whatsoever, may appear in our eyes, yet if we have 
not the presence of God iu it, and his blessing upon it, to purify it 
unto us, we will be mired in it, and find a snare and a trap, if not a 
curse therein to us. 

11. When one, having some unordinary difficulty to encounter, is 
in hazard of being ensnared either into sin or danger. On such an 
occasion was the fore-mentioned fast at Shushan kept ; Esther jeo- 
parding her life, in *' going in unto the king in the inner court," not 
called by him, Esth. iv. 11, 16. The ship has need to be well bal- 
lasted, that sails while the wind blows high ; and in a difllcult and 
ensnaring time, there is need of fasting and prayer for Heaven's 
safe-conduct through it. Men's trusting to themselves in such a case, 
cannot miss of betraying them into snares. 

12. Lastly, When one hath in view some special solemn approach 
unto God ; in which case a special preparation is requisite. Thus 
Jacob called his family to such preparation, in the exercise of re- 
pentance, in order to their appearing before the Lord at Bethel, 


Gen. sxxv, 2, 3. The Israelites were called to the same, in order 
to the awful solemnity of the giving of the law' on Mount Sinai, Exod. 
xix. 10, 11, 15. And it is observable, that, whereas the feast of 
tabernacles was the most joyful of all the feasts the Jews had 
throughout the year, a solemn fast was appointed of God to be ob- 
served always before it, four free days only intervening, Lev. xxiii. 
27, 34. For in the method of grace, none stand so fair for a lifting 
up, as those who are most deeply humbled, Isa, xl. 4; Luke xviii. 
14; Jam iv. 10. Wherefore it is a laudable practice of our church, 
that congregations keep a congregational fast, before the celebration 
of the feast of the sacrament of the Lord's supper among them, in 
order to their preparation for a solemn approach unto God in that 
holy ordinance. And, for the same reason, secret fasting by par- 
ticular persons apart, and private fasting by families apart, espe- 
pecially such as have not access to join in the public fast, would be 
very seasonable on such an occasion. And if those secret and pri- 
vate fasts could more generally obtain, and get place in congrega- 
tions, some little time before the communion work did begin, it 
would be a token for good, and might prove like the noise and 
shaking among the dry bones, that ushered in the breathing on the 
slain, and the causing them to s'and " up upon their feet," Ezek. 
xxxvii. 7, 10. 

These things duly considered, each Christian may be in case to 
judge for himself, when it is that he is under a providential call to 
personal fasting and humiliation. 


Having seen the divine warrant for personal fasting and humilia- 
tion, and considered the nature of a providential call to that extra- 
ordinary duty, it remains to offer some advices or directions for the 
profitable managing of it in practice. 

Direction I. When you find that the Lord is calling you to this 
duty, prudently make choice of a fit time and place for it aforehand, 
wherein yon may have access to go about it without distraction. 
And carefully dispose of your ordinary affairs before that time, so 
as you may have no let nor hindrance from that part which you can 
prevent. Works of necessity and mercy which are lawfully done on 
the Lord's day, are much more so in this case, wherein the duty 
waits not on the time, but the time on the duty. Yea, in case some- 
thing of worldly business which yon could not foresee nor prevent, 
do fall out in time of your fast, and cannot be deferred or put off 
without some notable inconveniency, you may, jvithout scruple, dis- 


patch it ; for the time is not lioly. But in that case, labour that, if 
possible, your work be not thereby raari'cd ; and carefully keep up 
your frame of spirit for the duty you are engaged in. But Chris- 
tian prudence to weigh circumstances, for which you are to look up 
unto the Lord, is necessary to determine herein, according to the 
general rules of the word, Matth. xii. 3 — 7. 

As for such as are not masters of their time, which is the case of 
servants, they cannot lawfully dispose of their time at their own 
hand even for this duty ; for our God " hates robbery for burnt of- 
fering," Isa. Ixi. 8. But then they may endeavour to procure the 
necessary time at the hand of their masters, to whom, if they be 
godly and serious, they may modestly hint their design, pitching on 
a time with so much discretion, as that their good may not be evil 
spoken of. And if any be so unmindful of their Master which is in 
heaven, as to refuse such a discreet desire, yet let not the party by 
any means think, that the sacred nature of the thing he has in view 
gives him a power to rob his master of so much of his time ; for men 
can oifer nothing to God with a good conscience but what is their own, 
and exercises of devotion are so far from slacking the tie of moral duty 
to our neighbour that they are nothing but an outward form of de- 
votion, unacceptable to God, so far as they do not influence the 
party to a careful and religious observance of the duties of morality, 
such as judgment or justice, mercy, and faith, or faithfulness, Matth. 
xxiii. 23. Neither yet let him imagine, on the other hand, that he 
is then no further concerned to look after that extraordinary duty ; 
for no reason can be assigned why one ought not to be willing to be at 
as much pains or expense for procuring to bimself an opportunity of 
communion with God in that duty, as he will be for an opportunity of 
attending some worldly business of his own, placing another in his 
room. But if none of these can effectuate it, then, though the day 
or time of labouring is the master's, yet the night or time of resting 
js the servant's ; let him give unto God what he has, and it shall be 
accepted through Christ. But, excepting the case of a providential 
necessity obliging one to take the night for this exercise, the day is, 
generally speaking, the most proper time for it, beginning the exer- 
cise in the morning 

Direction II. Make some preparation for it the night before, 
turning your thoughts towards the exercise you have in view, consi- 
dering of it, and avoiding every thing that hath a tendency to disfit 
or indispose for it. Shun carnal mirth and sensual delights ; sup 
sparingly ; to eat the more, that one is to fast religiously after, is 
to mock God and cheat one's self. In the intervals of sleep, take 
heed that your thoughts be not vain, and much more that they bo 

Vol. XL 2a" 


not vile ; but that they be such as tend to fit you for the extraordi- 
nary duty in view. 

DiRECTior III. Rise early in the morning, even sooner than or- 
dinary, unless by reason of bodily weakness that would tend to disfit 
you for the work ; for then you are called, in a special manner, to 
watch unto prayer, Eph. vi. 18. Sleep is a fleshly comfort, which, 
howbeit it is necessary, yet one is in this case called to be sparing 
of. Therefore the priests were bid " lie all night in sackcloth," 
•Joel i. 13 ; and it is recorded of Ahab, that he in his fast lay so, 
1 Kings xxi. 27. A proper means to make one sleep sparingly. 

DiEECTiow IV. As soon as you awake in the morning, let holy 
thoughts, with a view to your work, immediately have access into 
your heart, and beware that carnal or worldly thoughts get not the 
start of them; for if you allow that, they will be to your soul like 
water poured upon firewood, that makes it hard to kindle. Surely, 
if one is at any time to follow the example of the Psalmist David, 
Psalm cxxxix. 18, " "When I awake, I am still with thee," he is to 
do it at such a time. 

DiKECTiox Y. Let your ordinary duties of prayer and reading of 
the word, be first of all performed; for extraordinary duties are not 
to justle out the ordinary, but to be superadded unto them. And in 
such prayer, beg of God grace to enable you for the work before 
you, according to his promise. Yea, it may be very expedient, that 
thereafter you go unto God again by prayer, particularly and pur- 
posely for his grace to enable you unto the duty now come to the 
setting to. And forasmuch as our corrupt hearts are, upon a near 
view, of a difficult and laborious holy exercise, very apt to wax faint, 
and our hands to hang down, albeit, the way of the Lord is declar- 
ed to be '' strength to the upright," Prov. x. 29 ; do you therefore, 
by all means, study to exercise faith, and labour to believe stedfast- 
ly, that his grace shall be sufficient for you, therefore, by all means 
study to exercise faith, and labour to believe stedfastly, that his 
grace shall be sufficient for you, to the making of " his yoke easy, 
and his burden light" unto you, 2 Cor. xii. 9, with Mat. xi. 30. 
For no man shall ever be able to perform a duty acceptably unto 
God, without a believing persuasion, in greater or lesser measure, of 
an allowance made him of grace sufficient for an acceptable perform- 
ance of it, 2 Cor. iii. 4, 5, Pliilip. ii. 12, 13. One will otherwise bo 
but a wicked and slothful servant, as our Saviour teacheth, Matth. 
XXV. 24—26. 

