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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"



MAR 2 

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





1 Cor. i. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who is made unto us — sancti- 

ficatioD, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 5 


Rom. v. 1, 2. — Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, 
through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access by faith 
into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God, 15 

Of Assurance, ... . . ... ... ... ... ... ... 16 

Of Peace of Conscience, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 19 

Of Joy in the Holt Ghost, ... ... ... ... ... ... 23 

Of Increase of Grace, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 28 

Of Perseverance in Grace, ... ... ... ... ... ... 32 

Phil. i. 2) Tome — to die is gain, ... ... ... ... ... 37 

Heb. xi. 35.— That they might obtain a better resurrection, ... ... 42 


1 Sam. xv. 22. — And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt- 
offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? ... 51 


Rom. ii. 14, 15. — For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature 
the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto 
themselves; which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their 
conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing 
or else excusing one another, ... ... ... ... ... ... 59 



Matth. xix. 17. — If thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments, CG 


Matth. xxii. 37, 38, 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 second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself. 

Mark. xii. 30. — Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, — with all thy strength, 74 


Exod. xx. 2. — I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the 

land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. ... ... ... 84 


Exod. xx. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me, ... ... 92 

The Duties Required, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 92 

The Sins Forbidden, ... ... ... ... ... ... .•. 103 

Of the Words, Before Me, ... ... ... ... ... ... 125 


Exod. xx. 4, 5, 6 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any 

likeness of any thing, that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth be- 
neath, or that is in the water Under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down 
thyself to them, nor serve them : for I the Lord, thy God, am a jealous 
God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third 
and fourth generation of them that hate me ; and shewing mercy unto thou- 
sands of them that love me, and keep my commandments, ... 127 


Psal. lxxiv. 19. — O deliver not the soul of thy turtle-dove unto the multitude 

of the wicked, ... ... ... . ... ... ... ... 130 

The Duties required in the Second Command, ... ... ... 141 

The Sins Forbidden, ... ... .. ••• ... ••• ••• 143 


Exod. xx. 7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain ; for 

the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain, ... 157 

The Duties Required, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 159 

< OXTENTS. vii. 

The Sins Forbidden, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ](J4 

Of the Reason Annexed to this Command, ... ... ... ... 178 


Exod. xx. 8 — 11. — Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy. Six davs 
shalt thou labour and do all thy work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath 
of the Lord thy God : in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, 
nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, 
nor the stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made 
heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh 
day ; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath-day, and hallowed it, 186 

The Duties Required, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 187 

The Sins Forbidden, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 197 

Of the Reasons Annexed to this Command, ... ... ... ... 200 


Exod. xx. 12 Honour thy father and thy mother : that thy days may be long 

upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, ... ... 204 

The Duties Required, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 206 

The Mutual Duties of Husbands and Wives, ... ... ... ... 212 

The Duties or Children to Parents, ... ... ... ... ... 220 

The Duty of Parents to Children, ... ... ... ... ... 222 

The Duty of Servants to Masters, ... ... ... ... ... 231 

The Duty of Masters to Servants, ... ... ... ... ... 234 

The Duty of People to Ministers, ... ... ... ... ... 237 

The Duty of Ministers to People, ... ... ... ... ... 239 


Tim. v. 17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double ho- 
nour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine, ... ... 239 

The Duty of Magistrates and Subjects, ... ... ... ... 247 

The Duties of Other Relations, ... ... ... ... ... ... 250 

The Sins Forbidden, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 251 

Of the Reason Annexed to this Command, ... ... ... ... 254 


Exod. xx. 13 Thou shalt not kill, 260 

The Duties Required, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 262 

The Sins Forbidden, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 265 

Exod. xx. 14 .Thou shalt not commit adultery, .. ... ... ... 276 


The Duties Required, ... .. ... ... ... ... 276 

The Sins Forbidden, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 288 


Exod. xx. 15. — Thou sbalt not steal, ... ... ... ... ... 286 

The Duties Required, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 286 

The Sins Forbidden, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 293 


Exod. xx. 16 — Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour, ... 312 

The Duties Required, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 312 

The Sins Forbidden, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 317 


Exod. xx. 17. — Thou sbalt uot covet thy neighbour's house, thou sbalt not 
covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor 
bis ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's, ... ... 332 

The Duties Required, ... .,. ... ... ... ... ... 333 

The Sins Forbidden, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 350 


Eccles. vii. 20. — For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and 

sinneth not, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 374 

An Explanation of Genesis vi. 9, in the Notes, ... ... * ... ... 379 


Ezek. viii. 15. — Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations 

than these, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 384 


Gal. hi. 10. — 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, ... ... 389 

Heb. ii. 3. — How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? ... ... 393 


John i. 12. — But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become 

the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name, ... ... 399 


An Explanation of Genesis xv. 6. in the Notes, ... ... ... 404 

Acts si. 18 Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life, 411 

Isa. XII. 3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation, 416 

Eph. vi. 17 The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, ... 421 

Luke vii. 18 Take heed therefore how ye hear, .. ... ... 427 


Acts x. 33 Immediately before I sent to thee : and thou hast well done that 

thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear 

all things that are commanded thee of God, ... ... ... ... 434 


2 Cor. vi. 1. — We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also, that ye 

receive not the grace of God in vain, ... ... ... ... ... 443 


Prov. ix. 12 If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself; but if thou 

scornest, thou alone shalt bear it, ... ... ... ... ... 454 


1 Cor. xii. 13. — For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether 
we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free ; and have been all 
made to drink into one Spirit, ... ... ... ... ... ... 460 


Rom. iv. 11. — And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteous- 
ness of the faith, which he had yet being uncircumcised, ... ... 465 

Genesis xvii. 10, Explained in the Notes, ... ... ... ... 465 

The Number of the Sacraments, ... ... .. ... ... ... 471 


The Nature of Baptism, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 473 

Genesis xvii. 12, Explained in the Notes, ... ... ... ... 479 

Genesis xvii. 14, also Explained in the Notes, ... ... ... 479 


1 Cor is. 23 — 25. — I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered 

unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was hetrayed, 
took bread ; and when he bad given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, 
eat : this is my body broken for you : this do in remembrance of me. 
After the same manner also, he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, 
This cup is the new testament in my blood : this do ye, as oft as ye drink 
it, in remembrance of me, ... ...' ... ... ... ... 481 


2 Cor. xi. 28. — But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, 

and drink of that cup, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 489 


2 Con. xm. 5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith : prove your 

own selves : know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you 
except ye be reprobates, ... ... ... ... ... . . 497 


I Cor. xi. 29. — For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh 

damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body, ... ... ... 511 


Eph. vi. 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and 

watching thereunto with all perseverance, and supplication for all saints, 526 


Matt. VI. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when 

thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Fa- 
ther which seeth in secret, Bhall reward thee openly, ... ... ... 539 

Matt. vi. 9. — After this manner, therefore, pray ye, Our Father, &c, ... 555 

Matt. vi. 9. — Our Father which art in heaven, ... ... ... ... 501 



Matt. vi. 9 Hallowed be thy name, ... ... ... ... ... 565 

Matt. vi. 10. — Thy kingdom come, ... ... ... ... ... ... 571 

Matt. vi. 10 Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven, ... ... 586 

Matt. vi. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, ... ... ... ... 601 

Matt. vi. 12. — And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, ... 612 

Matt. vi. 13. — And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, 619 

Genesis xxii. 1, Explained in the Notes, ... ... "" ... ... 620 

Extracts from the Author's Notes on part of Genesis ii. and hi. in the 

Notes, 621 


Matt. vi. 13. — For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for 

ever. Amen. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 638 


Phil. hi. 10 That I may know him, ... ... ... ... ... 645 


Psal. xc. 12. — So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts 

unto wisdom, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 659 


' V W' 







1 Cor. i. 30. — But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who is made unto us 

— sanctification. 

The world in its greatest darkness was not insensible that man's 
nature was corrupted, that they needed something wherewith they 
might please God, attain to happiness, and repair the wound which 
they understood their nature had got. And although that Jews 
and Gentiles had different devices whereby they thought this might 
be obtained, yet all agreed in that it behoved them to go into them- 
selves for it, and to draw something out of the ruins of their natu- 
ral powers wherewith to help themselves, thereby discovering they 
did not sufficiently understand the depth of the corruption of human 
nature. And this principle is so agreeable to corrupt reason, that 
God's device to bring about man's salvation from sin and misery in 
and by another, to wit, Christ, was to ' the Jews a stumbling-block, 
and to the Greeks foolishness,' ver. 23. And if we sound to the 
bottom, it is the same at this day to the unregenerate part of the 
Christian world. 

In the text we have the sum of God's device for the salvation of 
sinners, and it centres in Jesus Christ who was crucified. We may 
take up the text and it in these two things. 

1. That the whole of man's salvation shall be from Christ. God 
lias made or constituted him the fountain of all salvation, from 

Vol. II. b 


whom it must be conveyed to all that shall partake of it. As Pha- 
raoh made" Joseph ruler over Egypt ; and when the famished people 
cried to him for bread, he bade them go to Joseph, Gen. xli. 55. so 
God has dealt with the Mediator, and tells us by the gospel, Psal. 
lxxxix. 24. ' My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him : and 
in my name shall his horn be exalted.' If we look into the ruins of 
the fall we may take them up under four heads, answerable to 
which there are remedies in Christ. 

(1.) Man is ignorant naturally of the way to true happiness : he 
has lost God, and knows not how to find him again. — Falling into 
the hands of Satan, he has lost his two eyes, like Samson ; gropes 
for the way of happiness, but cannot find it, like the Sodomites at 
Lot's door. Some remains of knowledge found in the ruins of the 
fall were improved in the world, by study, observation of the works 
of God, and in some by external revelation, which yet the natural 
darkness of the mind did pervert. And these notions, thus im- 
proved, they called wisdom. But the way of happiness by works, 
the only way naturally known by Adam, being blocked up by his 
fall, it was impossible for them by their wisdom to fall on the other 
way, unless we should say, that fallen man's natural knowledge 
could reach farther than his natural knowledge when it was whole 
and entire before the fall. So man's wisdom is his folly. 

For remedy of this, Christ is made ' wisdom.' The treasures of 
wisdom and knowledge were lodged in him, Col. ii. 3. and he is con- 
stituted the grand Teacher of all that seek for eternal happiness. 
Therefore the philosophers and Rabbi's must lay by their books, as 
insufficient to point them the way to happiness, and study that body 
of divinity, Jesus Christ, in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwell- 
eth bodily. The wise men of the world must renounce confidence in 
their natural abilities, draw a black score over all their attainments 
in their Christless state, and sit down at Christ's feet, as knowing 
nothing, and learn of him : and those of the shallowest capacities, 
giving up themselves to him, shall get ' the light of the knowledge 
of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,' 2 Cor. iv. 6. 

(2.) Man is unrighteous, and cannot stand before a righteous God. 
His guilt binds him over to wrath, and makes him miserable before 
a just God, a revenger of sin. And this is so impressed on the 
hearts of men, that even a natural conscience sometimes makes 
terrible heart-quakes within him, knowing the judgment of God, 
that they who commit such things are worthy of death.' Now, the 
natural man, for remedy of this, goes about to work out a righteous- 
ness of his own, to spin a righteousness out of his own bowels, and 
to appease the anger of God, and gain his favour, by his obedience. 


But when it appears in tlie light of the holy law, it is nothing but 
as a filthy, rotten, moth-eaten garment, that cannot cover the soul 
before the Lord, Isa. lxiv. 7- Let them stretch it as they will, the 
bed is shorter than a man can stretch himself on it, and the covering 
narrower than he can wrap himself in it. 

For remedy of this, Christ is made righteousness. He, by his obe- 
dience to the law's commands and suffering the wrath it threatened, 
hath brought in everlasting righteousness, which is a large garment, 
able to cover all that betake themselves to it, for it is ' the righte- 
ousness of God ; a beautiful garment, sound in every part, for it is 
white raiment, without the least stain, being the righteousness of 
the Son of God, who was holy, harmless, undcfiled, separate from 
sinners. Therefore the most refined moralists may lay aside, in 
point of confidence, their highest attainments in morality, as filthy 
rags before the Lord; and the strictest professors and livers on 
earth, who follow after the law of righteousness, must renounce 
their inherent righteousness, and sit down naked before the Lord, 
to receive the imputed righteousness of Christ. And the vilest of 
men coming to him, shall find a righteousness in him to be commu- 
nicated to them ; so that they that are far from righteousness shall 
be wrapt up in a perfect righteousness, if they will take Christ to 
them as God has made him. 

(3.) Man is unholy, unfit for communion with a holy God here or 
hereafter. His soul is dead in sin, his lusts live and are vigorous 
in him ; so that he is no more meet for heaven than a sow for a pa- 
lace. The natural man, to help himself in this point, calls together 
his natural powers as in a solemn day, and endeavours to set about 
his duty, and turn the stream of his life and conversation into the 
channel of the law. Some prevail this way to the reformation of 
their outward conversation ; but there is as much difference betwixt 
true holiness and their attainment, as between a living body and an 
embalmed corpse. Others find all their endeavours to no purpose, 
and so they come to despair of sanctification, and therefore even 
lay the reins on the necks of their lusts, Jer. ii. 25. And how can 
it be otherwise in either of them ? for, like fools or madmen, they 
go into the mire to wash themselves clean ; the house that must be 
razed from the foundation, they go to patch up and repair ; for in 
their attempts for holiness, they act as if they had need of nothing 
but activity to use and improve their natural abilities for sanctifica- 
tion ; which is as opposite to the doctrine of the gospel, as to say, 
the cripple needs but to set himself to rise and walk, and he will be 
cured, is contrary to common sense : for our natural abilities will 
serve us no more for sanctification, than the cripple's legs will serve 

b 2 


him to walk. Let men learn from Job, that where the whole body 
is all full of boils and sores, their hands are not fit to scrape the 
sores on the rest of their body, being as ill themselves as any other 
part : therefore he took a potsherd, and scraped himself. And 
while to the unbelieving there is nothing pure ; their very natural 
powers being defiled, can never purify the man. 

But for remedy in this, Christ is made sanctification. There is a 
fulness of the spirit of holiness lodged in him, to be communicated 
to the unholy ; and to him God sends the unholy sinner, that out of 
his fulness he may receive, and grace for grace. Therefore the 
most sober natural man and strictest professor, who has hammered 
out of his mere natural abilities, assisted by external revelation, a 
life blameless before the world, being estranged still to the life of 
faith, must know that he has but put a new face on the old man, 
which Christ never intended to repair, but to destroy, Rom. vi. 6 ; 
and must begin anew to attain true holiness, from and by him whom 
the Father has made sanctification to us. And the most polluted 
sinner, whose lusts are most raging, may confidently try this grand 
method of sanctification, which can no more fail him than God's de- 
vice can fail to reach the end he designed for it. 

(4.) Man by the fall is become mortal, liable to many bodily in- 
firmities and miseries, and at length must go to the grave, the house 
appointed for all living. Nature could find no remedy for this. 
The learned Athenians mocked at the resurrection of the dead, Acts 
vii. 32 ; the Sadducees among the Jews denied it, Matth. xxii. 23. 
The unrenewed part of the world, who, by the benefit of external 
revelation, have embraced the doctrine of the resurrection, and par- 
ticularly of the happy resurrection, have no other way to attain it, 
but what they follow to attain righteousness and sanctification ; and 
that being insufficient to attain them, must be so also in this res- 
pect ; for all their Christless endeavours leave them still under 
guilt and corruption ; these bonds of death, wherewith the second 
death will draw them down into the pit, when they are raised out 
of their graves at the last day still hold them fast. 

But man's salvation cannot be complete without a remedy for 
this; therefore Christ is made ' redemption,' who will give in due 
time deliverance to his people from misery and death, which is 
called £ the redemption of the body,' Rom. viii. 23. And in this 
sense he calls himself ' the resurrection and the life,' John xi. 25. 
So redemption is in him, in so far as he has got above death and the 
power of the grave by his resurrection, and that as a public person, 
thereby ensuring the happy resurrection of all that are in him. 
Therefore, if ever we would get our heads above these waters, we 
must come to him. 


2. That all who partake of this salvation, must partake of it in 
him, by virtue of union with him : But of kirn are ye in Christ Jesus, 
&c. As the stock is stay, strength, and sap to the branches ; so is 
Christ wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, to 
them that are in him, or unto sinners united to him. The sap of 
the stock is not conveyed to branches that are not in it : neither is 
Christ wisdom, &c. to any but those that are in him. He is the Sa- 
viour of his body ; and we must partake of his salvation as members 
of his body. In the old world when the deluge came on, some 
without the ark getting up on the tops of trees or mountains, might 
be safe for a while ; but none but those who were in the ark were 
safe to the end ; so men that are out of Christ may get common 
temporal favours from the Lord ; but none but those in him receive 
that wisdom, &c. which is the great salvation. The lost world is 
the first Adam, and the natural branches of that stock. The saved 
world are such branches as are taken out of that dead and killing 
stock, and ingrafted into Christ the true vine. 

This then is the grand device of salvation, that Christ shall be all 
to sinners, and that they must partake of all in him ; which is quite 
opposite to our natural imaginations, and exalts the free grace of 
God, depressing nature. (1.) They do not help themselves, their 
help is in another : He is made wisdom, ^r. (2.) They do not so 
much as help themselves to their helper ; for it is of God, by the 
power of his grace, that they are brought to be in him. It is not 
the branch itself, but the husbandman that ingrafts it. 

The doctrine I observe from the words is, 
Doct. ' God's device for the sanctification of an unholy world is, 
that sinners unite with Christ, and derive holiness from him, 
whom the Father has constituted the head of sanctifying influen- 
ces. Union with Christ is the only way to sanctification.' 
For proof of this doctrine, consider the following scriptures, Rom. 
vii. 4. John xv. 5. Gal. ii. 20. 

In handling this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Drop a word concerning holiness derived from Christ. 

II. Shew how it is derived from him. 

III. Apply. 

1. As to holiness, it is that disposition of heart and course of life 
which is conformable to God's holy law, and pleases him. In this 
life it is imperfect, but in the life to come it will be perfected. I 
shall only offer these few things concerning it. 

1. True holiness is universal in respect of the commands of God, 
Psal. cxix. 6. ' I have respect unto all thy commandments ;' the 
holy man making conscience of the duties of both tables of the lau , 

i; 3 


his duty to God, his neighbour, aud himself, Tit. ii. 12. Whoso 
divide these, declare themselves to be unholy persons, who cannot 
see God. A profane life is a sure evidence of a profane heart, Gal 
v. 19. &c. 

2. True holiness is not only in external duties, but necessarily in- 
cludes internal obedience of the soul to the will of God, Psal. xxiv. 
3. The outward works of piety and charity will never denominate 
a man holy, without holy thoughts, affections, and imaginations. 
The heart must be a temple consecrated to God, wherein love, fear, 
delight in God, submission, patience, and all other parts of unseen 
religion, are exercised. The heart of the holy man is no more the 
devil's common, where thoughts go free, and lusts range at their 
ease, Psal. cxix. 113. 'I hate vain thoughts : but thy law do I love :' 
but it is God's inclosure, hedged about as a garden for the Lord. 
And though not without weeds of corruption, it is the holy man's 
constant work to be labouring to root them up. 

3. In true holiness there is a bent, inclination, and propensity of 
heart, to the acts of obedience to God. The spirit, that is, the new 
nature, has its lustings, as well as the flesh, Gal. v. 17- By Adam's 
fall the hearts of men got a wrong set, a bent and propensity to 
evil, Rom. viii. 7- Eos. xi. 7- Now, in sanctification it is bent 
the other way, towards God and godliness, 2 Thess. iii. 5. that as 
the needle in the compass, touched with a good loadstone, turns to- 
wards the north, so the heart, touched by sanctifying grace, inclines 
Godward and Christward. Whatever actions are done without this, 
are not holy actions, nor can they please God ; for he that sees the 
heart, will never be pleased with those duties to which the man's 
heart does not kindly incline ; for in effect it is but forced obedi- 
ence, and he hates robbery for burnt-offering. 

4. As the love of God is the great comprehensive duty of holiness, 
love is the fulfilling of the law ; so love runs through all the duties 
of religion, to give them the tincture of holiness, Ileb. vi. 10. And 
Afithout this, should a man give all his goods to the poor, it profiteth 
nothing. Where self-love is the domineering principle, their duties 
are in God's account serving themselves, and not him. Holy duties 
are the obedience of a child who loves his father, and therefore 
serves him ; not the obedience of a servant, who loves himself, and 
therefore serves for his wages. 

5. True holiness is influenced by the command of God. The will 
of God is not only the rule, but the reason, of a holy life, John v. 
30. Sanctilieation binds over the soul to the will of God, that it 
may follow duty, because it is his will. Though a man receive a 
scripture-truth, if he receive it not because God has said it, but 


upon principles of reason, his receiving it is not faith, for that is 
an assent upon the divine testimony. So if a man do a good thing, 
but not because God has commanded it, the action is no holy action, 
Psal. cxix. 115. 

6. True holiness has for its chief end the glory of God, 1 Cor. x. 
31. He that is the first cause of all goodness, must needs be the 
last end of it. And God being the chief good, loves himself above 
all, and acts for himself. Hence holy persons, being partakers of 
the divine nature, as they are holy, they will love God above all, 
and act for him and his glory ; for the divine nature, wherever it is, 
will still move to exalt God above all. So that Sanctification makes 
a man's actions still centre in God, so far as it does prevail. The 
want of this mars a man's life and actions, so far as they are not 
holy, but selfish, Zech. vii. 6. 

7. Lastly, True holiness is universal. Sanctifying grace seeks 
through the whole man, and the whole of his course. 

(1.) Mortification is universal, Gal. v. 24. 'They that are Christ's 
have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts.' The law of 
God is a chain of many links, and he that draws one to him draws 
all. He that kills a serpent, not out of any particular quarrel 
against it, but against the whole kind of them, will set himself to 
kill all of them that he discovers and can reach : so he that is truly 
sanctified is set against and endeavours to mortify and kill all sin, 
as sin, and because it is sin ; and every lust and corruption, even 
the most darling, that he can discover in himself, he will bring forth 
to execution, and put them all to death. It is no true mortification 
where one lust is spared. A man in some sickness may lose the 
power of a leg or an arm : but had it been death, he would have 
lost the power of all together. 

(2.) Yivification is universal, 2 Cor. v. 17. As when the body of 
Christ was raised, there was life put into every member; so when 
the soul is raised to live the life of holiness, the image of God is re- 
paired in all its parts, and the soul embraces the whole yoke of 
Christ, so far as it knows the same. So that sanctification sets a 
man on every known duty. The holy man is holy in his dealings 
with God and with men ; not a pretender to piety, and a renouncer 
of honesty. He is holy alone, and holy in company : for though ;t 
man can put on or lay by a wooden leg, and carve it as he will, he 
cannot do so with a limb of his body. 

II. I shall shew how this holiness is derived from Christ, accord- 
ing to the grand device of infinite wisdom for the sanctifying of an 
unholy world. For clearing which, consider these few things. 

1. God made the first Adam holy, and all mankind was so in him. 

12 i \l<>.\ WITH CHRIST 

Eccl. vii. 29. He gave liim a holy nature, endued with a propensity 
to good, love to the Lord, and ability to keep all the commands. 
Thus mankind was set up in Adam ; the stock was put into his hand 
for himself and for his posterity, which was to be conveyed to them 
by natural generation ; for no reason can be given why we should 
not have derived a holy nature from Adam had he stood, seeing we 
derive a corrupt nature from him having fallen. 

2. Adam, sinning lost the image of God, that holiness in which 
he was created, and turned altogether corrupt and averse to good. 
For by his sin he turned off from God as his chief end, and set up 
himself for his chief end, which could not but infer a total apostasy. 
He was laid under the curse by his sin, and God the life of his soul 
departed from him ; and so he was left dead in sin, haviug sinned 
away his life in the favour of God, and holy influences. So that all 
mankind are naturally dead in sin, seeing corrupt Adam could con- 
vey no nature to us but a corrupt nature, Gen. v. 3. together with 
the guilt of it, and the curse attending it. 

3. Man's sanctification by himself thus being hopeless, for his na- 
ture being corrupted wholly, he could never sanctify his own heart 
or life, seeing no effect can exceed the virtiie of its cause ; it pleased 
God to constitute a Mediator, his own Son, to be the head of sancti- 
fying influences to all that should partake of them. And again, he 
set up the human nature holy, harmless, and unde filed, which was 
united to the divine nature in the person of the Son. So Christ, 
God-man, was filled with the Spirit of holiness, and received a holy 
nature, to be conveyed from him to those that are his by spiritual 
generation, Eph. ii. 10. And the Mediator being God as well as 
man, and the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in him bodily, there 
can never be wanting sanctifying influences in him who is a full 

4. Jesus Christ took on him the guilt of all the elect's sins, and 
the curse due unto them ; and these sins of theirs did hang about 
him till they brought him to the dust of death. But the sufferings 
of Christ being satisfactory, as he died for sin, so he died to sin, 
Rom. vi. 10. that is, he was absolutely freed from those sins of the 
elect wherewith he had burdened himself. This he did and suffered 
as a public person; and therefore the apostle tells us, Rom. vi. 6. 
that ' our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might 
be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.' For the 
guilt of sin and the curse being taken away, sanctification follows 
of course ; that being removed which prevented sanctifying influ- 
ences, and a communication opened betwixt heaven and the soul 
;ig;iin, upon its reconciliation with God. 


5. Though by the death and resurrection of Christ, the sanctifica- 
tiou of his people is infallibly insured, as the corruption of all man- 
kind was by the fall of Adam; yet we cannot actually partake of 
Christ's holiness till we have a spiritual being in him, even as we 
partake not of Adam's corruption till we have a natural being from 
him. And for the effecting of this union with Christ, he in the time 
of love sends his quickening Spirit into the soul, whereby he appre- 
hends us ; and thus there is a passive reception of Christ. And the 
soul being quickened, believes, and so apprehends Christ. Thus 
that union with Christ is made up by the Spirit on Christ's part, 
and faith on ours. So the soul being united to him, lives by the 
same spirit of holiness which is in him, and takes of his, and gives 
to his members for their sanctification. 

b\ Lastly, As Jesus Christ is the prime receptacle of the Spirit of 
holiness, as the head of all the saints ; so the continual supplies of 
that Spirit are to be derived from him for the saints' progress in ho- 
liness, till they come to perfection. And faith is the great mean of 
communication betwixt Christ and us, Acts xv. 9. And thus it 
does, as it empties the soul of all confidence in itself for sanctifica- 
tion, and relies upon him for it according to his word : putting on 
the saints to use the means of sanctification appointed by him, yet 
taking their confidence off the means, and setting it on himself, Phil, 
iii. 3. And for the ground of this confidence it has his word, so 
that his honour and faithfrlness are engaged for the supply of the 
Spirit of sanctification this way, being the way in which he has 
commanded us to look for it. 

Use I. Of information. This lets us see, 

1. The absolute necessity of holiness. When God, in the depth 
of infinite wisdom, laid his measures for the salvation of sinners, he 
had their sanctification in his eye, to bring it about by the death of 
his own Son. A certain evidence that there is no salvation without 
it. Nay, it is a principal part of our salvation, Matth. i. 21. There 
is more evil in sin than suffering, more in man's sin than the wrath 
of God. Nay, suppose a man saved from wrath, but not from sin, 
he is a miserable man, because of his uniikeuess to God ; for as 
happiness lies in assimilation to God, it must needs be a miserable 
case to be so unlike him as sin makes us. 

2. In vain do men attempt sanctification without coming to Christ 
for it. Those that knew net Christ may attain to a shadow of 
holiness, but can never be truly sanctified. And those that hear 
the gospel, but neglect the great duty of believing and uniting with 
Christ, can do no duty aright, their obedience at best is but a hypo- 
critical obedience, Tit. i. 15, 16. 


3. Unholiness ought not to stop a sinner from coming to Christ, 
more than a disease ought to hinder a man to take the physician's 
help, or cold from taking the benefit of the fire. And they tliat 
will have men to attain to holiness before they believe, are as 
absurd as one who would have the cripple to walk before he use the 
cure for his lameness. 

4. True faith is the soul's coming to Christ for sanctification as 
well as justification. For faith must receive Christ as God offers 
him, and he offers him with all his salvation. Now, he is made 
sanctification : Wherefore the soul, being willing to take Christ 
with all his salvation, to be sanctified, comes to him for it. 

Use II. Of Exhortation. Come then to Christ for sanctification. 
To press this, I offer the following motives. 

Mot. 1. If ye be not holy, ye will never see heaven. — Heaven's 
door is bolted on the unholy, Heb. xii. 14. — There is another place 
provided for the unholy impure goats. 

Mot. 2. Ye will never attain holiness, if ye come not to Christ 
for it. How can ye think to thrive following another device than 
God's for your end ? Ye may do what ye can to reform, ye may 
bind yourselves with vows to be holy, watch against sin, and press 
your hearts with the most affecting considerations of heaven, hell, 
&c. but ye shall as soon bring water out of the flinty rock, as holi- 
ness out of all these, till ye believe and unite with Christ. Con- 

1. While ye are out of Christ, ye are under the curse ; and is it 
possible for the cursed tree to bring forth the fruit of holiness ? 

2. Can ye be holy without sanctifying influences, or can ye expect 
that these shall be conveyed to you otherwise than through a Me- 
diator, by his Spirit ? 

3. Ye have nothing wherewith to produce holiness. The most 
skilful musician cannot play unless his instrument be in tune. The 
lame man, if he were ever so willing, cannot run till he be cured. 
Ye are under an utter impotency, by reason of the corruption of 
your nature. 

LaMy, If ye will come to Christ, ye shall be made holy. There 
is a fulness of merit and spirit in him for sanctification. Come then 
to the fountain of holiness. The worst of sinners may be sanctified 
this way, 1 Cor. vi. 11. 

Wherefore be persuaded of your utter inability to sanctify your- 
selves, and receive Christ for sanctification, as he is offered to you ; 
and thus alone shall you attain to holiness both in heart and life. 



Rom. v. 1, 2. — Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with 
God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access 
by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the 

glory of God. 

There are three sorts of benefits belonging to the justified, adopted, 
and sanctified. (1.) Some in this life they partake of. (2.) Some 
at death. (3.) Some at the resurrection. As for those in this life, 
we are told what they are in that question, ' "What are the benefits 
which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, 
and sanctification ? Ans. Assurance of God's love, peace of con- 
science, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance 
therein to the end.' These are divided into two sorts. (1.) Some 
that flow from the sense of our justification, &c. (2.) Some from 
the being of it. Of the former, the Catechism takes notice of three, 
viz. assurance, peace, joy. All which are held out in the text as 
benefits coming through justification. Here observe, 

1. Justification as a spring of other benefits. It is a leading 
mercy, it brings many others along with it. In it guilt is removed ; 
and that being removed, a stream of mercies flows from heaven into 
the soul. 

2. The benefits flowing from it. 

(1.) Peace with God, or towards God; i. e. not only reconcilia- 
tion with God, the cause of the quarrel being taken away ; but 
peace of conscience, peace within, when we look towards God, aris- 
ing from the sense of our justification and reconciliation. But all 
this is owing to Christ, who brought us into the state of reconcilia- 
tion, called this grace wherein we stand. 

(2.) Assurance of eternal happiness : Rejoice in hope of the glory 
of God ; i. e. in the glory of God we hope for. They are so sure of 
that happiness, that they rejoice in the view of it, as if they were 
actually carried into it. And assurance of GocVs love, ver\ 5. 

(3.) Spiritual joy : We rejoice in hope of the glory of God ; that is, 
We glory or joy in the Lord, upon this hope. 

The text evidently affords this doctrine, viz. 

Doct. ' Assurance, spiritual peace, and joy, are benefits flowing 
Prom a state of justification.' 



Ill speaking to the first, namely, assurance, I will shew, 

I. The kinds of it. 

II. That a child of God may have this assurance. 

III. The nature of it, and how a saint comes to be assured. 

IY. The fruits of it, whereby it may be discerned from presump- 

V. The necessity of it. 

VI. Deduce an inference or two. 

I. I am to shew the kinds of assurance. They are two. 

1. Objective assurance, whereby the special love of God to a 
saint, and his eternal salvation, are sure in themselves, 2 Tim. ii. 19. 
' The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord 
knoweth them that are his.' — This is never wanting, whether the 
the child of God know it or not. Though they raze foundations of 
hope at some times, yet God never razes his. 

2. Subjective assurance, whereby a child of God is assured that 
God loves him with a special love, and that he shall certainly par- 
take of eternal glory, Gal. ii. 20. ' Who loved me, and gave himself 
for me,' says Paul. This is not a wavering hope, or conjecture, but 
an infallible certainty. This is the assurance we treat of. 

II. I shall shew that a child of God may have this assurance. 

1. A believer may know that he has relative grace, that he is 
justified and therefore shall never come into condemnation, Rom. v. 
1, &c. Though he cannot ascend to heaven, and at first read his 
name in the book of God's decrees ; yet by comparing the book of 
God and the book of his own soul, he may know that he is called 
and elected, 2 Pet. i. 10. and therefore shall certainly be saved. 

2. He may be assured that he has inherent grace, that he believes 
as sure as he breathes, 2 Tim. i. 12. that he has love to the Lord 
unfeigned, and can appeal to Omniscience on the head, John xsi. 15. 
as Peter did when he said, ' Thou who knowest all things, knowest 
that I love thee.' And believing that such are loved of God, and 
shall certftinly persevere, for which he has the testimony of the 
word, he may be assured that he is the happy man. 

3. It is the office of the Spirit of God to assure believers of this. 
He has given us the word for this end : He is given to lead his peo- 
ple into all truth, particularly to discover the grace of God to them, 
and in them, 1 Cor. ii. 12. to witness with their spirits to their 
adoption, Rom. viii. 16. to be a seal, which is properly to ensure an 
evidence, Eph. iv. 30. and an earnest, a part of the price and pledge 
of the whole, 2 Cor. v. 5. 


Lastly, Many of the saints have attained it ; as Job, chap. xix. 
25. ' For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand 
at the latter day upon the earth,' Psal. xxiii. ult. ' Surely goodness 
and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life ; and I will dwell 
in the house of the Lord for ever,' 2 Tim. iv. 8. ' Henceforth there is 
laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righte- 
ous Judge shall give me at that day : and not to me only, but unto 
all them also that love his appearing.' And others too, besides 

III. I shall shew the nature of this assurance, and how a saint 
comes to be assured. By what is said, ye may perceive that this is 
a work of the Spirit, in the hearts of the saints, without whose 
efficacy no man can attain it. We may take it up in these three 

1. The Spirit shining on his own word, particularly the promises, 
in the Bible, the child of God firmly believes them, Heb. vi. 11, 12. 
The Lord has testified in his word, that such and such persons, for 
instance, that love him, Prov. viii. 17- are universal in obedience ; 
are poor in spirit, Matt. v. 3. are beloved of him, and shall certainly 
be saved. The Spirit says in effect, by the light he gives the be- 
liever into the divine authoritv of that word, This is my word. 
And as such the child of God is firmly persuaded of the certainty of 
it, as if a voice from the throne of God would make these promises 
and declarations. This is the ground-work of assurance. 

2. The Spirit shining on his own work of grace in the believer's 
heart, the believer discerns it, 1 Cor. ii. 12. The Spirit of God 
clears up to the man the truth of grace in him ; lets him see that 
he, for instance, loves God, &c. and so says in effect, This is my 
work. Hence he is enabled to conclude assuredly, that the Lord 
loves him, he shall not be ashamed, and that the kingdom of God is 
his. This assurance is stronger or weaker according to the degree of 
light that shines upon the work of grace in the heart to discover it. 

3. Lastly, The Spirit of the Lord sometimes gives a joint testi- 
mony with the spirits of the saints, to the truth of that conclusion, 
Rom. viii. 16. that they are the children of God. The testimony of 
the believer's own spirit is weak in itself, and Satan can find many 
ways to invalidate it ; therefore the Spirit witnesses to them the 
truth of the conclusion, whereby they are raised to a full persuasion 
of it. 

IY. I shall shew the fruit of this assurance, whereby it may be 
discerned from presumption. 

1. It inflames the soul with love to the Lord. As one flame be- 
gets another, so the assurance of God's love to us will add new 


vigour to our love to the Lord, 1 John iv. 19. Luke vii. 47. He sits 
in the warm sunshiue, that cannot fail to melt the heart, who sits 
under evidence of the Lord's love. 

2. It is humbling, Gal. ii. 20. None so vile in their own eyes as 
those who are lifted up in the manifestations of the Lord's love to 
them, Gen. xviii. 27. 2 Sam. vii. 18. 2 Cor. xii. 4 and 11 com- 
pared. Delusion puffs up, but true assurance humbles. 

3. It makes one tender in heart and life, and is a most powerful 
motive to sanctification, 2 Cor. vii. 1. It is followed with great 
care to please God in all things, and watchfulness against every sin. 
While the empty traveller walks at random, fearing nothing, be- 
cause he has nothing to lose, he that has precious things about him 
looks well to himself, Cant. iii. 5. One may be persuaded, that the 
confidence which makes not one tender in his duty to God and man, 
is presumption . 

4. Establishment in the good ways of the Lord, 2 Pet. i. 10. 
Faith is the provisor of all other graces, it brings in oil into the 
lamp ; and the more evidence it has, it can do its office the better. 
A doubting Christian will be a staggering and weak Christian ; as 
the soldier who has little hope of the victory will readily be faint- 
hearted, while he that is assured is strengthened and established. 

5. Lastly, It fills a man with contempt of the world, Gal. vi. 14. 
If ye gaze on the shining sun, for a while after ye will scarcely dis- 
cern the beauty of the earth. And one's solacing himself in con- 
templation of heaven as his, will sink the value of the world with 

V. I shall shew the necessity of assurance. 

1. It is not necessary to the being of a Christian. One may have 
true faith, and yet want full assurance, Isa. 1. 10. One may go to 
heaven in a mist, not knowing whither he is going. We read of 
some, Heb. ii. 15, ' who through fear of death are all their life time 
subject to bondage.' Our salvation depends on our state, not our 
knowledge of it. 

2. It is necessary to the well-being of a Christian, and therefore 
we are commanded to seek it, 2 Pet. i. 10, ' Give diligence to make 
your calling and election sure.' There are none who can live so 
comfortably for themselves, as the assured Christian, and none are 
so useful for God as they. It fits a man either to live or die ; while 
others are unfit to live, because of the weakness of grace in a throng 
of trials and temptations, and unfit to die for want of evidence of 

Hence it follows, that assurance may be lost ; and they that 
sometimes have this light, may fall into darkness. And it is care- 


less walking that puts it out, especially sinning against the light, 
whereby the Spirit is grieved, and withdraws his light, Eph. iv. 29, 
30. But if it be lost that way, and darkness come on, it will 
readily be dreadful darkness ; the higher they have been lifted up, 
the lower readily they are laid, Psal. li. 8. 

Inf. 1. Unjustified and unsanctified persons can have no true as- 
surance of the Lord's love to them. They may have a false confi- 
dence, a delusive hope of heaven ; but no assurance, for that is 
peculiar to the justified. 

Inf. 2. Doubts and fears are no friends to holiness of heart and 
life. It is little faith that breeds them in the hearts of the people 
of God, Matth. xiv. 31. And little faith will always make little 

Inf. 3. Lastly, Christians may thank themselves for the uncom- 
fortable lives they lead. What sovereignty may do, we know not : 
but surely it is sloth and unbelief that the want of assurance is ordi- 
narily owing to. Stir up yourselves then to seek it. Be frequent 
in self-examination, cry to the Lord for the witness of his spirit. 
Believe the word, and be habitually tender in your walk, if ever ye 
would have assurance, Psal. v. ult. 


' Peace of conscience is a benefit flowing from justification.' 

Here I shall shew, 

I. What peace of conscience is. 

II. The excellency of it. 

III. How it is obtained. 

IV. How it is maintained. 

Y. How it is distinguished from false peace. 

VI. Lastly, Deduce an inference or two. 

I. I am to shew what peace of conscience is. It is a blessed in- 
ward calmness and consolation arising from the purging of the con- 
science from guilt before the Lord, in which description, observe 
these two things. 

1. The subject of this peace. It is a purged conscience, Heb. ix. 
14. Peace and purity go together, and make a good conscience, 1 
Tim. i. 5. That peace which is joined with impurity, in an unpurged 
conscience, is but carnal security, peace in a dream, which will end 
in a fearful surprise. Now, there are two things necessary to the 
purging of conscience. 

(1.) Removal of guilt, in pardon thereof, which brings the sinner 


into a state of peace with God, Psalm xxxii. 1. Guilt, felt or uu- 
felt, is a band on the soul binding it over to God's wrath ; it is a 
disease in the conscience, which will make it a sick conscience at 
length. But a pardon takes away guilt, looses the band, removes 
the deadly force of the disease, and lays a foundation for carrying 
off the sickness, Isa. xxxiii. ult. 

(2.) Removal of the conscience of guilt, in the sense of pardon, 
Heb. x. 2. Though a malefactor's pardon be passed the seals, and 
he is secured from death, yet till he know it he cannot have peace. 
So the pardoned sinner, who knows not his mercy, though he has 
peace with God, yet wants peace of conscience. Psalm li. 8. So the 
conscience is purged, when the sting of felt guilt is drawn out of it. 

2. The parts of this peace. These are two. 

(1.) An inward calm of the soul, and quietness of the mind, where- 
in it is not disturbed with the fears of God's wrath, nor frightened 
with the judgments which its sins do in themselves deserve, Prov. i. 
33. A troubled conscience is full of fears, of terrible forebodings, 
and of torments, 1 John iv. 18. When peace enters the conscience, 
the mists clear up, the fears are scattered, and conscience has a 
serenity and quiet within itself. 

(2.) Consolation and comfort of heart, 2 Cor. i. 12; Isa. lvii. 19. 
Peace of conscience is not a mere negative, or indisturbance, which 
sloth and negligence of soul-matters may procure to the unpardoned: 
but it is an active cheerfulness of spirit, in the soul's looking up to- 
wards God, and reflecting how matters stand betwixt heaven and it, 
Col. iii. 15. 

Conceive the whole thus : Sin entering into the soul, casts the 
conscience into a fever, and guilt makes it rage. The great 
Physician gives the proper remedy : and so the conscience gets a 
cool, the sickness is removed, and the man gathers health, strength, 
and soundness, Job xxxiii. 22 — 26 ; Heb. ix. 14. 

II. I shall shew the excellency of it. It is Abraham's bosom on 
this side of heaven, the lower paradise ; it is like the shore to the 
shipwrecked soul ; and life from the dead. I will only say three 
things of it. 

1. It is the wine-press of the grapes of heaven, that squeezeth out 
into the man's mouth the sap of the covenant, Psal. cxix. 102, 103. 
It was a sad tale of the good Asaph's, Psal. lxxvii. 3. ' I remem- 
bered God, and was troubled : I complained, and my spirit was over- 
whelmed.' Peace of conscience makes a man remember God, and bo 
comforted ; to suck the sap of promises, and all the declarations of 
God's love and favour in his word, as the same Asaph did, Psalm 
lxxiii. 24, 25, 26. 


2. It is sap and poison to all earthly comforts, Prov. xv. 15. A 
sick man can take no pleasure in the comforts of life, as a healthy 
man does. An uneasy conscience sucks the sap out of all. But 
peace there, makes coarse fare, and little of it, very sweet, Prov. 
x^ii. 1. And whatever a man has, it puts an additional sweetness 
into it. 

3. It is sweet sauce to all afflictions, 2 Cor. i. 12. John xvi. 23. 
"When there is no peace within, little things make people fretful : 
even a scratch of a pin is a wound with a sword. But this makes a 
man easy in the midst of the little annoyances of the world, though 
they be great in themselves, Col. iii. 15. Phil. iv. 7- Compare Heb. 
x. 34. When a man meets with disquietments and vexations 
abroad, he is helped to bear all, when he is comforted and cheered 
coming into his own house. But heavy is their case, who come 
from bitterness abroad, and are met with bitterness at home. The 
former is an emblem of peace of conscience, the latter an emblem of 
the soul in afflictions. 

III. I am to shew how this peace of conscience is obtained. This 
peace is peculiar to the saints. Others may have false peace, Luke 
xi. 21. but they only have, or can have, true peace, Rom. v. 1. 

1. It is obtained for them by Jesus Christ dying and suffering to 
procure it, Isa. liii. 5. Eph. ii. 4. There can be none of this peace 
without reconciliation with God, and there can be no reconciliation 
without his blood. The convinced sinners could have no more in- 
ward peace than devils have, if Christ had not died to procure it ; 
but their wound had been incurable, and stood open and gaping for 

2. It is obtained by them, by these two methods. 

(1). By a believing application of the blood of Christ, Rom. xv. 
13. Job xxxiii. 23, &c. This is the only medicine that can draw 
the thorn of guilt out of the conscience, and heal its wounds, 1 John 
i. 7. Medicines prepared by men may cure bodily distempers, and 
a vitiated fancy, or disordered imagination, among other things. 
Confessing, mourning, reforming, watching, &c. may give a pallia- 
tive cure even to the conscience, scurfing over its sores. But no- 
thing but a believing application of Christ's blood will give true 
peace of conscience ; and do what ye will, if ye do not that, ye will 
never get true peace, Isa. vii. 9. 

(2.) By God's speaking peace thereupon to the soul, Isa. Ivii. 19. 
The soul resting on Christ by faith, brings it into a state of peace 
with God ; but for peace of conscience, more is required, namely, a 
sense of that peace. And this none but God can give, Psal. Ii. 8. 
He speaks peace in the word ; but a work of the Spirit on the con- 

Yol. II. c 



science is necessary to make the application, as appears from 2 Sam. 
xii. 13. compared with Psal. li. And this is a light struck up in 
the soul, discovering the soul to be at peace with God, an over- 
powering light that silences doubts and fears, and creates a blessed 
calm. This also is obtained in the way of believing, in the reflex 
act of faith. 

IY. I shall shew how this peace is maintained. The apostle tells 
us it was his exercise to maintain it, Acts xxiv. 16. And if we be 
not exercised in it, it will soon be lost. Now, it is maintained by, 

1. Keeping up a firm and settled purpose of heart to follow the 
way of duty, and to stand aloof from sin, cost what it will, Acts xi. 
23. David kept up his peace that way, Psalm xvii. 3. This is the 
breast-plate of righteousness, Eph. vi. 14. the which if it fall by, 
one may quickly be wounded to the heart. Unsettledness of heart, 
one's being at every turn unresolved what to do, cannot miss to 
leave him in the mire. 

2. Living a life of dependence on the Lord, for light of life, di- 
rection and through-bearing, Prov. iii. 6. Gal. ii. 20. And this will 
keep a man from presumption, and doing any thing with a doubting 
conscience, which will soon mar one's peace. 

3. "Watchfulness against sin, snares and temptations, 1 Cor. x. 
12. One that would maintain his peace, must be upon his guard, 
otherwise it will soon be disturbed, in this evil world. 

4. A strict, holy, gospel-walk, in all known duties, towards God 
and towards man, Gal. vi. 16. He that will adventure to balk any 
of them, shall soon lose it. 

5. Lastly, Frequent renewing our faith and repentance, for purg- 
ing away the sins we fall into, 1 Pet. ii. 4. 

V. I proceed to shew how peace of conscience is distinguished 
from false peace. A godly man may have a false peace. Cant. v. 
2. Such had David before Nathan came to him after his fall. An 
unregenerate man can have no peace but what is false, Isa. lvii. ult. 

1. True peace, built on the ground of God's word, is established 
by the word, however searching ; the other is weakened by it. For 
God's word is a friend to God's peace, but an enemy to delusion, 
1 John iii. 20, 21. But this is meant of God's word rightly under- 
stood, (if we misunderstand it, it is not his word, but our own mis- 
take) ; and such mistakes may have the quite contrary effect. 

2. True peace cannot be maintained but by a holy tenderness, and 
constant struggle against sin : but false peace is maintained without 
it, 1 John iii. 3. 

Inf. 1. The unconverted sinner, and the untender Christian too, 
are in a very unfit case for the time of calamity, Isa. lvii. 20, 21. 


Mattli. xxv. 5. Only the man that has peace of conscience is pre- 
pared, Isa. xxxiii. 14, 15. 

2. Let all who would have their consciences to be their friends, 
flee to the blood of Christ, and to lead a holy life. 

3. Lastly, Let all those who want it, labour to get it ; and they 
that have it, be exercised to keep it. 


1 Spiritual joy, or joy in the Holy Ghost, is a benefit flowing from 


Now, to shew first of all what spiritual joy is : Joy in general is 
a pleasing passion, arising from the enjoyment, or hope of the en- 
joyment of a desired object. Spiritual joy is a joy arising from the 
enjoyment, and hope of the enjoyment of spiritual blessings. 

Here I shall shew, 

I. The subjects of this joy, who they are that partake of it. 

II. The objects of it, or what they joy in. 

III. The grounds of it. 

IV. The Author of it. 

V. The means the Spirit makes use of to convey it into the hearts 
of the saints. 

VI. The difference betwixt it and the hypocrite's joy. 

VII. Lastly, Apply. 

I. I shall consider the subjects of this joy, who they are that par- 
take of it. 

1. It is peculiar to the saints : for they only are blessed with spi- 
ritual blessings in Christ Jesus, and no others can have true spi- 
ritual joy, Phil. iii. 3. Any may have a sensitive joy, viz. in 
things grateful to their senses, Acts xiv. 17. Profane men may 
have a sinful joy, a joy in sin, Prov. xv. 21. Hypocrites may have 
a delusive joy, which is a carnal joy in spiritual things, Matth. xiii. 
20. But saints only have the true spiritual joy, or joy in the Holy 
Ghost ; for it is peculiar to the subjects of Christ's kingdom, Rom. 
xiv. 17- 

2. Yet the saints have it not at all times, Psal. li. 8. A child of 
God may be walking in darkness, going mourning without the sun, 
having no evidence of his interest in Christ : in such a case he can- 
not have this joy. It is true, there is a seed of joy, in the most 
bitter sorrows of a spirit, which will spring up in due time, Psalm 
xcvii. II. But it seems it may be the case with some of the saints, 
never to have that joy till they get it in heaven, though I judge it is 



very rare, especially under the New Testament dispensation, Heb. ii. 

II. I shall shew the objects of this joy, what they joy in. 

1. The principal object is God in Christ, Phil. iii. 3. Rom. v. 
11. They look to and remember Gtod in Christ, and joy in him. 
God out of Christ is a most terrible object, Heb. xii. ult. ' Our God 
is a consuming fire.' And a sinner can never truly rejoice in an ab- 
solute God. But God in Christ, reconciled to the soul, breathing 
out peace and love to the sinner through a crucified Redeemer, is 
the chief and fundamental, the comprehensive object of his joy. 

2. The less principal, or secondary object, is twofold. 

(1.) The precious spiritual privileges they have in hand, which 
they enjoy for the present in this life, as justification, adoption, 
sanctification, peace with God, peace of conscience, access to God 
and communion with him, &c. In these they justly joy, Isa. lxi. 10. 
Will a man rejoice in the favour of his prince ? Surely then a saint 
may well rejoice in the favour of his God. 

(2.) The precious privileges they have in hope, Rom. v. 2. ' Re- 
joice in hope of the glory of God.' They have heaven and the eter- 
nal weight of glory in view : and this hope makes them sing the 
triumph before the victory. Yet are they not rash and foolish ; 
for it is a sure hope, and will never make one ashamed. One 
counts his riches, not only by what he has in hand, but what he has 
in bills and bonds, and joys in the latter as well as the former. 

III. I shall consider the grounds of this joy in these things. 
They are twofold. 

1. A suitableness of the objects to the heart and mind of the 
child of God. These objects are the great desire of a believer, 
2 Sam. xxiii. 5. So the receiving of them in hand, or in hope, 
makes him to joy, Psal. iv. 6, 7- Without this there can be no joy, 
Prov. xiii. 12. ' When the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.' If ye 
would make a starving man rejoice, you must give him meat ; if a 
condemned man, a pardon. Holiness and communion with God are 
sapless to the unrenewed man. God himself is not the object of his 
desire : neither is the holiness of heaven suited to his mind : there- 
fore he cannot rejoice in these. But it is otherwise with the saints ; 
so strangers intermeddle not with their joy. 

2. A sense of an interest in these objects, John xx. 28. ' My 
Lord, and my God.' One has more joy in his own cottage, than in 
another's palace, because he can say, It is my cottage. Hagar 
could not rejoice in the well of water, till the Lord opened her eyes 
to see it. Though a pardon were slipt unawares into a man's 
pocket, he cannot joy in it till he knows he has it. So a sense of 
our interest is necessary to spiritual joy. 


IV. I shall next consider the Author of this joy. The Holy Spirit 
of God is the author of it, and therefore it is called 'joy in the 
Holy Ghost,' Rom. xiv. 17- i- e. wrought in the heart by the Holy 
Ghost, shedding abroad the love of God, in the sense thereof, like a 
sweet-smelling ointment in the heart of the saint. It is he that ad- 
ministers the reviving cordial to the fainting soul, draws off the 
saints' sackcloth, and girds him with this gladness. 

V. I come now to consider the means which the Spirit makes use 
of to convey this joy into the hearts of the saints. These are two- 

1. External means are the word and sacraments. These are the 
wells of salvation to the people of God, Isa. xii. 3. 

(1.) The word of God which brings the glad tidings of salvation 
from heaven to poor sinners ; it discovers the enriching treasure to 
the soul, Psal. cxix. 162. ' I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth 
great spoil.' And no earthly treasure will raise such a joy in one's 
heart, as a word of promise will do, when the Spirit of the Lord 
shines on it unto a soul. 

(2.) The sacraments, which seal and confirm the word of grace to 
the soul. This is plain from the exercise of the eunuch, Acts viii. 
39. who, when he was baptised, went on his way rejoicing ; and of 
thousands who have met with that joy at sealing ordinances, which 
they never could find in all earthly things ; and no wonder, for then 
is the great seal of heaven set unto the covenant betwixt the Lord 
and his people. 

2. The internal mean is faith, Rom. xv. 13. ' The God of hope fill 
you with all joy and peace in believing.' 1 Pet. i. 8. — ' Believing 
ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.' Faith receives 
and applies the glad tidings brought by the word, and confirmed by 
the sacraments. The Spirit of the Lord works faith at first and ex- 
cites and strengthens it : and so the peace which the Lord speaks 
to his people is firmly believed by the saint, and thus his heart is 
filled with joy. 

VI. I come now to shew the difference betwixt this joy and the 
joy of the hypocrite. That a hypocrite may have a joy in spiritual 
things, is evident from Matth. xiii. 20. and it is confirmed by the 
case of many deluded souls, who may have their joys, as well as sor- 
rows which are unsound as well as themselves. 

1. True spiritual joy riseth in the heart, ordinarily after the word 
has had a precedent effect on the heart, to rend it for sin, and from 
it, Psal. cxxvi. 5. ' They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy.' 
Matth. v. 4. ' Blessed are they that mourn ; for they shall be com- 
forted.' But delusive joy springs up more quickly, while yet the 

c 3 


heart is not rent for sin, at least not from it, Matth. xiii. 20. Com- 
pare Jer. iv. 3. Much pains the husbandman is at ere he can ex- 
pect a crop; but weeds will grow up without pain or labour for 

2. True spiritual joy comes by the word, and that rightly under- 
stood ; but delusive joy comes either without the word, or by mis- 
understanding of the word. The channel of divine communications 
is the word of God, Isa. lix. 21. That joy which comes by pre- 
tended revelation, dreams, or impressions, without the word, and 
regard to it, is most likely to be the effect of a heated fancy ; and 
people had need to beware of being beguiled with these things. 
The written word is particularly the channel of spiritual joy, 1 John 
i. 4. ' These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.' 
And if an angel from heaven would speak joy to one whom the 
written word does not give ground of joy to, it would be but a de- 
ceit, Isa. viii. 20. ' To the law and to the testimony : if they speak 
not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.' 

3. True spiritual joy is lasting ; but delusive joy vanishes away, 
and comes to nothing, as wanting a root, Matth. xiii. 20, 21. It 
has a season, and when that is over it is extinguished, John v. 35. 
' Ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.' I own a child 
of God may lose his joy too ; but here lies the difference. The 
ground of the believer's joy, sense of interest, is sometimes removed 
out of his sight, and so he must needs lose his joy. But though the 
ground of the hypocrite's joy continue, namely his fancied interest 
in the favour of God, and privileges of the gospel, yet the joy goes : 
those things grow stale and sapless with him, which mightily af- 
fected him when they were new to him. 

4. True spiritual joy humbles the soul, and fills it with high and 
honourable thoughts of God ; but delusion never ceases to puff up, 
Gen. xxviii. 17- ' How dreadful is this place ! this is none other but 
the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.' Exod. xxxiv. 8. 
' Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and wor- 
shipped.' 2 Cor. xii. 11. Compare Col. ii. 18. For all the divine 
communications tend to einpty men of themselves, to make Christ 
and his free grace all to a man ; and holy familiarity with God 
impresses an awe on one's spirit, in so far as the more one sees of 
God, the more he must admire and adore him. But nature will 
always build up nature. 

5. Lastly, True spiritual joy is sanctifying, makes one the more 
tender and holy, the more he has of it. But delusion will never 
sanctify, Phil. iii. 3. Delusion is a cover to and nourisher of in- 
ward lusts, which get a peaceable shelter under it : but true spiri- 


tual joy makes one forward in the duties of universal obedience, 
Psal. cxix. 32. ' I will run the way of thy commandments, when 
thou shalt enlarge my heart.' And it makes one tender in moral 
duties towards God, and towards man. 

Inf. 1. Unjustified persons cannot intermeddle with this joy, for 
it is a benefit that flows from justification. It is a privilege pecu- 
liar to the saints ; children's bread that is not cast to the dogs. 
Ye may rejoice in the worldly comforts ye have, saying, This cloth- 
ing, this money is mine ; but you cannot say, This God is mine. 

2. When created streams are dried up, the joy of the ungodly is 
quite gone : but it is not so with the godly, Job vi. 13. ' Is not my 
help in me ? and is wisdom driven quite from me ?' Hab. iii. 17, 
18. The great ground of the saints' joy, and the objects of it, are 
beyond the reach of men, so that they cannot take them from them. 

3. Most groundless is the prejudice against religion, that it is a 
melancholy thing, Prov. iii. 17- 'Her ways are ways of pleasant- 
ness, and all her paths are peace.' None have such reason to rejoice 
as the believer has. If the poor wretched and condemned creature 
has more ground to rejoice than he that is pardoned aud enriched 
with his prince's favour, then the wicked has as much ground to re- 
joice as the believer who is justified by grace. ! if the ungodly 
saw their state, they would never rejoice ; and if the godly saw 
theirs, they would never despond. 

4. It is not God's allowance for his children to harden themselves 
in sorrow, and refuse to be comforted, Phil. iv. 4. ' Rejoice in the 
Lord always : and again I say, Rejoice.' As it is uncomfortable to 
themselves, it is dishonouring to God, and is the fruit of unbelief. 

5. 0, unconverted sinners, let the joy of religion draw you to it. 
Come to Christ, in a way of believing on him, that ye may be justi- 
fied. Close with the way of holiness, in renouncing all known sin, 
and complying with all known duty, that ye may have this spiritual 
joy, 2 Cor. i. 12. 

6. Lastly, Let the godly strive to attain this spiritual joy, and to 
maintain it for God's honour, and their own comfort and usefulness. 




Prov. iv. 18. — But the path of the just is as the shining light, that 
shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 


Hitherto we have spoken of the benefits flowing from or accom- 
panying the sense of justification. I come now to speak of those 
that accompany or flow from the being of it, namely, increase of 
grace, and perseverance. In the text there is an elegant compari- 
son of two things like to one another. Wherein we have, 

1. The subjects of comparison, the path of the just, and the shining 

(1.) The subject compared, the path of the just. The just, in the 
language of the Old Testament, are those who are justified by faith, 
Hab. ii. 4. ' The just shall live by his faith.' They are a travelling 
company going towards Canaan ; they have a path or way wherein 
they go, and they make progress in it. The word here used sig- 
nifies, (1.) The progress itself, or course in the way, as Job vi. 18. 
' The paths of the way are turned aside.' Isa. xxvi. 8. ' In the way 
of thy judgments, Lord, have we waited for thee.' (2.) The place 
or way through which one goes. The thing meant is the gracious 
and holy life of the just. 

(2.) The subject it is compared to, the shining light that shineth more 
and more unto the perfect day. It is compared to light, both because 
it is comfortable to themselves, and instructing, exciting to others, 
and honourable. It is not like the light of a meteor, that shines a 
while, and then disappears quickly, nor that of a candle, which 
burns and burns down till it wastes itself; but like the light of the 
sun, and not the evening-sun, that declineth, but the morning-sun, 
that with increasing brightness and heat advances to the meridian. 

2. The points of the comparison. (1.) As that light is a growing 
light shining more and more ; so is the grace of God in a soul, going 
from one degree to another. (2.) As it does not go out, but grows 
on to the perfect day ; so grace never dies out, but goes on till it be 
perfected in glory. 

Doct. ' Increase of grace, and perseverance, are benefits flowing from 
or accompanying justification.' 

I. Of Increase or growth of Grace. 

Here I shall shew, 

1. That real grace doth increase or grow. 

2. How a Christian grows in grace. 


3. The causes of tins growth . 

4. The difference betwixt true and false growth. 

5. "Whether true grace grows always. 

6. Apply. 

FIRST, I am to shew that real grace doth increase or grow. This 
is evident from three things. 

1. Scripture-testimony. Grace is a holy seed that springs and 
grows, Mark iv. 27 : however little at first, like a grain of mustard 
seed, Matth. xiii. 31, 32 ; like leaven, ver. 33. God has promised 
it, Psal. xcii. 12. Mai. iv. 2. ' But unto you that fear my name, shall 
the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings ; and ye 
shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall.' 

2. God has appointed a certain stature that his children shall 
grow to, Eph. iv. 13. This is the perfection of grace. Hence the 
Christian is first a little child, then a young man, then a father, 
1 John ii. 13. They walk, they run, they fly, they mount like 
eagles, Isa. xl. ult. 

3. This is the end of divine influences, Isa. xxvii. 3. and xliv. 3, 
4. It is also the effect of divine ordinances, Eph. iv. 11, 12. It is 
the end of all the pains of the heavenly Husbandman on the plants 
of his vineyard. 

SECONDLY, I shall shew how a Christian grows in grace. He 
grows four ways. 

1. Inward, into Christ, as the branch doth into the stock, Eph. 
iv. 15. Cleaving to him, and knitting with him more firmly, his 
faith grows stronger, 2 Thess, i. 9 ; his love more vigorous, his hope 
firmer, his dependence closer, &c. This is the spring of all other 
Christian increase in grace. 

2. Outward, in good works, in all the parts of a holy life, piety 
towards God, and righteousness towards men, Gen. xlix. 22. The 
growing Christian advances in the work of his salvation, Phil. ii. 
12 ; in the work of his regeneration, Acts xiii. 36. He goes on in 
the fruits of a holy life, for God's honour, his own good, and for the 
good and advantage of his fellow Christians, knowing that he is 
not born for himself. 

3. Upward, in a heavenly disposition, Phil. iii. 20. The end of 
his journey that he is aiming at is the upper world ; and as he is 
coming out of this world, in action so is he coming out of it in affec- 
tion, Cant. viii. 5. He grows more heavenly in his desires, joys, de- 
lights, griefs, sorrows, &c. 

4. Lastly, Downward in humility, self-denial, self-loathing, resig- 
nation to the will of the Lord, &c. The more religion prevails, 
there are always more of these graces, Job xiii. 5, 6. Psal. xxii. 6. 


2 Cor. xii. 11. For the more grace there is, there is the more know- 
ledge of God and of one's self; which are two boundless depths, 
the one of glory, the other of sin. 

THIRDLY, I shall shew the causes of this growth. 

1. Union with Christ. John xv. 4. ' As the branch cannot bear 
fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine : no more can ye, except 
ye abide in me.' He that is not united to Christ can never grow in 
grace, more than a branch that does not knit with the stock. But 
where the Lord takes hold of the soul by his Spirit, and the soul 
takes hold of Christ by faith, there is an union whereby they be- 
come members of Christ, and their growth is secured. 

2. Communion with Christ, John vi. 57. ' He that eateth me, even 
he shall live by me.' He is the fountain of the saints life, who 
gives it them, and more abundantly. He is he head of influences, 
by which they are made to increase in grace, as the sap from the 
root and stock makes the branches to grow. And this communion 
they have with him. 

(1.) In ordinances, public, private, and secret, so that they are 
made to grow by the fatness of his house, Psal. xcii. 13. ' Those that 
be planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the courts of 
our God.' The word edifies them, Isa. lv. 10, 11. The sacraments 
strengthen and confirm them, as they did the eunuch, who went on 
his way rejoicing, Acts viii. 39. Prayer and other holy exercises 
profit them, to their spiritual increase. But all by the influences of 
his Spirit in them, Isa. xliv. 3, 4. 

(2.) In providences. Mercies are blessed to them for this end, 
Isa. lxvi. 11, 12. crosses, John xv. 2. ' Every branch that beareth 
fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.' And often 
have the people of God grown most under the weight of afflictions. 
But this also is by communion with Christ in them, Phil. i. 19. I 
know that this shall turn to my salvation— through the supply of 
the Spirit of Jesus Christ.' 

FOURTHLY, I proceed to shew the difference betwixt true and 
false growth. As hypocrites may have seeming grace, though not 
real, so that seeming grace may grow, Mat. xiii. 5. There is a two- 
fold difference. 

1. True Christian growth is universal, Eph. iv. 15. False growth 
is only in some particular things. The true Christian grows in all 
the parts of spiritual life proportionably ; for all the graces of the 
Spirit are linked together, so that when one grows, they all grow. 
Such a difference there is betwixt them as betwixt a well thriving 
child and a rickety one. The former grows proportionably in all 
the parts, the body, legs, arms, &c. The other grows too, but grows 


not so ; the head grows big, but the body grows not. So the hypo- 
crite may get more knowledge, but no more tenderness, holiness, &c. 
He is not outwardly, but inwardly cold, as to the life of religion. 

2. The hypocrite soon comes to a stand, the Christian goes on to 
perfection, Luke viii. 14. Phil. iii. 13, 14. They have their mea- 
sure ; and when they have come to that, they stand like the door on 
the hinges ; but the true Christian is going on, labouring to be holy 
as God is holy, 1 John iii. 3. ' Every man that hath this hope in 
him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure.' 

FIFTHLY, I am to shew, whether true grace grows always. 

1. It does not always grow, nor at every particular season. It 
has its winters and decays, as well as its spring and growing times, 
Rev. ii. 4. ' I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left 
thy first love.' Yet, 

2. It never decays utterly, 1 John iii. 9. ' Whosoever is born 
of God, his seed remaineth in him.' The flame of it may go out, 
but there is always a live-coal left, though under the ashes, which 
the influences of the Spirit will blow up again. It will not always 
be winter, Hos. xiv. 7- ' They that dwell under his shadow shall 
return, they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine.' 

3. A Christian may be growing, and yet not be sensible of it. If 
one judge of his case by present feeling, he may be mistaken, Mark 
iv. 27. If one fix his his eyes on the sun, or a tree, he cannot per- 
ceive the one moving, or the other growing. But compare the tree 
with what it was some years ago, the place where the sun now is, 
with where it was in the morning ; so shall ye know the remarkable 
difference. And the very same difference may be observed in the 
growth of a Christian. 

Again, the growth is not to be measured only by the top, but by 
the root too. If a tree be taking with the ground, and spreading 
its roots there, it is surely growing. And though Christians may 
want the consolations and flashes of affections they sometimes had ; 
yet if they be growing in tenderness, humility, self-denial, &c. it is 
true Christian growth. 

Inf. 1. This may cause fear and trembling to, 

1. Apostates, who instead of growing are gone back to their for- 
mer courses of profaneness and impiety. Fallen stars were never 
stars but in appearance, and fearful will be their doom, Heb. x. 38. 
' If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.' 

3. Those who are at a stand in the way of religion. They have 
come up to a form of godliness, and they are like the door on the 
hinges. They are not striving to be forward in mortification. 

3. Those who are growing worse instead of growing better. They 


are like dead trees ; summer and winter is alike to them ; they are 
never the better for all the warnings from the Lord's word or pro- 
vidence : hut whatever God says by providences or ordinances, they 
go on their own way, adding one sinful step to another. 

Inf. 2. Improve ordinances for spiritual growth. ! it is sad to 
be sitting under means of grace, but never growing. This is the 
ready way to provoke the Lord to remove ordinances. 

Inf. 3. Let the least spark of true grace be nourished, for it will 
grow, Isa. xlii. 3. 

Inf. 4. lastly, Labour to be growing Christians. 


' Perseverance in grace is another benefit flowing from, or accom- 
panying justification.' 

Here I shall shew, 

1. What this perseverance is. 

2. How it is to be understood. 

3. That the saints shall persevere to the end. 

4. "What are those things which make hypocrites fall away, but 
over the belly of which saints persevere. 

5. The grounds of the perseverance of the saints. 

6. The means of perseverance. 

7. Lastly, Apply. 

FIRST, I shall shew what this perseverance is. To persevere is, 
to continue and abide in a state into which one is brought. And 
this perseverance is a firm and constant continuance in the state of 
grace, even to the end of one's life, Matth. x. 22. Col. i. 23. It is 
opposed to total apostasy, and utter falling away from grace. It is 
continuing and holding on, joined to a good beginning. 

SECONDLY, I am to shew how this perseverance is to be under- 

1. It is not to be understood of all who profess Christ. Hypo- 
crites may be seeming saints, and may have seeming grace, which 
may blaze for a while, and afterwards be quite extinguished, totally 
and finally lost, John vi. 66. There are temporary believers, who 
continue for a while, but having no root, do wither quite away, 
Matth. xiii. 21. Mere out side Christians, and Christians in the 
letter, may so apostatise, as to lose all, and never recover. 

2. It is to be understood of all real saints, thoso who are endowed 
with saving grace. Those who, by virtue of regeneration, may call 
God their Father, as well as the church their mother, shall abide in 


his family, and never fall out of it, John viii. 35. Though the coun- 
terfeit of grace may be utterly lost, yet real grace cannot. "We 

(1.) Saints may lose the evidence of grace, so that they cannot 
discern it in themselves. Thus it may suffer an eclipse, Isa. 1. 10. 
Sometimes a child of God not only believes, loves, &c. but knows he 
does so : but at other times it may be out of his sight, so as he may 
apprehend he has none. The jewel may fall by, though it cannot 
fall away ; and the spiritual husband may lock up himself in his 
chamber from his spouse, though he never quite leaves the house. 

(2.) Saints may lose the exercise of grace, Cant. v. 9. Though 
the holy fire be not quite put out, yet it may cease to flame for a 
while ; though they have spiritual armour lying by them, they may 
be so benumbed with the prevailing of corruption, that they cannot 
wield it. Wise virgins may slumber and sleep as well as the foolish. 

(3.) They may lose much of the measure of grace they have had. 
True grace, though it cannot die out, yet is subject to languishing 
and decays in the strength thereof, Rev. iii. 2. They may lose 
much of their love to God and one another, Rev. ii. 4. much of their 
former tenderness, as David's heart smote him when he cut off the 
lap of Saul's garment, but afterwards was guilty of murder and 
adultery ; much of their liveliness in duties, Rev. iii. 2. and so of 
other graces. But, 

(2.) Saints can never lose grace finally, so as never to recover it, 
1 Pet. i. 5. John vi. 39. No doubt a child of God may stray away 
from the Lord as well as another ? but though a servant may go, 
and never return to the house, yet a son will be sought out and 
brought back again, Psal. cxix. ult. John xiii. 35. ' And the servant 
abideth not in the house for ever ; but the son abideth ever.' So 
however far the saints may go wrong, the Lord will recover them. 

(2.) Saints never lose grace totally neither ; they never lose it 
altogether, though for ever so short a while, 1 John iii. 9. Their 
lamp may burn dim, but it is never quite put out ; they may 
fall back, fall very low, so as themselves and others may have little 
hope of their recovery, but they never fall off, never fall away, 
Psal. xxxvii. 24. ' Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down : 
for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. 

Both these hold true of relative grace ; that is, there is no falling 
out of the state of justification, adoption, union with Christ, peace 
with God, the love of God, &c. and of inherent grace, faith, love, 
the fear of God, &c. 

THIRDLY, I proceed to shew that the saints shall persevere to 
the end. This is evident from, 


1. The Lord's own promises. He has said it, and will he not do 
it? John x. 28, 29. Psalm cxxv. 1. ' They that trust in the Lord 
shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for 
ever.' It is true they have many enemies that watch to do them 
mischief, but the Lord has promised to guard them, Isa. xxvii. 3. ' I 
the Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment ; lest any hurt it, 
I will keep it night and day.' They may fall into sin, and provoke 
the Lord to anger against them ; but he has promised, that though 
he lay his hand on them, he will not lift his love off them, Psal. 
lxxxix. 31, — 34. Though they may be forsaken, yet it shall neither 
be total nor final, Isa. liv. 7, — 10. 

2. From the saints' confidence of perseverance and eternal life. 
How confident was Asaph, Psal. lxxiii. 24. ' Thou shalt guide me 
with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory?' If the saints 
could fall away from grace, how could they ' rejoice in hope of the 
glory of God ? Rom. v. 2. How could Paul triumph over ' death, 
life, angels, principalities, powers ; things present and to come, 
height, depth,' &c ? Rom. viii. 38, 39. Confidence in their own ma- 
nagement, is not the way of the godly. Prov. xxviii. 26. ' He that 
trusteth in his own heart is a fool.' 

3. Lastly, According to the scripture, perseverance is a discrimi- 
nating mark betwixt the elect and non-elected, Matt. xxiv. 24. as 
also betwixt real saints and hypocrites, Luke viii. 13, 14, 15. 1 John 
ii. 19. Prom whence we may gather, that the utter apostasy of the 
elect saints is impossible in respect of the decree of God ; that those 
who get true grace, keep it to the eud, while others lose theirs ; and 
that they who utterly apostatise, never were true saints. 

FOURTHLY, I shall shew what are those things which make 
hypocrites fall away, but over the belly of which saints persevere. 
In the general, there are three things. 

1. Satan's temptations, 1 Pet. v. 8. He is a subtle, powerful and 
malicious enemy, a liar and murderer from the beginning. "What- 
ever hopeful signs are found about any, he sets himself to rob them 
of them, for their ruin. He seeks to set the hypocrite and the 
sincere through the wind, and prevails to blow away the one, but 
not the other. By a miracle of grace, the saints are preserved 
amidst his fiery darts, Luke xxii. 32. 

2. The world's snares. While professors are in the world, there 
are snares to catch them, and carry them off the way. (1.) The 
world's prosperity is a great snare, and makes many apostates, 
Prov. i. 32. and xxx. 9. But true grace will hold out against it, 
Cant. viii. 7. (2.) Its adversity. Tribulation and persecution of- 
fends the temporary believer, and makes a scattering among Christ's 


summer-friends, Mattli. xiii. 20, 21. But the true Christian will 
weather out the storm, Job xvii. 9. ' The righteous also shall hold 
on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall wax stronger and 
stronger.' Poverty strips many of their religion, but not a true 
saint, Rev. xiv. 4. (3.) The example of the world; the torrent of 
an ungodly generation strips many of their form of godliness, 
Matth. xxiv. 12. ' Because iniquity shall abound the love of many 
shall wax cold.' But the saints shall not be carried away with the 
stream, Psal. xii. 7- ' Thou shalt keep them, Lord, thou shalt 
preserve them from this generation for ever. 

3. Lastly, The corruptions and lusts of the heart. These betray 
the hypocrite into apostasy, Jer. iv. 3. Compare Luke viii. 14. 
Lusts lulled asleep for a while, but not mortified, rise up and make 
shipwreck of many souls. But true grace is never quite expelled 
by the flesh's lustings against it ; but by the power of God is pre- 
served, like a spark of fire in the midst of an ocean. 

FIFTHLY, I proceed to shew the grounds of the perseverance of 
the saints. 

1. The unchangeable decree of God's election, flowing from the 
free and unchangeable love of the Father to them. Electing love is 
free love, and also unchangeable, Jer. xxxi. 3. ' I have loved thee 
with an everlasting love ; therefore with loving-kindness have I 
drawn thee.' And God's purpose of grace and salvation cannot be 
disappointed, 2 Tim. ii. 29. ' The purpose of God standeth sure, 
having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.' 

2. The merit and intercession of Christ the Son. He redeemed 
them by paying a full price, which must be lost, if they be lost, 
1 Pet. i. 18, 19. And 'he ever liveth to make intercession for 
them,' Heb. vii. 25. 

3. The perpetual abiding of the Spirit in and with them, John 
xiv. 16. which secures their union with Christ, and the preservation 
of the seed of grace, 1 John iii. 9. 

4. Lastly, The nature of the covenant of grace, which is furnished 
with such pillars as the first covenant had not, namely, the promises 
of perpetual conservation in the state of grace, Jer. xxxii. 40. ' I 
will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn 
away from them, to do them good : but I will put my fear in their 
hearts, that they shall not depart from me.' 

SIXTHLY, I shall shew the means of preseverance. Let none 
think that they may live carelessly, having once got grace, because 
it cannot be lost : for besides, that one's giving himself quite up to 
such an opinion and course is inconsistent with saving grace, God 
has joined together the ends and means, and none shall separate 


them, Acts xxvii. 22. ' And now I exhort you to be of good cheer : 
for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the 
ship.' — Compare ver. 31. 'Paul said to the centurion and to the 
soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.' Now, 
in the general, these are, 

1. Grod's ordinances and providences. He makes use of both to 
keep the feet of his saints, John xv. 2. 

2. The duties of religion, and exercise of the graces, faith, fear, 
watchfulness, &c. 1 Cor. x. 12. ' Wherefore let him that thinketh 
he standeth, take heed lest he fall.' 

I shall conclude with a few inferences. 

Inf. 1. Would ye have a treasure which ye cannot lose ? then get 
grace. Ye may lose your worldly treasures, comforts, and enjoy- 
ments ; the world's good things may go. — But grace is durable. 

2. Take heed to yourselves and beware of apostasy ; for it is not 
the beginning well, but holding on to the end, that will secure your 
salvation, Matth. x. 22. * He that endureth to the end shall be 
saved.' Beware lest Satan, the world, and your lusts, beguile you, 
and ye lose all ye have wrought, 2 John 8. 

3. As ever ye would persevere, look well to the foundation of 
your religion ; for sincerity will last, but hypocrisy is a disease in 
the vitals that will end in death. The builders endeavour to lay 
the foundation fast and securely, and then they are sure the super- 
structure they raise upon it shall stand firm. Therefore lay the 
foundation well, and ye may be assured that the building shall wea- 
ther all storms. 

4. Lastly, Let those whose care it is to be found in Christ, and to 
live to him in all the duties of piety and righteousness, be comforted 
amidst all their temptations, snares, and corruptions, in that God 
who has begun the good work, and will perfect it, Phil. i. 6. 



Phil. i. 21. — To me — to die is gain. 

All must die; but as men's lives are very different, so their account 
in death also. To an ungodly man death is a loss, the greatest 
loss : but to a believer it is gain, the greatest gain. 

Paul was now a prisoner in Rome, and his case in itself was 
doubtful whether it would terminate in life or death, (though he 
was assured it would not be death at that time, ver. 25.) But 
having taken a view of both, he does in the text, in his own person, 
give us, (1.) The sum of a believers life, that is, Christ. As all the 
lines drawn from the circumference meet in the centre, so the whole 
of a believer's life in Christ, his honour being the scope of all. 
(2.) His estimate of a believer's death ; he will not be a loser, but a 
gainer by it : it brings him in many benefits, and so is a gainful 

The doctrine of the text is, 

Doct. ' Death is gain to a believer.' 

In discoursing this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. In what respect death is gain to believers. 

II. How it comes to be gain to them. 

III. Deduce an inference or two. 

I. I am to shew in what respects death is gain to believers. It is 
so in respect of their souls and their bodies. 

Fiest, In respect of their souls. It separates their souls from 
their bodies, but not to their loss, but to their gain. — It is with the 
souls of believers at death, as with Paul and his company in their 
voyage, Acts xxvii. The ship broke in many pieces, but the pas- 
sengers came all safe to land. So when the eye-strings break, the 
speech is laid, the last pulse beats, the last breath is drawn, the 
soul escapes, and gets safe away out of the troublesome sea of this 
world, into Immanuel's land. Now, there is a twofold gain or be- 
nefit which the souls of believers receive at death, namely perfection 
in holiness, and immediate entering into glory. 

First, Perfection in holiness, Heb. xii. 23. — ' The spirits of just 
men made perfect.' In regeneration the elect get a new nature, 
which is a holy nature, 2 Pet. i. 4 ; but much of the old nature still 
remains. Then grace is planted in them by the Spirit. It grows 
up in the gradual advances of sanctification ; but at death it is per- 
fected, they are made perfectly holy. This perfection consists in 
two things. 

Vol. II. D 


1. A perfect freedom from sin, Eph. v. 27. The spiritual enemies 
they see to-day, they shall never see more, when once death has 
closed their eyes. Many a groan and struggle there is now to be 
free of sin, but still it hangs about the believer. Sometimes he gets 
his feet on the neck of his lusts, but they rise up again upon him : 
therefore he is never in safety to let down his watch, or to lay by 
the sword of the Spirit. The spiritual bands are never quite off 
here ; but then it will be said, ' Loose him and let him go.' At 
death the saints shall be free, 

(1.) From all commission of sin, Rev. xxi. 27- In the earthly 
paradise, sin was found, there Adam broke the whole law ; but into 
the heavenly paradise no sin can enter. Not a vain thought shall 
ever go through a believer's heart more ; there shall be no more 
temptation to sin, nor the least inclination to it. 

(2.) From the very inbeing of sin. The body of death shall go 
out with the death of the body, and then shall the desire be an- 
swered, ' Who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?' Sin's 
reigning power is broken in sanctification : yet it still abides as a 
troublesome guest ; but at death it is plucked up by the roots. It 
is like the house under the law infected with the leprosy, for the 
removal of which the stones were carried to an unclean place. 

(3.) From a possibility of sinning, Rev. iii. 12. ' Him that over- 
cometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall 
go no more out.' The first man in paradise, yea the angels in hea- 
ven till they were confirmed, were but as reeds liable to be shaken 
with the wind of temptations as the doleful event made appear. But 
by death putting an end to the believer's probationary life, he be- 
comes a pillar in the temple of God, which can never more be 

2. In the arrival of their holiness at the highest pitch they are 
capable of, Eph. iv. 13. Now every sincere soul has a perfection of 
holiness in respect of the parts thereof; they are like little children 
who have all the parts of a man, but none of them grown to their 
utmost pitch ; but then they will have a perfection of degrees, an- 
swering to the holy law in all points, like men who are come to 
their full growth. Sincerity shall then be turned to legal perfec- 

(1.) Their understandings shall be perfectly illuminated, 1 Cor. 
xiii. 12. ' For now we see through a glass darkly ; but then face to 
face : now I know in part ; but then shall I know even as also I 
am known.' There shall then be no more complaints of weakness 
of knowledge in them who in their life were the weakest of all 
saints. There shall not be the least remains of darkness there, but 
a full sunshine shall be in them. 


(2.) Their wills shall be perfectly upright, so that they shall will 
nothing but what is good, and that without the least bias to the 
other side, Rev. xxi. 27. A perfect conformity shall then be be- 
twixt God's will and theirs, without the least possible jarring, 
1 John iii. 2. 

(3.) The executive faculty shall then perfectly answer their will, 
readily and with all imaginable ease and delight, Matth. vi. 10. 
Now the believer is often in the dark, he knows not what to do. 
Sometimes when he knows his duty, he has no will to it ; there is a 
great aversion and backwardness that he has to strive with. Oft- 
times, when he would fain do it, he cannot, Matth. xxvi. 41. ' The 
Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.' But then there shall 
be no more such impotency ; he will be able to do whatever he will, 
and will nothing but what is good. 

Secondly, Immediate entering into glory. As Pharaoh's jailor 
opening the prison-door to the butler, let him out into the court ; so 
death letting the soul out of the body it goes to glory. Christ said 
to the thief on the cross, ' This day shalt thou be with me in para- 
dise,' Luke xxiii. 43. So death is to them the beginning of an im- 
mortal life ; a strait entry by which they go out into the heavenly 
paradise ; the ship by which they are transported into Immanuel's 
land. Here consider, 

1. The glory they enter into. They pass after death into, 
1st, A glorious place, namely, heaven, the seat of the blessed, 
2 Cor. v. 1. It is Christ's Father's house, where their room is ready 
for them, when they have no more place on earth, John xiv. 2. ' In 
my Father's house,' says Christ, ' are many mansions : I go to pre- 
pare a place for you.' The place which has no need of the sun and 
moon, but the glory of God lightens it, Rev. xxi. 23. Behold the 
outside bespangled with sun, moon, and stars ; how glorious must it 
be within ! 

2dly, A glorious society, namely, the society of other saints gone 
before them, ' The general assembly and church of the first-born 
which are written in heaven,' Heb. xii. 23. the society of the holy 
angels, ib. the society of the glorious Mediator, his Father, and Holy 
Spirit, even the blessed Trinity, John xvii. 24. Heb. xii. 23, 24. 
It is a glorious society they are admitted into. 

ddly, A glorious state. This is ' the house in the heavens, eter- 
nal, not made with hands, 2 Cor. v. 1. It is a glorious state the 
soul enters into, a glory God puts on the souls of believers when out 
of the body. It is what eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath 
it entered into the heart of man to conceive ; it is what we cannot 
make language of. — It is a state of rest and perfect blessedness. 



2. That they immediately after death pass into it, aiid do not 
abide any where else, and sleep until the day of judgment, as some 
profane men would have it, is clear. For, 

(1.) Scripture instances plead this. So to the thief upon the 
cross it was said, ' This day shalt thou be with me in paradise,' 
Luke xxiii. 43. So of Lazarus it is said, that ' he was carried by 
the angels into Abraham's bosom,' Luke xvi. 22. And if it be a 
parable, as most likely it is, it is the more full to the purpose. And 
there is the same reason for all the saints as for one, they being all 
as ready at death as ever they will be, working-time for prepara- 
tion being then over, John ix. 4. 

(2.) There is no middle state; but when the saints put off the 
body, they put on glory, 2 Cor. v. 1, 2. When they are 'absent 
from the body,' they are ' present with the Lord,' ver. 8. When 
they ' depart,' they are ' with Christ,' Phil. i. 23. When they die, 
they ' enter into peace' and rest, Isa. lvii. 1. the 'rest remaining for 
the people of God,' Heb. iv. 9. 

(3.) Lastly, The contrary doctrince is utterly inconsistent with 
the blessed state the scriptures ascribe to believers after death, 
Rev. xiv. 13. ' Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from 
henceforth : Tea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their 
labours.' And it is inconsistent with believers their desire of death, 
that they may be with Christ in glory, 2 Cor. v. 1, 2. Phil. i. 23. 
What was to make Paul in that strait ? if he could not be with 
Christ before the general judgment, he would have chose rather to 
have lived till then, that he might have been with him in some sort, 
than to have died. 

Secondly, In respect of their bodies, death is gain. — They must 
lie down in a grave ; but death, 

1. Cannot harm them, nor bring them to any real loss to be la- 
mented. For, 

(1.) Their dead bodies are still united to Christ. Though death 
separate their souls from their bodies, it cannot separate them from 
Christ, even every part of their body from another, 1 Thess. iv. 14. 
They are members of Christ still, though in a grave, Rom. viii. 11. 
' Our friend Lazarus is dead,' said Christ. 

(2.) They cannot be held there for ever. It is but till the resur- 
rection, Job xix. 26. The saints' dust is precious, locked up in the 
grave as a cabinet, till the Lord have further use for it. They are 
his precious fruit, that lie mellowing in the grave, and ripening for 
a glorious resurrection. 

2. It is a real gain to them, in respect their graves are the places 
of their rest; not their prison, but their beds of rest, wherein they 


are to rest till the morning of the resurrection. The soul is the 
man, and it enjoys the glory of heaven ; mean while the body rests 
in the grave, where it will enjoy a profound and tranquil repose, till 
it be united to the soul at the time when the dead in Christ shall 
rise from their long sleep. 

II. I come to shew how death comes to be gain to them. It is a 

1. From all the ordinary troubles and afflictions of this life, Rev. 
xiv. 13. forecited. 

2. From all persecutions and hardships from men for the cause of 
Christ, Job viii. 17. ' There the wicked cease from troubling ; and 
there the weary be at rest.' 

I shall conclude with a few inferences. 

Inf. 1. That the saints may be encouraged and stirred up to press 
after perfection in holiness, since they shall certainly obtain it at 
length, Phil. iii. 13, 14. 

2. The wicked shall come to a perfection, so to speak in their 
wickedness, and immediately pass into hell, Luke xvi. 22, 23. 

3. There is no purgatory nor middle state betwixt heaven and 

4. The toils and troubles of the world, that find men in the way 
of the Lord, should not discourage them, or carry them off their 
way, since they will all soon have an end. 

5. There is no reason to mourn for the death of godly relations, as 
those who have no hope, 1 Thess. iv. 13. 

6. Lastly, A dying day is the best day for a believer that is in all 
his life, Eccl. vii. 1. It is their marriage, home-coming, and re- 
demption day. 

d 2 



Heb. xi. 35. — That they might obtain a better resurrection. 

In this chapter the apostle brings in a cloud of witnesses to the 
truth and excellency of religion, and the power of faith, shewing the 
great things faith can do, and also can suffer. In this verse we 
have an instance of each kind. (1.) Faith got back the dead, in the 
case of Elijah and the widow of Serapta's dead son, 1 Kings xvii. 
22, 23. and of Elisha and the Shunaraite's son, 2 Kings iv. 35, 36. 
Herein the faith of the prophets, and the faith of the women too, 
was active, though the former was more strong than the latter. 
(2.) Faith made constant martyrs, helped them to bear most cruel 
tortures even to death, refusing deliverance on sinful terms ; which 
seems to respect the martyrs of the Jewish church under Antiochus 
Epiphanes. "What carried them up was the faith of a better resur- 
rection. Hence two things they had the faith of. 

2. Of a resurrection, that there would be a resurrection of the 
body ; that they and their enemies, and all mankind, after death, 
would rise again. 

2. Of a resurrection for themselves, better than that deliverance 
from death which their enemies offered them. — They saw by an eye 
of faith a glorious resurrection abiding them and all the people of 
God, attended with so many glorious benefits as might counter- 
balance their heaviest sufferings. 

The text affords this doctrine, viz. 
Doct. ' Believers shall obtain a resurrection from the dead, at- 
tended with such glorious benefits, as the faith of the same may 
animate them to endure the most cruel sufferings for Christ.' 
Here I shall, 

I. Touch a little on the doctrine of the resurrection in general. 

II. Consider the resurrection of believers, that better and glorious 

III. Apply. 

I. I shall touch a little on the doctrine of the resurrection in 
general. And I shall shew, 

1. That there shall be a resurrection of the dead. 

2. Who shall be raised. 

3. What shall be raised. 

4. The Author of the resurrection. 

First, I am to shew, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead. 
This is a fundamental article of the Christian faith, the denying 


of which is subversive of the foundation of Christianity, 1 Cor. xv. 
13, 14. ' But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ 
not risen. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, 
and your faith is also vain.' It is a point of faith which we owe to 
revelation, that reason must assent to as highly reasonable when 
proposed, Acts xxvi. 3. Two things are the causes of men's disbe- 
lieving it, ignorance of the scriptures, and the power of God, Matt, 
xxii. 29. Accordingly there are two things that will clear it. 

1. God is able to raise the dead ; the resurrection is within the 
compass of the almighty arm. Man dying, his soul does not die ; 
and though his body be dissolved, it is not reduced to nothing ; if it 
were, God could make it over again. But the particles which make 
up the body do remain. And, 

(1.) Omniscience knows what they are, and where they are. If 
the dust of a thousand generations were jumbled together, Omni- 
science can separate them. An expert gardener having a hundred 
different seeds in his hand, can distinguish betwixt seed and seed ; 
and why not an omniscient God betwixt dust and dust ? 

(2.) Infinite power can join them altogether which belong to one 
man's body, and so make it up what it was, and join the soul again 
to the body raised up, Luke i. 37. He made the world of nothing, 
and he can reform man's body of pre-existent matter. As the 
watchmaker takes down the watch, and sets every piece in its pro- 
per place, so can God man's body. 

3. God has positively told us, that he will do it, John v. 28, 29. 
vii. 39. 

Secondly, I proceed to shew, who shall be raised. Here two 
things are to be observed. 

1. Those who shall be alive at the coming of Christ, as they shall 
not die, so they cannot rise from the dead. They shall undergo a 
sudden change, whereby the qualities of their bodies shall be al- 
tered, so as it shall be to them instead of death and resurrection, 
1 Cor. xv. 51, 52. 

2. All that ever had life and died, men and women, old and 
young, godly and ungodly, shall rise again, Acts xxiv. 15; Rev. 
xx. 12. If they once had a soul united to their body, though the 
belly was their grave, they shall partake of this resurrection. The 
sea and the earth are God's stewards, which shall then be called to 
give back what they got a-keeping. 

Thirdly, I shall shew, what shall be raised. The self-same bodies 
for substance that died, shall be raised again, though with very dif- 
ferent qualities ; yet it shall be the very same body that was laid in 
the grave, and not another. For, 


1. The scripture is very plain for this. It is ' this corruptible 
that puts on incorruption, and this mortal that puts on immortality,' 
Cor. xv. 53. ' Though after my skin (says Job), worms destroy this 
body, yet in my flesh shall I see God,' Job xix. 26. 

2. The equity of the Judge requires it. An equitable judge does 
not suffer one to fight and another to get the reward ; and therefore 
he will make those bodies which are the temples of grace, the tem- 
ples of glory. Nay, they are Christ's members, and so cannot perish. 
Neither can it be that one body sin, and another suffer in hell. 

3. The nature of resurrection requires it ; for that would not be a 
rising again, but a new creation. Death is sleep to the godly, the 
resurrection an awaking, a change of the vile body, Phil. iii. 21. 

Fourthly, I come now to shew, who is the author of the resurrec- 
tion. It is the work of God alone, and above the power of any 
creature whatsoever. It is one of those works that are common to 
the Trinity. To the Father, 1 Cor. vi. 14. ' God hath both raised 
up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power ;' The Son, 
John v. 28. ' The hour is coming in the which all that are in the 
graves shall hear his [Christ'' s~\ voice.' The Holy Spirit, Rom. viii. 
11. 'If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell 
in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken 
your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.' 

II. The second general head is, to consider the resurrection of 
believers, that better and glorious resurrection. And this I shall 
do, 1. In itself. 2. In its consequents. 

First, I shall consider the resurrection of believers in itself, and 
here I shall shew, 

1. Some things that ensure the blessed resurrection of believers. 

2. How they shall be raised. 

3. In what case they shall rise. 

4. The particular qualities of their bodies at the resurrection. 
First, I shall take notice of some things that ensure the blessed 

resurrection of believers. 

1. God's covenant with believers, which is with their whole man, 
comprehending their bodies as well as their souls, which by virtue 
thereof are temples of the Holy Ghost, Matth. xxii. 32. ' God is not 
the God of the dead but of the living.' 

2. The end of Christ's death, which was to destroy death, Hos. 
xiii. 14. ' death, I will be thy plagues ; grave, I will be thy de- 
struction.' now else would be accomplished his swallowing up 
death in victory, if death kept those that are his for ever? No; 
this is the last enemy, 1 Cor. xv. 25, 26. And when the resurrec- 
tion comes, and not till then, will that victory be complete, vcr. 54. 


3. The resurrection of Christ. He was the first-fruits from death, 
his people the harvest that must follow, 1 Cor. xv. 22, 23. For as 
in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But 
every man in his own order : Christ the first-fruits, afterward they 
that are Christ's at his coming.' He rose as a public person, and so 
has got up above death in their name, Eph. ii. 6. ' Hath raised us up 
together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ 

4. Their union with Christ, Rom. viii. 11. forecited. He has re- 
deemed their bodies as well as their souls, and therefore they ex- 
pect the redemption of their bodies, Rom. viii. 23 ; and has united 
them to himself, Eph. v. 30. Now, since the head liveth, the mem- 
bers shall live too ; as when the head gets above the waters, the 
members follow. 

Secondly, I am to shew, how believers shall be raised. The wicked 
shall be raised by the power of Christ as a just Judge. The divine 
power that shut them up in the grave as in a prison, will bring them 
out, in order to their receiving the last sentence, to enter into the 
prison of hell. 

But the godly shall be raised by virtue of the Spirit of Christ, 
that bond of union betwixt Christ and those blessed bodies ; so that 
it shall be to them as a pleasant awakening out of sleep. As an 
awakening man draws his limbs to him, so will their raised head 
draw them to him out of their graves, Rom. viii. 11. 

Thirdly, I shall shew, in what case they shall rise. 

2. Happily, as rising to life, eternal life, when others rise to their 
eternal ruin, Dan. xii. 2. That will be the happiest day that ever 
their eyes saw. The day of their death was better than that of 
their birth ; but they of their resurrection will be the best of all. 

2. Joyfully, Isa. xxvi. 19. ' Awake and sing, ye that dwell in 
dust.' That is the way wherein Christ's bride rises out of her bed 
for the marriage. Jonah had a joyful outgoing from the whale's 
belly, Daniel out of the den, and Pharaoh's butler out of the pri- 
son : but what are all these to the joys at the resurrection of be- 
lievers ? Their doubts and fears died, and lay down with them, but 
they shall not rise with them. When the soul comes out of heaven, 
and the body out of the grave, what a joyful meeting will there be 
of the blessed couple ! 

3. Gloriously, being made like unto Christ's glorious body, Phil, 
iii. 21. However mean they were while in the world, or ignomini- 
ously treated in life or in death, they shall have a glorious resur- 

Fourthly, I shall shew, what shall be the particular qualities of 


the bodies of believers at the resurrection. The bodies of the saints 
shall be raised. 

1. Incorruptible, 1 Cor. xv. 42. Now the members of their living 
bodies, are liable to corruption, when they die all putrefying to- 
gether ; but then they will never more be liable to putrefaction ; 
never more liable to sickness, death, nor the least pain, to wearing 
or wearying. There will then be no outward violence, no inward 
cause of uneasiness. 

2. Glorious, ver. 43. The most hard favoured saint will outstrip 
the now greatest beauty. The seat of that beauty will not be the 
face but the whole body, Matt. xiii. 43. There shall be no defects 
nor deformities in those bodies ; Isaac shall no more be blind, nor 
Jacob halt ; Leah shall not be tender eyed, nor Mephibosheth lame 
of his legs. 

As the artificer melts down the misshapen vessel, and casts it over 
again in a new mould; so doth the Lord with the bodies of the 

3. Powerful and strong, ib. There will be no more feebleness and 
weakness. The weak shall be as David, and the house of David, 
shall be as God. They shall be able to bear out in continual exer- 
cise without wearying, and to bear the weight of glory, for which 
the flesh and blood of a giant would now be too weak. 

4. Lastly, Spiritual, ver. 44. That is, like spirits. (1.) In that 
they shall need none of the now necessary supplies of nature, meat, 
drink, &c, Matt. xxii. 30. full without meat warm without cloaths, 
healthful without physic. (2.) Active and nimble like spirits. So 
they shall meet the Lord in the air, and like so many eagles gather 
together, where the carcase is. 

Inf. 1. Fearful will the doom of persecutors be. (2.) The saints 
may be encouragad to suffer for Christ. (3.) Faith and holiness is 
the best way to beauty. (4.) Let this allay the believer's fear of 
death, Gen. xlvi. 3, 4. (5.) Let this comfort him against sickliness 
of body ; (6.) and under the death of godly relations. (7.) Rise 
from sin, and glorify God with your bodies and souls. 

Secondly, "We are now to consider that better resurrection in the 
consequents thereof, or what shall follow thereupon, the which the 
martyrs in this case had in their view. 

Here I shall shew, 

1. The consequents thereof before the judgment. 

2. At the judgment. 

3. After the judgment. 

First, I shall shew the consequents of this better resurrection be- 
fore the judgment. There are two benefits which believers have 


from Christ betwixt the resurrection and the judgment. We left 
them raised up out of their graves in glory. Now, 

1. They shall be gathered together from all corners of the earth 
by the ministry of angels, Mat. xxiv. 31. By the glorious gospel 
having its efficacy on them, they were separated from the world in 
respect of their state and manner of life, but still abode among 
them as to their bodily presence, and some of them at a great dis- 
tance from the rest : but then they shall not only be visibly distin- 
guished from the reprobate by the shining glory upon them, while 
the faces of the rest are covered with blackness ; but these fair ones 
shall all be gathered into one glorious company, out from among the 
wicked, by the ministry of the holy angels, Matth. xiii. 48, 49. 

2. While the wicked are left on the earth, they shall be caught 
up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, 1 Thess. iv. 17. Those 
who are found alive, and those who are raised out of their graves, 
shall ascend in one glorious body ; by what means, the Lord him- 
self knows ; but he who made Peter walk on the water, can cause 
them make their way like eagles through the air. And they shall 
meet the Lord there to welcome him at his second coming, while 
others shall be filled with dread of the Judge and also to attend 
him for his honour, as the angels also do. 

Who can sufficiently conceive the glory of these benefits, by which 
their happiness is so far carried on ? 

Secondly. We shall view the consequents of this resurrection at 
the judgment. 

The throne being erected, and the glorious man, Christ, the Judge 
of the world, being set down upon it, and the parties sisted before 
him to be judged, the wicked as well as the godly. 

1. The glorious company of believers, being separated from the 
black howling company of the wicked in that day, shall be set on 
the right hand of the Judge, while the wicked shall be set on his 
left hand, Matt, xxv, 32, 33. They shall then have the most honour- 
able place ; and then will there be a mighty turn ; many of the 
right hand-men of the world will get the left hand, and contrari- 

2. They shall be openly acknowledged by Jesus Christ, their Lord 
and Judge, Mat. x. 39. Consider, 

1st, What it is for Christ to acknowledge them. It is to own 
them for his own, to acknowledge the relations they stand in to him, 
Mai. iii. 17. ' They shall be mine,' i. e. owned to be so. To the 
wicked he will say, he ' knows them not :' he will reject all their 
pretentions to him : but as for believers, he will own and acknow- 
ledge them in all the relations wherewith faith invested them ; he 


will acknowledge the fair company for his contracted spouse, his 
children, his members, even them, and every one of them. 

2c%, How he will acknowledge them then. He will do it openly, 
most publicly and openly. Consider here, 

(1.) Our Lord Jesus acknowledges all that are his, even now in 
this life, not only in his own breast, by looking on them as his ; but 
before his Father, in whose presence he appears making intercession 
for them as his own, John xvii. 9, 10. He does it also by the testi- 
mony of his Spirit to their sonship, Rom. viii. 16 ; by the seal of his 
own image set upon them, and by many signal appearances of his 
providence for them. 

(2.) He will then acknowledge them in a quite other and open 
manner, before many witnesses, so as men and devils shall be obliged 
to understand, that these are they whom the King on the throne 
delights to honour. He will do it before his Father, and the angels 
of heaven, Rev. iii. 5. in effect saying to his Father, ' Behold me, 
and the children thou hast given me.' He will acknowledge them 
in their own hearing, and the hearing of all the world, Matth xxv. 

3. They shall be openly acquitted by the Lord in that day, by 
the sentence solemnly passed in their favour, whereby also they are 
adjudged to life, Matth. xxv. 34. ' Come, ye blessed of my Father, 
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the 
world.' Consider here, 

1st. What they shall be acquitted from. They shall be acquitted 
from all the guilt of all their sins, and for ever discharged from all 
punishment for them, Acts iii. 19. The mouths of all accusers shall 
be finally stopt, and the white stone shall then be given in a way of 

2c%, Are they not acquitted now ? Yes, they are in the first mo- 
ment of believing acquitted of the guilt of eternal wrath for ever, 
Rom. viii. 1 ; and on their fresh application to the blood of Christ 
for their after sins, they likewise are blotted out, ' Forgive us our 
debts as we forgive our debtors.' And at death they get their ac- 
quittance too, Heb. ix. 27. Yet at the general judgment they are 
acquitted likewise. 

3c%, Wherein doth their acquittance now and at that day agree 
and differ. 

(1.) They agree, [1.] In the substance of the acquittance, which is 
the same now and hereafter, from the guilt of sin, and punishment 
thereof. [2.] In the ground of it : it proceeds in both upon the me- 
rits of Christ, Eph. i. 7. and not on works, which are brought in at 
the last day as evidences of their faith, not as causes of their justi- 


(2.) They differ, [1.] In respect of openness. Now they are ac- 
quitted in the world, Rom. viii. 1. where yet they have much ado to 
read it sometimes ; in their own consciences, 1 John iii. 21. which 
they themselves only can understand ; hut then from the throne, in 
the presence of angels and men. [2.] In respect of assurance and 
comfort. Of the former a believer may doubt, but not of the latter. 
[3.] In respect of fulness. In the last day they are acquitted from 
all effects of sin whatsoever, their bodies being, never to die more : 
and joined to their souls, never to be separated more ; but not so in 
the former. 

Athly, Why shall they be openly acknowledged and acquitted at 
the last day ? He will do it, 

(2.) To wipe off, with his own fair hand, all the foul aspersions 
which the hypocrites and profane did cast upon them in this world, 
Isa. lxvi. 5. Many a time the Lord's dearest children are made to 
lie among the pots, blackened with ill names, reproaches, &c. But 
then they shall be ' like doves whose wings are covered with silver, 
and their feathers with yellow gold.' 

(2.) To give them a reward of grace, for their confessing him 
before the world, cleaving to his truths and ways, in the midst of an 
adulterous generation, and their not denying him on whatever temp- 
tations, Matth. x. 32. ' Whosoever shall confess me before men, 
him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.' 
Compare 2 Tim. ii. 12, ' If we deny him, he will also deny us.' The 
prospect of this made the martyrs cleave to him in the face of cruel 

(3.) To seal the end of all their own doubts, jealousies, and fears, 
1 Cor. iv. 4. Many a time it is a question with the believer, 
whether he belongs to Christ or not : even when he has in all sin- 
cerity embraced the covenant, yet these like so many ghosts haunt 
him. No doubt by that time they will all be gone, but by this ac- 
knowledgement their departure will be sealed. 

(4.) For the increase of their joy, and the shame of their enemies, 
Isa. lxvi. v. 

4. They shall be adjudged to everlasting life, and solemnly in- 
vited to enter into possession of the kingdom, Matth. xxv. 34. 
' Come ye,' &c. in which every word has a weight of glory. 

5. Lastly, They being themselves absolved, shall be honoured to 
be Christ's assessors in judging the wicked, 1 Cor. vi. 1. 'Do ye 
not know that the saints shall judge the world ?' They shall judge 
them by way of communion with Christ their head, this work being 
a part of the Mediator's honour redounding to all his members : By 
way of approbation of the Judge's sentence against tliem, saying 


Amen to the doom of the wicked, even the godly parent to that of 
the wicked child, the holy husband to that of the unholy wife, &c. 
Rev. xix. 1, 3. See Rev. iii. 21. 

Thirdly, We shall consider the consequents of the resurrection 
after the judgment. Believers shall be made perfectly blessed in 
the full enjoyment of God to all eternity. Here I shall shew, 

1. Wherein perfect blessedness lies. 

2. What shall make believers perfectly blessed. 

1. I am to shew wherein perfect blessedness lies. It lies in two 

1st, Perfect freedom from all evil whatsoever, whether of sin 
or misery. Thus blessed shall believers be then, perfectly free from 
sin, Eph. v. 27. and free from suffering any manner of way, Rev. 
xxi. 4. 

Idly, Full satisfaction to all the desires of the soul, Phil. xvi. 11. 
Their desires shall be fully satisfied ; they shall have that beyond 
which they can crave no more. For where there is any want, there 
can be no perfect blessedness. 

2. I am to shew what shall make them thus perfectly blessed. 
It is the enjoyment of God. They shall have his glorious presence 
with them, Rev. xxi. 3. They shall see him as he is, 1 John iii. 2. 
the man Christ with their bodily eyes, and the invisible God with 
the eyes of their minds, called the beatific vision, the most perfect 
knowledge of God which the creature is capable of. They shall be 
knit to him gloriously, Rev. xxi. 3. just quoted. Love then will be 
at its height. And they shall enjoy him to their full happiness. 

(1.) Immediately; not in the use of means and ordinances, but 
there they sit down at the fountain-head, Rev. xxi. 22. 

(2.) Fully ; God will with-hold nothing of himself from them : 
they shall be stinted to no measure but what their own capacity 
makes ; and in him they shall have what will satisfy all their de- 

3. Lastly, Eternally, 1 Thess. iv. 17. ' So shall we ever be with 
the Lord.' 

I conclude this subject with a few inferences. 

