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


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VOL. I. 









Pag I. 



Paot. XX VIII. 14.— Happy it tbe man that foaratli alwaj, 5 



HotSA Ti. 4. — For your goodnata la as a Qoming doud, and as the oarlj dew, 

K flfoetn awaTf •». •** ... •*• •*. •«. ••* ••• '** 



3 Coft. ▼. 1. — ^For wo know that if oar earthly house of tlus tabernacle were 
dissolved, we have a bnQdiog of God, an house not made wiih hands, eter- 
nal in the heavens, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 22 




Matt. zi. 6.^— And blessed b he whosoever shall not be offended in me, ... Gd 




2 Cob. iv. 18.— .WhOe we look not at the things which are seen, bat at the 

things which are not seen, ., 76 






PiALK xiiT. 9. — Lift ttp yonr boadt, O ye gates : •▼an lift them up, ye ever- 
lastiog doort ; and the King o( glory ahall come ID, 



Sena IT. 8. — Come with me from Lebanon, my apouie, with me from Lebanon : 
Look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the 
lion's dens, from the mountains of the leopards, 118 


1 Tbiss. t. 19. — Quench not the Spirit, 129 




Gw. xizii. 2i.— And be said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 

Ver. 29. And he blessed him there, ... ... ... •.• .*. 150 






SoNQ II. 8. — I sat under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet 

to my taste, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 165 




NoMB. xzui. 28.— And ba sure your sin will find you out, 180 



coHTBirvs. yii. 






Rom. I. 18. — ^For tbe wratli of God is rayeded from heaven against all nngodli- 

nesi and unr^hteonsneaa of men, who hold tbe troth in nnrighteousneas, 214 




PtAUC zLi. 9. — Yea* mine own familiar friend, in ^om I trnited, which did 

eat of my bread, bath lifted op his heel againit me, 253 


Luke xiv. 22. — And yet there it room, 260 



Matt. ▼. 6.— -Bleised are thej which do hunger and tbint after righteonaneet ; 

for they ehall be filled, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 272 




2 Tim. u. 1. — Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Chrwt 

Jesus, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... SR9v 



Lam. hi. 39. — Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punish- 
ment of his sins ? ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 287 


Pact. lu. 17. — Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace, 305 


Col III. 3.— For 7« art daad, 342 




ZscB. zu. IS.-— And the land ihall mourn, everj family apart, tba fiamilj of 
tKe houM of David apart, and thair wivea apart ; tKa familj of the honte 
of Nathan apart, and their wivot apart, ... 864 



Pkot. zzr. 18. — Where there ia no ?leion ihe people perbh : but he that 

keepeth the law, happy w he, 372 




Luke siii. 7. — Cut it down, why enmbereth it the ground, 379 


PsALV. IT. 6»— Lord, lift ihon up the light of thy countenance upon ue, ... 385 





2 Cbaoit. zzz. 8.>^Now, be ye not stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield 
yourselTee unto the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath 
sanctified for erer ; and serre the Lord your Ood, that the fierceness of 
his wrath may turn away from you, 397 



Maek z. 21.— -Then Jeeus beholding him, loved him, and said unto him. One 

thing thou laokest, 411 

comnsKTs. ix. 




Mark z. 21. -»( Second clause) Go tbj way, m11 wbaUoeTer thou hMt, and give 

to tne pooTj .■• .•• ••• ••• ••• ■•• >•• ... 431 


Mark x. 21. — (Second clause) SeU whatsoever thou hast, 441 


Mark z, 21. — (Second clause) And give to the poor, 456 


Mark z. 21.— (Second clause) And thou shalt have treasure in heaven, ... 461 


Mark z. 21. — (Third danse) And come, take up the cross, and follow me, 478 




Mark z. 22. — And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved : Ibr he 

had great possessions, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 4(j«6 


EccLzs. vit. 13. — Consider the work of God : for who can make that straight 

which he hath made crooked ? ... ... ... ... ... ... 495 

pRov. zvi. 19. — Better is it to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to 

divide the spoil with the proud, ... ... ... ... ... ... 538 

1 Pet. v. 6. — Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that 

he may ezaltyon in due time, ... ... ... ... ... ... 562 


1 Cor. z« 17.— For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all 

partakers of that one bread, ... 591 


Ashrk Communion^ Monda^^ August^ 1709. 


Fbovsebs xxviii. 14. 
Happy is the man thatfeareth akvay. 

Ir these irords have any connection with the preceding rerse, they 
mnst be taken as an evidence of the sincerity of him who confesseth 
and forsaketh his sins. Sach an one will be afraid of sin for the 
fntnre, having felt the smart of it. Or the text may be taken as a 
direction to such, how to avoid relapsing into a sinful coarse. They 
must fear alway. 

You, in this place, have been confessing, preparing, and commu- 
nicating. It is probable, that at this solemnity you have been 
brought to say, How dreadful is this place / But the fear of many 
quickly decays, and they become fearless, as if bread and wine 
could of themselves be armour proof against temptations; or did 
entitle them to a liberty of sinning safely. Nay, but if you would 
prove your sincerity, if you would not relapse into your old sins, 
then be not high minded but fear. Thus yon shall be happy in- 
deed. For happy is the man thatfeareth aikuay. 

Here we have a duty proposed, feary a necessary qualification of 
this duty stated, always and the advantage which arises from it. 
Hctppy is the man that feareth alway. 

In prosecuting this subject, I shall, 

I. Shew what that /ear is which men ought to maintain alway. 

II. I shall condescend on some things, with respect to which, we 
are in a special manner to entertain this holy fear. 

III. Consider the necessary qualifications of this duty, alway. 

lY. The advantage attending it. Happy is the man that feareth 
alway. We are then, 



. i. To shew wbat that fear is which men ought to niaintain alwa j. 
The religions fear meant in the text comprehends two things, 

1. A fear of God for himself. ''Sanctify" says the Prophet, 
'Hhe Lord of Hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him 
be your dread." This is the case when men beholding the greatness, 
majesty, and holiness of God, have a holy fear of him raised in their 

2. A fear of other things for God, or in reference to him. Thus 
we are to be afraid of sin, and whatsoever pats ns in hazard of of- 
fending God. For religions holy fear still terminates in God. Now 
according to what hath been said, must this fear be explained. We 
onght then to entertain, 

1. A filial and reyerential fear of God. '' God is greatly to be 
feared among the assembly of the saints." — Slayish fear of God will 
neyer denominate, nor make a man happy. In reprobates it is 
the beginning of hell that makes them tremble ; and even in the elect 
it is like a spark of hell to make them look after heaven. Slavish 
fear of God is a turbulent violent storm in the soul that takes away 
the heart, and often binds up the hands from duty. Thus Adam 
under its influence hid himself. But filial fear glides softly through 
the soul, watering it to bring forth the fruits of holiness. Slavish 
fear dreads nothing but hell and punishment. Filial fear dreads 
sin itself. The displeasing of God is a frightful object in itself to 
the saint. Slavish fear looks at eternal wrath with expectation of 
it. Filial fear also looks at wrath, but not with expectation, though 
with dread and terror. The one is mixed with hatred of God, the 
other with love to him — the one looks on him as a revenging judge, 
the other as a holy father, to whose holiness the heart is reconciled 
and the soul longs to be conformed. 

2. We must entertain a fear of jealousy over ourselves. This 
Paul had over the Corinthians. " I am jealous, says he, over you 
with godly jealousy ; for I have espoused yon to one husband, that I 
may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by 
any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his snbtility, so your 
minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.'' 
Now such a fear as this would suit communicants well. Such a fear 
seized the disciples — Me, Is it I ? said each for himself. He ist he 
happy man who trusteth not his own heart, but keeps a jealous eye 
over it. " He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool : but whoso 
walketh wisely he shall be delivered." This holy self-jealousy, 
the apostle strongly presseth. ''Be not high minded," says he, 
" but fear." 

3. A fear of caution and circnmspection. When a man is much 

FEARnra alwat. 7 

afraid of snares in his way he takes good heed where and how he 
walks. He proceeds with fear and trembling. This fear made Da- 
vid say, ^'I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my 
tongne." This makes a man walk warily, sofdy as Hezekiah ex- 
presseth it. It sets the eyes of the mind to work to discern the 
hazard, and so to escape it. 

II. I shall condescend on some things with respect to which we 
are in a special manner to entertain this holy fear, lest we offend in 

1. Happy is he that feareth alway with respect to himself. Every 
man is his own nearest neighbour, and so his worst enemy is nearest 
to him. Happy is the man that keeps a jealous eye oyer himsel£ 
" Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy sonl diligently, lest thou 
forget the things that thine eyes hare seen, and lest they depart 
from thy heart all the days of thy life." And there are four things 
abont yourselves which you have need to fear ; to be jealous oyer 
them, and circumspect about them, lest yon offend God in them and 
by them. 

1. Your heads, your principles. God is a God of truth as well 
as holiness. There are soul ruining principles as well as practices. 
The spirit of delusion rageth. New doctrines please those who have 
not had the spiritual relish, nor felt the efficacy of the old upon 
their hearts. '* The time will come," says Paul, '^ when they will 
not endure sound doctrine." These he calls perilous times, and in 
them men shall be heady and hiigh minded. Now a perilous time is 
a time for fear. Why do these things prevail but because men are 
rash and fearless about them. There is a certain fondness of new 
notions, alid hence, men are caught in the trap before they are 

2. Your hearts. '' Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of 
it are the issues of life." The heart is the principle of action as 
the eye is the light of the body. Great need then is there for the 
heart to be pure. 1 what need to entertain this holy fear with 
respect to the heart ; for it is deceitful above aU things and desperately 
wicked. If you would have the streams pure you must look well to 
the fountain. To keep this jealous eye over the conversation and 
not over the heart, is to shut the door while the thief is in the house. 
And therefore entertain a holy fear with respect to the thoughts of 
your hearts. They may offend God as well as your outward actions. 
" Jerusalem," says Jeremiah, ** wash thine heart from wickedness, 
that thou mayest be saved ; how long shall thy vain thoughts lodge 
within thee." Thoughts are the offspring of our hearts. We had 
need then to take heed to them, that we may suppress those evil 



tbonghts in the birth which otherwise may swarm ootward and de* 
file the whole man. For " that which cometh ont of the man, that 
defileth the man." One wandering thought has sometimes been a 
wide door through which the sonl's life and vigour, in duties, hare 
gone out ; the thought being like a dart suddenly struck through 
the liver of a bird while it has been singing on a branch. 

Guard also the affections of your hearts. Good affections are 
tender buds of heaven easily checked and made to wither ; and bad 
ones like ill weeds grow apace. How ready are our affections to go 
astray. At one time they set on unlawful objects, and at another 
they fix immoderately on those that are lawful, and when once let 
loose, they run like fire in a train. The wandering of the desire is 
a vanity and vexation of spirit. As we would be afraid to let an 
untamed colt slip the bridle, so ought we, with the greatest care, to 
keep rule over our own spirits. 

8. Your tongues. ** The tongue is a little member but bbasteth 
great things. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." It is 
dangerous to ride on an unbridled horse, and equally dangerous to 
have an unbridled tongue. '* I will keep my mouth," says David, 
** with a bridle while the wicked is before me." Again says he, 
^' Set a watch, Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips.'* 
He was afraid something might break out to the dishonour of God. 
Words are of the greatest consequence. " For by thy words then 
shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.' 

4. Your senses. These are the gates of the soul, and when the 
town is besieged, there must be strict watch kept at the gates. Sa- 
tan lays his trains at these gates, and if we do not take good heed, 
the whole soul may be set on fire. By the eyes and the ears, did 
the devil blow up all mankind in Adam and Eve. The eyes ruined 
Achan, and grievously wounded David. Job was so afraid of them, 
that he was glad to make a covenant with them. Happy then is he 
that feareth them. 

2dly. We should entertain this holy fear with respect to our 
lusts and corruptions. He fears God. He is happy who can say 
he fears nothing so much as sin. You must fear the sin of your na- 
ture, the old man, that woful bent of the soul to evil. ! how 
much was the apostle afraid of it ; when he said, wretched man 
that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? It 
reigns as king in the unregenerated, dwells as a troublesome guest 
in the regenerated, and endeavours to recover the command. " Let 
not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that you should obey it 
in the lusts thereof." They cannot be safe without fear who lodge 
such a guest. Due fear of this would set us on our guard against it, 
and send us to the Lord for his grace to mortify it. 




Yon must be on your guard also against the sins by which you 
have been formerly led away ; " not fashioning yonrselves accord- 
ing to the former lasts in your ignorance." These forsaken lovers 
will again make suit to yon, and will get in npon yon, if yon grow 
secure. They will not want agents for them, though the devil 
should stir up the wife of your bosom for that end. — "Whether they 
are crucified or not, you are in hazard and must be on your guard 
against them. You must also be afraid of the sins to which you 
find yourselves most inclined. Every man has his sin that doth 
most easily beset him ; and where the wall is weakest it should be 
best guarded. Like David, we must keep ourselves from our 

Little sins must be dreaded. There is no sin little with respect 
to the infinite Majesty offended, or the reward of it due by justice. 
A man may be drowned in a small stream as well as in the ocean. 
The little thief makes least noise, but opens the door to the rest. 
A look to Bathsheba in the end broke David's vows. Satan ruins 
many this way, bringing them on by little and little, who would be 
alarmed at gross sins, in which he appears with his cloven foot. 
It is evident also that gross sins should be dreaded. I how many 
professors fall scandalously. And why? because they are secure 
as to these, and so are caught in their security. Here what a watch- 
word Christ gave his disciples, " Take heed to yourselves," said he, 
'' lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and 
drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you 
unawares." Let no person then, whatever his attainments are, be 
sure in this point. For the seeds of the grossest sins are originally 
in every man's heart. The best of men have been overtaken by 
them, even after the strongest obligations to duty, and there is a 
principle of sloth in the best. Hence it follows that all occasions of 
sin should be feared. It is very dangerous for a man with bags of 
powder about him to walk amidst sparks of fire. Peter, in the high 
priest's hall, was soon ensnared. Sin having a lodging within wants 
only an occasion to come out, therefore restrain your lusts by fear- 
ing the occasions of sin, and particularly ill company. ** Enter not 
into the path of the wicked, and go not into the way of evil men. 
Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away." Temptations 
are dangerous things, " therefore watch and pray, that ye enter not 
into temptation." You live amidst many snares, be then always 
npon your guard, and keep yourself out of the way of temptation. 

3dly. We should entertain this holy fear with respect to our 
graces. Grace is that holy fire sent from heaven into our hearts, 
which must not be neglected. His a gift to be stirred up. It is in 



hazard of decay, though not of death. Though the root will remain, 
yet it may he overgrown and hid. The way to keep the treasure is 
to fear. 

4thly. We should entertain this holy fear with respect to our 
duties. The whole worship and serrice of God is called fear ; so 
necessary is our fear in approaching to him. " In thy fear," says 
David, '' will I worship toward thy holy temple." In this there is 
cause of fear. For '' when we do good evil is present with us." 
Satan also is busy to cast some dead fly to spoil the whole, making it 
unacceptable to God and unprofitable to us. 

Finally, This fear must be exercised about your attainments. 
They are in hazard of being lost. '* Let us look then to ourselyes, 
that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we 
receire a full reward." Those of you that hare got any thing from 
the Lord on this occasion, Satan will set himself to rob you of it. 
Feed then with fear, on what has been given you. If it be only a 
conviction it is worth the keeping. Satan will think it worth his 
pains to take it away. ! let not the fire get out by neglecting it. 
" Despise not the day of small things." The cloud like a man's 
hand may cover the face of the heavens if cherished. Observe the 
diligence of the spouse. " I charge you, ye daughters of Jerusalem, 
by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor 
awake my love, till he please." Hear also Hezekiah, " What shall I 
say ? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it : I will 
go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul." We are now, 

III. To consider the necessary qualification of this duty, ahway. 
Happy is the man that feareth alway, — This fear must be our ha- 
bitual and constant work. It must go through the whole of our 
lives, till we be in the place where there is no hazard of sinning. 
This fear should season all we do, and be with us in all times, oases, 
conditions, places, and companies. 

Reason 1. Because we have always the enemy within our walls : 
" A heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." Now 
can men sleep securely when assassins are within their house ? Con- 
stant danger requires constant fear and watchfulness. While a body 
of sin remains with us, temptations will always be presenting them- 

2. Becaiise there are snares for us in all places and in all circum- 
stances. Satan' is busy and has filled the world with traps ; there- 
fore " see that ye walk circumspectly not as fools, but as wise." 
In the wilderness Christ was tempted. Peter in company ; and Eve 
when alone. There are snares in our lawful enjoyments. — Snares at 
home, in the field, waking, in our bed, or at our table we are beset 


with them. Many ditches are in oar way, and many of these are so 
concealed that we may fall completley into them before we are 
aware. — At all times we are beset. Men may haye great priyileges, 
but none hare freedom from temptation. — Many have fallen so soon 
after a commnnion, that it wonld seem the deril had gone down with 
the sop. — ^We proceed, 

lY. To consider the advantage attending this dnty, Happy is the 
man that/earetk aiway. He is happy y for, 

1. This prevents much sin, and advanceth holiness of heart and 
life. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let ns 
cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfect- 
ing holiness in the fear of God." He that fears to offend God is 
most likely to keep his way ; and he that fears snares in his way is 
most ready to escape them. 

2. It prevents strokes from the Lord's hand. Where sin dines, 
judgment will sap. He that feareth the bait, will escape the hook. 
Both these may be gained from the antithesis in the text. Pride 
goes before a fall. " Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth, 
take heed lest he fall." Now holy fear prevents these falls. It is 
an excellent ballast to a light, vain, and frothy heart. It is dan- 
geroar sailiag in a ship without ballast; and that heart that is 
without this fear will soon discover itself. " The transgression of 
the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God be- 
fore his eyes." This fear is a restraint upon the mind of man, 
without which no man can rule his own spirit. This fear breaks 
many snares. The fear of man bringeih a ware. How many are 
led aside by the fear of man ? They are unwilling to offend men, 
they desire to please the company. But holy fear takes away this. 
It teaches us to fear God, and not man. It makes the soul exert 
all its care to please God whoever be offended. 

3. This fear carries the soul out of itself to the Lord Jesus Christ, 
the fountain of light, life, and strength. It empties a man of self 
confidence, and so makes way fbr the influences of grace. It leads 
the soul to the rock higher than itself. Thus when the man is 
weak, then is he strong. 

For the improvement of what has been said, I exhort all of you 
to fear aHway. 

1. You who are in a joyful frame, join trembling with your mirth. 
You are in a paradisCf but though you are, the serpent will conceal 
himself there till he turn you out of it, if you entertain not this 
holy fear. 

2. You that are in a mournful frame fear ahvay. Satan can lay 
a snare for you in the house of mourning, and set his traps in the 
midst of your tears. 


12 THE HAPPIVB88 OF, to. 

3. You that hare not met with Chriat, and therefore eumot re- 
joice, nor misa him and therefore monm, bat are going away as yon 
came, stnpid, senseleBs, and unconcerned ; what shall I say to yon ? 
Shall I bid you fear to offend in your walk, after you haye had the 
audacity solemnly to mock God at his table ? Nay, but fear lest 
the devil has gone down with the sop, and that he has got a faster 
hold of you than ever he had before; your affections are more 
deadened and your consciences more seared. " Thus your last state 
will be worse than your first." Fear lest there be some black hour 
abiding you in which God will take the mask from your face by 
letting you fall into the mire. For he hath said, "Because thou 
art luke warm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my 
mouth." Then cast forth as a branch you will wither, losing both 
fruit and leaf. 

Fear lest the Lord make a breach in you for profaning the secret 
symbols of the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ. God 
made a breach upon his ancient people when they sought him not 
after the due order. 1 Ohron. xt. 13. And for your very sin, many 
among the Corinthians were visited with heavy judgments. 1 Cor. 
xi. 29, 30. Wherefore look to yourselves, and when you go home, 
review what you have been doing. Repent, and yet give yourselves 
away honestly to Christ. His blood is able to save them that have 
shed it. From him you may receive the remission of sins and the 
gift of the Holy Ghost. . 

Lastly, To all of yon, I say fear alway. Carry this fear home 
with yon. Perhaps you may meet with a temptation before you get 
home, or as soon as you enter your own house. Something may ap- 
pear wrong that will be a fire to blow up your corruptions. Per- 
haps you may meet with a temptation from the quarter you least 
expect it. Happy is the man that feareth cdway. The Lord will 
carry him through, till he bring him to the place where all fear of 
evil shall be banished for ever. Amen. 


Selkirk Communion^ August, 1710. 


HosEA vi. 4. 

For your goodness is m a moming doud, and as the early dew it goeth 


The oase of many at our oommanions this day is such, that when 
they are at them, it seems pity they should erer go from them till 
they sit down at the table above ; and when they are from them a' 
little while, it seems pity they should ever go to them again. — 
When they are at them, the smell of their communion frame is as 
the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed. When they are 
from them, the smell of their ordinary walk is as the smell of a 
field which the Lord hath cursed ; smelling rank of the root of bit- 
terness. — Men know not what to make of them. No wonder, (with 
reverence be it spoken,) seeing God knows not what to do with 
them. "0 Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? Judah, what 
shall I do unto thee ?" As if a Physician despairing of his patient 
should say, I have tried many remedies, but none avail to perfect 
the cure. You still again cast yourself into the disease. Ephraim 
and Judah were neither made better by promises nor threatenings, 
so that their case was very hopeless, and nothing seemed to remain 
but that the Lord should leave them. 

In the text we have that which made their case so very hopeless. 
They had at times some goodness. — ^Hebrew, Kindness, They had 
at times some kindness for God and his way ; some warmth of af- 
fections towards good, that they seemed to be believing on Christ, 
and entirely to give up their idols : so that they were sometimes 
almost gained. Tet it was but sometimes. They remained not 
long in that frame. Their half kindness did not last ; they even 
turned back again to their old bias. Their goodness was passing 
goodness. This instability of theirs is held forth by the similitude, 
first, of a morning doud, A cloud which out of the remains of the 
night appears in the moming promising a heavy shower, to make 
the ground fruitful ; but whenever the sun riseth the cloud vanish- 
eth away, and disappoints the expectation of the husbandman. 

Next this transitory goodness is represented by the early dew. 
The dew which falls in the moming upon the fields, and seems to be 


in a fair way to bring forward the inorease of the earth. Bat as 
Boon as the snn is np, and beats npon it with its beams, it erapo- 
rates and is gone. He seemd to allnde to the morning sacrifices of 
both these people ; at which they appeared very serions and deyoat ; 
bnt when the sacriflees were over, and they went home, they eyen 
returned to their old trade of sin. Now if they had had no good- 
ness at any time, their sin would have been more easily charged 
home upon them, and the arrows of God's threatenings would hare 
more easily pierced their breasts. But now they had so much good- 
ness as made them proof against threatenings, bnt yet not so mueh 
as could wrap them up in the promises. 

Doctrine. Such is the instability of many in the good way of the 
Lord, that the goodness at which they sometimes arrive, passeth 
away as a morning cloud, and as the early dew. 

I. I shall shew in what respects the goodness of many passeth 
away as the morning cloud, and as the early dew. 

II. I shall give the reasons of the point. And then add some 
improvement. We are then, 

I. To shew in what respects the goodness of many passeth away 
as the morning cloud, and as the early dew. 

It is certain that the goodness of the saints cannot pass away 
totally, nor finally. *' For whosoever is born of God doth not com- 
mit sin ; for his seed remaineth in him ; and he cannot sin, because 
he is born of God." But even the saints may lose much of the de- 
grees of grace ; and as for others they may totally lose all that they 
have. In one sense the point holds with respect to both. 

1. Men's goodness often goes away very quickly as the morning 
cloud which appears only a very short while. " Then believed they 
his words ; they sang his praise. They soon forgat his works ; they 
waited not for his counsel." Many a time a dark cloud quickly 
comes over men, so that their sun seems to go down at noon-day ; 
and their leaking vessels sometimes full are speedily run out. Their 
goodness is like the moon in a cloudy night, that sometimes shines 
forth brightly, but anon deserts the traveller : so that the strong 
man becomes weak as Samson without his hair. And it may be ob- 
served. That men's goodness often goes quickly away, after they have 
solemnly engaged themselves to the Lord. " When Moses came and 
told the people all the words of the Lord, and all his judgments, 
then all the people answered with one voice and said. All the words 
which the Lord hath said will we do." Yet in a very short time 
after this it is recorded ; " They have turned aside quickly out of 
the way which I commanded them ; they have made them a molten 
calf and have worshipped it." This was not peculiar to them. 


How quickly after the first commnnion was the edge of the spirit 
of the disciples blunted. Mark xir. 37* They could not watch 
with their master one hour. Their resolutions ranished into smoke 
whenever the temptation appeared. The mighty men that w(ndd die 
with their master could not find their hands in the day of battle, 
though they found their feet to forsake him and flee away ; and one 
of them found his tongue to deny him. At such a time Satan is 
most busy, for then they are better worth the catching than before. 
Now their sins will bring more dishonour to God and to religion, 
and how often do they then fall as ripe fruit into the month of the 

The same thing also often happens, after some more than ordi- 
nary enjoyments. Immediately after the most delightful fellowship 
with Christ, we hear the spouse saying, I sleep : and in this frame 
refuses to open to her beloved. Satan envies the happiness of men, 
and tries to rob them of it : even as the pirate attacks the ship that 
is most richly laden. The hearts of the disciples were melted with 
the sight of Christ's miracle. Mark vi. But a hard frost quickly 
seized them. Verse 52. " They considered not the miracle of the 
loaves : for their heart was hardened.*' Our hearts are as stones, 
in point of receiving impressions, but as the sand for retaining 
them. The wind of temptation quickly obliterates them. Even 
then the heart is ready to swell with pride, and when it begins to 
rise, it will quickly, like Jordan, overflow its banks. Even Paul 
himself needed a thorn in the flesh to keep him from being exalted 
above measure by his high enjoyments. 

In like manner, goodness often passes quickly away after deliver- 
ance from trouble. In a timg of affliction the goodness of many is 
apparently great, yet it quickly vanisheth when the deliverance 
comes. In the time of a heavy rain every pool is filled to the 
brim, but in fair weather they soon dry up. Afflictions drive men 
to God as winter storms oblige them to keep the house. But, ! 
it is hard to keep at home when the earth's decayed face is re- 
newed, and all nature again flourishes. While the excitement is at 
the nightingale's breast, it awakes and sings in the night, but when 
it is away it sleeps in the day. This was sadly exemplified in the 
case of Noah, Gen. ix. 20. Of Lot, Gen. xix. 31. Hezekiah, 
Chron. xxxii. 25. And of the Israelites, Psal. Ixxviii. 34. and 
downwards. This is the reason why the Lord so often makes the 
clouds return after the rain. 

2. Men's goodness often goeth away very easily, even as the 
morning clouds will pass away without the blustering noise of wind, 
and the warm beams of the sun easily exhale the early dew ; but not 


more easily than men's goodness goes off their spirits. The deyil 
does not alvays act the part of a roaring lion when he intends to 
strip people of their attained goodness, bnt in this work adyanoes 
with a soft pace. We may obserye that men's goodness ordinarily 
goes away by degrees, almost imperceptibly. Few all of a sndden 
become apostates. Carnal security creeps on leisurely on men, till 
by it they are taken off their feet. Their goodness, like the light of 
day after the setting of the snn, goes away by little and little. It 
goes away also on yery slender occasions. The yoice of a maid 
makes Peter's goodness pass away, and instead of holding by his 
good resolutions, he sins grieyonsly by denying his master. It is a 
piece of Satan's policy to attack people with slender temptations at 
first, when he designs to rob them ; for then they think they are 
strong enough for them, therefore they grapple with them on their 
own strength and are foiled. A small temptation will take off the 
chariot wheels of the soul. An unseasonable thought has some- 
times proyed a wide door, by which a good frame has escaped. 
How great a matter does a little fire kindle. 

3. Men's goodness goes off as the morning cloud, when there is 
most need for it to stay. The morning cloud goes away most 
readily in time of drought, when the earth stands most in need of 
it. And though the goodness of men may last while they meet not 
with temptations, yet when temptation comes it is often a-missing. 
Demas held on till the present world was laid in his way, but his 
goodness could not carry him oyer it. It is much to be feared, that 
if the sound of the communion sermons were once out of the heads 
of some of you, and you meet with your old companions, and with 
new temptations, you will be just whe^^e you were. 

It hath often been seen, that the goodness of many passeth away 
in a time of persecution for the gospel. — " Because they haye no 
root they wither away." As the heat of summer produces many 
insects which are not to be seen in the frost of winter ; so the time 
of peace in the church produces many false friends who will neyer 
stand the shock of trouble for the gospel. — There are many fair 
fowls that can stay with us in the summer, but depart at the ap- 
proach of winter. — When Christ is riding in triumph the streets of 
Jerusalem will be crowded with persons crying, Hosannah; but 
when the scene changes they will be found on the other side, crying, 
crucify him. 

Again our goodness is ready to pass away when we are called to 
duty. Paul himself found " that when he would do good, eyil was 
present with him." The hearts of men are neyer more apt to mis- 
giye than when they haye most to do with them ; and neyer more 


ready to be abroad than when they should be at home, to meet with 
the Lord in duties. How often when the sacrifioe is offered is the 
heart a wanting, and this presages sad things. The public assem* 
blies are witnesses of this. What a chill cold then often benumbs 
men's spiritual senses I What distractions, wandering, wearying, 
and deadness often seize them. The preacher often speaks to the 
deaf. And our churches are filled with idols which have eyes, but 
see not, and ears, bat hear not. The word often makes stones of 
Abraham's children, instead of raising up of them children to Abra- 
ham. In our secret duties this appears; woful dryness suddenly 
unfits us for them. When the man is on the mount of God, the 
heart falls a roying, and with the fool's eyes, goes through the ends 
of the earth. Though the eyes be closed, the goodness escapes, and 
they see a thousand vanities. The heart leaves the tongue, and 
there is so little vital heat within that the word dies in our mouths. 
We now proceed, 

II. To give the reasons of the point. The goodness of many thus 
passeth away. Because, 

1. Many, for all their goodness, have not the living Spirit of Christ 
dwelling in them. They have received only some common opera^ 
tions of the Spirit, which, like a slight shower of rain, wets only the 
surface of the earth but never goes deep, and so is quickly dried up. 
They do not, like Caleb, follow the Lord fully, because they have 
not the spirit which he had. They have only awakening, not 
changing, and sanctifying grace ; therefore it decays by little and 
little till it sets in darkness. Their reigning sloth is only covered, 
not subdued, the root of it is not struck at, hence it riseth again as 
weeds do in the spring. Thus it is said of the stony ground hearers, 
" that when the sun was up, they were scorched : and because they 
had no root, they withered away." 

2. Because the souls of many do not unite with Christ, who is the 
only head of influence. " If a man, saith Jesus, abide not in me, he 
is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, 
and cast them into the fire and they are burned." Take a branch 
and ingraft it, bind it up ; it will keep green for a time indeed ; but 
if it take not with the stock, it will undoubtedly soon wither. And 
thus, though there may be a sacramental ingrafting into Christ, and 
the man be bound up with these holy bands about him ; yet if he 
unite not with Christ by a lively faith, he can draw no nourishment 
from him ; and if so, his goodness must certainly go away. Hence 
the goodness of many goes and is never recovered. 

3. Because with many, religion is not their proper element. It is 
a forced matter with them, that they have any at all ; either by the 


power of oredity or a restlefls oonscienoe. In a word, self-lore is 
their highest principle, Psal. Ixxviii. and downwards. Thej have 
no real love to the Lord, nor does the intrinsic beanty of holiness 
recommend it to them. Though a stone may abide a while in the 
air, by the strength of the person who throws it, yet its natural 
weight will bring it down again. And thas men, though bronght 
into Christ's palace, yet still retaining their swinish nature, will re- 
turn to their wallowing in the mire. 

4. Because they have no spirit for difficulties and disappointments. 
Many will knock at heaven's gate that cannot endure to use violence 
and take it by force. " Strive, saith Jesus, to enter in at the strait 
gate ; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in and shall not 
be able." They see heaven afar off, and would fain be there, bat 
they shrink back when they see the gulf which they have no heart to 
sail over. They go forward cheerfully while things are laid to their 
hand; but disappointments take heart and hand from them, and 
they are knocked in the head. " He that overcometh shall inherit 
all things ; but the fearful and unbelieving," as well as gross sin- 
ners of every class, '' shall have their part in the lake which bumeth 
with fire and brimstone : which is the second death." They cannot 
wait on at Christ's gate. They know not what it is to have their 
appetite sharpened with disappointments ; but as soon as they feel 
not that sweetness in religion which they imagined, they go directly 
to their old lusts ; and find in them what they could not find in re- 

6. Another reason is, the entertaining of unmortified lusts, which 
are like the suckers that draw the sap from the tree and make it 
barren. It is hard to get wet wood to take fire, but harder to get 
it to keep in the fire, but hardest of all, to get a heart polluted with, 
and enslaved to vile affections, to retain any attained goodness. 
They that have many friends in the enemy's camp will find their 
hands sore bound up in the day of battle. It is with many as with 
David in the battle against Absalom. Upon the one hand it was 
hard to lose a kingdom : on the other, to lose a son : *^ therefore," 
said he, ^' deal gently with the young man for my sake." That 
heart will not abide with God that has secret filthy lusts to nourish. 

6. The world has a great hand in this. The profits and pleasures 
of the world soon charm away men's goodness. Like the thorny 
ground hearers, when many have heard, ** they go forth, and are 
choked with cares, and riches, and pleasures of this life, and bring 
no fruit to perfection." If the earth once get in between us and the 
Sun of Righteousness, there will be a dreadful eclipse in our good- 
ness. Cares of the world have their name from dividing and rend- 


ing the mind asunder, whereby men's goodness hath a wide gate to 
go ont at. They are tenter hooks of the soul, the black devils that 
draw men from God, and from that sweetness that is in the enjoy- 
ment of him, and drive them like the demoniac among the tombs in 
the region of the dead. They are the wasps and flies that buzz 
abont and sting the sonl when it shoald rest in the bosom of God. 
And for the pleasures of the world, when they once get a hold of 
the heart, they quickly run away with it. " Whoredom, wine, and 
new wine," says the Prophet, " take away the heart." Sensuality 
is a deep gulf, in which people's goodness will quickly drown. Sen- 
sual pleasures are waters that will soon put out the holy fire. But 
alas ! many are like those amphibious birds that both fly and swim, 
and if they mount at any time towards heaven, they are quickly 
swimming again in the waters of sensuality that drown their good- 

Lastly. Unwatchfulness over the heart and life. Our goodness 
is a tender bud that will easily be blasted if we do not take all 
possible care of it. '^ Keep thy heart," says the wise man, '* with 
all diligence ; for out of it are the issues of life." The heart is no 
more to be trusted to itself than a wild ass used to the wilderness. 
Therefore keep it as a prison : — as a besieged city ; as the priests 
and Levites kept the holy things intrusted to their care. He that 
hath no rule over his own spirit, is like a city that is broken down, 
and without walls. Such a city can restrain none that would de- 
part, and prevent none that would enter. What wonder then, if in 
such a case our goodness goes away, when there is no watching ; for 
such a soul is like a great fair, where some are going out, some en- 
tering, and those within are all in confusion. 

Use, — I would exhort you then, that have attained to any thing 
of goodness or kindness to the Lord in his way, that you would set 
yourselves to hold it fast. leave it not here I let it not pass 
away with this communion. Carry it home with you and cherish it 
there ; and let it appear in your future conversation. I hope there 
may be some that are going away crying, they have seen the King 
in his beauty ; and they know that they have seen him ; their eyes 
have beheld his beauty ; they have heard his voice in the inmost 
I>arts of their souls. Perhaps they came in bonds, and the Lord has 
given orders, and the prisoner is loosed. Their chains of soul distress 
have been taken away, by a fair view of the righteousness of the 
Mediator, the great interpreter of the Father's mind. Job xxxiii. 
23, 24, 25. God has looked their unbelief out of countenance and 
given them joy in believing. Well, brethren, hold fast. The highest 
enjoyment is liable to changes. Be thankful. Let the high praises 


of God be in your months. Walk humbly. Though yon be Bdomed 
with shining feathers, yet look to yonr black feet and walk softly like 
Hezekiah. Walk also watohfnlly. Watch and pray that yon enter 
not into temptation. Glory more in the giver than in the gifts. If 
yon would hare yonr copifort to last, then draw yonr comfort mora 
from the grace of Christ without yon, than from the grace of Christ 
within yon. ^' We are to rejoice in Christ Jesns, bat to hare no con- 
fidence in the flesh." Only beware that yon do not so much fear the 
loss of the enjoyment, as to bind np your hands from improving this 
golden spot of yonr time. Sometimes Satan prevails so to fill the 
heart with fear in this case, that persons fear themselves out of eaae 
and never cease to be jealous of Christ, till that which they fear 
come upon them. Bather do as Moses. '^ He made haste and bowed 
his head and worshipped. And he said, if now I have found gn^ace 
in thy sight, Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go amongst us, (for 
it is a stiff necked people,) and pardon our iniquity and our sin, snd 
take us for thine inheritance." Some will say, alas I we have no- 
thing to lose. Indeed it is likely there are some that will go away 
as empty of goodness as they came. They looked for nothing, and 
they have got as little. They are the devil's obedient captives that 
will neither stir hand nor foot to get out of his chains. ** If our gos- 
pel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. In whom the god of this 
world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the 
light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, 
should shine unto them." Such persons as these will not complain 
of a grieved heart. Therefore I say, if your hearts be affected with 
a sense of your wants ; if you have any of the desires of God's chil- 
dren after the Lord ; if you see more of your own vileness of heart 
and life, and have formed resolutions to be for God and none else ; 
if it were but a conviction, it is worth your pains to keep it. And 
I exhort you not to overlook it, lest it pass away as a morning 

1. Consider Satan will think it worth his pains to rob you of it» 
however little there be of it. The prince of darkness will set him- 
self against the least ray of light. His experience tells him, that 
it is easiest to crush people's goodness in the bud, and not to let the 
flame spread. 

2. Our Lord is very tender of small beginnings, where there is 
some good thing found in a person toward himself. " A bruised 
reed he will not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench." 
Jh not you careless of that, of which he is so tender. Though yoa 
have not felt a full shower of influences, but only a few drops, yet 
let not these go away. 

HUMAN 0OODini88. 21 

3. Great things may arise from small beginnings. The clond like 
a man's hand, may soon darken the heayens if cherished. The grain 
of mustard seed may soon become a tree ; and a little leayen will 
leayen the whole Inmp. *' And then shall we know, if we follow 
on to know the Lord." 

Lastly. The less yon haye, yon had need take the more care not 
to lose it, and be the more diligent to improye it. — ^If yon be set 
any way with a small stock, then double yonr diligence, and keep 
closely to yonr work. 

Advices 1. Do not sit down contented with any measure that 
yon haye attained. Alas I little satisfies people in religion. He 
that does not exert himself to grow, will assuredly decay. '* Do not 
think that you haye already attained, or are already perfect ; but 
follow after, if that you may apprehend that for which also you are 
apprehended of Christ Jesus." Labour to make two talents of your 
one by industry. The lire will be extinguished by withholding fuel, 
as well as by throwing water upon it. 

2. Keep up a holy jealousy oyer your own hearts. You hear that 
the goodness of some is as the early cloud, and the morning dew, it 
passeth away. This should make us say, each for himself. Lord is 
it I ? ^' He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool." If you be say- 
ing with Hazael, ** Am I a dog, that I should do this ?" Look that 
you be not the dog, that will be among the first to do it. 

3. Put what you haye in the Lord's hand. Depend upon him and 
wait about his hand for more influences. For this purpose be much 
in prayer. You may come to get that in secret, which you haye 
not got at the table. 

Lastly, And what I say to one I say to all, watch. The time is 
short. Watch, and ere long you shall be in that place, where the 
gates are not shut by day, and there is no night there. But if any 
man draw back, the Lord's Spirit will haye no pleasure in him. 

Vol. IIL 


Forewxm Sermons, Ettrick, Feb. 13, 1716. 


2 OoaiNTHIAKS Y. 1. 

For we know, ihat^ if our earthly house of this tabemade were dissolved, 
we have a building of God, an house not made unth hands, etemcd in 
the heavens. 

The breach which the Lord made amongst as so suddenly last Sab- 
batli, is a load call to us all to be making ready, and to be always 
ready for another world.* We all know that we mast die : none of 
OS know how, or when. Let us then be sparing of our judgment, 
and take the lesson to ourselves. Luke xiii. 1 — 6. 

To pursue this providential call, with the call of the word, I have 
chosen this text. That persons may go to heaven without clear evi- 
dence for heaven, I doubt not. But it has often been a very serious 
consideration to me, to think, that although there are very few peo- 
ple with whom we can meet on a death bed but have hopes of hea- 
ven ; yet there are so very few that can give any rational scriptural 
grounds and evidences of their hope. This determined me some 
time ago, to urge the seeking of evidences, that whatever Clod in 
holy sovereignty may do, yet people may not through mere sloth 
and laziness, make but a leap in the dark into eternity, if they will 
be warned. 

In the words of the text there are three things. 

1. Something supposed. Two things are here supposed. 

1. That the body will die and return to the dust. If our earthly 
house of this tabernacle were dissolved. This, if, is not for doubt- 
ing, but supposes it beyond all doubt. Consider what the body is. 
It is but a house. And observe who is the inhabitant of this house. 
It is the soul. The body is our house. The soul is the man, and is 
as much preferable to the body, as the inhabitant is to the cottage 
in which he dwells. Observe also what kind of a house it is. It is 
an earthly house. A mud wall house patched up of earth. A house 
merely for the short time we are to be on earth. Nay, it is rather 
a tabernacle or a tent. It is the tent in which the soul dwells or 
i^journs, as persons do in a tent. Paul was a tent maker, and he 

* A healtby old man fell down dead, a little way from the churcli. See the Au- 
thor's memoirs, at the above date. 


takes a lesson of his frailty from what used to be among his hands. 
A house may be weak, but a tent is still weaker. 

Consider also what death is. It is a dissolving of the tent, a 
loosing of the frame of it, and then it falls down. Our bodies are 
not castles and towers that must be blown up, or battered down by 
main force : not even ordinary houses that must be pulled down 
with strength of hand. But tents, where there is nothing more to 
do but to loose the cords, and pull up the pins, and immediately it 
lies along. 

2. It is supposed that the saints when they die, make an ex- 
change much for the better. When they are turned out of this 
earthly house they are received into a " building of God, an house 
not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Some by this under- 
atand the glorified condition of the body, when it shall be spiritual, 
immortal, and incorruptible. But that cannot be, for that does not 
take place till the resurrection. This immediately after death, 
Verse 8, " We are confident, says the apostle, and willing rather to 
be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." It is 
meant of the glorious state of the saints in another life, even of 
that glory in which the souls of believers shall dwell, when they de- 
part ont of this tabernacle. 

3. We have in the text a confident application of this blessed 
privilege of having a building of Clod. It is applied with the great- 
est assurance by the apostle in his own name, and in the name of 
other saints that walked in the view of heaven. We know that we 
have. Not so much by extrtfordinary revelation, as by certain signs, 
and evidences grounded upon the testimony of the word without us, 
and of our own spirits and God's Spirit within us. For whatever 
the apostle himself enjoyed of revelation was not common to the 
saints as this is. 

4. There is the blessed influence this had on their suffering pa- 
tiently intimated in the particle. For we know. They bore suffer- 
ings without fainting, chap. iv. 16. Because they had the glory of 
heaven in their view. And they knew assuredly, that they would 
attain it after death. Therefore they were not afraid of suffering. 

Doctrine I. — The body is only the house of the soul, and but an 
earthly house too. As a man lodgeth in his house, so does the soul 
in the body till death come, and it departs from it. I shall here 

I. What kind of a house the body is to the soul. 

II. I shall take notice of some of the peculiarities of this hous^. 
I. We are to shew what kind of a house the body is to the soul. 
1. It is only a lodging house. The soul is not sent to dwell in it, 




bat to sojoarn and lodge in it, while on the way to another world. 
" We are strangers and sojonrners, as all onr fathers were." The 
body is onr lodging honse. Hearen or hell is onr dwelling house, 
where we will abide for eyer. 

2, It is a weak honse. The sonl in the body is not lodged as in 
a tower or castle. It is not a fort, bnt a weak house that is broken 
soon np by disease and soon broken down by death. The strongest 
body is snch. For the walls are bnt of mnd, a honse of clay. Job 
iy. 19. and cannot stand long nor abide a seyere shock. 

Let none deceiye themselyes with respect to their strength. 
There are no stones in the walls of this honse ; no brass nor iron in 
it. It must needs then be a weak honse. ''Is my strength the 
strength of stones ? or is my flesh brass ?" No, only mnd refined 
and tempered by the Creator's hand, bnt now disordered by ain. 
We may indeed be fine, bnt mnst be weak. 

The foundation of it is in the dust. Job iy. 19. Were a honse of 
clay built upon a rock it might stand long. But founded on dust, 
it must quickly sink with its weight. Man is maintained out of the 
earth. Some haye a greater heap of dust to stand upon than others, 
but still the earth supports us, and will swallow us up. 

The pillars of the house are ready to giye way yery quickly. The 
strong men, the legs, bow themselyes. Eccles. xii. 3. A day's sick- 
ness or two will make them not able to bear up the weight of the 
house. So the man must lie because he cannot stand. The keepers 
of the house are but weak. A little thing will set them a trembling. 

3. It is a house that is daily in danger. Though a house were 
yery weak, yet if nothing were to touch it, it might stand a long 
time. But our house is in danger daily and hourly. It is in dan- 
ger from without. There are storms to blow it down, and a yery 
small blast will sometimes do it. Though we walk not among 
swords, daggers, and bullets, yet a stumble in the highway may do 
it; as small a thing as a pear, yea a stone in fruit, has laid the 
house on the ground. It is in danger also from within. There are 
disorders to undermine the house. There are the seeds of a thousand 
deaths in our mortal bodies ; which sometimes quickly, sometimes 
leisurely undermine the house, and make it fall down about our 
ears ere eyer we are aware. The seeds of diseases, when we know 
not, are digging like moles under the mud walls, and soon destroy 
the house. 

Moreoyer it is a dark house in which often the danger is neyer 
seen till it be past remedy. How many dangers come to the house 
from without which are neyer seen from the windows, nor perceived 
by the eyes till they arriye. But we cannot see what is doing 
within the house, the dissolution thereof may be going on apace. 


II. Bnt it may not be improper to take notice of some of the pe- 
cnliaritieB of this house. 

1. It is a carious house of brittle materials. " My substance was 
not hid from thee when I was made in secret, and curiously 
wrought in the lowest parts of the earth." The body of man is a 
stupendous piece of workmanship, of admirable curiosity. " I will 
praise thee ; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." The very 
outworks of the house are admirable. Are there any so dull as not 
to obserye the wisdom of God in that beauty and majesty that are 
in the face of man, beyond that of other creatures, in the faculty of 
speech, and in the admirable diversity of features and yoices. How 
God has put the eyes and the ears in the head as in their watch 
tower; that they may the better serye for seeing and hearing. 
How the eyes are made rolling, that in a moment they can turn up 
or down, to one side or to another ; covered with lids that we can 
shut or open as need requires. The ears always open, the tongue 
shut in with double leayed gates. Two arms to defend ourselyes. 
These are the guardians of the house. Hands distinguished into so 
many fingers, for the more exquisite kinds of work. Nay, there is 
not a hair, nor nail in the body, but has its use. The hair on the 
eye lids to defend the eyes ; the nails on our fingers are necessary 
for the more dexterous handling of any thing. What then must be 
the curiosity within. Galen admired the wisdom of the Creator in 
the thigh of a gnat. How much more is this wisdom, to be admired 
in the stncture of the human body, in which there is nothing lack- 
ing, nothing superfluous. 

But now the more curious, the more easily marred. The greatest 
beauty is soonest tarnished. The finer the earthen vessel is, it is 
the more easily broken. So we are exposed to the greatest danger 
by a small touch. 

2. It is a house that needs reparation daily. A good, well built 
house will need nothing for many years. Your meahest houses 
once right, need nothing for a year. Bnt this earthly house needs 
reparation daily. It is reckoned by some that as much matter goes 
out of our bodies by insensible perspiration, as by the other natural 
eyacuations. Thus a large proportion of our nourishment, perhaps 
flye eights, goes out by the pores. Thus our bodies are in a con- 
tinual flux, wasting like the oil of a lamp ; so that in this sense we 
are dying daily. Hence eating and drinking are necessary, the 
house must be patched up with more mud daily. And some are so 
taken up with repairing the body, that all the day they do nothing 



Uses from this Doctrine, 

1. Prize yonr souls above yoar bodies, as yoa do the inhabitant 
above the house. what madness is it in the hearts of men, who 
care for the body neglecting the soul. Will you be still looking 
after the house, and never minding the never dying inhabitant the 
soul ? shall the soul be ruined, starved, and perish, while all the 
care is about the body. 

2. Make not your body a war house against heaven. It is far too 
weak for that purpose. True, but many do it. While health and 
strength last, they securely fight against God, trample on his law, 
despise his Son, little minding how God may block them up in their 
house by disease, or pull down their house by death. 

3. Be tender in the house. Though it is an earthly house it hath 
a heavenly inhabitant. Take care of the house for the sake of the 
soul. Such is the perverse ness of man's nature, that many use their 
bodies worse than they do their beasts. Some will see well to their 
beasts that cannot bestow meat convenient on their own bodies; 
and work their bodies at a rate at which they would be sorry to 
work their beasts. The drunkard and the glutton treat their horses 
better than they treat their own bodies. They take care of their 
horses, but ruin their own bodies. 

4. Never ruin the inhabitant for the house. Would you not 
think him mad that would strip himself naked to cover his house. 
Better surely that the house be uncovered than that the inhabitant 
be left naked. Yes, but this madness has seized the generality of 
the world. They will pamper their bodies while they will be cruel 
as the Ostrich to their souls. They will be all anxiety about food 
and raiment, who will take no more care about their souls than if 
they were but salt to keep their bodies from putrefaction. They 
will load their consciences with mountains of guilt, if by that means 
they can get a little more thick clay to the earthly house. 

5. Beware of defiling the house, seeing it has such a noble lodger. 
'* If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy : for 
the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." Sin defiles the 
body. When the members of the body, which should be instru- 
ments of righteousness, are made instruments of sin ; a covetous or 
wanton eye, a disorderly tongue, given to lying or swearing : hands 
and feet employed in mischief, make the body a foul lodging for the 
soul. And these will be stains, which, without repentance, will 
cleave to the body in the grave and at the resurrection. 

6. Take heed to the door of the house. Set a watch, Lord, be- 


fore my moutli ; keep the door of my lips. Let the door be duly 
shut and discreetly opened. Open your month with wisdom. When 
the door stands always open the dweller is in danger; and in the 
multitude of words there wanteth not folly. They can hardly speak 
well that speak much. Words, few, select, and seasoned with grace 
and sobriety are best both for soul and body. But the mouths of 
many are the dung-gate standing always open, that the deyil may 
drive out at it the filth of the heart in lies, slanders, oaths, and im- 
pure language. But surely they will be silent in the graye. 

7. Take heed to the windows of the house. The soul got its 
death wound at first by the window. ** When the woman saw that 
the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and 
a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, 
and did eat." And Satan will still attack where he made the first 
breach. Therefore Job put the guard of a covenant upon them. 
I made, says he, a covenant with mine eyes. They are two little 
rolling members which a splinter of wood may close up altogether ; 
but they are gates of destruction broad enough. 

6. Dispatch your business with the stranger that is in the house, 
always going out and in, that you be not surprised with his de- 
parture, before you have done your business with him. I mean your 
breath. It is going continually out and in, to and from the door of 
your lips, and you know not what will be the last breath. But 
when once gone, no more business can be done for time or eternity. 
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth ; in that very day 
his thoughts perish. 

Lastly, Provide in time for a better house. You must depart 
from this. Inquire, then, to what place you are going, for hero you 
cannot stay long. And if you have not your lodging taken up in 
heaven, you will get a dungeon house for eternity, where the light 
is as darkness. Awake then, sluggard, up and be doing. Mind 
the days of eternity for they shall be many. 

Motives. — 1. This house will tumble down about your ears, what- 
ever you do to hold it up. Fix one foot then, before the other be 
loosed, lest you get such a fall as you will never rise again. This 
body is but a lodging house, it cannot stand very long. Look for 

2. There are but two places, heaven and hell, in one of which yon 
must dwell for ever. In heaven there are many mansions of glory, 
and yet there is room for you. In hell every person will get their 
own place of torment and misery unspeakable. The saints departed, 
are gone home to their mansions ; the wicked departed, are gone to 
their place. We are upon the road. What way will you turn your 


face ? Take what way you please, yon will soon be at the end of it. 

3. Ton have no security of yonr honse, yon know not how soon 
yon may be turned ont of doors. Now for a honse to the body, yoa 
will not readily want it; as much room as will serre you, yon will 
certainly get in the gfraye, the house appointed for all liying. That 
will be the body's long home^ But where think you will be your 
eternal home ? When the soul is turned out at death, to what place 
will it next go ? I hope to heaven. Then what eyidence haye you 
from this BtbU for that hope ? I do not know. How comes that ? 
Are you busy seeking eyidences, but cannot come to light ? May 
the Lord clear up your darkness 1 But I fear many know nothing 
about this work. Ton are careless whether you land in heayen or 
hell. You know not but you may be in hell the next moment. 
The brittle thread of life is not to be depended upon ; therefore 
" whatsoeyer thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for 
there is no work, nor deyice, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the 
graye, whither thou goest." 

Doctrine II. Man's body is a Tabernacle, or Tent for his sonl. 
Paul was a tent-makert and he takes a lesson of his flrailty from 
what was among his hands, teaching us to do the same. It is so 

1. Because it is easily taken down. Whateyer force may be ne- 
cessary to pull down a honse, it is easy to pull down a tent. There 
needs no more but to loose the cords, and pull out the pins, and the 
tent lies along. So easily is man's body taken down by death. 
Haying its foundation in the dust, it is crushed before the moth, A 
yery little thing indeed may rob man of his mortal life. 

2. A Tent is a moyeable house that stands not always in one 
place, but is carried from place to place. So while we are in the 
body, we are not come to the place of our rest, or settled habitation. 
Heayen oyer moyes, yet is it the place of our rest, earth eyer stands 
still, yet it is not a place of rest. While we are in the body, our 
case is changeable, but when once out of it, is unalterable for eyer, 
whether in happiness or misery. 

3. Tents, though mean without, may be precious within. Howeyer 
mean outwardly the tabernacle of the body be, it has a precious soul 
within, of more worth than ten thousand worlds. It is a rich tent 
in that respect, because of the precious soul, redeemed by the pre- 
cious blood of Christ, capable of enjoying God for eyer. 

4. Our state in the world in this body is like that of those who 
dwell in tents. Our body is as the shepherd's tent. Our souls are 
those we haye to feed while we are in the body. And the shep- 
herd's tent must not stand long in one place, but must soon be 


remoTed. So mnst our bodies into tbe grave. The body is a sol- 
dier's tent. We are set down in tbe world, to fight tbe good fight 
of faith, and we mnst lay onr account with hardships and of being 
oonqnerors, otherwise we will be surprized in our tents, and ruined. 
It is a pUgrim's tent. We are in onr way to another world ; and 
the lodging the sonl has in tbe body, is but a lodging as in a tent 
by the way. 

Uses of this Doctrine, 

1. We need not wonder then at sudden death. It has often been 
seen that a tent has fallen down when not a hand touched it. It is 
a weak thing, but man's body is as weak before iJie king of terrors, 
that can dispatch it in a moment. 

2. Let us lay our accounts with hardships while we are in the 
body. They that dwell in tents do not expect the ease and couTe- 
niencies which a house affords. And why should we wonder at the 
troubles with which we meet while in the body. The ease is coming, 
if we come to the building of God. But. for a tent to be beaten 
black with wind and weather, nothing more common. 

3. Let us confess we are pilgrims and strangers on earth, and lire 
like those who are quickly to remove. Let us not expect to fix onr 
dwelling here but prepare for our removal. We come into the world 
to go out again ; and within a little our tent shall be removed and 
our place know us no more. / 

Lastly, Let us be preparing for a more excellent and abiding 
mansion. There is a city that is continuing, let us seek after it. A 
house of God's building, in which there are many mansions, let us be 
careful to secure our title to it. There is a kingdom that cannot be 
moved, let us run, as we may obtain that noble prize. 

Doctrine III. The earthly house of tbe tabernacle of our body will 
be dissolved by death. That is what we look for, and we are pro- 
vided for it if we have a building with God. 

I. Here I shall shew in what respects death is a dissolution. 

II. That this body shall be dissolved. I am then 
I. To shew in what respects death is a dissolution. 

1. Death dissolves the union betwixt soul and body. When it 
comes, the silver cord that unites the soul and body together is loosed. 
Eccl. xii. 6. No wonder it dissolve relations betwixt persons, when 
it dissolves that union. The man is made up of two parts, a soul 
and a body, united by an invisible bond ; death looses the knot, and 
then the parts fall asunder. The earthly part goes to the earth, and 
tbe spiritual part to God that gave it, to be sent to its eternal home. 


2. Death dissolTes the body itself. It oonsists of manj parts 
ouriously set together by the Creator, but then the beantiful frame is 
dashed in pieces and is resolved into its primitive dost. The taber- 
nacle then is taken down, the earthly house is demolished, and lies 
in rubbish till the resurrection. 

Death dissolves the vital flame that kept the body in life. It 
quenches that flame and puts out that candle. Sometimes it dis- 
solves it suddenly as a burning candle when it is blown out, some- 
times it works it out by degrees, like a candle burnt to the socket, 
which is dissolved at length and vanisheth away. 

Death dissolves the communion betwixt the parts of the body. 
The flame being extinguished, the communication betwixt the parts 
which ceased not for many years, is then broken up. No more blood 
flows from the heart, no more flows to it from the other parts, so the 
last pulse beats. No more spirits from the brain. Then all falls 
down together. Then the body grows cold, and stiff, and pale. The 
eyes see no more, and the ears hear no more. 

Death dissolves the joints and bands with which the body was 
united. While it feeds on the carcase in the grave, it looses the 
head from the body and the skull lies by itself. Then the strongest 
arms fall from the shoulder blade ; and then the joints of the thighs 
are loosed, and every bone lies by itself. Finally, the most minute 
particles of the body are separated. How soon are the flashes of 
flesh so dissolved and separated, that they are no more visible to the 
eye of him that looks into the grave, they cannot be discerned from 
common dust. And though the bones last longer, yet their solidity 
is not proof against the power of death, but they also moulder into 
dust at length. Let us now, 

II. Shew that this body shall be dissolved. 

1. There is an unalterable statute of death under which men are 
concluded. " It is appointed unto men once to die." There is no 
peradventure in it but we must needs die. Though some will not fear 
death, every man must see it. '^ What man is he that liveth and 
shall not see death ? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the 
grave ?" Death is a champion, with whom all must grapple. An 
inexorable messenger, who cannot be diverted from executing his 
orders, by the power of the mighty. 

2. Daily observation tells us we must die. " For he seeth that 
wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and 
leave their wealth to others." There is room enough for us, not- 
withstanding all the multitudes that were on earth before us. It 
is long since death began to transport men into another world. It 
is daily carrying away vast numbers, and none hear the grave say 


it is enough. The world is like a great fair, some entering, others 
going away. Men, like travellers, enter at one port and go ont by 

3. All men consist of perishing materials. *^ Dust thou art, and 
nnto dust thou shalt return." The strongest are but brittle earthen 
vessels. The soul is but meanly housed while in this body. A 
small spark falling on the train of these perishing principles will 
blow up the house. There is something more astonishing in our 
life than in our death. Diseases are death's harbingers. 

4. We have sinful souls, therefore dying bodies. The wicked 
must die by virtue of the threatening. " For in the day that thou 
eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." The godly also must die, that 
as death entered by sin, so sin may go ont by death. The leprosy 
is in the wall of the house, therefore it must be pulled down. 

Finally, we are hasting to a dissolution. " Man oometh forth like 
a flower, and is cut down : he fleeth also as. a shadow and continueth 
not. Our days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle. They are pas- 
sed as the swift ships, as the eagle that hasteth to the prey." 

All the improvement I shall make of this, is to exhort you to 
prepare for your dissolution. 

Motives — 1. Your eternal state will be according to the state in 
which you die. Heaven and hell depend upon it. As to you, death 
will open the door of the one or the other. As the tree falls so it 
must lie. 

2. Consider what it will be to go into another world, a world of 
spirits, with which we have very little acquaintance. How terrible 
is intercourse with spirits now to poor mortals. Acquaint thyself 
then, with the Lord of that other world. 

3. It is but a short time which we have to prepare for death. 
Now or never. The work is great — and the time allowed for it is 

4. Much of our short time is already past. None can say they 
have as much to come. Our life here is but a short preface to a 
long eternity. 

5. The time we have is flying away. Time past has taken an 
eternal farewell. There is no rekindling of the candle that is burnt 
to ashes. The stream of time is the most rapid current. 

Lastly, If once death carry us away there is no coming back to 
mend matters. ** If a man die, shall he live again ?" If death were 
a thing upon which we could be allowed to try our hand, it would 
not be so dangerous. But it is only once to die, right or wrong. 
" We have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eter- 
nal in the heavens." 


By thiB bailding ftnd hoase, we are to nndentand the glorified 
state of the saintB after this life, that is, their heayenly honae of 
God's own making not by the hands of men, bat by the fingers of 

Doctrine. When the tabernacle of the saint's body is dissolved b j 
death, they have a house of glory in hea?en ready for them. Maji 
when he is dead, is not done ; though the body dies, the soul doth 
not. Death is but a departure or change, to some it is a miserable, 
to othei's a happy change. So it is to the saints. Their souk de- 
part from the earthly house, to a house of glory. I design not to 
handle at large this great subject, but only to glean a few things to 
shew what sort of a house the glory of heayen is. 

1. It is a dwelling house, not an house in which to lodge, but to 
dwell and abide. *' Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle ? who 
shall dwell in thy holy hill?" The body is but a tabernacle, in 
which the beliering soul lodges for a little time, like a shepherd, a 
soldier, or a pilgrim in his tent. But at death the soul comes home 
to the house in which it shall abide for erer, and go no more out. 
The belieyer's dwelling house is in heayen. 

2. It is a royal house, a palace. "They shall enter into the 
king's palace." Christ calls his saints to a kingdom, and their 
house is suitable to their dignity. It is the house of the kingdom, 
in which the great King keeps his court, in which he hath placed 
his throne, and displays his glory in a peculiar manner, beyond 
what mortals can conceiye. No beggar's cottage is so far inferior 
to the best palace, as it is to the house to which the gracious soul 
goes at death, though it departs from the poorest cottage. 

3. It is a holy house, a temple. " He that oyercometh, will I 
make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more 
out." The Jews reckon four or fiye things that were wanting in the 
second temple. In this nothing shall be wanting. In it they shall 
haye the cloud of glory in the diyine presence— Christ, the ark in 
which the fiery law is for eyer hid — the mercy seat, from which no- 
thing breathes but eternal peace — ^the Cherubim in the society of 
angels! — the golden candlestick with its seyen lamps; ''for the 
glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." 
The altar of incense, in the eyerlasting intercession of Christ, — and 
the table of shew bread, in the perpetual feast of the enjoyment of 

If you ask where this house stands ? I answer for the country, it 
is in a better country, even a heavenly one. Their house is in a bet- 
ter country than the best of this world. It is in the heayenly 
Canaan, Immanuel's land, in which nothing is wanting to complete 


the happiness of the inhabitants. This is the happy oonntry, bles* 
sed with a perpetual spring, which yieldeth all things for necessity, 
oonyeniency, and delight. There men eat angel's food, ** eyen the 
hidden manna." They are fed to the fnll with the product of the 
land falling into their months. That land enjoys an ererlasting 
day, '^for there shall be no night there." An eternal sunshine 
beautifies it. No cold, no scorching heat. — ^No clouds, yet no land 
of drought. It is the country from which Christ came, to which he 
hath returned, and in which he will for ever dwell. — As for the city, 
this house stands " in that great city, the holy Jerusalem." In that 
city the inhabitants tread on gold, the very thing on which the men 
of this world set their hearts ; ''for the street of the city is of pure 
gold as it were transparent glass." A city this, which shall stand 
and flourish when all the cities below are in ashes. A city that 
neyer changeth its inhabitants. Life and immortality reign in it. 
Blessed with perfect peace, nothing from any quarter can eyer an- 
noy it. In it there can be no want of proyision, no discord. 

If you ask concerning the pleasantness of the situation of this 
house ? I answer it is a palace, and paradise is the palace garden. 
" To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise," said our Lord to the 
dying thief. Heayen is a paradise for pleasure and delight. £den 
was the most pleasant spot of the uncorrnpted earth, and paradise 
was the most pleasant spot of Eden. But what is earth in compa- 
risen of heayen. The glorified saints are adyanced to the heayenly 
paradise where they will be satisfied with those purest and sweetest 
pleasures which Immanuel's land affords, and swim in an ocean of 
delights for eyer. There they shall e^joy eyery thing in abundance, 
'' On either side of the riyer stands the tree of life, which bears 
twelye manner of fruits, and yieldeth her fruit eyery month." No 
flaming sword there to keep them from it. 

If you ask concerning the inhabitants of this house ? I answer, 
there dwell " the general assembly of the church of the first bom." 
The whole congregation of spotless saints, there dwell also the holy 
angels. There is Christ the Lamb. There shall they be eyer with 
the Lord. 

4. It is a Father's house. What a kindly word I It is Christ's 
Father's house, and therefore no strange house to the gracious soul. 
" In my Father's house," says he, " are many mansions, I go to pre- 
pare a place for you." The Father loyeth the Son, and the Son hath 
loyed the gracious soul to die for it. Why should the saints then 
be afraid of their welcome at that house which is their Father's. It 
is our Father's house. For his Father is our Father. '' I ascend, 
said he, unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your 


God.'' Is not the believing sonl espoused to the Son of God ? Is 
not the gracious person begotten of God and adopted of God. So 
he is their Father and that makes heaven home to them. 

5. It is a spaoious honse. This clay body is a narrow bouse, 
where the soul is caged up for a time. But in that house there will 
be room enough for the soul to expatiate, for it hath many mangions. 
For as broad as the earth is, many a saint has not a foot of ground 
in it which he can call his own ; yea often there is not room for 
them at all to remain upon it; but they will all have the most 
ample accommodation in Immanuel's land. 

6. It is a most convenient house. In it no conveniency will be 
wanting. There are many mansions in it, and every saint shall find 
his own mansion prepared and furnished with every conveniency for 
him. They will find every thing that can be desired. 

believer, art thou in poverty and straits ? There is an incor- 
ruptible treasure in that house. Is thine honour in the dust ? A 
crown for thy head and a sceptre for thy hand await thee there. 
Art thou shut up in solitude ? There you shall enjoy eternal con- 
verse with God, the angels, and the saints. Is your life full of 
bitterness ? You will find rivers of pleasures there. Are you weak 
and sickly ? There grows the tree of life, whose leaves are for the 
healing of the nations. Are you groaning under the tyranny of sin ? 
There you shall walk in the glorious liberty of the sons of God. 
Are defiled garments making you hang down your heads? You 
shall there shine in spotless robes of holiness. Is fighting hard 
work ? In that house ye shall for ever triumph. Are you weary 
and almost fainting under the labours of the Christian life ? There 
you shall have perpetual rest. Is your communion with God here 
frequently interrupted? There will be no interruptions there. 
Are you in darkness ? There is no night there. Are you in fear of 
death ? There you shall enjoy eternal life. 

7. It is a safe house. The gates ** are not shut at all by day," 
for there is no danger there. Adam in the earthly paradise was not 
out of danger. The serpent got accession to it. But no unclean 
thing can enter there. None in the honse are placed on the watch. 
The sentinels are all recalled from their ports, and walk at large 
without fear of being annoyed, or of falling upon any forbidden fruit. 

8. It is a glorious hoase. The visible heavens, in which the sun, 
that globe of light, is placed, and that are bespangled with stars, 
are but the porch of the seat of the blessed. How glorious then 
must that house be, whose avenues and entries are so splendid and 
rich. We know very little of this house. But it must needs be a 
very glorious house. For it is the house in which the king's son is 


to dwell with the bride, the Lamb's wife, for ever. Solomon bailt a 
glorionB hoose for Pharaoh's daughter. This is of the true Solo- 
mon's building for his elect, whom he loved before the world was. 

Besides it most be a glorious house, for it was purohased at a vast 
expence, even the blood of the Son of God, an expence which eter- 
nity will be too short to reckon. He was wise who paid the price, 
just who received it, and also a Father who would not put his Son 
to needless cost. What an unspeakably glorious purchase must the 
house then be ? 

The indispensable necessity for washing and purifying, to fit per- 
sons for dwelling in the house, shews it to be glorious. There will 
be spots and uncleanness in the fairest palace on earth ; but " there 
shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither what- 
soever worketh abomination or maketh a lie." Those who are to be 
inhabitants, must first be washed in the laver of regeneration ; every 
day they must wash their feet from their daily infirmities ; and at 
death they must be washed every whit clean ; and all in the clean 
water of Christ's blood and Spirit. 

Lastly, It is an everlasting house. It is eternal in the heavens. 
This lodging house of the body goes quickly to the dust ; the lower 
house of this earth will go up in purple flames ; but that house in 
the heavens will endure for ever. 

For Improvement. 

1. Behold and admire the happiness of the saints. Though they 
knew not where to lay their heads on earth, yet if this tabernacle 
were dissolved they have a glorious house ready for them. Others 
may know of a house under ground, a grave, a vault for the body. 
But the saints have a house above the earth, yea above the clouds, a 
happy and glorious receptacle for the soul. 

2. Is it not surprising that the saints should be alarmed at death, 
the way to their own house ? What the worse was Mordecai that it 
was Haman that brought him the king's horse, and led his bridle 
through the street of the city. A child of God is not ill situated in 
the very valley of the shadow of death, for his Lord is with him. 
When persons are near their own house, though they have a few 
rugged steps and the night be dark and stormy, yet they are not 
easily discouraged, because they know they will soon be home. 
Alas for our carnality and want of faith. 

Lastly, Seek a house now, into which you may be received when 
your earthly house is dissolved. There is such a house, and you 
may have it. set to work now for this house. It is a house of 


which yoa may obtain a lease, not for the term of life, for there is 
no dying there, bat an everlasting lea^e, for this honse changes no 
tenants. It is a honse which yon will get rent free, except the sing- 
ing of glory, glory and praise to God the bnilder and owner, and to 
the Lamb, the purchaser of the honse. 

■w»o»rf ^^m^^mm 



For we know, that, if our ecarOdy house of this tabemade were dissolved^ 
we have a huUding of God, an house not made with hands, etemcd in 

Thbbb are three ways by which we may know a thing, first by 
sense, thus we know the fire to be hot, and ice to be cold. Secondly, 
by rational evidence, thns when we see a honse, we know that there 
has been a builder ; and a beautiful world, we know that there is 
a Ood, because none of them could make themselves. Thirdly, by 
the testimony of others, by human testimony, as by history we 
know what was done before we were in the world ; and by divine 
testimony, or revelation, we know the truths of the gospel. The 
first of these cannot be pretended in the present case, for heaven 
and the glory to come fall not now under our bodily senses. As for 
the inward spiritual sense and feeling of what is heavenly it falls in 
with rational evidence. As for the third, that of testimony, there 
can no human testimony make us know this. As for divine testi- 
mony in the scripture, it comes not so low as to the case of parti- 
cular persons by name, saying to such and such a saint heaven is 
thine. As to extraordinary revelation, Paul speaks here of other 
believers as well as himself, of whom we have no ground to thiuk 
they had extraordinary revelation. As to the ordinary testimony 
of the Spirit, it proceeds upon rational evidence. "The Spirit 
beareth witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God." 
Therefore I conclude this knowledge in the text, is upon rational 
evidence, from the marks and signs of a gracious state of which the 
believer may be conscious, being founded on the word of God. 

Doctrine. They who look for heaven when they die, should have 
rational evidence of their title to it, while they live. 

There is great need of this doctrine, for presumption in the 
wicked, and slothfulness in the saints, make hopes of heaven 
whereof men can give no rational account, very plentiful. Do you 


hope, do yqa know that heaven will be yonr landing place ? Then 
I wonld ask yon, how do yon know this, npon what gronnds ? Ton 
have not been wrapt up to the third heavens, and read yonr title 
there. Ton will not pretend, I hope, extraordinary revelation sent 
down to yon. Beware of that, " we have a more sure word of piro- 
phecy, wherennto ye do well that ye take heed." But whatever 
yon may pretend that way, if yonr title cannot be made good by the 
word, it is bnt a delnsion. '* To the law, and to the testimony ; if 
they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light 
in them." Well then, what rational evidence according to the 
scripture, have you for it ? How can yon make good yonr title by 
the word, which contains the laws of the kingdom ? If yon cannot 
do that, and yet hope and think you know it, it seems you have 
dreamed it. And take heed, lest it be no more but a dream. 
Therefore they who look for heaven when they die, should have ra- 
tional evidence of their title to it while they live. Here I shall, 

I. Shew of what we should have rational scriptural evidences. 

II. What it is to have rational evidences for heaven. 

III. I will shew that the saints may have such evidences. 

lY. I will give the reasons of the doctrine. I am according to 
this plan, 

1. To shew of what we should have rational scriptural evidences. 
What is it we should know. 

The text tells us, it is that we have a building of God, an house 
not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. If we prepare aright 
for eternity, we will not be content with less than this. Sure I am 
We will not be content with less in a matter of far inferior import- 
ance. The term of Whitsunday is drawing near, and among those 
of us that have tack, there will be riding and running till they 
know, that if the term were come, they have a house and land to re- 
main npon, or another place to which they can go. And why less 
diligence in this affair ? The apostle does not say, perhaps we will 
get a building — ^no, eternity is too great a matter to venture upon a 
perhaps, or a may be, if it be within the compass of our power to 
oarry it farther. Nay, what is more, he says not, that we know we 
will have it, we will get it, but we have it already. Eternity is too 
great a matter to be uncertain about for the shortest time. 

Here is a mystery, the saints have the house of glory already ; 
though they be still on earth, and have not an inch of ground which 
they can call their own. I will unriddle this to you in two things. 
1. The saints have heaven in right and title, as the young heir has 
the land, into possession of which he is not yet entered. 2. They 
have the hold of heaven already, like a man that has had some pre- 



oious thing fallen into a well, and searohing for it with .an instrn- 
ment, whenever he finds the thing npon it, he cries out with joy, I 
have it, I have it. 

I. The saints have heayen in right and title. 

1. God from eternity designed heayen for them, and them for hea- 
yen, " For God hath not appointed ns to wrath, bnt to obtain salva- 
tion by our Lord Jesns Christ ? The lines have fallen in pleasant 
places for them, even in the pleasant land. The lot of electing love 
hath given them their inheritance there. Eternal love puts its 
everlasting arms underneath them, and that lifts them up in time 
from the pit, " Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the 
pit of corruption : for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back." 
This is a sure foundation of right. It cannot be overturned, for it 
is of God's own laying, " The foundation of God standeth sure, hav- 
ing this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his." And when they 
are solemnly admitted into their house, the Judge will recognize 
this title of theirs, saying, ^* Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit 
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." 
For God does with the heavenly, as he did with the earthly Ca- 
naan. " When the Most High divided to the nations their inheri- 
tance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the 
people according to the number of the children of Israel." 

2. Christ has purchased it for them. " God hath appointed us 
to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, 
whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. The 
first Adam forfeited the house of glory for himself and all his 
posterity, the fallen angels forfeited their part too, and now they 
have no right to it. But happy saints, they had a near kinsman, 
that was mighty, and he redeemed the mortgaged inheritance. Job 
xix. 25 — 27. The house of heaven was a mighty purchase indeed ! 
The united stock of men and angels would no more have redeemed 
it, and fixed our title to it, than a barley com would have redeemed 
an estate. But there is infinite value in the precious blood of the 
Son of God. 