Direction YI. After prayer in faith, for the aid of divine grace, 
as in the preceding direction, begin the work with a solemn review 
of your sins, in deep meditation, and serious communing with your 


own heart thereupon; applying yourself to think of them, in such 
manner as you think of your affairs, when considering how to man- 
age them iu cases of difficulty. God calls for this at your hand. 
Hag. i. 5, " Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, consider your ways." 
Lam, iii. 40, " Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to 
the Lord." It is recommended to us by the practice of the saints ; 
Psalm Ixxvii. 6, " I commune with mine own heart, and my spirit 
made diligent search ;" and cxlx. 59, '' I thought on my ways, and 
turned, ray feet unto thy testimonies." The nature of a religious 
fast requires it ; for how can the deep humiliation therein to be 
aimed at, be otherwise obtained ? or what way else can one be fitted 
to make a confession suitable to such an occasion ? It is observable, 
that in the fast mentioned, Neh. ix., the "reading of the law" went 
before the making of the confession, ver. 3. So the first work was 
to set the looking-glass before their eyes, that therein every one 
might see his foul face. And the direction given to fallen Israel, 
in order to a recovery ; Hos. xiv. 2, '' Take with you words, and 
say," &c., doth plainly bear, that there should, in that case, be so- 
lemn serious thinking before solemn prayer. 

Now, to assist you in the practice of this part of your work, the 
following advices are offered : — ■ 

First, Read some pertinent passage of holy scripture, and 
that with application, as reading your own heart and life therein. 
Such are those passages, which contain discoveries and confession of 
sin, as Isa. lix ; or lists of sins, or of several sorts of sinners, as 
Rom. 1. 29—32, 2 Cor. ; vi. 9, 10, Gal. v. 19—21, 2 Tim. iii. 1—5, 
Rev. xxi. 8. Particularly, I recommend for this purpose, Ezra ix., 
Neh. ix., Dan. ix. Of these, or other scriptures of the like nature, 
you may read such as you shall judge meet. 

Secondly, It will be expedient and useful, in this case, to read 
also the Larger Catechism on the ten commands, in the answers to 
the questions, " What is required ?" and, "What is forbidden?" 
and especially the latter. For by reading thereof with application 
to yourself, you will find out your guiltiness in many points, which 
perhaps would not otherwise come into your mind. 

Tliirdly, This done, apply yourself to think of your sins, in order 
to your getting a broad and humbling view of your sinful and 
wretched case. And for your help herein, I suggest to you these 
things following: — 

1. You may compose yourself, what way you find, by eyperience, 
to be best for keeping the mind fixed. It is a piece of Christian 
prudence in this case, to dispose of every thing so as you may the 
more readily reach that end, and block up the avenues by which 

2 a2 


impertinent thoughts may make their entrance. As, (1.) Because 
the eyes often betray the heart, through a variety of objects, which 
present themselves to one's view in the light ; if you are in a house 
you may darken it by stopping the light; if in the fields, you may 
lie down on your face, and close your eyes. (2.) If you cun by no 
means keep your heart at simple thinking, you may speak to your- 
self with a low voice, that words may help to fix the mind unto the 
thing. These are only prudential advices, which they that need may 
use, they that need not may let alone. 

2. It will be very profitable to observe some method and order in 
thinking of your sins. A confused and indeterminate manner of 
thinking of our sins, doth, in several respects, fall short of an or- 
derly thought about them. It is true, when the Spirit of the Lord 
is carrying on a special work of conviction in the heart of a sinner, 
the man's sins will of course be readily laid to hand, and '' set in 
erder before his eyes," Psalm 1. 21. But it is another case, where 
one is searching out his sins, with an ordinary assistance of the Spi- 
rit ; herein these do not duly consult their own interest, who refuse 
the help of method in the search. 

And there is a twofold method or order, which may be helpful to 
you therein ; to wit, the order of the time of life, and the order of 
the ten commandments. Both these are natural, and easy to the 
meanest capacity. 

Thinking on your sins in the order of the time of your life, you will 
thereby get a general view of your own sinfulness, and that through- 
out your whole life. And in this method, 

1st, You are to consider the sin of your nature. You are to look 
" unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit 
whence ye are digged," Isa. li. 1. Think what a sinful lump thou 
wast in thy conception and birth, *' shapen in iniquity and conceived 
in sin," Psalm li. 5 ; how thou earnest into the world, with cords of 
guilt wreathed about thy neck, binding thee over to wrath under the 
curse ; stripped naked of original righteousness ; thy whole nature 
corrupted, being the very reverse of the holy nature of God ; thy 
soul in all its faculties quite perverted, ready to discover with the 
first occasion, its wrong set, namely, a propensity to evil, and an 
aversion to good ; and thy body in all its members sinful flesh. In 
consideration whereof thou mayest well say, with admiration of 
the divine patience, " why did the knees prevent me ! Or why the 
breasts that I should suck !" 

2(i/j/, Then turn your thoughts to the sins of your childhood. So- 
loman in his penitentials tells us, that childhood and youth are 
vanity, Eccl. xi. 10. Truly, the sins of that early period of our 


life, are not to be remembered to be langlied at, but mourned ovei; ; 
and so they will be by true penitents ; for tliey are the early sprout- 
ings and buds of corrupt nature, that might have been fatal to us, 
ere we had gone further ; behold how in that period thou hast 
" spoken and done evil things as thou couldst." It is likely that 
many of these things are forgotten ; but yet you may still search out 
as many of them as may be matter of deep humiliation to you be- 
fore the Lord. There may be sins of childhood, that will make a 
bleeding wound, in a gracious heart, on every remembrance thereof, 
even unto the dying day. 

^dly, Then take a view of the sins of your youth. Job got a 
moving view of his, when he was come to a good age ; Job xiii. 26, 
" Thou writest bitter things against me, and raakest me to possess the 
iniquities of my youth." David's heart bleeds at the remembrance 
of his crying unto God, " remember not the sins of my youth," Psalm 
XXV. 7. Youth is vain, rash, and inconsiderate ; and therefore a 
dangerous period of life, precipitating some into such steps as make 
them to halt all their life after, proving fatal to many, and laying 
Dp matter of repentance to all. And if the follies of it be not timely 
repented of, and mourned over, by the sinner, they " shall lie down 
with him in the dust," Job xx. 11 ; and present themselves again in 
full tale, when " for all these God will bring him into judgment," 
Eccl. xi. 9. Therefore do you take a mournful view of them, and 
judge yourselves in time. 

4<AZy, If you are come to middle age, proceed to the searching out 
of the sins of that period of your life. In it you cannot miss of mat- 
ter of deep humiliation ; '' for man at his best estate is altogether 
vanity," Psalm xxxix. 5. Every period of life is attended with itr 
proper snares and temptations. And he who, right or wrong, hath 
made his way through those of youth, doth but enter into a new 
throng of temptations of another kind, while he enters on the nex* 
stage of life ; in the which men often, ere they are aware, " pierco 
themselves through with many sorrows," lose themselves in a cloud 
of cares and business, and, " troubled about many things," forget the 
" one thing needful." 

Lastly, If you are advanced into old age, go forward and view 
your sins in that period. "Whatever infirmities do attend it, the sins 
of it must be searched out, and repented of too ; for it will not ex- 
cuse a man, before an holy God, that he is an aged sinner. The 
corruption of nature, the longer it hath kept its ground, is the more 
hatefnl, and will be the more humbling lo a gracious soul. 

Thus you will have your whole life before you in parcels. And 
that you may, with the greater distinctness, review any period 


thereof which you have fully passed, or of which you have passed a 
great part ; you may distinguish the same into lesser periods, ac- 
cording to the more notable events, turns, or changes that were in 
it, and review them separately ; as, for instance, the time before you 
went to school, by itself ; the time of your being at it, by itself ; and 
so in other cases. 

But for a more full and particular view of your sins, do you pro- 
ceed in the order of the ten commandments. The holy law, consi- 
dered in its spirituality and vast extent, is the proper means for 
sound conviction; it is the sinner's looking-glass whereby to discern 
the vast multitude of his spots and defilements, in order to his humi- 
liation. Rom. viii. 7, *' I had not known sin, but by the law ; for 
I had not known lust except the law had said, Thou shalt not 
covet." "Wherefore by no means neglect, in this review, to go 
through the ten commandments ; and pause upon every one of them, 
considering the duties required therein, and wherein you have beeu 
guilty by omission of them ; and the sins forbidden therein, and 
wherein you have been guilty by commission of them ; guilty in both 
kinds, in thought, word, and deed. This would be a proper means 
to shew you the multitude of your transgressions. 

But to proceed in both the one and the other order jointly, name- 
ly, by reviewing each period of your life separately, in the order of 
the ten commandments, would, through the divine blessing, be of the 
most singular use for reaching the most humbling view of your 
whole life. 