Inf. 1. Come out now from among the wicked world. A separa- 
tion there will be betwixt the godly and the wicked. If it be in 
your favour, it will begin now. Leave them now, if ye would not 
be left with them after the resurrection. 

2. Beware of rash judging those that have any lineaments of 
Christ's image upon them. Ye may judge and condemn the evil 
actions of the best of men, if ye be sure from the word that they are 
evil. But, my soul ! enter not into the secret of those who pre- 


sumptuously take upou them to judge men's state, hearts, and con- 
sciences, upon slips of human infirmity and weakness. 

3. Let none he ashamed to own Christ and his truths and ways 
hefore the world, remembering that the day cometh in which he will 
confess those that confess him, and deny those that deny him. 

4. Though the day of judgment he an awful thought, it will be a 
happy day to believers, as they will then be for ever delivered from 
all moral and penal evils, and admitted into the greatest felicity in 
the enjoyment of their God and Redeemer for ever. 

5. That there is no true happiness till we come to the enjoyment 
of God, nor full happiness till we arrive at the full enjoyment of 

6. Lastly, Miserable is now, and at the resurrection will be, the 
state of the wicked, where the reverse of all the happiness of the 
saints will be found, and that in the most dreadful manner. Let us 
then all seek to be found among those who shall be partakers of the 
better and glorious resurrection. 


1 Sam. xv. 22. — And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in 
burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord ? 

This text is a reproof given to one that wore a crown, teaching 
him, that though he was Israel's sovereign, he was God's subject. 
Saul had been sent, by God's express command, on an expedition 
against the Amalekites, with a solemn charge utterly to ' destroy all 
that they had, and spare them not ; but to slay both man and wo- 
man, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass,' ver. 3. The 
expedition was crowned with success. Saul having destroyed all 
the people, took Agag their king prisoner, and saved the best of the 
cattle ; and when quarrelled by Samuel for this his partial obedi- 
ence to the heavenly mandate, he pretended that the people had 
spared the sheep and oxen, which had been devoted to destruction 
as well as the people, to sacrifice unto the Lord in Gilgal. The 
words of the text contain Samuel's answer to this silly apology : 
Hath the Lord (says he) as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacri- 
fices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord ? importing, that obedience to 
the voice and will of God is more acceptable to him than all the sa- 
crifices in the world. 

In the words we may notice, 


1. The duty which God requires of men, which is obedience. This 
is required of man, of all men, rulers and ruled : those whom others 
must obey, must obey God. 

2. What they are to obey, the voice of the Lord, whereby he mani- 
fests his will : it is his revealed will, whatever way he is pleased to 
notify it to them. Hence the obedience in the text is called hearken- 
ing ; the soul first receiving the knowledge of God's mind, and then 
complying with it. 

3. The excellency and emineucy of this duty. 
(1.) God delights in it. 

(2.) All other things must yield to it, but it to none. Burnt- 
offerings and sacrifices, even the fat of them, are nothing in compa- 
rison of this. 

The text affords the following doctrine, viz. 
Doct. ' The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his 

revealed will.' 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Explain it ; and, 

II. Deduce a few inferences for application. 

I. For explanation, let us consider the duty which man owes to 
God, of whom he requires it, the rule of it, the properties of it, and 
on what accounts we owe it. 

First, Let us consider the duty which man owes unto God. That 
is obedience. "We are in a state of subjection to God. He is our 
superior, and his will we are to obey in all things. He is our King, 
and we must obey him as his subjects, by complying with all his sta- 
tutes and ordinances. He is our Father, and we must shew him all 
respect, reverence, and affection, as his dutiful children. He is our 
Lord and Master, and we must yield him the most cheerful and un- 
limited service, as is our reasonable duty. He is our supreme Law- 
giver, and we must receive the law at his mouth, every law and 
precept, every ordinance that is stamped with his authority, what- 
ever is subscribed with a ' Thus saith the Lord,' readily obeying it. 

Secondly, Let us consider of whom the Lord requires this duty. 
Of every man without exception, capable of knowing his will. The 
greatest are fast bound to his obedience as the meanest, the poor as 
well as the rich, Pagans as well as Christians, kings as well as sub- 
jects. No man can be free from this duty more than he can be a 
God to himself. Not a son or daughter sprung from Adam can 
plead an exemption from this duty of obeying the will of the Lord. 
It is an easy yoke wreathed upon the necks of all, and is imposed 
on them by an indispensable law. 

Thirdly, Let us consider the rule of that obedience. It is the will 


of God. His will is our supreme law. Not the secret will of God; 
for that which God never revealed to man, cannot be his rule ; but 
the revealed will of God, Deut. xxix. 29. ' The secret things belong 
unto the Lord our God ; but those things which are revealed, belong 
unto us and to our children.' Men may fulfil the secret will of God, 
and determination of his providence, and be deeply guilty, as we see 
the Jews did in crucifying the Lord of glory, Acts ii. 23. under the 
guilt of which heinous sin that people groan to this day. But confor- 
mity to God's revealed will is our duty. Whatever is revealed in 
the sacred scriptures as the will of God, whether relating to what 
man is to believe, or what he is to practise, is to be performed and 
done, and that at our peril. 

Fourthly, Let us consider the properties of this obedience which 
God requires of man. 

1. It is sincere obedience to his will. Hence David says, ' I was 
upright before him,' Psal. xviii. 23. Hypocritical obedience may 
please men, but not God, the searcher of hearts. It was the com- 
mendation of the obedience of the Romans, that they ' obeyed from 
the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered them,' Rom. vi. 
17. That sacrifice that wants the heart, will never be accepted on 
God's altar. God weighs not the affections of his people to him by 
their actions, so much as their actions by their affections, as in the 
case of Abraham's offering up Isaac, Heb. xi. 17- ; in that of the 
Israelites offering to go into the promised land, Num. xiv. 40. com- 
pared with ver. 42, 44. which was an act of downright disobedience 
to the commandment of the Lord, notified to them by Moses. All 
obedience without uprightness or sincerity, is a mere counterfeit, an 
empty pretence, which will be rejected with abhorrence. 

2. It must bo constant obedience. We must ' keep God's law 
continually, for ever and ever,' as the Psalmist resolved to do, Psal. 
cxix. 44. Man is ever doing something, yet he must always abide 
within the hedge of the law. Our obedience to God is all wrong 
when it comes only by fits, as heat in an ague, or is broke off like 
those that go to sea for pleasure, who come ashore when the storm 
rises. God is unchangeable, and we must be constant and steady in 
obeying his will ; at no time daring to act contrary to it. 

3. It must be tender obedience. We must ' abstain from all ap- 
pearance of evil,' 1 Thess. v. 22. We must 'hate even the gar- 
ment spotted with the flesh,' Jude 23. We must not rub on this 
hedge, nor come too near the borders of wickedness. We have to 
do with a jealous God, whom whorish looks will offend, Ezek. vi. 9. 
We cannot be too nice in obedience. We must not, in order to 
practice, examine whether it be a great or a little sin. All such 

Vol. II. e 


distinctions are highly criminal, and inconsistent with the disposi- 
tion of the person of a tender heart, who hates every sin of every 
kind, whether great or small, the wicked act as well as the wicked 
thought. A tender, a relenting heart, a heart afraid of sin, and 
cautious of the least wrong thought or act, is that which God re- 
quires, and the ohedience resulting from it is the tender obedience 
here required. 

4. It must be ready obedience, like that of those of whom the 
Psalmist speaks, ' As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me,' 
Psal. xviii. 24. We must do, and not delay ; but be like the good 
David, who said, ' I made haste and delayed not to keep thy com- 
mandments,' Psal. cxix. 60. "We are not to dispute, but obey ; ' not 
to confer with flesh and blood,' Gal. i. 16. It was Jonah's sin that 
he did not readily comply ; and it was Abraham's commendation, 
that he did not dispute God's orders, but ' went not knowing whither 
he went,' Heb. xi. 8. The least intimation of God's will, either as 
to doing or suffering, must be immediately and readily complied 
with, notwithstanding all discouragements and carnal reasonings. 
God's call and command must drown the voice of carnal ease, and 
all arguments arising from Spare thyself. Does God say ? we must 
immediately go whither he directs us : does he say, Come ? we must 
instantly obey the summons, saying, Lord, we are here, ready to do 
what thou pleasest to order or enjoin us. Without this readiness 
and alacrity, all our obedience is stark naught, a matter of mere 
force and compulsion ; and therefore unacceptable to the great God. 
whom we are bound to serve with a perfect heart and a willing 

5. It must be universal obedience, Psal. cxix. 6. in ' having a re- 
spect unto all God's commandments.' The whole of the commands 
of God have the same divine stamp upon them. They are one 
golden chain: whoso takes away one link, breaks the chain; if the 
connection be destroyed, the whole machine falls asunder. Hear 
what the apostle James says on this head, chap. ii. 10, 11. ' Whoso- 
ever shall keep the law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of 
all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not 
kill. Now, if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art 
become a transgressor of the law.' Obedience to one command will 
never sanctify disobedience to another. The contempt shewn to one 
is a contempt of the one Lawgiver who appointed the whole. Dear 
what Christ, the glorious Legislator of the church, hath said on this 
article, ' Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, 
and shall teach men so, he shall he called the least in the kingdom 
of heaven.' Thus the transgressing of one of the least of God's 
commandments, if any of them can justly be called such, is a breach 


of the others, however great and important, and that because the 
authority of God, that gives sanction to the whole, is slighted and 
contemned. Whoso makes no conscience of any one known duty, 
discovers hypocrisy in the rest. 

6. It must be absolute obedience, like that of Abraham, who, 
when called to go out into a place which he was not acquainted 
with, went accordingly, ' not knowing whether he went,' Heb. xi. 8. 
Subjects are obedient to magistrates, people to pastors, wives to hus- 
bands, children to parents ; but absolute obedience is due to none 
but God : for we are to call no man father upon earth, Matt, xxiii. 
9. If their commands be contradicted by God's, they are not to be 
obeyed ; but though God's commands be contradicted by all the 
world, we must obey them, as the disciples refused to obey the com- 
mands of the Jewish council, in not preaching in the name of Jesus, 
because they clashed with the orders of their exalted Master, Acts 
iv. 19. The most unreserved and unlimited obedience is due to the 
will and command of the great Lord of heaven and earth, and that 
without exception or reserve, say to the contrary who will. 

7. Lastly, It must be perfect ; though now in our fallen state we 
cannot give any obedience that deserves that epithet. God may 
and does require of all men in whatsoever state, Matt. v. ult. ' Be 
perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.' Though 
he accepts sincere obedience from those that are in Christ, yet he 
requires of them perfect obedience, and every imperfection is their 
sin. Though he has not suspended their justification on their per- 
fection, yet it is what they naturally owe to God, whose law is per- 
fect, and must have a perfect obedience performed to it, either by 
man himself or his surety. The believer, sensible of his utter inca- 
pacity to perform such an obedience to the holy law of God, re- 
nounces all his own sinful and imperfect, though sincere obedience, 
and betakes himself to the complete obedience of his Surety, and 
presents it as his own to God, which he accepts. 

In short, all true and acceptable obedience to the will of God 
flows from a right principle, that of faith and love in the heart. 
Faith is the hand that unites the soul to Christ, and obedience to 
God is the fruit of that union. Love is the spring and source of it ; 
for he that loveth Christ, keepeth his commandments. And it must 
be directed to a right end, namely, the glory of God. We are not 
to obey God, in order to stop the mouth of a natural conscience, or 
gain applause among men, but to grow more like God, and bring 
more honour and glory to him. 

Fifthly, Let us consider on what accounts do we owe this obedi- 
ence to God. On these principally, viz. 

e 2 


1. Because he is our great and glorious Creator, to whom we owe 
our life and being. He is our Lord, and we are his subjects ; he is 
our Master, and we are his servants. And therefore it is just and 
right that we should obey him, and conform to his will. He is 
every thing that speaks an authority to command us, and that can 
challenge an humility in us to obey. Man holds all of God, and 
therefore owes all the operations capable to be produced by those 
faculties, to the sovereign power that endued him with them. Man 
had no being but from him, and he hath no motion without him ; he 
should therefore have no being but for him, and no motion but ac- 
cording to his will. To call him Lord, and not to act in subjection 
to him, is to mock and put an affront upon him. Hence it is said, 
' Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say ?' 
Luke vi. 46. 

2. Because he is our chief end, the chief and last end of all being. 
The Lord hath made all things for himself; and of him, and through 
him, and to him, are all things. His glory should be the ultimate 
end of all our actions, and the mark to which they should all be di- 
rected. He gave being to all things, that they might shew forth his 
praise. All the brute creatures, things animate and inanimate, do 
this in a passive manner; but men and angels, who are rational 
agents, are bound to do this actively ; and they are designed by God 
for this very end and purpose. 

3. Because he is the conserving cause of all. As he gave man a 
being, so he upholds and preserves him therein, by his mighty 
power. The preservation of the creatures is as it were a continued 
creation ; and in order to it there is necessary a continual exertion 
of divine power, and a constant efflux of providential influence, 
without which they could not move and act at all. As therefore 
the life and motions of men depend entirely upon God as their up- 
holder, so that life and those motions should be employed for pro- 
moting his glory, and promoting his will. 

4. Because of the eminency of his nature, which founds his su- 
preme dominion over us. God is the most glorious and excellent of 
all beings, and the source and spring of all other beings whatsoever. 
He is possessed of all perfections in an infinite and transcendent 
manner. Whatever perfections, excellencies, and amiable qualities, 
are scattered among the creatures, they all unite in him in the ut- 
most perfection, and in him they shine with the most resplendent 
glory. — And therefore he has a just title to- the homage and obedi- 
ence of all his creatures. 

5. Because he is our good and gracious Benefactor, from whose 
bountiful hand all our mercies do flow. It is in him that we live, 
move, and have our being. Our health, strength, time, and all bless- 


sings, spiritual or temporal, that we enjoy, are the fruits of his good- 
ness and providential care. Now, this lays strong obligations upon 
us to serve and obey him. We find the Lord aggravating the re- 
bellion of the Jews from the care he had taken in bringing them up, 
and their miraculous deliverance from Egypt, Isa. i. 2. 'I have 
nourished and brought up children, but they have rebelled against 
me,' which clearly implies, that the benefits he had bestowed upon 
them were strong obligations to an ingenuous observance of him ; 
and we find him threatening to deprive them of the blessings he had 
bestowed upon them, and to bring great distress upon them for the 
neglect of this duty, Deut. xxviii. 47, &c. 

6. Lastly, Because he is our Governor and supreme Lawgiver. 
He is a Lawgiver to all, to irrational as well as rational creatures. 
The heavens have their ordinances, Job xxxviii. 33. All the crea- 
tures have a law imprinted on their beings, but rational creatures 
have divine statutes inscribed on their hearts, as Rom. ii. 14, 15. 
' "When the Gentiles, which have not the [written] law, do by nature 
the things contained in the law, these having not the law, are a law 
unto themselves ; which shew the work of the law written in their 
hearts.' And they have laws more clearly and fully set before them 
in the word. The sole power of making laws does originally reside 
in God, Jam. iv. 12. 'There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save 
and to destroy.' He only hath power to bind the conscience. And 
therefore to him obedience is due from all to whom he has prescrib- 
ed laws. 

I come now to deduce some inferences. 

Inf. 1. Does God require from men obedience to his revealed will? 
Then, in whatsoever state a man is, he owes obedience to the will of 
God ; and therefore, in the saddest of sufferings, even in hell, men 
properly sin against God, — For this obedience is founded on the 
natural dependence of the creature on its Creator, and the creature 
can no more be free of it than it can be a god to itself. Much more 
God's exalting men in the world gives them no allowance to be vile. 
Whatever men's state be, God requires of them obedience to his will 
therein ; and they are rebels if they with-hold it, and shall be dealt 
with as such accordingly. 

2. The doing of what God does not command can be no acceptable 
service or obedience to God. Our duty to God is not to be mea- 
sured by our imaginations, but by the revealed will of God. There- 
fore, when men make those things to be duties which no revelation 
from the Lord makes to be so, the Lord may well say, ' who hath 
required these things at your hand ?' Nothing but what is com- 
manded of God can lawfully be the object of our duty. 

e 3 


3. Those who never heard the gospel will not he condemned for 
their not believing it ; for the revelation of God's will must go be- 
fore our actual obligation to do it, Rom. ii. 12. ' As many as have 
sinned without law, [that is, the written or revealed law of God] 
shall also perish without law.' This ought to stir up all who bear 
the Christian name, to be vigorous and lively in obeying God, par- 
ticularly the great command of believing in the name of his Son; as 
considering, that whosoever doth not so obey aud believe the gospel, 
shall be damned, Mark xvi. 1(3. 

4. All men are allowed for themselves to examine the will of 
their superiors, whether in church or state, to see whether it be not 
against the will of God ; and if it be so, not to obey it, 1 Cor. x. 15. 
The Bereans were commended for so doing, Acts xvii. 11. There is 
a difference betwixt subjection and obedience. These two may be 
separated in our dealings with men that are our superiors ; we may 
and must refuse obedience to them in evil actions, while subjection 
to them remains in other things. Thus the apostles shewed subjec- 
tion to the Jewish rulers, while they refused to obey their unlawful 
commands, Acts iv. 8, 9, 19. God alone is Lord of the conscience, 
and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, 
when they in any respect clash with his written word. To obey 
men's unlawful commands, is to sin against God. But in our rela- 
tion to God, we owe him both subjection and obedience in all things. 

5. Let us remember then, that we owe a duty to God, and that 
is, that we obey his will. Let us therefore lay out ourselves to do 
his will, and give that sincere, constant, tender, ready, universal, 
and perfect obedience to him in all things which he requires, look- 
ing for acceptance with God through the merits and mediation of 
Christ; praying to him, that he may graciously forgive all our acts 
of disobedience, and cover our very imperfect and sinful obedience 
with the perfect and complete obedience of his Son, who fulfilled all 
righteousness in the room of his people. 

6. Lastly, Let believers be excited to yield this obedience to the 
will of God, as they have the most noble encouragement thereto, 
namely, that whatever God requires of them as an article of duty, 
there is a promise of ability and strength for the performance there- 
of contained in his word. Thus he says, Ezek. xxxvi. 27. ' I will 
cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, 
and do them.' — The Lord puts no piece of service in the hands of 
his people, but he will afford them sufficient supplies of grace for 
the doing thereof. Let them not, then, decline any duty he lays 
before them. 



Rom. ii. 14, 15. — For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by 
nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a 
law unto themselves ; which shew the work of the law written in their 
hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the 
mean while accusing or else excusing one another. 

The apostle here shews three things. 1. That the Gentiles have not 
the law ; that is, the law of Moses, or written law. They want the 
scriptures. 2. That yet they have a law within them, they are a 
law unto themselves ; they have the natural law, which for substance 
is all one with the moral law. Only it is less clear and distinct, 
and wants the perfection of the moral law written : several points 
thereof being, through the corruption of nature, obliterated in it. 
3. How they have it. It is not of their own making, nor by tradi- 
tion, but they have it by nature derived from Adam. The work of 
that laiv is written in their hearts ; it is deeply inscribed there, and 
cannot be erased; it is such a work as tells them what is right and 
what wrong ; so their consciences, by virtue thereof, excuse their 
good actions, and accuse the evil. 

Now, this natural law is nothing else but the rubbish of the mo- 
ral law left in the heart of corrupt man : from whence we gather, 
that the moral law in its perfection was given to Adam in innocence, 
while we see the remains of it yet with those of his posterity, who 
have not the advantage of the written law. 

The doctrine arising from the words is, 
Doct. ' The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedi- 
ence, was the moral law. 

First, It is here supposed, that man always was and is under a 
law: for being a rational creature, capable of obeying the will of 
God, and owing obedience to his Creator by virtue of his natural 
dependence upon him, he behoved to be under a law. The beasts 
are not capable of government by a law, because of the imperfection 
of their nature : so those that will be lawless, seeing they cannot 
lift up themselves to the throne of God, who has no superior, they 
do in effect cast down themselves to the condition of beasts, whose 
appetite is all their rule. Indeed all the creatures are subjected to 
laws suitable to their various natures. Every thing has a law im- 
printed upon its being. The inanimate creatures, sun, moon, and 
stars, are under the law of providence, and under a covenant of 
night and day. Hence it is said, Psalm cxlviii. 6. ' He hath esta- 


blished them for ever and ever, he hath made a decree which 
shall not pass.' They have their courses and appointed motions, 
and keep to the just points of their compass. Even the sea, which 
is one of the most raging and tumultuous creatures, is subjected to 
a law. God hedges it in as it were with a girdle of sand, saying to 
it, ' Hitherto shalt thou come, but no farther : and here shall thy 
proud waves be stayed,' Job xxxviii. 11. But much more are ra- 
tional creatures subject to a law, seeing they are capable of election 
and choice. Man especially, being a rational creature, is capable of 
and fitted for government by a law ; and seeing he is an account- 
able creature to God, he must needs be under a law. 

Quest. How could man be under a law, before the law was given 
by Moses, for we are told, that the ' law was given by Moses, but 
grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,' John i. 17 ? 

Ans. Before the law was given at Sinai, all the race of Adam had 
a law written in their hearts, even the light of reason, and the dic- 
tates of natural conscience, which contained those moral principles 
concerning good and evil which have an essential equity in them, 
and the measures of his duty to God, to himself, and to his fellow- 
creatures. This was published by the voice of reason, and, as the 
apostle says, Rom. vii. 12. was ' holy, just, and good :' Holy as it 
enjoins things holy, wherein there is a conformity to those attributes 
and actions of God, which are the pattern of our imitation. Just ; 
that is, exactly agreeable to the frame of man's faculties, and is 
most suitable to his condition in the world. Good ; that is, bene- 
ficial to the observer of it ; for, ' in keeping of it there was great 
reward.' And thus Adam in the state of innocence had the law of 
God written on his heart; and therefore it is said, Gen. i. 27. that 
' God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he 
him.' This image consisted in the moral qualities and perfections 
of his soul. He was made after the image of God, in righteousness 
and true holiness. The Lord imparted to him a spark of his own 
comeliness, in order to communicate with himself in happiness. 
This was an universal and entire rectitude in his faculties, disposing 
them to their proper operations. But of this I spoke largely, when 
discoursing of the creation of man. 

Secondly, There are three sorts of laws we find in the word. 

1. The ceremonial law, which was given by Moses. This bound 
only the Jews, and that to the coming of Christ, by whom it was 
abrogated, being a shadow of good things that were then to come : 
a hedge and partition-wall betwixt them and the Gentiles, which is 
now taken down. 

2. The judicial law, which was the civil law of the Jews, given 


also first by Moses, by wbicb their civil concerns were to be regu- 
lated, in respect of which the Jewish government was a Theocracy. 
What a happy people were they under such a government ! Yet 
does it not bind other nations farther than it is of moral equity, be- 
ing peculiarly adapted to the circumstances of that nation. 

3. The moral law, which is the declaration of the will of God to 
mankind, binding all men to perfect obedience thereto in all the 
duties of holiness and righteousness. The ceremonial law was given 
to them as a church in their particular circumstances ; the judicial 
laAV as a state ; but the moral law was given them in common with 
all mankind. But of these laws I spoke more largely in a preced- 
ing discourse. 

Thirdly, This moral law is found, 1. In the hearts of all men, as 
to some remains thereof, Rom. ii. 15. There are common notions 
thereof, such as, That there is a God, and that he is to be worship- 
ped ; that we should give every one his due, &c. Conscience has 
that law with which it accuses for the commission of great crimes, 
Rom. i. ult. This internal law appears from those laws which are 
common in all countries for the preserving of human societies, the 
encouraging of virtue, and the discouraging of vice. "What stan- 
dard else can they have for these laws but common reason ? The 
design of them is to keep men within the bounds of goodness for 
mutual commerce. Every son of Adam brings with him into the 
world a law in his natm*e ; and when reason clears up itself from 
the clouds of sense, he can make some difference between good and 
evil. Every man finds a law within him that checks him if he of- 
fends it. None are without a legal indictment, and a legal execu- 
tioner, within them. This law is found, 2. In the ten command- 
ments summarily. 3. In the whole Bible largely. This is that law 
which the carnal mind is enmity against in the natural man, which 
is written over again in the heart in regeneration, Heb. viii. 10 ; 
and that was fulfilled by Christ in the room of the elect. 

Fourthly, As to the revelation thereof, we may consider three spe- 
cial seasons thereof. 

1. It was revealed to Adam in innocency, and to all mankind in 
him. Not by an audible voice, but it was written in his heart : the 
knowledge of it was concreated with his pure nature ; his under- 
standing was a lamp of light, whereby he plainly saw his duty as it 
was revealed to him. 

Note, (1.) That it is a part of the moral natural law, that man is 
to believe whatever God shall reveal, and obey whatever he com- 
mands. Accordingly God did reveal to him the symbolical law of 
the forbidden fruit, for the trial of him ; and then the law so ex- 
tended was the rule of his duty. 


(2.) God added to this law a promise of life upon obedience, and 
a threatening of death upon disobedience. So it was cast into the 
form of a covenant, called ' the covenant of works.' This prohibi- 
tion was founded upon most wise and just grounds. As, first, to de- 
clare God's sovereign right in all things ; and, next, to make trial 
of man's obedience in a matter very congruous to discover it. For 
if the prohibition had been grounded on any moral internal evil in 
the nature of the thing itself, there had not been so clear a testi- 
mony of God's dominion, nor of Adam's subjection to it. But when 
that which was in itself indifferent became unlawful, merely by the 
will of God, and when the command had no other excellency but to 
make his authority more sacred, this was a confining of man's liber- 
ty, and to abstain was pure obedience. 

2. It was revealed to the Israelites again upon mount Sinai, in 
ten commandments. For Adam having fallen, and so man's nature 
being corrupted, the knowledge of this law was darkened, howso- 
ever the godly patriarchs kept up the knowledge of it. But in 
Egypt they had lost much of the sense of it, which made it neces- 
sary to be renewed. 

3. By Jesus Christ and his apostles, the law was again revealed 
to the world, the knowledge of it being then much lost among the 
Jews as well as the Gentiles. And now we have it comprehended 
in the scriptures of the Old and New Testament. 

Fifthly, As to the properties of it, it is, 

1. An universal law, binding all men, in all places, and at all 
times, Rom. ii. 14, 15. For ivhen the Gentiles, fyc. 

2. It is a perfect law, comprehending the whole of man's duty to 
God, and to his neighbour. There were no new duties added to it 
by Christ, for it was perfect before. So says the Psalmist, Psal. 
xix. 7- ' The law of the Lord is perfect.' 

3. It is indispensable and perpetual, Luke xvi. 17 ; 'It is easier 
for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail,' 
Matt. v. 18 ; ' Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall 
in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.' 

Lastly, For what use is the law revealed ? I answer, 
1. It was revealed at first, that man by obedience to it might be 
justified ; but now it is not revealed for that end, seeing no man by 
obedience to it can obtain justification : For ' that the law could 
not do, in that it was weak through the flesh,' Rom. viii. 3. ' Since 
the fall no mere man can attain bappiness by tlie law ; for all are 
guilty of sin, and cannot possibly yield that perfect obedience which 
the law requires. ' For there is not a just man upon earth that 
doeth good, and sinneth not,' Eccl. vii. 20. ' In many things we of- 
fend all.' Yet it is of use, 


(1.) To all men in general. It is of a threefold use. 

[1.] To let all men know what Jie holy will of (rod and their 
duty is, Mieah vi. 8. ' He hath shewed thee, man, what is good : 
and what doth the Lord require of thee, hut to do justly, and to 
love mercy, and to walk humhly with thy God V 

[2.] To let all see their inahility to keep it, and so to humble 
them in the sense of their sin. ' By them,' says David, j is thy ser- 
vant warned. Who can understand his errors ? cleanse thou me 
from secret faults,' Psal. xix. 11, 12. 

[3.] To give them a clear sense of their need of Christ. ' "Where- 
fore serveth the law ?' saith the apostle. ' It was added because of 
transgressions, till the seed should come, to whom the promise was 
made,' Gal. iii. 19. And says the same apostle, ver. 24. ' The law 
was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justi- 
fied by faith.' And it brings men to Christ, (1.) As it convinceth 
them of their sin. The prohibitions of the law convince men of 
their sins of commission ; and the injunctions of it convince them of 
their sins of omission. Hence says the apostle, Rom. iii. 20. ' By 
the law is the knowledge of sin,' Rom. vii. 7. ' I had not known sin 
but by the law,' &c. There are many things which men had never 
reckoned sins unless the law of God had discovered them. (2.) By 
discovering unto them the dreadful wrath and curse of God that is 
due unto them for their sins. It tells them, ' 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 ; (3.) By awakening their con- 
sciences under a sense of their guilt, and apprehensions of their 
misery, and begetting in them bondage and fear, whereby they are 
brought to a clearer sight of their need of Christ, and of the perfec- 
tion of his obedience. 

(2.) To the unregenerate : Particularly it is, 

[1.] For a looking-glass to let them see their state and case, by 
convincing them, that ' by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh 
be justified in God's sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin,' 
Rom. iii. 20 ; and so to bring them to Christ, who has wrought out 
a perfect righteousness for their justification. 

[2.] For a bridle to hold them in with its commands and threat- 
enings, who otherwise would regard nothing. ' The law (says the 
apostle) is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and 
disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners,' &c. 1 Tim. i. 9. 

[3.] For a scourge, vexing and tormenting their consciences, and 
making them uneasy in a sinful course, rendering them inexcusable, 
and laying them under the curse. 

(3.) To them that are in Christ. It serves, 


[1.] To magnify Christ unto them, shewing them their obligation 
to him for fulfilling it in their stead. ' wretched man that I am ! 
(says the apostle) ; who shall deliver me from the body of this 
death ? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord,' Rom. vii. 24, 
25. ' Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made 
a curse for us : for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on 
a tree ; that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles 
through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the 
Spirit through faith,' Gal. iii. 13, 14. 

[2.] To be a rule of life unto them, wherein they may express 
their gratitude by obeying the law of Christ. So the law leads to 
Christ as a Redeemer from its curse and condemnation, and he leads 
back to the law as a directory, the rule and standard of their obedi- 
ence to him. 

Object. But does not the apostle say, Rom. vi. 14. ' Ye are not 
under the law but under grace ?' and Gal. v. 22, 23. ' But the fruit 
of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, &c. — against such there is no law?' 

Ans. Believers are not under the law as a covenant of works, to 
be either justified or condemned thereby. For the apostle says, 
* Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a 
curse for us,' Gal. iii. 13 ; and that there is no condemnation to 
them which are in Christ Jesus.' They are neither under the com- 
manding nor the condemning power of that law, seeing Christ has 
given perfect obedience to it as a covenant of works, so that under 
that character it can have nothing to demand of them; and has 
fully satisfied all its demands in point of punishment, having suf- 
fered the very penalty threatened therein. So that as a covenant 
of works they are entirely delivered from it. And as to the fruits 
of the Spirit in them, they are the product of the Spirit, agreeable 
to the will and law of God ; and no law can be against them, seeing 
they are agreeable to the very letter and spirit thereof. But be- 
lievers are still under the law as a rule of life, according to which 
they are to regulate their hearts and lives. It is the pole star that 
must direct their course to heaven, and is of singular use to provoke 
and excite them to gratitude to Christ, who hath perfectly fulfilled 
it in their room and stead. 

I shall conclude with drawing a few inferences from what has 
been said. 

Inf. 1. That the Pope is Antichrist, and that man of sin, who 
shews himself as if he were God, by commanding things contrary to 
and inconsistent with the moral law, 2 Thess. ii. 3, 4. The Papists 
add canons and traditions to the moral law, as if it were in itself an 
imperfect rule of manners. This is taxing God's wisdom and good- 


ncss, as if he knew not to make his own laws, or would not give a 
sufficient and complete rule to his creatures. This is a provoking 
sin in the sight of God ; and a most dangerous thing it is to add to 
or impair his holy law. See Rev. xxii. 18, 19. 

2. Is the moral law the rule of our obedience to which we ought 
to conform ourselves in heart and conversation ? Then what ground 
of reproof is there here to many among you ! Are there not many 
who cast God's words behind their backs, and trample upon his com- 
mandments ? Some set up their carnal wisdom, as the standard and 
rule of their actions, and regulate themselves by the dictates of 
their corrupt reason. Others subject themselves to the law of their 
lusts and passions. They study to fulfil the desires of their fleshly 
mind, and to gratify their sensual appetite ; but have no regard to 
the holy law of Grod. They break all these cords, and cast all the 
divine commands from them. This their way is their great sin and 
folly, exposes them to the wrath of God, and sooner or later will 
bring down Heaven's vengeance on their guilty heads. 

3. It is necessary that the law be preached, in order to convince 
men of their sin, and inability to yield perfect obedience to it, that 
they may betake themselves to Jesus Christ, who hath fulfilled all 
righteousness for every one that will come to him for deliverance 
from sin and the wrath to come. It is necessary to be studied and 
known by all who would attain to true holiness both in heart and 
life, which principally lies in a sincere and upright obedience to the 
whole law of God, in dependence upon the grace that is in Jesus 
Christ. The law is a lamp to their feet, and a light to their path ; 
and the more they study it in its spirituality and extent, the more 
vigorously will they press after conformity to it. 

4. Let us remember we are under a law in whatever case we be ; 
and therefore our actions are a seed that will have a proportionable 
harvest. And there will be a day of judgment wherein every man's 
works and actions will be narrowly examined. Let us therefore 
study to conform ourselves to the holy law of God, being holy as 
God is holy, and exercising ourselves to keep consciences void of 
offence both towards God and towards man. 



Matth. xix. 17- — If thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments. 

This is Christ's answer to a self-justiciary, who expected life hy the 
works of the law. Christ, to convince him of his folly, sends him to 
the law, saying, If thou tuilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 

There are only two things which I take notice of here for our 
purpose. 1. That by the commandments are understood the ten com- 
mandments, ver. 18. where several of them are specified. 2. That 
under these commandments he comprehends the whole moral law ; 
for this resolution of the young man's question is founded on that, 
Gal. iii. 12. ' The man that doth them shall live in them ;' compared 
with ver. 10. ' For as many as are of the works of the law, are 
under the curse.' The man had deceived himself in taking the com- 
mandments only according to the letter, and therefore thought he 
had kept them ; but Christ finds him out new work in these com- 
mandments, which he had not thought of. 
The doctrine I observe from the text is, 
Doct. ' The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten com- 
In discoursing from this subject, I shall shew, 

I. How the commandments were given. 

II. Why the law was thus given and renewed. 

III. How the moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten 

IY. Apply. 

I. I shall shew how the moral law or ten commandments, were 
given. There are ten commaudments, not more nor fewer, as ap- 
pears from Deut. x. 4. where they are expressly called ten. And 
therefore the papists, who in some sort leave out the second, split 
the tenth into two, to make up the number. They were given to 
the Israelites after they came out of their Egyptian bondage ; for 
they that cast off Satan's yoke, must take on the Lord's. They 
were given two ways. 

1. By an audible voice from the Lord on mount Sinai, accompa- 
nied with great terror. Never was law given in such a solemn man- 
ner, with such dread and awful majesty, Exod. xix. Deut. iv. 5. 
Heb. xii. 18. The people were commanded to wash their clothes 
before the law was delivered to them. By this, as in a type, the 
Lord required the sanctifying of their ears and hearts to receive it. 


There were bounds and limits set to the mount, that it might breed 
in the people dread and reverence to the law, and to God the holy 
and righteous Lawgiver. There were great thunderings and light- 
nings. The artillery of heaven was shot off at that solemnity, and 
therefore it is called ' a fiery law.' The angels attended at the de- 
livery of this law. The heavenly militia, to speak so, were all 
mustered out on this important occasion. In a word, the law was 
promulgated with the marks of supreme majesty ; God by all this 
shewing Iioav vain a thing it is for sinners to expect life by the 
works of the law; and thereby also shewing the necessity of a 

2. The ten commandments were written on two tables of stone, 
and that by the finger of God himself. This writing them on stone 
might hold out the perpetuity of that law, and withal the hardness 
of men's hearts. There were two tables that were given to Moses, 
written immediately by God himself, Exod. xxxi. ult. These Moses 
brake, chap, xxxii. 16, 19 ; plainly holding out the entertainment 
they would get amongst men. Then other two tables were hewn by 
Moses, yet written by the finger of God, chap, xxxiv. 1 ; for by the 
law is the sinner hewed, but by the spirit of gospel-grace is the law 
written on the heart. These two tables were afterwards laid up in 
the ark of the covenant, in order to be fulfilled by Christ, who is the 
end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. This 
writing of the law upon tables of stone is justly supposed to have 
been the first writing in the world ; and therefore this noble and 
useful invention was of divine origin, and the foundation of all Mo- 
ses's after writings, which have been so useful to the church in all 

II. I shall shew, why the law was thus given and renewed. 

1. For the confirmation of the natural law. For though there 
was no need of such a confirmation of the law while man stood, yet 
such was the darkness of the mind, the rebellion of the will, and 
disorder of the affections and other faculties, that there remained 
only some relics of it, which that they might not also be lost, the 
ten commandments were given. 

2. That the same might be corrected in those things wherein it 
was corrupted by the fall, or defective. And indeed there was great 
need of it in this respect. For the law of nature in man's corrupt 
state is very defective. For, 

(1.) It cannot carry a man to the first cause of all his misery, 
even Adam's first sin, and discover the evils of lust and concupi- 
scence that lurk in his heart. Mere natural light can never teach 
a man to feel the weight and curse of a sin committed some thou- 


sands of years before he was born, or to mourn for that filtliiness, 
which he contracted in his conception, and for those sproutings of 
sin in his nature. The apostle tells us, that this cannot be learned 
without the law, Rom. vii. 7. ' I had not known sin but by the law : 
for I had not known lust, except the law had said, thou shalt not 

(2.) The law of nature is defective, because natural Judgment is 
thoroughly distorted and infatuated, so that it is ready to reckon 
evil good, and good evil, light darkness and darkness light. Na- 
ture is ready to dictate unto men, that they are ' rich and in- 
creased with goods, and stand in need of nothing; while in the 
mean time they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, 
and naked.' 

(3.) It is defective, because it doth not drive men out of them- 
selves for a remedy. The sublimest philosophy that ever was did 
never teach a man to deny himself, but always taught him to build 
up his house with the old ruins, and to fetch stores and materials 
out of the wonted quarry. Shame, humiliation, confusion of face, 
self-abhorrence, condemning ourselves, and flying to the righteous- 
ness of another, are virtues known only in the book of God, and 
which the learned philosophers would have esteemed both irrational 
and pusillanimous things. 

(4.) It is defective, because by nature in particular men never 
knew nor had experience of a better state, and therefore must needs 
be ignorant of that full image of God in which it was created. As 
a man born and brought up in a dungeon is unable to conceive the 
state of a palace ; or as the child of a nobleman stolen away, and 
brought up by some beggar, cannot conceive or suspect the honours 
of his blood ; so corrupted nature is utterly unable, that has been 
born in a womb of ignorance, bred in a hell of uncleanness, and en- 
thralled from the beginning to the prince of darkness, to conceive, 
or convince a man of, that most holy and pure condition in which 
he was created. 

3. To supply what was wanting in it, Deing obliterated by sin. 
In the ages before Moses, the Lord's extraordinary appearances and 
revelations were more frequent, and the lives of men were much 
longer, than they were afterwards. In Moses's time they were re- 
duced to seventy, or little more. These aged patriarchs transmitted 
the knowledge of the law and men's duty to their descendents ; and 
by this means it was handed down from father to son ; but by de- 
grees men's lives were shortened, and following generations were 
involved in ignorance of God and his law. Therefore, to supply 
this defect, and to prevent the knowledge of it from utterly perish- 
ing, was the law promulgated at Sinai. 


•4. To eviuce and convince of the necessity of a Mediator, the peo- 
ple that saw not this defect. When the law was thus given anew, 
and men saw their utter incapacity to fulfil it, by giving that due 
obedience it required, they would come, through the conviction of 
the Holy Spirit, to see the necessity of a Mediator for satisfying the 
law, both as to its command and penalty. 

III. I shall shew how the law is summarily comprehended in the 
ten commandments. To be summarily comprehended in a thing, 
is to be summed up in it, to be abridged and compendised as it were. 
The commandment is exceeding broad, and runs through the whole 
Bible ; but Ave have a summary or short view of it in the ten com- 
mands given by the Lord on Mount Sinai. The ten commandments 
are the heads of all the duties of the law largely contained in the 
whole Bible. They are the text which Christ himself, the prophets, 
and apostles expounded. They comprehend the whole duty of man, 
Eccl. xii. 13. There is nothing that God requires but may be re- 
duced to one of these commandments. So faith is a duty of the first 
command, as it obliges men to believe whatever God reveals. The 
first commandment concerns the object of worship, requiring us to 
know and acknowledge God to be the true God, and our God, and 
to worship and glorify him as such, in heart and life. The second 
relates to the means of worship, requiring us to receive, observe, and 
keep pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as 
God hath appointed in his word. The third respects the holy and 
reverend use of God's names, titles, attributes, ordinances, words, 
and works. The fourth requires us to sanctify the Sabbath, that 
day which he hath set apart for his own worship and service. The 
fifth relates to the duties we owe to one another in our several 
places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals. The sixth 
requires the preservation of our own life and that of others. The 
seventh respects the preservation of our own and our neighbour's 
chastity, in heart, speech, and behaviour. The eighth relates to the 
lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of 
ourselves and others. The ninth requires the maintaining and pro- 
moting of truth between man and man, especially in witness-bear- 
ing. And the tenth requires us to be contented with our own con- 
dition, and to have a right and charitable frame of spirit toward 
our neighbour and all that is his. And every commandment for- 
bids whatever is opposite to or inconsistent with what it requires. 

As to the rules necessary to be observed for the right understand- 
ing of the ten commandments, the following things are to be noticed. 

1. They respect not only the outward actions, but the inward 
motions of the heart. The law is spiritual, and so reaches the iu- 

Vol. II. F 


ward as well as the outward man. It reaches the understanding, 
will, and affections, and all the other powers and faculties of the 
soul, as well as our words, works, and gestures. The law is spiri- 
tual, Rom. vii. 14. reaching the heart as well as the life ; and 
therefore we ought to study conformity to it in both. The lawgiver 
is a spirit, and beholds all the motions and inclinations of the soul, 
as well as the actions of the body ; and is grieved and offended with 
the impurities of the heart, as well as with the enormities of the 
life ; and therefore he requires an internal obedience, as well as an 
outward conformity to his will. The law extends to the imagina- 
tion, that most roving and unstable faculty in man, and to dreams 
that are bred there. 

But some may say, What is to be thought of men's dreaming that 
they are breaking God's commandments, e. g. profaning the Sab- 
bath-day, swearing, lying, &c. while really they are fast asleep, are 
not doing so, nor opening their mouths, &c. ? 

Ans. No doubt it is sin, and will damn thee if it be not pardoned, 
and washed away by the blood of Christ : For, (1.) The scripture 
condemns it. Hence the apostle, Jude, 8. speaks of ' filthy dreams 
that defile the flesh.' (2.) The consent of the heart unto sin, the 
delectation that it finds in it, makes a man guilty; and the soul is 
always a rational agent, and this consent is given to these tempta- 
tions in sleep. (3.) A man when awake thinking what he doth is 
sinful, though upon the matter it be not, yet it is sin to him ; e. g. 
a man taking his own goods, which yet he thinks are another man's, 
is guilty of theft before God : for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. 
So is it in this case. (4.) As these things arise from corrupt nature, 
so readily they follow on some such motions that people have been 
taken up with them awake, or from a loose, carnal, and secure 
frame. They are looked on as sinful by tender consciences. (5.) 
As men may do something pleasing to God in a dream, so may they 
do something to displease him, 2 Kings iii. 5. (6.) The law im- 
pressed upon the heart is designed to keep it even in sleep, Prov. 
vi. 22, 23. ' When thou sleepest, it shall keep thee. For the com- 
mandment is a lamp ; and the law is light.' But ye may say, 
What if a man has been watching against these things, praying 
against them, &c. and yet in sleep falls into them ? I answer, It is 
still sinful, in so far as the heart complies with the diabolical 
suggestion ; and the truth is, by grace temptation is sometimes re- 
sisted in sleep, as well as when we are awake. 

2. The commandments require perfection. No partial obedience 
can be admitted or sustained. The least defect is fatal, and exposes 
to the curse. This ought to be seriously considered, that we may 


see our need of Christ's blood and righteousness, to cover and atone 
for our obedience, and all its defects. 

3. "Whatever sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded ; 
and where any duty is commanded, the contrary vice is forbidden. 
For instance, when God forbids us to have any other gods before 
him, he at the same time commands us to worship and adore him, 
the only living and true God. When he forbids the profanation of 
his name, he requires that esteem and reverence should be given to 
it. — When he forbids to steal, he commands the preservation of our 
neighbour's goods, by all the means that are lawful and proper for 
us to use. When he forbids us to kill, he commands love to our 
neighbour, and the preservation of his life by all lawful means. On 
the other hand, when God requires us to remember the Sabbath-day, 
to keep it holy, he forbids the forgetting and profanation of it. 
When he commands us to honour our parents, he forbids us to be 
undutiful or injurious to them. And indeed the nature of the thing 
itself requires this : for the duties enjoined by the law cannot be 
performed without shunning the vices which it forbids ; and the sins 
forbidden by the law cannot be avoided, unless the contrary virtues 
enjoined by it are performed. — This shews the insufficiency of ne- 
gative holiness; for we must not only do what the law forbids, but 
perform what it requires ; otherwise no obedience is given to it 
at all. 

4. Under one sin or duty, all of the same kind are forbidden and 
commanded : For instance, when the Lord forbids us to kill, he for- 
bids us also to beat and wound our neighbour; and all envy, malice, 
and revenge, are forbidden at the same time. When he forbids to 
commit adultery, he forbids also incest, fornication, and all unclean 
imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections. When he forbids 
to steal, he forbids rapine, robbery, and all deceitful dealing by 
false weights and unjust measures. On the other hand, when the 
Lord commands to have no other god but himself, he commands 
us to love him, to reverence, worship, and adore him. When he 
commands us to remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy, he 
commands us to make conscience of the duties of his worship and 
service. When he commands us to love our neighbour, he com- 
mands us to do all the good offices unto him which are in our power 
to perform. And when any sin is forbidden, all means and things 
leading thereto are forbidden. And so gross actions are named, not 
to pass over lesser ones, but to make them more abominable, while 
we see how God looks on them, giving them such gross names. 

5. The prohibition of the effect includes also the prohibition of 
the cause, from which the effect flows. For instance, when the Lord 



forbids the profanation of the Sabbath, he forbids also all those 
works by which the Sabbath may be profaned. When he forbids 
uncleanness, he forbids intemperance, drunkenness, gluttony, and 
whatever may incite thereunto. "When he forbids us to kill, he for- 
bids anger and wrath, malice and revenge, from which bloodshed 
does oft-times proceed. On the other hand, when the law requires 
chastity, it enjoins also temperance and sobriety, and diligence in 
those particular callings wherein God has placed men in the world, 
their being means and helps thereunto, and the source as it were 
from whence they proceed. 

6. The precepts of the second table of the law must yield to those 
of the first, when they cannot be both performed together. For 
instance our love to our neighbour must be subjected to our love to 
God ; yea, we are commanded to hate father and mother for Christ, 
Luke xiv. 26. When our love to our parents and relations comes 
in competition with our love to Christ, and is inconsistent with it, 
then we are not bound unto it : and when the commands of men run 
cross to the commands of God, then God is to be obeyed rather than 
men, as the apostles shew, Acts iv. 19. 

7. Whatever God forbids in his law is at no time lawful to be 
done ; and whatever he commands is always our duty. Therefore it 
is said, Deut. iv. 9. ' Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul 
diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, 
and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life.' Yet 
every particular duty is not to be done at all times : for there are 
many duties enjoined us which suppose certain conditions ; and if 
these be wanting, there is no place for the performance of the duties. 
For instance, we are commanded to honour our parents ; but this 
supposeth they are alive or present with us, or else there can be no 
place for that duty. But whatever vices are forbidden in God's 
law, they are at no time lawful to be done. The negative precepts 
bind us always, and at all times. We are continually to shun and 
avoid every thing that is evil. 

8. Whatever is forbidden or commanded with respect to our- 
selves, we are bound, according to our places and stations, to endea- 
vour that it may be avoided or performed by others, according to 
the duty of their places. Hence it is said, Exod. xx. 10. ' The 
seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God : in it thou shalt 
not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man- 
servant, nor thy maid-servant, &c. 

I shall conclude with a few practical inferences from this subject. 

Inf. 1. This doctrine lets us see that the rule of man's obedience 
is not wrapt up in darkness and shades, is not ambiguous, or hard 


to be understood. The rule is not far-fetched, and to be found out 
by hard study and laborious inquiry. No ; it is plain and obvious 
to the common sense and reason of mankind. It is contained in ten 
plain words, and explained and illustrated in every book of the 
Bible. Nay, it is in some measure written on the hearts of all men ; 
every son and daughter of Adam has some remains of it written on 
their hearts, which all the boisterous and dashing waves of corrup- 
tion have never been able to eiface. We may say of it, as the 
apostle does of the gospel, The rule of thy obedience, man, 'is 
nigh thee, even in thy heart and in thy mouth.' So that it is in 
vain to pretend ignorance of this rule. All pretences of ignorance 
in this matter are mere affectation, and most unaccountable. 

2. What matter of regret is it, that in a land of light, where the 
Bible is, which contains in it this rule of obedience, and enforces it 
with the strongest motives, people should be so ignorant of what is 
so much their interest and advantage to know ! They are wofully 
ignorant of both the law of God, and the spirituality and extent 
thereof; and pay no manner of respect to it in their heart or 

3. The law is perfect, and requires a full conformity thereto. It 
requires the utmost perfection in every duty, and forbids the least 
degree of every sin. So that life and salvation are absolutely unat- 
tainable by it, since no man can perform such an obedience to 
it as it requires. Our salvation is suspended in obedience to the 
law; which since we cannot perform, let us be induced to betake 
ourselves to the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, by which the 
law is magnified and made honourable, and with which God is well 
pleased ; and will be pleased with every sinner that takes the bene- 
fit thereof. 

4. The commandment is exceeding broad, reaching to every mo- 
tion, desire, and affection of the heart, as well as to every action we 
perform. It is a rule both for our hearts and our lives. Let us 
then study to know this holy law of God in its spirituality and ex- 
tent, and yield that obedience to it which it requires ; sincere, flow- 
ing from right principles in the heart, and directed to right ends ; 
universal, in respect of parts, without mincing ; cheerful, in respect 
of the manner ; and constant and perpetual, as to the duration. 
And the Lord give us understanding in all things, to know and do 
our duty, to the glory of his name. 



Matth. xxii. 37, 38, 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 second is like unto it, Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 

Mark xii. 30. — Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, — with all thy 


This is an answer made by our Lord to a captious question put to 
him by a learned scribe. If Christ had pitched on any particular 
command of the ten, the lawyer, for so the querist is called, would 
certainly have excepted in some other, and accused him of villify- 
ing some other commands ; but Christ gives the summary of both 
tables of the law, yea, of the whole scriptures touching a holy life : 
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, fyc. In which words may be no- 

1. The sum of the first table of the law that is, love to the Lord, 
and that such love is superior and transcendent; such love as 
gives the whole man to the Lord, with all the strength of all the 
powers of soul and body. 

2. The sum of the second table ; that is, love to our neighbour, and 
that such love as we bear to ourselves, (but not as to God,) sincere 
and constant. 

3. Christ compares the two together, shewing that love to God is 
the command first to be looked unto, and by which the other is regu- 
lated, whether as to loving ourselves or our neighbour. The se- 
cond is like unto it, as having the same authority, and must be joined 
with the first, and is the fountain of acceptable obedience to the se- 
cond-table commands, as the first is the true spring of acceptable 
obedience to the first table duties. 

4. He shews the whole law and the doctrine of the prophets, 
touching holiness, to depend on these as the sum of all. 

The doctrine arising from the words is, 
Doct. ' The sum of the ten commandments is, to love the Lord our 
God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, 
and with all our mind ; and our neighbour as ourselves.' 
The sum of all the commands (ye see) is love. So the ten com- 
mandments are the law of love ; they are a law that is chiefly con- 
versant about the heart, which is the seat of love. The scope of 


them is to unite men to God and to one another ; for there is no 
such cement of hearts as holiness. 

The text and doctrine consists of two parts. 

I. The sum of the first table of the law is love to God. 

II. The sum of the second is love to our neighbour. 

I. The sum of the first table of the law is love to God. 
Here I shall shew, 

1. The ingredients of this love to God, whereof it is made up. 

2. The properties of it. 

3. Why this love is due to God. 

4. How love to the Lord stands in relation to other commands. 

5. Lastly, Apply. 

First, I shall shew the ingredients of this love to God, whereoi it 
is made up. 

1. Knowledge of him. An unseen but not an unknown God can 
be loved with all the heart, soul, strength, and mind. Ignorant 
souls cannot love God ; what the eye sees not, the heart likes not. 
Hell fire may have heat without light : but all heavenly fire has 
light as well as heat. Thou must know God. (1.) "Who he is, ton I 
wit, the Lord Jehovah, the one God in three persons, Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost. These are the object of divine love. (2.) What 
he is in his attributes, as an infinite, eternal and unchangeable 
Being. Comprehend him ye cannot, but apprehend him ye must, as 
he has revealed himself. And so when love is shed abroad in the 
heart, the vail is first taken from the eyes. 

2. Chusing him for our God, our chief good and portion, Psal. 
lxxiii. 25. ' Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none 
upon earth that I desire besides thee.' Thou shalt love the Lord with 
all thy heart. If we love him not above all, we do not truly love 
him ; if we chuse him not for our portion, we love him not above 
all. The soul that loves the Lord, sees that in him which may sa- 
tisfy it, nothing out of him that is necessary to make the soul happy. 
Hence it does, by choice, take up its everlasting rest in him, and 
finds a match to itself in him. 

3. Cleaving to him as our God : Love the Lord thy God. Love 
is a uniting thing ; it makes the soul cleave to the object. Thou 
must cleave to the Lord, to his ways, word, &c. Not to be separa- 
ted from him by whatsoever wedge the devil or the world may 
drive. Not to be bribed from him, nor boasted either, Cant. viii. 7. 
' Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.' 
And cleave to him as thy God ; for so he will be loved. He must 
be thy God, before thou canst love him aright. Thus was it with 
Adam, and Christ ; and thus it is with believers. 


Hence it is evident, (1.) That faith is the first spring of all true 
obedience. There is no obedience but from love, no love but from 
faith, whereby God becomes our God. — How can it otherwise be ? 
for although God is in himself the chief good, if he be not ours, the 
more perfect Being he is, the more terrible an enemy he is. 

(2.) The way prescribed by God himself for us to attain love to 
him, is to apprehend him by faith to be our God ; which now can be 
no otherwise but by faith in Christ. So that to love God, that he 
may love us, is a preposterous method. But let us labour to embrace 
Christ, and so to believe God loves us in him ; then shall the heart 
natively flow out in love to him, 1 John iv. 19 ; ' We love him, be- 
cause he first loved us.' 

4. High thoughts and a transcendent esteem of him, Cant. v. 10. 
' My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.' 
He is the best of beings, the most amiable and lovely, that shines 
with unparalleled perfections ; and therefore is to have the supreme 
place in our estimation as well as affections. Here our esteem can- 
not go too high, more than we can reach beyond what is infinite. 

-We cannot launch out too far in admiration of his glory. Thus 
should we highly and honourably think of him as the best and 
greatest. It is a sad character of the wicked man, Psal. x. 4. that 
' God is not in all his thoughts.' 

5. Desire towards him, Psal. lxxiii. 25. Whatever other desires 
we have, the main stream of our desires must run towards the Lord, 
Psal. xxvii. 4. to the enjoyment of him in this life, and the perfect 
enjoyment of him hereafter ; so that God not being perfectly enjoy- 
ed here, it is natural to the lovers of God to desire to ' be with 
Christ,' Phil. i. 23; 2 Thess. iii. 5. 

6. Lastly, Complacency in him, Cant. i. 13. The soul must delight 
in him, have a pleasure in him. The lover of the Lord is well pleas- 
ed there is such a being, well pleased with all his attributes, all his 
relations to us, all his words, ways, and works. And the want of 
this makes men haters of God in the scripture-sense. 

Secondly, I shall shew the properties of this love required of us. 
It is, 

1. Sincere, not in word and tongue only, shewing much love, Prov. 
xxiii. 26, but inwardly, our hearts being with him, to him, and for 

2. Most strong and vigorous, even as much as we are capable of, 
all the strength we are masters of. Love may be sincere, though 
not most intense, and that the gospel may accept : but the law re- 
quires a perfection of degrees as well as of parts. The greatest fer- 
vour of affection is due to God, and the greatest ardency of love, 
beyond which we cannot go. 


3. Pure and absolute for himself. Not that we are not to love 
God as our benefactor, Psal. cxvi. 11. but we must love him also and 
mainly for those excellencies that are in him, Cant. i. 3. for his 
truth, justice, mercy, holiness, &c. 

4. A superlative and transcendent love. We must love God 
above all creatures whatsoever, ourselves or others, Luke xiv. 26. 
And so must all other loves be swallowed up in his ; we must love 
nothing beside him, but for him, and in due subordination to him. 

5. An intelligent love, Mark xii. 33. We must love him as those 
that see good cause to love him. There is no blindness in this love ; 
for there are no faults in the object to be hid; but the better we see, 
the more we love. 

6. Lastly, An efficacious working love, 1 John iii. 18. Therefore 
says the apostle, Rom. xiii. 10. ' Love worketh no ill to his neigh- 
bour : therefore ' love is the fulfilling of the law.' Love devotes the 
whole man to God, to serve his glory in the world, Rom. xiv. 7, 8. 
and makes him ready to forego what is dearest to him in the world 
for God, Acts xx. 24. and sets a man on doing and sufferiug at his 

Thirdly, I will shew why this love is due to God. It is due be- 
cause of his transcendent excellency, and absolute loveliness. There 
is nothing in him but what is good ; all goodness is in him, and no- 
thing wanting ; and each part of goodness is in him infinitely. No 
love, then, is suitable to him but such a love. There is nothing 
lovely in the creatures, but what is eminently in him, Matth. xix. 
17 ; but there is something wanting in all the creatures, that must 
stint our love. 

Fourthly, I shall shew how love to the Lord stands in relation to 
other commands. 

1. It is the chief duty. It is what God mainly requires, and what 
we ought mainly to aim at. It is the end, to which even faith itself 
is but the mean, and in that respect is by the apostle preferred to 
all others, 1 Cor. xiii. 

2. It is the comprehensive duty of all, Rom. xiii. 10. As is our 
love, so will our obedience be. Were our love perfect, our obedi- 
ence would be so too. It is the fruitful womb out of which proceed 
all other duties. 

3. It is an universal duty ; it goes through all. Whatever accept- 
able service we do, must be done in love ; and if it be not done so, 
it is not accepted. Other duties are the meat, but this is the salt to 
season all. 

Fifthly, I shall deduce some inferences from what has been said. 
Inf. 1. What a sweet law is the law of God, that law of love ! how 


rational ! how drawing ! Did ever prince make a law for his subjects 
to love him ? But God has made such a law : and all his loyal sub- 
jects cheerfully obey it, and find their advantage in it. 

2. See the excellency of the love of God. The whole law is com- 
prised in love. Would ye have the most short way to obedience ? 
then love the Lord. Take a hold of this master-link, and ye will 
draw the whole chain after you. He that loveth God, will keep his 
commandments ; for love is the fulfilling of the law. 

3. How little obedience or true holiness is there in the world ? 
for how little love to God is there ? Alas for the cold hearts that 
make benumbed hands and feet ! Did men love God as he deserves 
and requires to be loved, could they break his commandments, and 
live in such carelessness and unconcern about God and his laws, and 
the important concerns of their souls, as the generality do ? Alas ! 
the coldness of professors in the cause of God, is a melancholy evi- 
dence that love to him is at a low ebb amongst us. 

4. "What an absurd thing is the device of supererogating, and do- 
ing more than the law requires ? We are required to love God with 
all our heart, soul, strength, and mind ? Is it possible to go further 
than that ? Nay, can any man attain to such a perfect love ? No 
person that truly loves God can possibly think he exceeds the pitch 
of loving him required in the law. On the contrary, it is matter of 
grief to him that he cannot love him enough. Any measure he has 
attained proves unsatisfying. He will still desire and labour to 
have his love more increased, and rendered more lively and intense. 
So far will lie be from imagining he loves God more than it is his 
duty to do. 

5. There is no true religion where there is no heart-religion : and 
there is no respect to the law, where there is no love. It is in vain for 
men to pretend to be religious, while they have no principle of love 
to God implanted and operating in their hearts. External obedience 
is of no avail without internal, founded upon and proceeding from 
love to God as its som*ce. All true obedience is the fruit of love to 
God ; and where love prevails in the heart, there Avill be a sincere 
respect to God's commandments, to his word, his ordinances, and in- 

6. Let us all be induced to love God with all our heart, with all 
our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind : esteeming 
and preferring him above all other things, acquisitions, possessions, 
and enjoyments ; giving him the chief room in our hearts, delighting 
and resting in him as our chief good and upmaking portion ; desir- 
ing to be more and more acquainted with him, and ardently longing 
to have copious manifestations of his love and grace made to our- 


selves ; and in a sincere respect to all his laws, statutes, and pre- 
cepts. And let us be ready to part with all we have, all our enjoy- 
ments and possessions, however valuable and dear they may be to 
us ; at the Lord's call and command, whenever we can keep them no 
longer in a consistency with our love to God and his cause. "We 
must forsake all to follow Christ ; and lay down our life, rather than 
not love the Lord our God. 

I now proceed to consider the second part of the text and doc- 
trine, viz. 

II. The sum of the second table of the law is love to our neigh- 

In discoursing from this point, I shall shew, 

1. Who is our neighboivr. 

2. What is that love we owe to our neighbour. 

3. How we are to love our neighbour. 

4. Lastly, Apply the point. 

First, I am to shew who is our neighbour. Every man is our 
neighbour, known or unknown, friend or foe, good or bad, Luke x. 
29, 37- This neighbourhood is founded on two things especially. 
1. That common relation that is among all as branches of one stock, 
having one common nature, Acts xvii. 26. 2. The common capacity 
of all to enjoy the same God, and to meet in him ; all men being 
capable of that happiness, because of their immortal souls capable of 
enjoying an infinite good. Hence see, 

1. How the hatred of evil men and love to them may be reconcil- 
ed, Psalm cxxxix. 21. 'Do not I hate them, Lord, that hate thee? 
and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee ? Com- 
pare the text, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. W"e have the 
common grounds aforementioned whereon to love all men ; but for- 
asmuch as sin is a depravation of that common nature, and the only 
thing that mars men's enjoyments of God, we hate their sins, though 
we love their persons ; as we hate the moth, because we love the 
garment. Hatred to men's persons, whoever or whatever they be, is 
inconsistent with this command that enjoins the love of our neigh- 
bour as well as the love of God. But to hate and abhor their sins 
and evil deeds, is quite consistent with love to their persons. And 
agreeably to this, David's hatred to those who hated God, ultimately 
terminated on their sins, and not their persons. 

2. We see here a ground whereon we ought to love our enemies. 
Their common nature with us, and their common capacity of happi- 
ness with us in the enjoyment of God, remains, though they do evil 
to us; and therefore we are bid pray for them, Matth. v. 44. 'Love 
your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate 


you, and pray for them which despiteful ly use you, and persecute 

Secondly, I shall shew what is that love we owe to our neighbour. 
In it there is, 

1. A due esteem of him, 1 Pet. ii. 17- 'Love the brotherhood.' 
There are no persons but who have something for which they are to 
be esteemed. Some have grace, all have gifts, natural or moral, in 
greater or less measure, which are from God, James i. 17- None 
want precious souls, that are of more worth and value than the 
world. And the pearl must be esteemed precious, though in a 

2. Benevolence or good-will to them, Luke vi. 31. ' As ye would 
that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.' We are 
heartily to desire their welfare for time and eternity, to wish them 
the best things. This good affection we are to bear to all. And 
this brings in with it a sorrow for the evil that befalls them, and joy 
in their good and prosperity. 

3. Beneficence, doing them what good we can, doing to them as 
we would be done to, Matth. vii. 12. Gal. iv. 10. "We are not born 
for ourselves, but for God and our neighbour ; and therefore we 
should lay out ourselves to be useful in the world and to advance 
the good of mankind, so far as we are capable. 

4. Complacency, or delight in them, so far as any good thing ap- 
pears in them, 1 Pet. ii. 17- ' Honour all men.' This doth in 
a special manner belong to the saints, those excellent ones, in whom 
should be all our delight, Psal. xvi. 3. Yet a delight in the good 
gifts of God in any man, and their amiable qualities and disposi- 
tions, is our duty. 

Thirdly, I shall shew, how we are to love our neighbur : As your- 
selves, says the text. Here two things are to be noticed. 

1. That there is an allowable self-love, a love that we may and 
ought to bear to ourselves ; for that is the rule of love to our neigh- 
bour. We are to love our own bodies, by all lawful means to see 
to their welfare. For, says the apostle, Eph. v. 29. ' No man ever 
yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.' And 
we are to love our own souls, by all means to endeavour their salva- 
tion, and to beware of all that may obstruct it. For, says wisdom, 
Prov. viii. 36. ' He that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul.' 
We are to love ourselves in God, and for God ; for he and not 

* This subject of loving our enemies may be seen well handled in a collection of this 
author's sermons, formerly published, entitled, The distinguishing characters of true 
helievcrs, p. 248, 274. 


man's self, is his chief end. This becomes sinful self-love, when it 
does not remain in due subordination to the love of God, or destroys 
love to our neighbour. 

2. In what sense we are to love our neighbour as ourselves ? This 
hath a respect both to the matter and to the manner. As to the 
matter, this likeness lies chiefly in three things. 

(1.) That we neither wish evil, nor do evil to our neighbour, more 
than to ourselves. (2.) That we wish all good to our neighbour as 
to ourselves, and be ready to do all we can to procure and further 
it. (3.) That we desire these things to our neighbour, out of a true 
respect to him, and his advantage, not our own. 

As to the manner, (1.) We must love our neighbour as truly and 
really as we love ourselves. No man feigns a love to himself : so 
must our love to others be unfeigned, not like the devouring lips, 
and the wicked heart. 

(2.) Earnestly, as we love ourselves, without coldness and remiss- 
ness, Matt. xxiv. 12. This is a fire that should never slacken, but 
burn intensely. 

(3.) Constantly, without changing. Though they be not so fa- 
vourable to us at all times, yet we are still to love them as our- 
selves. Our love to them must not be suspended on their love to us, 
and the eifects of it : but it must glow to them, even though we meet 
with ungrateful returns. 

Fourthly, I shall now draw some inferences from this point, the 
loving of our neighbour as ourselves. 

Inf. 1. Great need have we to have our self-love rectified. For, 
as when the rule is wrong, nothing can be right that is regulated by 
it ; so, when our love to ourselves is wrong, we cannot rightly love 
our neighbour. This is the love of companions in sin, who involve 
themselves and one another in one common ruiu. 

2. All the commands of the second table have respect to our- 
selves in the first place as our nearest neighbour. Thus, ' Thou 
shalt not kill ;' that is, thou shalt not kill thyself nor thy neigh- 
bour. So the duties of religion are reduced to these three, to ' live 
soberly, righteously, and godly,' Tit. ii. 12. 

3. Hatred of our neighbour is an universal sin against the com- 
mands of the second table ; as love to our neighbour is the chief, 
comprehensive, and universal duty of the second table, so is the 
hatred of our neighbour, the chief, comprehensive, and universal sin 
against that table. 

4. Several persons are reproveable here. 

(1.) Those that in effect do not love themselves, but go on in sin- 
ful courses, ruining to their bodies, and ruining to their souls ; who 


treat themselves as the worst of enemies. Men must answer to God 
for this ; for their souls and their hodies are not their own, hut the 

(2.) Those that love themselves only, and not their neighbours ; 
who value not how it he with others, if it go well with themselves ; 
and can comfortably build up themselves on the ruin of others. All 
seek their own things. This is a most base and selfish disposition, 
destructive of society, and very offensive to God. 

(3.) Those that love some of their neighbours, but not all. One 
will say, Such an one is my enemy; be it so, but yet love to him is 
laAv ; and his enmity against you cannot dissolve the obligation of 
the law of God to love him. Love him that he may be thy friend ; 
love him, but not his faults. The more need he has of thy love, 
that he may be reclaimed ; as we run to the physician for love to 
the man, not to his disease. The loving and shewing love to one 
that is our enemy, is the fairest and readiest way to reclaim and 
gain him. If any thing will do it, this is the most sensible means. 

(4.) Those that love in word, but hate in heart ; that love like 
Joab and Judas : they that speak fair to a man's face, but would 
cut his throat behind his back. Such a practice is abominable hypo- 
crisy, odious to God, and nauseous to every honest man. 

(5.) Those that pretend to love their neighbour, but their love is 
fruitless ; their neighbour is never the better of it. They say they 
love such a one ; but they never give him good counsel, though he 
stands in need of it ; they do him no service, though it be in their 
power, and his circumstances reqiiire it. Such love is all pretence, 
without substance or reality. 

6. Lastly, They that do not love the Lord's people, who are their 
best neighbours, the substance and strength of a church and nation, 
who are, as Elijah was, ' the chariots of Israel, and the horsemen 
thereof.' Love is a duty to them above all men, for what they are 
in themselves, lovers of God, and all good men, and for the relation 
they stand in to God, as his people, his redeemed, and sanctified 
ones, who when the time of their warfare here is accomplished, shall 
be translated to the kingdom of glory, to the house not made with 
hands, eternal in the heavens. Not to love them is a great sin, in- 
consistent with the law and love of God ; and to hate them, especi- 
ally on account of their goodness, is direct rebellion against God, an 
insult to the Majesty of heaven, whose subjects and servants they 

5. Let us study to love our neighbour, and to bury all strifes, ani- 
mosities, hatred, and malice. For motives, consider, 

1. That little love to our neighbour is a sad sign of little love to 


God, 1 John iv. 20. ' If a man say, I love God, and hateth his bro- 
ther, he is a liar ; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath 
seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen ?' 

(2.) Consider the bond of one common nature, which should 
cement and knit together all of the same species. — Lions and 
Wolves do not prey on their own kind, but shew kindness to one 
another. As men are of one common nature derived from Adam, 
should they not love and sheAv kindness to one another ? for they 
are strictly brethren, and are as strictly bound to love one another 
as such. 

(3.) Consider the love of God and Christ to men. . It was most 
free unmerited, unsought, and unsolicited. They loved not friends 
but enemies and rebels, who had taken up arms against their Crea- 
tor and Sovereign Lord. Men had by their sin involved them- 
selves in utter ruin, and could not help themselves. In such de- 
plorable circumstances did God fix his love on them, and send his 
Son to redeem them from the curse of the law, and from the wrath 
to come, by laying down his life for them. And shall not such a 
glorious and unspeakable instance of the love of the great God, and 
his Son Jesus Christ, to the ruined race of fallen man, excite and 
stir us up to love our neighbour, and to do him all the service we 
can, both as to his temporal and eternal interests ? 

Lastly, How happy would the world be if men loved others as 
themselves? Suppose ten men; so love would contract ten into one, 
and multiply one into ten. How happy would each of these ten be, 
who would have ten hearts to care for him, twenty eyes to see for 
him, twenty hands to work for him, and twenty feet to travel for 
him ! 

Let the Lord's people especially love one another. They are the 
Sons of God, and the brethren of Christ. God loved them with an 
everlasting love, and with loving-kindness he drew them to himself. 
Christ redeemed them at no less price than that of his most precious 
blood. The Holy Spirit is their Sanctiner and Comforter, and will 
abide with them for ever. They are members of one family, fellow- 
citizens, and of the household of faith. They are members of one 
body, of which Christ is the head. They have one Lord, one faith, 
one baptism, and one hope of their calling. They have all fled from 
one city, that of sin and destruction ; and they are all travelling 
unto one heavenly country. They are all clothed with one garment, 
the complete righteousness of their Surety and High Priest. They 
are all the spouse of Christ, who is one. They are all brethren, 
children of the promise. Shall then such persons fall out by the 
way ? Nay, shall they not dearly love one another ? ' Be kindly 


affectionate one to another, (says the apostle), with brotherly love,' 
Rom. xii. 10. ' Let brotherly love continue,' Heb. xiii. 1. Such 
love is a sure and infallible sign of your being the friends and fol- 
lowers of Christ. 'By this (says our Lord), shall all men know 
that ye are my disciples, if ye have love to one another.' Be at 
peace then among yourselves, and shew that ye are subjects of the 
Prince of peace, and heirs of the legacy of peace which he has left 


Exod. xx. 2. — I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of 
the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 

Some take these words, which are the first of that speech spoken 
immediately by God himself, to be a part of the first commandment, 
shewing who is the true God, that is to be our God. Our Catechism 
determines them to be a preface to all the commandments ; and 
though they have a particular relation to the first command, ' Thou 
shalt have no other gods before me,' viz. The Lord thy God, which 
have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; 
yet, seeing the first commandment has a common relation to all of 
them, and is interwoven with all the rest, and the words natively 
enforce obedience to the whole, they are set here as a preface to all 
the commands, like a magnificent entry into a palace, decorated with 
the arms of the owner. In the words consider, 

1. The Speaker and Giver of these commandments. It is the 
Lord, particularly Jesus Christ, who gave this law in the name of 
the Trinity. This is plain from the scripture, Acts vii. 38. Heb. xii. 
24. — 26. It was he that brought the people out of Egypt, and that 
appeared in the bush that burned with fire, and yet was not con- 
sumed, giving commission to Moses for their deliverance, Exod. iii. 

2. The speech itself, wherein we have a description of the true 
God, bearing three reasons for the keeping his commands. (1.) From 
his sovereignty; he is the Lord. (2.) From his covenant-relation 
to his people, thy God. (3.) From the great benefit of redemption, 
and deliverance wrought for them. 

I)oct. ' The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us, That be- 
cause God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we 
are bound to keep all his commandments.' 


But it may be asked, Why does the Lord make use of arguments 
to induce us to obedience ? Ans. Because he loves to work on man, 
as a rational creature, according to the principles of his nature. 
Hence he says, Hos. xi. 4. ' I drew them with the cords of a man, 
with bands of love ;' and because he delights in no obedience but 
what is unconstrained and cheerful. It is truly matter of wonder, 
that the infinitely glorious God should be at so great pains to in- 
cline man to pursue his own happiness. 

Here I shall consider the several reasons of obedience mentioned 
in the text and doctrine, and then draw some inferences for applica- 

First, As for the first reason for obedience to these command- 
ments, it is in these words, I am the Lord, or Jeiiovah ; that is, an 
eternal, unchangeable one, having his being of himself, and from 
whom all being is derived; Exod. iii. 14. I AM THAT I AM. 
This is a very significant name, and denotes, (1.) The unity of the 
Godhead, that he is one true God, having no partner, equal, or 
rival. (2.) The reality and certainty of his being. Idols are no- 
thing ; all their divinity is only in the fancies and opinions of men : 
but God is a real and true being. (3.) The necessity, eternity, and 
unchangeableness of his being. All other things which have a being 
were once without being; they had no existence till he gave it them: 
and if he please, they shall be no more, but be reduced into their 
primitive nothing; and all their being was derived from, and wholly 
depends upon him. But he was from all eternity an independent 
and self-existent being. (4.) The constancy and perpetuity of his 
nature and will ; / aim that I am ; i. e. I am the same that ever I 
was, and will be the same, without all mutability in my nature, 
will, and purposes. This name includes these four reasons for our 
obeying his commandments. 

1. The infinite excellency and perfection of his nature, whereby 
he is the natural Lord of all his creatures, Jer. x. 7. He is in- 
finitely above us, and so glorious in his supereminent perfections, 
that the view of them must natively cause us poor worms to fall 
down at his feet, and receive his commands ; and makes our rebel- 
lions monstrous, more than if a glow-worm should contend with the 
sun in its meridian brightness. 

2. He is Lord Creator to us, that gave us our being, and we are 
the workmanship of his hands, and are therefore to be at his dis- 
posal, as the pots are at that of the potter, Psal. c. 2, 3. Whatever 
we have, tongue, hands, soul, body, &e. all is from him ; how can we 
then decline his government. 

3. He is Lord Rector, supreme Governor and Lawgiver to us, 




whose will is our law, James iv. 12. ' There is one Lawgiver.' This 
he is as Jehovah, the fountain of all heing, which gives him an abso- 
lute and unlimited dominion over us. So that disobedience to his 
commands is the highest injustice we are capable of. 

4. He is Lord Conservator of us, the Preserver of men, Rev. iv. 
11. Every moment we have a continued creation from him, without 
which we could no more subsist than the beams of the sun without 
the sun itself, but would immediately dwindle into nothing. Being 
then thus upheld wholly in our being by him, should we not wholly 
be for him ? 

Secondly, The second reason is from his covenant-relation to us, 
thy God, The word denotes a plurality ; and so shews, that one God 
in three persons to be the true God, and that all the three are the 
covenanted God of his people, Isa. liv. 5. ' Thy Makers is thine hus- 
band ;' for the word is plural in the Hebrew. Here I shall shew, 

1. What this covenant is. 

2. How this covenant bindeth to the obedience of the command- 

1. What covenant is this ? It is the covenant whereby he was 
Israel's God before the giving of the law on Sinai ; for this plainly 
relates to a former relation betwixt them, by virtue of which they 
were brought out of Egypt. This was then no other but the cove- 
nant with Abraham and his seed, Gen. xvii. 7- and xv. 18. and by 
virtue of the covenant-promise to Abraham, it was, that they were 
delivered out of Egypt, Gen. xv. 13, 14, &c. That was not the 
covenant of works, for it is still opposed to the law, Rom. iv. there- 
fore it is the covenant of grace. 

Under this covenant with Abraham all Israel according to the 
flesh were in an external manner, whereby God had a more special 
right over them than the rest of the world ; and so is it with all 
who are within the visible church at this day. But Israel according 
to the Spirit, the elect of God, and believers, the spiritual seed of 
Abraham, were and are most properly under this covenant, and that 
in a saving manner. Rom. iv. 11, 12, 13. So that this reason is not 
general to all the world, but peculiar to the church. 

2. I shall shew how this covenant bindeth to obedience to the 
commandments. Not as if obedience to the commands were condi- 
tions of that covenant ; that is the nature of the covenant of works. 
For mark, God tells them he is their God before ever he proposes 
one commandment to them ; and for God to be the God of a people 
in the sense of the promise made to Abraham, includes the assur- 
ance of their complete salvation, Mat. xxii. 32. But, 

1. The consent to the covenant binds to the obedience of all the 


commands. The covenant is, ' I will put my laws into their minds, 
and write them in their hearts ; and I will be to them a God, and 
they shall be to me a people,' Heb. viii. 10. So consenting that 
God shall be our God, we take on us the yoke of all his commands, 
to be for him only, wholly, and for ever, 2 Cor. viii. 5. Jsa. xliv. 5. 

2. The honour of the covenant. Thereby sinners are advanced 
into a near relation to God. They become his servants, whose ho- 
nour it is to serve him ; his friends, whose honour it is to advance 
his interest in the world ; his spouse, whose honour it is to be for 
him, and obey him ; his members, whose honour it is to serve him- 
self of them. 

3. The privileges of the covenant, Luke i. 74, 75. Such are rege- 
neration, whereby a new nature is given, to be a principle of new 
life, 2 Cor. v. 17. Justification, whereby the curse is taken oif the 
tree, that it may be no more barren. Sanctification, whereby they 
die unto sin, and live unto righteousness ; even as the curing of the 
lame and palsied man obliges him to bestir himself. 

4. The great end of the covenant, which is no other but to restore 
fallen man to his primitive integrity, and to bring him to a state of 
perfect assimilation to God, Cant. iii. 9, 10. The holiness required 
in the ten commandments is the kingdom and the throne, from 
which the devil had expelled and pulled man down. This covenant 
is entered into for restoring him again to that kingdom, and so 
binds to endeavours that way. 

Thirdly, The last reason is drawn from the redemption and de- 
liverances wrought for his people. The history is well known, and 
some of the leading circumstances of it will be mentioned anon. 
Here I will shew, 

1. Why this deliverance is commemorated here. 

2. "What reason for obedience there is in it. 

1. I shall shew why this deliverance is commemorated here. 

(1.) To shew the faithfulness of God to his promise and covenant 
with Abraham, Gen. xv. 13 — 16. And so he shews himself to be 
Jehovah by ocular demonstration, Exod. vi. 3. 

(2.) The strangeness of that deliverance. When the Israelites 
were groaning under their taskmasters in Egypt, and had no pros- 
pect of relief, the Lord raises up Moses to be a deliverer unto them. 
He sent him in before Pharaoh, to work wonders in his sight. The 
Lord delivered his people with a mighty hand and outstretched arm. 
He sent plague after plague upon Pharaoh, till he sent Israel away, 
blasting the fruits of the earth, killing the beasts of the field, the 
fishes in the rivers, and all the first-born in the land of Egypt ; and 
when Israel went out of Egypt, God made the waters of the sea to 



part, and become a wall unto them ; they marched on dry ground 
in the midst of the sea ; it was a safe passage to the Israelites, but 
a grave to the Egyptians, Pharaoh and his host being overthrown 
in the midst of the sea. Now, this was a strange and miraculous 
deliverance, a mercy never to be forgotten ; and therefore it is com- 
memorated here, to bind them to obedience. 

(3.) Because it was the greatest and most memorable benefit. 
They were delivered from cruel tyranny. They were slaves to the 
Egyptians who made them to serve with rigour. They had cruel 
taskmasters set over them, who put them to hard labour. All their 
male children were appointed to be killed, or drowned in the river 
Nile, their affliction and bondage was so great that they were made 
to sigh and groan, and their cry went up to heaven. Hence Egypt 
is called ' the iron furnace,' Deut. iv. 20 ; and here it is called the 
house of bondage. Again, they were delivered from Egypt, a place 
overwhelmed with pollutions and abominations. The Egyptians 
were gross idolaters, having ' changed the glory of the uncorruptible 
God into an image made like to a corruptible man, and to birds, 
and four-footed beasts, and creeping things,' Rom. i. 23. They wor- 
shipped birds, and beasts, and creeping things ; as the hawk, the ox, 
the crocodile ; yea, they worshipped onions and garlic. Now consi- 
dering how prone the Jews were to idolatry, it was a great mercy 
to be delivered from an idolatrous land. This was a signal and me- 
morable, favour. Joshua reckons it among the chief and most me- 
morable mercies of God to Abraham, that he brought him out of TJr 
of the Chaldees, where his ancestors served strange gods. And 
may not this deliverance from Egypt be justly reckoned among the 
choice mercies of God to Abraham's posterity. 

(4.) It was a late and fresh instance of God's kindness to them. 
Which leaves an imputation of forgetfulness of old mercies on 
man's nature for which God stirs them up, by the newest and latest, 
to obedience. 

(5.) Because it was a type of the spiritual deliverance by Jesus 
Christ from sin, Satan, and hell. [1.] It was typical of the deliver- 
ance from the bondage of sin. Now, of all servitudes sin is the 
worst ; for it enslaves the soul. Before conversion, says Augustine, 
I was held, not with an iron chain, but with the obstinacy of my 
own will. In this slavery the soul is distorted and drawn asunder 
as it were by the powerful cravings of contrary lusts and passions. 
[2.] Of their deliverance from Satan. Thus all men by nature are 
in the house of bondage. They are enslaved to the devil, who is 
called the god of this world and is said to rule in the children of 
disobedience. Sinners are under his command, and lie exerciseth an 


absolute jurisdiction over them. He blinds their minds with igno- 
rance and error; rules in their memories, making them to remember 
that which is evil, and forget that which is good ; in their wills, 
drawing them to the love and practice of sin, &c. [3.] Of their de- 
liverance from hell. All men by nature are children of wrath, and 
liable to condemnation in hell for ever. Now the Lord Jesus, by- 
price and power, delivers his elect from the state of bondage to sin 
and Satan, Heb. ii. 15 ; and from the wrath that is to come, 1 Thess. 
i. 10. And this is done, not for all men, but only for the spiritual 
Israel of God, who were typified by the Israelites. 

2. I shall shew what reason for obedience there is in this deliver- 
ance here commemorated. There is great reason. 

(1.) Benefits received are most powerful engagements to duty, 
Rom. ii. 4. and the greatest benefits are the strongest engagements. 
And no greater benefit are men capable of than that deliverance 
from the spiritual bondage which the godly Israelites had as well as 
the other, and which agrees to us New-Testament saints, Col. i. 13. 
1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. 

(2.) This deliverance is wrought for that end, and by that deliver- 
ance men are put in a capacity to serve the Lord, which otherwise 
they were not, Luke i. 74, 75. "While they were in their hard 
bondage in Egypt, Pharaoh would not suffer them to go serve the 
Lord, but now they had nothing to hinder them from it. So when 
men are under the bondage of the covenant of works, they are with- 
held by the rigour thereof, from serving the Lord in an acceptable 
manner; but when once they are delivered by Christ from that 
rigorous bondage, they are made free men, and can serve the Lord 
in righteousness and holiness before him all the days of their life, 
having none to hinder them. 

Fourthly, I shall conclude this subject with a few practical in- 

Inf. 1. The ten commandments were not given to the Israelites as 
a covenant of works, but in the way of the covenant of grace, and 
under that covert. Te saw it was Jesus the Mediator that spoke 
these, Heb. xii. 24, 26. — Amongst all the reasons there is not one of 
terror ; but the sweet savour of gospel-grace*. 

2. The true way to attain to the obedience of these command- 
ments, is first to believe that God is our God in Christ, and then to 
set about the performance of them ; first to believe, then to do. 
The attempting it the contrary way, placing obedience first before 

* See the Author's Notes on the Marrow of Modem Divinity. 
G 3 



faith, is entirely contrary to the Lord's method. Thus to believe, 
strengthens the soul for obedience. 

3. All true obedience to the ten commandments now must run in 
the channel of the covenant of grace, being directed to God as cur 
God in that covenant, Deut. xxviii. 58. This is to fear that glori- 
ous and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD. And so legal 
obedience is no obedience at all. This obedience is performed not 
for righteousness, but to testify our love to the Lord our Righteous- 
ness ; not in our own strength, but in that of our Lord God and 
Redeemer; not to be accepted for its own worth, but for the sake 
of a Redeemer's merits ; not out of fear of hell, or hope to purchase 
heaven, but out of love and gratitude to him who has delivered us 
from hell, and purchased heaven and everlasting happiness for us. 

4. All men are obliged to keep these commandments, for God is 
Lord of all : but the saints especially ; for besides being their Lord, 
he is their God and Redeemer too. So far is the state of the saints 
from being a state of sinful liberty, that there are none so strongly 
bound to obedience as they, and that by the strongest of all bonds, 
those of love and gratitude, arising from the amazing and wonder- 
ful obedience and satisfaction which he has performed for them. 
So that the love of Christ will sweetly and powerfully constrain 
them to run the way of his commandments ; for his commandments 
are not grievous, and in the keeping of them is a great reward. 
They will love him, because he has first loved them ; and his love has 
flowed out to them in the crimson streams of their dear Redeemer's 
blood, by which their sins are expiated, and their guilt atoned. 
And those to whom much is forgiven, will certainly love much. 

5. Holiness is the most reasonable course that men can take, and 
the breaking over the bonds of religion is breaking over the bonds 
of reason. God might have required of us obedieuce by his mere 
will, without giving any other reason ; and in that case, men had 
been bound to give it at their peril. But how much sweeter is the 
command, and agreeable what he demands, when he enforces the 
requirement he makes by such engaging motives, as that he is the 
Lord, a being possessed of all passible perfection, of every glorious 
attribute and excellency, the author of all other beings, and all the 
amiable qualities and attracting excellencies of which they are pos- 
sessed ; that he is our God, related to us by a covenant, which he 
hath made Avith his own Son as our Surety and Saviour, and which 
is brought near to us in the gospel, that we may enter into the bond 
thereof, and the righteousness of which is brought near unto us, who 
are stout-hearted and far from righteousness, that we may accept 
thereof, and so be delivered from condemnation ami wrath? How 


agreeable and ravishing is it to reflect, that he incites and prompts 
us to obedience, not by the authority of his absolute sovereignty over 
us, and undoubted propriety in us, but by the inviting and attract- 
ing consideration of the great deliverance he has wrought for us, of 
which the deliverance from the Egyptian bondage was a bright 
type ! Can we reflect on the great salvation wrought for us by Je- 
sus Christ, by which we were saved from all the horrors of sin and 
hell, rescued from the power of Satan, and delivered from the pre- 
sent evil world, and the pollutions thereof ; can we reflect on these 
great and glorious benefits, which afford astonishment to men and 
angels, and our hearts not glow with the warmest fire of love and 
gratitude to him who hath done such excellent things for us ? Can 
we hesitate a moment to say, good is thy will, Grod, just and holy 
are thy laws, and we will cheerfully obey what thou commandest 

Lastly, The more favours any have received from the Lord, the 
more they owe obedience to him. Repeated favours conferred, are 
new calls to gratitude and cheerful obedience to the will of God. 
Every mercy that we receive, every favour conferred upon us by 
God, is a fresh call to double our diligence, and to labour with our 
utmost might, to do the will of our gracious Benefactor and Friend. 
And a continued neglect of the favours and benefits which the Lord 
bestows on men, will make their sins the greater, and their punish- 
ment the sorer. ! that we may lay these things to heart, and fear 
the glorious and fearful name of the Lord our God ! 



Exod. xx. 3. — Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 

The scope of this command is, to direct us to the right object of 
worship. In speaking to it, I shall follow the method of the Cate- 
chism. That is, I will shew, 

I. What is required in the first commandment. 

II. What is forbidden in it. 

III. The import of the words, before me. 

I. I am to shew, what is required in the first commandment. 

The ground whereon this question is built, is, that every com- 
mand hath an affirmative part and a negative. The negative is in- 
cluded in the affirmative, and the affirmative in the negative. As 
in this command, the negative is expressed, Thou shalt have no other 
gods before me ; hence we infer the affirmative part, Thou shalt have 
me for thy God. Now, the commandment being exceeding broad, 
many are the duties included in this, the chief whereof are con- 
tained in the answer. ' The first commandment requireth us to 
know and acknowledge God to be the true God, and our God; and 
to worship and glorify him accordingly.' 

Here are the three chief duties of this command. 1. Knowing. 
2. Acknowledging. 3. Worshipping and glorifying. That these 
are required here, is evident : for it is impossible that we can have 
God for our God, if we do not know him ; and seeing the command 
requires the obedience of the whole man, it necessarily binds us to 
acknowledge, worship, and glorify him accordingly. 

FIRST, We must know God. Hence said David, 1 Chron. xxviii. 
9. ' And thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy father.' 
Knowledge is the foundation of all religion, for religion is a reason- 
able service. The mind of man should be clear and distinct in the 
uptaking of divine things. So it was when God made it, so it 
should be without darkness. This commandment requires us to 

1. The existence of God, 'that he is,' Heb. xi. 6, not only that 
there is a God, but that the God of Israel is the true God. 

2. The nature of God, what he is. To know God comprehen- 
sively and adequately, is beyond the reach of the creature's capa- 
city. Hence said Zophar, one of Job's friends, Job xi. 7- ' Canst 
thou by searching lind out God ? canst thou find out the Almighty 
unto perfection ?' and such a knowledge is not required. But a true 
knowledge of him we must have. Hence Christ said, John xvii. 3. 


* This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God;' 
that is, to know him as he has revealed himself in his word and 
works. We must know him in the Unity of his essence, Dent. vi. 
4 ; and Trinity of persons, 1 John v. 7 ; in his attributes held out 
to us in the word, as that he is infinite, eternal, unchangeable, &c. 
in his works of creation, providence, and redemption. 

And forasmuch as where the end is required, the means also lead- 
ing thereto are required, so the diligent study and observation of 
the word and Avorks of God, and all means leading thereto, are here- 
by required of us ; such as praying, hearing sermons, catechising, 

SECONDLY, we are required hereby to acknowledge him to be 
the only true God, and our God ; Deut. xxvi. 17- ' Thou hast 
avouched the Lord this day to be thy God.' This acknowledge- 
ment presupposeth, 

First, A believing firmly, and without the least hesitation, that 
God is, and what he is, as he has revealed himself in his word aud 
works, Heb. xi. 6 ; for that is the end of the knowledge of God, even 
a full persuasion of what is given us to know concerning him. And 
what he reveals, it is certainly our duty firmly to believe ; as that 
there is one God, this God a spirit ; and that there are three per- 
sons in the Godhead, the same in substance, equal in power and 

Secondly, A full and hearty chusing of this God for our God and 
portion, in opposition to all other persons and things : Psalm 
xvi. 2. ' my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my 
Lord.' Psal. cxix. 57. ' Thou art my portion, Lord.' We are 
not at liberty to chuse our God or our portion, what we will give 
our hearts to, love most, &c. God, as our great Lord and Master, 
has determined that for himself. And law vengeance will pursue 
the neglect of it. 

Thirdly, Hence, seeing there is no right chusing of God as our 
God but in his coA r enant, it is evident, that covenanting with God 
personally is a great and plain duty of this commandment, Psal. 
xvi. 2, forecited. Is. xliv. 5. ' One shall say, I am the Lord's ; — 
another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord.' I have be- 
fore observed, that these commands are proposed under the covert 
of the covenant of grace, wherein God offers himself to all to whom 
the gospel comes to be their God in Christ ; and this command binds 
us to accept. And under this duty several things are required of 

1. A serious deliberation as to the matching of our souls, Josh. 
xxiv. 15. ' Chuse ye this day whom ye -will serve' Think with 


yourselves, sinners, young or old, who must have this heart of 
yours. Consider the match proposed to thee by God himself; think 
on the nature of the covenant, that thou mayest deliberately con- 
sent to it, Luke xiv. 28. 

2. A breaking off the covenant with our lusts and idols, Matth. v. 
24. God says, thou shalt have me for thy God; therefore thou 
must let these go their way. As one would rise up and say to a 
woman giving herself in marriage to another, I have a prior right 
to thee, thou shalt have no other husband but me. So that, could 
the voice of this command be heard, it would be heard saying and 
crying out of injury done to thy God, whensoever anything lawful 
or unlawful gets away the heart inordinately. 

3. Faith in Jesus Christ, receiving him as he is offered in the gos- 
pel, and taking God for our God in him, even Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost, which is the accepting of the covenant, Matth. xxii. 4. 
For though the law knows not Christ, yet it obliges to believe what- 
ever God shall reveal, and do whatever he commands. And ' this 
is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son 
Jesus Christ,' 1 John iii. 23. So that the law confirms this great 
command in the gospel. 

4. Faithfulness in the covenant, continuing with him, and cleav- 
ing to him ; for this is an everlasting command, a negative binding 
at all times. He must be our God without interruption, without in- 
termission. We must say with the Psalmist, ' "Whom have I in 
heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides 
thee,' Psal. lxxiii. 25. 

Now, we must acknowledge God two ways ; in our hearts, and in 
our words and actions. 

1st, In our hearts, by entertaining a frame of spirit on all occa- 
sions suitable to what he has revealed of himself to us in his word 
and works, applying the same to ourselves ; ' In all thy ways ac- 
knowledge him, and ho shall direct thy paths,' Prov. iii. 6. Many 
that pretend to know God, acknowledge him no more than if they 
knew him not at all. Like the servant who does as he pleases be- 
fore his master, never acknowledging him to suit himself to his will 
more than if he did not know he were his master. 

We must thus acknowledge him in all his perfections, carrying 
ourselves in a suitableness to them. I will instance in a few. 

(1.) We must acknowledge him as a spirit, from that considera- 
tion serving him in spirit and in truth, John iv. 24 ; and doing all 
things with godly simplicity, 1 Cor. i. 12. 

(2.) nis unchangeableness must be so acknowledged, as to influ- 
ence us to a firm trust in him, Psal. lxxxix. 34; to constancy and 


perseverance in the way of God, and not to be given to change, 
Prov. xxiv. 21. Yet as God repents him of the evil of punishment 
that he has spoken, so must we of the evil of sin that we have done, 
Joel ii. 13. 

(3.) His omnipresence must influence us to carry as ever under 
the eye of Grod wheresoever we are, Jer. xxiii. 24. and so we own 
him as witness to our most secret actions. 

(4.) His omniscience must influence us to all tenderness, as be- 
lieving that he sees our thoughts, Mark ix. 4. and even the most se- 
cret thing. 

(5.) His omnipotence must influence us to fear him, Job vi. 14. 
not to despise his chastening, nor to rise up against him, but to 
humble ourselves under his hand, and trust him in the lowest con- 
dition. And so of the rest of the perfections of God. 

We must thus acknowledge him with respect to his word and his 

[1.] To his word; as, 

(1.) Hearing or reading the threatenings thereof against sin, we 
must acknowledge his justice and truth therein, by approving of 
them in our hearts, Isa. xxxix. ult. and trembling at his word, Isa. 
Ixvi. 2. Psal. cxix. 120. Otherwise we do not acknowledge the 
speaker as God. 

(2.) Hearing or reading his promises, we must acknowledge him 
as merciful and true, trusting and believing they shall be all accom- 
plished, and giving thereupon the more cheerful obedience to him, 
Gen. xxxii. 9. For where God is acknowledged as the giver of the 
word, the arms of faith and hope will receive it. 

[2.] With respect to his works. 

(1.) The works of creation: at the view of these we must acknow- 
ledge him as the maker of all, infinitely powerful, wise, and good, 
by praising and magnifying his great name, Psal. viii. and cl. 5. 

(2.) Acknowledging him in the works of his providence ; as when 
wo meet with a cross providence, we must acknowledge him just, 
wise, and mighty, by humbling ourselves under his hand, and pa- 
tient bearing of the stroke, because it is the hand of our God, Psal. 
xxxix. 9. And when we meet with a mercy, we must acknowledge 
him to bo merciful and gracious, and the giver of every good gift, 
by confessing ourselves unworthy of it, Gen. xxxii. 10 ; and giving 
thanks for it to his name, 1 Thess. v. 18. 

(3.) In the great work of redemption, as that wherein his justice, 
mercy, love, &c. are gloriously displayed, wondering at the glorious 
contrivance, heartily falling in with it, and laying our salvation on 
that bottom as firm and sure* becoming the divine perfections, Phil, 
iii. 3. 


Idly, We must acknowledge God externally, in our words and 
actions, Dent. xxvi. 17- by a religious profession before the world of 
his being our God and of his truths and ways. Let none scorn a 
profession of religion ; for it is a duty incumbent upon us by virtue 
of this command. God expressly requires it, 1 Pet. iii. 15. ' Be 
ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a 
reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.' It has 
a promise annexed to it, Rom. x. 9. ' If thou shall confess with thy 
mouth the Lord Jesus, &c. thou shalt be saved.' The contrary is 
severely threatened, Mark viii. 38. ' "Whosoever shall be ashamed 
of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of 
him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he cometh in the 
glory of his Father, with the holy angels.' It is edifying to others, 
Phil. i. 12. — 14; and brings glory to God, Phil. i. 20. And the 
with-holding of it is an indignity done to God, as if religion were a 
shameful thing, Luke ix. 26. 

This profession is so necessary, that at no time we must deny the 
faith, the truth, and ways of God. Yet it is neither necessary nor 
fit every where to profess what we believe, Matth. vii. 6 ; but in 
times of persecution we must especially maintain our profession, 
Heb. x. 23; and when called of God, even to pi'ofess before the 
enemy on whatever hazard, Matth. x. 18. 

THIRDLY, This command requires us to worship and glorify 
God accordingly; that is, as God and our God, Rom. i. 21. Matth. 
iii. 10. For if we tahe him for our God, we must worship and 
glorify him as such, Mai. i. 6. 

The worship of God is twofold, internal and external. It is the 
internal that is here required ; the external is but the means of 
worship commanded in the second commandment. The internal is 
the main thing ; in this chiefly true piety consists, and this is that 
wherein the life of religion lies. Now, that I may the more plainly 
lay before you the parts of this internal worship, I shall take them 
up under these. 1. The duty of our understanding. 2. Of our will. 
3. Our affections. 4. Our conscience. 5. Our memory. 6. Lastly, 
The whole soul in all its faculties. And by these you will see what 
it is to worship God in spirit, aud to be godly indeed. 

First, For our minds and understandings, God must be worship- 
ped there. Our minds must not be as dark groves for idolatry or 
creature-worship, but as lightsome temples for the worship of the 
true God. Passing what was said of the knowledge of God, we 
must worship and glorify him internally in our minds, 

1. By thinking on him, Mai. iii. 16. That is a black character, 
Psal. x. 4. ' God is not in all his thoughts.' That is our God we 


love most ; what we love most gets most of our thoughts ; if we 
take him, then, for our God, our thoughts must ruu most towards 
him. He has distinguished us from brutes by a faculty of thinking, 
and therefore should our thoughts be most of him, as the most 
worthy object. 

2. By meditating on him, Psal. lxiii. 6. Fleeting thoughts are 
not enough ; he must be the subject of our fixed meditations. The 
duty of meditating on God and divine things is a necessary duty, 
pleasant, profitable, practised by the saints of best note, though the 
corrupt heart has a peculiar unfitness for it. Live no more in the 
neglect of this duty : enure yourselves to occasional meditation at 
any time, and to more solemn and fixed meditation especially in the 
morning and evening. The Lord's day in a special manner is de- 
signed for this duty. And as in external worship it would be a no- 
table defect to go about other parts of it, and neglect the solemn 
duties of that day, so in internal worship to go about other duties, 
and neglect the duty of meditation. 

3. By highly esteeming him, entertaining high and honourable 
thoughts of him, prising him above all, and in our judgment prefer- 
ring him to all persons and things, Exod. xv. 11. Psal. lxxiii. 25. 
We are naturally blind to spiritual things ; hence arises mean and 
low thoughts of God. "We must shake off these, and labour to 
screw up our esteem of him, fearing no excess. Whatever is worthy 
of esteem in the creature, is but as a drop of the ocean of that which 
is in him. 

4. By believing him, Exod. xiv. ult. firmly assenting to the truths 
of his word upon his testimony, and so to give him the glory of his 
truth. He is a God that cannot lie ; it is contrary to his nature to 
deceive ; for he is truth ; and so the least hesitation about his word 
is a high dishonour to him. This is a fundamental piece of internal 
worship ; which failing, shakes the very foundation of practical 

Secondly, For our will, as it is the leading faculty in all, so it 
must be in the internal worship of God. In our will he must have 
internal worship. 

1. By chusing him as our God and portion, Josh. xxiv. 15, 22. 
of which I spoke before. But this is not to be one single act, but 
frequently repeated, Psal. xvi. 2. and lxxiii. 25. especially when 
any person or thing comes in competition with him. The old choice 
of the saint will still be his new choice, whatever objects present 
themselves. It is a duty and a pleasure thus to renew our choice of 
God and Christ. ' To whom coming as to a living stone ; they have 
come already, but they must be coming still ; they have chosen 


already, but they must chuse him still ; especially while so many 
pretenders to our hearts are about our hands.' 

2. By making him our chief and ultimate end, 1 Cor. x. 31. As 
all the good we have is of him, so it should be to him. His glory 
and honour must be the chief end of our natural, civil, and religious 
actions, in which they ought all to meet as the lines in the centre. 
Whatever view we have to ourselves in living and acting, we must 
have a view beyond that to God himself. We have not God for our 
God, if he be not the great end and scope of our life, Rom. xiv. 8. 

3. By self-denial, Matt. xvi. 24. Self-denial pulls down self from 
the throne of the heart, that God may have that room which self 
has usurped, entirely possessed in an unregenerate state, and is still 
seeking for even in a state of grace. We must no more make our- 
selves our chief end ; God must be master, and self must lacquey at 
his foot ; and what concerns ourselves may be cut and carved as 
may best serve his honour. We must deny, 

1st, Our civil self, all our outward comforts and enjoyments, so as 
to be ready to part with them, sitting loose to them at all times, 
and actually to forego them, when we cannot keep them and keep 
the way of duty to God too, Luke xiv. 36. 

2c%, Our natural self, even our own life, Luke xiv. 26. If God 
be our God, neither death nor life must separate us from him. We 
must let life itself go, rather than that our God should go. All the 
Lord's people are not martyrs in action, but all are martyrs in re- 

dclly, Our religious self, Luke xvii. 10. Whatever we do or 
suffer for God, we must beware we put it not in Christ's room, for 
he will endure no rival. We must renounce our confidence in all, 
as if we had done nothing. 

4. By humility of heart, Mic. vi. 8. whereby, from a sense of our 
own weakness and unworthiness, we lay ourselves low before the 
Lord, and give him the glory of all. This humility towards God 

1st, The keeping up a sense of our weakness and imperfection, 
Isa. xl. 6. 2 Cor. iii. 5. The humble man will acknowledge that his 
springs are without himself in God, and that he of himself is but 
dry and barren, unfit for any good thing, unable for any good work. 

2d.lt/, The ascribing the praise of all the good we are, have, or can 
do, to God, and denying it to ourselves, 1 Cor. xv. 8, 9, 10. The 
humble see themselves decked with borrowed feathers, and therefore 
acknowledge their debt and holding all of free grace. 

3t%, Self-loathing because of sin, the sin of our nature, and daily 
failings, Ezek. xxxvi. 31. As the peacock hangs down his starry 


feathers while he looks at his black feet, so will the sin that besets 
the man make him walk humbly with his God. 

4tMy, Keeping within the bounds of our calling, and meddling 
with nothing beyond our sphere, Psal. cxxxi. 1. If Grod be our 
God, he is our great Commander, who has allotted to all their several 
posts, without which they are not to stir but at his call. And hu- 
mility will teach a man to keep within the bounds of his station, 
both because of the authority that set him there, and the sense he 
has of his having more to do within these bounds than he can well 

Lastly, A voluntary undertaking of any thing the Lord calls us 
to, however mean it may be in the eyes of the world. Such was 
David's dancing before the ark, his chusing to be a door-keeper in 
the house of God, rather than dwell in the tents of wickedness, 
Christ's washing his disciples' feet, &c. 

5. By an entire resignation of ourselves to the will of the Lord, 
Acts ix. 6. The renouncing of our own will is a chief piece of in- 
ternal worship. Our will is the great rebel against the will of God; 
it must be bound hand and foot, and resigned. We must be re- 
signed, (1.) To the commanding will of God, that his will must be 
a sufficient reason of obedience to us, Rom. vi. 17 ; so that whither- 
soever the command draws, we must follow, though over the belly 
of our natural inclinations, Gen. xxii. (2.) To the providential 
will of God. We must lay our all at his feet, to be disposed of ac- 
cording to his pleasure, Luke xiv. 26 ; and as the shadow follows 
the body, so should our will follow the will of God, Psal. xlvii. 4. 
If it be his will to lift us up, or cast us down, it must be ours too. 
And the more we lie like a ball at the foot of Providence, the nearer 
we are to our duty, Phil. iv. 11, 12. 

This resignation must be universal, extending to all things abso- 
lute, not suspended on any condition, but in every case ; cheerful, 
so as we may say, good is the will of the Lord. 

Lastly, By patience under crosses and afflictions, whereby a man 
walks tamely and peaceably under the heaviest yoke the Lord lays 
on him, Psal. xxxix. 9. And why should we not ? He is our God, 
and does us no wrong ; we are ever punished less than our ini- 
quities deserve, Lam. iii. 23. God is wise enough, and knows to 
guide the world without us. He knows better what is good for us 
than we do. We have Christ for our example ; and if we take God 
for our God, we must allow his sovereignty. 

Thirdly, Here is required the inward worship of our affections, 
which are to be devoted to God, and wherein he is to have the chief 
room. The parts of it are these : 


1. Love to God, whereby we love him as the chief good, the best 
of beings, Deut. vi. 5. This holy fire should never be wanting on 
the altar of our hearts, glowing and flaming. "We should love him 
for himself, his most glorious perfections, and for his goodness to 
us. We must begin at the last and rise to the first. This is the 
comprehensive, natural, never-failing duty. 

2. Desires after him, Psal. lxxiii. 25. These are the breathings 
of a soul touched with the love of God, which tends always to per- 
fect enjoyment ; the silent messengers that should be travelling day 
and night from the bottom of the heart to heaven, Isa. xxvi. 9. 
"We have many wants : to what door should we go for supply but to 
his, for communion with him here, and full communion hereafter ? 
Phil. i. 23. And this love and desire must be above all other loves 
and desires. 

3. Delight in him above all persons and things, Psal. xxxvii. 
4. whereby we take pleasure in God whom we love. A life with- 
out any delight, is both a miserable and sinful life. A life that 
knows nothing but carnal delights, is brutish. If there be nothing 
in the world to yield delight to us, is there not a God in heaven to 
give it ? If earthly things delight us, should not God himself be 
our delight much more ? Should not these streams of delight in the 
creature lead us up to the fountain-head in God. 