3. God is theirs and Christ is theirs. The saints' maker is their 
husband. And heaven of course is their dowry house. A house 
suitable to the quality of their husband. " God is not ashamed to 
be called their God ; for he hath provided for them a city." They 
are by regeneration and adoption, sons of the house, therefore heirs, 
heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ." And now may each of 
them say, *' My beloved is mine, and I am his." And therefore all 
is theirs. The house and all its pertinents. Yea '* all things are 
theirs and they are Christ's." If the Lord of the house be their 



husband, who can qneation their right to the house. Is not the body 
more than meat, and the builder, and purchaser, and owner, more 
than the house. 

4. Christ has taken possession of heaven in their name. " Whe- 
ther the forerunner is for us entered even Jesus." He is keeping 
their room for them till they come. I go, said he, to prepare a 
place for you. Thus their title is fixed, their place is secured for 
them. At death they will enter into actual possession of what they 
have already got infeftment in Christ their head. Christ was a 
public person, representing all the heirs of glory. In their name 
and stead, he obeyed, died, rose again, ascended, and sat down in 
glory. So that the apostle makes no doubt to tell us, that believers 
on earth ** are in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." 

Lastly, God has promised it to them. '^ In hope of eternal life, 
which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began." 
This is their charter for heaven registered in the Bible ; to which 
the King has appended his broad seal, the holy sacraments, a red 
bloody seal, with this inscription, Bemember me. Though he be no 
debtor to them, he is debtor to his own faithfulness. Though they 
could never purchase the house, yet our Lord could dispone it to 
them freely, being his own purchase. " Fear not little flock ; for it 
is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." And to 
make sure work, the promise is made to Christ. "He saith not, 
And to seeds, as of many ; but as of one. And to thy seed, which is 
Christ." And the comfort of this dispensation ! Unbelief will 
not stand to blaspheme and say, will God ever make out the pro- 
mise to thee ? But will it dare question if God will make good his 
promise to his own Son, especially when the thing promised was 
purchased with his own blood. 

II. The saints have the hold of heaven already. 

1. They have it in the covenant. " He hath made with me an 
everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure ; for this is all 
my salvation and alf my desire." Now if all the believers' salva- 
tion and desire be in it, surely heaven is in it ; for how low soever 
the desire of others may be, the desire of the saints is no less. Hast 
thou heard and believed, that thou hadst lost heaven and exposed 
thyself to hell by sin, and thou wast going about mourning without 
the sun for the loss, and seeking to get it repaired, and thou hearest 
of the covenant and laid hold upon it for time and eternity ; then 
know thou, that that moment heaven wa« found, and thou mightest 
have cried out, I have it, I have it. The covenant is the chariot in 
which Christ carries his saints to glory ; and as we use to say of 
people, that they are gone to such a place, when the coach in which 



they are has set off for it : so we may say the believer is gone to 
heaven, for the chariot of the covenant will not stop by the way, so 
that they who are in it shall arrive there as surely as if they were 
there already. Then if yon wonld have the house, come into the co- 
venant. — Close with Christ. Deliberately make up the match be- 
tween him and your souls, in the way of the marriage covenant. 
** Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with 
me ; and he shall make peace with me." 

Ton must also break your covenant with your lust. — Many pre- 
tend to covenant with Christ, but it plainly appears that they are 
in a chariot which the devil drives. " That they may recover them- 
selves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive at his 
will." No wonder then such persons make haste after another God. 
We must then part with our lusts, or give up pretences to the cove- 
nant, and as to heaven. 

2. They have it in faith. They have the hold of it by believing. 
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things 
not seen. The possession by faith is a sure possession. When faith 
lays hold upon and embraces Christ, it enfolds heaven also in its 
arms, for he is eternal life. He that believeth on the Son hath ever- 
lasting life. The whole of heaven and glory is in Christ, virtually, 
they who have him cannot fail of all that is in heaven. The best 
part of heaven is in Christ formally, for the fulness of the G-odhead 
dwells in him. Christ is the fairest flower in the heavenly country, 
the most precious jewel of all the treasures of the upper house. If 
one had the sun to be ever with them, they would have a lasting 
day, and would need neither moon nor star light. So the saints 
having Christ, have everlasting light. Their heaven is begun, and 
if once there were no more clouds to intercept the light of that sun, 
which now ever shines above their horizon, then they will have 
heaven in its largest extent. 

Faith also embraceth the promise, in which heaven is wrapt up. 
It is said of the Patriarchs, '* These all died in faith, not having re- 
ceived the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were per- 
snaded of them, and embraced them." Eml>raced them, that is, the 
things promised. An allusion to mariners who having been long at 
■ea, joyfully salute the land, and as it were embrace it when they 
first see it. God's word is as good security as possession. And as 
men may be possessed of land, which they never saw, by infeftment 
and seisin, so may the believer be of the land that is afar off by 
embracing the promise of it. 

3. They have it in hope well grounded, even hope on the word. 
** Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul ; both sure and 


stedfast, and which entereth into that vithin the vail." Therefore 
salvation is attributed to hope. " For we are saved by hope." By 
faith the Christian fights and oyercomes, and by hope he gathers the 
spoil. Ask those who hare been plunged into despair, and they will 
tell yon, that they have been in hell while on earth. Despair brings 
np hell into the soul, and true hope brings down heaven into it. 
Hope is enjoyment antedated, and excites the same joy, delight, 
and complacency, that enjoyment doth ; as you may see in the hope 
of worldly things. But with this difference, that earthly things are 
commonly sweeter in expectation than enjoyment, but spiritual 
things quite otherwise. 

Lastly, They have it in the first fruits of it. *' We have the first 
fruits of the Spirit." And these are the earnest of our inheritance." 
Thos they are entered on possession already. They have got a 
cluster of the first ripe grapes of the heavenly Canaan. They have 
" the earnest of the Spirit." Now the earnest is both a part of the 
price, and a pledge of the whole. What is grace but glory in the 
bud ; or glory but grace come to perfection. " We all with open 
face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into 
the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the 
Lord." We now proceed, 

II. To shew what it is to have rational evidence of heaven. If a 
man pretend a right to houses or lands, and there be any to question 
his right, he looks out his evidences, brings forth his papers, and 
witnesses, to evince that that house or land is his, which will be 
sustained, so far as they are agreeable to the laws of the land, 
where the house or land is situated. Now, brethren, we all pretend 
to the house of heaven, to Canaan's land. It is unreasonable and 
absurd to pretend to possession, if we do not pretend to a right of 
possession, for there can be no violent possessors of heaven. Now 
if you pretend a right to heaven, it is highly reasonable yon have 
something to evidence that right. Now your right is or wiH be 

1. Ministers in the name of the Lord question your right. They 
have reason to do it, because there are so many who deceive them- 
selves in this matter, and because deception in it is an eternal loss. 
You are told that there is a generation pure in their own eyes, yet 
not cleansed from their iniquities — we read of foolish virgins who 
perished by trusting to an empty profession of religion, and there- 
fore we call you to compear in the court of your own conscience to 
clear up this matter. " Examine yourselves whether you 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." ^* Wherefore 



the rather, brethren, give all diligence to make your calling and 
election sure." And upon that occasion, you ought to produce some 
rational evidence ; " and be ready always to give an answer to every 
man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meek- 
ness and fear." 

2. Does not your own conscience sometimes question your right ? 
Do not doubts and fears sometimes at least arise in your minds, 
like a pain in the side ? If they do not now it is very strange, you 
must be very fast asleep. But conscience will do it afterwards, 
when it comes to be enlightened, and it may be when there is no 
remedy. You should have something provided for such a time. 

3. Satan will question your right when he sees his opportunity. 
If thou be a child of God, Satan, when he has thee at an advantage, 
will assuredly question your right. He questioned Christ's sonship. 
" If thou be the Son of God." And he will do his utmost to raise 
his black band of doubts and fears to attack thee ; and how wilt 
thou fight against them but by the sword of the Spirit, rational 
scriptural evidences. 

If thou be a deceiver of thyself, it is like Satan will not much 
trouble thee that way, till the time come that thou canst hardly 
expect to got a right, and then thou mayest come to know to the 
torment of thy soul, that thou hast none and never had. 

Lastly, Our right to heaven will be sifted before the tribunal of 
God, and no pretences will do there that cannot be made good by the 
word which contains the laws of the kingdom. Fraudulent pre- 
tenders to heaven there may be now, but no fraudulent possessors 
will be there. And if thy right then be judged null, there is no 
mending the matter through eternity. Who then would venture 
such a business on such a final decision, without first canvassing their 
right in their own minds. 

Now, a right to heaven is made 4>ut to a man that has it by evi- 
dences. And evidence for heaven is the gracious work of the Spirit 
of God upon a person felt or discerned by him that has it, to be a 
gracious work. ^* For what man knoweth the things of a man, save 
the spirit of man which is in him ? For clearing of this, 

1. As the right to heaven is given to every soul upon the account 
of Christ's purchase, so soon as they are in Christ by faith ; so the 
word of God, the laws of the kingdom of heaven, secure it to such 
by promise. — ** There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ 

2. Every soul in Christ has a gracious work wrought on it by the 
Spirit of Christ. Heaven is begun in them by the gracious change 
by which they are fitted for it. Their faith is not idle, but puri/leth 


the heart, and establisheth the law. The Spirit dwelling in them, 
works in them gracious qualifications peculiar to the heirs of glory. 
'* Qiying thanks unto the Father which hath made us meet to be 
partakers of the inheritence of the saints in light." 

3. Though these qualifications be wrought in a man, yet if he do 
not discern them, they are not evidences, and he has not the comfort 
of them. He is in the dark, he knows not whither he is going ; '^ he 
walketh in darkness, and hath no light." And because so many de- 
ceive themselves in this weighty matter it is a frightful case. 

Lastly, Evidence for heaven, then, is the gracious work of the 
Spirit, to which the promise of heaven is annexed, and discovered 
to be in the soul particularly that has it. So that here two things 
concur to make it up. 

1. Light into the Lord's promise and word iu the Bible, so that 
the soul believeth and is persuaded, that such and such have a right 
to heaven and shall have it. For example, those that are truly poor 
in spirit. Matt. v. 3. ** Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the 
kingdom of heaven." Those that have a supreme transcendant love 
to the Lord above all. Proverbs viii. 17* *' I love them that love 
me." Those that have an universal love to the law. *^ Then shall 
I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments." 
These are some of the laws of the kingdom, by which men's right to 
it is determined. Now if the word be not believed, there can be no 
evidence, for in that case there is no foundation for evidence. 

2. Light into the Lord's work on the heart and life, by which a man 
sees in himself those things to which the promise of heaven is an- 
nexed. For example, that he is poor in spirit, loves the Lord su- 
premely and loves his law universally; and therefore concludes 
according to the word, that his is the kingdom of heaven. The 
Lord loves him and he shall not be ashamed. The man that hath 
this, hath evidence ; and so can give a rational account of the hope 
that is in him. 

This evidence is more or less clear according to the light that 
shines upon the Spirit's work in the heart. Grace has a light with 
itself, and he that believes, loves the Lord and loves his law, may 
be conscious of his own actions in these things, as well as in other 
cases. Thus the saints have the testimony of their own spirits. 
The Spirit of the Lord also shines upon his own work, and discovers 
it, sometimes with such a degree of light that the man's spirit is 
helped to perceive it clearly, yet all doubt is not removed. Some- 
times he irradiates the soul with a light so clear, that they can no 
more doubt of it than of the sun's shining, when it is glaring in 
their eyes. ** Thus the Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we 
are the children of God." Let us now, 


III. Endeavour to shew thi^t the saints may have snoh eyidence. 

1. A believer may know that he has relative graoe, that he is 
justified, adopted, &c. Thongh he eaanot ^ up to heaven^ and at 
first hand read his name in the book of God's decrees ; yet by open?- 
ing the Book of the word, and the Book of his own soul, and com- 
paring the two together, he may know that he is called and elected. 
We are " to give all diligence to make our calling and election sure." 
And we desire that every one of yon do shew the same diligence, 
to the full assurance of hope to the end." In this way a believer 
may know that he is a child of God, and that Christ loved him and 
died for him. 

2. A believer may know that he hath inherent grace. He may 
know that he believes, as sure as that he breathes. " I know," saya 
Fanl, '* whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to 
keep that which I have committed to him agaiust that day." He 
may know that he hath love to Christ, and can appeal to God's om- 
niscience upon the matter. ^* Lord," said Peter to his Master, '* thou 
knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee." And thus be- 
lieving that such persons have a right to heavm, he may know he is 
the man. And being persuaded of the certainty of the perseverance 
of the saints, knowing that he has grace, and that so he shall never 
lose it, he may be persuaded, he shall go to that house, whenever his 
earthly tabernacle is dissolved. 

3. Consider the office and work of the Spirit given to all the 
saints. He is given them for a teacher to lead them into all the truth, 
and particularly to discover the grace of God in them, by a heavenly 
light on his own work. ^' Now we have received, not the spirit of 
the world, but the Spirit which is of God ; that we might know the 
things that are freely given to us of God." He is given for a wit- 
ness, to be a "joint witness with our own spirits that we are the sons 
of God," Rom. viii. 16. To be a seal, which properly is to ensure 
an evidence. " And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye 
are sealed unto the day of redemption." And as an earnest, which 
is both a part of the price and a pledge of the whole, " God hath 
given unto us the earnest of the Spirit." 

4. The operations and effects of faith in the soul clear this point. 
Such as boldness and confidence with God, which cannot be without 
some evidence of a relation to him as our Father. " In whom we have 
boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him." Eejoicing 
in hope of the glory of God which necessarily requires rational evi- 
dence of that hope, Rom. v. 2. Tliis is the more to be regarded, as 
it is sometimes joy unspeakxMe, 1 Peter i. 8. To such joy, plain, yea 
speaking evidences arc absolutely necessary. It is a joy which none 


can take from them, though thej should take all that they have in 
the world. John xvi. 22. Surely in that case, they see that they 
hare the treasure, of vhich no man, no deyil can rob theuL And all 
this makes them cheerfully endure sufferings, *' knowing in them* 
seWes, that they have in heayen a better and an enduring substance." 

Lastly, Many of the saints have had such eyidence for heayen. 
Job xiz. 26 — 27. Dayid also could say, and I " will dwell in the 
house of the Lord for eyer." And says Paul, " henceforth there is 
laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righte- 
ous Judge shall giye me that day ; and not to me only, but unto all 
them also that loye his appearing." And not only scriptural saints, 
but others of an inferior rank, who haye been capable to g^ye an 
account of their hope, satisfying to their own tender consciences and 
also to others. It now remains, 

lY. To giye the reason of the doctrine. 

1. It is the command of God. " Giye all diligence to make your 
calling and election sure." God calls eyery man to bring his state 
to the touchstone and to see what it is. '^ Examine yourselyes^ 
whether you are in the faith ; proye your ownselyes." He com* 
mands eyen his enemies to see their state and to lay aside their de- 
luding hopes. And he has not only made heayen sure to his people, 
but he would haye them to be assured of it, for their greater com- 

2. Because God has shewn us the way, how we may come to a 
clearness and certainty as to our state. The scripture eyery where 
abounds with trying eyidences, particularly the first epistle of John 
is written for that yery end. '' These things haye I written unto you 
that belieye on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know thai 
ye haye eternal life." How can we then quietly continue in the 
dark, not knowing how it is, and how it will be with us, when the 
Lord has compassed us about with so much spiritual light for that 
purpose. How can we pretend to tenderness, and yet slight a duty 
for which he hath so fully proyided ? 

3. Because salyation is a matter so important, it is unaccountable 
stupidity not to be concerned for eyidences. Who but a fool or a 
madman would slight the business of remoying to another house on 
earth, as men do that of the house of heayen ? Now, eyery per* 
son, masters and seryants, must know what comes of them at the 
term ; only we are not enquiring what comes of us at death, whether 
we shall go to the house aboye or the house below. 

4. It is necessary for the honour of God, the good and edification 
of others, and tliat both in life and death. *^ But sanctify the Lord 
God in your hearts ; and be ready always to giye an answer to eyery 


one that asketh yon a reason of the hope that is in yoo, with meek- 
ness and fear." It is little that we glorify God in our lives, and 
alas ! the most are in hazard of dying as they live. They live in 
hopes of heaven, of which they can give no good account and may 
even come to die in the same way. It is hut an obscure death little 
to the honour of G-od, or the edification of others ; when persons 
pass away without clear evidences, or struggles to recover brangled 

Use of Exhyrtadon, 

To those who have never been at pains to get a right to heaven. 
Why should I bid them seek evidence for a thing, which they were 
never at pains to get. Alas as to many, whatever be their hopes 
for heaven, evidences of hell are written on their foreheads. Such 

1. Hardness of heart and blindness of mind constant and habitual, 
which create in them a deep security in their soul ruining courses. 
A stone is fitted to go downward, and so are they for the pit. '* If 
our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost." 

2. God's giving up with them, saying *^ Ephraim is joined to his 
idols, let him alone." Some have had conscience as God's deputy 
struggling long with them, but at length they have got their con- 
sciences seared. There is none now to peep, or mutter within their 
breast, to disturb their rest in sin. Saul was near being cut off, 
when he was cast off. 

3. Profanity of life, which cannot fail to have a miserable end, 
as long as dogs and swine are debarred from heaven. Those that 
have nothing but the form of religion may go to hell, but none that 
want a form will ever see heaven. 

4. Unfrnitfulness under the means of grace. A total unfmitful- 
ness, when neither heart nor life is made better, but the leprosy of 
sin continues spreading, what can be expected but destruction. 

I would exhort you who have not yet made it your work to get a 
right to heaven, now to begin that work in earnest ; by your closing 
with Christ offered in the gospel, taking him in all his oflices, mar- 
rying the heir that the dowry house may be yours. 

Moiives. 1. While you have no right to heaven, you are heirs of 
wrath and hell. " You are children of wrath." And it is a fearful 
case to live bound over to the wrath of God. Such is your case 
while without Christ, and without a title to heaven. Yon are under 
the curse, and condemned already. *' For he that believeth not the 
Son shall not see life ; but the wrath of God abideth on him." 

2. This is ih» great work of tine to be sMrauruilp joor haj^kisMs 
for etemit J. What should a malelactor do in the tine of a re- 
priere, hot be seeking a remissioii if it may be obtained. He that 
dwells in an old minons house should be looking out for another. 
Nov you are like a man standing on a spot of ground eneospaased 
with the sea, which the tide will soon corer. It is not time to sleep 
in such a situation ; so time ere long will be swallowed up in eter- 

3. We hare some hopes of hearen, because we are yet within the 
line of mercy. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but eternal 
disappointment will kill the heart and pierce the heart with ten 
thousand sorrows. Hell will be sad to them that know nothing of 
hearen, but much worse for them, who, by its flames, are awakened 
out of their pleasant dreams of heaven. 

4. All of us haTe heayen in our offer. The marriage of the 
King's Son is offered to us and heaTon with him, for our dowry 
house. *'How shall we escape if we neglect so great salyation." 
To fall short of an offered heaTen will be a double hell. 

Lastly, It will not always be so. The day will come that the 
doors will be shut and once shut will never more be opened. When 
once time is gone, God will bar them so, that for the ages of eter- 
nity, there shall be access no more. Then shall that oath have its 
full effect, " Fnto whom I sware in my wrath, that they should not 
enter into my rest." 

There are several, I hope, who have been careful about securing a 
right to heaven ; who have been labouring to lay hold on the Cove- 
nant and Christ in it. I exhort yon to try what has been the issue 
of all your pains that way, to try your state, and make out your 
title for heaven by evidences. 

I. I will urge this upon you with some motives. 

II. I will point out the hindrances of evidences for heaven. 

III. I shall give you some directions in order to your obtaining 
evidences for heaven. I am then, 

I. To urge you with some motives ; to try what has been the issue 
of all yonr pains to obtain a right to heaven. 

1. This is a troublesome world. Every person has his cross for 
every day. And the design of each of these is to tell yon, your rest 
is not here. It is hope that supports the soul, and this hope must 
be raised not upon the prospect of ease in this life, of which we may 
soon be disappointed, but npon evidences of a better life. ** For if 
in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most 
miserable." And these hopes of a better life may last, though the 
clouds return after the rain. 


2. Many deceire themselves in that matter, and will meet with an 
eternal disappointment, as the foolish virgins did, Matth. xxv. 
There are two things clear as the snn in this matter. First, that 
there are few comparatively that will be saved. " Strait is the gate 
and narrow is the way that leadeth nnto life, and few there be that 
find it." Christ's flock is a Utile Jlock. The second thing is, that 
the far greater part entertain hopes of heaven. There are very 
few that do not expect, that they shall be the persons that shall be 
saved. Hence it follows many will be deceived and disappointed. — 
There are two sorts of self-deceivers that much abound in the world. 
First, formal hypocrites nnaoqoainted with regeneration and the life 
of faith, yet acquainted with the external duties of religion. These 
build their hopes on some things that look like grace and holiness in 
heart and life, but they do not examine them narrowly, by the touch- 
stone of God's word, hence they are deceived by counterfeit instead of 
current coin. This is the more to be regarded, that there is no grace 
but a hypocrite may have the counterfeit of it. The second class are 
the ignorant and the profane, who also hope that all will be well in 
the end. These trouble not themselves to search for satisfaction 
as evidence of their interest in Christ, but please themselves with 
the hopes which they rear up npon the general offers of the gospel, 
the mercy of God, and the death of Christ ; without any evidence of 
their being in the Covenant, or having had the virtue of the blood of 
Christ applied to them. While thus so many deceive themselves, it 
is a loud call to us to make out our evidences. 

3. The consideration of the time in which we live should engage 
us to this. Though the Lord has done wonders for us, yet there are 
snre symptoms of the Lord's anger against us, as call aloud to us to 
seek evidences. 

It is a time of divisions, and these appear to be still increasing. 
Now while there is such reeling and staggering, some saying this, 
some that the other is the way, let us to take special heed to be 
right in the main. While some are saying, I am of Paul, and I am 
of Apollos ; let us put it to the trial till we be able, each for him- 
self to say, I am of Christ. Division has a sad influence on practical 
godliness ; for the corrupt heart is apt to lay much weight on what 
side the man takes in such a time, and a mighty stress is laid upon 
being found in good company, as each alleges for himself that he is. 
The controversies and disputes about these things are apt to wear 
out soul exercise. But let us remember, that into how many parts 
soever the world and the church be now divided, the time comes 
when there will be but two parties, those that are in, and those that 
are out of Christ. The regenerated and the unregenerated. 


It is a time in which, thoogh strokes are delayed, yet there is no 
snch repentance and reformation as may gi?e us ground to think, 
that the bitterness of death is past. But be it as it will, every one 
ought to lay his account with sufferings. None are saved but those 
who have as much faith and love to Ohirst as will make him cleave 
to him, come what will. " If any man, saith Jesus, oome to me, and 
hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren 
and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." 
Now should a time of public calamity come, how comfortless is the 
condition of men without evidences for heaven. 

4. Death is approaching. We must die, and it is horrible to think 
of looking the grim messenger in the face, without evidence of eter- 
nal life. We must then enter into an unalterable state for ever, 
and must we venture into it as by a leap in the dark, not knowing 
where we may land ? Are heaven and hell such light things, that 
it is a matter indifferent to us, which of them be our portion ? 
consider that last moment that will for ever determine our state, 
when we shall be lying on a dying bed, either holy angels, or devils 
waiting jon to carry us to our eternal abode. 

6. We know not when this may be our lot, or how we may be 
brought to death. We may pass away in a moment in a surprising 
manner when we are not looking for it. We may die in such a case, 
that we may be incapable of doing any thing for eternity. Or the 
pain and tossing may be such, that it will be difficult to get a com- 
posed thought. Do now then in proper time, what you would then 
wish to have done. 

Lastly, Evidences for heaven are excellent means for a holy life. 
Some say that assurance is hurtful to piety, and inclines men to 
looseness, but the contrary is evident from the word, which enforceth 
holiness from assurance. ** Having therefore these promises, dearly 
beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and 
and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of G-od." The scripture 
expressly asserts the tendency of assurance to holiness. ** And every 
man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.'^ 
And experience testifies that those who had the clearest evidences 
have been the most holy of all the saints, as Abraham, David, Paul. 
And this distinguishes well grounded evidence of the Lord's love 
from delusion which can never sanctify the soul. But to come to 
particulars : 

1. A man's having evidences for heaven, inflames the soul with 
love to the Lord. One flame begets another, so the love of God to 
the soul clearly discerned, will increase the soul's love to the Lord. 
" We love him because he first loved us." He sits in the warm sun- 


shine who sits under eyidenees of the Lord's love, and this cannot 
fail to melt the heart. The sonl will be filled with admiration of 
God's goodness and grace. 

2. It hnmbles the soul. None are more vile in their own eyes, 
than those who are most highly lifted up in the manifestations of the 
Lord's loye. Abraham is but dust and ashes, while God is speaking 
to him as a friend. When David's honours were conferred upon 
him, he exclaimed, ^* Who am I, Lord God ? and what is my house, 
that thou hast brought me hitherto ?" In 2 Cor. xii. you will find 
Paul as high as he could be raised, ver. 4. Caught up mto paradise. 
And yet as low as he could lay himself, though^ says he, ver. 11. J 
he nothing. For always the nearer a soul comes to God, God ap- 
pears the greater, and the creature the less. 

3. It produces tenderness of heart and life, great care to please 
God in all things, and watchfulness against every sin that may dis- 
turb the soul's rest in God. The empty traveller walks at random, 
fearing nothing, because he has nothing to lose. But he that hath 
full pockets will look well to himself. The solid hope of heaven, 
makes the sonl study to be heavenly, and the hope of the marriage 
day makes the spouse of Christ to prepare for it. 

4. It gives strength against corruption. '* Give all diligence to 
make your calling and election sure, for if ye do these things ye 
shall never fall." The heavenly light within the soul, cleared as to 
its eternal interest, dispels the darkness that strengthens the work 
of corruption, and fits a man for every duty of a holy life. Faith is 
the provider for all our other graces. It brings in oil to the lamp, 
and the more evidence faith hath, it can do its office the better. A 
doubting Christian will always be a weak Christian, even as the sol- 
dier who has little hopes of victory, will be readily faint-hearted. 

6. Assurance is the best support under sufferings and afflictions, 
as the connection of the text shews. It is a storehouse of patience 
and contentment under the rod, for it shews them things will have a 
happy issue ; and under the want of all things, it shews them, that 
they shall inherit all things. It makes a man despise the frowns 
of the world, and the threats of enemies. Why should they fear 
the falling of their tabernacle, who know that they have an house 
not made with hands eternal in the heavens ? They need not fear 
death, when to them it is an inlet to eternal life. 

6. It fills a man with contempt of the world. If one know that 
his treasure is in heaven, his heart will be there also. '^ God for- 
bid," says the apostle, ** that I should glory save in the cross of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, by which I am crucified unto the world, and 
the world unto me." If you gaze on the shining sun for a time. 


yon will scarcely discern the beauty of the earth for some time 
after. And he that can solace himself, in the contemplation of hea- 
ven as his, this will mnch sink the valne of created things with him. 
It sets a man above the earth, so that it mast needs appear a very 
little thing. 

Finally, To sum up all in one word, it makes a man fit either to 
live or die. Alas ! how often are even good people unfit for either ? 
Unfit to live, because of the weakness of grace, in the midst of temp- 
tations and trials. Unfit to die, for want of evidence of grace. — 
Whereas the man that has solid evidence for heaven, he has what 
can bear him through trials, support him under temptations, and 
even in the hour of death. We now proceed, 

II. To point out the hinderances of evidences for heaven. There 
are very few have a right to heaven, and those that have no right 
can have no evidence ; yet there are far fewer that have evidences 
of that right, of which they can give any rational account. The 
causes of this are these, 

1. The great hindrance is a loose and irregular life. For as 
troubled water will not reflect the image of the sun, as clear stand- 
ing water will do, so an irregular walk, will not afford that evidence 
of grace which a strict holy life will do. " He that hath my com- 
mandments," saith Jesus, " and keepeth them, he it is that loveth 
me ; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will 
love him, and will manifest myself to him." While violent tempta- 
tions and passions disturb the soul, it is as the troubled sea, dark 
and muddy. The outbreakings of corruption are as the mists and 
fogs that darken the air. 

2. Weakness of knowledge in matters of religion. — This has been 
very evident in some, who when they have once got their judgments 
informed from the Lord's word, they have then got their troubled 
consciences eased. 

There are four things have a very bad influence here. 

First, Some weak persons have a notion that assurance of an in- 
terest in Christ and clear discerniDg of grace in the heart, is an ex- 
traordinary thing, at least that it is a business of insuperable difii- 
culty, that they never have courage to attempt it. But pray, will 
you consider that God calls all Christians to it, weak and strong. 
" Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure." He 
has appointed ordinary means for it. '' These things have I written 
unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may 
know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the 
name of the Son of God. How then can it be looked on as an ex- 
traordinary thing ? And is it a business of insuperable difficulty to 


a man that understandB the nature of graoe, to reflect npon and dis- 
cern the motions of his own sonl within him, and compare them with 
the word ? Is it snch a very hard business for a man's own spirit 
to discern itself and its own actings and motions ? " For what man 
knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ? 

Secondly, Mistakes as to the nature of evidences for heaven. It 
is surprising to find the weakness of some, in other respects not 
ignorant, who being asked the grounds of their hope for heaven and 
evidences for eternal life, will tell yon that they build on such 
scriptures as these, " Him that cometh unto me, I will by no means 
cast out," " Christ died to save sinners." — ^These, and such declara- 
tions as these, are a foundation for the direct act of faith ; but still 
the question returns. How know you that you have come to Christ ? 
or that Christ died for you ? and the only answer to these questions 
must be brought from some parts of the saving change which the 
man finds to be wrought in him. 

Ignorance of the nature of true grace in general is a third thing 
that hath bad effects here. If in a time in which much counterfeit 
money is in circulation, a person receives a purse of good money, 
who yet does not know money, and cannot discern betwixt real and 
counterfeit coin, that man cannot be easy. So how is it possible 
that a man can have solid evidence for heaven, who knows not how 
to distinguish between true grace and that which is counterfeit. It 
is a great defect in many, who in other respects are knowing, that in 
this matter they are at a loss. Perhaps they can tell you, that love 
to God, and a real desire after righteousness, are marks of grace, 
but their loss is they cannot circumstantiate that love and desire, so 
as to distinguish them from hypocritical love and desire. 

The fourth thing is the razing of foundations still upon every 
new prevailing of iniquity, so that by this means some are still kept 
fluctuating and unsettled. For,* say they, if it be so, why am I 
thus ? But why do they think that grace will get so soon free of 
its ill neighbour. This is surely your weakness. ImquiHes prevail 
against you. If you labour to watch, and upon your frequent 
failures flee anew to the blood of sprinkling, and look to Christ for 
his Spirit to subdue sin, and be more sensible of your own weakness, 
and your need of Christ and imputed righteousness, you may even 
draw evidence from this, " That by two immutable things in which 
it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, 
who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." 

3. Sloth and laziness are a great hinderance. Under their influ- 
ence persons cannot be at the trouble to call the soul to an account. 
Alas! how sad is it that many who dare not knowingly neglect 


other datios, live neyerthelesa in the habitual neglect of eelf-exa* 
mination, and enqniring by Bcriptnre marks into the state of their 
souls. They do not make it their business to observe the way of 
God towards them, nor the way of their spirits towards God. They 
never set themselves to seek evidences for heaven, till God in his 
anger lets them be tossed with violent doubts and fears. And it is 
not to be expected that evidences for heaven, will just fall down 
into the bosom of indolent unobserving Christians. 

4. Indistinctness in closing with Christ and accepting of the cove- 
nant. If a bargain be huddled up in a haste, no wonder the man be 
not very clear about it. The not making the work of believing 
more clear and distinct causes such confusion in the review of it, as 
also an uncleamess and uncertainty in pleading the benefit of it. 
Therefore labour to be very distinct in the renunciation of idols, 
particularly that which is the idol of jealousy, in closing with Christ 
in all his offices, and for all the glorions ends for which the Father 
has given him to poor sinuers, for sanctiflcation particularly as well 
as justification. 

Lastly, The violence of temptations. God for the trial of his 
own permits it, and then Satan tosseth them so as they can hardly 
find where to fasten their feet. They stand as it were in a quag- 
mire and find hard work to dispute their sincerity against the 
tempter. As it is the great work of Satan to blow up graceless 
persons in their presumptuous hopes, so it is his grand design, to 
rob the gimcious of their peace and the comfort of their grace. For 
this purpose he raiseth darkness about them, and then orders the 
poor soul to read its evidences. And he has carried his point far, 
when he gets the soul over to his own side to dispute itself out of 
Christ. " In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord ; my sore ran 
in the night, and ceased not : my soul refused to be comforted." 

Sometimes Satan gives the hopes of the saints a side stroke, in- 
ferring their naughtiness from the way of the Lord's dealing with 
them in afflictions. He gets them first possessed with jealousies of 
the Lord's love, and unkindly thoughts of an afflicting God, and 
then carries them forward to conclude that their stroke is not the 
stroke of the Lord's children, and therefore their spot is not the 
spot of his people. '' Call now, if there be any that will answer 
thee ; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn ?" In this case it 
is good to use the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, in which it 
is very like you will find the like case in which the saints have 
been. And if you cannot find the parallel of your own case your- 
aelves, you should take advice of others, who may be better ac- 
quainted with the Scriptures. But cases are like faces, though for 

Vol. III. E 


sabstanoe the same^ yet possibly some ciroamstanoes may differ;- 
and it is a needless rack to please Satan, on which persons pat 
themselves when nothing will satisfy them, bnt the case of a scrip- 
tore saint, exactly like their own in every circumstance. To dis- 
mount the devil's cannon mounted upon this ground, you need no 
more but to observe these scriptures, Eccles. xi. 1, 2. 1 Corinth, iv. 
9. Psalm Izxi. 7. and Ixxvii. 19. 

But again, Satan sometimes gives their hopes a foundation stroke, 
overturning to their view the very foundations of their peace, in 
their first turning to God, and closing with Christ, persuading them 
all was naught, beocnue the law work was not deep enough, and their 
repentance was not complete. Often have the saints themselves to 
blame for this. They lay much of the weight of their peace, upon 
the depth of their convictions and terrors, and the bitterness of their 
repentance. Whereas the weight of it is to lie entirely on the blood 
of Christ, for nothing else can shelter us from the wrath of God. 
*' For other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is 
Jesus Christ. For he is our peace. And his blood alone can purge 
our consciences from dead works, to serve the living God." And if 
people will lay on a plaster that cannot cover the sore, they need 
not wonder, if being once skinned over, it should break out again. 
I know no need of a farther depth of the law work than to convince 
a sinner of his absolute need of Christ for justification and sanctifi- 
cation. And there is no depth at all of true repentance less or 
more but what flows from faith. So that if your peace and hope of 
heaven, have been built on the depth of the law work, or repent- 
ance, lay them not there again, but upon the blood of Christ en- 
tirely, as apprehended by faith. If you have seen the absolute need 
of Christ for sanctification as well as justification, this was sufficient 
to reach the end, namely your closing with Christ for all his salva- 
tion. And whatever be the defects in your repentance yon must 
not stand off from believing till you have repented more deeply. If 
you do, you are egregious fools. But believe that you may repent. 
And the more evidence and confidence your faith in the promise 
hath your repentance will succeed the better. "They shall look 
upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as 
one moumeth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as 
one that is in bitterness for his first born." 

Satan also sometimes gives their hopes an universal shock, by ply- 
ing their corruptions hard, and stirring up the muddy pool of the 
heart, till there is not one drop of clear water to be seen in it ; but 
whatever of heaven be in the heart, hell is uppermost. This is the 
heaviest case of all. I will not advise a person in this case to ex- 


ert hims6lf in seeking evidences for heaven. No, it were crnelty 
indeed to order snch a person to read his evidences, before the 
smoke of hell be got ont of the honse and he gets his candle lighted. 
The man's proper work in snch a case is to believe, hope against 
hope, to close with Christ anew for all his salvation, from the guilt 
and power of sin ; and to hold by the promise of justification and 
sanctification also, in direct opposition to all the noise that corrup- 
tion makes : till the power of sin being subdued, by faith, his dark- 
ness be removed, so that he may behold his evidences again. 

The cause of this, as of the rest, ordinarily is, the soul's falling 
secure and grieving the Spirit, for which cause they are left to fall 
like Samson before the Philistines. And the proper expedient is to 
renew their faith and repentance before the Lord, because they have 
sinned, to wrestle by faith through the temptation, till they get 
their feet fixed upon a rock. It now remains, 

III. That I give you some directions, in order to your obtaining 
evidences for heaven. 

1. Labour to frame your conversation in such a manner as may 
be most condncible to this end. '' Whoso offereth praise glorifieth 
me ; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew 
the salvation of God." A careless way of walking with God, will 
keep the soul in a state of confusion. Evidences for heaven are 
not to be got at random. Solid and lasting evidences are ordinarily 
the product of a watchful and tefider course of life. " The path of 
the just i9 as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto- the 
perfect day. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the 
Lord." For this end quench not the Spirit; but cherish his mo- 
tions, and kindly entertain his suggestions. " And grieve not the 
Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemp- 
tion." Those that slight his convictions, cannot expect his sealings. 
Sins against knowledge waste the conscience, and much darken evi- 
dences for heaven. These grieve the Spirit in a special manner, 
and when he is grieved he departs at least as to comforting influ- 
ences. And there ordinarily follows such sins, deadness, and dark- 
ness, as bring distress to the soul. A wound to the Spirit of Christ, 
presageth a wound to our spirit. 

You must also endeavour to keep grace in exercise, and labour to 
be growing Christians. The flaming fire is easily discerned, when a 
fire not blown cannot be perceived. It is the decay of grace that 
puts it out of sight, as plants in harvest go back and back till they 
are out of sight, their roots only remaining in the earth. Were we 
exercising grace in a way suitable to every condition of our life, and 
so keeping up communion with God in providence, and ordinances, 



it would reflect a eomfortable light upon our state. 2 Peter i. 5.*— 

You should be strict, holy, and regular in your walk. ''Then 
shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy command- 
ments." Were that our daily exercise to keep a conscience Toid of 
offence towards €h)d and towards men, it would be no great difficulty 
to gather eyidences. He that takes a sinful liberty to himself in 
either table of the law, does so far darken the eyidence of his loye 
to God, and furnish suspicions of hypocrisy against himself. " He 
that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loTeth 
me." And the work of righteousness shall be peace ; and the effect 
of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. An uniform 
walk is the high way to comfort, whereas an inequality of conyersa- 
tion, when people hold a short time right, and a long time wrong, 
must needs make short liyed joys, and long lasting darkness. 

Again, Labour to keep up a relish of spiritual things by a hea- 
yenly frame. " For our conyersation is in heayen, from whence also 
we look for the Sayiour, the Lord Jesus Christ." It is no wonder 
people want eyidences, when their hearts, clogged with a carnal 
earthly frame, cannot relish the things of God. " I haye written 
unto him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a 
strange thing." It is obseryed by some, that dogs cannot hunt 
well in the spring, because the sweet odours of the flowers and herbs, 
hinder them much from smelling the hare. Surely the less people 
are dead to the world, the less they are aliye to God, and .the more 
carnal and earthly they are in the frame of their spirits, they are 
the unfltter to gather eyidences. 

It is also necessary to acquaint yourselyes with the scriptures. 
" These things haye I written unto you that belieye on the name of 
the Son of God, that ye may know that ye haye eternal life, and 
that ye may belieye on the name of the Son of God." Want of a 
proper acquaintance with the scriptures is one great reason of the 
darkness in which many walk. A Christian that would enjoy clear 
eyidence, should much study two books, the book of God, and the 
book of his own heart. Look without him into the Bible, and within 
him to his own heart. The attentiye belieying study of the Bible, 
would make him the better understand his own heart, both as to the 
good and eyil of it ; and the due obseryation of his heart, would be 
an excellent help to understand the Bible. Whom the Bible justi- 
fies God will neyer condemn, and whom it condemns he will not jus- 
tify; for it is his own word. Read it for your own case. 

You must also be much in prayer. '' Hitherto ye haye asked no- 
thing in my name : ask and ye shall receiye, that your joy may be 


full." Prayer in faith^ is an nsefnl ezeroise, in wbich the saiLi of 
the Bonl being spread out, lie fair for a gale of the Spirit. It is a 
notable mean to gather the heart, and this is the proper place of the 
rendezYons of the graces of the Spirit. — ^There sorrow for, and ha* 
tred of sin, is stirred np : there lore to God exerts itself, and there 
the spices that gave not their smell before are beaten, which some- 
times give the soul a fulness of joy. 

Finally, Be daily making application of the blood of Christ. 
This is to wash yonr feet, that is to wash off the goilt of daily infir- 
mities. John ziii. 10. As we contract new defilement, we should 
be dipping daily, and that keeps the accounts clear, and a good con- 

JHredion 2. — Make use of the means, by which eyidences for hea- 
Tcn are immediately procured. Here you are called, 

To set yourselves to solemn stated self-examination. Eyidences for 
heaven often lie hid till they be searched out by this exercise, 2 Gor. 
xiii. 6. And they that would do this to purpose, for lasting com- 
fort, would not satisfy themselves with those answers of peace, which 
their consciences give them at a sermon, or a prayer, or some occa- 
sional meditation. These comforts are too soon taken np to be per- 
manent. They would even set some time apart for this work. They 
would do with their hearts, as men do with one with whom they 
have long accounts. A passing word will not do it. But they will 
set a time to make up their accounts and go through the particulars. 
And here I would advise, first of all, to take a back look of your 
ways, to see your sins in order to humiliation, and then to go and 
confess your sins to God as particularly as may be ; and then to ex- 
amine yourselves as to your willingness to receive Christ as he offers 
himself, and that being found, then to renew your closing with 
Christ by faith, and covenanting with God in him as distinctly and 
explicitly as you can. After which you may consider of your evi- 
dences for heaven. And there is a threefold evidence may be gained 

1. An evidence tn the act of faith, or closing with Jesus Christ. 
This is more or less clear according to the strength of faith. In all 
faith of adherence there is some evidence. *^ Though he slay me, 
yet will I trust in him : but I will maintain mine own ways before 
him. He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not 
come before him. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me." 
For a sensible soul will never lay its weight on that which it does 
not believe will bear it, though it may be accompanied with doubts 
which is the weakness of the evidence. And that there is some evi- 
dence in the nature of faith, is plain from the Old Testament names 



of it, trustingj staymgy and the like ; and from the New Testament 
names, Confidence^ fvXi assurance of faiths and the like. This eyidenee 
is founded on the promise of the gospel, upon whioh the person is to 
believe that Christ is ready to give himself to him, and that the 
sonl accepting the offer, Christ is his, without any regard to any 
qualification distinct from this acceptance. Jnst as if a man should 
hold out a loaf of bread to a great company, saying whosoever will, 
shall have it. Were there a starving hungry creature there, what 
would he do, but presently reach out his hand, and reaching out to 
it would say, then it is mine, and catch hold of it while he is speak- 
ing these words. Wherefore seeing God allows yon this evidence, 
carry it as far as you can, the farther always the better. Only this 
evidence cannot satisfy others, but only the man himself. Therefore, 

2. There is another evidence may be obtained here, and that is an 
evidence from the act of faith, and this is obtained by reflection upon 
the direct act of faith or closing with Christ. Such evidence had 
the Eunuch when he said, " I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of 
God." And Paul when he said, " for I know whom I have believed, 
and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have commit- 
ted to him against that day." Even as by the light of a candle, we 
see the candle itself as well as other things, so believing we may 
know that we do believe, and that therefore Christ is ours, and hea- 
ven ours, though we can see no other gracious qualifications in us, 
but what are included in the act of faith. For this evidence it is 
necessary that we know well what faith is, and what the scripture 
makes over to it. So the reasoning runs thus, whosoever belie vetfa 
shall be saved, and whosoever renouncing their own wisdom and all 
other guides, give up themselves to Christ, receiving and resting 
upon him as their teacher, guide, and leader for ever ; and renounc- 
ing their own righteousness, all confidence and worth in themselves, 
their doing or suffering, and receive and rest on Christ alone for 
righteousness and the atonement, and heartily giving up with all 
their idols, resign themselves wholly to Christ's government : They 
believe and shall be saved. But I; (may a person on the act of be- 
lieving and closing with Christ say) do renounce all these, aqd do 
receive Christ, therefore I believe I shall be saved. Now this is 
good evidence, not only to satisfy ourselves, but to give a rational 
ground of our hope to others. But because all true faith is effectual 
to sanctify the soul, ''for God purifies the hearts of his people by 
faith," and there is no true faith without the fruits of holiness ac- 
companying it, therefore the best and strongest evidence is when to 
the two former is joined. 

3. An evidence from the fruits of faith. And this evidence is as 


manifold as there are fruits of faith, or other graces of the Spirit 
besides faith. These fruits of faith are what we principally mean 
by eyidences for heayen and these are to be gathered up in self-exa- 
mination in which three things are to be done. 

1. The word which contains the laws of the kingdom of heaven^ 
by which our title to it must be decided, is to be produced, and the 
characters and marks of the state of grace are from that word to be 
fairly laid out as the touchstone by which we are to examine our 
state. Isaiah viii. 20. And here special heed must be taken to fix 
the mark according to the word, that it neither be too low and wide, 
to take in those that are still creeping on the earth, and formal 
hypocrites ; nor yet too high and narrow above the reach of babes 
in Christ and excluding weak believers. 

2. The scripture mark being laid out, the man is impartially as 
in the sight of God to bring his case to the touchstone, and see 
whether it be to be found in him. — Let him search and see if there be 
in him a work of God answering to that word of God. And here he 
must beware of either self-love on the one hand, causing him to be- 
lieve that to be in him, which conscience after an impartial search 
connot find, or of weakness in denying that to be in him to which 
his conscience bears witness, notwithstanding many infirmities. 

3. The mark being found in him, he is thereupon to conclude, 
that according to the scripture he has a title to heaven, and assure 
himself of it upon the evidence of the word of God in the scriptures, 
and of the work of God in the heart. And thus evidences for hea- 
yen are gathered in the way of self-examination. 

To make this plain by an example. A person examining himself 
pitches on the love of God as a mark of one in the state of grace, 
because the word says, / lave them that love me. But seeing a hypo- 
crite may have a sort of love to God, therefore it must be duly cir- 
cumstantiated ; as, 1. The true love of God is a love to him, not for 
his benefits only, but for himself, " Hy beloved is white and ruddy, 
the chiefest among ten thousand." Ail that is in God is God, for 
he is no compound being, therefore he that loves God for himself, 
loves all his perfections, his holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and 
omniscience. 2. True love to God is supreme transcendant love ; 
it is a love to him above all other objects, lawful as well as unlaw- 
ful. " Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none in all 
the earth that I desire besides thee." 3. Such persons love the 
whole image of God expressed in the whole law, even where it 
crosseth their corrupt inclinations, ''For I delight in the law of 
God, after the inward man." No hypocrite can thus love God. 
Thus the word is produced, and the mark from it is fixed. 


In the next plaoe, the man is to bring Ms ease to Ijiis iovehrtoae, 
and he it as in the sight of G-od to examine himself by tSsst Or the 
like questions. Do I love God ? Da I lore him not only tor irlittt 
he is to me, but for what he is in himself ? Are his glorious per* 
fections, his exaet justice, his spotless holiness, his inviolable truth 
and all seeing eye, are these hateful to me, are they lovely and 
amiable perfections in my sight ? Do I love him above all persons, 
and all things ? Would I be content to part with what is dearest 
to me for him, and rather than to part with him, even though with- 
out him I were secured from hell and earth ? His holy law^ that 
transcript of his nature, which is so contrary to my corrupt nature, 
do I love it though it crosseth my corrupt nature, is it holy. Just and 
good in my eyes, even that part of it which condemns and forbids 
those most beloved lusts of mine ? If conscience answers yea to 
these questions as in the sight of God, then the man has an evidence 
for heaven, namely, love to God, therefore he is a son and an heir 
of God. 

Finally, He onght upon that scriptural evidence to conclude, 
therefore God loves me, because he loves them that love him, and 
my conscience bears me witness that I truly love him. Thus evi- 
dences may be gathered on other marks in the way of self-examina- 
tion. And those that can write would do well to write them. 

Now the business of evidences being thus begun, in solemn stated 
self-examination, they may be increased by daily observation. 
And there are here two things jointly to be observed. 

1. The way of the Lord's dealing with us. This we should care- 
fully notice that we may perceive whether he deals with us as with 
children or not. " And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine in- 
tegrity, and settest me before thy face for ever." But it is to little 
purpose to notice it, if it be not withal compared with the scripture. 
For from thence only we can learn the way of the Lord's dealing 
with his own. 

2. The way of our souls towards God. This we should also care- 
fully observe that we may perceive whether our way be the way of 
the Lord's children. And this we cannot know, unless we. first 
notice the way, dispositions and motions of our own souls, and then 
compare them with the scripture. Thus some have gathered evi- 
dences in reading some portion of the Lord's word, as particularly 
a psalm containing the breathings of a gracious soul towards GxkI, 
while, in the meantime, they have seen and felt the same breathings 
in their own spirits, though they could not pretend to the same de- 
gree of them. For if one reading such a portion of the Lord's word, 
do withal read his own heart and soul in the words of the inspired 


penman^-fae may very well oonelnde he has the same spirit whieh he 
had, tlft>irgh not in the same measnre. 

But btfcanse the Lord's way of dealing with a man, as with his 
own ehildreji, does prodnee in that man that disposition and mo- 
tion of Boal that is in his children, they cannot well be separated, 
bnt should .he jointly considered, for in this lies the soul's commu* 
nimi with God, which is always a mutual intercourse betwixt the Lord 
and the soul. Now there are four things I would recommend to the 
daily obeenration of Christians, that would add to and increase their 
evidences procured and fixed in the way of solemn stated self-exa- 
mination, which 1 do think ought to proceed as a foundation to all 
that would have lasting comfort by evidences. 

1. The Lord Jesus Christ executing his offices in them. As 
the child is nourished by the mother in whose womb it is con- 
ceived ; so those that are brought into the state of grace by closing 
with Christ in all his offices are preserved and nourished in it, by his 
executing these offices in them. So far then as you can discern 
in yourself Christ executing these offices in you, so far you have 
solid evidence of your faith in, and union with Christ. 

If then upon your dependence on the Lord Jesus for light and 
teaching, you find your souls let into a sanctifying view of spiritual 
things ; for example, of your own sinfulness and nothingness which 
make you vile, and Christ precious in your eyes ; of the evil of sin, 
to hate it more ; of Gt>d's majesty and greatness, to fear and love 
him more ; of Christ's excellency, fulness and suitableness so as to 
price him, rest in him, and trust in him more ; the world's vanity so 
as to draw your heart more from it unto the Lord. If you find an 
enlivening light into the holy word conveyed into your hearts, or 
have any difficulty to be cleared in your way at any time, which you 
have tabled before the Lord, left with him, and depended on him 
for clearing it, and have got seasonable light into it: these are 
plain indications of Christ's exercising his prophetical office in you : 
I call it a sanctifying view, for all such light from the Lord has a 
tendency to holiness, which is next to the glory of God, the great 
scope of all Christ's offices. " I am, said Jesus, the light of the 
world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall 
have the light of life." " Did not our heart bum within us, while 
he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scrip- 

Again, If at any time your consciences are fried by the^fiery 
law touching upon guilt lying on you, and all your righteousness of 
doing and suffering, confessing, praying, and repenting, gives way 
like quick-sand under your feet, so that there is no standing before 


the angry God npon them, or any of them, yon then feel yonr sink*- 
ing soul fixed as on a rock npon the blood of Christ. If yon shelter 
yourself under the corert of his righteousness alone, and by appli- 
cation' of that blood recover your peace and confidence with God ; 
and make use of that blood alone as the only refuge against wrath, 
and lay it as the only foundation of your peace with God, and the 
only procuring cause of God's favour to you, and in one word, rest 
under the covert of that blood : that is Christ exercising his 
priestly office in you. — " How much more shall the blood of Christ, 
who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, 
purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God." 

Finally, If you find that Lord to whom you have given up your- 
self by providences and ordinances, more and more subduing you to 
himself in a cordial resignation, and more ready and cheerful obe- 
dience to his will : if you find the sovereign authority of his holy 
laws, because they are his laws, swaying your hearts to his ways ; 
and being sensible of your inability to mortify your corruptions, you 
depend upon him for this strength, in the use of means appointed by 
him, and so get your feet upon the necks of them or any of them in 
some measure. This is Christ executing his kingly office in you, 
" For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is 
our King ; he will save us. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves 
to think any thing as of ourselves ; but our sufficiency is of God." 

2. Answers of prayer in the fulfilling of promises depended upon 
before the Lord. Every answer of prayer is not an evidence for 
heaven. '^ And he gave them their request ; but sent leanness into 
their soul." Nor yet every receiving of a thing contained in a pro- 
mise, as deliverance from trouble ; for every thing contained in a 
promise, that comes to a man, does not come by virtue of the promise, 
it may come by common providence. But when the mercy contained 
in a promise is desired of God in prayer, and is drawn out by de- 
pendence on the promise through Christ, so that the prayer is 
answered and the promise fulfilled, that is an evidence for heaven, 
or of the Lord's love. " Commit thy way unto the Lord ; trust also 
in him, and he shall bring it to pass." For there is a real commu- 
nion betwixt God and the soul, the soul depending on God by faith 
in his word, and God giving to the soul according to his word. And 
thus the mercy comes in the channel of the covenant, so it is an evi- 
dence of the Lord's love ; though in itself it be but an ordinary thing, 
as it were the reconciling and pacifying of an offended neighbour or 
brother, of which we have a remarkable instance in Jacob and Esau, 
Gen. xxxiii. 10. And such answers of prayer, as they come in the 
channel of the holy covenant, so they advance holiness in the heart. 


and they bind the sonl more to holy obedience. Depart from me, 
all ye workers of iniquity ; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my 
weeping." They also enlarge the heart with thankfulness to the 
Lord, and make the receiver rejoice more in the giver, than in the 
gift. ** Hannah prayed and said, my heart rejoiceth in the Lord ; 
mine horn is exalted in the Lord ; my month is enlarged over mine 
enemies ; because I rejoice in thy salvation." 

3. The outlettings of the Lord's Spirit into the heart in religious 
duties. I do the rather take notice of this, that several do give this 
for their experience in religion and lay weight on it ; namely, That 
they find that they are not always alike in duties, but sometimes 
bound up, and sometimes much enlarged. But I fear all that feel 
this, cannot duly circumstantiate it; but some way deceive them- 
selves. Know then, nature has its own enlargements as well as 
grace. The stony ground hearers receive the word with joy. Esau 
is in a flood of tears when he is seeking the lost blessing. A man 
may at a time get another heart, like Saul, 1 Sam. x. 9. and yet 
never get a new heart. But to describe these outlettings that you 
may see whether they be gracious influences and may pass for evi- 
dences. Consider, 

1. If they be gracious influences they will be humbling, ** Then 
said I, woe is me ! for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean 
lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips : for mine 
eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." And the more such 
influences come upon us, the more they will humble the soul. Wit- 
ness Paul, 2 Gor. xii. 4 — 11. For the influences of the Spirit are 
like the waters of the deluge, which the more that they increased, 
they carried the ark the nearer heaven, and the nearer that the soul 
comes to God, who is light and in whom is no darkness at all ; the 
more its sinfulness, weakness, wants, and nothingness must needs ap- 
pear. But there is a kind of humiliation, which, because it is not 
deep enough, becomes the foundation of pride of heart. Peter had 
a touch of it when he said, '' Lord, not my feet only, but also my 
hands and my head." And the humblings which some persons have 
got, such as they were, have indeed been grounds of lifting them up, 
like a young beggar that lifts up himself among his neighbours, be- 
cause he is newly furnished with implements for the trade of beg- 
ging. Therefore, 

2. Gracious influences gradually work out self, and the more they 
increase, the more they kill self, that great competitor with Christ. 
" But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to 
offer so willingly after this sort ? For all things come of thee, and 
of thine own have we given thee." They more and more remove 


the rotten grounds of confidence with God, namely, onr imperfect 
performances of duties, meltings of heart, mournings, humiliations, 
and the like ; that the soul has nothing left it to depend upon, bat 
the blood of Christ ; but his obedience to the law of suflTerings nnto 
death. Thus they are brought to rejoice in Christ Jesns and to 
hare no confidence in the flesh. So that the more and the better 
the Christian does his duty, the less he sees of his own to depend 

3. They are sanctifying. They promote holiness in the heart. 
'* And I will pour upon the house of David, and the inhabitants of 
Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication ; and they shall 
look upon me whom they haye pierced, and they shall mourn for 
him, as one moumeth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for 
him as one that is in bitterness for his first born.'' They are like 
John Baptist, a burning as well as a shining light. They excite a 
man to the performance of moral duties required in the ten com- 
mandments, making him more conscientious in his duty to God and 
in his duty to his neighbour also. If a man has been in duties taken 
into the temple of God, the air of it will appear about him in the 
substantial duties of morality, when he comes abroad into the world. 
And whatsoever is without this, is but counterfeit or delusion. For 
the moral law of love to God and our neighbour, with all the moral 
duties belonging to it, (as they have been explained to you on the 
commandments) are the eternal indispensible rules of righteousness, 
to reduce men to the obedience of which Christ died, and the Spirit 
is given, and instituted worship is required. 

4. The way of providence towards them in common things. ^' Who 
is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand 
the loving kindness of the Lord." It is in the world as in a family, 
where the father of the family provides both for children and servants; 
but there is something in his way peculiar for the children. I be- 
lieve there is a speciality in God's way of dispensing common things 
to his people, which it were worth enquiring into, though perhaps 
not so easy to find out. But I judge, if a person can observe it to 
be the ordinary way of providence with him, not to let him come 
too easily by common mercies, but to put impediments in the way of 
them, so as to oblige him to carry the matter before God in prayer, 
and to withhold it from him even then, till he see himself absolutely 
unworthy of it, and be brought to an entire resignation to the will of 
God in it, to give it or withhold it ; and even to drive it to the very 
point of hopelessness, in respect of second causes, that he may have 
nothing but God himself to trust for it ; and then, even then, season- 
ably to bring it to his hand ; that man may think that God takes 


the way with him that he takes with his own, and it may be a good 
additional evidence. See the rale, Psal x. 17. '^ Lord, thou hast 
heard the desire of the hnmble : thou wilt prepare their heart, thon 
wilt canse thine ear to hear." And the example in the case of 
Jacob, Gen. xxxii. See also 2 Oor. i. 8, 9. 

8. Use and improve the sacrament of the Lord's snpper for this 
end, becanse it is appointed, that the Lord's people may be assured 
that Christ is theirs and with him all things. ** The cnp of blessing 
which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ ? The 
bread which we break, is it not the communion of the . body of 
Christ?" In it Jesus Christ condescends to preach his love and 
good-will to the very eyes of poor doubting Christians, who, sensible 
of their own vileness and unworthiness, though they desire Christ 
above all, yet cannot think his desire is towards them. Therefore, 
that they may not wrong his love any more, by thinking that it can 
never pitch upon the despicable object, that has nothing with which 
to hire it, he goes farther with them in the sacrament, than in the 
word preached. The word brings the report of his love to their 
ears, the sacrament brings it to their eyes, and what we see affects 
us more than what we hear. The word speaks only in the general, 
the sacrament points at every communicant whose soul opens to re- 
ceive Christ and his love, and says to every one, broken fw you. It 
is the profanity among those of the common rabble, and the want of 
soul exercise among professors, that makes so few communicants 
while there are so many spectators. A deep sense of personal vile- 
ness, and an ardent desire of evidence of the Lord's love, would lay 
their jay-feathers, that for the faults of others, real or pretended, 
keep them from the communion table, where the institution of Christ 
is observed and the sacrament dispensed by ministers sent in his 
own way. 

Question. How may I improve the sacrament for evidence ? An- 
swer, I have already directed you to self-examination, forget not 
that in the first place. That being done. Then, 

Before you come to the Lord's table, renew your covenant with 
God and closing with Christ as solemnly, particularly, and dili- 
gently, as you are capable ; and take the stones of the place (if you 
please) where you do it, witnesses to the transaction. And when 
you are at the table, remember that you receive and close with 
Christ anew, that you may be the more capable to perceive the real 
bargain which the sacrament is to seal. 

Having thus closed with Christ, look on the bread and wine as 
seals of the covenant ; and do Christ the honour, when he speaks by 
his sacramental word. This is my body broken far you, to believe him. 


— ^That is, believe ChriBt is indeed yonrs, and that his body was 
really broken for you ; and look on that bread and wine as God's 
seal to it, which he will not deny his own inatitntion, and adminis- 
tered in his name by his messengers called for that effect. If yon 
hare no mind to believe it, why will yon sit down at that table 9 If 
yon have, then see yon do it. This will honour Christ, and advance 
yonr evidence and sanctifioation. And keep np the belief of it 
afterwards, and recal to mind the sealed bargain when doubts arise. 

Lastly, Pray for the testimony of the Spirit. ** The Spirit itself 
beareth witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God." 
This is that which may quite raze all doubts and fears. He attests 
the truth of the scriptures and the truth of grace in the heart. Of 
the one he says, this is my word ; of the other, this is my work. 
And so lets the soul see without hesitation its title to heaven. 

To conclude, This is the way to prepare you for the sacrament, to 
help you to a holy life, to a safe and comfortable death, and to glo- 
rify God and edify others in your death, being capable to give a 
reason of the hope that is in you. Remember you are warned, 
stirred up, and directed to this so much neglected, though most ne- 
cessary duty. Cast not the counsels of €k>d behind your back in 
your life, lest you hear of it bitterly in your death. ** But if you 
know these things, happy are you if you do them." Amen. 


Penpont Communum, May 24, 1716. 


Matthxw xi. 6. 

And blessed is Ae, whosoever shall not he of ended in me. 

Thxsib words are the conclusion of our Lord's answer to the ques- 
tion upon which John's disciples came to him. John himself had no 
doubt of Christ's being the Messiah, for he was his forerunner to 
point him out to the world ; he had baptized him, seen the Spirit 
descending, and had given testimony to him as the Lamb of God, 
John i. 29 — 35. But it seems his disciples were not so firm in the 
faith, and therefore he sends them to Christ to be from himself fully 
satisfied in that grand point. And indeed, nothing less than a di- 


yine power can silence the clamours of unbelief going about to raze 

Our Lord gives them answer by referring them to his works com- 
pared with the word, Isa. xxxt. 4-^. and Ixi. 1 — 3. The things 
which were prophesied concerning the Messiah, they heard and saw 
to be fulfilled in him, and therefore behoyed to conclude him to be 
the Messiah. Diyine power can cast such a beam of light oyer the 
works and word of God, as will stare the strongest unbelief out of 
countenance, and make that raging lust fall down unable to create 
more trouble. 

But because his outward mean appearance was a yail, through 
which most of the world could not see, he declares them happy 
whose faith carries them oyer those things in him oyer which the 
graceless world, the despisers of the gospel, stumble and fall to their 
own utter destruction. " And blessed is he, whosoeyer shall not be 
offended in me." In which words, there is, 

1. A fatal stumble in the way to happiness, which many of the 
hearers of the gospel make. They are offended in Christ. They 
stumble at him. Obserye here, the object of their offence, Jesus 
Christ. It is at him the world is offended. The God that made and 
guides the world, the Sayiour that redeemed them, does not please 
the world. What wonder then that others cannot do it. There is 
something in the mystery of Christ, with which the unbelieyer will 
always be finding fault. The Jews were offended at the meanness 
of his life, and in this the disciples of John seem to haye joined 
them. The Gentiles were offended at the ignominy of his death. 
Some at one thing, some at another, and eyery unbelieyer at some- 
thing in him. This is surely a great mistake in them. Jesus Christ 
is holy, and there is nothing in him to giye offence. The world is 
unholy, and takes offence at him. He is the brightness of his Fa- 
ther's glory : and they like owls and bats are blinded at the shining 
sun, and therefore carefully keep at a distance from him. They are 
offended. In the Greek, scomdcdiised. The word scandal, in a natu- 
ral sense, signifies, 1. Some obstacle in one's way, by which he is 
stopped in his passage ; particularly a sharp stake, which soldiers 
put in the field in time of war, to wound the feet and legs of the 
enemy that were to follow them that way. 2. A stone or block in 
the way, oyer which men are apt to fall. A trap or snare to catch 
beasts. This shews what a dreadful sin, and soul destroying eyil, 
an offence giyen is ; and withal, what a soul mining the taking of- 
fence is, and the stumbling oyer real stumbling blocks. 

Now the blind world by reason of their own corruption, are thus 
offended or scandalized in Christ. '* And he shall be for a sanctu- 


ary ; but for a stone of stumbling, and a rook of offenoe, to both the 
houses of Israel ; for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jo* 
rusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be 
broken, and be snared, and be taken." He is the way to the Fa- 
ther, but they see something in him whieh they eannot digest, and 
therefore « they stop, or go off the way. They stumble at him, look- 
ing for matters in him, aooording to their carnal wish, they are dis- 
appointed, and they cannot get oyer that. Thus eyentually, he is a 
trap and a snare to them, by which their ruin is more secured than 
ever. Their disease gathers strength from the remedy abused. 

2. In the text there is the happiness of those who escape this 
fatal stumble. He that is not offended in Christ, who sees nothing 
in Christ that offends him, nothing in him to turn him away from 
him, nor to stop his going forward to him, and to the Father through 
him ; he is a happy man, blessed here and shall be blessed here- 
after. The party is described negatiyely, to shew us that there 
can be no neutrality among the hearers of the gospel. He that is 
not offended in Christ is one that is well pleased with him, with 
every thing in him, or about him ; and he that is not so is offended 
in him. ^ 

Doetrwe. Stumbling at some one thing or another in Christ 
abounds so much in the world that they are happy persons who are 
preserved from falling along with the rest. In prosecuting this sub- 
ject, I shall shew, 

I. What it is to stumble at Christ and be offended in him. 

II. That stumbling at Christ abounds very much in the world. 

III. That they are happy indeed who are kept from being of- 
fended in him. And then add some improvement. 

I. To shew what it is to stumble at Christ, and be offended in 

This is a very awful matter. For a man to die of his disease, 
when he might have been cured, is sad ; but it is a double death for 
one to destroy himself by the abuse of a remedy prescribed that 
would have cured him infallibly. It has reference to four things in 
the general. 

1. To the grand device of salvation through Jesus Christ, laid in 
the infinite wisdom of God, and fixed by the divine counsel. This 
is the foundation on which the Father has laid the weight of the 
elect's salvation, and on which he requires all to lay their weight 
for eternity. And at this the unbelieving world ever stumbles, and 
their hearts can never fall in with it. We preachy says the apostle, 
Christ crueijied^ unto ike Jews a stmMmg Uoeky qmd unto the Greeks 

BBiKe oFFSinoD nr chbibt. 09 

2. To the offer of Christ made in the gospel. There he is offered 
to rinners, to be the Captain of their salyation. To be the sinner's 
heady Lord, and hnsband. To be their Prophet, Priest, and King, 
their aU and instead of aU, Bat sinners loye not the offer, they 
stnmble at his offices; there is something in them at which they 
perpetually stand, and so they cannot come forward. Ye vuiU not^ 
says he, oome utOo me that ye might have life, 

3. To the making use of Christ for all the purposes for which the 
Father has given him. Here they stand again. They are obstinate 
patients that will not receive the remedy, though they should die of 
tbeir disease. If their own way will do with them, good and well ; 
but as for the Lord's way they are offended at it, and cannot fall in 
with it. " But Israel, which followed after the law of righteous- 
ness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore ? 
Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the worktf of 
the law, for they stumbled at that stumbling stone." 

4. To the practical understanding of sinners. They ever form a 
wrong judgment of Christ, and nothing less than overpowering grace 
will rectify their apprehensions of him. They still say what is thy 
beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women ? 
What is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so 
charge us ? It is true they may please themselves and others, with 
fine speculations about Christ. If they be Ministers they may 
preach him, or professors may talk of him and recommend him to 
others. But in this they are like the mountebank, who recommends 
Mi drugs to others, yet perhaps in the meantime he himself abhors 
them and makes no use of them. I find no fault in him, says 
Pilate, yet he condemned him. So the unrenewed world constantly 
stumble in their views of Christ with respect to practice. '^ If they 
knew the gift of God, and who Christ is, they would ask of him and 
he would give them living water." " They that know thy name will 
put their trust in thee ; for thou Lord hast not forsaken them that 
seek thee." This stumbling at Christ, lies in these four things, 

1. The blind soul ever finds some fault in the mystery of Christ. 
There is always something in or about Christ, that disgusts the sin- 
ner, is quite disagreeable and shocking to him. The Son of God is 
not a match suitable to those, whose minds are not savingly enlightr 
ened. '* To them he hath no form nor comeliness, and when they see 
him, there is no beauty that they should desire him." Though his 
Father is well pleased with him, and he hath the hearts and praises 
of all the saints, yet they are not pleased with him. If they would 
speak their minds, they would tell you, they see not how they could 
be happy in him for all. 

Vol. III. p 


2. That whioh diBgoBts them, is what they cannot get over. There 
is something not to he fonnd in him, which they cannot want, and 
something in him which they cannot endure. And by no art can 
they reconcile their hearts to it. It is with many as with the yonng 
man, ''who was sad at what Jesns said to him, and went away 
grieved : for he had great possessions." Many a time they are aim- 
ing at the bargain betwixt Christ and their souls, but they can ne- 
ver finish it. For there is always one thing that stands between 
Christ and them. His holiness will not allow him to yield it to 
them, and their corruption will not allow them to yield it to him. 
And so in the end the soul parts with Christ, perhaps with grief 
and tears, because it will do their way, and they cannot do other- 
wise, Mark x. 21, 22. 

3. Because they cannot get over that one thing, it keeps Christ 
and the soul asunder effectually. Could the Jews have got over the 
offence of the mean appearance of Christ, and reconciled it to their 
own notion of the Messiah, they would have been fond of him, as 
they were while he was not come. " He was then the Lord whom 
they sought." But the bargain must needs be marred, where the 
parties cannot agree. And there can be no uniting with Christ by 
faith, while there is any one objection against him reigning in the 
heart. We must be aU his, or none at all. We must receive whole 
Christ, or want him altogether. 

Lastly, This keeping Christ and the soul asunder, the soul is at 
length thereby ruined, and brought into a worse case, than if Christ 
had never come in the way. "If I had not come, says he, and 
spoken unto them, they had not had sin : but now they have no 
cloak for their sin." For then the remedy for sin is despised, and 
while that continues the disease must needs be desperate. And 
none can think that their debt will be so severely exacted as 
those who have refused a cautioner. And as the sourest vinegar 
comes of the most generous wine, so the vengeance that comes on 
the despisers of the gospel will be the most terrible. No fire will 
bum so keenly, as that which comes from the altar. We now pro- 

II. To shew that stumbling at Christ abounds very much in the 
world. Let us view the heaps upon heaps that are lying broken, 
snared and taken. 

1. Let us take a view of those that are lying rotting above the 
ground in open profanity ; they are kept away from Christ, even by 
the very far off sight of him and his way. " There are many at this 
day, who cry, let us break their bands asunder and cast their cords 
from us. We will not have this man to reign over us." These are 



the profane persons, and Bach as will not take on so niach as a form 
of godliness. They are terrified at the holiness of his way, and 
therefore they rnn far from him. They keep at snch a distance 
from him, they will not set their foot on the holy gronnd. They 
are so far from ooyenanting with God, that it is evident, they will 
engage to be any thing sooner than to he the Lord's. Onr holy Re- 
deemer does not please these people more than a palace wonld 
please swine. 

2. Let ns take a view of those who are lying dead opon their 
murdered convictions. Onr Lord has taken some persons in hand 
to cure them, and by the Spirit of conviction, he has begun to let 
blood of the heart vein of their beloved Insts. But the pain of this 
ox>eration hath made them disagree with the Physician, start np and 
break the lancet, and stifle their convictions. And now their wonnd 
is whole, their convictions are gone, and their conscience, which was 
so uneasy before, is now as dead as stone. Go where they please, 
they are not troubled. Darts are as stubble. 

8. Those that are lying broken and pining away, having stumbled 
over the cross of Christ. Like the stony ground hearers, *' not hav- 
ing root in themselves but dnreth for a while ; for when tribulation 
or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by they are of- 
fended." Many have made a good appearance in a fair day, when 
in the time of a storm, have soon turned their backs upon Christ. 
It is now long since the times of persecution, and yet there is no 
doubt, but the wounds then received are lasting with many to this 
day. But I fear that private crosses in the time of the Church's 
peace, have made greater havock in the case of many professors, 
than ever public ones did. And ! but it is much to wait upon the 
Lord, in all the turns of providence, which may be in our lots and 
not to be offended in the great manager of all. They may follow 
Christ far, time and circumstances may at length cause to draw 

4. Those that are fallen away from the lusts of Christ's consola- 
tion, to the fulsome breasts of the world and their own lusts. In 
every age there are many like the mixed multitude that came out of 
Egypt, who for a time kept up in the wilderness, but afterwards lost 
hopes of Canaan, and fell a " lusting, and even the children of Israel 
also wept again, and said, who shall give us flesh to eat ?" We re- 
member the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely ; the cucumbers, 
and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick. 
Snch persons keep steady and flourishing a while, so long as religion 
is new to them. But the grace which they receive being awakening 
only, and not changing, and their souls never truly uniting with 



Christ; ibeir comfort and satisfaction from that qnarter dry up, 
when once the noyelty is away : so they do not find that in Christ 
which they expected, and therefore they are oflfended, and even fall 
away to their former courses, having entirely lost their taste and 
relish for spiritual things. 

Finally, Look at those whose soul exercises have issued in putting 
their case in the hands of a Physician of no yalue. There are many 
who being awakened by a spirit of conyiction, and are really exer- 
cised about their souls* condition, put their case to Christ for healing. 
But not bein^able or willing to wait his time, till the wound be 
sufficiently searched, but being for peace at any rate, they are of- 
fended in him, and so put themselyes in the hand of the law that 
wounded them. Thus they make themselyes whole, not by the be- 
lieying application of the blood of Christ, but by their prayers, 
tears, and external reformation. And so they settle down upim 
their lees farther from Christ than eyer. It now remains, 

III. To shew that they are happy indeed who are kept from being 
offended in him. What this attainment is, you may know from 
what is here said of it. It cojisists in this. This happy soul is well 
pleased with Christ, and has no objections against him. The soul 
says of him, ^'His mouth is most sweet; yea, he is altogether 
loyely." The heart of this person now corresponds in all respects 
to the coyenant of peace, and says that it is well ordered in all 
things and sure. There is nothing in the mystery of Christ which 
they desire to haye out, and there is nothing out which they desire 
to haye in it. They are pleased with the gospel offer, they loye 
Christ in his person, natures, offices, relations, all that is in him or 
about him is welcome to them. And are all such blessed ones? 
They are. For, 

1. Their eyes are opened to see that superlative glory in Christ, 
that all the unbelieving world cannot discover. And therefore I 
may say. Blessed are your eyes, for they see : and your ears, for 
they hear. And indeed in this case the hidden glory of the Media- 
tor is taken up, darkening all created excellency. Whereas the 
most piercing eyes of nature can never see through the vail. ^^ He 
was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world 
knew him not." But they who are pleased with him can say, *' We 
beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father 
full of grace and truth." 

2. Their hearts are new formed, cast into a new mould, otherwise 
they could never be pleased with him. "But as many as received 
him, to them gave he power to become the sons of Gk>d, even to 
them who believe on his name : which were born not of blood, nor of 


the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, hnt of G^od." Adam's 
eovenant is engraved in onr nature, and the way of helieying is the 
rery reverse of nature's way. " For they being ignorant of God's 
righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, 
hare not submitted to the righteousness of God." Sin is our natural 
element, and though it be our disease, yet we naturally lore it, and 
cannot but love it so as to loathe the physician. If then the heart 
be pleased with Christ, it iqn^umed and changed, and made willing 
in a day of power. The natural enmity is cured, and the heart of 
stone is become a heart of flesh. 

3. That soul cannot fail to embrace Christ, to receive him by 
faith and unite with him. For to be well pleased with Christ, is in 
effect to say amen to the great bargain. And the cause is won 
when the sinner is pleased with the gospel offer. Now he is the 
person, " who having foand one pearl of great price, went and sold 
all that he had, and bought iti" 

Lastly, Hence all the blessings of the covenant fall to the share 
of him who is well pleased with Christ, as to his having a right to 
them, as a believer through Jesus Christ. 