Thus far of the second thing suggested for your help to think of 
your sins, in order to a humbling view of your case. And for your 
further help therein. 

3. Be sure that in a special manner you set before your eyes the 
signal miscarriages of your life, those sins that have wounded your 
conscience deepest. I doubt there are but few, if any, of a tender 
conscience, who see not some such blots in their escutcheon ; some 
remarkable trespasses in heart or life, that are ready to gall them 
on every remembrance ; though perhaps known unto none but God 
and themselves. Good Eli had such a blot on him pointed out to him 
under the name of " The iniquity which he knoAveth," 1 Sam. iii. 13. 
And the best of the saints mentioned in Scripture had something of 
that nature to humble them. Now, as ever you would be duly hum- 
bled in your exercise of personal fasting, let these, in your review 
of your sins, be brought forth by headmark, and set before you in 
the sight of a holy God ; and that, although they be fx-eely pardoned 
unto you long ago ; for the view of these is most likely to affect you ; 
and pardoned sins, inasmuch as they are pardoned, are humbling in 


the remembrance of them, Luke vii. 37 — 47 ; as Paul's pardoned 
blasphemy and persecution were to him, 1 Tim, i. 13. 

4. In thinking on your sins, take along Avith you the aggravations 
of them. Represent to yourself the infinite majesty of God, against 
whom you have sinned ; and as ever you would be duly humbled, 
entertain high and elevated thoughts of the Lord our lawgiver. 
This will make you to say with David, Psalm li. 4, " Against thee, 
thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight ;" under- 
standing by your own experience what he meant thereby. In your 
meditation, set God's way of dealing with you, all along from your 
very birth, over against your way of dealing with him ; so shall con- 
viction be brought home on your conscience with a peculiar edge ; 
while considering the mercies he hath heaped on you, the light and 
warnings he hath afforded you, your guilt will appear of a deepest 

5. Having thus seen your extreme sinfulness, consider, in the next 
place, the just demerit of your sin, even God's wrath and curse, both 
in this life and that which is to come. " For because of these things 
Cometh the wrath'of God upon the children of disobedience," Eph. v. 6. 
The law is a looking-glass, for sinners, not only in its commands, but 
also in its threatenings and curse; shewing unto all their cursed 
state by nature ; to unbelievers, what they are actually lying under 
for their sins, and to believers what theirs do deserve. And, there- 
fore, after you have, as before directed, gone tlirough all the ten 
commandments, for your conviction and humiliation, do you, for 
your farther humiliation, set your eyes upon the threatenings and 
curse of that holy law as a covenant of works; and see therein your 
just deserving, so as that God may be justified when he speaketh 
against you, and " clear when he judgeth," Psalm li. 4. And think 
with thyself, how thou shouldst, without peradventure, eternally 
perish under his wrath, if he should proceed against thee according 
to the law and justice ; as he hath actually proceeded against many 
for those very sins wherewith thou art chargeable. 

6. In this view of your sins, endeavour all along that your eye 
may aifect your heart. In vain will you rake into that dunghill, if 
suitable affections or emotions of heart be not thereby excited 
in you. And these suitable affections are, (1.) Hatred, detestation, 
and abhorrence of sin, Psalm cxix. 128 ; Horn. xii. 9. Wherefore, 
pull the mask from off it,remoYe the paint and varnish that have been 
laid over it, that you may see it in its native deformity; and look 
on it until your stomach turn on the sometimes sweet morsel. (2.) 
Grief and sorrow of heart for it, Psalm xxxviii. 18. Let your heart 
be rent, in consideration of the olTeuco thereby given to a gracious 


God, its contrariety to his holy nature and will, its disliououring of 
his Son, who gave himself a sacrifice for sin, and grieving of his 
Spirit who sanctifies us. (3.) Holy shame upon the account of it, 
Jer. xxxi. 19. Behold it as a filthy thing, the very reverse of the 
beauty of holiness, the holiness of God expressed in his law ; and he 
confounded at the sight. Behold it as a base requital of divine fa- 
vours, and blush before hira. (4.) Self-loathing, Ezek. xxxvi. 31. 
Pursue the thought of the filthiness of your sin, till you loathe your- 
self in your own sight, as rendered unclean all over, by abominations 
of heart and life. (6.) A longing to be rid of sin, the guilt, defile- 
ment, prevailing, and indwelling of it. Dwell on the thought of 
your sinfulness, till your heart, pained and burdened therewith, 
groan out longing desires of deliverance, as Horn. vii. 24, " 
wretched man that I am who shall deliver me from the body of this 
death I" Who will draw this dagger out of my bowels ! this sting 
out of my conscience ! this poison out of my flesh ! who will take 
this load off" my back ! 

All this would be no more than necessary humiliation. For it 
would be the lot of every sinner either in time or in eternity, to be 
like the fish that is boiled in the water, which it sometime a day 
swimraed in. But *' blessed are ye that weep now," Luke vi. 21. 
" Wo unto you that laugh now, for ye shall mourn and weep," 
ver. 25. 

Lastly, It will be very necessary that the whole of this work be 
mixed with devout ejaculations. For be sure Satan will be at your 
right hand, to resist you, and to mar your work ; your heart will bo 
ready to misgive you in it, to stop, and turn aside ; therefore press 
forward in it, lifting your eyes every iiow and then to the Lord for 

With this review of your own sins, let a view of the public sins 
of the church and land wherein you live, be joined ; using the same 
helps, as in your own particular case, which need not be here 

And in relation to this, 1 subjoin only three advices. 

1. Begin always with your own sins, even though the principle 
cause of your fast be the state of the church or land. This has been 
the manner of the saints ; Isa. vi. 6, '' Then said I, Wo 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." Dan. ix. 20, " And whilst 
I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin, and the sin of 
my people Israel." The reason hereof is manifest ; for one will 
never be duly humbled for the sins of others, who is not, in the first 
place, so humbled for his own. 


2. Represent public sins to yourself, under such notions as may- 
tend to excite suitable affections and emotions of heart in you. 
Look on them as they are dishonouring to our gracious God, wound- 
ing or ruining to the souls of men, disgraceful to our holy Christian 
profession, and provoking God to wrath against the land. Hate and 
loathe them, be ashamed of them, and monrn over them, on these ac- 
counts ; and long for the day of purging them away. 

3. See your own sinful part in them, by all means. Bring them 
home to your own conscience before the Lord ; search out, and see 
what of the guilt thereof you are, either directly or indirectly 
chargeable with, in his sight ; and be deeply humbled for the same. 

Thus far of the review of sin. 

DiEECTiON VII. After this review of your sins made, go unto God 
by prayer, and make confession of them. And here, confession is 
to be the chief part of your prayer ; yea, and if the whole of it al- 
most be confession, it will not be amiss- Certainly extraordinary 
confession of sin is a great part of the work of a religious fast. — 
Neh. ix. 3; Dan. ix. 20. And the solemn review, in which one's 
sins are so particularly searched out, natively issues therein. 

For the more profitable management of this confession of sin, the 
•following advices are offered : — 

1. Take no thought of your voice, farther than to keep it from 
being unseasonably high. For the voice, in itself, is nothing before 
the heart-searching God, who regards not the sound of men's throats, 
but of their heart and affections. "The true worshippers shall 
worship the Father in spirit and in truth ; for the Father seeketh 
such to worship him," John iv. 23. But sometimes there is a deceit 
in the voice, to the beguiling of the soul ; as it fared with Ezekiel's 
hearers, " with the mouth shewing much love," Ezek. xxxiii. 31. 
And one, by an indiscreet management of it, may be fruitlessly 
weakened ; and unfitted fo,r continuing at the work so as need raiiy 
require. The affections are the best rulers of the voice. 

2. Endeavour to bring along into your confession, and carry along, 
those affections and emotions of heart, of which before; namely, 
hatred and detestation of sin, godly sorrow, holy shame, self-loath- 
ing, and longing to be rid of sin. Psalm xxxviii. 18, " I will declare 
mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin." When the leper was to 
cry " unclean, unclean," his clothes were to be rent, his head bare, 
and there was to be a covering upon his upper lip; Lev. xiii. 45. A 
confessing tongue requires a broken heart, a spirit really weighted 
\vith a sense of sin. And the marble, that sweats in foul weather, 
but yet is never a whit the softer, shall bo an emblem of one con- 
fessing his sin with a hale heart. Yet let none sensible of the 


hardness of their heart, be thereby made to stand aloof from con- 
fession, saying, "Who will roll away the stone ! Let them go for- 
ward, and essay it : let them confess their hardness of heart, and 
unfitness to make confession ; for so they may find the stone rolled 
away to their hand. 