4. Rejoicing in him above all, Phil. iv. 4. This is delight raised 
to a high pitch. We should cheer our hearts in God, in his glori- 
ous attributes, words, works, &c. Here only we can joy without 
hazard of overjoying. He is suited to our case, the field in which 
being purchased, yea, but discovered, we may for joy sell all that 
we have ; and if he be not suited to our mind, our mind is in a bad 

5. Sorrowing most for offending him, Zech. xii. 10. To offend 
such a good, kind Father, should of all kinds go nearest our hearts, 
No trouble in the world, no crosses, should create that degree of 
grief, that sin should ; for there is not so great an evil in the great- 
est sufferings as in the least sin ; neither is the offence of any mortal 
to be laid in the balance with the offence of a good and gracious 
God. Though our hearts will spring with the touch of a cross, that 
will be like a rock in respect of sin. 

6. Zeal for his honour, and against sin above all, Rev. iii. 19. 
Zeal is a fervour of the affections for God, as one we have an inte- 
rest in, and is a mixture of love and indignation Avhich strongly 
carry the soul before them, Psal. lxix. 9. It is an eager concern in 
the heart, that there be no rival to God within the soul, or without 
in the world ; whereby every piece of dishonour done to God touches 


a man's heart with that concern which the dishonour of a husband 
would touch the heart of a wife. It spreads itself to whatever is 
the Lord's, his people, word, ordinances, works, &c. 

7. Fearing him above all, Isa. viii. 13. We must keep up such 
an awful sense of his majesty, greatness, and goodness, as may awe 
our hearts from meddling with what will be offensive, and may stir 
us up to please him in all things. The want of this, as it is a great 
contempt of that sovereign Being, so it is the opening of the sluice 
of sin and wickedness, Psal. xxxvi. 1. Fear of God is twofold; 
filial and servile. Filial fear is accompanied with love to God, 
Hos. iii. ult. and makes a man fear sin, not only because of the 
punishment, but because of the indignity and baseness of the action. 
Servile fear is only fear of wrath, without any mixture of love. 
This is sinful, not because men fear wrath, for that is duty, Matt. x. 
28. Psal. cxix. 120. but because there is no regard in it to the good- 
ness of God, nor is it mixed with love to him. 

8. Hoping in him above all, Psal. cxxx. 7. This hope is a cer- 
tain expectation of those good things which faith lays hold on, 
grounded on the word, Psal. cxix. 49. The more good, powerful, 
and true any one is. the more may be our hope in the same ; but 
there is none so good, powerful, and true as God, in comparison of 
whom the creatures are but a compound of evil and weakness, and 
therefore a lie. "Where should our hopes be placed, then, but in 
him ? How weak are the pillars they lean on, when created pillars ? 
The soul sinking from hope when looking to the Lord, is sin as 
well as misery. 

Lastly, Trust and confidence in him above all, Isa. xxvi. 4. This 
is the soul's quiet resting in God in the midst of all tossings from 
the devil, the world, and the flesh. It is the soul's staying itself on 
the Lord for through-bearing, holding by his word. Other things 
might have been mentioned, as gratitude for mercies, &c. 

Fourthly, As to the duty of the conscience, which makes a part of 
the internal worship of God, we may take it up in these following 

1. Subjecting itself to God, and to God alone. Conscience is the 
candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the bellv, 
Prov. xx. 27, and to be carried by his hand whithersoever he will. 
It is his deputy in the soul, and must be subject to him, so as to 
be given up entirely to him, not to any other, Matth. xxiii. 9. for 
that is to make a god of the creature. And therefore there is no 
sin where no law of God is broken : and for conscience to say other- 
wise, is to betray its trust, and to make an idol of that creature to 
which it subjects itself. 

Vol. II. n 


2. To receive its law from the mouth of God, to be rightly and 
fully informed of the mind of God with respect to man's duty, as it 
is revealed in his word and works. The defect of this makes the 
eye of conscience so far an evil eye, Matth. vi. 23. It will not ex- 
cuse that we sin with an erring conscience, Isa. v. 20. for that error 
of the conscience is a sin, and one sin will not excuse another. If 
conscience speak not according to the law and testimony, it is be- 
cause there is no light in it, Isa. viii. 20. 

Lastly, To accuse or excuse according to that law, Rom. ii. 15. 
and that exactly and vigorously. Conscience must not be idle, but 
at its work, giving a verdict, and a right one, upon our actions. It 
must not pervert the law, and approve what God condemns, nor con- 
demn what God approves; nor go bluntly about its work. 

Fifthly, The duty of the memory is to remember God, Psal. lxiii. 
6. and keep off from forgetting him, Jude 17. We must remem- 
ber his word, John ii. 17. bringing it out of the storehouse of the 
heart, where it was laid up, for our direction, instruction, comfort, 
&c. We must remember his works, Job xxxvi. 24. We should be 
often calling to mind what he has done in his works of creation, his 
providence towards ourselves, the church and others ; and especially 
the great work of redemption, whereof the sacrament of the supper 
is a solemn memorial. 

Lastly, The duty of our whole soul is, that all the faculties there- 
of be employed in their several operations towards him, so as the 
whole soul may be as a parcel of candles in one room, each lighted 
and naming. Particularly. 

1. Prayer and calling on his name, Phil. iv. 6. Prayer is the 
special duty of the soul, wherein the soul addresses God for all that 
it stands in need of. And here I mean especially mental prayer, 
which is always necessary to be joined with vocal ; that is, the 
heart's going along with the words. It is sometimes necessary to be 
without words, as where we cannot speak but we are overheard, 
Exod. xiv. 15. There is also ejaculatory prayer, Neh. ii. 4. which 
may be profitably used amidst our daily employments. 

2. Internal praise and thanksgiving, Psal. xlv. 1. The altar of 
our heart should never be without thank-offerings, because we are 
ever in God's debt; and our good things received while here are 
more than our evil things, though the latter are deserved, the 
former not. 

Lastly, Giving all obedience to him with the whole soul, Jer. vii. 
23. Our soul must be at his beck in every thing, and in every case. 

Now, consider that these duties are here required of us in their 
perfection. None of them must thrust out another, but each of 

the srsrs forbidden. 103 

them appear in its proper place. We are obliged thereby to use 
all means leading thereto, and abstain from every thing that may 
hinder the same, both in ourselves and others. 

Use 1. The commandment is exceeding broad, Psal. cxix. 96. 
They but deceive themselves that stick in the letter of it, and take 
it not up in its spirituality and extent. They falsify the measure, 
and no wonder they deceive themselves, when they measure them- 
selves by it, Rom. vii. 9. Were many of us put to the trial on this 
command, we would plead not guilty, because not gross idolaters. 
But, alas ! if we viewed this command in its spirituality and extent, 
we would be forced to plead guilty, in respect of our not knowing 
and acknowledging God to be the only true God, and our God, and 
not worshipping and glorifying him accordingly. 

2. Let these things serve to convince us of our sin, and deeply to 
humble us, Psal. xix. 12. This preaching of the commands is a 
glass held before your face, wherein you may see your spots. 
look unto it, that ye may see what are your sins ! And when ye go 
home, go over these things in your meditation. 

3. Learn from hence the impossibility of salvation by the way of 
the law, or keeping the commandments. Ye have heard yet but a 
part of the explication of one of these commands ; but durst ye 
venture your salvation on the fulfilling of this one part of this one ? 
How then can ye think to be capable enough for them all ? 

4. See the infinite obligations we lie under to Christ, for that he 
was made under the law, exactly fulfilled it in every point, and of- 
fers us his righteousness, whereby we may answer all the demands 
of the law in point of justification. 

5. See the absolute need ye have of Christ. Look rightly on 
these commands as your creditors, behold the articles they charge 
on you as a just debt, and ye will see you must have a cautioner. 
Ye need Christ, 

(1.) For justification and pardon, to remove the guilt ye have 
contracted. There is need of blood to wash away that guilt. 

(2.) For sanctification. Here is the rule of your life. To each of 
these duties, and other duties, ye must set yourselves. Have ye not 
need of his spirit to strengthen, incline, and make you persevere 
therein ? 

II. I come now to the negative part of this command. ' The first 
command forbiddeth the denying, or not worshipping and glorifying 
the true God, as God, and our God ; and the giving that worship 
and glory to any other which is due to him alone.' 

There are three sins chiefly forbidden in this commandment. 
1. Atheism. 2. Profaneness. 3. Idolatry. 

h 2 


FIRST, Atheism is here forbidden. It is the denying of God, a 
sin that overturns all religion by the root, Prov. xxx. 6. It is two- 
fold ; speculative in the judgment, and practical in the conversa- 

First, There is a speculative atheism, which has its seat in the 
corrupt mind of man. It is also twofold ; one striking simply at 
the being of a God, another at the being only of the true God mani- 
fested to us in his word. Both these are forbidden here ; for the 
command says two things : 1. Thou shalt have a God. 2. Thou 
shalt have me for thy God. 

1. Then there is an absolute speculative atheism, when men's 
hearts are so filled by Satan, that they do not believe there is a God 
at all, Psal. xiv. 1. I do not think that any person can arrive at 
a constant, habitual, uninterrupted atheism of this sort, more than 
they can destroy the being of their own souls, God has so interwo- 
ven the notion of his being with the very make of the soul. But 
such a conclusion they may come to lay down, and labour habitu- 
ally to maintain it against themselves and others. This is consum- 
mate atheism. 

There is also an initial atheism ; that is, doubting of the being of 
a God, the mind going from one side to another, doubting whether 
there be a God or not. This arises from man's natural corruption, 
and is often carried on by Satanical injections. We have all athe- 
istical thoughts. They may be found both in godly and wicked 
men. But in the godly especially, as they arise from Satan, they 
will be found exceeding heavy and tormenting. Men may reason 
against them, but the best cure is prayer, with God's manifesting 
himself to the soul. 

Atheism, less or more, is a dreadful sin. 1. It is of a most ma- 
lignant nature, striking at the very being of God, and so plucking 
up all religious worship and service to God by the roots : ' For he 
that cometh unto God, must believe that he is,' Ileb. xi. 6. 2. It is 
most contrary to the light of nature, and does violence even to a 
natural conscience. It is a flying in the face of nature and revela- 
tion at once. 3. It is destructive to human society : for take away 
the notion of a God from amongst men, there would be no living 
more than among wild beasts. Lastly, It is a sin whereof devils are 
not guilty? for, however they foster it among men, they yet believo 
and tremble, James ii. 19. But if nothing else do, death and hell, 
where there are no athiests nor atheistical thoughts, will cure the 

2. There is a comparative speculative atheism, when men, though 
they deny not the being of a God, yet do not believe the true God, 


as he is manifested in the scriptures. — So they have not him for 
their God, and therefore are athiests in scripture style, Eph. ii. 12. 
Such are Heathens, Jews, Turks, Deists, Socinians, and others, who 
do not helieve one God in three persons, denying any of the three, 
1 John ii. 23. Such receive an idol of their own fancy, hut deny 
the true God. This is condemned here, and so is all doubting lead- 
ing thereunto. And the least hankering that makes men come 
short of a full persuasion of what God is, as he is revealed in his 
word and works, is a sin here prohibited. 

There are two things which ye should take heed of as tending to 
atheism. 1. The influence of prosperity on a corrupt heart, which 
is like that of the sun on a dunghill, Prov. xxx. 9. and therefore 
often is that added to tlireatenings, ' They shall know that 1 am the 
Lord.' This should make afflictions welcome as antidotes against 
atheism. 2. Doubting or denying of providence, Mai. iii. 14, 15. 
Psal. lxxiii. 13. If men once get God excluded from the earth, it 
is a great step to the excluding him out of heaven too. 

3. There is practical atheism, which is a denying of God in our 
works, Tit. i. 16. These have a language for or against God which 
he understands, yea, even men too sometimes, Psal. xxxvi. 1. It 
matters not what principles men have, when their practice is nothing 
but a contradiction to them, when the web of principles in their 
head is every day opened out by their conversation. This practical 
atheism is opposite to that acknowledgment of God as the true God 
spoken of before. Accordingly it is twofold. 

1st. Practical heart-atheism, which is, when men entertain no 
frame of spirit suitable to what God has revealed of himself in his 
word and works, Psal. xiv. 1, 2, 3. And may not that be a con- 
founding question to us on that point, Mai. i. 6. ' If I be a father, 
where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? 
saith the Lord of hosts.' God is light, which discovers itself where- 
ever it is ; but if we look into our hearts, we will quickly find oft- 
times that he is not there, by an absolute unsuitableness in them to 
his presence ; that they are in no other case than if indeed there 
were no God ; so that if de non apparentibus et non existentibus eadem 
est ratio, how oft and justly are we chargeable as atheists ? 

To instance in a few things. God is a spirit but how do we put 
him off with mere bodily service, as if we were serving an idol ? Isa. 
xxix. 13. God is omnipresent ; but though we should act as before 
him every where yet it is scarcely done any where. How often 
does our heart find a great deal of sinful liberty in one place which 
it has not in another ; and to do that fearlessly in secret, which 
men would be ashamed to do before a child ? He is omniscient ; 

ii 3 


yet what a deal of security do men seem to have from secrecy, while 
the thoughts of God abide within their own breast, as if he no more 
saw our thoughts than men do? He is omnipotent; but how soon 
are we at giving up all for lost in difficulties to ns inextricable ? 
and how little awe is there of God on our spirits, when we are in 
ways wherein his power is engaged against us ? What is all this 
but heart-atheism originally ? 

If we consider how we handle his word, heard, or read, his pro- 
mises, threatenings, commands, and how little our hearts are influ- 
enced thereby, suitably to what is read or heard, much heart-atheism 
will appear ; so that when we are closing the Bible, or going out of 
the church-door, the language of our hearts in effect would often be 
found, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil, for prac- 
tically they seem to be but idle tales. 

If we consider how little God's works influence us, much heart- 
atheism will appear. I am sure, that men's hearts often, when they 
behold the works of creation, could do no less than they do, if the 
world had been made by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, that is, to 
pass them unregarded. And for his providence under crosses, how 
often are men like the dog that snarls at the stone, but looks not 
after the haud that threw it ? and in mercies as the fed horse, that 
greedily falls to the hay, but regards not him that laid it before 
him, but to kick at him ? And as to the work of redemption, it is 
not seen, believed, or laid stress upon, by the most part of the 
world ; and those that do, how often do they lay their weight on it 
but at a venture, as afraid it would break with it ? 

Idly, Practical life-atheism, which is when men carry before the 
world as if there were no God, Psal. xxxvi. 1. — Such are, 

(1.) The factors for atheism in the world, who, by their devilish 
reasonings, mockings, and cavils at religion, do what they can to 
banish the notion of a God out of the world. 

(2.) Those who, as they have no religion, make as little profession 
of it. God indeed is not their God, and as little do they avouch 
him to be so. They are none of God's servants, and they will not 
wear his livery. 

3. Those who, whatever they profess, yet live as if there were no 
God, no heaven, no hell, but the Bible were a fable. There is a 
spice of this life-atheism in all the irregularities and disorders of 
our lives wherein our actions do contradict our principles of God. 

(4.) Lastly, Those who having had a profession, do at length quit 
it. Their leaf faileth and falleth. [1.] There are some whose leaf 
fadeth, as the leaf of a tree in harvest, through want of sap from 
the stock, and so falls of. There are not a few at this day of that 


sort, who sometimes were blooming professors, but now the} 7 have 
lost leaf as well as fruit ; and nothing ailed them to loose it, but 
just that the root of the matter was never in them. They have 
drawn back, and have not staid till they had been driven back. 
[2.] There are some whose leaf falleth, like the leaf of a tree in 
summer, by a stormy wind of persecutiou. They would keep their 
leaf if it would always abide calm ; but they cannot abide the shock 
of persecution, and so, rather than deny themselves, they will deny 
Christ before men, Mark viii. ult. and many such our times are 
likely to produce, because we have no other gods before the Lord. 

Go home then, and mourn over the sin that some of us have never 
been troubled about hitherto ; that is, atheism, which is not so rare 
in the world as is imagined. Thy heart is too kindly a soil for the 
worst of abominations, to miss any devilish corruption therein, that 
is going on in the world. And apply to Christ for his blood and 
Spirit, to remove the guilt of this sin, and destroy its power and in- 
fluence in you. 

SECONDLY, Another sin forbidden in this commandment, is 
profaneness, which is the not worshipping and glorifying the true 
God, as God, and our God, and much more the acting against his 
honour, quite contrary to those duties of worship and honour that 
we owe him. It will then be necessary that we look back to those 
duties of worship, which we mentioned to be those of the mind, will, 
affections, conscience, memory, and the whole soul, with all its fa- 
culties, that we may see what is forbidden, under this head. 

First, There is a profaneness of the mind, Tit. ii. 15 ; when the 
minds of men are like a dark grove for idols, confusion, and pro- 
faneness, instead of being a lightsome temple to God, where the 
candle of heavenly light is put out, and darkness from hell takes 
place instead of it. Consider, then, this profaneness of mind. 

1. In opposition to the knowledge of God; and so this command 

1st, Ignorance of God and divine things, especially such as are 
fundamental, Hos. iv. 1, 6. There is a natural ignorance, with 
which man is born, like a wild ass's colt, that must needs be cured, 
for it is the sad effect of the loss of original righteousness. There 
is an effected ignorance among them that have the means yet, 
through enmity against God and his law, will not learn, or through 
laziness and carelessness will not be at the pains, Job. xxi. 14. 

Ignorance is a mother-sin, as blindness disposes men to fall over 
every block in their way ; therefore the scripture tells us it is a 
special destroyer, Hos. iv. 6 ; and has a most terrible threatening 
annexed to it, Isa. xxvii. 11 ; ' It is a people of no understanding : 


therefore, he that made thein will not have mercy on them, and he 
that formed them will shew them no favour.' If it is so terrible in 
those that want the means, how will it be to others ? 2 Thess. i. 8. 

But though we be not chargeable with that gross ignorance, we 
do not satisfy that command, Prov. xxx. 2. How many things are 
revealed that we ought to know, which we know not? How imper- 
fect and unclear is the knowledge we have of many things? but 
from the beginning it was not so. And how ineffectual is our know- 
ledge ! and what little influence has it on our practice ! 

Idly, Misapprehensions of God, Acts xvii. 28, 29. how liable 
are we to these, to apprehend God to be what he is not ! "When we 
begin to apprehend him, the first way the heart goes is to misappre- 
hend him. The world is full of this. Seldom is it that the heart 
does not blot out some of his attributes, misapprehending his word 
and works. And such are all false opinions concerning him, Rom. 
i. 21. 

2. In opposition to thinking and meditating on God, is forbidden, 
1st, That profane carelessness of the heart, whereby God is not in 

all our thoughts, Psal. x. 4. He is our first principle, last end, wit- 
ness, and judge, so that we should set him always before us, Psal. 
xvi. 8. But, instead of that, we forget our God, and then forget 
ourselves, though there is never a moment but we are receiving at 
his hand, Jer. ii. 32. 

2dly, The neglect of the great duty of meditation, spending no 
time on that work, yea, and a disposition of spirit averse to it, and 
that cannot fix on it. Men's hearts can fix well enough to carnal 
meditations, that may advance their worldly interest, or gratify 
their lusts ; but to meditations of God they are as unstable as wa- 
ter. They will sink and dive to the bottom in these muddy waters, 
while they will float like a feather in the waters of the sanctuary, 
and it is as difficult to get the heart off the one as upon the other. 

3c%, The resisting of the thoughts of God when they bear in 
themselves on the soul, Ptom. i. 28. Sometimes the Lord makes hea- 
venly thoughts dart into the heart for conviction, humiliation, &c. 
but like a stitch iu the side, presently there is a hand laid on it to 
press it down. Thus men war against God, and will not think on 
him, till he himself stop them in their mad career. 

3. In opposition to the honourable thoughts of God, required in 
this commandment is forbidden, 

1st, The want of these honourable thoughts of him, the not es- 
teeming, admiring, and adoring him above all. High thoughts will 
men have of trifles, that have none of the Highest. If we look to 
what he is, and consider our thoughts, we will be found most guilty 
in this point. 


2c%, Mean and low thoughts of God and Christ. These are so 
frequent in the world, that Christ is said to be despised, and not 
esteemed, Isa. liii. 3; and God contemned by the wicked, Psal. x. 
13. Read the thoughts of your heart on the work of your hands in 
respect of duty, Mai. i. 7, 8. 

3c%, Unworthy and wicked thoughts of God, Psal. I. 21. which 
are heart-blasphemy not to be named. Sometimes these do arise 
from the corrupt heart by an ordinary influence of temptation, 
where the heart, like a raging sea, casts up its mire and dirt against 
heaven ; and they follow on a loose and carnal frame, wherein mean 
thoughts of God have settled themselves ; or from some galling of 
conscience from fear of wrath, while the heart is glued to the sin; 
or from extremity of trouble, while the spirit is unsubdued. It is a 
dreadful sin, and has much of hell in it. But there are wicked 
thoughts, or blasphemous injections, that are immediately from the 
devil, that come in suddenly, like fiery darts, so as to make a man 
to shiver, and being continued will sicken the body, and torment 
the soul extremely. These are not our sins, unless by consenting to 
them we adopt them, Matt. iv. 9. 

4. In opposition to the great duty of believing God, several 
things are forbidden, some in defect, some in excess. 

1st, There is, (1.) Doubting of or questioning the truth of whatso- 
ever we know God has revealed. The queries of the false heart, 
concerning revealed truths, ' How can these things be ?' are a great 
affront to the veracity of God. — (2.) Unbelief, which gives the lie 
to the Lord's word, whether doctrines, promises, or threateniugs, 
2 Kings vii. 19. Deut. xxix. 19, 20. This is the great stumbling- 
block of the perishing world, and enemy of the saints. — (3.) Misbe- 
lief; that is, when men believe sin to be duty, and duty to be sin, 
Isa. xxvi. 9 ; — (4.) Heresy, which is a pertinacious defending of any 
error agaiust a substantial point of truth, Gal. v. 20. — (5.) Lastly, 
Lesser errors want not their own sinfulness, as being contrary to 
revealed truth, that we are obliged to know, and contrary to that 
believing of God required in his word. On the other hand, 

[1.] Yain credulity, when people, through the instability of their 
minds, lightly embrace doctrines pretended to be from God, without 
narrowly examining and discovering the truth, 1 John iv. 1. We 
must answer for what we believe, as well as for what we reject ; 
and therefore the Bereans were commend§d for searching the scrip- 
tures, whether what the apostles taught was agreeable to them, 
[2.] Tempting God, Matth. iv. 7. when people cast themselves out 
of God's way, and yet expect his protection ; when out of the way 
of the command, they look for the benefit of the promise. There is 


another way of tempting God, and that in defect, when people will 
not believe, unless they see signs and wonders, and cannot take 
God's bare word. [3.] Carnal security, Zeph. i. 12. when, over the 
belly of all the threatenings of God, men promise themselves safety 
in an evil course. 

Secondly, There is a profaneness of the will. It is a stony heart, 
enmity against God, having a propensity to evil in it, total in the 
unregenerate, partial in the regenerate. This command directs it 
to God. The profaneness of it lies in a departing from and opposi- 
tion to God. 

1. Whereas it is the duty of our will to take God for our God, 
and enter into his covenant, and to hold by him as our covenanted 
God, here are forbidden several sorts of profaneness. As, 

1st, The total omission of personal covenanting with God, closing 
with and accepting of God as our God in his covenant. A sad sign 
of an ungracious heart, Isa. xliv. 3, 5. Eph. ii. 12. What a profane 
will must that be that will not come under the bond of the cove- 
nant ? What way do men think that God can be their God if they 
take him not in his covenant ? Ye that never closed with God in 
a personal covenant, have your religion yet to begin. Think on it, 
ye old neglecters, and ye young ones, that have never ratified with 
your own consent the covenant made for you in baptism. 

Idly, The not renewing our covenaut with God, and repeating our 
choice. Our frequent backslidings require it, Jer. 1. 4. What hope 
can we have that so often go a-whoring from our Lord and Hus- 
band, if we do not return and renew the marriage-covenant ? The 
neglect of this is a fatal mistake at this day, when judgment is at 
the door. ! what should we do in such a time, but humble our- 
selves for breach of covenant, and renew covenant with God, under 
the view of these evil days ? If this were done, it would be a good 
preparation, and would make way for national renewing our cove- 
nant engagments. 

2>dly, Hypocritical covenanting, consenting in words to the cove- 
nant, but not taking God for our God with our hearts, Hos. viii. 2, 
3. They that would take God for their God, must put away their 
strange gods, and open their hearts that the King of glory may 
come in. But, alas ! many give him the hand, who give dura not the 
heart. He is our God to whom our hearts are devoted. Though 
we give God the best of#Fords, if our lusts get the best of our 
hearts, we are dealing hypocritically with God. 

4thly, Dealing falsely in the covenant, Psal. 1. 16, 17- what 
matter of shame and confusion is there for us here ? What children 
of Belial are we, whom national, baptismal, and personal covenants 


will not bind ! How often after vows have we made enquiry, re- 
turned to those sins which we have renounced, and engaged against, 
eat in the best words that ever we spoke in making a covenant, and 
thrown away the happiest bonds that we ever came under ! 

bthly, Covenanting and engaging against God, his cause and way, 
and binding ourselves to sin ; whether rashly in our private walk, 
by the vehemency of our passion, Eccl. v. 6 ; or more deliberately, 
in obedience to authority, Hos. v. 11. This has been, is at this day, 
and is still like to be more, the sin and snare of this land. But let 
us remember, that our covenant with God must regulate all other 
engagements we come under ; and if once we take God to be our 
God, our hands are bound up from taking any other in his place. 
For ' we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth,' 2 Cor. 
xiii. 8. 

Lastly, All compact with the devil. Such is the corruption of 
human nature, that men will take the devil for their god. Here is 
forbidden, (1,) All witchcraft, sorcery, malice, and devilry. These 
renouncing God, become the devil's vassals and servants in a special 
manner, to have communion with him here in mischief and wicked- 
ness, and communion with him in hell fire. Two things readily oc- 
casion it : either discontent with one's own condition, or desire of 
revenge, which ye should beware of. (2.) All using of spells and 
charms, whether for knowing of secret things past or to come, for 
curing or preventing of diseases in men or beasts, or for any other 
effect whatsoever. This is an implicit compact with the devil, which 
those that are far from express covenanting with him may fall into. 
Both are condemned, Deut. xviii. 10, &c. There are, alas ! many of 
these things which are unworthy to be maintained; but take this 
rule in this case, That whatsoever is brought to pass by means, 
which neither by the appointment of God, nor the nature of the 
mean used, can be expected, is from the devil. The sacraments and 
medicines are means of divine institution, and by the blessing of 
God, when used in faith, are conducive to the ends for which they 
are appointed. But the truth is, spells, charms, &c. are the devil's 
sacraments. For what virtue can there be in words, a key, riddle, 
laying such or such things above a door-head, &c. to produce the 
effects expected by miserable creatures from them ? But they are 
Satan's sacraments, that must be used with a kind of truth or belief 
of the success, at which the devil produceth the desired effect some- 
times, God permitting it : for he cannot always do it. 

2. Whereas it is a duty of this command to make God our chief 
end, it forbids, 

1st, Men-pleasing, Gal. i. 10. There is a holy man-pleasing which 


we should all learn, if we would please God, Rom. xv. 2. ' Let every 
one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.' Paul was 
dexterous at that holy art, 1 Cor. ix. 19. — 22. turning himself into 
all colours, but black, to please them, for their good. But this sin- 
ful man-pleasing is, when we set ourselves to please men without re- 
gard to the pleasing of God, proposing their pleasure as our only 
or chief end, Tit. ii. 9. Compare Eph. vi. 6. Col. iii. 22. And this 
we are guilty of, either when we do a sin to please men, or do a 
good thing, or lawful, more to please them than God. 

Idly, Not making God our end at all, Psal. lxxxvi. 14. when God's 
honour has no place at all in our projects and actions. Thus he 
who should have the chief place in all we do, has none ; the chief 
corner-stone is not admitted into the unsanctified building, but self 
is the beginning, middle, and end. Many such black pieces without 
mixture are in the web of our conversation. 

"idly, Not making God our chief end, when, though we have an 
eye to God in our actions, yet not the chief eye ; not seeking him 
above all, in all, and beyond all, 1 Cor. x. 31. Psalm lxxiii. 25. 
Man's will at his creation was made chiefly looking to God ; and the 
least deviation from this is our sin. But how often is our respect 
to God inferior to what we have to ourselves ! God is made the 
mean, and ourselves the great end. Many parts of the saints' re- 
ligion, and all the religion of others, are rather a serving them- 
selves of God than a serving of God. 

3. Whereas self-denial is a duty of this command, it forbids, 

1st, Self-seeking. Not that we may not at all seek ourselves, but 
we must not make ourselves our only and chief end, Phil. ii. 21. 
That is sinful seeking, when our own things exclude Christ's things, 
or are above the things of Christ ; when, neglecting God, we seek 
only our own profit or pleasure ; or when in any thing we have no 
view beyond these to God. In natural, civil, or religious actions, 
men may seek their own profit and delight, Prov. xxvii. 23. Eccl. 
ii. 24. and ix. 7, 8. Cant. i. 2. But these must be directed towards 
God, being sought, that thereby we may be in the better capacity to 
serve our God. They must be used as stage-coaches to help us on 
our way, not as beds to lie down in and rest there. But what 
guilt is contracted in these matters ! What self-seeking is charge- 
able on us, 

(1.) As to natural actions, Zech. vii. 6. having no higher end in 
these than ourselves, no respect to the command of God, but our 
own appetite ; not to fit us for the duties of our general or particu- 
lar callings, but to please ourselves. 

(2.) In civil actions, Prov. xxi. 4 ; no eye to God's command, no 


eye to his honour ; but to our own wealth and outward estate. This 
was the sin of the old world, Matth. xxiv. 38. Luke xvii. 27, 28. 
But religion teaches to eat and drink, because God has said, 'Thou 
shalt not kill ;' to marry, because he has said, ' Thou shalt not com- 
mit adultery ;' to work, because he has said, ' Thou shalt not steal,' 
and that they may honour the Lord with their substance. 

(3.) In religious actions, Prov. xv. 8. How often is religion made 
to serve men's interest, and lacquey at the feet of carnal projects ? 
"What self-seeking is there in our religion, seeking worldly advan- 
tages, credit, and a great name, our own peace, and welfare for eter- 
nity at best, which is but self-seeking, if we see not that in God 
which makes us seek him for himself. 

Idly. Self-love, 2 Tim. iii. 2. Love ourselves we may, our souls, 
our bodies ; but the love of God must regulate our love to ourselves, 
and we must love ourselves in God and for our God, not more than 
God, nor as much, Matth. xxii. 37, 38, 39. The love of God is the 
first command. Our neighbour must be loved with an inferior sort 
of love, not as our God, but as ourselves : therefore the love of our- 
selves must be inferior to that of God. Now, sinful self-love is that 
inordinate affection which we bear to ourselves, without due subordi- 
nation to God, a love of ourselves that carries us off our duty to 
God. This prevails over us when we are not ready to sacrifice our 
all to God at his call, Luke xiv. 26. Hence proceeds defection from 
the truth in time of Trial, the gratifying of ourselves at any time at 
the expence of God's displeasure. 

Sclly, Self-pleasing, Rom. xv. 1. It is a narrowness of spirit, 
whereby, if we can please ourselves, we value not the pleasing of 
others for their good, as if we had been only born for ourselves. It 
is a siu that is highly displeasing to God, and the bane of society, 
wherein men must retrench something from themselves to please 
others, otherwise they will be as briars and thorns continually in the 
sides of one another : for what can be expected there where each 
will needs have his own way of it ? Upon this it is that the using 
or not using of indifferent things is built. 

^thly, Self-confidence, whereby men lean to the broken reed of 
their own wisdom and their own strength, instead of leaning to God, 
Prov. iii. 5. and xxviii. 26. It carries men off from God, and brings 
down a curse on that in themselves which they lean unto ; their 
parts, their pains, abilities, resolutions, &c. Jer. xvii. 5. There is 
much sin this way. 

5thly, Self-conceit, Prov. xxvi. 12. It is men's blindness and igno- 
rance that makes them so. Were their eyes opened, they would see 
they were nothing. Self-jealousy becomes us better, who have so 
little to make any good of. 


Lastly, Self-righteousness. This is the worst kind of selfishness, 
whereby men, puffed up with an opinion of their own works, put 
them in Christ's room, and look to procure the favour of God by 
them, Isa. lviii. 3. This is a subtile idol, venting itself many ways ; 
as (1.) Reckoning more on the quantity than the quality of duties, 
Luke xviii. 11. (2.) More on the quality of duties, when they are 
done vigorously than on our interest in the blood of Christ. (3.) 
Expecting returns of favour or debt from the well-doing of our duty. 
And (4.) Fretting and rising of the heart against God under disap- 
pointments, &c. 

4. Whereas humility of heart is required in this command, there 
is forbidden in it, pride of heart, with all the branches of that curs- 
ed tree. It is a setting up of a man's self instead of God ; a swell- 
ing of the empty heart, that is most hateful to God, 1 Pet. v. 5. a siu 
that destruction naturally follows. It has many poisonous branches ; 
for it turns itself into many shapes, all here forbidden ; as, 

1st, Counterfeit humility. Pride often goes abroad under the 
mask of humility, as the devil transforming himself into an angel of 
light. There was as much pride in the disfigured faces of the Phari- 
sees, (Mat. vi. 16.) as in the proud looks of others ; in Diogenes, as 
in Plato. Men had need take heed they deceive not themselves ; 
for pride of heart may put them upon, and make them please them- 
selves in great external humiliations. 

%ily. Insensibleness of our own weakness, sinfulness, and insuffi- 
ciency, Hab. ii. 4. There is little impression of that on our hearts 
for the most part ; and when at any time it is made, how quickly 
does it go off? for our hearts are like a stiff stick, that will quickly 
lose the bend. This insensibleness vents itself in, (1.) A woful self- 
sufficiency, whereby men are carried off from depending on God, and 
hanging continually about his hand, Jer. ii. 31. (2.) A miserable 
security as to sin, especially sins of the grosser sort, to which we 
think we have no need to take heed. But if the pride of our hearts 
were fallen, we would fall in with the warning, 1 Cor. x. 12. 'Let 
him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.' (3.) Rigid 
censuring and rejecting those we judge have sinned. What is the 
cause of that, but the beam of pride and insensibleness of our own 
weakness in our own eye? Matth. vii. 1, 2, 3. Therefore the 
apostle recommends lenity and meekness upon this consideration, 
Gal. vi. 1. 

Sdly, Meddling with things without our sphere, Psal. cxxxi. 1, 2. 
thrusting ourselves on duties that are not the duties of our station. 
This proceeds from pride of heart, that waits not for God's call, but 
invades the province given of God to others. Uzziah smarted for 
this ; as did also Uzzah. 


Lastly, Refusing any duty we are called to for the meanness of it. 
It is the pride of heart that reckons any thing unbecoming us that 
God requires of us ; yet in many cases our honour with us takes 
place of God's honour ; and men not only do not their duty, but 
scorn to do it. God says, seek my face, be reconciled to me ; but 
they scorn to do it. They may honour God by submitting to in- 
struction, the discipline of Christ's house ; but they scorn to do it as 
unbecoming them, 1 Sam. ii. 30. 

5. Whereas resignation to the will of God is our duty required in 
this commandment, here is forbidden. 

1st, All even the least discontent with our lot, or any thing that 
God puts in it. If God be our God, he must chuse our inheritance 
for us, Psal. xlvii. 4. It is a sad character to be complainers, viz. 
of their lot, Jude 16. that blame or are angry at their lot, Gr. A 
person has something in his state and condition that is not accord- 
ing to his mind and will, a husband a wife of a disagreeable temper, 
something they want which they would fain have, something they 
have that they would fain be free of, and they fret themselves, be- 
cause what God has made crooked they cannot make straight. It 
is straight enough to God's will, though not to thine, Job xxxiv. 33. 
The consequence of that discontent is, We will not have this man 
to reign over us. It is people's duty not to quarrel with their lot, 
and be always screwing up their lot to their mind, but to bring 
their will to their lot, because it is God's will. 

Idly, An unsanctifled contentment with their lot ; and that is, 
when people carry easily under any hardship in their lot, but not 
upon the Christian principle of resignation to the will of God. 
There are many other ways to satisfy a discontented mind ; business 
and company may put it out of their heads, taking that content in 
one creature-comfort which they cannot get in another, some in law- 
ful, others in an unlawful way, consulting their own peace. But 
in the meantime the consideration of the will of God does not pre- 
vail with them to a contented resignation. 

'idly, The bearing of any hardship in our lot as just, but no satis- 
faction with it as good, Isa. xxxix. ult. What he does, is not only 
well done, but best done. It reflects dishonour on God, only to 
think the work of his providence towards us to be tolerable. Surely 
we come so far short of our duty, as we do not with satisfaction ac- 
quiesce to the hardest piece of our lot, as best for us. 

6. Lastly, Whereas patience is here commanded under crosses, 
here is forbidden, 

1st, All impatience, grudging, murmuring, and quarrelling under 
the hand of God, Psal. xxxvii. 7, 8. This is a fire kindled by the 


devil, by striking a proud heart against firm providence, firm as 
mountains of brass. It is kindled in men's breasts by the heart's 
rising against the cross. It often sends out its hellish smoke in 
passionate expressions by the mouth, and scorches others by the sin- 
ful deeds it puts them on : for such are as madmen throwing about 
firebrands, arrows, and death. It makes a man an enemy to him- 
self; and flies up against God, accusing him of injustice, folly, and 

Idly, Insensibleness under the hand of God, Isa. xlii. 25. who stand 
unmoved under afflictions, as if they were stocks and stones, and cry 
not when he bindeth them. Thus men are several ways guilty. (1.) 
Sometimes they are brutish under afflictions, and will groan in their 
troubles like sick beasts, but nothing more. (2.) Stupid and indo- 
lent, without sense of trouble. If they be not the better, they are 
as little the worse of it. (3.) A Roman courage and briskness of 
spirit, that will not stoop under what they meet with. And, (4.) 
patience perforce ; they bear the yoke, because they cannot get it 
oft", and they will not worry in the band. 

2>dly, There is a profaneness of the affections, Rom. i. 25, 26. 
The affections or passions in themselves are neither good nor evil ; 
but they should be consecrated to God chiefly and to their proper 
objects in God, and then they are good. But being denied to God, 
or set on improper objects, they are profaned; and if they be 
given to their proper objects as much and more than to God, that is 
idolatry ; of which I am to speak afterwards. 

1. Then, whereas it is commanded here to love God, there is for- 

1st, All want, yea and weakness, of love to God. It is a pro- 
faneness of heart to be coldrife in love to the most lovely object, 
this being especially the principal duty of holiness. 2dly, Love to 
those things we should hate. How often is our love mislaid thus ? 
The corrupt heart fastens on those things that are like itself. Sdly, 
Hatred of God, and enmity against him, Rom, i. 30. This vents it- 
self, (1.) In secret wishes there were no God, Psal. xiv. 1. (2.) 
That he were not such a God as he has revealed himself in his word, 
not just, holy, &c. (3.) In risings of the heart against his holy law, 
which is a transcript of his nature. Athly, Hatred of his people that 
bear his image, for that they are strict and holy in their lives. 
That is malignancy. Lastly, Hatred of his ordinances, work and 
interest, and of his kingdom in the world. 

2. Whereas our desires should go out after God, here is forbidden. 
1st, All want and weakness of desires after God, Psal. x. 4. 

How often are our hearts free of these, no breathings, no longings 


after the Lord? How weak and languishing, while desires after 

created things throng in one upon another? These can have no 

end, while the other have no beginning. 

Idly, Desires after unlawful things which we should abhor. 

Though these desires be not accomplished, we must not wipe our 

mouths, and say, we have not sinned, Rom. vii. 7- They are the 

breathings of the corrupt heart after sinful things, suitable to the 

corrupt nature. 

3dly, Aversion to God and communion with him, Job xxi. 14. 

This is a backwardness in the heart to the duties of communion with 

God, when the heart, instead of ardent desires towards him, draws 

back, like^a refractory heifer, that refuses the yoke. A sin which 

all have reason to be humbled for. 

3. Whereas it is our duty to delight and rejoice in the Lord, this 
command forbids, 

1st, The omission of that duty which God so peremptorily re- 
quires, Phil. iv. 4. ' Rejoice in the Lord always : and again I say, 
Rejoice.' Think not little of this. "What husband would take it 
well, if his wife had no delight in him ? and with what confidence 
can we call God our God, if we know nothing of delighting and 
solacing ourselves in him ? It is natural to us to delight in 
agreeable relations; and so it is to the new nature to delight in 

Idly, Deadness in duties, going to them, and going on in them, 
without any spiritual relish, Rev. iii. 1. even as we converse with 
those in whose company we have no pleasure. This is the plague 
of the generation, who, if they be not profane, are cold and formal. 
Our services look not like that of the living God, but a dead idol. 
There is no need to make Abraham children of stones, for they are 
stones already. 

3c%, Wearying in and of his service, Amos viii. 5. Hence wan- 
dering in duties, for the heart is away ; any thing is enough, and 
the only care is to get the duty over as a task, for there is no de- 
light in God, or communion with him, Mai. i. 13. 

Lastly, Carnal desires and joys. Not that all delight and joy in 
the creature is sinful ; for God replenished the world, so as not to 
serve man's necessity only, but also his delight. But they are car- 
nal and sinful, (1.) When they are on unlawful objects, and men 
go over the hedge of the law to seek what to delight themselves in. 
(2.) When they are excessive, though on lawful objects ; which is, 
[1.] When people have no eye to God in them, as not taking them 
with thankfulness out of his hand, and to use them as what may fit 

Yol. II. I 


them for the service of God in their general or particular callings ; 
but exclude the thoughts of God out of them, either as the principle 
or end of them. [2.] When they so carry out the heart, as to unfit 
us for the service of God, and lessen our delight in the Lord; then 
is the handmaid taken into Sarah's bed. [3.] When men love them 
more than God, 2 Tim. iii. 4. 

4. Whereas it is our duty to sorrow for offending God, this com- 
mand forbids, 

1st, Hardness of heart and impenitency, Rom. ii. 5. To move us 
to sin is easy, but to move us for it is difficult. — How can we pre- 
tend God is our God, if his honour be not dear to us ; if the griev- 
ing of his Spirit be not grievous to us ? But this is a main plague 
of the generation. 

2cUi/, Hiding sin, which is most contrary to the nature of sor- 
row, Prov. xxviii. 13. This is done, (1.) By denying guilt, Prov. 
xxx. 20. (2.) By extenuating it; whereas, if sorrow for it were 
deep enough, it would aggravate it, Luke xv. 18, 19. (3.) By 
transferring the guilt on others, as did Adam his sin on Eve. (4.) 
By palliating and excusing it, as did Saul in the affair of the expe- 
dition against the Amalekites. 

Lastly, Thinking or speaking of our sins with pleasure, whereby 
they are re-acted, and the guilt doubled in the sight of God : and 
much more laughing at them, and making a mock or jest of them, 
Prov. x. 23. and xiv. 9. So they glory in their shame, and make a 
mock of affronting God. 

5. Whereas zeal for God is here commanded, there is forbidden. 

1st, Lukewarmness and indifferency in the matters of God, Rev. 
iii. 16. Zeal is counted madness by the world; but no body wants 
zeal for something, but few have it for God. This holy fire is almost 
worn out in our day, because few have God for their God; and they 
that have, glorify him not as God. A chill cold has benumed our 
spiritual senses. Since the Lord brought this church out of the fire, 
we have lost our fire-edge. We are fiery enough in our own mat- 
ters, but very coldrife in God's matters. That coldness of affections, 
binds men down in the concerns of Christ's kingdom as managed in 
their own breasts, and then binds them down in these as managed in 
the world. 

2dly, Corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal, Rom. x. 2. such as the 
disciples had in their Master's cause, when they were for command- 
ing fire to come down from heaven to consume the Samaritans, for 
not receiving him, Luke ix. 54. Zeal is such, (1.) When it proceeds 
merely from a hotness or keenness of the natural temper, so that 
men are hot in all things, in their own matters as well as God's. 


(2.) When it is not proportioned to the weight of matters, Matth. 
xxiii. 23. (3.) When the heat strikes mostly outward against the 
sins of others, Matth. vii. 4. (4.) When it carries men to that unto 
which they are not called of God. (5.) When it swallows up all 
pity to the offenders, 2 Cor. xii. 21. 

6. Whereas this command requires us to fear God, it forbids, 
1st, All rashness and irreverence in the service of God, Psal. 

lxxxix. 7- His omnipresence should strike an awe on us at all 
times; and his special presence should strike a special awe onus 
when we approach his presence in duties. But, ! how do we rush 
into it without fear, as the horse rusheth into the battle ! 

Idly, Unconcernedness of spirit at his threatening word and 
alarming dispensations, the general sin of the present time, Amos 
iii. 8. Who trembles at his word, though by terrible things he is 
answering us ? Who is preparing to meet him in the way of his 
judgments ? 

Sdly, Presumptuous sinning in spite of all fair warning, both 
by the word and providences, Psal xxxvi. 1. How do men count 
the darts of the word and conscience as stubble, and laugh at the 
shaking of his spear ! We are incorrigible under judgments, as if 
we would bid a defiance to heaven, and desire God to do his worst, 
Jer. viii. 6. 

4thly, Bold and curious searching into God's secrets, which he 
hath thought meet to keep hid from us. Such is consulting with the 
devil, or those that have the black art, as Saul did with the witch of 
Endor, consulting with dumbies, psalmisters, fortune-tellers, using 
any means whatsoever not appointed of God to know our fortune, 
as it is called, &c. Deut. xxiv. ult. These things are but the taking 
of the devil's key to open God's cabinet. 

dthly, A superstitious fear, a fear where no fear is by God's ap- 
pointment, of which they have most that have little of the fear of 
God. Such is that foolish fear that ariseth from vain dreams, ob- 
serving of freets, such and such times as unlucky, reckoning such 
and such things uncanny without any ground from the word of 
God, or from solid reason. 

Lastly, A slavish servile fear of God, arising from hard thoughts 
of God, and banishing the love of God out of the heart. 

7. Whereas hope in God is required in this command, it forbids, 
1st, Presumption, which is an unwarrantable hope in God, not 

according to his word, which overlooks his justice, holiness, and 
greatness, Deut. xxix. 19. and over the belly of these, promises 

2dly, Despair, Gen. iv. 13. when people give up with all hope, as 



if their sins and misery were above God's mercy, power and grace, 
and the efficacy of his Son's blood. 

8. Lastly, Whereas trust and confidence in God is required in 
this command, it forbids, 

1st, All distrust and diffidence, anxiety with respect to his pro- 
vidence, when people cannot fix their hearts for provision, protec- 
tion, &c. in his way, on the promises, but distrust them. 

2dly, All rashness and vain confidence, attempting any thing 
without a warrant from God, and promising themselves success 
therein, without acknowledging God in it. A sin very frequent in 
our day. 

Fourthly, There is a profaneness of the conscience here forbidden, 
Tit. i. 15. And there is condemned here, 

1. The making men lords of our faith and conscience, which is, in 
effect, to make them our God, 2 Cor. i. 24. Matth. xxiii. 9. There 
used not to be wanting such as would model the consciences of all 
men to their humours, and will have their will taken for law ; and 
they readily find those that walk willingly after the commandment, 
to whom the commandment of men is the great rule. When there- 
fore a man embraces any thing for religion on the mere authority of 
men, he sets up another god before the Lord. 

2. Blindness and misinformation of conscience, Isa. v. 20. This 
is a setting up of our consciences instead of God, whose deputy only 
it is, and whose office it is only to declare the mind of God. So that 
declaring and urging its own mistakes instead of God's commands, 
it rises against this command, and this is matter of humiliation : For 
who can understand his errors?' Psal. xix. 12. 

3. Inactiveness and unfaithfulness of the conscience, whereby it 
does not effectually check for sin, nor incite to duty. Thus God is 
rejected in so far as his work in the soul committed to the conscience 
is neglected. How many are there whose consciences give them all 
ease in their sinful courses, and that cannot speak but on the gross- 
est faults ? and how remiss and slack is it in all ? 

Fifthly, There is a profaneness of the memory here forbidden. 
For whereas it is a duty of this commandment to remember God, his 
word and works, that we may think on him, love, fear, and esteem 
him ; so, 

1. Forgetting God is forbidden here, Jer. ii. 32. This is one 
of the great sources of all the wickedness in men's hearts and lives. 
We do not remember with whom we have to do ; therefore we do 
what our corrupt inclinations lead us to. We forget his word, his 
commands, his threatenings, his promises ; therefore we sin fear- 
lessly and serve him faintly, as working for nought. We forget 


his works, therefore his mercies engage us not, nor his judgments 
frighten us. Our memories in spiritual things are like a sieve in the 
water, leaking vessels that quickly let all slip. It is not only our 
misery, but our sin, which we have to be humbled for. 

2. Remembering what we should forget. how tenaciously does 
it hold those things that should be forgotten ! An injury done to 
us will be fresh and green in our minds, when all the love of God in 
sending Christ to be the Saviour of sinners, will be quite gone out 
of our heads. It will much sooner turn up old sins with delight, 
than old mercies with thankfulness. 

Lastly, There is a profaneness of the whole soul, wherein all the 
faculties thereof cast in something of their corruption to provoke 
the eyes of the Lord's jealousy. And, 

1. Whereas prayer is required here, particularly that of the 
heart, this command forbids, . 

1st, The total neglect of prayer, when people do not so much as 
make a fashion of it in secret or in their families. That God is our 
God, how shall it be known if we do not pray to him ? They that 
take idols for their gods, pray to them ; and with what face will 
prayerless persons pretend that the living God is theirs ? 

2dly, The neglect and unfrequency of ejaculatory prayer, 1 Thess. 
v. 17. but the so great neglect of this speaks forth the un- 
holiness of our hearts ! Are we ever but needing something 
from heaven ? are not new snares and temptations still coming in 
our way ? why are we so unacquainted with this short way of com- 
munion with God ? It needs mar no business, it needs no secret 

3c%, Not praying in spirit, when we pray with our mouths ; 
so that all our prayers are but outward worship, lip-labour, not 
heart-work, John iv. 24. Thus we become guilty many ways. (1.) 
When all our prayers are but the exercise of a gift, not performed 
with faith, love, fear, &c. Such are all the prayers of hypocrites. 
(2.) When the heart goes not along with our words, but remains 
dead, stupid, and senseless in our addresses to God, as if we were 
speaking to a dead idol, or to a man who must judge by our words 
what we would have, because he sees not the heart. (3.) When the 
heart contradicts our words, as praying that God would take away 
sin, which we have no will to part with, that he would give us that 
grace which we have no desire after, or that he would keep us from 
the temptations which we are longing for. (4.) When the heart 
wanders in prayer, going after other things, when we are before the 

4thli/, Profane prayers to God for mischief to fall on ourselves or 

i 3 


others ; which are all the prayers that some use ; and are more fre- 
quent with others than their solemn prayers. 

2. Whereas internal praise and thankfulness is required here, 
there is forbidden, 

1st, Unthankfulness, the crying sin of the generation, on which 
God has heaped so many mercies. Ah! how do we receive our mer- 
cies, as if they were debts ! "When we want, perhaps we will cry ; 
but when we have got the mercy, we are like the nine lepers, who 
forgot to return to thank their healer. There is no grateful sense 
of the Lord's goodness on our spirits, and so there is none on our 

Idly, Ascribing any good we have or can do, to some other 
quarter than to God, the true fountain of all. (1.) To fortune and 
good luck. How often will men acknowledge their good luck, while 
they overlook a good God ? (2.) To oivrselves, Deut. viii. 17- How 
ready are we to ascribe our success to our own wit, pains, or in- 
dustry, like those who sacrificed to their own net, and burnt incense 
to their own drag ? Hab. i. 16 ; (3.) Or to ascribe it to any other 
creature. The instruments of our success will be thanked, when 
God is overlooked. 

Lastly, Whereas we are required to give to God the obedience of 
our whole souls, here is forbidden. 1. Slighting and despising God 
and his commandments, making no account of them, and the obedi- 
ence due to them, Deut. xxxii. 15. 2. Resisting and grieving his 
Spirit, stifling its motions, and refusing to hearken to its suggestions, 
Eph. iv. 30. 

THIRDLY, This command forbids idolatry, which is the giving 
that worship and glory to any other which is due to God alone. It 
is twofold, gross external idolatry, and subtle heart-idolatry. 

First, As to gross idolatry, this command condemns, 

1. The heathens, whose religion brought in a multiplicity of gods. 
For having lost the right knowledge of the true God, the notion of 
God was like a broken looking-glass, where every part represents 
a small face, though when entire it represents one only. The wor- 
ship of the sun seems to be among the most ancient kinds of idola- 
try, together with the moon and stars, Job xxxi. 26, 27. And great 
men deified after their death became objects of worship. Thus at 
length they came to have a multitude of gods and goddesses. 

2. The Papists, whose religion is nothing but the great apostasy 
from Christianity, headed by Antichrist. They are guilty of gross 

1st, They worship the saints departed, especially the virgin Mary, 
in whose worship they are so profuse, that they may be called Mari- 


ans rather than Christians. To the saints they pray, make vows, 
swear by them, consecrate altars and temples to them, and offer in- 
cense. All which are parts of religious worship due to God alone. 
And they profess they place their hopes aud confidence in them, 
Matth. iv. 10. contrary to God's express command, ' Thou shalt wor- 
ship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.' 

2dly, They worship angels, pray to them, to bestow good things 
on them, and to protect them from evil ; and especially the guardian 
angel, which they allege is allotted to every one, expressly contrary 
to the authority of God, Rev. xxii. 8, 9. 

'SdJy, They worship the bread in the sacrament ; for as soon as 
the priest has consecrated it, he falls down on his knees and wor- 
ships it ; then he lifts it up above his head, that the people may see 
it ; and then they worship it too. 

4thly, They worship the cross, the tree itself on which they pre- 
tend Christ died, and the image of it. They bow their knees to it, 
and kiss it, pray to it, and consecrate temples and altars to it. 

Lastly, They worship the relics of saints, not only their bodies, 
but what belonged to them while they lived, their bones, blood, 
flesh, teeth, hair, clothes, shoes, belts, &c. They place these things 
on the altar, carry them about in processions, give them to the peo- 
ple to touch or kiss, fall down and worship before them. And all 
this while they keep up the scriptures, which the apostles left, from 
the people. So that Popery is but heathenism in a new dress. 

Secondly, As to subtle heart-idolatry, that is more extensive. 
Men commit this idolatry with the creatures, when their mind, will, 
and affections are set on the creature, as much or more than on God. 
So covetousness is called idolatry. Now, we are guilty of this 

1. "When we love any thing as much or more than God, Matth. x. 
37- Tor that is our god that gets most of our hearts; and that 
must needs be our idol that gets more of our love than God gets. 
Thus often we are found idolizing ourselves, the world, our lawful 
comforts, and relations. how disorderly does the pulse of our af- 
fections beat ! How violent are they towards the creature, but how 
weak and languishing towards God ! The fire of love to God is oft- 
times like a fire of straw, that makes a sudden blaze and then dies ; 
when that of love to the creature is like a fire of juniper that burns 
long, and is not soon quenched. This .excessive love to the creatures 
appears, (1.) In the high esteem of them above God, and the com- 
munications of his grace. (2.) In the great eagerness that is used 
in the pursuit of them, more than in seeking God and his favour. 


(3.) In the greater uneasiness in the want of them, than in that of 
the consolations of God. 

2. "When men desire any thing as much or more than God, Phil, 
iv. 6. How extravagant are the desires of the heart ! Many things 
are desired more than the one thing needful. Our desires after 
created things had need to have their wings clipped, while the wings 
of desire towards God are far from being grown. How readily 
would we be filled if we knocked as eagerly at God's door as at that 
of the creatures ? Try then what it is that of all things thou de- 
sirest most ; That is thy God. 

3. When we delight and rejoice in any thing as much or more 
than God, Luke x. 20. For what is a man's choice, and most suit- 
able to his heart, he will delight and rejoice most in it. what 
idolatry will this discover ! How often is it found, that men will 
delight and rejoice more in a good bargain than in the everlasting 
covenant ; in husband, wife, and children, more than in God the Fa- 
ther, Son, and Holy Ghost ! in a good farm or store-room, than in 
the field of the gospel ; where the treasure is, there will the heart 
be also ; in a good suit of clothes more than in the righteousness 
of a Mediator. 

4. When we sorrow more, or as much, for any thing as the offend- 
ing of God. That is a sorrow of the world, 2 Cor. vii. 10. that dis- 
covers the idolizing of the creature. The offence of man is often 
more at heart than the offence of God ; and people will be at more 
pains to gain reconciliation with them than with the Lord himself. 
A small cross or loss in the world will draw tears, when sin will 
not draw a sigh from us ; and ordinarily our afflictions lie more 
heavy on us than our sins. 

5. When we have as much or more zeal for any thing than for 
God and his honour. Thus self is idolized, men being far more sen- 
sibly touched by any thing that reflects on themselves than on God. 
How often do men unmoved behold God's name dishonoured, while, 
if ye but touch them in their reputation and honour, ye will find 
they are not drones in their own cause, though they are so in God's ! 
So men idolize their own conceits, being, as the Pharisees, much 
more zealous for their own traditions than God's commandments, 
for their own opinions than moral duties. 

6. When we fear any person or thing more than God, Prov. xxix. 
25. The greatest fear being # due to God, if we fear any person or 
thing more than him, we idolize it. Thus men make a god of man, 
yea, and of the devil. And the fear of the wrath of man will have 
far more influence than of the wrath of God. This, in a time of 
persecution, is a special snare. 


7. When we have more or as much hope in any thing as in God. 
Yet alas ! how often will the promises of men revive us, when all 
the promises of God cannot do it ! 

8. Lastly, "When we have more or as much confidence and trust in 
any thing, as in God, Jer. xvii. 5. Thus, power, wealth, strength, 
gifts, and abilities, are idolized, and whatever men trust more to 
than to God. 

If it he asked, "Whether it consists with the state of grace to have 
our love and affection more on any creature than on God? Aus. 1. 
We must distinguish betwixt the inward disposition of the soul, the 
habit of love, desire, &c. and the acts thereof. The habit of love, 
desire, &c. towards God in a godly soul, is always more firmly 
rooted in his heart, than the habit of love to any creature, Eph. iii. 
18. But yet the acts of love and desire towards the creature may 
be more strong under temptation ; but that is their sin. 2. The 
strength of our affections is to be distinguished from the commotion 
of them, which sometimes may be greater and more sensible in the 
affection that is less. For, as the greatest joy is not always express- 
ed in laughter, so the greatest affection has not always the greatest 
sensible stirring with it. But if people be solidly minded, and 
willing to forsake all for Christ, and to displease any rather than 
him, though they be more sensibly moved in their affection to earthly 
things, their affections are not therefore more on them than him. 

I shall now shut up all with the consideration of these words, 
before me. ' These words, before me, in the first commandment, teach 
us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh special notice of, and is 
much displeased with the sin of having any other god.' 

First, God taketh special notice of the sin of having any other 

1. He taketh special notice of the gross sin of idolatry. He has 
a jealous eye on it, and will not overlook it; for it is spiritual 
adultery ; and the husband will overlook many faults in his wife, 
who will not overlook that. Idolaters have their fig-leaf covers for 
their idolatry. How do the Papists set their wits on the rack to 
frame such nice and subtle distinctions as may palliate their horrid 
idolatry ! But though they may deceive the simple with these 
things, yet they cannot blind the eyes of the all-seeing God. 

Seeing God takes such notice of it, how lamentable is it that 
idolatry makes such vast progress in this covenanted land, and is 
not duly noticed ! How sad is it, that the sin and dishonour against 
God is not noticed, so as to be mourned over, and to take notice of 
the danger of it, and that the government takes not notice of it to 
repress it ! This is a sad sign of the danger of being over-run with it. 


2. God takes special notice of heart idolatry, of whatever posses- 
seth his room in the heart. That is a subtle kind of idolatry, so 
hid that others cannot, nay men themselves do not always, perceive 
what it is that is their idol. But God sees it very well. 

(1.) The idol may be of a spiritual nature, which the man cannot 
discern till the law be carried home on the soul in its spiritual ex- 
tent. Thus Paul's duties and seeming holiness were his idol, Rom. 
vii. 9. 

(2.) It may lie in lawful things. Things unlawful in themselves 
may quickly be seen with the snare in them. It is easy to discern 
the devil when he appears with his cloven foot, so to speak : but it 
is not so easy to see a man's ruin lying in houses and lands, hus- 
band, wife, and children, goods and gear : yet these may be the 

(3.) The idol may go under the name of an infirmity. Thus 
many deceive themselves with entertaining reigning sins, under the 
name of infirmities. 

(4.) Self-love acts its part here, being ready to magnify men's 
good, and extenuate their evil. And so they nourish their disease, 
and hug the viper that is gnawing at their bowels. 

Lastly, There may be a judicial stroke in it. They will not en- 
tertain the discoveries which God makes them ; and they shutting 
their eyes, the Lord strikes them blind. 

But let us specially notice what God has a special eye upon. 

Secondly, God is specially displeased with our having any other 

1. He is displeased with gross idolatry. He shews his special 
wrath in this life against idolaters, as against the Israelites, for 
worshipping the golden calf; and against the ten tribes, for their 
idolatry at Dan and Bethel. So old Babylon was, and new Babylon 
will be destroyed. All idolaters will be punished in the other life, 
Rev. xxi. 8. 

Let us then shew our displeasure against, and resolve in the 
Lord's strength, to oppose the spreading of idolatry, chusing rather 
to suffer than sin. 

2. He is displeased with the idols which men set up in their 
hearts. He shews his displeasure several ways. 

(1.) Soiuetimes the Lord, in the fury of his jealousy, forces the 
idol out of the way, as he did, in the case of Micah's idol, Judg. 
xviii. 24. 

(2.) Sometimes he reduces the man to a necessity of parting either 
with his idol or his profession. 

(3.) Oft-times the Lord makes the idol men's plague and punish- 


(4.) Lastly, Oft-times there is a rub by a torrent of temptation, 
that brings forth the idol in its own colours ; as in the case of 
Judas' covetousness, and Demas' love of the world. 

Let us therefore cast away our idols, and let nothing keep God's 
room in our hearts, especially in such a day when God is rising up 
to plead against us. 

From the whole ye may see that the commandment is exceeding 
broad. Be humbled under the sense of your guilt in the breach of 
this command. And see what great need ye have to reform; and 
what need ye stand in of the blood of Christ for removing your 
guilt, and of his Spirit for cleansing your hearts, and subduing your 


Exod. xx. 4, 5, 6. — Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, 
or any likeness of any thing, that is in heaven above, or that is in the 
earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not 
bow down thyself to them, nor serve them : for I the Lord, thy God, 
am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children 
unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me ; and shew- 
ing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my command- 

The second command comes now to be explained ; and this is it, 
though the Papists will not allow it to be so : And it is so plain 
against them, that they leave it out of their catechisms and books 
of devotion which they put into the people's hands, joining the rea- 
son of it, For L the Lord thy God am a jealous God, fyc. unto the 
first command ; and so they count the third the second, the fourth 
the third, &c. and split the tenth into two (to make up the number), 
though the apostle expresses it in one word, ' Thou shalt not covet.' 
And indeed they have reason to hide it ; for if they should let it 
come to the light, it would open the mystery of their iniquity 
among their blinded people, and spoil the most part of their devo- 
tions, whereof idols and images have the largest share. 

As the first command fixeth the object of worship, so this fixes 
the means and ways of woi'ship. The scope of it is to bind us to the 
external worship of God, and that in the way that lie himself has 
instituted, and that we may be spiritual in his worship. "We may 
take it up in two things. 

1. The command itself. 2. The reasons annexed. 


The command itself we have, ver. 4. and part of ver. 5. I shall 
consider the command. 

The command is proposed negatively ; and two things are here 
expressly forbidden. 

First, The making of images for religious use and service, Lev. 
xxvi. 1. And that it is thus meant, and not of civil or political 
images is plain from this, that it is a command of the first table, 
and so relates to divine worship. And our God is very particular 
in this point. 

1. Graven images are forbidden particularly, that is, images cut 
or carved in wood, stone, or the like, called statues. These are par- 
ticularly expressed, not only because they were the chief among ido- 
laters, but because they do so lively represent men, beasts, &c. in all 
their parts and members, that nothing seems to be wanting in them 
but life ; and so people are most ready to be deceived by them. 
But that we may see it is not these only that are abominable to our 

2. Every similitude whatsoever for religious use and service is 
forbidden, whether it is done by casting in a mould, painting, weav- 
ing, or made any way whatsoever, though it be merely by the ima- 
gination, and not by the hand; for the words are universal, any 
likeness. How particular is this command in things themselves, 
whereof idolaters would have the images. 

1st, No graven image, nor any likeness of any thing that is in hea- 
ven above, must be made for religious worship. By the heavens 
above, is meant the air, and all to the starry heavens, and the seat 
of the blessed. In the visible heavens are the birds, sun, moon, and 
stars. No likeness of these is to be made ; and therefore, to paint 
the Holy Spirit as a dove is idolatrous. In the seat of the blessed 
are God himself, angels, and saints, i. e. the spirits of just men made 
perfect, all invisible ; so that it is impiety, yea, and madness, to 
frame images of them. 

2dly, No graven image or likeness of any thing that is in the earth 
beneath is to be made for religious service, whether they be on the 
surface, or in the bowels of the earth. Now, in the earth are men, 
beasts, trees, plants, the dead bodies of men, &c. No likeness of 
these is to be made for religious worship. 

3<%, No graven image, or likeness of any thing that is in the 
water under the earth, is to be made. Now, these are fishes what- 
soever the rivers and seas do produce. But no likeness of these is 
to be made for religious service. 

But why so particular ? This is deservedly inquired, when the 
first command, and most of the rest, are in so very few words. Ans. 


1. Because the worship of God commanded here is not so much na- 
tural as in the first command, but instituted ; and so nature's light 
can be of less service than in the first : for though the light of na- 
ture teacheth that God is to he worshipped, it cannot tell us how he 
will be worshipped, or in what particular way. 

2. Because there is a special proneness in the nature of man to 
corrupt the worship and ordinances of God. Of old the worship of 
God was corrupted with vile idolatries and superstitions all the 
world over, but among the Jews, and frequently among them too. 
Ye will often read of the Jews falling in with the worship of the 
nations ; but of any nation falling in with theirs, never, Jer. ii. 11. 
And so is it at this day among the Papists, yea, and other churches, 
as the church of England, and the Greek churches ; and there are 
few Protestant churches, where these ordinances are not changed in 
greater or lesser measure. 

3. There is a peculiar bias in corrupt nature to idolatry. It is 
natural for men to desire to see what they worship, Rom. i. 23. 
Exod. xxxii. 1. and to have a pompous worship. There is a natural 
weakness in the corrupt minds of men, whereby they are easily im- 
pressed by idols and images for religious service, ready to fancy 
something of divinity in them. 

4. There is a peculiar hellish zeal that accompanies idolatry, to 
multiply gods, and to be most keen in the worship of them ; like as 
it is seen in corporal adultery in those who have once prostituted 
their honour, Jer. 1. 38. If you ask, what can put Papists, being 
men and not devils, on those horrid practices, of which we spake on 
the fast-day* ? I answer, Their idolatrous religion inspires them 

* This part of the subject was delivered Feb. 21. and the discourse here referred to 
was preached on occasion of a congregation fast, on the 17th, 1714. being the last 
3'ear of Queen Anne's reign. It is well known that plots were then carrying on by 
Papists, Jacobites, and malignants, not without countenance from the then Tory mi- 
nistry, to bring a Popish Pretender to the throne, on the demise of that much-abused 
Princess, in the place of the late King George 1. upon whom the crown had been en- 
tailed by act of Parliament, as the nearest Protestant heir ; that great numbers of 
trafficking priests and Jesuits flocked into this kingdom ; that Popish meetings were 
held more openly than formerly ; that Presbyterian ministers were insulted in several 
places, and threatenings of vengeance uttered to be inflicted on firm and staunch Pro- 
testants. At this dangerous season, Mr. Boston, with that freedom and boldness that 
became a true patriot and an ambassador of the King of kings, was not silent, but 
faithfully testified against the abominations and cruelties of Papists, and the madness 
and extravagance of Jacobites and malignants, in the afore-mentioned discourse ; and 
others preached in those perilous times. 

As the discourse referred to was seasonable at that time, so it appears to be equally 
so at this day, when Popery is evidently on the increase in many places of this king- 
dom, Edinburgh not excepted, wherein there are said to be three numerous Popish 


with that hellish fury, 1 Kings xviii. 28. Psal. cvi. 36, 37, 38. So 
doe sit on multiplying them; for this particularity shews that 
almost from every part of the universe the heathens fetched their 
idols. And as the heathens had, so the Papists have, their idols 

meetings, and endeavours are used, by writings and speeches, to represent Popery 
in a light quite different from what it really is, thereby to beguile unwary and unstable 
souls ; and not only Papists, but many infatuated and pretended Protestants, not 
Episcopalians only, but some who pretend to be Presbyterians, are as hearty and warm 
in the cause of a Popish pretender, as they were in any former period, and who, if 
their power were equal to their wishes and designs, would soon involve the nation in 
blood, and all the horrors of a civil war. These considerations have determined the 
preparer of this work for the Press to give the discourse entire, as it may be useful, 
through the divine blessing, for preserving people from the abominations of Popery, 
and the snares of Jacobites and malignants, those declared enemies to the religion and 
laws of their country, who, alas ! are still very numerous amongst us, notwithstanding 
the Lord has signally testified his displeasure, of their unhappy cause, on two former 
occasions, which will be ever remembered with gratitude by all true Protestants, and 
hearty friends to the illustrious house of Hanover, which God, in mercy to these king- 
doms, has raised and maintained on the throne, and made the guardians of our reli- 
gion, laws, and liberties. And it will be the hearty prayer of all who fear God, and 
have a just sense of the invaluable liberties we enjoy under our happy constitution, 
O deliver not the soul of thy turtle-dove unto the multitude of the wicked, particularly 
the Antichristian beast, and his tool, a Popish Pretender and his abettors. 


[A sermon preached on a congregation fast-day at Ettrick, February 17, 1714.] 

Psal. lxxiv. 19. — deliver not the soul of thy turtle-dove unto the multitude of the 


This text represents to us the "case of Britian and Ireland at this day (which like Re- 
bekah have two parties struggling within them,) and thereupon an application made to 
the Lord about it. In the words consider, 

1. The struggling parties; these are Zion and Babylon; which never could, and 
never will agree. The Chaldean Babylon and the Jewish Zion are the parties here 
immediately pointed at : for it is plain, that this psalm was composed on the lamenta- 
ble occasion of the Babylonians over-running Judea, and destroying Jerusalem and the 
temple. The Christian Zion and the Antichristian Babylon are the parties now on the 
field, the former being both gone ; and so the text may be, without stretching, applied 
to them. The one party is, 

(1.) The turtle ; i. e. the church. She is compared to the turtle-dove for her fide- 
lity to God. The turtle is a creature of admired chastity, has hut one mate, and 
cleaves closely to that, and will take no other. So the true church of God preserves 


and images of things in heaven, of God, angels, saints ; and want 
not their queen of heaven, as well as the Pagans had. The earth 
furnishes them with an image of the cross, and with reliques and 
iinao-es of the dead. Remarkable is that which the author of the 

her chastity, worshipping none but the true God. But it is a bird that often becomes 
a prey, as being harmless and weak. Only it is pleaded on her behalf, that she is God's 
turtle. On the other hand is, 

(2.) The multitude. This is the Babylonians, ver. 7. An idolatrous cruel people, 
who of old were so heavy on the church of God. But among the multitude were 
others, nearer neighbours to the Jews, particularly the Edomites, who, joining with 
the Babylonian army, were like firebrands among them, to spur them on to do mischief, 
Obed. 11. Psal. cxxxvii. 7. This is the case of this church with Papists, the brats 
of Babylon, with whom join our malignants ; not considering, that after they have 
helped Babylon to destroy us, they will fall on them next : as Edom was destroyed by 
Nebuchadnezzar sometime after the destruction of Jerusalem. 

The word rendered multitude, in Hebrew signifies the wild beast, that lives upon 
other beasts ; such as lions, wolves, &c ; and so it may be read. And so it points at 
two qualities of Babylonian enemies. (1.) Their idolatry, being designed a wild 
beast, in opposition to the chaste turtle. Such are our new, as the old Babylonians 
were. They are no more the spouse of Christ, but the great whore, that is mad on 
idols, and multitudes of them ; and cannot be at ease with those that will not drink of 
the wine of their fornication. (2.) Their horrid cruelty ; for having divested God of 
his divine glory, and given it to others, and are divested themselves of humanity, and 
rage like wild beasts, when they can get their prey, devouring their fellow-creatures. 

2. The party holding the balance betwixt the struggling parties ; that is, God him- 
self, to whom application is here made. Babylon has not all at will; Zion's God has 
the balance of power in his own hand, and can cast the scales what way he pleaseth, 
and give up or preserve the turtle as he sees meet. 

3. The address made to the great Arbitrator on the turtle's behalf, which is our 
work this day, deliver not the soul of thy turtle-dove unto the wild beast. Do not 
give up the turtle ; she will find no mercy from the multitude, the wild beast. They 
are not content with the mischief they have done to the turtle ; nothing less will sa- 
tisfy them than her life, her soul. The wild beast is gaping for her, not to pluck off" 
her feathers, and send her away wounded, but to swallow her up quite, to destroy her 
root and branch ; for behold the plot, ver. 8, Let us destroy them together. But, 
Lord, do not give her up to them. It is a most fervent address, intimated by two 
words in one in Hebrew. We may take up the import of the whole in four points. 

I. The church may be in hazard of falling a prey to her enemies, as a poor turtle to 
be swallowed up by a devouring beast. The church's lot has been in all ages like 
Paul's to " fight with wild beasts ;" and she may well say, " If it had not been the 
Lord who was on our side ; if it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when 
men rose up against us : then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was 
kindled against us," Psal. cxxiv. 1, 2, 3. God's enemies, seeing they are not good 
men, the scripture accounts them beasts. Christ was attacked by bulls and lions, 
Psal. xxii. 12, 13 ; for when men turn persecutors, they set up themselves against the 
Deity, and withal lay aside all humanity. There are five beasts which God's turtle has 
been specially iu hazard to be swallowed up by. 

1. The Egyptian beast, ' the great dragon,' Ezek. xxix. 3. This was a cruel beast, 


apocryphal book of Wisdom, which to the Papists is canonical scrip- 
ture, chap. xiv. 15. gives as the original of idolatry, to wit, That a 
father, in bitterness for his son's death, made an image of his dead 
son, and first honoured him as a dead man, at length as a god, &c. 

that made the Lord's people groan long under the greatest bondage. A bloody beast ; 
see the bloody edict, Esod. i. 16. ' When ye do tbe office of a midwife to the He- 
brew women,' said Pharaoh to the midwives, ' and set them upon the stools ; if it be 
a son then ye shall kill him.' It had near swallowed them up, Exod. xv. 9. ' The 
enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil ; my lust shall be sa- 
tisfied upon them, I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.' See how the 
turtle groans to the Lord against this beast, Psal. Ixviii. 30. ' Piebuke the company 
of spearmen,' Heb. ' the beast of the reeds.' And the people of God comfort them- 
selves under their danger in the text, by the end of the Egytian beast, Psal. lxxiv. 
13, 14. ' Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength : thou brakest the heads of the 
dragon in the waters. Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him 
to be meet to the people inhabiting the wilderness.' 

2. The Babylonian beast, the lion, Dan. vii. 4. Jer. xlix. 19. Dreadful was the 
havock this beast made on them ; it burnt the temple and the synagogues, filled the 
land with blood, spared neither men, women, nor children. See the whole book of 
Lamentations. And the text lets you see how they were well nigh being swallowed 
up by him. Yet God broke out the teeth of that fierce lion. 

3. The Persian beast, the bear, a bloody beast, Dan. vii. 5. This, though it lay 
quiet for a while, yet hindered the building of the temple and the city a long time, and 
kept the church sorely under. But under this beast a bloody massacre was set on 
foot, Esth. iii. 

The conspirators have their frequent meetings, ver. 7. the court is friendly to them, 
and the bloody day is set, ver. 12, 13. and all because Mordecai would not bow to 
Haman an Amalekite, one of those against whom the Lord had sworn he would have 
war for ever. How near was the church then to be swallowed up ? but God broke the 
plot, and ruined that beast too. 

4. The Grecian beast, the leopard, Dan. vii. 6. This beast had almost swallowed 
up the church under Antiochus Epiphanes, who raised a most dreadful persecution 
against the Jews, polluted the temple, forbade the public worship of God, and set up 
in the temple the image of heathen Jupiter, and cruelly murdered many that would not 
comply with idolatry, Dan xi. 31 34. Yet they survived that beast. 

5. The Roman beast, which is nameless, Dan. vii. 7. The scripture speaks of two 
Roman beasts, that were both heavy to the church. 

1st, The great red dragon, Rev. xii. 3 ; that is the Roman empire, headed by tbe 
Pagan emperors, whom the devil stirred up to persecute the church for the first three 
hundred years. Horrible was the havock of Christians made under ten persecuting 
Pagan emperors. So that it is reckoned there were as many Christians slain under 
them, as that, if ye would suppose them at this butchering work for one year, there 
would be five thousand martyrs for every day of that year. 

2dhj, The beast with the name of blasphemy, Rev. xiii. 1 ; that is, the Roman 
Christian, or rather Antichristian Empire, headed by the Pope, the Popish kingdom, 
whereof the Pope is the head. All the rest are gone. This is the only remaining beast 
that is threatening, at this day, the swallowing up of the church in these lands. But 
this beast, the Antichristian kingdom, is the common sink of all the evil qualities of 


And as the Pagans had their gods to be applied to by persons of 
several callings, countries, diseases, &c. so the Papists are well nigh 
even with them in that. The Pagans had their gods for the sea- 
men, shepherds, husbandmen, &c. ; so the Papists have St. Nicholas 

the other beasts, Rev. xiii. 2. and has outdone them all. So that eight hundred thou- 
sand are reckoned to have lost their lives in thirty years under this beast, which has 
lasted many hundreds of years. Yet multitudes iu Britain and Ireland at this day are 
doing what they can to run us into the paw of this bear, the mouth of this lion and 
dragon. But let us cry, O deliver not thy turtle-dove unto this beast. We may see 
that we are in fearful danger of it. The symptoms of it are, 

(1.) The frightful appearance that Papists and Popery are making now in these 
lands. It is known that great numbers of Papists are come, and are still coming from 
abroad : that they are drawing together in an unusual manner ; that they are arming 
themselves, no doubt for some bloody design. The locusts spoke of, Rev. ix. 3. are 
swarming in the land, well known in the northern parts ; and no doubt through all 
corners they are trafficking though in disguise. They have dreadful success, pervert- 
ing many, and mass is said publicly and avowedly in several parts. So that these 
twenty-five years, since King James was on the throne, they have never so lifted up 
their heads as now. 

(2.) The just fears there are of the Pretender's getting into the throne, a Papist 
bred up in the maxims of Popery and French government, from whom nothing can be 
more expected than the ruin of the Protestant religion. To this Papists and malig- 
nant Jacobites are bending their uoited endeavours, and have so far ripened their ac- 
cursed project, that they are very confident of success. 

(3.) The formidable power of France, from whence our enemies have their great 
encouragement. That cruel tyrant is by the late peace now at more leisure to en- 
slave us, and landing an army for setting the Pretender on the throne, to be a tool, 
(in his hand) to ruin our liberties and our holy religion, as he has done at home with 
his own. 

(4.) Many vile men are exalted to power and trust, enemies to the Protestant suc- 
cession, keen for the Popish Pretender, though they have abjured him, for no greater 
end than that they might thereby get into places to do him service, and further his in- 
terest. What wonder then that the wicked walk on every side, and that God's turtle 
be in hazard of being swallowed up by the Antichristian beast ? 

II. God may justly give up a sinful church and a sinful people into the power of 
the multitude of this beast. They have nothing to plead but free mercy, why they 
should not be so given up deliver not the soul of thy turtle-dove unto the wild beast. 
What has Britian and Ireland, what has Scotland to plead this day, why they should 
not be delivered into the power of the wild beast that is gaping to suck their blood, 
and devour us? We may see we deserve it, if we consider, 

I. The sins of the late times. These nations were some time in a thriving condi- 
tion, having proclaimed war against the beast, and married themselves to the Lord in a 
solemn covenant for reformation, to cast off and out all Antichristian corruption in doc- 
trine, worship, discipline, and government, life and manners, to banish the false prophet 
and the unclean spirit out of them. But behold, by a heaven-daring wickedness, the 
same generation in the three kingdoms publicly renounce and break that covenant, and 
for the greater solemnity it is burnt, and of late the ashes of it were gathered by 
authority, and thrown into the river of the sinful union between Scotland and Eng- 
land. Is it any wonder that God is now rising up to pursue for the penalty, according 

Vol. II. k 


for the seamen, St. Wendolin for the shepherd, St. John Baptist for 
the husbandman, St. Magdalene for the whore, as the Pagans had 
Flora. The family and country gods are a prodigious number, St. 
Andrew for Scotland, St. George for England, St. Patrick for Ire- 

to that threatening, Lev. xxvi. 25. " I will bring a sword upou you, that shall avenge 
the quarrel of my covenant ?" This is the head of God's controversy with the nations ; 
this was the inlet to other abominations : for that being done, the nations run back to 
Antichrist again. Scotland takes back the horns of the beast. England and Ireland 
the horns and the attire of the whore. Profaneness breaks in like a flood ; the faith- 
ful are persecuted, oppressed, and murdered ; and most part of all ranks make fearful 
apostasy and defection from the ways of truth. 

2. The sins of the present times. We have entered ourselves heirs to the guilt of 
former times, by not mourning over the same by a woful slackness in not pursuing 
reformation, and heartlessness and faintness in the cause of God. We have gone far 
to betray the covenanted work of reformation ; and enemies want not ground to say, 
that they have bought the truth of many in the generation, who are not yet convinced 
they have sold it. If we look to, 

(1.) A great man in our land, we will see inoidinarily monstrous wickedness, espe- 
cially, though not only among the nobility and gentry. Atheism and Deism, I believe 
have made greater advances in our day, than ever they did since the Christian religion 
was known in the world. All revealed religion and the scriptures are ridiculed ; and 
they that have any seuse of religion on their spirits, are reckoned to have been foun- 
dered in their education. Hence loose reins are given to all manner of profaneness 
and debauchery. Whoredom and adultery, and fiuhiness not to be named, have made 
inordinary advances, especially since the union was set on foot ; for having drank of 
the cup of English fJlthiness, they have been made mad. If tor these things God have 
not a sacrifice of the best blood in Scotland and England, it will be strange. 

(2.) To the body of the land, we will find them either profane drunkards, swearers, 
Sabbath-breakers, dishonest, or ignorant, carnal worldlings, that mind nothing but the 
world, living in a woful neglect of all religion, from whose heart their own case and 
that of the church lies far off, slighting the precious offers of Christ, and not betteied 
by all the means of grace which they have been long living under. 

(3.) To professors, we will see the provocation of sons and daughters increased to 
heaven. How have we left our first love? where is the tenderness that we sometimes 
have seen? A general deadness, formality, and lukewarmness has seized them. 
Carnality and worldly mindedness has eaten out the life of religion. A light, vain and 
frothy spirit has got in among them, pride and self-conceit prevail, ordinances are 
slighted, sermons and sacraments treated as things common and unclean, and a fiery 
divisive spirit, more frightened at the sins of others than their own, has dishonoured 
God and broken us. 

(4.) Look where we will, guilt stares us in the face. We have all sinned. God 
has a controversy with magistrates, ministers, and people ; for we have all gone back 
from the Lord, been unthankful for, and have miserably misimproved our privileges, 
and opportunities of advancing the kingdom of Christ within us and without us. Let 
us then conclude, that God may justly deliver us up unto the multitude, the Antichris- 
tian beast. 

III. If God give up his turtle unto the wild beast, the multitude of her enemies, it 
will be a dreadful upgiving. When God let his people fall into the hands of the old 
Babylonian beast, terrible was their case. And now the Autichri-tian beast, to which 


land, St. Denys for France, St. James for Spain, &c. And that 
god-making power that is in the Pope and his Cardinals to canonize 
any deceased person they think worthy, may fill the world with 
them. Gods they have almost for every disease. What wonder 
then that the command is so particular? 

the malignant party lend a helping hand, is going to devour us ; and if God give us up 
into their hand, it will be a dreadful upgiving. A Popish Pretender mounting the 
throne, a French army in our country, together with an army of British Papists and 
malignants, must needs be a thought of horror to us. It will be a dreadful upgiving. 
For then, 

1. Religion is ruined. The Babylonian beast will make sad work of our holy reli- 
gion, as Psal. lxxii. 4, — 8. King James was not well warm on the throne, till by his 
absolute power free liberty was given to Popish idolatry through the nations. But 
what can we expect in the case before as, but the overturning at first dash all that we 
have had by the Revolution, yea, and the extirpation of northren heresy, as they call 
it; We mu>t in that case lay our account with the silencing of ministers, silent Sab- 
baths, and closed church-doors, till they be opened again for the mass, or at least for 
the English service which yet will be but an expedient for a time to prepare us for 

2. Liberty and property is ruined. We must lay our account with French govern- 
ment. Our all must be at the disposal of our arbitrary prince, whose will must be our 
law, to use us, and what is ours, according to his pleasure. We must no longer look 
for the liberty of free-born subjects, but must be content to be slaves : and our laws 
may be burnt, for all law then must be locked up in the breast of the prince. And 
the doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance, that enslaving notion, must be 
quietly learned. 

3. Ourselves and our families are ruined in our souls or bodies, or both. We must 
lay our account to feel the teeth of the Babylonian beast, to swim in blood to glut the 
scarlet coloured whore, already drunk with the blood of the saints. The Papists are a 
bloody generation, and we may expect to see our land filled with blood and desolation, 
if the Lord deliver us into the hand of the wild beast. Let us look about us, and take 
notice of their cruelties exercised upon the churches of Christ, to awaken us to a sense 
of our danger from that bloody generation. 

In the valley of Piedmont they raised a most barbarous persecution against the 
church, where simple death would have been a great kindness. But some were flayed 
alive, and some were buried alive ; the mouths of some were filled with gun-powder, 
and then fired. They beat out the brains of some, then fried and eat them. They 
ript up women, fixed them on spits, roasted them, and ate their breasts. Maids were 
carried by the soldiers with spits stuck up through them. Infants were taken out of 
their cradles, and torn to pieces. I am not speaking, my brethren, of devils, but of 

In Calabria they drave them out of their houses to the woods and mountains. The 
aged and children that could not flee, they murdered by the way, pursuing the rest 
like wild beasts. Those that could recover the mountains, being on the top of rocks, 
besought their enemies to let them but out of the country, and they would leave them 
their towns and estates. But the barbarian Papists would not hearken, but still cried, 
Kill, kill. Eighty had their throats cut, aud then they were quartered, and set upon 
stakes all along the way for he space of thirty miles. 

K 2 


Lastly, Because the Lord has (so to speak) a particular zeal for 
his own worship, and against idolatry. Thus he pursues them out 
of all their starting-holes. He will not allow them an image of any- 
thing in the heaven above, of any thing under heaven, or in the 

In tbe valley of Loyse all the inhabitants, being about thirty thousand, fled, upon 
the approach of tbe Papists, to the clifts and caves of the rocks and mountains, whether 
their enemies pursued them, and set on fire great quantities of wood at the mouth of 
the caves ; some were forced to leap out, and were broken to pieces falling over the 
precipice ; the rest were stifled, among whom were four hundred infants 

In the massacre of Ireland there perished above 150,000, some say 154,000 Pro- 
testants in a few months, men, women, and children. Some they buried alive, with 
their heads above the ground. Others they ript up, tied the end of their guts to trees, 
and forced them round about till their guts were so drawn out of their bodies. In- 
fants were held up on their swords and daggers, to sprawl there. Children were forced 
to murder their parents, women to hang their own husbands, and mothers to drown 
their own children ; and when they had so far satisfied the bloody beasts, they were 
murdered themselves. The posterity of these murderers still subsist, and may be got 
over, if an occasion offer here. 

But if ye will believe our Jacobites, the French are a more civil sort of Papists. O 
horrible civility ! Are not the galleys, a civil sort of business, the breaking on the 
wheel, and the dragooning, all used by this present tyrant ? Can we reflect without 
horror on their blowing up men and women with bellows till they be ready to burst, 
pulling off the nails of fingers and toes, sticking them with pins from head to foot, &c. 
beating twelve drums about the beds of the sick, &c. till they should change their re- 
ligion ? It is not many years since a company of these poor people being met in a 
barn, the barn was beset by soldiers, and set on fire ; and when any put out a hand 
to escape, the soldiers were ready to cut it off, till they were consumed. 

In the Netherlands 18,000 were dispatched. The laws of the inquisition there 
were, that if they recanted, women were to be buried alive, and men killed with the 
sword. If they would not recant, they were to be burnt. So that denying the faith 
will not always do with them. So in Ireland they murdered them after they had got 
them to abjure. 

What should I speak of their cruelties ? Death is terrible : but a simple death will 
not satisfy them, but barbarous cruelty, yea, and villianies worse than death, as bind- 
ing husbands and fathers to bed posts till they abused their wives and daughters before 
them, which was done in the dragooning under this present tyrant in France, and in 
the massacre in Ireland. Now upon all this let me notice a fourfold infatuation. 

1. Are not those infatuated, who being Protestants are for bringing a Popish Pre- 
tender to the throne, or are indifferent about it ? Will the laws bind him, and secure 
us? But bad not the Protestants in France such a security, when thirty thousand of 
them were massacred in thirty days ; and the Protestants in Ireland too. Will we 
bind him with terms? Had not the Suffolk men Queen Mary's promise ere she came 
to the throne? Had not the church of Scotland King Charles II. by solemn oath of 
the covenant? Will we flatter ourselves with hopes of bis becoming Protestant ? Is 
it not known that a little before his pretended father came to the crown, some were 
put to trouble for saying he was a Papist ? Look to the flames of martyrs in England 
in Queen Mary's days, in whose reign, and her father's eight thousand were put to 
death. Let us call to mind the cruelty of our own Queen Mary, and with what satis- 
faction she beheld from the castle of Edinburgh the dead bodies of her Protestant sub- 
jects laid out by the French on the walls of Leith. 


earth, or of any thing in the waters under the earth. Where then 
shall they have them but from hell, where the devil and damned 
spirits are ? 

Secondly, The worshipping of them is forbidden. 

2. Is not that aversion to the Hanover succession an infatuation, while no other way 
under heaven appears for our preservation, and that of the Protestant religion ? They 
will tell you, What is Hanover better than a Papist ? and what is the difference be- 
twixt consubstantiation and transubstantiation? Papists and Jacobites have spread this. 
But Protestants ought to honour that family, seeing it was but the present Duchess- 
dowager's father and mother that lost the kingdom of Bohemia for the Protestant re- 
ligion, with whose loss of that kingdom the Protestant religion was lust there, and for 
them many a prayer was put up by the church of Scotland in our forefathers' days. And 
should we grudge God's giving that family a kingdom, that lost one for his cause ? As 
for the difference betwixt consubstantiation and transubstantiation, there is one, that 
the Lutheraus do not worship the sacrament. And seeing it was an error in which the 
Lord left Luther himself, the great instrument of the Reformation, it becomes men to 
be more modest, than to reckon one no better than a Papist on that head. 

3. Are not our present divisions an infatuation ? Must Presbyterians be worrying 
one another, while the common enemy is at our doors, that will make no difference be- 
twixt us V Must we be breaking with one another, while we are in such hazard to be 
all broken together ? Are we not all together weak enough for our enemies ! Must 
one party stand at a side till they have devoured another ? Herod and Pontius Pilate 
are become friends. The mass and the English service are contributing joint endea- 
vours to ruin the church of Scotland. Papists and malignants agree together agaiost 
us; and some of them will tell you, that they would rather be Papists than Presbyteri- 
ans. Some of them acknowledge the church of Rome a true church, but not the 
church of Scotland. They will have U9 to be no ministers, because we want Episco- 
pal ordination, and you no Christians, because ye are unbaptised in their account, as 
not being baptised by ministers having such ordination. And yet we must be break- 
ing more and more among ourselves ? Learn from the beasts in the ark to lay by 
your antipathies. They were but in hazard of drowning in a sea of water, but we in 
a sea of blood. I am not bidding you quit or deny any truth for peace ; only do not 
thiuk that it will absolve you from what is required in the sixth commandment, that 
ye cannot get others racked your length, who agree with you in the main. 

4. Is not our present security an infatuation ? Is it not time now for sleepers to 
awake ? Is it not time now to be stirring ourselves in our several stations for the pre- 
servation of religion, and the getting it felt in power in our own hearts ? For a bare 
profession will expose you. 

IV. Unless the Lord give up his turtle to the multitude, all their power and force 
shall not be able to hurt her. However we are beset with enemies this day, our God 
must give us up ere they can reach us. This is comfortable. Therefore let me say, 

1. Let us make up our peace with Heaven : for if God be for us, who shall be 
against us ? O that the nations were now so wise as to repent and reform, and renew 
their covenant with God. We would then have ground to hope, that the Lord would 
not give them up. But if this cannot be had, be ye so wise, each of you for your- 
selves, as to lay hold on the covenant and Mediator of peace, repent and reform ; and 
let there be no standing controversy betwixt God and you, come what will. 



1. The very bowing to them is forbidden, whether it be the bow- 
ing of the whole body, bowing the knee, or bowing the head, and 
much more prostrating ourselves before them, and so consequently 
uncovering the head. Men may think it a small thing to use 
such a gesture before them, if they do not pray to them, &c. but our 
jealous God forbids, the lowest degree of religious worship to them, 
and for civil worship they are not capable of it, Gen. xxiii. 7- 

2. The serving of them. This implies whatsoever service the true 
God required of his worshippers, or the Pagans gave to their idols. 
So the serving of them lies in these things, setting them up on high, 
carrying them in processions, erecting temples, chapels, altars to 
them, making voavs to them, praying to them, offering incense to 
them, and dedicating days to them. All which the Papists do to 
their idols. 

The Papists will tell you, they do not worship them absolutely, 
but relatively ; not ultimately, but mediately ; whereby they be- 
guile unstable souls. But the command strikes through all these 
fig-leaf covers, and says absolutely we must not worship them, nor 
give them the lowest degree of worship : Thou shalt not make unto 
thee any graven image, fyc. — Thou shalt not bow unto them, nor serve 

But we have not the full meaning of the negative part of this 
command. Does it only forbid the making and worshipping of 
images ? No. Remember the rule, That where one sort of sin is 
expressed in a command, all others of that kind are included. 
When in the seventh command adultery is forbidden, all manner of 
uncleanness is forbidden, though one of the grossest sort only is 
named. So here, when the corrupting of the worship of God by 
images is forbidden, all other corruptions whatsoever of God's wor- 
ship are included. 

The matter of this command is the worship of God and his ordi- 

2. Let us pray much for the church of God. In the year 1588, when the Spanish 
Armado set off to sink England, to ruin the Protestant religion in Britain, great was 
the consternation on the spirits of Protestants then ; but there were wrestlers then in 
Scotland and England ; and God armed the winds and waves against them, and made 
that proud monarch see that his Armado was not invincible. The outpouring of the 
Spirit of prayer would do more this day against our enemies than all the power of 
France is able to do for them. 

3. Lastly, Let us encourage ourselves in the Lord : prepare for the worst, yet hope 
that God will plead the cause that is his own. We have a good cause, and a good 
God to look to, who keeps the balance in his own hand. Anil we have the sworn 
enemy of Christ, even Antichrist to oppose ; and better die in Christ's cause than live 
on Antichrist's side ; for the day is hasting on, when the Roman beast and its adher- 
ents shall get blood to drink foi the blood they have shed, Rev. xix. 17, 18, 19, 20. 


nances ; aud it says to every man, Thou shalt not make any thing 
whereby thou wilt worship God. And as the seventh command 
meets him that defiles his neighbour's wife, saying, Thou shalt not 
commit adultery ; so this meets the church of Rome, and says, Thou 
shalt not make any graven image, &c. But as the seventh says also 
to the fornicator, Thou shalt not commit uncleanness ; so this says 
also to the church of England, thou shalt not make crossing in bap- 
tism, kneeling, bowing to the altar, festival days, &c. — And to every 
sort of people, and to every particular person, it says, thou shalt 
not meddle to make any thing of divine worship and ordinances out 
of thy own head. 

All holy ordinances and parts of worship God has reserved to 
himself the making of them for us, saying, with respect to these, 
Thou shalt not make them to thyself. Men are said, in scripture, 
to make a thing to themselves, when they make it out of their own 
head, without the word of God for it. But when they make any 
thing according to God's word, God is said to do it, Matt. xix. 6. 
If there be not then a divine law for what is brought into the wor- 
ship and ordinances of God, it is an idol of men's making, a device 
of their own. And so Popery, Prelacy, ceremonies, and whatsoever 
is without the word, brought in God's matters, is overturned at once 
by his word. Thou shalt not make, be thou Pope, King, Parlia- 
ment, minister, private person, synod, or council. So ye see it is 
not only the making of images, but worshipping and serving them, 
that is forbidden. 

Next, by the same rule, whereas this command forbids not only 
the making of images, but bowing to them, and serving them, though 
they be made by others, that is not all that is included in that. 
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them. But the 
meaning of it further is, "Whatever any make without the word, in 
the matter of God's worship and ordinances, thou shalt not comply 
with it, approve of it, or use it. So that to thee they must be as if 
they were not made at all, make them who will, under whatever 
pretence, whether of decency or strictness, seeing God has not made 
them. To the law and to the testimony, be of what party they will, 
if they speak not according to this word, fear them not to comply 
with them in what they advance in God's matters, that is not ac- 
cording thereto. So much for the negative part of this command. 

The positive part of it is implied, according to the rule, That 
every negative implies an altirmative part. It consists in these two 

1. Thou shalt Avorship the Lord, and him shalt thou serve ; wor- 
ship him with external worship. This is implied in that, Thou shah 


not bow down thyself to them nor serve them. This says, But thou 
slialt bow down to me, and serve me. Even as due benevolence be- 
twixt married persons is implied in that, Thou shalt not commit 
adultery. Internal worship is the worship required in the first, ex- 
ternal in the second command. There is a generation that do not 
worship images, but they lie fair for it, if it were once come in fa- 
shion ; it is those that do not worship God, they do not bow down 
to him, nor serve him. They say, God looks to the heart, and they 
hope and trust in him, and give their hearts to him, though they do 
not go about the outward worship as some others do, but their 
hearts are as true with God as theirs for all that. These, I say, lie 
fair for worshipping images ; for if the devil were come, their house 
is empty, swept, and garnished. They may worship idols, for they 
do not worship God in secret, or in their families. If the book- 
prayers of England, and the idolatrous prayers of Rome, were come 
to their hand, there is no other worship to be put out for them, for 
they have no other. 

What they talk of their hearts towards God, therein they join 
with the Papists, who put the second command out of the number of 
the ten. For the worship of God which they slight on that pre- 
tence, is the very worship required in this command. Now, let us 
try whether ye that will hold with the worship of the heart, or this 
command that requires outward bodily worship too, has most reason 
on your side. 

1st, Is not God the God of the whole man, the body as well as 
the soul ? Christ has redeemed the body as well as the soul ; the 
Spirit dwells in the bodies of his people as well as their souls. The 
whole man, soul and body, is taken into the covenant. The body 
shall be glorified in heaven as well as the soul, or burn in hell as 
well as the soul. Is it not highly reasonable, then, that we worship 
God with outward bodily worship, as well as with the inward wor- 
ship of the heart ? 

Idly, God will not only be worshipped by us, but glorified before 
men, Matth. xvi. 24. But our inward worship cannot do that, for 
that is what none can know but God and our own souls. Therefore 
outward worship is necessary. If men will be accounted God's ser- 
vants, why will they not take on his badge ? 

'Sdly, Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh in 
other cases, and why not in this ? The apostle says grace in the 
hearts appears by the mouth to the honour of God, Horn. x. 10. 
And though outward worship may be performed where there is no 
inward in the heart, yet if the heart be a temple to God, the smoke 
will rise up from the altar, and appear without in outward worship. 


Lastly, Outward worship is not only a sign of the inward, but it 
is a help and furtherance to it. Prayer is a blessed mean to in- 
crease our love to God, sorrow for sin, faith, hope, and other parts 
of heart-worship. So, the partaking of the sacrament of the Lord's 
supper, another part of external worship, in the profane neglect of 
which mauy live, is not only a mean appointed, whereby we pub- 
licly profess ourselves engaged to the Lord, but is the mean to 
strengthen faith, and confirm our union and communion with him. 

2. Thou shalt fall in with and use the external worship and ordi- 
nances which God has appointed. This is implied in that, Thou 
shalt not make unto thee any graven image, 8fc. They are made al- 
ready, God has made them, and ye must use those that God has 
made, that worship, and those ordinances. And thus, by this com- 
mand we are bound to all the parts of God's worship, and to all his 
ordinances appointed in his word. If we neglect any of them, it is at 
our peril. It is not enough to leave idolatrous or superstitious wor- 
ship and ordinances, but we must inquire what are the Lord's sta- 
tutes, that we may do them. 

I come now to that question, ' "What is required in the second 
commandment ? The second commandment requireth the receiving 
observing, and keeping pure and entire all such religious worship 
and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word.' 

In handling this point, I shall shew, 

I. What is that religious worship, and those ordinances, which 
God hath appointed in his word. 

II. What is our duty with reference to those ordinances. 

I. I shall shew what is that religious worship, and those ordi- 
nances which God hath appointed in his word. That God has ap- 
pointed that religious worship, and those ordinances, whereby we 
are outwardly to glorify him, is evident from this, that God will be 
so honoured by us, yet has forbidden us to make any thing that way, 
consequently they are made by himself in his word. These ordi- 
nances appointed in the word are, 

1. Prayer, whereby we tender to him the homage due from a crea- 
ture to his Creator, acknowledging our dependence on him as the 
Author of all good. The parts of it are petition, confession, and 
thanksgiving. And that public in the assemblies, Acts ii. 42 ; pri- 
vate in lesser societies, particularly in families, Jer. x. ult ; and 
secret, every one by himself, Mat. vi. 6. none of them to justle out 
another. In these we are tied to no form. 

2. Praises in singing psalms, whereby we give him the praise due 
to him. And this is appointed, both publicly, Psal. cxlix. 1. and 
privately, Jam. v. 13. This is to be done in all simplicity be- 


coming the gospel, singing them with grace in the heart, Col. iii. 16 ; 
not playing them on musical instiuiments, of which there is not one 
word in the New Testament. 

3. Reading God's word, and hearing it read, both publicly, 
Acts xv. 21. and privately, John v. 39 ; whereby we honour God, 
consulting his oracles. 

4. The preaching of the word, and hearing it preached, 2 Tim. iv. 
2. 2 Kings iv. 23. And consequently the ministry is an ordinance 
of God, Rom. x. 15. Eph. iv. 11, 12. and the maintenance thereof, 
1 Cor. ix. 14. by an ordinance of God, though there should be no or- 
dinance of the state for it. 

5. Administration and receiving of the sacraments, to wit, bap- 
tism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Matt, xxviii. 
19. and the Lord's supper, 1 Cor. xi. 23, &c. both which are left us 
in much gospel-simplicity. By these we solemnly avouch ourselves 
to be the Lord's, and receive the seals of the covenant, getting our 
faith of covenant-blessings confirmed. 

6. Fasting, or extraordinary prayer with fasting, when the Lord 
by his providence calls for it, as when tokens of his anger do in a 
special manner appear. And this is public, in the congregation, 
Joel ii. 12, 13. and private too, as in families, 1 Cor. vii. 5. and se- 
cret, Matth. vi. 17, 18. See Zech. xii. 12, 13, 14. The same is to 
be said of extraordinary prayer, with thanksgiving. 

7. Church government and discipline. Christ has appointed a 
government in his church, and has not left it to men to dispose of it, 
Heb. iii. 5, 6. 1 Cor. xii. 28. He has appointed his ofticers, which 
are pastors and doctors, Eph. iv. 11. ruling elders and deacons, 
1 Cor. xii. 28. And besides these the scripture knows no ordinary 
church-officers. The three first are, by his appointment, church- 
rulers. They have the power of discipline, Matth. xviii. 17, 18. to 
rebuke scandalous offenders publicly, 1 Tim. vi. 20. to excommuni- 
cate the contumacious, 1 Cor. v. 4, 5. And amongst these officers 
of the same kind there is a parity by divine appointment, excluding 
both Pope and Prelate, Matth. xx. 26. There is also a subordina- 
tion of judicatories, Acts xv. which is the government we call Pres- 

8. Instructing and teaching in the ways of the Lord, not only by 
ministers, but by masters of families, who are to teach their fami- 
lies, Gen. xviii. 19. Dent. vi. 6, 7- 

9. Lastly, Spiritual conference, Mai. iii. 16. Dcut. vi. 7. and 
swearing, of which we shall treat in the third commandment. 

II. I shall shew what is our duty with reference to these ordi- 
nances. It is fourfold. 


1. We must receive them in our principles and profession. We 
must carry them as the badge of our subjection to our God, Micah 
iv. 5. 

2. We must observe them in our practice, Matth. xviii. 20. For 
what end do we receive these ordinances, if we make no conscience 
of the practice of them ? We will be in that case as the servant 
that knew his master's will, but did it not. So here there is a num- 
ber of duties laid on us by this command. It requires us also to 
pray, ministers to pray publicly and the people to join ; masters of 
families to pray in their families, and the family to join with them ; 
and each of us to pray in secret. It requires all of us to sing the 
Lord's praises, privately and publicly. It requires church-officers 
to exercise church discipline, and offenders to submit thereunto, 
&c. &c. 

3. We must do our duty to keep them pure, that nothing of men's 
inventions be added to them, and that whatever others mix with 
them, we adhere to the purity of ordinances, 1 Cor. xi. 2. 

4. We must do our duty to keep them entire, that nothing be ta- 
ken from them, Deut. xii. ult. for both adding and paring in these 
matters are abominable to the Lord. 

Finally, It requires us, in consequence of this, to disapprove, de- 
test, and oppose, according to our several places and stations, all 
worship that is not appointed of God, whether superstitious or ido- 
latrous, and, according to our several places and stations, to endea- 
vour the removal of the same, Acts xvii. 16, 17. Deut. vii. 5. 

I proceed to consider what is forbidden in the second command- 
ment. Avis. ' The second commandment forbiddeth the worshipping 
of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his word.' 
The sum of the second commandment is, That we worship God ac- 
cording as he has appointed in his word, and no otherwise. Hence 
there are two ways in the general, whereby this command is broken, 
viz. by irreligion and false worship. 

FIRST, Irreligion is the not shewing a due regard to, and not 
duly complying with the worship and ordinances appointed by God 
in his word, Job xv. 4. It is a sin against this command in defect, 
as false worship is in excess. It is a not worshipping of God with 
external worship and by means appointed, as false worship is wor- 
shipping in a way not appointed. And it is as much forbidden in 
this command, as to have no God at all is in the first. There are 
several sorts of that irreligion all here forbidden. 

1. The not receiving, but rejecting the worship and ordinances of 
God, Hos. viii. 12. This is the sin, (1.) Of atheists, who, as they 
have no reverence for God, seeing they deny him, do also reject his 


worship. (2.) Of Quakers, who throw off almost the whole external 
worship and ordinances of God, under the pretence of worshipping 
him in spirit. (3.) Of all those who do not receive, but reject any- 
one ordinance of God whatsoever, as some do singing of psalms, 
others the sacraments, others the government instituted by Christ, 

2. All neglect of God's worship and ordinances, in not observing 
them in their practice. The neglect of these, though men do not 
professedly reject them, is very offensive, Exod. iv. 24, 25. So in 
this command is forbidden, 

1st, The neglect of prayer, Psal. xiv. 4. How can they read or 
hear this command without a check, who do not bow a knee to God? 
This command forbids, 

(1.) The neglect of public prayer in the congregation; whereof 
people are guilty when they unnecessarily absent themselves from 
the public ordinances, or, through laziness or carelessness, the 
prayers are over ere they come; or unnecessarily go away and leave 
public prayers ; or do not in their hearts join and go along with the 
speaker in them. 

(2.) The neglect of family worship, and prayers particularly, Jer. 
x. ult. Christian families should be churches, wherein God should 
be worshipped. It is the sin of the whole family, especially of the 
heads thereof, when it is neglected. I say the whole, because it 
must needs be offensive to God, that while his worship lies neglected 
in a family, there is none there willing to take it up, and supply the 
defect. Besides, there is a neglect of it, where it is performed, viz. 
when any members of the family neglect to join therein, but unne- 
cessarily absent themselves, or being present do not join in their 
hearts with the speaker. 