Uses for tmpnwemenL 

1. Be convinced then of this bias of the heart, this disposition of 
the soul to stumble at Jesus Christ. 0, says the poor fool, would 
ai|y thing in Jesus Christ offend me ? Pleased with Christ I who 
would not be well pleased with him ? Alas I you know not what 
spirits you are of ! you are little acquainted with the natural enmity 
of your souls against the Lord, and particularly with that corrup- 
tion of your nature, by which it is strongly averse to the gospel 
plan of salvation. If it be not so, how can it be an evidence of the 
grace of God in the text, to be well pleased with him. "Wliile 
Christ crucified is to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks 
foolishness, he is to them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, 
Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For we are the 
eircumcfsion, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ 
Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." 

I tell you many are pleased with Christ, as Jacob was with Leah, 
while he thought she had been Rachel. It is a mistaken Christ 
whom they love, even as sure as they love their lusts. No man can 
serve two masters. And if a new light would spring up in their dark 
hearts, they would see it to be so. Many love Christ very well, to 
be a rest to their consciences, while they can get the world and their 
lusts to be a rest to their hearts. And thus they can do very well 



between the two. But take away these from then, and their hearts 
can rest no more than a fish drawn out of the water till it be in 
it again. Their souls can neyer truly say as the Psalmist, '* Whom 
have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I de- 
sire besides thee." Now was ever Christ a coyering for the eyes to 
them. Nor did they ever find such sweetness in Christ as they 
have in following their lusts. 

2. I exhort one and all of you, that have a mind for any share of 
eternal happiness, and particularly communicants, that you would 
try yourselves this night, whether you be well pleased with Christ 
or not ; that so if there be any thing which you have stumbled at in 
Christ in time past, you would now come over it, as ever you would 
see the face of God in mercy, and would not have it part betwixt 
Christ and you. And for this purpose let your consciences put the 
following questions. 

1. Is there any thing in Christ's salvation offered in the gospel 
that offends you ? Salvation from the wrath of God, is but the half 
of Christ's salvation. I doubt not but you are pleased with this 
part of it. But are you pleased with the part which is salvation from 
sin ? ** He saves his people from their sins ?" What sayest thou, 
sinner ? Christ is saying to thee, wilt thou be made whole ? Wilt 
thou be made clean ? 

Wilt thou be made content, that the Physician not only remove 
death, but the disease also ? Not only take away the guilt, but 
break the power, and also at last destroy the very existence of sin 
in you ? Wilt thou be content to hold out the right eye to him that 
he may pluck it out, and the offending right hand that he may cut 
it off? If not, you are offended in Christ, his salvation does not 
please you. But if you come forward to him, he is pleased and you 
are welcome. 

2. Is there any thing in Christ's offices that offends you ? Any 
thing in his prophetical office that offends ? Our Lord has the Fa- 
ther's commission to guide poor sinners through the wilderness of 
this world to Immanuel's land. " He hath given him to be a witness 
unto the people, a leader and commander to the people." He leads 
them by his word and Spirit, for it is not his will that they be trusted 
with the guiding of themselves. What think you of this commis- 
sion. Will you take Christ this day for your guide for ever, or will 
you hold the reins still in your own hands, though you should lead 
yourselves to destruction ? Will you then renounce your own wis- 
dom, and take him for your sole oracle ? I am sure you may know 
that your wilfulness has many a time shaken off this yoke. What 
pay you of it now ? If you have nothing to object against our Lord's 


oommand as a prophet, then I hope yon will endeavour to shake off 
self-Goneeit, and lean no more to your own understanding. Yon will 
also resolye not to be such strangers as you hare been, to seeking 
and depending on the Lord's light, in all matter of sin and duty. 

Yon will allow the light of the Lord's word freely to turn you 
from your prejudices and preconoeiyed opinions. And that a little 
child shall lead you, if he can but hold out the Lord's word, pointing 
you the way. You will prize his ordinances, and not make the 
Lord's work a sinking burden to the messenger, by despising his 
message. Seeing the ministry of the word is one thing by which 
Christ executeth his peophetical office, therefore, " He saith, he that 
beareth you, heareth me, and he that despiseth you, despiseth me." 

Is there any thing in his priestly office that offends you ? Man 
is fallen. Justice is offended. God's deyice for the salvation of 
sinners is, that the Redeemer Christ be both priest and sacrifice, 
that he build the fallen temple of the Lord, and bear the glory, 
being the alone way to the Father. Will you venture your salva- 
tion on this foundation, renounce your own righteousness, all your 
doings and sufferings, and lay the whole weight of your acceptance 
with God on the merits of Christ's blood ? and taike him for your 
only intercessor and way to the Father. If you have nothing to 
object ; here then you will humbly and heartily acknowledge, that 
you deserve nothing at God's hand, but that he would be just, if he 
should cast you off for ever. You will confess that you have nothing 
to recommend you to God, and dare trust nothing to any thing that 
is yours : and that if you be received of the Lord, there is nothing 
in or about you to engage him to you. You will look for the ac- 
ceptance of your duties, not from any value in themselves, but 
through the merits of Christ. And that you will look for the ac- 
ceptance of your persons and for all the favours from the Lord, only 
through the wounds of a Redeemer. 

Again, Is there any thing in his kingly office that offends you ? He 
has got the kingdom by his Father's gift, and it is his Father's decree 
that he rule sinners according to his own will and pleasure, and his 
holy laws ? Are you content with this ? Will you give up your- 
selves to him without reserve ? Alas I will you say the armies of 
hell in my breast are not so easily dispossessed. True, but I hope 
you are not so closely blocked up, but there may be intelligence got 
betwixt Zion's King and you ; and though yon cannot subdue the 
rebels, will you be content to make an offer of the kingdom to him 
over your whole man ? If so, then you will renounce and heartily 
give up with all your lusts without exception of one. You will also 


look on Jesnfl Ohrist as yonr head of inflaenoes, for ■anoialloa&mi ; 
and go no more ont against temptations and to duties in yonr own 
strength, bnt in his strength who is mighty in battle,. The long de- 
bate that has been betwixt proTidenoe and yon, who should earre 
ont yonr lot in the world, will be at an end. Yon will say, '^ He 
shall choose onr inheritence for ns, the excellenoy of Jacob whom he 

Lastly, Is there any thing in his covenant that offends yon ? Is 
there any thing in it that is not well ordered in your eyes ? Doea 
the taking np of the cross offend you ? Or are you content to take 
him to follow him whithersoever he goes, and nothing shall part be- 
twixt him and you ? Blessed is he, whosoever is not offended in 
him. If nothing in Christ offends you, nothing in you will so far 
offdnd him, as to keep him at a distance from you. Nay if you be 
really offended and grieved at yourselves for that there is any thing 
in you so apt to be offended in Christ, it shall not mar your commu- 
nion with him. 

But, brethren, search your hearts this night, for they are de- 
ceitful, and put yourselves to an impartial trial. And where you 
And your heart offended at Christ, put it into his own hand to re- 
move the offence, and to reconcile the heart and gain it entirely to 
himself. Amen. 

TSveedsmiuir eommumm Scibbcsth e^iemngj June 17, 1716. 


2 COBOfTHIAKS iv. 18. 

WhUe we look not at the ikmgs which are seen, but at the thtnas which 

are not seen. 

YoTT have now been eating your gospel passover, and should 
therefore be preparing for your journey through the wilderness. 
Ton have enlisted under the standard of Jesus Christ, and should 
march on to follow your leader. You will meet with difficulties in 
the way, that will make you in danger of fainting, standing still, 
and giving it over, as a journey which you are not able to accom- 
plish. To prevent this, you must take your aim right, and still 
keep your eye upon it; looking not to the things which are seen, 


but to the things vhich are not Been. In the text there are three 
things to be oonsidered. 

1. The mark which the GhriBtian is to keep in view in his journey 
through the wilderness. The traveller will always be looking to 
something, and it is of great importanoe for the journey that ho 
takes his yiew right. He must look, namely, with an attentive eye, 
as one does to a mark at which he shoots, taking his aim right. 
The object which the Christian is to keep in view is described 

Negatively, He is not to look at the things which are seen. He 
must not look to, but overlook and disregard, those things that fall 
under his senses. The things of this world, by which natural men 
are led. It is Christ's call to his people, to leave the world with 
him, and for him, to lift their eyes and hearts from these things, 
and live like those of another world. . ^' Come says he, with me from 
Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon.'' 

This object is described poatwdyj *^ but at the things which are 
not seen." He must with an eye of faith, look to and keep in view, 
those things that are beyond the reach of the carnal eye. He must 
have an eye in his heart, to fix on those things that do not lie open 
to the view of his bodily eyes. God, and grace, and glory, which 
cannot be seen with our eyes, yet to them we must look. 

2. Observe the reasonableness of this view, which the Christian 
hath. Religion is the most reasonable thing in the world. The 
world smiles in a very engaging manner on the Christian, to draw 
him after it, out of the Lord's way; but by these he will not be 
moved. It iVowns bitterly, but he regards it not. What, is the 
man mad, says the carnal worldling? What is he looking for? 
What does he see ? Why truly he sees other smiles that move 
him, other frowns that he seriously regards. And good reason, for 
the smiles and frowns to which worldly men look, are but temporal 
for a^ season ; the world's favour and enmity also will soon be over. 
But the smiles and frowns to which the Christian looks are eternal ; 
they will last for ever. Does he not then act most rationally. 

3. The fruit of this believing view. It makes him follow Christ 
throi^h good and bad report, while others turn their backs upon 
him. Particularly it keeps him from the ill of afflictions. It is a 
cordial to keep him from fainting under all pressures from the 
world. There is a thorn hedge in his way, but he breaks through 
it, seeing the paradise that is on the other side, ver. 16. " For which 
cause we faint not." It brings him good out of them. For while 
the view of things not seen, carries him through the hardest parts 
of his lot, he comes in the end to be a gainer and not a loser by his 


afflictions, yer. 17, 18. '^ For our light afflietion, which is but for a 
moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of 
glory ; while we look not at the things which are seen, bnt at the 
things which are not seen ; for the things which are seen are tempo- 
ral, bnt the things which are not seen are eternal/' 

Doistrine. — They that wonld get safely through this world to Im- 
mannePs land, must so look to things that are not seen, as to 
overlook, and put on a holy regardlessness of the things that are seen. 

In prosecuting this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Take notice of some things that are supposed in it. 

II. Speak of the unseen things to which we are to look. 

III. Shew in what respects we must look to them. 

lY. Shew how we must overlook, and put on a holy disregard of 
the things that are seen. We are then, 

I. To take notice of some things that are supposed in the text. 

1. It is supposed that there is an unseen world, as well as a seen 
one. There is a future state into which we shall pass, when we are 
gofte out of time. When we are dead, we are not done, but only 
enter into another state. This world is but the present worlds so 
there is another world, called by our Saviour, that worlds in opposi- 
tion to this, Luke xx. 35. 

2. That the things of the unseen world are of vastly greater im- 
portance, than those of the seen world. If we look to the upper 
part of the unseen world, there is a weight of glory that would in- 
finitely counterbalance the best things here. It is called, ''a far 
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." If we look to the 
lower part of it, there is a weight of wrath heavier by far than the 
worst things here. 

3. We are all in our journey to the unseen world. This is bnt 
the place of our sojourning. However strongly we incline to make 
it our home, it will not be our long home. We can no more abide 
here, than a man going through a town in his journey, who comes in 
at one gate and goes out at another. '* We have here no continuing 
city, but we seek one to come." One generation passeth away, 
and another generation cometh. The saints in glory are come to 
their journey's end, the damned to theirs, we are only upon the way. 

4. The things that are seen in our journey are apt to entangle 
us, to lead us wrong, and make the end miserable. If we stand to 
look and gaze upon them, we are ready to be frightened, or flattered 
out of our way, to our ruin ; for the lions have their dens there, and 
the leopards their haunts in the most pleasant spots of it, Song iv. 1. 

Finally, As we look now in this world we will live for ever in 
another world. It was looking that ruined man. The eyes were 


the doors by which destruction at first entered. Our first parents 
got their first wound in the eye, Gen. iii. 6. And it is by looking 
we must be saved. " Look unto me, says Jesus, and be ye sared, 
all the ends of the earth ; for I am God, and there is none else.'? 
And now that we are on our journey through this ensnaring world, 
it concerns us highly to take our view right ; for if we follow the 
sight of the eyes in our head, it will lead us into the snare of ever- 
lasting ruin. 

How shall we take our view then, that we may get safely 
through ? To answer this, let us proceed, 

II. To speak of the uDseen things to which we are to look and 
keep in view. To represent these things fully is what no mortal 
can do. " As it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, 
neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God 
hath prepared for them that love him." We cannot even conceive 
them. Yet as a traveller may look to a mountain, though he can 
never grasp it in his arms, so we may look to what we cannot ap- 
prehend. Take a taste of the unseen things then, in these few par^ 
ticulars, assuring yourselves when we have said all, the half is not 

ye travellers setting out to Immanuel's land, take these direc- 
tions along with you. You will see many things in your way at 
which you must not look, but at things unseen you ought to look. 

1. Look at the unseen world, the better, the heavenly country. 
You will see a fair faced world, a bulky vanity, upon which most 
men are strongly bent. But as you love your souls do not stand 
looking at it. You must look at and keep in view the unseen 
world above the skies where glory dwells. " Thine eyes shall see 
the king in his beauty, they shall behold the land that is very far 
off." Look at Immanuel's land. It is the pleasant land. The 
land to which all the holy patriarchs and prophets directed their 
eyes. It is a better country than the best under the sun. Your Sa- 
viour is there and he bids you follow him with your eye, till you 
personally arrive in the happy place. 

2. Look at the unseen God. You will see idols in abundance by 
the way, craving you to fall down and worship them. But you 
must look at the unseen God, as Moses did, when he was in the 
way, " For he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." The seen 
world has three idols that keep many men in their embraces. 
" For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of 
the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the 
world." But you must look at the holy Trinity, to be fully enjoyed 
in the unseen world. The Father, Son, and Spirit. This one God 


is ihe first prineiple in all things, the fountain of all perfeetions, in 
whom our happiness lies, and therefore he is the chief end to whom 
we are to look, and in the enjoyment of whom only our sonls can 
rest. Look to him then and keep yonr eye on him always. 

3. Look to the way that leads to Immanners land. Keep your 
eye constantly upon it. You will see the way of the world, a broad 
way, an easy way, lying down the hill, and if yon begin to look at 
it, yon may be sednced into it, and in the end tumble into the 
chambers of death to which it leads. O I look then to the unseen 
way that leads to the unseen world where felicity and glory for 
ever dwell. 

Remember that the Lord Jesus Christ is the unseen personal way 
to heaven. ^' I am, says he, the way, the truth, and the life, no 
man oometh unto the Father but by me." Behold an unseen Jesus 
at the Father's right hand, who has purchased the pardon of sin, 
peace, grace, and glory by his precious blood to sinners ; and by his 
intercession is preparing places for them in his Father's house of 
many mansions. Behold him sitting at the end of the race, with 
the crown in his hand, to give to him that so runs as to obtain. 
*' Lay aside then every weight, and the sin which doth so easily be- 
set yon, and run with patience the race that is set before yon, look- 
ing unto Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith." Jesus is the 
glory of the upper house, and his superlative beauty draws the eyes 
of all the heavenly company to fix on him. Look to him then, 
though you see him not. '' Whom having not seen, ye love ; in 
whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with 
joy unspeakable, and full of glory." Remember also that holiness 
is the unseen reed %vay to heaven. "And an highway shall be 
there, and a way, and it shall be called. The way of holiness : the 
unclean shall not pass over it ; but it shall be for those : the way- 
faring men, though fools, shall not err therein." Were the form of 
godliness and the mere performance of external duties the way to 
glory, it would be a seen way. But it is not so. The christian life 
is an unseen, hidden life. It is Md with Christ in Grod. The new 
man is the hidden man of the heart. The king's daughter is indeed 
all glorious, but it is within. He that has no more religion than 
what eye can see, will be seen by all the world at length to have 
none at all. Faith, love, and all the duties of internal worship are 
unseen religion. Look to this, if ever you would see heaven ; for 
without holiness no man shall see the Lord. 

4. Look at the unseen, happy, and glorious society of heaven. 
You will see carnal company, that will be agents for the devil to 
lead you oif your way. But you must look at the unseen society 


above. There dwell the saints and the angels singing their Halle- 
Icyahs to the Lamb, and to him that sitteth npon the throne. 
There fall and nnintermpted oommnnion with Qod is enjoyed ; and 
this shall oonstitnte the eternal happiness of the glorious inhabi- 
tants. ** They shall be ever with the Lord. Behold, the tabemaole 
of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be 
his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." 
There will be no solitnde there, no unpleasant company there, no 
grief, no jarring strings in the harmony, " For God shall wipe away 
all tears from their eyes ; and there shall be no more death, neither 
sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain : for the 
former things are passed away." 

5. Look at the glorious reward of heaven. You will see petty 
profits, gains and advantages, which the men of the world are 
keenly pursuing, taking the world's offer trifling as it is. These 
are penny wise, and pound foolish ; for while they gain a penny at 
one hand they are losing a talent at another. But do you look at 
the unseen profits of heaven, and like ^* Moses, have respect unto 
the recompense of reward." There is a treasure before you. A 
precious treasure which can neither be corrupted nor plundered. 
Not, however, a treasure of gold, for that is no treasure in the 
upper world, but serves only to pave the streets of the city, ^* which 
is of pure gold, as it were transparent glass." That the saints may 
eternally tread upon that, upon which the men of the world now set 
their hearts. But it is a treasure of glory. Even " a far more ex- 
ceeding and an eternal weight of glory." A matchless treasure for 
precionsness, for variety, solidity, and security, so that it can 
neither be exhausted nor lost. It will make you rich to the most 
extensive desires and everlasting satisfaction of your souls. 

6. Look to the unseen, pure and lasting pleasures and honours of 
heaven. Yon will see insipid pleasures, empty honours, and short 
lived joys, which the men of the world are most actively pursuing, 
with all the earnestness of children running after butterflies. Yet 
these things when obtained are little worth, and far from being a 
recompense for their toil. But do you look at the unseen pleasures, 
those exquisite pure rivers of pleasures, which flow eternally from 
the full enjoyment of God, the blessed sight of his glory, which 
mortals cannot behold. Psal. xvi. 11. Look at the unseen ho- 
nours which the saints shall obtain, when they arrive at their own 
country and get home to their Father's house. For then, they shall 
receive a crown, the very summit of worldly ambition, but such a 
crown as fades not away; a Idngdom thai cannot be moved; a 
throne, the highest that men are capable of. '^ To him that over- 


Cometh, saith Jesns, will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even 
as I also oyercame, and am set down with my Father on his throne." 
Look at the nnseen joys that hegin, when the world's joy ends. 
Yon shall hear the joyfnl sound of yonr Saviour's yoice at the 
end of the race, .saying, *' well done, thou good and faithful ser- 
yant ; thou hast heen faithful oyer a few things, I will make thee 
ruler oyer many things ; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 

7. Look at the unseen rest of heayen. You will see crosses, tri- 
bulations, and perhaps bloody persecutions by the way, and feel 
them also. By these the god of this world will set himself to terrify 
you and draw you out of your way. But you must look at the un- 
seen rest, peace, refreshment, and ease of Immanuel's land. " In 
the world, says Jesus, ye shall haye tribulation ; but be of good 
cheer, I haye oyercome the world." When you come to the ever- 
lasting rest, you shall no more haye tlie least uneasy thought about 
all with which you haye met. There you shall enjoy an everlasting 
calm, an eternal repose. " The gates of the city shall not be shut 
at all by day ; for there shall be no night there." There the con- 
querors get on their crown, they lay aside their swords, and get the 
palm in their hands, and that land rings eternally with the shout of 
victory, victory for evermore. 

8. Look at the fulness and complete happiness of heaven. Yon 
will see many wants and miseries in this world. The flesh will al- 
ways be wanting something. What shall I eat ? And what shall I 
drink? And wherewithal shall I be clothed? And many are so 
completely engaged in answering these questions, that they entirely 
forget the things not seen. But do you look at the fulness and com- 
plete happiness before you. They that can get forward will soon 
obtain a rich supply of all their wants. There is no want in Im- 
manuel's land. " He that overcometh shall inherit all things ; and I 
will be his God, and he shall be my Son, saith the Lord." There 
you will find God, and Christ, and a full covenant comprehending 
all to make the believer perfectly happy. And now small drops 
and foretastes of that fulness are given them in the way, but then it 
shall be told out to them in full and for ever more. 

Uses of this Doctrine. 

Use 1. Take these three lessons from it. 

1. He is the wisest man that quits the world's certainty for hope. 
If ever you would be wise, you must become fools. Though the 
sight of the eyes is better than the wandering of the desire, yet the 
unseen things upon which faith fixes, are a thousand times better. 


It is better to have God's bond, than the world's hand payment ; 
for when the latter is spent and gone, the other will tell ont for 

2. Yon will see yonr way through this ill world best, if yon will 
shut yonr eyes. And indeed it would be a tok^n for good, that yon 
hare seen the Lord this day, if yonr hearts within yon were saying, 
as one sometimes said coming from duty, '' Now my eyes, be thou 
shut." The sight of our eyes is apt to betray us into a thousand 
snares. You have been taking an unseen guide, follow not then the 
sight of your eyes, for they will make the world's molehills moun- 
tains before you. And remember they are best guided that follow 
Christ, as the blind man follows his guide. '* I will bring, says he, 
the blind by a way which they knew not ; I will lead them in paths 
that they hare not known : I will make darkness light before them, 
and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and 
not forsake them." 

3. They will get best through the world's snares, that look least 
at them. A holy contempt of the world's good and its ill, of its 
frowns and flatteries, is a noble preseryatiye against them. Flee 
from idolatry, and from fornication, says the scripture. Turn your 
backs on them. It is the best way to entertain the world with a 
holy disdain. It was looking at the forbidden fruit, and it is tam- 
pering with temptation, that catches the soul in Satan's snare. 

Use 2. Mind this doctrine, Christian communicants ! 

1. When your former lusts come back to yon, like Potiphar's 
wife to Joseph, offering you deadly poison in a golden cup. Look 
not to the things that are seen. It will be bitterness in the end, if 
you do. But look to him that is inyisible, as he did, and say, ^^ How 
then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God. As obe- 
dient children, you must not fashion yourselres according to the 
former lusts in your ignorance. Bnt as he who hath called you is 
holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conyersation." Yon must not 
again sit down to dust, it is the serpent's meat ; but you haye un- 
seen meat to eat in communion with (jk>d, to fit you for yonr journey 
to the unseen world. 

2. When sloth comes to you, like Peter to Christ, coyering a 
sharp sword with words softer than oil, saying, Master, spare thy- 
self. What needs all this bitter repenting, wrestling in prayer, 
watching oyer heart and life ? Less surely may suffice. Soul, take 
thine ease. Here is a sound sleep to be enjoyed on the sluggard's 
bed. A way strewed with roses. Look not to the things that are 
seen, if you were once asleep, you will be an easy prey to the rob- 
bers ! And all you haye obtained, yon may qnickly lose. " The 


glothfnl man roastetb not that which he tooh in hnntiiig ; hat the 
siihstance of a diligent man is preeions." Looh to the things that 
are not seen, and yon will see good reason to exert yourselves more 
and more. 

3. When you retarn to your worldly employments, and yonr car- 
nal companions come to yon, as the chief priests to Jndas, offering 
yon thirty pieces, if yon will betray Christ, look rot then on the 
things that are seen, bnt on them that are not seen. Ton see their 
way, bnt look to the end of it. Their joy will be turned into weep- 
ing at last. " Bnt he knoweth not that the dead are there ; and 
that her guests are in the depths of hell." And remember, if yon 
intend heaven yon must. forsake the company of those whose faces 
you see are not thitherward. ^He that walketh with wise men 
shall be wise : but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." 

Lastly, When the enemies of God and his work may be let loose 
upon you, like the Jews on Christ, "gaping upon yon with their 
months, as a ravening and a roaring lion." Our adversaries are 
restless. Bnt that is 9ot the chief thing. An impure church looks 
like as if a fire were abiding it, to try of what metal we are. And 
who knows how far it may go. Look not then to the things that are 
seen : if you do, you will deny Christ. But look at the things that 
are not seen, and you will be carried through safely. 


Twe^dmwir^ Monday^ Jvme 18, 1716. 


2 CoBiirTHiAirs iv. 18. 

WkHe we look not at ike things which are teeny hut at the things which. 

are not seen, 

III. I proceed to shew in what respects we must look to the 
things that are unseen. 

1. We must believe the reality of them. Faith is the eye of the 
soul, that takes up the things not seen, and views the land afar off. 
It makes future things present, and discovers the reality of invisible 
things, " being the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of 
things not seen." Faith goes upon divine testimony, and sees these 


tbingg by the help of the map of the heayenly Canaan drawn in the 
scriptnres. This is the faith of the operation of God to which the 
world is a stranger. For in effect to most men, the doctrines of the 
Bible concerning things not seen, are but as idle tales, and all the 
promises about them but as fair words ; of this the small regard 
which they pay to them in practice is an evident proof. 

2. We must value them in our practical judgment above all other 
things. For this looking to them plainly implies an overlooking of 
other things. " Tea, doubtless, says Paul, and I count all things 
but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my 
Lord ; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count 
them but dung, that I may win Christ." You must not look on 
them only as good, but as of all good things the best, and not only 
as the best in general, but best for you at all times. So that when 
the world makes its offer of seen things, you must prefer the Sa- 
viour's offer of unseen things. 

3. We must love and desire them above all. ^' Whom have I in 
heaven but thee ? And there is none upon the earth that I desire 
besides thee." If we do not thus love and desire them, our looking 
to them will be to no purpose for supporting us under sufferings 
and carrying us forward through the world. Look at them with 
superlative love and desire, breathing out your souls for these un- 
seen things. " When the many say, who will shew us any good ? 
Do you cry, Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. 
Thou has put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their 
com and their wine increased." Hence we find the saints breathing 
after the land that is afar off, saying, " We have a desire to depart, 
and to be with Christ, which is far better." After the Lord of the 
land, saying, " that we knew where we might find him." And 
after the perfect holiness and felicity of heaven. *' For in this ta- 
bernacle we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our 
house which is from heaven." 

4. We must make them our main scope and aim, looking to them 
as one does at a mark at which he will shoot. Let it be your chief 
end to seek God, and not yourselves, to glorify and please your un- 
seen Lord and Master, and to attain the eigoyment of him for ever. 
Let all things else be but secondary work in comparison of this. Be 
assured your happiness lies not in this present world ; the sweetest 
smiles of it cannot make you happy, and the severest frowns of the 
world cannot make you miserable. If you obtain the unseen things, 
you gain all ; if not, you gain nothing. 

5. We must accustom ourselves to the habitual consideration of 
them. For it is not a glance at them on the Sabbath, or at a com- 

Vol. III. o 


manion, that will answer the grand purpose, but a fixed looking at 

them in the whole course of onr lires. Whatever we hare in hand, 
and wherever we be, each of ns should be ready to say, '^ I have set 
the Lord always before me, and when I am awake I am still with 
him." Our conversation mnst be in heaven now, if we expect to be 
received into it at death. We must keep the other world habitually 
in our view while we walk through this. 

6. We must entertain the hope of unseen things. " For we are 
saved by hope : but hope that is seen is not hope : for what a man 
seeth why doth he yet hope for ? But if we hope for that we see 
not, then do we with patience wait for it." The soul of man is an 
empty thing and must be fed by hope, till it come to enjoyment . 
And if there be not settled hope of unseen things, the heart will 
naturally embrace seen things. " When there is no hope, the soul 
says, I have loved strangers, and after them I will go." Desx>on- 
dency cuts the sinews of the traveller through the world, and will 
quickly cause him stop. 

Lastly, Look to them, so as to overlook and put ou a holy disre- 
gard of the things that are seen. And this brings me, 

IV. To shew how we must overlook and put on a holy disregard 
of the things that are seen. The seen things are the things of this 
world. We cannot avoid seeing them while we are in it. But we 
must not look at them, we must see them as if we saw them not, 
and put on a holy disregard of them. They may be reduced to 
two heads. The evil and the good things of the world. 

1. Put on a holy disregard of the evil things of the world, which 
tend to divert you from your Christian course. This world was and 
ever will be a weary Umd to the travellers to Zion. You must go 
into the world, and I tell you before, that there is an ill air blowing 
in it, which none of us shall ever be able to correct ; and the more 
we set onr faces heaven-ward, the more it will blow upon us. But 
we must resolve to be forward, and take it as we find it. 

Put on then a holy disregard of the seen evil things of the world, 
such as its crosses and tribulations. These we must both see and 
feel, for in the world we sluiU haoe trUmlation, But mind your Lord 
and Master who set his face to the storm, and being resolved to be 
forward, put on a holy contempt of it. " For the joy that was set 
before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame." And in- 
deed we will need to have our foreheads steeled with holy resolu- 
tion, when going through the world. For we may lay our account 
with having a cross for every day. Every day will have the evil 
thereof. The follower of Jesus must take up his cross daUi/ ; and 
the clouds will return after the rain. We may meet with tliese. 


where we least expect them, perhaps by the time we enter our own 
houses, we will see one ready shapen ont for as, and we must take 
it up. We may lay onr acoonnt also with what may be called holy* 
days' crosses, the day of Zion's distress and persecution, or public 
calamity. " Thou hast called as in a solemn day my terrors round 
about ; so that in the day of the Lord's anger none escaped nor re- 
mained: those that I had swaddled and brought up hath mine 
enemy consumed." firer since the Christian race was opened, Satan 
hath raged against those that hare set out in it. He hath set up 
reproaches, poverty, blood and slaughter in it, to drive people from 
it And he wants but to have his chain lengthened, and the enemy 
would begin the bloody work as keenly as ever. 

But happy they, who, though they see this evil of worldly crosses, 
do not look at them, but put on a holy disregard of them. That is, 
do not pore upon them, for often while one muses that way the fire 
burns. And the cloud, which in itself is but like a man's hand, by 
a faithless looking at it, increases till it appears to blacken the very 
heavens. Do with them as a man on his journey, who meets with a 
mire or rugged step, he cannot avoid seeing it, but he must not stay 
to look at it, especially in a place where all around is mire. It is 
remarkable of Jacob, that when Rachel named the child of which 
she died, Benoni, the son of my sorrow, but his father called him Benr 
jamm ; the son of my right hand ; near and dear and precious to 
him as his right hand. 

Do not terminate your view upon your crosses, but look beyond 
them to the bright side of the cloud. If the mist of trouble rise be* 
fore you in the way, look through it to the unseen things before you 
and press forward. Some professors are like delicate persons that 
go abroad in a fair hour to take the air ; but whenever a shower 
eomes on they wrap themselves up in their cloaks, and return to 
their houses. Their religion endures till they meet with a cross : 
and then they take such a look of their cross, as drives them at 
once out of all the little wisdom which they ever had in religion ; 
*' For having no root in themselves, when tribulation or persecution 
ariseth because of the word, by and by they are offended." But be 
yon like one ^Arho is travelling on necessary business, he cannot com- 
mand the clouds, but he looks to his business ; and be it fair or foul 
weather he must be forward. 

Ton must also put on holy contempt of the world's way, which 
must be reckoned among its evil things. If you design for heaven, 
yon will soon see that the multitude are not going your way, and 
that their course is opposite to the one yon must steer. '^They 
walk according to the coarse of this world, according to the prince 




of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children 
of disobedience." Their way leads to things that are seen, bat to 
none of the things that are nnseen, except the wrath to come. Thej 
despise religion, the profane mock at it ; worldly wise men grayely 
pronounce it folly. Every one of them disregards it and goes after 
his own way, any way, bnt God's way. 

Yon will see all this, and behold it to monm over and watch 
against it. But look not at it, to esteem, loye, choose, or tamper 
with it. " Ayoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away." 
Many look at it, so as that their eyes betray their hearts, they fall 
in with it ; because they see it is the way that is most frequented, 
as if they thought it safe enough to go to hell with company. " But 
be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renew- 
ing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and accept- 
able and perfect will of God." Therefore I would say to yon as 
Peter did, save yourselves from this untoward generation. And re- 
member that the separation to be completed at the last day, is be- 
gun and working now. For thou shaU keep theniy O Lord, thou shak 
preserve them from this generation for ever, 

2. Put on a holy disregard of the world's good things also. This 
is necessary if ever you would go safe through the world, for its 
good as well as its evil things hare a tendency to divert you from 
your Christian course. And the case is much the same, whether the 
world cudgel us to death with its blows, or hug us to death with its 
treacherous embraces. The fawning as well as the frowning world 
is dangerous, and we may say of it as Solomon does of wine. 
'* Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his 
colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it 
biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder." Like Joab, the 
world pretends fair, while it gives a home thrust to the soul. Like 
the panther, which with the sweet smell of his breath draws other 
beasts to him, and then devours them. 

The world will court you, with its profits, saying, ''All these 
things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." 
And what an ensnaring sight to many ! '' For the love of money 
is the root of all evil ; which, while some coveted after, they have 
erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many 


The world thus prevails with many to take away their desire 
from the unseen things. '' And they all with one consent began 
to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of 
ground, and I must needs go and see it : I pray thee have me ex- 
cused." Men who are led by sense count nothing substantial good, 


bnt what they can see with their eyes, or handle with their hands 
and which will improve their fields and fill their barns and coflfers. 
These are the bird in hand, with them preferable to the unseen trea- 
sures of another world, that are but the bird in the bush in their 

The world will court you also with its seen pleasures, that gratify 
the senses. " Even all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, 
and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." what a bewitch- 
ing sight is this to many. And how many does it keep back from 
the Christian course. Hence if you will look through the world, 
you will see multitudes, plunged in the mire of sensuality, whose 
souls are sacrificed to pl^^e their flesh. They are bound oyer to 
death in these silken cords and ruined with these siren songs, that 
will be bitterness in the end. 

And we are not only in danger by the unlawful, but also by the 
lawful comforts of the world. It is a sad but true observation, that 
many perish by lawful things. The inhabitants of the old world 
" were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, all 
lawful things, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. And 
knew not till the flood came and swept them all away." Two un- 
happy sons stole away the heart of good Eli ; and the gourd of a 
night, the heart of the prophet Jonah. 

But look not at the world's seen good, if ever you would get safe 
through it. Do not tamper with its unlawful profits or pleasures. 
Check the first side look of the heart after them, the first rising 
of strong desire to them, hating even the garment spotted by the 
flesh. They that begin to look at them are in the fair way to leap 
over the hedge for them. The fort is near to surrender that comes 
to a parley. And they that parley with temptations can hardly 
ever come fair off. 

Make not the world's seen good your main scope and aim, you 
need the world's comforts in this state of mortality, and God re- 
quires as well as allows us, " To provide things honest in the sight 
of all men." But let your great view be beyond the clouds, and be 
not seekers of the world, but seekers of the kingdom of God. And 
you may know your case in this point by this mark. That is your 
main view, to which your other views are made to yield. If you 
manage in seen good, so as may best suit the advancing of your en- 
joyment of the unseen good ; then it is well. 

Ton must also moderate your affections to the seen good of the 
world. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the 
world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in 
him." Let not your hearts sink deep among these ensnaring good 



things, bat go lightly oyer them. Loose reins given to the affections 
eyen in lawfal things, may soon give yon a miserable fall. The vay 
through the best of this present world is slippery, and there is need 
to keep a good bridle hand. The boundaries betwixt lawful and 
unlawful things are so yery small, that it is difficult to go to the 
utmost of what is lawful, without slipping into what is unlawful. 
For though the yery edge of the rock be firm, yet onr heads are too 
light to venture on it. 

Finally, Underyalue and disregard the best things of the world in 
comparison of Christ. *' If any man, says he, come to me, and hate 
not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, 
and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.'' 
When they come in competition with him, give up with them. 
When they stand in your way to him, tread oyer them, that yon 
may get forward, and count them but dung that you may win Christ. 
It was the commendation of Levi, when seen things and unseen 
were in competition, he looked not at them ; " Unto his father and 
mother, he said, I have not seen him ; neither did he acknowledge 
his brethren ; nor knew his own children." 

For the improvement of what has been said, 

1. You may see here, where your danger lies, in your course 
through this world. It is on the one hand in looking at things 
that are seen. These things will present themselves to your view, 
and strive to wind themselves into your affections. And the farther 
you launch into this deep, the more will you lose sight of Immanuel's 
land. Therefore take heed that you be not betrayed by the sight 
of your eyes, driven out of the way by the world's evil, or flattered 
out of it by its good things. 

On the other hand your danger lies in losing sight of things not 
seen. We are apt to do so, and if we do not watch we cannot 
escape doing it. It is difficult to cause wet wood take fire, and as 
difficult to make it keep fire. And so carnal are our hearts, that 
it is difficult to get our eyes lifted up to look at the unseen things 
of another world, and when we have it, it is as difficult to keep the 
view. Therefore be upon your guard. 

Use 2. For exhortation. Let me exhort you all as ever you 
would see heaven, so look to unseen things as to overlook the things 
that are seen. 

Motives 1. — Consider the vast disproportion of the objects. Why 
should you not look at what is most worthy of your regard ? Is the 
world, and all that is in it, to be laid in the balance with the favour 
and enjoyment of God ? Can all the world's gain recompense the 
loss of the soul ? I will give you only two views betwixt them that 
may shew the disproportion. 


1. Seen things can nerer be truly satisfying, but nnseen things 
are perfectly satisfactory to the soal. Seen things are not com- 
mensurate to the desires of the soul. If the world should cast all 
its best things into your bosom, would there not still be a want ? 
'* I have seen an end of all perfection." Tou have long squeezed the 
world for its sap, but did you oyer yet come to say, it is enough ? 
No, and you neyer will. For as a circle can neyer fill a triangle, 
so the world can never fill the heart of man. He was a fool that 
said to his soul, " Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many 
years ; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." 

But unseen things are perfectly satisfying. They are suited to 
the spiritual nature of the soul, and an infinite good is sufficient for 
the boundless desires of the soul. See what they are in time, PsaL 
iy. 7* " Thou hast put gladness into my heart, more than in the time 
that their corn and their wine increased." See what they are in 
eternity, Psal. xyii. 15. ^^As for me, I will behold thy face in 
righteousness : I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness." 
Therefore I would say, " Wherefore do you spend money for that 
which is not bread ? And your labour for that which satisfieth not? 
Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let 
your soul delight itself in fatness." 

2. Seen things are but temporal, unseen things are eternal. The 
world's smiles and frowns will soon be oyer, but God's smiles and 
frowns will last for ever. Ere long this stage of vanity and misery 
will be taken down, but another scene will commence that will last 
for ever. Will you look forward to death, that will be the end of 
seen things to you. Look to the end of the world, that will be the 
end of them to all. But then the unseen things take place, neyer 
to give place to a change. Let me say then, Wilt thou set thine 
eyes upon that which is not ? For riches certainly make themselves 
wings ; they fly away, as an eagle toward heaven. 

MoHve 2. Consider this is the way in which all the saints have 
gone to glory. ^' They walked by faith, not by sight." Had the 
fair ones now in heaven looked to what was seen, their carcases 
had fallen with others in the wilderness. But they had more noble 
views, " The prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. They 
desired a better country, that is an heavenly." Thus the cloud of 
witnesses steered their course, and thus did the King of saints upon 
their head, "Who, for the joy that was set. before him, endured 
the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand 
of the throne of God." 

Motive 3. There is an unseen evil in the best things of the world, 
that afterwards comes to be severely felt. " But they that will be 


rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foeUsh aod 
hnrtfal Insts; which drown men in destrnetion and perdition." 
Since the cnrse was laid npon the earth, thorns and briers have not 
ceased to grow up with onr greatest worldly comforts. Brethren ! 
Why all this looking at seen things ? Have yon not found some- 
times your greatest cross, where you looked for your greatest com- 
fort? Have you not, sucking greedily at the dry breasts of the 
world, wrung out blood instead of milk ? Have you not often been 
therein like one striking at a flinty rock for water,- and got nothing 
but fire flashing in your faces. 

4. Looking to the unseen things will help you on your way to 
ImmanuePs land, whateyer wind blow. This will make yon easy, 
go the world as it will. He that while he has the world's good 
things does not stand by them, will stand without them when they 
are gone. ^^ Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall 
fruit be in the yines; the labour of the olive 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 : Tet I will rejoice in the 
Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.'' This has made con- 
fessors take joyfully the spoiling of their goods, and martyrs joy- 
fully to embrace a stake or a gibbet. 

6. If you look to the things that are seen, then seen things will 
be your portion. And when the turn of unseen things comes, you 
will get that cutting memorandum, '^Son, remember that thou in 
thy lifetime receivedst thy good things." You will never see the 
land that is afar off, otherwise than the rich man saw it in hell. 
And by the time you are in another world, the support which you 
have derived from the world's good things will be gone, and yon 
will awake and find yourselves faint ; but through eternity you shall 
not once taste the comforts of another world. 

Lastly, If you overlook the things that are seen, and look at the 
things which are not seen, you shall not be disappointed. ''For 
unto them that look for him shall Christ appear the second time, 
without sin unto salvation." What you look for now, you shall 
then fully enjoy, and be happy for ever, in being for ever with the 



1. Live much by faith. '' The life which I now live in the flesh, 
I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave him- 
self for me." The life is the soul's continual travelling betwixt 
Christ's fulness and self-emptiness. 


2. Be maob in prayer, so will you conyerse with the Lord of the 
unseen world, and about the nnseen things of it. 

3. Be mnoh employed in reading the scriptures, for in them we 
haye the account of the nnseen things. 

4. Be much giyen to meditation. Use stated meditations, and 
particularly I would recommend solemn secret fasting and humilia- 
tion. " And the land shall mourn, eyery family apart ; the family 
of the house of Dayid apart, and their wiyes apart ; the family of 
the house of Nathan apart, and their wiyes apart." 

Lastly, Conyerse most as you haye access, with those that are 
best acquainted with the unseen things and seem to haye the sayour 
of them most upon their spirits. And watch your hearts, that they 
slip not into a forgetfulness of things unseen, and return to a fond- 
ness for things that are seen. Amen. 


EUrick, June 24, 1716. 

SermoTu ^eparatoiy for the LordTs Supper. 



PsAiiM xxiy. 9. 

L^ up your heads, ye gates ; even lift them up, ye everku^ng doors ; 

and the King of glory shall come in. 

This psalm is judged to haye been composed when Dayid brought 
up the ark from the house of Obed Edom to mount Zion, 2 Sam. iy. 
chap, to be sung on that occasion, and others like it, particularly on 
the bringing of the ark into the temple, which was afterwards to be 
built, to which the Psalmist seems here, by the spirit of prophecy, 
to haye a special reference. 

The ark was a type of Christ, and so this psalm concerns him. 
The sum of it is, that though all the world be the Lord's, yet the 
church is his in a peculiar manner ; for there, and in his people, he 
dwells and all ought to receiye him. It was sung by the Jews 
ordinarily on the first day of the week, which is now the Christian 
Sabbath, and the matter of it is yery agreeable to the Sabbath, 
being the day in which Christ solemnly demands admission into the 
hearts of the hearers of the gospel. 

In the words there are two things. 


1. Entrance solemnly demanded, Lkft up ywa* headsj O ye gates. 
Where consider, to whom the demand is directed. Some read the 
words, Lift up your gates y O ye princes or heads. (So the Ynlgate.) 
Accordingly, some understand it of Christ's ascension into heayeoy 
taking the gates for those of heaven, the princes for the angels. 
Others, namely, some Papists, understand it of Christ's descending^ 
into hell, taking the gates for those of hell, the princes for the 
deyils. Bnt as there is no ground for this reading, the interpre- 
tation as huilt upon it falls to the ground. 

The demand is figuratiyely directed to the gates, a thing very na- 
tural in a joyful solemnity, especially in a song. But the Ark, 
Tabernacle, and Temple being all typical, this doubtless, has a com- 
pound sense, literal and mystical. 

Literally, by the gates are meant, the gates of the temple, which 
though it was not built in David's time, yet it was designed to be 
built, on the place to which the ark was now brought, namely in 
the mount. Everlasting doors they are called, because the temple 
was a fixed dwelling for the ark, whereas the tabernacle was re- 
moved from place to place. 

Mystically, the temple was a type of heaven, and if on this ac- 
count these words be applied to Christ's ascension, (so several of 
the Fathers understand them) I will not contend. But it was also 
a type of the church, and the ark's dwelling in the temple was the 
symbol of the divine presence among the Jews. And so by the 
gates are meant the hearts of sinners to whom the gospel comes, ac- 
cording to that, Rev. iii. 20, ^ Behold I stand at the door and 
knock : if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come 
in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." These are the 
everlasting doors, both because of the immortality of the soul, and 
because when Christ once comes into them he never departs. This 
was aimed at in that call at the entrance of the ark, for there is 
not a word here of the ark, but of the King of glory. Namely, that, 
as they received the ark into the temple, so they should open their 
hearts to receive Christ into their souls. 

The thing demanded is, *' that the gates lift up their heads, also 
that the everlasting doors be lifted up." From top to bottom they 
must be thrown wide open that there may be a spacious entrance. 
This for the greater solemnity, in the bringing of the ark. It indi- 
cates a most hearty willingness in embracing of Christ and receiv- 
ing him into the soul. It is expressed two ways. The first seems 
to belong to saints who are to be active in it. Lift up your heads, 
ye gates ! Do it of your own accord, willingly, for our Lord will 
not force his entrance. But in the day of his power he can make 

IBTO SIKimu' HIART8. 96 

the iron gates fly open. Accordingly the second seems to belong to 
sinners, who are passively to be lifted np. For sinners cannot open 
their own hearts, but a power goes along with the command. 

The demand is made literally by the priests, who bare the ark 
into the temple ; mystically, by the ministers of the gospel, who are 
sent to demand access for their Master into the hearts of sinners ; 
or whatever instrument our Jjord uses to prepare his way. 

The demand is doubled. To shew Christ's willingness and ear- 
nestness to get admission. It also intimates the aversion of sinners 
to admit him, and the vast importance and consequence of the 

2. The person for whom admission is demanded. It is for the 
King of glory » He is a King, even King Jesus, typified by the ark. 
It is a solemn entry such as a king makes in state into a city. He 
comes in, not only a guest to abide with sinners, but as a King to 
rule all. He is not only a Kiug, but " the King of glory. Which 
none of the princes of this world knew, for had they known it they 
would not have crucified the Lord of glory." He is a glorious King 
in himself, and the purchaser of eternal glory for his people. The 
flrst is here chiefly meant. 

Assurance is given that he will enter if admitted. The gates 
shall not be opened for nought. He will not stand without, unless 
he be kept out. He is represented as a victorious King making a 
triumphant entry. 

Doctrine I. Where the ark of gospel ordinances comes, Christ 
himself comes to the door of the hearts of sinners for admission. 
The ark's coming to the temple is the King of glory's coming to the 
hearts of sinners. Now there is no more an ark, but gospel ordi- 
nances have succeeded it and have the same use. And this is the 
call to go along with them to the end of the word. 

In speaking from this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Inquire what is the ark of gospel ordinances. 

II. How Christ comes along with this ark to the doors of the hearts 
of sinners. 

I. We are to inquire what is the ark of gospel ordinances. The 
ark was the most holy of all the Old Testament ordinances. It waa 
the chief thing in the most holy place, where God was in a special 
manner present, sitting between the cherubhms. From this place he 
gave answers, and on that account the most holy place was called 
the oracle. The place for the ark, was the oracle of the house^ the 
most holy place, even under the wings of the chernbims. From this 
we may gather that there are two things which may come under the 
name of the gospel ark. 


1. The word read and preached. The holy scriptares are the ora- 
de of Crod. From them we have a clearer discoyerj of the mind of 
God, than what was given from the Jewish ark. And the gospel, 
as pnrelj preached, after the reformation from poperj, is called the 
appearing of the ark of his testament. ** For the temple of God was 
opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of the 

2. The holy sacrament, baptism and the Lord's snpper. These 
are really sacred symbols of the divine presence as tmly as ever the 
ark was. Some divines say, the ark was called Jehovah, Nnm. xvi. 
35. Bnt that is certainly too mnch. It is God himself u^Ao^e tiame 
alone is Jehovah. The greatest hononr pnt npon it in the scripture 
seems to be in these words of Joshna, *^ Behold, said he, the ark of 
the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before yon 
into Jordan." Bnt as to the sacrament of the snpper, it is nothing 
short whatever It be more. This, said onr Lord, " is my body broken 
for yon. And this cup is the new testament in my blood." 

Consider, that wherever, the ark came, the places were made holy. 
T%e places^ said Solomon, are holy, wherennto the ark of the Lord 
hath come. And what are the means of bringing holiness into any 
place of the unholy world, but the word and sacraments. These 
bring light into the dark places of the earth, and set up a kingdom 
for Christ, where the devil had ruled all before. The ark was the 
special dwelling place of God upon earth. He dwelt between the cha- 
rubhnSf which overshadowed the ark, and it was that by which he 
communicated himself to his people. And these ordinances are the 
places of his special presence, from which he conveys his counsels, 
comforts, and graces, to his people. His people's experience con- 
firms this. " The king is held in the galleries." We are now, 

II. To inquire how Christ comes along with this ark, to the doors 
of the hearts of sinners. 

1. In the word, Christ comes in the offer of himself to sinners. 
Wherever the gospel is preached, Christ is offered to sinners with 
all his saving benefits. '^ Behold, says he, I stand at the door and 
knock, if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in 
and sup with him and he with me." A market of free grace is 
opened and whosoever will, is invited to buy without money and 
without price. There are some places where the market is not yet 
opened. Christ is not yet in their offer. There are other places 
where the. market is over, and the despisers of ihe gospel in these 
are now gone to their place. But yet with ns the market is still 
open, and Christ comes to the door of our hearts for admission. 

2. In the sacraments Christ is exhibited. There is not a simple 


offer of him, as one may have of meat, which he sees not, as in the 
word. But in them he is held forth to us, as meat set down npon a 
table before a man, to eat, and welcome. *^ Take, eat, this is my 
body broken for yon." And does he not come near ns then ? He 
was sacrificed on the cross, and in the supper the sacrifice is pre- 
sented to the quests to feed upon spiritually. 

3. Both in word and in sacraments he demands admission. He 
comes not to look at the door, but stands and knocks for admission, 
as one that would have access. He would be admitted even into the 
place where the strong man keeps house alone. He would be ad- 
mitted farther where he has had some access before. Saying, " Open 
to me, my sister, my loVe, my doye, my undefiled." For as we must 
always be coming to Christ, so always opening, and opening, wider 
and wider, till he possess not only the whole man, but possess him 
wholly without any rivals. 

And thus you may see the truth of this point manifested. The 
ministers of the gospel coming with the Lord's message to sinners, 
driye not an empty chariot. For saith Jesus to them, '^ Lo, I am 
with you alway, eyen unto the end of the world." He speaks by 
them, and so the great business of salyation is transacted between 
Christ and sinners. 

Use far information. 

Is it so, that where the ark of the gospel ordinances comes, Christ 
comes to the door of sinners' hearts for admission ? Then, 

1. Seeing we have the ark of gospel ordinances amongst us, be it 
known unto you, that Christ himself is come to the doors of your 
hearts for admission. Many do not consider, nor belieye that Christ 
is knocking at the door of their hearts for admission, and therefore 
they do not bestir themselves to receive him. But believe it, it is 
no fancy, but the most certain reality, and therefore I say to you 
and to each of yon : '^ To you is the word of this salvation sent." 
Will you consider for the reality of it, that* there is no salvation 
without receiving Christ into our hearts. " Which is Christ in you 
the hope of glory." He must dwell in all those now, who shall 
dwell with him for ever. *' That Christ may dwell in your hearts 
by faith." Where there is no union with Christ, there can be no 
communion with him. And where there is no communion with him, 
there can be no holiness, no grace, no peace, no pardon, no happiness. 

As we cannot receive him unless he offer himself unto us, so for 
what end are ordinances, if Christ come not to ua io them, ojffefing 
himself to us. The way in which Christ dwells inrttie-lGrejii^lsrOfl his 

98 0HRI6T DBM AVDnra AD1II88I0H 

people, is by hig spirit and by faith. Now the ordinaneeg are the 
channelg in which the conyeyance of hig Spirit is made. " This only 
would I learn of yon, received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, 
or by the hearing of faith ?" The ordinances also are the means of 
begetting and of increasing faith. So then faith oometh by hearing, 
and hearing by the word of God." If then they be the means of 
nniting ns to Christ, he really comes in them for entrance into our 

But farther, it is so real, that men will be really sayed by em- 
bracing Christ coming in to them by the ordinances, and .really 
damned for slighting him, coming to them in these. Jesus said 
to his disdplegy '*Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to 
every creature, he that beliereth and is baptized shall be saved ; 
but he that belieyeth not shall be damned." He that cannot see 
Christ in gospel ordinances, to close with him, will never see him to 
his comfort in another world. Who are they that will be owned by 
him at the last day ? '* Those that have made a covenant with him 
by sacrifice. For it hath pleased God by the foolishness of preach- 
ing to save them that believe." And who are they that will be dis- 
owned by him at the last day ? those who are without hope for ano- 
ther world. " But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are 
lost ; in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them 
that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who 
is the image of God, should shine unto them." 

2. The word and sacraments coming to a place, will highly aggra- 
vate the condemnation of those that do not receive Christ into their 
hearts. For where they come, there he is, whether he be received 
or not. '' And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the 
world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds 
were evil." Many a time the ordinances seem to be in vain, and 
preaching in vain, but they are not so. Be their success what it 
will, God's work is still going on for his honour at the long run. 
** For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and re- 
tumeth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring 
forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the 
eater ; so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth ; it 
shall not return to me void ; but it shall accomplish that which I 
please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." 

The ordinances will always be doing good to some. ** thou that 
art named the house of Jacob, is the Spirit of the Lord straitened ? 
are these his doings ? do not my words do good to him that walketh 
upnglvtly^/". And as many as are ordained to eternal life shall be- 
lie^/* WhjAre^ ^hrist lights a candle we may suppose there are 


some lost pieoes to be found. Where Christ eovers a table, there 
will readily always be some of his children to feed. 

As for others, neither will they be in rain. Where the ark 
comes, the call is given, Lift up your heads, ye gates, and those 
that keep their hearts still shut against Christ, are hereby rendered 
inexcusable, and their condemnation aggrarated. Their sin will be 
the greater, ** If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not 
had sin : bnt now they hare no cloak for their sin." The more fre- 
quent, and the more solemn offers that are made to sinners, the 
greater is their contempt which they pour upon the Son of G-od. 
And every sermon and every communion will add to their account ; 
so that I doubt not but many of us, if they hold on as they are do- 
ing in slighting Christ and his ordinances, the day will come, in 
which they will wish from their hearts, that they had never lived 
where sermons and communions were to be heard and seen. And 
reflections on these will cut them to the heart for ever more. 

Their condemnation and punishment will be greater. " But I say 
unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in 
the day of judgment than for thee." In solemn appearances of the 
ark of God among his people great things have been done in the ex- 
perience of some. But that makes a heavy reckoning to those who 
have no part nor lot in that matter ; that keep their hearts shut 
against Christ, while others are opening to him. Of all vengeance 
that which follows a despised gospel is the most dreadful. The fire 
that breaks out from the altar burns the most vehemently. 

Use second, of Exhortation. 

Seeing you have the word preached and expect the sacrament to 
be administered, remember that these are the gospel ark, by which 
Christ comes to the hearts of sinners demanding admission. 

1. Do not idolize the ark, but look beyond it to Jesus Christ, to 
whom the ark directs you. This was the sin of the Israelites when 
they brought the ark into the camp, in order that it might defend 
them from their enemies. 1 Sam. iv. 3. They thought that though 
they did not reform, and repent, yet if they had the ark all would 
be well. But they were deceived. Their unre]>ented of sins made 
them fall, and the ark oonld not hold them up. So many please 
themselves in taking Christ's livery, though they still remain Satan's 
slaves ; in sitting down at the Lord's table though strangers to com- 
munion with him ; in getting a token from men and mixing them- 
selves with the saints, though they have no token, ftom the Mil^r 
of the feast. And so they cry, the temple of the ^^JUbt'd^ uie t^ple 


of the Lord are these ! Bat O what will this avail them ? The 
Lord ''will saj to them, I tell 70a, I know yoa not whence 70a are ; 
depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity." 

Look yon then beyond the ark. Gome into the inner oonrt. Be 
not satisfied with less than opening yonr hearts to receive the Lord 
of the ark. Look beyond the sign to the thing signified, and porsae 
that. Break through the shell, that yon may come to the kemaL 
Otherwise yon neither answer the voice of Christ, nor the voice of 
yonr own necessities. 

2. Do not undervalue the ark, but highly prize it. That was 
Michal's sin. 2 Sam. vi. 14. And it is the sin of many amongst ub 
this day, who will have nothing to do with the ark themselves, and 
if it be in their power will be heavy to others that meddle with it. 
They pour contempt upon the memorial of Christ's death, and one 
communion after another passeth, but they will not meddle with it, 
as if they were not concerned. But if they can discern a fault in the 
conduct of a communicant, they will do it. They will despise them 
on account of it, and the ordinance for them ? But O ! prize the 
ark of the gospel ordinances. It is the most precious thing in the 
lower world ; and I dare say a gracious soul would rather part with 
the sun out of the firmament, than the ark of gospel ordinances, 
word and sacraments. For the tables of the Taw were laid up in the 
ark. In these ordinances is to be seen by the Christian the most 
joyful sight out of heaven. The broad law fully answered in all its 
demands by Jesus Christ, " who is the end of the law for righteous- 
ness' to every one that believeth." The fiery law with all its curse 
and vengeance originally due to him, laid by and covered up, under 
the vail of the flesh of Christ crucified. 

Again, from the mercy seat on the ark, God spoke to the people. 
And in these ordinances God breathes love, peace, and good-will to 
poor sinners through a crucified Saviour. "Glory to God in the 
highest, on earth peace, and good-will towards men." He who be- 
lievingly sees the body and blood of Christ exhibited in the sacra- 
ment, must thereupon say with joy, " Having, therefore, brethren, 
boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new 
and living way which he hath consecrated for us through the vail, 
that is to say, his flesh ; and having an high priest over the house of 
God ; let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, 
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies 
washed with pure water." There the believer hears the joyful invi- 
tation from a crucified Saviour, '' Rise up, my love, my fair one, and 
oouie away ; for h> the winter is past, the rain is over and gone." 

1S((ft:poi:^f}ntatfna also was in the ark. And in gospel ordinances 

vsno stinrxBs' hxarts. 101 

the believer eats angels' food ; for Christ, the trne manna, the bread 
from heayen, is there, saying, '* I am the living bread which oame 
down from heaven. If any man shall eat of this bread he shall live 
for ever ; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will 
give for the life of the world." Christ the maker of the feast, is 
the matter of it too, and feasts his people on himself and all his 
benefits. And how desirable mast this entertainment be in the 
wilderness of this world, while the believer tastes of Christ's sweet- 
ness, and the sweetness of every thing in him ; the sweetness of his 
death that removes the corse, and his resurrection that fills with the 
hope of glory. 

Great and glorious things were done by the ark. When the ark 
was placed beside Dagon, Dagon fell to the ground. When Christ 
is enjoyed in gospel ordinances, strong lusts and idols are made to 
fall. The death of Christ viewed by faith in the sacrament, is the 
best remedy for subduing strong corruptions. By compassing Je- 
richo the walls fell. - how often have walls of separation between 
Christ and a believer fallen down at ordinances, and they that were 
£BLr off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Jordan was 
divided by the ark and they went through to Canaan. And indeed 
the enjoyment of Christ in ordinances, will take the sting out of 
death and present to the man a safe passage to ImmanuePs Land. 

3. Beware of profane looking into the ark, but approach with all 
holy reverence. Fifty thousand, threescore and ten men of Beth- 
shemesh were slain by the Lord for this sin, 1 Sam. vi. 19. How 
many such on-lookers are there in the case of the gospel ark, who 
look to the sacred symbols as common things, and despise the holy 
mystery of Christ represented by them. External judgments were 
more common under the law, but spiritoal judgments are more com- 
mon now. Silent blows on the soul and conscience that mak« no 
noise now abound. But labour you to see a majesty in the ordi- 
nances, and serve God therein with revei^nce and godly fear. 

4. Beware of rash meddling with the ark. Remember that for 
this sin Uzzah was struck dead by God, 2 Sam. vi. 6, 7. O the 
hazard of rash approaching to the table of the Lord. ** For he that 
eateth and drinketh nnworUiily, eateth and drinketh juidgment to 
himself, not discerning the Lord's body." Therefore make it a 
business of solemn seriousness to examine yourselves, as to your 
right to it, yonr state and your frame. For it is a feast for friends^ 
not for enemies; for the living, not the dead, for those that are 
awake, not sudi as are asleep. 

5. Prepare for the entertaining of the ark, and the Lord of the 
ark. Bo as David did. ** I will not, said he, give aleep to mine 

Vol. III. H 


eyes, or slnmber to mine eyelids, nntil I find ont a place for the 
Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob." Labonr to pre- 
pare for the solemn ordinance before yon. Let it be mnch in your 
mind, that you may be in a proper frame for it. Lay salvation to 
heart. Renew your covenant and put away strange gods. Search 
and purge out the old leaven. Satan uses to be very busy at such 
a time, and therefore yon should watch and be sober. 

Lastly, Throw the doors of your hearts wide open to receive the 
Lord of the ark. Let all things be dismissed that have kept Christ 
at the door, and heartily embrace him in the gospel offer. 

Doctrine 2. The doors of the hearts of sinners ought to be thrown 
wide open to Christ the King of glory, demanding admission by the 
gospel. Here I shall 

I. Shew what is supposed in the gospel call here given. 

II. What it is to open the doors of the heart to Christ. 

III. Offer some reasons why sinners should open to him. I am 

I. To shew what is supposed in the gospel call here given. It 

1. That the hearts of sinners are naturally shut on the King of 
glory. Whoever be shut in, Christ is shut out. " For behold, says 
he, I stand at the door and knock :" God made man with an heart 
open towards heaven, into which his Spirit might have ready access. 
But man receiving God's enemy, they together shut the door, and 
shut out the great Master. And in this case Christ finds every 
man's heart when he comes before it in the gospel. 

2. That man naturally keeps his heart shut against Christ. As 
long as the sinner is left to himself he will never relent. " I hear- 
kened and heard but they spake not aright : no man repented him 
of his wickedness, saying what have I done ? Every one turned to 
his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle." He will not open 
the door, and go and seek the King of glory. He will not sit at the 
door and espy Christ afar off, as Abraham did the augels, and run 
to meet him and invite him to come in. Alas I It is much if he 
will give him admission, when he comes to the door and demands 
once and again. 

3. Christ comes by the gospel and demands open doors for him- 
self. He could by a word have set the house on fire, as soon as it 
was shut on him, and might have justly done it. But he graciously 
condescends tq demand entrance, so the proposals of peace begin on 
his side. He sends messengers to put sinners in mind to return to 
their duty. And that yon could be persuaded that Christ is de- 
manding admission into every heart among us. 

4. Christ is willing to come into every heart. Why does he de- 

nrro snnrBits' heabts. 103 

mand open doors, bat because he is willing to enter. Thongb tbe 
house be not worthy of his presence, though he has received many 
indignities from it and in it, yet he is willing to grace it with his 
royal presence. He makes no exceptions in the offer, and none are 
excluded from his favour, but those who by refusing his gracious of- 
fer exclude themselves. " For if any man, says he, hear my voice, 
and open the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with 

Lastly, That Christ will not come in but with the sinner's con- 
sent. He will not Veak up the door. He will be Kiug of the 
hearts of his subjects, and rule in their affections, or not at all. 
They must open to him, he will not force himself in upon them. He 
makes them willing in the day of his power, but will not enter 
against their will. We proceed now, 

II. To shew what it is to open the doors of the heart to Christ. 

This is the great duty for which the text calls, and what we are 
called to on this occasion. There is a two-fold opening. 

1. Initial opening. That is when those that never opened to 
Christ before, do open to him in their conversion, and their first be- 
lieving and coming into the covenant. Then Christ makes his first 
solemn entry into the soul. And thus sinners, natural men, are 
called to open. 

2. Progressive opening. So saints open to him. To them Christ 
says, " Open to me my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled ; for 
my head is filled with dew, and my locks with drops of the night." 
This is an opening more and more to the King of glory. Sometimes 
though the soul be open to Christ in respect of one's state, yet it is 
closed in respect of the frame. Though there be grace yet it is 
either not in exercise at all, or weak and languishing. Yea, grace 
at best while here is but imperfect. Though Christ has room in the 
heart, yet he has not all the room, and therefore there must be a 
progressive opening, till we come to the place, where Christ shall 
not only have the whole man, but the whole of every part of the 
man without competition. 

The text seems to aim at both, and so to take in both saints and 
sinners. The work of conversion is imperfect in respect of deg^es, 
and so must be carried on to perfection. And indeed the lines of 
God's image drawn at first on a soul, are sometimes like a new 
written sentence, which rashly touched by any thing, is so defaced, 
that though the letters be not quite blotted out, yet it must be run 
over anew with the pen. " Except ye be converted and become as 
little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." 
There must be new coviction, humiliation, believing and covenanting. 


104 GURiM nisitAirDiim adxibbiov 

Th^re is a tirofold door to be opened to Obrist. 
1. Ton mnst open tbe onter door of the understanding. Open the 
ey«s of the mind blinded by the deceitfulness of sin. *' To open their 
eyes^ and tnrn them from darkness nnto light." Hare we not, like 
Samson, fallen into the hands of the Philistines, who hare put oat 
onr two eyes and sport themselves with onr miseries ? Are not the 
eyes of many closed, so as they see neither their danger, nor the 
means of deliverance, neither their disease, nor the remedy. 

Yon mnst open your eyes to see your sinfnlness, to take a right 

view of your sins. " For I was alive without the law once ; but 

when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.*' Without 

this view there will be no access for the King of glory into otir 

hearts. ** Because thou sayest, 1 am rich, and increased with goods, 

and have need of nothing ; and knowest not that thou art wretched 

and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I counsel thee to 

buy of me, gold tried in the fire that thou mayest be rich; and 

white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of 

thy nakedness do not appear ; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, 

that thou mayest see." See your heart, what it is, a cage of unclean 

birds, a sepulchre full of rottenness, a receptacle of filthy lusts, a 

piece of cursed ground, fruitful of briers and thorns. " For, from 

within, out of the heart, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornica^ 

tions, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lascivious- 

ness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. The heart is de^ 

Ceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it." 

See your life what it is, a mass of disorder and confusion, unfruitful, 

unprofitable, dishonouring to God, grieving to his Spirit, leading to 

litter darkness. 

See the evil of your sins. " Thine own wickedness shall correct 
thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee ; know therefore, and 
see, that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the 
Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord of 
hosts." See how contrary sin is to the holy nature of God. " Thou 
Lord art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look upon 
iniquity." It is contrary to his holy law. "Whosoever oommit- 
teth sin transgresseth also the law ; for sin is the transgression of 
the law." See how sin dishonours all his attributes, omniscience, 
omnipresence. Justice, truth, holiness, and the rest. How provoking 
to the eyes of his jealousy. See also the loathsomeness of your sins. 
Pull off the mask which Satan hath put upon sin and view it in its 
own ttgly colours ; how the beauty of your souls is thereby marred, 
the image of God defaced, the image of Satan set up in its stead. 
How it unfits you for communion with God, as one in his vomit is 

IN1H> fllKKSBfl' HBART8. 109 

unfit to approach the presence of a prince. Then shall ye remem- 
ber yonr own evil ways, and yonr doings that were not good, and 
ahall loathe yonrselyes in your own sight, for your iniquities, and for 
yonr ahominations. Behold I am yile ; what shall I answer thee ! 
I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. 

See to the heinousness of your sins. What light, love, mercies of 
many kinds you have sinued against. What reproofs and warnings 
you have disregarded. — What vows, purposes and resolutions to 
amend yon have broken. *^ I will arise, said the prodigal^ and go 
to my father and will say to him, I have sinned against heaven and 
before thee." 

Lastly, See the multitude of your sins. '* Who can understand 
his errors." They are more than the hairs on your heads. The 
longer you have lived, the more is yonr debt increased. The law re- 
quires all perfection at all times ; but yon could never do one thing, 
which weighed in balance of the law would not have been found light. 
Whatever you have done, with so many sins you are chargeable ; 
thoughts, words, actions ; yea, more, inasmuch as there have been 
many sins in one action. Omissions too, who can reckon them up ? 

Again, Open your eyes to see your misery by sin. What miseries 
has it brought upon you and to what it has made yon liable. Has 
it not separated between God and you, kindled the Lord's anger 
against you, displayed by temporal and spiritual plagues upon you. 
Has it not marred your communion with God, and prevented the 
communications of gracious influences, and left you a withered soul ? 
Who can express the misery of a person out of Christ. Poor soul I 
thou art a condemned man. ** He that believeth not the Son shall 
not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." Being under 
the fearful sentence of a broken law, every moment ready to drop 
inio the pit, having nothing but the thread of thy brittle life be- 
twixt thee and everlasting burnings. 

See also yonr utter inability to help yourselves, by yourselves. 
'* Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself : but in me is thine help.'' 
Such a sight the prodigal got, <' I perish, said he, with hunger." 
Look to your crimson guilt, and you will see it to be of a deeper 
dye than that tears of blood can wash it out. Look to the power of 
ihy lusts, and see thy slender arms utterly unable to break them ; 
thyself as unable to grapple with them, as a little child with a 
giant, or a weak man with the leviathan that will count his darts as 
straw, and his spear as flax. 

Lastly, Open yonr eyes to see a Saviour in the glory of his media- 
tory office. " Look, says he, onto me, and be ye saved, all the ends 
of the earth : for I am God, and there is none else." Yon have 



long been saying, " wbat is thy beloved more than another be- 
loved ?" Yon have shut yonr eyes that they could not behold hiB 
glory. '* For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as 
a root ont of a dry gronnd ; he hath no form nor comeliness ; and 
when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." 
But open the outer door, and see the King of glory, that being* ra- 
vished with the sight, you may open the inner door also and make 
him welcome to the innermost recesses of your 'heart. See him, in 
the glory of his suitableness to your case. If thou art blind, he 
hath salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see ; if thon art naked, 
be hath white raiment to clothe and adorn you ; if thou art poor, 
he hath gold tried in the fire that will enrich thee for ever. " He is 
made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctifioation, 
and redemption." If thou be a poor foolish creature he is wisdom. 
If thou be hungry his flesh is meat indeed. There is a fulness of 
merit in him and of the Spirit. Whatever be thy want, there is a 
suitable supply in him. If there be a curse on thee, he knows the 
way of removing the curse, and he hath a blessing to bestow. Yiew 
him also in the glory of his ability to save. *' He is the Lord^ 
strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle." Though your sin 
and misery were heavier than the sand of the sea, a dead weight of 
guilt hanging at thy soul like mountains of brass, yet hear the Fa- 
ther's testimony concerniug him, ** I have laid help, saith he, upon 
one that is mighty." He is God as well as man, and therefore 
though the controversy be betwixt God and you, he is fit to be 
Day's-man, to lay his hands upon both. The virtue of his blood is 
infinite, because it is the blood of the Son of God, and it deanseth 
from all sin. So the virtue of his Spirit, because he is a divine per- 

See the glory of his willingness to save. His whole word is full 
of demonstrations of this. " Ho, every one that thirsteth come ye 
to the waters, and he that hath no money ; come ye, buy and eat ; 
yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." 
Yea, he has written his willingness to save in characters of his 
blood, having laid down his life to save sinners, and made even them 
welcome to the benefit who embrned their hands in his blood. Even 
to them, it was said, " Repent and be baptized every one of you in 
the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall re- 
ceive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Does he not stand stretching out 
his hands, crying, Behold me, behold me. 

2. You must open the inner door of the will. Be willing and obe- 
dient to the call of the gospel. '^ Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, 
and take away the foreskins of your hearts, ye men of Jndah and 


inhabitants of Jernsalem." There is an iron sinew in onr neok, that 
must be renewed, that we may bow to him, to whom erery knee shall 
bow at length. Whatever light hath entered into the mind, Christ 
hath no possession of the sonl till the heart and affections become 
pliable to him. This inner door Satan keeps fast as well as the 
other, till a day of power canse them to open, Psal. ex. 3. So the 
sinner may say to Christ laying siege to his heart, as the Jebnsites 
said to Bayid in another case, " Except thou take away the blind and 
the lame, then shalt not come in hither :" the blind mind, and the 
crooked will. Bnt exhortations and gospel calls are the means, 
which he blesseth for that end ; therefore we call upon you to open 
this door also. Open the door then, in a hearty acquiescence in the 
grand device of salvation through Jesus Christ, *' who is the power 
of God and the wisdom of God." This is God's contrivance for 
bringing many sons to glory. Let your own hearts say amen to it, 
so as to venture your souls upon that foundation, upon which God 
has laid the weight of his glory. Be well pleased with the King of 
glory. Do not any more find fault with him, with whom the Father 
is well pleased. Listen no more to the surmises of unbelief against 
him : for it is ever finding some fault with the mystery of Christ. 
And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in him. 

You must open also in a hearty willingness, to part with all your 
old guests to make room for him. There is not an empty heart 
among all the children of men. If Christ be not there, there are 
others in his stead. Bnt be they who they may, Christ says, if yon 
love me, let these go their way. 

Away then with your carnal wisdom, that room may be made 
for Christ's guidance of you by his word and Spirit. ''Trust in 
the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own nnder- 
standiug. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy 
paths." Shut up the eyes of self-wisdom, that you may walk in his 
light. Following that false light has led you into many a snare in 
the wilderness of the world. The following of it has made the ship 
of the soul dash on many a rock in this troublesome sea. 

Away also, with all your false and self-confidences before the 
Lord, that room may be made for the blood of Christ, the only pro- 
curing cause of peace, pardon, and salvation. '' Yea, doubtless, and 
I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of 
Christ Jesus my Lord : for whom I have suffered the loss of all 
things, and count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be 
found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, 
bnt that which ia through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which 
is of God by faith." Depend no more upon mere mercy before the 





Lord, nor to your good hearts, blameless lires, your duties, or any 
thing that is yoara. But as the yoaag man, leave all these and flee 
from them naked, Matk xiy. 51, 52. Pretend to nothing to recom- 
mend you to God, or Jesns Christ, nothing in or about youraelTed. 

Away with your lusts and idols, that the King of glory maj 
reign freely in your hearts. '^Sarely it is meet to be said unto 
God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more. That 
which I see not, teach thou me ; if 1 hare done iniquity, I will do 
so no more." Whaterer room you reserve for lusts or idols you re- 
fuse to him. If you be not willing to part with them all, you are 
not willing to receive Christ. If there be a Delilah left that must 
be spared, a right eye, which you cannot endure the pain of pluck- 
ing out, you do in effect judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life. 

Again you must open in a hearty willingness to receive Christ as 
the gospel offers him. Take up the offer of the gospel rightly, and 
let your souls be ready to fall in with it. Come over all your ob- 
jections to the marriage covenant, as contained in the offer. All 
things are ready on his part, be you so also. *' All things, says he^ 
are ready, come ye to the marriage." Will you be content at 
length to take him for your prophet, and only oracle and director ; 
for your priest to bear the whole weight of your salvation on his 
merits ; for your King and absolute Lord ; to take his will for your 
law, to obey it without disputing. 

You must open also in a cordial actual consent of the soul to 
Christ. **To as many as received him, to them he gave power to 
become the sons of God, even to them that believed on his name." 
Now stretch out your hand to God in Christ in the everlasting cove- 
nant. You that never before could be brought to be espoused to the 
Bon of God, now throw open the doors that the King of glory may 
come in. You that have formerly given but a hypocritical consent 
of hand, but not of heart, give now a cordial consent. Take him for 
your Lord, head and husband, for a covering of the eyes, for all in 
all. And you that have honestly consented before, renew it with 
more cordiality, as those that have seen how good the Lord is. 