3. Be as full as you can in your confession ; laying all your spi- 
ritual sores before the Lord, so far as you know them. One wound 
concealed from the physician may prove fatal to the patient ; and 
one sin industriously passed over in confession, may prove fatal to 
the sinner; " for he that covereth his sins shall not prosper," Prov 
xxviii. 13. David was aware of this; Psalm xxxii. 5, "I acknow- 
ledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid." It 
fared ill with Ananias and Sapphira, for that in another case, they 
lied unto God, and kept back a part, Acts v. And lie is no true 
penitent, that desires to hide any sweet morsel under his tongue, and 
is not willing to take shame to himself for every known sin. 

4. Be very particular in your confession, opening out your spiri- 
tual sores before the Lord ; Psalm li. 4, " I have done this evil in 
thy sight;" Joshua vii. 20, "I have sinned; and thus, and thus, 
have I done." To confess the several kinds of your sin, in general, 
without descending to particulars, is too superficial work on such an 
occasion. The particular abominations of yov/r heart and life are 
raised up in meditation, to be laid before the Lord in humble con- 
fession. I suppose you to be at this work in a secret place, where 
you may freely utter before him, what it would not be proper you 
should say in the hearing of others. No doubt, a great deal of free- 
dom may be used in secret prayer, in narrating of thoughts and ac- 
tions, with the designation of time, place, and persons, so as may 
tend to one's deeper humiliation, which would not be to edification 
in social prayer. 

Now, in order to your being the more fall and particular in your 
confession, I would recommend the same method and order to be ob- 
served therein, as in the review of your sins. I believe that, so 
doing, you will find the advantage of it. Go orderly through the 
several periods of your life, and through all the ten commandments, 
making your confession ; where also you may take in the confession 
of public sins, always so as may best tend to the further humiliation 
of yourself. In a special manner, be very particular as to the sig- 
nal miscarriages of your life, and aggravate your guilt, acknowledg- 
ing the aggravating circumstances thereof. And unto the confession 
of your known sins, against all the ten commandments, add a humble' 
acknowledgement of a large void and blank to be left for your un- 
known sins against every one of them; which you can by no means 


fill up, but the all-knowing God can : " for wlio can understand his 
errors?" Psalm xix. 12. And, considering the commands of the 
perfect law, as binding you to embrace the Gospel, confess your 
atrocious guilt in sinning against the remedy of sin, therein revealed, 
offered, and exhibited unto you. 

5. It will be profitable, that, all along through your confession, 
you approve of the law, as holy, just, and good, Rom. vii. 12. For 
as black doth best appear when set by white, so sin appears most 
clearly in its native hue, exceeding sinful, when set over against the 
pure, holy, just, and good commandment. As, for example, when 
you are to confess your sins against the first commandment, you may 
say to this purpose: — "Lord, thou commandest me, saying, 'Thou 
shalt have no other gods before me.' I acknowledge this thy com- 
mand is most just and reasonable in itself, and most good forme. 
It was thou alone who made me, thou alone hast preserved me. I 
never needed another god besides thee, and none but thou couldst 
ever do the part of a God to me. — Thou didst magnify thy rich 
grace, in condescending to be, in Christ, a God to me, a most 
wretched creature. Nevertheless, over the belly of this law of love, 
my duty, and my interest, I have had many other gods before thee : 
I have set up my cursed self in thy room and stead — made the vain 
world my god," &c. And so in other cases. 

6. Lastly, Let your confession be closed with self-condemning, 
self-emptying, and a look of faith. 

\st, Condemn yourself, as did the returning prodigal ; Luke xv. 

18, " Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee." Ver. 

19, "And am no more worthy to be called thy son." As you looked 
to the commandments before, and confessed your sin, so look now to 
the threatenings and curse of the law, and confess your just deserv- 
ing. Read there your deserved doom, and pass sentence against 
yourself. Nothing is more natural than that now you call yourself 
fool and beast, for that you have followed the wild-fire of your cor- 
rupt inclinations, to the miring of yourself thus in sin and guilt ; 
and have broken over the hedge, where now you find the serpent biting 
you. And here, 

(1.) Confess you deserve no good, but all evil, in time. If the 
cause of your fast be some evil you are at present smarting under, 
acknowledge God to be just, very just in it. If it is some stroke 
threatened, and hanging over your head, confess that you well de- 
serve that it should fall on you in its full weight. If it is light that 
you want, confess you deserve to be left in darkness ; or whatever 
be the mercy you come to make supplication for, acknowledge from 
the heart that you have forfeited it. Surely, in case your uucircum- 


cised heart be humbled, you will accept of the punishment of your 
iniquity, Lev. xxyi. 41. And then if your sin has found you out, 
you will own the procedure against you to be righteous and holy ; 
if your broken bones smart, you will say it is just ; if the Lord has 
turned his former smiles into frowns, mixed your comforts with gall 
and wormwood, souring them so as to set your teeth on edge, blasted 
your enjoyments, and squeezed the sap out of them, you will, after 
confession of sin, say from your very heart, My folly makes it so. 

(2.) Confess ye deserve eternally to perish, and that " it is of the 
Lord's mercies you are not consumed," Lam. iii. 22 ; that God might 
in justice wrap you up in the filthy garments of your sin, and cast 
you out of his sight, into the lake burning with fire and brimstone, 
as the fittest place for such a sinful lump. Acknowledge yourself to 
be, in yourself, a wretched creature, justly under the curse and con- 
demnatory sentence of the law, having nothing to say for yourself 
at the bar of justice, why it may not be fully executed against you, 
a self-condemned, as well as a law-condemned sinner. Psalm li. 4. 
Whatever your state be in the sight of God, it is altogether just, 
that your libel against yourself be not concluded without this. 

2dly, Be emptied of yourself, in a humble and hearty acknow- 
ledgment of utter inability to help yourself. Having taken a view 
of the load of sin lying upon you, and laid before the Lord the par- 
ticulars of your burden, with the sinking weight thereof, acknow- 
ledge that it is quite beyond your power to move it from ofi" you. 
Say from the heart, " Lord, here is a load of guilt lying upon me, 
which by no doing or suffering of mine can be moved ; here is a 
mighty power of sin I am no more able to grapple with, than a 
child with a giant ; a dead weight 1 can no more remove, than I can 
remove a mountain. If thou leave me under it, as justly thou raay- 
est, I perish." 

This is true humiliation, where the poor broken sinner lies at the 
Lord's ftet, sensible that he is bound with ten thousand cords of 
guilt, but unable to loose the weakest of them ; that his soul is 
preyed upon, and like to be devoured by a swarm of living lusts, yet 
unable to kill or shake ofi" any of them. If we are duly humbled, 
our humiliation will be carried thus far ; for it is the ruin of many, 
that they see not the absolute need of the blood of Christ for re- 
moving of their guilt ; and far less the absolute need of his spirit, 
for breaking of the power of sin in them. 

Lastly, Let there bo a look of faith out of the low dungeon. 
Look unto God in Christ, and say, " God be merciful to me a sirf- 
ner," Luke xviii. 13. And " turn thou me and I shall be turned," 
Jer. xxxi. 18. Tell him, that, since, according to his holy gospel. 


there is yet liope in Israel concerning this thing, you must and will 
take the benefit of the Gospel proclamation of grace and mercy, and 
lay hold on the horns of the altar ; and, therefore, though your 
weight be heavier than mountains of brass, you do, with humble con- 
fidence, at the Father's bidding, lay it wholly over on the blood of 
his Son the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting thereon allenarly for remis- 
sion of sin, sanctification, and complete salvation. 

Now, as to the two directions last mentioned, I mean not, that 
what is proposed in either of them must needs be done all at once, 
without intermission. You may use them, as you are best able to 
reach them. It is not very likely that those who spent one-fourth 
of the day in confessing and worshipping, Neh. ix. 3, did make but 
one confession continued without intermission ; so you may make 
such intermissions in either or both of them as you find necessary. 
Christian prudence must direct in the matter, to use the means, so as 
may best conduce to the end. 