(3.) The neglect of secret prayer. It is a positive ordinance of 
God, Matth. vi. 6. and the neglect of it, as it will not readily be the 
sin of those exercised to godliness, Cant. vii. 11. so it is a sad sign 
of little desire of communion with God. 

2dl>/, The neglect of singing the Lord's praises, whether in public 
or in private. There are some who sit mute like fishes in the con- 
gregation praising God, who are ready enough to rant in the congre- 
gation of drunkards. There are no psalms sung in their families, 
for they are strangers to spiritual mirth ; but they can laugh and 
sing to express their carnal mirth. 

3c%, The neglect of reading, and hearing the word read, in pub- 
lic, private, or secret. Has God commanded to search the scrip- 
tures, and will men be such neglecters of it ? What irreligion is it 
thus to neglect the word of life, our Father's testament, the book of 
God that teaches the way to eternal happiness ? 


4thly, The neglect of preaching the word is the sin of ministers, 
2 Tim. vi. 1, 2. This is to starve souls, instead of feeding them, 
which will make a dreadful account. So this command condemns, 
(1.) The practice of the lordly prelates, the least of whose work is 
preaching the gospel. They will needs have Timothy a bishop: 
with what face can they read, then, that solemn charge, 2 Tim. iv. 
1, 2. 'I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ; — preach 
the word ; be instant in season, and out of season,' &c. who (as if 
they would give us the perfect reverse of John the Baptist's charac- 
ter) are found more in the palace than the pulpit ? Matth. xi. 7, 8. 
(2.) Their devolving this work upon their curates and parsons, who 
often devolve it again upon their hirelings. Ezek. xliv. 8. (3.) 
Ministers having plurality of benefices and charges, whereby it is 
rendered impossible for them to feed them as is necessary unless 
they could be in several parishes at once. (4.) The non-residence 
of ministers, whereby they are under the same incapacity. (5.) All 
negligence of ministers, whereby they lightly, and without weighty 
grounds, leave their flocks destitute of the preaching of the word, 
shorter or longer time. 

5thly, The neglect of hearing the word. People are thus guilty 
when they totally absent themselves from the public ordinances, 
Heb. x. 25. It is lamentable to think how God is dishonoured, and 
graceless people hardened, by the prevailing of this among us. 
Whatever religion men place in this, this command makes it irreli- 
gion. If we be in our duty to preach, people are out of their duty 
that neglect to hear. Thus are people also guilty, when without 
any necessity they do at any time absent themselves, and when they 
rove and wander, and do not attend to the word preached when pre- 

Qthly, Ministers neglecting the administration of the sacraments. 
God has joined them together with the word in their commission, 
and therefore the neglect of any of them must be their sin. Christ 
has ordered the sacrament of his supper to be often celebrated, 
1 Cor. xi. 26. though he has not determined how often. I know no 
church so guilty in this point as our own. 

Itlihi, People's neglecting of the sacraments, to receive them. 
Thus people bring guilt on themselves, by slighting and neglecting 
the ordinance of baptism, Luke vii. 30. unduly delaying the baptism 
of their children ; and also in slighting the sacrament of the Lord's 
supper, 2 Chron. xxx. 10. Is it not a strange thing how men get 
their consciences satisfied, while they neglect one opportunity after 
another, and live in the avowed neglect of an uncontroverted ordi- 
nance ? 


Qthly, The neglect of the duty of fasting and prayer, when the 
Lord by his providence calls for it, whether public, or private, or 
secret. The neglect of public fasting and prayer is the sin of the 
church of Scotland at this day, seeing that our melancholy circum- 
stances do evidently hold forth the call of providence thereto. And 
for family-fasts, how is that duty absolutely neglected in most 
families though there is no family but sometimes has a private call 
thereto, by some stroke threatened or lying on them, &c. ? And 
how many are absolute strangers to secret personal fasting and 
prayer, though they want not calls thereto, either from their tempo- 
ral or spiritual case ? Matth. vii. 21. Thus may the church, 
families, and particular persons, be guilty in the neglect of thanks- 
giving for mercies. 

Stlily, The neglect of the exercise of church-discipline by church- 
judicatories, greater or lesser, in order to the purging of the church 
of scandalous members, Rev. ii. 14. This has been and is the sin 
of the church of Scotland, for which God may justly take his keys 
out of our hand. And now matters are come to that pass in most 
congregations, through the land, and has ever so been in this con- 
gregation since I knew it, that the vigorous exercise of discipline 
cannot be to edification*, Gal. v. 12. the disease being turned too 
strong for the cure. May the Lord convince them powerfully, and 
check them effectually, that make it so ! 

lOthly, The neglect of catechising and instructing the weak. 
Thus ministers are guilty when they are not at pains to catechise ; 
and those who will not be at pains to wait on diets of examination, 
but shun it time after time, and will rather enjoy their ignorance 
than come to learn. So masters of families are guilty who are at 
no pains to instruct their wives, children, and servants, in the prin- 
ciples of religion ; and such as neglect that opportunity of family- 
catechising. You want not good helps to this; why may ye not 
take a Catechism, such as Allein's &c. and ask the questions, and 
cause them to answer ? It would be a good spending of the Sab- 
bath, profitable to you and them too. 

Lastly, The neglect of spiritual conference, when God puts an op- 
portunity in our hands, especially on the Lord's day, when our talk 
in a special manner is required to be spiritual, and we have the ad- 
vantage of speaking of the Lord's word, which we have heard. 

* Upon the author's settlement in the parish of Ettrick, he found the people, with 
respect to church-discipline, like bullocks unaccustomed to the yoke. And he re- 
peatedly complains in his Diary, that when church-censure was inflicted, or a rebuke 
administered, the delinquent immediately deserted his ministry, and joined the Old 
Dissenters, who at that time infested that and adjacent parishes. 


3. All curtailing and mincing of God's worship and ordinances, 
not keeping them entire, Dent. xii. ult. Men are guilty of this, 

1st, When they reject any part of an ordinance instituted hy 
Christ, and so leave it defective and lame, as the Papists in taking 
away the cup from the people, and the reading of the scriptures in 
private, &c. 

2dly, "When they receive some of Christ's ordinances, but not all. 

(1.) Churches sin, when they receive his doctrine and worship, but 
not the government and discipline appointed in his house. A sad de- 
fect in some churches since the reformation, where all Christ's or- 
dinances could not get place ; as if it had been left to men what to 
take and what to refuse of his institutions. 

(2.) Families sin, mincing God's worship and ordinances. Some 
will sing and read, but not pray ; some pray, but do not read and 
sing. Some will worship God in their families in the evening, but 
no morning-sacrifice can get room there for their throng. Some will 
do all, but neglect family catechising or instruction. 

(3.) Particular persons sin. How men pick and chuse the insti- 
tutions of God ? Some wait on public ordinances, but make no con- 
science of private ordinances. Some, again, go about the private ex- 
ercises of religion, but slight public ordinances. Some hear the word 
ordinarily, but they are habitual neglecters of the sacrament. Some 
pray in secret, but they pray not in their families ; some in their 
families, but they have nothing to say to God, but what they can say 
before all their family ; their family-prayers justle out their secret 
prayers. Is this to keep God's worship and ordinances entire ? 
How can men answer to God for this way of it ? 

(4.) Contempt of God's worship and ordinances, Matth. xxi. 5. 
Mai. i. 7- This is a crying sin of our day, that is like to fill up our 
cup to the brim, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 16. God has a special zeal for his 
own worship and ordinances, and therefore contempt of them must 
be dangerous to a degree. There are several sorts of this contempt 
of God's worship and ordinances, whereby men are guilty. 

1st, Inward irreverence, when we come to or are at ordinances 
without due fear of God on our spirits, Eccl. v. 1 ; when we rush 
into the presence of God, in public, private, or secret duties, without 
that composure of spirit which an approach to the great God re- 
quires ; when we do not prepare to meet with God in his ordinances, 
but stand not to touch the holy things of God with unholy, unsancti- 
fied hands. 

2c%, Outward irreverence in holy ordinances, which is a plain 
contempt cast on them, Mai. i. 12, 13. Such are all foolish gestures 


in the time of divine worship, talking one with another, and much 
more laughing, whether in the church or the family. They are fool- 
ish, void of discretion, as well as the fear of God, that give up them- 
selves to these things, and know neither God nor themselves. And 
those are also guilty of irreverence who sleep at ordinances, public 
or private, Acts xx. 9. 

3c%, An open and avowed contempt of God's ordinances, Job xxi. 
14, 15. what guilt is on the generation this way ! They do not 
worship God in his ordinances, and they are not ashamed of it. 
They do not pray, aud they will not avow it. It is below them to 
bow a knee to God, especially in their families. They neglect the 
hearing of the word, and they glory in it. If we offer to touch them 
any manner of way, they will not come to the church again. They 
will loiter at home for months together, and think it no fault. They 
never communicate, and they are not ashamed of it. Contempt of 
ordinances has been a crying sin in Ettrick these seven years, what- 
ever it was before. 

4thly, Contumacy, in not submitting to the discipline of Christ's 
house. People are not ashamed to sin and give scandal ; they think 
not that below them ; but they will commit their scandalous offences, 
get drunk, swear, revel, fight one with another, as if they would re- 
gard the laws neither of God nor man. But whatever be their scan- 
dals, if it be not fornication or adultery, they contemn and slight the 
discipline of Christ's house. With what contempt do many enter- 
tain church government at this day ! 

bthly, Mocking those who make conscience of God's worship, Is. 
xxviii. 22. Dreadful is that contempt where God's ordinances 
are made a jest of, and a man is treated like a fool, because he makes 
conscience of his duty towards God. Mock at preaching and praying 
as men will, the day will come when they will change their note. 

Lastly, Simony, Acts viii. 18. It is a desire of buying or selling 
spiritual things, or things annexed to them, whether the bargain suc- 
ceed or not ; as buying or selling of baptism, &c. or an office ap- 
pointed by Christ in his house. This prevails in corrupt times of 
the church, especially under patronages, is oft-times the sin of those 
that are getting into the ministry, and of such as are concerned 
about them, when they take indirect methods, by themselves or 
friends, to get into charges by Simoniacal pactions, whether by gifts 
from the hand or from the tongue. And somewhat of this nature is 
the sin of scandalous curates, and of those that deal with them, who 
will for money marry people without testimonials, basely prostitut- 
ing God's ordinance. 

5. Hindering God's worship and ordinances, Matt, xxiii. 13. 
Thus men are guilty of the breach of this commandment. 


1st, In hindering God's public worship ; which may be done 
many ways. As, (1.) By the magistrates' laws or force against mi- 
nisters preaching the word, and going about other duties of their 
station, Acts iy. 18. (2.) By sacrilege, taking away any thing that 
is necessary for the maintenance of God's worship, and which has 
been devoted for that end, as the maintenance of ministers and the 
like, Rom. ii. 22. (3.) By discouraging ministers by calumnies, 
reproaches, and all hard usage, which may make them drive heavily 
in their work. (4.) Putting in and keeping scandalous men in the 
ministry, 1 Sam. ii. 17- (5.) Men's keeping back those that are un- 
der them from attending the public worship. If any be so tied to 
their worldly affairs that there is no way to relieve them on the 
Lord's day for many Sabbaths together, it is their sin that tie them so, 
and theirs that tie themselves so ; though I am apt to believe it is but 
an excuse that some godless creatures make for themselves. 

Idly, Hindering family-worship ; which may be done many ways ; 
as by a too eager and unseasonable pursuit of worldly business, till 
neither time nor strength is left for it ; shuffling it off by this and 
the other thing that is to be done, and not watching the season for 
it ; strife and contention in families, especially betwixt husband and 
wife, 1 Pet. iii. 7- any member of the family drawing back, and 
creating disorder. 

3dly, Hindering secret worship ; as not allowing people time to 
seek the Lord in secret, mocking or discouraging those that do so, &c. 

To which we may add, our not doing what we can to further the 
worship of God in public, private or secret ; for it is not enough that 
we do not hinder it, but what do we to further it ? Heb. x. 24, 25 ; 
the not stirring up the lazy and careless, and putting them on their 

Lastly, Opposing God's worship and ordinances, public, private, 
or secret. This is more than to hinder them, Acts xiii. 44, 45. So 
are guilty, (1.) Persecutors, Acts iv. 18. (2.) Those that are fond 
of their own inventions, set themselves to cast out, or hold out, God's 
true worship and ordinances out of the church : the sin of many at 
this day. (3.) Opposing the settlement of parishes with gospel- 
ministers called according to the word, which, on prejudices and 
mistaken points of honour, has been and is the sin of many in the 
land. (4.) Lastly, All such as any way set themselves against God's 
worship, in public, in congregations, families, or secret. This will 
be found, whatever people think of it, a fighting against God, Acts 
v. 39. 

SECONDLY, I come now to speak of false worship and ordin- 
ances, which is worship and ordinances not instituted or appointed by 

Vol. II. l 



God himself. Aud this is expressly forbidden, Thou shalt not make 
unto thee any graven image, &c. Deut. xii. ult. It is not only a sin 
not to worship God, and not to regard his ordinances, but to worship 
him in a way which he has not instituted, to bring in ordinances 
that bear not his stamp. Of this there are two sorts. 

First, Idolatry. There is a sort of idolatry forbidden in the first 
command that respects the object of worship, when we worship any 
other than the true God. But the idolatry here forbidden respects 
the means of worship, when we make use of idols or images in wor- 
ship, even though we intend ultimately the worshipping of the true 
God. And here is condemned, 

1. All religious imagery ; for of images and pictures for a civil 
or political use merely, the command is not to be understood ; for 
the command being of the first table, plainly respects religion, Lev. 
xxvi. 1 ; and the art of cutting, carving, &c. is a gift of God, Exod. 
xxxi. 3, — 5 ; and has had God's allowance for the exercise of it, 
1 Kings vi. 29. Now, under this article of religious imagery is for- 

1st, The making any representation or image of God in our mind, 
all carnal imaginations of him, as to conceive of him like a reverend 
old man, &c. Acts xvii. 29. for God is the object of our understand- 
ing, not our imagination, being invisible. This is mental idolatry, 
which the best are in hazard of. 

2dly, The making any outward representation of God by any 
image. Remarkable is the connection of the first and second com- 
mand : Thou shalt have no other gods before me : Thou shalt not make 
unto thee any graven image, fyc. It is impossible to get any bodily 
likeness that can truly represent God as he is ; and therefore men 
that, over the belly of reason and God's own will, will needs have 
representations of God, are fain to betake themselves to images of 
some corruptible thing, the very thing condemned in the heathens, 
Rom. i. 23. And therefore it is abominable imagery, and highly 
injurious to the great God, to represent him any manner of way. 
Such abominations are the representing of God by a sun shining 
with beams, with the name JEHOVAH in it or over it, as in several 
Bibles : the representing of the Father by an image of an old man, 
the Son by that of a lamb, or a young man ; or the Father by a 
large shining sun, the Son by a lesser sun shining, and the Holy 
Ghost by a dove, as in some great Bibles from England. It is la- 
mentable to think how frequent of late the blasphemous pictures of 
Christ hanging on the cross are grown among Protestants, by Rome's 
art, no doubt to fit the nations for their idolatry. All these are 
directly contrary to God's word, Isa. xl. 18. Deut. iv. 15, 19. 


Though Christ be a man, yet he is God too, and therefore no 
image can nor may represent him. Yea, what image can there be 
of his body now, seeing he never sat for it ? He is now glorified, 
and so cannot be pictured as he is even in his human nature. There 
is nothing more ready to beget mean thoughts of Christ, Hab. ii. 
18; and if it should stir up devotion, that is worshipping by an 
image, which is idolatay here forbidden. 

Sdly, The having of these images, though we do not worship them. 
For if it be a sin in itself to make them, how can they be innocent 
that keep them ? Deut. vii. 5. It is a strange inconsistency in some 
to pretend to abhor images, and yet themselves will keep them. 
They may be a snare to others, and therefore should be removed, 
blotted or torn out of books, if in them. For their very being is an 
injury to the great, invisible, and incomprehensible Majesty. 

4thly, Images of false gods, such as the heathens worshipped, and 
of such angels and saints as the Papists worship, we should beware 
of, because of the danger of idolatry, Exod. xxxii. 8. Hezekiah 
destroyed the brazen serpent, that had been abused to idolatry. A 
zeal against them as God's rivals, which have got the worship due 
to him, is very natural to a child of God touched with God's honour, 
Psal. xvi. 4. 

5thly, Images of God, Christ, angels, or saints, ought not to be set 
up in churches or places of worship, though men do not worship 
them. (1.) Because they are monuments of idolatry, that ought to 
be removed, Deut. vii. 5 ; and destroyed, Exod. xxiii. 24. (2.) 
Hezekiah is commended for breaking the brazen serpent, because 
the children of Israel burnt incense to it, 2 Kings xviii. 4. (3.) It 
is stumbling, as an occasion of idolatry, and as it prejudices Turks 
and Jews against the Christian religion, and grieves the hearts of 
tender Christians. 

2. All idolatrous worship is forbidden here as abominable idola- 
try, Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them. The 
sorts of idolatry forbidden here, are, 

1st, "Worshipping false gods by images, as the heathens did 
their Jupiter, Apollo, and the rest. Such was the worship of Baal 
among the idolatrous Israelites, Rom. xi. 4. 

Idly, Worshipping the images themselves of God, Christ, and 
saints, which is contrary to the very letter of this command. See 
Lev. xxvi. 1. The Papists are most abominable idolaters in this 
respect bowing to stocks and stones. Their principles allow them a 
worship more than civil, which they call service, and that for the 
images themselves properly ; contrary to the express words of this 
command, Thou shalt not serve them, Gal. iv. 8. And the images 



of Clod and Christ get the most plain divine worship, though some 
distinguish, they get it not for themselves, but for what they repre- 
sent. But get it as they will, it is plain they do get it, and that 
therefore the Papists are as real idolaters as ever the Pagans were, 
worshipping the work of their own hands. And accordingly they 
bow down to images, kiss them, offer incense to them, pray to them, 

Sdly, Worshipping God in and by an image. The Papists wipe 
their mouth, and say, they have not sinned, when they do not be- 
lieve the image to be God, and do not terminate their worship oh 
the image itself, but worship God in and by it. And when they 
have said this, what say they more than what the heathens had to 
say, and did say to the Christians of old ? Did they believe that 
their images were the very gods they worshipped ? Nay, they made 
many images of one god, as of Jupiter ; and when they grew old, 
they cast them off, and got new ones. But did they change their 
gods? No, Jer. ii. 11. Were not the Israelites abominable ido- 
laters in the worship of the golden calf? Psal. cvi. 19, 20. Yet 
they did but worship Jehovah by it, Exod. xxxii. 5. So Jero- 
boam's golden calves were intended but as means whereby to wor- 
ship the true God, 1 Kings xii. 26. So the calf-worship remained 
after Baal's worship was destroyed out of Israel by Jehu. The 
same was the case with Micah's idolatry, Judg. xvii. 13. and xviii. 6. 

4thli/, The worshipping of a man for some relation to God, of the 
Pope as God's vicar on earth. They call him their Lord, and a God 
upon earth. And when he is new made, he is twice set upon the 
altar, and worshipped by the cardinals. And he does not only ad- 
mit the kissing of his feet, but expects and requires it as Christ's vi- 
car. He is carried in procession, as the heathens carried their idols, 
and they themselves the sacrament, which they account God, great 
and small worshipping him as a God, if they think the honour re- 
dounds to God, so did Cornelius, Acts x. 25, 26. 

Lastly, The same idolatry is in their worshipping angels, saints, 
reliques, the cross, bread in the sacrament, though they think the 
honour redounds to God. As if saints and angels had some deity in 
them, or God were present in the cross or reliques, and heard pray- 
ers better than any where else. 

Secondly, There is superstition and will-worship ; that is, what- 
ever (though not idolatry) is brought into religion as a part of it, 
which God hath not appointed in his word. The command says, 
Thou shalt not make, &c. that is, but thou shalt receive the worship 
and ordinances as God hath appointed them, and not add to them of 
men's inventions, Dcut. i As irreligion regards not God's ordi- 


nances, so superstition brings in others ; by irreligion men take away 
from the ordinances of God, by superstition they add to them. Both 
are hateful to God. Under this head are forbidden, 

1. All making of things to be sin or duty which God hath not 
made so, Matth. xv. 2. "Whatever be men's pretences in this, it is an 
invading of the power and authority of the great Lawgiver, an accu- 
sing of his word of imperfection, and very dangerous, Prov. xxx. 6. 
This is the great occasion of sad divisions and schisms in the church, 
while men, not content with plain duty appointed of God, make the 
conceptions of their own hearts sins and duties, which God never 
made so, and impose them on others as terms of Christian commu- 
nion, which superstition can never be sanctified by their fathering it 
wrongously on the scripture, Prov. xxx. 6. 

2. Religiously abstaining from any thing which God does not re- 
quire us so to abstain from. Men will have their ordinances as God 
has his ; and how hard is it to keep men from religious inventions 
of their own ! Col. ii. 20, 21. This is sinful in itself, religiously 
binding up ourselves where God has left us free, as if that could be 
acceptable service to God, which, like Jeroboam's feast-day, 1 Kings 
xii. ult. is devised of our. own heart. But much more is it so when 
it justles out plain commanded duty, Matth. xv. 5, 6. Such is the 
withdrawing from the public ordinances dispensed by Christ's sent 
servants lawfully called, and not mixed with men's inventions. 

3. All unwarrantable observations and expectations of effects from 
causes which have no such virtue from God, either by the nature he 
has given them, or by any special appointment of his. Of this sort 
of superstitions ignorant people are full, being the yet unpurged 
dregs of Popery and Paganism. Such as, 

1st, Looking on such or such accidents as lucky or unlucky, 
whereby they are filled with fear or hope, as if these things were a 
part of the bible ; as if a hare or a cat cross their way, the salt fall 
on the table, if they sneeze in the morning when they go out, or 
stumble in the threshold, the ear tingle, &c. 

'idly, Looking on certain days as lucky or unlucky to begin or do 
a work upon ; because there are such days of the week, or of the 
year, that are called dismal days, or that tliey are such and such 
holidays, as some will not yoke their plough on Yule-day, Deut. 
xviii. 10. 

37'/, Carrying useless things about them for safety from devils, 
witches, temptations, or dangers : as Papists use to carry the re- 
liques of some saints about their necks. This is not to he expected 
from the carrying the Bible about with us ; for it is only the using 
it by faith and prayer that prevails ; and as little can any such 

l 3 



safety be warrantably expected from any kind of wood, &c. and 
many such like things. 

4. All laying an unwarranted weight on circumstances of worship 
that is appointed of God. And so men keeping by the worship 
which God has appointed, may be guilty of superstition. As, 

1st, When they lay weight upon the place where it is performed, 
as if it were more holy and acceptable to God, and more beneficial 
to men, in one place than another; whereas all difference of places is 
taken away under the gospel. That is superstition to think praying 
and preaching more holy and profitable in a kirk than in a barn, 
&c. or on a hill-side than in the church. 

Idly, When men lay an unwarranted weight on their bodily pos- 
ture in worship, carrying these things farther than God requires in 
his word. Much is made of these external gestures, especially 
where there is least religion, as in the churches of England and 
Rome, where these gestures are so appointed and multiplied, that it 
makes God's worship look very unlike that gravity required of Chris- 
tians in the worship of God. So men may be guilty, as thinking 
prayer with their knees on the ground more acceptable than on a 
cushion, their knees bare than covered, &c. 

Sdly, Tying the worship of God to certain accidents, as to pray 
when one sneezeth, and say, God bless. This is originally a hea- 
thenish custom. Sneezing was so much observed among them, that 
it came at length to be accounted a god ; and it was their usual 
prayer, when one sneezed, God save. 

Stilly, Laying weight upon instruments, administrators of ordi- 
nances, as if they were of more efficacy being administered by one 
than another having the same divine mission, and administering 
them according to the same institution of Christ. 

bthly, Laying an unwarrantable weight on such a number of 
prayers, and reading such a number of chapters, and hearing such a 
number of sermons. And, in a word, laying weight on any thing 
about God's worship where God has laid none. 

Lastly, All additions and inventions of men in God's worship and 
ordinances, Dent. xii. ult. With these the worship and ordinances 
of God are mightily corrupted in some churches. All these are 
here forbidden : As, 

1st, The five sacraments the Papists have added to the two ap- 
pointed by Christ, as orders, penance, marriage, confirmation, and 
extreme miction. 

2dly, The Apocryphal books they have added to the scriptures of 
the Old Testament. 

'Sdly, The officers in the cliurch that the Papists have added to 


those appointed by Christ, Popes, Cardinals, Patriarchs, &c. and 
which with them Prelatists have added, Archbishops, Bishops, 
Deans, &c. 

■ithly, The holidays they have added to the Lord's day. 

Lastly, The heap of insignificant ceremonies wherewith the wor- 
ship of God is burdened in Popery, and in the church of England. 
These are inventions of men, most of which the English service-book 
has borrowed from Papists who had many of them from the Pagans. 

The patrons of false worship, whether idolatrous or superstitious, 
have a special respect to their own inventions, because they are 
their own, Psal. cvi. 39 ; and go about to impose them on others, 
under the pretence of their being delivered to them from great and 
good men, Matt. xv. 2, 9 ; their antiquity, 1 Pet. i. 18 ; custom, Jer. 
xliv. 17; devotion, Isa. lxv. 5; good intent, 1 Sam. xv. 21. But 
what we call for is divine warrant, "Who hath required these things 
at your hands ? There are several ways how people may be guilty 
of the breach of this command with respect to a false religion and 

1. The tolerating of it by those who have power to suppress it, 
Rev. ii. 14. 

2. By divising it, Numb. xv. 39. 

3. By counselling to follow it, Deut. xiii. 6, 7, 8. 

4. By commanding it, Hos. v. 11. 

5. By using it, 1 Kings xi. 33. 

6. Lastly, By any wise approving it. 

Let us abhor the idolatry of Popery, and the superstitions of the 
church of England, which they had from the Papists, and would 
fain impose on us, remembering that God's command discharges all 
inventions of men in his worship ; and our covenants, particularly 
the national covenant, whereby we are most expressly bound against 

In the author's manuscript the following paragraph is immediately subjoined, viz. 
" Having spoke of tbe irreligious and false worship, idolatry, and superstition, for- 
bidden in this command, the snares and dangers of our day oblige me to be a little 
more particular, (for the glory of God, tbe interest of your souls, and the exoneration 
of my own conscience, whatever these present confusions may end in), in making tbe 
native application of my text against the church of Rome, and the church of England, 
who have both of them, the one as the master, and the other as the scholar, signalized 
themselves in the art of making to themselves in the worship of God : A sinful art for- 
bidden by this command. The inventions of both are already set up in our land, and 
many have gone a-whoring after them, and the purity of ordinances in this church is 
in hazard of being swallowed up by the one or the other at this day. And indeed the 
English service is so far Roman, that if our enemies find us not disposed to take on 
tbe blackness of Popery at first dash, it may serve to prepare us for it, as a dip in the 


I shall shut up all with laying before you, in a few words, the rea- 
sons annexed to this command. 

1. God's sovereignty over us, I the Lord. So he has the sole 
power and authority to appoint the laws and ordinances by which 
we must be governed in his worship and service ; and for others to 
take it upon them, is an invading of his sovereignty, which we must 
by no means own, Jer. vii. 31. 

blue vat prepares cloth to take on jet black. Therefore I shall, (1.) Consider the 
English liturgy. (2.) Poperv, as it is particularly abjured in our national covenant ; 
under which particulars of Popery we will find Prelacy and ceremonies also rejected 
and abjured." 

The preparer of this work for the Press would have willingly inserted what the 
author said on both these subjects ; but the manuscript, on examination, was found im- 
perfect, especially in the article relating to the English liturgy ; and quite illegible in 
several places relating to the other head. So that he has been obliged, though re- 
luctantly, to drop both. He shall only subjoin what the author advanced after his ex- 
plication of the national covenant, as follows. 

" Now, upon the whole, I shall put you in mind of two things clearly following from 
what I said. 

" I. That church in Scotland which owns and maintains the doctrine contained in 
the large confession of faith of the church of Scotland, detests and abhors the errors 
and corruptions abjured in the short confession, or national covenant, both with re- 
spect to doctrine and discipline, is the same government or discipline, to wit, Presby- 
terial government, which is sworn to therein, we ought by the covenant to join 
ourselves unto, and keep communion with, not only in hearing the word preached, 
but in the use of the holy sacraments. But such is the present established church in 
Scotland. And our separatists * cannot, nor can the world shew, that our doctrine 
and discipline is any other. But they would impose upon us other terms of commu- 
nion than what are contained in this our national covenant, which is the bond to knit 
together the members of the church of Scotland. And so withdrawing from the com- 
munion of this church is a palpable breach of this covenant. And if men will pretend 
that they are bound up from the duty of this covenant by any subsequent oaths, acts, 
or engagements whatsoever, that is the sin of covenant-breaking with a witness, taking 
one engagement to elude another prior solemn engagement, which cannot be loosed. 

" 2. Popery, Prelacy, ceremonies, and profaneness, as they are forbidden in the 
word of God, so they are by this covenant accursed things in this church, to be re- 
jected and detested, as we would not bring the curse of the covenant upon us. The 
Lord has wonderfully owned this covenanted work of reformation, and it has been a 
burdensome stone that has crushed many, who have set themselves to roll it out of the 
way. The building up of those things cast down by it, has been to some as the re- 
building of Jericho to him that undertook that work, on whom a curse was entailed. 
It has been witnessed unto by the wrestlings of many, and resisting even unto blood 
by the Lord's witnesses in Scotland, who chose rather to lose their lives than to quit 
it. Now, the danger of a root-stroke is great. Ye see what is your duty, whatever 
the danger may be. Let us labour for grace to be faithful unto death, that we may re- 
ceive the crown of life." 

* The author means the Old Dissenters, the followers of Mr. Macmillian. 


2. His propriety in us, Thy God. Therefore we must not go a- 
whoring after our own or others' inventions, which alienate the heart 
from God, hut must keep ourselves undenled with these things ; as 
a chaste wife holding hy her hushand, who will neither he a whore 
nor hehave like one, Hos. ix. 1. Because he is our God (I mean), 
we must neither be idolaters nor superstitious, symbolizing with 

3. The zeal he hath to his own worship, i" — a jealous GorJ, visiting 
the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, fyc. Zeal or jealousy is 
an affection of a husband, whereby he can endure no partner in his 
wife's love, but is highly incensed against it, if any such thing there 
be. So the Lord is specially displeased with all false worship, as 
spiritual whoredom, and has such a peculiar regard to the matter of 
his worship, that it is a most dangerous thing to make a wrong step 
in it, Lev. x. 1, 2. This zeal appears, (1.) In his accounting the 
breakers of this command haters of him, though idolaters and 
superstitious persons pretend highly to love and honour him, and 
threatening to punish them to the third and fourth generation, be- 
cause so long men may live, and see themselves punished in their 
children. Not that God properly punishes one for another's sin ; 
but that from the parent's sin he often takes occasion to punish chil- 
dren for their own sins, and such their parents' sins oft-times are by 
imitation, or some way approving of them. (2.) In his accounting 
the observers of this command such as love him, and promising- 
mercy unto them to many generations, even thousands of theirs 
after them. 


Exod. xx. 7- — Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in 
vain ; for the Lord ivill not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in 

As the first command respects the object of worship, and the second 
the means, so this third hath respect to the right manner of wor- 
ship. In the words there are two things. 

1. The command, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God 
in vain. It is expressed negatively, to strike into men the greater 
awful reverence of that glorious and great name. Now, as men by 
their names are known, and distinguished one from another, so by 
the name of God we are to understand generally, whatsoever it is 


whereby God makes himself known, which we learn from his word 
and works. ' For no man hath seen God at any time,' John i. 18; 
nor do we know any thing of him, hut what he has been so pleased 
to reveal of himself. So that God being thus revealed unto us, the 
scope of this command is to bind upon us a holy reverence of him 
so far as he has revealed himself to us. 

To take this name in vain, signifies, (1.) To a lie, or falsely. God 
is a God of truth ; and his name must not be in any ways interposed 
to falsehood, as they do who father their own lies on him, or call 
him to witness to a lie in swearing falsely. (2.) In vain ; God is 
great, and we must not use his name in thought, word, or writing, 
lightly without just cause, rashly without reverence, or un profitably 
to no good purpose, God's honour, the good of ourselves or others, 
and much less contumeliously and wickedly, as in cursing and blas- 

The positive part is implied, viz. That we must hallow the name 
of God, treat it holily and reverently, Isa. viii. 13. interposing it 
only to truth, whereof he is the author, and that upon his own call, 
with reverence, for his honour, and the good of ourselves and others. 

2. The reason annexed to this command. For the Lord will not 
hold him, guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Where observe, 

(1.) The evil threatened against the breakers of this command. 
The Lord will not hold them guiltless. Two things are remarkable 
here. [1.] In that it is said, The Lord ivill not hold them guiltless, it 
implies, that profaners of God's name many times hold themselves 
guiltless. They abuse God's name, and then wipe their mouths, and 
say they have not sinned. Men hold them guiltless, they escape 
punishment from men ; but while both themselves and others let the 
plea sleep, God will awaken it, and take the quarrel into his own 
hand. [2.] In that it is said, The Lord ivill not hold them guiltless, 
more is meant than is expressed, viz. that God will severely punish 
the profaning of his name. The less they think of it, God will 
think the more of it, and men shall find peculiar severe resentments 
of this sin from a highly provoked God. They will find, that though 
it lies far from their hearts, yet it touches a holy God near. 

(2.) How particular the threatening is, Hold him guiltless that tak- 
eth his name in vain. The sin is repeated in the threatening, to shew 
the heinousness of it, how ill God takes it to have his name taken 
in vain. And though it be a common sin, yet none shall be hid or 
escape among the multitude of criminals, but God will bring out this 
man and that man, even every man that is a profaner of his name, 
and judge him as particularly, and punish him as severly, as if there 
were but one man in the fault. And though some by their being set 


above others in the world, think they may take a latitude in this 
sin, yet, be the man who he will, him will God punish for it : were 
he the greatest on earth, he shall knoA7 that his tongue is not his 
own, but that Jehovah is Lord over him. 

(3.) How peremptory the threatening is : it is not simply said, 
God will punish him that taketh his name in vain, but God will not 
hold him guiltless. Let him not think to escape, God will not quit 
his honour so. His glory engages him to resent the dishonour done 
to his name, and the abuser of it shall not go free. If God's name 
be profaned by him, it shall be glorified upon him one way or other. 

In discoursing further from this subject, I shall shew, 

I. What is required in this command. 

II. What is forbidden in it. 

III. The reason annexed to it. 

IV. Make some improvement. 

I am to shew what is required in the third command. It ' re- 
quires the holy and reverent use of God's names, titles, attributes, 
ordinances, words, and works.' 

And here I shall shew, 

1. What is the name of God by which he makes himself known, 
which is to be hallowed by us. 

2. What is our duty with respect to this glorious name, in all the 
parts thereof. 

First, I shall shew what is the name of God by which he makes 
himself known, which is to be hallowed by us. Under this are com- 

1. The particular names that God takes to himself in his word, as 
Jehovah, Lord, God, I am, fyc. Exod. vi. 3. And whereas he is one 
God in three persons, we take in here the names of all the three, the 
Father, the Son, who is also called Jesus Christ, Immanuel, and the 
Holy Ghost. 

2. The titles of God. For as great men have titles of honour, 
whereby they are distinguished from others, so God has taken cer- 
tain titles to himself, as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 
Preserver of Men, Hearer of Prayer, fyc. So the three persons in the 
Trinity have titles. The Father is called the God and Father of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, fye. the Son King of kings, Lord of lords, Head of 
the Church, fyc. and the Spirit, the Comforter, Sanctifer, fyc. 

3. The attributes of God, that is, his perfections and properties, 
whereby he is distinguished from all the creatures; such as, his 
eternity, unchangeableness, infinity, omniscience, &c. in a word, 
all the glorious properties of the divine nature common to all the 
three persons. Each of these is as it were a letter of his name, 


Exocl. xxxiii. 19. 'I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee.' 
Chap, xxxiv. 6, 7- ' The Lord — proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord 
God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness 
and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and 
transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.' 
And happy they that can believingly read this name. 

4. The ordinances of God. These are his name by which he is 
known in the world, Micah iv. 5. with Luke i. 6. Such are prayer, 
praise, the sacraments, &c ; oaths, for swearing by the name of God 
when we are duly called thereto, is a part of religious worship, and 
a very solemn and awful ordinance of God, Deut. x. 20. So are lots 
an ordinance of God, wherein the decision of any thing is committed 
to Divine Providence, and thereby God makes his will known, Prov. 
xvi. 33. Acts i. 24, 26. 

5. His word, which we have in the holy scriptures, Psal. cxxxviii. 
2. This is to be read by us, preached and heard, that we may 
thereby know our God ; for therein is his name unfolded, both in 
the law and in the gospel, which are the two parts thereof. 

6. Lastly, His works. By these is he known, viz. his works of 
creation, Psal. xix. 1 ; and of providence, whether of mercy, Acts 
xiv. 17; or of judgment, Psal. ix. 19. 

Secondly, I come now to shew what is our duty with respect to 
this glorious name in all the parts thereof. We may take it up in 
these two things. 

1. We are to use it in all the parts thereof as we are called. 
God has laid it before us for our use, and we ought to take it up. 
This is plainly implied in the command, not to take it in vain : for 
(observe) there is a great difference betwixt the orders Heaven gives 
concerning the name of other gods, and the name of the true God, 
Exod. xxiii. 13. ' Make no mention of the names of other gods, 
neither let it be heard out of thy mouth ;' compared with this com- 
mand, Thou slialt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. 
And indeed when God gives us his names, titles, attributes, ordi- 
nances, word, and works, if we use them not we take them in vain, 
Cor. vi. 1. Now, there are three ways how we may be said to use 
this name. 

1st, In thought, whether by simple conceiving it, and the seve- 
ral parts of it, or by settled meditation upon it. Thus we are to 
take up the name of God into our minds, thinking and meditat- 
ing upon his names, titles, attributes, &c. And thus that question, 
' What is his name,' Prov. xxx. 4. may be our continual study, our 
every day's lesson ; and it will serve us to learn as long as we are 
in the world ; and no wonder, for it is what the saints in heaven are 
learning, and will learn through eternity. This is our duty, and 


would be a most profitable study, being a great part of the life of 
faith, whereby the soul feeds on God himself. 

Idly, In words, whether by speaking of it, or writing of it. And 
thus we are to take it up in our lips and pens. The first is the duty 
of all ; the second of some only, whom God calls and has fitted there- 
unto, as he did the prophets, apostles, and others, who by their writ- 
ings have been useful to particular persons, or to the church of God. 
To speak of God is the great end of speech that is given to man, 
made to be the mouth of the creation ; and therefore our tongue is 
called our glory, by which we ought to contribute to the displaying 
of the glory of God, in his names, titles, &c. 

Sdly, In deeds ; and so we are to take up his holy name in our 
practice, making conscience of the practice of the duties enjoined in 
God's word and ordinances, praying, reading, hearing, communicat- 
ing, swearing by his name, when in a lawful oath duty called there- 
to, &c. Thus a practical profession of religion, as well as a verbal 
profession, is a duty of this command. And, 

(1.) A verbal profession is necessary at some times ; that is, when 
we are by the providence of God called thereunto, to give a testi- 
mony unto the truth, 1 Pet. iii. 15. For then it is asked, as it were, 
By what name are we called ? and then we must not be ashamed of 
our Father, before men, but meekly though boldly declare it even in 
words, Rom. x. 10 ; and so take up his name before the world ; own- 
ing his names, incommunicable titles, attributes, ordinances, &c. 

(2.) A real or practical profession is necessary at all times, Rev. 
xiv. 1. having our Father's name written on our foreheads; that is, 
we must not only be, but give out ourselves in our way and carriage to 
be the servants of God, following the duties of religion, whereby we 
are distinguished from the world that have no profession ; and so 
professing his name in the several parts thereof. 

Three things make this threefold use of the name of God necessary. 

[1.] The glory of God, 1 Cor. x. 31. Lev. x. 3 ; for by his name 
he has made his glory shine ; but if we use it not, we do what in us 
lies to put that glory under a bushel. Whereas for his honour we 
should use it in all the parts thereof. 

[2.] Our own good, Jer. xxxii. 39. The name of God is good at 
all times, but especially in a time of trouble, Prov. xviii. 10. ' The 
name of the Lord is a strong tower ; the righteous runneth into it, 
and is safe.' Every part of his name is a secret chamber, where a 
believer may feed, feast, and be safe in the worst of times. His 
names and titles are cordials to a fainting soul ; his attributes are a 
magazine of comfort, and a fountain of fulness for all wants ; his or- 
dinances are breasts of consolations ; his word is a good heritage ; 


and his works are full of wonder, declaring what a great and good 
God he is. 

[3.] The good of others. It is a great kindness to a blinded world 
to take up this name in our lips and lives. It is like the pouring out 
of ointment, and breaking of spices, that they may find the fragrant 
smell, and desire to be partakers, John iv. We should commend his 
names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word, and works to others. It 
is glory to God, good for us, and may do good to others. It was 
Christ's work, John xvii. 26. and was comfortable to him when going 
out of the world, and would be so to us at that hour. 

Secondly, We are to use this name in all the parts of it holily and 
reverently, whatever way we use the same, whether in thought, word, 
or deed. This is very extensive ; but there are three things espe- 
cially aimed at in the holy and reverend use of God's name. 

1. The using of it in faith. If we use not his names, titles, &c. in 
faith, we take them in vain, Heb. xi. 6. Rom. xiv. ult. If we believe 
not his being, what his names and titles import, our giving them to 
him is but hypocritical compliment. Do we call him Hearer of 
prayer ? let us be sure of the faith of it, or we do but mock God. 
If we believe not his word, as it will not please him, so it will not 
profit us, Heb. iv. 2. Unbelief makes us take his name in vain. 

2. In fear. To use the name of God without fear and reverence 
of his majesty, is to abuse it, Deut. xxviii. 58. His names and titles 
are dreadful, though sweet. I may say of them as of the rings, they 
are so high that they are dreadful, Ezek. i. 18. His attributes are 
so : for even that love, mercy, and grace towards sinners, comes not 
but through the wounds made in the side of the Mediator by the 
sword of justice. His ordinances need nothing from men to make 
them awful ; in their greatest simplicity they have an impression of 
divine authority on them, and God's special presence in them, suffi- 
cient to awe the hearts of them that are not blinded. His word has 
a peculiar majesty in it ; and the meanest of his works bear the im- 
pression of a divine hand. And shall we use them without fear ? 

3. In singleness, to a right end ; not for no end, a carnal selfish 
end, far less a wicked end ; but for the honour of God, the good of 
ourselves and others. It is a precious treasure opened unto sinners 
for their eternal welfare, not to be lavished out to no good purpose, 
but for the highest and best ends. So that these things must be re- 
served as sacred, and not meddled with but in matters of highest 
importance. More particularly, 

1st, We must holily and reverently use his names and titles, when 
we think, speak, or any way handle them, with faith, fear, and single- 
ness, having a holy dread and awe of his majesty on our spirits, as 


believing him to be what he calls himself, Jer. v. 22. and looking on 
him as his name is high above all. 

2t%, We must holily and reverently use his attributes, thinking 
and speaking of them in a reverent and spiritual manner, and mak- 
ing such use of them for our own particular case, and the case of 
others, as the revealing of them is designed for, otherwise we use 
them in vain, Psal. cxxx. 4. 2 Cor. v. 11. 

3c%. We must holily and reverently use his ordinances going 
about them in the right manner ; praying in the spirit, singing with 
grace in the heart, making melody unto the Lord ; preaching or 
hearing in faith, communicating worthily with grace and grace in 
exercise, &c. In a word, it requires all to be done in the ordinances 
after the right manner. Particularly, 

(1.) We must use God's name holily and reverently in an oath. 
When the oath being lawful, and we are called to it by authority, 
Aye ' swear in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness.' Jer. iv. 2. 

(1.) In truth ; which implies, (1.) That the thing be truth in itself 
which we swear to, otherwise we call God to witness to a lie. 
(2.) That we be persuaded in our consciences that it is truth. So 
that here is required an agreement of our words with the truth of 
the thing sworn, and an agreement of our minds with our words, 
Psal. xv. 2. (3.) That it be without fraud or deceit, whereby all 
equivocations or mental reservations are to be far from oaths, as we 
would not profane that sacred name ; and the intent of the imposer 
is to be regarded. 

(2.) In judgment ; which implies, (1.) That we must understand 
the thing we swear, that it be not dubious and perplexed, swearing 
we know not what. (2.) That we understand the nature of an oath, 
viz. that we thereby solemnly call God to witness to the truth of 
what we assert or promise, and to judge us according to the truth or 
falsehood of what we swear. And therefore, (3.) That it be gone 
about with due fear and reverence of God on our spirit, as knowing 
it is God we have to do with. Hence the righteous man is repre- 
sented as one that feareth an oath. 

(3.) In righteousness ; which implies, (1.) That the thing we swear 
be lawful and just ; for an oath is abused when it is made a bond of 
iniquity ; and so that the thing be possible, and in our power. 
(2.) That it be for good ends, viz. that God be glorified, Josh. vii. 19 ; 
our neighbour satisfied, and controversy ended, Heb. vi. 16 ; our own 
innocency cleared, Exod. xxii. 11, &c. (3.) That we mind well and 
firmly resolve to perform it. 

(2.) In lots God's name is holily and reverently used, when, 

(1.) They are used in a matter of weight; for the end of them is 


the sahie with that of an oath, Prov. xviii. 18. And the nature of 
them is not unlike, being an appeal to God's decision, Prov. xvi. 33. 
And so we find they are weighty cases in scripture wherein they are 
used, as in the cases of Jonah and Matthias. 

(2.) When they are necessary, and the matter cannot otherwise be 
decided without great inconveniences, as in the above cases. And 
reason teaches, that this being God's decision, men ought not without 
great necessity to go oft* the ordinary road. 

(3.) When men eye God in the lot, look to him for the decision 
with calling on his name, Jonah i. Acts i. 

(4.) When the matter is singly given up to God, and no fraud or 
trick is used to cast the matter to one side rather than another ; for 
that is to put the decision first in God's hand, and then to take it 
out again, which is a mocking of God. 

(5.) Lastly, When with due reverence that is received which falls 
by the lot, as coming from the determination of God. 

Were these things duly considered, I think men would not make 
such use of lotting, by casting cavils, drawing cuts, &c. but would sa- 
tisfy themselves otherwise many times. 

Stilly, We must holily and reverently use the word, thinking of, 
speaking, and hearing it with godly fear, as the word of God, and 
that we may obey it. 

bthly, and lastly, We must holily and reverently use his works, 
thinking of, speaking of, and using them to the honour of God, our 
own and others' welfare, adoring the Author, and giving him the 
praise of all. 

To shut up all, we do thus use the name of God, by having a con- 
versation suitable to that great and glorious name we profess to 
honour, Phil. i. 27. For we take his name in vain when our practice 
thwarts our profession ; for that makes the name of God to be blas- 
phemed, Rom. ii. 24. 

II. I proceed to shew what is forbidden in the third command- 
ment. It ' forbids all profaning or abusing of any thing whereby 
God makes himself known. 

This command is broken two ways. 

1. By not using the name of God as is required, Mai. ii. 2. So as 
many duties as are required, so many sins there are in omitting 
these duties. Ilence this command is broken by our not hallowing 
and glorifying God's name, by not taking up the name of God into 
our minds, lips, and lives. We contract guilt against this command 
by not thinking and meditating on God's titles, attributes, Sec. not 
speaking of them for the* glory of God, our own and the good of 
others ; not writing of it when men arc gifted for it, and have a 


real call to do it. -So also by not making a profession of religion ; 
a real profession at all times ; a verbal profession when men are by 
providence called thereto. Not using God's ordinances. Particu- 
larly it is a sin against this command, to refuse an oath touching 
what is good and just, when duty called thereunto. For in all these 
cases there is a neglect of the duty of glorifying God's name en- 
joined in this command. 

2. By profaning or abusing of the name of God ; that is, any 
thing whereby God makes himself known. This is the great sin 
forbidden in this command ; a bitter root that spreads itself out 
with many branches. In speaking to it, I shall shew, 

1. The more plain and palpable profanations of that holy name 
forbidden in this command. 

2. Other ways how the Lord's name is abused and taken in 

First, I am to shew the more plain and palpable profanations of 
that holy name forbidden in this command. The name of God is 
plainly and palpably abused, 

1. When it is used ignorantly, as it was by the Athenians, 
whom the apostle Paul charges with worshipping God ignorantly, 
Acts xviii. 23. And of this all those that are ignorant of God, 
Christ, and the way of salvation, cannot but be guilty, when they do 
at all use that holy name : for as no man can work right in the 
dark, so the darkness of ignorance on the soul utterly unfits it to 
glorify the name of God . And in what measure soever that cul- 
pable ignorance lies on us, so far are we guilty in that case. How 
is the name of God abused by ignorant persons, while they mention 
the name of they know not whom, and speak of him they know not 
what ? They will call God their God, who know not the nature of 
that God, the covenant of grace, or the way how he becomes ours. 
They will call Christ their sweet Saviour, while they know not who 
he is, nor are acquainted with his salvation. They will call his 
Spirit their Sanctiner, who know nothing of his sanctifyiug opera- 
tions and influences. 

2. "When it is used vainly and irreverently, that is, lightly and 
rashly. There is so little of God in the hearts of many, that his 
name, that dreadful name, is much in their mouths, without any ne- 
cessity or reverence in their common talk. The Jews had so great 
thoughts of the name of Jehovah, that they would not mention it. 
They permit not their children to mention the name of God till they 
be seven years old. If the Mahometans find a piece of paper in the 
way, they put it in some hole of a wall or so, because the name of 

Vol. II. ii 


God is or may be in it. But, alas ! among Christians it is much 
used in vain and irreverently. The name of God is thus profaned, 
vainly and irreverently used. 

1st. By exclamations in a way of foolish wonder. It is sad to 
think how that holy name is profaned by men, when, being surprised 
to see, or hear, something they wonder at, they cry, God ! Lord ! 
God bless us, save us, guide us, have a care for us ! That it is law- 
ful to pray for these things, none doubt. But such as are iu earnest 
for his blessing, guidance, &c. will see them to be matters of so great 
moment, that, when they are to seek them, they will compose them- 
selves to a praying frame, and lift up their hands with their hearts 
to the heavens for them, with singleness, fear and faith, in the blood 
of Christ. But, to use his holy name, to give vent to our foolish 
passions, is horrible prostitution of it. 

2dly, It is used vainly and irreverently in thanksgivings to God, 
and salutations. How formally and lightly will many say, God be 
thanked, Blessed be God, when the very shew of their countenance 
declares they have no grateful sense of God's goodness, nor reve- 
rence of him on their spirits ? So God speed you, God be with you, 
are good prayers indeed, but mostly used so formally, that they are 
but an abusing of that holy name. 

3<%, In obsecrations, wherein the name of God is interposed to 
beseech a person to do or forbear such a thing. They are very good 
when in matters of weight they are gravely and reverently used, as 
Rom. xii. 1. ' I beseech you by the mercies of God, that ye present 
your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is 
your reasonable service.' But to use them in small matters, as 
many do, entreating for God's sake, or God's love, to do so and so, 
is but abusing that holy name. Common beggars are very guilty in 
this way. 

±thly, In adjurations, wherein the name of God is interposed to 
oblige a person to do or forbear something. This is a very solemn 
piece of business, 2 Tim. iv. 1. and may very safely be used by those 
who have authority in matters of weight ; and people's slighting of 
these solemn chai'ges given by ministers, or other superiors, is very 
sinful. But it is a sin, (1.) To use these things in light matters, as 
to bid one do any thing we are little concerned about, in God's 
name. (2.) And though any person may pray to God against devils, 
that he would bind them up, yet it is a sin for any who have not the 
gift of casting out devils, to adjure the devil, or command him in 
the name of God to go, as the vagabond Jews did, Acts. xix. 13, 14. 

5thfo/, In appeals to God. We find the saints using them reve- 
rently in matters of weight, as the apostle Paul, 2 Cor. xii. 2. but 


to appeal to God in trifles, is tlie way to bring down the judgment 
of God on the appellant. The serious thoughts of God's knowledge 
may make the best to tremble, and strike all with so much awe of 
his majesty as not to make a by-word of it. 

3. "When the name of God is used superstitiously, 1 Sam. iv. 3, 4, 
5. So, to name the name of God over diseases, or against the devil, 
as if the very mentioning of that name, without faith in him, would 
do the business. So is that bowing at the name of Jesus, used by 
those of the church of England, a superstitious abuse of that holy 

4. When it is used profanely and wickedly. Under this may be 

1st, Profane swearing. Swearing is an holy ordinance, appointed 
by God, a piece of most solemn worship, wherein we invocate God 
as our witness and judge, which makes common swearing a dreadful 
sin. It is twofold, both of them abounding in our day. 

(1.) Swearing by God and Christ. How do many glory in their 
horrid oaths, which may make one that has any notion of the great- 
ness of that name to tremble ! They have a God to swear by, but 
not to worship and pray to. But indeed it is wounding, that there 
should be others, who will both pray to and profanely swear by 
that God, Jam. iii. 10. 

(2.) Swearing by the creatures. The papists, that worship the 
creatures, no wonder they swear by them too, as by the holy bread 
in the sacrament, by St. Mary. But what have Protestants to say 
for swearing by them ? Yet how frequent are oaths, by our faith, 
troth, soul, conscience, &c. ? The mincing of these oaths will not 
make men guiltless ; yet, alas ! how few are there that want them, 
Ha' th Faith, Ha'd'yv, Fa'cVye, Marry"} This swearing by creatures is, 

[1.] Impious idolatry, giving that worship to the creature which 
is due to God alone, Deut. x. 20. Swearing is an invocating of the 
object we swear by, to be witness of the truth of what we affirm or 
deny, and so to judge and punish us if we swear falsely ; and to 
whom can this belong but to God ? Jer. v. 7- 

[2.] The dishonour redounds to God, because these things have a 
relation to God, Matt. v. 34, 37. The soul is his creature, con- 
science is his depute, truth his image, &c. Hezekiah broke the bra- 
zen serpent when the people abused it to idolatry. Take heed God 
break not that soul of thine on the wheel of his wrath. 

As for your minced oaths, I pray you consider, (1.) That they are 
at least an appearance of evil, 1 Thess. v. 22. (2.) That they are 
surely idle words, Matth. xii. 36. (3.) Are not the most serious 
Christians conscientious in this? Phil. iv. 9. (4.) That they are 

m 2 


offensive to the serious godly, Matth. xviii. 6, 7- (5.) That they 
must either be oaths, or they have no sense at all. 

Idly, Sinful imprecations or cursings, whereby people pray for 
some evil against themselves or others, whether absolutely, or con- 
ditionally. We find the saints conditionally imprecating evil 
against themselves, as in the case of clearing themselves of what 
they are wrongously loaded with, Psal. vii. 3, 4, 5. And in this we 
may imitate them, when in matters of weight we are duly called 
thereto, behaving therein as in the taking of an oath ; for in every 
oath there is an imprecation. Also there are examples of the saints 
imprecating a curse against God's incorrigible enemies, out of 
pure zeal to the glory of God, which they, from the Spirit of pro- 
phecy apply to particular persons, Psal. cix. 6, &c. But it is a 
profaning the name of God. 

(1.) When people unnecessarily imprecate a curse on themselves 
or others, conditionally, if they do not so or so, or if it be not truth 
that they may say, as wishing, — confound them, they may be hanged, 
or never stir out of the bit, &c. if matters be not so or so, when 
there is no necessity for it, or edification by it. In that case, the 
name of God is profaned ; and though the name of God be not ex- 
pressed, it is still abused ; for it is God that must be the executor 
of the sinful wish. 

(2.) When people serve their passions against themselves or 
others, by their curses. Thus people sin in their fits of discontent, 
wishing evil to themselves, and in their fits of passion and revenge 
against others, praying, Shame fall, ill chance, &c. This is the pro- 
duct of a bitter spirit, highly dishonourable to God, whose name is 
prostituted to serve men's hellish passions. 

(3.) When people use them to confirm a lie, or to bind them to 
sin. Thus people are doubly guilty, and dare the vengeance of hea- 
ven, cursing themselves if such a thing be true, which yet they know 
is not true ; or binding themselves to do some evil, by a curse. 

(4.) Neither is the matter mended by invocating the devil instead 
of God. Much homage gets the devil from some, who are often 
found praying to the devil to take themselves or others. So they 
mention, Foul Fiend, &c. which are only other names of that wicked 

3c%, Perjury is falsehood confirmed with an oath. It is twofold. 

(1.) There is perjury opposite to an assertory oath; and that is, 
either when a man swears a thing to be true which is false, or a 
thing to be false which is true. It is opposite to swearing in truth, 
which is swearing so as a man's mind agree with his words, and his 
words with the thing. So that a man is not only perjured when he 


swears against his mind and knowledge, as the false witnesses against 
Naboth did ; but also when he swears against the truth of the thing, 
though not against his mind, being mistaken ; for in both cases 
God is called to witness to a lie ; though indeed the former is far more 
heinous than the latter. And therefore it is, that no man can law- 
fully swear what he doubts of; that is to run a dreadful risk. 

(2.) There is a perjury opposite to a promissory oath ; and that 
is, either when a man promiseth something upon oath which he has 
no mind to perform even when he takes the oath ; or though he 
minded to perform it when he took the oath, yet afterwards changes 
his mind, and does it not, when he both ought and can do it. Only 
remember, that the breaking of an unlawful oath, so far as it is un- 
lawful, is not perjury. It is a sin indeed to take such an oath ; but 
it is no sin, but duty to break it. And the case is the same in 
vows, 1 Sam. xxv. 22, 32, 33. The sin of perjury is dreadful. For, 

[1.] It is a most solemn affronting of an omniscient and just God, 
and is near akin to atheism. It is a calling of God to be witness 
to a lie; it is a playing with infinite justice, a daring of heaven's 
vengeance, while men devote their souls to destruction wilfully ; be- 
cause in every oath men invocate God to judge them according to 
the truth or falsehood of what they swear. 

[2.] It is most provoking in the sight of God ; a sin which God's 
anger smokes against in a peculiar manner, Zech. v. 4. Mai. iii. 5. 
This seems to be engraven especially on the consciences of men ; so 
that this sin amongst the heathen was reckoned most atrocious ; and 
even men that otherwise have little religion, will yet tremble at the 
thoughts of perjury. 

[3.] It is a sin that deservedly makes men infamous, so that their 
testimony is not afterwards to be regarded among them : for what 
respect can they have to truth that will swear falsely ? It looses 
the bond of human society ; for if an oath cannot bind men, the 
world would have no security of one another. And therefore such 
deserved to be hissed out from among others, as the plagues of hu- 
man society. 

4thly, Blasphemy, which is a wronging of the majesty of God, by 
speeches tending to his reproach. This sin is the most atrocious of 
all sins ; and of this kind is the unpardonable sin. As among men 
it is a great fault not to believe the word of a faithful prince ; yet 
greater to rebel against him ; greater yet to reproach him, disgrace 
him, speak and use him contumeliously. Men may be guilty of 
blasphemy against God two ways. 

(1.) As they partake with others in their blasphemies. And this 
wo may do several ways ; particularly, (1.) When we give no testi- 

M 3 


mony against the blasphemy of others. The custom of the Jews was 
to rend their clothes at the hearing of blasphemy. And they must 
needs have a stout heart that can hear it without one way or ano- 
ther manifesting their abhorrence of it. (2.) Much more when men 
shew any approbation or satisfaction with it, as smiling or laughing 
at it, when they hear how freely hellish mouths vent their reproach- 
ful speeches against God. (3.) "When by our deeds we give occa- 
sion to wicked men to blaspheme, Rom. ii. 24. Thus particularly, 
(1.) Oppressors and persecutors are guilty of blasphemy, Acts xxvi. 
11. (2.) Professors of religion, by their scandalous walk, 2 Sam. 
xii. 14. (3.) Inferiors by their undutifulness to their superiors ; as 
subjects, 1 Pet. ii. 13, 14, 15 ; wives, Tit. ii. 5 ; and servants, 1 Tim. 
vi. 1. 

(2.) As they themselves are formally the blasphemers. And so 
there are two ways that men blaspheme. 

[1.] There is a blaspheming of God mediately, when, though men 
do not expressly speak against God himself, yet with the sword of 
the tongue they thrust at him, through the sides of his word, way, 
people, ordinances, works, &c. 1 Tim. vi. 1. Tit. ii. 5. 2 Pet. ii. 2. 
1 Cor. iv. 13. Mark iii. 29, 30. Such blasphemies are very fre- 
quent amongst mockers and malicious enemies of the way of God,, 
as when religion is called madness, fanaticism, folly, &c. the Spirit's 
assistance in prayer, heat of the brain, &c. 

[2.] There is a blaspheming against God immediately, when God 
is directly and immediately attacked with the blasphemous tongue. 
And that is, 

(1.) When men detract from God what truly belongs to him, and 
makes for his glory, Isa. xxxvi. 20 ; in the case of railing Rabshakeh. 
Such blasphemy, some say, is uttered by the French Tyrant, with 
respect to the bringing in of the Pretender on us, That Heaven it- 
self cannot stop his project. 

(2.) When men ascribe to God that which agrees not to him, but 
tends to his reproach. So did the Pharisees of old blaspheme 
Christ, Mark iii. 30. So do bitter spirits blaspheme God, saying, 
lie is unjust, cruel, &c. So did these blaspheme when they said, 
' Every one that doth evil, is good in the sight of the Lord, and he 
delighteth in them : or, Where is the God of judgment?' Mai. ii. 17- 
And many are guilty with them. 

(3.) When men insolently rise against God, belching out bitter, 
virulent, and reproachful speeches against him. So did Pharaoh, 
L'xod. v. 2. ' Who is the Lord, that 1 should obey his voice ? I know 
not the Lord.' So did ho, mentioned 2 Kings vi. 33. ' Behold, this 
evil is of the Lord, what should 1 wait for the Lord any longer?' 


Thus Job's wife advised him to blaspheme, Curse God and die,' said 
she. And so many in their bitterness rising against God under 
afflictions, are apt to blaspheme. 

(4.) "When men ascribe that to the creature which is due to God 
alone. So the Jews, supposing Christ to be a mere creature, accused 
him of blasphemy, John x. 33. So men blaspheme in calling either 
Pope or magistrate head of the church. And thus men immoderate 
in their own praise, or the praise of others, are ready to fall into 
blasphemy, Isa. x. 13. Acts xii. 22. 

Each of these four ways men may, be guilty of blasphemy against 
the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost. The world is full of these 
blasphemies ; some blaspheming the Father, denying that relation 
in the Godhead, as Jews, Mahometans, &c ; some the Son, as they 
do also ; and indeed Popery is a mass of blasphemies against Christ ; 
some the Holy Ghost, as those that deny his personality, and the 
profane world that make a mock of his work. 

But the most dreadful of all sins and blasphemies is that which 
by way of eminency is called blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, 
commonly called the sin against the Holy Ghost, which is the unpar- 
donable sin, Matth. xii. 31, 32. John calls it ' the sin unto death,' 
1 John v. 16 ; which elect souls never fall into, yea even but few 
reprobates. It belongs to this command. But as I have spoken 
largely of this sin in a former part of this work, I shall not further 
insist upon it. 

Secondly, Having spoken of the more gross and palpable breaches 
of this command, I shall now consider otherways how the Lord's 
name is abused and taken in vain. 

1. With respect to his names and titles. They are taken in vain. 
1st, When they are not improved for those uses to which they 

natively tend. Hence the Lord says, If I be a Father, where is 
mine honour ? and if I be a Master where is my fear ? saith the 
Lord of hosts unto you, priests that despise my name,' Mai. i. 6. 
Thus we take them in vain when they have not their fruit in ns. 
Do we call him Father, and not honour him ; Master, and not fear 
him ; Hearer of prayer, and yet put no confidence in him ; Lord of 
hosts, and yet cannot quietly commit ourselves to his protection ? 
Do we not thereby take his name in vain ? The strong tower of his 
name is built but in vain, in that case, when we do not improve it. 

2dly, When we make an ill use of them, either to encourage our- 
selves iu sin by them, or to drive us away from him by terror, or to 
any other use dishonourable to God, and contrary to the intent of 
the revelation of them to us. 

2. With respect to his attributes, God's name is abused, 


1st, By the working of unbelief against them, doubting of, ques- 
tioning, and denying them. Thus the atheistical heart works often 
in wicked men, calling in question the power of God when driven 
into straits, 2 Kings vii. 2 ; and when they mind to lie securely in 
sin, fostering unbelief of his omniscience, Ezek. ix ; of his justice, 
Zeph. i. 12; of his holiness, Psal. 1. 21, &c. Yea, thus under temp- 
tation it works even in the godly, so that often they are found bor- 
dering on blasphemy, through the power of unbelief, questioning his 
goodness and truth, Psal. lxxvii. 8, 9. Jer. xv. 18. 

2dly, By the aversion of the heart unto them, and its rising 
against them, Rom. viii. 7- There is a natural enmity in the heart 
of man against God, shewing itself in the aversion they have to his 
holy nature and attributes. They do not love his perfections ; they 
would wish he were not such a one as he is ; and this is the rise of 
atheism. The heart is glued to sin ; and the discovery of God's 
attributes, his holiness, justice, &c. disturbs sinners in their rest in 
it. Hence their hearts rise against God, and his perfections. 

3c%, By using them to wrong ends and purposes. Thus we 
sin many ways, perverting the knowledge of his perfections to God's 
dishonour and our own ruin. Thus the mercy of God is abused to 
encouragement in sin ; his patience to continuance in it ; his justice 
to desperation, &c. Eccl. viii. 11. Rom. ii. 4, 5. 

3. With respect to his ordinances. The name of God is abused 
in ordinances when we do not go about them after the right manner ; 
for this command directs us to the right manner of performing 
duties. And as a master reckons his servant has been working in 
vain, when though he has been doing the thing lie bade him, yet he 
has not done it as he bade him, but marred it in the making; so 
God reckons those duties that are wrong as to the manner of them, 
are a taking of his name in vain, and those ordinances that are 
gone about in a wrong manner, in vain. 

1st, We are guilty of profaning God's name in ordinances and 
duties of worship, Avhen we are not upright in our end and aim in 
them ; that is, having the honour of his name before us as our great 
end, 1 Cor. x. 31 ; shewing itself in seeking to honour him, to get 
and advance communion with him, and to give obedience to his com- 
mands. Instead thereof, his name is abused by going about ordi- 
nances formally, out of custom more than conscience, seeking our- 
selves more than God in them, a name and reputation more than 
the glory of the Divine Being. 

2dlu, When we have not a holy principle from which we act, viz. 
the Spirit of God in us, without whom we cannot worship in spirit, 
1 Our. xii. 3; and a renewed heart, 1 Tim. i. 5. Hence it is that 


110 unrenewed man's duties are acceptable or truly good. And no 
duty can be accepted of God, wherein we act from natural prin- 
ciples, parts, and abilities only, and not from supernatural gracious 

3<%, When we go not about duties in the due manner, with those 
other necessary qualifications of acceptable obedience, which must 
be sincere and not hypocritical, with faith, fear, fervency, &c. 

I shall instance in some particular ordinances how we abuse the 
name of God in them. 

1. In prayer. God's name is abused in prayer several ways. 

1st, "When before prayer we are at no pains to prepare for it, but 
rashly and precipitately adventure on it, Eccl. v. 1. How often do 
we mar it in the entrance, by our not impressing our hearts with a 
due sense of our own insufficiency, God's greatness and majesty, our 
own wants ; and by not emptying our hearts of all carnal thoughts, 
and not using of ejaculations to God for fitting us for a more solemn 

Idly, In prayer we fail many ways. As, (1.) "When we pray 
formally and hypocritically, our hearts not agreeing with our 
tongues in our confessions, petitions, and thanksgivings, Isa. xxix. 
13 ; so that our heart-labour comes not up to our lip-labour. (2.) 
When we pray coldly and faintly, without fervency of spirit, Matt. 
xxvi. 41. This fervency consists not in the loudness of the voice, 
but in the eagerness of the affections, like Jacob, ' I will not let thee 
go except thou bless me.' (3.) Heart-wanderings much mar this 
duty, Rom. xii. 12. (4.) When we do not pray in faith, but are 
lifted up with a conceit of our own worthiness, like the Pharisee, 
Luke xviii. 11. have no confidence in the promises of what we ask, 
Jam. i. 6. and place not our sole confidence in the merits of Christ. 

3c%, After prayer, when we quickly put out of our heads the im- 
pression of our approach, grow vain and carnal, and not look after 
our prayers as to their success, Psal. v. 3. 

2. In praises, or singing of psalms, God's name is taken in vain 
many ways. As, (1.) When we rashly venture upon it, not labour- 
ing to get our hearts in a tune for praise. (2.) When we do not 
understand what we sing, 1 Cor. xiv. 15 ; God can never be praised 
ignorantly. (3.) When we make not heart-work of it, sing with the 
voice, but make no melody in the heart to the Lord, Eph. v. 19. 
(4.) When we are not affected in a suitableness to the matter that 
is sung, which being very different, certainly requires that our hearts 
should follow. (5.) When we make no application of the matter to 
ourselves in singing. 

3. In reading or hearing the word, we take God's name in 


vain, (1.) When we do not prepare ourselves for it, appointing a 
meal in it to our souls by prayer and looting to God ; and when we 
make it not our business to get our hearts emptied of worldly 
thoughts and affections, and come with an appetite, 1 Pet. ii. 1, 2. 
(2.) When we do not strive to understand what we read or hear of 
the word, Acts viii. 30 ; but pass it, as if bare reading or hearing 
were all. (3.) "When we are not attentive thereto, but let the heart 
wander in the time after other things, Ezek. xxsiii. 30. (4.) When 
we are dull, drowsy, sleepy, and weary in it, crying in our hearts, 
When will the Sabbath be over? like Doeg, detained before the 
Lord. (5.) When we do not receive it as the word of the living 
God, looking on it as God himself speaking to us, 1 Thess. ii. 13. 
(6.) When we do not subject ourselves humbly to what we hear 
from the Lord by his word, being affected suitably to every part of 
the word, approving the commands thereof, believing the promises, 
and trembling at the threatenings, Heb. iv. 2. (7.) When we do 
not lay ourselves open to the word, to be taught our duty, to be re- 
proved for our faults, to be searched and known as by the candle of 
the Lord ; but ward off convictions, and rise against the speaker 
when the word toucheth us. (8.) When we hear it partially, hav- 
ing more respect to the speaker, to receive it or reject it according 
to our opinion of him, than to the Lord's word itself, Acts xvii. 11, 
&c. (9.) Lastly, When we do not meditate upon it afterwards, con- 
fer about it, and labour to improve it to our soul's good. 

4. In oaths (besides what has been already said), we take God's 
name in vain with respect to them. (1.) When we refuse a lawful 
oath, being duly called thereto, and the glory of God and the good 
of our neighbour requires it, Neh. v. 12. ' For an oath for confirma- 
tion is to men an end of all strife,' Heb. vi. 16 ; and men might be 
ruined in their lives, reputation, &c. if men would refuse a just and 
necessary oath when called to it, which God's honour and our neigh- 
bour's good requires. (2.) With respect to an unlawful oath ; it is 
a sin, [1.] To take it or make it; for it is a terrible profaning of 
that ordinance to make it a bond of iniquity, as Herod did, Mark vi. 
23. [2.] To keep it and perform it, as he also did, ver. 26 ; for wbaA 
is this but to make the name of God subservient to God's dishonour ? 
And that is to be reckoned an unlawful oath, which is of any thing 
that is false, sinful, unjust, or impossible to us. (3.) When men use 
equivocations in oaths, or mental reservations ; for so he for whose 
sake the oath is imposed, is deceived and wronged. But whatever 
shifts men may use that way, God will reckon them as false swearers. 
(4.) When men swear unnecessarily, ignorantly, doubtingly, without 
due regard and reverence of (Jod in our spirits. (5.) Lastly, When 


a lawful oath leaves no due impression on men's spirits, as a sacred 
bond which they come under to God. 

5. Lastly, In lots. God's name is taken in rain, (1.) "When the 
right manner is not observed in them, where they are lawfully used 
in weighty matters, as when God is not eyed in the lot, when they 
do not singly refer and leave the matter to God's decision, and when 
they murmur and grudge at what falls by the lot to them. (2.) When 
they are used in matters of very small moment, which are not worthy 
of an appeal to God's decision, but without any great inconveniency 
might be otherwise decided. This is a very common sin, which peo- 
ple need no more to convince them of the evil of, but the true up- 
taking of the nature of lots, as the scripture holds it out, Prov. xvi. 
23. and xviii. 18. (3.) When they are used in games and plays. 
For which reason playing at cards, dice, and all games of lottery, 
are unlawful. For, [1.] That cannot but be a profaning of the name 
of God, which turns an appeal to God for his decision unto a play. 
And though men call it fortune, it is certain that it is nothing in- 
deed but God's determination. And it will not excuse men, that 
they first miscall God's providence by the name of fortune, and then 
play themselves with it. [2.] It gives occasion to much sin against 
God, as blaspheming God's providence under the name of fortune 
and ill luck ; and commending good fortune, overlooking providence 
when it falls well. And it renders this ordinance of lots contempti- 
ble, being so used. 

4. With respect to his word, men are guilty of profaning the name 
of God, 

1st, By misimproving and misapplying the word of God, as the 
Pharisees did, Matth. v. Ezek. xiii. 19. 

2dly, Jesting upon it, Jer. xxiii. 33. 

2>dly, Using it to the maintenance of erroneous principles, unpro- 
fitable questions, and vain j anglings, 2 Tim. ii. 14, 15. 

5. With respect to his works, men are guilty of profaning the 
name of God, when they use the works and creatures of God to sin- 
ful lusts and practices. 

6; Lastly, Men profane the name of God, in respect of religion, 
and the profession of it. 

1st, By maligning, scorning, and reviling religion, and the pro- 
fession of it. 

Idly, By a hypocritical profession. 

Sdly, By a scandalous walk. 

To be a little more particular in these things, the name of God is 
profaned and abused, and this command violated, 

1. By malignity, maligning the truth, grace, and ways of God, 


otherwise called malignancy. It is a heart-enmity and bitterness of 
spirit, vented by word or deed, against the truths, grace, and way of 
God, Rom. i. 29. Such malignants were the Jews, who were filled 
with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by 
Paul, contradicting and blaspheming, Acts xiii. 45. In our father's 
days, the spirit of malignancy run with a violent stream against the 
work of reformation, till it had sallowed it up, and is now again ap- 
pearing in its violence. A different opinion from the truth in point 
of church-government is not malignancy ; but when a set of men lay 
out themselves to bear down the Lord's work in the land, and in the 
spirits of his people, when men pretending to be ministers bear down 
and discourage the power of godliness in others, and men in civil 
power are filled with a spirit of persecution against those whom they 
can find nothing against but in the matter of their God, and meaner 
people aid and assist these, and contribute to, or rejoice at the cala- 
mities of the people of God, malignant is their name ; for malignant 
is their nature and course of life. And colour it over as they will, 
God will not hold them guiltless ; for they are his enemies that take 
his name in vain. 

By scorning the ways of God, Ps. i. 1. The scorner has a high 
seat in the devil's court, where he sits on hell's bench, giving out a 
sentence of disdain against the way of serious goliness, as unworthy 
of a man, and inconsistent with his honour, sentencing the serious 
person to be the fool of the company. Thus Satan's madcaps, whom 
he has blinded, make a jest of the wisdom of God ; but the day will 
come when their scorning shall be turned to roaring, Isa. xxviii. 22. 

3. By reviling the truth, grace, and way of God, 1 Pet. iv. 4. 
Revilers are a generation of hell, who are set to gather together all 
the filth and vileness they can get to throw upon religion and cover 
it, that the world may loath it, 1 Cor. iv. 13. And so with them re- 
ligion is rebellion, soul exercise distraction, communion with God 
melancholy fancies. They load men with vile calumnies ; and if 
they see nothing without them, they conclude they are but hypo- 

4. By hypocrisy, while men pretend to religion and take up a 
profession, but have nothing of the truth of it in their hearts, 2 Tim. 
iii. 5. Hypocrites indeed take God's name in vain, making profes- 
sion of religion, not out of conscience towards God, from love to 
him, or a design to honour him, but for some sinister ends, as repu- 
tation, worldly advantage, or at best their own peace and safety ; 
which is a horrid prostituting the name of God to cursed self. 

1st, They take his name in vain in their hearts ; for the truths of 
religion, they know, have no suitable efficacy on their hearts or lives, 


Rom. i. 18. The candle of God is set up before them in their know- 
ledge ; but in vain it wasts, for they do not work at it. Their know- 
ledge of sin does not make them loath it. The love of Christ does 
not constrain them to walk in the paths of new obedience. 

2dbj, In their mouths. They may go about duties but they go 
about none in the right manner. Their words are good, but their 
heart is not upright, Ezek. xxxiii. 30. Hence their prayers are an 
abomination, their best works are but glistering sins, like a potsherd 
covered over with silver di'oss. (1.) Their largest duties are but 
half-duties, and that the worst half, as wanting spiritual worship, 
which is the soul and life of worship. (2.) Their service is but self- 
service. All the streams of the hypocrite's duties disburden in the 
dead sea, self. 

3c%, On their foreheads ; for there hypocrites bear it in an ex- 
ternal profession : but in vain ; for though they wear Christ's livery, 
they are but the devil's drudges. If they be not such as fulfil the 
desires of the flesh, they fulfil the desires of the mind ; they are un- 
der the power of spiritual plagues. 

5. By being ashamed of religion, Mark viii. ult. Religion is our 
glory ; men will not miss in a profane world to have it turned to 
shame ; but to be ashamed of it is a sin of naughtiness of heart, and 
want of experience of the power of truth on the spirit. It is a hor- 
rible affront to the majesty of God, to be ashamed of his badge ; for 
that is to be ashamed of him as a Master. 

6. Lastly, By being a shame to it, 

1st, By an uncomfortable, unsuitable walk, Phil. i. 27. The world 
takes notice of the agreement that is betwixt the principles and 
practice of professors ; and a disagreement there reflects dishonour 
on religion itself before them, as if it were all but sham and trick. 

2c%, By an unwise walk, Eph. v. 15. We should be wise as ser- 
pents, and harmless as doves ; for the imprudencies of professors are 
no small handle to the enemies, and much improved for the reproach 
of religion. There is much need of continual dependence on the 
Lord for wisdom, especially that we may walk in wisdom toward 
them that are without, Col. iv. 5. 

3c%, By an unfruitful walk, Isa. v. 4. The fruitfnlness of the 
vineyard is the honour of the husbandman, and the unfruitfulness 
thereof reflects dishonour on him, Rom. ii. 24. The fruits of holi- 
ness are the best testimony to the divine original of ordinances and 
institutions ; and while men have been violently running down these, 
their credit has been supported that way. But, alas ! now their 
credit is impaired by the barren and unfruitful lives of professors. 

■ithhj, By an oftensivo scandalous walk, Rom. ii. 23, 24. The 


scandals of professors are the stumbling-blocks whereon the blind 
would brake their necks, Matth. xviii. 7. They are the reproach of 
religion, and the dishonour of God. They hardeu the wicked, and 
grieve the truly good. 

Lastly, By backsliding from it, Gal. iii. 1, 2. Apostates cast 
shame on the name of God in a peculiar manner ; for haying tried 
both ways, they practically prefer the way of evil. 

III. I come now to consider the reason annexed to the third com- 
mandment, which is, ' That however the breakers of this command- 
ment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will 
not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment.' 

Here I shall shew, 

1. Whence it is that men think so lightly of the profaning of the 
name of God, so that in effect they hold themselves guiltless. 

2. "Whence it is that the profaners of the name of God escape 
punishment from men. 

3. How God will not let men escape with it. 

4. What is the great evil of this sin, that is so severely threat- 
ened ? 

First, I will shew whence it is that men think so lightly of the 
profaning of the name of God, so that in effect they hold themselves 
guiltless. Nothing is plainer than that little is thought of the tak- 
ing of God's name in vain, especially by those that are most guilty. 
They heap up guilt in this way, and yet in effect hold themselves 

1. It proceeds from that wicked and malicious spirit the devil, 
Jam. iii. 6. He is the sworn enemy of God, and does what he can 
to make men dishonour him. There is so little of the world or the 
flesh in it, that it seems in a special manner to come from the devil. 

2. It springs from the low and mean thoughts they have of God 
and his dreadful name, Psal. xxxvi. 1, 2. They see not the glory 
and majesty of his names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word, and 
works : hence they treat them as common things. A view of God 
in his glory would cure this profane disposition of spirit. When 
proud Pharaoh contemns God, and must needs be a god to himself, 
what wonder he regards not that holy name ? Exod. v. 2. Paul un- 
converted was a great blasphemer; but when he saw the light and 
heard the voice, he got suitable thoughts of Christ, and so was cured 
of that. 

3. There are many profanations of the name of God, that un- 
tender men will not allow to be such. They are not and will not 
be convinced of a fault in them, as in obsecrations, appeals to God, 
adjurations, &c. But a due sense of the majesty of that name would 


clear people's minds in these things, Matth. v. 37- It is not enough 
that these things are common. It is so much the worse, when the 
world is in a conspiracy against God to join it. Though men go in 
troops to the pit, they shall not be conquerors, hut sufferers. Nor 
is it enough that people have no ill in their minds, when they so 
profane the name of God. If there be little ill, there is as little 
good. Were the third command in your minds, it would lay bonds 
on your tongues. 

4. There are many profanations of that name which men do not 
at all observe, as profaning that holy name in duties by formality, 
and want of faith and fervency. If they neglect duty, they will be 
challenged ; but their consciences are stupid as to the dishonour 
done to God in them, Zech. vii. 3, — 6. But these will be mountains 
in the sight of God, that are but as mole-hills in the sinner's eyes. 

5. It proceeds from the passion of anger or malice. Anger is a 
fire in a man's breast ; swearing and cursing is the smoke of this 
hellish fire breaking out at the mouth. Those who are hurried out 
of themselves with passion, do ofttimes find nothing readier at 
hand than an oath, which they fling out against heaven itself, when 
they cannot be revenged on them that have angered them. What 
but a hellish leaven of bitterness and malice wherewith the heart 
is soured, can bring forth curses. , 

6. Custom in taking the name of God in vain takes away the 
sense of it. The heart being careless about God, the tongue gets a 
liberty ; and when it is set on the run, and has got a confirmed cus- 
tom, it turns just natural : so that many swearers are never aware 
till they profane the name of God, and hardly know when they have 
done it, that it is so. But God will not let wickedness go free, be- 
cause it is confirmed by custom. 

7. Swearing proceeds from unwatchfulness. Men let their tongues 
go at random. Hence oaths fly out ere they be aware. 

8. Lastly, In some it proceeds from vanity and hellish bravery. 
They will swear, that others may see what a fine sort of people 
they are, who regard not the laws of God, nor the offence of good 

Secondly, I come to shew whence it is that profaners of the name 
of God escape punishment from men. 

1. Because of the little zeal there is for the honour of God's name 
in the world. These things strike not so much against our neigh- 
bour's good name, life, or goods, as directly against the honour of 
God. If they stretched their injury that way against men, men 
would aveuge it as their own interest ; but, alas ! the interest of 
God's honour is the interest of few people. 


2. As the laws of men cannot reach many abuses of God's name, 
so as for those made against common swearing, they are in effect but 
a mock, in regard of the little tenderness that way found among 
those that should execute the laws, who are guilty themselves, or 
have no zeal to put them in execution. Nay, alas ! often we see 
men are obliged by authority to profane the name of God, by taking 
unlawful, unnecessary oaths. 

Thirdly, I proceed to shew how God will not let men escape with 
it ; that he will by no means hold them guiltless. Consider that 
the profaning of the name of God is a sin, 

1. That brings wrath upon a land, Hos. iv. 1, 2. Jer. v. 7, 9. 
Abusers of the name of God are a burden to his spirit, and to the 
spirits of his people, and make the land mourn, Jer. xxiii. 10. And 
as every one ought to contribute their assistance to the quenching 
of a fire that breaks out in a house, so should every one to reforma- 
tion in this point, while there are so many tongues set on fire of 
hell, that threaten to fire the nations with a fire of God's wrath. 

2. It brings wrath upon families, Zech. v. 3, 4. It provokes God 
to root out families from the earth ; for it brings a curse that a 
house cannot long stand under. ! then, masters of families, do 
not ruin your families by this ; and take heed to your children and 
servants that are given to this sin, as to those who would pull down 
your house about your ears. Many times things go wrong, they do 
not thrive ; which is not for want of diligence ; they wonder how it 
comes to pass ; but there is even a secret curse from the Lord on fa- 
milies for this and other sins, that consumes all, Jer. xxiii. 10. 

3. It brings a curse upon particular persons, God punishes this 

(1.) By strokes upon the body, Deut. xxviii. 58, 59. And re- 
markable has the sin of some profaners of God's name been written 
in their punishment, while the sin of profaning that sacred name 
has been as remarkably written on the miserable case of their 
mouths and tongues, as ever the adulteress's has been on the belly 
swelling, and thigh rotting. For there is a God that judgeth in the 

(2.) By strokes on the souls. It is a heavy word, God will not 
hold him guiltless that talceth his name in vain. It imports, 

[1.] That however men overlook and forget these things, God 
writes them down guilty on every such fact. There is a book of re- 
membrance written with God, whereby none of them all shall be 
lost. The sinner affronts God and his holy name ; but though ho 
packs up the affront for the time, he does not forget it. 

[2.] God will call the man to a reckoning for them sooner or 


later, Judc 15. Though they may pass without a challenge for the 
time, the time will come that they will get deep challenges for these 
things, either in mercy or in wrath. Their words shall some time 
lie as a talent of lead on their consciences, which now they think 
light of ; and shall pierce their hearts as swords. 

[3.] However lightly men may look on these things, the guilt of 
them shall once be wreathed about their necks ; and the man shall 
see to read his own sentence of condemnation for them, under which 
he must either die, or be released by the Mediator's satisfaction and 
intercession. They have profaned God's name, and God will have 
the indignity offered to his honour wiped off, either by the satisfac- 
tion of the sinner, or his cautioner, whom he must produce. 

[4.] If ever the sinner be pardoned, as his profaning the holy 
name shall stick to his conscience in a particular manner when once 
awakened, so after the pardon, it shall make him go with a bowed 
down back, as it did Paul, 1 Tim. i. 13. 

[5.] Lastly, If he be not pardoned, the wrath of God in hell shall 
lie upon him, Rom. ii. 5. and it shall be more severely punished 
there than many other sins. The man's sin shall continue with him 
through the ages of eternity, while the violence of his torments 
shall make him blaspheme for ever. 

Fourthly, It may be asked, what is the great evil of this sin, that 
it is so severely punished ? 

1. Tt is a sin that is directly against God, his glorious greatness 
and infinite majesty. That name is dreadful which men profane, 
Mai. i. ult. The angels adore it, the devils tremble at it ; and 
should vile worms of the earth profane it at every turn ? Sins of 
the second table strike directly against men, but this is one of those 
that go out immediately against the Majesty of Heaven. And of 
this sort is the unpardonable sin, which, as I observed before, be- 
longs to this command, Psal. lxxxiii. 9. 

2. It is a direct violation of the law of God, Swear not at all ; 
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Have you 
no respect to the authority of God ? Consider, I pray you, (1.) Who 
gave you a tongue and a faculty of speaking ? Was it not God ? 
Might he not have prevented this by making you naturally dumb, 
as many are ? (2.) For what end he gave it. Was it not for his 
glory ? and will ye use it against him to dishonour ? He thereby 
differenced you from a beast; and will you make yourself like a 
devil ? Now if he gave it you, might he not set laws for the use of it 
to his glory ? 

3. It is not only a violation of the law of God, but a breach of 
men's laws. Swearing has been punished by many nations. With 

Vol. II. n 


the Scythians, the swearer's punishment was the loss of his estate ; 
with the Persians, bondage ; with the Grecians, cutting off the ears : 
with the Romans, throwing down a steep rock. And the laws of 
our land are against it, though it is the crying sin of our magis- 
trates, that they are not put into execution. But God is mocked 
that way, and it is the sin of the people that do not press them to 
their duty, and inform them. 

4. It is a sin that has a peculiar contempt of God in it, striking 
most directly against his honour, Psal. cxxxix. 20. His name is 
dreadful, and it is that wherein he has displayed his glorious name 
unto men : to prostitute and abuse it, then, must needs bear a hor- 
rible contempt of God in it. It is a proclaiming of our slighting 
him, and doing what we can to cause that no regard be had to him 
in the world. 

5. It is most directly contrary to the great end of all divine re- 
velation. The first petition in the Lord's prayer is, ' Hallowed be 
thy name. ' This should be our chief design in all things ; for it is 
God's own design to which all others are subservient, whether in na- 
ture or grace. And this flies directly in the face of it, and cannot 
but be a most heinous sin. 

6. It has a particular malignity in it, and in a most special man- 
ner proceeds from the devil, as it has less to carry us to it than or- 
dinary sins have. 

(1.) What profit is there in it ? The thief gets something for his 
pains, and the drunkard, a bellyfull ; but what gets the swearer ? 
Other sinners sei*ve the devil for pay ; but swearers are volunteers, 
that get no reward. What fruit does it bring you, but the abhor- 
rence of serious persons, and the fearful judgments of God. 

(2.) What pleasure is in it ? The unclean person gets no profit, 
but a sordid pleasure by his sin ; but which of your senses does 
swearing gratify ? If people were minded to give up themselves to 
all manner of sensuality, yet there is so little that can be strained 
from this sin, that unless they be resolved to do the devil a pleasure, 
they might forbear this sin. Love to that sin, then, must be a love 
to it for itself, a pure devilish love, without the smallest prospect of 
pleasure or profit by it. And if men will thus court their own dam- 
nation, it is pity if prevented from the lowest place in hell, and the 
highest room among the servants of the devil, who will serve him 
just because they will serve him. 

(3.) Can any say it is the sin of his constitution ; We have heard 
of a covetous, envious, lustful, passionate, &c. constitution, but of a 
swearing constitution never. Is any man born with it ? does the 
constitution of our bodies incline us to it? In many other sins the 


body drags the soul ; but here the soul, contrary to all God's com- 
mands, makes the body its slave, and turns up the tongue against 
the heavens. 

7. Common swearers and careers, will be found to be men either 
of consciences already seared, or next door to it. And I would say, 
(1.) Knew ye ever a truly exercised Christian an ordinary swearer ? 
I believe ye will find it as hard to find a saint a common swearer, 
as a common drunkard or whoremonger. It is hard to say it is a 
spot of God's children. (2.) It hath been known, that very wicked 
and loose men, who were given up to sensuality and voluptuousness, 
have had a dreadful horror of profane swearing ; the little natural 
conscience that was left them startling at tlie profanation of that 
dreadful name. (3.) It is seldom found that those do reform. Many 
are very extravagant otherwise in their youth, that afterwards take 
up themselves : but oft-times swearing grows grey headed with men 
(4.) Has it not been often seen that, they never know till the oath 
be belched out ; yea, some will swear, and know not they are swear- 
ing; nay, they will swear that they are not swearing. Whence can 
this proceed but from a seared conscience ? 

8. Swearing looks like hell upon earth. I said before that there 
is no advantage by swearing : But now I must say that they will 
have this advantage, that their works will go with them to the bot- 
tomless pit. The whoremonger will not get his whores there, nor 
the drunkard his cups, nor the covetous man his money ; but the 
swearer and curser will still drive on his old trade, and that with 
improvement, through all eternity. I had once the unhappiness to 
hear a great swearer, who had often been reproved and admonished, 
say, he would curse and swear in hell through all eternity. I 
thought it might be a prophecy. But why should men take the 
trade of the damned over their head on earth ? will not an eternity 
be long enough to give people their fill of profaning and blasphem- 
ing the name of God, and cursing ? Why need they begin so soon ? 
there is time enough afterwards. I know nothing on earth so like 
a damned soul in hell, as a curser or swearer, under bodily pains 
and despair. And some have been seen to die as they lived, cursing 
and swearing out their dying breath, to the astonishment of be- 
holders. And if such men should happen to leave the world in the 
rage of a fever, as many do die raving, it will be a wonder if they 
die not therein. 

I shall conclude all with a very short word of improvement. 

1. How can these lands escape a stroke that have so much of this 
guilt to answer for? Can we think that God will hold nations 
guiltless, that have come under national perjuries in violating law- 



fill oaths for reformation, that over and over many times have heen 
involving themselves in sinful unlawful oaths contrary to the truth, 
besides all the execrable oaths and blasphemies vented by a profane 
generation that have cast off all fear, and that profanation of the 
holy name, by cursing, swearing, and profaning of holy ordinances, 
chargeable upon us ? 

2. I warn all gross profaners of the name of God to repent, and 
flee to the blood of Christ for pardon ; certifying, that if ye do not, 
ye shall lie under the wrath of God for ever, and that unruly tongue 
of yours shall cast you into a burning fever in hell, where you shall 
not have a drop of water to cool your tongue. Have pity on your 
souls, have pity on the land, and your families, if ye have any. 
Pity the rising generation. Is it not sad to think of young ones 
learning to curse and swear as they learn to speak ? Where do 
they learn these things but at home, or from other children that 
learn them at home ? The blood of their souls will lie at your 
doors, if they follow your steps ; and if God pluck them as brands 
out of the burning, no thanks to their parents, who do what in them 
lies by their example to ruin them. Say not, ye reprove them, and 
do not allow them in it ; for an ill example will destroy what ye 
build by your good advice*. 

3. Let us endeavour not only to reform ourselves, but contribute 
to the reformation of others in this point. It is Cain's language, 
unbecoming a Christian, ' Am I ray brother's keeper V In several 
places and nations, there are societies for reformation of manners. 
And were there but one in a family that had the courage to speak a 
word for God, to reprove sin, what good might it do, the work 
being managed with calmness and love ? To neglect this duty is in- 
jurious to God, our neighbour, and ourselves. But some may object, 
Our reproofs will do no good, we may as well hold our tongue, I 
answer, be in your duty, and leave the event to God. Your duty 
ye have laid before you, Matt, xviii. 15. — 17- ' If thy brother shall 
trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and 
him alone : if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, 
that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be es- 
tablished. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the 
church : but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee 
as an heathen man and a publican.' Ilabitual profane swearers, 

* Some pleas and pretences that sinners offer in apology for swearing, may be seen 
satisfyingly answun.d in the author's book, lately published, entitled, The distinguish- 
ing characters of true believers, title, A caveat against profane swearing, p. 197. &c. 



are surely more offensive to God and good men, than those that are 
guilty of a single act of fornication, Lev. v. 1. Tell these things to 
your neighbours that lie at home unnecessarily on the Lord's day. 
None are more likely to be guilty of these things than such. Be so 
kind to their souls as to let them know, that if they continue in 
these things, what has been said here against them, seeing they were 
obliged to have come and heard our message from the Lord, shall 
witness against them at the great day as well as against those who 
have heard the same, if they continue in such courses. I shall close 
this with that word, Deut. xxviii. 58, 59. 'If thou wilt not observe 
to do all the words of this law, that are written in this book, that 
thou mayst fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY 
GOD ; then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the 
plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, 
and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.' And that all 
oaths, gross or minced, all profaning of the name of God, and ir- 
reverent use of it, and all cursing of whatever kind, might end with 
these sermons against it ! 

4. Let us all see ourselves in the glass of this command and 
threatening, and learn to know our guilt with respect to it, and our 
danger thereby. God will let us know sooner or later, that he 
thinks much of what we think very little of. And let us be humbled 
under, and wash in Christ's blood for our sins in taking God's name 
in vain*. 

* Advices to common swearers may be seen, and read with profit, in the author's 
Caveat against profane swearing, in his distinguishing characters of true believers, 
p. 202. &c. 

N 3 



Exod. xx. 8, 9, 10. 11. — Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy. 
Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work. But the seventh day 
is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any ivork, 
thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid- 
servant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates. For 
in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in 
them is, and rested the seventh day ; wherefore the Lord blessed the 
Sabbath-day, and hallowed it. 

This command respects the time of worship, and is the last of the 
first table, set to join both together, the Sabbath being the bond of 
all religion. In the words we hare, 

1. The command. It is delivered two ways. 

1st, Positively, Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy. Sabbath 
signifies rest or cessation from labour. There is a threefold rest or 
Sabbath spoken of in scripture. (1.) Temporal. (2.) Spiritual, 
which is an internal soul-rest, in ceasing from sin, Heb. iv. 3. (3.) 
Eternal, Heb. iv. 9, 11. celebrated in heaven, where the saints rest 
from their labours. It is the first of these, the weekly Sabbath that 
is here meant. Observe here, 

(1.) Our duty with respect to the Sabbath. It is to keep it holy. 
God has made it holy, set it apart for holy exercises, and we must 
keep it holy, spending it in holy exercises. 

(2.) The quantity of time to be observed as a Sabbath of rest, a 
day, a whole day of twenty-four hours ; and the one day in seven. 
They must observe a seventh day after six days' labour, wherein all 
our work must be done, put by hand, so as nothing of it may remain 
to be done on the Sabbath. 

(3.) A note of remembrance put upon it ; which imports, that this 
precept should be diligently observed, special regard paid to it, and 
due honour put upon this sacred day. 

2dly, Negatively. Where observe, (1.) What is forbidden here ; 
the doing of any work that may hinder the sanctifying of this day. 
(2.) To whom the command is directed, and who must observe it; 
magistrates, to whom belong the gates of the city ; and masters of 
families, to whom belong the gates of the house. They must observe 
it themselves, and cause others to observe it. 

2. The reasons annexed to this command. None of the commands 
are thus delivered, both positively and negatively, as this is. And 
that imports, 



1st, God is in a special manner concerned for the keeping of the 
Sabbath, it being that on which all religion depends. Accordingly, 
as it is observed or disregarded, so it readily goes with the other 
parts of religion. 

Idly, People are most ready to halve the service of this day, 
either to look on resting from labour as sufficient, or to look on the 
work of the day as over when the public work is over. 

'Sdly, There is less light of nature for this command than the rest : 
for though it is naturally moral that there should be a Sabbath; yet 
it is but positively moral that this should be one day in seven, de- 
pending entirely on the will of God. 

In discoursing from this subject, I shall shew, 

I. What is required in the fourth commandment. 

II. Which day of the seven God hath appointed to be the weekly 

III. How the Sabbath is to be sanctified. 

IV. What is forbidden in this command. 

V. The reasons annexed to it. 

VI. Make improvement. 

I. I am to shew what is required in the fourth commandment. 
This command according to our Catechism, requireth ' the keeping 
holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word ; ex- 
pressly one whole day in seven to be a holy Sabbath to himself.' 

Here I shall shew, 

1. That this command requireth the keeping holy to God such 
set times as he hath appointed in his word. 

2. That it requires one day in seven to be kept as a holy Sabbath 
to the Lord. 

3. That the day to be kept holy is one whole day. 

First, I am to shew, that this command requireth the keeping 
holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word. 

The Jews under the old Testament had several days beside the 
weekly Sabbath, that by divine appointment were to be kept as 
holy days, and by virtue of this command they were to observe 
them, even as by virtue of the second they were to observe the sacri- 
fices and other parts of the Old Testament instituted worship. But 
these days are taken away under the gospel by the coming of Christ. 

But that which this command in the first place requires, is the 
keeping holy of a Sabbath to God ; whatever be the day God deter- 
mines for it; whether the seventh in order from the creation, as 
under the -Old Testament, or the first, as under the New. And so 
the command is, Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy ; not Re- 
member the seventh day. Thus the keeping of a Sabbath is a moral 
duty binding all persons in all places of the world. 


For it is a moral duty, and by the natural law required, that as 
God is to be worshipped, not only internally, but externally, not 
only privately, but publicly ; so there must be some special time de- 
signed and set apart for this, without which it cannot be done. 
And so the very Pagans had their sabbaths and holidays. This is 
the first thing imported here, That a Sabbath is to be kept. 

Another tiling imported here is, That it belongs to God to deter- 
mine the Sabbath, or what day or days he will have to be kept holy. 
He says not, Remember to keep holy a Sabbath-day, or a day of 
rest, leaving it to men what days should be holy, and what not ; but, 
Remember the Sabbath-day, fyc. supposing the day to be already de- 
termined by himself. So that we are bound to set time appointed 
in his word. 

And this condemns men's taking on themselves, whether churches 
or states, to appoint holidays to be kept, which God has not ap- 
pointed in his word. Consider, 

1. This command puts a peculiar honour on the Sabbath above all 
other days Remember the Sabbath-day, 8fc. But when men make 
holidays of their own to be kept holy, the day appointed of God is 
spoiled of its peculiar honour, and there is no peculiar honour left 
to it, Ezek. xliii. 8. Tea, in practice they go before it; for men's 
holidays where they are regarded, are more regarded than God's 

2. This command says, Six days shalt thou labour. Formalists 
say, There are many of these six days thou shalt not labour, for 
they are holy days. If these words contaiu a command, who can 
countermand it? if but a permission, who can take away that 
liberty which God has left us ? As for fast-days or thanksgiving 
days occasionally appointed, that are not holy days ; the worship is 
not made to wait on the days, as on Sabbaths and holidays, but the 
days on the worship which God by his providence requires ; and 
consequently there must be a time for performing these exercises. 

3. It belongs only to God to make a holy day ; for who can 
sanctify a creature but the Creator, or time but the Lord of time ; 
he only can give the blessing : why should they then sanctify a day 
that caunot bless it ? The Lord abhors holy days devised out of 
men's own hearts, 2 Kings xii. 33. 

4. Lastly, What reason is there to think that when God has 
taken away from the church's neck a great many holy days ap- 
pointed by himself, ho has left the gospel-chnrch to be burdened 
with as many, nay, and more of men's invention than he himself had 
appointed ? 

S,;-nndly, This command requires one day in seven to be kept as a 


holy Sabbath unto the Lord : Siv days shalt thou labour and do all 
thy ivork : but the seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. Thus 
the Lord determines the quantity of time that is to be his own, in a 
peculiar manner, that is, the seventh part of our time. After six 
days working, a seventh is to be a Sabbath. This is moral, binding 
all persons in all ages, and not a ceremony abrogated by Christ. 

1. This command of appointing one day in seven for a Sabbath is 
one of the commands of that law, consisting of ten commands, which 
cannot be made out without this was written on tables of stone, to 
shew the perpetuity of it ; and of which Christ says, Matth. v. 17, 
18, 19. ' Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the pro- 
phets : I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto 
you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no 
wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. "Whosoever therefore 
shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men 
so, he shall be least in the kingdom of heaven ; but whosoever shall 
do, and teach them, the same shall be called great iu the kingdom 
of heaven.' 

2. It was appointed and given of Grod to Adam in innocency, be- 
fore there was any ceremony to be taken away by the coming of 
Christ, Gen. ii. 3. 

3. All the reasons annexed to this command are moral, respecting 
all men, as well as the Jews, to whom the ceremonial law was given. 
And we find strangers obliged to the observation of it, as well as 
the Jews ; but they were not so to ceremonial laws. 

4. Lastly, Jesus Christ speaks of it as a thing perpetually to en- 
dure, even after the Jewish Sabbath was over and gone, Matth. 
xxiv. 20. And so, although the Sabbath of the seventh day in 
order from the creation was changed into the first day, yet still it 
was kept a seventh day. 

Thirdly, The day to be kept holy, is one whole day. Not a few 
hours, while the public worship lasts, but a whole day. There is an 
artificial day betwixt sun-rising and sun-setting, John xi. 9. and a 
natural day of twenty-four hours, Gen. i. which is the day here 
meant. This day we begin in the morning immediately after mid- 
night ; and so does the Sabbath begin, and not in the evening ; as is 
clear, if ye consider, 

1. John. xx. 19. ' The same day at evening, being the first day of 
the week:' where ye see that the evening following, not going be- 
fore this first day of the week, is called the evening of the first day. 

2. Our Sabbath begins where the Jewish Sabbath ended ; but the 
Jewish Sabbath did not end towards the evening, but towards the 
morning, Matth. xxviii. 1. ' In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to 
dawn towards the first day of the week,' &c. 


3. Our Sabbath is held in memory of Christ's resurrection, and it 
is certain that Christ rose early in the morning of the first day of 
the week. 

Let us therefore take the utmost care to give God the whole day, 
spending it in the manner he has appointed, and not look on all the 
time, besides what is spent in public worship, as our own ; which is 
too much the case in these degenerate times wherein we live. 

II. I come now to shew which day of the seven God hath ap- 
pointed to be the weekly Sabbath. According to our Catechism, 
1 From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God 
appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath ; 
and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of 
the world, which is the Christian Sabbath.' 

We have heard that this command requires a Sabbath to be kept, 
and that one whole day in seven ; we are now to consider what day 
that is. The scripture teaches us, that there are two days which 
have by divine appointment had this honour, the seventh day, and 
the first day of the week. 

First, As to the seventh day, it is acknowledged by all, that that 
was the Jewish Sabbath. And concerning it, consider, 

1. Who appointed the seventh day to be the Sabbath. It was 
God himself that appointed the seventh, which is the last day of the 
week, by us called Saturday, to be the Sabbath ; The seventh day is 
the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. He that was the Lord of time 
made this designation of the time at first. 

2 Wherefore did God at first appoint the seventh ? The reason 
of this was, that as God rested that day from all his works of crea- 
tion, men might, after his example, rest on that day from their own 
works, that they might remember his, and celebrate the praises of 
the Creator. For in siv days the Lord made heaven and earth, — and 
rested the seventh day. The work of creation was performed in the 
six days, and nothing was made on the seventh day ; so that the 
first new day that man saw was a holy day, a Sabbath, that he 
might know the great end of his creation was to serve the Lord. 

3. How long did that appointment of the seventh day last ? To 
the resurrection of Christ. This was its last period, at which time 
it was to give place to a new institution, as will afterwards appear. 
The day of Christ's resurrection was the day of the finishing of the 
new creation, the restoration of a marred world. 

4. When was the Sabbath of the seventh day appointed first ? 
Some who detract from the honour of the Sabbath, contend that it 
was not appointed till the promulgating of the law on mount Sinai, 
and that its first institution was in the wilderness. We hold that it 


was appointed from the beginning of the world. For proof whereof 

(1.) Moses tells us plainly, that God, immediately after perfecting 
the works of creation, blessed and hallowed the seventh day, Gen. 
ii. 2, 3. Now, how could it be blessed and hallowed but by an ap- 
pointing of it to be the Sabbath, setting it apart from common works, 
to the work of God's solemn worship ? The words run on in a con- 
tinued history, without the least shadow of anticipating, upwards of 
two thousand years, as some would have it. 

(2.) The Sabbath of the seventh day was observed before the pro- 
mulgation of the law from Sinai, and is spoken of Exod. xvi. not as 
a new, but an ancient institution. So, ver. 5. preparation for the 
Sabbath is called for, before any mention of it is made, clearly im- 
porting that it was known before. See ver. 23. where the Sabbath 
is given for a reason why they should prepare the double quantity 
of manna on the sixth day ; which says that solemn day had not its 
institution then first. And the breach of the Sabbath is, ver. 28. 
exposed as the violating of a law formerly given. 

(3.) In the fourth command they are called to remember the Sab- 
bath-day, as a day that was not then first appointed but had been 
appointed before, although it had gone out of use, and had been 
much forgotten when they were in Egypt. Besides, the reasons of 
this command, God's resting the seventh day, and blessing and hal- 
lowing it, being from the beginning of the world, say, that the law 
had then place when the reason of the law took place. 

(4.) This is evident from Heb. iv. 3, — 9. The apostle there proves, 
that there remains a Sabbath, or rest to the people of God, into which 
they are to euter by faith, from this, that the scripture speaks only 
of three sabbatisms or rests ; one after the works of creation, ano- 
ther after the comming into Canaan ; and David's words cannot be 
understood of the first, for that was over, ver. 3. and so was the 
other ; therefore there remaineth a rest for the people of God, ver. 9. 

Some allege against this, that the patriarchs did not observe the 
Sabbath, because there was no mention made of it in the scriptures. 
But this is no just prejudice ; for at that rate we might as well con- 
clude it was not observed all the time of the judges, Samuel and Saul ; 
for it is no where recorded in that history that they did. Yea, though 
the patriarchs had not obeyed it, yet that could no more militate 
against the first institution, than polygamy against the first institu- 
tion of marriage. But as from the patriarchs sacrificing, we infer 
the divine appointment of sacrifice, so from the institution of the 
Sabbath, we may infer their keeping it. And their counting by 
weeks, as Noah did, Gen. viii. 10, 12 ; and Laban with Jacob, Gen. 


xix. 27, 28. doth not obscurely shew it ; for to what end did they 
use this computation, but that the Sabbath might be distinguished 
from other days ? And the piety of the patriarchs persuades us, 
that they observed that solemn day for worship ; and if any day, 
what but that designed of God ? 