You must open in a cordial resignation of yourselves to the Lord, 
giving up yourselves to him wholly, and that for ever. ^' One shall 
say, I am the Lord's ; and another shall call himself by the name 
of Jacob ; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, 
and surname himself by The name of Israel." Long has the Lord 
been calling to us, saying, my son, give me thine heart. then 
give your ownselves unto the Lord» You have endured a long 
siege, then yield yourselves. ** Now, be ye not stiff-necked, as 
your fathers were^ but yield yourselves unto the Lord and enter his 


ganotuary, which he hath sanotifted for ever ; and serve the Lord 
your God." The deyil, the world and the flesh are his competitors in 
this matter, to the one, or to the other yon mast belong. Bat shall 
any be reckoned preferable to the King of glory. Yon mast open 
in a cordial love to him. stir np in yonr seals a flaming lore to 
the King of glory. That was a blessed opening when the disciples 
exclaimed, " Bid not our heart barn within as, while he talked with 
as by the way, and while he opened to ns the scriptnres ?" Love 
him for his benefits to the children of men, for the peace, pardon, 
grace and glory, which he hath purchased by his blood, and bestows 
upon his people. Love him, for himself, his glorious perfections, 
his holiness, love, grace. Love him for what he hath done for sin- 
ners in obeying the law and for what he hath suffered by enduring 
the penalty. Look at him striking hands with the Father from 
eternity for an elect world, and love him. Look to him in his birth, 
his life, his death, in the garden, on the cross, and love him. 

Finally, Open in your fervent desire after communion with him. 
*^ With my soul have I desired thee in the night ; yea, with my 
spirit within me will I seek thee early." This is the native effect 
of opening of the heart to him in love. ** Set me as a seal upon 
thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm ; for love is strong as death." 
An opened heart will have holy breathings after the Lord. *' 
that I knew where I might find him, then I would go even to his 
seat." If you have tasted that the Lord is gracious, long for more 
of the communications of his grace. If not, yet if yon have heard 
and believed, it may excite your ardent desire. 

Thus we must open to Christ. And not only so, but we most 
open the door wide. The heads of the gates must be lifted up to 
make a large wide entry. You may take up this in these things. 

1. There must be room made to take in all that our Lord brings 
along witlt him. We must not choose and refuse in this according 
to the disposition of our own hearts; like those who would take 
something of his, but have not room for taking in all. Open the 
door then so as to take in his broad law with him. If you have ex- 
ceptions against any of his commandments, if there be any parti- 
cnlar with which yon have no will to. comply, you receive him not. 
** Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect to all thy com- 
mandments." You must open so as to take in his cross with him. 
** If any man will come after me, said Jesus, let him deny himself 
and take np his cross, and follow me." If you be not content to 
take Christ with his cross, to follow him at all hazards whitherso- 
ever he goes, yon cannot receive him. Many have room for Christ's 
salvation from hell and wrath, but they never open so as to receive 
him with his law and his cross. 





2. There must be room made that our Lord may enter in what 
way seems best in his own eyes. We must not limit him, for he is 
the holy one of Israel. In respeot of time we must set no hours to 
him, but wait on, till the Lord look down from heaven ; nor must 
we limit him in respect of the manner, of his coming, but whether 
he come in the high way of consolation, or the low way of further 
humiliation, we must welcome him. Nor in respect of the measure 
of enjoyments, we must be thankful for the least crumb. 

3. We must be always endeavouring to have the entrance en- 
larged. To get more sense of sin, farther insight into the Media- 
tor's glory : more willingness to part with sin, more love, faith , 
desire, and the like. For the mystery of iniquity in us, the mystery 
of the Mediator's glory, are depths into which we may penetrate 
farther and farther. And whatever graces are kindled in the heart 
may be blown up to bum more keenly. 

4. We must receive him honourably, as the King of glory making 
his triumphant entrance into our souls. A high esteem of Christ in 
his superlative excellency is necessary in order to the receiving of 

Lastly, We must receive him joyfully, as citizens casting open 
their gates to receive their king with joyful acclamations, when 
making a triumphant entrance. Let us proceed, 

III. To give a few reasons of the point. 

1. Because, The house is his own. He is the righteous Lord and 
owner, and how unreasonable is it, that the house should be open to 
strangers and shut upon the Master. The visible church is Christ's 
house, and his entertainment there is in the hearts of the members 
of it. *' I brought him, says the spouse, into my mother's house, 
and into the chambers of her that conceived me." He has a right 
to it, by the Father's gift, who has made him heir of all things, and 
by redeeming the house by his own blood, when it was mortgaged. 
Is it not then highly reasonable to receive him ? 

2. The Father that gave him the house, requires you to open it to 
him. '* This said he, is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, 
hear ye him." He comes not without his Father's commission to 
take possession. He served his Father in the great work of man's 
redemption, and having been obedient to the death, the doors of 
heaven were opened to receive him triumphantly, and the doors on 
earth charged to open to him, for the reward of his obedience. 

3. It was solemnly made over to him in your baptism. There are 
none of us but are baptized Christians, by which we were engaged 
to be the Lord's. Thus his name is upon us, as our proprietor by 
consent. And if we refuse to open to him, we do in effect declare. 



that we will not stand to the bargain made for lu in onr infancy. 
And truly this is the language of the practice of many. 

The Improvement. 

Use 1. Of reproof to those that will not open to Christ. 

1. Those that do not so much as open the outer door to him. 
The gross ignorance of many, in the midst of gospel light, holds 
Christ at the door. They live in darkness and will not use means 
to obtain light. The door was never yet opened by conviction of 
their sin and misery ; but they have still lived in darkness and deep 
security. You are slighters of the Saviour. ** It is a people of no 
understanding ; therefore he that made them will not have mercy 
on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour. Jesus 
will be revealed in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know 
not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

2. Those who though the outer door has been opened, yet keep 
the inner door shut fast. How many are there, who do not want 
competent knowledge, and have had light conveyed into their minds 
by piercing conviction ; yet alas ! they still stand out against the 
Lord. They see what they should do, but their hearts will not com- 
ply with it. Their lusts keep such fast hold of their hearts, that 
all their convictions are baffled. They rebel against the light, keep 
Christ at the door, and follow their lusts, with a witness against 
them in their own breasts. The more light, the heavier will their 
doom be. " And this is the condemnation, that light is come into 
the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their 
deeds were evil." 

3. Those that will neither open themselves, nor suffer others to do 
it, so far as they can hinder. There are many who are agents for 
the devil, who th^selves stand aloof from holy things, and dis- 
courage others who are beginning to seek after them ; and do what 
they can one way or another to keep others from the covenant and 
true seriousness. " But woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypo- 
crites ; for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men ; for ye 
neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to 
go in." 

4. Those who pretend to open to Christ, but never open wide 
enough, so as the King of glory may come in. There is always 
some secret reserve in their closing with Christ, which spoils all. 
The door is not opened so as to receive Christ in all his offices. 
Hence instead of opening to him, he is in effect shut out, because 
they are not pleased with the covenant, as the Lord has made it ; 
their heart is divided. 


Lastly, Sleeping saints, continuing in their security notwithstand- 
ing his knocking. To them he says, " Open to me, my sister, my 
love, my dove, my undefiled; for my head is filled with dew, and 
my looks with drops of the night." They reply, I have put off my 
coat, how shall I put it on ? I have washed my feet, how shall I de- 
file them ? Such maltreatment our Lord often meets with eyen in 
the house of his friends, which must he so much the worse as those 
who giye it are of a character distinguished from the rest of the 
world. " But it was thou, a man, mine equal, my guide and mine 
acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the 
house of God in company." 

Use second of Exhortation. 

Cast the doors of your hearts open, and wide open, to the King 
of Glory. Behold he cometh in the preaching of the gospel and in 
the holy sacrament demanding admission into your hearts. Hold 
him no longer at the door, ''but lift up your heads, ye gates; 
even lift them up, ye eyerlasting doors ; and the King of glory shall 
come in." 

To enforce this exhortation, I shall, 

I. Point out some things which keep sinners from opening to 
Christ. And ! that they may speedily be remoyed. 

1. They know not who demands admission. They know not the 
King of glory, and therefore they treat him rudely. Which none 
of the princes of this world knew, for had they known it, they 
would not haye crucified the Lord of glory. Before one open a 
door, the question is, who is there? Accordingly the question is 
proposed, wfio is this King of glory ? Many will not be at any pains 
to enquire about him ; they do not concern themselyes with any that 
come to the door of their hearts that hear another than the hellish 
chap. Many propose the question, but like Pilate, they stay not 
for an answer. So they know him not, they haye no desire to know 
him. If they knew him and their own need of him, they would in- 
yite him to come in. Ignorance and unacquaintedness with Christ 
are a strong bar to keep him out. 

2. They cannot come to the door, the house is so filled with stuff. 
The woful world blocks up the way to the door, Luke xiy. 16, — ^20. 
This and the other worldly adyantage calls them to look to it, that 
they may lose nothing. The pleasures of the world like syren songs 
arrest them. The cares of the world like a thicket entangle them ; 
they cannot get forward. This weary earth interposes between 
them and the sun of righteousness ; so his beams cannot reach them. 


iirTo sinners' hbarts. 113 

The clay-idol bewitches them, so as they have neither heart nor 
hand to open the door. 

3. Their hands are so fnll irithin and they hare so many crying 
abont them that they cannot come to the door. They have so many 
hungry lusts to feed, still crying giye, give, that either they cannot 
hear Christ knocking, or if they do, their lusts so hang about them, 
that they hold them fast. " They have loved strangers and after 
them they will go." Love to their lusts leaves them no room for 
their Lord. They love their disease, they value not the Physician. 
And so while they feed their lusts, they starve their souls. 

4. They are afraid the house will be spoiled so they dare not 
open the door. It was an old engine of hell against the gospel. 
They cried, these that have turned the world upside down are come 
hither also. Sinners entertain Christ's message as Nabal did Ba^ 
vid's, 1 Sam. xxv. 11. Shall I give up with the ways of sin, which 
are so profitable and pleasant? Shall I be bound up to the strict- 
ness of a holy life, that I shall have no more liberty to do as I 
please ? Therefore to keep what they have, they will not open to 

5. The strong man keeps the house, and will not suffer them to 
go to the door. " They are in the snare of the devil, and taken 
captive by him at his will." While Christ speaks at the one ear, 
Satan speaks at the other ; and he uses every possible mean to keep 
them from opening to Christ. Sometimes he will tell them it is too 
soon, and sometimes that it is too late to do it. If they begin to 
entertain thoughts of opening, he will exert himself and vex them 
with temptations, so as not having a spirit of resolution for Christ, 
they are obliged to give it over. 

6. They think he is already received. As one is sometimes kept 
at the door upon this mistake, so Christ is sbni out of the hearts of 
many by reason of delusion and self conceit. *' They think them- 
selves rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing." They 
are beyond opening to Christ, for they think that they have opened 
already. A dangerous case, which should put all of us to an impar- 
tial trial of ourselves, and to be doing in opening to Christ, as if 
nothing had ever yet been done. 

Lastly, They are in bed and they cannot rise, Song v. 3. A soft 
sleep in the bed of sloth, keeps Christ long at the door with many. 
They have lost the taste and relish of spiritual things ; they have 
fallen out of use of wrestling with God. They have put their hands 
in their bosom, and it grieveth Ihem to bring them to their mouth. 

II. I shall bring forward some motives to urge you to open. May 
they be effectual. 


1. Consider who keeps the house, while Christ is kept at the door, 
'' While a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in 
peace." Who is this hut Satan, God's enemy, and the nsnrper of 
his throne. And as is the master, so is the fnmitnre of the house. 
It is replenished from hell with divers lusts, each of them as Egyp- 
tian taskmasters filling the sinners' hands with works of darkness, 
and neyer saying it is enough. And such will be the reward, shame 
and everlasting sorrow. That heart that should be a temple for 
God the Saviour, is a workhouse for Satan. Satan is '* the spirit 
that now worketh in the children of disobedience." 

2. Consider who it is that asks admission. A King, even the 
King of glory. Let the dignity of the person command your reve- 
rence and readiness to open ; who would shut his door on a crowned 
head ? Behold the crowned King of Zion demanding entrance into 
your souls. If you ask, who is this King of glory? He is the 
Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Therefore re- 
sistance is in vain. It will but ruin the person who makes it. For 
he is a mighty King against whom there is no rising up. Behold 
the end his enemies will make. " These mine enemies, which would 
not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them be- 
fore me." For he will be the last on the field, and will see all his 
enemies turn their backs, with the devil that deceived them, and led 
them on to oppose him. 

He is the Lord mighty in battle, therefore yon need not say, you 
eannot open. Give him but your consent, do but cordially bid him 
welcome, and he will see to the work himself. **But when a 
stronger than the strong man shall come upon him, he taketh from 
him all his armour wherein he trusteth, and divideth his spoils." 
He can make the iron gates open of their own accord. A touch of 
his hand upon the lock will make it give way. Your strongest 
lusts he can soon subdue and make them as weak as water, if you 
be but willing. 

3. Consider how unworthy the house is of him. When Solomon 
had built a glorious temple for him, he said in holy admiration: 
** But will God indeed dwell on the earth. Behold the heaven, and 
heaven of heavens cannot contain thee ; how much less this house 
that I have builded?" How much more may we say so of our 
hearts, that naturally are a cage of unclean birds, a habitation of 
devils. wonderful, that ever he should vouchsafe to knock at 
these doors, and to dwell in such a lodging. Dreadfully heinous 
then must be the sin of refusing him access. 

4. Consider that yet he will come in, if yon will open to him. 
Neither the majesty of the King of glory, nor .the meanness of the 



place which the sinner has to lodge him in, will keep them asander, 
bat only sinners refusing him access. He that has the upper house 
of heaven for his throne, will take the humble heart for his lower 
house. ** For thus saith the high and lofty one, that inhabiteth 
eternity, whose name is holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, 
with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to reviye the 
spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." 
And if he come in, he will bring a troop of blessings with him, par- 
don, peace, grace and a title to glory. " He will give grace and 
glory, and will withhold no good thing from them that walk up- 

6. This offer stood the King of glory dear. There is no such 
knocking at the door of the heart of fallen angels ; because *' Jesus 
took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed 
of Abraham." And neither would you have had this offer, unless 
the Son of God had taken upon him man's nature, and satisfied jus- 
tice, so that now with the good will of justice, mercy may be ex- 
tended to the rebels. He purchased his kingdom with his blood, 
and now he is demanding access to it. For this is the voice of the 
King of glory returning from the battle which he has fought for 
sinners ; calling them to open the gates to let in the conqueror tri- 
umphantly. May we not then say, " How shall we escape if we ne- 
glect so great salvation." 

6. Remember the day will come, that you, to whom he now calls 
to open to him, will call to him to open to you. He has the keys of 
heU and death : And whom he sends there, none can keep back, and 
whom he keeps back, none can set forward. For he opens and none 
can shut, and he shuts and none can open. He carries the keys of 
heaven's gates, and gives answers to those that knock at the door. 
And how can you expect that he will admit yon into heaven,«if yon 
will not now receive him into your hearts. '' Strive to enter in at 
the strait gate ; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and 
shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, 
and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to 
knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us ; and he shall 
answer and say unto yon, I know you not whence ye are." 

?• You have a very solemn call at this time. Christ is opening 
his heart to you now by his word, to bid yon welcome ; next day we 
have the prospect of his opening it to you in the sacrament. This 
is a special time, in which the ark of gospel ordinances comes to 
your gates. Beware of slighting the King of glory in such a solem- 
nity. It is the solemnity of his espousals and his coronation too, 
the time in which some will in a special manner be espoused to him 


and put the crown on his head. *' Go forth, O yo daughters of Zios, 
and behold King Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother 
crowned him, in the day of his esponsals, and in the day of the glad- 
ness of his heart." Bat a time of blessing to some proves a time of 
a withering curse to others. ** For I say unto you, that none of 
those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper." 

8. Consider the offer will not last always. Our Lord stands and 
knocks, Rev. iii. 20. He does not sit down at the door but stands, 
which is a way going posture* He has nothing to do, but turn his 
back and be gone. And indeed patience when still abused, turns to 
fury at length. You have had many knocks, if yon sit this, the 
next may knock your souls out of your bodies, and where are you 

Lastly, There is no other way to be saved, but by opening to 
Christ. Thus it shall be well with you, but otherwise yon sin 
against the remedy of Christ to your eternal ruin. 

Say not it is too soon. Ah ! Is it too soon to have the soul 
plucked as a brand out of the burning ? Is there not a danger of 
delaying? The longer you be in coming unto Christ, the harder 
work will it be. Nay, who knows but the Lord may cease knock- 
ing at thy heart, and that by delaying thou mayst outlive thy day 
of grace. There were several with us last sacrament, who are now 

Say not it is too long to be done now. No, thon shalt yet be wel- 
come, if thon be willing. There is no case so far gone as to be hope- 
less, that is put into Christ's hand. '* Jesus said. Take ye away the 
stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him. 
Lord, by this time he stinketh ; for he had been dead four days. 
Jesus said unto her, said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldst be- 
lieve, thou shouldst see the glory of God ?" The stone that has lain 
long before the builder, and has been often rejected while others 
about it were taken up, may come at length to get a place in the 
building. For yet Hiere is roam. Our Lord often comes back, and 
washes them that were formerly overlooked. " For I will cleanse, 
says he, their blood, that I have not cleansed ; for the Lord dwell- 
eth in Zion." 

But Oh! will ever the Lord come into such a heart as mine? 
Answer, our Lord makes no exceptions. *' If any man, says he, will 
open the door, I will oome in to him." This may encourage thee. 
Our Lord never finds any heart good, but makes it good. He comes 
in as a Physician, and therefore thy sickness will not drive him 
away. The more desperate the disease is, the greater is the glory 
of his grace. Christ ean make a stepping stone of thy sinfulness 
and misery, by which to ascend to his throne. 


Let me conclude with giying some advices to those that would 
open to, and receiye him at his tahle. 

1. Search the honse. Set about the duty of self-examination. 
** But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread 
and drink of that cup." Examine yourselves as to your state, 
frame, graces, sins, wants, resolutions and the like. 

2. Labour to purge the house of the idols of jealousy. " Purge 
out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are 
unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." 
Renew your repentance. Sea what have been the great hinderances 
betwixt Christ and you, and take them out of the way. 

3. Be sure to keep in the fire, the holy fire of grace. Quench not 
the Spirit. Cherish every good motion. And if you have got any 
thing strive to keep it. 

4. Put the key of your hearts in the Lord's hand. Commit your 
unruly spirits to him, in the way of believing, lest Satan catch the 
key and the King be shut out. 

5. Have on your best clothes, the wedding garment of Christ's 
righteousness applied by faith. Put off also the old man which is 
corrupt, and put on the new man, with all the ornaments of the hid** 
den man of the heart. 

6. See you be at home. Let not your hearts be a seeking, wander- 
ing through the ends of the earth. But be deeply concerned about 
your own case. 

Finally, See you be not in your beds, when he comes to the door, 
'^ And you say I have put off my coat, how shall I put it on ? I 
have washed my feet, how shall I defile them ?" But shake off se- 
eurity. Let your loins be girt and your lamp burning, that you 
may be ready to open to him when he comes. Amen. 

Vol. III. 

118 Christ's iwvitatiok 

Action Sermon at Euricky Jtdy 15, 1716. 


Song iv. 8. 

Come ufith me from Lebanony my spouse^ with me from Lebanon : Look 
from the top of Amanayfrom the top of Shenir and Hermonyfrom the 
Uons* dens, from the mountains of the leopards. 

This world was never designed to be the fixed abode of tbe children 
of men, and therefore there was a restraint laid upon onr first 
parents in paradise, as to the forbidden tree, shewing that they be- 
hoved to look to another world for their happiness. Man was once 
set fair on the way to the land where glory dwells, but he lost his 
way, and now poor sinners are fonnd wandering on the mountains of 
vanity. The first Adam managed ill, and brought us into this con- 
dition. But behold, the second Adam came to gather the dispersed 
of Israel, and to lead tliem on their way to the better country. Hear 
, his voice in the text, calling his people to leave the weary world and 
go homeward with himself. 

The text is divided into two parts. 

1. Christ's gracious call to his people to leave the world as 
mountains of vanity. And here is a double call which runs more 
emphatically in the original, thus, " With me from Lebanon, 
spouse, with me come from Lebanon." In the first of these calls, 
observe the party to whom it is directed, namely to Christ's spouse. 
Those persons that are espoused to him by embracing him in the 
covenant. It is to be observed, that this is the first time that the 
church gets this name in this song. We read of the espousals be- 
fore, chap. iii. 11. And here he begins to own the relation, for some 
special reason surely, which I conceive to be this, which may give us 
a just notion of the call. It was a custom among the Jews, that 
the Bridegroom took the bride out of the city into the fields, where 
they had their nuptial songs, and afterwards he brought her back 
again, leaning on him into the city to his father's house. To this 
custom there seems to be an allusion, chap. viii. 6. " Who is this 
that Cometh up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved ?" 
And here also in the text. And thus it is a call of Christ's bride to 
rise and come away with her Bridegroom to the city above to his 
Father's house. Observe also, 


The place from which she is to come, fnyn^ Lebanon, It was a 
goodly pleasant monntain. It was a part of the good land that is 
beyond Jordan, even that goodly mountain and Lebanon. It was an 
odoriferous place, Hos. xiv. 6. and so may well represent the smiling 
world, which yet is only a bulky yanity, a place where Christ's 
spouse must not think to take up her abode. Observe also the com- 
pany offered her in her journey home, ivith me, it is the society of 
her Bridegroom and Lord. In the world she cannot expect to have 
communion with him continued with her. So far as the deceitful 
world gains upon her heart, she loses of her coAimunion with Christ. 
The manner of the call nierits attention. It is an abrupt and hasty 
expression, intimating her great danger in sitting still, that there- 
fore she must come away quickly, not lingering, and that he was very 
earnest to have her as it were plucked out of the fire. In the second 
of these calls, obserye Christ's glory and excellency proposed to 
counterbalance all the ensnaring glory of the world. With me, eome 
with me. And therefore in the former clause the offer of his society 
is supposed sufficient to draw her heart from the world. The world's 
glory dazzles the eyes, and arrests the hearts, even of the Lord's 
people, till they see the transcendent glory of their Lord, and this 
looses them from it, and makes them willing rather to go with Christ, 
than to sit still in the world's embraces. 

Again observe that the call is fully expressed. Come with msfrom 
Lebanon, Come is an engaging word. The success of the Romans 
in their wars was ascribed to the word of command, which their mi- 
litary officers used. It was not go, but oome. And how justly may 
it be expected that the hearts of the Lord's people at the hearing of 
that word from their Lord and husband. If the way be steep and 
difficult, he orders them not to go alone. Whatever they leave for 
him, they shall have himself in its stead. 

2. Christ's gracious call to leave the world as mountains of prey, 
dangerous mountains. Observe here another emblem of the world. 
It is represented by three other mountains, Amana, Shenir, and 
Hermon, which two last some think to be but two tops of one moun- 
tain. We read of the pleasant dew of Hermon, Psal. cxxxiii. and 
it is likely all these mountains were pleasant ones as well as Le- 
banon. But yet they were indeed dangerous, for the lions had their 
dens there, and the leopards their haunts there. And thus the 
world is a dangerous place to Christ's spouse. She is in hazard 
while in it. Even in the midst of worldly felicity, there are fearful 
snares. The lions' dens are expressed emphatically, to strike her 
with a horror of the place, that she may haste away. 

Observe also the duty to which the spouse is called, that is to 


120 Christ's invitatiok 

look from them. This mast be by an eye of faith, to look from these 
mountains to his Father's house, the sight of which would inflame 
her to go with him thither, even as Moses saw Canaan from Pisgah. 
It is surely a looking from them in order to leaving them : and in- 
deed the word may signify to direct one's course, and this very 
word, Isa. Mi. 9. is rendered thou wentesty and implies a stateliness 
in going, agreeing well with the noble contempt of the height of 
worldly excellencies, arising in gracious souls, from their commn- 
nion with their Lord in their way home. 

Doctrine. — It is Christ's call to his bride, to come away home with 
him to his Father's house, from out of the deceitful and dangerous 

For the illustration and Improvement of this doctrine, I shall 

I. Take notice of some things supposed in this kind call and in- 

II. I shall explain this coming from the world. 

III. I will shew the import of coming away with Christ from the 
world. I am then, 

I. To take notice of some things supposed in this kind call and 
invitation to come away from out of the deceitful and dangerous 

1. It BUpposeth that Christ's bride is yet in the world. She is not 
yet carried home to his Father's hoose, where the marriage is to be 
consummated. Our Lord in his prayer for himself and his people 
takes notice of this. " And now I am no more in the world, but 
these are in the world, and I come to thee." Christ's bride in yet 
in a state of imperfection. Though brought out of Egypt, yet not 
eome to Canaan, but still in the willderness. 

2. Though she be there, and perhaps has been there many years 
since she was united to Christ, yet he has not forgot her, but kindly 
remembers her still, whatever she may think otherwise. " But Zion, 
said the Lord, hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. 
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have com* 
passion on the son of her womb ? Yea, they may forget, yet will 
I not forget thee. Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of my 
hands ; thy walls are continually before me." Neither distance of 
place betwixt the mountain of myrrh, and the mountains of vanity, 
nor length of time, wears out Christ's kindly remembrance of those 
who have once given themselves to him. 

3. The world is not a place for Christ's spouse to rest in, she is 
in great danger there. The lions have their dens there, and leopards 
are ranging there. Though she must walk through it in her journey 
to Immanuel's land, she must not be much delighted with the deceit- 

TO Hia BRIBE. 121 

fol mountains that may please the eye, or lay herself down to be 
solaced with them, for she may get a fearful rising, as Samson did 
out of Delila's lap. The Philistines be upon thee. 

4. Yet sometimes the foolish creatures lie down even among the 
lions' dens, and being charmed with the deceitful mountains is averse 
to come away. She hugs the serpent in her arms, not considering 
the sting, and like the silly dove, nestles where she has been many 
times robbed. '' Ephraim is like a silly doye, without heart : they 
call to Egypt, they go to Assyria." Perhaps when the soul first 
engaged with Christ, she could have been well pleased, there had 
been but one step betwixt the tent of the espousals and the marriage 
chamber in the Bridegroom's Father's house. But now that desire is 
away, she has taken up a dangerous lodging by the way, and can 
hardly be prevailed on to rise and open the door to her beloved, 
Song V. 3. 

6. Our Lord takes notice of and is concerned for the soul's dan* 
ger from the deceitful world. And therefore he cries with earnest- 
ness to come away. Though you sleep in dangerous places. He that 
keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. He knows that there im 
danger in places in which our eyes can discern none ; and he shews 
a concern that we may be delivered from it, and therefore he calls 
and excites us to come away from it. We proceed, 

II. To explain this coming from the world, or shew what is im- 
plied in it. 

There is a twofold coming away from the world. 

1. There is a natural coming out of it. By the course of nature, 
we are all on our way out of it. One generaticm passeth away, and 
another oometh. In this respect there is no abiding in it. Time 
runs with a rapid course, and whether we sleep or wake, it carries 
us down the stream, and will ere long waft us all into the ocean of 
eternity: and then farewell forever the deceitful world. We are 
done with it for ever. 

2. There is a spiritual coming out of it, namely, in heart and af* 
faction. " Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither 
moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through 
nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be 
also." And thus believers in the exercise of grace are making 
away out of it. They are coming up from the wilderness leaning upon 
their beloved. When though they be in the world, yet they are liv- 
ing like people of another world ; when though their bodies be on 
the earth, yet their hearts are in heaven. This is what Christ is 
calling you to this day. The substance of which you may take up 
in these few things. Christ is saying to you, 


122 cheibt's invitation 

1. Take your last look, the parting look of the world by faith 
even as Moses did of the profits and pleasures of Egypt. ''He 
esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in 
Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward." 
You looked with an unwary eye and lay down ; look again where 
you are lying among the lions' dens, and rise up, and haste away. 
Take a believing look of the world as it is represented in God's 
word, deceitful and dangerous to the soul, as that which has 
wounded many, yea, and slain its ten thousands. Do as he, who 
upon awakening finds himself at the month of a lion's den, he looks 
to it with horror and runs away. Till you see your danger, you 
will never come away. 

2. Turn your backs then upon the things of the world. Be mor- 
tified to them. Say, " God forbid that I should glory, save in the 
cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto 
me and I unto the world." Our hearts are naturally glued to the 
world. Now let the bond be efi^ectually loosed at Christ's call, that 
you may mount upwards. " Who is this that cometh out of the wil- 
derness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankin- 
cense, with all the powders of the merchant." Alas ! how like are 
we to the bird that has a stone fixed by a cord to its foot, rising to 
fly it cannot because of the weight. '' Let us then lay aside every 
weight, and the sin that doth most easily beset us, and run with pa- 
tience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author 
and finisher of our faith." Lift up your hearts this day from the 
world's smiles, resolving through grace never to be again beguiled 
with them as you have been. '' There be many that say, who will 
shew us any good ? Lord lift thou up the light of thy countenance 
upon us." You have lain long enough among the pots, and sure I 
am, you cannot but say, though you have been smoked sufiiciently 
there, yet you have never been satisfied.-^Come then let us break 
the world's silver cords of death ; stop our ears at its siren songs, 
that have been bitterness already, and will be bitterness in the end, 
if we do not give them over. 

The smiling world is meeting and embracing some. It is casting 
into their lap plentifully, and still they have prospect of more. 
But 0! take heed to the dangerous embraces, lest it hug you to 
death, as surely it will, if you do not shake yourselves loose of it, 
" For the turning away of the simple, shall slay them, and the pros- 
perity of fools shall destroy them." I would therefore say to you 
in the words of Solomon, " Look not thou upon the wine when it is 
red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself 
aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an 


adder.*' The world is fleeing away from others, yet they are still 
following the balky yanity, crying who will shew ns any good? 
Bat ! give oyer the chase lest you fall on the moantains of yanity, 
and injure your souls, while pnrsaing shadows, which, if yoa had 
them, would not fill your hand. " They that will be rich fall into 
temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts 
which drown men in destruction and perdition." 

Regard not the world's frowns. " By faith Moses forsook Egypt, 
not fearing the wrath of the king : for he endured as seeing him 
who is inyisible." Resolye through grace this day, to liye aboye 
them, to set your face against the storm, and blow what weather it 
will, to be forward. Whateyer may befall ns, let ns say with Ha- 
bakknk, " Yet we will rejoice in the Lord, we will joy in the God 
of our salyation." what a shame is it to see Christ's spouse al- 
ways hanging down her head, when the world twists its brows. 
The clouds will return after the rain in these lower regions, and 
there is no correcting of the bad air that blows in the weary land. 
Let ns resolye to take it as it comes, as those who are not to stay 
with it, who haye business in another world, and must needs be for- 
ward, be it foul, be it fair. 

3. Giye up this day with the men of the world, neyer more to 
mix with the natiyes of the weary land ; who labour for nothing 
but the entertainment of Lebanon, and who haye taken up their 
home among the lions' dens. '' Wherefore come out from among 
them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean 
thing, and I will receiye you." You haye sported long enough with 
them, about the hole of the asp and the cockatrice den, and haye 
seen many of them fall in, yet you are preseryed. Now come away 
and leaye them, lest you fall in next. Be exhorted '^ to saye yoor- 
selyes from this untoward generation." 

Giye up with the way of the men of the world. " Enter not into 
the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of eyil men. Ayoid 
it, pass not by it, turn from it and pass away." Giye oyer their fa- 
shions, though they be fashions with which you haye been bred. 
Forget also thine awn people and thy Father's Jwuse, If you haye a 
mind to come away with Christ, you must this day commence non- 
conformists to the world. "Be not conformed to this world, but 
be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." Resolye hence- 
forth to seek another portion, than that with which they take np. 
To follow higher and more noble designs than they do ; and that 
your joys and sorrows shall run in another channel than theirs do. 

Giye up with their company. " He that walketh with wise men 
shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." If yoa 

124 christ'b ikvitatiok 

are resolred to Gome away with Christ, then they are not goiiig your 
way) therefore yon most forsake them. Why should yon lire with 
them when yon wonid not desire to die with them. Eyil company 
has mined many> it has been the grave of their convictions, the pit 
in which good purposes and resolutions have perished, the wall of 
separation betwixt God and many a soul, and so in the end the ab- 
solute destruction of many for eternity. Let us now proceed, 

III. To shew the import of coming away with Christ from the 

I. Our Lord has a better place for your reception, than the world 
oan be in its best dress. " But now they desire a better country, 
that is an heavenly : Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called 
their God ; for he hath provided for them a city." This is the new 
Jerusalem. There his Father's house stands. And in that house 
are many mansions. If you ask where the city is situated ? It is 
In the better country, Immanuers land, the land that is blessed with 
an eternal spring, in which are no clouds, no night but an eternal 
day. If yon enquire ,after the profits of the house ? There is in it 
an eternal weight of glory. The possessor of it shall inherit all 
things. Rivers of pleasure are there. As to the dignity of the 
house, the inhabitants are all Kings and Priests unto God. The so- 
ciety of saint6, angels, and to be ever with the Lord, constitute the 
felicity of the place. 

2» Our Lord can assuredly bring you into this glorious and happy 
place. But I will I obtain admission f Why, come with me says 
Christ, there will be no hinderance if you enter along with me. 
His Father has made him Lord of the land. Lord high steward of 
the house. "All power, saith Jesus, is given unto me in heaven 
and in earth." He has purchased the house, the country by his own 
blood, and he must either lose his expensive property, or have it 
peopled with the sons of fallen Adam. 

3. That place is his own choice. It is long since he gave orders 
to tell his people where he was going. " Go, said he, to my Breth- 
ren, and say unto them, t ascend unto my Father, and your Father, 
and to my God and your God." Now, says he, come with me. 
When he was in the world he never intended to stay for he des- 
pised it. He regarded not the smiles and flatteries of the world. 
A crown here he did not value. He despised the frowns of the 
world, and endured the cross. Well may he say come, he says not 
go, for he orders you to ride no ford, but what he himself hath pas- 
sed before you. 

4. Christ is in his way thithef, out of the world to his Father's 
house, the better country. What, is not Christ there already? 


True, Christ personal is there, but Christ mystical is not there yet. 
There is a ravishing sight in the wilderness, if yon oould see it. 
There is a inarch sounded in the wilderness, and Christ's camp is 
lifted, and the fair army is npon their march to Immannel's land, 
and they are so far advanced in their march, that their Foremnner, 
the General, and the van have already got over Jordan, and the 
rear is coming up with displayed banners, and they will be there 
too ere long. What means the sleeping world, that they do not see 
how they are left behind, that they do not hear the General's voice, 
saying, come away with me, 

5. Oar Lord is very desirous of your company by the way, yes, 
and to have yon away with him for altogether. Come, enlist your- 
selves ye natives of the mountains, and leave the lions' dens. Come 
np ye stragglers, keep np your ranks. Our Lord loves to have you 
direct at his back, so as you may receive the word of command and 
encouragement, that is always going through the army. Is there 
any poor fool broken off and skulking among the lions' dens ? He 
is crying to you come away. Is there any poor soul fallen back and 
hiding itself in some hole, as ashamed to look their Captain in the 
face, or to shew their head among the fair company ? To such he 
says come away; come away forward, onward, homeward. Yes,^ 
home, for he will have you home. '* Father I will, says he, that 
they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am ; that 
they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me." 

6. dur Lord displays his glory to you in the gospel, to win your 
hearts and get you away with him. Come, says he, with me, with me. 
As if he had said, will you look to me, that will cure the madness 
and frenzy into which a look of the bewitching world hath cast you. 
" Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth ; for I 
am God, and there is none else." As when the sun appears, the 
stars hide their heads, and have no beauty by reason of that which 
excelleth ; so the glory of the Son of God, discerned by faith, will 
make all the glory of the world like a small candle before the sun, 
going out with smoke. 

7. Our Lord offers you, not only better in hope, but better in 
hand than the world can give you. Come with me. Do not com- 
plain that he would pluck you off the breasts, it is only to pluck 
you off the dry the foulsome breasts of the world, to set you upon 
better ; " That ye may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her 
consolation ; that ye may milk out and be delighted with the abun- 
dance of her glory." 

He knows the frame of our hearts, they must always have some- 
thing to feed upon, and that they will never part with the worlds 

126 Christ's invitatiok, 

but for something that is better. " Shake thyself from the dost ; 
arise and sit down, Jerusalem : loose thyself from the bands of 
thy neck, captive daughter of Zion." You shall be with him, 
with him at home, that is heaven. With him in the way, that is 
heaven on the earth. Communion with him. Habitual communion 
in fellowship with him in his righteousness, death, Spirit, purchase. 
Actual communion in the communications of his grace and manifes- 
tations of himself. 

8. If you will come away, you shall go as he goes, you shall go 
together. Go as he goes in point of duty. Esteem all things as he 
does. Let his choice be your choice. Rejoice in those things in 
which he rejoices ; and be grieved for what grieves his Spirit. Love 
what he loves, and hate what he hates. Can two walk together except 
they he agreed ? And you shall go as he goes in point of privilege. 
You shall have your lot with him. Always take his side, whoever 
oppose him, and you shall share in all the advantages which his 
friends shall have of the world here or hereafter. Wherever the 
world may drive you, he will be with you. 

9. He will lead yon and support you through the whole of the 
way. You are now in the fields of the world, and there will be 
^difficult steps in your way to the city ; these will not be easily dis- 
cerned, but come with him, he will keep you from stumbling on the 
dark mountains. And '^ I will bring, says he, the blind by a way 
which they knew not ; I will lead them in paths which they have 
not known : I will make darkness light before them, and crooked 
things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake 
them." He will bear you up and bear you through with all the 
weight of your guilt, duties, and afflictions, for you must come with 
him leaning as the Bride upon the Bridegroom. 

Lastly, He will be all to you in all. Leave all the world and 
come wkh me, for all, as the espoused bride goes with her husband. 
Whatever comfort, pleasure, and delight you drew out of the muddy 
streams, you may now draw in a far superior manner from the foun- 
tain. Thus it shall be your duty and privilege too, to live as peo- 
ple of another world. " For our conversation is in heaven ; from 
whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ." To 
maintain a heavenly frame, will make your whole conversation hea- 
venly. To be frequent and fervent in duties, will lead you to fel- 
lowship with him in providences and ordinances. And that will 
make a pleasant sight. " Who is this that cometh out of the wil- 
derness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankin- 
cense, with all powders of the merchant ?" 


Uses of Improvement. 

Hearken, sinners I to this call, whioh Christ gives to his church. 
Come away with him, yon that are espoused to him, and even you 
that are not so, but are in the visible church, where he seeks his 
Bride. Come away to him, come with him from out of this world 
and the lions' dens. Take your parting look of the mountains of 
vanity, and come away. For motives, 

1. Consider that these mountains are certainly to be laid waste. 
A fire will devour them as Sodom. " The earth also and the works 
that are therein shall be burnt up with fire." Christ calls all for 
whom he has a kindness to make haste from these mountains, as 
Lot did out of Sodom, and this is a certain evidence that they are 
devoted to destruction. Therefore come away and look not back. 
And if his own were once freely out, then the pillars are removed 
and this weary world falls into the fire. 

Moixve 2. — Is it not the place of lions' dens ? How then can you 
be safe in it. Has not the great roaring lion his den in it ? And 
does he not go about catching his prey in every part of it ? 1 Pet. 
V. 8. Is it not full of wicked men who are young lions ? May not 
the yellings which you hear in their blasphemies against God and 
religion, their roarings against the church and the work of God, and 
the devouring work which they frequently make upon their fellow 
creatures, may not all these make it a weary land in your eyes. 

3. Is there any among us all, to whom it has not been a place of 
lions' dens ? Let your conscience speak, and say, has it not been in 
many instances an unkind world to you ? How often has it touched 
you in the sore heel, and given you a blow where you were least 
able to bear it? How often have lions and leopards as it were 
started out upon you from places where you expected nothing but to 
have been in ease and safety. And will you yet hug the serpent, 
and dandle that which has so often bruised your bones. Do it no 
longer, but come away with Christ. For, 

4. In the enjoyment of Christ, you will not be grieved with disap- 
pointments as you have been from the world. Worldly things are 
fairest afar off, greater in expectation than in enjoyment. But the 
enjoyment of Christ will far surpass your most elevated expectation. 
<< Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the 
heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that 
love him." The treasure of the gospel will endure through all the 
ages of eternity. How often have you put out your hand to take 
up what you needed from the world, and behold you have had no- 

128 CHBIST'b nfYITATION, &c. 

thing. Every disappointment from the world with which yon meet, 
says for Christ, oome away. 

5. He will not reward yonr love with hatred as the world has 
done a thousand times. '' I love them, says he, that love me, and 
those that seek me early shall find me." Have yon not heartily 
stretched yourself down on the deceitful mountains, and ere you 
were aware, a serpent has bit you, and sent you away wounded ? 
Hare you not found yonr greatest cross one way or another in yonr 
greatest comfort, either in the possession of it, or in the loss of it ? 
Have you not, where you pressed hardest for sweet, wrung out 
blood, instead of milk, and striking at the rocky mountains for 
water, all you have got was fire flashing in your faces. 

6. You will get a surer hold of Christ, than ever yon could get of 
the world. '* And 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." 
How oft have you thought yourselves sure of the creature, but yon 
have been deceived ? Yon have dreamed, and behold yon were full, 
but awakening you found yourself empty. All worldly things are 
uncertain in life, and at death they will leave yon altogether. 
None of them will go with yon to the other world. 

7. Christ is altogether lovely, and this the world never was to 
yon, nor to any of Adam's sons. Did you ever lie down on any 
place of the deceitful mountains, but there was a thorn under yon ? 
Got you ever that good thing yet but it had a want ? The fairest 
rose has its prickles. And thorns and briers come np by the side of 
the sweetest earthly comforts. 

8. If you will come away from the world with Christ, yon will 
need care the less what weather blow upon the mountains. Shaking 
storms use to be there, and for as fair as it is now, you know not 
how soon the storm may rise, and the lions and leopards be let 
loose. Wo to the natives then, the inhabiters of the world, that 
have all their stock on the mountains. But if you be on your way 
with Christ, he will take care of you, and be the blast as bitter as 
it will, it will be on your back, and speed you on your way. 

Lastly, He will fill and satisfy the desires of your hearts, which 
the world never could and never shall. Open thy mouth, says he, 
imde, and I wiUjiU it. All things which grow on the mountains, are 
but husks to the soul. And if you had the whole world at your 
beck, it would leave you with a breast full of unsatisfied desires. 
Come then restless creature. Come and rest in Jesus Christ. 
Comply with the call now. You will wish you had done it at 
death, when you are driven out of the world, and at the judgment 


when driyeii from Christ. He is now willing to receive the worst of 
yon into his blessed train. " Behold, says he, I stand at the door 
and knock : if any man hear my yoice and open the door, I will 
come in to him, and will snp with him, and he with me. Amen. 


EUrick, July 22, 1716. 

[B«iDg thtt firtt Sabbath after ditpeouog the Lord*a Supper.] 


1 Thessaloniavs y. 19. 
Quench not the Spirit. 

It may be reasonably thought, that it was not without some design, 
that God sent ns the solemn ordinanoe, which we observed last Sab- 
bath ; and that the Spirit of the Lord was not idle among ns, while 
the arrows of the word were flying in snch numbers, along with the 
sacrament. Surely several were touched in one way or another. 
And if these things were rightly managed they might come to a 
good account. But alas I some as they get touches of the Spirit 
lightly without seeking, so they let them go as lightly. Others are 
at pains to earn something, and when got they put into a bag with 
holes. But whoever would have any lasting good in religion would 
do well to hearken to this exhortation. Quench not the Spirit. In 
these words, there is, 1. A holy fire supposed to be kindled in the 
souls of men. In Matthew iii. 11. John said of Jesus, he $haJll bap- 
tize you with the Holy Ghost and with Jire. Here the Spirit is com- 
pared to fire, and in other places to water. This is not meant of 
the person of the Spirit who cannot be quenched, but of his gifts, 
operations, and motions, which are often quenched. It is thus ex- 
pressed because the injury redounds to the Spirit himself. 

2. Our duty with respect to this holy fire. Quench it not. Do 
not put it out or weaken it in the soul. More is understood. 
Cherish the Spirit, give fuel to this sacred fire, maintain and keep it 
in, and blow it up. Be concerned kindly to entertain the opera* 
tions, and motions of the Spirit. 

Doctrine, — It is the duty of all to take heed that they quench not 
the holy fire of the Spirit kindled in the soul, but that they nourish 



and oberish it. To prepare this for applioation, vhicb I ebiefly de- 
sign. I shall only, 

I. Give you some distinctions of quenching the Spirit. 

II. Shew how the Spirit is quenched. 

III. Offer reasons why we should not quench the Spirit. We are 

I. To give some distinctions of quenching the Spirit. 

1. There is a total and a partial quenching of the Spirit. A 
total quenching is when the Spirit is quite extinguished, his motions 
and impressions on the soul quite erased so as there remains not one 
spark among the ashes. Thus Saul and other graceless men have 
quenched the Spirit) and this ends in giving them up to the lusts of 
their own hearts. My Spiiit, saith God, shall not always strive 
with men. And this Spirit departed from Saul. 

A partial quenching is, When the Spirit is weakened, the force 
and vigour of his motions and impressions abated, and the fire 
brought to a very spark. Thus the godly may be guilty of quench- 
ing the Spirit. Thus David prayed, " Create in me a clean heart, 
God: and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away 
from thy presence : and take not thy holy Spirit from me. Restore 
unto me the joy of thy salvation : and uphold me with thy free 

2. There is a wilful and a weak quenching of the Spirit. 

The wilful quenching is when men resolutely set themselves to 
put out the holy fire, being resolved not to part with their lusts, 
they go on in opposition to their light, and strangle their uneasy 
consciences, and murder their convictions, that they may sin with- 
out control. " Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, 
ye do always resist the Holy Ghost ; as your fathers did, so do ye." 
This is a dangerous case. 

A weak quenching I call that which flows rather from weakness 
than wicked nesss, rather from carelessness than design. This is 
called grieving of the Spirit, Ephes. vi. 30. It is described, Song 
V. 2.-5. 

3. There is a quenching of the Spirit in ourselves, or in others. 
The Spirit may be quenched in ourselves by ourselves. God some- 
times kindles the holy fire in our hearts, and miserable, we put it 
out. For though we cannot kindle, we can extinguish it. Though 
we cannot open the door we can shut it. " For my people, saith the 
Lord, is foolish, they have not known me ; they are sottish children, 
and they have none understanding : they are wise to do evil, but to 
do good they have no knowledge." Like little children that can 
do the ill, but not the good. 


We may quench the Spirit in others, even as one may put out the 
fire in another person's house. ''But woe unto you, Scribes and 
Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against 
men ; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that 
are entering to go in." Thus ministers may quench the Spirit in 
people, and people in ministers. One member of a family in ano- 
ther, and one neighbour in another, by discouraging, vexing and op- 
pressing them in what is good and holy, by which means their knees 
are enfeebled and their hands weakened in following the Lord in 
the way of duty. I now proceed, 

II. To shew how the Spirit is quenched. This holy fire is 

1. By doing violence to it, as when one puts his foot on the fire 
or casts water on it ; or blows out a candle. So there is a doing 
violence to the Spirit, and thus the Spirit is quenched by sins of 
commission, especially such as are done with a high hand, and in 
opposition to light. By these the Spirit is grieved. As when one 
raises an offensive smoke in the room where his guest sits, he is 
grieved and departs : so the Spirit is grieved by the offensive smell 
arising from our raging corruptions. 

2. The fire of the Spirit is quenched by the neglecting of it, as 
when one does not supply fuel to the fire, it will go out, though no 
violence be done to it. The lamp also will be extinguished if you 
feed it not with more oil. So the Spirit is quenched by neglecting 
his motions, not cherishing them, not walking in the light while we 
have it. For however briskly this wind blow, it will cease, if we 
do not spread out our sails and make way with it, for it will not 
blow to no purpose. We are now, 

III. To give reasons why we should not quench the Spirit. 

1. Because it is the holy fire ; and therefore it ought to be kept 
carefully, and it is dangerous to meddle with it. It is fire from 
heaven, not the fire of God's anger, but of his Spirit. When the 
people saw the fire come down. Lev. ix. 24. They shouted and fell on 
their faces. They were filled with awe and reverence of God. So 
should we in this case, especially as it is committed to our care. It 
is the fire of the altar, the Spirit of Christ, the purchase of his suf- 
ferings and death : and therefore when we feel his motions and ope- 
rations, we should be careful of them as of the purchase of blood. 

2. Because we can do nothing without it. Without me, says Jesus, 
ye can do nothing. So far as the Spirit goes away, all true light and 
heat go with him, and then the soul remains as in a state of death, 
in darkness, cold and stiff. When the wind ceases, how can the 
ship sail ? And when the Spirit is quenched, how can we make to 
our harbour ? 



8. Becanse when once quenched we cannot rekindle it. We haye 
no command oyer the Spirit, " We can neither tell whence in comeih 
nor whether it goeth." Were it the fire of onr own hearthg, though 
it were extinguished, we might kindle it again. But it is from hear 
yen and we haye no command there. He that will not sail while 
wind and tide serye, must eyen lie still till they come again. But 
a fair wind has hlown to some for Immanuers land, which haying 
Blighted, they haye neyer again enjoyed, as in the case of Felix. 

Lastly, Because the quenching of this fire, is the raising of ano- 
ther tending to the consuming of the soul. Tliis is a fire of corrup- 
tion within us. When the Spirit departed from Saul he went to the 
deyil. And some people neyer come to a height in wickedness till 
the Spirit of the Lord has been at work with them, and they haye 
quenched his motions. " When the unclean spirit is gone out of a 
man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest and findeth none. 
Then saith he, I will return into my house from whence I came out ; 
and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 
Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seyen other spirits more 
wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there : and the 
last state of that man is worse than the first." 

It is a fire of Crod's anger without us. " But they rebelled, and 
yexed his holy Spirit : therefore he was turned to be their enemy, 
and he fought against them." For thus men turn fighters against 
God, enter the lists with their Creator and oppose themselyes to 
him, who is a consuming fire. 

Use. Quench not the Spirit. And 

I. Quench not the Spirit in others, but cherish and nourish it. 
When you can perceiye any good motions and inclinations wrought 
in a person, beware of doing any thing to weaken them, but help 
them forward. Let us, 

I. Inquire how one may quench the Spirit in others ? 

1. By mocking them, and the way which they are looking after. 
This is the persecution of the tongue, which Satan raises against 
persons when once they begin to turn serious. In allusion to the son 
of the bond woman mocking Sarah and her son, the apostle says, ^'As 
then he that was bom after the flesh persecuted him that was born 
after the Spirit, eyen so it is now." With this the saints meet not 
only from the openly profane, but also from the formal professor. 
'* With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with 
their teeth." But lay your accounts with it, and be on your guard 
that the Spirit be not quenched by it, Jude, yer. 17. and downwards. 
And for such as do it, let them remember these words, " Now there- 
fore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong ; for I haye 


heard from the Lord God a coniumption even determined opon the 
whole earth." 

3. By speakiDg evil of the vay of Qod, Acts xiz. 9. It is said, 
" divers irere hardened, and belieyed not, hat spake evil of that way 
hefore the multitnde." There are many who act the devil's part in 
this matter, who to queneh the Spirit in others, bawl out their yiru- 
lent speeches against sermons, communions, ministers, communicants ; 
a very proper way to stifle any good motions in others, in the very 
birth. Wonld to God snch would consider. '* Behold the Lord 
Cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon 
all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their 
ungodly deeds, which they have ungodly committed, and of all their 
hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." 

3. By opposing themselves to others aiming at the way of the 
Lord, setting themselves to crush and bear down real religion and 
holiness in them. " When the Jews opposed themselves and bUuk 
phemed, Paul shook his raiment, and said unto then, your blood be 
upon your own heads ; I am clean ; from henceforth I will go unto 
the Gentiles.** 

SeMom do any begin to walk with God, but Satan raises up some 
one or other, to be a dead weight upon them in their way. This is 
malignancy, and the true spirit of malignants ; and such persons are 
real malignants, profess what they will, and God will treat them aa 
such. But remember that Jesus hath said, '* Whoso shall offend 
one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him 
that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were 
drowned in the depths of the sea." 

4. By diverting them from their duty. Thus Elymas the sorcerer 
withstood the apostles, seeking to turn away the deputy from the 
faith. There is a generation, who, when the Spirit of God is calling 
persons one way, they are ready to call them another, and thereby 
to efface from their minds all impressions of religion. Evil company 
is one of the chief pillars of the devil's kingdom, and hu been the 
grave of convictions to many. £vU (xmrniunicatians corrupt good 
manners. But let such hear these words, '' full of all subtilty, 
and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righte« 
ousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord ?" 

Lastly, By tempting them to sin. " Thus Balaam, taught Balak 
to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things 
sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication." Sin grieves the 
Spirit and provokes him to depart, and thus the soul being left dead^ 
alienated from the life of God, the tempter is a quencher of the 
Spirit, and a murderer of souls. This is the ease especially when 

Vol. III. K 


the tempter knows their weak side and attacks them there, and lays 
stumbling blocks before them, where they are least able to resist. 
What is this but to act the devil's part against the Spirit. 
II. Let us inquire how we should cherish the Spirit in others. 

1. By the example of a tender holy life. Example has a power- 
ful influence, and will be fuel to the holy fire. Paul tells us that the 
zecd of the Corinthians hath provoked very many. It strengthens good 
impressions wrought by the Spirit on the souls of others, and con- 
firms them against temptations to apostaey, which they may haye 
from other quarters. 

2. By encouraging them to follow on in the good way of the Lord. 
Thus when Barnabas " had come to Antioch and had seen the grace 
of God, he was glad, and exhorted them all, that with full purpose 
of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man 
and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith : and much people was added 
unto the Lord." It is a pity that while others have a mouth to speak 
against God and his way, that we should not have a mouth to open 
for him. It would not a little contribute to the advancement of 
holiness, that we shewed a tender concern for Christ's little ones, 
and that they were countenanced and encouraged, according to the 
inclinations to piety appearing in them. 

3. By stirring them up to their duty, especially when they are in 
hazard of sloth gaining upon them. This is to blow the holy fire 
and increase it. " I think it meet, says Peter, as long as I am in 
this tabernacle, to stir you up, by putting you in remembrance." 
Mutual admonition is the duty of all Christians, and a part of the 
communion of saints. " Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly 
in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and 
hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the 

4. By warding off temptations from them, so far as lies in our 
power. We should try to hold them off altogether, but if we can- 
not thus prevent them, we should labour to blunt their edge and to 
support them against them, and do what we can to remove them. 
<< Blessed are the peace makers : for they shall be called the children 
of God." 

Lastly, By communicating Christian experiences to them. " Come 
and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done 
for my soul." How often has this blown up the fire that was nearly 
being extinguished. " He hath put a new song in my mouth, even 
praise unto our God ; many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in 
the Lord." The ceasing of this Christian conversation among pro- 
fessors, is one great cause of the decay of religion at this day. 


" The disciples said one to anotber, Did not onr heart bum within ns 
while he talked with na by the way, and while he opened to ns the 
scriptures V* 
III. I shall present some motives to excite us to this duty. 

1. Your duty to your neighbour calls for this at your hand. It is 
a graceless tale to say with Cain, Am I my brother's keeper ? As yon 
are men, the moral law obliges you to it. Thou shaU love thy neigh^ 
hour as thyself. And how do you loye him, if you lore not his soul ? 
and how do yon lore his soul, if you do not cherish the Spirit in him ? 
As you are Christians, onr Saviour says, '' A new commandment I 
give unto you, that ye love one another. By this shall all men 
know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.'* The 
communion of saints is an article of our creed, but it is much worn 
out in practice. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper is not only a 
seal of our communion with Christ, but with one another, and so to 
bind us effectually to a particular concern for the welfare of one 
another's souls. 

2. Your duty to our Lord Jesus Christ binds you to it. '' I^or the 
zeal of thine house, saith David, hath eaten me up : and the re- 
proaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me." Have 
you any concern for the kingdom of Jesus Christ ? Then it will not 
be mere speaking for the support of an opinion that will satisfy you, 
but active endeavours for advancing of real holiness. The Spirit of 
Christ is a public Spirit, that will lead us to be concerned for the 
welfare of others as well as our own. For it is natural for each 
member of the body to be concerned for the prosperity of the body. 

3. As you act in this matter, so you join with God or the devil, 
and may expect your reward accordingly. If ^ou quench the Spirit 
in others, then you are fighters against God, you are workers together 
with the devil, whose work it is to quench the Sprit in the hearts of 
sinners. Acts v. 35-— 39. If you cherish the Spirit you are workers 
together with God, and are pursuing the same design with the Spirit 
of Christ. And now the Lord is saying, who is on my side ? Ar- 
range yourselves then on his side, and be exhorted to save your- 
selves from this untoward generation. 

Lastly, The salvation or damnation of your neighbour, may, for 
ought you know, depend upon it. If you cherish the Spirit in 
others you may be the instruments of the salvation of a soul. And 
remember " that he who oonverteth the sinner from the error of his 
way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of 
sins." If you quench the Spirit in them, you know not if ever the 
holy fire may be rekindled, after you have put it out, and so the 
blood of their souls may be required at your hand. 



II. Quench not the Spirit in yonr own souls bnt nourish and che- 
rish it. Before I proceed to prosecute this exhortation, I must 
speak to three cases. 

I. There may be some, that after all that was goin^ at this 
solemn occasion, they were looking for nothing, and they have got 
as little. So this sin cannot fall out in their hand, they cannot 
quench the Spirit, for the holy fire was never kindled in their hearts. 
Thus haying nothing, they can lose nothing. To sach I would say, 

1. What would you think to see the showers of heaven fall all 
around on your neighbour's ground, while not one drop fell on 
yours, and this in time of a great drought ? Would you not think 
yourselves the mark at which God shoots his arrows ? Now what 
can you think of yourselves when God toucheth the hearts of others, 
but never toucheth yours ? When he goes by you, and comes by 
you, speaks by his Spirit to those on your right hand and those 
on your left, but never one word to you ? Is not this very like the 
case of being given up of God ; '^ Ephraim is joined to his idols let 
him alone." For a tree to be without leaves, or fruit in the winter 
is nothing, but to be so in the spring and summer, when all about it 
is flourishing, says that tree is for the axe and near to the fire. 

2. Bo you think that such a state as this will continue ? Will 
you always be secure and sleep in peace ? Nay, you shall have an 
awakening sooner or later, if not in mercy it will be in wrath. 
" Rise up ye women that are at ease ; hear my voice, ye careless 
daughters ; give ear unto my speech. Many days and years shall 
ye be troubled, ye careless women." If you should sleep it out all 
your days, you shall awaken at length, never to close your eyes 
more. ** And in heli he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and 
seeth Abraham afar off, and Lassarus in his bosom." God will one 
time or other take the filthy garments of thy sin, wrap them up in 
brimstone, and set them on fire about your ears. 

II. There may be others^ that whether they were looking for it or 
not, got something, but it is gone from them already, like Nebuch- 
adnezzar's dream. The Spirit is already quenched in them. 

1. Consider that you have lost a fair wind for Immanuel's land, 
and that is a great loss. It is a shameful loss, it is gone so soon. 
And have you even so soon forgot his works ? You were told your 
hazard. You might have taken better heed. Be ashamed and 
grieved on this account. 

2. Take it in time and there may be hope to recover it, set about 
it quickly. Rise now and seek a recovery. The longer you delay, 
it will be the harder to recover. ^* I will rise now, and go about the ,1 
city : in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom j 
my soul loveth." 


3. Go back and seek where yon lost it. Consider what particnlar 
neglect of yonrs, or what particnlar violence done to the Spirit it 
was, which provoked him to depart. Seek it out, monm over it, ap- 
ply to the blood of Christ for the removal of it, and yon will re- 
cover. For this blood *' pnrgeth our conscience from dead works, to 
serve the living God." 

Lastly, Go over your whole work again, in self examination, 
viewing the several steps of your way about the communion, and 
review your covenant with God there sealed, and cry to him by 
prayer for the return of his Spirit. Song iii. 2. and downwards. 
And hang on about his hand resolutely, till you be revived, and 
made to walk in the paths of righteousness. 

III. There may be others, that were looking for something. But 
alas ! says the soul, I am sadly disappointed. The Lord has hid his 
face. How shall I do, who have little or nothing to do with ? To 
such I would say, 

1. Your ^SAQ is BO far hopeful, as you are sensible of it. Bless 
God your case is not like Samson's, " when he awoke out of his 
sleep, and said, I will go out, as at other times before, and shake 
myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him." 
The knowledge of the disease is the first step to the cnre. 

2. Consider what may have been the procuring causes. It may 
be there has been some remarkable defect in your preparation to 
meet the Lord. Perhaps you have not been at pains to prepare 
yourselves, neglecting self-examination, or being careless in it, not 
stirring up the sacramental graces. And if so, yon may wonder 

.more, that he has not made a breach on yon, than that he has hid 
bis face from you. 

Look there has not been some unrepented of guilt lying on yonr 
conscience. ** But your iniquities have separated between yon and 
yonr God, and your sins have hid his face from yon, that he will 
not hear." Some of the old leaven retained, some bosom idol nou- 
rished, some Achan in the camp. " Now if we regard iniquity in our 
hearts, the Lord will not hear us." If so, search it out and remove 
that bane of strife betwixt the Lord and yon. Look that you have 
not sat down on your preparation. It is hard for ns to be at much 
pains and not think too much of it. And thus one may be like the 
bee, that drowns itself in its own work. If so monm over it. 
Finally, Look that while yon have done many things, yon have not 
neglected the main thing, that is the great duty of believing, believ- 
ing in the gospel promise sealed by the sacrament. There are some 
poor tossed souls, who in effect are sometimes not disposed to believe, 
and they do not see the evil, they refuse to be comforted, or make 



any beliering application to themselyes of Christ and his benefits. 
'' If I had called, says Job, and he had answered me ; yet would I 
not believe that he had hearkened nnto my Toiee. For he breaketh 
me with a tempest, and mnltiplieth my wonnds withont canse." Bat 
pray what do you mean ? Must God change his method of grace 
for you ? Hear what Christ says, ** said I not unto thee, that, if 
thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God." 

3. Perhaps you complain more of your case than need requires. 
As to your disappointment. There are some disappointments not to 
be complained of. They are useful for carrying on the Lord's work 
in the soul. There are deadening disappointments, that take away 
with them all the appetite of the soul after Christ and his benefits, 
and sharpen the appetite after the world and lusts. Numbers xi. 4. 
and downwards. So that being disappointed at Christ's door, they 
go the more greedily back to that of the world and their lusts. 
This is very dangerous. But there are al«o quickening disappoint- 
ments, that stir up the soul to seek the Lord more earnestly. Song 
iii. 4. Our Lord has sundry dishes at his table. Some for filling 
the guests, these are sensible enjoyments. Some for appetizing 
them, and these are these quickening disappointments. If you have 
got this, quench not the Spirit, for you have that which is of more 
worth than you are aware, Song v. 4, — 6. If our Lord hath passed 
by you, but withal thrown this live coal into your heart in passing, 
cherish it, pursue and you shall find. 

Besides there are different measures of the Spirit, and divers ope- 
rations of the same Spirit ; and the holy fire is not alike vigorous in 
all where it comes. But the least filing of gold is gold, and there* 
fore precious. And the least motions of the Spirit are to be enter- 
tained; the least spark of the holy fire is to be fed and not 

Question. — How shall I know that the Spirit has been at work in 
my soul, that any of the holy fire has been kindled in my heart, 
that so I may know what to do ? Answer, 

I. The holy fire has light with it. Is there a new light let into 
thy soul from the word, that is promising. But know that there 
are very different degrees of that light. The blind man whose eyes 
our Lord opened, after the first touch, saw men as trees walking, 
but when Jesus put his hands upon him again, then he was restored 
and saw every man clearly. The King brings some into his cham- 
bers, and by the light shining about them, they see and are assured 
of the Lord's love to them. They can read the covenant with 
Christ's name and their own name at the foot of it. quench not 
the Spirit, improve the golden spot of time and walk softly for the 


light is easily put out. ** What shall I say ? said Hezekiah when 
his life was lengthened, he hath hoth spoken unto me, and himself 
hath done it : I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my 
soul." Others perhaps have only got some glimmerings of solid 
hope from the Lord. They came in a dark night of desertion. 
But the day began to break with them and their head was brought 
a little above the water, though they could not read the covenant 
clearly ; yet like the blind man, they saw men as trees ; had some 
faint discoveries of their interest in his favour. Quench not the 
Spirit. Some perhaps have only seen a glory in Christ which they 
saw not before. They have lived strangers to him hitherto, but 
now he is more beautiful in their eyes than formerly. quench 
not the Spirit, but blow up the spark. Imitate the spouse. Song v. 
9. to the end. Think upon the excellencies of Christ, and seek after 

All that others have got, is perhaps but some convictions of sin. 
Some arrows have pierced their consciences. Or perhaps but one 
single arrow is sticking there. quench not the Spirit. Has the 
conscience got a touch, the heart may get one next. One stooe in 
the building of sin loosened, may make way for all falling together. 
" Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and 
said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, 
what shall we do." 

II. The holy fire has a burning heat with it. And this also is of 
very different degrees. Some perhaps have had the satisfaction to 
see the holy fire take hold of their corruptions, as that however 
masterful at other times, yet that fire brought them down, and made 
them fall to ashes. The Lord has treated them as Joshua did his 
captains, when he caused them put their feet upon the necks of the 
captive kings. Some lusts that have long held them under they got 
subdued. quench not the Spirit. Wounded lusts getting time to 
recover, have made sad work at a second onset. Quench not the 
Spirit, otherwise the brand plucked out of the burning will recover 
strength. All that it has done for others is, that fire has been set 
to the bond that bound their hearts and lusts together. They are 
come the length to* be content, that they and their lusts were freely 
parted, though they know not how it will be done. quench not 
the Spirit. You have your lusts now at an advantage. The throne 
of sin in the heart is shaken. Lusts sit not so fast as they did 
there. Hold hand to the tottering fence, its breaking may come at 
an instant. 

With some there may be only an unusual, but weak warmth in 
the heart after Christ and religion. They have a hankering after 



140 CAUTiovB HQAuan 

hin. They are more squeamisli as to their lusts than before ; 
though perhaps they cannot yet see, how if they quit them fof 
Christ, their loss will be made up. Truly this is Tery little, bat 
eyery thing must have a beginning. O quench not the Spirit ; th« 
cloud like a man's hand may soon coyer the heayens. The conyer^ 
sion of Zaocheus had as small a beginning. Jiuke xiii. 3. He sought 
to see Jesus, who he was. You haye seen and are touched. Take a 
better look of the plant of renown, and yon may come to be pierced, 
caught, captiyated. 

Some may find no sensible warmth in their breasts after him, but 
there is an uneasiness in their conscience, as by a spark falling from 
a candle on a person's hand. They haye a sort of uneasiness with 
respect to their soul's case, a secret dissatisfaction with their state. 
This is yery little, but it may be the beginning of good. Then 
quench not the Spirit, for if the dry bones be but beginning to moye, 
they may come together. Thus it appears the Spirit may be at 
work, though in different degrees. And though your attainments be 
not so great as those of others, be thankful for what you haye at- 
tained, and cherish it. 

Perhaps it has not been so dark a night with you, as with them 
that haye got a clearer day. If you be not lifted up so high as 
others, it is like you haye not been plunged so low as they were. 
In the dispensation of grace usually the saddest dejection goes be> 
fore the greatest eleyation. " For eyery yalley shall be exalted, 
and eyery mountain and hill shall be made low : and the crooked 
shall be made straight and the rough places plain. For as the suf- 
ferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by 

Again, It is like you haye not such hard work before you, as they 
haye. God's children are not suffered to eat idle bread. There is 
commonly hard work appointed for them that get a large meal. 
" Thus the angel of the Lord came again the second time to El^ah, 
and touched him and said, arise and eat because the journey is too 
great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in 
the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights, unto Horeb 
the mount of God." The clearest manifestations of God to a soul. 
Ordinarily usher in the hardest seryices. If you compare the life of 
Isaac with the life of Jacob, the latter bad the greatest eigoyments, 
but so had he the hardest trials. Once more soyereignty challenges 
a latitude. Is it not lawful for me, says God, to do what I will with 
mine own ? Is thine eye evilf because I am good ? It takes one 
piece of clay and sets it upon a throne, another piece of the same 
clay and sets it upon a dunghill, Job xxi. 22, — 26. £yery disciple 



is not the beloyed disciple. One is dandled upon the knee, another 
is led to heaven by the brink of hell. 

And however small your attainment be, yet consider, the less it 
be it will die ont the sooner, so there i» the more need to be at 
pains to keep it alive. They that have but one coal had need to 
eover it well, that it go not ont. No person need teach those that 
have bnt one penny in their parse to steward it well. that we 
were as wise in spiritual things as in temporal. 

Consider also, that however little it be Satan will think it worth 
his pains to rob you of it. ** When any one heareth the word of 
the kingdom and nnderstandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, 
and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart." And is it 
not then worth pains to keep it. Bat, alas ! we are not so watch fal 
by far for our salvation, as Satan is for our destruction. 

Again, Be it as small as it will, it is your all. The poor man 
thinks he has as good reason to be careful of his little stock, as 
another has to be careful of his great one. And if that little be 
gone what have you more. But if you labour not to preserve the 
little, you would let more go if you had it. ** He that is faithful in 
that which is least, is faithful also in mnch : and he that is unjust 
in the least, is unjust also in much." And therefore it is just with 
God to give you no more of that kind to abuse. So then God has 
you on your trials for more, while he puts some little thing into 
your hand. Take heed how you use it. For the least beginning of 
good to your souls is of more worth than the whole world. It may 
be the seed of everlasting life to you, and so virtually comprehend 
your everlasting happiness, which it will be dreadful to throw away. 
And the less a precious thing be, it is the more carefully preserved. 

Finally, Consider that the kingdom of God in a soul often has a 
very small beginning. Hence it is compared " To a grain of mus** 
tard seed, which indeed is the least of all seeds." 

And now having considered these cases, I resume my exhortation* 

Quench not the Spirit in yourselves, but nourish and cherish it. 

I. I shall shew how the Spirit may be quenched by you in your 
own souls. There are many ways to do this, you should beware of 
them all. 

1. By unwatchfulness. Hence the exhortation, ''Be watchful and 
strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die." The 
holy fire will go out if it be not watched. A careless disposition of 
mind will soon make an empty soul. " By much slothfulness the 
building decayeth, and through idleness of the hands the house 
droppeth through." If we consider that our hearts are like wet 
timber, that it is unfit for keeping fire, and that there are so many 


temptations like rain falling from the clouds, we will soon see, that 
there is no keeping the fire in, if we give over onr watching. 

2. By neglect of duties. The heart of man touched hy the finger 
of God is like a watch, that if it he not duly rolled up will not go. 
Thomas heing ahsent from one occasion of communion with Christ, 
his heart was overspread with the power of unhelief. If a man ne- 
glect the means of grace, how can he think his soul will prosper. 
The neglecting of prayer once, or of any other duty may quench the 
Spirit. And one such neglect may he a wide door for good impres- 
sions to go out at. 

3. By not complying with holy motions raised in the heart. Da- 
vid was aware of this. Hence says he, '' When thou saidst, seek ye 
my face ; my heart said unto thee. Thy face. Lord, will I seek." It 
is a dangerous business to sit still, when the Lord, by a secret work- 
ing on the soul, may he calling one to rise. To shift a duty while 
the Spirit of the Lord is inwardly prompting a man to it. Some- 
times persons have smarted sadly this way. They would not go 
when wind and tide were inviting, and afterwards when they would 
the wind would not serve. The Spirit of the Lord, like a man held 
too long at the door, being grieved departs, and is gone when the 
door comes to be opened. *' I opened, says the spouse to my be- 
loved ; but my beloved had withdrawn himself and was gone." 

But to prevent delusion in this case, Consider that the Spirit of 
the Lord sets men always on work in season. Accordingly the good 
man bringeth forth his fruit in his season. And hence though a 
motion in itself be good, yet if it be unseasonable, that is an eyi- 
dence, that it is either from our own spirits, or a worse. " For God 
is not the author of confusion, but of peace as in all the churches." 
Again the duty will be a duty of our station. " But as God hath 
distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let 
him walk : and so J ordain in all churches." Thus some think Uz- 
zah's error in putting forth his hand and taking hold of the ark, 
2 Sam. vi. 6. was that he was no Levite. So though it seemed a 
pious motion, yet not being a duty of his station, it was unaccept- 
able and offensive in the sight of God. 

In like manner, violent motions are to be suspected. For these 
that come from the Spirit of the Lord, if they bring not a convincing 
evidence along with them, as light discovers itself, to carry the per- 
son at first beyond hesitation ; they will admit deliberation, and 
always trial by the word. " Beloved, believe not every spirit, but 
try the spirits whether they be of God." Whereas delusions shun 
the light, as unable to abide a trial. " To the law and to the testi- 
mony, if they speak not according to these, it is because there is no 
light in them." 


4. Sins against light, do in a special manner qnench the Spirit. 
*' Keep back thy servant also from presamptnons sins, let them not 
haye domioion oyer me : then shall I be upright, and I shall be in- 
nocent from the great transgression." By these the holy fire is 
quenched, as by vessels of water thrown npon a fire to put it ont. 
They waste the conscience, erase good impressions from the heart, 
defile the soul, and provoke the Spirit to depart. Beware of them, 
for they will quench the Spirit and are highly provoking in the sight 
of God. For sins of ignorance and weakness make men go halting, 
but such presumptuous sins do as it were break the legs of the tra- 
vellers to Zion. 

5. Fleshly lusts have a special malignant influence this way. 
^* Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain 
from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.'' They are the im- 
pure waters, in which good impressions are drowned. To be drunk 
with wine, and filled with the Spirit are inconsistent and incompa- 
tible. " And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled 
with the Spirit." What we have, Prov. xxiii. 21. holds true in 
spiritual as well as in temporal things. ** For the drunkard and 
the glutton shall come to poverty ; and drowsiness shall clothe*a 
man with rags." Filthiness and uncleanness wear out good motions 
in a very effectual manner. If any man defile the temple of God, 
him shall God destroy. They who give themselves up to voluptu- 
ousness and sensuality in heart and life, will soon find the Spirit 
will be quenched by these means. For they who drench themselves 
in the pleasures of the flesh, will find it hard to get out of the mire 
to soar aloft. 

6. Inordinate care of and love to the world. " And that which 
fell among the thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go 
forth, and are choaked with cares, and riches, and pleasures of this 
life, and bring no fruit to perfection." When the heart is set upon 
the stretch for gaining and keeping of the things of the world, good 
motions do evanish, because the hold of them cannot be kept, while 
such an eager hold is taken of other things, no more than one can 
grasp at heaven and earth at once. These are like wasps and flies 
that disturb the soul, that it cannot rest in God. And how can a 
man ever think to prosper, while be comes not away with Christ 
from the deceitful and dangerous world. 

7. Backsliding and returning again to former sins. ** The back- 
slider in heart shall be filled with his own ways." Therefore take 
that exhortation. *' As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves 
according to your former lusts in your ignorance." If men will 
go back to the same courses, which have before injured their souls. 

144 cAUTioKs AaAnrsT 

and vill play with the serpent that has so often bit them ; what 
can they expect but that the Spirit will be qnenched. 

Lastly, The entertaining of any one lust or idol, of jealousy will 
do it. " If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear 
me." While Samson lay in Delila's lap, he lost his looks and the 
Lord departed from him. The fly goes abont the candle till its wings 
are burned. And the entertaining of some unmortified idol ofttimes 
rears up a wall of separation betwixt God and a soul. Let ns now, 

II. Know how we may nourish and cherish this holy fire. 

1. Be diligent in duties. The soul of the dUigent shaU be made fat. 
Let no opportunity of communion with God slip. He that would 
advance his spiritual stock, must trade in the market of free grace. 

It is observable that persons readily drink in much of the spirit 
of those whom they love most, and with whom they most converse. 
And they that converse much with God, will get much of his Spirit. 
I would recommend to you particularly, the duty of Christian con- 
ference. See how much the disciples' going to Emmaus gained by 
this exercise, Luke xxiv. 17* — 32. It is a notable mean to cherish 
good motions both in ourselves and others. It is the way to increase 
wjiat we have, as well as to retain it. As air will make the coal 
blaze that was lying hid under the ashes, so the very speaking of 
God and religion, is apt to inflame the heart, that otherwise is very 
dead. And surely the decay of this exercise is one cause of the 
decay of religion in our day. 