Direction YIII. After confession of sin, apply yourself to the 
duty of personal covenanting, explicit entering into, or renewing co- 
venant with God, by taking hold of God's covenant of grace in ex- 
press words. That this is a necessary part of the work of a per- 
sonal fast, may be gathered from Jer. 1. 4, and Neh. ix. 38, both 
cited before. And it is clear from the nature of the thing ; for to 
what purpose shall men lay open their wounds before the Physician 
of souls, if they mind not to put themselves in his hand for cure, in 
the way of the covenant ? or how can they pretend to mourn for sin, 
if they are not to enter on the way of reformation ? A time of per- 
sonal fasting is a time for the runaway to return to his duty, and to 
set matters right again, that were put wrong by turning aside from 
God and his way. And one unwilling to enter into covenant with 
God, cannot be sincere in his confession of sin, and mourning over 
it, whatever he may pretend. 

For the right managing of this duty of personal covenanting, these 
three following advices are offered : — 

1. See that you uuderstand, and rightly take up the covenant, the 
covenant of grace, together with the way and manner of a sinner'? 
personal entering into it, and being inflated in it unto salvation ; the 
which are to be learned from the Holy Scripture alone, as being re- 
vealed in it only. Mistakes and misapprehensions of these things, 
may be of very bad consequences in the practice of this duty, for which 
cause men ought earnestly to pray, that God would, by his own 
word and Spirit, shew them his covenant, according to the promise, 
Psalm XXV. 14. 

According to the Scripture, the covenant, namely, the covenant of 


grace for life and saltation, is not left unlo you to make, in whole 
nor in part, by proposing and condescending on terms thereof, as a 
party contractor; it is made already, completely made and concluded 
in all the articles thereof, whether conditionary or promissory ; and 
that between God the party contractor on heaven's side, and Christ 
as Mediator and second Adam, the party contractor on lost man's 
side. And it is registered in the sacred records, the Holy Scripture. 
And you are invited into the fellowship of it ; Psalm Ixxxix. 3, " I 
have made a covenant with my chosen, — David my servant." 1 Cor. 
XV. 45, " The last Adam." 1 John i. 3, " That which we have seen 
and heard, declare we unto you, that ye may also have fellowship 
with us ; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his 
Son Jesus Christ." 

The condition of it is Christ's fulfilling all righteousness in the 
name of his spiritual seed. Matth. iii. 15, " Thus it becometh us to 
fulfil all righteousness." This righteousness was stated from the 
broken covenant of works ; and that in three things, namely, per- 
fect holiness of nature, righteousness of life, and satisfaction for sin ; 
all which Christ did fulfil, in his being born perfectly holy, living 
perfectly righteous, and making complete satisfaction by his death 
and sufferings. And thus the condition of the covenant, on which is 
founded the right and claim to the promises of it, is fulfilled already 
to your hand. 

The promise of it, respecting lost sinners, is the promise of eternal 
life in its full latitude, comprehending all things necessary to make 
a sinner holy and happy ; that God iu Christ will be their God, and 
they shall be his people. Tit. i. 2, " In hope of eternal life, which 
God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." Heb, viii. 
10, " This is the covenant; — I will be to them a God, and they shall 
be to me a people." And it is begun to be fulfilled to all who have 
taken hold of the covenant, and is ready to be f\ilfilled unto all who 
shall yet take hold thereof. 

This covenant is the plan laid by infinite wisdom for the salvation 
of lost sinners; upon which they may safely venture themselves, for 
time and eternity, as upon a bottom infallibly sure, Isa. Iv. 3, " I 
will make an everlasting covenant with you, (Heb. — I will cut to 
you an everlasting covenant,) even the sure mercies of David ; 1 
Cor. i. 23, 24, " We preach Christ — Christ the power of God and the 
wisdom of God." It is heaven's device for repairing the loss we sus- 
tained by Adam's fall, whereby we become unholy and miserable, 
lying in ignorance which we could not cure, under guilt and the curse 
which we could not remove, and under bondage to sin and Satan, 
which we could not break ;" ver. 30, *' But of him are ye in Christ 


Jesus, who God is made unto us wisdom, and rigliteousncsa, and sanc- 
tificatien, aud redemption." 

The great design of is it to exalt the free grace of God in the sal- 
vation of sinners ; to shew therein the exceeding riches of his grace 
to them, in Christ. It is a plan laid for cutting off all ground of 
boasting from the creature ; to make Clirist all, and the creature 
nothing in its own salvation, as being indebted to free grace for the 
Ayhole thereof. Eph. i. 6, " To the praise of the glory of his grace;" 
Chap. ii. 7, " That he might show the exceeding riches of his grace, 
in his kindness towards us, through Christ Jesus;" ver. 9, "Not fo 
works, lest any man should boast." It is much like unto a contract 
of marriage, devised and drawn by a wealthy and wise physician, of 
his own proper motion alone, between himself and a poor woman 
drowned in debt, weak and witless, and withal overrun with loath- 
some sores, rendering her incapable to do anything, whether fur her 
own relief, or for his service ; and this upon a design to have her 
wholly indebted to him for her relief, the payment of her debt, the 
management of her person, and her recovery for action of business. 

This covenant is offered aud exhibited to you in the gospel, as 
really as that contract drawn and signed by the physican, would be 
oftsred and exhibited to the woman, if he should come and present 
it to her, for her acceptance ; Rom. x. 6, " Say not in thiue heart, 
who shall ascend into heaven ? (that is, to bring Christ down from 
above) ;" ver. 7, " Or who shall descend into the deep ? (that is, to 
bring up Christ again from the dead,") ver. 8, " 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." So that the righteousness of 
Christ, to wit, the holiness of nature wherewith he was born, and which 
he retained unspotted till death, the righteousness of his life, and his 
satisfaction made by his sufferings, is in that word freely offered aud 
exhibited to you, as the fulfilled condition of the covenant, being 
therein revealed unto faith, Rom. i. 17, (Gr. ;) as also, the promise of 
eternal life, as the promise of the covenant to be fulfilled, being there- 
in left you, Heb. iv. 1. 

Hence it appears, that the duty of personal covenanting is much 
mistaken and mismanaged, where the party apprehending that God, 
in the word, declares himself willing to be his God, upon certain 
terms, to be by him performed, different from accepting God's full 
and free covenant of promise, does accordingly make a covenant with 
God, solemnly taking him for his God upon these terms ; promising 
and vowing, that if God will be his God, pardon his sins, be at peace 
with him, and save his soul, he will, for his part, be one of his peo- 
ple, and faithfully serve him all the days of his life, watching against 

376 A MEjroniAL concerning 

all known sin, and performing every known duty. This is just as if 
tlie woman, in the case before put, shauld tell him who offers her the 
contract, that she is content to take liira for her husband, upon cer- 
tain terms, particularly, that if he will be her husband, and do the 
duty of a husband to her, she will, for her part, be a faithful wife to 
him, all the days of her life, doing all that she is able to do for pay- 
ing off her debt, managing herself and his household to the best of 
her skill, and taking all pains on her sores, to make her lovely in 
his eyes; the which being quite contrary to the design and end of 
that unusual kind of contract, which is to have the wife wholly in- 
debted to the husband for all, doth alter the nature of the proposal, 
and would quite mar the surprising match, which was in a fair way 
to be carried on. 

But like as in that case nothing remains for the woman to do, to 
entitle her to the benefit of the contract, but believing it to be a real 
and serious, not a ludicrous deed, to sign her acceptance ; which sign- 
ing with the hand is necessary, because her belief of the reality of 
the offered contract, and trusting to it accordingly, being inward acts 
of the soul, cannot be known among men, but by a proper external 
sign ; even so all that remains for you, to instate you savingly in 
God's covenant of grace, offered and exhibited to you in the gospel, 
is to take hold of it, Isa. Ivi. 4. 

And to the end that, in your aiming to take hold of the covenant, 
you may not be at a loss, fearing that yon may miss any part or 
parts thereof, lying scattered through tbe blessed Bible ; know that 
Jesus Christ, the second Adam, head of the covenant, is by his 
father " given for a covenant" to you, Isa. xlix. 8. So that you 
have the whole covenant in him ; and you take hold of it, by taking 
hold of him offered and exhibited to you in the free promise of the 

And this is done by faith, or believing on his name, according to 
John i. 12, '' As many as received him, to them gave he power to 
become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." 
Wherefore, by believing on the name of Christ, we take hold of the 
covenant, and are instated in it unto salvation. And God hath 
made believing to be the means of instating sinners personally and 
savingly in the covenant, in consonancy with the great design and end 
thereof, declared in the word, and of which before ; Rom. iv. 16, 
" Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace." Rom. iii. 27, 
" Where is boasting then ? It is excluded. By what law ? of 
works ? Nay ; but by the law of faith." 