Secondly, As to the Sabbath of the first day of the week, 
1 Consider the date of it, which was from the resurrection of Christ, 
to continue to the end of the world ; for the days of the gospel are 
the last days. 

2. How the Sabbath could be changed from the seventh to the first 
day of the week. The fourth command holds out a Sabbath to be 
kept, and that one in seven. As for the designation of the day, he 
that designed one, could design another ; and the substituting of a 
new day is the repealing of the old. 

3. Wherefore this change was made. Upon the account of the 
resurrection of Christ, wherein the work of man's redemption was 

4. By what authority it was changed into the first day. The Sab- 
bath was by divine authority changed from the seventh to the first 
day of the week ; so that the Lord's day is now by divine appoint- 
ment the Christian Sabbath. 

(1.) The Sabbath of the first day of the week is prophesied of un- 
der the Old Testament, Psal. cxviii. 24. ' This is the day which the 
Lord hath made,' viz. the day of Christ's resurrection, when the 
stone which the builders rejected was made the head of the corner. 
' We will rejoice and be glad in it ;' that is, we will celebrate it as 
a day of rejoicing and thankfulness for the work of redemption. 
Compare Acts iv. 10, 11. ' Be it known unto you all, and to all the peo- 
ple of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye 
crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this 
man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set 
at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.' 
Hereto possibly may that passage be referred, Ezek. xliii. 27- ' And 
Arhen these days are expired, it shall be, that upon the eighth day, 
and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt-offerings upon the 
altar, and your peace offerings ; and I will accept you, saith the 
Lord.' And it may be called the eighth day, because the first day of 
the week now is the eighth in order from the creation. As also Isa. 
xi. 10. ' His rest shall be glorious.' As the Father's rest from the 
work of the creation was glorious by the seven day's rest, so the rest 
of the Son from the work of redemption was glorious by the first 
day's rest. On this day it was that the light was formed ; so on this 


day did Christ the Sun of righteousness, the true light, arise from 
the dark mansions of the grave with resplendent glory. 

(2.) This day is called ' the Lord's day,' Rev. i. 10. That this 
Lord's day is the first day of the week, is clear, if ye consider, that 
John speaks of this day as a known day among Christians hy that 
name. It could not be the Jewish Sabbath, for that is always called 
the Sabbath, and the Jewish Sabbaths were then repealed, Col. ii. 16. 
Neither could it mean any other day of the week, wherein Christ 
specially manifested himself, for that would determine no day at all. 
And that this phrase infers a divine institution, is evident from the 
like phrase of the sacrament called the Lord's supper. 

(3.) It is evident there ought to be a Sabbath, and that from the 
creation till Christ's resurrection the seventh day in order was ap- 
pointed by God himself. It is no less evident, that the Sabbath is 
changed to the first day of the week, and that lawfully, because the 
Jewish Sabbath is repealed. Now, who could lawfully make this 
change but one who had divine authority ? who therefore is called 
Lord of the Sabbath ? Mark ii. 28. 

(4.) It was the practice of the apostles and primitive Christians 
to observe the first day of the week for the Sabbath, John xx. 19. 
Acts xx. 1. On this day the collection for the poor was made, 1 Cor. 
xvi. 2. and you know the apostles had from Christ what they de- 
livered to the churches as to ordinances, 1 Cor. xi. 23. 

5. Lastly, The Lord, by glorious displays of his grace and Spirit, 
has remarkably honoured this day, in all ages of the church ; and by 
signal strokes from heaven has vindicated the honour of this day on 
the profaners of it. Of this, remarkable instances may be seen in 
history both at home and abroad. 

Let us therefore sanctify this day, as the day which God hath ap- 
pointed, and blessed as a day of sacred rest in the Christian church. 

III. I come now to show you how the Sabbath is to be sanctified. 
The Catechism tells us, " It is to be sanctified by a holy resting all 
that day even from such worldly employments and recreations as are 
lawful on other days ; and spending the whole time in public and 
private exercises of God's worship, except so much as is to be taken 
up in the works of necessity and mercy. 

Here I shall shew, what it is to sanctify the Sabbath, and what 
are the parts of the sanctification of it. 

First, I am to shew, what it is to sanctify the Sabbath. The Sab- 
bath-day is not capable of any sauctity or holiness, but what is rela- 
tive ; that is, in respect of its use for holy rest or exercise. So, (1.) 
God has sanctified that day, by setting it apart for holy uses, design- 
ing and appointing it in a special manner for his own worship and 


service. (2.) Men must sanctify it by keeping it holy, spending that 
day in God's worship and service for which God has set it apart ; 
using it only for the uses that God has consecrated it unto. 

Secondly, I come to shew what are the parts of the sanctification 
of the Sabbath. They are two ; holy rest, and holy exercise. 

First, The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy rest. Therefore 
it is called a sabbath, i. e. a rest. 

1. What are we to rest from? On the Sabbath we must rest. 

1st, From our worldly employments. God has given us six days 
for these ; but his day must be kept free from them : In it thou shalt 
not do any work. The works of our worldly calling have six days, 
those of our heavenly calling but one. We must rest from the for- 
mer, that we may apply ourselves to the latter. Now, such works 
are to be accounted, 

(1.) All handy-labour or servile employments tending to our 
worldly gain, as on other days of the week, as ploughing and sowing, 
bearing of burdens, &c. Neh. xiii. 15. driving of beasts to market, or 
exercising any part of one's calling. 

(2.) All study of liberal arts and sciences. The Sabbath is not a 
day for such exercises, as the reading of history, the studying of 
sciences, &c. Isa. lviii. 13. 

(3.) All civil works, such as making bargains, unnecessary 
journeying travelling to Monday markets on the Lord's day, though 
people wait on sermons, or take them by the way. It is indeed the 
sin of those that do not change their market days when they so fall 
out, and a sin in the government to sutler it : but that will not jus- 
tify those who comply with the temptation, seeing God hath given 
us other days of the week. If they cannot overtake their market 
after the Sabbath, they should go away before, that they may rest 
on the Sabbath, wherever they are, Exod. xvi. 29. 

Idly, From all worldly recreations, though lawful on other days. 
It is not a day for carnal pleasures of any sort, more than for worldly 
employments. Our delights should be heavenly this day, not to 
please the flesh but the spirit ; and sports, plays, and pastimes, are 
a gross profanation of the Sabbath, Isa. lvii. 13, 14. 

Now, this rest of the Sabbath from these must be, 

(1.) A rest of the hands from them. The hands must rest, that 
the heart may be duly exercised. 

(2.) A rest of the tongue. People should not give their orders for 
the week's work on the Lord's day, nor converse about their worldly 

(3.) A rest of the head from thinking of it, and forming plans and 
contrivances about worldly affairs. 


But here are excepted works of two sorts. 

1. "Works of necessity, as to quench a house on fire, &c. 2. "Works 
of mercy, as to save the life of a beast ; see Matth. xii. Under which 
may be comprehended, (1.) Good works, such as visiting the sick, re- 
lieving the poor, &c. (2.) "Works of decency, such as dressing the 
body with comely attire. (3.) "Works of common honesty and hu- 
manity, as saluting one another, 1 Pet. iii. 8. (4.) Works of neces- 
sary refreshment, as dressing and taking of meat. (5.) "Works 
having a necessary connection with and tendency to the worship of 
God, as travelling on the Lord's day to sermons, 2 Kings iv. 23. 

But in all these things it should be regarded, that the necessity be 
real, and not pretended : for it is not enough that the work cannot 
be done to such advantage on another day ; for that might let out 
people on the Sabbath, if it be a windy day or so, to cut down their 
corn, whom yet God has in a special manner provided against, Exod. 
xxxiv. 21 ; and that would have justified the sellers of fish, whom 
Nehemiah discharged, Neh. xiii. 16, 17- And therefore T cannot 
think that the making of cheese on the Lord's day can be counted a 
work of necessity, lawful on that day : for as much might be said in 
the other cases as can be said in this, viz. that the corn may shake, 
the fishes spoil, &c. Besides, people should take heed that they bring 
not that necessity on themselves, by timeously providing against it. 
And when works of real necessity and mercy are to be done, they 
should be done, not with a work day's, but Sabbath-day's frame. 

2. "Who are to rest ? The command is very particular. (1.) 
Men. [1.] The heads of the family, the heads of the state, master 
and mistress, are to give example to others. [2.] The children, son, 
daughter ; they must not have their liberty to profane the Sabbath 
by playing more than working. [3.] Servants, whose toil all the 
week may tempt them to misspend the Lord's day ; they must not 
be bidden profane the Sabbath ; and if they be, they must obey God 
rather than man. [4.] The stranger must not be allowed his li- 
berty : we must not compliment away the honour of the Sabbath. 
(2.) Beasts ; they must rest ; not that the law reaches them for 
themselves, but for their owners ; either because they require at- 
tendance at work, or put the case they did not, yet it is the work 
which must not be done. This lets us see, that where even their 
work may be carried on, on the Lord's day without attendance on 
them, yet it is not to be done. 

3. What makes the rest holy? Respect to the command of God. 
Secondly, The Sabbath is to be sanctified by holy exercise. 
1. Public exercise ; of God's worship, Isa. lxvi. 23 ; as hearing 
sermons, Luke iv. 16; prayer, Acts xvi. 13, 14; receiving of the 


sacraments, where there is occasion, Acts xx. 7 ; singing of Psalms, 
Psal. xcii. title. 

2. Private exercises of worship, alone and in our families, Lev. 
xxiii. 3. Neither of these must justle out the other. God has 
joined them ; let us not put them asunder. 

And these duties are to be done with a special elevation of heart 
on the Sabbath-day ; they ought to be performed with a frame suit- 
ing the Sabbath, Isa. lvii. 13. 

1st, Grace must be stirred up to exercise, otherwise the Sabbath 
will be a burden. Grace will be at its height in heaven, and the 
Sabbath is an emblem of heaven, Rev. i. 10. 

Idly, The heart should be withdrawn from all earthly things, and 
intent upon the duty of the day. We must leave the ass at the foot 
of the mount, that we may converse with God. 

Sdly, Love and admiration are special ingredients here. The two 
great works of creation and redemption, which we are particularly 
called to mind on the Lord's day, are calculated to excite our love 
and admiration. 

4thly, We should have a peculiar delight in the day, and the 
duties of it, exchanging our lawful pleasures on other days with 
spiritual pleasures on this. 

The rest without holy exercise is not sufficient. 

1. The Sabbath-rest resembles that of heaven, which is a rest 
without a rest, wherein the soul is most busy and active, serving the 
Lord without weariness. 

2. If it were enough, we were obliged to sanctify the Sabbath no 
more than beasts, who only rest that day. 

3. The rest enjoined is not commanded for itself, but for the holy 
exercises of the day. 

Now, it is the whole day that is thus to be spent, i. e. the natural 
day. Not that people are bound to be in these exercises without 
intermission all the twenty-four hours; for God has not made the 
Sabbath to be a burden to man, but that we should continue God's 
work as we do our own on other days, where we are allowed neces- 
sary rest and refreshment by sleep in the night. 

Use. Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy. This note is 
put upon it. 

1. Because of the great weight of the thing, the Sabbath being 
the bond of all religion. It is God's deal-day, wherein his people 
may expect furniture for all the week. 

2. Because we are very apt to forget it, Ezek. xxii. 26. There is 
less light of nature for this than other commands. It restrains our 
liberty in those things that we do all the week. And Satan, know- 


ing the importance of it for our souls, that it is a day of blessing, 
sets on us to forget it. If ye would then sanctify the Sabbath, 

(1.) Remember it before it come ; on the last day of the week, on 
the Saturday's evening, laying by work timeously to prepare for it, 
Luke xxiii. 54. 

(2.) Remember it when it is come ; rise early on the Sabbath- 
morning, Psal. xcii. 2. The morning hath enough ado : worship 
God secretly and privately : prepare yourselves for ordinances, 
wrestle with God for his presence thereto, that he may graciously 
assist the minister in preaching, and you in hearing, and may bless 
the word to you. Remember it while it is going on, that it is God's 
day, a day of blessing, and ply diligently the work of the day, not 
only in time of the public work, but after, till the day be finished. 

(3.) Remember it when it is over, to see what good you have got 
by it; to bless him for any smiles of his face, or manifestations of 
his grace ; and to mourn over your failures, and apply to the blood 
of Christ for pardon and cleansing. 

IT. I proceed to shew, what is forbidden in the fourth command- 
ment. We are told in the Catechism, that it ' forbiddeth the omis- 
sion or careless performance of the duties required, and the profan- 
ing the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by 
unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about worldly employments 
or recreations.' 

There are five ways how this commandment is broken. 

First, By omission of the duties required on this day, whether in 
whole or in part. Many of the Sabbath-duties are the duties of 
every day ; but the omission of them, which is always criminal, is 
more so on this day, because on it we are specially called to them. 
We sin against this command, then, when we neglect the public or 
private exercises of God's worship. 

1. Not remembering the Sabbath, before it come, to prepare for 
it; entertaining a carnal worldly frame of spirit on the night before, 
not laying aside Avork betimes, and composing our hearts for the 
approaching Sabbath ; far more when people continue at their work 
later that night than ordinary, getting as near the borders of the 
Sabbath as they can. 

2. Neglecting the duties of the Sabbath-morning ; particularly, 

1. The duty of meditation. Those that are in the spirit on the 
Lord's day, their spirits will be busy, elevated to heavenly things, 
and conversing with heaven. The two great works of creation and 
redemption require our thoughts particularly on that day, Psal. xcii. 
5 ; and we must needs be guilty, when, while God has set these 
great marks before us, we do not aim to hit them. Has not God 

Vol. II. o 


made it a day of blessing ? should not we then consider our wants, 
miseries, and needs, and sharpen our appetites after that food that 
is set before us in ordinances on that day ? 

(2.) Secret prayer. The Sabbath-morning is a special time for 
wrestling with God, confessing, petitioning, and giving thanks. 
Then should there be wrestling for the blessing on the day of bles- 
sing. And the neglect of it is a very bad beginning for that good 
day. When will they come to God's door that will not come then ? 
Psal. xci. 1, 2. 

(3.) Family-exercise. This command has a special respect to 
family-religion. As God will have the family to mind and see to 
their own work on the six days, so he calls them to mind his toge- 
ther on the Sabbath. Every family is to be at church, especially on 
the Lord's day. And if people came with their hearts warmed from 
family-duties to the public, they would speed. 

3. Neglect of the public exercises of God's worship, Heb. x. 25. 
By this neglect the Sabbath is profaned. The public ordinances on 
the Lord's day, whatever they do else, they keep up a standard for 
Christ in the world ; and to slight them is to fill the world with 
atheism and profaneness. As it would be the sin of ministers not 
to administer them, so it is the sin of people not to attend on them. 
But how does this profanation abound, by unnecessary absenting 
from public ordinances ! It is not enough to spend the time in pri- 
vate. God requires both ; and the one must not justle out the other. 
Nothing should be admitted as an excuse in this, but what will bear 
weight when the conscience is sisted before God. 

4. Neglecting the duties of the day when the public work is over. 
The Sabbath is not over when the public work is over. When we 
go home to our houses, we must keep the Sabbath there too, Lev. 
xxiii. 3. It ought not to be an idle time. Ye ought to retire by 
yourselves, and meditate on what ye have heard, on your behaviour 
at the public ordinances, and be humbled for your failings ; confer 
together about the word, renew your calling on God in secret, and 
in your families, and with variety of holy exercises spend what 
remains of the day. 

Secondly, The Sabbath is profaned by a careless performance of 
the duties required. Though we perform the duties themselves, we 
may profane the Sabbath by the way of managing them. Now, it is 
a careless performance to perform them, 

1. Hypocritically, Matth. xv. 7- while the body is exercised in 
Sabbath's work, but the heart goes not along with it. 

2. Carnally, in an earthly frame of spirit, the heart nothing sa- 
vouring of heaven, but still of the world. Hence are so many dis- 

the sura forbidden. 199 

trading thoughts about worldly tilings, that the heart cannot he 
intent on the duty of the day, Amos viii. 5. 

2. Heartlessly and coldly. The Sabbath should be called a de- 
light ; a special vigour and alacrity is required to Sabbath-duties. 
But how flat, heartless, dead, and dull are we for the most part ! 
so that many are quite out of their element on the Lord's day, and 
never come to themselves, or any alacrity of spirit, till the Sabbath 
be over, and they return to their business. 

4. To perform them with a weariness of them, or in them, Mai. i. 
13. Alas ! is not the Sabbath the most wearisome day of all the 
week to many ? The rest of the Sabbath is more burdensome than 
the toil of other days. How will such take with heaven, where 
there is an eternal rest, an everlasting Sabbath ? This is a contempt 
of God and of his day. 

'Thirdly, The Sabbath is profaned by idleness. God has made the 
Sabbath a rest, but not a mere rest. He never allows idleness : on 
the week-days we must not be idle, or we misspend our own time. 
On the Lord's day we must not be idle, or we misspend and profane 
God's time. Thus the Sabbath is idled away and profaned. 

1. By unnecessary, unseasonable sleeping in that day ; lying long 
in the Sabbath-morning, going soon to bed that night, to cut God's 
day as short as may be ; and much more sleeping in any other time 
of the day, to put off the time. 

2. By vain gadding abroad on the Lord's day, through the fields, 
or gathering together about the doors, to idle away the time in com- 
pany. It is very necessary that people keep within doors on the 
Lord's day as much as may be ; and if necessity or conveniency call 
them forth, that they carry their Sabbath's work with them. 

3. By vain and idle discourse or thoughts. We must give an 
account of every idle word spoken on any day, far more for those 
spoken on the Lord's day, which are doubly sinful. 

Fourthly, The Sabbath is profaned by doing that which is in itself 
sinful. To do those things on the Lord's day that ought not to be 
done any day, is a sin highly aggravated. Thus the Sabbath is 
profaned by people's discouraging others from attending ordinances, 
instead of attending themselves ; swearing or cursing on that day, 
instead of praising God. The better the day, the worse is the deed. 
How fearful must their doom be who wait that time for their wicked 
pranks, as some dishonest servants, and other naughty persons, who 
chuse the time that others are at church for their hidden works of 
dishonesty ; because then they get most secrecy ? And indeed the 
devil is very busy that way, and has brought some on to commit 
such things on the Sabbath-day as have brought them to an ill end. 




^Lastly, By unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about worldly 
employments or recreations. The Sabbath is profaned, 

1. By carnal recreations, nowise necessary nor suitable to the 
work of the Sabbath ; such as, all carnal pleasures, sports, plays, 
and pastimes, Isa. lviii. 13. 

2. By following worldly employments on that day, working or 
going about ordinary business, except in cases of necessity and 
mercy, Matth. xxiv. 20. Though, where real necessity or mercy is, 
it is an abuse of that day to forbear such things, as sometimes the 
Jews did, who being attacked on the Lord's day, would not defend 

3. By unnecessary thoughts or discourse about them ; for that 
day is a day of rest for them every way ; and we should never think 
of nor talk about them. 

let us be deeply humbled before the Lord under the sense of 
our profanations of the Sabbath ! for who can plead innocent here ? 
We are all guilty in some shape or other, and had need to flee to 
the atoning blood of Jesus for the expiation of this and all our 
other sins. 

Y. I come now to consider the reasons annexed to the fourth com- 
mandment. And these, according to the Catechism, are, ' God's 
allowing us six days in the week for our own employments ; his chal- 
lenging a special propriety in the seventh ; his own example ; and 
his blessing the Sabbath-day.' 

This command God has enforced by four reasons, 

1. The first reason is taken from the equity of this command. 
God has allowed us six days of seven for our own business, and has 
reserved but one for himself. In dividing our time betwixt himself 
and us, he has made our share great, six for one. Consider the force 
of this reason. 

1st, We have time enough to serve ourselves in the six days, and 
shall we not serve God on the seventh ? They that will not be sa- 
tisfied with six, would as little be satisfied with sixteen. But car- 
nal-hearts are like a saud-bed to devour that which is holy. Nay, 

Idly, We have time enough to tire ourselves on the six days in 
our own employments ; it is a kindness that we are obliged to rest 
on the Lord's day. Our interest is our duty, and our duty is our 
interest. It is a kindness to our bodies, and souls too. And shall 
we not be engaged by it to sanctify the Sabbath ? 

ddly, There is time enough to raise the appetite for the Sabbath. 
It comes- so seldom, though so sweet to the exercised soul, that we 
may long for it, and rejoice at the return of it. It is sad if six days' 
interval cannot beget in us spiritual appetite. 


-ithly, God might have allowed us one day, and taken six to him- 
self. Who could have quarrelled the Lord of time ? Has he re- 
served but one for six, and shall we grudge it him ? The sentence 
of David in the parable against the rich man that took away the 
poor man's ewe lamb, is applicable here : ' The man that hath done 
this thing shall surely die ; and he shall restore the lamb fourfold,' 
&c. 2 Sam. xii. 

2. The second reason is taken from God's challenging a special 
propriety in the Sabbath-day ; But the seventh day is the Sabbath of 
the Lord thy God. All days are his ; but this is his in a peculiar 
manner, Rev. i. 10. He has set a mark on it for himself to be re- 
served to himself. Consider the force of this reason. 

1st, If we have a God, it is reasonable that God should have a 
time set apart for his service, the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. The 
heathen had days set apart for the honour of their idols ; though 
the dumb idols could not demand them, yet they gave them. Pa- 
pists have days set apart for saints, who are to them a sort of gods, 
though some of them, as Paul has forbidden it. And wilt thou not 
keep holy the Sabbath of the Lord thy God ? 

2dly, It is sacrilege, the worst of theft, to profane the Sabbath- 
day. It is a robbing of God, a stealing of time from him that is 
consecrated to him, and that is dangerous, Prov. xx. 25. We justly 
blame the churches of Pome and England, for robbing people of a 
great many days which God has given us ; but how may we blame 
ourselves for robbing God of the day he has kept from us, and taken 
to himself? Alas ! our zeal for God is far below our zeal for our- 
selves. They stick to their saints' days, but how weary are we of 
God's days ? Mai. iii. 8. 

3. The third reason is taken from God's example, who, though he 
could have perfected the world in a moment, yet, spent six days in 
it, and but six days, resting the seventh, taking a complacency in 
the work of his own hand ; and this is an example to be imitated by 
us. Consider the force of this reason. 

1st, God's example proposed for imitation is a most binding rule, 
Eph. v. 1. ' Be ye followers of God.' What God does is best done, 
and we must labour to write after his copy. 

2dly, The profaning of the Sabbath is a most eminent and signal 
contempt of God and of his works. Did God rest on the Sabbath, 
taking a complacency in the six days' works ? Our not doing so is 
an undervaluing of what God so highly esteemed, slighting of what 
he so much prized, and consequently a contempt of himself and his 
works too. 

4. The fourth reason is taken from his blessing the Sabbath-day. 



His blessing that day is his blessing it as a mean of blessing as 
in the keeping of it. It imports, 

1st, The Lord's putting a peculiar honour on it beyond all other 
days. It is the ' holy of the Lord and honourable.' The King of 
heaven has made it the queen of days. Therefore it should be our 
question, What shall be done to that day the King delighteth to 
honour ? Let us beware of levelling that with common things which 
God hath so far advanced above them. 

2dly, That the Lord has set it apart for a spiritual blessing to his 
people, so that in the sanctification of that day we may look for a 
blessing, Isa. lvi. 6, 7 ; nay, that the Lord will multiply his bles- 
sings on that day more on his people than any other days wherein 
they seek it. So that, as the Lord requires more on that day than 
on any other days, he also gives more. 

oclly, That the Lord will make it even a spring of temporal bles- 
sings. He will not let the day of blessing be a curse to people in 
their temporal affairs. They shall be at no loss in their worldly 
things by the Sabbath rest, Lev. xxv. 20, 22. Conscientious keepers 
of the Sabbath will be found to thrive as well otherwise as those 
who are not. The force of this reason is, 

(1.) God's honour by keeping that day, that we may get his 
blessings on it showered down upon us. So that the profanation of 
the Sabbath is like profane Esau's rejecting the blessing. 

(2.) Our own interest. Is it a special day for blessing, and shall 
we not observe it ? It is an unworthy mistake to look upon the Sab- 
bath as so much lost time. No time is so gainful as a Sabbath ho- 
lily observed. And indeed the great reason of the profaning of the 
Sabbath may be found to lie, 

[1.] In carnality and worldly mindedness. The Sabbath is no de- 
light to many. Why ? Because heaven would be none to them, for 
they savour not the things of God. The heai't that is drowned in 
the cares or pleasures of the world, all the week over, is as hard to 
get into a Sabbath-frame, as wet wood to take fire. 

[2.] Insensibleuess of their need of spiritual blessings. They are 
not sensible of their wants, and hence they despise the blessing. 
He that has nothing to buy or sell can stay at home on the market- 
day, and the full soul cares not for God's day. 

[3.] The not believing of the blessing of that day. They that 
think they may come as good speed any day in the duties of the day 
as on the Lord's day, no wonder they count God's day, and the du- 
ties of the day, as common. 

Use. Let me exhort you then to beware of profaning the Sabbath. 
Learn to keep it holy. And therefore I would call you here to 
several duties. 


1. Remember the Sabbath-day, before it come, to prepare for it, 
and let your eye be on it before the week be done. Timeously lay 
by your worldly employment, and go not near the borders of the 
Lord's day, and strive to get your hearts in a frame suitable to the 
exercises of this holy day. 

2. Make conscience of attending the public ordinances, and wait- 
ing on God in his own house on his own day. Loiter not away the 
Lord's day at home unnecessarily, seeing the Lord trusts to meet 
his people there. This will bring leanness to your own souls, and 
grief of heart to him that bears the Lord's message to you. 

3. Before you come to the public, spend the morning in secret and 
private exercises, particularly in prayer, reading, and meditation ; 
remembering how much your success depends upon suitable prepara- 
tion. Put off your shoes before ye tread the holy ground. 

4. Make not your attendance on the public ordinances a by-hand 
work, and a mean for carrying on your worldly affairs. If ye come 
to the church to meet with some body, and to discourse or make ap- 
pointments about your worldly business, it will be a wonder if ye 
meet with the Lord. If ye travel on the Lord's day, and take a 
preaching by the way, it may well cheat your blinded consciences ; 
it will not be pleasing to God, for it makes his service to stand but 
in the second room, while your main end is what concerns your tem- 
poral affairs. Among the Jews no man might make the mountain 
of the house, or a synagogue, a thoroughfare. And beware of com- 
mon discourse between sermons, which is too much practised among 

5. "When ye come home from the public ordinances, let it be your 
care, both by the way and at home, to meditate or converse about 
spiritual things, and what ye have heard. Retire and examine 
yourselves as to what ye have gained, and be not as the unclean 
beasts, who chew not the cud. Let masters of families take account 
of their children and servants how they have profited, catechise and 
instruct them in the principles of religion, and exhort them to piety. 

6. When ye are necessarily detained from the public ordinances, 
let your hearts be there, Psal. lxiii. 1, 2; and do not turn that to 
sin which in itself is not your sin. And strive to spend the Lord's 
day in private and secret worship, looking to the Lord for the up- 
making of your wants. As for those that tie themselves to men's 
service, without a due regard to their having opportunities to hear 
the Lord's word, their wages are dear bought, and they have little 
respect to God or their own souls ; and I think tender Christians 
will be loath to engage so. But, alas ! few masters or servants look 
further than the work or wages in their engaging together ! A sad 
argument that religion is at a low ebb. 


7. Do not cut the Sabbath short. The church of Rome has half 
holidays; God never appointed any such; it is one whole day. 
Alas ! it is a sad thing to see how the Lord's day is so consumed, as 
if people would make up the loss of a day out of Saturday's night 
and Monday's morning, which they do by cutting short the Lord's 

8. Lastly, Labour to be in a Sabbath-day's frame. Let the 
thoughts of worldly business, far more worldly words and works 
be far from you. To press this, consider, 

(1.) It is God's command, whereby he tries your love to him. 
This day is as the forbidden fruit. Who does not condemn Adam 
and Eve for eating it ? do not profane it any manner of way ! 

(2.) Heaven will be an everlasting Sabbath, and our conversation 
should be heaven-like. If we grudge the Lord one day in seven, 
how will we relish eternity ? "We are ready to complain that we 
are toiled with the world : why then do we not enter into his rest ? 

(3.) The great advantage of sanctifying the Lord's day. He has 
made it a day of blessing. It is God's deal-day ; and keeps up the 
heart of many through the week while they think of its approach. 

(4.) Lastly, Ye will bring wrath on you if ye do not sanctify the 
Sabbath. God may plague you with temporal, spiritual, and eter- 
nal plagues. Many begin with this sin of profaning the Lord's day, 
and it brings upon them the wrath of God, both in this world and 
that which is to come. 


Exod. xx. 12. — Honour thy father avid thy mother: that thy days may 
be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 

We come now to the second table of the law, which teacheth us our 
duty to man, i. e. to ourselves and others. There are two parts of 
religion, piety towards God, comprehending our duty to God, imme- 
diately delivered in the four first commandments ; righteousness, 
our duty to our neighbour, delivered in the last six. As God has 
set the four first commands to maintain his own worship and honour 
in the world; so he has covered man with the last six. The fifth 
command is a fence for him in his station, Avhatcver it is ; the sixth 
guards his life; the seventh is a fence to his chastity; the eighth, 
to his goods ; the ninth, to his name ; and the tenth, to all that is 
his. Over these hedges no man must break, under the pain of the 
Lawgiver's displeasure. 


Religion must run through the whole course of our conversation, 
and mix itself with all our actions, those that respect men ! as well 
as those that respect God immediately. Therefore in vain do they 
pretend to religion, that make no conscience of their duty to men. 
Religion makes not a man only a good man but a good neighbour.,. 
And it is observable, that these duties are ordinarily made the try- 
ing point to professors of religion. And if ye have got any good of 
the late solemn occasion, ye will not only love God more, but love 
your neighbour more ; not only grow in duties of piety towards God, 
but of righteousness to men, giving every one their due, Micah vi. 
6, 7, 8. Zech. viii. 16, 17- Matth. xix. 18, 19. Rom. xiii. 8, 9, 10. 

In this passage there is a command, Honour thy father and thy 
•mother ; and the reason of it, that thy clays may be long upon the land 
which the Lord thy God giveth thee. In the command two things ar.e 
to be considered. 

1. The object, father 'and mother. By these are meant not only 
onr natural parents, but also all superiors, superiors in age, 1 Tim. 
v. 1, 2; such as are superior to us in gifts or grace, Gen. iv. 20. and 
xlv. 8 ; but especially such as are by God's ordinance over us in au- 
thority, whether in the family, as husbands, 2 Sam. xii. 3 ; masters, 
2 Kings v. 13 ; in the church, as ministers and other church-officers, 
2 Kings ii. 12. or in the state, as magistrates, supreme or subordi- 
nate, Isa. xlix. 23. These are more directly meant by father and 
mother who are to be honoured. 

These are the objects of this command expressed. The objects 
implied are, 

(1.) All inferiors; that is, not only children, but the younger, 
the weaker in gifts and grace, wives, servants, people, subjects. 
That these are also the objects of this command, is clear, if ye con- 
sider, that their superiors are called fathers and mothers to them in 
the command, and consequently it binds them to be as fathers unto 

2. All equals ; that is, brethren, sisters, friends, neighbours, and 
all amongst whom there is little difference as to age, gifts, grace, 
place, or dignity. That the command respects these also, is clear if 
we consider, that Christ sums up the whole second table in that 
general, ' Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' Therefore our 
neighbour in the general must be the object of this command, as 
well as the rest of the second table. 

3. The duty, Honour, All these must be honoured by their rela- 
tives. Giving honour does not imply the superiority of the per- 
son honoured ; God himself will honour those that honour him ; and 
all men must be honoured by us, whether they be our superiors, in- 


feriors, or equals, 1 Pet. ii. 17- God lias put some excellency of 
his in every person, for which they are to be honoured. The titles 
of father, husband, teacher, and ruler, are honourable, for they are 
God's titles. The station wherein God has set every one, though 
N inferiors or equals, is honourable ; for they shine most beautifully, 
that shine in their own sphere. And there is no person on whom 
God has not bestowed something of his own, for which that person 
is to be honoured even by his superiors ; esteemed inwardly in the 
heart, which is to be vented by a respectful outward carriage to 

For the further opening of these words take notice, 

1. That this command, whose scope is the performance of relative 
duties, is the first of the second table. In which the wisdom of God 
is to be adored, this command having a general influence on all the 
rest, so that we cannot transgress the rest but we transgress this in 
the first place. And it is worthy of observation, that such as bring 
themselves to an ill end, by murder, adultery, theft, &c. ordinarily 
pitch on disobedience to their parents as the inlet to all these, Prov. 
xxx. 17- 

2. That as the fourth commandment is particularly directed to 
superiors, so this is to inferiors ; particularly because subjection and 
submission is that which goes worst down with the proud hearts of 
the children of men ; and therefore God doth the more expressly re- 
quire it. 

3. That superiors are styled fathers and mothers. And that is, 
(1.) To teach superiors their duty towards their inferiors, that they 
owe them such tenderness and kindness as parents to their own chil- 
dren, Num. xi. 12. (2.) To make inferiors the more cheerfully and 
willingly to give due honour to them, 1 Cor. iv. 14, 15. 

In discoursing from this subject I shall shew, 

I. What is required in this fifth commandment. 

II. "What is forbidden in it. 

III. The reason annexed to it. 

IV. Make improvement, as I go along. 

I. I am to shew, what is required in this command. According 
to our Catechism, it requires ' the preserving the honour, and per- 
forming the duties, belonging to every one in their several places 
and relations ; as superiors, inferiors, or equals.' 

In speaking to this I shall, 

1. Take notice of God's appointment of several places and re- 

2. Consider the necessity of the performance of relative duties in 


3. Shew the duties of the particular relations wherein we severally 

FIRST, I am to take notice of God's appointment of several 
places and relations. Observe, that a difference of places and rela- 
tions amongst the children of men is of divine appointment. All 
are not alike. Some God will have to be superiors, others inferiors, 
others equals ; yea, the same persons superiors in respect of some, 
and inferiors in respect of others. This command supp* oseth this, as 
the eighth doth a propriety of goods. God is a God of order, not 
of confusion : so that the levelling design is levelled against the 
divine will. It serves, 

1. To manifest the sovereignty of God that invests one man more 
than another with dominion and honour, though all are of one 
blood; takes one piece of clay and sets it on a throne, and sets an- 
other piece of the same on a dunghill. He himself is the King of 
the world, and the fountain of honour. 

2. To beautify the world, God, who has made the natural body of 
man not all one lump, but consisting of several members, some more, 
some less honourable, for the beauty of the whole, has so shewed his 
wisdom in the political body. 

3. It is necessary in this state of sin, especially for the preserv- 
ing of the world, which, without rules and government in families, 
churches, and states, would be like a ship without a pilot amongst 
dangerous rocks. 

Use. Let every one then be content with his place assigned him 
by the Divine Providence. Are worse than yourselves set above 
you ? God has done it ; say you Amen to your own post. And do 
the duty of your place and relation ; and that will be your greatest 
honour. The moon shining by night is very beautiful, but in the 
day there is little beauty with her. As little is there in those who, 
forsaking their own place and the duties thereof, thrust themselves 
into that of another, and act without their proper spheres. 

SECONDLY, Let us consider the necessity of performance of re- 
lative duties in general. Observe that the conscientious perform- 
ance of relative duties is a necessary piece of true religion. The 
fifth commandment requireth ' the preserving the honour, and per- 
forming the duties, belonging to every one in their several places 
and relations.' True religion consists of faith and holiness ; and 
true holiness is made up of personal and relative holiness. Do not 
think that religion has no concern in thy domestic and civil affairs. 
All of us are in some relations, husbands, wives, children, servants, 
neighbours. Each of these has its own train of duties. Be thou 
master, servant, &c. here arc thy instructions sent down from hea- 


ven, how to carry in thy place and relation. Thou wilt say, Who 
is concerned how I carry to my relations ? I tell ycu, God is con- 
cerned, and he will require it. His commands are like a man's sha- 
dow ; wherever he goes, they follow him. The necessity thereof is 

1. The conscientious performance of relative duties is necessary 
in respect of the command of God. The command for them is the 
first of the &cond table. God, who hath placed us in these rela- 
tions, binds us by his sovereign authority to perform the duties of 
the same. The same stamp of divine authority is on these com- 
mands that is upon the command to pray, &c. And he will not be 
satisfied with our overlooking our duty. 

2. It is necessary to evidence us to be Christians indeed, no man 
can justly pretend to be a new creature, that does not make consci- 
ence of relative duties, 2 Cor. v. 17- Saving grace goes through all 
relations, like leaven in a lump, and sets men right in them. It 
makes the man not only a good man, but a good neighbour, hus- 
band, servant, &c. the woman a good neighbour, wife, servant, &c. 

(1.) Relative duties are an integral part of true godliness; they 
are a part of the new man, Eph. iv. 24, 25. A body that wants a 
leg or an arm is no complete body ; and a man that wants relative 
holiness is no complete Christian, no evangelically complete Chris- 
tian, 2 Pet. i. 7, 9. 

(2.) Relative holiness is an essential part of true godliness ; it 
cannot be without it, more than the body can live without the soul, 
2 Pet. i. 7, 9. ' Shew me thy faith by thy works,' says the apostle ; 
and so may we say, Shew me thy personal holiness by thy relative 
holiness, Eph. v. 9. 

(3.) Relative duties are the great trying points of the work of 
Christianity, which, if any thing, will try what metal people are of. 
A man is that really which he is relatively. And if there be any 
defect in the professor of religion, search for it in his relations, and 
it will readily be found in one or all of them. The pride of men's 
hearts makes them often very difficult of access ; superiors, through 
their pride of heart, are apt to tyrannise ; inferiors, through theirs, 
think themselves as good, and cannot comport with subjection. 
Every man naturally loves to be master, and seeks himself; hence 
there is no dutifulness to equals. 

3. It is necessary as a piece of conformity to the Lord Jesus 
Christ. He is not a complete Christian that has not received of 
Christ grace for grace. We must prove our union with him by our 


conformity to him, 1 John ii. 6. He stood in various relations, and 
therein was a pattern to us. H* is a loving husband to his church, 
Eph. v. 25. a faithfnl Servant to his Father ; a kind and affectionate 
Master to his servants; a dutiful subject to the magistrate ; and an 
obedient child, Luke ii. 51. 

4. It is necessary to make a useful Christian. Cumber-grounds 
must be cut down, Luke xiii. 7- And a useless Christian is like the 
vine, which if it bear not fruit, is good for nothing but the fire, 
Ezek. xv. Now, shall we be useless in the world ? And useful we 
cannot be but in our several places and relations, discharging the 
duties of the same ; and useful we are, if we do the duties of the re- 
lations wherein we stand. How is the eye, the tongue, &c. useful ? 
"Why if they remain in their proper place, and do their proper 
office : whereas, if they either be removed out of their place, or in 
it do not their office, they are useless. Let us make a help meet for 
man, said God, when he brought the first relation into the world. 
So that relative duties, as we stand in relation to others, in family, 
church, or state, are the proper orb of usefulness. They that are 
useful there, are useful indeed ; and they who are useless there, are 
useless altogether in the world. 

5. It is necessary to make a straight Christian. If we will go 
straight in religion, we must go as it were with these two legs, per- 
sonal duties and relative duties. If either of these be wanting, then 
our way is like ' the legs of the lame that are not equal,' Prov. xxvi. 
7. An unequal pulse shews a distempered body. How many such 
crooked professors are there, saints abroad, but devils at home ? 
But see Psal. cxxv. 5. ' As for such as turn aside unto their crooked 
ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity.' 

6. Lastly, It is necessary for personal holiness. These are like 
live coals ; put them together, and they will burn : but put them 
asunder, and they will both go out, 1 Pet. iii. 7. A sad evidence of 
this is to be seen in many, who, while they were single, gave good 
hopes of themselves, and had fair blossoms of religion : but being 
married, and making no conscience of their duty to their relatives, 
all good goes from them, their spirits sour, their souls wither, and 
their spiritual case goes quite to wreck. 

It is a common observation of such as slight relative duties, that 
their relatives are not in their duty to them. But though it be so, 
this tie is laid on them by divine authority, and so cannot be taken 
off that way. Must I go out of my duty, because another goes out 
of his duty to me ? No. See 1 Pet. ii. 18, &c. It is the way to 
gain them to their duty, chap. iii. 1. 

Use 1. Of information. This lets us see, that, 


1. There is very little true religion in the world, there is so little 
relative holiness in it. There are two things that make this evident. 

(1.) How few are there that make any conscience at all of their 
duty to their relatives ? We may take up Micah's lamentation over 
the land at this day, Micah vii. 1, — 6. If we look to the church, 
what confusions are there', with untender ministers, and unruly peo- 
ple ? the stars losing their light, and trampled under foot with con- 
tempt. If we look to the state, magistrates abusing their authority, 
and people despising them and their authority too. If we look into 
families, what disorder is there ? parents careless, children disobe- 
dient, husbands untender, wives stubborn, masters rigid, and ser- 
vants unfaithful. A sad evidence of the decay of religion, that the 
world is so far out of course. 

(2.) The relative duties that are done, how few of them are done 
in a right manner ? To do the duty itself may please men ; but God 
will never accept it if it is not done in a right manner. A good 
humour is all with many, who have no principle of a new nature. 
A natural affection prevails with some ; love to peace makes others 
do their duty : and fear of their relatives puts on others to do their 
duty ; while, in the mean time they are nowise stirred up thereto 
from the fear and love of God ; nor have they any respect to the 
command of God in what they do. But is that religion ? will God 
ever accept of that as obedience to him ? No, no, Rom. xiii. 5. 
1 Pet. iii. 6. 

2. This lets us see what need all of us have to be humbled for our 
defects in relative duties; what need Ave have of the blood of Christ 
to wash away our guilt in these ; what need we have of the Spirit of 
Christ to help us unto these duties. Oh ! they are not easy : nature 
will never comply with the work, or at best but bungle at it. We 
have much need to pray for the Divine assistance in this matter ; 
as without him we can do nothing, even in these outward duties. 

Use II. Of exhortation. Set yourselves to make conscience of 
relatives. For motives to press this, consider, 

1. This will be a notable mean of good to yourselves. He that 
thus lays out himself, lays up for himself indeed what the world 
cannot take from him. (1.) It will be an evidence of the sincerity 
of your obedience, if to personal holiness ye join relative holiness 
too, Psal. cxix. 6. (2.) It will be a great promoter of personal 
holiness; for he that watereth, shall be watered also himself. (3.) 
It will waft you in within the compass of the promise in the text. 

2. The conscientious performance of relative duties is the way to 
do good to others. Would ye be useful for God, or useful to your 
relatives? then do this? This would make vou a blessing like 


Abraham. There is nothing more convincing, and more likely to 
make others fall in love with religion, than this, 1 Pet. iii. 1. 

3. If ye make no conscience of these duties, it will discover the 
rottenness and unsoundness of your hearts, Psal. cxix. 6. When 
God change th the heart, he writes his laws on it, and these laws 
among others. And the want of this will bring in that dittay, not- 
withstanding all thy pretended religion, ' One thing thou lackest.' 

4. The neglect of these duties, and unfaithfulness in them, /loes 
much ill to religion. The world will observe how people manage 
tire duties of their relatio'ns ; and a flaw there is a sad stumbling- 
block, that makes others dislike religion. That religion that tends 
not to the good of society, what does it avail ? Suppose a professor 
to have a graceless neighbour, can he take a readier way to stumble 
him at religion, than to be an ill and unconscionable neighbour ? 
That is a remarkable admonition, 1 Tim. vi. 1. ' Let as many ser- 
vants as are under the yoke, count their own masters Avorthy of all 
honour ; that the name of God, and his doctrine, be not blasphemed,' 
Many pride themselves in their contempt of magistrates and their 
authority ; but I am convinced it has no small influence on the malig- 
nancy and atheism of the age, and scares many from the religion 
that we profess. The malicious Jews knew very well the influence 
that it would have ; and therefore tempted our Lord with a question 
relative to paying tribute to Csesar, Matth. xxii. 16, &c. But see 
our Lord's practice, Matth. xvii. 27. 

5. God takes special notice of the conscientious performance of 
relative duties ; for indeed those that are most observant of them 
are most useful for God in the world. What a noble commendation 
is that of Enoch, that he walked with God? Gen. v. 22. of Abraham, 
of whom the Lord said, ' Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which 
I do ? For I know him, that he will command his children, and his 
household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do 
justice and judgment,' Gen. xviii. 17, 19 ; and of Sarah, 1 Pet. iii. 6. 
who ' obeying Abraham, calling him lord.' Nay, at the great day 
of judgment, it is relative duties that are pitched upon as evidences 
for the saints ; and the neglect of these is the ground of the con- 
demnation of the wicked. It is not what passed or did not pass be- 
twixt God and them, but what passed betwixt their neighbours and 
them, upon which the sentence of absolution or condemnation is 

6. Ere long all these relations will be taken away, and then ye 
will have no more access to do a duty to them. Ordinary emergencies 
may separate betwixt the servant and master, minister and people, 
one neighbour and another. Death comes and dissolves all relations, 


Job iii. 17, 18, 19. This dissolves the relation betwixt husband and 
wife, parents and children. Should we not then take that warning? 
Gal. vi. 10. 'As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto 
all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith V 
When they are gone, many times the neglect stings terribly. 

7. Thy undutifulness that way may ruin thy relative ; for by such 
a stroke ordinarily it is not one, but two that fall together. And if 
God^do keep them up, yet ye do what in you lies to ruin them. The 
rich man in hell desires not to see his brethren. Why, dreadful is 
the meeting that many relatives will have one with another at tlvat 

Lastly, The neglect of these duties will undoubtedly ruin you, if 
ye get not pardon and grace to reform that neglect, Heb. xii. 14. Tf 
ye have any love to your own souls, then endeavour after this. 

I offer you the following directions. 

1. Keep up a sense of your own inability for relative duties, and 
look to the Lord for strength to perform them. People look on these 
but as common things, and live not by faith with respect to them, 
and the Lord leaves them so as they mar all. Prayer and faith in 
the promises are necessary to the performance of these duties. 

2. "Watch. Satan bends his force against this particularly, be- 
cause he is in a fair way to ruin two at least at once. So relatives 
should join forces to resist him, and carefully watch against this 
subtile enemy. 

3. Lastly, Consider ye have to do with God in that matter, and 
not merely with another. It is he that has set you in your several 
relations, and has prescribed the laws whereby ye must walk with 
him in them. He is your witness, and will be your Judge with re- 
spect to your behaviour in that relation, according to these laws. 

THIRDLY, I come now to consider the duties of the particular 
relations wherein we severally stand ; and they are two in general ; 
those of superiors and inferiors, and that of equals. The former is 
of two sorts. There are some relations where one of the relatives 
has power and authority over the other ; and those that import a 
mere preference. The first of these we may consider with respect 
to the family, the church, the commonwealth. 

In the family we find three relations, of superiors and inferiors, 
husband and wife, parents and children, masters and servants, where- 
in one of the relatives has power and authority over the other. 

I shall begin with the family-relations, and therein with the first 
relation that was in the world, and from which all others do pro- 
ceed, viz. that of husband and wife, and so proceed to the rest in 
order. And we must be particular, that we may declare the whole 


counsel of God. I shall show you the laws of heaven with respect to 
each of these relations, which if observed would make happy socie- 
ties, families, &c. and when neglected keep the world in wild dis- 
order ; and these are laws by which we shall be judged. 

First, As for the relation betwixt husbands and wives, read Col. 
iii. 18, 19. ' "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it 
is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter 
against them.' The apostle here lays down the duty of married per- 
sons one to another. He begins with the duty of the wife, as that 
of the children and servants, because their duty, through the sub- 
jection that is in it, is the most difficult, and being conscientiously 
performed, is the stronger motive to the husband, to do his duty, 
as well as to the parent to do his. And here we have, 

1. The sum of a wife's duty to her husband. Self-submission to 
him, subjecting herself to him, comprehending the duty she owes to 
him in her heart, words, and deeds. The qualification of this sub- 
mission, the only restriction of it, is in the Lord ; that is, so as it be 
consistent with her duty to Grod. That limitation observed, it ex- 
tends to every thing, Eph. v. 24. (3.) The reasonableness of this, it 
should not be complained of; it is Jit, just, and equitable in respect 
of God's ordinance enjoining it, the infirmity of the woman as the 
weaker sex, and the inconveniencies arising on the refusal of it. 

2. The sum of the husband's duty is love to her. This compre- 
hends in it the whole of his duty; for love will always be active, 
and spread itself into the several duties he owes her, yea, and will 
season all these duties, and tincture them with kindness to her. The 
apostle comprehends all in this, both to sweeten the wife's subjection 
on the one hand, and to temper his authority on the other. And 
therefore he cautions against bitterness, and that both in heart, that 
he hate her not, nor coldly love her, in words, and in deeds. 

Husbands and wives may not carry to one another as they list, 
but must be dutiful to one another, according to the word of God, as 
they will be accountable to God. 

Here I shall shew, 

1. The duties common to both husband and wife. 

2. Those more peculiar to each party. 

First, I shall shew the duties common to both husband and wife. 

1. Conjugal love, Tit. ii. 4. They must love one another with a 
special love, not communicable to another. God's ordinauce has 
made them one flesh, and God's law obliges them to be one heart. 
They must love one another more than father or mother, yea, as 
their own flesh, Eph. v. 28, 31. And where that love is wanting, 
God is dishonoured, and the society is uncomfortable. And however 

Yol. II. P 


scarce they may be of lovely qualities, we must love them because 
they are ours. 

2. Cohabitation, dwelling together ; which comprehends the ordi- 
nary use of the same house, bed, and board, 1 Pet. iii. 7- 1 Cor. vii. 
10. This is such a necessary duty, that an obstinate refusal in 
either party to dwell together dissolves the marriage, 1 Cor. vii. 15. 
that is wilful desertion. And if a man remove to another place for 
a long time, and upon no bad cause, his wife is obliged to go with 
him, if he desire, unless there be some imminent danger, either of 
her body or soul ; and he is obliged to take her, if she desire. For 
though it belongs to the husband as the head to determine the place 
of their habitation, yet he cannot shake off his duty to his wife, 
1 Cor. vii. 5. Gen. xii. 11. 

3. Living together in peace, 1 Cor. vii. 15. We must follow peace 
with all men ; but there are double ties on married persons to follow 
peace with one another, and to watch that it be not broken. No 
war is so unnatural as that which is betwixt them ; and none so 
hopeless if they make it not up betwixt themselves. Did we see a 
man tearing his own flesh, or a woman beating her head against a 
wall, we would conclude they were mad. Yet thus it is in effect 
where there is no peace betwixt husband and wife. The ancient 
Pagan Greeks when they cut up the wedding-sacrifice, took the gall, 
and with eager loathing flung it behind the altar, to shew that in 
wedlock all bitterness must be put far away. There is none so 
hopeless if they take it not up between themselves ; for there is 
none to judge betwixt them but God : therefore, if they cannot clear, 
they should bury their controversies, yielding for peace sake. And 
though certainly it is most natural that the woman should first yield, 
yet he is a foolish man that will not sacrifice of his own right to 
peace, and yield, though to the weaker vessel, as Moses did to Zip- 
porah, Exod. iv. 25, 26. Certainly whoso first yields shews most 
respect to God, and stands fairest for the blessing, Matth. v. 9. 
' Blessed are the peacemakers.' 

4. Carefulness to please one another. The wife ought to suit her- 
self to the will of her husband, so far as lawfully she may, 1 Cor. 
vii. 34. watching against what is displeasing, and doing in things 
lawful what she knows is pleasing, Gen. xxvii. 9. Yea, and the 
husband must be careful to please her too, ver. 33. It is a piece of 
that conjugal tenderness he owes her, not to do any thing that he 
knows may justly displease her, and even to humour her in things 
lawful and fit, for her greater comfort ; for though he is the head, 
yet she is his own flesh. This would keep peace. 

5. Living together not only in peace, but in love, delighting in 


one another's company, Eccl. ix. 9. living cheerfully and familiarly 
together. A careless, morose, and unconversible humour, is opposite 
to the end of the state of marriage, which is the mutual comfort of 
the parties. 

6. Honouring one another. The woman ought to honour her hus- 
band, walking under a conscientious respect to that superiority God 
has granted him over her, 1 Cor. xi. 7. So that she may not trample 
upon his character as a husband. Yea, and she must labour to 
walk so with others, as she may bring no dishonour to him by her 
indiscreet carriage, but be a glory to him by her meek and quiet 
conversation, 1 Pet. iii. 4. So as he is her head, she becomes a 
crown to that head. ' A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband,' 
Prov. xii. 4. The husband must also honour his wife, 1 Pet. iii. 7- 
both in his words and actions, shewing his esteem of her virtues, 
praising her when she does well, Prov. xxxi. 28. reposing trust and 
confidence in her as to the management of his affairs, and not keep- 
ing up the knowledge of his business from her, but communicating 
counsels with her, Prov. xxxi. 11. This he must do when she is 
worthy ; otherwise that must take place, Micah vii. 5. ' Keep the 
doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.' In a word, 
he ought to carry so respectfully to her, as to shew that he looks on 
her as his companion, and may gain respect to her from the rest of 
the family, Gen. xvi. 6. and this because she is the weaker vessel, 
both naturally and morally, in which respect she is more easily 
crushed and broken in spirit, especially by the austere and undutiful 
carriage of her husband. 

7. Sympathising with one another in all their crosses, and griefs, 
and joys, whether of body or mind. Being one flesh they must shew 
it this way. It is a common duty we owe to all, 'to weep with 
them that weep, and rejoice with them that rejoice ;' and so both 
their griefs and joys should be mutual, in a special manner; other- 
wise they will be as jarring strings in an instrument that mars the 
harmony, 1 Sam. i. 8. And they must bear with one another's infir- 
mities, covering them with the mantle of love, Gal. vi. 2. 

8. Faithfulness in respect of their bodies, communicating them- 
selves one to another, according to the ends of marriage, with 
modesty and soberness, marriage putting the body of each in the 
other's power; and therefore the apostle in this case forbids them to 
defraud one another, 1 Cor. vii. 5. Another piece of that faithful- 
ness is keeping by one another, and not embracing a stranger, which 
is that horrible breach that dissolves the bond of marriage. 

9. Lastly, A due concern for one another's soul and eternal wel- 
fare, 1 Pet. iii. 7- They must be helpful to one another in the way 



of the Lord, doing what they can to advance one another's eternal 
interest ; watching over one another, joining together in holy duties; 
instructing and admonishing one another, lovingly and meekly, each 
one proposing to themselves the salvation of their relative, as well 
as their own, 1 Cor. vii. 16. 

This is a weighty point, which few lay to heart. I shall lay be- 
fore you these few things with respect to it. 

(1.) Married persons, for this end, that they may be helpful to 
one another's soul's welfare, ought to walk so together as that they 
may have in each other's consciences a testimony of their integrity, 
2 Kings iv. 1. They should take heed they lay not stumbling- 
blocks before one another, nor carry so as to engender hard thoughts 
of one another that way. The testimony of God is above all, the 
testimony of conscience next, but the testimony of a yoke-fellow's 
conscience after that. 

(2.) They should labour to beget and advance the fear of God in 
one another, to bring them to and carry them on in the truth of re- 
ligion, 1 Cor. vii. 16. They are not meet helps they are only help- 
ful for the body and temporal concerns ; for in that case the better 
part has no help of them. Interest as well as duty engageth to this; 
for the better a man be, the better husband will he be, &c. No 
wonder that those who fear not God, regard not man. 

(3.) They should entertain communion in prayer and addresses to 
the throne of grace, praying for one another, and praying with one 
another, 1 Pet. iii. 7- The husband should hold up his wife's case 
to God with his own, and the wife the case of the husband; and 
help them by prayers with them and for them, which is true Chris- 
tian help. They know one another's weaknesses, temptations, and 
difficulties, better than any one else, and therefore ought to be the 
more particular in this. 

(4.) They should be acquainted with one another's case, and 
therefore inquire into the same, and observe it, that they may the 
better suit the help to the case, 1 Sam. i. 8. And what a happi- 
ness is it for one to have one that is their own flesh to whom they 
may freely unbosom themselves ! And what a sad thing is it where 
religious conference is not observed betwixt such parties ? 

(5.) They should watch over one another. This is living as being 
heirs together of the grace of life, 1 Pet. iii. 7. They should stir up 
one anot'.er to duties and good works; and happy are they who so 
prove monitors to one another, 2 Kings iv. 9, 10. They should warn 
one another of what appears sinful in their way, and so not suffer 
sin upon them, Eccl. iv. 9, 10. If men see a spot on their face, they 
will tell them of it; but spots in the conversation are most danger- 


ous. But withal special care must be taken that there be no bitter- 
ness mixed with it, for that mars the operation ; the season must be 
observed when it will take best, 1 Sam. xxv. 36, 37 ; and it should 
be mixed with love. Yea, sometimes entreaties should be used ra- 
ther than rebukes, especially from the wife to the husband, as pru- 
dence itself may teach, and may be gathered from 1 Tim. v. 1. 
' Eebuke not an elder, but iutreat him as a father.' And such war- 
nings should be kindly taken, and readily complied with, as the best 
evidences of love. 

(6.) Lastly, A joint care for the religious government of the fa- 
mily. The one ought not to devolve that entirely on the other, but 
each take his share ; otherwise it cannot miss to be mismanaged. 
Each of them owes a duty to the souls of their children and ser- 
vants ; and therefore should watch over them, admonish and rebuke, 
and stir them up to duty ; and see that God be worshipped in the 
family, that it be not neglected in the husband's absence, or any 
thing else ; for though the wife be the weaker vessel, she is the head 
of the family under her husband. 

Secondly, I come to shew the duties more peculiar to each party. 

1. The duties of the husband of this sort may be reduced to this 
one, viz. that he carry himself towards her as a head for her good, 
ruling her in the fear of the Lord. It is not a name of power only, 
but of duty ; for he must be such a head to her as Christ is to the 
church, Eph. v. 23. And whoso reckon upon the authority of that 
name without eyeing the duty of it, put asunder what God has joined 
in his grant, and will join when he calls men to an account. 

2. The duties of the wife may be reduced to this one, viz. submit- 
ting herself to her husband as her head, Eph. v. 22, 23. She is not 
to lord it over him, but to be subject to him. And in this respect 
there is a reverence and fear of the husband enjoined in the wife, 
Eph. v. 33. 1 Pet. iii. 2. which is a due regard in the heart to his 
character as a husband, seeing in that God has put off his own name 
upou him, God himself being called our husband ; a fear to offend 
him, flowing from love, venting itself in speaking and carrying re- 
spectfully to him, 1 Pet. iii. 6. 

Now the husband as the head of the wife owes her, 
1. Protection, so as she may be as safe and easy under the covert 
of his relation to her as he can make her. For this cause God has 
given the husband as head to the weaker vessel : and therefore it 
was an ancient ceremony in marriage for the husband to spread his 
skirt over his wife, Ruth iii. 9. He is to protect her to the utmost 
of his power from the injuries of others, 1 Sam. xxx. 18. and parti- 
cularly from the insults, whether of children or servants in the 



family, as well as neighbours, Gen. xvi. 6. And if so, surely he 
himself is not to bear hard upon her, but to shew her a peculiar ten- 
derness as the weaker vessel, a tenderness to her body and spirit 
too ; and not to suffer her, far less to oblige her, to distress herself 
above measure. 

On the other hand, she owes him obedience, a submission to, and 
compliance with, his admonitions. It is observed of Job's wife, for 
as ill as she was, when he calls her a fool, she does not give him the 
same epithet again. Reason itself teaches, that whoso puts himself 
under the protection of another, must be ruled by that other, aud 
not by himself. 

2. Provision, 1 Tim. v. 8. The husband ought to provide for his 
wife, and cheerfully furnish her with what is needful and conve- 
nient according to his station and ability ; and lay out himself by 
all lawful means for her comfortable through-bearing. And this 
he should have an eye to, not only for the time of his life, but even 
after his decease. 

And on the other hand, the wife ought to be helpful to her hus- 
band by her frugal management, Prov. xxxi. 27. And God's word 
and frequent experiments plainly shew, that a man's thriving or not 
thriving has a great dependence on his wife's management, Prov. 
xiv. 1. While he, then, is busy without doors, she should be care- 
ful within ; and therefore it is recommended to women to be much 
at home, Tit. ii. 5. Tet she may well go abroad when her business 
calls her, as Abigail did, 1 Sam. xxv. 

3. Lastly, Direction, with calmness instructing her, how she should 
carry in every thing, both with respect to things of this life and of 
the other, Prov. ii. 17- He ought to be as eyes to her, which have 
their place in the head, and so should be capable to guide, 1 Pet. 
iii. 7. 

On the other hand, the wife should be pliable and teachable, 
1 Tim. ii. 11. yea, and be ready to seek instruction from her hus- 
band, 1 Cor. xiv. 35. She should be obedient to his commands and 
directions, ver. 34. for in every thing wherein the law of God has 
not bound her up, the husband's will ought to be complied with, 
Eph. v. 24. Gen. iii. 16. 

The reasons of the husband's duties are these, 

1. Because husbands are appointed to be such heads as Christ is 
to the church, Eph. v. 25. And if men would reflect on this, it 
would make them very dutiful, and bear with many things as Christ 
doth, else we would be ruined. 

2. Because thy wife is thy own flesh, thy second self, ver. 28, 29; 
and so undutifulncss is monstrous. 


3. Because she is the weaker vessel, 1 Pet. iii. 7; for it hath 
pleased the Lord to exercise the woman with a special measure of 
infirmity, both natural and moral. 

The reasons of the woman's duty are these. 

1. Because the woman was created for the man, 1 Tim. ii. 13. 
compare 1 Cor. xi. 9. 

2. Because the woman was the first that sinned, 1 Tim. ii. 14. 
compare Gen. iii. 16. 

3. Because she is the weaker vessel. 

Use 1. Let all such as have been, or are in that relation, be 
humbled under a sense of their sin in that point, and fly to the blood 
of Christ for pardon. And let every one look on that relation as a 
serious matter, in which people must walk with God, and under 
which they are bound to so many duties, of which they must give 
an account to the Lord. 

Let husbands and wives study to make conscience of their duty 
one to another, and frame their life accordingly. For motives, con- 

(1.) God lays them on. Nature may storm at them, but they are 
God's commands ; and whoso breaketh over the hedge, the serpent 
will bite. 

(2.) Tour marriage-vows and voluntary covenant engage to these. 
Though we forget them, God does not, and will not. 

(3.) Your own comfort depends upon them; and so does the hap- 
piness in that relation. 

Lastly, Death comes, and that will dissolve the relation. There- 
fore, before that awful event, let every one make conscience of per- 
forming their respective duties, that they may die in peace. 

As to the relation betwixt parents and children, See Col. iii. 20, 
21. 'Children obey your parents in all things: for this is well- 
pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers provoke not your children to 
auger, lest they be discouraged.' 

In the first of these, we have, 1. The duty that children owe to 
their parents; and that is obedience in all things lawful. The word 
rendered obey, points at obedience flowing from inward respect to 
them. 2. The reason of it ; it is pleasing to God, who has enjoined 

In the next place, we have the duty of parents to their children. 
"Where, 1. There is something supposed, that they must use their 
parental power and authority over their children for their good. 
2. Something expressed, that they use it moderately, not abuse it to 
the irritating of them, lest they crush them and make them heart- 


Parents and children must carry to one another as they will be 
answerable to God who has given them their orders. Here I shall 

1. The duties that children owe to their parents. 

2. The duty of parents to their children. 

First, I am to shew the duties which children owe to their pa- 

1. Singular love to them as the parents ought to bear them. This 
is called natural affection, the want whereof is accounted among the 
most horrid abominations, Rom. i. 31. Such a natural affection did 
Joseph shew to his father, Gen. xlvi. 20. when ' he went to meet 
him, fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while.' 

2. Reverence and fear. Their fear is to be squared with love, 
and their love salted with fear, Lev. xix. 3. The mother is there 
particularly mentioned; and that, in the first place, because as 
people are ready to break over the hedge where it is lowest, so chil- 
dren are most apt to despise their mother ; and they being much 
about her hand while young, lest familiarity breed contempt, God 
hath expressly provided against it. They must have a conscientious 
regard to that authority God has given them over them, and fear to 
offend them, as those who to them are in God's stead. 

3. An outward reverent and respectful behaviour towards them. 
They ought not to be treated rudely by their children, as if they 
were their companions, Mai. i. 6 ; but they ought to speak respect- 
fully to them, Gen. xxxi. 35 ; and carry respectfully to them, Prov. 
xxxi. 28. This was Solomon's practice even when a king, 1 Kings 
ii. 19 ; for as the candle if lighted, will shine through the lantern, 
so reverence in the heart will appear in the outward carriage. 

4. A ready obedience to their lawful commands, Col. iii. 20. If 
it be not contrary to the command of God, they ought to obey. 
Subjection and obedience to parents is the honour as well as the 
duty of children. Joseph's ready obedience to his father is recorded 
to his commendation, Gen. xxxvii. 13. Yea, Christ himself was 
a pattern to children in this regard to the parental authority, Luke 
ii. 51. 

5. Submission. They are to submit to their instructions and di- 
rections, readily receiving them, and complying with them, Prov. i. 
8. Man being born like a wild ass's colt, has need to be taught. 
They are to submit to their reproofs and admonitions, to take them 
kindly, and amend what is amiss, Prov. xiii. 1. Yea, they are to 
submit to their corrections, for the folly bound up in their hearts 
makes the rod necessary, ITeb. xii. 9. They are children of Belial, 
indeed, that will not bear this yoke of subjection. 


6. Bearing with their infirmities, and covering them with the 
wings of love. Whether they he natural or moral infirmities, they 
would beware of despising or insulting them on that account, or any 
way exposing them, as some foolish youngsters are apt to do, Prov. 
xxiii. 22. Gen. ix. 22. 

7. Following their reasonable advice, and taking along with 
them the authority of their parents, in order to their calling or 
marriage. That children ought not to dispose of themselves in 
marriage without the consent of parents, is the constant doctrine of 
the Protestant churches. And the reasons are these. (1.) The 
scripture gives the power of making marriages for children to the 
parents, Deut. vii. 3. Jer. xxix. 6. 1 Cor. vii. 37, 38. Yea, even 
after parties have consented, it is left to the parent, whether to give 
his abused daughter to him that has been guilty with her, Exod. 
xxii. 16, 17- (2.) The most approved examples of marriage in 
scripture go this way, Gen. xxiv. 3, 4. xxviii. 1, 2. and xxix. 19. 
Judg. xiv. 2. Lastly, The reason is plain ; for the child cannot give 
away any thing, that is his parents' against their will. Now, the 
child himself is the parents, a part of their self-moving substance, 
in which they have a most undoubted property. So, when the devil 
was permitted to fall upon what was Job's, he fell upon his children, 
and killed them in the first place. Yet, upon the other hand, no 
parent can force a child to marry such and such a person ; for con- 
sent makes marriage, and that which is forced is no consent. The 
child must be satisfied as well as the parent, Gen. xxiv. 57- So the 
short of it is, that the consent of both is necessary, and that the pa- 
rent must neither force the child, nor the child rob the parent. 

8. Readiness to requite their parents when they are in need of it; 
that as they did for them when young, so they must do for them 
when old, or reduced to poverty. This God requires of children, 
1 Tim. v. 4. It is a piece of that honour to parents which the fifth 
command enjoins, Matt. xv. 4, 5, 6. So did Joseph, Gen. xlvii. 12. 
This was a piece of duty which the Lord performed to his mother 
while he hung on the cross, John xix. 27. 

9. Lastly, In a word, children should so live as they may be an 
honour to their parents ; for according as they are, their parents 
are either credited or ashamed. Yea, and when they are dead and 
gone, they should be reverently remembered, their wholesome ad- 
vices religiously followed, and their debts satisfied, so as no body 
may get occasion to reproach them when they are away. 

Us! 1. This may serve for conviction and humiliation to us all, 
who either have had parents since we came to the years of discre- 
tion, or yet have them. Who can say in this, I have made my 
heart clean. 


2. I exhort such as have parents, whether one or more, to be 
dutiful to them according to the word. There is indeed a great 
difference betwixt children in their father's family, and those who, 
by tacit or express consent, are left to their own disposal ; but the 
duty of filial affection, reverence, and gratitude, abideth. For mo- 
tives, consider, 

(1.) That parents with respect to their children, do in an especial 
manner bear an image of God, as he is our Creator, Provisor, and 
Ruler. So are parents those from whom, under him, we had our 
being, by whose care and government God provided for us, when we 
could neither provide for nor rule ourselves. 

(3.) Hence it is evident, that do what we can to them, or for 
them, we can never make a full recompense, but, after all, must die 
in their debt. But how little is this considered by many, who look 
on what they do for their parents in a magnifying glass, while they 
are blind to what their parents have done for them ! 

(3.) Lastly, Consider, that God takes special notice of your con- 
duct towards your parents, Col. iii. 20. It is a piece of duty which 
God readily regardeth according to his promise ; and the neglect 
thereof useth not to be overlooked, but as it disposeth to an ill life 
otherwise, so God readily pays it home, so as the sin may be read in 
the punishment. 

Secondly, I come to consider the duty of parents to their chil- 
dren ; and I may take this up under five heads, viz. while they are 
yet in the womb, while in their infancy, from the time they come to 
the use of reason, at all times, and when a-dying. 

1. The duty which parents owe to their children while yet in the 

1st, Parents are obliged to use all care for the preservation of the 
child, to beware of any thing that may harm the child in the belly, 
and especially that may procure abortion, Judg. xiii. 4. 

2dly, Dealing with God in behalf of the child, praying for its pre- 
servation, and for its soul, as soon as it is known to be a living soul. 
I think that no sooner should the mother or father know a living 
soul to be in the womb, but as soon with Rebekah, they should go 
to God for it, Gen. xxv. 21, 22. If Hannah could devote her child 
to God before it was conceived, 1 Sam. i. 11. Christian parents 
may and ought to devote their children to God when quickened in 
the womb. Whoso neglect this, consider not that then the child is 
a sinful creature under the wratli of God, and the curse of the law ; 
that it is capable of sanctification, must live for ever in heaven or 
hell, and that possibly it may never see the light. 

Lastly, Labouring by all means that it may be born within the 


covenant ; which is to be done by parents making sure their own 
being within the covenant ; for so runs the promise, ' I will be thy 
God, and the God of thy seed.' 

2. The duty they owe to them in their infancy. 

1st, Parents should bless God for them when they are born, Luke 
i. 67- &c. Children are God's heritage ; the key of the womb is in 
his hand ; he gives them to some, and withholds them from others ; 
and they should be received with thankfulness from the Lord's 

Idly, Giving them up to the Lord as soon as they are born, renew- 
ing the dedication of them to God, and accepting of the covenant 
for them ; and procuring to them the seal of the covenant without 
any unnecessary delay. Under the Old Testament, infants were to 
receive the seal on the eighth day. Now there is no set time, but 
common equity bids take the first opportunity, and not delay it 
needlessly. The undue delay of circumcision was punished in 
Moses, Exod. iv. 24 ; and the delay of baptism cannot but be dis- 
pleasing to God too, as a slighting of his ordinance. 

Sdly, Tender care of them, doing all things necessary for them, 
while they are not capable to do for themselves, Isa. xlix. 15. And 
here it is the duty of the mother to nurse the child herself, if she 
be able, Hos. ix. 14. And this care of infants, the burden of which 
lies most on the mothers is one great piece of their generation-work, 
wherein they are useful for God, and which they ought to look on as 
special service for their comfort in the trouble which therein they 

3. The duties they owe to them from the time they come to the 
use of reason, and so forward. 

1st, They are to provide for them, and that aye and until they be 
in a capacity to provide for themselves, 1 Tim. v. 8. This arises 
from the natural obligation and instinct that is common to men with 
beasts whereof the wildest will feed their young till they be able to 
do for themselves. Thus parents are, (1.) To provide suitable 
maintenance for their children for the present, and to lay out them- 
selves for it, though with the sweat of their brows. (2.) And, as 
God prospers them, they are to lay up something for them, 2 Cor. 
xii. 14 : for though the possession be their parents entirely, yet he is 
stinted to the use of a part according to what is necessary. Only 
no man is to take from present necessities for future provisions ; 
but what God has given, let men take the comfortable use of it ; 
and what remains, let them lay by for their children, Eccl. ii. 18, 
19, 24. But for people to deny themselves things necessary and 
comely, that they may lay up for their children, is a curse ; and if 


their children should follow their example, to deny themselves the 
use thereof, to transmit them to theirs, the use of it should never be 
had : hut ordinarily what the parents narrowly gather, and keep so 
as they cannot take the convenient use of it themselves, the chil- 
dren quickly run through. 

2c%, Civil education, that they may be useful members of the 
commonwealth. This we may take up in these three things. 

(1.) Parents should polish the rude natures of their children with 
good manners, so as they may carry comely and discreetly before 
themselves or others, Prov. xxxi. 28. It is the dishonour of parents 
to see children rude and altogether unpolished as young beasts ; 
and religion is an enemy to rudeness and ill manners, 1 Pet. iii. 8. 

(2.) They should give them learning according to their ability, 
and see that at least they be taught to read the Bible, 2 Tim. iii. 15. 
What is it that makes so many ignorant old people, but that their 
parents have neglected this ? But where parents have neglected 
this, grace and good nature would make a shift to supply this defect. 

(3.) They should train them up to do something in the way of 
some honest employment, whereby they may be useful to themselves 
or others. To nourish children in idleness is but to prepare them 
for prisons or correction-houses, or to be plagues to some one family 
or another, if Providence do not mercifully interpose, Prov. xxxi. 
27. Christians should train up their daughters to do virtuously, 
ver. 29. For their own sakes, let them be capable to make their 
hands sufficient for them, seeing none knows what straits they may 
be brought to. And for the sake of others to whom they may be 
joined, let them be virtuously, frugally, and actively educated, other- 
wise what they bring with them will hardly quit the cost of the mis- 
chief that their unthriftiness and silliness will produce, Prov. xiv. 
3. Whether ye can give them something or nothing, let them not 
want Ruth's portion, a good name, a good head, and good hands, 
Ruth iii. 11. Sons should be brought up to some honest employ- 
ment, whereby they may be worth their room in the world, Gen. iv. 
2. This is such a necessary piece of parents' duty to their children, 
that the Athenians had a law, That if a son was brought up to no 
calling at all, in case his father should come to poverty, he was not 
bound to maintain him, as otherwise he was. 

3e%, Religious education, Eph. vi. 4. If parents provide not for 
their children, they are worse than beasts to their young ; if they 
give them not civil education, they are worse than heathens ; but if 
they add not religious education, what do they more than civilised 
heathens ? When God gives thee a child, he says, as Pharaoh's 
daughter to Moses' mother, ' Take this child and nurse it for me.' 


Exod. ii. 9. Though we be but fathers of their flesh we must be 
careful of their souls, otherwise we ruin them. 

(1.) Parents ought to instruct their children in the principles of 
religion, and to sow the seeds of godliness in their hearts, as soon as 
they are able to speak, and have the use of reason, Deut. vi. 6, 7- 
Such early religious education is a blessed mean of grace, 1 Kings 
xviii. 12. compare ver. 3. Not only is this the duty of fathers, who 
should teach their children. Prov. iv. 3, 4. but of mothers, who, 
while the children are young about their hand, should be dropping 
something to them for their soul's good. Solomon had not only his 
father's lesson, but the prophecy his mother taught him, Prov. xxxi. 
1. See chap. i. 8. 

(2.) They should labour for that end to acquaint them with the 
scriptures. 2 Tim. iii. 15. to cause them to read them. Let the 
reading of their chapters be a piece of their daily task ; and cause 
them read the scriptures in order, that they may be acquainted both 
with the precepts and histories of the Bible. Let them be obliged 
to learn their Catechism, and catechise them yourselves, according 
to your ability. For teaching by way of question and answer is 
most easy for them. 

(3.) If they ask you any questions concerning these things do not 
discourage them, but take pains to answer all their questions, how- 
ever weakly they may be proposed, Deut. vi. 20, 21. Children are 
often found to have very misshapen notions of divine things ; but if 
they were duly encouraged to speak, they might vent their thoughts, 
which parents thus get occasion to rectify. 

4thly, Labour to deter them from sin. The neglect of this was 
Eli's sin, for which God judged his house, 1 Sam. iii. 13. Endea- 
vour to possess their hearts with an abhorrence of sinful practices, 
and a dread of them. Carefully check their lying, swearing, curs- 
ing, or banning, and Sabbath-breaking. If they learn these while 
young, they will be fair to accompany them to gray hairs. Let 
them not dare to meddle with what is another man's, if it were not 
worth a farthing. Encourage them in taking up little things, and 
they may come in time to bring themselves to an ill end, and you to 

5thly, Stir them up to the duties of holiness, and the practice of 
religion. Often inculcate on them the doctrine of their sinful 
miserable state by nature, and the remedy provided in Christ. 
Shew them the necessity of holiness, pointing out Christ to them as 
the fountain of sanctification. Commend religion to them, and 
press them to the study of it, as the main thing they have to do in 
the world, Prov. iv. 4, &c. 


6thb/, Pray with them, aud teach thein to pray. For this cause 
let not the worship of God be neglected in your families : but for 
your children's sake maintain it. No wonder that those children 
seek not God who never see their parents bow a knee. Ye should 
take them alone, and pray with them, and teach them to pray, lay- 
ing the materials of prayer often before them ; and let them learn 
the Lord's prayer, and use it as a form till such time as they can 
conceive a prayer by that directory. For though we do not think 
the Lord has bound us to that form, (if he has, the forms of the 
English liturgy are most impertinent, which intrude themselves on 
us, and do not leave us to it), yet that it may not be used as a 
prayer, or as a form, I know none that do affirm ; though it is plain 
it is principally intended for a directory in prayer, Matth. vi. 9. 

Lastly, They should often be put in mind of their baptismal vows : 
and I judge it advisable, that when ye have been at pains to instruct 
them in the principles of religion, and they have attained to a toler- 
able measure of knowledge, so that with judgment they may person- 
ally consent to the covenant, as a child religiously educated may be 
able to do betwixt nine and twelve years of age, if not before ; it 
would be profitable to call them before you, and solemnly declare 
how ye have laboured to do your duty to them, as ye engaged in 
their baptism, and require them expressly to consent unto the cove- 
nant for themselves ; taking them personally engaged to be the 

4. Correction, Eph. vi. 4. The Greek word there signifies both 
correction and instruction ; and so does the English word nurture. 
They must go together; for instruction without correction will 
hardly succeed. Parents must keep their children in subjection ; if 
they lose their authority over them, the children will be children of 
Belial indeed, without a yoke, the end of which will be sad, Prov. 
xxix. 15. They must not only be corrected by reproof, but, when 
need is, with stripes, Prov. xix. 18. Begin early, as soon as they 
are capable to be bettered by it ; and let your love to them engage 
you to it ; and not restrain you, Prov. xiii. 24. As ever ye would 
keep them out of hell, correct them, Prov. xxiii. 13, 14. I offer the 
following advices in this point. 

(1.) Take heed that ye correct not your children just to satisfy 
your own passion ; for the wrath of man worketh not the righteous- 
ness of God. That is revenge, not correction. Let the end of your 
correction be the child's good. It were good that parents, if they 
find themselves in a passion, would first beat down their own disor- 
dered spirits before they beat the child. 

(2.) Let them know well wherefore ye correct them : for if the 


child know not what he has done amiss, he can never be bettered by 
the correction. And therefore pains should be taken to convince 
them of the evil of the thing ; otherwise we deal not with them as 
rational creatures. 

(3.) Consider well the disposition of the child. That severity may 
be necessary for one, that will quite crush another. A man will not 
take his staif to thresh his corn, nor yet his flail to beat out his kail- 
seed. Measure your correction, then, by the child's disposition. 

(4.) Go about the work with an eye to the Lord for success. 
Correct thy child in faith of the promise, Prov. xxii. 15. ' Foolish- 
ness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall 
drive it far from him,' viz. as a mean appointed and blessed of God 
for that end. It is our belief, and not our blows, that will do the 
business. And no doubt the neglect of this is one main cause why 
correction oft-times does no good. 

Lastly, Take heed ye correct not your children only for faults 
against yourselves, letting them pass with their sins against God. 
Many will give them a blow for a disrespectful word against them- 
selves, who for lying, banning, Sabbath-breaking, will never touch 
them. Their children's crossing them must not go unpunished, but 
it will be long ere they correct them for their sins against God. 

5. The casting them the copy of a good example, Psal. ci. 2. 
Children are apt to imitate their parents, but especially in evil. He 
that sins before a child, sins twice, for he may expect that his sin 
shall be acted over again. Let them, then, not see you do any thing 
ye would not have them to do, nor speak words ye would not have 
them to follow you in. Tour good precept will not stick, if it be 
not fastened with a good example. 

6. Encouraging them to do well ; and when they do well, with 
kind looks, speeches, and actions, 1 Chron. xxviii. 20. Ingenuous 
spirits are but abused, when they are always driven by way of 
authority, and not drawn in the way of kindness. The name of a 
father and mother sounds of bowels of kindness ; it is a pity it 
should ever degenerate into the nature of mere masterly authority. 

7. Lastly, Seasonable disposing of them in marriage, if need be, 
Ruth iii. 1. 1 Cor. vii. 36. So did Abraham with his son Isaac, 
Gen. xxiv. ; and Isaac with his son Jacob, Gen. xxviii. ; always con- 
sulting their own inclinations, not forcing them to this or that mar- 
riage against their will, which is but either to oblige them to disobey 
their parents, or to make themselves miserable to please them. The 
neglect of this duty may prove a snare to the child, and bring grief 
and sorrow to both. 

4. There is a duty they owe to them at all times ; and that is 


praying for them. Sometimes this is all they have access to do for 
them. But he they ever so far away, they should not he forgotten. 
Though they he out of your family, they should not be out of your 
prayers, as Job's children were not, Job i. 5. And parents should 
consider the several cases of their children, and be very particular 
before the Lord for them. It is marked of Job, that ' he offered 
burnt-offerings according to the number of them all,' ib. And 
though in some cases this may not be convenient in family-prayers, 
yet % in secret, parents should have their particular petitions for 
their particular children, according to their particular cases. 

5. Lastly, The duty that parents when a-dying owe to their chil- 
dren. We must all die, and leave our children, else they will leave 
us before. Lay up these few advices, then, for that time. 

(1.) If providence surprise you not, call together your children, 
that you may do them good by your advice at your latter end, as 
Jacob did, Gen. xlix. 1. And do it timeously, lest, if you delay, 
you be not able to speak to them when you would. A word from a 
death-bed has usually more influence than ten words in a time of 
health ; and words spoken with the dying breath of a parent are 
fair to stick. 

(2.) Lay over your children whom ye are to leave, on the Lord 
himself; and whether ye have any thing to leave them or not, leave 
them on your covenanted God by faith, Jer. xlix. 11. Accept of the 
covenant now, renew it then, and lay the stress of their through- 
bearing on that God on whom ye have laid the stress of your own 

(3.) Give them your testimony for God, against sin, and concern- 
ing the vanity of the world. If ye have had any experience of 
religion, commend Christ and the way of the Lord, to them from 
your own experience, Gen. xlvlii. 15, 16. If ye have had experience 
of the evil and bitterness of sin, shew them the ill of it. What 
courses you have found profitable for your soul, and what hurtful ; 
mark these to them particularly. If experience fail, yet conscience 
may help you out, if awakened, to this testimony. 

(4.) Give them your dying advice to make choice of Christ as 
their portion, and holiness as their way, to cleave to it, living and 
dying in it. And what faults ye know are in any of them, which ye 
could not before get reformed, let your dying lips again reprove, 
exhort, obtest, and testify against, if so be they may be persuaded 
to hearken at last. 

(5.) Bless them, in praying for them to God, the fountain of bles- 
sing ; declaring withal, that they shall be blessed, if they keep the 
way of the Lord. 


{(i.) Let your temporal affairs be so ordered, as that after your 
decease they may not be a snare to your children, a bone of conten- 
tion, or an occasion of grudge, one of them against another, Isa. 
xxxviii. 1. 

Use 1. This serves for conviction and humiliation to those that 
are in that relation. In these things we offend all, both in the mat- 
ter and manner of duty ; which may send us to the Father of mer- 
cies, through Christ, for grace to remove our guilt, and to fit us to 

2. I exhort parents to be dutiful to their children, according to 
the will of Grod laid before you in his word. For motives, consider, 

(1.) The strong tie of natural affection laid upon you. Our chil- 
dren are parts of ourselves, and therefore our bowels should yearn 
towards them, moving us to do them all the good we can. There 
are three things that may make our affection work towards dutiful- 
ness to them. 

[1.] They have sin conveyed to them by natural generation, Psal. 
li. 5. We may rejoice in them, indeed, as God's gifts ; but, alas ! 
we may mourn over them as beai'iug naturally our own sinful image. 
As they are our children, they are children of wrath ; they have a 
corrupt sinful nature conveyed unto them. Did they derive some 
hereditary bodily disease from us, how would we pity them, and do 
what in us lies to help them ? but they derive a hereditary soul 
disease from Adam by us, and should we not pity and pray for them? 

[2.] Great is the danger they are in, if we do not our duty to 
them. They are in a world of snares ; if we be not eyes to them, 
they may fall to their ruin. If the wild ass's colt be not tamed by 
education, they are in a fair way to be ruined in time by a sinful 
life, Prov. xxix. 15 ; and if mercy prevent it not, they are in a fair 
way to be ruined to eternity. 

[3.] Education is a blessed mean of grace. So was it to good 
Obadiah, 1 Kings xviii. 12 ; and so it was to Timothy, 2 Tim. iii. 
15 ; compare chap. i. 5 ; Why, because it is a mean appointed of 
God for that end, and therefore may be followed in faith of the pro- 
mise, Prov. xxii. 6 ; ' Train up a child in the way he should go ; 
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.' Chap, xxiii. 14; 
' Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from 
hell.' Augustine's mother was a good woman ; but such was his 
life, that it cost her many prayers and tears ; and weeping to one 
about his case, ' Go thy way (said he to her), for it cannot be that a 
son of these tears can perish ;' and so it was. 

(2.) This is a great part of our generation-work, the work that we 
have to do for the honour of God in the world, Psal. lxxviii. 3, 4. to 

Vol. II. q 


do our endeavour to hand down religion and honesty to the succeed- 
ing generation. And we must give an account of it to God. And as 
kings must account to God for what they have done for him in their 
kingdoms, and ministers in their congregations, so must parents ac- 
count to him for what they have done in their families. 

(3.) The vows of God are upon us for that cause. These are little 
minded by many, hut God does not forget them. As Sarah was un- 
der the bond of the covenant by her husband's circumcision ; so 
mothers are under the bond of the covenant by the vows taken on by 
their husbands ; and are therefore obliged to use their utmost endea- 
vours to fulfil these vows in the education of their children. 

And the due consideration of this might engage children to be 
obedient and pliable to the commands, instructions, and directions 
of their parents, for their good. 

I come now to the relation between masters and servants, for which 
you may read Col. iii. 22. and iv. 1. ' Servants obey in all things 
your masters according to the flesh ; not with eye-service, as men- 
pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God. Masters, give unto 
your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that ye also 
have a master in heaven.' 

The servant's duty is laid down, ver. 22. ' Servants obey in all 
things your master.' &c. "Wherein consider, (1.) The duty enjoined 
them, ' obedience.' (2.) The extent of it, ' in all things,' in things 
religious and civil, in eager or harder pieces of service ; nothing is 
excepted but what is sinful; and that is excepted in that clause, 'your 
masters according to the flesh ;' that is, the outward man to distin- 
guish them from the great Lord and master of the conscience ; in 
which respect we are forbidden to be ' servants of men,' 1 Cor. vii. 
23 ; and to ' call no man master,' Matth. xxiii. 8. Therefore Joseph 
is commended for refusing the solicitations of his mistress to unclean- 
ness, and Saul's servants that they would not slay the Lord's priests. 
(3.) The manner of it ; negatively, ' not with eye-service ;' that is, 
when the master's eye is the measure of their work, busy before him ; 
but if he turn his back, they slacken their hand; positively, ' in 
singleness of heart ;' that is, faithfully, as under the eye of God, to 
whom they must give account. 

The master's duty is laid down, Chap. iv. 1. Wherein (1.) We 
have the duty they owe to their servants. It is taken up in two 
general heads. [1.] They arc to ' give them what is just:' that is, 
what they are obliged to give them by strict law or condition ; give 
them what they owe them by strict justice. [2.] ' What is equal ;' 
that is, what they are tied to by the law of charity and Christian 
meekness though not of strict justice. (2.) The reason enforcing it 


is, because masters on earth ' have a Master in heaven,' to whom 
they must give an account, as of other things, so of how they do to 
their servants. 

Before I come to the duties of servants and masters, two things 
are to be considered, viz. who are meant by servants, and who by 

1. Who are meant by servants. Not to speak of bond-servants 
or slaves, whose bodies are perpetually under the power of their 
masters, there being no such servitude among us ; servants, who are 
mercenery, or hirelings, are of two sorts. (1.) Domestic servants, 
who live in their master's family. (2.) Extra-domestic servants, who, 
though they live not in their master's family, but by themselves, yet 
receive his wages, whether for a few days, as day-labourers, men or 
women ; or for certain terms, as herds, hinds, &c. All these come 
under the name of servants, and owe a duty to their masters, accord- 
ing to the law of God. 

2. Who are meant by masters. (1.) There is the principal master, 
the master of the family, who pays the wages. (2.) There are subor- 
dinate masters. Such are, [1.] The mistress of the family, Psal. 
cxxiii. 2. [2.] Fellow-servants, or others deputed by, and having 
power from the principal master to oversee others, Gen. xxiv. 2. 
These must be obeyed, as having the master's authority, unless it be 
known that they go cross to the will and interest of the principal 
master. And here I shall consider, 

1. The duty servants owe to their masters. 

2. The duty of masters with respect to their servants. 

First, I am to shew the duty which servants owe to their masters. 
They owe, 

1. Inward reverence towards them, and fear of them, 1 Pet. ii. 18. 
Mai. i. 6. They should have a hearty respect to the character of a 
master, with a conscientious regard to the superiority that God has 
given them over them, wherein they are, so far, to them in the place 
of God, Eph. vi. 5. ' as unto Christ.' They should fear to offend 
them, to displease them by doing or omitting any thing which they 
know will offend them, Eph. vi. 5. 

2. Honour, Mai. i. 6. They ought outwardly to carry respectfully 
to them, whatever they be, if they be their masters, and that both 
in word and deed. An humbly submissive and respectful counten- 
ance and carriage towards a master, is an excellent ornament of a 
servant. Neither the badness of the master, nor his goodness and 
piety, leaves servants a latitude in this point. Though they be bad 
men, yet they are masters, 1 Tim. vi. 1. and if they be fellow-Chris- 
tians, that takes not away the distance of stations, ver. 2. 

Q 2 


3. Carefulness to maintain the credit of the family, not disclosing 
the secrets thereof, nor blazing abroad their infirmities. The king 
of Syria was troubled to think that any of his servants should be as 
spies upon him, 2 Kings vi. 11. And surely tale-bearing servants 
must be a great plague to a family. It is reckoned among the mis- 
chiefs of an evil time, when there is no trusting of any body that a 
man's enemies are those of his own house, Mich. vii. 6. It is a Judas- 
like treachery, when men or women are brought into a house to eat 
their bread and work their work, to go abroad among others and 
wound their reputation. 

4. Standing to the master's allowance, both in things determined 
by condition, and not determined. Some things, are determined by 
condition, that the servants may require ; and when the -master al- 
lows that, though the servant may think it too little, he ought not to 
take more at his own hand. So when servants are allowed to keep 
so many beasts, and no more, it is their sin to keep more ; though 
they may think it is no fault if they can get it kept secret, it does 
no great wrong to the master. But that is injustice to the master, 
and our sin before God, in whose sight it will be reckoned theft, Gen. 
xxx. 23. And in things not determined by condition, as the mea- 
sure of diet and liberty, certainly the master's allowance in that is 
to be stood to. As to their diet, it is observed of the virtuous avo- 
man, Prov. xxxi. 15. ' She giveth meat to her household :' they do 
not take it at their own hand. The secret waste that some make in 
the houses of others for their bellies, is oft-times, I believe punished 
with hungry bellies when they come to their own. As for their 
liberty and time, it is carved out by the masters, not by the servants, 
ver. 15, 18. And for servants to take their master's time to em- 
ploy for themselves, without their master's allowance, is injustice. 

5. Meek and patient submission to the checks and rebukes of the 
master, not answering again, Tit. ii. 9. The ears of servants are 
bored to hear, and their tongues not filed to speak. It is very good 
reason, will ye say, when we are in a fault ; though many will not 
take a word in that wise, without giving the master as good as he 
brings. But if they have done no fault, they think they arc not ob- 
liged to bear a rebuke. But the spirit of God does not teach so, 
1 Pet. iii. 18, 19, 20. ' Servants, be subject to your masters, with all 
fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For 
this is thank-worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure 
grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be 
buffetted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently ? but if, when ye 
do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently ; this is acceptable 
with God.' It may be the master's sin to chide unreasonably, but it 


is the servant's sin not to bear it meekly. Sarah dealt hardly with 
her maid, which was her sin ; yet the angel will not allow Hagar to 
take her heels for it, but obliges her to turn and submit, Gen. xvi. 9 

9. Lastly, Serving them conscientiously and honestly. If servants 
expect their wages, they owe their master service ; and God will 
have them make conscience of their service. If we look to the word 
of God there is much that goes to this. 

(1.) Servants must be obedient and pliable to the commands of the 
master in all lawful things, Tit. ii. 9. Though the service required 
may be painful and hard yet they ought not to refuse it. Thus 
Jacob served Laban, Gen. xxxi. 40, 41. without considering, that he 
was as good a man as his master was. They that put their necks 
under the yoke, should resolve to bear it. 

(2.) Ye should follow the master's direction in the management 
of the work, not only doing what you are bidden, but as ye are bid- 
den, Psal. cxxiii. 2. The master is the eye to direct, and the ser- 
vant the hand to do what is directed. That the servant may calmly 
advise the master, there is no doubt ; but they that will do nothing 
pleasantly, if they get not their own way of it, forget themselves 
and their duty. 

(3.) Ye should do your business cheerfully, Col. iii. 23. Such a 
servant was Jacob to his uncle Laban, Gen. xxix. 20. Sullenness 
and going about business grudgingly, makes it unacceptable, though 
otherwise well done. 

(4.) Ye should do your business singly. This a servant does 
when he does not consult his own ease and humour, but his master's 
true interest, truly aiming at the thriving of his affairs, carefully 
avoiding every thing that may tend to his loss ; and therefore pur- 
suing his interest when the master is absent as well as when present, 
aiming at his duty, as under the eye of God. 

(5.) Ye should do your business faithfully. Faithfulness is a ne- 
cessary qualification in a good servant, Matth. xxiv. 45. Servants 
L living their master's substance among their hands, had need to be 
faithful, they having occasion to wrong him easily, if they have no 
respect to conscience. But the fear of God will make people faith- 
ful to men in little and in great things. They must not take of 
their master's goods to their own use, without his allowance, Tit. ii. 
10. They must be faithful in their accounts, and not give up false 
accounts, as the unjust steward did, Luke xvi. 6; nor allege false 
commissions from their master, as Gehazi did, 2 Kings v. 22. Ja- 
cob's faithfulness was his comfort, that though he had his master's 
flocks among his hands, he was free of them, Gen. xxxi. 38. 

6. Diligence and carefulness about their master's business, Prow 



xxii. ult. Negligence and carelessness is a piece of injustice, where- 
by servants defraud their masters, Prov. xviii. 9 ; for the loss may 
be all one to the master, whether it be procured wilfully or through 

7. Lastly, Readiness and quickness in the dispatch of business. 
A slothful lazy servant is most uneasy, Prov. x. 26. Such a one, 
quick and ready, was Abraham's servant, Gen. xxiv. 33. 56. It is 
an apostolical precept, Rom. xii. 11. 'Not slothful in business; fer- 
vent in spirit;' for servants should ply their work, and honestly 
employ their strength for their master's behoof, Gen. xxxi. 6. 

Secondly, I come now to shew the duty of masters with respect 
to their servants, 1. In the choice of them; and, 2. When they 
have got them. 

First, In the choice of servants, two things are to be noticed. 

1. Christian masters should look to the conversation of those 
whom they take to be their servants, that they be piously inclined, 
as David did, Psal. ci. 6. lest they bring an Achan into their camp. 
A pious servant may bring a blessing to the master, as in Joseph's 
case. It is observable, that Potiphar saw that God was with Jo- 
seph, ere he entrusted him with his business, Gen. xxxix. 3, 4. 
When Jonah came to the shipmaster, he took him into his ship with- 
out asking questions, but ere all was done he was made to do it, Jo- 
nah i. 8. 

2. They should look to their fitness and ability for their service, 
Psal. cxii. 5. So Laban had knowledge of what Jacob could do be- 
fore he engaged with him ; for he staid with him a month, Gen. 
xxix. 14, 15. 

Secondly, When they have got them. There are two things in 
the general that they owe unto them. 

1. That which is just. Just things must be done to all, and par- 
ticularly to those that are under us. God takes special notice of 
injustice done by superiors to inferiors, who cannot so well get them- 
selves righted. And by the law of strict justice masters are, 

(1.) To allow their servants sufficient maintenance, whether with- 
in or without the house, Prov. xxvii. 27. If masters get their work, 
it is just they should allow them food convenient, whereby they may 
be fitted for their work. The mouth of the ox that treadcth out the 
corn was not to be muzzled ; for our sakes doubtless God saith it, 
that those who work should eat sufficiently. 

(2.) To give them payment of their wages, the keeping back 
whereof is a great oppression and crying sin, Jam. v. 4. Masters 
should beware of all fraud and deceit in this. It stands as a blot 
on Laban's memory, that he did not keep conditions with Jacob, but 


changed liis wages ten times, Gen. xxxi. 41. for which he might 
make some plausible pretence as well as others. To pay them what 
is insufficient, putting them off with any thing that may make up ac- 
count, is unjust, Amos viii. 6. Nay, the keeping it up, and delaying 
to pay them, when it is in the power of our hand, is contrary to jus- 
tice, Deut. xxiv. 14, 15. 

(3.) They should require no more of them than they are able to 
do. Servants should not be kept idle, Prov. xxix. 21 ; neither 
should they be rigorously pressed above their power, but allowed 
convenient time for rest and refreshment, Lev. xxv. 43. It is just 
not only because they are fellow-creatures, but fellow Christians. 

(4.) Oversight and direction in what they should do, Prov. xxxi. 
27. Thus Boaz is found in the field with his reapers. It is very 
unjust to find fault with what servants do, while men will not be at 
pains to tell them how they would have their business done. 

2. They owe them that which is equal by the law of Christian 
meekness and charity. Now, thus they owe unto them these things. 

(1.) Masters ought to rule their servants gently and meekly, as 
being of the same blood with themselves, Eph. vi. 9. A proud and 
imperious carriage does not become Christianity. They should mo- 
derate or relax threatening, not do all with them with boasting and 
terror, but by meekness draw them on. 

(2.) They should be ready to hear them in what they have to say. 
It is the character of a Nabal, that ' he was such a son of Belial, 
that a man could not speak to him,' 1 Sam. xxv. 17- Job declares 
himself to have been of another temper, Job xxxi. 13. The advice 
of a servant modestly proposed, is not to be slighted, 2 Kings v. 13. 
14. and if there be any thing they have to complain of, masters 
should hearken thereto, and do them right, as they would have God 
to hearken to themselves. 

(3.) They "should be wary of hearkening to ill tales concerning 
them, Prov. xxix. 12. An easiness to believe every tale makes an 
uneasy life, especially ill tales concerning those in whom people are 
particularly concerned. 

(4.) They ought to take care of them when they are sick, espe- 
cially when they have none other to care for them. It is highly 
reasonable that they should be cared for in their sickness by those 
in whose service they have spent their strength, Matth. viii. 6. It 
is noted as a piece of the cruelty of an Amalekite, that he left his 
servant when sickness overtook him, 1 Sam. xxx. 13. 

(5.) They should encourage and shew special favour, even by let- 
ting something beyond condition fall to faithful and diligent ser- 
vants. This is very equal ; reason, interest, and religion, call for 


it, Prov. xiv. ult. For a faithful servant is one of the best of 

(6.) Lastly, They should be concerned for the good of the souls of 
their servants. For in this case masters are instead of parents to 
them. They should instruct them in the principles of religion, and 
labour to train them up in the ways of godliness, setting them on 
and stirring them up to duty, Gen. xviii. 19. They should daily 
pray with them and for them, by keepiug up religious duties in their 
family, -Jer. x. 25. And they should labour to bring them to the 
public ordinances, Josh. xxiv. 15. restrain them by their authority 
from scandalous and sinful words or deeds, as from profaning the 
Sabbath, &c. and reprove them for their sins against God, as well as 
faults against themselves ; and if they will not refrain they ought to 
turn them out of their family, Psal. ci. 7. 

Use 1. This may serve to convince and humble both masters and 

Use. I exhort servants to be dutiful to their masters. For mo- 
tives, consider, 

1. That in your service ye have two masters, one on earth, and 
another in heaven, Col. iii. 23. Your master on earth says, Do this 
so or so ; and your Master in heaven says, ' "Whatsoever he saith 
unto you do it,' John ii. 5. And here know, (1.) That your Master 
in heaven has given you his orders how ye must carry in service to 
men, as well as in praying, &c. to himself. (2.) He sees how ye 
obey these orders. His eye is always on you. (3.) He will call 
you to an account how ye obey these. (4.) He will account the ser- 
vice faithfully done, service to himself ; and, on the other hand, un- 
dutifulness to men, undutifulness to himself. 

2. God himself will be your paymaster, according as ye carry 
yourselves in your station. (1.) God will reward dutiful servants. 
There is a temporal reward that God ordinarily bestows on such, 
Prov. xvii. 2. ' A wise servant shall have rule over a son that 
causcth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the 
brethren.' And that is what Providence lays to the hands of ho- 
nest servants, that are not sincere Christians. But true Christian 
servants shall get the reward of the heavenly inheritance, Col. iii. 
24. (2.) God will reward undutiful servants too, ver. 25. Ordi- 
narily God writes his indignation against their undutifulness in 
their lot in the world ; but if they repent not, the quarrel is pursued 
to another world. That is a sad word, Luke xvi. 11. 'If ye have 
not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to 
your trust the true riches ?' 

Let masters be dutiful to their servants according to the will of 
Grod. For motives, consider, 


1. Ye are as fathers to them. The fifth command supposeth this; 
and so the scripture elsewhere teacheth, 2 Kings v. 13. Ye are 
civil fathers, and instead of natural fathers to them. They are 
committed to your charge, as under your roof and power. God 
would have all superiors to put on fatherly bowels towards their in- 
feriors, as he who is supreme Lord calls himself ' Our father which 
is in heaven.' If masters would thus look on themselves, it would 
engage them to their duty towards their servants. When God 
brings a servant into a house, especially those of the younger sort, 
either wanting parents, or leaving them to serve you, he says, as 
John xix. 26, 27. ' Man, behold thy son ;' and to the servant, ' Be- 
hold thy father.' 

2. Ye have a master which is over you and your servants too, to 
whom ye must give account, Col. iv. 1. And there is no respect of 
persons with him. He has given a law to the master as well as to 
the servant ; and in judging them he will not favour the master 
more than the servant. Pride makes men imperious and oppressive. 
Here is a sovereign remedy to curb it. Let us remember that we 
have a Master in heaven, Job xxxi. 13, 14. And so much for 

I come now to consider the relation betwixt ecclesiastical fathers 
and their children. These fathers are preaching and ruling elders. 
Here I shall consider, 1. The duties of ministers and people ; and, 
2. Those of ruling elders and people. 

First, I shall shew the duties of ministers and people. 

First, I shall shew the duty people owe to their ministers. 

1. They owe them singular reverence, and that because of that 
honourable station wherein Christ has placed them, sending them to 
deal with sinners in his own stead, 1 Cor. iv. 1. 2 Cor. v. 20. This 
founds that debt of reverence, Rom. x. 15. and should be expressed 
in word and deed. They are the stars whom Christ holds in his 
right hand; and though they shine not so clear as ye would wish, 
people would beware of treading them under foot, seeing Christ 
holds them in his right hand, Rev. i. 20. compare chap. ii. 4, 14, 
20, &c. 

2. Endeared love to them for their work's sake, 1 Thess. v. 13. 
Gal. iv. 14, 15. The gospel is the greatest benefit that men can 
partake of ; and it is very natural to love those who are the instru- 
ments by whom the Lord conveys great benefits to us. And as mi- 
nisters must lay their account with the hatred of those that hate the 
light, so those that get good of ordinances will as naturally love 
them as the child does the father and mother. But as there are un- 
natural children in the family, who little regard the father that be- 


gat thein, or the mother that bare them ; so it is not to be wondered 
that there are unnatural children in the church, that reject those by 
whose means they have got any acquaintance with religion that they 
have, and cast reproaches on the breasts of ordinances, in sucking 
which they grow up. 

3. Diligent attendance on ordinances of all sorts dispensed by 
them, as word, sacraments, catechising, &c. Heb. x. 25. Luke x. 
16. In vain do these stars shine, if there he none to receive their 
light. The same word that obliges ministers to dispense ordinances, 
must needs oblige people to attend them ; and that even though 
they may lie at a considerable distance from them, 2 Kings iv. 22, 
23. The woman there mentioned had sixteen miles to go to the 
man of God. 

4. Submission to them in things pertaining to their office, Heb. 
xiii. 17. submitting to discipline exercised by them in the name of 
Christ ; to their instructions, cordially receiving them from the 
word, to their reproofs, whether public or private ; to their exhor- 
tations and charges, wherein they hold forth to you the will of God, 
ib. Jam. i. 21. They who do otherwise, sin against their own souls, 
as well as discourage ministers by their untractableness, and do but 
lay up witnesses against themselves, to be led against them at the 
great day. It is not the hearers of the word, but the doers thereof, 
that are justified. It will be no advantage to you to have heard, 
but never complied. 

5. Praying for them, 1 Thess. v. 25. The work in which they are 
engaged is a great work. Who is sufficient for it? They have 
need of prayers for them. Your own interest may engage you to 
it. They may do their work, but the success of it must be fetched 
from heaven by prayer, 1 Cor. x. 4. "We have the sword, but how 
shall we get the arm ? We may compass Jericho, and give the 
shout ; but it is the power of God that must make the walls to fall. 
Like Gideon's three hundred men, we may bear the lamps in our 
empty pitchers, blow with the trumpet, and the earthen pitchers may 
be broken in the cause, but God only can do the work, Judges vii. 

6. People should be very tender of the reputation of ministers; 
it being a tender thing, so much interwoven with the success of the 
gospel. The Spirit of God, seeing that the devil would be very 
ready to mark at their reputation in a special manner, by a wicked 
world and false brethren, has set a double hedge about it, 1 Tim. v. 
19. ' Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or 
three witnesses.' So that ye ought not only to slander tliem, but to 
be loath to receive those slanders vented by others against them, 
believing nothing therein without proof. 


7- Lastly, Maintenance. This by divine right is due from people 
to their ministers, 1 Cor. ix. 14. 

Secondly, I shall shew the duty of ministers to their people, 

1. They owe tender love to the souls of their people. — They 
should be full of bowels towards them, 1 Thess. ii. 7, 8. which should 
appear in their preaching, and all parts of their work. 

2. Diligent and faithful dispensing of all gospel-ordinances to 
them, word, sacraments, &c. It is a labour, and they must take it 
so, willing to spend and be spent in the service of their Lord, and of 
precious souls. And indeed they are as lighted candles, which while 
they shine waste, 2 Tim. iv. 2 ; 1 Thess. ii. 3, 4. 

3. Behaving so as they may be examples of holiness and tender- 
ness, Tit. ii. 7- for precept, without example, will have little in- 

4. "Watching over their flocks, that being ready to be acquainted 
with their state and case, they may be in capacity to instruct, com- 
fort, and admonish them, &c. as the case requires, Heb. xiii. 7- 

5. Lastly, Praying for them, Eph. i. 15, 16. 

Secondly, I come to shew the duties of ruling elders and the 
people over whom they are appointed overseers. And as Ave are 
this day to ordain some to that office, I shall discourse of this sub- 
ject a little more fully than I would otherwise have done in a cate- 
chetical exercise. I propose to discourse on this occasion, from that 

1 Tiai. v. 17. — Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double 
honour, especially they who labour in the tuord and doctrine. 

The church is the kingdom of Christ, and the holy scriptures are 
the book of the manner of the kingdom. .There the institution of 
church officers, their work, and the duties owing them by others, are 
only to be found. And whatever officers of the church men pretend 
to be, if their office be not found there, they have no due call to 
their work, but are usurpers and intruders. 