I also recommend the duty of secret prayer. A Christian much 
alone with God in prayer, will readily be found a thriving Christian. 
Prat/ tuithout ceasing. It is a duty in which Christians most com- 
monly have communion, and a duty to which they have access, when 
they cannot have it to many others. If you neglect this, truly your 
soul's case will soon go to wreck. Here also let me recommend a 
conscientious attendance upon public ordinances. ^' Therefore with 
joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." Faith comes 
by hearing and so do other graces, for they follow upon it. And 
this makes many gracious souls that they cannot live without them. 
They find their need of them every day, still standing in need to be 
instructed, warned, directed, comforted, and stirred up to their duty. 
So that the/ are as necessary as showers to the parched ground. 

And if you find yourselves in hazard of standing still or going 
backward, set about the duty of solemn personal fasting and humi- 

2. Watch your hearts and labour to keep up a tender f^ame of 
spirit. '* Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the 
issues of life." As the heart is, so will the life be. It is the room 


where the Spirit lodgeth, aod if QntendernesB get in there, the Spirit 
will he grieved and depart. Labour to keep up a horror of sio, a 
hatred of every false way, a sense of your sinfulness, and your need 
of Christ's blood and Spirit. For when these are lost, the prospe- 
rity of the soul is gone, for that soul grows not, that is not growing 
downward in self-denial, self-abhorrenoe, and humility. 

3. Be universally tender in your walk. " Then shall I not be 
ashamed when I have respect unto all thy eommiuidments." The 
Spirit must needs be quenched, when the conversation is like the 
legs of the lame that are not equal. If men pretend to the duties of 
the first table, and make no conscience of the duties of the second ; 
or the reverse. One leak in a ship will sink it, and one sin indulged 
will ruin the soul's case. Therefore, walk with God as if men's 
eyes were on you, and with men as having God's eyes on you. Let 
religion have an universal influence on your walk, your thoughts, 
words, and actions ; exciting you to your personal and relative 
duties. And herein exercise yourselves to have always a conscience 
void of offence toward God, and toward man. 

4. Make religion your business, your main work and design in the 
world. Good reason it be so. ** For what is a man profited, if he 
shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?" To take re- 
ligion by fits and starts will bring it to a poor account in the end. 
And religious chance customers will never enrich themselves with it. 
The salvation and generation work laid upon us, is too weighty and 
important, for us ever to think that it will do by the by. It is the 
one thing needful, therefore should hp the main thing aimed at by 

5. Let religion be woven into the whole of your conversation in 
the world, ** In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct 
thy paths. Salt is good : but if the salt have lost its saltness, where- 
with will ye season it. Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one 
with another." Whatever be your meat, salt is necessary to season 
it, and whatever we be doing, grace is necessary to qualify it, for 
without it nothing is pure to us, in or about us. ** Unto the pure 
all things are pure, but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving 
is nothing pare, but even their mind and conscience are defiled." 
You should take religion with you not only to your prayers, but to 
your work, to the field, to your bed and table. ** Whether therefore 
ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.'* 
Viewing God in all these things, acting from a sense of his command, 
and as under his eye, managing in them all as may be most for the 
honour of God, your own and others' spiritual welfare. 

6. Beware of doing any thing with a doubting conscience, doubt- 


ing whether it be lawful or not. *^ And he that donbteth is damned 
if he eat, because he eateth not of faith, for whatsoever is not of 
faith is sin." But here there is need to distinguish between a doubt- 
ing and a scrupulous conscience. A doubting conscience hangs in 
suspense, betwixt the two parts of the question, and assents to 
neither of them. A scrupulous conscience assents to one part of it, 
but there is a certain uneasiness inclining it to the other side. In 
this case one should endeavour to get their scruples removed by ex- 
amination of them, but if after all they remain, one may safely act 
against them, because they are but the weakness of conscience, with- 
out foundation, and the clearest light lies to the other side. For 
example, one conscious of his sincere desire to be the Lord's, to give 
up with ail sin and obey Christ's command, do this in remembrance of 
me, such an one may approach the Lord's table, notwithstanding 
that a sense of his unworthiness makes him scruple, whether to go 
forward or not. '* For a bruised reed shall he not break, and the 
smokiug flax shall he not quench." And if it were not so, people 
might scruple themselves out of all religion. For it is certain, for 
example, that though prayer be the necessary duty of all, yet some 
have been tossed with scruples as to their praying, whether they 
should give over prayer or not. But in such a case, the scruple 
should be violently thrown away, if no better can be. 

But in the case of the doubting conscience it is another matter, 
for in it for want of light the conscience has no ground to go upon. 
For example, money, or goods are placed before a man, he knows 
not whether they be his or not ; if one take them to himself in this 
case he sins tihough it be his own, for the conscience, meanwhile, has 
no light in that matter. So for ought he knows it may be theft, in 
which case to let alone must certainly be the safest side which is to 
be followed. And this gives such a throw and wrong cast to con- 
science, that it is a ready way to quench the Spirit. 

7. Be still pressing forward in religion. Sit not down on any 
measure attained, but be still labouring for more. *' This one thing, 
says Paul, I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reach- 
ing forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the 
mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 
Get what we will here, there will always be a want. Therefore 
hold fast what you have, that the fire go not out. You must also 
blow it up still that it may burn the more keenly. The Christian 
never stands still. If you be not going forward, you are going 
backward. If you be not adding a cubit to your stature, you are 

8. Trade with your talents, improving them for God, however few 


they be. Matthew xxy. 22, 23. If a person have but a little fire, 
yet if it get air and be blown np, it may make a brisk fire. And 
grace grows by improyement. It is with grace and good motions, 
as with a spring. If it be stopi>ed the water goes away, but if it be 
cleared it rnns and runs on. If one had bnt a conviction of sin, if 
he should improve that in speaking of his sinfulness to God in 
prayer, to humble him in meditation, and to others in Christian con- 
versation, it would grow. 

9. Be careful and tender of good motions. Rough handling of a 
spark will make it go out, when wise management would make much 
out of it. Good motions are tender birds of heaven, easily checked 
and put back. When the wind blows, spread out your sails, and 
when your hearts begin to be warmed with love to Christ and holi- 
ness, and hatred of sin, the iron then is hot, therefore strike and 
seize the golden opportunity of making forward in your journey to 
Immaauel's land. 

Lastly, Entertain lively hopes of increasing your stock. " But 
let us who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of 
faith and love ; and for an helmet, the ho{>e of salvation.'* When 
the heart g^ows hoi>eless, the hands will hang down and the knees 
be feeble. " Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath 
great recompense of reward. But hope of gaining makes people 
diligent. What though many attempts misgive. The tree falls not 
down at the first or second stroke of the axe. And water consumes 
stones by degrees. Let us, 

III. Enforce this duty by some motives. Quench not the Spirit 
in yourselves, but cherish it. 

MoHve 1. Consider that the workings of the Spirit upon your 
souls are precious, and should be much prized. *' Wherefore is 
there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no 
heart to it." These operations of the Spirit are worthy of our ut- 
most care and diligence. They are the seeds of eternal life in a 
soul, which duly cherished may end in your everlasting salvation ; 
and which, when crushed, may V® f&tal to your eternal misery. The 
living word dropped into the heart is heaven in the bud. " It is 
the incorruptible seed, by which we are bom again." And this, 
when quenched, is hell in the bud. 

These operations of the Spirit are high-bom strangers, and should 
be honourably entertained. They are the sparks of the sacred fire 
from heaven, the product of the Spirit of Christ in the hearts of sin- 
ners. A fire this which could not be blown up by men, and there- 
fore valuable in respect of its heavenly origin. 

They are also great pledges of God's good will to sinners. By 



nature we are at a distance from God. But by these, the Lord be- 
gins to draw oa to himself. He enters into converse with our souls, 
after a long night of silence, a proof of his good will, to have the 
distance remoyed. Finally, these operations are denied to many. 
Ephraim is joined to hut idols, let him alone. How many are there 
whom God suffers to go on in their evil way, and the Spirit of the 
Lord does not touch their hearts ? How many who have sometimea 
had them, but now they are gone ? And they can no more command 
them, than they can blow up a fire after it hath been extingoished, 
or light a candle that is burned to ashes. 

Motive. 2. Consider the danger of quenching the Spirit. Take 
heed to yourselves, while the Spirit of the Lord is at work with your 
souls. You walk on slippery places, where you may easily or sud- 
denly fall, and who knows how fatal it may be. The Spirit in you» 
is a fire that may be soon and easily quenched. 

I opened to my hdoved, says the spouse^ hut my beloved had withr 
drawn hims^, and wcu gone, A fine and tender flower may easily 
be crushed and caused to wither. '* Take us the foxes, the little 
foxes, that spoil the vines ; for our vines have tender grapes." God 
is a jealous God, and his Spirit is easily grieved and provoked to 

When this Spirit is quenched, you cannot rekindle it. Had the 
fire in the altar been common fire, there needed not have been so 
much watching to keep it burniug. If it had gone out, they could 
have kiudled it from their own hearths. But it was fire from hea- 
ven, and if once it went out, they could not kindle it again. They 
could not ascend to the throne and bring it down from heaven. 

When the fire of the Spirit is put out, the soul's case must needs 
go to wreck. Yea, says God, wo also to them, when I depart from 
them. When the soul is gone, the body is left a lifeless lump, and 
corrupts in a grave, becoming a feast to the worms. And when the 
Spirit of the Lord leaves a soul, it dies, and living lusts set up their 
heads, and swarm there without controul. Hence often gross out- 
breakings as in the cases of David and Peter. Fearful apostaeies 
and defections from God, as in Saul, follow the quenching of the 
Spirit : so that it is like the breaking out of waters, when the dyke 
is broken down that dammed them up, Matth. xii. 43. — 45. 

Motive. 3. If you cherish and improve the little you have, it is 
the way to get more. This will appear if you consider, that it is 
the Lord's ordinary way in his works, to bring great things from 
small beginnings. Though he could have made the world in a mo- 
ment, yet he took six days, he made first a rude mass, which, day 
by day, he brought to perfection. See 1 Kings xviii. 43. to the end. 
See also how great work begins, Esther vi. 1. 


Consider also that the work of grace in the soul, commonly arises 
from a very small beginning. It is like a grain of mnstard seed. 
It is a seed that springs so leisurely, that the springing thereof can 
hardly be discerned. The beginning may be very low, which the 
Lord will cherish and bring to perfection. " For a braised reed he 
shall not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench." Besides, 
consider that no person gets a refusal from heaven, but those that 
conrt it by their own indifference. And indeed a careless faint way 
of asking from the Lord, is in effect to court a denial. He is more 
ready to give than we are to seek. Open thy mouthy says he, wide^ 
and I will fill it He loves importunity, and will not deny such a 
suit. And though some such suiters have stood long at his door, 
never one fell down dead at it. God has given his word of promise 
for it. ** For unto every one that hath, shall be given, and he shall 
have abundance." A man hath no more in God's account, than what 
he improves. Now God doth not set down all his children with 
equal stocks, some have more, some less. But all have a promise of 
more, on their improving of what they have. And a little thing 
with a promise, will be like the five loaves that increased in the dis- 

Motive 4. If yon quench the Spirit, yon will be great losers. 
You will lose what you have attained. " Look to yourselves, that 
we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we re- 
ceive a full reward." The good motions will go, and then the ten- 
derness of the heart, love to Christ goes away ; and you are set a 
step further back in your way to heaven. And who knows if yon 
lose that if ever the wind blow so fair again for yon. And if it 
shonld, you will have to begin, and it is a sad matter always to be 
beginning, ever learning, and never coming to the knowledge of the 

Yon will also lose all your pains which yon have taken to get 
it. '' The slothful man roasteth.not that which he took in hunting : 
but the substance of a diligent man is precious." How sad is it to 
be at pains for something, and then when it is got to let it slip 
through our fingers. We have enough to do, though we do not undo 
what we have been doing. 

Finally, You may lose your souls by quenching the Spirit. 
''And Jesus said unto him, No man having pnt his hand to the 
plough, and looking back is fit for the kingdom of heaven. Now 
the just shall live by faith : but if any man draw back, my soul 
ahall have no pleasure in him." And it will heat the furnace of 
hell one seren times more, to think that once you were not far from 
the kingdom of God. Amen* 

Vol. III. L 


Ghdaskiela C<ymmunion^ August^ 1717* 


Geitesis xxxii. 26. 

And he said, I wiU not let thee go, except thou Hess me, yer. 29. And 

he blessed hxm there. 

How mean are the exploits and enconnters of the most celebrated 
heroes, whom the world admires, in comparison of the great things 
done by faith. Natural conrage and valour have gained a reputa- 
tion to some, as if they only were the men, and valour died with 
them. But when the sum of all is heard, it amounts to no more 
but worm man striving with his fellow worm for a thing of nought, 
and gaining a victory which can never be more glorious than their 
party and cause are, the one a worm, the other a thing wMch is not, 
Prov. xxxiii. 5. 

But behold an encounter of faith, worm Jacob wrestling with the 
Mighty God, the angel of the covenant, Jesus Christ, and that for 
the divine blessing. Both the party and the cause are great with- 
out a parallel, and the victory falls to the weak side. And he scad, 
I wiU not let thee go, except thou bless me. In these words we see, 

Jacob bringing the matter of the struggle to a precise point. 
They had wrestled all or a good part of the night, and when the 
day was breaking, the angel desires him to let him go, but Jacob 
holds, and tells him. Thus and thus will he do it and not otherwise. 
A blessing, his blessing, or he will not let him go. 

Consider here the great point in wrestling Jacob is seeking. A 
blessing, God's blessing. Jacob was blessed before, and he had 
used art to obtain it, even beguiling his father which was his sin. 
He must be blessed again, and he uses holy violence to obtain it, 
even wrestling with his God, which was his laudable duty. 

Thus a person once really blessed will be concerned for a further 
blessing. None despise the blessing, but those who are strangers to 
it, and are near to a curse. If there be a soul that has got any ac- 
cess to God in secret duties, such persons will have an edge on their 
spirit for a sermon or communion blessing. And they will always 
be seeking more of the blessing, till they receive it in full tale, 
^* Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for 
you, before the foundation of the world." 


From the barren rocXs the showers ran off as they fall, while the 
fraitfnl field drinks ap the rain, that it may bring forth more fmit. 

It is snrely a good sign when the heart of a man is crying within 
him to heaven, a blessing, a blessing, a spiritnal blessing. The 
cnrse locks np the heart, and lays it nnder bonds, that it cannot 
stir nor move within the man for the blessing. Bnt a blessing 
opens the heart for more, and presages God's opening of his hands. 
There conld be no better sign of a feast to be here, than this, all the 
children crying hanger, hanger, hanger ! Blessed are they which do 
hunger and thirst after righteousness ; for they shall he filed, 
• The blessing Jacob seeks from the man that wrestled with him, 
and had disjointed his thigh with a tonch, bat had not prevailed 
against him. Bat since the less is blessed by the greater, Jacob 
here acknowledges his superiority over him, and hnmbly begs his 

We may observe that the hnmble soul is the most likely to obtain 
the blessing. God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace unto the 
humble. The valleys are refreshed with rain, while it mns off the 
mountains. And to the hnmble seal it will be said, come up hither, 
God's blessing does not fall by random into one's bosom ; bnt they 
that get it see first the hand from which it comes. And seeing him 
in his glory as the bestower of blessings, they mnst needs be yile, 
and as nothing in their own eyes. ** I have heard of thee, says Job, 
by the hearing of the ear ; bat now mine eye seeth thee. Where- 
fore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Isaiah speaks 
to the same pnrpose, chap. vi. 5. 

As ever then we would have the blessing let us be humble and 
vile in our own eyes. There is no room for it in the proud self-con- 
ceited sinner. " The full soul loatheth an honey-comb ; but to the 
hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet." The swelling botch of the 
pride of the heart must be lanced, and dissolved, before you be meet 
to receive the blessing. The unhumbled sinner's hands are so 
swelled, that he cannot put on our Elder Brother's clothes : and we 
cannot receive the blessing but in them. 

There are two sights which you should seek this night, if you be 
for the blessing. The bright and glorious sight of God's greatness, 
excellency, migesty and holiness. Look to his works, look to his 
word for it. Look and look again, till your souls be made to say 
within yon, " Who is like unto thee, Lord, among the gods ? 
Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing won^- 
ders ?" The other is the black and dismal sight of your own vile- 
ness and nnworthiness. Look through the holy spiritnal law for 
this, and then through thy disorderly life and heart. Look and 



look again, till thon be filled with self-abhorreiioe, and get a 
humbling riew of jonr righteousness as well as yonr unrighteous- 
ness, and then you will come empty handed for the blessing, to buy 
without money, and without price, that is, purely to beg it for the 
Lord's sake. 

The man from whom Jacob sought the blessing was the man 
Christ, the GkMl-man, who took away our curse and gives us the 
blessing. Now they that would have the blessing must come to our 
Lord Jesus Christ for it. All power in heaven and in earth is given 
unto him. This is the honour which the Father has put upon the 
royal Mediator, to be the great steward of heaven. When the 
famished Egyptians came crying to Pharaoh for corn, he bade them 
go to Joseph. This is the Father's voice in the gospel to poor sin- 
ners that would have the blessing. He has put the key of the trea- 
sures of blessings into Christ's hands ; and whoso will have it must 
go to him. 

Come to Christ then for the blessing to get it out of his hand. 
For there is no other way of receiving the blessing. '* God blesses 
us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" God 
out of Christ is a consuming fire, and they that presume to put forth 
their hand to God for it, but under the covert of his blood, will get 
a curse, instead of a blessing. We cannot receive it but by the 
hand of the Mediator, into which the Father hath put the blessing, 
to be communicated by him. When Christ ascended on high, *' he 
received gifts for men ; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord 
God might dwell amongst them. Paul quoting these words renders 
them, a/nd gave gifts unto men. As if he had said, we dare not 
meddle with the blessing to take it at our own hand, but Lord Jesus 
take it for us, and give it to us. 

The blessing for which Jacob was so earnest, I think must be 
understood in a suitableness to his particular circumstances, namely 
the great hazard in which he and his family were by Esau, who was 
ooming to meet him with four hundred men. Alas ! what shall he 
do for this rencounter. He cannot think to fight him. His few 
servants, the women, and the young lads, his children were not fit 
to fight, nay, hardly to flee. Well, but a blessing will make up all 
this want, and the strait in which he was, makes him the more eager 
for it. I judge there are two things at which Jacob aimed here. 

1. The ratification of his father's blessing, which he had received 
twenty years before. This blessing he took away from Esau, who 
despised it, and this was the great ground of Esau's quarrel with 
him. And now the time seemed to be come f^r the revenge of that 

Fos TfiUD Bza&ssiyo, &0. 163 

We observe, that a new ratification of old blea&ings is a weighty 
errand to the throne of grace. Whom God once blesses they shall 
be blessed, but we cannot hare the comfort of old blessings, without 
a fresh belieying view of them. Let then old disciples and Chris- 
tians of considerable standing, know that they have an errand at a 
communion table more than young converts and new covenanters. 
That is to get a ten, twenty, forty, sixty year old blessing newly ra- 
tified at this communion. God is saying unto you now, ** I am the 
God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou 
vowedst a vow unto me." Bring ye forth old experiences to be 
polished, and to get a new lustre upon them at this communion. 
And well may you do it, for it is very pleasant to the Lord, for us 
to pronuse well of free grace, and every enjoyment which a believer 
receives, he may call it Joseph. 

Jacob saw he was like to run a great hazard for the cause of the 
blessing, and therefore he endeavours to be very sure of it before 
hand, reckoning no doubt that it would bear all the cost. They 
that are in hazard for religion had need to have a sure hold of it, 
that they do not run a risk for nought. They that suffer in the 
cause of religion, and yet are void of the life and power of it, are of 
all men the most miserable. Men hate them, because they seem to 
be what they are not ; and God hates them because they are not 
what they seem to be. 

If you have a mind to engage in the cause of religion, be sure to 
go through with, and lay a good foundation. The spirit of apostacy 
prevailing at this day will bring in a spirit of persecution, if God 
do not stem the tide. Lay your accounts with suffering, and since 
you must lay your accounts with it, labour by all means to have 
pennyworths, that you suffer not for nothing : but you have as much 
religion as will bear the cost of all you lose on that head. 

2. A- new blessing to carry him through the present distress. 
He was to meet Esau with his four hundred men, so he must have 
God*s blessing before he venture out to this rencounter. He can- 
not face Esau without it. In solemn addresses to God, we should 
labour to have in our eye the evil world through which we are to 
pass, and the particular straits that may be immediately before us, 
and to get a blessing suitable for supporting us under them. 

Let it be our errand to God at this communion, to get a blessing 
for our wilderness journey. Oome in hither as travellers to an inn 
upon the road for a refreshment, by which we may be strengthened 
to go through the seen to the unseen world where glory dwells. 
Consider your own case, and be distinct and particular. If there be 
any duty or trouble before you more than ordinary, represent thai 



partioalarly to the Lord at his tahle, and seek direction, strength, 
and farnitnre for that particular. For oar great Physician loves to 
gee his people pointing to their sores. 

3. We haye Jacob's pereroptoriness and resoluteness in this point. 
/ vAU not let thee go, except thou Uess me. He had straggled long, 
and after all the angel offers to go without blessing him, for the 
trial of his faith and patience, but he will not quit his hold. His 
thigh was now disjointed ; but though it shonld cost him more bro- 
ken bones, he will not let him go. 

4. The happy success. He blessed him there. The sore battle has 
a happy issue. Wrestling Jacob comes off a conqueror, and gets 
the blessing upon the spot. 

Doctrine. — The way to get the blessing is to go to the Lord for it, 
resolved not to take a denial, nor to part with him even till he get 
it. In prosecuting this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Open up this way of getting the blessing. 

II. I will shew what it is that makes some souls so peremptory 
and resolute for the blessing, while others slight it. 

III. I will shew that this is the true way to obtain the blessing, 
and that they who take this way will come speed. I am then, 

L To open up this way to obtain the blessing, which you may 
take up in these particulars. If we would have the blessing, then, 

1. We must have a lively sense of our need of it. '* He hath 
filled the hungry with good things ; and the rich he hath sent empty 
away." It was felt need brought the prodigal home to his father's 
house. I perish, said he, vAth hunger. They that feel not their 
need of the blessing will soon sit down easy without it ; they will, 
with the raven, feed on the carrion, and take up their rest short of 
the ark. But a pinching sense of need is necessary to excite the 
soul to wrestle with God for it. For none will ever come back to 
the Lord, but those whom felt need drives, not knowing how to live 
without his blessing and favour. 

2. We must by faith lay hold on Christ the store house of bless- 
ings for it. God blesses us with aU spiritual blessings irt Christ. All 
saving blessings are benefits of the covenant of grace, and are given 
to the sinner with Christ. In vain will you stand at a distance from 
Christ, out of the covenant, and try for the blessing ; for the falling 
dew shall as soon pierce the rock, as your faithless importunity 
shall procure you the blessing, without uniting with Christ in whom 
only we can be blessed. 

3. We must by fervent prayer wrestle with him for it. How did 
Jacob obtain it ? " Yea, he had power over the angel, and pre- 
vailed; he wept, and made supplication unto him." Can they ex- 

¥0n THE BLEBSINO, &C. 156 

peot the blessing who will not seek it ? And can they seek it to 
purpose, who do not seek it ferrently, as those who are in good 
earnest, whose hearts are set npon it. '* Set me, says the spouse, as 
a seal npon thine heart, as a seal npon thine arm ; for love is strong 
as death." And says Solomon, '^ yea if thon criest after knowledge, 
and liftest np thy voice for understanding ; if thon seekest her as 
silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures ; then shalt thou 
understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God." 
Careless begging at the throne of grace does in effect court a denial. 
And where the blessing is to come, grace will set the heart aloft 
after it in the first place. 

4. We must by believing the promise, keep a sure hold of the 
blessed Redeemer. He had said to Jacob, I will surely do thee 
good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea which cannot be 
numbered." And we find Jacob, ver. 12. reminding him of this pro- 
mise. Now what way can we hold him and not let him go, but 
holding him by his word. They who hold him by his word, they 
have sure hold. Heaven and earth are not so sure as that handle 
by which the believer holds him. But unbelief makes the soul let 
go its hold, and the issue is this, the man goes away without the 
blessing. '* Jesus saith unto her, said I not unto thee, that, if thou 
wouldst believe, thou shouldst see the glory of God." The promises 
of the gospel are the conduit pipes, by which the blessings of the 
covenant come to the soul. Faith must suck at these by a believing 
application of them, or no good can come in an ordinary way. 

6. We must by hope wait for the blessing. *' Wait on the Lord ; 
be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart : wait I say 
on the Lord." God may suffer his people to wait long about his 
hand, and to wrestle in the dark, before the day break, but they 
must be resolved to bear one disappointment after another, and still 
to wait. " My soul waiteth for the Lord, more than they that watch 
for the morning : I say, more than they that watch for the morning." 
They that turn hopeless of the blessing, are in a fair way to let him 
go without it. For the Christian is fed by hope, as the husbandman 
is, who will never sow his seed where he has no hope of a harvest : 
** therefore cast not away your confidence, which hath great recom- 
pense of reward." 

6. We must leave no mean unessayed to obtain it, but use every 
mean till we find it. Song iii. 1, — 4. We must go through every 
duty and seek the Lord through all thy trysting places, where he 
uses to meet with his people. Yea, we must go back again and 
again to the same duties till we find him. Duty is ours, but times 
and seasons are in his hand. And they may long seek and not find 
who yet will obtain a joyful meeting at last. 


7. No diseonrag^mentfl must eaiMe vb to faint. Jateob wrestles on 
witii his diBJoinied thigh, though the day vaa broken, and it was 
yery unfit that the shepherds, who might be tending their floeka, 
should see what passed betwixt the angel and him. Yet he will not 
let him go, he will wrestle till broad day light, before he want it. 
Perhaps you may go to God, and with the woman of Canaan get no 
answer. When '^ she cried, saying, have mercy on me, Lord, thou 
son of Dayid ; my daughter is grierously yexed with a deyil. But 
he answered not a word." Perhaps you may get a breast full of 
eonyictions and no more. Perhaps great objections may be mus- 
tered up against you, to dash your hopes of prevailing. But whe* 

. ther these objections be taken from the heaven without you, or the 
hell within you, you must not give oyer ; but make your way 
through them by answering them from the doctrine of the gospel. 
When Jesus said to the woman, it is not meet to take the children's 
bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said. Truth, Lord ; yet the 
dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table." But 
in case you cannot get through the objections, even step over them ; 
if you cannot loose the knot, cut it, and hold on. Thus when Jesns 
told the woman, that he was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel. But instead of going away, Then she ocme^ and 
worshipped him, saying, Lord, hdp me. 

8. If at any time we fall, we must resolutely reeoyer and renew 
the struggle. Jacob's thigh is disjointed with a touch of the angel's 
hand, he is so far worsted, but he makes a new vigorous sally, and 
tells him he will not let him go, except he bless him. They that 
fall in this good fight, must not lie still, but rise again, and renew 
the actings of faith, in opposition to sense, and hope against hope. 

Lastly, We must resolve never to giye over till we get it, and so 
hold on. I wUl not let thee go, except thou bless me. If it should be 
noon day, if Esau should come upon me on the spot, I shall never 
let thee go till I get the blessing. The soul must resolve to hold on, 
that nothing shall end the struggle but death, or victory ; that if 
they die without it, they shall die at his door. This is the resolute 
struggle, this is the way to the blessing. 

Motives to urge yon to this way. 

1. Consider the worth of the blessing. Whatever pains» and 
struggles, and on-waiting it may cost, it will far more than repay 
the expence of all. God's blessing is God's good word to the soul, 
but it is big with God's grace and good deeds to the man that gets 
it ; and that is enough to make one happy for ever. It is the pur- 
chase of Christ's death, and therefore must be most valuable. God's 
blessing removes the curse of the law from off the soul, entitles to 

FOB TUX Buussnro, &tc. 157 

glory, and in tha meantime makes all things work together for good. 

2. Consider the need yon have of it. Ton are by nature nnder 
the onrse, and unless you get the blessing, you must for erer be 
under the curse. But, consider, how can you want ity how 
can you do without it ? How will you lire, die, or stand before the 
tribunal of God without it ? Tour absolute need makes all things 
necessary in the way of getting it. 

3. If you will not be at this pains for it, you will be reckoned 
despisers of the blessing; and that is most dangerous, and will 
bring on most bitter vengeance. And you will see the day you 
would do any thing for it when you cannot get it. 

Lastly, If you will take this way you will get the blessing. 
" Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, 
and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, re* 
ceiveth ; and he that seeketh, findeth ; and to him that knocketh, it 
shall be opened." The Lord never refused it to one that sought at 
this rate. Never did such a one die at his door. Amen. 


Galashiels Communion^ August^ 1717. 

[Stbbath AfumooD.] 


OS17E8IS xxxii. 26. 

And he said^ I wUl not let thee go, except thou bless me, ver. 29. And 

he blessed him there. 

If every one here were taking the liberty to express the affections, 
and the present frame of his heart after this communion, it is likely 
it would be as £zra iii. 12, 13. " When many wept with a loud 
voice ; and many shouted for joy. So that the people could not dis- 
cern the noise of the shout of joy, from the noise of the weeping of 
the people." So here, some would weep, some rejoice, while others 
as unconcerned spectators, who have not got the blessing, and there- 
fore cannot rejoice ; and do not miss it, and therefore cannot weep. 
But alas I it is the misery of many, they are too soon pleased. 
They begin with Jacob to wrestle for the blessing, but they cannot 
persevere as he did, and so they let the Lord go wiUiout blessing 

158 8AIin!S WB£STLIKa 

tbem. The commnnion is oyer, but the blessing remains to those 
who have not yet got It, and more blessings to those that have got a 
taste of it ; and therefore I would exhort all to hold on. In pnrsn- 
ance of the former doctrine we now proceed. 

II. To shew what it is that makes some sonls peremptory and re- 
solute for the blessing, while others slight it. 

1. Felt need engage th the soul to this course. You know what 
determined the lepers that sat at the gate of Samaria. Many see a 
want of the blessing, that find not the need of it ; hence a few cold 
wishes for it, and if that will do, good and well, but if not they 
must eyen want it. But those that haye such a gracious disposition 
as the person in the text, they cannot liye without it. They say 
with Peter, Lord to whom shoR we go ? thou hast the words of eternal 
Ufe. Now necessity has no law, and hunger will dig through stone 
walls, and if it cannot dig through them, it will leap oyer them. So 
the person who is in earnest will be forward to Christ in spite of 
eyery obstacle. 

2. Superlatiye loye to and esteem of Christ engageth them to this. 
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can thejloods drown it. Loye 
can endure any thing but absence, the loss of a beloved object, or of 
a token for good from them. Our Lord has appeared in his beauty 
to that soul, captiyated the heart, and so engaged the person with 
the sight of his transcendent excellency, that he cannot take it back 
again, and he must haye his good word and good will, and he cannot 
lift his suit till he preyail. 

3. Without the blessing all is tasteless and unsatisfactory to 
them. ** What wilt thou give me while I go childless," said Abra- 
ham ? So what can competency giye to satisfy the soul that sees 
the worth of his fayour, while the blessing is denied? It is the 
blessing that makes all sayoury to them, and the want of it is a 
worm at the root of all their enjoyments. The doye out of the ark 
found nothing but carrion, and therefore returned. A hypocrite 
will bestow a few faint wishes on the blessing. Lord bless this 
bread. This does not answer them. But yet they remain at ease, 
nay, they haye more doors than one to go to. If they cannot come 
speed with Christ, they know how to do otherwise. 

4. They see not how to set out their face in an ill world without 
it. They say with Moses, if thy presence go not with us, carry us not 
up hence. Christian Soldiers haye no courage for a battle, if their 
Captain be not on their head. Without him, they are like Samson 
without hair, weak as other men. There are three things which 
bring them to this, they have weakness, little strength, and much 
opposition from within and from without. Duty is before them. 


trouble is before them, and it is their care to acquit themselyes well 
in both, and therefore they cannot think to go, unless he bless them. 

Lastly, They see not how to face another world without it. 
David sings in the prospect of death, in confidence of the bles- 
sing. ^* Yea, though I walk, says he, through the yalley of the sha- 
dow of death, I will fear no evil ; for thou art with me, thy rod and 
thy staff comfort me." But, how can an enlightened soul take 
the passage to the unseen world, without a token, a pass for safe 
conduct from the Lord of that land. And therefore the person is 
resolute, I wiU not let thee go^ except thou bless me, I now proceed, 

III. That this is the true way to obtain the blessing, and that 
they who take this way will come speed. And he blessed him there. 
Such as come to Christ for the blessing, they shall get it, if they 
hold on resolutely and will not be said nay. 

1. We have many certain instances and examples of those who 
have obtained the blessing this way. Jacob in the text. The 
spouse. Song iii. chap. The woman of Canaan, Matth. xt. 22. and 
downwards. See also Lam. iii. 40, — 60. and downwards. Would 
you know how to get the blessing ? There is a patent way, behold 
the footsteps of the flock, not the footsteps of lifeless formal profes- 
sors, who cannot go off their own pace for all the blessings of the 
covenant ; but the footsteps of wrestling saints, who were resolved 
to have the blessing cost what it would. 

2. We have God's word or promise for it. " For unto every one 
that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance." Have you 
got the least hold of Christ, then hold what you have and do not let 
him go, and you shall have the blessing. A man hath no more in 
God's covenant than what he keeps and improves for God's glory 
and his own salvation. Now God does not set down all his children 
with equal stocks. There are fathers, young men, and babes in 
Christ. Some get more, some less, but there is a promise of more 
given to them all, on their holding hand to what they have got. It 
is God's goodness to many of us, that we get but small portions at 
once, and that any thing we get we know well how we come by it. 
It is necessary for our light hearts, that they go not vain ; for our 
careless spirits to make us watch the more. But a little thing with 
a promise, if it were the least gracious desire after Christ, will be 
like the five loaves that were miraculously increased in the distri- 

3. It is the Lord's ordinary way, to bring great things from small 
beginnings by degrees. He could have made the world in a mo- 
ment, but he took six days. At first there was but a rude mass, 
which day by day was brought to perfection. Thus the prophet 

160 SAIN1» WKBaTLIK€^ 

Elijah's servant waa ordered to go and look aeyen times and then 
saw only a clond like a man's hand, bnt it increased so rapidly that 
the hooKven was soon black with clouds and there w€u a great ram. See 
how great a work begins, Esther yi. 1. In his works of grace, God 
observes the same order. The grain of mustard seed, Matth. xiii. 
31, 32. soon becometh a tree. The seed of grace springs so leisurely 
that the springing thereof sometimes at least cannot be discerned in 
the time, Mark iv. 27. how low may be the beginning of good, 
which the Lord will cherish and bring to perfection. *' A bruised 
reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench : 
he shall bring forth judgment unto truth." 

4. Consider the bountiful nature of God, who will not always flee 
from them that follow him, nor offer -to go away from them that will 
not let him go, except he bless them. If at any time he seem to 
flee from them, it is but that they may follow him the more vigor- 
ously ; if he hold meat from them a while, it is but that their a{^- 
tite may be the more sharpened. When the disciples, going to 
Emmaus, constrained Christ, he was prevailed upon to tarry with 
them, though he made as if he would have gone farther. Thus reso- 
lute holding cannot fail of the blessing. For good being of itself 
communicative, goodness itself cannot but be so« The spouse expe- 
rienced this. Song iii. 

5. None coming to Christ for the blessing ever got a refusal, but 
they that court it by their own indifference. And indeed a faint 
way of seeking, is to beg a denial. Our Lord is more ready to give 
than we are to seek and receive. Open thy mouth wide^ says he, and 
I will JUL it. He loves importunity and cannot deny an importunate 
suitor. And though some such have stood long at his door, never 
one fell down dead at it ; but their long waiting was always made 
up by rich supplies of grace at length. The richest treasure is that 
which lies deepest. 

6. Our Lord allows and encourages his people to use a holy free- 
dom and familiarity with him, yea a holy importunity, as he teaches 
us, Luke xi. 8, 9. Importunity, Greek, sham^lessness. Pinching 
need makes people shameless in asking. It is not here as among 
men, with whom a shameless seeker gets a shameless nay say. 
Nay, they that cannot, will not take a nay say, they shall not be 
troubled with it. Our Lord speaks a parable there, to excite his 
people to this holy importunity, to hold and not to let him go till 
they get a blessing. And it is to our purpose to observe Ave things 
from that parable* 

1. Our Lord allows his people to come to him at any time. He 
does not flx them to set hours, but they may step forward at mid* 


nigLt, when doors use to be sliat, Lake xi. 6. It waa a dark uigbt 
with Job, God had drawn a sable ooTering over the face of his 
throne to him, yet faith goes forward and draws it aside. '' Though 
he slay me, yet will I tmst in him : but I will maintain mine own 
ways before him. He also shall be my salvation : for an hypocrite 
shall not come before him/' 

2. Our Lord allows them to plead the relation of a friend to him, 
and to affirm kindness on him. This relation of a friend is particu- 
larly noticed in the parable, Luke tlL 5. A believer stands in 
many relations to Christ. Let faith fix on that relation, that will 
best serve its plea, and procure his welcome. And if he seem to 
forget the relation, let faith urge it notwithstanding, saying, 
** Where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels 
and of thy mercies toward me ? Are they restrained ? Doubtless 
thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel 
acknowledge us not : thou, Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer ; 
thy name is from everlasting." 

3. Our Lord allows them to be full, very full in their demands, 
lend me three loaves, ver. 5. Probably this was sufficient to enter- 
tain a friend on a journey, who was not to stay long, but let men 
blame themselves, if they be sparingly dealt with in the Lord^s 
house. We are not straitened in him, but in our own bowels. 

4. Our Lord allows us to think no shame to tell of an empty 
house at home. For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, 
and I have nothing to set before him, ver. 6. The report which 
faith brings to heaven is always of emptiness ; for they that live by 
faith are always upon short allowance, and never want an errand to 
the great Steward of the Father's blessings, for one supply or ano- 

Lastly, He allows us to borrow confidently without one word of 
paying again. This is plain both in the parable itself, and in the 
application of it, verses 9, 10. This is the way in which faith trades 
in heaven without money, for it drowns the soul in the debt of free 
grace, and can trade in no other market, for no other is fit for the 
pockets of Adam's bankrupt family. 

7. And last place. As importunity is usually in all cases the 
way to succeed, so it has special advantages in this ease, which pro- 
mise success. 

1. Our Lord does not free himself of such as thus hold him, and 
is not this promising ? If a beggar be following and hanging about 
a man for an alms, there is always hope when he does not put him 
away. ''Our Lord answered the woman of Canaan not a word. 
And his disciples came and besought him, saying, «end her away, 



for the crieth after us." Bat, thongb eilent, he wQuld not bend Ler 
away, and therefore the woman still had hope, and at last succeeded. 
He says indeed sometimes to the soal as to Jacob, let me go^ ta4ntly 
insinuating^ that he will not go without their consent, and if they 
give it, let them blame themselves. Bat they will hold long indeed^ 
before the Lord say. Get you gone. But if there were no hope, you 
would soon get your answer. For '' afterward came also the other 
virgins, saying. Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, 
Verily I say unto you, I know you not." 

2. Nay, our Lord commands them to keep the hold which they 
have gotten. Strive, says he, to enter m at the strait gate. And is 
not this promising ? I know that unbelief will be ready to shape an 
answer to the soul hanging on about Christ's hand, and will tell it 
that God's delay is a denial and therefore the soul may give it over* 
Bat it is better to wait on about God's door while we breathe, than 
to go back to the world to fill our belly with the husks which it 
affords. Be assured the Lord would not order you to keep your 
hold if there was no hope. 

Nay, it is the Lord that hath given you the hand to hold him, and 
the foot to follow him. "For every good gift, and every perfect 
gift, is from aboVe, and cometh down from the Father of lights." 
If you have any real desire after him and his grace, or the least 
good motion, it is from himself. And though he should have no 
regard to you, he will regard his own good work in you. God does 
not open his children's mouth to put an empty spoon in it ; but he 
that has formed the desire will satisfy it. 

Use 1. This lets us see why many fall short of the blessing. 
They have some motions of heart towards it, and if it would fall 
down in their bosom with ease, they would be very glad of it. 
They knock at God's door for it, and if he would open at the first 
or second call, they would be content, but they have no heart to 
hang on about it, and so they even let him go without the blessing. 
The reasons of this are. 

They have not the living Spirit of Christ in them, so they cannot 
follow the Lord fally, Numb. xiv. 24. It is but awakening not 
changing grace they have, therefore it decays by little and little, as 
the light after sun set, till it grow to perfect darkness. Their reign- 
ing sloth being only covered not subdued, rises again and over- 
spreads the soul as weeds do a neglected garden. Take a branch 
and ingraft it, it will keep green a while, but if it take not with the 
stock it will wither, John xv. 6. Another reason is, there are diffi- 
culties in the way to heaven, which their hearts cannot digest. Few 
see heaven, and why ? Ease is sweet, and the gate is strait. They 


loye gold, bat will not dig for it. "The desire of the slothfnl 
killeth him ; for his hands refase to labour." They see heaven afar 
off, and would fain be there, but there is a great gulf betwixt them 
and it, and they dare not yenture to cross it. Heayen will not drop 
down into their mouths. Hence finding the fruitlessness of their 
attempts, they despair of their causes, and therefore set themselyes 
to contriye excuses to sooth their consciences and giye it oyer. 

A third reason is, the world and their Insts were never made in-^ 
sipid to them, but still have the chief room in our hearts. Hence 
when the Lord does not answer them, they have another door to go 
to, unlike to those who say, Lord, to whxjm can we go ? Thou hast 
ike words of eternal life. Here they find rest is sweet, and so they sit 
down, and fall short of the blessing. And thus many part with 
Christ, as Orpah with Naomi, going back to her gods, Euth i. 14. 

Surely brethren, this is a dangerous case. Well then, beware of 
it. Learn to wait, to bear patiently, and be resolute. And this 
brings me to, 

Use 2. I exhort you all to hold on. You that have received a 
blessing, wait on resolutely for more. And yon that are going away 
mourning, take up with no comfort till you get it from himself; and 
be resolute that you shall never let him go till he bless you. Have 
you missed him ? Haye you come short of what God promiseth to 
his people, what is necessary for your case, what you desired, and 
what you expected ? Go from this place resolved to hang about his 
hand, protesting you will not let him go, till he bless you. And to 
encourage you to hold on seeking the blessing, 

1. Know that a going foot in religion is always getting. I said 
not to the seed of Jacob, seek ye me m vpin. They that hang on about 
the Lord's hand, will always get something, less or more. Though 
you do not get the very thing that you would have, at first, you will 
always get something in the meantime, well worth all your pains. 
If yon be for comfort, perhaps it may be kept from you for a time : 
but you are yery likely to get a deeper conviction to prepare the 
way for it. If you be for deliverance from temptation, you are 
likely to get grace to enable you to wrestle against it. In this way 
did God deal with Paul. ** My grace, said he, is sufficient for thee 
for strength is made perfect in weakness." 

2. Religion is a reward to itself. There is a pleasure in attending 
wisdom's door. " For 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." There is a sweet peace in the way of 
duty ; yea, the straitest ways of religion have a pleasantness in them. 
" For her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are 



peace.'' There is a pleasure in seeing the bosom idol on the oross ; 
faith and patience behaving themselTcs well upon their trial. 

8. The more you hold hand to the work in religion, it will be the 
more easy to you. '^ They that wait upon the Lord shall renew 
their strength ; they shall mount up on wings as eagles ; they shall 
run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint." And if 
the Lord help you to hold on wrestling, you must not say, that you 
get nothing by waiting on him. For '* in the day when I cried thou 
answeredst me and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul." 
What makes religion so difficult is our not holding to it, but taking 
it by fits and starts. The oftener yon are at the throne, it will be 
the easier to seek the Lord. But neglect one occasion, and you will 
find yourselyes more unfit for the next. 

4. Ton will find it easier to hold than to draw. Hare you got 
the least hold of Christ ? Do not let it go ; if you do, you will in- 
crease your difficulty. When people slack their hand in religion, 
their work quickly opens out, and goes to wreck : but to be resolved 
to hold fast what you have, will help you to get more. 

5. You will find that some difficulties in religion that are like moun- 
tains afar oflT, will be like mole hills when you come up to them re- 
solutely. Thus the women that came to our Lord's sepulchre, ^' said 
among themselves, who shall roll us away the stone from the door 
of the sepulchre ? And when they looked, they saw that the stone 
was rolled away : for it was yery great." Grod will make iron gates 
open of their own accord to his people that are resolved to be for- 

6. You will certainly get your wish at length. " Then shall we 
know, if we follow on to kno.w the Lord : his going forth is pre- 
pared as the morning ; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the 
latter and former rain unto the earth." The longest and darkest 
night has a morning following it, and the longest hidings of the 
Lord's face, from a resolute seeker, will hare a blessed issue. Hold 
on and go the little farther ; assure yourselves, that if you hare 
missed your communion, you shall have yet, though the table be 
drawn, and no more bread and wine upon it. 

Lastly, The longer and the harder your wrestling and on-waiting 
for the blessing be, it will be the sweeter when it comes. " It was 
but a little, says the spouse, that I passed from them, but I found 
him whom my soul loveth ; I held him and would not let him go, 
until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the cham- 
of her that conceived me. I charge you, ye daughters of Jerusa- 
lem, by the roes and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up 
nor awake my love till he please." The people of God are very apt 


to oomplain of disappointiDeiits ; but though they are Bnpleafiuui4 
meat, they are excellent saace to an pfUv meal, to make it go dowa 
more sweetly than otherwise it would. Amen. 

^mwrn m ^i^ m ^ ^ i' — 

GhioMdg, j&Kurdory, Jvhf 28, 1722. 


Sosre OF Solomok ii. 3. 

I sat down unckr ha shadow with ^eat ddighty and hisfirrdt ujos sweet 

to my taste. 

That this song is literally, although ia a continued allegory, meant 
of Chriflt and his church, and that it is not all meant of Solomon 
and Pharaoh's daoghter ; does the more conyincingly appear from 
the description of the hridegroom as a potent king, chap. i. 12, and 
yet a shepherd, y. ?• and from the description of the hride as a 
queen, and yet a keeper of the vineyards, v. 9. and of kids, v. 8. 

The words of the text are the words of the spouse, and the scope 
of them is to recommend Christ, and that from her own experience. 
And indeed Christians who haye experience of religion in their own 
souls are fittest to recommend Christ to others. In the words we 
kaye an account, 

1. Of an application which she made to him, in her own distressed 
case. I sat down, says she, under his shadow with great ddight. In 
these three things are to be considered, 1. A suitaUe help in Chr^t, 
for her case discoyered to her. Aw shadow. She was like a weary 
trayeller out of breath, with the many difficulties, with which shf 
bad to grapple like scorchings by the heat of the sun, that wi^ much 
in need of rest and refreshment. And she beholds him like ^n apple 
tree casting a broad shadow under which she might get ea^e. 2. The 
$etaal use which she made of Christ for that end. / sat under^ or in 
Ms shadow. By this expression is meant the exercise of faith vfi 
Christ, as is clear from Paalm xxxyi. 7. " How excellent is thy 
loying kindness, God ! therefore the children of men p\it their 
trust under the shadow of thy wings." Faith is th^ grace, ^hich 
by means of the promise discoyers Christ's sha^o.w suitable f9r a 
weQiiry soul, and by which the soul comes under his shadoof s^^ 
speciid prote^pn, ^d interposeth Christ lupself bcit^Rr^en it and the 

Vol. Ill, M 


heat that is like to born it ap. 3. The manner in which she iras 
carried to this exercise, with great deUghty or great desire. Delight 
and desire are near a-kin, bat the word here nsed, signifies rather 
eager desire, than delight. The original text rnns precisely thus, 
both for the order and literal signification of the words. In his sha- 
dow I eagerly desired and sat down. The sense is, she was carried 
with full sail of desire to that shadow, and sat down in it, like one 
mnning from the scorching heat of the snn under a shade, or as the 
hart panting for water brooks goes to them to drink. 

2. We have the result of this her application to Christ by faith. 
His fruit was sweet to my taste. She had comfortable experience of 
his goodness. She needed not take the recommendation of Christ 
and religion as a matter of hearsay. She herself felt, tasted, and 
fed. If any should say, there was nothing desirable or pleasant in 
religion, she could give them the lie, from what her own soul felt. 
If any should say the way of believing is a dry sapless way, com- 
mend me to a way more solid and rational ; she could contradict 
them from the experience of her own soul, and it is vain to dispute 
against sense and feeling. She found in that way a fulness to her 
soul, a suitable fulness, a shadow that was good lodging, and fruit 
that was both meat and drink. 

Doctrine I. — The way of relief for poor sinners, under all scorch- 
ings to which they are exposed, is to sit down in, and by faith to 
repose themselves under Christ's shadow. 

In prosecuting this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Show what need sinners have of a shadow to cover them. 

II. Show how Christ became a shadow for poor sinners in this 

III. Show what it is to sit under Christ's shadow. We are then, 
I. To show what need sinners have of a shadow to cover them. 

A shadow is a defence against the scorching heat of the snn, of 
which they well know the need who travel in hot countries. This is 
that notion of a shadow that is aimed at in the text. Compare 
chap. i. 6. And thus it is applied to our Lord Jesus Christ by Isaiah. 
" And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from 
the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and 
from rain." In another place he says, ** Thou hast been a strength 
to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from 
the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible 
ones is as a storm against the wall." 

Here then lies the need of the shadow to poor sinners. The world 
is turned a hot country all over to the sons of fallen Adam, witness 
the spiritual blackness upon all faces, Amos ix. 7. Adam's fall has 



changed tbe temperatare of the air which we breathe. God himself 
the sou of the world, whose inflaeDces were enlightening, cheering, 
comforting and warming to innocent men, is become a consuming 
fire to the workers of iniqnity. He now darts his rays directly 
down upon the head of the sinner, so that the whole head is sick and 
heart faint. It is become so hot, that if a shadow had not been pro- 
vided, this world had all been burnt up ere now. But there was a 
shadow timely interposed. '' And a man, says Isaiah, shall be as a 
hiding from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of 
water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary 

II. We are now to show how Christ became a shadow £or poor 
sinners in this case. And here three things deserve our considera- 

1. He was fitted to afford a shadow from that heat, by his assum- 
ing our nature, in that he being God was incarnate and became man. 
" The word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his 
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace 
and truth.'' His human nature united to his divine in his person, 
was a vail to the rays of his ms^esty, through which sinners might 
behold it and not die. '* We have now boldness to enter into the 
holiest by the blood of Jesus. By a new and living way, which he 
hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh." 
Hereby, as Job saith in another case. " He holdeth back the face of 
his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it." And hence our Lord 
Jesus Christ was typified by the cloud spread over Israel in the day 
time in the wilderness, by which they, were preserved from the scorch- 
ing heat of the sun. The man Christ is fitted to mediate betwixt us 
and an offended God, for he is Immanuel, God with us, God in our 
nature. Good news to poor sinners in this weary land. There is a 
root sprung out of the dry ground, and it is become a tree of life ; 
the name of it is the tree of life ; and it casts a shadow, a defence, 
for guilty creatures under it, from the heat of wrath from heaven. 

2. He actually affords a shadow for needy sinners by virtue of 
his complete satisfactiou to law and justice. " For being found in 
fashion as a man he humbled himself, and became obedient unto 
death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath 
highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every 
name. Neither is their salvation in any other : for there is none 
other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be 
saved." Hence Christ crucified is the sum of the desires of the soul 
savingly enlightened. '* For I determined, says Paul, not to 
know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified." 



RMk4«iBg that in hin is all tliat is neoemarf to beg^n, to carry on, 
«n4 to oomplete their salvatioii ; and Uiat being under hit sbadow, 
they hare all within the eompam of it which they need to make 
then eompietely happy. ** For in him dwelieth all the fnlnoaa of 
the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him which is the 
¥ead of all principality and power." How a crncifled Jesna actu- 
ally affords sach a shadow to those that come nnder his shadow, will 
be cleared by three things. 

1. He received all the morching beams of wrath on himself, that 
so he might keep them from his people. ** For he hath made him 
sin who knew no sin, to be sin for us ; that we might be made the 
Tighteonsness of God in him," Why is the man nnder the shadow 
aafe, but because the thick branches of the tree which make the 
shadow, do receiye scorchiug beams of the hot shining sun whidi 
otherwise would reach him? The beams of wrM^h which should 
kaye scorched all the elect world, were contracted in tiie covenant 
betwixt the FaAher and the second Adam as in a burning glass, and 
so pointed directly against his head and cofDcentred in him. ** The 
.Lm^ laid on him the iniquity of us all. Yea, it pleased the Lord 
Ibo bruise Mm, he hath pivt him to grief." There was nothing to in- 
terpose between him and them. ** He trode the wine press alone, 
and of the people there was none with him." B«t they fell imme- 
diately in all their force upon him. ^ God spared not his own Son, 
but delrrered him up for us all." So that he did not only like 
Jonah faint, but died outright under them. 

2. He exhausted them. He drank the cup of wrath from tiie 
brim to the bottom. So that there was no more retenglng wrath to 
IGall on him. *' For Christ being raised from the dead dieth no 
more ; death hath no more dominion over him." Nor on any under 
his shadow, lor an assurance of which we have the oath of God. 
*^ For this is as the waters of Noah unto me : for as i have sworn 
that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth ; so have 
I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.* 
And upon this our Lord Christ bids his people come away with him, 
for tibat now the storm is blown over on Mm, the sky is oliear, aii4 
it is safe travelling for guilty creatures to the throne of God, Song 
ii. 10, 11. 

3. And now through him, the comfortable influences of beavea 
are bestowed and conveyed to those nnder his n^adow, through him 
as the channel of conveyance, '^ Blessed be the God and Father of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual bless- 
ings in heavenly places in Christ." The debt is paid, he has got up 
the bond. Tlie sun beats no more upon the tree with its great heat, 

bat Gaines upon it fair and Bireet and inll do so for erer; and 
thereby they under its shadow receive qnietin^, reyiTing, enlighten* 
ing, and fructifying influences. '* They that dwell under his shadow 
shall return ; they shall revive as the com, and grow as the vine : 
the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon." 

3. He is by divine appointment made a pnblic shadow for all the 
inhabitants of the weary land ; so that it is lawful for them and 
every one of them to come in by faith and take shelter under it, 
whatever they are or have been. ^* And as Moses lifted up the ser- 
pent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. 
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have ever- 
lasting life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only be- 
gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish^ but 
have everlasting life." There is heaven's deed constituting a omci- 
fied Christ the ordinance of Qod for salvation to sinners ; to whom 
they may look and be saved, and that is their warrant. And the 
proclamation is issued out concerning it and registered in the book of 
God. Unto you, meti, I caU, and my voice is unto ih€ sons of men* 
Alas I it would be small comfort to poor scorched sinners, if Christ 
were only a private shadow, like that which men have in their gar^- 
dens, to which poor travellers have no access, it being within high 
walls and locked doors. No, as Christ is not the rose of the garden, 
but the rose of the field, which any person may pluck who will have 
it ; so he is the apple tree among the trees of the wood, under the 
sliadow of which whosoever will may sit down. '' And the Spirit and 
the bride, say come ; and let him that heareth say, come. And let 
him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the 
water of life freely." Though in the meantime it is a sad truth, 
that such is the natural aversion of sinners to Christ, that till they 
be so scorched, as that not another tree in all the wood can shelter 
them, they will not come in under his shadow. We now proceed, 

III. To shew what it is to sit down under Christ's shadow. 

It is the soul fleeing to Jesus Christ for a refuge, coming unto 
him on the call of the gospel, and receiving him and uniting with 
him by believing on his name. And this notion of faith bears, 

1. The soul being sensibly scorched and. uneasy in itself. Though 
all may, yet none will come under Christ's shadow, but sensible sin- 


ners. " The full soul loatheth an honey comb : but to the hungry 
soul every bitter thing is sweet." They to whom the world is not 
a weary land, will not value the shadow of this great rock. The 
method of sovereign grace for bringing sinners under Christ's sha- 
dow is to make the flery law shine full upon them and scorch 
them. It shines on them in its holy commands, set home on their 



souls in its spirituality and Tast extent, discoyering the Binfalness 
of their natures, hearts, lips, and lives, till it makes them say in 
earnest, " Bat we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteous- 
nesses are as filthy rags, and we do all fade as a leaf, and onr iniqui- 
ties like the wind have carried us away." The law scorches them 
with its threatenings and curses, and so heats on their heads, 
hearts, and consciences, till they are ready to faint, and say with 
the prodigal, I 'perish. Most part of men are like those upon whom 
the sun is heating and wasting them with its heat, hut they are fast 
asleep, they feel it not. But awake when they will, in the fiery re- 
gion of the law, they will find themselves sun-hurnt and sick. 
^' For I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment 
came, sin revived, and I died." The holy commands will be no 
more as a sealed book to them, and the awful threatenings no more 
as the sounding against the mountains. They will find they need a 

2. That the soul finds no shadow any where else. "Thus the 
prodigal would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the 
swine did eat : and no man gave unto him." All the places of re- 
fuge to the soul, where it was wont to get ease, are in that day 
burnt up, and can afford no shelter. Flee whither they will, the 
bouse is unroofed above their heads, and their gourds are all 
withered, and afford no more shadow for them. Their creature 
comforts are dry and useless ; they can give no ease to the pained 
conscience. The slender, moth-eaten garment of their own works, 
their prayers, tears, reformations, &c. cannot keep off the scorching 
beams of the fiery law from their consciences. '' But what things 
were gain to me, these I counted loss for Christ." Thus they can 
find no shadow under which to rest. 

3. A discovery of Christ's shadow to the poor outcast that can 
get lodging no where else. As God did with Hagar, when she had 
laid down the child for dead, " he opened her eyes and she saw a 
well of water, and she went and filled the bottle with water and 
gave the lad drink." So the Lord does with the soul in this extre- 
mity. " When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, 
and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the 
God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high 
places and fountains in the midst of the valleys ; I will make the 
wilderness a pool of water and the dry land springs of water." 
And this is that which is called in scripture the finding of the Pearl 
of great price. And never was the discovery of the shadow of a 
great rock to a poor traveller, ready to faint by excessive heat in a 
weary land, more welcome, than this discovery of Christ's shadow 


to the weary soul. Consider that it is discovered to the sonl as a 
sufficient shadow against all the heats that annoy it. How many 
hired servants^ (said the prodigal when he came to himself,) '^ of my 
father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger." 
Bread enough, what an encouraging view I Jesus is able also to 
save to the uttermost, them that come to God hy Mm, This makes the 
soul answer yea, to the question. Believest thou that I am able ? 
And this will in such a case where the soul is pressed with a deep 
sense of sin, require a powerful operation of the Spirit of God to 
cause the soul to beliere ; however easy some may think it is to be- 
lieve. — Christ does not heal them who were never touched at the 
heart with their sickness. 

Again it is discovered to the man as an open shadow, and ox>en 
for him to go into it. And by this discovery the soul believes God, 
believeth the Son saying, in the gospel promise, " I am the Lord thy 
God, open thy mouth wide and I will fill it. And whosoever will, 
let him take of the water of life freely." And until the soul be- 
lieves Christ's shadow to be open to it, it can never go into it, more 
than one can believe on Christ without seeing a warrant, or embrace 
the gift of righteousness without believing that it is tendered to 
them in particular. 

4. It imports that the soul goes under Christ's shadow for shelter 
and rest. This is the renouncing of all other refuges, and betaking 
one's self to the covert of blood alone ; '* Even to Jesus the Medi- 
ator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling." This is 
what Paul calls the receiving of the atonement, Rom. v. 11. and the 
faith in his blood, iii. 25. The word is the name of the mercy seat, 
the cover of the ark, under which the soul comes by faith in his 
blood, trusting and confiding upon it for shelter, life, and salvation 
to itself, upon the ground of the faithfulness of God in the promise 
of the gospel. 

This is the coming under Christ's shadow according to the scrip- 
ture phraseology. So says the bramble in the parable. Judges ix. 
16. trust in my shadow, when believing it shall be a defence to you. 
So the Jews are said, Isa. xxx. 2. to trust in the shadow of Egypt. 
And their trust in that shadow their confusion, ver. 3. because the 
defence for which they looked under it, would fail them, and " they 
were taken in their pits, of whom they said, under his shadow we 
shall live among the heathen." And thus it is applied to the soul's 
coming under Christ's shadow by faith. " How excellent is thy lov- 
ing kindness, God ! therefore the children of men put their trust 
under the shadow of thy wings." This is the receiving of Christ, 
even believing on his name, John i. 12. 

172 8irraABi«a ncpBOTBxairv of 

6. it iniiKirte tbe soul abiding nader Christ's shadow. ** He tlurt 
dwelleth in the secret plaoe of the most high, shall ahide under ibhe 
shadow of the Almighty/' She sat down under it as one resoWed 
to stay. Faith takes hoM of Christ to cleaye to him, nerer to port 
with him, come what will, saying, though he Bhxy me, ye^ wiU I trust 
in him. And thus the man ever interposeth the obedience and death 
of Christ, betwixt heaven and his sinful soul. Keeps always Christ's 
shadow above his head. This is his only plea before the Lord, by 
which he can answer the demands of law and justice, and ward off 
the blow of the wrath of God. If he expects any good from heaven, 
be looks for it to come through the tree of life under whose shadow 
he sits. If he have any thing to offer to heaven, it must pass the 
same way. No communication with heaven but through Christ. 

Use. — I would then exhort and invite you to come in, and sit 
down under Christ's shadow this day. Our Lord is spreading oiib 
his shadow to you in this place, and we are sent to call you and 
every one of you to come under it. Come then scorched souls and 
repose yourselves under Christ's shadow. I think you may all an- 
swer to that name even the most insensible amongst you, whose spi- 
ritual barrenness declares your souls to be a scorched and par<Aed 
soil where no good can grow. More particularly, 

1. Come under Christ's shadow, you who are under apprehensions 
of the Lord's wrath gone out against you for your sins, who feel a 
fire in your breasts, a sting of guilt in your consciences. Here is a 
shadow for ease to you, a covert of blood of infinite value, that will 
turn away wrath, give peace with an offended God, and pull the 
sting out of your consciences. ^ For the blood of Jesus cleanseth as 
from all sin, and purgeth the conscience from dead works." No ar- 
rows of wrath can pierce you here. 

2. Come, tempted souls, whom Satan is plying with fiery darts, 
ready to take hold of and set on fire the corrupt heart. If you sit 
down under Christ's shadow by faith, it will be a defence to you. 
''Above all then take the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able 
to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." You are annoyed on 
every side with fiery flying serpents, look to the brasen serpent on 
the pole of the gospel. '* I have blotted out, as a thick oloud, thy 
transgressions, and as a cloud, thy sins : return unto me ; fbr I have 
redeemed thee." 

3. Come, you whose souls are pining and withering away withia 
you, for want of the kindly influences of heaven on them. Here is 
a- reviving and refreshing shadow for you. '' They that dwell under 
his shadow shall return : they shall revive as the corn, and grow as 
the vine ; the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon." Thm 


shadow will put sap in the bones, that are bnrnt as an hearth, a 
freshness in the hea^-t that is withered as the grass, and render 
those who are faint, indisposed and inactive in their souls, lively 
and vigorous, lifee a giant refreshed with wine. 

4. Come, you whose corruptions are rampant, and like summer 
vermin are destroying every green thing in or about you. Christ's 
shadow will cool the distempered heat of your souls, and reduce 
them to a holy temperature. " The grace of God teaoheth us, that 
denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, 
righteously, and godly, in the present world.*' The sanctifying vir- 
tue of his blood, and the efficacy of his Spirit, is able to master the 
strongest lusts. " And such were 4Some of you ; but ye are washed, 
but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord 
Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." Ah ! why do you go to swim 
in the waters of sin, for cooling of that hellish heat of lusts, where 
you are every moment in hazard of being swallowed up, while there 
is such a shadow for you to repose yourselves under. 

6. Come, you to whom this world is made a weary htnd with the 
scorching heat of troubles, with which you are still meeting in it. 
*^ And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a co- 
vert from the tempest, as rivers of waters in a dry place, as the 
shadow of a great roek in a weary land.'' You are full of com- 
plaints of the hardships which yon are made to undergo in the 
world. Trouble on your bodies, vexations in your minds, crosses 
And losses in your means, reproaches on your names. No ease can 
you find, however you shift about for it. The Lord lets the sun 
beat thus on your heads, to drive you under his shadow. Comply 
then with the design of providence, by coming under this shadow. 

Lastly, Come all of you, whatever your case be. 

Motive 1. There is no safe living without this shadow. The curse 
of the fiery law, and the wrath of God will bum up those that are 
without. And how can you be able to deal with an absolute God. 
** For who among us shall dwell with derouring fire ? Who among 
us shall dwell with everlasting burnings ?" 

2. There is access for you to come under it, whatever your case 
be. lliere is a virtue in Christ's shadow, for helping the worst of 
eases. Wherefore despise not your own mercy. Him that cometh 
mnto me, saith Jesus, / will in no ufise cast out. 

Lastly, There will not always be access. Ton are now highly 
privileged, God has set before you an open door. There is no sha- 
dow for fallen angels, no shadow now for the damned, and many 
even in this world, know not that there is a shadow for them. But 
it is offered to you now, and you know not how soon the door may be 
shut. Now is the accepted time, and now is the day o/scUvation, Amen. 


(rolashids, SabbcOh afternoon, July 29, 1722. 


SoNa 07 Solomon ii. 3. 

/ itat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet 

to my taste. 


Christ's fruit relisbetli well with those who, by faith, sit down 
under his shadow. 

In treating this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Shew some things imported in it. 

II. Shew what are Christ's fruits, which are so sweet to the taste 
of those that sit under his shadow. - 

III. Why Christ's fruit relisheth so well with those who by faith 
do partake of it. We are then, 

I. To shew some things imported in this doctrine. 

1. It imports that there is in Christ Jesus a suitable fulness for 
the soul. '* For it hath pleased the Father that in him should all 
fulness dwell." There is nothing wanting in him to make the soul 
happy. This tree of life affords not only a defence from eril by its 
shadow, but full prorision by its fruits not only a shelter from the 
scorching heat, but food for the hungry soul. Christ's shadow is a 
defence to all under it, from the revenging wrath of God, that it 
shall never fall on them. Of them God says, / have sworn that I 
would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. It is a defence from 
the curse of the fiery law, that it can no more reach them. Christ 
hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. 
It is a defence also from the evil of afflictions, that these shall not 
hurt them in the end, but turn to their profit. '^ And we know that 
all things work together for good to them that love God, to them 
who are the called according to his purpose." 

But then he is not a shadow or defence, out of which one may be 
starved by hunger ; but in him there is fruit to satisfy the cravings 
of an immortal soul, so that in him, one may find at once a defence 
from evil and store of good. ^* I cried unto thee, Lord : I said. 


thou art my refuge, and my portion in the land of the living. 
Hearken diligently, saith the Lord, unto me, and eat ye that which 
is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." Hence they 
who withdraw from him are without excuse. " generation, see ye 
the word of the Lord: Hare I been a wilderness unto Israel? a 
land of darkness ?" 

2. They must put themselves nnder the covert of his blood and 
righteousness, who would partake of his fruits. " 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 is no access to the 
wedding feast without the wedding garment, the white raiment of 
Christ's righteousness put on by faith. " Friend, how earnest thou 
in hither, not having a wedding garment ? And he was speechless." 
All the guests are sprinkled with his precious blood. This removes 
the curse, which made the heavens as brass above them, and gives 
them access to the fruits. Guilty creatures cannot have access to, 
or communion with God but through the Mediator, and in him they 
have access to beJUled with all tkefulnesjt of God. 

3. Those to whom Christ is ^ shadow and defence from the wrath 
of God and curse of the law he also feeds. There is no separating 
of the justifying blood and sanctifying Spirit. Many would be con- 
tent to be called by Christ's name, and yet eat their own bread. 
They would have the benefit of Christ's shadow for their defence, 
but in the mean time the vain world, and their own fulsome lusts 
for their provisions. But deceive not yourselves, if Christ be indeed 
a rest to thy conscience, he will also be a. rest to thy heart. If you 
be indeed come under Christ's shadow, your heart will be saying 
within you, " whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none 
upon earth that I desire besides thee. Wherefore, come out from 
among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the 
unclean thing ; and I will receive you." As if he had said, bring 
nothing along with you for your provision, but come to the Lord 
for all. 

4. When we sit down under Christ's shadow by faith, it corrects 
the vitiated taste, cools the distempered heat of the soul, and brings 
it to a holy temperature ; so as spiritual things which before were 
tasteless as the white of an egg, become sweet to their taste. This 
takes place when Christ sends his servants, ** to open their eyes, and 
to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan 
unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance 
among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Christ Jesus." 
And so it is a good sign where the soul's esteem of Christ and of his 


benefits is raised above all things else. Unto then that heUeve he is 

Lastly, Faitb, tmst, and confidence, in the Lord Jesns Christ, 
produce svreet experience at length of the Lord's goodness to the 
Bonl. This is the way the sonl sacks the sweet and nourishment ont 
of the precious promises, while unbelief as it expects nothing from 
him, gets as little. We have David's experience clear on this head. 
" The Lord, says he, is my strength and my shield, my heart trnsted 
in him, and I am helped ; therefore my heart greatly rejoicetli ; and 
with my song will I praise him." Trust reposed in a generous man 
is a strong tie on him to answer the expectation of the party trsst* 
ing him. Thus Lot would rather expose his own daughters to the 
very greatest indignity, than expose the men to any harm, who had 
come under the shadow of his roof for protection. And we have 
God's promise concerning those who put their trust under Christ's 
shadow. " As it is written. Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone, 
and rock of offence ; and whosoever believeth on him shall not be 
put to shame." They shall not be ashamed as men are when their 
expectations are disappointed. We are, 

II. To shew what are Christ's fruits which are so sweet to the 
taste of those that sit under his shadow. These are all the benefits, 
privileges, graces, comforts, and fulness of the covenant, making his 
people happy here and hereafter. Christ himself is the tree that 
bears them from the least to the greatest; the promises are the 
branches upon which they grow, and faith is the hand that polls 
them. They were all purchased by Christ, and it is in him and 
through him that they are enjoyed. A particular enumeration of 
them I will not attempt, but shall only mention a few things in 

1. There is an inexhanstable fulness of them that will serve to 
feed all the saints, in time and through all the ages of eternity. 
Therefore they are called the unsearchable riches of Christ, £ph. 
iii. 8. Behold the top branch and the fruit with which it is laden. 
'* For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel ; 
after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their mind 
and write them in their hearts ; and I will be to them a God, and 
they shall be to me a people." Here is grace and glory, relative 
grace, pardon of sin, peace with God, adoption into his family ; in- 
herent grace, the restoration of the image of God, the continuation 
of it, the perfecting of it. Here is all the soul is capable to desire 
an infinite fulness, even all the fulness of God, in respect of which 
all created fulness bears not the proportion of one drop of water to 
the ocean. 


2. There is a variety of then, saiied to all the possible oases of 
those that are under Christ's shadow. ''The mandrakes giro a 
smell, and at oar gates are all manner of pleasant fnuts, new and 
eld, whieh I hare laid np for thee, my beloved. Behold a duster 
•f them. Bnt of him are ye in Christ Jesns, who of God is made 
nnto US wisdom, and righteoasness, and sanctifieation, and redemp- 
tion." Are they weak and nnable to guide themselves ? He t^ 
wisdom. Are they nnable to pay the debt of righteousness to the 
law, by doing and suffering ? He tf rigkteousneM, full and complete 
righteoasness to them. Are they unholy? He is saneH/icoUion to 
them, in him all their well springs of holiness are, and from him 
they shall have a life of holiness, and live more abundantly, till at 
length they be made like him in the perfection of which they are 
capable* Are they yet under many wants and weaknesses ? He is 
redemptionj to set them free from all vesUges of imperfection. We 
now proceed, 

III. To shew why Christ's fruit relidieth so well with those who 
by fiiith do partake of it. 

1. Because it is suitable to their ease, which drove them under 
Christ's shadow. What brought them there but felt need of supply 
for their perishing soals. Bread is sweet to the hungry man, and 
drink to him that is scorched with thirst. And Christ, and every 
thing in Christ, is sweet to the hungry soul, that could get nothing 
suitable to its ease till it came thither. ThefvUd sotd loatheth an ho- 
na^comb: but to the hungry soul every litter Idling is sweet. And what 
is the reason, that so few relish that sweetness whieh is in Christ, 
but because they have not been brought to a sense of their need of 

2. Because this fruit is proper food for their new nature. If any 
man be in Christ he is a new creature. And if a man be a new crea- 
ture, he must have new nourishment, be cannot feed as he was wont. 
He has new desires, a new appetite, and a new relish. For he de- 
sires thai which is agreeable to the new nature, and tends to the 
support and maintenance of it. And that is Christ only and his 
benefits. Thus he says to us, Hearken diligently unto me, and -eat ye 
that vjhich is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. 

3. Because the real experience of Christ's fruits communicated to 
the soul, id ways le&ves a sweet relish of them behind it. Therefore 
says the apostle Peter, '* As new born babes, desire the sincere milk 
of the word, that ye may grow thereby ; If so be ye have tasted that 
the Lord is gracious." Come and see, is the most powerful persua- 
sive to Uie love of religion, therefore says Uie Psalmist, O taste and 
see that the Lord is good^ blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Men's 

180 TU snrs of snrmBss 

Ettridc, February 9, 1718. 

[Several Sermoai.] 



NuicBBBS zxxii. 23. 
And be awe your sin wUl/md y<m out. 

This Terse contains a fair warning which Moses gives to th« Bea- 
heaites, in case they shonld dare to be false in the business in hand. 
This warning hath two parts. 

1. A protestation, in which he solemnly declares, that they ahcmld 
be gnilty before God, in case they acted falsely, and shonld desert 
their brethren in the wars of Canaan. He tells them God is their 
party, and so doing they wonld not only wrong their brethren, 
which they might think was all, bnt they would dishonour God and 
make him their enemy. Behold, ye have sinned apainst the Lord. 
As if he had said, Remember yon will affront God by it, and bring 
guilt upon your consciences before the Lord. We may here observe 
that in all sinful practices, God is the great object with whom we 
hare to do as the offended party. Thus when David had defiled 
Bathsheba, and murdered Uriah, and thus awfully injured them 
both, yet in confessing his gailt he says, " Against thee, thee only 
have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight." Iniquity does not 
only spread its offence on earth, but it strikes against heaven toe, 
and that chiefly. 

2. In the warning there is a certification, in which he assures 
them that God and they should reckon for it in case they acted 
falsely. Here the end of that sinful practice is represented, Your 
sin has found you out. This implies that they would as it were hide 
tiiemselves from their sin, when they had committed it, they wonld 
make many shifts to soothe themselves and cover the matter. They 
would take the sinful sweet of it, and when they had done this, they 
would stave off the blame, shame, and punishment of it. But in 
vain. He assures them it shall dog them at the heels, till it over* 
take and find them out. He gives them proper notification that 
this wonld be the end of it. Be sure your sin wiU fimd you out» 
Know you your sin : it shall find you out. Think on it beforehand, 
that it will get up with you at length. This is the nature of sis, 

viimiKa ¥hbh out. 181 

will not hide by any means always, under any cover but one, the 
righteonsness of a Redeemer. Let sinners bnry it if they can, let 
them dig deep as hell to hide it, it will have a resurrection, it will 
appear sooner or later as a terrible ghost to them. And be sure 
your sm ufiUfind you out. 

Doctrine — One time or other sin will find ont the sinner. 

In prosecuting this doctrine I shall, 

I. Show how sinners shift this meeting, that their sins may not 
find them out. 

II. In what respects sin shall find out the sinner. 

III. Whence it is that sin certainly will find ont the sinner. I 
am then, 

I. To show how sinners shift this meeting, that their sins may not 
find them out. Sinners are in their hearts utterly averse to be fonnd 
out by their sins, and they have many shifts for that vain purpose. 

1. They will excuse and justify their sin as if there were no evil 
in them. They will cast some fair cloak over foul actions, that their 
sin may pass for a lawful thing. Thus Saul and his army, " took of 
the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have 
been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord God in Gilgal." 
This was their pretence to cover their covetonsness. This in many 
cases is done in the world ; persons defending their sinful practices 
and will not be convinced of the evil of them. And even in other 
cases, persons may attain to such a degree of blindness, that they 
get their consciences soothed in atrocious crimes, as if there were 
little or no evil in them. '* God gives them over to a reprobate mind, 
to do those things which are not convenient." 