Now to believe on the name of Christ, is to believe or credit the 
free promise of the gospel, with application to yourself, and accord- 


ingly to trust on liira as the Saviour of the world and your Saviour, 
in whom God will be your God, and you shall be one of his people, 
unto your salvation from sin and from wrath. Mark i. 15, "Be- 
lieve the gospel." Gal. iii. 2, " The hearing of faith." 1 Tliess. i. 5, 
" Our gojpel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and 
in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." 1 Cor. ii. 4, " In de- 
monstration of the Spirit, and of power;" ver. 5, " That your faith 
should stand — in the power of God." And Acts xvi. 31, " Believe 
on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou slialt be saved." Psalm xxxvii. 
40, '' He shall save them, because they trust in him." Psalm ii. 12, 
"Blessed are all they that put their trust in him." Acts xv. 11, 
" We believe, that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we 
shall be saved." This believing, or crediting the word, and trusting 
on the person of Christ, is that which of all things is farthest re- 
moved from the nature of a work, according to the scripture use of 
that word; and, therefore, is the most agreeable means of saving 
entrance into that covenant, which is of faith, that it might be by 
grace; not of works, lest any man should boast. 

A sinner being by this believing on Christ united to him as the 
head of the covenant, is ihei'eby personally entered into the co- 
venant ; so as, in his right, to have a saving interest in the condi- 
tion, promise, and privileges thereof, unto his eternal salvation; 
even as becoming, through natural generation, children of Adam, 
the head of the covenant of works, we are personally entered into 
that covenant; so as to be involved in the guilt of the breach of it, 
and laid under the curse thereof; Rom. v. 19, " For as by one man's 
disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one 
shall many be made righteous." John x. 9, " I am the door; by me 
if any man enter in, he shall be saved." Eph. iii. 17, " That Christ 
may dwell in your hearts by faith." 

Upon this believing on the name of Christ, crediting and trusting 
in manner said before, do necessarily follow, an absolute consent to 
take him for our husband, head, and Lord, and God in him for our 
God ; and unconditional resignation of ourselves unto him, soul and 
body, to be his only, wholly, and for ever ; with an illimited re- 
nunciation of all others for him ; even as in the case before put, upon 
the woman's believing the reality of the offer of the contract of mar- 
riage between the physician and her, and accordingly, that he will 
indeed be her husband, follows her consenting to take him for 
her husband, head, and lord, giving up herself unto him, and re- 
nouncing all other for him, absolutely, unconditionally, without limi- 
tation or reservation ; the which she can never do, till once she be- 
lieve that. And thus to the word of grace, the covenant offered and 

Vol. XL 2 b 


exliibited in the gospel, " I will be to tliem a God, and (liey shall be 
to me a people," the believing soul answereth, as an echo, " My be- 
loved is mine, and I am his," Cant. ii. 16. 

2. Having understood the covenant aright, together with the way 
and manner of being personally and savingly entered into it, exa- 
mine yourselves anent it impartially, as ever you would make sure 
work in this weighty matter. Inquire into your sense of your need 
of the covenant, your belief of it, and the disposition of your heart 
towards it. And upon these heads, pose yourself with these or the 
like questions : — 

" In the first place, my sonl, do I verily believe that I was 
lost, ruined, and undone in Adam, by his breaking of the covenant 
of works ; and that I have ruined myself more and more, by my ac- 
tual transgressions ? Do I believe, that I am by nature wholly cor- 
rupt and sinful, averse to good, prone to evil, and justly laid under 
the curse, binding me over to the revenging wrath of God for time 
and eternity ? Am I convinced that I am utterly unable to help 
myself, in whole or in part, out of this gulf of sin and misery into 
\vhicli I am plunged ; and that T must needs perish under the guilt, 
dominion, and pollution of ray sin, without being justified or sancti- 
fied, for ever, if I be not relieved by heaven's own hand ? 

" Next, my soul, do I believe that there is a covenant of 
grace, for the relief of lost sinners, established between God the 
Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, as second Adam, wherein, upon 
condition of Christ's fulfilling all righteousness, as a public per- 
son, is promised eternal life to them, that God in Christ will bo 
their God, and they shall be his people '? Do I believe, that this is 
the plan and device of heaven, for life and salvation to lost sin- 
ners, for making thera holy, and for making them happy ? Do T 
believe, that Jesus Christ hath, by his holy birth, righteous life, sa- 
tisfactory death and sufferings, performed that condition of the co- 
venant, and thereby purchased and secured the benefit therein pro- 
raised for poor sinners ? Then, do I indeed believe, that this cove- 
nant already fulfilled in its condition, and certainly to be fulfilled in 
its promise, is in Christ crucified, really offered and exhibited to me 
in the gospel ; and that T am called to the fellowship of it in him? 
And then, do I verily believe on the name of Christ crucified, offered 
and exhibited to me, as the great High Priest, who, by the sacrifice 
of himself, hath made the atonement, paid the ransom, and brought 
in everlasting righteousness for poor sinners ? That is to say, (1.) 
Can I credit his word of grace to me, that he with his righteousness 
will be mine, and in him, God will be my God, and I shall be one 
of his people? (2.) And can I, as on a safe bottom, trust on him as 


my Sayiour, that in liim it shall be so unto rae, to my eternal life 
and salvation, to the making of me holy and happy? 

^^ Finally, my soul, how do I like the covenant? Am I pleased 
with the frame of it, whereby Christ was from eternity appointed, 
not only the Priest of the covenant, to fulfil the condition of it, but 
also the Prophet and the King thereof, to administer it ? And can 
I find in my heart lo acquiesce in that device for salvation, as all 
my salvation, and all my desire, for making me holy and happy? 
Am I content to take Christ the Son of God, for my only Puiest, 
Surety, Intercessor, and Redeemer; and in him, the Father, for my 
Father, and the Holy Giiosr for my Sanclifier; God in Christ for 
my God ? Am I willing wholly to resign myself, soul and body, to 
him, to be saved by his blood alone, renouncing all confidence in my 
own righteousness, doings, and sufferings ? Am I content to take 
hira for my Head and Husband ? Particularly, am I content to take 
him for my alone Prophet, Oracle, and Guide ; to resign and give 
up myself wholly to him, to be taught, guided, and directed in all 
things, by his Word and Spirit ; renouncing mine own wisdom, and 
the wisdom of this world? Am I content to take him for my alone 
KixG and Lord ; to resign myself wholly, soul and body, unto him, 
to be rescued by his power from sin, death, the devil, and this pre- 
sent evil world, for to serve h'.m for ever, and to be ruled by the 
will of his command, as to my duty, and the will of his providence, 
as to my lot? And am I heartily content to part with, and re- 
nounce every known sin, and particularly that which most easily 
besets me, together with ray own foolish will, and all other lords 
besides him, without reservation, and without exception, against his 
cross? And am I really, as in his sight, willing to have discovered 
unto me, and upon discovery to part with every sin in me, that 
I know not !" 

Now, howbeit all doubting as to such of these points, as are points 
of faith, and every the least degree of aversion to the consenting, 
resignation, and renunciation, is sin before the Lord, and needs to 
be purged away by the Redeemer's blood ; yet they ought not to 
stop your proceeding, unless they be predominant over your belief 
and willingness in the matter; Mark ix. 24, '' Lord, I believe : help 
thou mine unbelief;" Gal. v. 17, ''The flesli lusteth against the 
Spirit; — so that ye cannot do the things that ye would," namely, in 
that perfection that ye fain would do them. But, indeed, if they 
be predominant, keeping your mind and heart quite unsestled, and 
wavering like a wave of the sea, that hath nothing to fix it; one 
cannot advise proceeding in that case ; for that would be to lie unto 
the Lord, with a witness ; James i. 6, " For be that wavereth is 

2 B 2 


like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed." Yer. 
7, " For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of 
the Lord." Howbeit, a sincere belief and willingness in these 
points, may, indeed waver like a ship at anchor, which is still held 
fast in the place, notwithstanding of all its wavering therein. And 
one may take hold of God's covenant of grace unto salvation, even 
with a trembling hand. 

3. Lastly, Having, in your self-examination, satisfied your con- 
science as to these points, go unto God by prayer, and therein so- 
lemnly and in express words take hold of the covenant. The which 
may be done in words to this purpose : — 

" LoED, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I confess 
I am by nature a lost sinner, wholly corrupted, and laid under the 
curse, in Adam, through the breach of the covenant of works ; and 
have ruined myself more and more by my actual transgressions in- 
numerable. I am convinced, and do acknowledge, that I am ut- 
terly unable to help myself in whole or in part, out of this gulf of 
sin and misery into which I am plunged ; and that it is beyond the 
roach of the whole creation to help me out of it ; so that I must in- 
evitably perish for ever, if thine own strong hand do not make help 
to me. 