In the words read, the apostle gives us the work assigned by Je- 
sus Christ to elders of the church, and what is due for it unto them 
from the church : Let the elders that rule well, be counted worthy of 
double honour. Here he distinguishes two sorts of elders of the 

1. Ruling elders. The word elder originally is a name of age ; 
but here, and in many other places of scripture, it is evident, that it 
is the name of an office, being the name of ruling church-officers, 
because usually taken out of the elder sort, or that, though of the 


younger, yet they ought to be meu of gravity and authority. Here 

(1.) The work of these elders, from whence their designation is 
taken. It is to rule, and govern the church, as those who are set 
over it by the Lord. For the Lord has not left his church in a 
state of anarchy and confusion, but appointed some to rule, and 
others to be ruled. 

(2.) How they ought to manage their work, well ; I e. rightly, 
worthily, according to the rules prescribed them by Christ, the chief 

(3.) What is due from the church to those who so mauage it 
double, i. e. abundant honour. This honour implies two things, vis. 
(1.) Maintenance. This is evident from ver. 18. (2.) Esteem and 
reputation, Phil. ii. 29. 

Episcopalians, as they have given us the prelate, an officer whom 
Christ never appointed, so they rob us of the ruling elder, which the 
text so plainly discovers to be a church-officer of divine institution. 
To evite the force of which, they turn this elder into various shapes; 
but in vain. For by the elders that rule well, cannot be understood 
superannuated ministers, as some say; for it is evident that the 
preaching elder is to have more honour than this elder. But it is 
shocking to the common sense of the people of God, to honour and 
esteem a young laborious minister more than an old one, who has 
spent his strength in the work. Nor by them are to be understood 
magistrates as others say ; for at this time they were not so much 
as members of the church. Nor are deacons meant hereby, as others 
say; for their work is not to rule the church, but to serve tables, 
Acts vi. 2. Nor are we to understand by them the fixed pastors of 
flocks, in opposition to those that travelled up and down to visit and 
confirm the churches, whom they understand by those that labour, 
namely, to weariness in the last part of the verse. For the work of 
the fixed pastor is such a labour too, 1 Thess. v. 12. Nor yet such 
as were unfit for preaching yet administered the sacraments, prayed 
Avith the church, and privately admonished the unruly. But such 
an officer, I am sure, is unknown to the Bible. It remains, then, 
that they arc those whom we call ruling elders, whose work is, as in 
the text, to govern the church, but not to preach the word; and 
therefore they are distinguished from preaching elders, as is plain 
from the particle especially ; as Phil. iv. 24. ' All the saints salute 
you, chiefly they that are of Caisar's household.' Chiefly is the same 
word in the Greek that is here rendered especially ; and it plainly 
implies, that there were some saints at Rome not of Crcsar's house- 
hold. So hero are described some elders tliat rule well, and do not 
labour in word and doctrine. 


2. Preaching elders : Their work is to preach the gospel ; to la- 
bour in the word and doctrine. To them in a special manner, by 
the text, double honour is due, L e. maintenance and respect, foras- 
much as their office is greater and more honourable, not only in 
ruling the church, as the others do, but preaching the gospel be- 
sides. Where, by the by we may see, that if Paul's doctrine had 
place in the world, the preaching parish-minister would have more 
honour than the non-preaching bishop, who contents himself with 
ruling but puts not his shoulders to the labour in the word and doc- 
trine. Maintenance, we see, is due to both sort of elders, by divine 
right. But it is no sin for either to quit their right in certain cir- 
cumstances. And with us the ruling elders are allowed no mainte- 
nance, but the preaching elders are. The reason of this is the 
poverty of the church that cannot bear it; and that our ruling- 
elders are not taken off their secular employments, as ministers are. 

The doctrine deducible from the text is, 

Doct. ' Ruling elders rightly discharging their duty, are worthy 
of abundant honour.' 

Having sufficiently cleared the divine institution of ruling elders 
from the text, which is clear also from Rom. xii. 8. 1 Cor. xii. 28. 
I shall, in prosecution of the doctrine, shew, 

I. What is the duty of these officers. 

II. What it is to discharge the duties of that office well. 

III. What is the honour that people owe to their ruling elders. 

IV. Apply. 

I. I am to shew what is the duty of these officers. 

The apostle tells us in the general, that their work as ruling 
elders is to rule the church. The keys of jurisdiction and govern- 
ment are not given to one, but to the unity of church-officers acting 
together ; so, together with the pastor, they are to rule the congre- 
gation. God setting a minister in a congregation, says to him, It is 
not meet the man should be alone, I will make him an help meet 
for him. — And a society of diligent and faithful elders are a meet 
help indeed. And without that the weight of a congregation is too 
heavy for the shoulders of one, as Exod. xviii. 18. But more parti- 

1. They are to be careful overseers of the manners of the people. 
Hence the apostle says to the elders of Ephesus, Acts xx. 28. ' Take 
heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the 
Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God.' 
And as ministers are a mouth to the church, so they are to be in- 
stead of eyes. And therefore it is necessary, for the good of a con- 
gregation, that there -be of them in every corner. For they are 


truly watchmen, whom the Holy Ghost has set over the flock, as 
well as ministers are. And they ought to acquaint themselves with 
the way of the people, that so they may encourage those that do 
well, and Aram those that do evil. And unless elders do so, and 
communicate their help in that matter to the pastor, he may he long 
in a congregation, and yet he a stranger to many under his charge ; 
and so ministerial visitations may be very useless. 

2. Though they are not to preach the word, yet they are to apply 
the word privately to people by virtue of their office. They are to 
have a mouth to speak, as well as eyes to take heed to the flock of 
God, 1 Tim. iii. 2. — 'Apt to teach.' There is a word pat to this 
purpose, 1 Thess. v. 12. — ( Are over you, and admonish you.' It is 
the same word in our text. The word admonish there used, is far 
from expressing the full meaning of the word the Holy Ghost useth 
here, used also, Eph. vi. 4. It properly signifies ' to put into the 
mind.' And so it implies a fivefold duty. 

(1.) Exciting people to their duty. Observing negligence, they 
ought to stir up people to their duty ; e. g. those that neglect family- 
prayer, secret prayer, attending regularly on ordinances, or are 
negligent of their soul's state any way, they should drop a word to 
stir them up. 

(2.) Rebuking sin. Reproofs of wisdom are as necessary for 
church-members as salt is to keep meat from corrupting. It is ne- 
cessary to discourage sin and wickedness in the church, which should 
be a holy society. And there wants not occasion for this, in swear- 
ing, lying, profaning the Sabbath, drunkenness, strife, variance, 
and whatsoever is contrary to the rules of the gospel. 

(3.) Warning such as they see in hazard of sin ; to tell them of 
the snare, their hazard and danger, and so to prevent people's fall- 
ing in to it, as far as lies in their power. Sometimes people may be 
discerned staggering, and a word then duly put into their mind may, 
by the blessing of God, keep them from falling. 

(4.) Comforting those that are cast down, and strengthening the 
weak. It was the practice of holy Job, chap. iv. 4. ' Thy words have 
upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble 
knees.' And church-rulers ought always to have a special eye upon 
those that are the weak and distressed in Christ's ilock, to labour to 
support them in the Lord. 

(5.) Instructing and informing them privately. And indeed rule 
without instruction is dumb, and not agreeable to the way of our 
Lord's governing his house ; and excitations, rebukes, &c. can never 
be rightly managed without information of the mind. For if we 
would gain our end in dealing with people, we must not think it 


enough to tell them their duty or their sin, hut hy reasoning with 
them to convince their consciences. 

These things are the duty of all church-memhers, however little 
it is laid to heart. Only what others are bound to by the common 
band of Christianity, we are bound to by our office, Lev. xix. 17 : 
1 Thess. v. 14. 

3. They are to visit the sick, and should be sent for, for that end, 
James v. 14, 15. But otherwise discretion and christian love may 
engage them to go even when they are not sent for. They ought to 
pray with them and for them. And, by the same reason, they are to 
counsel, instruct, and comfort them, according to the grace bestowed 
on them, and as they see the party's case does require. This would 
be a means to render the office more esteemed than, alas ! it is with 
many. And it needs not hinder the pastor's visits. 

4. They are to concur with the pastor in the exercise of discipline, 
according to the word of God, and the constitutions of the church 
agreeable thereto. For miuisters and elders make up that church, 
having the power of censures, Matth. xviii. 17. And thus they are 
to delate scandalous persons to the judicatory, either when their 
private admonitions will not do, or where the offence is in its own 
nature public, and cannot be passed with private admonition. And 
in the managing of matters in the judicatory, they are not only to 
give their opinion and vote according to their light, but to reason 
the matter calmly, for the finding out of the best expedient. Ad- 
mission to, and debarring from, the sacrament of the Lord's supper, 
is a weighty piece of this work, belonging to the kirk-session, where- 
in all tenderness, caution, and wisdom should be used, to separate as 
far as we can betwixt the precious and the vile, that holy things be 
not cast to dogs. 

As for the collecting and distributing of the church's money, it is 
so far from being the main work of ruling elders, that it is no part 
of their work as elders at all, but belongs to the deacons, which is 
an inferior office. But the superior offices of the church including 
the inferior ones, the elders may do it, and must do it, where there 
are not deacons. 

II. I come now to show, what it is to discharge the duties of that 
office well. 

1. It is to discharge it faithfully, 1 Cor. iv. 2. It is a great trust 
the master puts us in, and we must act in it with that faithfulness 
to our own souls, and to the souls of those who are under our charge, 
as our conscience may not have wherewith to reproach us. 

2. Diligently, Rom. xii. 8. The slothful servant that closeth his 
eyes, and gives up his watch, will never be approved of God. Be 
diligent in your duty, and it will not want its reward. 


3. Zealously, Psal. lxix. 9. Zeal for the master's honour, and 
advancing the kingdom of Christ in real holiness, and suppressing 
the devil's kingdom in sin and wickedness, in the congregation, and 
otherwise as we have access, is well becoming church-officers espe- 

4. Prudently, Matth. xxiv. 45. Church-officers had need to join 
the wisdom of the serpent with the simplicity of the dove. And they 
will find it necessary many a time to sweeten with prudent manage- 
ment the bitter pills they must give, Gal. vi. 1. 

III. I proceed to shew, what is that honour that people owe to 
their ruling elders. 

1. They otight to esteem and respect them for their work's sake, 
1 Thess. v. 12, 13. Their work is honourable, their Master whom 
they serve in that work is great, and the advantage of their work 
redounds to the church. People's esteem of them is but a necessary 
encouragement to them in the work they have undertaken, without 
any prospect of worldly advantage. And if people esteemed the 
Lord's work, they would even esteem the workers too. 

2. Obedience and submission to them in their doing the work of 
their office, Heb. xiii. 17- If it be their duty to watch over you, 
excite and admonish you, &c. ye ought not to account them meddling 
in what belongs not to them, when they inquire into your way. Ye 
ought to fall in with the duties they excite you to ; meekly to re- 
ceive their rebukes, admonitions, and warnings ; honourably to 
receive their consolations, as those that have a commission from the 
Lord ; and heartily to receive their good admonition and counsel ; 
and subjecting yourselves as Christ's subjects to the discipline of his 

3. They ought to pray to God for them, 1 Thess. v. 15. It is a 
great work we have in hand, and your interest is concerned in our 
right discharge of it ; which therefore should make you to give us a 
share in your prayers. 

4. Shutting your ears against reproaches cast on them, and being 
backward to receive ill reports of them, staving them off", unless there 
be sufficient evidence, 1 Tim. v. 19. Church-officers are those whom 
Satan mainly aims to discredit, and therefore stirs up rotten-hearted 
hypocrites, false brethren, and a profane generation, to cast reproach 
upon them, that so their work may be marred in their hands, religion 
despised, and sinners hardened. 

Use 1. As to you that are already in this honourable office, and 
you that are now to be ordained to it, I exhort you to labour rightly 
to discharge your duty. To press this exhortation, I offer the fol- 
lowing motives. 


Mot. 1. Consider it is a sacred office in the house of God, to which 
God has called you ; and therefore let us together take that exhor- 
tation, Acts xx. 23. ' Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all 
the flock over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed 
the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.' 
The office is honourable in itself, however the world may esteem it. 
David though a king, would have thought it no disparagement to 
him, when he said, ' A day in thy courts is better than a thousand : 
I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than to 
dwell in the tents of wickedness,' Psal. lxxxiv. 10. But it has 
work annexed to it; and being sacred, it is not to play with. La- 
bour to approve yourselves to your Lord and Master. 

Mot. 2. Ye have thereby a fair occasion to be serviceable to God 
and to advance Christ's kingdom, and suppress that of the devil, in 
the congregation. And what should we not do to do good to 
souls ? Jam. v. 20. ' Let him know, that he which converteth the 
sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and 
shall hide a multitude of sins.' I think that now, of a considerable 
time, I and my brethren of the eldership might have said, ' The 
strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much 
rubbish, so that we are not able to build the wall,' Neh. iv. 10 ; and 
it has gone near to the sinking of some of our spirits. But now that 
God has inclined the hearts of so many to come over and help us; 
if we take courage in our Master's work, to ply it faithfully, dili- 
gently, zealously, and prudently, and the Lord bless us with unity 
among ourselves, and real zeal for his honour, to put to our shoul- 
ders jointly to the work, we may hope, by the blessing of God, to see 
a more promising face on this congregation, sin more discouraged, 
and piety more increased. 

Mot. ult. You and 1 must give an account to our great Master, 
how we have carried ourselves in this work, Heb. xiii. 17- If we be 
faithful we shall not want our reward from the chief Shepherd, who 
will give us a crown of life. If we be unfaithful, woe will be unto 
us for betraying our trust. 

I give you a few advices. 

1. Remember always that it is God whom ye have to do with. 
This will make you little to regard men's feud or favour, if ye do 
your work agreeable to God's will. 

2. Study to act in dependence on the Lord ; for he sends none 
a- warfare on his own charges. Eye his promised assistance, when 
ye set about your work. 

3. Labour to believe, that the way of uprightness and faithfulness 
is the sure way. ' When a man's ways please the Lord, he makefh 

Vol. II. r 


even his enemies to be at peace with him,' Prov. xvi. 7. ' He that 
rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flat- 
tereth him,' Prov. xxviii. 23. Let men's corruptions say what they 
will, their consciences will speak in favour of faithful dealing. 

4. "Watch over your own persons, that in your personal walk ye 
be blameless and exemplary, 1 Tim. iii. 1, 2, 3. If ye be untender 
in your walk, ye will do more hurt than ye can do good. Being 
honoured to be governors in the house of a holy God, ye must be 
holy as the master is holy ; tender in your words, circumspect in 
your actions, and therefore watchful over your hearts. 

5. Watch over your families. Every one that has a family is 
obliged to this, and you in a special manner, 1 Tim. iii. 4, 5. The 
sinful practices of those of your family will reflect a peculiar dis- 
honour on you, and by you on your Lord and Master. Therefore 
your families should be a church wherein God is to be duly wor- 
shipped morning and evening ; and good discipline kept up by ad- 
monition, reproof, and watchfulness. 

6. Te must watch over one another, each over his fellow-elders, 
knowing, that any thing scandalous in one of the society reflects a 
dishonour on the whole, and by them on the Lord himself. And if 
ye be not careful on that side, there will be little good of your 
watching over the flock. And therefore strict discipline among 
yourselves is absolutely necessary. 

Use II. As to you the people, I would exhort you to make con- 
science of your duty towards your officers. Alas ! for the little 
conscience that is made of that among us. I am sure we may find 
matter of mourning this day in that matter. 

Instead of honouring them, many despise and pour contempt 
on them, more than otherwise they would do ; thus vilely treating 
their sacred office. 

Instead of submission and obedience, what refractoriness and 
spurning of discipline for scandalous offences ! Some cannot endure 
to be told of their faults ; but if we admonish or reprove them, even 
privately, they are made worse instead of better ; and rather than 
take a reproof, they will give up with ordinances. 

Instead of being careful of their reputation, some will bawl out 
upon them, and abuse them on every occasion. And there is nothing 
with many more readily received, than the vomit of malicious and 
spiteful spirits against ministers and elders, which is greedily licked 
up, 1 Cor. iv. 13. 

Hence it is, that men's hands are weakened, and they are discou- 
raged in their work, while they see the people of that temper, IIos. 
iv. 4. And hence it is, that it is so very hard to get men to under- 


take the office of elders ; for they see that if they engage therein, 
they must be the very butt of the malice and spite of bitter spirits ; 
and that if they will be faithful, they engage themselves in a fight- 
ing life, and that the stream will go against them. But allow me to 
put you in mind of three things. 

1. Whose part you act in that matter. It is the part of Satan 
against these men and yourselves too. Can you fall upon a more 
expedite way to advance the kingdom of the devil in the congrega- 
tion, than to discourage and weaken the hands of those that are set 
over you in the Lord ? Is there a fairer way to rout the army, than 
to make their leaders useless ? 

2. "Whose servants they are. They are clothed with a commis- 
sion from the King of the church ; and the contempt poured on them 
reaches to their Master; ' He that despiseth you (says he), despiseth 
me,' Luke x. 16. Will the laws of the land avenge the affronts 
done to a petty officer, who comes to execute the sentence of a civil 
court? did David severely avenge on the Ammonites the maltreat- 
ing of his servants, whom he sent on a congratulatory message to 
them as ye find in 2 Sam. x. ? and will not the Lord Jesus resent in 
his wrath the maltreatment of those that are clothed with his com- 
mission ? 

3. Lastly, Are ye not the professed subjects of the kingdom of 
Christ? Why then will ye not submit yourselves to the laws of his 
house ? Why will ye not be obedient in the Lord to those whom he 
sets over you, complying with their exhortations, admonitions, and 
rebukes ? Luke xix. 27. Why do not ye strengthen their hands in 
the Lord's work ? If ye have any interest in Zion's King, it is the 
work of our common Lord, which you are obliged to in a private 
way, as well as they by virtue of their office ; and therefore ye are 
bound to co-operate with them in what serves to promote the inter- 
est of that King, whose servants ye profess to be. 

I proceed now to consider the relation between political fathers 
and their children ; that is, magistrates and subjects. 

First, I shall shew the duty of subjects to magistrates. 

1. They owe them singular respect and honour, 1 Pet. ii. 17. 
They are to be honoured by us in our hearts, thinking of and es- 
teeming them reverently and carrying a reverent fear and awe of 
them within our breasts, 1 Sam. xxvi. 16, 17- Prov. xxiv. 21. And 
this is to be expressed in a respectable behaviour towards them in 
word and deed. 

The grounds of this are specially two. (1.) The ordinance of 
God, whereby they are set above us in the way of power and autho- 
rity, Rom. xiii : and subjects ought to walk in a conscientious re- 


gard to the superiority that God has given their rulers over them. 
(2.) The image of God that shines in their dominion and eminency 
ahove their subjects, Psal. lxxxii. 6. They are God's vicegerents on 
earth, whose office bears a representation of God's dominion. 

2. Subjects owe them the charity to construct the best of their ac- 
tions that they will bear, and to beware of passing a rash judgment 
of their administrations. Notable is the instance of it in David, 
1 Sam. xxvi. 19. ' Now therefore, I pray thee, let my Lord the king 
hear the words of his servant : if the Lord have stirred thee up 
against me, let him accept an offering : but if they be the children 
of men, cursed be they before the Lord ; for they have driven me 
out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, Go 
serve other gods.' The liberty that many take in speaking of ma- 
gistrates, and wresting their actions still to the worst side, is what 
proceeds not from the spirit of the gospel, but is contrary to the 
word, an effect of their own pride and presumption, Exod. xxii. 28. 
Eccl. x. 20. 2 Pet. ii. 10. Jude, 8. This is also highly reasonable, 
and hath these grounds. (1.) That candour and charity we owe to 
all men, but in a special manner to our superiors, requires it, 1 Cor. 
xiii. 5, 7- (2.) Our unacquaintedness with the springs of public bu- 
siness, secrets of government, and reasons of state, Prov. xxv. 3. 
And natural modesty, as well as religion, teaches men not to answer 
a matter before they hear it, Prov. xviii. 13. This dutiful children 
will allow to their parents, wives to their husbands, servants to 
their masters, and inferiors to their superiors ; and why should not 
magistrates have it too ? 

3. Subjection, loyalty, and obedience to their just laws and com- 
mands. It is bad religion where loyalty to the magistrate must 
stand in place of all religion towards God, but it is also bad reli- 
gion where people's pretended religion towards God justles out their 
loyalty to the magistrate, Rom. xiii. 5. This duty Papists exempt 
churchmen from ; and no wonder, for it is a part of the character of 
Antichrist, 2 Thess. ii. 4 ; but the scripture subjects ministers to the 
magistrates, as having souls as well as others, Rom. xiii. 1. ' Let 
every soul be subject to the higher powers.' 

4. The payment of their tribute, Rom. xiii. 6, 7- This is a debt 
of thankfulness, and justice too, for the benefits of government which 
the subjects enjoy, without which the government cannot be sup- 
ported, but all would go into confusion. 

5. Defending them in danger, each one according to his station, 
2 Sam. xviii. 3. 1 Sam. xxvi. 15. 

6. Lastly, Prayer to God for them ; supplications for supply of 
wants, prayers for good things to them, intercessions for turning 


away of evil from them, and thanksgivings for mercies bestowed on 
them, 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2. There is a reason for it too; for the welfare 
of subjects is wrapt up. in theirs, ib. Much depends on their man- 
agement, God's honour, our own good ; and their high place has 
many dangers, difficulties, snares, and temptations. 

Use. Let me therefore exhort you in the words of the apostle, 
1 Pet. ii. 13, 14. ' Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for 
the Lord's sake : whether it be to the king, as supreme ; or unto 
goA^ernors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of 
evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well.' Let us honour 
and dutifully subject ourselves, according to the will of God, to our 
gracious Sovereign King George, our rightful and lawful King by 
virtue of the laws of Scotland, pointed at in the claim of right, and 
upon which was founded the late happy Revolution. Let us adore 
that bountiful providence, by which his grandfather [Frederick 
Elector Palatine of the Rhine], having lost one kingdom [that of 
Bohemia], besides his private estate, in the cause of the Protestant 
religion, three kingdoms are now conferred on the grandson. Let 
us thank our God, who did so seasonably bring him to the throne, 
and that in peace, to the surprise of all parties, so as we were like 
men that dreamed. Let us suppose that the Popish Pretender had 
effectuated his purpose, what a case had we been in this day ! Yet 
rejoice with trembling ; it is hard to say that Heaven and these sin- 
ful nations are become friends yet. Let us be dutiful to subordinate 
magistrates under him, and honour those whom God has honoured 
by their office, saying to them, Ye are gods. Let us not stumble 
atheists, Jacobites, and malignants, against our holy religion, by 
contempt of the magistrate. We read the Bible, where subjection 
is commanded to subjects oft and again, even to magistrates that 
were enemies to Christianity. We are the followers of that Jesus 
who paid his tribute, and taught the people of the Jews, who were 
more solemnly covenanted with God, and more strictly bound up in 
the choice of their kings, than any nation under heaven, yet not to 
deny their tribute to Caesar, the Heathen Roman emperor, who then 
was their chief magistrate, Matth. xxii. 19, — 21. 

Secondly, I shall shew the duty of magistrates to their subjects, 
which I shall only name. 

1. They ought to establish good laws among their subjects, and to 
see them duly executed, Zech. viii. 16. 2 Chron. xix. 5, 6, 7- 

2. To govern them with wisdom, justice, and clemency, 2 Chron. 
i. 10. 

3. To punish evil-doers, and encourage them that do well, Rom. 
xiii. 3. 

r 3 


4. To protect them, and provide for their common safety, 1 Tim. 
ii. 2 ; to see to their prosperity, and not to oppress them, Prov. 
xxviii. 16. 

5. Lastly, They ought to promote true religion, and advance the 
interest of Christ's kingdom among their subjects, Isa. xlix. 23. 
Some will have the magistrate to he the fountain of church-power. 
Others leave him nothing to do in religion but to defend the church, 
and execute her acts. Thus go the Papists. Truth goes the middle 
way, allowing the magistrate a cumulative, though not a privitive, 
power in church-matters ; and though he ought not to exercise a 
spiritual function, yet he can command and oblige ministers and 
other church-officers to do their duty, authoritatively call them to 
do it. And this is no more to usurp church-power, than a minister's 
charging magistrates from the word, is to usurp civil power. See 
Confession of Faith. 

There are other relations that import a mere preference ; as, 
betwixt the aged and the younger, the weaker in gifts and the 
stronger, and between equals. 

First, As to the relation betwixt the aged and the younger, 

1. I shall consider very briefly the duties of the younger to the 
aged, for these are fathers and mothers in scripture-language, 
1 Tim. v. 1. 

(1.) They ought to submit to them, so as to follow their wise ad- 
vice, and not to stand upon points with them, but be ready to yield 
to them, where lawfully it may be done, 1 Pet. v. 5. 

(2.) They ought to honour them, and carry respectfully to them. 
The Ancient of days, commands us to houour old age, Lev. xix. 32. 

2. The aged ought, (1.) To be ready to profit the younger sort by 
their good advice, to tutor them, as Eli did young Samuel, 1 Sam. 
iii. 9. (2.) To give them the example of a virtuous aud holy life, 
Tit. ii. 2. 

Secondly, The duties of the weaker in gifts to the stronger are, 

(1.) To reverence and respect them for the gifts of God in them, 
Gen. xlv. 8. (2.) To be willing and ready to learn of them. (3.) 
To beware of judging harshly of them in things wherein they have a 
greater liberty than they, Rev. xiv. 3. 

The duties of the stronger in gifts are, (1.) To communicate cheer- 
fully to them what God has given them, and so to help them by 
their gifts. (2.) To encourage them, and bear with their infirmities, 
Horn. xv. 1. 

Lastly, The duties of equals are, (1.) To regard the dignity and 
worth of each other, and carry respectfully to them, 1 Pet. ii. 17. 
(2.) To carry modestly towards one another, preferring in honour 


each other, Rom. xii. 10. (3.) To endeavour after and rejoice in 
one another's welfare as their own, ver. 15, 16. 

II. I proceed now to shew, what is forbidden in the fifth com- 
mandment. According to our Catechism, it forbids ' the neglecting 
of, or doing any thing against the honour and duty which belongeth 
to every one in their several places and relations. 

This question is a field as large, or rather larger than the former, 
in so far as to one duty several sins are opposed : but fearing that 
ye cannot bear enlargement, having heard so much already on these 
relations, I shall contract my discourse on this into a very narrow 

This command is broken, (1.) By neglect of the duties we owe to 
our relations, which ye have heard. (2.) By doing any thing against 
and contrary to these duties. 

First, Husbands and wives break this command, and sin against 
one another, many ways. As particularly, 

1. Against that tender conjugal love they owe to one another, is 
all unkindness, whereby, laying aside, and divesting themselves of 
natural affection, they are surly to, careless of, and unconcerned for 
their relatives, or their comfort. Of this sort are their bitter 
speeches, reproaching and reviling one another. That selfishness, 
whereby they are at no pains to please one another in lawful things, 
and void of sympathy in one another's joys and griefs ; unreason- 
able suspicions and jealousies, whatever be done to please them ; 
blazing abroad their own shame, in speaking to the discredit of their 
relatives ; contempt of and despising one another. All these are 
quite opposite to conjugal love. 

2. Against that faithfulness they owe to one another, in respect 
of their bodies, is infidelity in the gross breach of the marriage-con- 
tract, deserting and leaving one another, and defrauding one another. 
In respect of their means, is all idleness, mismanagement, and 
wastery ; and in respect of their souls, is uuconcernedness about 
them, being at no pains to instruct, admonish, and watch over one 
another ; and if at any time they tell them of their faults, it is to 
their reproach, being before others, or in their passion, so that it 
can do no good. And much more when they become snares and 
hinderances to one another, instead of meet helps, leading and pro- 
voking their relatives to sin against God, and ruin their own souls. 

Wives particularly sin against their husbands, by casting off 
all reverence to them, carrying themselves imperiously towards 
them, being disobedient, wilful, and untractable, and, like Vashti, 
Esth. i. 10, 11, 12. who would not come to the king, when sent for 
by him, will not go an inch by their own will to please them. It is 


not their honour to command, whose province God has made it to 
ohey, Ezek. xvi. 30. Eph. v. ult. 

Husbands sin against their wives in dealing untenderly with them, 
tyrannizing and domineering over them in a masterful way, not pro- 
tecting them from the insults of others, nor providing for them ; 
giving them that are their wives no trust, but making them, like 
Nabal, accountable to the utmost farthing ; nor encouraging and 
praising them when they do well ; most of all in beating them, a 
thing in use only with furious or mad men, Eph. v. 25, 29. 

Secondly, As to parents and children : 

1. Children sin against their parents by disobedience to them. 
Such are in the midst of the black roll, Rom. i. 30. and are in a 
near way to ruin, Prov. xxx. 17- So do they by all irreverence to 
them, and slighting and dishonouring them in word and deed, Deut. 
xxvii. 16. and much more by cursing them, Exod. xxi. 17- Many, 
again, sin against God and their parents, being unteachable, and 
will not hearken to their instruction, Prov. v. 7- they will not take 
a sharp word from them, but their hearts rise against them and it 
too, Prov. xiii. 18. and others, though they will bear with words, 
yet they are stubborn, and will not submit to correction, Deut. xxi. 
18, 19. And what will we say of those that, like cursed Ham, 
make a jest of their parents' infirmities, waste their substance, and 
prove unnatural and hard-hearted to them when they are old and in 
distress ? Prov. xis. 26. Finally, they sin by disposing of them- 
selves to callings, or in marriage, without consent of their parents, 
Gen. xxvi. 34, 35. 

2. Parents sin against their children many ways, while they are 
not concerned for them while infants ; but many are careless as to 
the bringing up of their children to some honest employment, but, 
by encouraging them in idleness, prove a snare to them. Most men, 
if they bring their children to be able to shift for a livelihood to 
themselves, think they have done enough, while they have not been 
at pains to bring them up for God. Many will learn them to work 
that will not learn them to read, pray, &c. "What shall we say of 
those that will learn them to ban, swear, lie, pick, and steal, and 
encourage them in such things ? Some kill their children by coc- 
kering them; they indulge them fondly to their ruin. And how 
indiscreetly will parents dote on one child by another, where it is 
not grace but mere fancy, that makes the difference ? Gen. xxv. 28. 
Some, on the other hand, are wofully harsh to their children, and 
break their spirits, by holding them so short by the head that they 
are driven to extremities, using them as drudges rather than as 
children, immoderately beating them when they are in a fault, and 


inveighing against them with bitter words, Col. iii. 21. indiscreet 
and uutender dealing with them with respect to their callings or 

Third!*/, As to masters and servants ; 

1. Servants sin against their masters by irreverent, disrespectful, 
and saucy carriage towards them, without any respect to the honour 
which God calls them to give to their masters. Many are disobe- 
dient, and will plainly tell, that they will not do what they are 
bidden; or if they do it, they* will do it in such a manner, us shall 
vent their pride and passion. Though the scripture commands not 
to answer again, they will answer, and have the last word too, and 
by no means will submit to reproofs. Many are unfaithful to their 
masters, their service is eye-service, unfaithful service; either by 
their negligence and sloth bringing their master to loss, or by dis- 
honesty in that which is under their hands. Some professing ser- 
vants are by their way a scandal to religion in families where they 
are. Others are a plague to the family by the aversion they shew 
to every good thing or religious duty, as if their masters were no 
more concerned in them, if they work their work, Eph. v. 5, 6. 

2. Masters sin against their servants, not allowing them sufficient 
maintenance, but niggardly pinching them, keeping back their wages 
from them in whole or in part, and so oppressing the hireling ; rigo- 
rously keeping them at work, not allowing them convenient time 
for rest, nor worshipping of God in secret, or attending on public 
ordinances. And so they sin against them by continual chiding, 
and uneasiness to them, and carelessness with respect to their soul's 
good, Eph. vi. 9. 

Fourthly, As to ministers and people : 

1. People sin against their ministers by their slighting and des- 
pising them, and nowise treating them as the messengers of Christ; 
going on in their evil ways over the belly of all warnings and re- 
proofs, being stubborn, and refusing subjection to discipline ; slan- 
dering them, creating them trouble, by forsaking ordinances, &c. or 
any wise making their work burdensome, or them to drive heavily 
in it ; and restraining prayer for them. 

Ministers sin against people by an unconcernedness about their 
souls' case, laziness, and unfaithfulness in discharge of their duty, 
proving stumbling-blocks to their people by a loose walk, and not 
being earnest in prayer for them, for the blessing of God on them 
and their message. 

As to ruling elders and people, I have nothing to add to what I 
said before. 

Fifthly, As to magistrates and subjects : 


1. Subjects sin against magistrates by carrying disrespectfully to 
tbeni, rebelling against tbem, and disobeying their just laws, reviling 
and speaking despitefully of them, denying them subjection and 
their just dues, and not praying for them. 

2. Magistrates sin against subjects by using their power to satisfy 
their lusts, and giving bad example to others, by tyranny and op- 
pression, unjust laws, and discountenancing piety and virtue, and 
opposing themselves to the kingdom of Christ. 

Sixthly, As to the aged and younger : How little respect do the 
younger shew to the aged ! Instead of that honour due to age, 
people are ready to befool them, if not to count them witches or 
wizards, forgetting that either they must come to their age them- 
selves, or die by the way. On the other hand, few old people carry 
so to the younger, as to command respect by their exemplary piety 
and holiness ; but, on the contrary, grey hairs are often found in the 
way of wickedness. 

Seventhly, As to the weaker and stronger in gifts : It is often the 
sin of the weaker to envy the stronger, and if they can to misrepre- 
sent them. The weak judge the strong, and the strong despise and 
stumble the weak. 

Lastly, Equals sin against one another, undervaluing the worth, 
envying and grieving at the good of one another, and usurping pre- 
eminence over one another. 

The spring and source of all this is, (1.) "Want of love to and fear 
of God ; for while people are not in their duty to God, how should 
they be in their duty to man ? (2.) Pride and selfishness, while 
every one seeks himself, and not the good of others. 

These things may be very humbling to all of us. Who can say his 
life is clean in any of these relations ? But even those who are very 
dutiful in their several relations as to the matter, may be guilty of 
the breach of this command, in so far as what they do in these things 
does not proceed from gracious principles ; for indeed the first com- 
mand must be carried along in all the rest. 

III. "We come now to the reason annexed to this command ; which 
is, ' A promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve 
for God's glory and their own good) to all such as keep this com- 

This is a promise to encourage tlic conscientious performance of 
the duties here required. The apostle tells us, that it is ' the first 
command with promise,' Eph. v. 2. 

Quest. 1. How is this command the first with promise, seeing the 
second is a promise also ? 

Ans. It is the first command of the seconu tabic : for it is the 


most weighty of them all, as comprehending all the rest in it ; so 
that we cannot sin against the rest, but we must first break over the 
hedge of this, which encompasseth all the rest. For one cannot vio- 
late another's life, chastity, &c. but he first violates the honour due 
to him by this command. And it is the only command that has a 
special promise of a particular mercy annexed to it. The promise 
annexed to the second command is but a promise of mercy in the 
general, and that not particularly to those that keep that command, 
but all the commandments. 

Quest. 2. But does the law promise any thing but to perfect keep- 
ing of its commands? and if so, what are we the better? 

Ans. We must distinguish betwixt the law as a covenant of works, 
and the law as in the hand of Christ for a rule of life to believers. 
As it is a covenant of works, nothing less than perfect obedience 
can interest men in the promise ; for the least failure knocks off the 
man's fingers from the promise, by virtue 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.' So that we can be no- 
thing the better of this promise. But Christ being the Surety of the 
better covenant, having made a new covenaut of grace in his blood, 
he takes the same law in his hands, and gives out the commands of 
it as a rule of life to his covenanted people, and renews the promises 
of it to their sincere obedience of them, 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.' As for the curse of it they hear of 
it no more, he having borne it away himself. And so he crowns 
the fruits of his own grace in them with blessed rewards. And as 
all these promises are yea and amen in him ; so for his sake, through 
faith in his blood, they are obtained. 

In the words we may consider these three things ; the blessing pro- 
mised, the place where it is to be enjoyed, and the regard the Lord 
allows his people to have to that blessing to further them in obe- 

First, The blessing promised ; that is, long life, that thy days may 
be loiuj. It is a temporal mercy, a mercy much desired ordinarily by 
all men, and promised to them that keep this commandment. There 
are four things here to be considered. 

First, What is meant by men's days being long. It denotes two 

1. Long life, Prov. iv. 10. ' The years of thy life shall be many.' 
Death in its best colours has something frightful about it. It is a 
dissolution of soul and body, which nature shivers at. But there is 
no eviting of it; all must die; they must go through that dark 


valley to their eternal state. But the best that can he made of it 
is promised here, viz. that such shall be full of days, and not be 
taken away till they be ripe for the sickle. 

2. Prosperity to accompany that life ; for non vivere, sed valere, 
vita est. Long life in miseries is a continued death, rather than life. 
So that the nature of the thing teaches us, that a prosperous long 
life is here promised. It is a good old age, Gen. xv. 15. And thus 
the apostle explains it, Eph. vi. 3. ' That it may be well with thee, 
and thou mayst live long on the earth.' 

Secondly, That long life is in itself a mercy, and therefore is pro- 
mised. There are many things that may mortify men's desires of 
long life. Old age is ordinarily accompanied with a train of mi- 
series ; and the longer the godly live, they are the longer kept out 
of heaven. Yet there are four things that make this long and pros- 
perous life here promised to the godly's keeping of this command- 
ment, a great mercy. 

1. A good old age is an honourable thing, Prov. vi. 31. ' The hoary 
head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of l'ighteousness.' 
God commands a particular reverence to be given to old men, Lev. 
xix. 32. ' Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the 
face of the old man.' It is true, sin and wickedness spoils the 
greatest glory, and no man is more like the devil than a wicked old 
man, Isa. lxv. 20. ' The sinner being an hundred years old, shall 
be accursed. But it is an honourable character which the Spirit of 
God puts on Mnason, Acts xxi. 16. ' An old disciple.' And old godly 
men are most like God, Dan. vii. 9. Rev. i. 14. 

2. It is profitable for the exercise of godliness, in so far as it 
makes them proof against many temptations which youth often car- 
ries men headlong unto, 2 Tim. ii. 22. The frothiness and fire of 
youth dying out through time, their grace is the better it wants 
them. Young people's grace may be more bulky, but old people's 
grace, though of less bulk, is more worth, because it is more solid. 
Though new liquor may work and swell up more, the old is better. 
John was the oldest of the apostles, and last of them who wrote. 
In his younger years he could have burnt whole towns for Christ, 
Luke ix. 54. but if ye will look to his epistles written in his older 
days, they breathe nothing but love, meekness, and solid godliness. 

3. Long life makes way for the more proofs and experiences of the 
goodness of God on the earth, 1 John ii. 13. The young soldier may 
be more mettled and venturous; but the old soldier is more to be trust- 
ed, because of his experience and skill. It is no small advantage to 
have been an eye-witness of the several appearances God has made 
for his church, and of several storms that have gone over her head. 


4. Lastly, They have the better opportunity of glorifying God 
here, and being serviceable in their generation, the longer they live 
on the earth ; and therefore shall have a larger measure of glory 
hereafter, as they have been more serviceable for God than others, 
2 Cor. ix. 6 ; How many are cut off in their early days, while they 
were just budding for the honour of God and the service of the 
church ! It is better for themselves that they are soon taken away ; 
but the church is less the better of them, Phil. i. 23, 24. The Spirit 
of God takes notice of this in the old men that outlived Joshua, how 
useful their age was for God and his church, Josh. xxiv. 31. ' And 
Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of 
the elders that over-lived Joshua, and which had known all the 
works of the Lord that he had done for Israel.' And though glory 
is not the merit of good works, yet according to the sowing, so shall 
the harvest be. 

Thirdly, A holy walk, particularly in the conscientious perfor- 
mance of relative duties, is the way to a long and prosperous life. 
Holiness, and particularly relative holiness, is the way to a long and 
happy life in the world. 

1. As to holiness in general, it is clear from two things. 
(1.) From the promise of God in his life-giving word. ' Man lives 
by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.' The un- 
believing world may think a scripture-promise but a poor fence for 
a man's life. Give them good entertainment, ease, medicine, they 
will lay more weight on these than on a cluster of promises ; but yet 
a promise from the Lord is better than all these, Dan. i. 15; for 
' man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceed- 
eth out of the mouth of God,' Matth. iv. 4. Now, it has the pro- 
mise, 1 Tim. iv. 8. It has the promise of health, wealth, and long- 
life, Prov. iii. 7- — 10, and 16. 

(2.) From the nature of the thing. A holy walk keeps us back 
from those things that hurt and ruin the body. And no man's body 
is so little abused to its hurt as his whose soul has respect to walk 
within the hedge of God's precepts. Drunkenness and gluttony de- 
vours more than the sword doth. Covetous care and anxiety wastes 
the body. Inordinate affections are the consuming of the constitu- 
tion. Holiness, that represses these things, must then be as health 
to the Hesh, Prov. iv. 22. . 

2. As for dutifulness to our relatives : Consider, 

(1.) It hath God's promise for it in the text, which hath been 

made out to many in their sweet experience, as in the case of Ruth, 

and that of the Recabites, Jer. xxxv. 19. And so the contrary is 

threatened, Prov. xxx. 17- ' The eye that mocketh at his father, and 


despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it 
out, and the young eagles shall eat it ;' and has been fulfilled in 
many to the full extent. 

(2.) Dutifulness of that sort procures the blessing of relatives ; 
it natively draws out their hearts in thankfulness to God for them, 
and in prayers to God for them, which under God is a mean to 
bring down a blessing upon them. The blessing of them that were 
ready to perish was not in vain to Job ; it sprung up in a liberal 

(3.) Such persons are of a meek disposition, and such have a 
peculiar promise to inherit the earth, Matth. v. 6. It is the want of 
the spirit of meekness, and pride and selfishness in the room of it, 
that mars relative dutifulness. 

4. Lastly, The nature of the thing leads to it ; for that is the 
ready way to make relations comfortable ; and the comfort that 
people find in their relatives does good like a medicine, while the 
contrary is as rottenness in the bones. 

There are two objections that lie against this doctrine. 

Object. 1. Have not wicked men, that cast off all personal and re- 
lative holiness, oft-times a long and prosperous life ? 

Ans. It is so indeed. Job observed it long ago, ch. xxi. 7- 
' "Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in 
power?' But there is one thing that makes the difference wide 
enough ; i. e. they have it not by promise. What of that? will ye 
say. There is very much in it. (1.) He cannot have the comfort 
of it as a godly man can have, no more than he can have the com- 
fort of a well-furnished house, that knows not but every day he may 
be turned out of it, while he knows no where else to go, in compari- 
son of one that has a tack of it, and is to move to a" better when the 
tack expires. (2.) There is a secret curse in it that destroys and 
ruins him ; so that the morsel may be fair, but there is a bone in it 
that will stick in his throat, Prov. i. 32, 33. (3.) Lastly, The last 
dish spoils the feast. No man can be said to live a long and happy 
life, that dies a miserable unhappy death, as all wicked men do. 
Can that life be prosperous and happy that has such a black hinder 
end ? Does not death soon catch that man, that catches him ere his 
salvation be secured. 

Object. 2. Are there not* many godly people whose life in the 
world is neither long nor prosperous, .and have neither much health, 
wealth, nor long life ? The answer to this brings us, 

Fourthly, To shew how this promise is to be understood. It is to 
be understood, as all other temporal promises are, not absolutely, as 
if in no case it could be otherwise ; but with these two limitations : 


(1.) As far as it shall serve for God's glory; and God may be more 
glorified in their early death than their long life. The honour of 
God is the immoveable rule by which these things must be all mea- 
sured. (2.) As far as it shall serve for their good ; and so it may 
be a greater mercy to them to be hid in the grave, than to be left 
on earth ; and surely it is no breach of promise to give one what is 
better than what was promised. And these two are not to be 
separated, but joined together ; for whatever is most for God's ho- 
nour, is most for the godly man's good. Now, upon this we may lay 
down these conclusions. 

1. Upon this promise the godly, walking in the way of personal 
and relative holiness, may confidently expect from God as muc'i 
long life and prosperity in the world as shall be for the honour of 
God, and their good to enjoy. And to have any more would be no 

2. A short and afflicted life would be more for their good than a 
long and prosperous one, Psal. cxix. 71. Isa. lvii. 1. And why 
should men quarrel with their blessings, or cast at their mercies ? 
Good Josiah was soon taken away, because the Lord would not have 
him to see the evil that was coming on. 

3. Many of the children of God may be guilty of such breaches 
of this command in the mismanagement of their relative duties, that 
they may, by their OAvn fault, fall short of the mercy promised here 
in the latter, Psal. xcix. 8 ; and so need not wonder if they reap 
that correction which themselves have sowed. And though others, 
that have managed worse than they, may escape, no wonder either ; 
for God will let that pass in another, because of an after-reckoning, 
when he will correct his own children for less, because, that is to 
put an end to the quarrel. 

4. Lastly, Whatever they want of this, it shall be made up by 
what is better. The afflictions of the body shall be health to their 
souls; their crosses shall not be curses, but blessings; and if they 
be deprived of the residue of their years here, they shall get them 
made up in heaven. 

Secondly, The place where that blessing is to be enjoyed ; in the 
land which the Lord thy God <jiveth thee ; that is, the land of Canaan. 
So it respects the Jews. But as it respects Christians, it refers to 
any place of God's earth ; and so the apostle turns it, Eph. vi. 3. 
' That thou mayst live long on the earth.' 

Lastly, That regard which the Lord allows his people to have to 
that blessing, to further them in obedience: Honour thy father and 
thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy 
God giveth thee. Though the chief motive to duty should be the ho- 


nour and command of God, yet God allows us to eye the promised 
reward, even in temporal things, as a secondary motive and encou- 
ragement to duty. 

Use. Let this recommend to us the living in dutifulness to our 
relatives. This is physic of God's appointment for the sick ; it is 
the way to wealth of God's appointment for them that have little ; 
it is the prolonger of life appointed by the Lord of life to those that 
would see many days, and these good. And there is no sure way to 
these where the appointment of God lies cross. Religion is the way 
to make the world happy. God has linked our duty and our inte- 
rest together, so as there is no separating them. Relations are 
the joints of society ; sin has disjointed the world, and so no wonder 
it be miserable ; a relative holiness would set the disjointed world 
right again. 


Exod. xx. 13. — Thou shalt not kill. 

The scope of this command is the preservation of that life which 
God hath given unto man, which is man's greatest concern. No 
man is lord of his own or his neighbour's life ; it belongs to him 
alone who gave it, to take it away. It is observable, that this and 
the three following commands are proposed in a word, not because 
they are of small moment, but because there is more light of nature 
for them than those proposed at greater length. 

This command respects both our own life and the life of our neigh- 
bour. That it respects our neighbour, there can be no doubt ; and 
as little needs there to be of its respecting our own. The words are 
general, agreeing to both ; and so the sense of them is, Thou shalt not 
kill thyself, nor any othei\ He that said to the jailor, 'Do thyself 
no harm,' taught no other thing than what Moses and the prophets 
did say. Man is no more lord of his own life than his neighbour's ; 
and he is in hazard of encroaching upon it, as well as that of ano- 
ther ; and it is no where guarded, if not here. Nay, the sum of the 
second table being, ' Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,' where- 
by love to our neighbour is made the measure of love to ourselves, 
it is evident that it respects our own life in the first place. 

As every positive command implies a negative, so every negative 
implies a positive. Therefore, in so far as God says Thou shalt not 
kill, viz. thyself or others, he thereby obliges men to preserve their 
own life and that of others. And seeing all the commands agree to- 


gether, there can be no keeping of one by breaking of another ; there- 
fore the positive part of this command is necessary to be determined 
to lawful endeavours. Hence the answer to that, 

Quest. ' What is required in the sixth commandment V is plain, 
viz. ' The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavours to 
preserve our own life, and the life of others.' The duties of this 
command may be reduced to two heads. 1. The preserving of our 
own life. 2. The preserving the life of others. But both these are 
to be qualified, so as it be by lawful means and endeavours. For 
God has given us no such law, as for the keeping of one command 
we may or must break another. Only there is a great difference be- 
twixt positive and negative precepts ; the practice of positive duties 
may be in some cases intermitted without sin, as a man attacked in 
time of prayer, or on the Sabbath-day, may lawfully leave the 
prayer, and external worship of the day, to defend his life, Luke 
xiv. 5. But never may a man do an ill thing, be it great or little, 
though it were even to preserve his own life or that of others, Rom. 
iii. 8. Is it a thing of which God has said, Thou shalt not do so 
and so ? it must never be done, though a thousand lives depended 
upon it. 

Hence it is evident, that a person may not tell a lie, nor do any 
sinful thing whatever, far less blaspheme, deny Christ or any of his 
truths, commit adultery or steal, though his own life, or the life of 
others, may be lying upon it. For where the choice is, suffer or sin, 
God requires and calls us in that case to suffer. And therefore the 
example of such things in the saints, as in Isaac, Rahab, &c. are no 
more propounded for our imitation, than David's murder, &c. 
Peter's denial of Christ, &c. And though we read not of reproofs 
given in some such cases, that will no more infer God's approbation 
of them than that of Lot's incest, for which we read of no reproof 
given him. The general law against such things does sufficiently 
condemn them, in whomsoever they are found. 

Object. This is a hard saying. A man may be in the power of 
some ruffian, that will require on pain of death some sinful thing ; 
and must one sell his life at such a cheap rate, as to refuse to deny 
his religion, drink drunk with him, lie, or do any such thing for the 
time : 

Ans. It is no more hard than that, Luke xiv. 26. ' If any man 
come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and chil- 
dren, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot 
be my disciple.' We must love God more than our own or other's 
life, and so must not redeem it by offending God. Sin ruins the 
soul ; therefore says our Lord, Matth. x. 28. ' Fear not them which 

Vol. II. s 


kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul : but rather fear him 
which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.' 

Object. In the case of martyrdom in the cause of Christ, it is very 
reasonable ; but that is not the case. 

Ans. That is a mistake. The case supposed is indeed the case of 
martyrdom in the cause of Christ. And I confidently aver, that 
whosoever suffers for the testimony of a good conscience, and be- 
cause he will not break any one of the commands of God, is as true 
a martyr for the cause of Christ as he that dies on a gibbet for the 
maintenance of any of the articles of our creed. Is not holiness the 
cause of Christ ? Has not a man in such a case the cause of martyr- 
dom by the end ? does he not lose his life for the sake of Christ ? 
has he not the call to martyrdom, Suffer or Sin ? may he not look 
for the martyr's reward ? And if he redeem life by sinning, falls 
he not under the same dreadful doom, as in that case, Matth. x. 39. 
' He that findeth his life, shall lose it : and he that loseth his life 
for my sake, shall find it,' Mark viii. 38. ' "Whosoever therefore 
shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sin- 
ful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when he 
cometh in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels.' Are not 
the ten commands Christ's words, as well as the articles of faith ? 
"Whatever difference may be betwixt these cases, an impartial con- 
sideration will manifest the case supposed is a greater trial of faith 
than the other. And God will surely make up to these secret un- 
known martyrs at the day of judgment, the honour which the open 
and manifest martyrs have before-hand. 

In discoursing further from this subject, I shall shew, 

I. "What is required in this command. 

II. "What is forbidden in it. 

I. I am to shew, what is required in this command. It requires, 
as I said before, ' All lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, or 
the life of others.' 

FIRST, It requires, that, by all lawful endeavours, we preserve 
our own lives. Self-preservation is the leading duty of this com- 
mand. Brute creatures have a natural instinct for it. Our kind 
God has given man a written law for it, whereby it may appear 
that we are dearer to our God than to ourselves. We may take up 
this in two things. 

First, Thou must preserve the life of thine own soul. "When 
God says, Thou shalt not kill, doth he only take care for the body ? 
No ; doubtless of the soul too. He looks not to the cabinet only, 
overlooking the jewel. The soul is the man, at least the best and 
most precious part of him. Two things here are in general required. 


1. The careful avoiding of all sin, which is the destruction of the 
soul, Prov. xi. 19. It is by sin that men wrong their own souls ; 
whereby they wound them, fill them with poisonous things, and pre- 
pare the way for their eternal death, Prov. viii. ult. 

2. The careful using of all means of grace and holy exercises, for 
the begetting, preserving, and promoting spiritual life, 1 Pet. ii. 2. 
As we must eat and drink for the life of our bodies, so must we use 
these for the life of our souls ; eating Christ's body, and drinking 
Christ's blood, by faith, drinking in his word. The soul has its 
sickness, decays, &c. as well as the body. Let it not pine away, but 
nourish it. 

Secondly, Thou must by all lawful endeavours preserve the life 
of thine own body. "We may take up this in these three things. 

1. Just self-defence against violence offered unto us by others un- 
justly, Luke xxii. 36. So a man ought to defend himself if he can, 
against thieves or robbers ; and therefore it is said, ' If a thief be 
found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood 
be shed for him,' Exod. xxii. 2. Yet this must be only in the case 
of necessity, where the violence cannot be escaped but by a violent 
repelling it ; for all violent courses must be the last remedy, Luke 
vi. 29. Where a soft reception will still the violence offered, it is 
not the spirit of Christ, but of Satan, that repels violence with vio- 
lence. And when it is necessary, no greater violence may be offered 
than what is necessary to repel the attack, Exod. ii. 2, 31. 

2. Furnishing our bodies with whatever is necessary for their 
health and welfare, according to our ability ; taking the moderate 
use of the means of health and life unto ourselves, Eph. v. 29. for in 
so far as we use not the means of preserving them, we are guilty of 
destroying them. Therefore it is our duty to allow ourselves a com- 
petent portion of meat and drink, wholesome food, as the Lord lays 
to our hands ; to provide competent housing and clothing, to refresh 
our bodies with a competent measure of rest and sleep ; to use mo- 
derate labour, exercise and recreations, and medicine for the removal 
of distempers. The use of these is necessary, and the immoderate 
use of them hurtful ; therefore the moderate and temperate use of 
them is our duty. 

3. Keeping our affections regular, subduing all inordinate and 
evil affections ; for these are destructive to the body as well as to 
the soul. So that a patient diposition, a quiet mind, and a contented 
and cheerful spirit are duties of this command, as necessary for the 
welfare of our bodies ; whereas inordinate passions are the ruin of 
them, Prov. xvii. 22. ' A merry heart doth good like a medicine : 
but a broken spirit drieth the bones.' 



SECONDLY, This command requires, that by all lawful endea- 
vours we preserve the life of our neighbours. We may also take up 
this in two things. 

First, "We must endeavour to preserve the life of their souls. 

1. By giving them the example of a holy life, for that edifies and 
builds up, Matth. v. 16; whereas a scandalous walk is a soul-mur- 
dering practice. 

2. By instructing, warning, reproving, and admonishing them as 
we have opportunity, where the case of their sin requires it, Jude, 
23 ; and comforting them in distress, 1 Thess. v. 16 ; and praying 
for them, Gen. xliii. 29. No man must say with Cain, ' Am I my 
brother's keeper V We are required to watch over one another. Tf 
our neighbour's ox or his ass fall into the ditch, we must also help 
them out : how much more when his soul is in hazard of falling into 

Secondly, We must by all lawful endeavours preserve the life of 
our neighbour's body. Here God requires of us, 

1. To protect and defend the innocent against unjust violence, ac- 
cording to every one's power, as they have a fair call to exercise the 
same, whether it be in respect of their name, goods, or life, Psal. 
lxxxii. 3, 4. Prov. xxiv. 11, 12. And so it is a duty of this com- 
mand to repress tyranny, whereof we have commended example in 
the interposition of the people to save the life of Jonathan, 1 Sam. 
xiv. 45. ' And the people said unto Saul, shall Jonathan die, who 
hath wrought this great salvation in Israel ? God forbid : as the 
Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground ; 
for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued 
Jonathan, that he died not.' 

2. To give unto others the necessaries of life, when in want, ac- 
cording to our ability. For as he that feeds not the fire puts it out, 
so unmerciful people that shut up their bowels from the needy, are 
guilty of their blood before the Lord, James ii. 15, 16. 

3. To entertain such affections towards our neighbour, as may 
keep us back from injuring him, and him from doing harm to him- 
self ; such as charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, 
gentleness, kindness. These are as water to quench fire in us which 
may burn up others, and as oil unto others to refresh them, Eph. 
iv. ult. 

4. A peaceable, mild, and courteous conversation, Prov. xv. 1. in 
looks, speech, and behaviour. 

5. Lastly, With respect to injuries, we ought to take all things in 
the best sense, 1 Cor. xiii. 5, 7- to avoid all occasions of strife, yea, 
even to part sometimes with our right for peace as Abraham with 



Lot; to bear real injuries, Col. iii. 12 13; to forbear and be ready 
to be reconciled, and forgive injuries, yea, to requite good for evil, 
Matth. v. 44. 

With respect to both our own life and the life of others, we are 
called to resist all thoughts, subdue all passions, avoid all occasions, 
temptations, or practices tending to the destruction of our own life, 
or that of others of soul or body. 

Who can understand his errors ? "What shall come of us, if God 
enter into judgment with us ? Our omissions would ruin us, even in 
those tilings where we judge ourselves to be in the least hazard. 

II. I come now to shew what is forbidden in the sixth command- 
ment. It forbids ' the taking away of our own life, or the life of 
our neighbour unjustly, and whatsoever tendeth thereunto.' 

Here I shall consider this command as relating to our own life, 
and the life of our neighbour. 

FIRST, I shall consider this command as relating to our own life; 
and that, 1. With respect to our souls; and, 2. With respect to 
our bodies. 

First, Thou shalt not kill thine own soul. Our kind God forbids 
us to be self murderers and soul murderers. We become guilty of 
the blood of our own souls these ways : 

1. By neglecting the means of grace and salvation, Prov. viii. 34, 
36. The life of our souls is a flame that must be kindled from 
above, and fed by means of grace. Whoso then neglect them, are 
guilty of their own blood. Consider this, ye prayerless persons, ye 
that are at no pains to get knowledge, slighters of public ordinances, 
private duties, reading, meditation, &c. 

2. By opposing and fighting against the Lord's quickening work 
in the soul. They that murder convictions, murder their own souls, 
as if they were resolved that they should never stir in them, Prov. 
xxix. 1. Some, with Felix, put them off with fair promises ; some, 
with Cain, with the noise of axes and hammers ; which is in effect, 
they will not let their souls recover. 

3. By continuing in sin impenitent. God calls by his word and 
providence to the man, as Paul to the jailor, ' Do thyself no harm.' 
But, as if he were resolute on his own ruin, he will not forbear these 
courses. Wilful impenitency is thg grossest self-murder, because 
soul -murder, Ezek. xviii. 30, 31. His soul is standing under a de- 
cayed roof, tell him that it will fall on him ; but he will not stir a 
foot ; is not his blood then on his own head ? 

4. By unbelief, and not coming to Christ by faith, John v. 40. 
Many means are essayed to preserve the soul ; but still it is ruined, 
because the main cure is neglected. Let a man use ever so many 

s 3 


remedies for his health, if he will not use the main cure necessary, 
he is his own murderer. So resolutions, watchings, engagements, 
are tried ; but if faith, and employing Christ for sanctification, is 
not tried, he is still a murderer. 

sirs, consider this. Murder, self-murder, soul-murder, is a cry- 
ing sin. What wonder the man perish, who will perish ? "Will 
God spare the shedding of the blood of that soul, which the man 
himself is so liberal of? 

And hence see that people not only may, but this command of 
God obliges them to seek the welfare and good of their souls. Fear 
hell, hope for heaven; and let this stir you up to duty : but do not 
rest there, go forward and make the love of God your main motive ; 
and that of itself would be sufficient to stir you up to all the duties 
of a holy life. 

Secondly, Thou shalt not kill thine own body. This is simply 
and absolutely forbidden. We may take away the life of others in 
some cases justly; but in no case our own, unless there be a parti- 
cular divine warrant, which I suppose in Samson's case, which is not 
to be expected by us ; for, therein he was a type of Christ. There 
are two things forbidden here. 

1. The taking away of our own life, by laying violent hands on 
ourselves. This is the horrid sin of direct self-murder ; of which 
Saul, Ahithophel, and Judas were guilty ; and many sad instances 
of it have been of late. The law of God utterly condemns it, and 
nature itself abhors it. It is the effect of a desperate envenomed 
spirit, rising from pride and impatience, a horrible leaping into 
eternity ere the call come from God. It is highly dishonourable to 
God, charging him with cruelty, aud refusing to Avait his leisure. 
It is the thing the grand murderer is seeking. Civil laws strike 
against it; with us self-murderers are denied Christian burial, their 
goods are escheated, that respect to their families may deter people 
from it : in other places they have hung them up on gibbets. And 
though we will not take on us to determine the case of all such to 
be hopeless for eternity, that is sufficient to scare us, 1 John iii. 5. 
' Ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.' 

2. Doing any thing that tendeth thereunto. Men may be guilty 
of killing themselves indirectly many ways, all of which are here 
forbidden. Here are forbidden as tending to the murder of the 

1st, All entertaining of any thoughts against our own life, that is 
heart-killing ; wearying of our own life, and fretful wishing to be 
gone, as was Jonah's case, chap. iv. 3 ; all tampering with tempta- 
tions of that sort, and not rejecting them with abhorrence, Job vii. 


15. Our life is a mercy, and not to be wearied off fretfully ; for it 
is God's goodness that we are out of hell. And it is horrid ingrati- 
tude to account God's gift a burden. 

2dly, Discontent, fretfulness, and impatience. It is a dangerous 
thing, Psal. xxxvii. 8. It was that which prevailed with Ahitho- 
phel to make away with himself. It is like ink cast into a foun- 
tain, which makes all the water blackish. It unfits for society with 
men, and for communion with God ; it destroys the soul and body 
too ; for the fretful man is his own tormentor. We should study to 
be content with our lot, and easy whatever our circumstances be, 
Heb. xiii. 5 ; and that will set all our wrongs right, Prov. xv. 15 ; 
for then our spirit is brought to our lot ; and the vulture preys no 
more on our liver. 

Sdly, Immoderate grief and sorrow. When we go into the waters 
of godly sorrow for sin, we are out again ere we are well in ; but in 
carnal sorrow we will go over the head and ears, 2 Cor. vii. 10. 
How many have conceived that sorrow upon some cross which they 
have met with ! something within their fancy has been balked, that 
has ruined their bodies as well as their souls. We should enure 
ourselves to a patient bearing in the Lord's hand ; and not smother 
that fire within our breasts, but lay it out before the Lord and leave 
it there, 1 Sam. i. 18. and labour to please God and consult our own 
welfare by a holy and moderate cheerfulness, Prov. xvii. 22. 

ithly, Anxiety, distracting carking cares about the things of this 
life. As men fearing that they shall not sleep, do thereby mar 
their own rest ; so the body is often ruined by too much anxiety for 
it, Matth. vi. 31. 'Take no thought what ye shall eat, &c.' Gr. 
' Rack not your mind.' When the mind is on the tenter-hooks, the 
body must smart for it. As the ape kills its fondling by hugging 
it, so do men kill themselves by indulging anxious cares. Let us 
labour then for a holy carelessness in these matters ; let us use law- 
ful means, and leave the success quietly on the Lord. Though 
anxiety will not add a cubit to our stature, it may through time 
take a cubit from it, Phil. iv. 6. 

Stilly, Neglecting our bodies, Col. ii. 23. when we do not make 
a convenient use of the means of life and health ; as when people 
deny themselves the necessary measure of food, sleep, exercise, re- 
creations, physic, clothes, and housing. People may be guilty 
against their own lives this way, (1.) By a careless negligent dispo- 
sition, Eccl. x. 18. (2.) From the plague of a covetous pinching 
humour, that they cannot find in their heart to use the gift of God 
to them, Eccl. vi. 2. (3.) By means of inordinate passions, 1 Kings 
xxi. 4. (4.) Sometimes Satan has driven people under convictions 


to this, suggesting to them that they have no right to these things. 
But as long as men live, though they have not a covenant-right* 
they have a common providential right to the means of life ; and 
the command binds, Thou shalt not kill. It is a duty of this com- 
mand, then, to take care of our bodies and provide them necessaries 
so far as we can : they are not ours, but God's. 

6thli/, Intemperance, when people keep no measure in satisfying 
the flesh, Luke xxi. 34. They pamper the flesh, till the beast 
turns furious, and ruins itself. When God made man, he impressed 
an image of his sovereignty on him, made him lord over the beasts ; 
but now, without the beasts, and within the affections, are turned 
rebels. This is a monster with three heads. 

(1.) Gluttony, intemperance in eating. Man should eat to live ; 
but some, like the beasts, live to eat. The law of God will not allow 
people to cram their bellies, and sacrifice to a greedy appetite, Phil, 
iii. 19. It is a degree of self-murder; for it cuts short people's 
days, which sobriety would prolong. There is a curse entailed upon 
it, which is often seen to take effect, Prov. xxiii. 20, 21. ' Be not 
amongst wine-bibbers, amongst riotous eaters of flesh. For the 
drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty : and drowsiness 
shall clothe a man with rags.' The glutton and the drunkard, in 
scripture-language, is equivalent to a ne'er-do-well in ours, P>eut. 
xxi. 20, 21. It is a beastly sin. A heathen calls the glutton's 
belly a swine's trough. 

(2.) Drunkenness, intemperance in drinking, Luke xxi. 34. A 
sin that makes quick work for the grave, and lias carried many 
thither ere they have lived half their days. Reason differences men 
from beasts, but the beastly sin of drunkenness takes away that, 
robbing men of reason. It is the devil's rack, on which while he 
has men, they will babble out every thing; for quod in conic sobrii, 
in ore ehii. It is an inlet to other sins : for what will a man not 
do in his drunkenness, if he have a temptation to it ? It destroys 
a man's health, wealth and soul ; murders soul and body at once. 
The Lacedaemonians used to fill their slaves drunk, that their chil- 
dren, seeing the picture of drunkenness might loath it. We have 
the picture of it, Prov. xxiii. 29, &c. (1.) It embroils men in quar- 
rels ' Who hath wo ? who hath sorrow ? who hath contentions V 
Many have wo and sorrow that cannot help it ; but drunkards wil- 
fully create them to themselves. When drink is in, wit is out. 
Thence proceed drunken scuffles ; balling in scurrilous language ; 
and from words they go to blows, ivounds without cause. (2.) It 
ruins their bodies ; redness of (yes, a sign of inward inflammation, 
through drink and watching, not through weeping and praying. 


(3.) It exposes them to uncleanness, ver. 33. ' Thine eyes shall be- 
hold strange women.' (4.) It makes their tongues ramble, speak 
contrary to religion, reason, common civility, yea, nonsense. (5.) 
It besots them ; it makes their heads giddy, and they are fearless of 
danger, ver. 34. ' Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the 
midst of the sea, or he that lieth upon the top of a mast.' (6.) 
Lastly, It is a bewitching sin. The man sees the ill of it, but his 
heart is hardened, he has no power to leave it, ver, 35. ' They have 
stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick ; they bave beaten 
me, and I felt it not. When shall I awake ? I will seek it yet 
again.' The curse of God is entailed on it, Isa. xxviii. 1, 2. 3, 
' Wo to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose 
glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat 
valleys of them that are overcome with wine. Behold, the Lord 
hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a de- 
stroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast 
down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunk- 
ards of Ephraiin shall be trodden under feet.' 

(3.) Intemperance in any other sensual pleasure, Luke viii. 14. 
The pleasures of the senses are often chains to the soul, and 
scourges to the body ; and intemperance in them will make them so. 
Too much pleasing the body may make mourning at last, Prov. v. 
11. A man may sin against God and his own body in the intempe- 
rate use of any sensual pleasure whatsoever, though in itself lawful ; 
and no doubt much guilt is contracted in the intemperate use of to- 
bacco, and such like things, 1 Cor. vi. 12. 

Ithly, Immoderate labour and painfulness, Eccl. ii. 22, 23. La- 
bour and exercise in moderation is like a sober wind that purifies 
the air, and is good for the body and soul too : but immoderate la- 
bour and exercise is like a violent wind that throws down the house, 
and plucks up the tree by the roots. 

Lastly, Exposing ourselves to unnecessary hazards, Matth. iv. 
7. To put ourselves in hazard where we have no call, is to sin 
against God and ourselves. And in this case, God desires mercy, 
and not sacrifice. 

SECONDLY, We will consider this command as relating to our 
neighbour's life. 

First, Thou shalt not kill thy neighbour's soul. It is sin that is 
the killing thing both to our own and our neighbour's soul. And 
there are several ways how men fall into this guilt of murdering the 
souls of others. As, 

1. By giving them an example of sin. God forbade to lay a 
stumbling-block before the blind ; but the world is filled with these, 


and so ruined, Matth. xviii. 7- Men do ill things, and think that if 
they do ill, it is but to themselves. No ; but thereby thou dost 
what lies in thee to ruin others. 

Yea, example is not only ruining to others in evil things, but also, 
(1.) In doing what has the appearance of evil : therefore we should 
take heed to that, because others may take the appearance for 
reality, and so be ruined by us. (2.) By an uncharitable use of our 
Christian liberty in things indifferent. Thus the strong may ruin 
the weak, Rom. xiv. 15. 

2. By co-operating directly to the sin of our neighbour, which is 
indeed the lending of our destroying hand to ruin his soul, whereby 
his blood comes to be charged on us. It is the putting of a cup of 
poison in his hand to dispatch himself, and a reaching of the sword 
to the madman, which whoso do are accessory to his death. Thus 
men are guilty, 

1st, By commanding others to sin, as Jeroboam made Israel to 
sin. So magistrates by sinful laws, and all superiors whatsoever, 
when they use their authority to oblige another to an ill thing; or 
whosoever commands another to do what is sinful. 

2dly, By counselling others to it, or advising them in it. The 
world is full of these murderers. .So that, where a person is under 
temptation, there is often at hand one like Jonadab to give counsel 
to some ill course, 2 Sam. xiii. 5. Such counsel often has the force 
of a command. So drunkards murder one another's souls, Hab. 
ii. 15. 

3c%, By joining with others in sin, Psal. 1. 18. Going along 
with others in their sin, ruins not only ourselves, but them too. 

4thly, By provoking others to sin, 1 Kings xxi. 25. Thus people 
are many ways guilty, by a provoking carriage, by provoking 
words ; and not a few so devilish that they take a pleasure to pro- 
voke others, that they may get something to laugh at. These are 
like them who stir up the fire to burn another's house, that they 
may warm themselves at it. 

bthly, By soliciting and downright tempting to sin. Such agents 
the devil has in the world, who make it their business to draw others 
to sin, by an ensnaring carriage or plain words ; so that it is evident 
they are gone out on the devil's errant, Prov. vii. 18. 

6thly, By teaching sin. When men call truth a lie, and lies 
truth, when they give out a sinful practice to be duty, and a duty to 
bo a sinful practice, they contribute directly to the sin of others, 
and bring that woe on themselves, Isa. v. 20. ' Wo unto them that 
call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light 
for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.' 


By all these, two fall at once ; for the sin of him that commands, 
counsels, &c. does not excuse the other. 

(1.) By consenting to the sin of others, countenancing them in it, 
and encouraging them in their sin, Acts ix. 1. We may counte- 
nance sinners in their duty, hut by no means in their sin. These 
two are very different, hut they are often confounded ; and the con- 
founding of them is the cause of much disorder in our church at this 

3. By neglecting what we owe to our neighbour for the welfare of 
his soul. In not doing what we ought to preserve or recover his 
soul, we are guilty of destroying it, and so indirectly operate to his 
sin. As, 

1st, By neglecting the means for preventing sin in others, 
Ezek. iii. 18. When people do not teach, warn, and admonish, 
those whom they see to be in hazard, or generally neglect to restrain 
sin by all lawful means competent to them. Thus Eli sinned, 1 
Sam. iii. 13. ' His sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them 
not.' Thus much guilt is contracted by ministers, magistrates, hus- 
bands and wives, parents, masters, &c. 

2t%, By neglecting the means to recover those that have fallen 
into sin; suffering sin to lie on them, and not reproving it, Lev. xix. 
17; compare 1 John iii. 15; or reproving them so imprudently, 
passionately, or weakly; as that it can do them no good. So did Eli. 

2>dly, By not compassionating the sinner, and mourning over his 
sin before the Lord, but hardening our hearts against him, and being 
careless what come of his soul, Ezek. ix. 4. what guilt is con- 
tracted this way in shutting up our bowels of compassion ! How 
many will exclaim against the sins of others, whose consciences wit- 
ness that they never had a sore heart for the dishonour done to God, 
and the ill to the sinner's soul by it. 

Athly, By being pleased with their sin. This is in effect to be 
pleased with their ruin, Rom. i. ult. Thus men are guilty, 

(1.) By approving the sin of others, Psal. xlix. 13. This is to set 
our stamp on an evil way, that it may pass current. 

(2.) By rejoicing at it and making a jest of it. It is devilish 
mirth that riseth from our neighbour's ruining himself. Yet much 
of this guilt is in the world, Pro v. xiv. 9. 

Secondly, Thou shalt not kill thy neighbour's body unjustly. 
There are three cases wherein the life of our neighbour may be 
taken away justly. (1.) In the case of public justice, Gen. ix. 6. 
(2.) Of lawful war, Judg. v. 23. (3.) Of necessary self-defence, 
Exod. xxii. 2, 3. The reason is, because in these cases a man does 
not take, but God, the Lord of life and death, puts the sword in his 


hand ; so that judgment in these cases is the Lord's. Unless in 
these cases, it is murder, an unjust taking away another's life. 
Now, there are two things here forbidden with respect to this. 

First, The taking away of our neighbour's life unjustly. This is 
actual and direct murder. This was the sin of Cain. This is a hor- 
rible and atrocious crime, for which men's laws condemn the guilty 
to the gallows, and God's laws condemn them to hell, 1 John iii. 15. 
A sin so flat against nature, that even a natural conscience uses to 
kindle a hell in the bosom of the murderer ; and a crime it is which 
Providence specially watches to bring to light. This is to be ex- 
tended not only to what is commonly reckoned murder, but to these 
three cases. 

1. The taking away of men's lives, under colour of law, and forms 
of justice, when the law is unjust, and there is no real crime ; as in 
the case of Naboth, 1 Kings xxi. 12, 13, 19. And therefore all the 
laws of the world will not free persecutors from the guilt of murder, 
in their taking away the lives of the martyrs. 

2. The taking away of men's lives in an unjust war, Hab. ii. 12. 
For in such a case an army is but a company of robbers and mur- 
derers before the Lord; seeing God puts not the sword in men's 
hands in an unjust cause. 

3. The taking away of a man's life in a set duel or combat, which, 
whether it fall in the hand of him that gives the challenge, or his 
that accepts it, is downright murder. There is not the least sort of 
approbation thereof in the scriptures. Aud therefore the laws of 
duelling, like the laws of drinking, are not given by God, but by 
the devil. David's combating Goliah was by public authority, in a 
public cause, and besides, from an extraordinary impulse of the 
Spirit. Duelling is from the devil, as being the effect of pride and 
rage ; a taking into men's heads the disposing of that life which God 
only is Lord of ; it is an usurping of the magistrate's sword, and 
invading God's right of vengeance, Rom. xii. 19 ; And the pretence 
of honour, the usual plea for duels, is as far different from God's 
laws of honour, as hell is from heaven, Prov. xvi. 32. Matth. v. 44. 

Secondly, Whatsoever tendeth to the taking away of our neigh- 
bour's life unjustly. This is virtual interpretative, indirect murder. 
It is of several sorts, all here forbidden. 

1. There is heart-murder; and of that there are several sorts. 

1st, Carnal anger and wrath, which is rash, causeless, and exces- 
sive, Matth. v. 22. Some people's anger is like a fire in straw, soon 
blown up and soon out ; others like a fire in iron, which it is hard 
to get laid. But of whatever sort it is, it is a short madness ; and 
the longer it is kept, it is so much the worse, Eph. iv. 26, 27. ' It 


resteth in the bosom of fools.' All murder begins here. It is a fire 
that kindles the anger of God, and of our neighbour, against us, and 
so casts all into confusion. Let us study meekness ; which is what 
will make us like to Christ, Col. iii. 12. 

2d/y, Envy, whereby people grieve and grudge at the good of 
others. It is the devil's two-edged sword drawn to slay two at 
once ; the envious himself, Prov. xiv. 30 ; for he is like a serpent 
gnawing its own tail, Job v. 2 ; and the party envied, Prov. xxvii. 
4. While other sins are entertained for pleasure or profit, this is 
like a barren field, bringing forth only briers and thorns ; there is 
not a dram of any sort of pleasure in it. But this was it that put 
Joseph's brethren on a murdering design. A charitable frame of 
spirit is our duty, Rom. xii. 15. 

Zdly, Hatred and malice against our neighbour. This made Cain 
imbrue his hands in his brother's blood. And such as live in malice 
and hatred go in his way, 1 John iii. 15. It is the sad character of 
persons estranged from God, that they are ' hateful, and hating o^p 
another,' Tit. iii. 3. But of all hatred, that is the worst which hates 
good men for their goodness. However, we may hate every man's 
faults, but no man's person. ' Love thy neighbour as thyself,' is the 
express command of heaven. 

4zthly, Revengeful thoughts and desires ; which are so much the 
worse as they are the longer entertained, Rom. xii. 19. That heart 
is a bloody heart that longs for a heart-sight, as they call it, on 
those that have wronged them. God sees the most secret wish of ill 
to our neighbour, and will call us to an account. Let us learn long- 
suffering and patience, to forgive, a disposition and readiness to be 
reconciled ; otherwise our addresses to Heaven for pardon will be 
vain, Matth. iv. 15. 

bthly, Rejoicing at the mischief that befals others, Prov. xxiv. 17, 
18. Nothing makes men liker the devil than that murdering dispo- 
sition to make the ruin of others our mirth, and their sorrow our 
joy ; for man's sin and misery is what affords pleasure to the devil. 
We should sympathize and weep with thein that weep, as well as 
rejoice with those that do rejoice. 

Lastly, Cruelty, an horrid unrelenting disposition, that is not af- 
fected with the misery of others, but carries it on, and adds to it 
with delight. A disposition most inconsistent with the spirit of the 
gospel, that teaches tender heartedness even to the very beasts, 
Prov. xii. 10. But those that delight in cruel treating of these, 
want but an opportunity to exercise it on men. 

2. There is tongue-murder. Solomon observes, that the tongue, 
however little a member it is, is the Lord of life and death, Prov. 


xviii. 21. and xxi. 23. If it be not well managed, then, no wonder 
it be sometimes found guilty of murder. The natural shape of the 
tongue resembles a flame of fire, and therefore in Hebrew one word 
signifies a flame and the tongue ; yea, and it is what it seems to be, 
' a fire, a world of iniquity,' Jam. iii. 6. It resembles also a sword, 
and so it is oft-times, lvii. 4. and Psal. lix. 7- The mouth and 
tongue resemble bow and arrow, and so they are, Psal. lxiv. 3. The 
rage of an ill tongue must needs be dangerous, then, seeing such an 
one lays about him with his bow and arrow, and advances with fire 
and sword, which must needs bring him in blood-guilty. Now, this 
sword devours several ways. 

1st, By quarrelling, provoking, and contentious speeches, Prov. 
xxiii. 29. Such words have oft-times begun a plea that has ended in 
blood. And therefore the apostle compares such to beasts, that be- 
gin to snarl and bite one another, till it end in the ruin of either or 
both, Gal. v. 15. Let us make conscience, then, of peaceable, mild, 
and gentle speeches. 

2dly, By bitter words. These are the impoisoned arrows that 
tongue-murderers shoot at their neighbour, Psal lxiv. 3. 4. Their 
tongues are dipt in gall, and they pierce to the heart, and give a 
home-thrust like a sword, Prov. xii. 28. They become not the dis- 
ciples of the meek Jesus. Lay aside these as ye would not be 
reckoned murderers in the sight of God, Eph. iv. 31. 

'Sdli/, By railing and scolding. This was Shimei's murdering deed, 
2 Sam. xvi. 5, 6, 7- for which he died as a murderer in Solomon's 
days. Thus men and women manage their tongue-battles with 
eagerness, making their doors or the town-gate the field of battle, 
where words pierce like swords to the heart. These are the plagues 
and the pests of society, whose bloody mouths proclaim their hearts 
fearless of God. Hear ye what the Lord says, 1 Pet. iii. 9. ' Not 
rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing : but contrariwise, 
blessing : knowing that ye are thereunto called ; that ye should in- 
herit a blessing.' 

4thly, By reviling, reproachful, and disdainful speeches. Men 
think little of these ; they are but words, and words are but wind. 
But they are a wind that will blow people to hell, Matt. v. 22. They 
are the devil's bellows to blow up the fire of anger ; which may 
make fearful havock ere it be quenched, Prov. xv. 1. 

bthly, By mocking, scoffing, and deriding speeches. These are 
reckoned among the sufferings of the martyrs, Heb. xi. 36. ' Others 
had trial of cruel mockings.' The soldiers mocking Christ, John 
xix. 3. is compared to the baiting of dogs, Psal. xxii. 16. See how 
children paid for this usage to the prophet Elisha, 2 Kings ii. 22, 24. 


Lastly, By cursings, imprecations, and wrathful wishings of ill 
and mischief to our neighbours ; which is but throwing up hellish 
fire on others, that comes down aud burns up him that threw it, 
Psal. cix. 18. 

3. There is eye-murder, which vents itself by a wrathful coun- 
tenance, and all gestures of that kind, such as high and proud looks, 
and fierce looks, Prov. vi. 17- The spirit of God takes notice of 
Cain's countenance, Gen. iv. 5. As there is adultery in looks, so 
there may be murder in them, not only angry looks, but looks of 
satisfaction on the miseries of others, which God knows the meaning 
of, Obad. xii. gnashing with the teeth, and all such gestures of a per- 
son, denoting a heart boiling with wrath and revenge, Acts vii. 54. 

4. There is hand-murder, even where death killeth not. And peo- 
ple may be guilty of this two ways. 

1st, By way of omission, when we with-hold and give not help to 
those that are in distress, to save their life or living, Judg. v. 2, 3. 
neglecting the sick, not visiting and helping them as need requires, 
Luke x. 31, 32. not affording means of life to the poor in want, 
Jam. ii. 15, 16. for those put out the flame of life that do not feed 
it. We should then put on bowels of mercy and charity, in imita- 
tion of Job, chap. xxxi. 16, &c. It is observable that the sentence 
against the wicked runs on unmercifulness to the poor members of 
Christ, Matt. xxv. 41, &c. 

Idly, By way of commission. And so men are guilty, 

(1.) As they strike against the living of others, their means and 
way of subsistence. This goes under the general name of oppression, 
a crying sin, Ezek. xxii. 7- Thus this command is broken by ex- 
tortion, landlords racking of their lands so as labourers cannot live 
on them, tenants taking other's lands over their heads, sometimes to 
the ruin of lionest families, masters not allowing servants whereupon 
to live ; and, generally, by all kind of oppression, which in God's 
account is murder, Isa. iii. 14, 15. Micah iii. 3. 

(2.) As they strike against the body and life itself, Thus men are 
guilty, by fighting, striking, and wounding others, Exod. xxi. 18, 22. 
How many have been guilty as murderers in the sight of men, that 
have had no design to go the full length, when they fell to fighting ? 

Persecution is a complication of all these ; and therefore the bet- 
ter the cause is, the worse is the deed. It is a main engine of him 
who was a murderer from the beginning. And God will reckon with 
them as murderers at that great day, Matt. xxv. 41, 42, &c. 

Lastly, Men may be guilty of the blood of others otherwise. As, 

(1.) By sinful occasioning in others those things whereby our 
neighbour sins against his own soul, Quod est causa causa-, est etiam 


causa causati. So people sin by occasioning in others discontent, 
fretfulness, immoderate sorrow, &c. 1 Sam. i. 6. Wherefore we 
should beware of that, as we would not be guilty of their blood. 

(2.) By all the ways we said men co-operate to the destroying of 
other souls, they may be guilty of killing others' bodies ; as by com- 
manding, counselling, or anywise procuring the taking away of men's 
living or lives unjustly. So David murdered Uriah by the sword of 
the Ammonites. So informers against the Lord's people in time of 
persecution are murderers in God's sight, Ezek. xxii. 9. Yea, the 
approving, or any way consenting to it, makes men guilty, Acts 
viii. 1. 

Now, Sirs, examine yourselves in this matter ; and who will not 
be brought in blood-guilty, guilty of their own and their neighbour's 
blood, the blood of their souls and bodies ! God's law is spiritual 
and sees the guilt of blood where we plead Not guilty. Let us be 
humbled and convinced, and apply to the blood of Christ, that we 
may be washed from it. 


Exod. xx. 14. — Thou shalt not commit adultery. 

The scope of this command is the preservation of our own and our 
neighbour's chastity and purity. God is a holy God, and the devil is 
an unclean spirit : we must therefore study purity in all manner of 
conversation. Our Lord puts this command before the sixth, Mark 
x. 19. because our chastity should be as dear to us as our life, and 
we should be as much afraid of that which denies the body as that 
which destroys it. 

This command is a negative precept, and expressly forbids adul- 
tery : but under that is comprehended all manner of uncleanness 
whatsoever, with all the causes and occasions leading thereunto. 
And the positive part of this command is, that we must preserve our 
own and our neighbour's chastity by all due means. 

In discoursing further, I shall consider, 

I. The duties required in this command. 

II. The sins forbidden therein. 

III. Make some practical improvement. 

I. Our first business is to consider what is required in this com- 
mand ; and the Catechism, agreeably to holy scripture, tells us, that 
it requires ' the preservation of our own and our neighbour's chastity 
in heart, speech, and behaviour.' 


The duties of this command may therefore be reduced to two ge- 
neral heads. 1. The preservation of our own chastity. 2. The 
preservation of that of our neighbour. 

FIRST, This command requires us to preserve our own chastity 
and purity. There is a twofold chastity. 1. In single life; when it 
is led in purity, it is like the angelical ; when in impurity, it is 
devilish. 2. There is conjugal chastity, when married persons keep 
themselves within the bounds of the law of that state. This lies in 
two things. (1.) With respect to all others, keeping themselves 
pure and uncorrupted. (2.) With respect to another, keeping them- 
selves within the bounds of Christian sobriety and moderation. In 
whatsoever state we are, ' this is the will of God, even our sanctifi- 
cation, that we should abstain from fornication ; that every one of 
us should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and hon- 
our, not in the lust of concupiscence,' 1 Thess. iv. 3, 4, 5. 

Now, there is a threefold chastity required of us, and to be pre- 
served by us. 

First, Chastity in heart, 1 Thess. iv. 5. forecited. God knows the 
heart, and therefore his laws reach the heart, and he will judge for 
heart-sins. We must keep our minds pure, that the thoughts be 
not led astray and corrupted. Hence Job ' made a covenant with 
his eyes,' chap. xxxi. 1. And we must keep our affections pure, 
that they be not vitiated. Job saw this when he appeals to God, 
' If mine heart have been deceived by a woman,' ver. 9. This is to 
be pure before God, who seeth in secret, and searcheth the hidden 
things of darkness. The least glance over this hedge is a crime. 

Secondly, Chastity of speech, Col. iv. 6. ' Let your speech be al- 
ways with grace, seasoned with salt.' As there is tongue-murder, 
there is tongue-adultery. But our speeches must savour of sobriety 
and purity : and so they will, if the heart be pure ; for out of the 
abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. The Holy Ghost, in 
the scriptures, gives us a pattern to be imitated in our speeches con- 
cerning those things that have a natural turpitude with them, vail- 
ing the same in modest expressions. 

Thirdly, Chastity in behaviour, which comprehends both the 
k keeping of the body undefiled by any gross act, and a modest car- 
riage every way, 1 Pet. iii. 2. Modesty must appear in the whole 
of our behaviour, that the purity of the heart may shine forth there- 
by, as the candle gives light through the lanthorn. 

Now, as this threefold chastity is required here, so the proper 
means for preserving it are also required. 

1. Watching over our senses. These are the ports at which Satan 
breaks in, and ruins people's purity. The heart and the senses are 
Vol. II. t 


like a candle-wick, at the end of which lies a heap of powder. Ob- 
jects set fire to the senses at the wick, and these carry it along to 
the heart where the corruption lies as a heap of powder. Particu- 

(1.) The eyes, Job xxxi. 1. These were the gates at which sin 
first entered into the world ; and these have been the gates of de- 
struction to many, whereby their fame, body, and souls, have been 
destroyed together. It is remarkable that the Sodomites were smit- 
ten with blindness, who took so little care to watch their eyes while 
they had the use of them. Curious glances of the eye have been fa- 
tal to many, as to David, 2 Sam. xi. 2. and to Joseph's mistress, 
Gen. xxxix. 7- 

(2.) The ears. The corruption of the heart makes people liable 
to be chained with Satan's fetters by the ears as well as the eyes ; 
as appears from Prov. vii. 21, 22. ' "With her much fair speech she 
caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. 
He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or 
as a fool to the correction of the stocks.' And curious listening to 
rotten speeches, or whatsoever has a tendency to corrupt the heart 
is to open a door to let out our purity. 

2. Temperance, a sober use of meat, drink, sleep, and recreations. 
Hence our Lord warns his disciples, Luke xxi. 34. ' Take heed to 
yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeit- 
ing and drunkenness.' Temperance is a necessary hedge for chas- 
tity, and the breaking over that hedge is a near way to sacrifice the 
other. See Acts xxiv. 24, 25. ' And, after certain days, when Felix 
came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, 
and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. — And as he reasoned 
of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trem- 
bled.' "Why did the apostle chuse that subject before these great 
persons ? Why, truly it was very fit. Historians tell us, that this 
Drusilla was a most libidinous woman, and had left her husband, 
Aziz king of Emenessa; and while he was yet living, she was mar- 
ried to Felix, who was taken with her beauty ; and so they lived to- 
gether in adultery. The body being pampered becomes a luxuriant 
beast; and those that cram their bellies with meat and drink, are, 
but one remove from, and in near disposition to filthiness ; for one 
sensuality makes way for another. 

On this account it is that fasting and prayer may be to people a 
duty of this command ; for, as some devils are not cast out, so some 
are not held out but by fasting and prayer. They that would keep 
themselves pure, must have their bodies in subjection, and that may 
require, in some cases, a holy violence, 1 Cor. ix. 27. 


3. Keeping of chaste and modest company. Hence Solomon ex- 
horts, Prov. v. 8, 9. ' Eemove thy way far from her, and come not 
nigh the door of her house : lest thou give thine honour unto others, 
and thy years unto the cruel.' How many have been ruined by the 
company they have fallen into, worse than they had fallen into a 
den of lions and wolves ! Ill company wears otf insensibly the im- 
pressions of virtue on people's spirits ; and if they be not at war 
with them, the maintaining of peace and converse will make people 
like them. 

4. Being busied in some honest employment. Those that would 
be virtuous indeed, must not eat the bread of idleness. Honest la- 
bour and business cuts off many temptations that idle persons are 
liable to. Had David been in the field with his army, when he was 
rising from oft* his bed in the evening-tide, 2 Sam. xi. 2. he had pre- 
served his chastity when he lost it, and so had Dinah, if she had 
been at her business in her father's house, when she went out to see 
the daughters of the land, Gen. xxxiv. 1. 

5. Marriage, by those that have not the gift of coutinency. 
Hence says the apostle, 1 Cor. vii. 2, 9. ' To avoid fornication, let 
every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own 
husband. But if they cannot contain, let them marry : for it is bet- 
ter to marry than to burn.' — Neither marriage nor single life are in 
themselves morally good or evil, but indifferent. But that state of 
life is to be chosen by every one, that will most conduce to their 
leading a holy life. So every particular person ought by them- 
selves to ponder their gift, and other circumstances, which will let 
them see what is sin and what is duty in this case. 

6. Cohabitation and conjugal love and affection betwixt married 
persons, without which that state will be no fence to purity, but a 
snare. Hence Solomon says, Prov. v. 19, 20. ' Let her be as the 
loving hind, and pleasant roe ; let her breasts satisfy thee at all 
times, and be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt 
thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the 
bosom of a stranger ?' 

7. Lastly, Shunning all occasions, and resisting all temptations, 
to the contrary, Prov. v. 8. forecited. So did Joseph, Gren. xxxix. 8. 
It is a dangerous business to parley with them. The town that is 
content to capitulate with the enemy, is next door to surrendering. 
There are two sins that the scripture bids us flee from. 1. Idolatry, 
1 Cor. x. 14. 2. Uncleanness, 1 Cor. vi. 18. Why ? Because they 
are bewitching evils. It is safer to flee, than to stand to fight them. 

SECONDLY, This command requires us to preserve the chastity 
of others, and that so far as we can, in their hearts, lips, and lives. 

t 2 


For so far as we might prevent the sin of others, and do it not, and 
much more when we occasion it, it becomes ours. Besides, that in 
preserving our own chastity, we preserve that of others, and so the 
means conducing to the one do also conduce to the other. Our duty 
in this point may be reduced to these two heads. 

1. That we may do nothing which may ensnare others. For who- 
soever lays the snare is partner in the sin that comes by it. A 
lamentable instance of this we have in Judah and his daughter-in- 
law : they were neither of them careful to preserve the other's chas- 
tity, and so they fell each by another's snare, Gen. xxxviii. 14, 15, 
16. For this cause modest apparel is here required, 1 Tim. ii. 9 : 
and a careful avoiding of all unseemly behaviour, which may have a 
tendency to defile the minds of others, though we ourselves have no 
ill intention. Thus, Bathsheba's washing herself in a place where 
she might be seen of others, was the sad occasion of the sin that Da- 
vid and she were plunged into, 2 Sam. xi. 2. And truly where both 
grace and good manners are wanting, it is little wonder that people 
break their necks over one another. 

2. That we do every thing incumbent on us to preserve the chas- 
tity of others, in heart, speech, and behaviour. Let married persons 
live together in due love and affection to one another. Let each one 
be an example of purity to others. Let those whom ye see in dan- 
ger be rescued by all means, whether by force or persuasion, as the 
circumstances require. And let none bring others' guilt on their 
own heads, by being silent when they see the smoke, till the flame 
rise and discover itself. Let parents and masters do what they can 
to prevent the ruin of their children and servants, by rebuking any 
lightness about them, exhorting them, and praying for them ; keep- 
ing them out of ill company, not suffering them to be idle or vague, 
and seasonably disposing of children in marriage. Our bodies are 
the Lord's ; we are or ought to be the temples of God ; the heart is 
the most holy place of the temple, and our speech and behaviour the 
holy place. Let us take heed we bring in no unclean thing there, 
but keep his temple pure ; for if any defile the temple of God, him 
will God destroy. 

II. I come now to shew, what is forbidden in this command. It 
forbids ' all unchaste thoughts, words, and actions.' 

In nothing more quickly did the corrupt nature of man vent it- 
self, than in inordinate concupiscence, which brought shame along 
with it, as its just punishment ; which makes it hard to speak of it, 
and so much the rather that corrupt nature is apt, through Satan's 
influence, to turn the very commandment against it into an occasion 
of sin. Therefore, though there is a necessity of speaking something 


on it, we cannot enlarge with that freedom upon it that we can do 
on other commands. Sist your hearts, then, as in the presence of a 
holy God, who will call us to an account in this matter before his 
tremendous judgment-seat, and hear his holy law, Thou shalt not 
commit adultery. 

In this short abbreviate of the law of God, where one sin is ex- 
pressly condemned, under it are forbidden all sins of the same kind. 
So here the whole dunghill of filthiness is set before us for our ab- 
horrence, and detestation of our souls, as we would not bring down 
the wrath of God on us. Here then all gross acts are forbidden. 

1. All unnatural lusts, not to be mentioned without horror; filthy 
fellowship with devils, as the guilty do suppose ; Sodomy, persons 
abusing themselves with those of their own sex, Rom. i. 24, — 27 ; 
beastiality, Lev. xviii. 22 ; And to these we may add incest, which 
is betwixt persons within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity or 
affinity, Lev. xviii. 6. Concerning which this is to be observed, that 
a man must hold at the same distance from the relations of his wife 
as his own, and contrariwise, Lev. xx. 14 ; and such unnatural mix- 
tures can never be sanctified by marriage. 

2. Adultery, where one of the parties, or both are married. In 
this case the aggravations of the sin of the married party will be 
justly charged upon the single person ; and for both, ' whoremongers 
and adulterers God will judge,' Heb. xiii. 14. And bigamy and 
polygamy are adultery ; for the vile fact cannot be sanctified, but 
made worse, by marriage with the adulterer or adulteress, Hos. iv. 
10 ; ' They shall commit whoredom, and shall increase.' 

3. Fornication, which is betwixt single persons, Col. iii. 5, 6. 
' Mortify your members which are upon the earth ; fornication, un- 
cleanness, &c. For which thing's sake the wrath of God cometh 
upon the children of disobedience.' "Whoredom is a sin that with- 
out repentance is a sad badge of a subject of Satan, Eph. v. 5. ' No 
whoremonger nor unclean person — hath any inheritance in the king- 
dom of God and Christ.' And a vast inconsistency there is be- 
twixt being a member of Christ, and that of a harlot, 1 Cor. vi. 15. 

4. Rape, or forcing a person to filthiness, Deut. xxii. 25. This is 
a capital crime by the laws of God and men. 

5. Secret uncleanness in a person by themselves alone, whether 
they be waking, Eph. v. 12 ; or sleeping, at least so far as they have 
occasioned it to themselves by their own corrupt imaginations. 

6 Lastly, Immoderate and unseasonable use even of the mar- 
riage-bed, and much more of the bed of whoredom. Mark these 

t 3 



passages, 1 Thess. iv. 3, 4. 1 Cor. vii. 5. Isa. lviii. 13. Ezek. xxii. 
10. and xviii. 6. 

These are the several kinds of vileness here forbidden. But this 
command goes further, and forbids three sorts of uncleanness 

1 Uncleanness in heart, all speculative filthiness, unclean imagi- 
nations, thoughts, purposes, and affections, though people do not in- 
tend to pursue them to the gross act, Matt. v. 28 ; ' Whosoever 
looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery 
with her already in his heart.' Chap. xv. 19 ; ' Out of the heart 
proceed — adulteries, fornications.' These fall not under the eye of 
men, but are open to the eye of God, who will judge accordingly. 
A voluntary thought of these things is dangerous, a delightful roll- 
ing of them in the heart is uncleanness before God, and a vitiated 
habit, whereby on every light occasion these filthy sparks are 
kindled in the heart, is worst of all, and most abominable. 

2. Uncleanness in words, all filthy communications and obscene 
language, Eph. iv. 29 ; ' Let no corrupt communications proceed out 
of your mouth.' They are the discoveries of a filthy heart ; for ' out 
of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,' contrary to na- 
ture, propaling those things which nature teaches to keep secret. 
They are snares to the hearers ; and to speak of them for delight is 
to act the filthiness in words, when they cannot do it otherwise. 
Neither will the art some have in dressing up their filthy notions in 
figurative terms excuse ; but these in some sort are most dangerous, 
because the devilish wit displayed in them makes them more 
sticking ; and so by means of the like phrases occurring in holy ex- 
ercises, they are the readier even to defile these. Of this sort are 
filthy songs and ballad singing ; and the delightful listening to such 
things, as the simple youth did to the speeches of the adulterous 
whore, Prov. vii. 18, — 21. 

3. Uncleanness in actions. Besides the gross acts, there are 
others leading thereunto, which are there also forbidden. As, 

(1.) Wanton looks: there are 'eyes full of adultery,' 2 Pet. ii. 
14 ; ' wanton eyes,' Isa. iii. 16 ; even a look for unlawful carnal de- 
light is the venting of the impurity of the heart ; and though it be 
only from levity and curiosity, it is sinful, as a mean leading to 

(2.) Impudent and light behaviour, and immodest gestures, Isa. 
iii. 16. ; indecent postures, contrary to religion and good manners. 
These are hellish matters of sport, that defile the actors, and those 
that are witnesses to them without abhorrence. And on this ground 
stage-plays and filthy pictures are amongst the things forbidden in 
this command, Ezek. xxiii. 14, — 16. 


(3.) Luxurious embraces and dalliances. These are as smoke 
going before the flame, and were practised by the adulterous whore, 
Prov. vii. 13. 

Now, as all these are here forbidden, so all occasions and incen- 
tives to lust are forbidden, all that has a tendency to corrupt our 
own or neighbour's chastity. 

(1.) Immodest apparel, Prov. vii. 10. God appointed apparel ; 
[1.] For necessity, to cover our shame and nakedness ; [2.] To dis- 
tinguish sexes ; [3.] To distinguish callings, the more noble from 
the meaner sort. The devil has found out the fourth to be entice- 
ments to lust. 

(2.) Keeping ill company. This has been the ruin of many : 
therefore Solomon advises, Prov. v. 8. ' Remove thy way far from 
her,' a strange woman or whore ; ' and come not nigh the door of her 
house.' It was Joseph's commendation that he fled from his mis- 
tress. Whatever the company be, people should beware that they 
cast not themselves into snares. 

(3.) Idleness, the nursery of all filthiness, Ezek. xvi. 49. This 
exposeth to many temptations ; for Satan will be ready to find idle 
people work. Gadding and vaguing abroad can hardly miss to 
have an unsavoury end. 

(4.) Intemperance, gluttony, and drunkenness. These have a 
tendency to murder, which is forbidden in the sixth command, and to 
uncleanness, forbidden in the one under consideration, Prov. xxiii. 
30, 31, 33. Notable to this purpose is that scripture, Jer. v. 8 ; 
' They were as fed horses in the morning : every one neighed after 
his neighbour's wife. 

(5.) Promiscuous dancing, or dancing of men and women together. 
This entertainment, however reckoned innocent among many, is 
evidently an incentive to lust, Isa. xxiii. 15, 16, 17- It is supposed, 
that it was to a dancing match among the daughters of the land 
that Dinah went forth, when she was dealt with as an harlot. This 
practice seems to be struck at by these scriptures, Rom. xiii. 13; 
' Let us walk — not in chambering and wantonness,' 1 Pet. iv. 3. 
where mention is made of ' walking in revelling.' It is offensive to 
the grave and pious, is condemned by our church, yea, and has been 
condemned by some sober heathens. 

(6.) Undue delay of marriage, 1 Cor. vii. 7, 8, 9 ; for they that 
refuse the remedy, strengthen the disease. 

(7.) Unjust divorce, Matth. v. 33 ; wilful desertion, 1 Cor. vii. 12, 
13 ; want of conjugal affection, and all harshness and unkindness 
betwixt married persons. These are to be avoided as incitements 
to uncleanness. 


(8.) Lastly, The popish doctrine and practice of forbidding lawful 
marriages, 1 Tim. iv. 3 ; dispensing with unlawful marriages, Mark 
vi. 18; tolerating of stews or bawdy houses, Deut. xxiii. 17; and 
entangling vows of single life, Mark xix. 10, 11. 

I shall next make some improvement of this subject. 

1. Let those that have fallen into the sin of uncleanness, repent, 
and walk humbly all the days of their life under the sense of it. 
There are, alas ! not a few amongst us to whom this exhortation be- 
longs. And perhaps, if their eyes were opened, they would see 
something in their lot that God has sent to go along with them, as 
a mark of his displeasure against that their sin ; wherein they 
might with no great difficulty read their old sin in a continued 
punishment. That sin may be forgotten with us, that is not so with 
the Lord. 

2. Let those that stand take heed lest they fall. Labour to get 
your hearts possessed with a dread of this sin, and watch against it, 
especially ye that are young people, seeing it is a sin most incident 
to youth when the passions are most vigorous ; which yet may stick 
fast with the blue marks of God's displeasure upon you when you 
come to age. For motives, consider, 

(1.) It is not only a sin, but ordinarily, if not always a plague 
and punishment for other sins. It is a mark of God's anger against 
the person that is permitted to fall into it, Prov. 14. ' The mouth 
of a strange woman is a deep pit : he that is abhorred of the Lord, 
shall fall therein.' This is a heavy mark of God's indignation, 
which is worse than to fall into a fever, or some lingering dis- 
temper ; for a person may recover of these in a short time, but it is 
not so easy to recover the other. 

(2.) It is a sin that very few ever get grace to repent of. It 
stupifies the conscience, and wastes all sense of sin from it, Hos. iv. 
11. I have seen, alas ! too many that have made public satisfaction 
for that sin ; but allow mc to say, I have seen very few by whose 
repentance I was much edified. Hear what the Spirit of God says 
of these unhappy people, Prov. ii. 19. ' None that go unto her, re- 
turn again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.' None, that 
is, very few; but some indeed do, as among the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 
vi. 9, 11. And be not offended, but cautioned, if I say, that few 
women particularly ever get grace to repent of it. Solomon said it 
before mo, Eccl. vii. 28. ' A woman among all those have I not 
found.' And observe what is said, Acts xxiv. 25. that Felix 
trembled when Paul preached, though he repented not ; but there is 
not a word of Drusilla's being moved. 

(3.) It dishonours and debases the body, 1 Cor. vi. 18. Our bodies 


are the members of Christ or should be; but how are they debased, 
being made members of an harlot ? And how low and contemptible 
a thing is such a wretched creature, even in the eyes of those that 
join with them ? 

(4.) It leaves an indelible stain upon their reputation ; their 
honour is sunk, and there is no recovering of it, Prov. vi. 33. 
Though the sin may be pardoned before God, yet the blot lies on 
their name, while they have a name on the earth. Yea, and when 
they are dead and gone, there bastard posterity still lie under the 
stain, whereof they could be no cause. 

(5.) Poverty and want oft-times follow it. It natively tends to 
poverty, Prov. v. 10. and there is a secret curse of that nature that 
often accompanies it, Prov. vi. 26. ' By means of a whorish woman 
a man is brought to a piece of bread.' How many have been made 
miserable by it, who have had occasion as long as they lived to re- 
member they had ruined themselves ? 

(6.) Lastly, It is ruining to the soul, Prov. vi. 32. ' He that doth 
it,' commit adultery with a woman, 'destroyeth his own soul.' It 
ruins it here, in so far as it denies the conscience, fetters the affec- 
tions, blinds the mind, utterly unfits for communion with God, till 
the guilt be washed off by the application of Christ's blood, after a 
frightful awakening of the conscience. And if they do not repent 
of this sin, it will destroy the soul for ever. Let these scriptures 
imprint a horror of it on the minds of all, Heb. xiii. 4. 1 Cor. vi. 9. 
Gal. v. 19, 21. Rev. xxi. 8. 

I close with a few directions in so many words. 

1. Give yourselves away soul and body to Jesus Christ, and learn 
to live by faith, sensible of your own weakness, and relying on his 
promised strength ; for without him ye can resist no sin, nor tempta- 
tion to sin. 

2. Beware of a carnal frame of sloth and laziness. Labour to be 
spiritual and heavenly in the frame of heart, Gal. v. 16. ' Walk in 
the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.' 

3. "Watch over your heart and senses. Make a covenant with 
your eyes, as Job did, that ye may avoid unlawful looks ; and never 
venture on the devil's ground, otherwise ye will fall into the snare. 

4. Study mortification of all your unruly lusts and passions, and 
beware of all occasions and incentives to this wickedness. 

5. Keep at a distance from immodest company, and be not too 
frolicsome and foolish, light and airy in your discourse. 

6. Lasihf, Pray fervently and importunately, that the Lord may 
save you from this foul sin, and all temptations to it; saying with 
David, Psal. cxix. 37. ' Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.' 



Exod. xx. 15. — Thou shalt not steal. 

This command respects men's goods and outward estate in the 
world ; and the scope of it is to procure and further the same by all 
good means. And the law of God respecting this plainly says, that 
religion is highly concerned in our civil actions, working, buying, 
and selling, and all the ways of advancing of the outward estate. 
In these we are hedged about by this command, as well as in natural 
things by the sixth and seventh. God's law follows us wherever we 
go, to the house or field, bed or board, church or market. This com- 
mand also plainly establishes distinct properties, and that there is 
no universal community of goods, but every one has his own portion. 

This being a command of the second table, it respects ourselves 
as well as our neighbour. And so the meaning is, Thou shalt not 
steal from thyself nor any other; thou shalt not wrong thyself nor 
others. And as in every negative is applied an affirmative, so while 
stealth or theft is here forbidden, the contrary is required, namely, 
the procuring and furthering of our own and others' welfare in these 
things, but by means only that are lawful. 

In discoursing further from this subject, I shall shew, 

I. What is required in this command, viz. ' the lawful procuring 
and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and 

II. What is forbidden, viz. ' Whatsoever doth or may unjustly 
hinder our own or our neighbour's wealth or outAvard estate.' 

III. Make application. 

I. I am to shew what is required in this command. And, 
First, God requires us in this command, by lawful means,, to pro- 
cure and further our own wealth and outward estate. We may take 
up this in these seven things. 