2. They will carry the matter so quickly as that it shall be hid 
from the eyes of the world, while in the meantime God's watchful 
eye is still upon them, though they do not regard it. '^ 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.'* 
Many make such use of secred places and darkness, for their wicked 
purposes, as will banish them out of God's secret place, and bring 
then into eternal darkness, if a miracle of grace pluck not the 
brands out of the burning, and their sin in time find them out. Job 
xxiv. 15, 16. 

3. They will deny it when charged upon them, and so cover one 
sin with another. *^ They wipe their mouth and say we have done 
no wickedness." what pains do many take to ruin their own 
souls. Credit before the world is bought at prodigious rates of 
■onl, and consciences, lies, and peijury. It is no wonder the eon- 

VoL. in. V 

182 THB snrs of sikkbrs 

Bcienoes of some be dead and seared as witli a hot iron, when they 
BO often speak in opposition to them, to coyer their sins. 

Lastly, They will keep out of the way, where their sin is most 
likely to ftnd them ont. They lire strangers to themselves, dare 
not examine themselves impartially; they avoid communing with 
their own hearts and consciences as with their greatest enemy. And 
there is no doubt that this makes many to apostatize and g^ve up 
with all duties of religion, especially secret duties, for they have no 
confidence in God, and their hearts condemn them. We now pro- 

II. To show in what respects sin shall find out the sinner. An 
offended God appoints the meeting, and will see it kept, so as the 
sinner shall not always shift, but his sin shall give him a dreadful 
after-meeting. And that often in time, always in eternity. The sin 
of Gain, of Saul, of Judas, soon found them out. And what many 
have hoped to cover, has been to their confusion discovered before 
the world. But however long the meeting may be put off, it will 
never be put off beyond death, there is a day coming will declare 
the secrets of sinners ; for in that day God will judge the secrets of 
men by Jesus Christ. And God makes the sins of some to find 
them out in time, that it may appear there is a God to judge on 
earth, and he allows others to go on, that it may appear there is an 
after reckoning. 

Now God makes sin find out the sinner, 

1. By discovering and bringing to light their works of darkness. 
'* For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed ; and hid 
that shall not be known." They havet oo strong a party, that have 
a watchful eye of providence to wrestle against in hiding their sin. 
God can employ a bird of the air to carry the voice, yea, can make 
the sinner as he did Judas put out himself, and turn his own accuser. 
Joseph's brethren got their sin covered for several years, and when 
they thought they were out of hazard of meeting, it, it appears to 
them in Egypt like a terrible ghost. 

By laying the shame of it upon their faces before the world, as 
he has done with many who thought themselves secure enough from 
it, " Fill their faces, says the Psalmist, with shame, that they might 
seek thy name, Lord.*' God has so united sin and shame together, 
that shame shall certainly follow sin, in time or in eternity. Many 
are a shame to the profession of Christianity, but God will at length 
turn it back on themselves. They think much to bear their shame 
now in time,' but how much more confounding will it be, to have 
their shame proclaimed before the world of angels and men at the 
great day, after which impenitent sinners shall never lift up their 
head. Thus " they shall awake to shame and everlasting contempt." 


3. By presenting sin in its natiye colours to their awakened con- 
sciences. This the Lord did with Cain and Judas. Satan and the 
wicked heart dress np sin in such a manner as it appears lovely to 
the sinner. Bat the day will come, when God will tear off the false 
ornaments, the paint and the yamish from it, and make it appear the 
most horrible spectacle that ever the sinner saw. The thirty pieces 
of silver made a horrid treachery to appear small to Jndas ; but 
when his conscience awakened on him, it was gnilt that sunk him, 
he was not able to stand under it. So also Gain was made to say 
that his punishment was greater than he was able to bear. 

Lastly, By giving them the due reward of his works. " Woe unto 
the wicked I It shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands 
shall be given him." The time of our life is a sowing time. Sin is 
a seed, that though it may be long hid under ground, yet will bring 
a doleful harvest at length. '< For he that soweth to the flesh, shall 
of the flesh reap corruption." The brim of the cup of sin may be 
sweet, but bitter will the dregs be, which the sinner shall surely be 
made to drink. The hand of vengeance may be long in striking, 
but it will strike at length. And however easily the sinner may 
run into arrears, it will bring a fearful reckoning. 

And God will make the punishment one way or another to answer 
the sin, so as the sinner shall And that his sin has found him out. 
God has many ways of writing people's sin in their punishment, 
that they shall be obliged to own that God remembers their sin 
against them, and sometimes as Adoni-bezek they are unable to say, 
as I have done, so God hath requited me. The Sodomites burned in 
lust, and they were burned with fire and brimstone. Let us now, 

III. Show whence it is that sin certainly will find out the sinner. 
How can it be otherwise, if we consider, 

1. That none can sin without witnesses, who will surely at length 
discover the sin. Let sinners choose the most secret place for their 
works of darkness, they have always two witnesses present with them. 

Conscience within their own breast, is as a thousand witnesses, 
whose testimony one cannot get denied. Their conscience also bears 
witnesSy and their th(mghts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one 
another. Conscience may be a very silent witness for a time, but 
though it be silent it is not quite idle. It writes down the sinner's 
wickedness and keeps it on record, which record will be read, when 
the sinner with his gnilt is set before the Judge here or hereafter, 
when the books are opened and the black book of conscience among 

The other witness is the omniscient God, whose eye is always 
npon the sinner. " Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither 


184 TBS SIK8 OF glKirSRS 

ahall I flee from thy presence ?" Who can hide his thoughts from 
him that searoheth the heart ? and to what place can the sinner i^, 
where God is not before him i Darkness and light are alike to him. 
And how can the crime escape discovery, where the Jndge and Law- 
giver himself is witness. Little do sinners think of this, because 
God does not strike them down in an instant. Bnt this witness will 
speak to their terror and confusion at length. 

2. God has said it. ** For God shall bring every work into judg- 
ment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be 
evil. If thou doest well, shalt thou not be acoepted ? And if thon 
doest not well, sin lieth at the door." It is then his will, that sin 
9hall find out the sinner, and who can hope to hide what God will 
have brought to light. 

Use 1. Of information. This lets us see, 

1. That an evil conscience is a sad companion, and guilt lying 
within the breast unrepented of, will break out sadly at length, to 
the sinner's confusion. It made Cain a burden to himself. Gen. iv. 
13. A good conscience is the sweetest support, and gives the greatest 
ease in the world. Bnt no rack like to that of an ill conscience, 
completely awakened. Many a secret blow it gives the sinner, that 
the world knows not of. 

2. God is a just God, and will not be mocked, nor can he be 
blinded. '* Be not deceived ; God is not mocked ; for whatsoever a 
man soweth that shall he also reap." Let men run on in sin as 
long as they will, God will call them to an account at last, and they 
shall see that God did not overlook their sins, though he did not 
presently strike. He has a concern for his honour and his holy law, 
which sinners trample under foot, and he will fill their faces with 
shame that do so, and vindicate his glory at their cost. 

3. There is a watchful eye of providence over the world that never 
closeth, bnt taketh notice of all men's actions at all times and in 
every place. And he bringeth secret things to light, at the time in 
which it may bring most glory to himself, and most confusion to the 
impenitent sinner. God loves to take hopeless cases in hand, and 
when all probable means fail, then to stretch forth his own arm and 
work/ that it may be seen that it is his own work. 

Use 2. Of warning. I would hence warn all, 

1. To take heed when you think you stand, lest you fall. The 
way of sin is down the hill, it is easy to go downward, but there may 
be broken bones before yon get up again. 

2. Please not yourselves in that yon get your sins covered, and 
hid from the eyes of men. For though you may prosper a while 
in that course, yet your feet may slip at last. And if yon do not 

roronre vhbm ouv. 186 

fisd youreelyes sometimeB catohed in the snare, your nn will find 
yon out, it wiU fare with yon as it nerer did with any before yon. 

Indulge not yourselyes in secret sins, for the day will come, that 
what is done in seeret, shall be proclaimed on the house tops. And 
hide youV shame as long as yon will, it will one day cover you in 
mercy or in wrath. 

Lastly, Let us all labour to find out our sins, lest they find us 
out. We must meet them. Better seek them out that we may 
carry them to the sea of the Redeemer's blood, than to stay till 
they find us out, which may plunge us into seas of wrath. Amen. 

m ^mim>m^'m0'0>0>mm 

[Subject oontmuedJ] 


NuMBBBS xxxii. 23. 
And be sure your sin wiUjind you out. 

I HAYB spoken to the two first general heads. I shall now proceed, 
III. To inquire more particularly than we hare yet done, into the 
Lord's making sin find out the sinner. This is one of these things 
in which the proyidence of God does shine most illustriously ; upon 
which unbiassed spectators must say, *^This is the finger of God, 
and verily there is a God to judge upon the earth." Consider here, 
I. The general kinds of sin, which the Lord makes to find out the 
sinner. As for open sins confessed by the sinner, I need not speak 
of these, the sinner meets with them every day. But, 

1. Sins which men will not own to be sins ; the Lord makes to 
find out the sinner. '' These things hast thou done, and I kept si- 
lence ; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: 
but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes." 
The crucifying of Christ, the Jews would not allow to be their sin, 
in their blindness they denied the charge. But when the Spirit of 
the Lord comes, he makes them own it. Thus Peter addressed 
them, '* Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that 
God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye crucified both Lord and 
Christ Now when they heard this they were pricked in their heart, 
and said unto Peter, and to the rest of the apostles, men and bre- 
thren what shall we do?" In a time of defection and apostacy from 


186 THB SIKS 07 siinnBBfl 

the Lord, men stand out a^inat conyiction, they will not take with 
their sin. Bat afterwards when God ariseth to plead, he opens np 
the putrifying sores and makes men's folly appear to them. 

2. Secret sins to which no man is witness, the Lord makes them 
find out the sinner. ** Thou hast set our iniquities hefore 'thee, our 
secret sins in the light of thy countenance." The sinner pleaseth 
himself with this, that no eye seeth him. But God makes the world 
hear well of it at length. And what is done in secret, he bringeth 
forth in the face of the sun. How secret was Onan's sin, but the 
stroke of God reached him for it. For the most secret sins are 
open to an omniscient God, and he will make the sinner find it so. 

II. The time in which the Lord makes sin to find out the sinner. 
Times and seasons are in the Lord's hand, and the time fixed by his 
proyidence is always the hest time, and whoso considereth circum- 
stances will be obliged to own it. The best time for his own honour, 
and for the conviction of the sinner in mercy or in wrath. 

Sometimes the sinner is found out presently, God takes the sinner 
instantly in his sin. Thus " when Jeroboam put forth his hand 
from the altar, against the man of God, saying, Lay hold on him. 
And his hand which he put forth against him dried up, so that he 
could not pull it in again to him." As soon as they go off the way, 
the lion finds them, as soon as they break over the hedge the ser- 
pent bites them. This is necessary to keep the world within some 
tolerable bounds of morality, otherwise profanity and wickedness 
would overflow all banks. Sometimes the sinner is not found out 
till long after. It was about three months before Judah's sin found 
him out : ** When he was told that Tamar his daughter-in-law had 
played the harlot, and was with child by whoredom." Nay, it may 
go on years, many years, and never appear all the time, and yet 
find them out at length, before they leave this world. A person's 
sin may have as much time, before it find them out, as in the sin- 
ner's own opinion it may be dead and rotten, and in no hazard of 
rising to disturb them. It was at least long twenty years before 
the sin of Joseph's brethren found them out. Sins of youth may 
put off the rencounter till old age and death arrive. 

III. The place, where sin finds out the sinner. Many times there 
is much of God seen in this, and God reserves the discovery always 
to the fittest place. ** For he is a rock, his work is perfect ; for all 
his ways are judgment; a God of truth, and without iniquity; just 
and right is he." And he can make the sinner's own feet carry him 
to the place of this sad tryst, and heavy meeting, while he has no 
mind of any such thing. 

1. God can make sin find out the sinner sometimes, where he can 


haye least snpport under the awful meeting with his sin. Thus God 
sent Joseph's brethren to Egypt, a strange land, that their sin 
might find them ont, Gen. xlii. 21. They were now far from their 
friends and relations, who might have comforted them, under any 
distress which they saw them under. But stripped of all comfort- 
ers, their consciences have leisure to toss them to purpose. Thus 
the sinner leaves God for his sin, and God leaves the sinner alone 
with his sin. 

2. Where they may have least help to shift their sins finding 
them out. Thus there is no word of Jndah's sinful companion, 
Hirah the AduUamite, when his sin finds him out. Proyidence it 
seems parted them on that occasion ; otherwise he that had helped 
Judah to coyer his sin before, might have helped him now, to haye 
denied and concealed it, notwithstanding of the speaking evidences 
of it. Companions in sin are oft times farthest to seek when their 
help is most needed, and some time or other they will all proye 
physicians of no yalue. 

3. Where it will confound the sinner most and pierce his heart 
most keenly. When Judah's daughter-in-law " was brought forth, 
she sent to her father-in law, saying, by the man whose these are 
am I with child ; and she said, discern I pray thee, whose are these, 
the signet, and bracelets, and staff. And Judah acknowledged 
them." Here the sin was discovered publicly in' judgment before 
many witnesses, in whose sight the shame of the foul fact was 
spread on his face. Thus God makes secret sins, which no eye has 
seen committed, find out the sinner publicly before many witnesses, 
and in the face of the sun. 

lY. The means by which the Lord makes sin find out the sinner. 
There is much of God seen in this also. He never wants means to 
discover the most secret sins, which he wishes to bring to light. 
Sometimes this is done, 

1. By the natural product of the sin, by which the sin is made to 
discover itself. Thus the sin of Judah and Tamar was discovered 
by her being with child. The bleating of the sheep and the lowing 
of the oxen discovered Saul's sin, which shewed he had not per- 
formed the commandment of the Lord. Thus persons may go long 
on in sin, but a watchful providence makes their feet slide in due 
time, and their sin find them out, by fixing some mark to their sin 
by which the world may know it. 

2. By some act of indiscretion and folly in the sinner himself. 
As in the case of Jndah's signet, bracelets and staff given to Tamar. 
the stupendous conduct of providence, in the infatuating of sin- 
ners, taking common discretion from them, that otherwise have 


lkbiuidaii<)e of kelliBh craft and Babtilty for tbe hidia^ of their sio. 
Yet their eyes are, by the jast judgment of God, withheld from see- 
ing, what otherwise might have been easily perceived. And this 
will gall them to the heart afterwards, that they should have acted 
BO foolishly, unless their hearts be touched with repentance. But 
who can retain the prudence, which God intends for his own holy 
purposes to take from them. 

3. By some unforeseen accident which the sinner by Ub own ut- 
most diligence could not preyent. " Curse not the king, no, not in 
thy thought ; and curse not the rich in thy bed-chamber : for a bird 
of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell 
the matter." Man's capacity is but narrow, there are many things 
which he cannot foresee. When he goes out of the way of God, he 
may, ere he be aware, be caught fast in such a snare, as will hold 
him till his sin find him out. '* For man also knoweth not his time : 
as the fishes that are caught in an evil net, and as the birds that are 
caught in the snare ; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, 
When it falleth suddenly upon them/' There is no safety out of the 
path of duty. When persons go away from God, they make them- 
selves many enemies, for every person and thing are enemies to 
them to whom God and their own consciences are enemies. 

Lastly, By making their consciences restless, till their own 
mouths discover their own sin and shame. Witness Judae. The 
Lord never wants means to make sin find out the sinner, as long as 
there is a conscience within the sinner's breast. Much secret wicked«- 
Bess has thus been brought to light in the world. And we have had 
instances of it, where the guilty were forced to turn their own ac- 
cusers, when none was charging them with it ; yes, and when to 
all appearance there was no true repentance for the sin. However, 
conscience may sometimes be commanded and held down, God can 
easily make it so turbulent within one's breast, that it will no longer 
keep the secret of thmr sin. 

Y. The way and manner of sin^s finding out the sinner. This 
many a time is such, as must needs make men to say, This is the 
/nger of God. Providence appoints the meeting, and wonderfully 
brings matters about for the keeping of it. 

1. OfttimeS sin finds the sinner unexpectedly and surprisingly 
when they are not looking for it. How surprisingly did Judah's 
sin, and the sin of Joseph's brethren find them out. It meets the 
sinner like a ghost in a moment, when he is not looking for it ; and 
catches him before he can get his SinAil craft collected to stave it off. 

2. Often does the way which sinners take to hide their sin, prove the 
way of its finding them out. " The Lord is known by the judgment 

rnmnrch thsk out. 189 


which he exeenteth ; the wicked is snared in the work of his own 
hands." The means which they nse for burying it out of sight, God 
makes the occasion of its rising npon them. How often hare con'* 
ning contrivances of mischief turned on the heads of the contriyers, 
God catching the wise in their own craft, to his own glory and their 

3. Sin always finds out the sinner securely, that there is none es- 
caping, no getting beyond it, but the sinner is hedged in on erery 
side. Gain felt the greatness of his punishment, but he could not 
escape from it. God's prisoners are kept fast, and though it may 
be long before he speak to the sinner, yet he will speak home at 
length. He may be long in beginning to reckon with the sinner, 
but he will make a thorough reckoning when he does begin. He 
says as in the case of Eli, '^ When I begin, I will also make an 

Lastly, God's writing the sin npon the punishment, so that the 
sinner shall be forced to say. As I have done, so Ood hath requited 
me. Thus God makes men's sins so to find them out, that they can- 
not fail to see that he remembers such a sin against them. 

Sometimes the punishment is the same in kind with the sin : as 
in the case of Adoni-bezek. The same punishment was inflicted upon 
himself, which he had inflicted upon threescore and ten captive 
kings. Thus many that injure others have the same injury returned 
into their own bosom, and are treated in the same way that they 
have treated others. Thus Absalom did to David as he had done 
to Uriah. Pharaoh slew the first-bom of the Israelites, and there- 
fore God slew the first-born of Egypt. Pharaoh would have every 
now bom son of Israel cast into the river, and God drowns him 
and all his host in the red sea. 

Sometimes there is a visible likeness between the sin and the 
punishment. The Sodomites burned with lust, and God sends fire 
and brimstone on them to bum them to ashes. Nadab and Abihu 
offered strange fire, and they were consumed with fire from before 
the Lord. Jacob beguiled his father, by pretending to be Esau, 
and Laban him, by palming Leah on him for Rachel. 

Sometimes there is a certain relationship betwixt the sin and the 
punishment. Jeroboam's hand withering, the belly of the adulteress 
swelling, and her thigh rotting. Companions of sin turning plagues 
and causes of woe to one another. Eli's indulgence to his sons was 
punished with the death of them. 

Finally, Sometimes there is a direct contrariety betwixt the sin 
and the punishment. Thus God threatened the Israelites: "Be- 
cause thon servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with 


gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things ; therefore sbalt 
thon serre thine enemies, which the Lord shall send against thee, in 
hanger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things ; 
and he shall put a yoke of iron on thy neck, until he have destroyed 
thee." Adam would be like God, and he became like the beast 
that perisheth. David, proud of the number of his people, is 
punished with the loss of seyenty thousand of them. The Jews cru- 
cify Christ to preserve their nation, and it ruins it entirely. 

Use 1. — There is a God. The fool says in his heart and by his 
practice, there is none. But God is known by the judgments he 
executeth. When we see in ourselyes or others, sin thus finding 
the sinner out, we should be confirmed in the faith of that funda- 
mental article of all religion. And oppose it to those temptations 
to atheism, which the corrupt heart raises from sinners prospering 
so long in a sinful course. 

2. There is a providence. That God is not an idle spectator, but 
a careful observer of human affairs. His eye is upon us at all 
times, in the dark as in the light ; and secret sins are as open to him 
as those done in the face of the sun. Nothing can be hid from his 
sight, but every thing is open and manifest unto him. He looks on 
as a witness, and as a judge, and in due time discovers his hatred 
of it. 

Lastly, He is a just God, that will at length shew himself terrible 
to impenitent sinners. He will call sinners in due time to an ac- 
count, and though he fepare long he will not spare always. The 
sinner thinks that because God does bear with him long, therefore 
he is such a one as himself, that there is no such evil in sin as is 
pretended, and because sentence against an evil deed is not executed 
speedily, therefore the heart of the sinner is set in him to do 
wickedly. But God will speak to the confusion of sinners in mercy 
or in wrath. Amen. 


[Subject continued,^ 


NuMBBBS zxxii. 23. 
And be sure your sin wtRfind you out. 

lY. I shall now confirm the doctrine. Here consider, 

1. That no man can sin without witnesses. This has heen already 
illustrated under the third head. 

2. Consider that God both can and will make sin find out the sin- 
ner. How then can the sinner escape. Many a time atrocious 
crimes escape among men, because such as would, cannot find them 
out, and such as can, will not do it. But there is neither cannot, 
nor will not with God in this case. 

1. God can do it. For he hath every thing necessary to qualify 
him to find out the guilty. He is privy to the most secret wicked- 
ness. " For the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the 
evil and the good." See what a discovery of secret wickedness the 
Lord makes to the prophet, Ezek. viii. 8, — 12. God sees what is in 
us, about us, or done by us, however it be concealed. And with 
God the most subtile contrivances for concealing of sin, are no bet- 
ter than the silly art of poor children, to turn their backs and cover 
their own eyes to hide themselves. The thickest covers which can 
be made for sin are so thin, that they hinder not the broad view of 
the omniscient eye. Again he never forgets, nay, he cannot forget, 
because of the perfection of his nature, and besides he has inter- 
posed a solemn oath in the matter. " The Lord, saith the prophet 
Amos, liath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, surely I will never 
forget any of their works." It may be long before. a process be 
raised before the Lord ; when it is called it may get a sist and de- 
lay, through the long suffering of the Judge. But it never drops 
out of the records. " For the iniquity of Ephraim is bound up ; his 
sin is hid." The Lord never forgets unpardoned iniquity. 

God also hath all power to break through all opposition, which 
the sinner can by art or might lay in the way of his sins finding 
him out. For he is omniscient and omnipotent. The most subtle 
sinner he can outwit. " He taketh the wise in their own craftiness ; 
and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong." The most 
cunning deviser he can counterwork. "He disappointeth the de- 


vices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enter- 
prise." And the most powerful and stubborn sinner he can break. 
*' He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength ; who hath hardened 
himself against him and prospered." No counsel can avail against 
the Lord, " and by strength shall no man prevail, the adversaries of 
the Lord shall be broken in pieces ; out of heaven shall he thunder 
upon them." 

2. God will do it. For he hath said it, his truth is engaged for 
it. " God is not a man, that he should lie, neither the son of man, 
that he should repent; hath he said it, and shall he not do it." 
He hath solemnly said it under a protestation in the text. So that 
either God's truth must fail, or the sinner's sin shall find him out. 
'* For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed, and hid, 
that shall not be known." And what art can hide what God's 
truth is engaged to bring to light ? God says to the sinner covering 
his sin, as to Cain, \f thou doest evU, sm Ueth at the door. Like a 
watch-dog ready to take the criminal by the throat, whenever he 
stirs out at the door, and this dog though it may sleep long at the 
door, will rise on the sinner at length. He that covereth his sim shall 
not prosper, 

3. It lies upon God's honour to make sin find out the sinner. Sin*' 
ners getting away with their sins, run into a mistake to the disho- 
nour of God; but God for his honour's sake, will rectify the mistake, 
though it will be to the sinner's cost. "These things hast thou 
done, says he, and I kept silence ; thou thoughtest that I was alto« 
gether such an one as thyself; but I will reprove thee, and set them 
in order before thee." Men of honour in the world are concerned 
in a special manner for it, so that he that toucheth it, touches the 
apple of their eye. And can any think but God is very jealous for 
his honour. " I am the Lord ; that is my name ; and my glory 
will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." 

The honour of God's rectoral justice, by which he governs the 
world, is coni)emed in this matter. ShaU not the judge of aXL the 
earth do right ? Crimes allowed to pass unpunished, reflect on the 
justice of those under whose jurisdiction they are. The whole world 
is under God's jurisdiction. And how shall it be known that the 
righteous Lord loveth righteousness, if sin do not sooner or later 
find out the sinner. And hence it comes to pass, that those who are 
most dear to God, their sins find them out also. " Who gave Jacob 
for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers ? Did not the Lord, he against 
whom we have sinned." This, therefore, is given as the reason of 
God's publicly punishing David, 2 Sam. zii. 12, 13. Though God 
answers his people and forgives them, Yet he takes vengeance on their 


This belongs also to the honour of his holiness, by which he is 
pure from, and hates with a perfect hatred, all iniquity. He is glo^ 
rioua in holiness. If he should not set a mark of his indignation 
against sin, one time or other, where would be the evidence of his 
perfect hatred of it ? Do not they who join in corering sin, make 
themselyes partakers of the guilt ? And does not then the spotless 
holiness of God make it sure that sin shall find out the sinner. The 
honour also of his omniscience and providential vigilance require it. 
Therefore says Joshua to Achan, " My son, give I pray thee, glory 
to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him." It is the 
perverse reckoning of sinners upon God's long suffering and for- 
bearance, that leads them to say, " The Lord seeth us not ; the Lord 
hath forsaken the earth.'* And therefore, either sin must find out 
the sinner, or God will lose the glory of his omniscience. The sin- 
ner in his secret wickedness, robs God of that glory, but in open 
confession he restores it, thereby owning that since God knows it, it 
is all one as if all the world knew it, and therefore he confesseth it 
before the world. 

It concerns also the honour of this message delivered by his ser- 
vants in his name to sinners^ They are commanded to tell sinners 
that their sins will find them out. They are to say, " Woe unto the 
wicked ! it shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall 
be given him." And it lies on the honour of God to confirm the 
words of his servants which they spake on the credit of his word. 
Thus it is said, *' And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and 
did let none of his words fall to the ground." If sinners were not 
sometimes found out even in the world, men would turn atheists, and 
would not believe a word spoken to them in the name of the Lord. 

4. History and observation afford abundant testimony to this 
grand truth, in the events that have appeared and do appear in the 
world in all ages. Many a practical commentary has providence 
written on our text in the shame and ruin of many a man and wo- 
man ; although the brightest piece of it is reserved to be written out 
at the last day, when thousands of blanks that are in it shall be filled 
up. And, 

1« As to history. What profane history, written by Christians, 
Jews, Mahometans or pagans, wants striking instances of this na- 
ture ? But ] shall confine myself to sacred history, where we have 
wonderful instances, first, of sins finding out sinful nations and so- 
cieties. We have heard already of sins finding out the Sodomites 
and the Egyptians. The sinning angels wanted not wisdom to have 
hid their sin, if it could have been hid, nor strength to have staved 
off the meeting, if any such thing could have been done : but it found 


them out, and pnt them in chains of darkness. The old world, it 
seems, thought the long tryst was fairly baulked. They continued 
in their usual courses, " Until the day that Noah entered into the 
ark, and knew not till the flood came and took them all away." 
Thus the meeting was kept. The sinful Benjamites twice shifted 
their sins finding them out. Hence says the prophet Hosea, refer- 
ring to the history, Judges xx. " They haye deeply corrupted them- 
selyes, as in the days of Gibeah, therefore he will remember their 
iniquity, he will visit their sins." Accordingly the third time al- 
most razed their name out of the earth. The Jews were appointed 
to give their land sabbatical years, Leyit. xxv. 4. But through 
covetousness they quite gave up the practice, and thought it was 
good economy and lawful gain ; but ere all was done their sin found 
them out. "To* fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jere- 
miah," they were kept in captivity, " Until the land had enjoyed 
her Sabbaths ; for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to 
fulfil threescore and ten years." Afterward the Jews would make 
their court to the Romans, by crucifying Christ, but their sin soon 
found them out to their destruction. 

We have instances also of sins finding out particular persons. 
How did sin find out the first sinner Adam, who would be as God, 
and became as the beasts, that perish, whom no tree or bush in the 
garden could hide from his offended God. Gain's secret murder of 
his brother haunted him like a ghost, wherever he went. David's 
secret sins of adultery and murder, were set in the light, and pro- 
claimed to all into whose hands the Bible comes. Nebuchadnezzar's 
pride, who was driven to dwell with beasts, and Herod eaten up of 
worms. And many other such instances of sins finding out the sin- 
ners might be mentioned. 

2. As to observation. Who sees not this often accomplished on 
others in their sight, or hear of it by frequent reports brought to 
their ears. What secret wickedness is there daily breaking forth, 
in some place or other, and set in the light, that has been done in 
the dark, and perhaps has been long hid. We have this day a fresh 
instance of God's discovering a course of secret wickedness, that for 
several years has spurned all methods of bringing the matter' to 

Again, who may not observe this in the course of providence with 
himself. How often does God make even the thoughts of the heart 
to meet the sinner, that never was ripened into action, so that all 
may know that God searcheth the rdna and hearts, God often makes 
sin find out the sinner, when yet he does not carry the quarrel to 
the streets and blaze it abroad in the world. But it is that the sin- 


ner may know, that God will judge him. God knows it, and makes 
the sinner know, that he knows and remembers it too, by some secret 
check, perhaps quite unobserved, or unobseryable by others. 
Use 1. — Of information. This informs ns, 

1. That there will be a day, in which God will yet plead his con- 
troversy with these lands, however long it be put off. The sins of 
Scotland and the sins of England will find them out, and God will 
treat with them as covenant breaking nations, whom he would have 
healed but they would not. The national perjury, blood of saints, 
contempt of the gospel, and profanity, with all the pieces of de- 
fection and backslidings, however covered and crusted over, will no 
doubt yet find out the nations, and all ranks of persons in church 
and state. And is never more ready to find them out, than when 
they are buried out of sight and people are saying, the bitterness of 
death is past. 

2. When we meet with any stroke or cross dispensation, we ought 
to read it in the sin at which it points and humble ourselves, else we 
fight against God. " Lord, are not thine eyes upon the truth ? 
Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved : thou hast con- 
sumed them, but they have refused to receive correction ; they have 
made their faces harder than a rock, they have refused to return." 

It should make us say, I remember my sin this day. And I think 
you and I both have reason to say so, when we think upon the as- 
tonishing course of providence with us this winter, in the matter of 
the Sabbath days, which God for the most part hath made heartless, 
half silent Sabbaths to us. let us lay this matter to heart and 
examine how we have improved Sabbaths and public ordinances, 
since on them God has stamped such a mark of his anger against 

Those whose sins have found them out have no reason to murmur, 
but to be thankful that God has checked them sooner than they 
thought. For sin must find out the sinner, and the sooner the better. 
Better now than in another world. Better now than upon the brink 
of eternity, or before the tribunal of God. Yes, hut ill is good on 
trusty will the impenitent sinner say. But the proverb is ill applied 
here. For God will pay home the principal, with full interest for 
the time it has lain over, when he begins to reckon with the sinner, 
and then the sinner will change his mind. 

Putting off the reckoning and delaying accounts pays no debt. 
Reprieves are not pardons. The debt of sin that is not confessed in 
God's way, and carried to the blood of Christ, to be swallowed up 
there, will neither die nor drown. The sinner will to his astonish- 
ment hear of it sooner or later. It u/iU surely come^ it will not tarry. 


Perhaps it has already lain oyer many years, and perhaps it may 
lie over as long yet ; but be sure it will find yon out at length. 
Old sores that haye not been well cured will readily break out, and 
old guilt will soon or late bring fresh pain. 

6. Sin is a bastardly thing, that at sometime no body will desire 
to father. Adam sins and hides himself. Cain murders his brother 
but is averse to own it. So Just and holy, so agreeable to the ra-> 
tional nature is the law of God, that the sinner is or will be self 
condemned. Therefore it will sometimes be a confounding question, 
^' What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now 
ashamed ? For the end of those things is death." Alas that we 
should be hurrying into those things of which we shall be ashamed, 
and lay up so much matter of future grief, shame and remorse to 
ourselves. Some indeed glory in their shame, but that brow of 
brass will at length be broken, when sinners shall awake to shame 
and everlasting contempt. 

6. Whoever then will have the sweet of sin, must lay their ac- 
counts with the sour of it. They that drink of the brim of that cup 
must drink of the dregs of it too. God has fixed shame, sorrow and 
torment of heart to sin, with such strong bands that none shall be 
able to break. Where sin dines, judgment will sup. Wrath fol-' 
lows it, as the shadow does the body. The stinging serpent lies on 
the other side of the hedge of God's law, which they who break over 
will find. 

Lastly, In vain do sinners fight against their sins finding them. 
It is lost labour, it will not do, for God is their party. It is vain 
for sinners to hide themselves, and hide their own eyes from their 
sins, for see them they must. Yea, they shall see and be ashamed. 
Men may close their eyes upon their sin, but God will open them, 
and make the frightful spectacle appear to them. Conscience will 
not always be seared, nor the mind blinded. God will take off the 
vail and say, / iviU set thy sins in order before thee. 

It is in vain to hide these sins which God calls them to discover 
for his own glory. Secret sins, so secret as they give no scandal to 
men, God calls not men to discover ordinarily. But scandalous 
sins by which the name of God is blasphemed before the world, 
God calls sinners to make open confession of them, that they may 
restore him the glory before men, that they have taken away before 
them. And however sinners may struggle against the glorifying of 
God this way, God will not want his glory of them. For he hath 
said, " He that covereth his sins shall not prosper : but whoso con- 
fesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." And that is a heavy 
flaying, '' Who hath hardened himself against God and prospered ?" 

rtFnntet vhsm out. 197 

Objee^on, But there is much necret wickedness in the world, from 
which sinners get away, without its finding them ont. This is a 
grand objection against the doctrine, from which sinners are apt to 
encourage themselves : therefore I will consider it, and in answer to 
it, offer these particulars. 

1. There are secret rebnkes and strokes which a sinner often 
meets with from the hand of God, these, though undiscemible to the 
worl^, are yet visible to the sinner himself. The lashes of con- 
science often go deep in accusing sinners. Many a fair face is often 
put upon the black heart of a guilty person, that blasts their sinful 
pleasures. And do they escape that are put into the hands of this 
tormentor ? No hand was laid upon Cain, yet he complains that his 
sin was heavier than he was able to bear. Sins often find out the 
sinner, when it is not known to others. None knew that the sin of 
Joseph's brethren had found them out but Joseph and themselves. 

2. Sin many times finds out sinners before the world, and though 
some escape yet many are taken in that snare. I need not repeat 
instances. There are some that God makes examples to others, and 
they that will not take warning by them, may themselves come also 
to be made examples to others, and from them, others will take 
warning. Hence says Paul to the Hebrews, '* Let us labour there- 
fore to enter into rest, lest any man fall after the same example of 
unbelief." Though some escape yet you may be taken, therefore do 
not you adventure, in hopes of getting away with your sin. While 
there are so many whose sin has found them ont in the land of the 
living, not only in their name, but in their persons, it is folly to go 
on securely in sin, expecting never to be detected. 

8. Sin often finds out the sinner's name, when he is dead and 
gone, so that they die like a candle going out, leaving a bad savour 
in the world behind them. The name of the wicked shall rot. 
Their name rots with their bodies. God does with some sinners 
that get out of the world without sin finding them out, as some do 
with such as die by their own hands, they hang them up after they 
are dead, for a terror to others. Their names are as their bodies 
were unburied, left behind them for a loathing to such as think on 

4. Sin often finds out the sinner in his relations or family after 
he is gone. God takes away the sinner and pursues the quarrel in 
the eyes of the world against them that are his. This is described 
in a striking manner. Job xx. 26, — 29. This is also threatened in 
the second commandment. Sin not found out is one of the worst of 
legacies, which God to his own glory, takes the payment of in his 
own hand, to make all men to see that there is a God to judge upon 

Vol III. 


the earth. It is a consuming moth, that will consume substanee, 
and erase the remembrance of sinners from the earth. See what 
God says to Eli, for the wickedness of his sons and his lenity to 
them, 1 Sam. ii. 30,-36. 

5. Sin never fails to find oat the sinner in another world. There 
is a tribunal immediately after death, where the impenitent sinner 
will find that his sins are not forgotten. After death is the judgment. 
Bat there will be a day of judgment at the end of the world, when 
secret things will be brought to light and laid open. " In that day 
God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. Then he will 
bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it 
be good or whether it be evil. Then the dead small and great shall 
stand before God, and the books will be opened." The records of 
the most secret wickedness will be read before the world of angels 
and men. These works of darkness, which now cannot be dived 
into, will be laid open then in their most minute circumstances, be- 
fore the universal congregation. 

Now judge ye, if any encouragement can be drawn, from some 
sinners getting away without their sin finding them out. You see 
that out it must be, and out it will be, if not in time, yet in eternity. 
And better now than hereafter, for, 

1. Now God is on a throne of mercy, and if sin find out the sin- 
ner now, he may go to Christ with it, who will cover it with his 
blood, and upon the sinner's coming to him, God has promised, say- 
ing, '* I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more." 
If the criminal fall down before his judge and submit himself, he 
will get his soul for a prey. *'For if we confess our sins, he is 
faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all 
unrighteousness." But hereafter the white flag of peace is taken 
in, the time of trial is over, the door of mercy shut, and no more 
pardons dispensed. '* Strive to enter in at the strait gate ; for 
many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 
When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the 
door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, say- 
ing. Lord, Lord, open unto us : and he shall answer and say unto 
you, I know you not whence you are." 

2. The most public place in all this world, is but a secret comer 
in comparison of that assembly that shall be at the great day. 
'* Before the Judge shall be gathered all nations ; and he shall sepa- 
rate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from 
the goats." And what matter what shame fall on the sinner now, 
BO that he may lift up his face in that great assembly unashamed. 

Quesdon. But why is it that sin finds some out in time, and that 


others are put off to another world ? Answer. The sins of some sin- 
ners find them out in time, for these reasons.. 

1. Sometimes for their own good and eternal welfare, that their 
sonls may be saved in the day of the Lord. The thief who was 
bronght to the cross on the discovery of his sin was saved, when 
many others, no doubt, escaped and so perished. And thus it is 
thought concerning Ahab, that the discovering of his sin was a 
mean to bring him to repentance. Whatever God may do with 
others, one way or other, he will make sin find out his elect in this 
world, that it shall so toss them as to bring them to Christ. 

2. For his own glory, that the world may see there is a God that 
concerns himself in matters done in the world as the Judge of it. 
*' The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance ; he shall 
wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. So that a man shall say, 
verily there is a reward for the righteous : verily he is a God that 
judgeth in the earth." These things are real evidences of GU>d'B 
omniscience, justice and holiness. So that while the sins of some 
find them out, he leaves not himself without a witness. And it be- 
comes a bar in the way of prevailing atheism in the world, striking 
sinners with the thought, that there is a God. 

3. For a terror and warning to others. " And all Israel shall 
hear and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is 
among you." God makes examples of some, that others may learn 
wisdom by their folly. And therefore it says to all, " Now all these 
things happened unto them for ensamples ; and they are written for 
our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." This 
is the end of church discipline in public rebukes. '* Them that sin 
rebuke before all, that others also may fear." .And they are far 
gone in hardness, and must be very insensible of their own case, who 
are not humbled and stirred up to watchfulness by these means. 
And idle unconcerned spectators of these things, are very like to 
become a spectacle themselves to others. 

But again, sin's finding out some is delayed for a time, and they 
get away with them even in the face of death ; so that their sin 
never finds them out in this world. And this, 

1. Is in wrath to themselves, they are given over as helpless, 
Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone. Their punishment is reserved 
till they get it altogether in full tale. '' How are they brought into 
desolation as in a moment ; they are utterly consumed with terrors." 
It is a fearful case when God allows accounts with a sinner to lie 
over, till he be in another world ; and never brings him to a reckon- 
ing till there. I assure you God deals not so with any of his own. 
*' But when we are judged, says Paul, we are chastened of the Lord, 


200 THE Bnrs or BziriniBfl 

that WB sbonld not be condemned with the world.^ It is a sign of a 
yery hopeless case, when God ceaseth to be a reprorer to a sinner. 

2. It is to be a certain evidence and token to the world of a judg- 
ment to come. Were every one's sin made to find him out in this 
world, and he brought to reckon for it here, it would tempt the 
world to think there were no future judgment. But since so many 
processes are laid by undiscussed in time, it is an argument that the 
judgment will sit in eternity. And indeed, every one of those sins 
that sinners get away with, is an argument for a day of judgment. 
For since God is a just God, he must reward sinners according to 
their works, going on in their sin, and since that is not done now, it 
will certainly be done hereafter. 

3. The mischievous effects of some persons' sins are never com- 
plete till they be gone. And even when they are off the stage, their 
guilt may be running on to a greater and greater height in this 
world, for all which they shall be made to reckon at the great day. 
So the mischief of Haman lived when he was dead. Thus Esther, 
after his death, " Spake yet again before the king, and fell down at 
his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of 
Haman the Agagito, and his device which he had devised against 
the Jews." Jeroboam, long after he was dead, is called Jeroboam 
the son of Nebat who made Ikrael to sin. So there is no breaking 
off of such sins but by the repentance of the party. And when he 
does not repent, no wonder his sin does not find him out till it be 

Use 2. Of Exhortation. And this doctrine serves to dehort from 
several sinful practices, and to exhort to several duties. 

DehortatUm 1. Beware of leading a careless and untender life. 
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. Most 
men walk carelessly, they are as indifferent about keeping a clean 
conscience as the workman is of keeping the motes and dust off his 
clothes, who never troubles himself, as long as they do not come 
into his eyes. This is not the good old way of the saints, " who 
exercised themselves, to have always a conscience void of offence 
toward God and toward man." 

Now that is a careless and untender life, 

1. When a man keeps not upon his spirit a fear of falling into 
temptation. '* Happy is the man that feareth alway ; but he that 
hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief." Many will be sorry 
after they have fallen into the mire, but when they are out of that, 
alas I they do not look before them when they come near another, as 
affrighted at it, and they are into that one too, before they are 
aware. O sirs I when grew the world so, as one might travel 

riKBnro thxx out. 201 

through any part of it fearlessly, go into any eompany, and walk on 
without taking heed to his steps. There is not a saint in heayen 
that knew it so in their day. 

2. When one tamely yields up himself, to be gnided by his pas- 
sions, Insts, and affections, and is not habitually guarded by reason, 
religion, and conscience. People may call this infirmity of the will, 
but they will never make less of it than a careless untender life, 
that will find them out, and make them broken bones, if God has 
any kindness for them. " This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and 
ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." It was said of Christ, 
*' What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the seas 
obey him?" But of how many may we say. What manner of 
a Christian is this? that the wind of passions, and the seas of 
temptation, ever command him and carry him headlong. By the 
smallest spark he goes up like powder, and by the smallest blast he 
is driven like a feather or chaff before the wind. Now beware of 

Motive 1. We have a careful enemy that watcheth all advantages 
and opportunities against us. " As a roaring lion, he walketh about 
seeking whom he may devour." While we sleep, the devil wakes ; 
while we stand still, he goes about us ; while we fear nothing he 
takes the advantageous occasion-to make hia attack. Ah ! shall not 
the diligence of our malicious enemy, rouse us to look about us and 
be upon our guard. Our souls are a prey, which he thinks well 
worth his pains to catch, and do not we reckon it worth all our 
pains to keep them ? 

2. Consider where you are. They that are in heaven need not 
watch, nor fear a surprise. The gates of that city shall not be shut at 
all by day, for no enemy can approach it. But you are not there, 
but on earth, where yon are never out of hazard, alone, nor in com- 
pany. " You are among the lions' dens, and the mountains of the 
leopards." It is the haunt of wild beasts. They have their dens 
without us and within us. One man may be a snare to another, and 
a man may be a snare to himself. There is a thicket of snares and 
temptations through which we have to go. We carry a body of 
death with us, which is like tinder, to kindle the flames of hell 
about our ears. 

3. Careless walking is ungodly walking. '* If," says God, ^^ ye 
walk contrary unto me, (Hebrew, at a venture) and will not hearken 
unto me ; I will bring seven times more plagnes upon you, according 
to yonr sins." No man becomes a Christian by chance, nor walks 
with God by random. The Christian life is a labour, a warfare, a 
rowing against the stream. Assure yourselves then that by careless 



walking, you can Deyer attain to the rest, the crown, nor to the 
shore of ImmannePs land. 

Lastly, Consider your sin will find you out. Careless untender 
liying often hetrays sinners into some foul mires, the mud of which 
they can neyer wipe off while they live. How many have heen set 
up as beacons. How many that have dashed themselves to pieces 
upon the rock of security, have there been set up as beacons to 
others. Ask David what betrayed him into his adultery, and he 
will tell you that it was his careless walking. And I believe there 
are few, if any, gross and scandalous outbreakings among them that 
profess the name of Christ, but they will be found to be the just 
judgment of God upon former careless walking, and what naturally 
flowed from it. Is it any wonder that he who walks in a rough 
uneven way, and will not look to his feet, should break a leg or 
an arm sometime or other. 

Again, Careless walking never fails to make a poor case of the 
soul. Can the idle soul think to escape suffering want. There 
always comes a winter which enquires at the careless walker. What 
has summer been doing ? Hence some professors have little or no 
experience of religion, but with good wishes and meanings, they go 
on all their days, like the door on the hinges they make no pro- 
gress ; they are ever learning, and never come to the knowledge of 
the truth. 

Besides, such conduct briugs always some stroke at length, which 
shews that the Lord has not forgot it. It will one time or other lie 
heavy on the sinner. He gets either a merciful rousing out of that 
careless disposition, *' Make me, says David in this case, to hear joy 
and gladness ; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice," 
or it ruins him for altogether, as it did those of Laish, Judges 
xviii. 27. 

Dehortation 2. Venture not upon nor live in secret wickedness. 
There is much of this in the world ; when persons find an opportu- 
nity and secrecy withal, they think then is the time to break over 
the hedge. And they may do it fearlessly for there is no eye to 
see them, nor will their credit be lost by it. Thus secrecy makes 
thieves, cheaters, unclean persons, murderers, and many other kinds 
of sinners. But, sirs, be sure your sin will find you out, however 
secret. Venture not upon such things. 

Motive 1. Are not God and your own conscience witnesses unto 
you in the most secret place. You cannot go from his Spirit, nor 
flee from his presence. The darkness of the night or some solitary 
place may hide you from the eyes of men, but can they hide you 
from the eye of God and your own conscience ? Whither can you 


go where they are not with yon ? Perhaps a child's presence wonld 
hinder yon and will yon own a God, a conscience, and not hare so 
mnch respect to them as to a child ? Will yon dare the omniscient 
eye ? Should yon not rather say with Joseph, " How then can I do 
this great wickedness and sin against God ?" 

2. Many have thought themselyes as secure from discoyery as 
yon, whose shame has been laid upon them, and they received the 
due reward of their work before the sun. And how do you know 
that the hellish trade will succeed better in your hands than in 
theirs? It is dangerous sporting with the all seeing eye. Take 
example by others, lest God set yon up for an example next. And 
yenture not upon the ice where so many haye been drowned. 

3. Secret wickedness seldom goes alone, but mnch more is often 
necessary to coyer it. So that the person haying once entered the 
deyil's ground, fiods a kind of necessity to go farther and farther in 
it. Adam haying stolen the forbidden fruit, sins again to palliate 
it, by hiding himself, and indirectly laying the blame on God. Da- 
yid's adultery made way for drunkenness and murder. Lies in op- 
position to conscience are common in this case, so that one way or 
other conscience becomes like the highway, constantly trode upon, 
that it is no wonder it be quite dead for a while, till God put new 
life into it. 

4. As long as yon hide your sin and do not repent, the way is 
closed up betwixt heayen and yon. There is a kind of excommu- 
nication from the presence of God passed upon you, neither will he 
be with you any more, while the accursed thing remains in your 
tabernacle. " If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not 
hear me. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our 
heart and knoweth all things." And hence it is some wither, 
their secret wickedness blasts them, that they pine away in their 
iniquity. Perhaps they think they can confess to God and beg par- 
don. But in any case while they go on in the sin, they can haye no 
pardon. For thus runs the diyine declaration, '* Let the wicked 
forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts : and let 
him return unto the Lord, and he will haye mercy upon him ; and 
to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." And in the case of 
your wronging others, as by theft, while you are enjoying the fruits 
of your sin, you shall as soon pull the sun out of the firmament as 
get a pardon out of God's hand, for in that case restitution is a 
necessary part of repentance. So that the souls of many are in a 
case they little think. Thus Zaccheus, as a true penitent, was will- 
ing to restore fourfold. 

6. Secret wickedness will damn your sonl as well as open. 

804 THB surs OF snnniBS 

" There shall be tribulation and anguish upon every soul of mao 
that doeth evil." And where will be your profit, if you should 
gain the whole world and lose your own souls ? Is there any plea- 
sure or profit whatever that will make up this loss ? throw not 
away a precious soul for what will not profit. It will be no com- 
fort when men are roaring amongst the whole congregation of devils 
and damned spirits, that what they did, they did it secretly. 

Lastly, If you will venture, be sure your sin will find you out, it 
will give you a meeting sometime, it may be when you are not look- 
ing for it. Your secret stolen waters shall overflow you at length, 
and your bread eaten in secret shall stick in your throat. And if 
you be so in love with secrecy you may get enough of it. God may 
give you your stroke in secret also, where there shall be none to 
help you ; but you shall get the whole weight of your own burden as 
he did with Onan. 

Some perhaps will value all this but very little, they know other 
things, secret wickedness has prospered in their hand long, and to 
this day, there are none who can lay any thing to their charge. 
But do you know the reason of that ? If you did, it would be no 
great encouragement. ''To me, saith God, belongeth vengeance 
and recompense ; their foot shall slide in due time ; for the day of 
their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them 
shall make haste." Run on then as long as you will, as sure as 
God hath said it, your foot shall slide in due time, here or hereafter. 

Dehortation 3. Bo not employ yourselves to defend or justify your 
sin, as if there was little or no evil in it ; but rather lie open to 
conviction from the word of God, which is the law of liberty. This 
is an evil frequent in the world, by which men shut their own eyes, 
and drag their consciences at the heels of their self-will. They will 
extol some notorious sins as great duties. Thus Saul extolled his 
own sinful conduct in the Amalekites, 1 Sam. xv. What they have 
done, not because it was lawful, must be lawful because they have 
done it. Their credit is engaged, and therefore they cannot quit it, 
but must go forward and defend an ill action because they have 
done it. At least they will palliate their guilt by every mean, and 
do their utmost to extenuate it, when they find it impossible alto- 
gether to defend it. Beware of this. 

Motive 1. This is a horrid profanation of the name of God to 
make a shelter for sin under the covert of his holy law. '' These 
wrest the scriptures to their own destruction." This is to make 
God the patron of sin, and is like the wounding of a man with his 
own sword. Some have scripture ready to defend their sinful prac- 
tices, and thus the holy word i» abused to the defence of unholy 


praetioes. This is a eourse as desperate as if the siok man should 
mix the antidote with poison, which makes his reooyery hopeless. 
This is the oondnct of ungodly men, " Who turn the grace of oar 
God into lasoiyionsness." 

2. This course may well aggravate your guilt, it will never lessen 
it. It may blind your own eyes, but not God's. Be not ye therefore 
partakers tmth them. Jezebel caused a fast to be proclaimed, to pal- 
liate the murder of Naboth; Saul smothers the business of the 
Amalekites ; but did these contriyances ayail them any thing before 
God? Bid not Saul see himself rejected for tampering with the 
command of God, and Jezebel was eaten up by dogs. Men may 
turn sin into what colours they please in their own eyes, but they 
will neyer make it any thing but the hue of hell in the sight of 

3. It is a plain eyidence of untendemess of heart, and will go far 
to proye a man hollow hearted before God. What less can be de- 
manded as a sign of sincerity, than to be willing to know our sins, 
and our duty ? '' How many, says Job, are mine iniquities and sins? 
Make me to know my transgression and my sin." They that are 
not willing to know their sins, are not willing to part with them. 
" That which I see not, teach thou me ; if I haye done iniquity, I 
will do so no more." They that are not willing to part with their 
sins, deal falsely with God. What can you make then of ayersion 
to admit oonyiction, but rebelling against the light, a staying off of 
repentance and reformation with long weapons ; a shrewd sign in- 
deed of a hollow heart. 

4. They that take this way, lay themselyes open to the fearful 
stroke of delusion, Isa. Ixyi. 2, — i. Men that go about to defend 
their sins, though it were in jest, may* come to belieye the thing in 
earnest at length. ''And as they did not like to retain God in 
their knowledge, God gaye them oyer to a reprobate mind, to do 
those things which are not conyenient." For it is jnst in God to 
put out those eyes that men shut against the light. The more pains 
men take to coyer and extenuate their sin, the heart is more 
hardened, the conscience more deadened, and at length it may come 
to a fearful height. " If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that 
are lost. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of 
them which belieye not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of 
Christ, who is the image of God, should shine into them." 

Lastly, It is in yain to defend or extenuate sin, for it will come 
out and appear in its natiye colours. If we will not penitently 
draw off the mask which we haye sinfully put upon it, God will do 
it and make it appear in its natiye colours. Men often do with 


their sins as with their bodily sores, they roll them up iritb rags. 
Bnt if God come to cure them, he will draw off all these, nncorer 
the rnDniDg sore, and open it np in mercy. And if not so, they will 
be opened np before the world at the gre&t day. For whatever men 
think or say of their sinful practices, neither their sayings nor 
thoughts of them, but the truth of the matter will be the rule of 
God's judgment. " We are sure that the judgment of God is ac- 
cording to truth, against them that commit such things." 

Dehortation 4. — Sin not presumptuously with a high hand in op- 
position to reason and conscience, checks and reproofs from word 
and providence. Sins of infirmity are common to all, unavoidable 
through the weakness of the flesh, and make the best go all their 
days with a bowed down back. Bnt some venture on sin deliber- 
ately and fearlessly, and wilfully break over the hedge. Beware of 

Motive 1. Consider God is the party with whom you have to do. 
He is wise, you cannot outwit him ; he is mighty, and you cannot 
out-brave him. He makes the earth to quake and rends the rocks 
in his anger ; and takes up the isles as a very little thing. In your 
presumptuous sins, yon do but dash your heads against a rock. The 
head will be wounded, but the rock stands firm. He has given a 
law, he will see it regarded, and sinners will either bow or break 
before him. 

2. Consider the awful fence which he has set about this law. 
'* Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are 
written in the book of the law to do them." They that travel in 
deserts carry fire with them to drive away the wild beasts from 
them. God has set a hedge of fire about his law, whoso will trans- 
gress must go through it. There is a net to catch the sinner, that he 
shall not enter the forbidden ground, but he shall be hard and fast 
in the snare. These are the threats of wrath, with which God's 
word is inlaid. You may make light of these for a time, but you 
will change your mind, and be forced to say, '* Like as the Lord of 
hosts thought to do unto us, according to our way, so hath he dealt 
with us." 

3. Conscience the more it is trampled under foot, will rise at 
length the more violently and sting the more piercingly. Thus 
'^ after thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest np unto 
thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righte- 
ous judgment of God." Men that war with their conscience may 
gain for a time, but the victory will at last fall to the other side. 
We may say of conscience as of Gad, " A troop shall overcome him, 
but he shall overcome at the last." And the more harshly it has 

FIlTDINa THlfilC OUT. 207 

been treated, the more terrible will its resentments be. Fresnmp- 
tnons sins do but weave the cords, wherewith the sinner will be the 
faster bound. Sinning against light makes the way for enter dark- 

Lastly, Year sin will find you ont. And likely, a sadden un- 
expected meeting it will give you. " He that being often re- 
proved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed and that 
without remedy." Look abroad through the world, and you will 
see the truth of this written in the sudden ruin of many presump- 
tuous sinners, whose triumphing has been but for a moment ; who 
have run on casting off all fear and in a moment have fallen into 
the ruin, out of which they could not rise again. How many have 
run their course like the wild ass, '* That snuffeth up the wind at her 
pleasure ; in her occasion who can turn her away ? All they that 
seek her will not weary themselves ; in her month they shall find 
her." So the sinners' month has come, when the foot has been 
taken from them, and their life and death has been like the crack- 
ling of thorns under a pot, noisy but soon laid. 

Dehortation 5th, and last. Strive not against your sins finding you 
out. When the time comes that the Lord makes sin to find out the 
sinner, what wrestling do sinners often make to avoid the meet- 
ing. They shut their eyes, and they will not see though God is 
writing their sin before them in legible characters. They will deny 
their sin when it is charged upon them, as Saul had the impudence 
to say he had performed the commandment of the Lord, when the 
bleating of the sheep, and the lowing of the oxen were proclaiming 
his sin. If they meet with a stroke sent from God for the very pur- 
pose to charge it home upon them, they will say it is but a chance, 
1 Sam. vi. 9. Beware of this. 

Motive 1. In so doing yon fight against God. He by his word or 
providence deals with you to own it, and yon stave it off. It is 
dangerous entering the lists with such a party. It is the proper 
oflice of the Spirit of God to convince of sin, and those who ward off 
convictions set themselves against the Spirit to quench the holy fire 
and so run themselves deeper and deeper into guilt. 

2. You fight against your own souls an4 wrong them. " He that 
sinneth against me, says the Saviour, wrongeth his own soul ; all 
they that hate me love death." The boil that is to be cured must 
be lanced and opened up ; and the guilt to be removed, must be dis- 
covered and the sinner made sensible of it, in the way prescribed by 
God. If you will not allow your sin to find you out, you block up 
the way of repentance to your own souls ; and if you will not repent 
of it yon must perish by it. Many times when the Lord is taking 

208 THB snrs or sunnus 

the way to eare the sinner, he wrestles against it, as if he vere 
going to kill him. Bat does not the loss redound to yon, if yoa 
gain yonr point. 

Lastly, Strive as long as yon will, yonr sin will find yon ont at 
length. If yon ward off the first eharge, another will come which it 
will be impossible to escape. If secret convictions and bosom checks 
will not do, yon may come to get some heavy stroke, that may be 
more effectual ; and if a small one do not, a greater will. And if 
nothing prevail in time, it will be so charged upon you in eternity 
that yon shall stand speechless. 


Exh, I. — ^Believe this and think upon it, especially when yon are 
tempted to sin. Know this to be the nature of sin, and charge yonr 
conscience with it, when you are tempted. Sinners often take time 
to think, even on the brink of temptation, that there is hope it may 
never come to light ; but will you think, it is certain, that one time 
or other, if you yield to temptation, it will find you out. 

1. This might be a notable mean to keep you from sin. how 
averse are people to bear the shame of sin, after they have sown it 
to themselves they cannot think to reap it. But will you think on 
that in time. Look to the shame, sorrow, and torment, that are to 
follow sin, before yon fall in with it : and assure yourselves that if 
yon take the one, yon must take the other also. 

2. God hath said it, and said it to us, for that very end, that it 
may move us to hold off from the way of sin. Thus it is certain, it 
cannot fail, and thus we are warned and rendered inexcusable. We 
cannot say, it was not told us. 

3. We cannot act rationally, or as reasonable creatures, if we will 
not forecast the event of our actions, which is so plainly and solemnly 
told us. How sad is it that men should be blindly hurried away by 
their passions into sin, and sink themselves in a gulf of misery with- 
out ever thinking that they are entering on a way that leads to des- 
truction. A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but 
the simple pass on and are punished. Passions and corrupt affec- 
tions are dangerous guides, because they are blind and furious and 
always for venturing come what will come. But religion and reason 
must guide the man, if he will act either as a man or a Christian. 

4. How often are the dregs of sin bitter, quickly after the drink- 
ing ont of the cup. No sooner is it over than the sinner calls him- 
self a beast and a fool. He slides away pleasantly on the ice, but 
presently he is groaning ont under broken bones. A little foresight 
would prevent this. Job xx. xi. — 14. were it not far better to 


httve it to say, I have not done what I was tempted to do, than that 
I had not done it. Temptation casts a mist before the eyes when it is 
not resisted, which, when the tempter has got his design, often pre- 
sently clears up, and the sonl sees itself in a mire. This was the 
case with Adam and Eye, " And the eyes of them both were opened, 
and they knew that they were naked." And then what answer can 
one give to that question of conscience, '^ What frnit had yon then 
in those things whereof yon are ashamed ? for the end of these 
things is death." 

5. How often do the bitter dregs east np long after the sweet is 
forgotten and out of mind. This was emiently the case with Joseph's 
brethren. Many other sinners hare mourned at the last, when their 
flesh and their bodies have been consumed. Sin is a seed that may 
lie long under ground, yet will spring up at length, and will bring 
forth grapes of gall, and bitter clusters, which the sinner must wring 
out and drink. Sins of youth may set and keep tryst heayily with 
the sinner in old age. '' His bones are full of the sins of his youth, 
which shall lie down with him in the dust." The fear of this made 
David cry, '* Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my trans- 
gressions." And Job says, '* for thou writest bitter things against 
me, and makest me possess the sins of my youth." O should not this 
be considered in time, and the conscience in the hour of temptation 
be awed with that, Knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in 
the end ? 

Lastly, It is the business of the tempter to keep this out of your 
view, as that which contributes to the marring of his projects. ^* For 
surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird." And if 
you intend to resist him, you must arm yourselves with this con- 
sideration timeously. It will be in upon you, better take it before 
you enter the snare, when it may do you good, than after you are in 
it, when it will rack your conscience. 

Exh. II. Search your own sins. Labour to prevent sins finding 
you out, by your finding out them. We should do in this case, as 
when one knows there is some hateful or venomous beast in their 
house ; they search for it diligently, till they find it out, lest it 
should come upon them unawares and do them harm. No serpent 
nor toad is such a dangerous guest as sin is. Search it out then, and 
search till you find it out. And, 

1. Make a serious survey of your whole life. *' Let us search and 
try our ways, and turn again to the Lord." Go back the track of 
your whole life, and see where the prints of your feet are to be 
found out of the way of God. This will not be done cursorily to pur- 
pose. You would take a particular time for it. Men will take time 


to adjust and settle their accounts with men, why not take time to 
settle their accounts with God. 

Go through the several stages of your life. Neglect not to look 
into your birth and infancy. *' Behold, says David, I was shapen in 
iniquity ; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Behold and re- 
member the sins of childhood. For childhood and youth are vanity. 
Sins may be committed in childhood, which will find out the sinner 
long after. Cast up the sins of youth, it is a time of heedlessness 
and rashness, in which often much sorrow and misery is laid up for 
the time to come. '* Know thou that for all these things God will 
bring thee into judgment." Follies of youth may be the burden of 
old age, and must reckon for them precisely with God here or here- 
after. Survey the sins of middle age. " Verily every man at his 
best state is altogether vanity." And let the sins of old age be 
narrowly examined. 

Search into the several comers of your conversation. Examine 
your way in your dealing with God and men. Look how you have 
carried in respect of the duties of religion towards your Creator ; 
of sobriety with respect to yourself; of righteousness with respect 
to your neighbour. Trace your way in the several relations in which 
you stand, how you have behaved as a husband, wife, parent, child, 
servant, master, subject, church-member. How have you behaved 
alone and in company. What you have done for God's honour, and 
the good of others in the world. Ask yourselves particularly. In 
what case is your salvation work ? What progress have yon made 
in the work of your day and generation ? 

2. Search out particularly those sins in you that have been most 
dishonouring to God, and shocking to your conscience, whether 
secret or open. For these will most readily give you a fearful 
meeting if you do not prevent them. No matter though they be of 
an old date, for when the conscience is roused, they will be fresh 
and lively in respect of the sting. All sins deserve wrath, and will 
bring it if not pardoned ; but some are more heinous in the sight of 
God than others, which providence useth to write over in the par- 
ticular strokes sent for them. Therefore as ever yon would prevent 
this, search them out till you find them. 

3. Search out the several steps and ontbreakings of that siu, with 
which you have been most easily beset and led astray. " Let us 
lay aside every weight and the sin that doth most easily beset us." 
That is the special idol of jealousy, which provoketh God to jea- 
lousy, and which a holy providence ordinarily makes sinners smart for 
in a remarkable manner. So that as it has been a peculiar grief to 
his Spirit, he makes it also some time or other a peculiar grief to the 


sinner's heart. Thus Eli's softness to his children, which seems to 
have been his weak side, found him out yery terribly at length. 
God may pardon his own people's weaknesses, and yet may cause 
them remarkably smart for them, by taking yengeance on their in- 
yentions. So that in that respect horror may take hold upon them. 

4. Search into those sins which you thus discoyer. Let us search 
and try our ways. Open them up and look into the lurking eyil 
that is in them. When the serpent is found, rip it up to see where 
the poison lies. '* Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and 
thy backsliding shall reproye thee ; know therefore and see, that it 
is an eyil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy 
God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts." 
View them in the dishonour which they haye reflected on God, in 
the multitude of mischiefs which they haye brought forth to your 
own souls, or to others. Notice their seyeral aggrayations, the 
light, loye, priyileges, and obligations, against which you haye 
sinned. Draw out the libel at length against yourselyes, that yon 
may preyent its being presented against you in wrath. Present it 
to yourself in its natiye colours. 

Lastly, These things which you haye omitted or done with a 
doubting or erring conscience, examine narrowly and strictly, for 
our opinion of sin can neyer alter the nature of it. The after rec- 
koning of conscience is often the most true one. Thus Paul says, 
*' But what things were gain for me, those I counted loss for Christ." 
There are many things in which persons haye peace, in which they 
could haye no peace, if they would narrowly examine them. And 
when they will not do it, God makes their sin to find them out, 
writing out their disguised sins, in such a stroke as sets them in 
their own colours, which this search might be a proper means to 

Motive 1. If there be a way under heayen to preyent sin's finding 
out the sinner in wrath, this is it. '* For if we judge ourselyes, we 
shall not be judged." It is the way amongst men, for one judge to 
enter a process against a transgressor of the laws and to discern 
against him, to keep him out of the hands of one that would be 
more seyere. Take yon the same course in your own process. 
Erect a tribunal -within your own breast, place conscience on the 
judgment-seat, let it narrowly examine the cause and pass an im- 
partial sentence, if yon would be .safe. If not, the day will come 
when you will find that your own indulgence to yourselyes has 
mined yon. 

2. In case proyidenoe see it meet to make some stroke to oyer- 
take you, eyen for that sin or sins which you haye acknowledged 

213 THB 8TK0 OV 8IKVBS8 

and lamented aforehand, yet yon shall hare more comfort in that 
case, and it shall be less than otherwise it would have been. " And 
Barid said unto Nathan, I hare sinned against the Lord. And Na- 
than said unto Dayid, the Lord also hath pnt away thy sin ; thou 
shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast giyen great 
occasion to the enegiies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also 
that is born unto thee shall surely die." Remarkable is the differ- 
ence of these two laws, Exod. xxii. 1. — 4. *' If A man shall steal an 
ox, or a sheep, and shall kill it, or sell it ; he shall restore five oxen 
for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. But if the theft be certainly 
found in his hand alire, whether it be ox, or flss, or sheep ; he shall 
restore double.*' The reason of this difference, where the sin was 
more complete, the punishment was greater ; where less, it was less. 
So that there shall eyer be found an advantage of taking this course. 

Lastly, It is impossible but your sin and you must meet. And 
where there is no shifting of the meeting, sure it is the wisest course 
to yield to it in time. If a besieged city can by no means hold out, 
it is the best way to keep things from an extremity presently to 
yield. ^* Agree then with thine adversary quickly ; whiles thou art 
'in the way with him ; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to 
the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast 
into prison. Yerily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come 
out thence till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." 

Exh, 3d and last. Repent then and turn from your sins unto God. 
Give up with your sinful courses and ways. Let the consideration 
of the bitterness that will be in the end of it, move yon to put an 
end to them with all speed. For escape as long as you will other- 
wise, be sure your sin will find you out at last. i 

Motive 1. As your sin goes on, your accounts increase, and while i 

they are making one treasure, God is making another. "Thou 
treasures! up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revela- i 

tion of the righteous judgment of God." None of your sins are for- | 

gotten, as long as they are not forgiven ; neither are they forgiven | 

while you are going on in them. And it is a miserable office to be 
increasing your debts to divine justice, taking no proper means to 
be delivered from the burden. 

2. You will be brought to a reckoning for them all. " For God 
will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whe- 
ther it be good, or whether it be evil." Sin is a debt that will 
neither die nor drown, but in the sea of the Redeemer's blood. And 
the longer the reckoning be delayed, it will be the more dreadful 
when it comes. Judgment that comes slow with feet of lead, strikes 
with iron hands when it comes. Therefore break off your sinful 


course in time» lest your sin overtake yoa, when there will be no 

As many unrepented and unforsaken sins as hang about yon, so 
many snares and traps are for yonr rnin. And when God begins to 
reckon for one, he may reckon for all with yon. When I begin, says 
he, I will also make an end. It is often with the sinner in this case 
as with a man when he breaks ; all his creditors come on him one 
after another, when opce one begins. And thns the rnin of some is 
completed, and heavy is the case of others made. 

Qtiestion. What shonld one do, whose sin is, or has already found 
him ont ? 

1. Bless God and be (hankfnl that he ceaseth not to be a reprover 
to you. It is a fearful case where the Lord lays the reins on the 
sinner's neck, and will not bestow a check upon him. " And I will 
make ^thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth," said God to 
Ezekiel, that thou shalt be dumb and shalt not be to them a re- 
prover, for they are a rebellious house. It is a token for good when 
the Lord checks the sinner, and restrains him, and causes the ser- 
pent to bite him as soon as he goes over the hedge. The child whom 
the parent is most concerned to educate right, gets many faults 
shown him and freqnent checks. Despise not your own mercy, but 
fall in with it. 

2. Carefully pursue any providential hint that God makes to yon 
of sins and faults in your way. " A reproof entereth more into a 
wise man, than a hundred stripes into a fool." Be taught by slen- 
der means, if yon would not provoke God to teach you by more se- 
vere handling. A tender conscience will be taught more by a 
frown, than others by a heavy rod on their backs. 

3. Read the sin in the punishment, and justify God in what he is 
doing, or has done against you. So did good Eli. " And he said, 
it is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good." So did Heze- 
kiah. " He said to Isaiah, good is the word of the Lord which thou 
hast spoken : he said moreover, for there shall be peace and truth 
in my days." The humbled soul will do this, when the proud nn- 
humbled spirit will strive against a reproving God, and so bring on 
a heavier stroke. 

4. Flee with your guilt to the Redeemer's blood. " In that day 
there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the 
inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin, and for uncleanness." When God 
discovers yo^ spiritual uncleanness, and we find the load of guilt 
on our souls : we mnst go to God, confess our sin freely and fully, 
and make application to the blood of sprinkling. Then shall our 
souls be cleansed from sin, by the precious blood of hi» Son, The 

Vol. III. p 


sting shall be token out of the conscience, for this blood purgeth the 
conscience from dead works. And there shall be a raising np both in 
confidence in the Lord, and if God see it meet the stroke shall de- 
part, howeyer the qoarrel shall be ended. 

Lastly, Forsake that sin. Give np with it and strive against it. 
Tnm to the hand that smiteth and be not like those of whom it is 
said, "Then Lord hast striken them, bnt they have not grieyed; 
thon hast consumed them, bnt they have refused to receive correc- 
tion; they have made their faces harder than a rock, they have 
refused to return." Return not with the dog to the vomit, other- 
wise you will get a sharper rebuke next. 

Question, What should one do, who is afr^d in a humble manner 
that their sin find them out ? That is, that the Lord's anger justly 
fall upon them for their sin. '* My soul, says David, trembleth for 
fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments." 

1. Go to the Lord Jesus, the great burden bearer, and lay all 
your guilt over upon him. Lay the hand of faith on the head of 
the sacrifice, and plead the promise of forgiving and forgetting. 
For saith the Lord, " I will forgive their iniquity, and I will re- 
member their sin no more." 

2. Lay yourselves down at the Lord's feet, acknowledging that 
you deserve wrath, but begging for his Son's sake, he would turn it 
away ; withal resolved to submit to whatsoever chastisement he will 
lay on you, saying, " Behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth 
good unto him." 

Lastly, Mourn over your sin and walk humbly and softly under 
the sense of it. Faith in Christ's blood and true repentance is the 
best grave-stone for guilt, that it neither rise on a soul here nor 
hereafter. Amen. 


EUrick^ August 2, 1719. — Forenoon. 




ROKAKS i. 18. 

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness 
and unrighteousness of men^ who hold the truth in unrighteousness. 

It is highly necessary to move men to depart from iniquity, that 
they understand how heinously the Lord takes their going on in it, 


and to what hazard they expose themselves by it. Right impres- 
sions of this woald oblige men to stand and consider what they are 
doing towards their own ruin, while they resist known trnth, and go 
on in opposition to it, in favour of their lusts, which in effect is the 
blowing up of the Lord's wrath against themselves. "For the 
wrath of God is revealed from heaven," &c. 

Attend 1st. To the connection. For, This is the general argu- 
ment to prove justification to be by the righteousness of faith re- 
vealed in the gospel. Namely, that all who hold the truth in nn- 
righteonsness, and so are ungodly and unrighteous, (and such are 
the heathens, ver. 19. — 32 and such are the Jews and carnal profes- 
sors of the gospel, chap, ii.) are condemned by the law, and therefore 
cannot be justified by it ; but if they be justified at all, it must be 
by faith. " For the wrath of God," &c. 

2. Attend to the words themselves, in which consider two things, 

1. A revelation of wrath made. The wrath of Crod is revealed. 
This is opposed to the revelation of righteousness, ver. 17. and 
shews the absolute necessity thereof, and none will value the latter, 
but they who see and are convinced of the former. Now here con- 
sider, what is revealed, The wrath of God, This is no passion in 
him, who is without parts and passions, but a firm and constant will 
in God severely to punish men for their sins, as men filled with 
wrath avenge themselves on those that provoke them. The revda- 
tUm itsdf. This imports the existence of wrath in the heart of God 
against sinners, and also the unvailing and discovering of it to them. 
They cannot say it is hid and unknown to them. No, it is plainly 
revealed to them all. To those without the church, in the natural 
law, or dictates of their own conscience, ver. 32. To those in the. 
church, not only in their consciences by the natural knowledge 
thereof ; but also in the written law. To both, by strokes of wrath 
inflicted for sin. This wrath is revealed from heaven. Either from 
the God of heaven ; or rather from heaven as the throne of God, 
where he sits judging men on the earth and from which the sentence 

2. The objects of the wrath revealed. These are twofold. First, 
the personal objects, those who hold the truth in unrighteousness. This 
is the character of the objects of wrath. They are men who mal- 
treat the tCPth which the Lord has lodged with them. In men's 
understandings the Lord has lodged truth, whether of the natural or 
revealed law, there to command in chief, in their hearts and lives. 
But they, instead of allowing it to rule them, raise up their lusts 
against it, and unrighteously and wickedly hold it in and hold it 
nnder. The word signifies, to obstruct, or hinder, 2 Thess. ii. 6. Ye 



know what withholdeth. So they binder the effect of truth in their 
hearts and lives, it can do nothing for their reformation. And it 
signifies to hold forcibly, 1 Thess. y. 21. Holdfast that which is good. 
They imprison or hold the tmth prisoner, in their heads, that they 
may do as they please in their hearts and liyes. For it is thought 
to be a metaphor from tyrants who oppress the innocent, keeping 
them prisoners against all right. 

Secondly, The real objects of this wrath, the things which proToke 
him against the persons, oZZ ungodliness and unrighteousness. The 
former comprehends all sins against the first table, of which keeping 
tmth prisoner is none of the least. The latter comprehends all sins 
against the second table. These are the effects of men's holding 
tmth prisoner; for during this confinement, they range up and 
down at liberty. And against these, and all these, how little so- 
ever men judge of them, God's wrath is revealed. 

Doctrine 1.— ^Men's unjust holding truth prisoner makes them ob- 
jects of God's wrath. I shall consider, 

I. What is that tmth which men hold prisoner. 

II. Show how men hold truth prisoner. 

III. Show that truth is uigustly thus treated. And 
lY. Gonfirai the doctrine. We are to inquire, 

I. What is that tmth which men hold prisoner ? 

It is religions and practical tmth which tends to the right ruling 
of the heart and life in obedience to the will of God. And all re- 
ligious truth is practical, even from the lowest to the most sublime 
truths of religion. For the tmth is after godliness. From the tmth 
of God's word, we ought to learn how to carry ourselves towards* 
God and our neighbour. 