"But forasmuch as there is a covenant of grace for life and sal- 
vation to lost sinners, established between thee and thine own Son, 
the Lord Jesus Christ, as second Adam, wherein, upon condition of 
his fulfilling all righteousness, which is now performed in his having 
been born perfectly holy, lived altogether righteously, and made 
perfect satisfaction to justice by his death and sufferings, thou hast 
promised, that thou wilt be their God, and they shall be thy people, 
to the making of them holy and happy for ever; and that this co- 
venant is in Christ the head thereof, offered and exhibited to me in 
thy gospel ; and thou callest me into the fellowship of it in him. 
Therefore, upon the warrant of, and in obedience to, thy command 
and call, I, a poor perishing sinner, do take hold of that covenant 
for life and salvation to me, believing on the name of Christ cruci- 
fied, the head thereof, offered and exhibited to me as the Great 
High Priest, Avho, by the sacrifice of himself, hath made atonement, 
paid the ransom, and brought in everlasting righteousness for poor 
sinners. I credit his word of grace to me, and accordingly trust on 
him, that he with his righteousness will be mine, and that in and 
through him, God will be my God, and I shall be one of his people, 
to the making of me holy and happy for ever. 

" my God, I do by thy grace acquiesce in that covenant, as all 
ray salvation, and all my desire. With my whole heart and soul, 


the Son incarnate is my only Priest, my Surety, my Intercessor, and 
my Redeemer; and, in him, the Fathek, my Father, the Holy 
GrnosT my Sanctifier ; God in Christ my God. I resign myself 
Boul and body to him, to be saved by his blood alone, renouncing all 
confidence in mine own righteousness, doings, and suft'erings. With 
my whole heart and soul, he is my Head and Husband ; and I am 
liis only, wholly, and for ever ; to live by him, to him, and for him. 
I take him for my alone Proi)het, Oracle, and Guide ; give up my- 
self wholly to him, to be taught, guided, and directed in all things, 
by his Word and Spirit ; and renounce mine own wisdom, and the 
wisdom of this world. He is, with my heart's consent, my alone 
King and Lord. And I resign myself wholly, soul and body, unto 
him, to be rescued by the strength of his mighty hand, from sin, 
death, the devil, and this present evil world, for to serve him for 
ever, and to be ruled by the will of his command, as to ray duty, 
and the will of his providence, as to my lot. I am, with my whole 
heart, content (Lord, thou knowest) to part with, and do renounce 

every known sin, lust, or idol, and particularly my , the sin 

which most easily besets me ; together with my own foolish will, 
and all other lords besides him, without reservation, and without 
exception, against his cross; — protesting in thy sight, Lord, that 
I am, through grace, willing to have discovered unto me, and upon 
discovery to part with every sin in me that I know not ; and that 
the doubtings and averseness of heart mixed with this my accepting 
of thy covenant, are what I allow not ; and that notwithstanding 
thereof, I look to be accepted of thee herein, in the Beloved, thine 
only Son and my Saviour, purging away these, with all my other 
sins, by his precious blood. 

" Let it be recorded in heaven, Lord, and let , and what- 
ever is here present, bear witness, that I, though most unworthy, 
have this day here taken hold of, and come into thy covenant of 
grace, offered and exhibited to me in thy gospel ; and that thou art 
my God in the tenor of that covenant, and I am one of thy people, 
from henceforth and for ever." 

Direction IX. After covenanting with God, set yourself to ply 
the throne of grace by prayer and supplication, with reference to 
what is the particular cause or causes of your fast. This is surely 
the proper order ; for then is one in best case to make special re- 
quests unto the Lord, when by application of the blood of Christ, in 
taking hold of the covenant, his conscience is purged ; whereas, if 
one falls to that work before this, he cannot have the confidence to- 
wards God necessary in this case, 1 John iii. 20, 21. 

And for the right managing hereof, the following advices are of- 
fered : — 


1st, As it is fit you should, the uight before, condescend in your 
own mind ou the causes of your fast; so now agaiu you should re- 
\\e\v ihem, partly that the things which you are to lay before the 
Lord in prayer and supplication may be ready before you ; and 
partly, that you may be duly affected therewith. 

2dlt/, Thenogo to prayer, and present your petitions anent them to 
your covenanted God. And pray again and again on these heads, 
as you shall find your case to require ; for the time is set apart for 
that very end, that you may have opportunity to urestle with God 
in prayers and supplications thereanent. 

2dli/, In these prayers let there be a holy mixture of humility 
suitable to our unworthiness, of fervency suitable to our pressing 
needs, and of confidence in God suitable to the access unto him 
allowed us by the covenant ; the which are the special ingredients 
in prevailing prayer. 

1. In all your addresses to the throne of grace, continue an hum- 
ble supplicant, not forgetting, but maintaining a due sense of your 
sinfulness, vileness, and unworthiness of the mercies you make suit 
for. " Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my 
roof, saith the centurion, Matth. viii. 8. '' I am not worthy of the 
least of all the mercies," saith Jacob, Gen. xxxii. 10. Due humility 
will oblige you to look on yourself as absolutely unworthy of spirit- 
ual mercies, though in the meantime you see an absolute need of 
them ; it will keep you from being peremptory in the matter of tem- 
poral mercies, and dispose you to a holy submission unto the will of 
God therein ; and it will engage you, in matters of light, to lay 
yourself fairly open to the divine determination. 

If, in this last case, your own inclination do sway you to any one 
side ; yet be sure to have no regard to it before the Lord, but come 
unto him, as it were in an equipoise, to be cast to what side he will. 
Such are "the meek will he guide in judgment; the meek will he 
teach his way," Psalm xxv. 9. Unfair dealing with God in this 
case is exceeding sinful and dangerous. They who venture on it are 
therein dissemblers ; and will readily throw off their mask, if the 
answer of God fall not in with the side that their inclination is on; 
they will repel it ; they will not see it, but will take their own way, 
notwithstanding, to the provoking of the eyes of his glory; whereof 
we have a remarkable instance in the Jews consulting God as to 
what they should do, while in the meantime they were aforehand re- 
solved what to do, being bent to go to Egypt, Jer, xli. 17. Chap, 
xlii. 1 — G, 19, 20 ; chap, xliii. 2 — 7- Such dealing with God, in the 
matter of light, sometimes provokes him to give men their will with 
a vengeance. Thus Balaam got an answer from God, plainly notify- 


iug to him that he should not go with Balak's messengers, Numb, 
xxii. 12. But that answer not suiting his inclinations, which were 
towards " the wages of unrighteousness," (2 Peter ii. 15,) he went 
back, for another answer more agreeable thereto, and in wrath he 
got it, vers. 19—22. 

2. Be fervent in your addresses, " labouring fervently in prayers," 
Col. iv. 12. On such occasions the body is afflicted that the spirit 
may become the more earnest in supplication ; the ordinary weight 
of worldly incumbrances is laid aside, that the soul may the more 
readily take wing and mount heavenward. " The effectual fervent 
prayer of a righteous man availeth much," James v. 16. 

3. Pray with confidence in God through Jesus Christ; believing 
not doubtingly and distrustfully ; Matth. xxi. 22, " And all things 
whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." 
Whether your petitions be for temporal or spiritual mercies, present 
them to the Father iu the name of Christ, according to the promises 
of the covenant relative thereto ; believing and being confident on 
the ground of the merit and intercession of the Mediator, that God 
will do the best in your case, that your labour shall not be in vain 
in the Lord, and that what is for his glory and your good shall not 
be withheld from you, Psalm Ixxxv. 12 ; 1 Cor. xv. 58 ; Psahu 
Ixxxiv. 11. 

4. In the intervals of prayer give yourself to some godly exercise, 
such as singing of psalms, reading of the word, or meditation. And, 
particularly, if you be seeking light into a matter, you may enter on 
thinking about it, in order to your clearing therein ; weighing cir- 
cumstances, with depeudance on the Lord, according to the promise ; 
Psalm xxxii. 8, " I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way 
which thou shall go ; I will guide thee with mine eye." And spe- 
cially, if you are seeking light into the state of your soul, here is a 
favourable nick of time for it, the marks and evidences of a gracious 
state being, upon the back of covenanting with God, in a fair way 
to be discovered, to the satisfaction of the sincere soul. 