1. We should look unto God for things necessary and convenient 
for us. Ilere we should begin our care about temporal things ; 'for 
he it is that giveth thee power to get wealth,' Deut. viii. 18. and 
Ayithout his appointment our endeavours will not succeed, Psal. 
exxvii. All the creatures depend on God's provision, as caged birds 
on those to whose care they are committed, ProA r . xxx. 3. And so 
our Lord teaches us to pray every day, ' Give us this day our daily 
bread,' Matth. vi. 11. seeing God has comprehended this in the pro- 

2. A provident care and study to get things necessary and suitable 


to our condition, 1 Tim. v. 8. To pray, and cast off means, is pre- 
sumption ; to use means, but neglect praying, and looking to the 
Lord, is atheism. We should keep the middle way betwixt care- 
lessness and anxiety, and hold in the way of moderate care in these 
things ; for we are not to expect to be like the lilies that toil not, 
neither spin, and yet are clothed. 

3. For this cause every body must have a lawful calling and em- 
ployment, and duly use it, that so he may be useful to himself, and 
worth his room in the world, and not like mice and rats, good for 
nothing but to devour what others labour for. Adam in innocence 
hud a calling, that of dressing and keeping the garden of Eden, Gen. 
ii. 15. and so had his sons afterwards, though born to greater estate 
than auy now can pretend to, the one being a keeper of sheep, and 
the other a tiller of the ground, Gen. iv. 2. But we must be sure it 
be a lawful calling, Eph. iv. 28. But what avails it if it be not duly 
used ? Therefore God requires of men that they labour to be skil- 
ful in it, and not bunglers at what they take in hand, Prov. xiv. 8. 
and he allows men to look to himself for that end, Isa. xxviii. 26. 
and likewise that they be diligent and industrious in it, and not 
loiterers, Prov. x. 4. for laziness will make a thief, either directly 
or indirectly. And this is quite opposite to God's appointment, 
Gen. iii. 19. 

4. We are to take the moderate comfortable use of the product 
of our diligence, using and disposing it for our necessity and con- 
veniency, according to our condition in the world, Eccl. x. 12, 13. 
For to what end do men get wealth, if they have no power comfort- 
ably to use it ? As good want it, as not to have the necessary and 
convenient use of it. Such steal and rob (in the sense of this com- 
mand) from their nearest neighbour, that is, themselves. 

5. Withal God requires men here to be frugal and honestly spar- 
ing, i. e. to keep a due medium betwixt lavishness and niggardly 
pinching, Prov. xxi. 20. This frugality directs to the right manag- 
ing of what God has given, so as, (1.) People do not cast out their 
substance on trifles that are for no good purpose, but on such things 
as there is some solid use of, Isa. Iv. 2. and amongst these are to be 
reckoned extravagant furniture for back and belly, in which people 
cannot satisfyingly to conscience answer the question, What needs 
all this waste ? (2.) That of those things which may be useful, 
there be nothing lost. When Christ had provided bread enough, he 
gives particular orders to gather up the fragments, John vi. 12. 
(3.) That this care proceed not from carnal affection to the world, 
but from conscience towards God, that we abuse not his benefits, and 
take care to do good by what is spared to ourselves or to others, 


though it were even to beasts. Lastly, True frugality will be effec- 
tual to make us ready to lay out for God on pious uses, to the poor 
and otherwise, as the best way to save, Prov. xi. 24. 

6. Careful avoiding of whatsoever may embarrass our affairs, and 
wrong our own wealth and outward estate. — Thus God requires men 
to take heed that they do not inveigle themselves in unnecessary 
pleas and law-suits, 1 Cor. vi. 1, — 8. rash cautionry, Prov. xi. 5. 
whereby sometimes men ruin themselves and families, and so sin 
against God, themselves, and their house. Of this sort may be 
reckoned people's rash and foolish engaging in things that they are 
in no probable case rightly to manage, stretching farther than they 
can well be supposed able to reach. 

7. Lastly, Moderation of heart with respect to worldly goods, 
Phil. iv. 5. (1.) We must moderate our judgment about them, that 
we put not too high a value and esteem on them, 1 Tim. vi. 17- 
(2.) We must moderate our wills about them, that we be not among 
those that will be rich ; for that will carry us over this hedge, ver. 
9. (3.) We must moderate our affections to them. We must be- 
ware of love to them, ver. 10 ; for the covetous heart will not stick 
at undue means. We must moderate our care about them, resting 
in God's promise, and depending on his providence, Matt. vi. 25, 26. 
and be content with our lot, Heb. xiii. 5. For they that are not 
content, have what they will, are always poor ; and their eye will 
be evil towards others also. 

Secondly, God requires in this command, that we, by lawful 
means, procure and further the wealth and outward estate of others. 
We are not born for ourselves, nor must we live for ourselves. We 
are members one of another as men, and much more as Christians ; 
and selfishness is offensive to God, and destructive to society. We 
may reduce this to two general rules of practice, founded on the 
light of nature, and confirmed by the word. 

First, Give every one their due. The natural conscience dictates 
this, however little it is regarded ; and God's word confirms it, 
Horn. xiii. 7. If ye do it not, ye rob them, or steal from them. So 
God will reckon, and so will men's consciences reckon at last. In 
whatever relation ye stand to them, as masters, servants, neighbours, 
or under any particular bargain with them, or obligation to them, 
give them what is due to them. 

Secondly, Do as ye would be done to. This also a natural con- 
science dictates, and the word confirms, Matt. vii. 12. If we must 
love our neighbour as ourselves, we must not do to him what we 
would have nobody do to us. If ye do otherwise ye steal from 
them, ye wrong them, your own consciences being judges. For if 


they would do so to you, ye declare they are unjust to you ; so if 
ye do so to thera, ye must either find out a law for them, which ye 
are not under, or else your own consciences will condemn you as 
breakers of the law of God, which is common to both. To move 
you to walk by these rules, consider, 

1. In vain will ye pretend to Christianity without it. — This is 
natural religion, which revelation came not to destroy, but to con- 
firm, Tit. ii. 12. And the Heathens, who in their Pagan darkness 
saw these rules of righteousness, and walked more by them than 
many Christians, will rise up in judgment against many that profess 
the name of Christ, and yet make so little conscience that way. 
People must either walk by them, or quit the name of Christians. 
If they will do neither of them now, Christ will strip them at length 
out of their player's coat, and make them appear before the world 
in their proper colours. 

2. Ye will never see heaven without it, 1 Cor. vi. 9. If people 
get to heaven in another way, they must step over all the law and 
the prophets, Matth. vii. 12. I grant that these will not bring 
people to heaven ; people may walk by them, as some sober hea- 
thens have done, and yet go to hell ; but without it people will 
never see it. For though our good works and honest dealings with 
men will not save us, yet our ill works and unrighteous dealings 
will damn us, 1 Thess. iv. 6. But to be more particular, we may 
take up this in five things. 

1st, God requires of us that we be careful to prevent our neigh- 
bour's skaith and loss, as we have opportunity, Deut. xxii. 1. For 
the loss we see him get and can prevent, but do it not, is in effect 
the same as if we downrightly procured it to him. That which 
we can hinder, and do not, is our fault before the Lord ; and in 
this sense each man is bound to be his brother's keeper. 

2d.lt/, That we deal honestly in all matters between man and man. 
If we would not come under the guilt of stealing from them, we 
must in all our dealings with them be strict observers of truth 
faithfulness, and justice ; dealing in simplicity and plainness, Psal. 
xv. 2, 4 ; Zech. vii. 4, 10 ; whether it be in bargains, buying and 
selling, in matters of trust concredited to us, or any thing of his we 
have under our hands. We must deal with God as if the eyes of 
men were on us ; and with men as knowing the eyes of God are on 
us. A Christian indeed will do so. He will be au upright dealer 
with men, a slave to his word, a man that never wants a quick- 
sighted witness to his actions. And therefore it will be all one to 
him whether his party be absent or present, skilful and that will not 
be cheated, or simple and easily deceived. 


'Sdly, Restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right 
owners thereof. This looks especially to two cases. 

(1.) Things lost and found ought to be restored to the owners, and 
not concealed and kept, Deut. xxii. 2, 3 : for the keeping up of 
what is another's against the owner's will, is a sort of theft and in- 
justice, contrary to the rules aforesaid. And therefore it cannot be 
kept with a good conscience. 

(2.) AYhatsoever we have wronged our neighbour of, by taking it 
away from kiin, ought to be restored, Lev. vi. 2, 4. There is, [1.] 
The case of trust, wherein a thing committed to him by another is 
kept up, on some pretence that it is lost or so. [2.] In case of fel- 
lowship in trading together, when one puts a thing in his partner's 
hand, in which case it is easy for one to deceive another. [3.] In 
case of violence, when it is taken away by robbery, stealth, yea, and 
oppression, 1 Sam. xii. 3. [4.] In case of cheatery, when by fraud 
and circumvention it is taken away. 

Now, in all these cases, and the like, restitution is necessary. 
It is true, actual restitution is sometimes beyond the power of him 
that should restore ; yet in such a case the party is bound to go all 
the length he can, as appears from Exod. xxii. 3. But a readiness 
to restore to the utmost of our power is absolutely necessary. For 
he does not truly repent of his sin, who is not willing to do all he 
can to repair the wrong ; nor is the love of righteousness and his 
neighbour in that man, who is not ready to give every one their due. 
And in this sense the rule holds, Non tollitur peccatum, nisi restituitur. 
It is remarkable that it is made one of the signs of true repentance, 
Ezek. xxxiii. 15. ' If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that 
he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life without committing ini- 
quity ; he shall surely live, he shall not die.' And said Zaccheus, 
Luke xix. 8. ' If I have taken any thing from any man by false ac- 
cusation, I restore him fourfold.' 

Now, the party obliged to make restitution, is not only the person 
that took a thing away, but he in whose hand it is found ; though 
he had it not fraudulently, yet upon the discovery of the thing, he 
is obliged to return it, because the person who (suppose) sold it to 
him, had no right to it, and therefore could give him none. But 
particularly the person himself and his heirs, are bound to restore, 
Job xx. 10 ; and that the thing itself, or the value of it, yea, and a 
reasonable acknowledgement for the loss of it, Lev. vi. 5. Luke xix. 
8. The restitution is to be made to the owner, or, if he be dead, to 
his heirs ; and if neither can be found, to the Lord, Numb. v. 6, 7, 
8. Luke xix. 8. 

In case the reputation of the party be in hazard, the restitution 


should be managed with that prudence that it may not be unneces- 
sarily, blasted ; for which cause they that are in straits that way 
ought to consult some prudent person, either minister or Christian, 
that will be tender of them. 

4th!y, Charity and justice in the matter of loans. Here, 

(1.) Lending to our neighbour in his necessity, is a duty we owe 
him for the welfare of his .outward estate, Matth, v. 42 ; not only 
lending upon interest, which is lawful, so that it be moderate, Dent, 
xxiii. 20 ; but freely, viz. to those that are poor, and require the 
loan for pressing necessity. In that case we ought to lend them 
freely such a quantity of money and goods as we can well enough 
bear the loss of, in case they be rendered incapable to pay it again. 
And so is that scripture to be understood, Luke vi. 35 ; ' Lend hop- 
ing for nothing again.' 

(2.) Returning or paying again thankfully what is borrowed by 
us, Exod. xxii. 14; And therefore we are not to borrow more than 
we are in a probable capacity to pay ; which while some have not 
regarded, they have liberally lived on other men's substance, and in 
the end have ruined other men's families, and quite devoured their 
money as in another case, Gen. xxxi. 15 : for no man has more that 
he can call his own, than what is over and above his debt, Psal. 
xxxvii. 21 ; If the incapacity flow from mere providence, it is their 
affliction, but not their sin, 2 Kings iv. 1. 

Lastly, Giving unto the poor or those that are in need, according 
to their necessity and our ability, Luke xi. 41. They are our 
neighbours, to whose outward estate we are obliged to look ; they 
are to have mercy shown to them that way. A disposition of soul 
to help them is requisite in all, even in those that have not a farthing 
to give, Prov. xi. 25. What people give must be their own, 1 John 
iii. 17- it must be thy bread, Eccl. xi. 1. And therefore such as 
have not of their own, they cannot give what is another's, without 
the tacit consent and approbation or allowance of the owner; 
neither will God accept their robbery for burnt-offering. But even 
people that must work hard for their own bread, must work the 
harder that they may be able to give, Eph. iv. 28. But they to 
whom God has given a more plentiful measure of the world's goods, 
must be so much the more liberal to the pcor ; for to whom much is 
given of him is much required. In helping the necessitous, the 
apostle's rules are to be observed, that special regard is to be had 
to our relations that may be in straits, 1 Tim. v. 8; and that 
though all that need are to be helped, yet special respect is to be 
had to the poor members of Christ, Gal. vi. 10; and the greatest 
need is to be most regarded and most helped. 


This duty is to be managed Vitb these qualities. 

(1.) People must give to the poor out of conscience towards God, 
and a design to honour him, Prov. iii. 9 ; not out of vain-glory, else 
the work is lost as to acceptance, Matth. vi. 1, 2. 

(2.) With an honourable regard to the poor, either as Christians, 
and members of the same mystical body of Christ, or at least as of 
the same blood with ourselves, and not with contempt, and shaming 
of them, 1 Cor. xi. 22. 

(3.) Cheerfully and freely, not grudgingly and as by constraint, 
2 Cor. ix. 7. 

(4.) According to the measure of what the Lord has given unto 
us, 1 Cor. xvi. 2 ; So the more we have, the more Ave ought to give. 
The particular quantity cannot be defined, but by wisdom and cha- 
rity it must be defined by every one for themselves, Psal. cxii. 5. 

To engage you to this duty, consider, 

[1.] We are not absolute masters, but stewards of our goods. 
The whole world is God's household ; and he has made some stew- 
ards to feed others, Luke xvi. 10, 11, 12. We must give account of 
our stewardship to him, who could have put us into their case, and 
them into ours. 

[2.] It is a duty bound on us with ties of nature and revelation. 
The law of God requires it, 2 Cor. viii. 9. Nature itself binds it on 
us, teaching us to do to others as we would be done by, if in their 
case. Not only Christianity, but humanity calls for it. 

[3.] In this duty there is a singular excellency. For (1.) It is a 
blessed thing by the verdict of our blessed Lord, Acts xx. 35; 'It is 
more blessed to give than to receive.' (2.) The image and likeness 
of God shines forth in it in a peculiar manner, Luke vi. 35, 36; 'Love 
ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again : 
and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the 
Highest : for he is kind unto the unthankful, and to the evil. Be 
ye therefore merciful as your Father also is merciful.' Though 
Christ became poor for us, yet he gave to the poor, to commend it to 
us by his example. (3.) It is particularly taken notice of in the 
day of judgment, Matth. xxv. 34, 35. 

Lastly, It is the most frugal and advantageous way of managing 
of the world's goods. For, 

(1.) It is the way to secure to ourselves a through-bearing; there 
is a good security for it, Prov. xxviii. 27 ; ' He that giveth unto the 
poor shall not lack.' 

(2.) It is the best way to secure what we have, which is liable to 
so many accidents, Eccl. xi. 1. ' Cast thy bread upon the waters : 
for thou shalt find it after many days.' Laying out for God is bet- 


ter security than laying up what God calls for. For so it is put in 
a sure hand, that will be sure to pay it again. The poor and needy 
are God's receivers, Prov. xix. 17 ; 'He that hath pity upon the 
poor, lendeth unto the Lord ; and that which he hath given, will he 
pay him again.' 

(3.) It is the way to be rich, as the Bible points out the way, 
Prov. iii. 9 ; ' Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the 
first fruits of thine increase. Solomon observes the accomplishment 
of it, Prov. xi. 24. ' There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth.' 

(4.) It is the way to secure comfort to us in the time when trouble 
shall overtake us, Psal. xli. 1, 2, 3; Blessed is he that considereth 
the poor ; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord 
will preserve him, and keep him alive, and he shall be blessed upon 
the earth ; and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his ene- 
mies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing : 
thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.' 

Lastly, God has promised that such shall find mercy, Matth. v. 7 ; 
always taking along wha/t is said, ver. 3. ' Blessed are the poor in 
spirit : for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' See Luke xvi. 9. 

1 Tim. vi. 17, 18, 19. 

II. I come now to shew, what is forbidden in the eighth com- 
mandment. It ' forbids whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder 
our own or our neighbour's wealth or outward estate.' 

The sins forbidden in this command may be reduced to these two 
heads : whatever doth or may hinder our own wealth unjustly ; and 
whatever doth or may unjustly hinder our neighbour's wealth or 
outward estate. 

FIRST, Whatsoever doth or may hinder our own wealth unjustly. 
This is necessarily understood ; for we may neither do a sinful thing 
to procure our own wealth, nor yet to preserve it. But when there 
are lawful means which Providence calls us to the use of, and we do 
not use them, we sin against God and ourselves. Thus this com- 
mand says to each of us, in the first place, Thou shalt not steal from 
thyself. Thus we are guilty, 

1. By idleness, when people that are able do not employ them- 
selves in some honest calling or work according to their ability, 

2 Thess. iii. 11 ; The idle man wrongs himself, while he exposes 
himself to poverty, and so to a snare, by his not using means to pre- 
serve and improve his substance. And he sins against God, who 
has appointed, that in the sweat of his face man shall eat bread, 
Gen. iii. 19 ; And this is so although he have enough of his own, and 
needs not be burdensome to others, Ezek. xvi. 49 ; He makes him- 
self a waif for Satan to pick up. 

Vol. II. d 


2. By carelessness, sloth, and mismanagement in our calling, 
Prov. xviii. 9 ; Carelessness lets occasions of furthering our own 
wealth slip ; and slothfulness in business is next to doing nothing at 
all. And they that cannot put down their hands to work diligently, 
will hardly miss some time or another to put out their hand to steal. 
Careless and slothful management of business by one hand in a 
family, may do more mischief than many diligent hands can remedy, 
Prov. xiv. 1. Religion does not allow either men or women to be 
drones in their family, good for nothing but to make a noise, take 
up room, and feed on the product of the diligence of their relatives, 
Rom. xii. 11. 

3. By not owning God in our business, and so slighting his bless- 
ing, who gives man power to get wealth, Deut. viii. 18 ; It is he that 
gives rains and fruitful seasons, that makes the cattle to thrive or 
to be diminished, and that prospereth the work of our hands. Do 
they not stand in their own light that acknowledge him not in these 
things ? 

4. By wastefulness and prodigality, whereby people foolishly 
spend and lavish away what God has brought to their hands, Prov. 
xxi. 17; And indeed these two ordinarily go together, unthriftiness 
and wastery ; for readily they that have no hands to gather, have 
two to scatter; and they that can do no good to get, are active at 
putting away. Thus they not only misapply what God has given 
them, but take the high tyay to poverty and stealing. 

5. By rash engaging in such things as may ruin our wealth and 
outwai'd estate, as unnecessary inveigling ourselves in law pleas, 
whereby the contentious humours of some have made them like the 
ass in the fable, that seeking his horns, lost his ears, 1 Cor. vi. 6, 7, 
8 ; as also cautionary, which although it be duty in some cases, as 
giving and lending is, yet if it be not managed with prudence and 
discretion may prove but a plucking out of the mouths of our own, 
to put it in the mouths of strangers, Prov. xi. 15. and vi. 1, &c. 

6. By distrustful and distracting care in getting and keeping 
worldly things, Matth. vi. 31. Can that man be wealthy indeed, 
who, have what he will, never has enough, and whose abundance 
suffereth him not to sleep ? Eccl. iv. 8. This keeps him from the 
comfort of what he has, that he robs himself of, which is the only 
valuable thing in worldly enjoyments, Prov. x. 22. 

7. Lastly, By sordidness, which is when a man has no power to 
enjoy the gift of God, Eccl. vi. 1, 2. "We can scarcely say, have 
what they will, that they have it, but it has them ; for they have 
not the convenient decent use of it. They arc of no use but to be 
serviceable to people's necessities and conveniencies ; so that where 
that is wanting, it is as good as if they had them not. 


To conclude this : Let us walk conscientiously in these things, 
knowing that we are accountable to God in them. We are not at 
our own disposal, but must lay out ourselves as God calls us. 
Neither may we do with our own what we will ; for we are but in- 
ferior lords of them, and must use them agreeably to the will of the 
great Proprietor. 

SECONDLY, Whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our 
neighbour's wealth or outward estate, is forbidden here as theft in 
God's account. Whatsoever way we wrong others in their outward 
estate, comes under this notion of stealing. So this command says, 
Thou shalt not steal from others. In respect of our neighbour, this 
command is broken two ways. 

first, By direct stealing, which is the taking away of what is our 
neighbour's against his will, to his hurt and loss. If it be done se- 
cretly, without the knowledge of the owner, it is called theft ; if it 
be by violence, it is robbery, whether by sea or land. There are 
two sorts of it. 

1. Stealing of persons, called man-stealing, 1 Tim. i. 9, 10. It 
was the stealing away of men, women, or children, either to use 
them or sell them for slaves. Slavery having no place among us, 
there is no practising it with us, so far as I know. But there 
want not other sinful practices participating of the nature of this 
sin, such as running away with persons for marriage, whereby their 
parents are robbed of what is their own ; enticing away other 
people's servants, to the prejudice of their masters ; and seducing 
people's children to vicious and lewd practices. All which are con- 
trary to the golden rule of justice, ' Whatsoever ye would that men 
should do unto you, do ye even so unto them.' 

2. Stealing of substance. Whereof there are three kinds. (1.) 
Stealing from the public or commonwealth, whereby the magistrate 
and nation are wronged. (2.) Stealing from the church, taking 
away of what is devoted for pious uses, for maintaining the service 
of God and the poor. It is called sacrilege, Rom. ii. 22. These are 
the worst kinds of theft in regard of the relation these things have 
to God. (3.) Single theft, whereby private persons are wronged in 
their private substance. Whether the thing stolen be little or 
great, he that takes it away, is a thief, and is therefore excluded 
out of the kingdom of heaven, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. A man may lose 
his soul by the unlawful getting of what is not worth a penny, as 
well as of what is worth a thousand. Did men and women believe 
the curse of God which they take up with the thing they take away 
from others, they would see they had a sad bargain of it, Zech. v. 



Secondly, By indirect stealing, which, though not accounted theft 
among men, yet it is so in the sight of God. And of this there are 
a great many ways, all here forbidden. People are thus guilty of 
theft, and break this command. 

1. In their hearts, by nourishing those lusts that have a tendency 
thereto ; for as there is heart-adultery, so there is heart theft. And 
this especially lies in these three things: (1.) Discontent with our 
condition, Heb. xiii. 5. This lays people open to the worst of 
snares. (2.) Envying and grudging at the good of others. This is 
the evil eye, which devours the substance of others. (3.) Covetous- 
ness. A covetous heart is that which stretches out the hand to 

2. In their conversation, by taking such ways as tend to the 
wronging of others in their outward estate, and really do wrong 
them, and take from them unjustly. This command is broken, 

1st, By the idleness and sloth of those that are not able otherwise 
to maintain themselves. Every one is bound by this command to 
have a calling, and be diligent in it, if they be able. Therefore it is 
a sin for such to give themselves up to idleness, and live without a 
calling, or to be lazy in it, Eph. iv. 28. 2 Thess. iii. 10. 11. Hence 
it is evident, 

(1.) That sturdy beggars are not to be tolerated ; and no person 
being able to work for their maintenance can with a good conscience 
make a trade of begging. They that are able to work, but are not 
willing, ought to be compelled to it ; and it is the sin and shame of 
the government that it is not so. For they directly set themselves 
in opposition to God's ordinance, Gen. iii. 19. They carry not 
themselves either as subjects or church-members, and dispose them- 
selves that way to all manner of wickedness without controul. 

(2.) That no person can with a good conscience lay the burden of 
their maintenance on others, further than what they cannot prevent 
by their own utmost diligence in labouring for themselves. And 
therefore those that will rather seek than work, though they be 
able, are reckoned in God's account to steal it, though they think 
not so. 

Idle and lazy persons are guilty of stealth two ways. They 
wrong them that have, being without necessity a burden to them. 
They wrong others that are really poor and unable to help them- 
selves ; for they rob them at least in part of what they should get; 
and whereas they ought to labour to help them, they do it not, Eph. 
iv. 28. 

Idly, By unlawful, base, and unwarrantable ways of getting gain. 
This the Spirit calls filthy lucre. For men must not only work, but 


work that which is good, that they may gain a maintenance. And 
if they take sinful ways to obtain it, it is theft in the sight of God. 

(1.) Using unlawful arts in trades, Acts xix. 19, 24, 25. Such 
are not working the thing that is good, but in itself evil, and tend- 
ing to the debauching of mankind. 

(2.) By raking together gain by our own sin, or the sin of others, 
as for gain to play the whore, or to do or help others to any sinful 
thing. Of this sort is the selling drink to those that go to excess in 
it, where people are instrumental in the ruin of the souls, bodies, 
and means of others, for their own filthy gain. Of this sort also 
are your set drinkings to help people to some stock ; which is an 
occasion of much sin and excess. It must needs be base gain that 
is made that way, as being no way warranted by the word of God 
of helping them that are in need ; and ordinarily it is seen to be 
blasted, so that it does little good. Must men be obliged to abuse 
themselves and God's good creatures to help others ? Is that a way 
becoming Christian gravity and sobriety for helping those that 
need ? But they will cast out their money liberally that way, that 
will not part with a penny to a poor object. Let those that need 
ply their hands well ; and if that will not do to help them, let them 
take Christian methods for their help otherwise, and not run them- 
selves on the sword-point of the curse denounced against such base 
gain, Hab. ii. 15. ' Wo unto him that giveth his neighbour drink : 
that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also.' And 
let men of gravity and sobriety discourage those ways, and not par- 
take of other men's sins. 

(3.) By making merchandise of things that ought not to be sold 
or bought. If they be spiritual things, as sacraments and church- 
offices, it is Simony, Acts viii. 20. If it be of justice, it is bribery, 
Job xv. 34. Or whatsoever it is that people make merchandise of, 
which ought neither to be bought nor sold. 

(4.) It is a base gain that is made by your penny-weddings, as 
they are commonly managed, being condemned both by the laws of 
the land and of the church. And for people to begin the world with 
treading upon the laudable laws of the state, and constitutions of 
the church, for a little base gain, cannot be but a sinful way, being 
offensive and disorderly, 1 Cor. x. 32. 2 Thess. iii. 6. Our church, 
by act of Assembly, has declared them to be fruitful seminaries of 
all lasciviousness and debauchery, as well by the excessive number 
of people convened thereto, as by the extortion of them therein, 
and licentiousness thereat, to the great dishonour of God, the scan- 
dal of our Christian profession, and the prejudice of the country's 
welfare. And I appeal to your own consciences, if it be not a just 

u 3 


character of them. The drinkings, dancings, excesses, and quarrel- 
ings that accompany them, are they suitable to the rules of Chris- 
tianity ? They are generally reckoned oppression, and a gentle way 
of begging; but I fear God will reckon them stealing, as a way of 
base gain. But we have such fresh experience of your respect to 
warnings from the Lord's word, that I need not doubt but if ye had 
occasion, we should have a penny-wedding next Tuesday, Hos. iv. 4. 

(5.) It is base gain that is made at playing at cards and dice, or 
any such game of hazard. For the lot being an appeal to Grod, it is 
dangerous to make a play of it. They occasion much sin of blas- 
pheming God's providence under the name of ill luck when people 
lose, commending their good luck when they win, misspending 
time through a bewitching in the matter, whereby they cannot give 
over, the winners hoping to win more, and the losers hoping for bet- 
ter. Surely it is no working of that which is good, Eph. iv. 28. A 
Popish doctor, in a treatise of his on plays, tells us, that all games 
of hazard are condemned by Pagans, the fathers, the most able Po- 
pish and Protestant doctors, and that even Jesuit casuists find a 
mortal sin in playing at cards. 

(6.) It is base gain -when people stand at nothing, whether credit 
or conscience, if they can but reach it. Thus many reckon gain 
sweet, whatever way they get it. They will debase themselves to 
the meanest things to win a little thing, without any necessity. 
They will toil themselves excessively for what is very inconsider- 
able ; and if charity and gifts be going, they will without necessity 
put in for their share, to the great prejudice of those that are truly 
needy, and cannot help themselves. These and all other ways of 
base gain are forbidden here as stealing. 

2>dly, This command is broken by family-frauds and robbery. 
For in this case one's enemies may be those of their own house. 
These family-frauds are committed, 

• (1.) By the husbands spending and wasting their money or goods, 
to the detriment of their wives and children. It is abominable 
robbery for men to ware that on their lusts, which should serve the 
necessities and conveniences of their families, as it falls out in the 
case of drunkards, adulterers, and mismauagcrs. But worst of all, 
while they themselves are kept full and their poor families sadly 
pinched, 1 Tim. v. 8. 

(2.) By wives embezzling and putting away their husbands' goods 
to his loss, by which means a man may soon be stolen off his feet, as 
we terra it. It is quite contrary to the character of a virtuous 
woman, Prov. xxxi. 12. ' She will do him (her husband) good, and 
not evil, all the days of her life.' 


(3.) By children embezzling and taking away their parents' money 
or goods without their consent. There is no doubt a child may steal 
from his parents seeing he is not proprietor of their goods, Prov. 
xxviii. 24. Though they think they may take at their own hand, 
God's word says the contrary. 

(4.) By servants wronging their masters in their substance that is 
among their hands. By their employment and trust, they have 
occasion to steal from their masters, if conscience engage them not 
to honesty. And so they may be guilty of taking of their master's 
either for themselves or to give away to others, Tit. ii. 9, 10. 

(5.) Lastly, I will add by all such as tempt or encourage either 
husbands, wives, children, or servants, to wrong their relatives. 
These are deeply guilty ; for, as we say, there would not be a thief 
if there was not a resetter, Psal. 1. 18. Thus hostlers and others 
that entertain men to the prejudice of their families, steal from 
these families. Thus covetous neighbours, who have their intrigues 
with other people's servants and fawning flatterers that draw about 
people's houses, to make a prey, whether of simple wives, children, 
or servants, engaging them to rob their husbands, parents, or mas- 
ters, to give them, are thieves in the sight of God, to be avoided as 
plagues and pests to a house, Prov. xxix. 24. 

4thly, This command is broken by injustice and cheatery in bar- 
gains and commerce, 1 Thess. iv. 6. What is gotten in that way is 
stolen in God's account, Lev. xxv. 14. Thus men are guilty, 

(1.) When they take advantage of their neighbour's necessity, 
either in buying or selling ; as when a person is necessitated to sell 
a thing, the buyer takes the advantage to gain it much below the 
worth ; or when the seller knows the buyer must needs have it, then 
to rack it above the worth to him, Lev. xxv. 14. Indeed, if the 
seller would not otherwise part with the thing, but to answer that 
necessity, or the buyer would not otherwise take it, the case alters ; 
for then parting with his money or goods in that case requires a ra- 
tional compensation. 

(1.) When the seller commendeth, and the buyer dispraiseth the 
wares, contrary to their own conscience and knowledge, that so they 
may over-reach one another, Prov. xx. 14. So no doubt the way of 
prigging so long before people come to the due worth, is an insnar- 
ing way of dealing. 

(3.) When men take advantage of their neighbour's ignorance in 
buying or selling. This sometimes falls out in buying, when the 
seller knows not the value of the thing, but the buyer does, and so 
gets it from him far below the worth. Oft-times in selling, when 
the seller imposes on the buyer's ignorance, either by express Lying, 


saying the tiling is what he really knows it is not, or concealing 
fraudulently the fault of it, as if, in selling a beast or any other 
thing, a man should conceal a known fault of the commodity, which 
he knows if the buyer knew, he would either not have it at all, or 
not at the price. In this case, men think it enough that the neigh- 
bour's eye is his merchant. But will ye apply this practice to the 
golden rule, ' Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do 
ye even so to them, Matth. vii. 12 ; and let conscience say if it be 
fair dealing or not, Lev. xix. 11. ' Ye shall neither do falsely, nor 
lie one to another.' 

(4.) By adulteration of wares, mixing them with worse, to the 
prejudice, and without the knowledge of the buyer ; the commodity 
perhaps good and sightly, where it appears to the buyer's eye, but 
full of refuse that is good for little or nothing, but to make weight, 
or fill up the measure, which he finds not till he is to make use of it. 
Amos viii. 6. 

(5.) By using false weights and measures, Micah vi. 10, 11 ; or 
any deceit whatsoever about weights or measures, whether in buying 
or selling ; as in the case where the party is absent, and therefore 
it is made scanty, or when men have one to buy with, and another 
to sell with, or whatever way men take to ' falsify the balances by 
deceit,' Amos viii. 5. 

(6.) When that which is bought is not precisely delivered, but is 
vitiated ; as by taking away a part of what is good in it, and mak- 
ing it up with what is worse ; so that though they have the same 
weight or measure which they bought, yet it is not of the same good- 
ness. This is direct stealth : for what is once sold is no more ours ; 
and with the same justice ye might take a shilling out of your neigh- 
bour's pocket, putting in a sixpence for it. 

(7.) Unfaithfulness in not performing condition, Psal. xv. 4; 
when people make no conscience of keeping their word. This is not 
to be rigidly interpreted to involve men in guilt, when they use all 
moral diligence to perform their condition, but Providence puts a 
stop in their way ; for in all promises of that nature, such an excep- 
tion is to be understood; but when people have a sinful hand in not 
performing exactly according to promise. 

(8.) Lastly, When payment is made with uncurrent money, con- 
sisting with the knowledge of the payer, Gen. xxiii. 16 ; or like 
Ananias and Sapphira, Acts v. keeping back part of the price ; a 
base and unjust custom with some, who still eat up a part of what 
they are obliged to pay, Prov. iii. 27, 28. 

bthly, This command is broken in fellowship, when people trade 
together, or have a common interest in one room together, and in 


the management thereof defraud and go beyond one another; which 
is the rise and spring of many brawls and grudges that neighbours 
have against one another, Lev. vi. 2 ; So in over-stenting of ground 
beyond what falls to their share, shifting to bear proportionable 
burdens to their profit, breaking over any of the conditions of their 
fellowship, and raising their own gain out of their neighbour's loss, 
and many such tilings which men do to others that they would not 
have done to themselves ; and therefore are pieces of injustice, and 
sorts of theft, here condemned. 

GtJJy, It is broken in the matter of neighbourhood, as by remov- 
ing marches or land-marks, Prov. xxii. 28; carelessness to keep our 
neighbours from skaith by us, whereas justice requires we should be 
as loath to do wrong to our neighbours, as to receive it from them. 
Far more when it is done designedly, as for people to stand and 
feed their beasts on their neighbour's grass, at times when they 
know they cannot be catched in the thievish act. And of this sort 
is the turning out of beasts in the night-time, when there is no pro- 
bability but they will be in their neighbour's skaith, though they 
resolve to rise early, and set them right ere they can be noticed. 

7thly, It is broken in matters of trust. Treachery under trust is 
amongst the worst pieces of injustice. Tims men are guilty when 
they give hurtful counsel to those that trust to them, and so betray 
them ; when partners in trading are unfaithful one to another ; 
when men have other people's business among their hands, their 
substance or their work, and prove unfaithful, because it is in the 
power of their hand. But the worst of all this sort is unfaithfulness 
to poor orphans left to men's care and tutory, whom many hard 
hearts can treat most unjustly, to their loss or ruin, and to the 
bringing of a curse on themselves, God being the Judge of the fa- 
therless in a special manner. 

Qthly, It is broken in the case of hiring many ways. As, (1.) 
When men wilfully or carelessly abuse a thing which they have 
hired, it is a piece of injustice. So men may be guilty in abusing 
the house they dwell in, or the horse they ride on, or the land they 
possess. (2.) When hirelings make no conscience of working 
honestly for their wages, as when they take wages for work, they 
have not skill to manage to the advantage of those that employ 
them; or when they spend time carelessly, and are not diligent for 
the advantage of those that employ them; and much more when 
they designedly work slightly for their own greater gain. (3.) 
When the hireling is defrauded in the matter of his wages, either 
by keeping it from him altogether, or not giving it him in due time, 
when it is in the power of our hand, or paying him with any insuffi- 
cient thing, Jam. v. 4. 


Qthly, This command is broken in retaining instead of restoring 
what is not ours, but our neighbour's. Thus men are guilty in 
concealing things found, and with-holdiug them from the right 
owners when they are known, whom, according to the weight of the 
matter, they should be at pains to know ; much more when, being- 
found, it is dispatched so as our neighbour can never have it again, 
Deut. xxii. 1,2; So in all cases where restitution is necessary, the 
retaining is a continued theft ; for what we have taken away from 
others, we should be ready to restore. Indeed the party's giving of 
it takes away the necessity of restitution, and that though it be but 
rationally presumable that they do not desire such restitution. 

lOthly, It is broken in the matter of borrowing and not paying 
again. As, (1.) When people make no conscience of restoring what 
they have borrowed for their use, or preserving it entire, that it be 
not notably the worse of them. Borrowing and lending is a neces- 
sary bond of society among neighbours ; and as lenders are obliged 
to be neighbourly, so borrowers should be so too, Exod. xxii. 14. 
(2.) Refusing to help our neighbour, by lending where our own af- 
fairs will spare it, and he is in straits, Matth. v. 42 ; and particu- 
larly a rigid standing at a distance from all lending to those that 
are low in the world, and under a particular strait ; for in that case, 
I shewed before that it was a duty to lend to such, such a portion of 
money or goods as we can well bear the loss of, though never repaid, 
Luke vi. 35. (3.) Not paying our just debts, if we are able, Psal. 
>:r,xvii. 21. And of this sort is borrowing what we are in no prob- 
able condition to pay. (4.) The staving off of payment, and shifting 
it, and obliging people to vexatious law-suits for the recovering of 
their due ; for that is a sort of robbery, Prov. iii. 30 ; And so is the 
involving people in law-suits for an unjust debt. (5.) Lastly, Ex- 
tortion in compensation for loans, Ezek. xxii. 12 ; which we call 
usury or ocker, Psal. xv. ult. and the requiring of all our debts 
rigidly, without mercy or compassion, Isa. lviii. 3. 

llthly, It is broken by an uncharitable use of what is our own. 
The sovereign Propietor of the world may do what he will ; but so 
may not Ave, that are bound to use what is ours in the way of charity 
towards our neighbour. This is done many ways, particularly by 
the two following, taken notice of in the Larger Catechism on this 

(1.) By unjust inclosures and depopulations, that is, inclosing 
grounds and dispeopling them, whereby it comes to pass that houses 
are pulled down, and families cast out, to make room for beasts or 
so ; and so the country is dispeopled, and some one, or a few, are 
built up on the ruins of many, Isa. v. 8. Micah ii. 2. 


(2.) By ingrossing commodities to enhance the price, whereby one 
gets such a commodity all in his own hand, so that he makes all 
that need it depend on him, and makes his own price as he will, see- 
ing people cannot mend themselves at another hand. Such is the 
hoarding up of corn and other necessary things for a dearth, that 
they will not sell when people stand in need of them, Prov. xi. 26. 

lltlily, It is broken by oppression, when a man, by his own power, 
favour, or interest, bears down his neighbours, either thrusting them 
from their right, or with-holding them from their due, or stretches 
beyond what his own right and title will warrant him, to the preju- 
dice of a weaker party. Thus magistrates may oppress their sub- 
jects, masters their servants, landlords their tenants, and one power- 
ful tenant or neighbour Lis weaker neighbour. This is a horrid sin 
in the sight of God, for men to use their power to distress others 
that are weaker than they. It is a sort of murder, condemned in 
the sixth command, Micah iii. 2, 3. and of theft or robbery, con- 
demned in the eighth, Ezek. xxii. 7- 

Ydthly, It is broken by partaking with thieves or unjust persons, 
1. 18. and partakers in sin may lay their account to be partakers in 
plagues with the sinner.. Now, partakers with thieves or unjust 
persons are, 

(1.) All that encourage and tempt them to it: these directly con- 
cur to the guilt. 

(2.) All that receive or harbour stolen goods, Prov. xxix. 25. 
Such are all that join with them to hide what is taken away from 
their neighbours ; such as wittingly and willingly take tbem from 
them as gifts, or that buy them from them, because they get a round 
pennyworth ; but they are the dearest ever they bought, if they 
knew the matter as it is ; such as wittingly and willingly receive 
the profit of them ; so the husbands, wives, children, and servants, 
are guilty of the theft of their relatives in that case. Doubly de- 
ceitful and cruel are they who receive the pickeries of children. 

(3.) Such as do not hinder it when it is in their power; when 
people see a person at that soul-ruining trade, and let them be 
doing ; certainly know them guilty, and yet will not so much as tell 
them of it prudently ; though perhaps they will spread it to others, 
and then set their foot on it. 

Lmtly, This command is broken by unmercifulncss to the poor, 
shutting up our bowels of compassion against them, which locks up 
the hand from giving them in their need. I shall say two things 
of it. 

(1.) It is a complication of many sins in one. For, 

[1.] It is a theft, Eph. iv. 28. It is a taking from them what is 


their due by the law of God : for though we have the right of pro- 
perty in our own goods, the truly poor have a right of charity in 
them, so far as tliey need and we can spare. 

[2.] It is ingratitude to God, who has given us so much, and yet 
in that case we will not part with a portion of it, when he requires 
it back by the poor, his receivers. It is the Lord himself that asks 
of us by the poor, and it is horrid ingratitude to refuse him, Mat. 
xxv. 40, 41. 

[3.] It is perfidiousness in the stewardship which God has com- 
mitted to us, Luke xvi. 10. as if a steward should use all for him- 
self, and starve his master's family. 

[4.] Lastly, It is a sort of murder, 1 John iii. 15, — 17- For as 
the fire may be put out by with-holding fuel, as well as pouring 
water on it ; so a man's life may be taken away by denying him the 
supports of life, as well as by cutting his throat. 

(2.) So it brings on a complication of strokes from God. [1.] It 
is a moth in what a man has, and directly tends to poverty and 
want, Prov. xi. 24, 23. for what men thus hold together, God in his 
anger scatters. [2.] It is inconsistent with the love of God, 1 John 
iii. 17- and the want of bowels to the poor is the want of pure reli- 
gion before God, Jam. i. ult. [3.] Lastly, As men deal with the 
poor unmercifully, so they may expect God will deal with them, 
Prov. xxi. 13. Jam. ii. 13. 

Thus I have gone through the duties required, and the sins for- 
bidden in this command, as they occurred. But a tender conscience, 
in applying this command in practice, will find much more than 
what I have said. And when we come to the light of the Lord at 
the great day, things will be seen required and forbidden in it (I 
doubt not,) that neither you nor I have thought of. Who can under- 
stand his errors ? what need of the blood of Christ, and grace to 
repent, and turn from our evil ways ! 

I shall now shut up my discourse on this command with two de- 

FIRST, I would dehort all and every one from stealing. Let 
every one abhor this sin. Let such as have stole, steal no more, 
but repent. I wish there were no ground to insist on this ; but I 
am convinced that there is. I shall, 

1. Oiler some motives to press the forsaking of this sin. 

2. Consider some occasions of it, and expose them. 

3. Point out the remedies against it. 

First, I shall offer some motives to press the forsaking of this sin. 

1. Consider how shocking it is to nature's light, that teaches us 

to do to others as we would be done to. So that if conscience be 


but in the deadthraw witli the thief, and not quite dead, he is judged 
and condemned from within in the very act. No wonder the heart 
quake, and the hands tremble, when they are put out, over the belly 
of the conscience, to that unlawful gain. 

2. Consider the reproach of it. How disgraceful a name is that 
of a thief ! If conscience have no weight with people, may they not 
regard their credit ? Do not people regard to be hissed at by 
others ? Job xxx. 5. It is true, they hope to carry it secretly ; but 
how often is it seen that a bird of the air carrieth the voice, and 
they are surprised one time or other with shame covering their face ? 

3. It quite mars our acceptance and communion with God. The 
thief excommunicates himself from the presence of the Lord. He 
may pray to God, but God will not hear him; may come to sermons, 
but there is nothing for him there but words of anger. Judas was 
a thief, and both preached and prayed ; but had no intercourse with 
God in these exercises. When the thief brings in the stolen goods, 
God goes out ; and is not that a sad exchange, and are not the 
things stolen dear wares ? And while he enjoys the sweet of it, it 
is mixed with the vinegar of God's wrath ; till he repent, and re- 
store to, if he be able, he can have no more access to God than the 
murderer while he has his sword in his neighbour's body, or the 
adulterer while his whore is in his arms, Jer. vii. 9, 10. 

4. Nay, it brings down a curse instead of a blessing. While he 
swallows down these goods, the curse goes down with it, which will 
choke him at length. It brings a curse on him, and that he has 
otherwise, Zech. v. 2, — 4. Sometimes it works on his own substance 
like a moth, and what he has decays, and do what he will he is 
always poor. Sometimes it works like a lion, so that though he 
have a full life of it a while by the gains of unrighteousness, yet at 
length all is swallowed up from him together, either by the hand of 
God or of men. However, it makes always a blasted, withered soul. 

5. Lastly, It will ruin people eternally. The thief is liable to 
three tribunals. (1.) Of the state, seeing the laws of the land strike 
against it. Theft is punished with death, how equitably, I shall not 
say, for there seems to be no proportion betwixt men's goods and 
lives. Pickery, or small theft, is punished arbitrarily, with disgrace 
enough. (2.) Of the church : for the discipline of the church ought 
to strike against it, and they are censurable for it, even to excom- 
munication, 1 Cor. v. 11, 12. But it is for the most part so cleverly 
carried, that neither church nor state can touch them. But they 
will not escape. (3.) The tribunal of God, who is a Judge that will 
not want witnesses to prove the fact which no eye saw, while himself 
is omniscient, and there is a conscience within men's breast. And 


therefore I, as a messenger of that Judge, the eternal God, do in his 
name and authority summon, arrest, and bind over, every stealer, 
and partaker with stealers, hearing me, or that should be hearing 
me this day, to answer it before the tribunal of God ; denouncing 
the eternal vengeance of God and everlasting damnation against 
them, to be assuredly executed against them if they repent not in 
time. And let the timber and stones of this house, and every one 
of you, be witnesses to this execution, to be produced when they and 
I shall stand before that tribunal, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. And but it is 
dear bought that is got at the rate of eternal burnings ! 

Secondly, I shall consider some occasions of this sin, and expose 

1. Solitude, people dwelling alone, which gives them fair occasion 
to play their tricks. It is marked of that graceless place Laish, 
Judg. xviii. 7. that they were far from neighbours. Such a solitary 
place we live in ; and readily solitude produces either great saints 
or black devils, as in other things, so particularly uncleanness and 
thievery ; and therefore the night is the thief's time, because of the 
solitude of it. It is no small business to keep a clean conscience on 
a hill head or in a glen, or in the black and dark night, where there 
is an occasion of sinning. 

But consider, that God's eye is on you at all times and in all 
plases ! and whatever solitude ye may have to sin in, ye will be 
called to an account before the throng of the whole world, angels 
and men, and in broad day-light. 

2. Poverty becomes an occasion of it, through the corruption of 
men's hearts, Prov. xxx. 8, 9. Graceless poor bodies can hardly 
think but they have a dispensation to steal. 

But surely God, who will not have the persons of the poor re- 
spected in judgment, Lev. xix. 15. never gave a dispensation to 
them to steal, but commands them to be content, and to seek for his 
sake what they have not, and cannot want. Poor thieves are 
thieves as well as others ; and I doubt not but it is that which keeps 
some always poor, Job xxx. 3, — 5. It is true, Solomon says, that 
as his temptation is stronger, his guilt is less than others, Prov. vi. 
30 ; but still he is guilty, ver. 31 ; and all that can be expected 
from this is to have a less hot place in hell than others ; and that 
is but cold comfort. 

3. Idleness and laziness, Eph. iv. 20. There is a generation that 
will not ply themselves, work and win, and they cannot want, and 
they must steal. They idle away their time when they might be 
provided as others, and then the time comes that they cannot waut, 
and they steal from their neighbours what they provided for them- 
selves with the sweat of their brows. 


Ye have two sins to account for here, your idleness and stealth ; 
the one will not excuse, but aggravate the other. Ye make your- 
selves a prey to the devil; and when the devil finds you idle, it is 
no wonder he puts work in your hands. 

4. A fair and easy opportunity meeting with a covetous heart. 
When there was a wedge of gold lying for the uptaking before 
Achan, he could not hold in his hands. People that have a mind 
to steal in such a place, need not go off their own field, or from their 
own flock, to steal ; their neighbour's goods cannot be kept from 
mixing with theirs, and their is an opportunity to the wish of a co- 
vetous heart. 

But if people would think with themselves, Now, God in his holy 
providence is trying me, now the devil is waiting for my ensnaring : 
shall I sin because I have an opportunity ? May not God send me 
to hell then, having such an occasion against me ? 

5. The smallncss of the thing. They think it is but a small thing 
the owner may well enough spare that, it will not do him much 
harm. It is but this and but that. 

But be what it will, it will make thee but a thief for stealing of 
it. And wilt thou sell thy soul for such a small thing ? The wav 
of sin is down the hill ; let the devil get in a finger, and he will 
have in his hand next. He that for a little will sin, will mend his 
service if the devil will mend his wages. At first perhaps it is but 
a bit of meat, then a parcel of peats, then a quantity of fodder, and 
then a sheep, and so on till they come to the gallows here, and to 
hell hereafter. 

5. The difficulty there is in finding it out. It is a work of dark- 
ness, which there use not to be witnesses to, and so the man or 
woman defies the world to make out any such thing against them ; 
and so they go on .without controul, boasting like Ephraim, ' He is 
a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand ; he loveth to op- 
press. And Ephraim said, yet I am become rich, I have found me 
out substance ; in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in 
me, that were sin,' Hos. xii. 7> 8. 

But what avails that ? Will ye defy the God of heaven, and 
your own conscience, to make it out before the tribunal ? and then 
ye say something. Till then thou art a criminal before God, and 
dreadful shall thy doom be. But take heed, they have been dis- 
covered that thought themselves secure because no eye saw them. 
When a man's day comes to fall in such a course, God can infatu- 
ate thorn, that he guides not his matters with common sense. 

7. Lastly, Bearing with them. I will not meddle with them says 
one ; I will not meddle with them, says another ; let them fall in 


another's hand, and so on it goes. Justice is neglected, neighbour's 
are robbed, the souls of the guilty are ruined, and others involved 
in their sin, that might prevent the progress of it, and will not. It 
is marked of that Laish, that there was none in it to put it to 
shame, Judg. xviii. 7- Respect to men's credit more than to their 
consciences, is like the tender mercies of the wicked, that are cruel. 
Thirdly, I come now to point out some remedies against this sin. 

1. Let the guilty flee to the Lord Jesus Christ, for his blood and 
Spirit to wash away their guilt, and take away their sin. They are 
no more beyond the reach of mercy than other gross sinners are. 
In the catalogue of the Corinthian sinners, were thieves ; and yet 
we are told, that they were washed, and sanctified, and justified in 
the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God, 1 Cor. 
vi. 10, 11. Put the covetous heart in his hand, that he may take it 

2. Labour to awe your hearts with the dread of the all-seeing 
God whose eye is ever on you ; and remember, that for all these 
things ye do God will bring you into judgment. 

3. Labour to be content with your lot, Heb. xiii. 5. Be content 
with little, if it be your lot. A little will serve nature, grace will 
be content with less ; but lust will never have enough. 

4. Lastly, Lay more stress on the quality than the quantity of 
what ye have. A little with God's favour, in a righteous way, is 
better than much with the wrath and curse of God. 

SECONDLY, I would dehort from all injustice and unrighteous 
dealing whatsoever, in all the ways that I have shewn that the 
eighth commandment may be broken, besides by direct stealing, and 
any other way whatsoever. Be precisely upright aud just in all 
you do, and do nothing to others that ye would not have done to 
you. For motives consider, 

1. Whatever you gain by any unjust way, it is indirectly stolen, 
it is stolen in effect. Therefore God forbids all these, under the 
name of stealing. And there is good reason for it ; for no right 
can be founded in wrong. Injustice can give no man a title to what 
is his neighbour's before God ; and therefore what you have of him 
unjustly, is still his, and ye are fraudulent and wrongous possessors 
of it, as well as if ye had directly stolen it. 

2. Just and upright dealing is necessary to prove you to be 
saints, Psal. xv. 1, 2. It is true, it will not prove it alone; men 
may be just to their neighbours, and yet be no saints. But he can 
be no saint that makes not conscience of it, be his profession and 
practice in religion otherwise what it will. This is clear, if you 


(1.) Righteousuess towards men is an essential part of the image 
of God, Eph. iv. 24, 25. And as the half-image is no image, so 
piety without righteousness is not God's image, nor true piety. 
Will God ever regard what we give him, when we make no consci- 
ence what we take from our neighbour? 

(2.) Without it our service to God is but half-service, Luke iv. 
74, 75 ; and that can never be sincere, Psal cxix. 6. In regenera- 
tion, God writes his law on the heart, and not shreds here and there 
of the first table : so that where righteousness, a principal duty of 
the second table, is not, the law of God is not written there. 

3. That injustice in professors of religion gives a deep wound to 
religion itself, Rom. ii. 22, 24. And indeed that religion which 
does not make men just neighbours to deal with, can hardly be 
thought to make them saints. That craft, cunning, and fraud, used 
by many, how inconsistent is it with Christian simplicity, the fear 
of an all-seeing God, and contempt of the world, which religion 

4. How opposite is it to the nature of God, who is just and righte- 
ous, and whom we must follow as dear children ! The unjust stand 
in direct opposition to him who cannot but do right. God has a 
special love in righteousness, Psal. xi. ult. and all injustice is an 
abomination to him. He has set a particular mark of abhorrence 
on it, Micah vi. 10, 11. 'Are there yet the treasures of wickedness 
in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abomi- 
nable ? shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with 
the bag of deceitful weights ?' And he has also set a particular de- 
light in just dealing, Prov. xi. 1 ; ' A just weight is his delight.' 

5. It brings a blasting curse along with it, Prov. xiii. 11 ; ' Wealth 
gotten by vanity, shall be diminished.' And although it may pros- 
per for a while, it will have a foul hinder end, Prov. xx. 21 ; ' The 
end thereof shall not be blessed.' It is as a moth in the man's own 
labours, and sometimes eats away his substance, makes wings to it 
that it leaves him, and often hurries him away from it. That is a 
heavy word, Jer. xvii. 11 ; ' He that getteth riches, and not by right, 
shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a 

6. It leaves a sting in the conscience, which will be felt to smart 
sooner or later. Conscience is the deputy of a just God in the soul, 
which will be able sometimes to act its part, and both accuse, con- 
vince, condemn, and torment the unjust dealer, so that he will be 
ready to throw away his unjust gain, as willingly as ever one ready 
to be burnt did live coals out of his bosom, and as Judas did his 
thirty pieces of silver, though perhaps it may be out of time. A 

Vol. II. x 


Pythagorean bought a pair of shoes upon trust : the shoemaker dies : 
the philosopher is glad, and thinks them gain : but a while after his 
conscience twitches him : he repairs to the house of the dead, casts 
in his money with these words, ' There, take thy due ; thou livest to 
me, though dead to all besides.' 

7. Lastly, It will exclude you out of heaven. There is a bar drawn 
on all unrighteous persons, that they cannot come there,' 1 Cor. vi. 
9. The treasures of eternal glory are lost by unrighteous dealing in 
the world, Luke xvi. 11. "Where then is the profit, though a man 
gain the whole world ? It is sad gain where a thousand times more 
is lost by it. Peace with God and conscience is lost by it; the soul 
is lost by it, and that for ever. And they who walk not by the rules 
of justice in the world, shall lie under the strokes of divine justice 

The occasions that ensnare men into stealing might be repeated 
here, as occasions of other pieces of injustice. But to fence you 
against this evil, I offer these things. 

1. Consider your unrighteous nature, and carry it to Christ to be 
healed by him. When Adam's nature, and ours in him, was cor- 
rupted, it was wholly so, not only with respect to the first, but the 
second table. There is need, then, that the plaister be as wide as 
the wound, Eph. iv. 24. And he that would remove the bitter 
streams, must apply to get the fountain sw'eetened. 

2. Accustom yourselves to acknowledge the Lord in your civil 
actions, Prov. iii. 6. The want of this betrays men into much unfair 
dealing ; for where there is so little of God, there must be much of 
the devil. 

(1.) Eye God in these matters, as he who is your witness, and will 
be your judge to them. Set the Lord before you in your business, 
and you will fear to step wrong. May be thou canst wrong thy neigh- 
bour, and he shall not know it. But God knows it, and it cannot 
be hid from him. May be he cannot right himself for want of Avit- 
nesses ; but pray remember, that God and thy own conscience are 
witnesses to all that passeth betwixt you and others. And though 
ye may think it is long to that court-day, yet remember that awful 
declaration, Mai. iii. 5. ' I will come near to you to judgment, and I 
will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adul- 
terers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress 
the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and that 
turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the 
Lord of hosts.' May be thou canst bear him down from his right, 
but mind, the wronged party has a strong avenger, 1 Thess. iv. 6. 
how well might it go, if men in all their bargains, work, neigh- 
bourhood, &c. would set <Jod thus before them ! 


(2.) Eye God in these matters as the fountain of strength. Alas ! 
most men have no diffidence in themselves in these affairs, but trust 
themselves as in no hazard there, and thus are the betrayers of them- 
selves, Prov. xxviii. 26. The least of duties are too much for us 
alone, and in the plainest way we will go wrong, if Ave be not led 
right. Satan has snares laid for us in these things ; and therefore 
we have need of strength from the Lord to resist them. 

3. Remember ye are not only to seek your own, but your neigh- 
bour's welfare, Phil. ii. 4. Selfishness is the cause of much unfair 
dealing. ' Lovers of themselves more than God,' and exclusively of 
our neighbour, are in bad conditio u. For a man to build up him- 
self on another's ruins, is contrary to that love which we owe to our 
neighbour, as fellow-partakers of the human nature, and as members 
one of another as Christians, Eph. iv. 25. The goodness that is 
most diffusive and communicative, is most like God. 

4. Consider the vanity of the world. It is an overvaluing of earth- 
ly advantages that leads people aside into unrighteous ways, Hos. xii. 
8. A due impression of the vanity and emptiness thereof, would let 
you see that they are not worth a man's going off his way for them. 
It is not long till very little will serve us ; death comes, and we 
have no more to do with it, a coffin and a winding sheet, and a little 
room in the heart of the earth, which none will grudge us, will be 
all we will need. What madness is it, then, to wound the con- 
science for such a pitiful business ? All the gains of unrighteous- 
ness will never quite the cost. 

5. Labour to mortify the lust of covetousness, which being in- 
dulged, the conscience will get sore stretches to satisfy it, Heb. xiii. 
5. It cannot miss to pierce people through with many sorrows. 
Therefore ' love not the world,' 1 Johu iii. 15 ; for whoso follow it 
too closely at the heels, it will dash out their braius at last. 

6. A little well gotten is more worth than much otherwise, Prov. 
xvi. 8. There is a blessing in the one, a temporal one at least ; but 
there is a curse in the other. A man may use the one with a good 
conscience ; the other is with an ill conscience, and that is a sad 
sauce to the meal. The one a man has on free cost, having nothing 
to pay for it ; the sweet of the other is squeezed out by a dear 
reckoning following. 

7- Lastly, Remember the day is coming wherein all wrongs are to 
be righted, secret things brought to light, aud open violence reckon- 
ed for. If men were to have no after-reckoning for these thiugs, 
they might do in them as they list ; but thou shalt be countable for 
the least farthing. The Judge is infinitely wise, and the most cunning 
and tricky will not get him outwitted nor shifted. He is omnipo- 



tent, and they who force their way now through all the hands of 
justice, shall not be able to make head against him. In all tempta- 
tion that way, then awe your heart with that meditation, ' What 
then shall I do when God riseth up ? and when he visiteth, what 
shall I answer him V Job xxxi. 14. 

Exod. xx. 16. — Thou shalt not bear false luitness agaiyist thy neighbour. 

The scope of this command is the preservation of truth amongst 
men, which is a necessary bond of human society. And forasmuch 
as all the commands of the second table relate to ourselves as well 
as others, the meaning of this is, Thou shalt not bear false witness 
either against thyself or thy neighbour, and so neither wrong thy 
own nor thy neighbour's good name. 

The positive part of this command is implied in the negative, viz. 
Thou shalt bear real and soothfast witness (as our law terms it) for 
thyself and thy neighbour, and so maintain thy own and thy neigh- 
bour's good name, so far as truth will allow. This witnessing is to 
be understood not only of judicial, but extrajudicial witnessing. 

Quest. ' What is required in the ninth commandment V Ans. 
{ The ninth commandmemt requireth the maintaining and promoting 
of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbour's 
good name, especially in witness-bearing.' 

I shall consider this commandment, as it relates, 

I. To truth betwixt man and man in general ; 

II. To our own good name ; and, 

III. To our neighbour's good name. 

I. As it relates to truth betwixt man and man in the general. 
Truth is a sacred thing, which Ave are to cleave to as we would to 
God, who is true essentially, and therefore called truth itself. It 
was a notable saying of a philosopher, that truth is so great a per- 
fection, that if God would render himself visible, he would chuse 
light for his body, and truth for his soul. He was not far out, for 
the scripture tells us of Christ, in whom the fulness of the Godhead 
dwells bodily, that he is the light, and the truth. And, on the other 
hand, it holds out Satan as the prince of darkness and father of 
lies. And there is a mighty affinity betwixt light and truth, dark- 
ness and lies. Truth is to the soul as light is to the body ; and they 
that walk in the light, will walk in truth. Now, this command re- 
quires the maintaining of truth. Wo may take up this in theso 
two things. 


1. We must speak truth at all times when we speak, Eph. iv. 25; 
' Speak the truth every man with his neighbour.' I say when we 
speak, for we must not be always speaking. Nature having drawn 
a double bar on our tongues, teaches that our tongues must not be 
in our mouths as a loose window in the wind, ever clattering. And 
if discretion keep the key of the door of our lips, we will not be of 
those that cannot rest till all the truth that is in be out, Prov. xiv. 
33 ; but we must never speak any thing but truth. 

"What is truth ? Pilate asked the question at Christ, but did not 
stay for an answer, John xviii. 38. Truth is a harmony, a double 
harmony. Anatomists observe, that the tongue in man is tied by a 
double string to the heart. To speaking of truth is required, (1.) A 
harmony of the tongue with the heart. (2.) A harmony of the 
tongue with the thing itself. 

(1.) If we think not as we speak, we do not speak truth ; the dis- 
cord betwixt the tongue and the heart mars the harmony, Psal. xv. 
2. "We must speak as we think, then, and the tongue must be a 
faithful interpreter of the mind, otherwise it is a false tongue. So 
truth may be spoken by a man, and yet he be a false speaker, be- 
cause he thinks not as he speaks. 

(2.) But that is not all : if we do not speak also as the thing in 
itself is, we do not speak true. For there must be a harmony be- 
twixt our hearts and the thing as it is in itself. For we must not 
think that our mistaken apprehensions of things can stamp lies to 
pass current for truths, just because we think them so, 2 Thess. ii. 11. 

The sum of the matter lies here : It is our duty to speak truth, 
that is, so as our mind agree with the matter, and our mouth with 
our mind. We must speak things as we think them to be, and think 
them to be what they are. And hence we may see that modesty is 
very necessary to preserve us in the truth, in this our weak and 
dark condition. Self-conceited ignorance, and weakness joined with 
confidence, whereby people are so peremptory in their own uptakings 
of things, without any regard to the different light of others, is a 
great enemy to truth. 

2. We must especially speak the truth at sometimes, that is, in 
witness-bearing. This is towfold. 

1st, Witness-bearing in judgment. This command requires us to 
bear witness, and that faithfully, when called thereto. Now, we 
are to speak the truth judicially, Avhen we are lawfully called there- 
unto, by the authority, whether of church or state. 

Idly, Extrajudicial witness-bearing, wherein a man is called to de- 
clare the truth, though there be no human authority obliging him 
thereto, as often falls out in the case of private controversies be- 

x 3 


twixt neighbours, where a third person is desired to witness the 
truth. Tea, a man may be obliged to this witness-bearing where 
he is not so much as desired to speak, as when we hear our neigh- 
bour charged with any thing unjustly, we are obliged to vindicate 
his innocency, it being known to us. 

Now, the rule in both these cases is this, that then is a man or a 
woman called to declare the truth under the pain of God's displea- 
sure, when God's glory or their neighbour's good may be procured 
by it ; when the dishonour of God and their neighbour's hurt, either 
of soul, body, name, or goods, may be avoided by it. 

Both these sorts of witness-bearing are necessary for the main- 
taining and promoting of truth, the honour of Gcd, and our neigh- 
bour's real good, though it appear perhaps to be for his hurt, 
in discovering his wickedness, or the wrong done by him, Zech. 
viii. 16. 

In judicial witness-bearing, God calls men to witness the truth, 
by the mouth of those to whom he has given authority, making 
them either gods, or ambassadors for God on the earth. And there- 
fore to decline it in that case, is to decline the divine call, and mar 
the course of justice, Isa. lix. 14; and so the honour of God and the 
good of our neighbour. 

And in the other case there is a real call from the Lord unto it, 
as we tender his honour and our neighbour's welfare. 

Neither ought people to scare at witness-bearing judicially, be- 
cause of the oath of God ; for a lawful oath, imposed by lawful 
authority, for the honour of God and the good of our neighbour, is 
a duty whereby we worship and glorify our God, Jer. iv. 2. Now, 
in this case of witness-bearing, 

1. It is our duty to tell the truth; and, (1.) Not to conceal it, 
or any part of it known to us, which may make for the clearing of 
the matter in question, 2 Sam. xiv. 18, 19, 20 ; that is, to tell it 
fully. (2.) Freely, not being awed by any person, or any evil that 
may thereby come unto us by the guilty or otherwise, 1 Sam. xix. 4, 
5. (3.) Clearly, not mincing, obscuring, and wrapping up the truth, 
so as they who hear it know not what to make of it, Josh. vii. 19. 
(4.) Sincerely, 2 Chron. xix. 9 ; without any influence of malice, or 
partial counsel, without feud or favour. 

2. It is our duty to tell nothing but the truth ; that were to bear 
false witness with a witness indeed. Truth stands in no need of 
lies to support it, I'rov. vi. 19. 

II. As it relates to our own good name, we are to maintain and 
promote it. It should bo every body's caro to procure and maintain 
their reputation ; for a good name is a very precious thing, which 


we should love and be careful of, Prov. xxii. 1. And they who value 
not their reputation, will hardly be found to value either their souls 
or bodies. Now, it must be cared for and maintained in words, and 
by deeds. 

First, In words, and that these three ways. 

1. By speaking nothing but the truth concerning ourselves. They 
that seek a name to themselves by lying and boasting, ordinarily 
lose what they have, instead of getting more, Prov. xxv. 14. And 
they that would preserve their name, let them be careful of their 
word, to fulfil their lawful promises, Psal. xv. 4. 

2. By concealing prudently those secrets concerning ourselves 
which we are not obliged to discover. They sin against God and 
themselves who unnecessarily give another their reputation to keep, 
Prov. xxv. 9, 10 ; ' Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; 
and discover not a secret to another ; lest he that heareth it, put 
thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.' This is not to be 
extended to the concealing of scandalous sins, which people are law- 
fully called to confess : for in that case the name of a confessing 
penitent is better than that of an obstinate scandalous sinner, Prov. 
xxviii. 13; ' He that covereth his sins, shall not prosper : but who- 
so confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.' 

3. By defending our good name when it is unjustly attacked, 
as our Lord did, when he said to the Jews, ' I have not a devil ; but 
I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me,' John viii. 49. It is a 
tender point to be wounded in ; and if it be done wrongously, we are 
enemies to ourselves, if we use not all means competent to clear our- 

Secondly, By deeds, we are to care for it practically. 

1. If we would maintain our good name, let us not do evil things. 
An ill name will follow an ill life ; who can help it ? If a man 
steal, let him thank himself that his good name is lost. A vile 
practice will at length make a man's name stink. 

2. We must not do what is like evil, 1 Thess. v. 22. They who 
take a liberty to themselves in suspicious practices, throw away 
their own reputation. And if they be innocent as to gross things, 
they are in the nearest disposition to be guilty. We should follow 
the apostle in this case, Phil. iv. 8. ' Whatsoever things are true, 
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatso- 
ever 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.' Julius Ctesar having divorced 
his wife, was called to witness against her; and being interrogated, 
declared he knew nothing of the business; and being asked, Why 


then he had put her away ? Because, said he, I would have all my 
relations as free from the suspicion as the guilt of a bad action. 

III. As it relates to our neighbour's good name. We are to 
maintain, and promote it too, as far as is consistent with truth. 
And for this cause there is required of us, 

1. A charitable opinion and esteem of our neighbours, 1 Cor. xiii. 
7; being ready to hope the best of them, unless the contrary be 

2. A desire of, and rejoicing in, their good name and reputation, 
Rom. i. 8. We are to love them as ourselves, and therefore should 
be glad of the sweet savour of their name, though their reputation 
outshine ours. 

3. Sorrowing and grieving for their faults, 2 Cor. xii. 21. The 
blasting of any body's name by their sins, should make us mourn, 
and the rather that the same root of bitterness is in all naturally : 
and they are the deeper in God's debt that get through the world 
with an unblemished reputation. 

4. Covering their infirmities with the mantle of love, 1 Pet. iv. 
8. Every body has some weak side, and needs a cover from others 
in love : and it is a dangerous business to aggravate and blaze 
abroad this to their dishonour. 

5. Freely acknowledging the gifts and graces that are in any, 
1 Cor. i. 4, — 7- As none are so good but they have some discernible 
infirmity, so hardly is one so bad but there is some one thing or 
another praise-worthy in them. And if it were but one thing, it is 
our duty frankly to own it. 

• 6. Defending their innocence, as Ahimelech did David's, 1 Sam. 
xxii. 14 ; ' Who is so faithful,' says he ' among all thy servants, as 
David, which is the king's son-in-law, and goeth at thy bidding, and 
is honourable in thine house V It is necessary and just to defend 
the innocent, especially if absent, against the poisonous bites of a 
viperous tongue lest we bo held consenting to the tongue-murder of 
him, in God's account. 

7. An unwillingness to receive an ill report of them, and a readi- 
ness to admit a good report of them, 1 Cor. xiii. 6, 7- Psal. xv. 3. 
Love readily opens the door to a good report of our neighbour, but 
is not very hasty to let in an evil one, being truly sorry if it should 
be true. 

8. Discouraging tale bearers, flatterers, and slanderers, who go 
about gathering all the filth they can find to throw upon the name 
and reputation of others. These should be discouraged as the pests 
of human society, as David did, ' Whoso privily slandereth his 
neighbour,' says he, ' him will I cut off,' Psal. ci. 5. 


9. Lastly, "Watching over one another giving sound and season- 
able admonitions, checks, and reproofs, for what is ill or ill like in 
others, Lev. xix. 17; and telling themselves of it, so as it may not 
be blabbed out "without necessity : whereby both their souls might 
be timely preserved from the snare, and their good name preserved 

Having thus given a view of the duties required in the ninth com- 
mandment, I proceed to consider what is forbidden in it. 

Quest. ' What is forbidden in the ninth commandment V 

Ans. ' The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is preju- 
dicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbour's good 

The sins forbidden in this commandment are here reduced to three 

1. "Whatsoever is prejudicial to truth. 

2. "Whatsoever is prejudicial to our own good name. 

3. Whatsoever is prejudicial to our neighbour's good name. 
These I shall consider in order. 

I. This command forbids whatsoever is prejudicial to truth. The 
God of truth has set this command as a hedge and fence about truth, 
that it be not wronged. For it cannot be prejudiced but by the 
same means that we wrong God and our neighbour too. Now there 
are two cases in which truth is apt to suiFer hurt. 

First, Judicially, in judgment, in judicatories, whether ecclesias- 
tical or civil. There truth is to make its most solemn appearance, 
Zech. viii. 16; and lies there are most sinful. The judges judge for 
God, and so the solemnity of the thing ought to strike the greater 
awe on all to do or say nothing prejudicial to truth. Now truth is 
prejudiced in judgment, and this command broken, 

1. By judges when they pervert judgment, respecting persons, and 
passing unjust sentences, Prov. xvii. 15. calling evil good, and good 
evil, and rewarding the righteous as the wicked, and the wicked as 
the righteous : and iniquitous laws can never bear men out in this, 
Isa. v. 23. and x. 1. 

2. By the complainer, while he falsely accuses or charges another, 
Luke xix. 8 ; forges writs, Psal. cxix. 69 ; or suborns false wit- 
nesses, Acts vi. 13. 

3. By the defender, when he denies a just charge, being called to 
a free confession, Prov. xxviii. 13. And seeing judges are set to 
judge for the Lord, this must be reckoned a lying to the Lord. 

4. By the witnesses, and that when they either conceal the truth, 
not discovering freely and fully what they know, or when they tell 
any thing that is not truth, Lev. v. 1. Prov. xix. 9. And thus 


people may prejudice truth, when they keep up what might make 
the truth appear, and the cause go right in judgment. 

5. Lastly, By the pleaders, while they appear for an unjust cause 
to hear down truth and justice, Acts xxiv. 2, &c. 

Secondly, Extrajudicially, in common conversation and otherwise. 
Wheresoever we go, we should carry truth along with us ; hut out 
of judgment truth is often prejudiced; and that these three ways. 

1. By unfaithfulness in conversation, when people slip the hond 
of their word, and make nothing of breaking lawful promises, Rom. 
i. 31. A man ought to value his word highly, as a man, and much 
more as a Christian. That is a sad complaint ' There is no truth in 
the land,' Hos. iv. 1 ; when men do with their promises as an ape 
with its collar, slipping it on and off as it sees meet. 

2. By undue silence. Strange is the disorder that sin has brought 
into the world ; as in the tongue, which is often going when it 
should he quiet, and often quiet when it should speak. Our tongues 
are our glory ; but they are often found wrapt up in a dark cloud of 
silence, when they should be shining forth. Truth is prejudiced by 
silence, when the honour of God, or the good of our neighbour, 
either in the way of justice, or charity, calls for the discovery of it. 
Thus men sin against God, the truth, and their neighbour, when 
they hold their peace, (1.) "When iniquity calls for a reproof from 
them. (2.) "When it calls for a complaint to, or giving information 
thereof, unto others, Lev. v. 1. Deut. xiii. 8. God has given men a 
tongue as a banner to be displayed for him. To run away then with 
flying colours, in such a case, is very dishonourable to God, and 
dangerous to ourselves, Mark viii. 38. It is most injurious to our 
neighbour, whom we think so to gratify, being a snare to his soul, 
Lev. xix. 17; and to ourselves, by involving us in their guilt, Eph. 
v. 7, 11. 

3. By undue speaking. The world is a world of iniquity, and 
several ways speaks to the prejudice of truth. Truth may be preju- 
diced thus, 

(1.) By speaking it unseasonably. Truth hath suffered much pre- 
judice by the unseasonable venting of it : therefore people must take 
heed, not only what but when thoy speak ; for ' there is a time to 
keep silence, and a time to speak,' Eccl. iii. 7 ; ' A fool uttereth all 
his mind; but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards,' Prov. 
xxix. 11. 

(2.) By speaking truth maliciously, as Boeg did. It was both 
unseasonable, while Saul was in a rage against David, 1 Sam. xxii. 
8, 9 ; and malicious, Psal. Iii. 2, 3. This is the way how the devil 
speaks truth ; as he stirred up the damsel possessed with a spirit of 


divination, to cry concerning Panl and Silas, ' These men are the 
servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of sal- 
vation,' Acts xvi. 16, 17 ; and this very maliciously, as the context 

(3.) By perverting truth to a wrong meaning, as the false wit- 
nesses did against Christ, Matth. xxvi. 60, 61. "What he spoke of 
his body, they turned it to the temple of Jerusalem. So it is not 
enough that we speak truth, but it must be seasonable and charit- 
able too. 

4. By equivocal expressions to the prejudice of truth or justice ; 
in which the sense goes doubtfully, either true or false. Of the 
same nature are mental reservations. Thus Isaac sinned in denying 
his wife, and calling her his sister, Gen. xxvi. 7, 9. They are in- 
deed lies, an untruth, spoken with an intention to deceive ; for 
words must be taken according to the common use of them, and an- 
swers are understood as given according to the question. The devil, 
who is the father of lies, brought this manner of speaking into the 
world, Gen. iii. 5. and that way he was wont to deliver his oracles ; 
for he never speaks truth, but either maliciously or equivocally, as 
he moved the false prophets to speak in the affair of Ahab's going 
up to Ramoth-Gilead, 1 Kings xxii. 6, 12. 

5. Lastly, By lies, Eph. iv. 25. Lying is prejudicial to truth, as 
darkness to light, and is from the devil. But observe some speeches 
that are like lies, but are not so. 

(1.) Figurative speeches, though not literally true, are not lies, as 
Christ's calling himself a vine, John xv. 1. Of this sort are allego- 
ries and fables, such as Jotham's parable, Judg. ix. 8 ; parables, 
Luke xvi. ; hyperbolic speeches, John xxii. ult ; ironical speeches, 
Gen. iii. 22. 1 Kings xviii. 27. In the former the sense and mean- 
ing of them is agreeable to truth, and fables and parables are a sort 
of speech by pictures. In irony the gesture readily explains the 
meaning, 1 Kings xxii. 15. 

(2.) The telling a part of the truth, and concealing another part 
of it, when there is no obligation on us from the honour of God or 
our neighbour to discover it, is not lying, 1 Sam. xvi. 2 ; for though 
we are never to tell but the truth, yet we are not always obliged to 
tell all the truth. 

(3.) Speeches according to present intention, without prejudicing 
further liberty, as when one at table refuses such a thing, yet 
changes his mind, and takes it, or on importunity yields, as Gen. 
xix. 2, 3. 2 Cor. i. 17- 

Lastly, Threatenings not executed when the condition understood 
is done, and promises not fulfilled when the condition is not per- 
formed. Now, these being set aside, consider, 


1. Sometimes, though the words agree with the mind of the 
speaker, yet not with the thing itself. This is called a material lie, 
or an untruth, and is sinful, as disagreeing with the truth, Isa. 
lix. 13. 

2. If the words agree not with the mind of the speaker; that is a 
formal lie, the tongue speaking contrary to what the mind thinks. 
Lies are of four sorts. 

1. Jesting lies ; that is, when a person speaks that which is con- 
trary to the known truth, in a jesting or ludicrous way ; and embel- 
lishes his discourse with his own fictions, designing thereby to 
impose on others. This they are guilty of who invent false news, or 
tell stories for truth, which they know to be false, by way of amuse- 
ment. TJosea complains of this practice, chap. vii. 3. ' They make 
the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.' 

2. Officious lies ; that is, when one speaks that which is contrary 
to truth, and the dictates of his conscience, to do good to himself or 
others thereby, or with a design to cover a fault, or excuse ourselves 
or others, Job xiii. 7. ' Will ye speak wickedly for God ? and talk 
deceitfully for him ?' Rom. iii. 8. 

3. Pernicious lies ; that is, when a person raises and spreads a 
false report with a design to do mischief to another. This is a com- 
plicated crime, and the worst species of this sin, a thing which is an 
abomination to the Lord, Prov. vi. 17. 

4. Rash lies ; that is, when a person uttereth that which is false 
through surprise, inadvertency, and customary looseness, as in the 
case of the tidings brought to David, that Absalom had slain all the 
king's sons at the entertainment he had provided for them at Baal- 
hazor, 2 Sam. xiii. 30. 

Concerning all these species of lying, we may say, that God is a 
God of truth, but the devil, the father of lies, who incites men to 
imitate him in this ancient hellish trade, by which he destroyed the 
founders of the human race ; that the word of God expressly con- 
demns every kind of untruth ; and that people should never reckon 
that a small thing which will land the transgressors in hell, Rev. 
xxi. 8. 

II. This command forbids whatsoever is injurious to our own good 
name. We ought all to be very careful of our reputation, and not 
to bear false witness for or against ourselves. Now, people may be 
guilty of the breach of this command with respect to themselves, 

1. In their hearts, either by thinking too meanly of themselves, 
or too highly. Though people can never be too humble, yet they 
may be too blind to what God has done, for them ; and there may 
be a great deal of bastard self-denial, which hinders men to be 


thankful to God, and useful to others, as in the case of Moses, 
Exod. iv. 10, — 14. But the most dangerous extreme is thinking too 
highly of ourselves, Rom. xii. 16. This is a most dangerous piece 
of false witness, which the false heart gives in favour of self. 

2. In their actions, when people either do evil, or that which at 
least is evil-like. When Eli's sons lost their tenderness, and gave 
themselves to debauchery, they lost their good name. An unsa- 
voury report followed their vicious and base life, 1 Sam. ii. 24. 
And there are such things as are of evil report, suspicious practices, 
evil-like things, that though they be not the worst of things, yet 
they make way for them ; by these, persons throw away their good 
name, Prov. v. 8, 9. and witness against themselves, that they are 
untender and vicious persons, in a near disposition to the greatest 

3. In words. And thus men may be guilty by, 

(1.) Bearing witness against themselves unnecessarily, without a 
due call, discovering their own secret faults and infirmities, especi- 
ally to those who have no true sense of piety, but are ready to im- 
prove the same to the reproach of them, or of religion, or both, 
Prov. xxv. 9, 10. 'Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; 
and discover not a secret to another : lest he that heareth it put 
thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.' 

(2.) Bearing false witness against ourselves, as accusing ourselves 
unjustly, denying the gifts and graces of God in us, as Job says, 
chap, xxvii. 5, 6. ' God forbid that I should justify you : till I die, 
I will not remove my integrity from me. My righteousness I hold 
fast, and will not let it go : my heart shall not reproach me so long 
as I live.' Pride often puts people on this, that they may appear 
the more humble. But humility never teaches men to rob God of 
his praise, or to lie againt the truth. Lying against our minds can 
never be good, though it seem to humble us. 

(3.) Bearing false witness for ourselves. Thus people are guilty, 
upon being duly called to confess their sins, they deny them, hide 
them, and, over the belly of their conscience, cause their tongues 
witness for them, Prov. xxviii. 13. ' He that covereth his sins shall 
not prosper : but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have 
mercy.' It is sad witnessing when the conscience within tells peo- 
ple they are lying. 

Of this sort is vain-glorious boasting and bragging. There are 
some, who, when they speak of themselves, are sure to speak very 
big, as the Pharisee did, Luke xviii. 11. A man or woman that 
is a boaster, will be found to be a liar ordinarily. They will boast 
of what they have not, or of doing what they never did, Prov. 


xxv. 14. ' Whoso boasteth of a false gift, is like clouds and wind 
without rain.' Yea, some will accuse themselves of wickedness 
which they did not commit, for the pleasure that they take in boast- 
ing of mischief. And where the man has any ground to walk on 
in his boasting, he is a liar in magnifying it, as was the case of the 
Pharisee, Luke xviii. 12. It was one of the basest offices for a man 
to trumpet his own praise : It is a great evidence there is little in 
him, that he makes so much noise with it. Such are in the black 
roll, 2 Tim. iii. 2. 

III. I come now to consider this command as it forbids what is 
injurious to our neighbour and his good name. We may contract 
guilt in injuring our neighbour, over the belly of this command, 

several ways. 

First, In our hearts ; for all the commands of God reach to the 

heart as well as the outward man. We are injurious in our hearts 

to our neighbour's good name, by, 

1. Unjust suspicions of him, 1 Tim. vi. 4. Thus Potiphar injured 
Joseph, suspecting him of that villainy which he was far from. 
Christ bids us beware of men, and so not to be credulous. But there 
is a medium betwixt vain credulity and evil groundless suspicion, 
which fills men's heads with a foresight of what others will do when 
they have such and such temptations, from no light but that of their 
own uncharitable spirits. 

2. Uncharitable judging and condemning of others in our hearts, 
Matth. vii. 1. The prevailing of the censorious humour amongst us, 
is a speaking evidence of this waspish disposition, which is a com- 
pound of pride, rashness, harshness, lightness, and emptiness, directly 
opposite to the love and charity that we owe to our neighbours, which 
' beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth 
all things,' 1 Cor. xiii. 7. I grant, that to call an evil action an evil 
thing, and an habitual grossly profane life a mark of a profane 
heart, is no breach of charity, Gal. v. 19. But to lash men in our 
hearts, beyond what the habitual frame of their lives gives ground 
for, is that uncharitable judging. 

It is the product of pride and self-conceit ; for the man makes 
himself the rule, so all that is beyond him, or does not reach his 
length, must fall under his condemnatory sentence ; he invades the 
throne of God, setting up one for himself in his neighbour's heart, 
not confining himself to his outward actions, Rom. xiv. 10. It is 
rashness, flowing from want of consideration ; it is harshness, carry- 
ing their judgment farther than the matter will bear ; it is lightness 
and emptiness, for they are confident of that which really they do 
not know. How confident were the barbarians, upon seeing the 


viper fasten on Paul's hand, that he was a murderer ! &c. Acts 
xxviii. 4. Thus men condemn the actions of others, merely from 
their own rashness, as Eli did Hannah ; and, which is worst of all, 
they will judge their state hefore God from things utterly unahle to 
bear the weight of their presumptuous sentence, as Job's friends did ; 
and thrust in themselves to the secrets of their hearts, as those 
mentioned, Rom. xiv. 4. ' Who art thou that judgest another man's 
servant ?' judging their consciences : the like whereto was the horrible 
judgment some have expressed touching those that took the oath of 
abjuration, that they had gone over the belly of their conscience, 
and in other cases too. If you think that I am speaking for it, ye 
are uncharitable : but I would not for the world judge other men's 
consciences at that rate. It is sufficient for me to condemn men's 
evil actions which I see, not to judge their consciences, which I nei- 
ther see nor can see. "Were the impressions of the tremendous 
tribunal of God more on men's spirits, they would not be so hasty to 
judge before the time. 

3. Misconstructing others, their intentions, words, and actions. 
No innocence can be a safeguard against that temper, which is al- 
ways ready to give the worst turn to the intentions, words, and 
actions of their neighbour, which they are capable to bear. It is 
like the corrupted stomach, that corrupts whatever is put into it. 
See Neh. vi. 6. Rom. iii. 8. Psal. lxix. 10. 

4. Contempt of others in our hearts, undervaluing and thinking 
basely of them ; when men stop their eyes from beholding whatever 
is praise-worthy in their neighbour, and gather together what makes 
against them, and sit brooding on that. This is evil in all cases, 
but especially where men contemn others for what is good in them, 
2 Sam. vi. 16. We are even in our hearts to give every one their 
due ; and so far as we with-hold it, we are guilty, Luke xviii. 9, 
10, 11. 

5. Envying and grieving at the just and deserved credit or repu- 
tation of any. This is a most unchristian and truly Pharisaical 
temper, Matt. xxi. 15. It is the nature of envy to torment a man 
with the good of his neighbour. What refreshes the charitable 
spirit, vexes and frets theirs. They are like the moon that turns 
pale and wan whensoever the sun begins to shine above the horizon. 
But if men loved their neighbour as themselves, and their God more 
than themselves, they ^ould rejoice at their neighbour's reputation, 
though it should outshine our own, Numb. xi. 29. 

6. Rejoicing in the disgrace and infamy of others, Jer. xlviii. 27. 
This is a devil-like sin, for dust is the serpent's meat. Whatever 
mischief befals men is the devil's delight : and so there are many, 


that if a black cloud be thrown over the reputation of others, it 
tickles their hearts, they have a secret satisfaction in it ; their 
hearts say within them, Aha ! so we would have it. And many 
vent their satisfaction in outward rejoicing at it. 

7- Lastly, Fond admiration of men, Jude, 16. As the former are 
sins in defect, so this is a sin in excess. And indeed we become 
guilty by thinking too highly and above what is meet of any man, 
as well as thinking too meanly of them, 1 Cor. iv. 6. This is both 
a sin and a snare : for those whom we fondly admire, we are apt to 
imitate in evil as well as good, and so to follow them to the preju- 
dice of truth. It is a sad evidence of the corruption of a man's 
heart, that he is ready either to idolize or else to despise others. 

Secondly, In our lives and actions. Men may injure the good 
name of others without speaking a word against them. 

1. Men may be guilty of the breach of this command, to the pre- 
judice of their neighbour's good name, by bare gesture of the body, 
Prov. vi. 13. ' He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, 
he teacheth with his fingers.' A man may with a wink, a nod, a 
grave look, a sigh, &c. stab another's reputation, filling others by 
these means with suspicions of him unjustly ; or when one is 
slandered in our presence, making such signs as import our consent 

2. Drawing others into things that are ill or evil-like, and of bad 
report. Thus many ruin one another's reputation, till they are as 
rotten things laid one upon another, which corrupt each other, till 
both send forth a stinking smell, Matth. xviii. 7. They that lay 
the stumbling-block, and they that fall over it, are both ruined to- 
gether, though double vengeance abides them who ruin others toge- 
ther with themselves. 

3. By not hindering what we can in others those things that 
procure an ill name. The evil that bcfals others which we might 
have prevented, will justly be laid at our door. This brought the 
judgments of God on good Eli and his house too, so that they went 
all to ruin together, 1 Sam. iii. 13. The Spirit of God records, for 
the justification of poor Tamor, the care she had of preventing 
the ill name of herself and of Amon, 2 Sam. xiii. 12, 13. So that 
neither by terror nor allurements she could be drawn into the vil- 
lainy, though she was forced, which was her misery, but not her sin. 

Thirdly, In our lips. The tongue is the principal mischievous in- 
strument whereby people ruin or wound the good name of others. 
And here come in the sins of the tongue against our neighbour in a 
special manner. Thus men injure their neighbour, 

1. By silence, when they forbear to speak what they ought and 


can for the credit of their neighbour. Thus men may wrong others 
by their silence in their neighbour's cause while he is aspersed, 
Prov. xxxi. 8. for in that case silence is consent. As also when 
their neighbour is justly commended, the entertaining thereof with 
silent looks, as if they knew something that may justly mar his re- 
putation. If that be not the sense of it, it reflects on the silent per- 
son as grudging the reputation of the person commended. 

2. Our neighbour may be injured by sinful speaking; and this 
command may be broken many ways. 

(1.) By unnecessary discovering of the faults and infirmities of 
others. how much guilt is contracted this way, by people's going 
in the way of cursed Ham, Gen. ix. 22. unvailing instead of vailing 
the weaknesses of others, without any necessity, but to the lessening 
of their reputation. 

(2.) By aggravating their lesser faults, Matth. vii. 3, 4, 5. 
Men see motes like beams in the eyes of others, while beams are as 
motes in their own. It is a mischievous tongue that, counting the 
faults of others, for fifty sets down a hundred, and still looks to 
them through a magnifying glass. Had we the dexterity of aggra- 
vating our own as we have of aggravating the faults of others, we 
would be happy, because very humble people. 

(3.) By reviving the memory of our neighbour's crimes which 
were worn out of mind, especially being repented of. Thus many 
vent their malice against others by casting up their former faults to 
them, as Shimei did to David. Truth it may be, but it is uncharit- 
ably and maliciously spoken, for which the speaker must give an 
account to God. 

(4.) By betraying secrets committed to us. It is true, if the 
honour of God and the good of our neighbour require the discover- 
ing of a secret, in that case, as we ought not to promise, so we ought 
not to conceal it. But when we have lawfully promised to keep it, 
either expressly or tacitly, we sin against truth, justice, and friend- 
ship, to betray it. And though there be no promise in the case, yet 
when the revealing of it tends to the detriment of our neighbour, it 
is sinful, Prov. xvii. 9. 2 Tim. iii. 4. 

(5.) By detracting, or endeavouring any manner of way to impair 
the deserved credit of our neighbour, Ezek. iv. 12, 13. This is the 
native result of envy and ill-will at our neighbour ; for those who 
cannot endure others to sit on high, where they are deservedly 
placed, will go about one way or other to undermine them. 

(6.) By evil reports to the prejudicing of our neighbour unjustly. 
In these many are involved in guilt. [1.] The raiser of it, Exod. 
xxiii. 1. Satan has the mouths of many at command for a forge of 

Vol. II. y 


ill reports, who strike that hellish coin with their stamp, that it 
may pass for current. [2.] The receivers and spreaders of it, who 
are guilty here as well as the raiser ; for they are to the raiser as 
the receiver is to the thief: Report, say they, and we will report. 
If others will gather filth, they will throw it on their neighbours' 
faces, and yet are not innocent, though they can give their authors, 
Neh. vi. 6. See Psal. xv. 3. 

(7.) By slandering, which is an ill report without all ground, 
Psal. 1. 20. This is the venom of a wretched tongue, made use of 
to kill and bury alive the innocent. It has been the trial of the 
people of God in general, and seldom if ever do any of them escape 
without it. Satan loves by his agents to vomit out against them re- 
proaches and slanders, wherewith their good name may be blasted, 
and especially if religion and the cause of God can be wounded 
through their sides. The scourge of the tongue is a sharp scourge. 

(8.) By backbiting and whispering, Rom. i. 29, 30. Both agree 
in that they speak evil behind men's back, accusing them, and load- 
ing them with reproach when they are not present to answer for 
themselves. The backbiter does it openly, and the whisperer does 
it secretly. 

(9.) By tale-bearing, Lev. xix. 16. This is a sort of pedlar-trade 
for the devil, driven by many whose work it is to carry tales out of 
the house or company where they happen to be ; and these are the 
wares they have to vent in other houses or companies, where they 
will be ready to take up new clashes and tales to where they go 
next. These are the plagues of society, like Satan sowing discord 
among brethren. Hence secret grudges against one another, and 
none knows wherefore ; and when they are searched to the furthest, 
it is all grounded on some talebearer's credit. 

(10.) By countenancing and encouraging the black tribe of 
slanderers, backbiters, &c. Prov. xxix. 12. If these merchants for 
hell got not their wares taken off their hands, they would be 
ashamed of their trade, and forced to quit it. But many are as 
ready to take them off their hands as they are to deliver them. 

(11.) By stopping our ears against the just defence of the parties 
lesed, as the malicious Jews did against Stephen, Acts vii. 57, 58. 
How rare is it to find a person as ready to receive a defence for, as 
an accusation against their neighbour ? 

(12.) By scornful contempt, and scoffing, and mocking others. 
This was the way of Ishmael's persecuting of Isaac, Gal. iv. 29. 
These viperous tongues work upon the miseries of others, as the sol- 
diers did at Christ in his sufferings, Matth. xxvii. 28, 29. The na- 
tural imperfections of others are their sport, though reproaching the 


poor they despise his Maker; yea, and their sinful imperfections 
too, for fools make a mock at sin. 

Some have a mighty fondness for gibing and taunting ; their 
whole converse runs that way, to make others uneasy and them- 
selves merry with their taunts. Let them not value themselves on 
their talent ; if any spark of tenderness be left in them, I doubt if 
they dare look to it as a good gift given them from above, but as an 
abuse of the good gift of God. It was Ishmael's way, for which he 
was cast out of the family of the faithful, Gal. iv. 29. 

(13.) Reviling and railing, giving others reproachful and oppro- 
brious names, piercing them with bitter words, and murdering them 
with their tongues, Matth. v. 22. 1 Cor. vi. 10. Revilers are among 
those excluded out of heaven. 

These are some of the ways how the wicked tongue gives home- 
thrusts to others, and pierces like the piercing of the sword, follow- 
ing the example of him who was a liar and a murderer from the 
beginning. But would ye see them all gathered together in one, ye 
have them in, 

(14.) Lastly, Scolding and rating, an abominable disorder which 
we are so much disturbed with. There their wicked hearts, stirred 
up with passion and revenge, vomit out all at once this filthy stuff. 
For there their neighbour's faults are unnecessarily discovered, ag- 
gravated, &c. as if hell's forces were rendezvousing betwixt them. 
"Wonder not at the expression. See Jude, 9. No, the angel durst 
not engage Satan with these weapons, whereof he was the proper 
master, and at which none can outdo him. If ye take not better 
heed to your tongues, they will ruin you, Psal. lii. 2, — 5. 

There are some other evils of the tongue here forbidden, the hurt 
whereof does not so plainly appear. 

1. Talkativeness, or much speaking. Some are ever talking, and 
are never in their element but when prattling ; and when once they 
loose, it is as hard to stop them as to stop a flood, and turn it ano- 
ther way. Of it I say, 

(1.) It is a sign of a loose and frothy heart, where the fear of 
God hath little place, Eccl. v. 2 ; for that would make our words 
few, true, weighty, and useful. When God has given us two ears, 
and but one tongue, that we may be swift to hear and slow to speak, 
it is a pregnant evidence of a naughty heart, to be swift to speak 
and slow to hear. 

(2.) It is the fool's badge, Eccl. v. 3. Talkative persons, for 
want of acquaintance with themselves, thinking to shew themselves 
wise, ordinarily present a fool to the company. They will have a 
flood of words, who have hardly a drop of good sense or judgment ; 



so that they are just a voice, and no more. They that are given to 
much speaking, can hardly speak either true or well ; which made 
an orator ask a double fee of a talkative scholar, one to learn him 
to speak well, another to learn him to hold his peace. It is the 
character of a virtuous woman, that ' she openeth her mouth with 
wisdom,' Prov. xxxi. 26. Her mouth is not always open, but duly 
shut, and discreetly opened. 

2. Idle speaking, Matth. xii. 36. The tongue was given to man 
to be for the honour of God, and the good of himself and neighbour, 
Though our words, then, be not evil in themselves, they are evil be- 
cause they are idle ; that is, words spoken to no good purpose, tend- 
ing neither to the honour of God nor the good of ourselves or others, 
neither to his moral good, to make him more holy, nor to his civil 
good, as not being upon the necessary concerns of human life, nor 
his natural good, to maintain the moderate cheerfulness of society. 
It may be comprehended under foolish talking, rash, raving, and 
impertinent discourse, doing no good to the hearers, but bewraying 
the folly of the speaker. 

3. A trade of jesting, Eph. v. 4. It is not sinful to pass an inno- 
cent jest for begetting of moderate cheerfulness. The wise man tells 
us, ' There is a time to weep, and a time to laugh, Eccl. iii. 4. It 
may in some cases be necessary to cheer the spirits, as a cordial is 
to restore them, or a pleasant gale of wind to purify the air. It was 
not unbecoming the gravity of the prophet to mock Baal's priests, 
and to say, ' Cry aloud ; for he is a god ; either he is talking, or he 
is pursuing, or he is on a journey ; or peradventure he sleepeth, and 
must be awakened,' 1 Kings xviii. 27. But sinful are, 

(1.) Offensive jests, which tend to the shewing a despising of our 
neighbour, to the irritating or provoking of him. And indeed it is 
often seen, that those who are much given that way, their conversa- 
tion is most offensive, sparing neither friend nor foe, and will rather 
lose their friend than their jest. 

(2.) Profane jests, either making a mock of sin, or of that which 
is holy, particularly wresting and abusing scripture, to express 
the conceits of their light and wanton wits. It is a dangerous thing 
to jest in such matters. 

(3.) People's being immoderate in jesting. To make every word a 
jest is liker the stage than Christian gravity. This is as absurd as 
to present a man a dish of salt to feed on ; a little of it is good for 
seasoning, but to give it for the whole entertainment, is absurd. 

4. Lastly, Flattery, Psal. xii. 3. This is a most dangerous stroke, 
and the more deadly that the wound it gives does not smart, but by 
it a man is hugged to ruin. The words of a flatterer are smoother 


than oil, yet are they in effect as drawn swords. It is a compound of 
lying, abjectness of spirit, and treachery. The flatterer gives the 
praise that is not due, professes the kindness that is not real, and 
screws up all to a pitch far above truth ; and so he is a liar. He 
debases himself to please others, turning himself into every shape to 
humour the party he is to flatter ; and betrays him into self-conceit 
and unacquaintedness with himself. 

I shall shut all with a twofold dehortation. 

First, Speak truth, and beware of lying. Lying is a very common 
sin ; repent of that guilt, and beware of it for the future. For mo- 
tives, consider, 

Mot. 1. That God is the God of truth, the Author and Lover of 
truth, so that he cannot lie ; and therefore lying is most contrary to 
the nature and mind of God : it is therefore singularly abominable 
and hateful to him, Psal. x. 5. Prov. vi. 16, 17. We And that God 
suffered Adam's sons to marry their own sisters, and the Israelites 
to spoil the Egyptians of what they had borrowed of them ; but 
never did the God of truth at any time dispense with men's speaking 
lies. Hate that abominable thing, then, which God so hates. 

2. All lies are from the devil in a special manner, John viii. 44. 
It was he that first broached lies in the world, ruined mankind with 
them ; and having sped so well with that engine of hell at first, no 
wonder he sets himself to keep up the trade. He is the father of lies, 
that begets them in the false heart, and they are brought forth by 
the lying tongue. "Whom do liars resemble then, the God of truth, 
or the father of lies ? 

3. Lying is a part of the old man of sin, which must be put off, if 
we would not be put out of God's presence, Eph. iv. 24, 25. It is 
the way to which our corrupt natures do kindly and quickly incline, 
Psal. lviii. 3 ; ' The wicked go astray as soon as they be borne, speak- 
ing lies.' Hence children are not to learn this ; they have the art 
of it from their first father Adam. But as soon as grace enters the 
heart, it rectifies it in that point. Hence the Lord's people are 
called ' children that will not lie,' Isa. lxiii. 8. 

4. There is a meanness or baseness in lying beyond what is in 
other common sins, either because it proceeds from fear, or tends to 
deceive. Hence liars themselves cannot endure to be called liars ; 
the baseness of the sin being so much acknowledged in the world, 
that though many bring forth and cherish the vile brat, none can 
endure to be reputed the father of it. Aud no wonder it is reputed 
such a base thing ; for when once a man is known to make no con- 
science of truth, he has lost his credit, and is looked upon as a man 
that cannot be bound with the common ties of society, nor trusted. 

y 3 


Lastly, It will bring God's wrath heavily on the guilty, Prov. xix. 
5, 9. A false witness shall not go unpunished, and he that speaketh 
lies shall not escape. A false witness shall not be unpunished ; and 
he that speaketh lies shall perish.' God's truth is impawned for the 
liar's destruction, even eternal destruction. Shall liars have access 
to heaven? No, they are barred out from thence, Rev. xxi. ult. 
' There shall in nowise enter into it any thing that — maketh a lie.' 
Their lodging is appointed to them in another place, with the devil 
the father of lies, in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, 
Rev. xxi. 8. and xxii. 15. 

I shall give you a few advices. 

1. Strike at the root of lying, and so the fruit will wither and 
come to nought. The great root of all is the corrupt nature, that 
needs to be mortified by grace from Jesus Christ. There are also 
particular lusts on which lies depend. Labour to be humble, for 
pride and self-seeking occasions many lies, as the boaster's lie. 
Some are founded on covetousness, as the lies in bargaining ; some 
in fear, slavish fear of men, as denying truth ; some in the vanity 
and rashness of our natures, whereby lies come to be broached with- 
out a formed design. 

2. Accustom yourselves to few words, for ' in the multitude of 
words there wanteth not sin,' Prov. x. 19. It is but just with God, 
that idle words be punished by suft'ering people to fall into lying 

3. Remember that God will discover truth ; and that his eye is 
upon you at all times. And though ye may deceive others with 
your lies, ye cannot deceive the omniscient God. He is witness to 
the truth, and will call you to account for your contradicting it. 
And indeed the trade of lying is hard to keep up without discovery. 
Liars had need of good memories. ' A lying tongue is but for a 
moment,' Prov. xii. 19. 

Lastly, Curb lying in young ones, out of pity to their souls, and 
care of their credit when they come to years. For some get such a 
habit of it when they are young, that there is no mending of them 
when they grow old. 

Soundly, Beware of carrying an evil tongue. The lying tongue 
is contrary to truth, the evil tongue to charity and love to our neigh- 
bour, being employed in slandering, backbiting, reproaching, revil- 
ing, scolding, &c. For motives, 

Mot. 1. Consider the woful perverseness that is in an evil tongue. 
God gave man speech, which he denied to other creatures, that by 
his tongue he might glorify God, and do good to himself and others, 
Psal. lvii. 9, 10. Shall we thus turn our glory into shame, and per- 


vert the ends of speech? How just were it that we were struck 

2. It is a murdering instrument. I observed to you before, that 
an ill tongue is a parcel of murdering weapons, a bow and sharp ar- 
rows to pierce, a sword to stab, and a fire to devour others. Yea, 
Solomon observes, that death and life are in the power of the 
tongue. It is a fire that kindles strife and contention in all socie- 
ties, and turns them into confusion ; and oft-times returns heavily 
on the head of those who carry it. The tongues from heaven were 
cloven, to be the more diffusive of good ; but those fired from hell 
are forked to be the more impressive of mischief. 

3. Consider the wickedness of it. It is a world of iniquity, Jam. 
iii. 6. They have much ado that have an ill tongue to guide, a 
world of iniquity to guide. It is a broad stream from the fountain 
of the wickedness of the heart. 

4. An unbridled tongue cuts off all pretences to true religion, 
Jam. i. 26. For where the fear or love of God and our neighbour 
is in the heart, it will be a bond on the tongue to keep it within the 
bounds of Christian charity. 

5. We must give an account of our words at the day of judgment, 
Matth. xii. 36, 37. 

Lastly, An ill tongue will ruin the soul. Bridle your tongues; 
however unruly they be, they shall be silent in the grave. And, if 
repentance prevent it not, the day will come that they will be tor- 
mented in hell-flames, Luke xvi. 

I shall conclude with an advice or two. 

1. Begin at the heart, if ye would order your tongues aright. 
Labour to get them cleansed by the sanctifying Spirit of Christ. 
Study love to God and your neighbour, which are the fulfilling of 
the law. Labour for meekness, and patience, and humility, which 
will be the best directors of the tongue. 

2. Set yourselves, in the faith of promised assistance, to watch 
over your hearts and tongues. Unwatchfulness is dangerous in the 
case of such an unruly member as the tongue is. God has guarded 
it naturally. Do ye also watch it. 



Exod. xx. 17- — Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour 's house, thou shalt 
not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-ser- 
vant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. 

The scope of this command is to strike at the root and first risings 
of sin in the heart, in the desires going out of their right line of 
purity and equity. It is a strict boundary set to the unbounded de- 
sires of the heart. 

In it, there are, 1. The act. 2. The object. The act, Thou shalt 
not covet, or lust, as the apostle terms it, Rom. vii. 7 ; which implies 
an inordinateness of desire, a feverish motion of the soul towards 
the creature, irregular and disorderly ; and so a dissatisfaction with 
one's present condition, as appears from Heb. xiii. 5. ' Let your con- 
versation be without covetousness, and be content with such things 
as ye have.' 

The object is held forth particularly for example's cause, thy neigh- 
bour's house, thy neighbour's wife, his servants, and goods. Thou 
shalt not only not take away thy neighbour's house from him by op- 
pression, nor entice away his servants, nor steal his goods, nor en- 
tertain a fixed and deliberate desire to do him that injury as is 
forbidden in the eighth command ; but the inordinate desire of hav- 
ing them shall not rise in, nor go through the heart, however lightly, 
if it were like a flying arrow, saying, that his house, his servant, 
his ox and ass were mine ! Thou shalt not only not defile his wife, 
nor deliberately desire to do it, as is forbidden in the seventh com- 
mandment ; but thou shalt not say in thine heart, that she were 
mine ! though thou hast no mind, right or wrong, to make her so. 

This object is held forth universally, nor any thing that is thy 
neighbour's: whereby it appears, that this command looks through 
all the other commandments of the second table, and so condemns 
all inordinate desire of any object whatsoever. And therefore the 
Papists dividing this command into two is absurd, and but a trick 
invented to atone for their confounding the first and second. While 
this command says, nor any thing, it says, Thou shalt not only not 
dishonour thy neighbour by insolent and contemptuous behaviour, 
but there shall not bo a desire in thy heart, saying, that his place 
and post were mine, as in the fifth command ; nor, that I had his 
health and strength, as in the sixth ; nor his reputation and esteem, 
as in the ninth ; though you have no deliberate design or desire to 
wrong him in these. 


I do not wonder, if some are surprised at this, and say, Are these 
sins ? for indeed this command goes deeper than the rest ; and if it 
did not so, it would be superfluous ; for you see it aims not at any 
new object, but holds by the objects of the former commands ; there- 
fore it must look to some more inward and less noticed motions of 
the heart, than the rest do. And therefore Paul, though he learned 
the law at the school of divinity under Gamaliel, a professor of it, 
yet, till he learned it over again at the school of the Spirit, holding 
it out in its spirituality and extent, he did not know these things to 
be sin, Rom. vii. 7- It was this command brought home to his con- 
science, that let him see that lust to be sin which he saw not before. 

And seeing this is a command of the second table, and ourselves 
are our nearest neighbour, the lust or inordinate desire of those 
things that are our own must be condemned here, as well as lusting 
after what is not ours. 

So much for the negative part of this command, which in effect is 
this, Thou shalt not be in the least dissatisfied with thy own present 
condition in the world, nor have any inordinate motion in thy heart 
to that which is thy own or thy neighbour's. 