This truth is twofold. First, The tmth of natural religion, or 
the dictates of a natural conscience, agreeable to those common 
notices of good and evil, left in man since the! fall. " Which show 
the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also 
bearing them witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or 
else excusing one another." When God made man, he impressed on 
his mind, the knowledge of the whole of his duty. This was greatly 
defaced by the fall, yet not quite obliterated^ but that there are 
such remains of it as the going against them renders men inexcu- 
sable. " For the invisible things of God from the cr^ion of the 
world, are clearly seen being understood by the things that are 
made, even his eternal power and Godhead ; so that they are with- 
out excuse." The truths thus known are such as, God is to be wor- 
shipped, men must live honestly, every one is to have his due from 
US. The which and the like may be and have been improved into a 
considerable system of morality. 


Second^ The truth of revealed religion, which is held out to us in 
the written word, and comprehends the whole truths of the law and 
of the gospel also. The end of which is sanctification. Sandify them 
Ihrougk thy truth, thy word is truth. These truths are revealed in the 
church, being read and preached to them among whom God has set 
up his tabernacle. And they shine as light in a dark place, to guide 
men's feet in the way of duty. The particular truths of each of 
these kinds are many. But all of them are held prisoners by the 
ungodly and the wicked who will not bow to them in their practice, 
nor be guided by them. We proceed, 

II. To show how men hold truth prisoner. Two ways. 

I. Ifen hold truth prisoner in others, and so expose themselyes to 
God's wrath. This specially three ways. 

1. Bf putting truth into an ill name, casting reproach and dis- 
grace upon it, on whateyer pretences. JTius many of them said of 
Jesus, who is himself the truth, He hath a devil, and is mad ; why 
hear ye him ? This does effectually lay bands on the truth in an evil 
world. ^* Brethren, says Paul, pray for us, that the word of the 
Lord may have free course and be glorified, eyen as it is with you. 
And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men : 
for all men haye not faith." Much guilt lies upon a professing ge- 
neration among us for hard speeches, which haye imprisoned preach- 
ed truth many a time, and marred its efficacy both on themselyes 
and others ; while they have little considered of what dreadful con- 
sequence to poor souls, the liberty which they haye taken to them- 
selyes that way, has proved. 

2. By resisting and opposing the truth. " Thus when the Jews 
opposed themselyes and blasphemed, Paul shook his raiment and 
said unto them, your blood be upon your own heads ; I am clean : 
from henceforth I will go to the Gentiles." When men give loose 
reins to their lusts to oppose the truth told them publicly or pri- 
vately, they lay bands on it, and hinder its efficacy, saying, it shall 
not reign over us. Thus men are often irritated by the truth, in- 
stead of being humbled and bettered by it. " Am I therefore, says 
Paul to the Galatians, become your enemy, because I tell you the 
truth ?" Men will have truth suited to their humours, instead of 
suiting themselyes to the truth. '* This is a rebellious people, lying 
children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord. Which 
say to the seers, see not ; and to the prophets, prophesy not unto us 
right things ; speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits." 

Lastly, By an authoritative shutting up of truth. This often 
follows as a judgment. ^ But thou, son of man, said God to Eze- 
kiel, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shalt bind thee 



with them, and thoa shalt not go oat among them. And I will 
make thy tongue oleaye to the roof of thy month, that thon shalt be 
dnmb, and shalt not be to them a reproyer ; for they are a rebellions 
house." And thus sometimes lights in the Lord's house are taken 
down from off the candlestick and put under a bushel, to the mar- 
ring of the progress of truth, the darkening of the house, and 
hastening on of more wrath. 

2. Men hold truth prisoner in themselves. This is what the text 
mainly aims at. The office of truth is to combat sin, to advance 
holiness, to bring the world and the soul in which it lodgeth, to a 
conformity to itself, to cast them into its own mould. " But God 
be thanked that ye were the servants of sin ; but ye liave obeyed 
from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you." 
And it is held prisoner, when this effect of it is preventeTl by us, 
and we will not allow it to exert its efficacy. This is done two 

1. With respect to others, when it is kept back from preventing 
sin in them. This 4s done two ways. First, when it is restrained 
by undue silence. If the Lord call men to bring it forth, silence in 
that case is undue, and a bond laid on truth. '* Whosoever there- 
fore shall be ashamed of me and of my words, in this sinful and 
adulterous generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed 
when he cometh in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels." 
And from this ariseth sin's going on without controul in the world. 

Questiony When is truth held prisoner by undue silence ? 

Answer, I. Negatively, not when one has no sufficient call to 
bring it forth. The wise man observes. There i$ o time to keep si- 
lence, and a time to speak. And in discerning these times there is 
much spiritual wisdom. A vuise man*s heart discemeth both time and 
judgment. Truth kept in silence, during the proper time of silence, 
is not kept prisoner, but entertained in its lodging suitable to its 
character. " A fool nttereth all his mind, but a wise man keepeth 
it in till afterwards." 

Truth is too sacred a thing, to bring forth just to make a show of, 
and far more to prostitute to men's lusts and humours. There is an 
unseasonable venting of truth, by which truth and holiness gain no- 
thing, but lose much ; as is clear in the case of Doeg discovering 
David, 1 Sam. xxii. 10. Our Lord forbids it. '' Grive not that which 
is holy to the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine ; lest 
they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." 
The apostle says he had declared all the counsel of God, Acts xx. 
27. But behold how it is qualified, ver. 20. ** And how I have kept 
back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, 

TALSB PB0PB880B8. 219 

and have taught yon pnblioly and from house to house." Compare 
1 Thess. T. 1. where he says, " But of the times and the seasons, 
brethren, ye hare no need that I write unto you." Our Lord Jesus 
Christ, who is truth itself, see his practice in this matter. *' But 
these things have I told you, that, when the time shall come, ye 
may remember that I told you of them. And these things I told not 
unto you at the beginning, because I was with yon. I have yet 
many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." 

2. Positively, when the honour of God, and the good of our neigh- 
bour requires the bringing it forth. To hold truth back, when the 
Lord's honour requires it to come forth, is to hold it prisoner, Mark 
viii. 38. already cited. When the Lord's honour is at stake, truth 
is like a fire that will seek a vent, and get it in a tender soul. 
Thus speaks Jeremiah, " Then I said, I will not make mention ot 
him nor speak any more in his name ; but his word was in mine 
heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with 
forbearing, and I could not stay." And it exposes men to the 
wrath of God, to hold in truth in that case, for that is to sacrifice 
God's glory to men's own interests and lusts which is a dangerous 

Again, to hold it in when the good of our neighbour requires it to 
come forth, is to hold it prisoner, '* Thou shalt not hate thy brother 
in thine heart : thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and 
not suflfer sin upon him." Where there is any probable appearance 
of sin's being prevented in others, by means of the coming forth of 
truth, it is not to be held in, nor can it be so, without the guilt of 
imprisoning it. For how can one be guiltless, when he sees his 
neighbour pulliug down the house about his ears, and yet will not 
warn him, putting his soul in hazard of the Lord's anger, going out 
of God's way, and yet does not tell him of it. 

3. When by words or actions, one holding in the truth, leads 
another into sin. This is to hold truth prisoner with a witness, 
shutting the prison door with double bars. This Paul teaches, 
*' Who knowing, says he, the judgment of God, that they who com- 
mit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have 
pleasure in them that do them." They knew things to be sinful, 
yet both did them themselves and helped forward others in them. 
There was a tincture of this in Peter's dissimulation, for which Paul 
reproved him, Gal. ii. 11, — 14. This cannot miss to kindle the 
Lord's anger against a person, to lead others into that which he 
himself knows to be sinful. 

II. With respect to themselves, they hold truth prisoner in them- 
selves several ways. As by. 



1. Neglecting, orerlooking, and not adverting to it in the ma- 
nagement of their hearts and lires. The Gibeonites who oame to 
Joshua, took of their vietucdSf and asked not eounsd at the mouth of the 
Lord. There is a certain oareleBsness men are guilty of this way, 
by which, though the principles of holy walking are known to them, 
yet they take no heed to them, but walk at random at all adren* 
tures. The light shines about them, but they take no notice of it to 
order their steps by it. This is to put the Lord's candle in them, 
under a bushel. It is a principle of religion and right reason, 
Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you^ do you also unto 
them. But in the affairs of many this is as little regarded, as if 
they were incapable of reflection. 

2. Not obeying truth speaking to them in their consciences. 
There is a conscience within men instructed in the truths of natural 
religion, and in Christians instructed in the truths of revealed reli- 
gion, stirring up to duty to God, and one's neighbour accordingly. 
The which when men do not regard to obey it, in the dictates there- 
of, and to comply with the duties it presseth as the will of God, 
they hold truth prisoner, -that it serves for nothing to them, but to 
be a witness against them, and to secure God's wrath upon them. 
" And thinkest thou this, O man that judgest them that do such 
things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of 

3. Going on in opposition to known truth, knowing the right and 
doing the wrong. " They are of those that rebel against the light." 
This is a forcible holding of truth prisoner, refusing to admit its 
government in the soul, but on the contrary treading it under foot, 
to the kindling of the Lord's wrath against them who do so. How 
many such are there, who condemn these things in the general and 
in others, which yet they do themselves. Their heads are full of 
light, but their hearts and lives are full of darkness. They talk 
like saints, but live as the profane. 

Lastly, by overcoming the truth in their war against it. '' Who 
being past feeling, have given themselves over to lasciviousness, to 
work all uncleanness with greediness." Many a battle there is be- 
twixt truth in the conscience, and a man's lusts, till the man tak- 
ing part with his lusts against the truth, convictions are murdered, 
the troublesome light in the soul is put out, and truth is taken and 
held prisoner ; that it can no more disturb the man in the enjoy- 
ment of his lusts. But he can go on securely in his sins, though the 
light remain, the heat of it being gone. We proceed, 

III. To show that truth is unjustly thus treated, wrougously held 
prisoner by sinners. This is clear, for that. 



1. It ie God's mesBengrer to men and his deputy in tbe aonl, oyer 
which they have no power and authority. ** For we can do nothing 
against the truth, but for the trulifa." Grod's truths are eternal and 
unchangeable like himself, and are set up in his word and the con- 
sciences of men, to rule their hearts and liyes, and not to be over- 
ruled by them. So that one cannot hold it prisoner but in unrighte- 
ousness, or wrongously and in rebellion against the God of truth. 

2. It is nerer guilty of any crime againrt; men, that it should be 
so treated. Falsehood and lies are ever contrary to men's true in- 
terest, but the truth is never so. It is God's lamp set up to light 
them in the way to true happiness, and to keep them from the 
paths of ruin. And if sinners will allow it full sway in them and 
over them, they could not- fail of being made for ever happy by it, as 
the disregarding of it will without question ruin them for evermore. 

3. It cannot be held prisoner but for an unrighteous cause, and 
in favour of some lust or other. The very thing that makes a per- 
son treat it so, is that he may go on in his sin without controul. 
The office of truth is to be a reformer in the heart and life, and 
those who hate to be reformed, for that very cause rise up agitinst 
it and lay bonds on it. '^ Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest 
my words behind thee." 

Lastly, A just God will clear it, and set it free at the cost of 
those who hold it prisoner. " They shall know, saith the Lord, 
whose word shall stand, mine or theirs." If truth prevail not to 
men's reformation, it will prevail to their destruction ; if its com- 
mands and instructions have not their effect on them, its threaten- 
ings will. " Your fathers where are they ? And the prophets do 
they live for ever ? But my words and my statutes, which I com- 
manded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your 
fathers ? And they returned, and said, like as the Lord of hosts 
thought to do unto us, according to our ways and according to our 
doings, so hath he dealt with us." Wherefore strong is truth and 
will prevail, whoever oppose it. This brings us, 

lY. To confirm the doctrine. Consider, 

1. A person's treating truth thus is rebellion against God, who 
is the God of truth and Lord of light. The gospel is -the sceptre of 
Christ's kingdom. The rod of his power, Psal. ex. 2. Those who 
resist it, and in opposition to it go on in their sinful courses, are 
declared enemies and rebels to the Lord. "But these mine ene- 
mies, says he, which would not that I should reign over them, bring 
hither and slay them before me." They will be broken with his 
iron rod. Conscience is God's deputy in the soul ; therefore to go 
against it is to go against God, and God will ratify the sentence 


prononneed by oonsciencey ont of his word sgaiiuit the sinner, 
" For if onr heart condemn ns, God is greater than onr heart, and 
knoweth all things." 

2. It exposes men to serere temporal judgments. It was our first 
parents holding truth prisoner, whioh brought in the flood of miseries 
on the world. To the old world Noah preached righteousness, yea, 
Christ by his Spirit in him preached to them, but they would not 
obey the truth, so they were swept away with the deli^e, 1 Pet. iii. 

3. It exposes to spiritual judgments. Judgments of wrath on the 
soul. Men who will not see, God is provoked judicially to blind, to 
harden those who will not be softened ; and to give them oyer to 
Satan and their lusts, who will not be reformed, nor withheld from 
them, Isa. vi. 8. — 10. Thus the yery means of grace become a sa- 
your of death unto many. Who can without horror read the fear- 
ful dispensation of providence against the heathens for imprisoning 
their light ? Rom. i. 21.— 28. 

4. It exposes to eternal judgments. " The Lord Jesus shall be 
revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking 
vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting 
destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of 
his power." This crime then will bring men to everlasting ruin. 
The imprisoning of the truth in unrighteousness, will make them 
truth's prisoners in hell for ever. " And this is the condemnation, 
that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather 
than light, because their deeds were evil." Truth in God's word 
and in men's consciences says. Those who do thisy are worthy of death. 
Their lusts bid them Venture on them notwithstanding, hoping 
better things. But truth will prevail, because it is God's truth and 
cannot be broken. 

Lastly, It vehemently hightens wrath and aggravates the judg- 
ments of it here and hereafter. " And that servant, which knew 
his Lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to 
his will shall be beateh with many stripes. But he that knew not 
and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few 
stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much 
required." The more light men sin against, the greater is their sin, 
and the more fearful will their punishment be. It will be a hot 
hell that these will have, who have been faithfully warned by a 
gospel ministry, in comparison of theirs who either never heard the 
gospel, or whose light has been but dim and obscure. O consider 
that heavy word, Dent. xxix. 19. — 21. 

FALSE FR0TBS80B6. 223 

Use 1. — This generation in this land is a generation of wrath , 
and oannot escape judgment oome from what quarter it will. For 
this is the sin, the course of the generation, light is come, but they 
lore darkness. We have had a long and clear dispensation of the 
gospel for many years. But look abroad in the land, and behold 
the fruits. They are fruits of Sodom. Few or none grow better. 
Many are waxing worse. Ungodliness and unrighteousness abound : 
not for want of light, but through resisting it. So that our sun of 
the gospel, is a winter sun whose efficacy is much gone. A gospel 
that is not obeyed but neglected and contemned ; and if persecution 
be added to fill up the measure of iniquity and make the cup run 
oyer, it is but the native consequence of holding the truth in un- 

2. Let me apply this to you, to whom I have spoken the word of 
the Lord. To the best of my knowledge I have kept back nothing 
that was profitable for you. And I eyen own that your knowledge 
of the truth of religion, is as much generally as I eyer obseryed in 
other places. But alas ! I think truth is held prisoner with a wit- 
ness, and our liyes are not at all answerable to our light, and I fear 
it will bring wrath upon the place. Therefore I would haye yon 
conyinced of this sin and of the hazard of it ; and to forsake it and 
set truth free, that it may reign freely in your hearts and liyes. 

To conyince yon of the truth of this charge consider, 

1. Are there not some who to maintain their peace, keep off from 
serious consideration of that weighty point, how matters stand with 
them before the Lord. They do not obey the command, " Examine 
yourselves whether ye be in the faith ; prove your own selves. 
But the slothful hideth his hand in his bosom ; it grieveth him ^to 
bring it again to his mouth." They know if they should enter into 
the opening up of their state and case, their peace is gone. Their 
heart dies in them like a stone at the thoughts of it, and therefore 
they carefully hold from it. This is an evidence they are self-con- 
demned and have no peace, but as truth is held prisoner. 

2. Where is conscientious reformation, according to the word 
preached and acknowledged in the time for true and right? ** They 
come unto thee, said God to Ezekiel, as the people cometh, and 
they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but 
they will not do them : for with t^ir mouth they shew much love, 
but their heart goeth after their covetousness." When you go to 
your looking-glasses what spots are on your faces you wipe off, 
what is wrong in your dresses you put right. The preaching of the 
word is the Lord's looking-glass, set up before you every Sabbath. 


See yon no spots by it? Does it not disoorer your dnties omitted, 
your sin oommitted, and often touch on the sore heel ? " For the 
word of God is qnick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged 
sword, piercing eren to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and 
of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and in- 
tents of the heart." But do you labour to wipe off the spots dis- 
coTered^ and rectify the wrongs about you? Or do ye not eren 
carry them away with you, and bring them back again and get the 
other view and carry them away again? James i. 23. — 25. Ah! 
sirs, this is imprisoning the truth. 

3. How many in the conduct of their liyes and affairs consult 
their worldly interest and satisfy their unruly passions, but regard 
not the truth of God's law and gospel. Like a company of ser* 
vants, that will have their own way, without any regard to their 
master's orders though he be looking on. They are so far from 
being in the fear of the Lord all the day long, that from their morn- 
ing prayers, to their eyening prayers, they have no more use for the 
fear of God, than the ape for his collar, which he puts off and on as 
his convenience serves, nor more use for their Bible and what it 
says, than if they were things out of date. 

In their thoughts, words, and actions, towards God and their 
neighbour, they are children of Belial, without a yoke. They 
think, say, and do, what they please. 

4. How many are there whose lives are stained with gross toins- 
gressions against the letter of the law, and never reform ? Are 
there any amongst us who do not know that cursing, swearing, lying, 
drunkenness. Sabbath-breaking, unrighteous dealing, wrath, strife 
and the like, are works of the flesh, and they that do such things 
shall not inherit the kingdom of God? I think there are none, 
though it were the advantage of some they had never known it, 
their sin had been the less. If men did not imprison truth, could 
their tongues be set against the heavens at the rate they are? 
Would they dare to do an unjust thing, bite and devour one ano- 
ther, fight and scold as void of God's fear ? 

5. Are not many things done, conscience in the very time reclaim- 
ing and witnessing against them; yet it is overruled and the sin 
done in opposition to it, Rom. ii. 15. Is it possible men and women 
can be hearers of the gospel and do such things as many do, without 
a witness against them in their «wn bosom, however fair a face they 
put on it ? No, but they lay bands on it. They will tread over it, 
and strangle it, to please the lusts of others, or their own, and sell 
their souls to the devil for dishonest gain, and will do any thing to 
save their credit. 


6. How many have had roming awakenings, with whom all is got 
hushed again, and they have all the ease in their sinfal courses 
which they had before. " Their goodness is as the morning cloud, 
and as the early dew it passeth away." The word has sometimes 
made a disturbance in some persons' consciences and they have gone 
away with Grod's arrows sticking in them, but they haye got them 
out through time. ''When Paul reasoned of righteousness, tem« 
perance and judgment to come, Felix trembled,* and answered, Qo 
thy way for this time ; when I have a covenient season, I will call 
for thee." They have met -signal judgments from the Lord's hand 
that have spoken plain langui^e, they have been in imminent dan- 
ger of death and eternity ; and these have made them bethink them- 
selyes of turning oyer a new leaf, and to be other sort of persons 
than eyer they had been. But all has turned to nothing. '' Lord in 
trouble haye they yisited thee ; they poured out a prayer when thy 
chastening hand was upon them." 

Lastly, Are there not some who will uot witness against sin in 
others, when they have a fair call to it ; or cannot bear it witnessed 
against themselyes ? Many who can speak well in their own cause, 
haye not a word to speak in the cause of God and holiness, but im- 
prison truth in themselyes, to their partaking of the sins of others, 
but say what is that to us ? And many are such sons of Belial, 
that one cannot speak to them of their offences, but their passions 
rise, and they pour contempt on the reproyer, instead of taking with 
the reproof. 

Haying showed you the truth of the charge, let us try to oonyince 
you of the hazard of thus imprisoning the truth. Consider, 

1. That it is ingratitude to God of the deepest dye. May not the 
Lord say, '' Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and un- 
wise ? Is he not thy Father that hath bought thee ? Hath he not 
made thee and established thee ?" God's la3ring to our hands the con- 
yeniencies of this life, giying us fruitful seasons and filling us with 
food and gladness, obliges us to grateful improyement. Much more 
doth his giying us the knowledge of the truth in his gospel oblige us 
to it. It is a yery signal and eminent benefit, and so great must be 
the ingratitude in so treating it. Consider that it is a spiritual 
mercy, a benefit for our souls. It in God's candle set up in and 
amongst us, to let us see to work out our salvation. Shall we then 
take it and put it under a bushel ? We must go through a dark 
and dangerous world ; it is a lamp to our feet, shall we coyer it up. 
Besides it is a mercy not common to all. '' He sheweth his word 
unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath 
not dealt so with any nation ; and as for his judgments they have 


not known tbem. Praise ye the Lord." It is tme all have some 
natural tmth, but as for gospel truth revealed unto us, many nations 
in the world are without it. Look through the heathen world, and 
behold how they sit in the region and shadow of death, knowing 
nothing of a Bible, Sabbaths, ministers, sermons ; and look again 
into this country and see how we have all these in plenty. And then 
think what monstrous ingratitude it is to treat truth at this rate. 

It is direct disobedience to God, a flying in the face of his orders. 
" Now unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, 
but obey unrighteousness, God will render indignation and wrath." 
By this practice men will haye their own will their law, and when 
the laws of hearen are proclaimed to them, they will not admit them, 
nor subject themselyes to them. So that such in a peculiar manner 
are children of disobedience, not through ignorance, but wilfulness. 

3. It is a rising up against God in open rebellion and war. " They 
are of those that rebel against the light." It is as if men should 
not only disregard, but tear in pieces the proclamation of God's law, 
fall upon his heralds, and put them in bonds. If such could banish 
the truth from among them, that they should know it no more, they 
would ; but since they cannot do that, they shut it up and are at 
war with it. 

4. It is working against our own interest in favour of Satan and 
our lusts. It is the putting out of the candle, which God in com- 
passion to our darkness has lighted unto us. It is like one travel- 
ling through a wilderness of pits, rising up against his guide, binding 
him and casting him into one of them. Like captives conspiring 
against their deliverers, or sick men against their physician, to their 
own ruin. 

This is the evil of it. Now the hazard is great. 

1. Men so doing grow worse and worse. " Being past feeling have 
given themselves over to lasciviousness to work all nncleanness with 
greediness." It is a wonder to many to see men the longer they 
live under the means of grace, to grow worse instead of better ; the 
name of the devil in them to turn legion, as it is with many this 
day. But here lies the matter, they are hellish conquerors, who 
grow insolent upon their victory. Like rebels waging war with 
their lawful prince, there is no abiding them, when the day is 
their own. Having got the victory over truth, they break all its 
bands, and cast its cords from them, the wall is thrown down, and 
wickedness, like a flood, breaks out and overflows all its banks. 

2. It brings on judicial blindness. ** The god of this world hath 
blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the 



• l 


glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto 
them." Men who loying darkness rather than light, shut their eyes 
against the light, are in a fair way to be struck blind. So that as 
darkness is their choice so they shall have enough of it, Isa. yi. 9, 10. 
Sometimes a light is broke up in one's breast, and he is awakened. 
Bnt striying against it, it is lessened and grows feebler and feebler, 
like the eyening light, until it go quite out. 

3. It brings on judicial hardness, Isa. yi. 10. A customary going 
on in opposition to light, is the high way to make one senseless and 
unfeeling, that one can sin without remorse. It makes the con- 
science as it were seared with a hot iron, benumbed, stupid, and 
dead. J^yery sin against light, wounds the conscience, the wounds 
multiplied, conscience is as it were slain outright. Hence it is, that 
some sins which one could not commit without great uneasiness, 
they haye come by custom, to commit with all the ease they can 

4. It proyokes God to giye up with men and to giye them oyer to 
their own lusts. " But my people would not hearken to my yoice ; 
and Israel would none of me. So I gaye them up to their own 
hearts' lust ; and they walked in their own counsels." This is a 
fearful judgment, when God withdraws the workings of his Spirit 
from men, which they haye quenched ; takes off the restraints of his 
proyidence from them, which they haye striyen against ; lays the 
reins on their own necks, and suffers them to go whereyer Satan and 
their own lusts driye them. Tet this is the natiye fruit of holding 
the truth in unrighteousness. Ephraim is joined to idclsy let him 

6. It payes the way to the unpardonable sin, the great transgres- 
sion. The imprisoning of truth is a main ingredient in this sin, a 
going oyer the belly of known truth. It is a total apostacy of those 
once enlightened, Heb. yi. 1, — 8. And what a fearful thing is it 
to come so near the borders of that hopeless case. 

6. It is often punished with the preyailing of the spirit of error 
and delusion, Isa. Ixyi. 3, 4. When the sacred truths of God are 
not entertained in the loye of them, a fearful mist of error and de- 
lusion oftentimes arises to the ruin of the souls of many. ** And for 
this cause God shall send them strong delusions, that they should 
belieye a lie ; that they all might be damned who belieye not the 
truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." This neyer since the 
reyolution, looked so like to be the plague of this generation as 
now and within these few years. And by this we know what to 
blame for it. The primitiye apostolic church had a great gospel 
day, but many held the truth in unrighteousness. And for the pu- 


nishment of it some arose denying jnstiftoation by faith, and some 
the resnrreetion and the like. After the ohnrch had had a long de- 
clining day, the great apostaoy of antichrist followed in the west, 
2 Thess. ii. 6, — 12. And nearly abont the same time^ mahometanism 
in the east. When Lnther arose, and he and others had brought 
back the tmth from its Babylonish captivity, the anabaptists arose 
in Germany, with fearfnl and ontrageoos delusions. In the last 
age, after these nations had lost the purity of ordinances and sense 
of religion under prelacy, and they were recovered by the good hand 
of God : This nation renewing the national covenant, and the three 
nations entering into the solemn league and covenant, they had a 
bright day of th^ gospel a while. But not being improve^ an un- 
paralleled deluge of errors and heresies came in on the back of it, as 
if the gates of the bottomless pit had been set wide open, especially 
in England. And we have had a great and long day of the gospel 
since the revolution, but fearfully misimproved. And the mist is 
now begun to rise. Not to speak of the prevailing of deism amongst 
many of the nobility and gentry, some of our own profession in the 
neighbour nation, teachers by office, have gone about to subvert the 
very foundation of Christianity. And in this church controversies 
about the doctrine have not long since broke out, and at this pre- 
sent time are in being, which trysting with the divisions and the se- 
parate practices among ministers have a fearful aspect and threaten 
a spreading cloud of ignorance and darkness. Believe ye and re- 
ceive the truth in love and give it free course with yon, lest the 
time come when many shall say. They know not what to believe in 
more weighty matters, than they have yet been staggered about it. 

7. It provokes God to remove the gospel from among a people, 
and to leave them in darkness. " Therefore, said Jesus, I say unto 
you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from yon, and given to a 
nation bringing forth the fruit thereof." When people have no use 
for God's candle, but to divert themselves at it on Sabbath days, 
when they have no other thing to do, the candlestick is in a fair 
way to be removed out of its place. Rev. ii. 5. Many of God's 
candles have been put out, because their burning and shining was 
for no purpose to advance holiness amongst those among whom they 
shined. Many have put them under their bushel, so that in vain 
they have given light, and therefore God threatens to put them un- 
der his bushel next. 

A while's darkness may make the light more prized and procure a 
more tree course to the truth, 1 Sam. iii. 1, — 8. It brings fearfnl 
tossings and raokings of conscience, when once conscience is 
awakened, under these Judas went and hanged himself. However 


one may for a while bear down truth in a silent conscience, it is apt 
to rise np on them some time or other. And as a fire long smoth- 
ered makes terrible hayock when once it preyails and bursts out, so 
conscience when awakened. Then tormenting remorse takes its 
course in the soul and . gives foretastes of hell, where the worm ne- 
yer dies and the fire is not quenched. 

Lastly, It .will aggravate a person's torment in hell, But I say, 
unto youy said Jesus to the Jews, It shall he more tolerable for Tyre 
and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you. Remember the doom 
of the servant who knew his master's will, but did it not. As the 
sharpest vinegar comes of the most generous wine, so the most^erce 
wrath comes from the despising of truth revealed to one in the gos- 
pel. And when these, who were all their days kept ignorant of 
gospel truths shall be laid under wrath, what will the case be of 
those who have known them and imprisoned them? Double ven- 
geance, even the Mediator's vengeance will be found their due, who 
have sinned against the remedy of sin. 

3d Use, Set truth free, loose its bands that it may reign freely in 
your hearts and lives. That is, 

1. Resist not truth laid before you in or from the word, or by 
your own conscience. Never quarrel nor contend with it, nor op- 
pose it more. Resist not its entry, but allow it free access into your 
consciences. Wilful and affected ignorance in points of faith and 
practice, is a resisting of truth, says the Psalmist, " They know not, 
neither will they understand ; they walk on in darkness." It is the 
character of the wicked, They say unto God, depart from us ; for we 
desire not the knowledge of thy u/ays. It is an evidence of enmity 
against the truth, when one desires not to know it, for that is only 
that they may enjoy some one lust or other with the more ease. 
But an upright heart opens to the truth, that it may be guided by it. 
Again, resist it not when it has entered. Rebel not against the 
light. Never resist the voice of your own consciences, by going 
contrary to its light, whatever be the temptation or the hazard. 
The testimony of one's conscience will be more comfortable under 
any trial, than all the world can be. *' For our rejoicing is this, 
says Paul, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and 
godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, 
we have had our conversation in the world." And an accusing 
and condemning conscience will be more heavy than any other 

2. Slight not nor overlook truth in the conduct of your lives. 
Let God's word be your rule in all your actions. Take the direc- 
tion of <;onsoience from the word along with you. And let not truth 

Vol. III. Q 


kooim nnto yon stand by unnoticed, bnt oonsnlt it and manage yonr 
life by it, in the seyeral steps thereof. 

3. Submit to the truth, to the truth in the word and to truth in 
your conscience, as the ruler of your life. It is God's deputy in 
your souls ; it is the law of the great King, to which you are to 
yield in all points. Let it hare the command in your souls, that 
they omit not what it requires, nor commit what it forbids. Let 
yonr souls be open to it, to be reformed, reprored, Instructed and 
directed by it. Renounce yonr own wills, your own lusts, resolving 
to be guided by the testimonies of God, as to what is to be believed 
or pftkctised. 

Motive 1. It will set you at liberty. " Ye shall know the truth, 
and the truth shall make you free." Truth set free will break the 
bonds of sin and Satan, under which the soul is, and give the man 
true liberty. '* I will walk at liberty, says David, for I seek thy 
precepts." Licentiousness, to run freely wherever a person's lusts 
drive him, is no true liberty. But to walk according to the rules of 
religion and reason is liberty indeed. 

2. The way of truth is the way of holiness and happiness. Tmth 
and godliness are akin to each other. Hence Paul speaks *' of ac- 
knowledging the truth which is after godliness." Truth is the great 
mean of sanctification. " Sanctify them, says Jesus, through thy 
truth, thy word is tmth." And error and darkness always foster 
the corruptions of the heart. Holiness leads the way to happiness. 
And so truth believed and practised will spring up in eternal hap- 

Lastly, Consider the imprisoning of the truth is the occasion of 
all ungodliness and unrighteousness among the hearers of the gospel. 
See the text. What is the cause of the abounding impiety and pro- 
faneness of our day, but that truth hath not its effect. When truth 
is pent up, the sluice of ungodlinessa nd unrighteousness is opened 
overturning all duty to God and to our neighbour. 

Doctrine II. Tmth being kept prisoner, ungodliness and unrighte- 
onsness get loose. These are like the scales in the balance, as the 
one goes up, the other goes down. Here we shall consider, 

I. In what cases this holds true. And II. Why it is so. 

I. In what cases this holds tme. This holds, 

1. In the case of societies, churches, nations, congregations, fa- 
milies, and neighbourhoods. If truth prevail among them ; ungodli- 
ness and unrighteousness lose their ground. If it be not so ; they 
prevail. Look without the visible church, it is so. " Have respect 
unto the covenant : for the dark places of the earth are full of the 
habitations of craelty." 

FAL8B PB0TBS80RS. * 231 

Look within the ohnrcb and yon will find it is bo, says Isaiah, " In 
transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing away from 
onr God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering 
from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away 
backward, and justice standeth afar off : for truth is fallen in the 
street, and equity cannot enter." If one would open the sluices of 
impiety that wickedness may orerflow all its banks, he has no more 
to do, but to lay bands on the truth, and the flood will run out 

2. It is so in the case of particular persons. '* Withhold thy foot 
from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst; but thou saidst 
there is no hope : for I have loved strangers^ and after them will I 
go." When once the bands which should be laid on their lusts, are 
laid on the truth, then men live at large and unconfined, abandoned 
to a lawless liberty. And then a man becomes a son of Belial in- 
deed, without a yoke, in effect he bids defiance to heaven. " With 
onr tongue, say they, we will prevail, our lips are our own, who is 
Lord over us?" And such persons regard not men, farther than 
their interest and humour lead them. " Let a bear robbed of her 
whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly." Now let us, 

II. Show why it is so. Consider, 

1. That truth and they are contrary the one to .the other, so that 
as the one goes away, the other takes' place, as light and darkness 
which can have no communion. " What fellowship hath righteous- 
ness with unrighteouiness, and what communion hath light with 
darkness ?" The truth set up in one's conscience and what is re- 
vealed in the gospel teaches, "To deny ungodliness and worldly 
lasts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present 
world." And when the light of the truth is stopped, then darkness 
comes on, and ungodliness and unrighteousness creep out like wild 
beasts from their dens in the night. * 

2. Man's heart has a natural bias to ungodliness and unrighteou»- 
ness. Truth is a curb to this bias of the heart, and when this curb 
is removed, the heart goes in the ungodly and unrighteous way to 
which it is naturally inclined. . " My people, says God, are bent to 
backsliding from me ; though they called them to the Most High, 
none at all would exalt him." Man since he first broke over the 
hedge of the law, cannot be kept within it, but by restraining or 
sanctifying grace. In hofih these truth is the great instrument, 
being that which is accommodated to the restraining of rational crea- 
tures. It is the bridle by which men, like horses and mules, must 
be kept in. Take it off, and men " Are as the wild ass used to the 



wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure, in her occa- 
sion who can turn her away ?" 

3. Satan strires against the truth, and to advance ungodliness 
and unrighteousness. For truth is a stop to the adyancement of his 
kingdom, whereas ungodliness and unrighteousness are the i^ry 
pillars of it. So getting the stop removed, he urges men with ease 
to ungodly and unrighteous lives. *' Ye are, said our Lord to the 
Jews, of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will 
do : he was a murderer from the heginning, and abode not in the 
truth, because there is no truth in him." When he first brought in 
the flood of ungodliness on the world, he first attacked the truth ; 
" Ye shall not, said he, surely die ;" and when once he had gained 
that point, he carried all before him. The woman did eat, and gave 
also to her husband and he did eat with her. So to this day unbe- 
lief is the ruin of the world. 

4. Men do not lay bands on the truth or resist it, but that they 
may get loose reins to their lusts. ** Let us, say they, break their 
bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." They can have 
no quarrel with it, but that which the owl has with the sun, that it 
gives light, and they love darkness and the works of darkness, there- 
fore they hate the light. Were the hearts of men reconciled to their 
duty, and devorced from their lusts, they would as wilMngly hearken 
to the truth, as a man that wishes to keep his way would listen to 
a director, who would conduct him safely past every danger. 

Use 1st, See what is the spring and cause of all the ungodliness, 
and unrighteousness, and wickedness, which abound in the land, and 
in the congregation this day. It is the imprisoning of truth, men 
going in direct opposition to the word of God, and their own con- 
scinces. The contempt of the gospel, and not obeying it, leaves the 
sluice of profanity open, fills churches, nations, and congregations 
with scandalous practices. " What could have been done more to 
my vineyard, that I have not done to it ? Wherefore when I looked 
that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes f " 

2. Whoever they are, who have any hand in rendering the gospel 
unsuccessful, are so far chargeable ^with the ungodliness and un- 
righteousness that follow thereupon. And this will conclude all 
guilty of the wickedness of the generation, for, alas ! on all hands, 
and among all parties, the success of the gospel is little regarded. 
Many stumbling-blocks are laid by the preachers of it, long have 
many people striven to make them contemptible ; the weighty con- 
cern of the gospel, doing good to souls has been sacrificed to party 
zeal, humour and interest. So that it is like to be a fearful reckon- 
ing, God will have with pastors and people, with all the different 


parties among us, when God rises to yisit for the nnkind treatment^ 
the gospel has received from all hands, as to the sncoess of it. 

3. If there were no more evil in bearing down the tmth and mar- 
ring its efficacy, instead of promoting it in onr seyeral stations, it is 
^bad policy. How many complaints are there in families, that ma- 
sters, servants, hnsbands, wives, are most nndntifnl to their rela- 
tives, which occasions much uncomfortable living in families. How 
many complaints among neighbours, that people cannot trust one 
another, that so many stand not to wrong their neighbours, take the 
bread out of their mouths, bite and devour one another ? What is 
the fountain of all this disorder ? Alas it is a thing that is but 
little laid to heart. The truth has not its effect among us, and 
none, or next to none are concerned to promote it. Alas I Sirs, do 
you expect that they will regard man, who will have no regard to 
God? Do yon expect that righteousness and dutifulness will be 
brought into your families and neighbourhoods, where there are no 
pains taken to bring people to obey the truth and fear the Lord ? 

4. The way to obtain reformation much needed, is that every one 
in their several capacities, strive that the tmth may have free 
course, the gosx>el may have its effect. Let no man think that this 
belongs to ministers only ; no, but as when a house is on fire, every 
man is to help, so here. It is common duty and interest too. Be- 
ware of speaking or doing any thing by which the success of the 
gospel may be marred, lest souls perish thereby and their blood be 
charged on those who lay the stumbling-block before them. Do 
every thing in your power for the furtherance of the gospel. Were 
this point more considered, men would be very sure that God's com- 
mand in his word, made separation a duty before they dared to ven- 
ture upon it ; because otherwise all the ruining consequences of it 
to many poor souls, thereby taught to despise ministers and ordi- 
nances by them administered, lie at their door who make the sepa- 
ration not made a necessary duty by God's own command in his 
word. I have with a bleeding heart often seen and felt the conse- 
qnences of such separation, and have always been of the mind that 
our divisions here, are one of the great causes of the little success 
of the gospel among us; marring the effect both of doctrine and 
discipline upon poor souls. And therefore no marvel one have a 
horror of it, till God's own word bind it on their conscience. Pro- 
fessors may very well plead with their mother to put away her 
whoredom ; and if she deny them the privileges of the family, un- 
less they will play the whore also, or drive them out of her house, 
they may justly leave her. But while she does neither of these, but 
only requires them to join with her in uncontroverted duty to her 



hvBband, and managing the lawfnl affairs of the family; they can- 
not leare her without breach of duty and without condemning the 
generation of the righteous, following this method in the Old and 
New Testament. And let one's own conscience judge, whether 
staying in her house and pleading with her in this manner, or leay- 
ing her for altogether, be the most proper means to reclaim her 
from her whorish practices ? 

6. See why truth in the gospel or in men's consciences once orer- 
borne and oppressed is so difficult to rise again. Ungodliness and 
unrighteousness break loose, and the sluice once opened is difficult 
to stop. The hard heart grows harder. The last state of that man is 
worse than the f^rst. No person's case is more h<)peless than that of 
apostates, the returning devil brings with him seyen spirits worse 
itksm himself, 2 Pet. ii. 20. — 22. How many have sometimes had 
convictions, touches from the word into the innermost parts of their 
souls, from whom Crod is gone and answers them no more. And 
the more they had of these, they are now the harder to work upon. 

6. In what a sad case are these from whom the gospel is taken, 
or truths profitable for them kept up, or their consciences seared 
that truth cannot enter. In these cases ungodliness and unrighte- 
ousness get loose. When the gospel goes, 0-od goes. Yea, woe also 
to them, says God, when I depart from them. So far as profitable 
truth is withheld, men's souls are starred and betrayed into snares, 
and the hands of their enemies. And the seared conscience must 
needs make a sinful life, when the eyes are put out the whole body 
must be full of darkness. 

Lastly, As ever you would have the current of ungodliness and 
unrighteousness stopped, labour you that truth may have a free 

What can we do to the stopping of the dreadful current ? 

1. Walk in the truth yourselves. " I rejoiced greatly, said John, 
that I found of thy children -walking in the truth, as we have re- 
ceived commandment from the Father." Be ye doers of the truth. 
Study to know it, and what you know practise. This will not only 
tend to the good of your own souls, but to the good of others, to 
direct them in their way. '* Thus you may be blameless and harm- 
less the sons of God, without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and 
perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world ; hold- 
ing forth the word of life ;" and if men will not be taught by such 
conduct it will turn to a testimony against them. Thus Noah by 
his righteous conduct condemned the world. 

2. Support the interest of truth in others. Do every thing for the 
truth. Do all you can to promote the truth in others, because it is 


the Boyereign remedy for healing Binnen. The nails driven, in the 
preaching of the word, do yon endeayonr to riyet in any, lis yon 
haye access to them. Labour to remove men's prejudices against 
the gospel and the way of holiness. Exert yonrselyes to carry on 
convictions of sin and duty, where they appear to be begun. Let 
your communications ,be to the use of edifying, and by these means 
you may be instrumental in stopping the current of unrighteousness 
and ungodliness. 

Motive 1. Consider the case of the day needs it. It is a day of 
abounding sin. ** See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools 
but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." It is 
a day in which our Saviour's prediction is accomplished. "And 
because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." 
All ranks of men have corrupted their ways, and every one is add- 
ing to his coal to the fire of wrath. A general corruption of man- 
ners overflows, atheism, irreligion, profanity and formality, and by 
these God is dishonoured, our holy religion is blasphemed, and the 
glorious gospel is despised. It is also a day of approaching wrath. 
" Shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord ; and shall not 
my sonl be avenged on such a nation as this ?" We have met with 
many deliverances. God has been saying, '* How shall I give thee 
up Epfaraim ? How shall I deliver thee Israel ? How shall I make 
thee as Admah ? How shall I set thee as Zeboim ? My heart is 
turned within me, my repentings are kindled together." But all 
this prevails not to make the generation one whit better ; but we 
rather grow worse ; and therefore God's voice may be to ns, " Thou 
hast forsaken me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward, there- 
fore will I stretch, out my hand against thee, and destroy thee, I am 
weary with repenting." God has many arrows in his quiver. But 
which of them soever he use, there is no appearance that this gene- 
ration can escape a rousing stroke. 

Motive 2. It will always be well with those who take part with 
truth and holiness, setting themselves against the flood of sin in an 
ungodly and unrighteous generation. " Say ye to the righteous, that 
it shall be well with him ; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings." 

If you do 'prevail in any measure to stop the flood of sin, so far 
as you do prevail, you bring honour to God, who is dishonoured by 
ungodly and unrighteous practices. *' Let your light so shine be- 
fore men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Fa- 
ther which is in heaven." You also bring safety to perislung souls, 
and oh I what should not one do to save a soul from death. '' 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 


Bins." Yon also strengthen the cause of religion by making friends 
to it,*and weaken Satan's kingdom. 

Bat thougb yon shonld not prerail, yet yon give yonr testimony 
for God. ** They that forsake the law praise the wicked ; but snch 
a» keep the law contend with them." And yon deliver your own 
sonls from the guilt of the common conspiracy. Yon take the best 
way for safety in the evil day. ** And the Lord said to him, go 
through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and 
set a mark upon the forehead of the men that sigh and that cry for 
all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof." So that 
yon shall either be delivered from trouble or in trouble. 

Doctrine III. and last. God's wrath is revealed against all un- 
godliness and unrighteousness of men, who have the truth, but truth 
has not its effect upon them. 

This is not the sound of God's fearful trumpet of the law, against 
all who obey not the gospel by believing and repenting ; and we are 
obliged to sound it, as well as the trumpet of the gospel. The gos- 
pel damns no man ; it needs not, for if it save them not, the law 
will ruin them eternally, and that as law-breakers and despisers of 
the gospel. '* Do not think, said Jesus to the Jews, that I will ac- 
cuse you to the Father : there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, 
in whom ye trust." 

From this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Consider the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, against 
which the wrath of God is revealed. 

II. I will consider the wrath of God which is revealed against 
this ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. 

III. Show how this wrath is revealed against the ungodliness and 
unrighteousness of men. I am, 

I. To consider the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men against 
which the wrath of God is revealed. Under this general head, I 
shall, I. Condescend on some gross sins under the two branches of un- 
godliness, and unrighteousness. II. Point out some mother sins, 
and III. Mention some distinctions and kinds of sin in general, and 
under each of these show the wrath of God revealed against them. 

I am to condescend on some gross sins under the ti^o branches of 
ungodliness and unrighteousness, and show the wrath of God re- 
vealed against them. 

I. Some pieces of gross ungodliness. 

1. Blasphemy, denying God, or speaking reproachfully of God, 
or of any of the persons of the ever blessed Trinity. Snch monsters 
this land of light has produced ; for men disregarding known truth, 
grow worse than those to whom it is not revealed. And Satan rages 


tbe more tliat the light eombats his kingdom. God's wrath is re- 
yealed against this sin. In the Old Testament it was death by the 
law of God. " Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And 
he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall snrely be pnt to 
death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him ; as well 
the stranger as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth 
the name of the Lord, he shall be pnt to death. In the New Tes< 
tament we have blasphemers deliyered nnto Satan for their crime. 
** Whom, says Panl, I haye delivered unto Satan, that they may 
learn not to blaspheme." 

2. Idolatry and religions imagery. Papists profane onr land. 
And I wish I conld say they only did it. But there is a piece of 
horrible abomination crept into this land, the rudiments of popery, 
from our neighbours of the rotten church of England. Images or 
pictures of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, some representing him, 
hanging on the cross, some ascending into heaven. Strings of beads 
wrought before in the form of a cross, lime vessels with I. H. S. in 
the bottom. And I doubt not there are many other of that sort, 
which I have never seen. But to the best of my observation, this 
deluge broke in upon us from that quarter in the four last years of 
Queen Anne's reign ; without doubt to prepare the nation insensibly 
for the popish Pretender and popery. I would fain hope there are 
none of them among you ? But why should I say that, for, to the 
best of my remembrance, it was in presbyterian houses that I ob- 
served any of them. There is likewise in some Bibles the picture of 
God represented by the sun and the name Jehovah in Hebrew letters 
in the midst of it. I warn you from God, that all pictures of God 
or any person of the holy Trinity is an abomination ; and if you 
have any of these things, that you deface or destroy them ; and if 
you see them any where that yon testify your abhorrence of them, 
as blasphemous against God, for the information of misled people, 
and as you would not partake of their sin. God's wrath is revealed 
against this in the second commandment. See also Romans i. 23, 24. 

3. Cursing and swearing profanely. Wrath is revealed against 
this in the third commandment. Some men curse and swear in cold 
blood. Others, when the devil has blown up their passions, they 
will open their mouth as if hell were opening. What a wonder of 
patience is it, that God makes not the swearer's tongue to fall on 
himself, let loose the devil to take them away visibly that call on 
him so ; that he strike not the worms dead on the spot that profane 
his sacred name. We cannot get this reformed among you, but it 
abounds among us, and some have the impudence to cry out against 
ministers taking the oath imposed by the law upon them, under the 


pain of all that they have in the world ; and yet themselves will 
curse and swear, when no one bids them, but the same law of the 
land forbids them under a penalty. Some will be praying one while 
and cursing anotlier. As I haye often, so I now warn you that the 
wrath of G-od is revealed against profane cursing and swearing. 
And I here protest against all the oursers and swearers in this perish 
present or absent, and call the timber and stones of this house to 
witness, that God's wrath shall pursue them for evermore for it, if 
they do not repent, Dent, xxviii. 68, 69. 

4. Sabbath-breaking and profane neglect of God's worship. This 
is a crying sin in our day, bringing wrath on the land. Application 
has been made to get the fairs and markets in the country altered, 
which occasion the Sabbath to be profaned by travelling and dri?ing 
cattle to them on the Lord's day, but without success. It is pro- 
faned by many, who loiter away Sabbaths at home, as if the public 
exercise of God's worship was no part of Sabbath sanctification. 
How they are employed at home their own consciences can tell. But 
some there are whom nothing hinders, but a profane contempt and 
neglect of God's ordinances ; that all the sermons which they hear 
from the end of the year to the other may be soon told. Some come 
to the church, whose behaviour at it looks neither like grace nor 
good manners, doing several highly improper and offensive thingpi 
'even in the time of worship. Wrath is revealed against these. '* Did 
not your fathers thus, said Nehemiah, and did not our God bring all 
this upon us, and upon this city ? Yet ye bring more wrath upon 
Israel by profaning the Sabbath." 

II. Some pieces of gross unrighteousness. 

1. Disobedience to parents, refractoriness and rebellion against 
them. This is a piece of gross unrighteousness, for what human 
authority is more sacred than that of a parent, which some neverthe^ 
less trample on, and prove a grief of heart instead of a comfort to 
their parents. And this in some monsters of mankind has pro- 
ceeded to cursing or beating of father or mother, and in some to the 
murdering of them. God's wrath is revealed against this in the fifth 
commandment. It is also declared, " That 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. For every one 
that curseth his father or his mother, shall surely be put to death : 
he hath cursed his father or his mother ; his blood shall be upon 

2. Drunkenness that lothsome sin. This puts a man on a level with 
the beasts, destroys the soul, murders the body, darkens the mind, 
breaks a person's health, and ruins their substance. A sin prevail- 


ing among us beyond what we conld belieye ; where there is fuel for 
the lust in so many houses, that by their nnmber must be for Inxnry, 
not necessity. And loye to, and abuse of, the fiery liquor in this 
place, which God nor nature neyer ordained for common drinking, 
will bring many to the place where thy will not get a drop of cold 
water to cool their tongue, if they repent not. God's wrath is re- 
vealed against this sin. '' Woe unto them that are mighty to drink 
wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink. Drunkards shall 
not inherit the kingdom of God." 

3. Uncleanness, of which we seldom want sad instances, which 
fill our hands with many sad processes, besides others that are 
easily discovered. The causes of this sin abounding so much in the 
place, I reckon to be your fulness of bread and the solitariness of 
the place, and I think I may add a certain garb peculiar to the 
country, which I am sure in some places would not be reckoned a 
modest one. But let men and women know that God's wrath is re- 
vealed against this sin. *' Whoremongers and adulterers, God will 
judge. For this we know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean x>er- 
son, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." 

4, Dishonesty; want of common honesty in dealings with men, 
cheating and stealing. God has established property among men, 
and forbidden all manner of injustice in that command. Thou shak 
not steals and requires justice to reign among them. But alas how 
many are there, who are void of common honesty, stand not on 
cheating in their bargains, are unfaithful in what is committed to 
their trust, and can put out their hand to their neighbour's goods, if 
they can but carry their point without being discovered. Many 
have lost their credit in this way, brought themselves to disg^race 
and public punishment ; and some from less to more have brought 
themselves to the gibbet. God's wrath is revealed against this. 
The unrighteous and thieves are excluded from the kingdom of Gt>d. 
What is brought in that way, if not worth twopence brings a curse 
with it. *' I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall 
enter into<>the house of the thief, and into the house of him that 
sweareth falsely by my name, and it shall remain in the midst of 
his house, and shall consume it, with the timber thereof, and the 
stones thereof." And moreover, you must be ready to restore if in 
your power ; else there is no pardon. Idleness and an unmortified 
lust are the inlets to this sin. 

Lastly, Lying, a common sin, which many commit freely. There 
is a certain baseness in this sin, beyond many others, so that liars 
themselves cannot endure to be called so. And no wonder, for the 
liar's credit is gone as soon as he is discovered, and there is no 


trusting him when he speaks tmth not otherwise known. It is a 
part of the old man. " Hence, says the apostle, lie not one to ano- 
ther, seeing that ye have pnt off the old man with his deeds.'' It is 
the natural product of the unrenewed heart. ** The wicked are 
estranged from the womh, they go astray as soon as they be born, 
speaking lies." But grace no sooner enters but it banishes it. 
*' For he said, surely they are my people, children that will not lie ; 
so he was their Saviour." The devil was the first liar, and it was a 
lie that ruined the world. God has a particular hatred of it. " A 
lying tongue is an abomination to him." His wrath is reyealed 
against it. ''He will destroy them that speak leasing. A false 
witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not 
escape." They are barred out of heayen by name. "For there 
shall in no wise enter into it, any thing that maketh a lie." Their 
lodging is appointed with the devil in the lake which bumetk with fore 
and brimstone^ in which all liars shall have their part. We are, 

II. To point out some mother sins and the wrath revealed against 

1. Unbelief, not believing the gospel, nor falling in with the 
grand device of salvation, through Jesus Christ, not closing with 
Christ in the gospel offer, nor making use of him for the great ends 
for which the Father has given him. This is lightly looked at, but 
is the great cause of ruin under the gospel, John iii. 19. It is 
the mother sin to all others. Wrath against it is revealed in the 
most express manner. He that heUeveth not shall be damned. And 
there is no escaping for them who neglect the greai salvation. For it 
is sinning against the remedy, despising the love of the Father, Son, 
and Spirit. 

2. Gross ignorance of the principles of religion. It also is a mo- 
ther sin; one may lead the blind what way he pleases; so may 
Satan, an evil world, and an evil heart, lead an ignorant person. 
Ignorance keeps one from believing, for they know not to believe 
from repenting, for they know not what to repent of. It muffles 
them up in darkness, and will land them in eternal' darkness. 
Wrath is revealed against it, though many look on it as a shelter 
from wrath. ''My people, says God, are destroyed for lack of 
knowledge ; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject 
thee." Behold how Christ comes, " in flaming fire taking vengeance 
on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our 
Lord Jesus Christ ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruc- 
tion from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his 

3. Pride and self-conceit, another mother sin. It is the great de- 


ceirer. 77^ pride of thine heart hath decewed thee. It oarries men 
into a thousand snares. It exalts them against the God that made 
them, and causes them break oyer all bounds. Who is the Lord, 
said Pharaoh, that I should obey him ? They will not submit to 
word nor providences. It exalts them against men, they will not 
be advised nor taught ; nay, they trample upon others, to raise up 
themselves. It hides a man from himself, blinds him to his sin and 
to his duty. Rev. iii. *17. So is the highway to destruction. Wrath 
is revealed against it. As it makes one most unlike the lowly Je- 
sus, it makes him like the devil, and leads the way to damnation. 
** Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the con- 
demnation of the devil." God is the proud man's enemy. '* God 
resisteth the proud. A man's pride shall bring him low." 

4. Spiritual slothfulness. This is a devouring deep, in which 
many good motions, convictions, and purposes are swallowed up and 
utterly lost. It is a waster and destroyer of the life and health of 
the soul. It is a disposition of heart which renders a man adverse 
to good, prone to evil, and lays him open to Satan's snares. To this 
a man owes the neglect of his duty to God and to his own soul ; his 
soul's case going all to wreck. *' fiy much slothfulness the building 
decayeth ; and through idleness of the hands, the house droppeth 
through." It is from this that there comes one off-put after ano- 
ther to repentance and reformation till the time be gone. Wrath is 
revealed against it, ''Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little 
folding of the hands to sleep ; so shall thy poverty come as one that 
travelleth, and thy want as an armed man." Now is the seed time 
for eternity, to sleep now will make a bad harvest. " The sluggard 
will not plow by reason of the cold ; therefore shall he beg in har- 
vest, and have nothing." See the doom of the sluggard and his sin, 
Matth. XXV. 26,-30. 

5. Inordinate love of the world. " Love not the world, neither 
the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the 
love of the Father is not in him." This is a corrupt spring which 
has several streams. '^ For all that is in the world, the lust of the 
flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Fa- 
ther, but is of the world." And the main stream is not the same in 
all. Some pursue the profits ; others the lust of the eye ; some the 
pleasures, of it, the lust of the flesh ; others the vain promp of it, 
the pride of life. Some roll themselves in the bosom of a fawning 
world ; others court a frowning world, for its smiles as their chief 
good. In a word, the clay idol, in its several shapes, has many vo- 
taries who put it in the room of God. This is a mother evil, which 
turns the world upside down, and fills it with all manner of wicked- 


ness, done to gratify this master lust. '^ But they that will be rich 
fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hnrtfal 
lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the lore 
of money is the root of all eyil ; which, while some coveted after, 
they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with 
many sorrows." But wrath is revealed against this sin. Paul de- 
clares repeatedly, '* That for these things' sake the wrath of God 
oometh upon the children of disobedience." See also, James v. 
1.— 6. 

6, Slighting the means of grace, public, private, or secret. 
This is a mother sin too. When the wells of salvation are opened 
amongst a people, but they have no appetite to drink of them. 
Then is a price put into their hands to get wisdom, but they have 
no heart to it. This shews itself in the neglect of public ordinances, 
family and secret duties, or not improving of them. Wrath is re- 
vealed against this. Men may blind their own consciences with 
silly shifts and excuses, but these will not pass with God, Luke xiv. 
16, — 24. Yea, such conduct will aggravate their condemnatioB. 
They had the opportunity but slighted it. These slighters will 
themselves be the losers, and find it so in the end. ** He that sin- 
neth against me, saith Jesus, wrongeth ' his own soul ; all they that 
hale me love death." 

Lastly, Neglect of relative duties. These are the bands of so- 
ciety, which, when they are disregarded, all goes loose and into 
disorder. Families are the nurseries both of church and state. 
When the members of families do not regard, especially their spiri- 
tual duty to one another, parents to educate their children for God, 
to concern themselves for the welfare of the souls of their servants ; 
and they again to be dutiful to them and watch over one nnother, it 
is the opening of a sluice of sin. Wrath is revealed against it. 
** Shall I not visit them for these things ? Saith the Lord : shall not 
my soul be avenged on such a nation as this." Micah vii. 4, — 8. It 

III. To point out some distinctions and kinds of sin in general, 
and the wrath which is revealed against them. God's wrath is re- 
vealed against all kinds of sin, particularly, 

1. Against open sins, of one's life, lip, heart, and nature. Men's 
life-sins, their sinful deeds and actions. Let no man think that he 
may live as he pleases, and do as he will ; for God remembers all 
our deeds, and men shall be judged according to their works, and a 
sinful life will make a sad reckoning : ** For we must all appear be- 
fore the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the 
things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it 
be good or bad." 


Against lip sins, the sins of the tongue. God made the tongne 
man's glory, bnt men haye turned it to the dishonour of God : so 
that it is a world of iniquity. An unruly tongue rages against God 
and against man ; and thinks little of words. They are but wind 
say some. Bnt they are wind that will blow men to hell. ^ But I 
say unto you, said Jesus, that eyery idle word that men shall speah, 
they shall account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy 
words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be eon* 

This wrath is revealed also against heart sins. " The heart is de- 
ceitful aboye all things, and desperately wicked ; who can know it? 
I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to giye to eyery 
man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." 
The heart is hid from men but God seeth it clearly and all that 
lodgeth in it, or passeth through it, and has bound men to heart 
holiness, as well as life holiness. 4-^^ wrath is not more dreadfully 
reyealed against any sins than heart sins. " And it come to pass, 
when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his 
heart, saying, I shall haye peace, though I walk in the imagination 
of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: The Lord will not 
spare him ; but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall 
smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this 
book shall be upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from 
under heayen." 

Against the sin of man's nature, that corrupt bias of the heart 
which we bring into the world with us, containing in it an ayersion 
to good and bent to eyil ; and a peryersion of all the faculties of 
the soul. This was one of the causes of the deluge. ^ And God 
saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that 
eyery imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only eyil conti- 
nually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the 
earth, and it grieyed him at his heart." Accordingly infants as 
well as others were swept away with the deluge. Men think little 
of this, but it will ruin men for ever, if it be not healed by regene- 
rating grace. For except a man be bom again, said our Lord, he oan^ 
not see the kingdom of God. God's holy nature can so little endure 
our depravity, that he will pursue it with eternal wrath, as what is 
most contrary to his holy nature. *^ And there shall in no wise en- 
ter into the heavenly Jerusalem, any thing that detileth, neither 
whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie. 

2. God's wrath is revealed against sins of commission and omis- 
sion. Against sins of commission. God's law is the hedge which 
he hath set about men to keep them in, and it is fenced with wrath 


reyealed against those who shall venture to break oyer it. Whoso 
breaketh this hedge^ a serpent shall bite him. The sword of justice 
stands on the other side to pierce those who dare to commit what 
God hath forbidden, for they are worthy of death, Bom. i. 32. Also 
* against sins of omission. God's wrath is not only revealed against 
men's doing what he hath forbidden, but also against their not doing 
what he hath commanded. And so many omissions of duty, we are 
guilty of so many sins exposing us to wrath. It is a sad thing that 
men should look so lightly on omission, seeing the great damning 
sin is of this kind. He that beUeveth not shall be damned. And in 
the great day, sins of omission shall be brought forward to the con- 
demnation of many, Matth. xxv. 41. — 46. And the curse of the law 
runs directly against them. " For it is written, cursed is every one 
that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to 
do them." 

3. Against open and secret sins. Against open sins, whereby 
God is provoked and others stumbled and scandalized. " The shew 
of their countenance doth witness against them ; and they declare 
their sin as Sodom, they hide it not ; woe unto their soul I for they 
have rewarded evil unto themselves." Impudence in sin by which 
men bring forth their works of darkness before the sun, is no small 
aggravation of it and will also aggravate the punishment. ** Were 
they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay they 
were not at all ashamed, neither they blush ; therefore shall they 
fall among them that fall : in the time of their visitation they shall 
be cast down, saith the Lord." And the scandal given by open sin 
goes deep, Matth. xviii. 7- 

Against secret sins. " Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, 
our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. For all our days 
are spent away in thy wrath." Secret sinning is a daring or des* 
pising of the all-seeing eye, and therefore God watches to discover 
them to the world. ** Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wick- 
edness shall be shewed before the congregation." Secrecy is a great 
temptation to sin, but the godly will be afraid of secret as we>l as 
of open sin. Cleanse me, says David, /rom secret faiiks. They know 
that there is nothing hid that shall not be revealed, or secret that 
shall not be made known, and that God will bring every secret 
thing into judgment. Sin is like the ointment of the right hand, it 
will discover itself. And be sure your sin wiU/ind you out. 

4. God's wrath is revealed against personal sins and relative sins. 
Against personal sins, such as affect ourselves only in their own na- 
ture. The gospel requires personal holiness. It teaches us to live 
^soberly. And wrath is revealed against, and shall be inflicted upon 


aU who chey not the gogpd of our Lord Jesus Christ Thongb one 
lived alone altogether by himself, his duty to God, and his own soul 
mnst be performed, otherwise he incurs Ood's anger. 

Against relative sins, the sins of the several relations in which 
we stand. In whatever relation we are placed, whether in the 
chnrch, state, or family, God has prescribed ns onr dnty, wherein 
we are to walk in these relations ; and we cannot be unfaithful or 
negligent in them, but we expose ourselves to the anger of God. 

6. Against the sin of the particular bias of our nature, as well as 
these of the general bias of it. '* If thy right eye offend thee, pluck 
it out and cast it from thee : for it is profitable for thee that one of 
thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be 
cast into hell." The sin that by reason of our natural temper, con- 
stitution, manner of life, does most easily beset us, though we are 
apt to indulge ourselves in it, God will not, but it will bring us to 
ruin, if we hold not off from that as jrell as from others. / was cdso 
upright before him, and I kept myse^from mine tntquity. 

Lastly, God's wrath is revealed against all sin, great or small. 
The sins of every size, costomary or not customary, signal miscar- 
riages or more ordinary sinning. ** For as many as are of the works 
of the law are under the curse : for it is written, cursed is every one 
that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to 
do them." We now proceed, 

II. To consider the wrath of God revealed against this ungodli- 
ness, and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighte- 
ousness. Here we shall first show what this wrath is ; and secondly, 
take notice of the properties of this wrath. 

1. What is God's wrath ? Wrath in men is the passion of anger 
risen to a height ; but since there are no passions in God, wrath is 
not ascribed to God in respect of the affection, but of the will and 
effects. There are three things then in it. 

The highest aversion to ungodliness and unrighteousness. " Thou 
Lord art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on 
iniquity." They are most contrary to his holy nature, so that he 
cannot endure the sight of them. " The foolish shall not stand in 
thy sight, thou hatest all workers of iniquity." He has (so to 
speak) a natural antipathy against them, such a strong aversion to 
them, that it is impossible he should ever lay aside his utmost ab- 
horrence of them, or cease to hate them and be angry at them. 

It implies, secondly, A constant will to punish them aa crimes 
against his honour. By the righteousness of his nature he has this 
will. "Jt is a righteous thing with God, says Paul, to recompense 
tribulation to them that trouble his people." So that these sins can 

Vol. III. R 


never be forgiyen, bat on a yalnable satisfaction, by wbich the due 
wratb and punishment not laid upon the guilty, is yet laid fully 
upon the Cautioner, who stands in their stead. And where there is 
no cautioner, there it falls on the head of the guilty. ''And he 
shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in 
their own wickedness ; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off." 

It implies, thirdly, Actual resentment of them in the effects of 
wrath. '' Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the mighty 
one of Israel, Ah I I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge 
me of mine enemies." This is called pouring out of wrath, by which 
the heavens, black above the heads of the ungodly and unrighteous, 
do disburden themselves upon them in showers. ** For great, said 
Josiah the king, is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon 
us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord." And 
as no man can count the drops of a shower, so the direful effects of 
the wrath of God, on the body and soul are innumerable. " Who 
knoweth the power of thine anger ? Even according to thy fear, sb 
is thy wrath." It is not only as showers of water, but of fire. 
'' Who, says the prophet Nahum, Who can stand before his indig- 
nation, and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger ? His fury 
is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him." 
And there is, 

The small rain of wrath, that falls on the ungodly and unrighte- 
ous on earth. " God, says Zophar, shall cast the fury of his wrath 
upon the wicked, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating." 
This is a rain that never ceases, sometimes it is greater, sometimes 
less ; but it is never quite fair, any day that dawns to the ungodly. 
For God is an^ry with the wicked every day. Sometimes indeed the 
sun of outward prosperity shines on him, but even while it is shin- 
ing, it is raining on him also. Drops of wrath are silently sinking 
into his soul, his body, his every enjoyment. The prosperity of fools 
shall destroy them. The least stroke he meets with is a drop of 
wrath. But besides these drops, 

There is also the great rain of his strength, that falls upon them 
in hell. In this life there are thunder claps of wrath from the word, 
in the threatenings, and the shower falls ; but for the most part 
sinners are deaf to the thunder, and shift for themselves under the 
rain. But at the great day, the great thunder clap is given from the 
throne. " Then the Judge shall say unto them on the left hand. 
Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil 
and his angels." And then the fountains of the great deep, and the 
windows of heaven are opened, and the full shower comes which 
makes an eternal deluge ; for it will rain for ever, without one clear 


blink tbrough the ages of eternity. " Upon the wicked God shall 
rain, snares, fire and brimstone ; and an horrible tempest : this shall 
be the portion of their cnp." 

We find this shower represented nnder the notion of a shower of 
hail, Rev. xvi. 21. Every atone about the weight of a talent^ a prodi- 
gious size ; and then it will pierce them to the sonl, and fill them 
with despair nnder which they will rage and despair evermore. This 
is that rain which is in the clond of the threatening against the 
ungodly and unrigbteous, which gathered together and began to 
fall when Adam fell from God ; and which rained down in such 
abundance, as made the way betwixt heaven and earth unpassable. 
But with respect to believers, it is over, having fallen out on Christ 
their surety. With them the winter is pasty the rain is over and gone. 
Nevertheless with respect to men who hold the truth in unrighteous- 
ness, it continues in its full force. This is that wrath of God which is 
revealed against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men. Let us, 

2dly, Take notice of the properties of this wrath of God. 

1. It is most mighty wrath. " Who knoweth the power of thine 
anger ? Even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath." There is no 
standing before it. Who may stand in thy sight when ome thou art 
angry ? It comes on like a deluge of waters, overflows and sweeps 
all away before it. The haU shall sweep away the refuge of lies. It 
burns as a fire and devours all before it as the flame doth the dry 
stubble. ^' Men perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but 
a little." Worm man cannot resist it, cannot make head against it. 

2. It is unsupportable. Wliat men cannot resist, they will set 
themselves to bear. But wrath strikes the criminal in a most tender 
part, where a wound produces intolerable pain. A wounded spirit 
who oan hear ? Wrath is a sinking load on the soul, quite beyond 
the i>ower of the creature to comport with. *^ Who among us shall 
dwell with devouring fire ? Who among us shall dwell with ever- 
lasting burnings." Therefore there is no rest under the load, Rev. 
xiv. 11. 

3. It is most penetrating and piercing wrath, a seeking thing like 
water or oil. ** As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his 
garments, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into 
his bones." Men's wrath may reach flesh, blood, and bones, but can 
go no further ; there is a precious part within which it cannot reach. 
But God's wrath pierceth into the whole man and every part. '' God 
IB able to destroy both soul and body in hell." It sinks into the 
soul and conscience. " The arrows of the Almighty, says Job, are 
within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit ; the terrors of 
God do set themselves in array against me." As with some struck 



with thunder^ not a wound in their akin, yet the honei are enuhedy 
or grindedj and the life is gone ; so a person's external comforts 
standing entire about him, his soul may be melted within him, as in 
Belshazzar's case. 

4. It is most yehement and exquisitely tormenting. By the hand 
of wrath, sinners falling under it shall be torn in pieces. Now oonr 
sider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pifeces, and there be none 
to ddiver. It is a fearful story, 2 Kings ii. 23. But the united force 
of lions, leopards, and bears, .is little enough to represent, what tear* 
ing an angry God makes on the ungodly, Hosea xiii. 7> 8. By the 
millstone of wrath they will be grinded to powder, Luke xx. 18. By 
the lire of wrath they will be burned and scorched. For God is a oonr 
sutning fire. No pain more exquisite than what is caused by burning, 
and no fire burns so keenly as the fire of Qt)d's wrath. '' The pile 
of Tophet is fire and much wood ; the breath of the Lord, like a 
stream of brimstone, doth kindle it." 

6. It is wrath treasured up. ^^ The wicked treasure up to them- 
selres wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous 
Judgment of Ood.'' This speaks a fulness of wrath. The clouds of 
wrath are full and ready to burst, to empty themselves on impeni* 
tent sinners. A variety of it. The wrath of God is a teeming 
womb of all miseries on the ungodly, Deut« xxxii. 23.-26. All the 
mischiefs that can befall a creature, are in this treasure, and all 
shall be gathered together and cast into the lake with the generation 
of his wrath. And whosoever are not found written in the book of Ufe^ 
shaU be cast into the lake of fire. It speaks also the reserving of it 
for them. They are reserved for it as fuel for the fire. God resent 
eth the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. And it is re* 
served for them. '* The Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries 
and he reserveth wrath for his enemies." And this will be brought 
on them in due time. When the day of the Lord^s anger cometh upon 
them. Hence frequently compared to travailing pangs. 

6. It is continuing wrath without intermission. The worst sea- 
son has readily some intermission, some fair blinks, but God's wrath 
is an abiding cloud on the objects of it. ITie wrath of God abideth 
on them. The curse abides in the house, Zech. v. 4. Men are born 
children of wrath, and if they be not bom again, it lies on them 
from the cradle to the grave. It leaves them not at death, but goes 
with them to the other world. The wicked is driven away in his 
wickedness. And the full shower comes on at last, when they are 
plunged into everlasting burning. 

7. It is eternal wrath. " They shall be punished with everlasting 
destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his 

FAIiSB PB07B880B8. 249 

power.'^ It will lie on the Binner through all the ageg of eternity. 
The bands of death will be loosed, and the graye will cast out the 
dead criminal, and though he cry to the hills and rocks to coyer 
him, they will not hear ; because he must liye to the end he may be 
oyer dying. The wrath of mortals, death will extinguish if nothing 
else can ; but the wrath of the eternal God is a worm that neyer 
dies, and is a fire neyer quenched. And God's wrath will eyer be 
the wrath to come. 

8. It is nnayoidable to such as continue in their ungodly and un- 
righteous state and courses. " He that being often reproyed, har- 
deneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed and that without 
remedy." What way is it possible for them to ayoid it? They 
may fancy that time will wear it out, and a proyoked God will for- 
get the affronts. But in yain. *^ The Lord hath sworn by the ex- 
cellency of Jacob, surely I will neyer forget any of their works." 
Fair words will neyer appease this wrath. " Without shedding of 
blood their is no remission of sin." They cannot outwit him who is 
omniscient; nor outbraye the omnipotent; nor flee from the pre- 
sence of the omnipresent God. 

Lastly, After all, it is most just, a clear fire without smoke. Is 
Crod unrighteous who taketh vengeance ? The sea of wrath raging 
against the sinner, remains clear as crystal. No transport of fury 
to carry him to excess, is consistent with his nature. The offence is 
against an infinite God, and must be infinitely punished. It remains, 

III. To show how this wrath is reyealed against the ungodliness, 
and unrighteousness of men. It is reyealed three ways. 

1. In the word. Therein God has declared his anger against all 
such. And one jot or tittle cannot pass away without being ful- 
filled. The Bible is a standing witness against the ungodliness, and 
unrighteousness of men, a solemn warning piece to all. And the 
preaching of the word reyeals it also. The Lord's messengers are 
sent to warn sinners of that wrath. They are to say, " Woe unto 
the wicked I it shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands 
shall be giyen him." And the warnings which men get in this way 
will aggrayate their condemnation. " Woe unto thee, Chorazin I 
woe unto thee, Bethsaida I for if the mighty works which were done 
in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would haye repented 
long ago in sackcloth and ashes." 

2. In proyidenoes. God has not left himself without a witness^ 
in his works, as well as in his word. It is reyealed to us, in the 
wrath which falls on others. Look into the records of proyidence, 
in all ages, the deluge, the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, &c, 
Obserye what has fallen out in our day of this sort. It is a reye- 



lation of God's wrath, against the ungodliness, and nnrighteonsnesg 
of men, and the language is, except ye repent, ye shall all Ukewise 

It is revealed also in the wrath, which at any time has fallen on 
ourselves. When that prevails not to turn men from their ungodly, 
and unrighteous courses, it says, '* Therefore will I do unto thee, O 
Israel ; and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy 
God, Israel." Who are they in whose experience some threaten- 
ings of the word have not been accomplished, which may have made 
them say, " As I have done, so God hath requited me. Yerily he 
is a God that judgeth in the earth." If therefore we repent not, 
these are pledges of the full shower of wrath. 

Lastly, in men's own consciences ; " Who knowing the judgment 
of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, 
not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." 
Ungodliness and unrighteousness, in those who have the truth, 
leaves a sting in their consciences behind it. Conscience is a do- 
mestic preacher to them, who lays before them the commands and 
threatenings wherewith they are fenced, and so binds them over to 
answer it before the tribunal of God. And as long as there is a 
conscience within men's breast, that witnesseth for God, that he is 
angry with men's ungodliness, and unrighteousness, they must needs 
acknowledge his wrath to be revealed against them. 

Use, 1. Of information. Then, 

1. God is well pleased with those who obeying the truth, live 
godly and righteous lives. " He hath shewed thee, man, what Ib 
good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and 
to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." God's word 
and their own conscience favour them, and the providence of God 
too, causing all things work together for their good. When they 
look without them into the word they find God's approbation of 
their way : when they look within them to their own conscience, 
they have its testimony in their favour; or about them in provi- 
dence, they will see all for their real welfare. '' Moreover by them, 
God's statutes, is thy servant warned, and in keeping of them there 
is great reward." 

2. The pleasure of ungodliness and gain of unrighteousness, are 
dear bought. It may be sweet in the mouth, but it will be bitter in 
the belly. " Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts, that the people 
shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves 
for very vanity." Did men consider the black cloud that horers 
over their ways of ungodliness, and unrighteousness continually, 
they would be afraid to venture on them. For whatever case is 

FAL8B PB0#S8S0BS. 251 

found iu them for the present, it exposes the sonl to everlasting 
disquiet, and where a penny is gained, a talent is lost. " For what 
is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own 
sonl ? Or what shall a man giye in exchange for his sonl.*' 

Lastly, They are left without excuse who liying under the gospel, 
obey it not, but lead still ungodly, and unrighteous lives. They 
cannot say they are not warned, they understand not the danger of 
that course : for it is revealed to them plainly, that God's wrath 
will overtake them in such courses. And if men will not let them- 
selves believe it, then who can help it ? If men will delude them- 
selves, and sooth up themselves in their ungodly, and unrighteous 
courses fearful will be the taking off the vail and undeceiving them. 
Dent. xxix. 19, 20. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. 