5. Lcistly, Lay no weight on the quantity of your prayers ; that 
is to say, how long or how many they are. These things avail no- 
thing with God, by whom prayers are not measured, but weighed. 
And what makes the weight in them is the faith, fervency, and hu- 
mility therein ; so that one of those groanings mentioned, Pom. viii. 
26, will down-weigh a whole day's prayers, in which these things 
are wanting. Bo you labour to get near God in prayer, and press 
forward to obtain that. 

Direction X. As you have ability and opportunity, let works of 
charity and mercy be joined with your last; doing them, whether 


in the time of it, or before it, or after it. Isa. Iviii. 6, '' Is not tliis 
the fust that I have chosen?" Ver. 7, " To deal thy bread to the 
hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out, to thy house ? 
when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that tliou hide 
not thyself from thine own flesii," Let the poor be gainers by your 
fast ; for it is the promise of God that " he that veatereth, shall be 
watered also himself." Prov. xi. 25. And one's finding mercy with 
God, natively issues a merciful disposition towards one's fellow crea- 
tures, Matth. xviii. 33 ; Eph. iv. 32. 

DiKECTioN XI. Before you give over your work, you will do well 
to consider seriously, that you are now the Lord's, and no more your 
own ; and forasmuch as your covenanting God supposeth that you 
are resolved to reform, and to walk more closely with God, lay 
down resolutions, in the strength of your covenanted God, to watch. 
And by all means forget not to consider what are those things 
whereby in a special manner your spiritual condition had formerly 
been worsted ; and by what means it may be kept right ; and sin- 
cerely resolve to eschew the one and pursue the other, that so what 
gaps have been in your conversation may be filled up, whereby it 
will appear that by your fast you have been set forward in your 
Christian course. And withal, review your failures in all the parts 
of the exercise you have now been employed in. 

DiRECTioisr XII. You may conclude the work with prayer, where- 
in you may humbly confess your failures in the management of this 
duty, and apply anew to the blood of sprinkling for purging them 
away ; avouch your covenant-interest in God, and his in you ; and 
lay the causes of your fast again before him, and solemnly leave 
them on him. The laying over a matter on the Lord believingly, 
in prayer, gives great ease to a burdened heart ; it turns a fast 
sometimes into a spiritual {east. When Hannah had done so with 
her case, " she went away and did eat, and her countenance was no 
more sad," 1 Sam. i. 18. And lay over yourself upon him, for the 
grace of the covenant, to subdue your corruptions, bear you up 
against temptations, and carry on your resolutions, that yon may go 
out into the world again, in the faith of his grace sufficient for you 
in all exigencies. 

Direction XIII. When the work is over, take heed to your spi- 
rit. And, 

1. Beware of spiritual pride. Do not value yourself upon the ac- 
count of the work done, as they did who said, '' Wherefore have we 
fasted, and thou seest not ?" Isa. Iviii. 3. The opinion of the merit 
of good works, is what the heart of man easily goes ofi" into, by its 
natural bias ; and there is so much of the old man in the best, that 


they are apt to think high of their religiuus performances and ser- 
vices. Wherefore be on your guard, particularly on that side ; aud 
cousider the perfection required by the holy law, and keep in view 
your own misnianagenients, so as when you shall have done all those 
things, you may be obl'ged to say, " We are unprofitable servants," 
Luke xvii. 10. 

2. Beware of carnal security. Saints sometimes fall asleep quickly 
after a full meal oi spiritual enjoyment ; as it fared with the spouse, 
Cant. V. 1, 2. And Satan, watching the advantage, rallies his scat- 
tered forces, and with his wounded men burns the city. So it comes 
to pass, that, according to Solomon's observe, Prov. xii. 27, " The 
slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting." What 
was gathered with much pains, is lost through unwatchfulness ere 
he gets the use of it. 

3. Lastly, Beware of forgetting the causes of your fast ; but in 
your ordinary addresses to God, remember them, and wait on for an 
answer ; Psalm v. 3, " I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will 
look up." Prayers may be accepted, and yet not presently answered. 
In which case, it is necessary that with patience we wait for a 
return from heaven, meanwhile using the appointed means for ob- 
taining the end. The neglecting hereof may provoke the Lord to 
continue the symptoms of his anger, or stroke of his hand, which 
otherwise might sooner be removed ; and to leave one perplexed and 
embarrassed in matters wherein light is needed. 

But in your waiting for light, whatever the Sovereign Lord may 
do, do not you look for impressions, far Jess for voices, nor extraor- 
dinary revelations in any manner of way, to discover your duty in 
particular cases, 2 Pet. i. 18, 19. But having laid yourself fairly 
open to the divine determination, and made humble and earnest sup- 
plication unto God for light in your particular case, believe that 
you shall be guided, taught, and directed by him, according to his 
promise, Psalm xxv. 9 ; Prov. iii. 6. And then, in dependence on 
the Lord, weigh the matter aud circumstantiate case in the balance 
of sanctified reason, according to the general directions of the Word, 
such as Philip, iv. 8, " Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things 
are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, 
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report ; if 
there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." 
And carefully observe the conduct and motions of providence, with re- 
ference to it, still comparing them with the Word. And you will find 
that he will guide you with his eye, according to the promise, Psalm 
xxxii. 8. And with respect thereto, you may put up that petition unto 
him in faith. Psalm Ixxxvi. 17, " Shew me a token for good." 

Thus far of personal fasting and humiliation. 




"Wherein" the substance of this duty, which is the same in all reli- 
gious fasts whatsoever, doth consist, is already declared. And there 
being many things common to family fasts, with personal ones of 
which we have treated at large ; it remains only to add here some 
few things peculiar to family fastings. And, 

First, As to the divine warrant for it, one may be satisfied upon 
these grounds. 

1. Forasmuch as every Christian family ought to be a church, 
Rom. xvi. 5, to receive all ordinances appointed of God, and compe- 
tent to them in their family capacity ; and that religious fasting is 
an ordinance of divine appointment, in the nature whereof there is 
nothing to hinder its being performed by a family in their family 
capacity, it is evident that family fasting and humiliation is a part 
of family worship; namely, an extraordinary part thereof, to be oc- 
casionally performed. Accordingly, it is promised, as an effect of 
the pouring out of the Spirit ; Zech. xii. 12, " The laud shall mourn, 
every family apart." We have also a plain instance of it, in Esther's 
family, on the occasion of the mischievous decree against the Jews, 
procured by Haman ; Esther iv. 16, " I also and my maidens will 
fast likewise." And the fasting of the Jews, on the same occa- 
sion, in every province wlwthersoever that decree came, mentioned 
ver. 3, seems to have been mostly, if not altogether, of the same 
kind, to wit, family fasting; not only in respect of their circum- 
stances in these provinces, where they were dispersed, chap. iii. 8, 
but also, that the thanksgiving for their deliverance was appointed 
to be " kept throughout every family," chap. ix. 28. 

2. The ground upon which the duty of fasting and humiliation is 
bound upon public worshipping societies and upon particular per- 
sons, takes place also in the case of families. If national, congre- 
gational, and personal sins to be monrned over, judgments to be de- 
precated, and mercies to be sought, do found a call to a nation, con- 
gregation, or person, respectively, to humble themselves with fast- 
ing ; can there be any reason assigned, why the same should not 
hold in like manner, in the case of families ? Surely, as there are 
times wherein it goes ill with a laud, or with a particular congrega- 
tion, or person, so there are times wherein it goes evil with one's 
house, 1 Chron. vii. 23, in respect of special family sins or strokes, 
and in which there are special family mercies needed. And families 


are obliged to the using of the same appoiuted means for getting 
rid of the oue, and obtaining tlie other, as other worshipping socie- 
ties and particular persons are, in their respective cases. And 
where the concern of members of a family is common, although it be 
not equal, all of them ought, in reason, to take part of the burden. 

3. Lastly, The promise made to joint prayers hath weight here, 
Matth. xviii. 19, "If two of you shall agree on earth, as touching 
any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father 
which is in heaven." Ver. 20, " For where two or three are ga- 
thered together in my name, there ara I in the midst of them." It 
is certain there is such a thing as extraordinary prayer, which hath 
a share in the benefit of this promise ; and if the Lord is pleased to 
lay such a weight on some of his people, their agreeing together to 
ask a thing of him, or their sounding together, as the word properly 
signifies ; it is not to be doubted, but extraordinary prayer in fami- 
lies upon some special occasions, is both required by him, and ac- 
ceptable unto him through Jesus Christ his Son. 

Secondly, As for a providential call to family fasting and humilia- 
tion : by what is said before, for clearing of one's call to personal 
fasting, it may be judged of and discerned ; the circumstances of the 
family being duly considered, and what the conduct of providence 
towards it appears