The positive part is implied ; and that is, Thou shalt be fully con- 
tent with thy own lot, whatever it be, and arrest thy heart within 
the bounds that God has inclosed it in, bearing a charitable disposi- 
tion to thy neighbour and what is his. For all covetousness implies 
a discontent with our own condition. 

Quest. ' What is required in the tenth commandment V Ans. 
' The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own 
condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our 
neighbour, and all that is his.' 

Here I shall consider the duty of this command, as it respects, 

I. Ourselves. 

II. Our neighbour. 

III. The root of sin. 

I. I shall consider the duty of this command as it respects our- 
selves. If we consider, that this commaud forbidding coveting in 
the general, says, in effect, these two things, 1. Thou shalt not covet 
or lust after what thou hast ; nor, 2. What thou wantest ; the great 
duty of this command with respect to ourselves will appear to be 

First, A thorough weanedness from and indifferency to all those 
things that we have, in which our desires may be too eager. There 
are some things whereof our desire cannot be too much, as of God, 
Christ, grace, victory over sin; and therefore we read of a holy 
lusting, Gal. v. 17. The renewed part not only desires, but eagerly 


and greedily gapes for perfect holiness and entire victory over sin. 
This is holy lusting, where there is no fear of excess, although in- 
deed even that may degenerate, when our own ease, that is disturbed 
by sin, may be more in our view than the sinfulness of sin ; and in 
this respect these lustings are mixed, and therefore sinful and hum- 
bling in the best ; and they are so far contrary to this command, as 
they are lusting after ease, more than conformity to the holy will 
and nature of God. 

There are other things to which our desires may be carried out 
too eagerly and inordinately; and the desire of them is lawful, but 
the coveting or lusting after them, which is the inordinate desire of 
them, is here forbidden. Thus we may sin, not only in the inordi- 
nate desire of sensual things, as meat, drink, &c. but in rational 
things, as honour, esteem, &c. The desire of these things is not sin- 
ful ; but there is a lust of them which is so. 

Now, in opposition to this, we must be thoroughly weaned from 
and holily indifferent to these things, not only when we want them, 
for that falls in with contentment, but when we have them. So 
should one be to his own house, wife, servants, and any thing that 
is his ; keeping our love to, desire after, and joy in them, within 
due bounds, as the Psalmist did, Psal. cxxxi. 2. ' Surely I have be- 
haved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother : 
my soul is even as a weaned child.' We may take it up in these 
four things following. 

1. The heart's sitting loose to them, so as the heart and they may 
fall asunder as things closely joined, yet not glued, when God shall 
be pleased to take them from us. For if they must needs be rent 
from us, it is an argument that our love to them was indeed a lust 
towards them. Therefore this disposition is called a hating of 
them, Luke xiv. 26 ; for things that we have, we can part with, with- 
out their tearing as it were a piece of our heart along with them. 
We can say little on this piercing command, but what will be ac- 
counted hard sayings, by all that have not a clear view of the tran- 
scendent purity of the law, which is carried to the height in this 
command, because to the root, the corruption of our nature. And 
that corruption we must still keep in view here, or we will do no 
good with it. 

2. The heart's looking for no more from them than God has put 
in them. God has made created things as inns in the way to him- 
self, where a person may be refreshed, but not as a resting-place, 
where the heart is to dwell. For the desire is inordinate when the 
man seeks his rest and satisfaction in these things instead of God, 
L'sal. iv. 6. The corrupt judgment magnifies earthly things, and 


looks on shadows as substances; and then the corrupt affections 
grasp them as such, and after a thousand disappointments lust after 
them still, Isa. lvii. 10. 

3. The soul's standing on other ground, when these things stand 
entire about the man ; drawing its support from Grod as the foun- 
tain, even when created streams are running full, 1 Sam. ii. 1. Psal. 
xviii. 46. The world's good things must not be thy good things, 
Luke xvi. 25. Thou mayst love them as a friend, but not be wed- 
ded to them as a husband ; use them as a staff, yet not as the staff 
of thy life, but a staff in thy Land ; but by no means a pillar to 
build on them the weight of thy comfort and satisfaction. 

4. The using of them passingly. "We must not dip too far in the 
use of them. Lawful desire and delight, like Peter, walks softly 
over these waters, but lust shines in them ; in the one there is a 
holy carelessness, in the other a greedy gripe. The apostle lively 
describes this weanedness, 1 Cor. vii. 29, 30, 31. 'It remaineth that 
both they that have wives, be as though they had none ; and they 
that weep, as though they wept not ; and they that rejoice, as 
though they rejoiced not ; and they that buy, as though they pos- 
sessed not ; and they that use this world, as not abusing it : for the 
fashion of this world passeth away.' The violent pulse of the soul 
in our high-bended hopes, perplexing racking fears, vehement love, 
swelling joy, and overmuch sorrow about these matters, is a sad 
symptom of the distemper of natural corruption that has seized all 
Adam's sons. The greedy appetite that the heart is carried with 
these things, is a sad sign of an unweaned soul. A man may have 
a sinful lust to his meat, which yet is necessary to support his body ; 
and a lust in the using of it, as those of the old world, Matth. xxiv. 
38. 1 Sam. xiv. 32. The dogs of Egypt, they say, lap the water of 
the river Nile running, for fear of the crocodiles ; for not only in 
every berry of the vine, but in all created things there is a devil. 
See how the Lord tried the people, Judg. vii. 6. ' And the number 
of them that lapped, putting their baud to their mouth, were three 
hundred men ; but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their 
knees to drink water.' 

All these things the law requires in their perfection without 
the least mixture. Where is the clean man to cast a stone at the 
rest ? It must be on a very transient glance of the heart that men 
say, The world is not their temptation, they care not for the world. 
For a view of the spirituality of the law would make us see that the 
world is fixed in our hearts, and only grace can loose it at the root, 
and only death can cast it over the hedge. 

Secondly, A full contentment with our own condition. As for the 


sin in our condition, it is not from God, and there is no good in it ; 
we are not called to be content with it, because it is not the condi- 
tion which God set in us. But whatever else be in our condition, 
we are obliged to be content with it, because so is the will of God 
that we should be in it. Every one is to look on his condition, as 
the paradise that God has set him down in ; and though it be 
planted with thorns and briers, he must not look over the hedge ; 
for thou shalt not covet. Though that which is wanting in thy condi- 
tion cannot be numbered, and tbat which is crooked cannot be made 
straight, yet none of these things must render us uneasy in the least. 
There is required a full contentment, without a discontented glance 
of the eye. Much goes to the making up of it, all here required. 

1. Hearty renunciation of our own will, saying with the pattern 
of contentment, Not my will, but thine be done. We must no more 
be chusers for ourselves of our own lot ; but as little children stand- 
ing at the table, not to carve for themselves, but to take the bit 
that is given them. ' He shall chuse our inheritance for us,' says 
the Psalmist, Psal. xlvii. 4. Shall not Infinite Wisdom rule the 
world ? This lies in three things. 

(1.) We must not determine the kind or sort of our comforts, as 
we often do, like petted children, that will not have this the parent 
holds out, but that which they set their eye on. Like Adam, whom 
the fruit of the tree of life could not serve, but he would have the 
forbidden fruit. The desire of fruit was natural, therefore not 
evil ; other fruit would have served that desire, if kept orderly ; 
but the lusting desire could not want forbidden fruit. Rachael had 
a husband but she must have children too. Orpah must have a hus- 
band. Ruth wants both ; but she determines nothing, but only she 
must have a God, and that she got, and both too. 

(2.) We must not be positive as to the measure of our comforts ; 
and there is no reason that beggars should be chusers. If the heart 
say, of our comforts, They are too little, and of afflictions, they are 
too great, it flies in the face of this command, and of God's sove- 
reignty, setting up for independency, 1 Tim. vi. 1. ' Having food 
and raiment, let us be therewith content,' though the food be coarse, 
though scanty, &c. Nature is content with little, grace with less, 
and sets no measure ; but the measure of lust can never be filled. 

(3.) We must not be wilful in any thing, 1 Tim. vi. 9. ' They 
that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare,' &c. They that 
will have these things, and will not want them, will never be truly 
content till God's will be brought down to theirs ; which will never 
be altogether; and if in a particular it come to be so, they will 
readily get their will with a vengeance, as the Israelites in the wil- 


derness got. Psal. lxxviii. 29.— 31. ' So they did eat, and were well 
filled ; for he gave them their own desire ; they were not estranged 
from their lust : hut while the meat was yet in their mouths, the 
wrath of God came upon them and slew the fattest of them, and 
smote down the chosen men of Israel.' Thus we must renounce our 
own will. 

2. Absolute resignation to the will of the Lord, Matth. xvi. 24. 
' If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up 
his cross, and follow me.' We must give over the war betwixt our 
will and the will of God, and our will must run as a captive after 
his triumphal chariot. His preceptive will is the rule of our duty ; 
and his providential will, must with our consent, be the rule of our 
condition. Our will must follow his, as the shadow does the body, 
without gainsaying. If he will let us have a created comfort, we 
must be content to keep it ; if not, we must be content to part with 
it. We must lie at the foot of Providence, as a ball before him 
that tosses it, to be thrown up and cast down as our God sees meet. 
This Providence will do with us whether we be willing or not ; but 
if we be thus resigned, then our necessity is our obedience. 

3. Entire submission to the will of God, 1 Sam. iii. 18. ' It is the 
Lord : let him do what seemeth him good.' As they resign them- 
selves to his disposal, they must stand to his decision in the case. 
We must no more dispute the sovereignty with God, but allow the 
divine will and pleasure to carry it over the belly of our corrupt 
inclinations, and be disposed of by him, as the weaned child is by 
the nurse. If that which is crooked cannot be made straight, we 
must ply to it as it is ; if our lot be not brought up to our mind, we 
must bring down our mind to our lot, as Paul did, Phil. iv. 11, 12. 
' Not that I speak in respect of want : for I have learned in whatso- 
ever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be 
abased, and I know how to abound : every where and in all things I 
am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and 
to suffer need.' In this submission to the will of the Lord the soul 
of content lies. For God does not subject the man only, or cast 
him down, as he can do the most discontented person, making him 
walk with the yoke wreathed about his neck, whether he will or not. 
But the man voluntarily submits himself to God's disposal in the 
whole of his condition, whatever his wants be. Whatever be want- 
ing in our condition, if we would be content, 

1st, We must submit to them as just without complaining, as 
Cain did ; saying with the prophet, Micah vii. 9. ' I will bear the 
indignation of the Lord, because I have siuned against him, until he 
plead my cause, and execute judgment for me : he will bring me 


forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.' We meet 
with no hardships in our lot, but Avhat we have procured to our- 
selves. And it is but just that we kiss the rod, and be silent under 
it. Let us complain of ourselves ; why not ? only leave our com- 
plaints there ; but not set our mouths against the heavens ; no, not 
in our hearts, for God knows the language of our hearts as well as 
our mouths. We must love his holiness and justice, in all the works 
thereof, though against ourselves. Nay more, 

Idly, We must be quiet under them, without murmuring, as toler- 
able, Lam. iii. 27 — 29. ' It is good for a man that he bear the yoke 
in his youth. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath 
borne it upon him. He putteth his mouth in the dust, if so be there 
may be hope.' So was Job at first, though his corruption got up at 
length, Job i. 22. ' In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God fool- 
ishly.' How often do we cry out of insufferable affliction ? yet we 
do bear up under it for all that, and would bear the better if we 
could be content and quiet under it. A meek and quiet spirit 
makes a light cross, for a proud unsubdued spirit lays a great over- 
weight upon every cross ; as Rachel's unquiet spirit made the want 
of children wonderfully heavy, which others go very quietly and 
contentedly under. Nay more, 

3c%, We must be easy without those things we want, as things 
we can want, without anxiety to get them, Phil. iv. 12. Weaned 
hearts will be very easy without those things which others cannot 
digest the want of. What is the reason of so much uneasiness in 
our condition, but that we are wedded to this and the other thing ; 
and being glad of the having of it we are exceeding uneasy at the 
parting with it, as Jonah was with his gourd ? The contented man 
will be easy, and that not upon a sensible prospect, but on the faitli 
of the promise, Phil. iv. 6. ' Be careful for nothing : but in every 
thing, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your re- 
quests be made known unto God.' But more than that, 

4thly, We must be well satisfied and bear up comfortably under 
the want of them ; standing upright when they are gone, as we did 
when we had them, or would do if we had them ; even as the house 
stands when the prop that it did lean upon is taken away, Hab. iii. 
17, 13 ; ' Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit 
be in the vines, the labour of the olives shall fail, and the fields 
shall yield no meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and 
there shall be no herd in the stalls : yet I will rejoice in the Lord, 
I will joy in the God of my salvation.' It is a sad evidence of the 
corruption of our nature, that Avoful lust after the creature that is 
bred and born with us, that our comfort waxeth and wanetli, accor- 


ding to the waxing and waning of created enjoyments, and ebbs and 
flows as the breasts of the creature are full or empty. So, many 
lose all spirit and life in religion, when God pulls their worldly 
comforts from them ; and even good people walk much discouraged 
and damped, not so much with the sense of God's anger, as the af- 
fliction in their lot. But what is yet more, 

bthly, "We must have a complaceucy in our condition, as what is 
good for us, otherwise we can have no full content. Observe the 
language of a contented mind, not only just, but ' Good is the will of 
the Lord,' Isa. xxxix. ult. Content suffers not a person to go droop- 
ing under God's yoke, but makes him carry it evenly with a sort of 
complacency in it. "Wise men have a pleasure in the working of 
physic, though it gripe them sore, if their physician thinks it good 
for their health, and they think so too. And grace sometimes finds 
a pleasure in pain, and a paradise within the thorny thicket of afflic- 
tions. See how the apostle gathered olive berries off the thorn- 
hedge of crosses, 2 Cor. xii. 10. ' Therefore I take pleasure in infir- 
mities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecution, in distresses for 
Christ's sake ; for when I am weak, then am I strong.' Ay, there 
is a refined pleasure there, to see how God stops the entry for pro- 
vision, that lusts may be starved ; how he cuts off the by-channels, 
that the whole stream of love may run towards himself ; how he 
pulls and holds off the man's burden, that he may run the more ex- 
peditely in the way to heaven. Nay, more than all that, 

Sthly, We must have a complacency in our condition, as that 
which is best for us for the time. Though he take health from thee, 
wealth, relations, &c. How is that possible ? It is not easy to do 
it, but you must endeavour to see it ; for that must be best that 
God judges best, and by the event it appears that God sees that con- 
dition best for thee for the time. Therefore we should meet it as 
David did Abigail, with ' Blessed be the Lord that sent thee to meet 
me this day.' So did Job. chap. i. 21. 'Blessed be the name of the 
Lord.' Faith in the promise makes it practicable. All the works 
of God are the most perfect in their kind. But to come to the top 
of the ladder, the full sea-mark of content, 

Lastly, "We must rest in that condition, without the least squint 
look for a change of it, till God's time come. There must be no 
motion for it, but as heaven moves to carry our condition about with 
it. And so this hinders not prayer, nor the use of means, in depen- 
dence on God : but requires patience, faith, hope, and absolute re- 
signation, 2 Sam. xv. 25, 26. In this sense he that believeth doth 
not make haste ; that is, the unbelieving haste which cannot wait 
God's time. 


Quest. Is this full contentment possible ? Ans. There is a twofold 
contentment : the one legal, which is full in the eye of the law ; 
and this we can no more attain to than the perfect fulfilling of the 
law. It ceases not, however, to be our duty, and will be humbling 
to gracious souls so far as they come short of it. The other evan- 
gelical, which is full in the eye of the gospel, i. e. it is sincere : 
though it is not full in degrees, yet it is full in parts ; it is in all 
the parts of contentment, though none of them are perfect ; there is 
a submission to the whole will of God, though not perfect in degrees. 
And this is a necessary part of the new man, so that without it we 
are not sincere. 

I shall now give reasons why we should be fully content with our 
own condition, whatever it be. 

1. Because he that made the world guides it, and it is highly 
reasonable we allow it to be so. Let the discontented person an- 
swer that question which God proposes to sinners to silence their 
murmurings. ' Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine 
own ? Matth. xx. 15. The world is made by the Lord ; and shall 
he not govern it, and dispose of it and all things therein as he sees 
best ? Must the clay be allowed to say to the potter, ' "Why hast 
thou made me thus ? Should it be according to thy mind ?' Job 
xxxiv. 33. Providence guides all, the Creator sits at the helm ; 
and will not we be content with the course that is steered ? 

2. Thy condition is ordered by Infinite Wisdom. There is no- 
thing that befals us without the providence of God ; and that is no 
blind chance, but a wise disposal of all according to the counsel of 
God's will. If the product of Infinite Wisdom content us not, we 
do but shew ourselves headstrong fools. He that numbers the hairs 
of our heads, Matt. x. 30. no doubt keeps an exact account of all 
the crosses in our lot, and of every ingredient in our cross, and gives 
them all out by weight and measure, as may most suit his infinitely- 
wise ends. And it is the height of folly to impeach the conduct of 
Infinite Wisdom. 

3. All the good that is in our lot is undeserved, Lam. iii. 22. 
The bitterest lot that any has in the world is mixed with mercy ; 
and mercy is still predominant in our cup. It is true, discontented 
persons are like wasps and flies that look not near the sound parts, 
but swarm together on the sore place. They magnify their crosses, 
and multiply them too ; but deal with their mercies as the unjust 
steward, instead of a hundred setting down fifty, and hardly so 
much. But let there be fair count and reckoning betwixt us and 
Frovidcnce, we shall find we arc in God's debt, and every mercy we 
enjoy we have it freely and undeservedly from God's hand, Job 
ii. 10. 


4. All the evil that we meet with in our lot, we deserve it, we 
have ourselves to thank for it, Lam. iii. 39. Shall men's hearts rise 
against God for what they have procured to themselves? Is it not 
a reasonable resolve, ' I will hear the indignation of the Lord, be- 
cause I have sinned against him V Mic. vii. 9. A discontented spirit 
will always be found an unhumbled spirit, insensible of its ill de- 
servings at God's hand. 

Use. I exhort all to labour for a full contentment with their own 
condition. For motives to press this, consider, 

1. The beauty of the rational world, under the conduct of Divine 
Providence, lies in every one's contentment with their own condi- 
tion. One last shall as soon serve every foot, as one condition shall 
be agreeable to all. What confusion would be in the world, if there 
were not variety ? If time were all day and no night, the moon and 
stars every one a sun, how would we be able to endure it. ' If the 
whole body were an eye, where were the useful and pleasant variety 
of members. And if all men were set under the same smiles of Pro- 
vidence, where were the beautiful variety and mixture in the web 
of providence that inwraps the world. Let us remember we are 
in the world as on a stage, where one must represent a king and 
another a beggar. It is God's part to chuse what part we shall 
act ; and it is our business contentedly to act the part allotted for 

2. Contentment makes a man happy and easy in every condition. 
It is the stone that turns all metals into gold, and makes one to 
sing and rejoice in every condition. A strong man will walk as 
cleverly under a heavy burden, as a weak man under a far lighter 
one, because of the proportion that is betwixt the strength and the 
burden in each. One man has his lot brought up to his mind, 
another has his mind brought down to his lot ; is not the latter, 
then, as easy as the former is. All our uneasiness proceeds from 
our own minds ; and could we manage them to a full contentment in 
every condition, no condition could make us miserable. 

3. Time is short, and ere long we will be at our journey's end. 
The world's smiles will no more follow us, neither will the frowns 
of it reach us. Eternity is before us, and we have greater things to 
mind than our condition here. One traveller walks with a rough 
stick in his hand, and another with a cane : the matter is small 
which of them be thine, for at the journey's end both of them shall 
be laid aside. 

Quest. How may we attain to full contentment with our own con- 
dition in a gospel-sense. There are two sorts of persons to whom 
we speak, some in a state of nature, others in a state of grace. One 

Vol. II. z 


answer will not serve both ; for though unrenewed sinners may have 
a shadow of contentment, it is impossible they can have true Chris- 
tian contentment in that state. They may have a sort of content- 
ment from a careless easy humour, yea, they may reason themselves 
into a sort of contentment as some Heathens did do. But true con- 
tentment with their condition they cannot have. 

This is clear, if ye consider, that a restless heart can never be a 
contented heart ; and seeing the heart of man is capable of enjoying 
an infinite good, and the whole creation is not capable to fill it, it 
follows, that the heart can never rest, nor be truly content, till it be 
so in God himself. Adam falling off from God, left us with a breast 
full of unsatisfied desires, because he left us seeking our satisfaction 
among the creatures, which are dry breasts, and cannot fill the 
heart ; so till the soul return to God, it can have no true rest nor 
contentment. We may say enough to stop the mouths of the dis- 
contented, whatever they be ; but no considerations will avail to 
Avork true contentment in a person out of Christ, more than a 
hungry child will be reasoned into quietness while you give him no 
bread. Therefore the great and, 

First, Direction for contentment is, that ye take God for your 
God in Christ, as he offers himself to you in the gospel. The great 
thing that ye want is a rest to your heart, and satisfaction to the 
unbounded desires thereof, to possess that which if you had your de- 
sires would be stayed, and ye would covet no more. I know, your 
false hearts and your foolish tongues have said, 0, if I had such and 
such a created thing, I would be content, I would desire no more ! 
But when ye got it, was it so indeed ? was there not still a want ? 
So it will be to the end. But here is the way to contentment : Jesus 
Christ, in whom dwells the fulness of the Godhead, offers himself to 
be yours. Accept of him by faith and then the sun is up with yon, 
and ye will be content, though the candles of creature-comforts be 
put out. The wise merchant is content with the loss of all when he 
finds the one pearl, but not till then, Matth. xiii. 45, 46. Thus the 
foundation of full contentment is laid. And so I may go on to shew 
you further how to attain it. Therefore, 

2. Believe that God is your God in Christ ; apprehend him by 
faith as your portion ; and contentment with your condition will 
follow of course, though your condition be very gloomy, Heb. iii. 17. 
Full contentment with one's conditi; n goes in equal pace with a 
man's clearness as to his interest in Christ. Let that be darkened, 
aud he shall find himself grow more fretful and uneasy with crosses 
in the world. Let that be rising clearer and clearer, and the more 
clear it grows, his cross will grow the lighter, and easier to be borne. 


If any should say, There is a particular thing in my condition 
that above all things I cannot be easy under ; there is something I 
would have, and God sees it not meet to give it me : what shall I 
do to be content under it. I would say, be what it will, go to God, 
and make a solemn exchange of that thing. If he has kept that 
from you, he offers you as good and better, that is to say, himself, 
instead of it. And do you renounce that thing, and give up with it, 
and take Christ instead of it; and having taken him so, believe 
that ye have him instead of it. Say, Lord, there is an empty room 
in this heart of mine, such a comfort would I have to fill it; but 
thou seest meet to refuse it; therefore I give up with it; thy will 
be done; but I take thyself instead thereof to fill up that room. 
And now I have made the exchange, and Christ is to me instead of 
that which I want. So shalt thou find thy heart satisfied. And if 
God see the comfort meet for thee, thou art then in the fairest way 
to get it too, Psal. xxxvii. 4. 

This is the way of the gospel to full contentment, viz. the way of 
believing, by which all Christian duties are done, and gospel-graces 
are nourished in the heart. And to let you see the efficacy of these 
means for contentment, consider, 

1. The heart of man is an empty hungry thing, that must be filled 
with something, and cannot abide want. Therefore it is, that when 
people miss their desired satisfaction in one thing, they go to make 
it up by another. Mordecai's not bowing to Hainan discontented 
him, and he went to make it up by a revenge on all the Jews. But 
the misery is, there is a want in that thing too. It is like the put- 
ting of an empty spoon in the child's mouth, that may stop it for a 
moment ; but as soon as it finds it is disappointed, and there is no- 
thing in it, it falls a-crying again. Now, this directs you to that 
which infallibly makes up the want, and in which there is no want. 
And it is a sad matter, that those who have tried so many ways to 
make up their wants, will not try this too. 

2. God is the Fountain of all perfection, and whatever is desir- 
able in the creature is in an eminent way in God, Mat. xix. 17- If 
the sun shine in at your win lows, ye do not complain for want of 
candle-light. If all the vessels in your house were emptied of water, 
and the fountain were hv ught into it, ye are at no loss, but in bet- 
ter case than before. Even so, if all created streams should dry up, 
if ye have God for your God, ye may say indeed, that ye want these 
created things, but ye have all the good that was in them, in ano- 
ther, to wit, in God. Ye want the vessels, but ye want not the wa- 
ter of comfort that was in them, for ye have it in God. 

3. Having God for your God, ye have all in the promise, Rev. 

z 2 


xxi. 7- He is unreasonably dissatisfied that has a good stock in 
hills and bonds from a sure hand, though he has little in his pocket, 
especially Avhen all that is needful will be upon them answered on 
demand. He that has the lively faith of inheriting all things at 
length, will find it none of the most difficult tasks to be served with 
very little for the present. 

4. Lastly, Having God for your God, the nature of your afflictions 
is altered. Your crosses are changed from curses into blessings ; 
and however heavy they be, they run in the channel of the covenant 
to the common end of all covenant-blessings, your good, Rom. 
viii. 28. 

This way of believing in order to contentment is, 

1. A sure way, which will infallibly produce it, as surely as the 
laying of a hungry babe to a full breast will stay it. How many 
ways do men try for this which all misgive ? but this cannot mis- 
give, seeing God in Christ is a full contenting object. And if our 
faith were perfect, our contentment would be so too. When faith is 
perfected in sight in heaven, the saints will be warm without clothes, 
full without meat, and rich without money, for God will be all to 

2. A short way, by which we may come quickly to it. What a 
far way about do men go for contentment, while they compass the 
creation for it, and when all is done miss it? But here we may say, 
' Be not afraid, only believe,' Mark v. 36. 

3. The only way ; there is no other way to come to it. Fulness 
in the world will not do it ; for as the estate enlarges, the desire 
enlarges too, and knows no bounds till it comes to that which is 
infinite ; and thither it cannot come till it comes to God. A king- 
dom could not content Ahab, discontent crept in under a crown on 
his head, 1 Kings xxi. 4. If ye do not take up your soul's rest in 
God as your God in Christ, no considerations will prevail to con- 
tent you. But if ye do, there are several considerations that may 
be of good use to you. As, 

1. Consider, that the heaviest thing in thy lot comes out of a 
friend's hand. It is good news to Zion in the worst of times, ' How 
beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good 
tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, 
that publisheth salvation, that sayeth unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!' 
Isa. lii. 7- Whoever be the instruments of our affliction, and whose 
Land soever be heavy on us, we meet with nothing but what comes 
through our Lord's fingers, John v. 22. 'The Father hath committed 
all judgment unto the Son. And will we not venture our outward 
condition in his hand, on which we venture ourselves for eternity? 


A tongue, far less a hand, cannot move against us but by him, 
2 Sam. xvi. 10. 

2. Consider how unmeet you are to carve for yourselves ; ' and 
should it be according* to thy mind ?' Job xxxiv. 33. How weak 
are ye to discern your true interest? Could ye venture to pilot your- 
selves through the rocks and shelves in the world ? No, ye dare 
not, if ye know yourselves. Why will ye not then resign yourselves 
to wise Providence ? But, say ye, it is only in some things Aye 
would have it so or so. Ay, but Christ will be steersman for thee 
through the whole, or not at all. He will not share the government 
with thee ; and there is no reason he should, for thou art weak, and 
seest not far off. There is many a pleasant green path in the world 
that leads into the lion's den, and many a rugged way that leads 
into a paradise : thou seest the hithermost end of the way, but not 
the far end ; he sees it. 

3. Have ye not already lived to see your hopes and fears both 
baffled by the conduct of wise Providence ? As for the hopes ye 
have conceived of the choice of your own wilful will, have ye not 
been sometimes made to let the knife drop with shame, after ye 
have cut your fiugers in carving for yourself; like Lot, not daring 
to stay in all the plain, though sometime before he built his own 
nest in the heart of it ? And for your fears of the conduct of Pro- 
vidence, have ye not seen how Grod has drawn you to your good 
against your will, and that it was good ye were crossed in such a 
matter, and that such a project of yours was baffled ? Seeing, then, 
we are such bunglers at the carving of our lot, it is reasonable we 
quit the knife, and give it over, as Jacob did in Joseph's case. 

4. Consider, that there is much about the ordering of thy lot, infi- 
nitely more than thou art master of thyself. Believe it, 

(1.) That the seven eyes of Infinite wisdom are about it, Zech. iii. 
9 ; Now in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. There is no 
chance-work in the world, no random work in thy condition ; it is 
not a work huddled up in a haste. The scheme of it was drawn from 
eternity, and lay before the Lord, without any need of alteration. 
Every thing in thy condition, however late brought forth, was from 
eternity in the womb of the wise decree, Zech. vi. 1. 

(2..) That there is a soft hand of grace and goodness about it, 
Rom. viii. 28. A gracious Providence brings it forth out of the 
womb of the decree : why should we not then embrace it, and wel- 
come it into the world ? There is a stream of grace that goes 
through all the dispensations of providence to the Lord's people. 
Now, when Infinite Wisdom, tempered with grace and good-will, 



orders our lot, is it not reasonable, that we be fully content with it? 
Hence I infer, 

1. Thy condition, whatever it is, is for God's honour; for it is or- 
dered by him who does all for that end, and cannot fail of his de- 
sign. Though thou dost not see how it is so, thou mayest believe 
that it is so, upon this ground. Providence runs much under 
ground, so as weak, man cannot see how the means answer the end : 
but God sees it, and that is enough. This is a contenting considera- 
tion to a gracious soul, that will be pleased with that which may 
glorify God, Phil. i. 20. 

2. Thy condition is good for thee, Rom. viii. 28. That may be 
good that is not pleasant ; it may bring profit that brings no plea- 
sure. God loves to work by contraries, to bring health to the soul 
out of sickness of the body, to enrich his people by poverty, to do 
them good by crossing of them, and blow them to their harbour by 

3. Nay, it is best for thee. If thou be a child of God, thy pre- 
sent lot in the world is the best thou couldst have for the present. 
Infinite Wisdom sees it is so ; and grace and good-will makes it so. 
All God's works are perfect in their kind, Deut. xxxii. 4. "Will 
vain man come after God, and tell him how to mend his work ? If 
it wei"e not fittest for his own holy ends, it were not perfect. Nay, 
if thou be not in Christ, those things in thy lot which thou art dis- 
contented with, thy crosses and afflictions, are best for thee ; for if 
any thing in thy lot bring thee to God, it will be this. Which 
brings me to a fifth thing. 

5. Consider that those things in thy lot which thou art so ready 
to be discontented with, are truly necessary for thee, Lam. iii. 33. 
If thou couldst want them, thou wouldst not get them ; for God 
takes no pleasure merely in making his creatures miserable. If thy 
lot be afflicted, know that strong diseases must have strong reme- 
dies : blame not the physician for that, but the disease. The wilful 
child would live without the rod, but the parent sees it necessary to 
chastise him. If God withdraw any thing from thee, it is but to 
starve a lust that would feed on it ; if he lay on thee what thou 
wouldst not, it is but to bear down a lust, that otherwise would sorry 
thee headlong. Give Providence a fair hearing, it will answer for 
itself. Why should people then cast out with their mercies, and be 
angry with their blessings ? 

6. Consider that great things in one's lot have a great burden 
with them. A man will get a softer bed in a palace than in a cot- 
tage, but the mean man will readily sleep sounder in his cottage 
than the king in his palace. People look to the great things which 


others have beyond them, but they do not consider the burden going 
along Avith them. They who want the one want the other too, and 
therefore have reason to be content. 

(1.) Where there is a great trust, there is a great reckoning, 
Luke xii. 48. Thou seest others have much that thou wantest, 
grudge it nut ; they have the more to reckon for. God keeps an 
account of all his mercies bestowed on all men, and they that have 
most now have most to account for when the Lord shall seek an ac- 
count of his servants. Look well to thyself, and be content. I 
fear it be found, that for as little as thou hast, thou hast more than 
thou canst guide well. 

(2.) Great things in the world are great snares, and bring great 
dangers along with them, Mark x. 23. They that walk low make not 
such a figure as those that walk on high ; but the latter are most apt 
to fall. How fond are we of the world even when it frowns on us ? 
what would become of us if it did nothing but smile ? It is hard to 
carry a full cup even. Affliction if often seasonable ballast to a 
light heart, that prosperity would give too much sail to, till it should 
be sunk. 

7. Consider, if thou be a child of God, that which thou hast, thou 
hast on free cost, Horn. viii. 32. And therefore, though it be little, 
it is better to thee than the abundance of many others, which will 
bring a dear reckoning at length. The children of the family may 
fare more coarsely than strangers ; but there is a great difference ; 
the strangers have a reckoning for it when they go away ; but the 
children have nothing to pay. 

(1.) Remember thou forfeited all in Adam ; it is a mercy that 
thou hast any thing at all. I know nothing but sin and death that 
we can lay claim to as our own property, Lam. iii. 39. He that 
deserves hell has no reason to complain, while he is out of it. 

(2.) Any thing which thou hast a covenant right to now, is throat, h 
Christ ; it is the purchase of his blood. So that makes it precious, 
as being the price of blood ; and that should make us content with 
it, seeing we have it freely through him. 

8. Consider the vanity of all things below the sun, Eccl. i. 2. A 
just estimation of worldly things would make us content with very 
little. But a blind judgment first sets an exorbitant price on earthly 
things, and raises the value of them ; and then people think never 
to get enough of them. But low thoughts of them would clip the 
wings of our affections to them, and little of thorn would content us, 
Prov. xxiii. 5. Riches make themselves wings, and fly away. There 
is a wing of chance, casualties, and losses : and though by thy wis- 
dom thou could clip all these wings, yet there is a wing of death and 
mortality that will carry them away. 


9. Consider the preciousness and excellency of heavenly things, 
Col. iii. 2. More heavenly-mindedness would make us less anxious 
about these things. If we be in hazard of losing these, it is madness 
to be taken up about trifles, and concerned with earthly losses. "Will 
he whose life is in hazard go up and down making moan for a sore 
finger ? And if they be secured, it is horrid ingratitude to be dis- 
content with our lot here. Would a mau that has a ship loaded 
with goods coming ashore, vex himself for losing a pin out of his 
sleeve, or a penny out of his pocket ? Heaven will make up all our 
losses ; and hell will make men forget their greatest crosses in the 

Lastly, Consider much of death and eternity. For as little as any 
of us have, we have perhaps as much as will serve our turn here. 
Our time is uncertain. It is folly to vex ourselves, though we have 
not all conveniences that we would desire in a house that we have 
no tack of, but may remove from it to-morrow. 

I have insisted largely on this point, because it is so very necessary. 
Labour for a full contentment with your condition. This is the way 
to make a virtue of a necessity ; for our discontent and uneasiness 
will not add a cubit to the stature of our lot. And that which God 
will make crooked in it, we will not get made straight, however un- 
easy we may be about it. 

II. We are to consider the duty of this command, as it respects 
our neighbour. And that is a right and charitable or loving frame 
of spirit towards himself and all that is his. We may take up this 
in five things, which are here required. 

1. Love to our neighbour's person, as to ourselves, Rom. xiii. 9. 
For seeing this command forbids us to wrong him so much as in 
thought, it plainly binds love to him upon us ; not in word only, 
nor in deed only, by doing him good, but in heart, that our bowels 
move towards him, for the sake of God. For whatever be unholy in 
him, yet he is one of God's creatures, of the same nature with our- 
selves, and capable of enjoying the same God with us. 

2. An upright respect to what is his, for his sake. As we are to 
love himself for God's sake, so what is his for his sake, Deut. xxii. 1. 
A careless disposition and unconcernedness about what is our neigh- 
bour's, can never be a right frame to what is his. So it is an argu- 
ment of the world's corruption, that all men seek their own things, 
and are so little concerned for the things of others. That is not 
charitable walking, Phil. ii. 4. 

3. An hearty desire of his welfare and prosperity in all things, as 
of our own, his honour, life, chastity, wealth, good name, and what- 
ever is his. This we owe to our very enemies, so far as it may l>c 


consistent with the honour of God, and their own spiritual good, which 
is the main thing we are to desire for all. I add this, because some- 
times the loss of these may be more to the honour of God, and our 
neighbour's advantage, than the having of them, to wit, when they 
are abused to sin, Rom. xii. 20. Matth. v. 44. 

4. A real complacency in his welfare and the welfare of what is 
his, Rom. xii. 15. If our hearts rejoice not in our neighbour's wel- 
fare, we covet what he has, and secretly in our hearts devour it. 
But as we are to be well content with our own condition, so we are 
to be well content with our neighbour's welfare. 

5. Lastly, A cordial sympathy with him in any evil that befals 
him, Rom. xii. 20. For we are members one of another ; and as 
every member shares in the grief of any one, so should we in one 
another's afflictions. A hard heart unconcerned with the afflictions of 
others, especially where people talk to the grief of those whom God 
has wounded, is a sign of a wretched temper and uncharitable frame 
of spirit, Psal. lxix. 26. and xxxv. 13, 14, 15. 

III. We must consider this command as it respects the root of sin. 
And so it requires original righteousness, a holy frame of the soul, 
whereby it is bent to all good, and averse to all evil ; that holy 
frame of spirit that was in the first Adam when he was created, and 
all along in the second Adam. And thus this command carries the 
matter of holiness to the utmost point. 

That this is here required, will appear, if ye consider that this 
command forbids the very first risings of original corruption, whose 
very nature it is to be still coveting ; and therefore original cor- 
ruption itself is forbidden, and consequently original righteousness 

Not only good actions are required by the holy law, but a holy 
temper of the spirit, consisting in the light of the mind taking up 
duty, a bent of the will inclining ever to good, and averse to every 
evil, and the orderliness of the affections, keeping precisely within 
the holy boundaries set to them by the law, not to look over the 
hedge in the least point. 

This is certainly required somewhere in the law ; for men are 
condemned for the want of it ; and in none of the commands is it 
required, if it be not here. And thus ye may see the utter impossi- 
bility of keeping perfectly these commands ; for whatever men pre- 
tend as to the rest, who of Adam's children do not stick here as soon 
as they are born ? 

This command reaches us as soon as we are born ; nay as soon as 
we are living souls in the womb, requiring of us what we have not 
to produce, and that is an holy nature. But, alas ! we are evil be- 


fore we can do evil ; and we want that holy nature naturally, and 
therefore have at length such unholy lives. 

If it he inquired, How this command in this point is answered 
sincerely ? Ans. It is by our being renewed in the spirit of our 
minds, our partaking of the new nature in regeneration, where old 
things being done away, and all things becoming new, we are made 
new creatures. This is that neAv nature which is the image of God 
repaired, with a perfection of parts, to be crowned in heaven with a 
perfection of degrees. 

And it is worthy of our observation, that Jesus Christ being to 
fulfil all righteousness, was born holy, and so fulfilled this command 
for us. In him the law has its due, he being a man, who from his 
birth had a holy pure nature, a holy frame of spirit, without the 
least irregularity or disorder. 

To conclude, ye may see the command is pure, just, and holy, 
however impure we be ; and requires of us the utmost purity of 
heart, life and nature. 

I now proceed to consider the sins forbidden. 
Quest. ' What is forbidden in the tenth commandment ?' 
Ans. ' The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment 
with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neigh- 
bour, and all inordinate motions and affections to any thing that is 

This command is a curb and bridle to the distempered heart of 
man, which of all parts of man is the hardest to be commanded and 
kept within bounds. Men may be of a courteous obliging behaviour, 
keep in their hands from killing, or what tendeth thereunto, their 
bodies from uncleanness, their hands from stealing, and their 
tongues from lying; while, in the mean time, the heart in all these 
respects may be going within the breast like a troubled sea, unto 
which this command by divine authority saith, Peace, and be still. 

The heart distempered by original sins runs out in the irascible 
faculty in tormenting passions, bearing an aversion of the heart to 
what the Lord in his wisdom lays before men. This great stream 
of the corruption of our nature divides itself into two branches ; one 
running against our own condition, namely, a torrent of discontent ; 
the other against our neighbour, namely, envying and grudging at 
his good. In the concupiscible faculty, in lusting affections and in- 
ordinate motions towards something which (Jod has put out of our 
way, at least with-held from our closest embraces. This also di- 
vides itself into two hranches; one running towards what is our 
own, namely, A sinful eagerness, lust, or inordinate motion of the 
heart to what we possess; the other running towards what is our 


neighbour's, an inordinate affection to what is his. Tims the corrupt 
heart runs in a direct opposition to the will of God, refusing what 
he would have us to accept, and embracing closely what he would 
have us to stand at a distance from. The corrupt fountain with its 
several streams is all here forbidden. We shall speak to them all 
as laid before us, tracing the streams to the fountain-head. 

FIRST, the streams in which the distemper of the heart runs are 
here forbidden expressly, because these are most exposed to our 
view. Let us view, 

First, The tormenting passions, in which the corruption of nature 
vents itself ; for sin is in its own nature misery. "We need but go 
in the paths of sin to make us miserable, and in the high road of 
duty to make us happy. We shall consider the tormenting passion, 

First, Of discontent with our own estate or condition. This is 
plainly here forbidden ; for discontentment is presupposed to covet- 
ing ; and there could be no coveting of what we want without dis- 
contentment with what we have. The lusty gapings of the heart 
say, there is an uneasiness within. It is only the plague of discon- 
tentment that makes the heart cry, GKve, give. 

I. I will shew the evil of discontentment, and paint out this sin 
in its black'colours. It is the hue of hell all over. 

1. Discontent is, in the nature of it, a compound of the blackest 
ingredients, the scum of the corrupt heart boiling up, and mixed to 
make up the hellish composition. 

1st, Unsubjection to and rebellion against the will of God, Hos. 
iv. 16. ' Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer;' backsliding or 
refractory, that will not admit the yoke farther than it is forced on. 
The discontented heart cannot submit, but sets its foot as par against 
the divine dispensation. Though God guides and governs the world, 
they are the malcontents, that are not pleased with the government, 
but mutiny against it. What pleases God, pleases not them; what 
is right in God's eyes, is evil in theirs. And nothing will please 
them, but to have the reins of government out of God's hands into 
their own ; though, if their passion did not blind their judgment, 
they might see how they would quickly fire the little world of their 
own and other's condition, if they had the reins in their own hand. 

2dl(/, Sorrow of heart under the divine dispensation towards them. 
It is not according to their mind, and so their heart sinks in sorrow, 
1 Kings xxi. 4. God crosses their will, and they pierce their own 
hearts with many sorrows ; as if a man, because he cannot stop the 
course of the sun in the firmament, would wrap up himself in dark- 

And this is a killing sorrow, a sword thrust into a man's heart 


by his own hands, 2 Cor. vii. 10. It melts a man's heart within 
him ; like a vulture, preys upon his natural spirits, tending to 
shorten his days. It makes him dumpish and heavy like Ahab, and 
is a heavy load above the burden of affliction. That is the black 
smoke of discontentment, which yet often breaks out into a fiery 
flame, as in the same case of Ahab, where Naboth fell a sacrifice 
to it. 

3dly, Anger and wrath against their lot, Jude 16. Complainers. 
The word signifies such as are angry at their lot, and in the distri- 
butions Providence makes of the world, still complain that the least 
or worst part of it falls to their share. Thus the discontented do 
in their hearts bark at the mountains of brass, Zech. vi. 1 ; as dogs 
do at the moon, and with the same success. They are angry with 
God's dispensations, and their hearts rise against it, and snarl at it. 

And this is a fretting anger, whereby men disquiet and vex them- 
selves in vain, like men dashing their heads against the wall ; the 
wall stands unmoved, but their heads are wounded. Like a wild bull 
in a net, the more he stirs, the faster is he held ; so that still they 
return with the loss. Thus discontent is in the heart like a serpent 
gnawing the bowels, and makes a man as a moth to himself, con- 
suming him, or a lion tearing himself, Job xviii. 4. 

Lastly, There is a spice of heart-blasphemy in it; for it strikes 
very directly against God the Governor of the world, and accuses 
his administration ; and for an evidence of this, it sometimes breaks 
out in words, Mai. iii. 13, 14, 15; ' Your words have been stout 
against me, saith the Lord : yet ye say, "What have we spoken so 
much against thee ? Te have said, It is vain to serve God : and 
what profit is it, that we have kept his ordinance, and that Ave have 
walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts ? And now we call the 
proud happy : yea, they that work wickedness are set up ; yea, they 
that tempt God are even delivered.' Discontent accuses him, 

(1.) Of folly, as if he were not wise enough to govern the world. 
The peevish discontented person, in his false light, sees many flaws 
in the conduct of Providence, and pretends to tell God how he may 
correct his work, and how it would be better. If the work of Pro- 
vidence be wisely done, why are we discontent with it ? or would 
we be discontent with it, if we did not think we saw how it should 
be otherwise, and how it might be mended ? 

(2.) Of injustice, i.s if he did us wrong. The judge of all the 
earth cannot but do right. He cannot be bribed nor biassed ; yet 
the discontented heart rises against him, and blasphemes him as an 
respector of persons. It looks on his distributive justice (if we may 
so call it, for indeed all is his own, not ours) with an evil eye, and 


accuses him of partiality in not giving them as good as others, com- 
plaining of their share. On his corrective justice, if they did not 
deserve what he lays on them. For if we do deserve the evil in our 
lot, there is no wrong done us ; and why do we then complain ? 
And to fill up the measure, it accuseth him, 

(3.) Of cruelty. Job, in a fit of discontent, speaks it out, chap. 
xxx. 21 ; ' Thou art become cruel to me.' Thus goodness itself is 
blasphemed by the discontented, who behave as if they were under 
the hands of a merciless tyrant, who would sport himself with one's 
misery. Discontent fills the heart with black and hard thoughts of 
God, and represents him as a rigid master and cruel lord ; other- 
wise people would lay their hand on their mouth, and be content. 

Some will say, that their discontent is with themselves, not with 
God, having brought their cross on with their own hands. Ans. If 
it be the effect of your sin, ye may mourn for your sin, but ye 
should the rather be content with your lot. And as for mismanage- 
ments, there is a providence that reaches them, and so God is our 
party still : but nothing is more ordinary than that, Prov. xix. 3 ; 
' The foolishness of man perverteth his way ; and his heart fretteth 
against the Lord.' 

Others say, that it is with the instruments of their trouble they 
are discontented. Ans. But consider that they are but instruments 
in God's hand, in the hand of his providence, and therefore ye 
should not be discontent. Say as David did to the sons of Zeruiah, 
' What have I to do with you ? so let him curse because the Lord 
hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore 
hast thou done so?' 2 Sam. xvi. 10. No creature can be more to us 
than God makes it to be : if then God shall squeeze any creature 
dry of comfort to us, and we thereupon prove discontented, what- 
ever we pretend, our hearts fret against the Lord, Exod. xvi. 2; 
compare ver. 7- 

Thus ye see the picture of discontment ; and does it not look very 
black ? There are ounces and pounds of rebellion against the will 
of God, killing sorrow and fretting auger, and hideous heart-blas- 
phemy in it, while there is not one grain of religion or reason that 
goes into this hellish composition. If one should take it lor a de- 
scription of hell, he would not be far out ; for the truth is, discon- 
tent is a hell in the bosom, and a lively emblem of the pit of 

2. If ye view discontentment in the rise of it, ye will see further 
into the evil of it. It takes its rise from, 

1st, A blinded judgment which puts darkness for light, and light 
for darkness, and cannot see into the wisdom of the conduct of Pro- 


violence, that does all things well. "When our blind minds begin to 
refine on the management of holy Providence, they are apt to pro- 
duce discontent, which in respect of Providence is always unreason- 
able. See how good Jacob bewrays his folly and ignorance of the 
methods of providence, Gen. xlii. 36 ; ' Me have ye bereaved of my 
children : Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benja- 
min away : all these things are against me.' Compare with this the 
promise, Rom. viii. 28 ; ' All these things shall work together for 
good to them that love the Lord, to those who are the called accord- 
ing to his purpose ;' and also compare the event ; and ye will see 
that all these things were for the benefit of the good Patriarch, and 
that of his numerous family. 

Yea, oft-times does it so readily rise out of darkness, that it 
springs up from mere suspicion, misapprehension, and mistake, so 
that a little cloud of that nature over the mind will in the end cover 
the mind with the blackness of discontent : as in the case of Ahab, 
1 Kings xxi. 4 ; compare ver. 6. And indeed there is never a 
ground of discontent, but the blind mind does magnify it, and lays 
to it such heaps of rubbish, as the heart is not able to stand under 
it, as in the case of Rachel, Gen. xxx. 1 ; ' "When Rachel saw that 
she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister ; and said unto 
Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.' Thus are our own dark 
minds the anvil on which our miseries are beat out into gi'eater 
breadth and length than they are of, as they come out of the hand 
of God, to the end they may cover our hearts with discontent. 
Happy is the man that can take up his cross as God lays it down, 
without adding more to it. 

Idly, A proud heart. Haman's pride discontented him for want 
of bows and cringes from Mordecai, which would never have troubled 
a humble man. A proud heart is a wide heart, Prov. xxviii. 25. 
Hch. It is not little that will fill it ; it is long ere it will say, it is 
enough: and so it natively produces discontent. The devil is the 
proudest creature, and withal the most discontented ; for pride and 
discontent lodge always under one roof. And could we get blood 
let of the heart-vein of pride, we would see the swelling ulcer of 
discontent fall apace. 

3. An unmortified affection to the creature, 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10; Jo- 
nah had a gourd, and he was exceedingly glad of it, Jonah iv. 6 ; it is 
taken away, and then he was exceedingly discontented, ver. 9. The 
heart takes such a hold of such and such a created comfort, that 
it becomes like a live limb of a man's body ; so when it is rent 
away, what wonder one cry out, as if men were cutting a limb off 
him ? No body cries out for the losing of a tree leg, because it 


lias no communication with the members of the man's body, it is a 
dead thing. So, were our affection to the creature deadened to it, 
as it should be, discontent could have no access. 

4. A spirit of unbelief. Want of faith marred the acceptance of 
Cain's offering, Heb. xi. 4 ; and opened the sluice of discontent on 
him too, Gen. iv. 5 ; ' Cain was very wroth, and his countenance 
fell.' Discontent feeds on wants, faith brings in the supply of 
wants, and can feed on it, while it is yet in the promise. Where 
unbelief is, then no wonder discontent prevail. A lively faith would 
kill discontent ; whereas unbelief nourishes and cherishes it ; for it 
puts an effectual bar in the way of the rest of the heart, which it 
can never attain but in God. 

3. View it in the effect, and it will appear very black. The tree 
is known by its fruits. 

lit, It mars communion with and access to God. Muddy and 
troubled water receives not the image of the sun, as a clear and 
standing water will do. So a discontented heart is unfit for com- 
munion with a holy God, 1 Tim. ii. 8 ; ' Can two walk together ex- 
cept they be agreed ?' If one would have communion with God, his 
heart must not be boiling with anger against his brother, Matth. v. 
23, 24. How then can he have it, when he is angry with his God, 
as in discontent ? 

2c%, It quite unfits a man for holy duties, so that he cannot per- 
form them rightly or acceptably, for speaking to God in prayer, or 
his speaking to them by his word. 1. It deadens one's heart within 
him as in Nabal's case, 1 Sam. xxv. 37- whose ' heart died within 
him, and he became as a stone.' 2. It takes away the relish of 
spiritual things, vitiates the taste, and turns them sapless to people, 
as it did to the Israelites in Egypt, Exod. vi. 7, — 9. 3. It carries 
the heart off the duty, to pore on the ground of discontent, and 
makes them drive heavily in God's worship, and serve him drooping 
and heartless, as it did the Jews in Malachi's time, Mai. ii. 13, 14. 
Their unkindness to their wives made them discontented and fretful, 
so that when they came to the temple, they were quite out of 

3 -ihi, Nay, it unfits people for the work of their ordinary calling. 
It is not only an enemy to grace, but to gifts too, and common pru- 
dence. The black fumes ascending from the discontented heart 
overcloud the judgment in ordinary matters, that the one hand 
knows not what the other is doing, as in Nabal's case, who should 
have gone and made his peace with David. So that it is a plague 
to people, not only as Christians, but as men. 

4thly, It mars the comfort of society, and makes people uneasy to 


those that are about them. When Elkauah went up to Shiloh with 
his family to rejoice before the Lord, fretting Hannah is out of tune, 
and mars the harmony, 1 Sam. i. 7, 8. Peninnah provokes Hannah, 
Hannah is angry with her, and Elkanah with both. So it is the pest 
of society, and makes an evil world ten times worse. It makes peo- 
ple a burden to others, because it gives them a cloudy day while it 

bthly, It is a torment to one's self, aud makes a man his own tor- 
mentor, 1 Kings xxi. 4. It wraps him up in darkness, feeds him 
with bitterness, and gives him gall and wormwood to drink, Prov. 
xv. 16. for his ordinary. It robs him of the best worldly thing he 
can possess, i. e. his peace and tranquillity of mind ; and makes his 
mind within him as the troubled sea that cannot rest. So the dis- 
contented person is on a continual rack, and he himself is execu- 
tioner. All sins are displeasing to God, yet in many there is some 
pleasure to men, both the actors and others ; but corrupt nature 
cannot strain any pleasure out of this in one's self, nor in others 
either, unless, like the devil, they have a pleasure in seeing others 

6thly, It is not only tormenting to one's mind, but is ruinous to 
the body, Prov. xvii. 22. ' A broken spirit drieth the bones.' It is 
a degree of self-murder. It wastes the natural spirits, and has a 
native tendency to cut short one's days. The soul and body are so 
knit, that they mutually affect one another ; and the mind disor- 
dered by fretting passions, will fret the body, and consume it like a 

'Jthly, It sucks the sap out of all one's enjoyments. As a few 
drops of gall will imbitter a cup of wine, and a few drops of ink 
will blacken a cup of the clearest liquor ; so discontent upon one 
ground will imbitter and blacken all other enjoyments. See it in 
Hainan, Esth. v. 11, — 13. 'And Haman told them of the glory of 
his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things 
wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him 
above the princes and servants of the king. Haman said, moreover, 
Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto 
the banquet which she had prepared, but myself; and to-morrow am 
I invited unto her also with the king. Yet all this availeth me no- 
thing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.' 
See it also in Ahab, 1 Kings xxi. 4. 'And Ahab came into his 
house, heavy and displeased, because of the word which Naboth 
the Jezreelite had spoken to him : for he had said, I will not give 
thee the inheritance of my fathers : and he laid him down upon his 
bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.' As con- 


tentmeut turns all metals into gold, so discontentment turns them 
into iron. What taste is there in the white of an egg without salt? 
There is as much as in any enjoyment under the sun without con- 
tentmeut. If we have not that for seasoning to our comforts, they 
are tasteless and sapless as ashes. And therefore let a man have 
what he will he enjoys no more than what he has contentment in. 

Qthly, Hence it always makes one unthankful. Let Providence 
set the discontented man in a paradise, the fruit of that one tree 
which is forbidden him, and which he is so uneasy about, will so im- 
bitter him, that he will not give God thanks for all the variety of 
other delights which the garden is furnished with. For all these 
avail him nothing while that is kept out of his reach. It will make 
him pore so on his cross, that he will not look over his shoulder to 
all his comforts. Ingratitude is a sin of a black die : how much 
more must that be so which is the cause of it ? 

Lastly, It is a fruitful womb of other sins, it brings forth a great 
brood of other lusts. When once it entered into Adam's heart, it 
made him at one stroke break through all the ten commandments. 
It were an endless labour to recount the viporous brood that comes 
forth of this cockatrice-egg, that fry of enormous lusts that are bred 
by it. But for a swatch of this, I will instance in three of the gross- 
est sins that man can readily fall into, which are the natural pro- 
duct of discontentment. 

(1.) Murder, the grossest sin of the second table, a sin which a 
peculiar vengeance pursues, and which a natural conscience so star- 
tles at, that it is a continual lash to the murderer. This is the pro- 
duct of discontent ; for when once the heart smoking with discontent, 
breaks out into a flame, it breathes out blood and slaughter. So 
Ahab's discontent was the cause of the murder of Naboth, with all 
the mocking of God, the perjury and robbery that attended it, 
1 Kings xxi. Nay, not content with the murder of a single person, 
it gaped in Hainan to devour a righteous nation for one man's cause, 
Esth. iii. 6. Nay, the worst sort of murder proceeds from it ; the 
murder of nearest relations, as in the case of Cain's murdering Abel, 
Gen. iv. 5, 8. And, which is worst of all, self-murder is what al- 
ways proceeds from it, as in the case of Ahithophel, 2 Sam. xvii. 23. 
People grow discontented with their lot, their proud hearts are not 
able to bear it ; so they turn desperate, seeing they cannot help it, 
and make away with themselves. 

(2.) Dealing with the devil. The discontented being angry with 
God, they are in a fair way to be a prey to Satan. Thus Saul, in a 
fit of discontent, went to the witch at Endor, 1 Sam. xxviii. The 
discontented heart is a drumly heart, and it is in such waters that 

Vol. II. 2 a 


Satan loves to fish. And here is his hook wherewith he catches 
them ; he proffers to do that for them, or give that to them, which 
God will not. And they being intent upon it, so that they cannot 
be easy without it, are easily ensnared. Whereof the world has af- 
forded many miserable instances. 

(3.) Blasphemy against (rod, the grossest sin of the first table, 
for of that kind is the unpardonable sin. Discontent is in its own 
nature a practical blasphemy, and therefore when it comes to a 
height, it breaks out in open blasphemy, as in that abominable 
mouth, 2 Kings vi. ult. ' This evil is of the Lord ; what should I 
wait for the Lord any longer V For being angry with God, people 
begin to quarrel with him, and murmur against him ; and if they do 
not hold in time, they are in a fair way to blaspheme. Therefore it 
is marked concerning Job, how by his sitting down contented under 
all his losses the devil missed the mark he aimed at in them, Job i. 
ult. compare ver. 11. It is marked concerning Aaron, that he held 
his peace, Lev. x. 3. for it is hard to speak, and speak right, under 
great pressures. These effects may convince us of the exceeding 
evil of this root of bitterness. 

Lastly, View it in the qualities that agree to it, which are not in 
many other sins. I will name the following. 

1st, It is the noted rebel in the kingdom of providence. God who 
has created the world, vindicates the government of it to himself 
alone. But the discontented go about to wrest the reins of govern- 
ment out of his hand. It wages war with the Governor of the 
world, and strives with him, as if the clay should strive with the 
potter, and say, ' Why hast thou made me thus ?' 

2. It is a peculiar despiser of the kingdom of grace. There is a 
particular malignity in it against the grace of the gospel. For it 
throws contempt on God, heaven, and all the purchase of Christ, 
which is offered in the gospel to fill up the room of what the discon- 
tented wants, Exod. vi. 7, 9. It is true, other lusts do so too, as 
covetousness, sensuality, and profaneness. But here lies the differ- 
ence; these lusts have a bait of profit or pleasure with them, and 
have something to put in the room of spiritual things ; discontent 
has no bait with it, nor any thing to put in the room of them. If 
one should reject your converse, who has another less worthy to con- 
verse with, it is a slight : but if one that has none, if they take not 
you, do reject you, that is a greater contempt by far. So the dis- 
contented will rather pine away without any comfort, than take it 
from the gospel. Again, in these lusts there is a folly and simpli- 
city ; but in discontent there is a kind of gravity and devilish seri- 
ousness. To be contemned by a simple one or a roving fool, is not 


easy ; but it is worse by far to be contemned in a way of gravity 
and deliberation. This is most cutting. 

Lastly, It follows men to, and will continue with them, in the 
kingdom of darkness for ever. There are some lusts which men 
have no use for beyond the line of time ; the covetous will despise 
their gold, money and wealth in hell, the unclean person his filthy 
companions, &c. But when the discontented die without repent- 
ance, their works will follow them to the pit. In hell they will be 
discontented for ever without the least intermission ; they will never 
give one smile more, but an eternal cloud of darkness will be on 
their countenance, and they will fret, murmur, and rage against God 
and themselves and blaspheme for evermore. 

Let us see the evil of this, then, and guard against it. 

Secondly, I will offer some remedies against it, and advices in the 

1. Practise the directions for contentment ; particularly take 
God for your God in Christ, and labour to believe he is so. Take 
him in the room of whatever ye want, or lies on you, which discon- 
tents you. "Without this all else will be in vain. The greatest hole 
in your heart, the enjoyment of God is able to make up. And God 
often makes such in the hearts of men and women, that there may 
be room for himself, who otherwise is not missed, Zeph. iii. 17. ' The 
Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty ; he will save, he will 
rejoice over thee with joy ; he will rest in his love, he will joy over 
thee with singing.' 

2. Labour to be humble. Humility lets us see our true worth 
that it is nothing, and so fences the heart against discontent, Gen. 
xxxii. 10. It makes one wonder he has any thing at all left him, 
and so lets him into the mystery of that text, 1 Thess. v. 18. ' In 
every thing give thanks ; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus 
concerning you.' He that is convinced that he deserves death, will 
not be discontent with banishment. And he that believes that he 
deserves to lose the presence of God for ever, will lay his hand on 
his mouth under temporal losses. 

3. Believe that there is nothing in the world in which either your 
happiness or misery is bound up. I know there are things of which 
we wont to speak so ; but the world's happiness or misery is but a 
shadow of these things. That is happiness where a man wants no 
more than he can desire, and that is only in the enjoyment of God. 
And that is misery where one has nothing desirable left him, and 
none see that till they be in hell. 

4. Do not pore upon your crosses, for that does but breed and 
feed discontent, Psal. xxxix. 3. It is observable, that Jacob would 

2 a2 


not call his son Benoni, lest that should at every naming of the child 
ruffle his wound. But you may dwell upon your affliction as from 
the hand of God, to consider wherefore the Lord has contended, that 
so you may get the good of it. But turn your eyes on your mercies 
which you enjoy and be thankful. 

5. Be much exercised in religious duties. Go often to your 
knees, and pour out your hearts before the Lord, and tell him all 
your wants. This gave Hannah a sweet ease, 1 Sam. i. 18. Go 
often to your Bibles, and hear the good news there from the far 
country, that is above the clouds, where there is neither cloud nor 
rain, Psal. lxxiii. 16, 17. and cxix. 92. There are springs of conso- 
lation there, which a person never tastes of, till he be brought into 
the condition for which they were placed there. 

6. Be always exercised in some honest business. Idleness is dan- 
gerous many ways, particularly in the point of discontent. It is a 
nurse and fosterer of it. It is the standing pool that gathers mud ; 
and in those that are idle Satan will be busy, and will not miss the 

7. Curb it as soon as it begins to set out its head, nip it in the 
bud, for it is a fire that gathers force by continuing and spreading. 
The water which at the head might be easily passed, comes after- 
wards to be so big as may easily drown. Discontent is a striving 
with God, and so is like the letting out of waters, which however 
small at the beginning, grows to a monstrous bigness, if not timely 

Lastly, Live by faith ; that is the best preservative against dis- 
content. Faith stays the soul in all events on the promises; gives 
a favourable view of all crosses and afflictions, as tending to the 
good of the party ; lays hold upon things unseen as the great por- 
tion ; and so lessens the care about things of the world ; and, in a 
word, finds all it wants in God. Thus much of discontent. 

II. The branch that runs against our neighbour's condition is en- 
vying and grudging. The object of this sin is the good of our neigh- 
bour; and the better the object is, the worse is the sin. It runs 
through the objects of all the other commands of the second table ; 
for the heart is apt to envy our neighbour's honour, life, &c. It is 
near of kin to discontent which always accompanies it, as we may 
see in the case of Ahab, 1 Kings xxi. 4. for it goes always on a 
comparison of our neighbour's condition with one's own, the grudge 
being that they have more or as much as we. 

I shall shew the evil of it, and the remedies thereof. 

First, I shall shew the evil of it briefly. 

1. View it in the ingredients thereof, whereof it is made up. 



1st, Sorrow and grief for the good of our neighbour, 1 Cor. xiii. 4. 
(So opposite is it to charity) ; for envy makes the heart like the 
moou that shines full and clear in the night, as long as itself is the 
topping light, but grows pale and wan as soon as the sun riseth, 
John iii. 26. The prosperity and welfare of others is a weight on 
the envious heart, a thorn in the evil eye, and a prick in that weak 
side, Gen. xxxi. 1. 

Idly, Fretting anger at their good, Psal. xxxvii. 1. What makes 
others easy, makes the envious uneasy ; and the more fresh and 
green others are by the providence of God, the more withered and 
fretted are they, Num. xi. 28, 29. So it was with Joseph's brethren. 
The sun shining on others burns them up ; and the more it warms 
their neighbour, the more it scorches them, and makes the black 
fume of envy and grudge to ascend. 

2. View it in the springs and rise thereof. 

1st, Covetousness of what is their neighbour's. Had not Ahab 
coveted Naboth's vineyard he had not grudged him the possession 
of it. The envious would draw all to themselves ; and what they 
are sorry others should keep, they themselves would fain possess. 
A heart knit to the world, and carnal self-interest cannot miss to 
be envious. 

2dly, Discontent. The envious are always discontented that they 
have not more than others, or that they want what others do enjoy, 
Discontent makes an empty room with them, and envy frets that it 
is not filled up with what belongs to their neighbour. 

3dly, Pride and selfishness, Gal. v. ult. Pride so exalts one's self, 
aud depresses others, that nothing is too much for the proud man, 
and nothing too little for his neighbour. Selfishness cares only for 
what is one's own, and has no regard to the interest of our neigh- 
bour ; quite contrary to the spirit of the gospel, that teaches, that 
every man should not look on his own things, but also on the things 
of others, Phil. ii. 4. Hence the man cannot endure to see others 
like him, far less above him. 

3. View it in the effects thereof. It has almost the same as those 
of discontent, which may be well applied thereto. I will only say, 
that envy is a sword, and wounds three at once. 

1st, It strikes against God, being highly offensive and dishonour- 
able to him. It quarrels his government of the world, and accuses 
him of folly, partiality, and injustice, Matth. xx. 15. It cannot rest 
in the disposals of holy providence, but is ever picking quarrels with 
its management. Some have too much, others too little, the world 
is ill dealt ; though had they the dealing of it, where there is one 

2 a 3 


complaint now, there would be ten in that case, for they would heap 
it up to themselves, come of others what would. 

2c%, It strikes against our neighbour. It is a bitter disposition 
of spirit, wishing his ill-fare, and grudging his good ; and not only 
binds up men's hands from doing him good, but natively tends to 
loose them to his hurt. It will be at him one way or other in word 
or deed, and there is no escaping the evil of it, Prov. xxvii. 4. ' Who 
is able to stand before envy V Oft-times it drives on men to the 
greatest extravagancies, as it did Joseph's brethren to murder him ; 
which being stopt, they sold him for a slave, Gen. xxxvii. 11, &c. 

3. It strikes, at one's self, Job v. 2. ' Envy slayeth the silly man.' 
Though it be so weak as to do no execution on others, yet be sure it 
never misses a man's self; and it wounds one's self the deeper, that 
it cannot do much hurt to the party envied. It frets the mind, and 
keeps it always uneasy as upon tenter-hooks; nay, it ruins the body, 
and silently murders it, Prov. xiv. 30. ' Envy is the rottenness of 
the bones,' making a man to pine away, because others thrive. 

Secondly, I shall give the remedies of this sin. 

1. Taking and cleaving to God himself as our portion, Matth. vi. 
21. God is a full portion, and in him there is enough for all; and 
if our souls rest in him, they will easily bear others having other 
things that we want. But the world can never satisfy ; and there- 
fore when people look for their portion in it, it is no wonder they 
be always complaining, and think others have more and better 
than they, because if they had it all alone, they would not have 

2. Loving God for his own sake, and our neighbour for his sake. 
Did we thus love, we would rejoice in God's honour, and our neigh- 
bour's welfare. This guarded Moses and John against envy, and 
made them joy in what others grieved at and grudged. An envious 
spirit is a narrow spirit, that is never concerned for the one nor the 
other, but for sweet self, to which all must be sacrificed by them. 

3. Humility, which would make us low in our own eyes, and make 
others high. He that is in his own eyes nothing, will not grudge 
though his part be less than others ; the chief of sinners will never 
think the highest seat among the favourites of providence belongs 
to him. And whoso have a duo regard for others, will not grudge 
that it is well with them. 

I come next to consider how the corruption of nature runs in con- 
cupiscence, lust, or inordinate affection. The two branches into 
which it divides itself are, 

1. A lust after what is our own. 

2. A lust after what is our neighbour's, or not ours. 


First, A lust after what is our own. What God has given us, we 
may like and desire for the ends he has given it. But when that de- 
sire is inordinate, it is sinful, it is lust and inordinate affection, Col. 
iii. 5. Now the desire of, or love to, or liking of what is ours, is in- 
ordinate in these several cases following, all which are here for- 

1. The heart's being so glued to them, that it cannot Avant them, 
cannot part with them, 1 Cor. vi. 12. There is but one thing need- 
ful, Luke x. ult. the enjoyment of God. So God has made it, and 
therefore he would have us sit loose to all other things. "When in- 
stead of that the heart cleaves to other things, so that it cannot part 
with them, that is a lust to them, that must be killed by weaning 
therefrom, Luke xiv. 26. There the heart grips too hard, and must 
have it. 

2. A too great eagerness in the using of them, when the heart 
casts off the band of religion and reason, and runs loose after them. 
Thus a man may have a lust to his own meat or drink, 1 Sam. xiv. 
32. For our affections even to lawful things need a curb, because 
they are ready to be violent ; and the violent pulse of the affections 
to them is a symptom of a feverish soul distempered by original sin. 

3. The desire of them for other ends than God has allowed and 
appointed ; for then it is carried without the rule set by the Lord, 
and cannot miss to be inordinate. Thus oft-times God's good crea- 
tures are desired to be fuel to lusts, Jam. iv. 3, 4. To desire meat 
for our necessity, is not evil ; but for our lusts, is not good. What- 
ever God has made ours, is not absolutely, but with a reserve, to 
wit, for such uses as he has allowed ; if we go beyond that with 
them, it is a sinful lusting after the same, as if it were not ours at 
all. But, alas ! in these things men are often like a tenant, who 
having taken a house to dwell in, would make bold to pull it down, 
and burn it for fuel. 

4. The being led to the use of them, without reason, necessity, or 
expediency. Then we are under the power of them, and not they 
under our power, 1 Cor. vi. 12. It is lawful to eat, but to be a 
slave to unreasonable appetite is a sin, and so in other cases. For 
so the soul is degraded, and made to serve a lust, instead of com- 
manding and regulating the desire, which ought always to be sub- 
ject to right reason. And however common this is, and but little 
regarded, it is the native effect of original sin, which has disturbed 
the order and beautiful harmony of the faculties of the soul ; the 
affections like an unruly horse, refusing to be held in by the curb of 

5. The using of them to the hurt either of soul or body ; in that 


case the desire cannot but be inordinate. Our souls and bodies are 
the Lord's, and he says as of his own, ' Do thyself no harm.' It 
must needs be a lust that carries a man over the belly of this com- 
mand. Yet, alas ! how many such motions and affections have 
people to what is even their own, that to satisfy them they sacrifice 
both their spiritual and temporal interests ! Hence it is a good rule 
in the use of lawful things, That then people do exceed, when by 
the use of them they are unfitted, either for the service of God, or 
their own interest. 

6. The using of them without any regard to the honour of God, 
1 Cor. x. 31. The glory of God should regulate us in all 
things, determine us to the use of what is ours, and determine 
us against it ; all being to be cut and carved as may best suit that 

Secondly, A lust after what is our neighbour's or not ours. Every 
desire of what is our neighbour's is not sinful, otherwise there could 
be no trading, buying, selling, exchanging, bargaining, &c. amongst 
men. There are holy boundaries set to these desires by the law of 
God ; and as long as they abide within these, they are lawful ; but 
when they exceed, they are inordinate, lustings, and coveting, and 
here forbidden. Now they are inordinate, 

1. When the very having of them is unlawful, the desire of them 
is a lust, and inordinate motion. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's 
wife ; for as John said to Herod, ' It is not lawful for thee to have 
her,' viz. his brother's wife, Matth. xiv. 4. What is absolutely for- 
bidden us, we may no way desire, otherwise we do but re-act Adam's 
sin, in lusting after the forbidden fruit. The heart joins with those 
things which God has put out of its embrace, and requires it to stand 
at a distance from. 

2. Though the having of them may be lawful, as of our neighbour's 
house, servant, ox, &c. yet the desire of them may be a lust, and is 
so in several cases ; as, 

1st, When they are desired for unlawful ends, to feed some lust, 
as when a man desires his neighbour's drink, not for strength, but 
drunkenness, this is a sinful coveting, an inordinate motion to what 
is his, though he pay for it. how much sin is contracted this way, 
that is never noticed : how many things are desired and purchased 
too from others, even in a lawful way, which are for no other end 
desired but to feed some lust ? If our desires bo not regulated by 
reason, necessity, or expediency, they are but sinful lustings. This 
sinful humour in the hearts of men and women, lias produced many 
trades and inventions in the world, which had never been known if 
man's nature had not been corrupted. And these are maintained 


and encouraged, by people's care to gratify their lusts, their vanity, 
pride, sensuality, &c. Whereas, if they walked strictly by necessity 
and expediency, according to religion and reason, there would be no 
more use for them than there is of a third wheel to a cart. From 
the beginning it was not so. Therefore surely the heart is dis- 
tempered, and these the disorderly motions. 

Idly, When the desire sets people on unlawful means to procure 
them, it is a lust. Though it be lawful to have one's neighbour's 
servant, his ox, &c. they may be thine lawfully; yet, if thy desire 
set thee on underhand dealing to rob him of his servant, to cheat or 
wheedle him out of his ox, &c. it is coveting them with a witness. 
And thus lust of covetousness thus acting keeps the world in a con- 
tinual ferment, so that no man is sure of another. For hardly is 
there a bargain made, but both buyer and seller labours to get some- 
thing for this lust, as well as for his necessity and expediency. And 
what wonder is it, that one who has running sores in his hand, leaves 
some marks of them on every thing he touches ? Such is our case 
by natural corruption. 

Sdly, When the desire, though it sets not an unlawful means, yet 
is too eager after what is another's. This sinful eagerness discovers 
itself several ways, all here forbidden ; as, 

(1.) When people cannot wait with ease the time they are to get 
the thing ; but the feverish desire makes them uneasy, as Rachel 
was with the desire of children. 

(2.) When they are overjoyed with the enjoyment of it, as Jonah 
was with his gourd. And indeed it is hard to joy, and not overjoy, 
in any thing that is not God or grace. 

(3.) When they are fretted and discontented at the missing of it, 
as Ahab was, who, for ought appears, had no mind to seek Naboth's 
vineyard but for money, till his wicked wife put it into his head ; but 
he was fretted for the want of it. 

(4.) When they cannot be satisfied without it, but must have it, 
though not truly necessary, cost what it will, as Esau was set for 
the red pottage that his brother had. This makes a price that they 
call the price of affection, which often is nothing else but the price 
of unreasonable fancy, which must be gratified at any rate. 

■ithli/, When the desire singly goes out after something that Pro- 
vidence has put out of one's reach, though the man has no mind to 
seek it, nay, would not have it if it were offered hiin. This seems 
to have been David's sin, when he longed, and said, ' that one 
would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is 
by the gate !' 2 Sam. xxiii. 15. Some think this was a gallant sol- 
dier's wish, as if he had said, that we could drive the Philistines' 


garrison out of Bethlehem ! Some of the old Rabbi's think it was a 
pious wish, and that David longed for the Messiah that was to break 
out there. But it seems to be a sinful wish, as both the word which 
is used, Prov. xxi. 26 ; 'He coveteth greedily all the day long,' and 
the pointing in the original, seem to carry it. The weather was hot, 
and he was thirsty, and a violent fancy took him to have a drink 
out of the well of Bethlehem, where he had often drank in his young 
days. But I cannot think that ever he meant, that any body should 
go fetch it at that time, ver. 17 ; but his men seeing the humour he 
was in, ventured. Thus lust breaks out, and guilt is contracted, 
many ways. The eyes see something that is not ours, and the heart 
says, that it were mine ! without any design about it. Something 
that God has locked up from us in providence, and the heart yearns 
after it, saying, that I had it ! Something we hear others have 
got, a good gift, bargain, or match, and the heart says, that it had 
fallen to my share ! and many such things, all without any design. 
They are inordinate desires and lustings, for they still imply a co- 
veting, and a dissatisfaction in some sort with our lot, which the 
holy law can never allow. 

In all these cases the desire of what is not ours is a lust, a sinful, 
inordinate motion, to what is our neighbour's. 

Further, to trace this lust and lusting of the heart forbidden in 
this command, though it is as impossible for me to follow it in its 
several turnings and windings, as to tell the motes that appear where 
the beams of the sun are shining in a room. Besides the actual 
fulfilling of lusts, (Eph. ii. 3.) in deeds which they drive to, which 
belongs to other commands, there are other things forbidden here, 

1. Lust in the fruit fully ripe, though not fallen off in the act ; 
that is, when the lust is not only consented to and resolved, upon, 
but all the measures are laid for bringing it forth into action. As 
Haman's lust of revenge, when he had got the king's sealed letters 
for the destruction of the Jews ; Joseph's mistress' lust, when she 
caught him, and said, Lie with me. This sometimes Providence blasts 
when come to all this ripeness, as in those cases, against the person's 
will. That is before God much alike as the sinful action itself. 
Sometimes conscience blasts it, so that the person suddenly retires 
as from the brink of a precipice, which he was going to throw him- 
self over. That is before God as wanting but a very little of the sin 
completed. And, according to the nature of the thing, it will be 
very bitter in penitent reflections on it. 

2. Lust in the fruit unripe ; that is, when it is consented to for 
action, but the means of fulfilling it are not deliberated upon. Thus 


people, in the hurry of a temptation, are carried so far, that their 
hearts say within them, they will do it. Then lust hath conceived, 
Jam. i. 15; when it is Drought this length, a little more will bring 
it to the birth. But though it never come farther, it leaves as much 
guilt on the soul, as will make a sick conscience. 

3. Lust in the blossom ; that is, when though it is not consented to 
for action, yet it is consented to in itself, and spreads in morose de- 
lectation, as they call it, or abiding delight in the lust. That seems 
to be the lust especially meant, Matth. v. 28 ; ' Whosoever looketh 
on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery already with 
her in his heart.' what guilt is contracted this way even by the 
wandering of the desire, (Eccl. vi. 9 ;) which the person has no mind 
to gratify by action ! Thus the covetous man lusteth, and heaps up 
riches and wealth to himself in imagination ; the proud man lusts, 
and heaps up honour, &c. the revengeful, &c. And all that the lust 
feeds on here is but mere fancy, airy nothings, which perhaps never 
had, nor does the man really expect will ever have, a being. This 
is lust dreaming, for which a conscience will get a fearful awakening ; 
though stupid souls please themselves in it, that it does ill to no 
body, nor minds ill to them. 

4. Lust in the bud ; that is, the first risings of lust, even before 
the consent of the will to them ; the first openings of particular lusts, 
sometimes not regarded nor noticed, and so neither approved nor dis- 
approved ; and sometimes checked in their very rising, Rom. vii. 15. 
But however it be, they are sins here forbidden, though the Papists 
will not allow them to be so, more than Paul in his unconverted 
state : ' I had not known lust, except that the law had said, Thou shalt 
not covet,' Rom. vii. 7- Who can number those that are still setting 
up their heads in the corrupt heart, as naturally rising from it as 
stench from a dunghill, or weeds and thistles from the cursed ground ? 
These are lustings in embryo, whereof some are formed, others not. 
They are happiest in this world that crush them in the bud ; but 
happiest of all when they do not so much as bud ; but it is so in 
heaven only. 

Lastly, Lust in the seed. The seed itself is the corrupt nature, 
original sin, of which afterwards. But here I understand particular 
lusts, as pride, covetousness, &c. which are the spawn of the corrup- 
tion of nature, the members of the old man, which the apostle calls 
us to mortify, Col. iii. 5. These are they from which these cursed 
buds immediately sprout forth. Original sin has the lusts thereof, 
and these are they, Rom. vi. 12. We cannot enumerate them, more 
than we can count the dust. But in the general. 

1st, There arc fleshly lusts, 1 Pet. ii. 11; lust conversant about 


the body, and gratifying to the flesh, such as covetonsness, unclean- 
ness, sensuality, &c. In these the body drags the soul after it, and 
the soul goes out in these to gratify the body. 

Idly, There are spiritual lusts, 2 Cor. vii. 1. Eph. ii. 3. There is 
a filthiness of the spirit as well as of the flesh, which lies more in- 
wardly, in the mind and will, having nothing ado with the sensitive 
appetite, as pride, selfishness, &c. These are the two bands of lusts 
which the old man sends forth to maintain and advance the govern- 
ment of hell in the soul ; but both sorts are under a sentence of con- 
demnation from the law of God ; declared rebels to heaven, and 
intercommuned, not to be conversed with, harboured, or entertained, 
but resisted, fought against, and brought to the cross. They are in 
good and bad ; but, 

(1.) In natural men they are reigning lusts, Rom. vi. 12. They 
have the throne in the heart, and amongst them command all. But 
there is readily one among them, like Beelzebub, that is the prince 
of these devils, called the predominant sin, to which other lusts will 
bow, though they will not bow to God. As where pride is the pre- 
dominant, it will make covetousness bow ; and where covetousness 
predominates, it will make pride bow. These do not always con- 
tinue their rule ; but the old man can pull down one, and set up 
another, as lust in youth may be succeeded by covetousness in old 

(2.) In the regenerate they are but indwelling lusts, Rom. vi. 12. 
and vii. 24. They are cast down from the throne in conversion, 
pursued and hunted in progressive sanctification, and weakened, 
and utterly extirpated out of the kingdom at death. But their very 
being there is against the law, though they be not on the throne. 

Now, these lusts are ' divers lusts,' Tit. iii. 3. It is not one or 
two that are in the heart, but many. Their name may be legion, for 
they are many. The flesh, or corrupt nature is a monster with 
many heads ; but there is one law for them all, they must die. 
Though they be all the birth of one belly, they are very diverse ; 
for our natural corruption turns itself into a thousand shapes. But, 

The qualities common to them all, whereby ye may see more into 
their nature, are these. They are, 

1. Ungodly lusts, .Tude, 18. There is nothing of God in them, no 
not so much as in the devil, who is God's creature ; but they are 
none of God's creatures, he disowns them, 1 John ii. 16. They are 
the creatures of a corrupt heart, generated of it, as vermin of a rot- 
ten body, by influence from hell. 

2. Hellish lusts, devilish lusts, John viii. 44. They were the de- 
vil's before they were oui's, and so it is a sorry copy we have to 


write after. They are eminently in him ; and those in whom they 
are grown to the greatest perfection, are hut hunglers at the trade, 
to the perfection of which he has arrived. They came from him, 
they are pleasing to him wherever they are, and they like to he 
with lrim for evermore. 

3. They are warring and fighting lusts, Jam. iv. 1. 

(1.) They war against the Spirit wherever it is, Gral. v. 17. They 
are enemies to grace and the Spirit of grace ; and the more they 
prevail, the kingdom of grace is the lower in the heart. They war 
against the entrance of grace, and often prevail to keep it out; like 
so many burreo's from hell, choaking the word that would bring it 
in, Mark iv. 19. They war against the actings and exercise of it, 
till it is often laid by as in a swoon. And they war against the 
very being of it, which they would destroy if God had not said 
against it. 

(2.) They war against the soul, 1 Pet. ii. 11. and will ruin it, if 
they be not ruined. They are no other to the soul than vermin and 
worms to a dead corpse, that feed on it till it be destroyed. Like a 
sword they pierce the soul, 1 Tim. vi. 10; like a fire they burn it, 
Rom. i. 27 ; and like water they drown it, 1 Tim. vi. 9 ; for they 
are in the heart like the devil in the swine, that will not let the soul 
rest till it destroy itself. 

(3.) They war amongst themselves, Jam. iv. 1. For though there 
is a sweet harmony amongst all the graces, yet lusts may be most 
contrary one to another. This makes the heart often like a troubled 
sea, and puts a man on the rack, one lust drawing him one way, and 
another another way. Pride will put one forward to that which 
covetousness draws him back from. And the service of lusts must 
needs be difficult, in that they that serve them serve contrary mas- 

4. They are deceitful lusts, Eph. iv. 22. They are the deceivers 
of the soul, which, by pleasing the corrupt heart, destroy the soul; 
like Ezekiel's roll, sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the belly. They 
are a hook to the soul, covered with a taking bait ; the silken cords 
wherewith Satan draws men into destruction. 

5. They are hurtful lusts, 1 Tim. vi. 9. They are hurtful to the 
soul and to the body, to ourselves and others. Being the brood of 
hell from a corrupt nature, they cannot be harmless ; and therefore 
where no hurt can be done, they cannot enter, Rev. xxi. ult. The 
softest of them is as a brier, and sharper than a thorn hedge, and 
always at length pierce the soul with many sorrows. They never 
fail to leave a sting behind them in the soul. 

6. They are worldly lusts, Tit. ii. 12. They have nothing of hea- 


ven in them. They range through the world, and feed on that 
which it does afford ; and nothing hut what is carnal can please 
them. They partake of the nature of the serpent, for dust is their 
meat, and on their belly do they go. 

7. They are unsatiable lusts, ' greedy dogs that can never have 
enough,' Isa. lvii. 10. To feed them is but to enlarge their appetite, 
for they cry, Give, give, like the grave and the barren womb, Eccl. 
i. 8. Surfeited they may be, satisfied they can never be. They have 
a heavy task of it, that have them to provide for ; no wonder they 
can get no other thing minded, as a poor woman that has a company 
of hungry babes ever hanging about her hand, and crying out of 

Lastly, They are former lusts, 1 Pet. i. 14. Their reign is in the 
black state of nature. And indeed in all they are foremost on the 
throne, they have the start of grace always, being born with us, in 
the virtue of their cause, the corruption of nature. And the power 
of them must be broken by grace coming in on them, or we perish. 

A view of these lusts in the glass of this holy law must needs be 
very humbling, and stain the pride of all glory. Though the out- 
side be never so clean, they make a foul inside. For consider, 

1. They are the members of the old man, Col. iii. 5. The corrup- 
tion of nature is the old man, they are his members, which together 
make up the body of sin. Now, this old man being entire in all the 
unregenerate, these lusts are all in them ; nay, even in the regener- 
ate, so far as the corruption of nature still dwells in them, though 
the power of them be broken, yet they still remain, and afford work 
to them for daily mortification. So that there is none who may not 
proportionally take that character to themselves, ' Being filled with 
all unrighteousness,' Rom. i. 29. that is to say, all manner of lusts 
whatsoever are in the heart of every man, though they do not all 
break forth in their lives. Consider, 

(1.) The same corruption of nature is in all men whatsoever; all 
are originally and universally corrupt, John iii. 6. There must then 
be a disposition in all to every evil thing habitually, though not 
actually. Dost thou see the most abominable lusts breaking forth 
in the lives of the worst ; smite on thy breast, and say, ' God be 
merciful to me a sinner,' and read thy own heart in their profligate 
lives, Prov. xxvii. 19. 'As in water face answereth to face, so the 
heart of man to man.' When thou readest the law of God against 
these abominations which are not so much as to be named, conclude 
that these lusts are in thy heart, for God gives no laws in vain. 

(2.) What is it man will not do, when grace restrains not, and 
temptation draws forward ? Who would have thought the lust of 


adultery had been in David's heart, of idolatry in Solomon's after 
the Lord had appeared to him twice, blasphemy in the saints men- 
tioned by Paul, Acts xxvi. 11; or incest in Lot's daughters? But 
in such a case they broke forth, which they had not done if they had 
not been within before. 

(3.) They are the tinder answering the sparks of Satan's tempta- 
tions in the world. It was the peculiar privilege of the man Christ 
since Adam fell, that the prince of this world had nothing in him, 
John xiv. 30. There is never a temptation goes abroad in the 
world, but there is a lust in the heart akin to it, so that no wonder 
they embrace one another as friends when they meet. Satan by this 
means, be his temptation what it will, has always something to work 
upon, a fire to blow up. So that in every case whatsoever, that 
holds true, ' He that trusteth in his own heart, is a fool,' Prov. 
xxviii. 26. 

(4.) They are the filthy matter ready to gather together in a boil 
in the heart, which being ripened, may break forth in the life, Jam. 
i. 14. They make way for gross sins, as the seed grows up into a 
tree that brings forth its natural fruit at length. 

(5.) They are the fit opposers of every good motion, Gal. v. 17. 
So that there is never a good impression made upon, nor motion in 
the heart, but among these lusts it finds a peculiar opposite to it, 
one fit to engage against it, by a peculiar malignity in it. And so 
it is found in the godly, that as they have grace for grace in Christ, 
so they have corruption for grace in the unrenewed part ; still some 
one lineament of Satan's image to set against another of God's 

And now these lusts have their lustings and stirrings, a view of 
which must be very humbling. For consider, 

1st, The innumerable occasions of them ; at every blink of the 
eye, opening of the ear, or imagination of the heart, we are in 
hazard of them. The sparks of temptation are continually flying 
about us ; how can we be safe, while we have these as gunpowder 
about us ? 

Idly, How suddenly they will flee through the heart like a stitch 
in the side, or an arrow out of a bow? A thought, a wish, is soon 
brought forth. 

Mhi, How frequent are they ? when are we free of them ? when 
is it that the crooked leg can move, and not halt ? 

Lastly, How little are these things noticed ? That hellish steam 
arising from a corrupt nature, being so much within doors, is little 
regarded, but extremely blackens the soul. 

Thus much of the bitter streams ; we come now to the fountain 


and spring-head, from whence they have their rise ; and that is, the 
corruption of nature. For as there is a poisonous nature in the ser- 
pent, besides its throwing out of its venom ; so, besides the sinful 
lustings of the heart, there is an habitual corruption of the nature, 
which is the root of these lustings, loathings, and inordinate motions. 
The reason why the clock or dial points the hour wrong is, because 
it is wrong set ; and till that set be altered, it will never point right. 
So man's nature has a wrong set, which we call the corruption of 
nature, whereby it comes to pass that he can never act right till that 
set be cured by regeneration. It is a corrupt disposition of the soul, 
whereby it is unapt for any thing truly good, and prone to evil. 

The understanding is deprived of its primitive light and ability, 
unable to think a good thought, 2 Cor. iii. 5 ; yea, darkness is over 
all that region, Eph. v. 8. As for the will, it is free to evil, but not 
to good, utterly unable so much as rightly to will any thing truly 
good, Phil. ii. 13. Nay, it is averse to it as a bullock unaccustomed 
to the yoke. It is prone and bent to evil, Hos. xi. 7; but lies cross 
and contrary to God and goodness, Rom. viii. 7- The aifections are 
quite disordered, misplaced as to their objects, loving what they 
should hate, and hating what they should love ; or if right as to the 
objects, they can keep no bounds. But of this I have spoken largely 

This corruption of nature is here forbidden, for it is truly and 
properly sin, Rom. vi. 12. and vii. 17- It is the flesh that lusteth 
against the Spirit, Gal. v. 18 ; and if sin, it must be contrary to 
and forbidden by the law. And as sinful anger is forbidden in the 
sixth commandment, as the immediate fountain of murder, Matth. 
v. 21, 22; so, by a parity of reason, the corruption of nature is for- 
bidden here, as the immediate fountain of that coveting or lusting, 
expressed therein. 

And though it is impossible for us to prevent this sin, being born 
with it, it would be considered, that this law was originally given to 
Adam in innocency, requiring him to keep his nature pure and un- 
corrupted, and so discharging all corruption of it ; which law, after 
his sin, remains in as full force as ever. And that the second Adam 
might answer the demands of the law in this point, he was born 
without this corruption and continued ever free from it. And those 
that are his, being regenerated are freed from the reigniug power of 
it, and partake of a new nature. 

If we look to this sin, we have a humbling view of ourselves, and 
must cry Unclean, unclean. 

* See Fourfold State. 


1. It is the fountain of all actual transgressions, Mark vii. 21. 
Look to all disorders of thy heart and life ; they flow natively from 
hence, as the poisonous streams from the impoisoned fountain. 
Look to the disorders appearing in the lives of others, the fountain 
from whence they proceed is in thee. And if the cause be there, 
and the effect follow not, thank God and not thyself. 

2. All particular lusts are in it, as in the seed. It is the seed- 
plot of all particular sins. It is the cursed ground, where, let the 
gardener weed as he will, new ones will still spring up. It is the 
cage of unclean birds, the mystery of iniquity, which we will never 
get to the ground of till the foundations be overturned at death. 

3. We never were without it, Psal. li. 5. It is a natural and he- 
reditary disease that cannot be cured without a miracle. "We dread 
the serpent that is naturally poisonous, more than any thing that is 
accidentally so. So may we dread this beyond all things else. 
^Vhen we were not capable of actually sinning, this made us guilty 

4. We never are free of it, while awake or asleep. It is a per- 
manent and abiding sin. Actual sins are transient, though not as 
to the guilt of them, yet as to the being of them ; but whether the 
guilt of this be removed or not, it abides as fixed with bands of iron 
and brass. 

Lastly, We never will be free of it while we live. If we die out 
of Christ it will never be cured. But even though we be in him, yet 
it abides till death, and will never be totally removed till then. 

Thus I have now gone through the ten commands, labouring to 
lay before you the commandment in its exceeding breadth. And 
though I have been far from reaching all particular duties com- 
manded, and sins forbidden ; yet, from the whole of what has been 
said, ye may see, 

1. What a holy God we have to do with. We see his holiness in 
this law as in a glass. He can endure no evil thing ; and there are 
many things which the world reckons not upon, which he abhors, 
and will punish. 

2. What a holy law this law is, requiring all purity of nature, 
heart, lip, and life; a perfection both of parts and degrees; dis- 
charging all manner of impurity and moral imperfection, not only 
in the substance, but in the manner of action. 

3. That by the works of the law no flesh can be justified. Who 
can come up to the perfection this law requires ? what one line is 
there of this law that does not condemn us ? where is that one point 
to the perfection of which Ave attain. 

4. The preciousness and excellency of Christ, who has fulfilled 
Vol. II. 2 b 

37-± of man's inability 

this law in all its parts, has brought in everlasting righteousness, 
and furnishes all that believe in him with an answer to all its de- 

5. The rule of righteousness, by which ye are to examine your- 
selves, to see your sins and shortcomings, the mark ye are to aim at 
if ye would be holy in all manner of conversation, which is nothing 
the easier to be hit that it is so broad, and the evidence of your sin- 
cerity in a perfection of those parts, though ye cannot attain to the 

Lastly, Your absolute need of Christ, of his blood to sprinkle you 
from guilt, and of his Spirit to sanctify you, that ye may be com- 
plete in him. And therefore let this holy law be your schoolmaster 
to bring you to Christ for all. 


Eccles. vii. 20. — For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth 
good, and sinneth not. 

Having at considerable length endeavoured to open up and explain 
the law of God, as abridged in the ten commandments, in some mea- 
sure in its spirituality and extent, by describing the several duties 
required, and sins forbidden therein ; and shewn the absolute im- 
possibility of yielding a perfect obedience thereto, in order to give a 
title to eternal life ; and directed you to come to Christ by faith, as 
the end of the law for righteousness, that your guilt may be re- 
moved by the application of his blood to your consciences, and that 
ye may be sanctified by his Spirit : I now proceed to the exposition 
of the remaining questions in the Catechism, which I shall mostly 
discuss in a very short discourse on each, as I have been so long on 
the former part of this excellent composition.* 

Here is the undoubted character of all the human race, fixing im- 

* As some readers maybe apt to think, in regard several of the following discourses 
are very short, that they are not so full as they were delivered, it is necessary to in- 
form them, that, besides what the author has here said of his intended brevity, he 
was generally a short preacher, seldom, on ordinary occasions, exceeding half an hour, 
and that his delivery was somewhat slow. Besides, we have the testimony of his dear 
friends Messrs. Wilson, Davidson, and Colden, that he generally wrote his sermons as 
full as he delivered them. See the preface to his sermons on afflictions. And it is 
believed, that the attentive reader, upon a careful perusal of this last part of the work, 
will find the several subjects sufficiently, though briefly, illustrated, for promoting his 
best and most essential interests. 


perfection and sinfulness on the best of the kind in this world, and 
so concluding all to be liable to sin, and under it. In the words 
there are two things. 

1. A position, There is not a just man upon earth. By the just man 
in this text is not meant an evangelically just man, or one just in 
respect of parts, though not of degrees ; but one who is legally so, 
just in the eye of the law, as having yielded perfect obedience to all 
its commands ; this is plain from the original pointing. Compare 
Psal. cxliii. 2. ' Enter not into judgment with thy servant ; for in 
thy sight shall no man living be justified.' By this time the man 
Christ had not appeared on the earth : so it is meant of mere men. 
On the earth ; to denote that in heaven they are just in that sense, 
arrived to legal perfection. 

2. The explication of it ; There is none who doeth good, and sin- 
neth not. There are some who do good, as all the godly ; but they 
sin withal, and that daily, for so the word is to be understood of 
their using to sin. 

The doctrine arising from the words is, 
Doct. ' Legal perfection is not attainable in this life, but the best 
sin daily.' Or, ' No mere man, since the fall, is able, in this life, 
perfectly to keep the commandments of God ; but doth daily 
break them, in thought, word, and deed.' 
In discoursing from this doctrine, I' shall, 

I. Shew what is legal perfection, or perfect keeping of the com- 

II. Consider the attaiuableness of this perfection. 

III. Shew how the saints sin daily, and break the commands. 

IV. Confirm the point, That perfection is not attainable in this 

V. Give the reason of this dispensation. 

VI. Apply. 

I. I shall shew what is legal perfection, or perfect keeping of the 
commands. It is a perfect conformity of heart and life to the com- 
mands of God ; and implies, 

1. A perfection of the principle of action, Matth. xxii. 37- ' Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.' For if the heart 
and soul be not sinless and pure, as in innocent Adam and Christ, 
but be polluted as our nature is, there can be no perfect keeping of 
the commands of God. That pollution will stain all. 

2. A perfection of the parts of obedience. No part must be lack- 
ing, every command of whatsoever nature must be kept : ' For it is 
written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which 
are written in the book of the law to do them,' Gal. iii. 10. If one 


376 of man's inability 

be wanting, all is wanting, all is marred. Hence says James, chap, 
ii. 10, ' Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one 
point he is guilty of all.' 

3. A perfection of degrees in every part, Matth. xxii. 37. ' Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul, and with all thy 
mind.' Sincerity is not enough in the eye of the law. In every 
thing one must come to the highest pitch, or there is no perfection. 

4. A perfection of duration or continuance, Gal. iii. 10. forecited ; 
without apostasy or defection, continuing to the end ; for one bad 
trip after a course of obedience will mar all. 

II. Let us consider the attainableness of this perfection. 

1. Adam before the fall was able to have kept the commands 
perfectly: he might have attained it; for 'God made him upright,' 
Eccl. vii. 29. That law was the rule of Adam's covenant-obedience; 
and perfect obedience to it was the condition of the covenant, which 
God could not have proposed to him, if he had not given him 
strength sufficient to perform it. 

2. The man Christ, who was not a mere man, but God-man, who 
was not only able to keep the law perfectly, but actually did so. 
He made out what the first Adam failed in, to the salvation of the 
elect, and in their stead ; and this in the whole extent of legal per- 
fection. His obedience was perfect in the principle, Heb. vii. 26. 
being holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners ;' in the parts, 
Matth. iii. 15. ' It becometh us to fulfil all righteousness;' in the de- 
grees, John xv. 13. 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a 
man lay down his life for his friends ;' and in continuance, Phil. ii. 
8. ' He became obedient unto death.' 

3. The saints in heaven are able, and do actually perfectly obey 
whatever God's will to them is : so that though in this life they do 
not attain it, yet in the life to come all the children of God shall 
attain perfection, Heb. xii. 23. where mention is made of ' the spirits 
of just men made perfect;' and there they shall be fully freed from 
sin, and all possibility of siuning. 

4. But siuce Adam fell, no mere man is able, while in this life, 
either of himself, or by virtue of any grace now given, to keep the 
commands perfectly. Of himself he cannot do it; neither is there 
any measure of grace given to any in this life, whereby they may be 
enabled to do it : for ' in many things we olfend all,' Jam. iii. 2. 
This inability is owing to the remains of corruption that cleaves to ' 
every one of them in this mortal state, ltom. vii. 23 ; and from which 
they ardently long to be delivered, ver. 24. And there is no pro- 
mise of grace given in the word, whereby believers may be enabled 
to keep the commands of God perfectly ; nor would it be consistent 


with the nature of spiritual growth, which is manifestly, like the na- 
tural, gradual ; and it is certain that the saints do not arrive at their 
full stature till they come to the mansions of hliss, 1 Thess. iii. 13. 

III. I shall shew how the saints sin daily, and break the com- 
mands. And here I shall consider, 

1. How many ways the commands may be broken. 

2. In what respect the saints sin daily. 

3. How these failures of theirs break the commands. 

First, I am to shew how many ways the commands may be 
broken. They may be broken three ways, in deeds, words, and 

1. In deeds, done contrary to the command of God, or not done, 
though required. God's commands are the rule of men's outward 
life and conversation ; and whatever we do or commit contrary to 
the law, is our sin, whether it be public, private, or secret, Psal. 
xiv. 2, 3. 

2. In words, either speaking what we ought not, or not speaking 
what we ought, or speaking what we ought, but not in the manner 
commanded. (The same is to be said of actions or deeds.) God's 
commands are a rule to our tongues, and tell us what to speak, how 
to speak, and what not to speak ; and by regardlessness of the rule, 
the tongue is ' a fire, a world of iniquity,' Jam. iii. 6. 

3. In thoughts. Here God's law goes beyond men's laws as to 
the whole kind ; for our thoughts are open to God, who is omnisci- 
ent, as words or actions are equally open to him, Heb. iv. 13. and 
liable to his law. For says Christ, ' "Whosoever looketh on a wo- 
man to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in 
his heart, Matth. v. 28. And so one may sin by thinking what he 
ought not, by omitting of good thoughts, and by not managing good 
thoughts, in the manner required by the law. 

Secondly, 1 shall shew in what respect the saints sin daily, in 
thought, word, and deed. 

1. Negatively : not that the saints fall into gross sins daily, 
against the letter of the law, either in thought, word, or deed. God 
will disown those for saints who entertain vile thoughts daily, swear 
daily, lie daily, do unjust things, or neglect his worship daily, Gal. 
v. 19, — 21 ; ' Now, the works of the flesh are manifest, which are 
these, Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, 
witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, 
heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like : 
of the which I tell you before, as I also have told yon in time past, 
that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of 
God.' Such spots are not the spots of God's people. Christ's 

2 b3 

378 of man's inability 

dwelling by his spirit in them, the breaking of the reign of sin in 
them by the power of divine grace, and their habitual tenderness 
and watchfulness, hold them off that way of life. But, 

2. Positively. Besides that saints may be surprised into gross 
sins in thought, word, and deed, sometimes by inadvertency, weak- 
ness, and violence of temptation, which is the burden of their souls, 
they sin every day in thought, word, and deed, when they keep the 
strictest watch, and have most of the divine assistance. What day 
passes, if without vile thoughts, yet without vain ones ; without idle 
words, if without mischievous words ; when there is not something 
done or undone, which God's law condemns, though perhaps the 
world cannot quarrel them ? Besides, what good thought is thought, 
good word spoken, or good deed done by them, which the holy law 
Avill not spy a flaw in, as to the manner of its performance ? 

Thirdly, I am to shew how these failures of theirs break the com- 
mands, while they sincerely endeavour to obey them. Why, the 
moral law is the eternal rule of righteousness, and in whatever state 
the creature be, he is bound to obey his Creator, whether in a state 
of nature or grace, glory or damnation. And though perfection be 
not attainable in this life, yet it is the saints' duty, as well as that 
of others, Matth. v. ult. ' Be ye perfect, even as your Father which 
is in heaven is perfect.' So every coming short of that perfection is 
their sin, needing to be taken away by Christ's blood. 

And thus men daily break the commands of God in thought, word, 
and deed ; which is the only possible way of transgressing the 
divine law ; and our doing so in these respects shews the equity of 
that charge which the Lord has against every man, ' Behold thou 
hast done evil, as thou couldst,' Jer. iii. 5. 

IV. I shall now confirm the point, That perfection is not attain- 
able in this life. 

1. The scripture attests, that there is no man without sin, 1 Kings 
viii. 46 ; ' For there is no man that sinneth not :' and that ' in many 
things we offend all,' Jam. iii. 2. If any man set up for it in him- 
self, the Spirit of God says he deceives himself, 1 John i. 8. See 
an unanswerable question, Prov. xx. 9 ; ' Who can say, I have 
made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin ? 

2. The best have a corrupt as well as a gracious principle, mak- 
ing the spiritual combat, never ending till death give the separating 
stroke, Gal. v. 17- For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the 
Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; 
so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.' 

3. AVe are taught always to pray for pardon, ' Forgive us our 
debts :' but sinless creatures need no pardons. This clearly shews, 
that all sin, and so come short <»f perfect obedience. 


4. Lastly, Consider the spirituality of the law, and its extent, 
with human weakness, and you will see this clearly. And hence it 
is that perfectionists are strangers to the spirituality of the law : 
for if they rightly viewed it, they would be far from dreaming of 
having attained to perfection, which never a mere man did in this 

Object. Noah was perfect, Gen. vi. 9 ; * Job perfect, Job i. 8. 

* In order to illustrate the character of Noah as a righteous and perfect man, and 
to shew the signification of these epithets, it will not be improper to subjoin the fol- 
lowing note, taken from a manuscript work of the author's, which he left prepared for 
the press, and has been esteemed by proper judges, both at home and abroad, a work 
of very great learning and merit, but has not yet been printed, entitled " A new trans- 
lation of the first twenty-three chapters of Genesis, with notes explanatory and criti- 
cal," according to the principles of the Hebrew accentuation as delivered in his treatise 
entitled, Tractatus stigmologicns Hebrceo- Biblicus, printed at Amstefdam in 1738. 

Gen. vi. 9. "Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generations." "As for 
Noah; [being] a, righteous man. he was sound in his generations:" q. d. sound; 
[sound] in his generations. A sound man is a man of integrity and Godly simplicity, 
wholly for God, entire in his obedience, keeping himself uncorrupted and unspotted 
from the world, in which he lives. Such a man was Noah ; and such he was, in both 
the generations wherein he lived, before and after the flood. Thus his character con- 
sists of two parts: he was a sound man, and preserved to the end in his soundness. 
And both these are traced to their common spring-head, namely, his righteous state. 
Being righteous by faith, a justified man ; he was a sound man, in true holiness of 
heart and life ; and a preserving man : Agreeable to which is that of the prophet, 
Hab. ii. 4. " The righteous (i. e. by) his faith, shall live." Tzaddik, an adjective 
righteous, a substantive a righteous one, is derived from the root Tzadak, in the form 
Pihel, LTziddek), as appears by the Dcgesch forte in it. Tzadak (A'a/) is not to be 
reputed righteous ; that agrees not to it, chap, xxxviii. 26 ; nor to do righteously ; 
that agrees not to it, Job ix. 20. Psal. xix. 10 : but to be righteous; which agrees to 
it every where. Only it is to be observed, that being righteous is sometimes under- 
stood simply of existing righteous, as Gen. xxxviii. 26'. Psal. xix. 10. sometimes of ap- 
pearing righteous, as Job ix. 20. xiii. 18. and xl. 3. Psal. Ii. 6-4; and this agreeable 
to the scripture-style in other cases, as Matth. v. 45. " That ye may be (i. e. appear 
to be) the children of your Father." To state the formal notion of righteousness sig- 
nified by this root, it is to be observed, that it is used of men, as Gen. xxxviii. 26. 
Job ix. 20. of God himself, Psal. Ii. 6-4th ; of his laws, Psal. xix. 10; and once it 
occurs in Niphal, Nitzdak, which, as a neuter verb of being (as Gen. i. 15.) is to 
become righteous, and is used of God's sanctuary, viz. Dan. viii. 14. ''And it shall 
become righteous, the sanctuary," i. e. in such a state or condition as, by God's ap- 
pointment, it ought to be in. From all which it appears, that the notion of righteous- 
ness is conformity to the law given concerning the subject, as concerning men, or the 
sanctuary or to the eternal. idea of righteousness, in the mind of God, as in the case 
of God himself and his laws. Tziddek (P/A.) Hitzdik (Hiph ) are both active, and 
sound to justify or make righteous, the action in Kal being the complement of both, 
as chap. viii. 14. But the difference lies here. In no form whatsoever doth this 
verb import a moral or real change : but in Pihel it signifies manifestativoly, Hiphil, 
declaratively. In Pihel it occurs five times, and accordingly signifies to shew ooi 

380 of man's inability 

Ans. They, and all saints, have a gospel-perfection, which is a per- 
fection of parts. They had a comparative perfection ; that is, they 
were more holy and circumspect than many others. But that they 
were not legally and absolutely perfect, is clear from Noah's 
drunkenness and Job's impatience. And where is the s