As ever you would escape the wrath of God ivtime and eternity 
renounce all ungodliness and unrighteousness ; and since you have 
the gospel, the truth, let it have its effect on yon. For the wrath 
of God is revealed against all who hold the truth in unrighteousness. 

Motive 1. Consider, much less than the wrath of God falling in 
full measure on impenitent sinners, is very terrible, how much more 
that wrath. The wrath of a king is terrible. 7%e wrath of a king 
is as messengers of death : hut a wise man wiU padfy it. When the 
wrath of Ahasuerus was kindled against Haman, his ruin was 
secured. Kings have power in their hand to reward or punish ; so 
their wrath is terrible to their fellow-creatures. But what is the 
wrath of a king to that of the King of kings ? The very threaten- 
ing of God's wrath is most awful. ** When I heard this, says 
Habakkuk, my belly trembled : my lips quivered at the voice : 
rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself." The 
sight of the hand writing on the wall made Belshazzar tremble. 
God speaking in wrath to a sinner, is enough to damp the stoutest 
sinner. How much more the fulfilling of it. Even God's fatherly 
anger against his own children is very dreadful. The Lord's rod 
on his own is but the rod of a man, but yet how does Job cry out 
under it. " For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the 
poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set 
themselves in array against me." How did it affect Asaph, Psal. 
Ixxvii. and Heman, Psal. Ixxxviii. What must it then be on his 
enemies. Finally, God's giving the law on mount Sinai was full of 
terror. See how it affected the people, Exod. xx. 18, 19. Yea, so 
terrible was the eighty that Moses hxmsdf said^ I exceedingly fear and 
quake What will it then be when he comes to avenge the trans- 
gressions of that law ? 

252 GSBAT DAirCVB OW, &0. 

Mfftive 2. Oonsiderwhat a &od he is whose wrath is revealed. 
He is mosb jast. He is of purer eyes than to behold evil aad can- 
Bot look on iniquity. God mnst act contrary to his own nature, if 


sin go without wrath. This makes the destruction of the impeni- 
tent pleasing to God. For though God distributes sorrows, with 
sorrow (so to speak) to his own people ; For m all thdr a^ctiam, he 
is afflicted, yet he is eased as it were, in making his enemies the 
resting place of his wrath. Ah, says he, / u/tS ease me of mine ad' 
versariesj and (wenge me of mine enemies. 

He is omniscient. Therefore an angry God knows all the affronts 
given, and cannot fail to devise and find out all means, by which 
Ms wrath may be executed to all possible ^satisfaction of his justice. 
He is omnipotent. There is nothing beyond the compass of his 
power. It must be fearful to fall into the hands of the living God. 
For he can hold i^ sinners with one hand through eternity, while 
the other shall lie heavy upon them. Finally, God is eternal. 
Men die, and their wrath with them ; but he will be an everlasting 
enemy, and while he is, will pursue the quarrel. 

MoHve 3d and last. Consider the fearful instances of wrath, 
first of men. Many have been made monuments of the Lord's anger, 
in their sinful courses. Wrath has swept away multitudes to- 
gether, who have fallen a sacrifice to God's anger. Wrath has 
fallen on men's infant relations, yea on the very place of their un- 
godliness, and unrighteousness. Adam sinned and wrath came 
upon him, and upon all his. It came upon the old world; upon 
Sodom and Gomorrah. Upon the rich man in hell, when he could 
not find a drop of water to cool his tongue. 

Secondly, Upon fallen angels. They sinned and God made their 
case hopeless. No Mediator was provided for them. They were 
the first that ventured to break over the hedge, and God made them 
dreadful instances of his justice and severity. They believe and 

Lastly, It came upon the man Christ standing in the room of the 
elect. God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us ofi. 
Wrath coming on him makes him sore amazed, fall on the ground 
and sweat great drops of blood. What is a deluge ? What is the 
noise of a dissolving world, to God groaning and dying on a cross f 
Infinite wisdom and holiness did it, to make sin appear like itself. 
Wherefore I warn you all and every one, to renounce ungodli- 
ness and unrighteousnesss and to allow truth to have its full effect ; 
declaring that otherwise the wrath of God will pursue those who 
will not. Amen. 

Christ's I'BiBirDB LiFrnrG, &c. 253 

Ettrick^ August 15, 1722. 

[Put before the Skcrament.] 




PSALH Xli. 9. 

Yea^ mine own famiUca' friend, in wham I trusted, yjhich did eat of my 

bread, haih lifted up his hed against ms. 

Wb are met this day, to cry for bread to oar bodies, which the Lord 
is threatening to take from ns ; and to prepare ourselves for eating 
the bread for our souls, of which the Lord is giving us the com- 
fortable prospect. In both cases it is fit for our humiliation, that 
we reflect on the use which we have formerly made of both, and we 
will find the text heaven's just complaint against us. 

Tha Psalmist having complained of his enemies, that they longed 
for his death, contrived and spread lying stories about him, rejoiced 
in his a£Biction ; doth in the text show the copestone laid on the 
maltreatment with which he met in the world, by his particular 
friends turning abusive to him, Yea, mine own familiar friend, 8fe, 

1. Here is the character of the person of whom he chiefly com- 
plains. It is twofold, First he was his confident, one with whom he 
had a particular intimacy, and in whom he trusted. The man of 
my peace, that is, one with whom he had no variance nor dissension : 
in whom he confided, that whosoever should be against him, that 
person would not, in whom he trusted as a special friend. It was 
thou, says he, Psal. Iv. 13, 14. '' A man, mine equal, my guide, and 
mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked 
unto the house of God in company." 

He was secondly, his dependant, who did eat of my bread. He set 
him at his table, he gave him a livelihood, maintained him and so 
obliged him to his interest in duty and gratitude. 

2. The treatment with which he had met from that person. He 
hath J^ted up his hed against me. It is a metaphor from a horse 
kicking against the man that lays meat before him. He broke all 
the ties of generosity and gratitude, and treated him insolently. 
A case not rare in times of trial, but very uneasy to them that meet 
with it. '^ Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble^ 
is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint. 

254 chbiht'b fribnbs liftiko 

It is evident this was a typical event. And in the type it respects 
David and Ahithophel, or some other of David's unfaithful friends ; 
in the Antitype it respects the Lord Jesos Christ and Judas. '* I 
speak not of you ull, said Jesus to his disciples, I know whom I 
have chosen ; but, that the scripture may be fulfilled, he that eateth 
bread with me, hath lifted up his heel against me." Here the first 
clause is left out, as not competent in the case of our Lord, who 
could not be deceived by any. However Judas was one of Ghrist's 
disciples, was trusted as steward of his family, and did eat his 
bread. I shall consider it, as it relates to the Jjord Jesus Christ, 
typified by David. 

Doctrine, It is a very grievous thing, that they who eat of the 
Lord's bread, should lift up the heel against him. There are two 
sorts of bread which are the Lord's bread. 

1. Common bread, which they eat at their own table, for the nou- 
rishment of their bodies. Under this is comprehended all the 
necessaries and conveniences of this life ; which in scripture are all 
represented by bread, because it is the most necessary, and most or- 
dinary support of life. 

This bread is the Lord's. He spreads the table for all the chil- 
dren of men, and all eat his bread ; the rich and the poor ^re all 
maintained at his table of common providence. He is the proprie- 
tor and provisor of all the comforts of this life to men. He sits at 
the table head, and carves every one's portion, to some^ more and 
some less, according to his mere good pleasure. Thou Lord openest 
thine hand and Baiksfiest the desire of every Uving thing. And at his 
beck, men must rise from the table, and the table is drawn, or more 
liberally, or sparingly covered. So common bread is his bread and 
all eat of it. 

2. Sacred and sacramental bread, which men eat at the Lord's 
table for the nourishment of their souls. This is his bread in a pe- 
culiar manner. This, said he^ is my body, which is broken for you. 
This table is covered only in the visible church, and the bread upon 
it is prepared only for his real friends. ** Eat, friends, says he, 
drink, yea, drink abundantly beloved." And so it is a very 
singular privilege to eat of it, and by eating of it, men profess 
themselves in a most solemn manner to be his friends. And this 
table is not owing as the other to common providence, but to a spe- 
cial providence and the sufferings of Christ. 

Now according to the occasion of our present purpose, two things 
are to be handled, 

I. That it is a very grievous thing, that they who eat of the 
Lord's common bread should lift up their heel against him. 


II. It is a very grievous thing that they who eat of the Lord's 
sacramental bread, should lift up their heel against him. Let us 

I. Show that it is a very grierous thing that they who eat of the 
Lord's common bread should lift up their heel against him. 

Here let us first show how such lift up their heel against him. 

Secondly, Whence it is that they who eat this bread lift up their 
heel against him ; and thirdly, the evil of this practice. 
' I. How do such lift up their heel against him ? 

1. When they do not serve him by whom they are maintained. 
*' Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and 
with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things." If we live 
by him, we should surely live for him. That men should have their 
bread daily at God's table, and yet not regard him, his will, laws, 
ways, work and interest in the world ; is such a piece of contempt 
of God, as one can hardly, being in his right senses, be guilty of 
against a fellow-creature. " Now, because we have maintenance 
from the king's palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king's 
dishonour, therefore have we sent and certified to the king." Ahi- 
thophel, one may suppose had given over eating at David's table, 
when thus he lifted up his heel against him. Yet such is the mon- 
strous ingratitude and perverseness of men, that the more plenti- 
fully God lays to their hands, they in effect look on themselves as 
the less concerned to serve him. " Be astonished, ye heavens, at 
this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord." 

2. When their lusts are fed and fattened by God's good benefits 
bestowed on them, so that instead of being led to repentance 
thereby, they are led farther away from God. ''But Jeshumn 
waxed fat, and kicked ; thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, 
thou art covered with fatness, then he forsook God which made him, 
and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation." Again, says God, 
" I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. 
According to their pasture so were they filled ; they were filled, and 
their heart was exalted ; therefore have they forgotten me." It is 
evident that this has been the use of the prosperity and plenty 
there has been for some years. Men's lust of pride, and covetous- 
ness, have been made to grow. Hence so much oppression, racking 
one another's rents, and taking tacks over other men's heads : the 
more they had, the more they would have. The lust of luxury and 
wantonness, appearing in so much whoredom and uncleanness, £zek. 
xvi. 49, 50. 

3. When the good things which the Lord lays to people's hands 

are wasted on their lusts, to satisfy their cravings. " Ye ask, and 


reeeiye not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may oonsume it npon 
your Insts.'^ Thus the Lord is dishonoured, by the abusing of his 
good creatnres to glnttony, drnilkenness, prodigality, yanity, pride, 
and ambition ; all v hioh is to treat God after the manner adulter- 
esses do their husbands, bestowing his tokens on lovers. This was 
Israel's sin. 'Tor she did not know that I gaye her com, and 
wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they pre- 
pared for Baal." 

Lastly, When in any manner of way they live to the dishonour 
of God, their great benefactor, Rom. ii. 3, — 6. Every wrong which 
men do to the glory of God, is a kicking against him that feeds 
them, for we have no bread, no necessaries or conveniences of life 
but those for which we are indebted to God. 

II. We are to shew whence it is that they who eat this bread lift 
up their heel against him. 

1. The fountain and spring head of it is the corruption of man's 
nature, which tends to make an ill use of every thing. The heart 
is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. As a vitiated 
stomach corrupts all the meat put into it ; and as food given to a 
man in some cases strengthens his disease ; so where the corruption 
of nature is not broken in the power of it, the more plentifully men 
are fed at the table of providence, they will readily be the worse. 
Lest I be fuUf says Agur, and deny thee, and aay^ Who is the Lord ? 
Hence prosperity is the ruin of many, and is but like a sword in a 
mad man's hand. 

2. The nearest cause of it is our forgetting our dependence on 
God for these things. Men consider not that it is God's bread that 
they eat, but are apt to think it is their own, as owing to their own 
industry. Therefore men sacriflce unto their net, and burn incense 
to their drag ; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat 
plenteous. '* For she, says God, did not know that I gave her corn, 
and wine, and oil." They consider not that they are accountable to 
God as stewards of what they have, and that the more they have 
laid to their hands the more is required of them, and their accounts 
will be the greater; but they look on themselves as lords of it. 
Wherefore say my people, we are lords ; we wiU come no more unto thee. 
Let us consider, 

III. The evil of this practice. 

1. In itself, it is monstrous ingratitude. They are in it more 
brutish than the ox or ass. '^ Hear, heavens ; and give ear, 
earth ; for the Lord hath spoken ; I have nourished and brought up 
children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his 
owner, and the ass his masters crib ; but Israel doth not know, my 


people doth not oonsider." God feeds them and thej dishonour 
him ; he loads them with benefits, and they load him with indigni- 
ties ; God sustains them, and they rise up against him. It is doing 
evil for good which is deyilish. Such conduct is weak and foolish 
in a high degree. " Do ye thus requite the Lord, foolish and un- 
wise ?" Why do men rise up against their benefactor, before they 
be able to support themselves without him? Every moment our 
bread, our life, our all is at his mercy. What madness is it then to 
forget our duty ! 

2. This conduct in its effects is very dismal. It provokes God to 
take away his bread from men, and leave them to pine away in 
want. <* Therefore, says God, will I return, and take away my 
corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof.'^ 
Again, he says, " I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all 
your cities, and want of bread in all your places, yet have ye not 
returned unto me, saith the Lord." This is the cause of the threat- 
ening season. This is it that gives ground to fear, misery, and want, 
to be coming upon us : And the Lord can soon turn his hand upon 
the best of us. This conduct brings other miseries along with want 
and scarcity. Want alone is great misery, but it is to be feared 
that Scotland's sins will heat the furnace seven times, and war and 
pestilence may come along with famine, if mercy prevent not. And 
this conduct will also aggravate men's condemnation in another 

Use 1. Let us be humbled this day, under the abused goodness of 
God ; reflect with shame and blushing on our not serving the Lord 
according to his bounty to us ; on the feeding and fattening our cor- 
rupt lusts with his benefits. Bewail the corruption of our nature, 
and forgetting our dependence on God ; call ourselves beasts and 
fools for treating our God at this rate ; and tremble before him for 
fear of righteous judgments. 

2. Let us reform and amend our ways, and resolve through his 
grace, to use more conscientiously the good things of this life, put 
into our hands ; strive to honour him, who has fed us all our life 
long ; and use all his benefits whatsoever, for his service and glory 
in the world ; that according as he does more for us than for others, 
we may do more for him ; and be faithful stewards of what God has 
given, laying it out for the service of God, and the relief of the 
poor and needy. 

We now proceed to the other view of the subject, namely, 

II. To shew that it is a very grevious thing, that they who eat of 
the Lord's sacramental bread should lift up their heel against him. 

The professed friends of Ohrist do this various ways. 


1. By nntenderness in their walk. Henoe the neoessary caution, 
walk drcumspecdy not as fools hut as wise. the nntenderneBS of 
professors at this day, in their words and actions by reason of 
which religion is evil spoken of! What shreds of the language of 
Ashdod, is to be found with those, from whom one would expect the 
language of Canaan ; in their minced oaths, flying out in passion, 
with swearing and cursing. How often are the hands like £sau*s, 
where the voice is Jacob's? That simplicity and uprightness in 
dealings with men, that might be expected, is often found wanting. 
How many can now freely fall in with those practices, that at one 
time for a world they dared not to have ventured upon. While they 
have been at the communion table and seen how dear their redemp- 
tion from sin was to Christ ; they have thought to stand aloof from 
their sins altogether ; bat alas I they have forgotten him and them- 
selves too. 

2. By returning to their openly profane courses. There are many 
in this our day of defection and apostacy, who cast off the mask of 
religion which they once wore, and pull off the vizor which they 
sometimes put on at communions, 2 Pet. ii. 20, — 22 Beginning in 
the Spirit they end in the flesh, and bring up an ill report on our 
Lord's service, while they break his bands and cast his cords from 
them. Tbey eat his bread and then turn their backs on him, and 
lift up the heel against him. 

3. By carnality and worldliness in the ordinary frame of their 
hearts. Like Martha they are careful and troubled about many 
things, but forget the one thing needful. Lawful enjoyments, and 
necessary business, often blunt the edge of their affections towards 
God. Those who are sought for the kingdom, are often found hid 
among the stuff, and instead of coming away with Christ from Le- 
banon, are lying among the lions' dens. 

4. By formality and listlessness in the duties of religion. '^ Be 
watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to 
die ; for I have not found thy works perfect before God." How 
many of us have been thus pining away since the last communion. 
The Lord has got many a dead carcase of duties from us since that 
time, as our secret retirements and seats in the church, may witness 
against us. And is not this contempt enough to give other things 
the cream of our affections, and such dull and dead service to the 
living God. 

6. By secret dalliance with some bosom idol, and tampering with 
some idol of jealousy, to the slighting of Christ. " If I regard ini- 
quity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." When engaging 
with Christ, we engaged against all sin ; but have we not after vows 


made enquiry? Have we not hankered after some of onr former 
idols, till we have greedily embraced them again, and laid them in 
our bosom, though once devoted to a curse. Like the fly going 
about the candle, till its wings being burnt, it falls down. 

6. By slighting opportnnities of communions with God. A rery 
little thing will make many make to themselves silent Sabbaths. 
Public ordinances are not prized as means of communion with God. 
Some are rarely to be found at secret duties, and many grudging the 
time for the morning sacrifice in their families, lest it hinder their 
work. Few that having their time in their own hand, will seek God 
occasionally, but limit themselves to the morning and evening though 
other opportunities occur. 

7. By the heart losing the esteem that it once had of Christ. 
how precious has Christ been to some, who now see little about him, 
for which he is to be desired. If we carry fair outwardly with men, 
they cannot see our hearts, losing the love of them, but our God 
looks to the heart, and marks its backslidings, saying, " I remember 
thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou 
wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown." 

8. By losing the delight they once had in communion with God, 
and wearying of converse with him in duties. " But thou hast not 
called upon me, Jacob ; but thou has been weary of me, Israel." 
This too much appears in the heartless service which he gets from 
ns. " Ye said also, behold, what a weariness is it ? And ye have 
snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts." Where are they that count 
the Sabbath a delight, and long for the return of it ? Nay, does not 
the false carnal heart misgive at the very news of the approach of a 

Lastly, By the habitual neglect of the most important duties of 
practical godliness, as, the life of faith. Gal. ii. 20. The way of im* 
proving Christ for sanctification, is an absolute mystery to many pro- 
fessors. The promises stand in the Bible, but are useless to them in 
the several steps of life ; their comforts come from another quarter. 

Another neglected duty is the habitual acknowledging of God 
in all our ways. The command is, " In all thy ways acknowledge 
him ; and he shall direct thy paths." Little care to discern sin and 
duty in particular cases. Seldom sent to our knees to beg light of 
the Lord for our direction in particular cases. 

Self examination is also neglected. Alas ! for the habitual ne- 
glect of this duty. Many never look near it, but at a communion 
time. And it is to be feared many make but slight work of it then^ 
and perhaps neglect it altogether. Surely our hearts are not so wor- 
thy to be trusted, but that there is much need to be often calling 
them to an account. 

260 BOOM voB snnnnis 

Moaming for our own sins, and the sins of the land. ^ Rirers of 
waters ran down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law." Alas ! 
for the hardness of heart, and the private spirit with which we are 
plagued. what wonder that there is such small measure of com- 
forts at our oommunions, when mourning for our sins beforehand is 
BO little in use. " Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be 
comforted." These thirty years 'and more there was not so great 
cause for mourning for the sins of the land, yet I doubt if in all that 
time, there was so little mourning for them. 

Lastly, Commending Christ and religion to others, who are stran- 
gers to him, and labouring to propagate religion. " I will make thy 
name to be remembered in all generations, therefore shall the peo- 
ple praise thee for ever and ever." Many are at pains to corrupt 
others this day, and so are agents for Satan ; but alas I few are 
agents for Christ. Amen. 


Ettrick, May 28, 1721. 

[The Sabbttli before the Communion.] 


LuKB xiy. 22. 
And yet there is room. 

In the first part of this verse, the serrant reports that he had obeyed 
his master's second order, and that many had complied- with the in- 
yitation. But though these had come in, he adds, and yet there is 
room. In Christ's house, there is much empty room for more guests. 
This is a comfortable word for those who hare not yet complied 
with the invitations of the gospel ; the doors are not yet shut, and 
such sinners may yet have access to Christ. 

Our Lord hath often covered a table for us in the gospel, and no 
doubt some have answered the gospel call, and by faith sit down at 
the gospel feast. But while some have risen up at God's call, have 
not many sat still ? While some have gone to the marriage, have 
not many staid in the tents of sin ; when some have been pursuing 
the interest of their souls, others have been minding nothing, but 
the world and their lusts. We come yet to you, slighters of 


IX ohust's bousb. 2^ 

Ohrisi) irith tbe glad news that yet there is room. We are allowed 
doctrinally to open the doors of Christ's hoase to you, and inyite 
yon all to come in ; being not without apprehensions that the peaoe* 
able and ordinary dispensation of the gospel among ns, may be 
drawing near an end. Sinners ont of Christ are out of God's fie^ 
your, coyenant, and family. Slighters of Christ haye refused the 
priyilege, but yet there is room or place for them. 

Doctrine* For those who haye not yet embraced and closed with 
Christ in the offer of the gospel, yet there is room. 

There are three yery different yoices sounding this day» in the 
ettrs of rational creatures out of heayen. 

1. The fallen angels hear a dreadful yoice, that there neyer was, 
is, nor shall be, room for them. Tbey sinned, but no Mediator was 
eyer proyided for them. They were the first who yentured to break 
oyer the hedge of the law, and God made them dreadful instances 
of his justice and seyerity. " The angels which kept not their first 
estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reseryed in eyerlasting 
chains, under darkness, nnto the judgment of the great day." 
Their chains you see are eyerlasting, their prison darkness; and 
nothing awaits them but judgment. They left their habitation, and 
there is no room for them any more. They see a feast is proyided, 
but they know they shall neyer taste of it, bnt stand gnashing their 
teeth at distinguishing grace. 

2. Damned sinners hear another yoice, namely. That there was 
once room for them, bnt there shall be room no more for oyer. 
" The master of the house hath risen up, and hath shut to the door." 
They had their day, but in their day, they knew not the things 
which belonged to their peace, and now they are hid from their eyes. 
Those with whom they sat in the same church, and heard the same 
gospel, are now in heayen : but now all they can hear is, Ulcere w<» 
room. And while there was room for them, they only sought after 
the world, and their lusts : but now the door is shut upon them, and 
that there was room, gnaws, and will gnaw, their conscience for 

3. You hear this day a blessed joyful yoice. Yet there is room. 
Sinners! you are standing without, you haye hitherto slighted 
Christ. Bnt the door is not yet shut on yon. What is wrong may 
be rectified. Yet there is room. 

In discoursing upon this subject. I shall, 

I. Enquire for what there is yet room. 

II. Where there is yet room. 

III. Oonfirm the doctrine. We are then, 
Voii. IIL 8 


I. To enqnire for what there is yet room. Sinners, yet there is 

1. For yonr retracting yonr refusal of Christ, and his salvation, 
for yonr taking yonr word again. Christ has been offered to yon, 
but many of yon have said in effect, We wUl not have this man to 
reign over us. Yon wonld have none of him. Now if he should 
take yon at yonr word, yon are mined without remedy. Should he 
pass that sentence '' I say unto you, that none of those men which 
were hidden shall taste of my supper." Then there is no more 
hope for oyer. He might hare dealt thus with you, yea, he might 
have dealt with you as with Ananias and Sapphira. But yet there 
is room. Take your word again ; and if yet you will consent to 
take Christ, you shall have him. 

2. There is yet room for your subscribing the covenant. Ood in 
Christ has sent down an open copy of the covenant of grace among 
us, and sent his ministers to gather subscriptions to it, by which souls 
may be entered into the covenant. Many have set their names to 
it. *' my soul, says David, thou hast said unto the Lord, thou art 
my Lord. And gather, says God, my saints together unto me ; 
those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.'' But after 
all, yet there is room. *^ One shall say, I am the Lord's ; and an- 
other shall call himself by the name of Jacob, and another shall sub- 
scribe with his hand, unto the Lord, and surname himself by the 
name of Israel." God is yet saying to you, '* I will make an ever- 
lasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." Believe 
this word with application to yourselves. Embrace the covenant, 
for yet there is room. 

3. There is room for repentance. You have been fools and mad- 
men, working out your own ruin without fear or trembling. You 
have done what will destroy yourselves, if it be not undone again. 
Yet there is room for repentance. There was room for it in the first 
covenant, it was a piece of work, which once marred would never 
put right again. There is no room for it in hell. But here there 
is room. Esau despised the birth-right, and there was room for re- 
pentance to him. But yet the voice of the Lord to you is, after all 
that you have done, ^'Repent and turn yourselves from all your 
transgressions ; so iniquity shall not be your ruin." Though it be 
the eleventh hour with some of you, yet there is room. 

Lastly, There is room for you, the worst of you, may yet come in, 
" Whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely." And 
again, " Behold, saith Jesus, I stand at the door and knock : if any 
man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and 
will sup with him, and he with me." Despisers and rejectors of 

IK ohrist's house. 263 

Christ, be yet ealls yon. He has no need of yon nor me, bnt bis 
bonse is not yet filled, and it mnst be filled, and yet tbere is room. 
" All tbat the Father giyeth me, says he, shall come to me ; and him 
that Cometh to me, I will in nowise cast ont." Many has he taken 
in, who were amongst the worst, and he has room for more even of 
that kind. *' Go, says be to his servants, into the highways, and 
hedges, and compel them to come in, that my honse may be filled." 
We proceed, 

II. To show where there is room. There is room, 

1. In the door for you, tbat yon may enter in by it. Jesns Christ 
himself is the door. ** 1 am, says be, the door, by me if any man 
enter in, be shall be saved, and shall go in and ont, and find pas- 
ture." He is willing to receive you. The door is opened in the 
offer of the gospel. It is wide opened, so as the worst of sinners are 
declared capable of access to the Father, coming by him. " And 
snch, says Paul to the Corinthians, were some of you," even the 
worst of sinners, " But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye 
are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our 
God." But without Jesus Christ there is no access. " I am, says 
be, the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father 
but by me." It is true in these days in which the doctrine of the 
gospel is sinking, the door is opened by some, only so far as to let 
in those that are so and so qualified, as if men behoved to be half 
cured before they may come to the physician. But God's word sets 
it wide open. ** God so loved the world that he gave his only be- 
gotten Son, that whosoever belie veth on him should not perish but 
have everlasting life. And the Spirit and the bride say come. And 
let bim tbat beareth say, come. And let him that is athirst come. 
And whosoever will, let bim take of the water of life freely." Thus 
you see the word of God sets the door wide open to let in all who 
will enter, be their case what it will. Enter then, sinner, no angel 
with a flaming sword stands here to guard the tree of life. The 
partition wall is broken down, strangers are welcome to come within 
the holy ground. Christ is the door. Let not the brightness of his 
face so terrify thee, nor the divine glory so affright thee, as to make 
you stand back from bim, for the divinity is vailed with humanity, 
tbat sinners may see God and not die. " Having therefore boliiness, 
brethren, to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesns. By a new 
and living way, which he bvtb consecrated for us through the vail, 
that is to say, his flesh." 

2. There is room in the house for you. Christ's house is not yet 
filled. If it were so, the door would be shut. Sinners you are 
without, wandering up and down on the mountains of vanity, a 



ready prey to the deyonring lion. Why will yov not eome in, 
irfaere you may be safe ? There is room enough for yon in onr Fa- 
ther's honae, and all who are in it, have bread enough and to spare, 
why then will yon perish ? 

There is room for yon in the lower honse. There are two great 
tenilies on earth. Christ's family, and the devil's family. We are 
bom members of the deyil's family, but Christ is willing to take 
yon into his, yea, he inyites yon into it. " Wherefore, oome out 
from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and tonch not 
the nnelean thing, and I will receive yon. And I will be a Father 
nnto yon, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord 
Almighty. Hearken, daughter, and consider, and incline thine 
ear ; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house." Yon 
that are standing at the foot of mount Sinai, within the dominion of 
the law, flfl a coyenant of works, you are welcome to mount Zion, 
the city of the living God, to an innumerable company of angels, 
the general assembly of the church of the first-born ; where, though 
yon be nnder the discipline of the family, yon shall be beyond the 
reach of the cnrse. There is room for you here in the quality of 
tervcmts. He is saying unto you, ** Why stand yon here all the day 
idle ? Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right, that 
shall ye receive." Dor Lord is saying to you once more, ** Choose 
you this day whom yon will serve?" Christ or your lusts? He 
has no need of yon, nor your service. He has thousands of aogels 
to minister unto him, yet he has left room for you to be taken in 
amongst the number of his servants. And can you choose snch a 
glorious, yea, such a gracious Master? He binds his service on be- 
lievers with the cords of love, first gives them a title to the eternal 
reward, and then bids them work, and even the rods laid on them, 
remove not his free love, Psal. Izxxix. 23. and downwards. 

There is room for you as friends, which is yet more. ** Hence- 
forth, says he, I call you not servants ; for the servant knoweth not 
what his Lord doeth: but I have called yon friends; for all things 
that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto yon." It 
is no small matter to be a friend of the house. But yet there is 
room for you to be Christ's bosom friends, though before enemies. 
Friends to whom he will communicate his secrets. " The secret of 
the Lord is with them that fear him ; and he will show them his co- 
venant." He is a friend that can do yon good, when all other 
friends are helpless to you, even at a dying hour ; your friends in 
the world may then close your eyes, prepare the cold winding sheet, 
get the grave ready, but he can carry your soul to God the Judge, 
and present you blameless before him in the presence of his glory 
with exceeding joy. 

IK gheist's houbb. 265 

There is room for you, as sons and daughters, to be ehildren of 
the house. " I will be a Father unto yon, and ye shall be my sons 
and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty .'* He has many ehildren, 
a numerous, a powerful seed, a mighty offispring, the fruit of the 
trarail of his soul ; and has made a glorious appearanee with them 
already before his Father, saying. Behold^ I o/nd the children wMch 
thou hoit given me. Yet there is room for more. Adopting grace 
is not yet exhausted. The inheritance is large, there is enough for 
all that will come to him. He will not quarrel your extraction, 
though base, nor the wretched condition in which he ftnds you, if 
you will but now come in, Esekiel xyi. 

Ton may be received in the quality of the spouse of Christ, He 
says to you, " All things are ready, come ye to the marriage." The 
ererlaatiug marriage covenant is proposed to you. If you be willing 
to match with him, he is willing to match with you. Believe the 
promise of the gospel with particular application to yourselves. 
Say amen to the covenant, and he is yours and you are his. 

There is room for you in the upper house. The vail is rent in 
twain, and there is access for you into the holiest of aU. Christ 
hath opened heaven to us, which Adam's sin bolted against us ; and 
good news. In Christ's Father's house there are many mansions, and 
he is there employed in preparing a place for yon. If you will come 
to Christ, You shall be pillars in the temple of Crod, and go no more 
out. It is a holy place where no unclean thing can enter, but he 
will make you meet for it by the sanctification of his Spirit. 

3, There is room for you at the table. Christ's table is well fur- 
nished, even the table of gospel ordinances in this lower world. 
** And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all peo- 
ple, a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees ; of fat things, 
full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined." There are many 
excellent dishes on it. Peace, pardon, joy in the Holy Ghost^ even 
all the benefits of the everlasting covenant. Whatever is suitable 
to your case. Gold tried in the fire, to enrich you, white raiment to 
clothe and adorn yon, and eye salve, to anoint your eyes that you 
may see. And at this table there is abundance of room. "Ho 
every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no 
money : come ye, and eat ; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without 
money, and without price." 

4« There is room for you in the heart of the Master of the least. 
Why does he call yon, if it were not so. ^* In the last day, that 
great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, if any man thirst, let 
him come unto me and drink." Set but your face homeward, and 
the Father's bowels will yearn towards the returning prodigal, he 


266 BOOH roB siknbbs 

will meet you by the way. Why were Christ's arms stretched out 
on the cross bnt to embrace yon, and bis side pierced ; bnt to show 
that there was room in his heart for you. We are now to proceed, 
III. To confirm the doctrine. Consider, 

1. The mercy of God lying open to sinners through Christ. 
" God is in Christ, reconciling the world nnto himself, not imputing 
their trespasses nnto them." I say then through Christ, for God 
out of Christ is a consuming fire to sinners, as so much dry stubble, 
Heb. xii. last. This is seen in derils and reprobates that reject 
Christ. But coming to God through him, you will find a fountain 
of mercy oyerflowing. Mercy is one of the great letters of God's 
name. " He is the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long 
suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for 
thousands." If misery be with yon, mercy is with him. " Let Is- 
rael hope in the Lord ; for with the Lord there is mercy." Are 
your sins many, well he is '* not only merciful and gracious, but he 
is plenteous in mercy." There is a multitude of mercies with him. 
He deUghteth in merer/. It is a pleasure to him to show mercy, to the 
miserable. If a little mercy will not serye your purpose, then one 
mercy shall be added to another. For God hath said, merct/ shaU be 
bmU up for ever. Haye your sins in effect carried you down to the 
lowest hell, mercy will bring you up again. ''For great is thy 
mercy toward me, saith Dayid, and thou hast deliyered my soul 
from the lowest hell." Do your sins reach the clouds, God's mercy 
is aboye them, for it is in the heavens. 

2. Consider the sufferings of Christ to procure room for sinners, 
Heb. X. 19. — 22. The first Adam forfeited our room in God's fa- 
your, bnt the second Adam by his death hath made room again for 
those who were thrust out. And here cast your eyes upon the fol- 
lowing things. 

1. The quality of the person that suffered. The diyine nature in 
the person of the Son, was united to the human nature, and so the 
blood shed for the redemption of sinners was the blood of God. 
" To feed, says the apostle, the church of God, which he hath pur- 
chased with his own blood." In these our unhappy days, in which 
there appears a conspiracy against our glorious Redeemer, and the 
doctrine of the gospel is a going and entering into a cloud of dark- 
ness, not only is the purchase of Christ for his people much dis- 
honoured, but the foundation of Christianity is struck at, in denying 
the supreme Godhead of the Son and his equality with the Father, 
which has been at length followed with monstrous blasphemies, and 
blasphemous practices against the eyer blessed Trinity. But wo, 
wo, to mankind sinners, if Christ be not supreme God. The saints 


are yet in tbeir sins, their faith and hope and all is vain, razed from 
the foundation. For then his suffering not being of infinite valne, 
cannot equal the offence done to an infinite God. But know assur- 
edly, sinners, that yet there is room, upon the account of Christ's 
sufferings, for he is the FaJther^s fMnVy Zech. xiii. 7. the Father^s 
eqwd^ Philip, ii. 6. *' He is Jehovah, as for our Redeemer, the Lord 
of hosts is his name, the holy one of Israel. And this is his name, 
whereby he shall be called the Lord our righteousness." 

2. The nature of his sufferings. They were of yarious kinds. 
He suffered in his good name, in all his offices, in his body and in 
his soul. He bare the curse. " Christ hath redeemed us from the 
curse of the law, being made a curse for us." He endured the 
wrath of his Father in our stead. Under this, " He was poured out 
like water, and all his bones were out of joint ; his heart was like 
wax, it was melted in the midst of his bowels." He met with no 
indulgence. God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for vs 
aU, He answered all the demands of justice, and the law, in fayoiff 
of elect sinners. Now, 

3. The end of his sufferings, was to make room for sinners in 
God's favour. To redeem a forfeited heaven, and to bring back to 
God those who were expelled his house in the loins of Adam their 

Now finally, For these great purposes, his sufferings were fully 
efficacious. ** The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth from 
all sin. And this blood purgeth our conscience from dead works to 
serve the living God." However deep the guilt and stain of our 
sins be, the blood of Christ is able to take it away, as an ocean 
poured upon a house on fire would quench it instantly. 

4. Consider that the holy scriptures plainly hold forth Christ to 
be an able and willing Saviour. '* His name is Jesus, because he 
saves his people from their sins. Wherefore he is able also to save 
them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever 
liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest be- 
came us ; who is holy, harmless, and undefiled, and separate from 
sinners, and made higher than the heavens." He complains that 
sinners will not come to him, that he might save ihem. " Ye will 
not come to me that ye might have life." He is lifted up on the 
pole of the gospel, that sinners may look to him and be saved: 
And the command is, ** look unto me, and be saved, all ye ends of 
the earth." Jesus is the rose of sharon, the rose of the field to 
which every one may have access. There are in him waters for 
washing the most polluted, and every one that thirsteth is invited 
to come to these waters. There are in him streams of water to re- 

$68 »»9m woM iorarBM 

6nA and fnwtify ihe desert and the wiMerneaa. If the streame 
jBiay be thought eapahle of dryiof up, there ie in him a foiuitiMO> 
-open and free, A fountain for sin and undecmneea. If that be too 
little there are riTers ; for the maa Jesiu, Sh^Jl be as rwers of water 
in a dry fdace. And if these are not enoagh, there are depths of ibe 
sea. Thou Lord wilt eati all their sws into the depd^ of the sea. 

6. Consider all things are ready for your reception and entertaiB- 
ment. " All things are ready, eome ye to the marriage/' If all be 
ready, snrely yet there is room for you. The Father is ready, and 
well pleased that sinners be matched with his Son and become hairs 
of glory. Of Jesus, he saith, This is my beloved &n, in whom J ^un 
well pleased, hear ye him. The glorious Bridegroom is ready to fo- 
ceiye you into the marriage coyenant, " I will, says he, betroth thee 
unto me for ever, yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, 
and in judgment, and in loying kindness, and in mercies." Tbe 
Holy Spirit is ready, and says unto you, come. The marriage eon- 
IfTact is ready, the coyenant drawn up, no more to do but to set your 
name to it ; the marriage feast is ready : there is nothing wanting 
hut your consent. ^ 

6. Consider that you are inyited to come in, yea, we are anthor- 
ixed expressly, *^ To compel you to come in, that his house may be 
filled." Now would that be the case, if there were not yet room ? 
And in the inyitations consider that they are yery large and exten- 
fiiye. " Ho eyery one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters. And 
whosoeyer will may take of the water of life freely.V If you had 
these inyitations of your own framing, could you make them more 
comprehensiye ? Say not sinners, you are not fit to come to Christ : 
sure I am, you are not fit to stay away from him. Come to him for 
all you need, and embrace a full Christ, for wisdom^ righteousness, 
sanctifioation, and redemption. Besides the inyitations are made with 
an express proyision, that your sinfulness and unworthiness shall 
not preyent your welcome to Christ, if you will come. " He that 
hath no money, come ye buy and eat, yea, come buy wine and milk, 
without money and without price." Yea, these invitations are com* 
mands which you are peremptorily enjoined to obey upon your peril. 
And this is his eommandment, that we should believe on the ncene of his 
Son Jesus Christ. 

7. Consider that all who haye gone before you to Christ, haye 
found there was room, and why will you not yenture forward. 
They are made to sing that blessed song, " Unto him that loyed us, 
and washed us from our sins in his own blood ; and hath made us 
kings and- priests unto God and hie Father; to him be glory and 
dominion for eyer and eyer, Amen." Turn oyer the Bible, look at 

nr ghhibt's bouss. 269 

the hiBtorj of past timefi, who did erer perish Uiat «ftme to Mm. 
Was not Paul weloome, and that for an example to others. " Yea, 
for this cause he obtained mercy, that in him first, Jesns Christ 
might show forth all long suffering, for a pattern to them which 
fihould hereafter belieye on him to life eyerlasting." Manassek, 
Mary Magdalene, the thief on the cross, the yery murderers of the 
Sayiour, the Oorinthians, all haye found room in his house, and a 
welcome reception. Qo then thither, where others haye succeeded 
BO well before you. And if you die there, and make your graTC ait 
his door, I assure you, if it be so, you will be the first, there is yet 
BO broken ground there. 

S. Consider, that if unworthiness, yileness and misery, would 
haye turned away the eyes of Jesus from the children of men, he 
had neyer taken in one of them. His door would hare been shut 
for oyer upon them. Did not he find all the fiur ones now in glory, 
at one time lying in their blood with no eye to pity them, nor hand 
to help them ! All the company of the redeemed must oast down 
their crowns at his feet, and giye glory to them that washed tliem 
in his own blood. If you stand back till you be worthy, yon will 
neyer come. 

Lastly, Consider that the great end of the plan of man's salyation 
through Jesus Christ, is to exalt the riches of free grace. It is of 
faith that it might be by grace. The more desperate your disease is, 
the more glorious will the cure be. Your sinfulness will serye to 
exalt free grace in Christ Jesus. Will you then giye him the glory 
of your salyation or not ? " Go forth, ye daughters of Zion, and 
behold king Solomon, with the crown wherewith his mother crowned 
him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of 
his heart" 

Use, 1. Come in then, sinivBrs, come off from your natural state, 
from your sins, from the mountains of yanity ; coine into Christ, into 
the coyenant, into the state of fayour with God, through him. Yet 
there is room for you. And that eyery one of you may either be 
obliged to come into Christ, or be left without, inexcusable this day, 
I shall lay before you, what may solye all your objections. 

1. Though there be many in already, yet there is room for yon. 
Many haye come from the east, and from the west, from the south, 
and from the north, and haye sat down with Abraham in the king* 
dom of God. But the house is not yet full. The Master is still 
expecting more guests. Days haye been in which souls haye flocked 
to Christ like doyes to their windows. And yet there is room. If 
it were not so the doors would be shut and the seryants called in 
from inyiting any more. 

272 HuvosRive urasB 

They who will not oome into Christ while there is rooiii> raufit soon 
take their room in the pit of destruction, Bey. xxi. 8. 

Ute 2. Make room then for Christ with yon. B.oom in yonr 
hearts, room in yonr honses. I would call unto all, '' Prepare ye 
the way of the Lord, make his path straight." Christ is coming 
once more among us in a solemn and awful manner, in the holy or* 
dinanoe of the supper. Christians, communicants, make room frar 
his triumphant entry. '^ Lift up your heads, ye gates ; and be ye 
lift up, ye everlasting doors ; and the king of glory shall come in. 
Make room for him and all his salvation ; Ab made of €ML unto us 
wiscUnn, and righteousness^ and sanctifioadcm^ and redemption. Be per- 
suaded of yonr own utter emptiness, your need of all things, that 
you may take him for your all. 

Again, Make room for him, in all his offices, as a prophet, priest, 
and king. Search out the rebels, lay all your sins before him, that 
he may remove the guilt of them by his blood, and break the power 
of them by his Spirit ; and thus redeem you from all iniquity, and 
purify yon unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 

Finally, Make room for him and his cross. Consider what you 
do, lay your account with all the hardships you may meet with in 
following him whithersoever he goes. Amen. 


Ettrick, August 12, 1722. 

[Sabbatli befbre the Sacrament.] 


Matthew v. 6. 

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness ; for 

they shaU befUed, 

Wb are called to a solemn spiritual feast for the nourishment of our 
souls. But it is often seen, that many go to it, who yet come away 
empty. The fault is not in the feast itself, as if the provision were 
scanty ; but in the guests, who often sit down without an appetite. 
Our text, which is a part of our Lord's sermon on the mount, dis^ 
covering who are the truly blessed or happy, points out to us the 
worthy communicants, who shall be entertaioad ivt th^ Lord's table. 
And in it there are two things. 

BiaHTIOVSKBfiS. 273 

1. The hungry and thirsty after righteousness, declared blessed, 
by him who knows exactly, who are blessed and who not, as being 
the puchaser and bestower of the blessing* The world accounts 
those the happy ones who are foil-; Christ acconnts them happy who 
hunger and thirst. But it is not eyery sort of hunger and thirst, 
bat hanger and thirst after righteousness ; those who are longing and 
earnestly desiring righteousness, as eyer a hungry man desired bread, 

^or a thirsty man drink. 

2. There is the ground on which they are declared blessed ; Fw 
they shall be filled. The appetite of their souls shall be satisfied. 
There is many a gaping mouth in the world, some are gaping for 
one thing, some for another, and all to satisfy their lusts : they shall 
neyer be satisfied, but they who hunger and thirst after righteous- 
ness shall be filled. The Lord himself shall fill them as the sheep 
of his pasture. 

DoctrvM. They who hunger and thirst after righteousness, shall 
be filled. 
In speaking to this, I shall consider, 

I. The righteousness for which these happy persons hunger and 

II. Show what this happy hunger and thirst after this righteoos- 
ness is. 

III. Their blessedness, or the fill secured to them. We are then, 
I. To consider the righteousness for which these happy persons 

hunger and thirst. • 

1. It is an imputed righteousness, in which they may stand before 
Ood, obtain remission of sin, and the fayour of God. " And be 
found in him, not haying mine own righteousness, which is of the 
law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness 
which is of Ood by faith.'* The soul sensible of the damning nature 
of sin, and the naughtiness of all men's own righteousness, and the 
seyerity of God's justice, will be pained and scorched, through the 
apprehension of the want of a righteousness to coyer it before the 
Lord, as eyer one was with hunger and thirst. Their great question 
will be. Wherewithal shall I appear before the Lord ? How shall I 
be in case to stand before the awful tribunal ? 

2. It is an implanted righteousness, by which they may walk be- 
fore the Lord in the land of the liying and please him. '* wretch- 
ed man that I am I who shall deliyer me from the body of this 
death ?'^ Deeply sensible of this deprayity of nature, they cry with 
Dayid, each for himself, " Create in me a clean heart, O God ; and 
renew a right spirit within me." They seek the renewal of their 
Baturcy being changed into the image of God, and to be made par- 


takers of tbe diyine nature. This constitutes a righteousness or 
holiness of heart and life, that one may speak and act in a holy and 
righteous manner. *' Oh I says David, that my ways were directed 
to keep thy statutes." This they who shall be filled, hunger and 
thirst after. In a word, it is a righteousness without them, and 
within them, a righteousness, upon them and in them. It is righte- 
ousness and holiness. This is the object of the desires of the happy 
soul. We are, 

II. To show what this happy hunger and thirst after this righte- 
ousness is. There is in it, 

1. A sense of want of righteousness. (The prodigal's return to his 
father commenced, when he began tobem toant. The hungry soul is 
cured of the disease of the Laodiceans. Such persons no longer ima^ 
gine themselyes rich and increased in goads, and Juwing need of nothing, 
but feel themselyes wretched and miseraJble, and poor, and bUnd, and 
naked. However they have slept long, their eyes are now opened, 
and they see their want of righteousness. They are guilty, and have 
nothing of their own to cover them before God. They see that they 
are defiled, corrupted, and all over unclean in heart and life. '* But 
we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as 
filthy rags ; and we do all fade as a leaf ; and our iniquities like 
the wind, have taken us away." Whatever they have thought, they 
dare no more say to any, I am holier than thou. But with the leper 
cry out, undean, unclean, 

2. A painful sense of the need of righteousness. I perish, said the 
prodigal, tvith hunger. They do not merely see a want of it, and as 
many self-condemned sinners do ; but as the hungry man is pained, 
and uneasy for want of bread, and the thirsty for lack of drink ; so 
are they for want of righteousness. The hunger for righteousness 
seizes them, and they find a pressing need of it. The day has been 
that they have reigned as kings without righteousness, imputed or 
implanted. But now they can do so no more, they find they must be 
righteous and holy, or else perish. 

3. A sense of utter inability to help themselves. See the case the 
poor hungry soul is brought to, ^l When the poor and needy, says 
Isaiah, seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for 
thirst." There has been a famine of righteousness in the world ever 
since Adam's fall ; were there as little bread as there is righteous- 
ness among us, most of us would be starved to death, and all of us 
would look with pale faces. There is some righteousness indeed, but 
it is not the produce of our country, it is all imported from the 
King's country, and they who have got of it have none to spare. The 
wise virgins could afibrd none of their oil to the foolish virgins. So 


the poor Bonl looking abroad among his fellows, sees there is no help 
for him in them ; looking within himself, sees nothing bnt emptiness 
there ; and is like Hagar, laying down the child for dead, for lack 
of water in the wilderness. 

4. An esteem and yalue of righteousness above all things else. 
Unto them who believe Christ is precious. Those who are sore pressed 
with hnnger, yalue meat aboye other things, and therefore they will 
part with any thing for food. So will the soul hungering after righte- 
ousness. 'Die man who found the pearl of great price, went and sold 
aU that he had and bought it. An imputed righteousness to coyer the 
soul before the Lord, and an implanted righteousness to restore the 
soul to the image of God, is the chief thing which the hungering soul 
yalues, and will be content to let all other things go, so as the soul 
may gain these. '^ Tea doubtless, and I count all things but loss 
for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : for 
whom I haye suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but 
dung, that I may win Christ." 

5. An earnest longing desire after righteousness. " As the hart 
panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, 
God." The hungry soul hath its appetite sharpened, and goes out 
in desire after Christ and his grace. Hear the breathings of the 
hungry soul, *' Oh that thou wouldst rend the heayens, that thou 
wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy 
presence. Oh that I knew where I might find him ! that I might 
oome eyen to his seat I God thou art my God ; early will I seek 
thee; my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a 
dry and thirsty land where no water is." They see a beauty and 
glory in righteousness, for which it is to he desired, it is the thing 
that is most suitable to their case. Hence they desire it aboye all 
things, and the strength of their affections is bestowed upon it, a<8 
the one thing needful. This they earnestly desire of the Lord, and 
will seek after. 

Lastly. An unsatisfiedness with all things, while the soul's desire 
after righteousness is not satisfied. Fill a hungry man's pocket 
with gold, clothe him in scarlet, coyer a table to him with the most 
precious vessels, what can all these do for his relief? So whatever 
the hungry soul may have, under the want of Christ and his righte- 
ousness and grace, it cannot be satisfied ; there is still a restlessness 
in the heart, till it be set on the breast of the divine consolations. 
We proceed, - 

IIL To consider their blessedness, or the fill secured to the 
hungry and thirsty soul. They shall be fiXJied, We may take up 
this in these four things. 

27f^ HuvosBnre Arass 

1. God will set meat before them. He himaelf will entertain 
them. It is not they shall fill themselves, hat they shall he filled, 
to show the effieadons working^ of diyine graee^ in hungry sonl& 
** When the poor and needy seek water and there is none, and their 
tongne faileth for thirst. I the Lord will hear them, I the God of 
Israel will not forsake them." To them will the Spirit of the Lord 
say, £atf friendif, dri$Jc^ yea, drink abundanUy, beloved. Ctod is 
well pleased with that temper of mind wrought by his own Spirit 
in them, and he will be their shepherd, and see that they do not 
want. He will furnish their table to them. 

2. They shall eat and feed on the proyision set before them. 
«'The meek shall eat and shall be satisfied, they shall praise the 
Lord that seek him ; your heart shall liye for eyer." Their hunger- 
ing shall make way for feeding, for believing, use^making and ap* 
plying Christ and his righteousness to their own souls. There is 
no filling without eating and drinking, so the promise of filling, 
implies the promise of belieying, which is the spiritual eating and 
drinking. Though meat be set before a hungry man, if he put not 
forth his hand, and take and eat, he may stanre for all the meat 
before him; so the hungry soul must be a belieying soul, that it 
may be filled. 

3. They shall partake of righteousness Orom heayen. They shall 
get what they desire. Righteousness they long for and righteous- 
ness shall be giyen them. They shall receive righteousness from the 
Qod of their sahtadon. They shall get the white garments, whidi 
will coyer their spiritual nakedness; and so obtain remission of 
sins, reconciliation with God, adoption into his family, and a right 
to glory. They shall get grace to sanctify them, to subdue their 
oormptions, to strengthen them for duty, and against temptations, 
and to conform them more and more to the image of God. They 
shall get Christ himself, and all things in him and with him* But 
of him are ye m Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and 
righteousness^ and sancti/loatkm, and redemption, 

4. Their souls shall be satisfied in this participation of righteous- 
ness. It is not only said, they shall eat, but also they shaU be sads* 
fied. They shall haye a rest to their conscience, by his atoning blood, 
and a rest to their hearts, by his sanctifying Spirit. They had a 
sense of want, that created them an appetite, and sharp desire; 
their sense of ei^oyment, shall create them delight. '^ Thon hast 
put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their com, 
and their wine increased." There is enough in Christ's imputed 
righteousness which he implants in the soul, to satisfy the soul. It 
is suitable to the desires of the immortal soul, and therefore satis- 
fying, as being perfecting to its nature. 


This filling of tbe sonl, as in the ease of the body, is carried on 
bj degrees. And, 

The beginning of it is in the hungry soul's application to Christ 
by faith, closing with him, and fixing on the breasts of his consola- 
tions. ^ I am, said Jesus, the bread of life : he that cometh to me, 
shall neyer hunger ; and he that belieyeth on me shall never thirst." 
The first taste the sonl gets of Christ in believing, it hath enough, 
not indeed to stay its pursuit after more of Christ, but after the 
world, and the lusts thereof. It finds so much in Christ that it is 
resolved and convinced it needs not to go to seek satisfaction any 
where else. "Bnt whosoever, saith Jesus, drinketh of the water 
that I shall give him, shall never thirst, but the water that I shall 
give him, shall be in him a well of living water, springing up into 
everlasting life." This makes the soul say, *' Whom have I in hea- 
ven but thee, and there is none on earth that I desire besides thee." 
In him it takes up its everlasting rest. For we vfhich have believed 
do enter into rest. Thus they are set down to a fpU table. 

The progress of this filling, is in the soul's abiding in Christ, and 
continuing with him, making use of him daily, for the supply of all 
its wants. ** If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, says 
Jesus, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." 
Though the communion table is but seldom covered, yet the Lord 
has still a covered table, for his children to feed at, which is never 
drawn. " For my ilesh, says he, is meat indeed, and my blood is 
drink indeed." And they may still be filling their souls with 
righteousness, by faith making use of Christ for all ; though alas I 
there are many times long interruptions in their spiritual feeding. 

Finally, The consummation of this, is in the believers' being ever 
with the Lord in glory. " Where they shall hunger no more, nei- 
ther thirst any more ; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any 
heat. For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall 
feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters ; and 
God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." There they shall 
be completely filled; there they shall be eternally filled without 
loathing, and have an eternal appetite, without any the least un- 
easiness. " For there grows the tree of life, which bears twelve 
manner of fruits, and yields her fruit every mouthy and the leaves 
of the tree, are for the healing of the nations." 

Uee 1. Of information. Hence we may learn, 

1. That tibose who are not hungering and thirsting after rights 
ovsaess, are not meet guests for the Lord's table, and thej will get 
BO good of it, if they come to it. There can be no just complaint on 
our Lord's hoase, though some go from lus table, and get not a meal. 

Vol. III. T 


For sneli are found not to be pressed with spiritaal hunger, why 
then should they be filled ? They are not meet guests at a table co- 
vered for hungry souls, for they will loathe the food that is set be- 
fore them there, and as they are not meet for it, so they are not 
welcome to it ; ikey have not the wedding garment, and they will be 
sent away empty from the full table. For while '* God filleth the 
hungry with good things, the rich he sends empty away. And such 

All sleeping Christians, who, though they have grace in the root, 
yet hare it not in exercise. Song y. 1, — 3. They have lost the sense 
of their souls' need, and their desires after spiritual things are sunk, 
and a woful listlessness and indisposition for the food of their souls 
is fallen to them ; this is the case of many at this day. 

All unregenerate persons, who having nothing of the new nature 
in them, are. incapable of hungering and thirsting after righteous- 
ness, the proper nourishment of it. They are not capable of relish- 
ing spiritual things, because themselves are wholly carnal, and 
therefore can savour nothing but the world and their lusts. ^' The 
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God ; for they 
are foolishness unto him ; neither can he know them, because they 
are spiritually discerned." 

All presumptuous, insensible, unhumbled sinners, who are content 
with their own condition in spiritual matters, and are no way desir- 
ous to get it made better. They think they stand in need of no- 
thing. They are not in pain for want of righteousness, but can hold 
on in their present case, blessing themselves in their hearts, that 
they are not so bad as others, or have attained to a form of godliness. 

All such whose hearts are so hungering and thirsting after other 
things, that they have no desires for Christ, and his grace. There 
are many in whom there is such a ferment of hellish desires after 
the profits, pleasures and vanities of the world, who are so thirsting 
after this and the other good thing of the world to themselves; 
thirsting after revenge on their neighbours, and for satisfaction to 
this and the other lust, that no true desires after Christ and his 
grace, can get sprung up in their souls, James iv. 2, 3. 1 Pet. ii. 

2. We learn that those whose souls are hungering and thirsting 
after righteousness, may come forward to the Lord's table, with 
confident expectations that they shall be filled. They have the 
Lord's promise for it in the text, which is an excellent token for 
the communion. And we might promise ourselves a good time of it, 
if there were a strong cry of hunger and thirst among the children. 
For God promises "to pour water upon him that is thirsty, and 


floods upon the dry ground." Were we gaping for righteonsness 
like the parched ground, he would come and rain righteonsness npon 
ns. And that yon may know this token, and whether yon hare it, 
- take these signs. 

True hunger and thirst after righteousness, after the Lord, whose 
name is the Lord our righteousness, A thirst after righteousness se- 
parated from Christ himself, is a yitious appetite of legal and self- 
righteous persons, hy which they would build up themselves on 
another foundation than that which God has laid in Zion. There- 
fore the saints still hunger and thirst for the Lord himself, in whom 
they have righteousness and strength. 

It is a hunger and thirst after all righteousness. Many profane 
and careless souls, will desire to partake of Christ's imputed righte- 
ousness to save their souls from hell, but they are not anxious to 
get holiness of heart and life. Others are at great pains to conform 
themselves to the law, in their life, but they lay so much weight 
npon that, that they are not solicitous for the imputed righteousness 
of Christ. But the sincere soul hungers for both, Christ for justifi- 
cation and sanctification. 

It is a hunger and thirst after all the parts and degrees of righte- 
ousness. The hungry soul has use for all of Christ's righteousness, 
the righteousness of his birth, life, death, and mnst be covered all 
over with it, without mixing their own with it in any part. And it 
is set for all the parts of inherent righteousness, of nature, heart 
and life, in every point, even in that where their weak side lies. 
And they will not sit down on any measure or degree of it, but still 
be aspiring to perfection. " For every man that hath this hope in 
him purifieth himself even as he is pure. And forgetting those 
things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which 
are before, they press toward the mark for the prize of the high cal- 
ling of God in Christ Jesus." 

It puts the soul on resolute endeavours after righteousness. The 
hungry will use every mean and make every exertion to be filled. 
Discouragements will not break off its pursuit. Necessity has no 
law. And hunger will break through stone walls. So if your 
hunger quicken you to seek after Christ resolutely, it is a good sign. 

The true hunger of the soul cannot be otherwise satisfied than by 
the eigoyment of Christ. Many have some hunger after Christ, but 
not finding their souls satisfied in him, they go away to the creature 
and seek thai in them, which they could not find in him. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. Labour to get this hunger and thirst 
raised in yonr souls. Sharpen your appetite after your spiritual 
food. Consider the Lord is covering a table for us. It is a pity we 



should wa&t an appetite for it. The paiofaal lamb was to be wholly 
eaten, so appetite was necessary, and so it is also with ns. 

Again, who knows how far we may have to go upon this meal. 
But if we hunger not, we will not eat. 

Consider also that it will readily fare with you according to your 
appetite. If you hare an appetite, you shall be filled, for it is a 
sign of the new nature, which GK>d will see to support. The appe* 
tite is of God's giving and he will satisfy it. His faithfulness is en- 
gaged in the cause* An«n. 


Yarrow Comamad^n, ISept 9, 1722. 



2 TucoTHY iL 1. 
T7u)u therefore m^ «o«&, be Hrong in the ^race thaet is in Chritt Jenu. 

Is his banqueting house, Christ displays his banner of love over his 
people. For those who are fed at his table must arise and fight 
their way to Immanuers land, to which they have professed them- 
selves to be travelling. And our text is an exhortation to animate 
them in their journey. " Thou therefore my son, be strong in the 
grace that is in Christ Jesus." 

These words are a practical inference drawn from the doctrine of 
the preceding chapter, namely, that Qod had already bestowed on 
Timothy, aad the rest of the saints, great things, verses 7,-*-9. 
That the gof^l was such a noble cause that none need to be 
ashamed of suffering on the account of it, ver. 10, 11, 12. That God 
is able to see to his people in all circumstances and make a good ac- 
count of them at laat^ ver. 12. That there was a great faUing away 
from the good ways of the Lord, ver. 15. From all which he ex- 
horts Timothy to be strong. In the text we have, 

1. The oompellation my son, Paul was an aged man, Timothy 
was young. Elder Christians should excite and animate the younger 
sort to the vigcM-ous pursuit of religion. In this case surely days 
should speak. It is a chief part of our generation work, to be oon- 
cemed for a right tarn to the rising generation. And the slacknest 

ur coRiar jbsub. 381 

in this, owing partly to the untowardness of the younger sort, and 
partly to the elder, their falling from their first lore, is a sad prog- 
noatio of worse days following onr evil days, if sovereign grace do 
not interpose. 

Panl had a peculiar respect to Timothy. If he had not begotten 
him to the faith, he had surely instructed him more fully in it, and 
had him often with him. If there be any to whom we bear a pecu- 
liar regard* we ought to show it in a peculiar concern for the weU 
fare of their soiils. And therefore as we ought to have a peculiar 
regard to our families, we should show it by a peculiar concern for 
the welfare of their souls, in instructing, and inciting them to the 
good ways of the Lord. 

2. There is a necessary duty to which he incites him. Be strong. 
He supposes that both as a minister and as a Christian, he would 
meet with opposition in an evil world, and that he behoved not to 
be driven out of his Christian course by it, nor faint and give it 
over : but he wills him valiantly to stand his ground, and go on his 
way through all the difficulties with which he might meet. 

3. He gives him true advice, what way he might do this. '* Be 
strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Some take this for the 
thing about which he was to be strong, As if he had said, be strong 
in preaching the grace that is in Christ Jesus. This, I doubt not, is 
the great thing ministers are called to aim at in their preaching ; 
even to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ. All other preaching 
without it will never make good Christians. In this gra<$e only is 
discovered the way of justifying the guilty, and sanctifying the un- 
holy. But yet I think the simple, plain, and native import of the 
words, which is always the preferable, is to direct Timothy to the 
grace treasured up in Christ, to be communicated to his members, 
in partaking of which, out of weakness, he might be made strong, 
Eph. vi. 10. " Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in 
the power of his might." 

Z>octrtn«.— -They who have a mind for heaven, must be strong, and 
that in the grace which is in Christ Jesus, if ever they would get 
there. In prosecuting this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Consider this duty incumbent on all who have a mind for 
heaven, namely, u> he strong. 

II. I shall consider the direction, namely, that those who would 
be strong, " Must be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." I 
am then, 

I. To consider this duty incumbent on all who have a mind for 
heaven, namely, to he strong. 
Here I shall state and answer two questionA. 



Quegtion Ist. What is it to be strong in the sense of the text ? 

1. It presapposeth one thing, namely, they mnst be spiritnally 
aliye. A sick man has some strength, bat a dead man has none at 
all. A child of God has a little strength, when he is even weakest. 
Bat the angodly are quite destitute of spiritual strength. "For 
when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the an- 
godly." If you be not born again, and really united to the Lord 
Jesus by his quickening Spirit dwelling in you, your carcases will 
fall in the wilderness, though you have eaten at the Lord's table. 
" For except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of 
God. If a man, saith Jesus, abide not in me, he is cast forth as a 
branch, and is withered ; and men gather them and cast them into 
the fire, and they are burned." Why is it that many cannot resist 
a temptation, but are led captive by it, and cannot do one duty in a 
right manner? Why, but because their living lusts prey upon 
their souls without resistance; because their souls are spiritually 
dead. communicants see to yonr state. 

To be strong imports three things. 

1. To be ready for action, according to the difficulties you may 
meet with in your way. ''Let your loins be girded about, and 
your lights burning." No person will get to heaven sleeping. 
Heaven is a rest, and that supposeth those who come there, not to 
be loiterers, but labourers. *^ Let us labour therefore to enter into 
that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." 
The promise is to him that overcometh, though not for his, but 
Christ's overcoming, Rev. iii. 21. The wind will be in your face, if 
yon set your face heavenward in good earnest; so you mnst be 
strong, and prepared to make your way against it, however hard it 

2. That you be resolved. Thus David exhorts Solomon, " Take 
heed now, said he, for the Lord hath chosen thee, to build an house 
for the sanctuary : be strong and do it." That is, be fully resolved 
and peremptory, so as not to be diverted by any emerging difficul- 
ties. Christians, communicants, put on a resoluteness of spirit to 
be forward in your way to heaven, come what will. " Have your 
feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace ; and cleave 
unto the Lord, with purpose of heart." If this resolute purpose be 
not formed in your hearts by grace, you will never get safe to your 
journey's end. For if you be of those that may be broken, yon will 
be broken ; in regard you will be tried to the utmost, to cause you 
to give it over. 

3. It imports that you be of good courage. Say to them that are 


of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not. Pnt on holy oonrage to faoe 
the difficulties you may meet with in your Christian course. When 
the heart fails in such encounters, the hands must needs hang down ; 
and therefore unbelief is a worm at the root of all Christian endea- 
vours. But faith animates a Christian, inspires his soul with holy 
courage, and so causes him to go through the most difficult steps of 
his way. 

Quest, 2nd. What need is there to be strong ? If you haye no 
mind for heaven, you may fold your hands and lie at your ease ; 
the flood runs strong enough to carry you of itself to destruction, 
where there is no rowing against the stream. But if yon mind for 
heaven, you have need to be strong. For, 

1. You have much work before you. The work of your own sal- 
vation is upon your hand, Phil. ii. 12. You have also to serve your 
generation, by the will of God. You have much work laid to your 
hand. Though it is not doing and working, but believing that is 
required of you to enter you into the covenant personally, and to 
interest you savingly in Jesus Christ, and his salvation ; yet being 
in the covenant in Christ, by faith, you have as much to do, as the 
broad law of the ten commandments carries out to you in first and 
second table duties. And if you habitually and knowingly neglect 
any of them, you will thereby evidence, that you are yet lying in 
your natural state, quite without strength, and without Christ. 
You will not want suffering work also. "For we must through 
much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." We may assure 
you of private sufferings. For every follower of Christ, must take 
up his own cross. And you have need to lay your account with 
public sufferings also ; for they are so usual in the cause of religion, 
that all Christ's disciples are martyrs, though not in action, yet in 
affection and resolution. So you need to be strong. 

2. You, will meet with much opposition in your work. Satan is a 
strong enemy, and he will be at your right hand to resist you. The 
world also will oppose you in your work. The men of the world 
will be agents for the devil against you. You will have the weight 
of their example to strive against, and perhaps their tongues and 
hands will both be employed to divert you from your work. The 
things of the world, the cares of it, the smiles and frowns of it will 
be of a malignant tendency in this case. And above all your own 
corrupt hearts will be your most dangerous opposers. This made 
Paul complain, " wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me 
from the body of this death." All these will work against you ; so 
that in your Christian course, you will find yourselves obliged to 
work as the builders of the walls of Jerusalem did, with the trowel 

284 GBBISnAVS wmovg 

in the one hand, and the sword in the ether. So yon have need to 
he strong. I now proceed, 

11. To consider the direction, namely, that those who wonld he 
strong, must be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 

Here I shall state and answer three questions. 

Quest, 1st. What is the grace that is in Christ Jesns ? It is two* 

1. Relative grace, that is the free faroar of God to poor sinners, 
by which they are embraced in the arms of his loye nnto saWation. 
'^ But we believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Ghristi 
we shall be saved, even as they." This is only to be found in 
Christ, and no ways in our works and doings. He alone is the 
mercy-seat, where a guilty creature can meet with God comfortably. 
Every the least gracions smile given by a holy God, to any of 
fallen Adam's race, is and will be for ever through the wounds of a 
crucified Redeemer. And a guilty creature can never draw strength 
for obedience from an absolute God, a Gt>d out of Christ. But on the 
contrary a broad view of him as such, is enough to loose every joint 
of his soul and body, and leave him weak as water. Bat in Christ 
the believer has that grace, by which the curse is taken away, hie 
person justified, and his works accepted. And this is a foundation 
upon which we may be strong. It is a spring of holy strength, reso- 
lution and courage. 

2. Real grace, that is the fulness of the Spirit, and his graces, 
lodged in Jesus Christ, as the fountain and head of influences, from 
which they are to be derived, into all his members. '^ For it haih 
pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell. And out 
of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace." The 
unholy creature could never have had immediate access to God, no, 
not for sanctification. The curse lay upon him, which in point of 
justice, barred the emanation of sanctifying influences. But the ful- 
ness of the Spirit of holiness, the purchase of Christ's death and satis- 
Action, is lodged in Christ to be communicated ; so the nnion be- 
tween Christ and the soul, being once constituted, and the corse re- 
moved, the soul hath access to the continual supply of the Spirit of 
holiness. In Christ then there is a fulness of grace, of light, life, 
strength, and whatsoever is necessary to nourish the new creature, 
to carry it on to perfection, and continue it for ever in that perfee- 
tion. So the believer has all in Christ, that is necessary, to carry 
on and complete his begun salvation, '^ and so is complete in him, 
who is the head of all principality and power." 

Q^est. 2nd. What is it to be strong in the grace that is in Christ 
Jesus ? 

or 0HRI89 JS8ua. 286 

1. It is to be animated to duty by the faith of that graoe that is 
in Christ Jesus for us, both relatiye and real. " Forasmach then as 
Ohrist hath suffered for us, in the flesh, arm yourselyes likewise 
with the same mind.'* The game mmdy that is the believing oonsi* 
deration of it. " I ean do all things through Christ whioh strength- 
eneth me." The faith of strength and gprace in Jesus Christ, by 
whioh we may be enabled to perform duty ; and of favour and graee 
in him by which our work when done may be accepted, cannot fail 
of exciting and strengthening to duty, according to the measure of 
it, and of making men resolute and courageous in their Ohristian 
course. ^^ For the which cause I also suffer these things : neverthe- 
leas I am not ashamed ; for I know whom I have believed, I am per- 
suaded he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him 
against that day." And according as the faith of either of these do 
fail, the Christian's heart will faint and his hands hang down, as 
unfit for work. 

2. It is to be strengthened to duty by supplies of grace, derived 
from Christ Jesus by faith. '* He that eateth me, saith Jesus, even 
he shall live by me." And saith Paul, '* I am crucified with Christ, 
nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ that liveth in me ; and the 
life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of 
God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." There is a real com- 
munication between a full Christ and an empty soul in the way of 
believing, by which the dark soul is enlightened, the weak strength- 
ened, and the unholy sanctified ; however mysterious it is to the 
world. Uence it is the saints have done such great things, and suf- 
fered such great things, and all through faith as the apostle shows, 
Heb. xi. Why is it that the goodness of many is like the morning 
cloud and the early dew, but that their pretended faith is like a 
pipe laid short of the fountain ? The little water that is in it runs 
out, and there is no more comes in becaase it communicates not with 
the spring. And why are believers so often in a withered condition, 
bnt because they are not in the exercise of faith, the pipe is stopped. 

Quest, dd. Why must those that would be strong, be strong in the 
grace that is in Christ Jesus ? 

1. Because all those that would be strong, must be strong as mem- 
bers of Christ, as branches of the vine. '* I am the vine, ye are the 
branches : he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth 
forth much fruit ; for without me ye can do nothing." Now it is 
evident that the strongest limb will fail if the communication betwixt 
it and the head and heart do fail : and so will the branch wither, if 
the communication betwixt it and the stock be stopped. 

2. Because the grace that is in Christ Jeaua, is only sufficient to 


bear ns through. '* My grace, says he is saffieient for thee ; for my 
strength is made perfect in weakness." There is nothing in us to 
which we may safely trust, and place confidence npon it, either for 
justification or sanctifioation. '' My soul wait thou only npon God, 
for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salva- 
tion : he is. my defence, I shall not be moved." Hence the saints 
are described, *^ as being the circumcision, which worship God in the 
spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the 

Use, 1. Of information. This shows us, 

1. That such whose spirits are so softened with the love of their 
lusts, and world's ease, that they have no heart to face and combat 
the enemies of their souls, the devil, the world, and the flesh, will 
never get through safely to the other side. '* The kingdom of hea- 
ven Buffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." Either you 
must be the ruin of your lusts, or they will be your ruin. " If ye 
live after the flesh, ye shall die, but if ye through the Spirit do mor- 
tify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." 

2. That those who are strangers to the life of faith and the way 
of making use of Christ for sanctification, will never get through 
safely. Men may be at much pains this way, and go the round of 
external duties, and yet fall short of heaven at length. " The la- 
bour of the foolish wearieth every one of them ; because he knoweth 
not how to go to the city." Some of these are filled with self-con- 
fidence, not doubting but that they are able to do the work in which 
they have engaged. Others are afraid that they will never get it 
done, but resolve to do as well as they can, and to look to Christ for 
pardon wherein they come short. But I would advise both as ever 
they would see heaven, to go out of themselves for all, and be strong 
in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. Christians and communicants as ever 
ye would see heaven, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 
Strong and resolute against difficulties you must be, else you will 
never get there ; and you can never be wrong indeed but in that 

Question, How may yon be strong in the grace that is in Christ 
Jesus, for the work of the Christian life, whether doing or snflfer- 
ing? Answer 1. You must be in Christ, in the first place by faith, 
accepting and embracing him, fleeing out of yourselves, confiding 
and trusting in him for all his salvation, on the gospel ofier to you. 
The branch cannot partake of the sap of the stock till it be united 
with it. John xv. 1 — 6. 

2. Be sure the work for which yon would be strengthened be 

SINFUL MAK, &C. 287 

called for by God at yoar hand. " The way of the Lord is stroDgth 
to the upright : bat destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity." 
One's call to a work must first be cleared, before he can justly look 
to the Lord, to be with him in it. The communication of grace is 
not to be expected out of the way of duty. 

3. When your duty is cleared be emptied of yourjselyes; and 
make nothing in you your confidence. Look upon yourselyes as 
empty vessels that must be filled from heaven, else nothing to pur- 
pose can be done by them. Amen. 

Ettrick, Juli/ 7, 1717. 


Lamentations iii. 39. 

Wherefore doth a living man corrvplcdn, a man for the punishment 

of his sins ? 

This world is like an hospital, where every one is groaning under 
some uneasiness or other. It is so filled with complaints, that from 
the king to the beggar, nobody is free ; the melancholy sound of 
them is to be heard in the lowest cottage, and the most stately pa- 
lace is not free of them. Sin is that which brings on the ground of 
complaints and sin brings them out ; and therefore religion checks 
them in the text. The prophet himself had been complaining in 
the former part of the chapter, he seemed to have represented God 
as unkind and severe. Here he checks himself, and chides himself 
for doing so, declaring that neither he nor others, had any good 
reason for any such fretting disposition. '* Wherefore doth a living 
man complain," &c. 

In these words it is supposed, that man is apt to complain under 
afflicting dispensations. It is expressed that he ought not to com- 
plain, but patiently to submit himself under the hand of God. 

Observe here 1. The fault taxed, complaining, so the word is used 
of murmurers. Numb. xi. 1. <* And when the people complained, it 
displeased the Lord." It denotes an action that passeth on a man's 
self, and intimates fretting, whereby one torments himself increas- 
ing his own grief and sorrow, for his affliction. 

2. The nnjustifiableness of this before the Lord, why doth a liv- 

288 aistruL man 

ing man eomplain ? Or what doth he eomplatii of? What oaii he 
say to justify his own nneasineas under the frowns of proridenoe. 
Losers think they may have leave to speak ; hnt religion teaches, 
rather to lay oar hands on oar mouthsy and oar moaths in the dnst 
hefore the Lord, who does as no wrong. 

3. On what acconnts it is nnjastiflahle, what are these things that 
may silenoe all oar complaints? We are men that shonld aet 
more rationally. We are living men that might therefore he in a 
worse condition. We are sinful men, whose hardships are the jvst 
punishment of our sins. We are men that have another thing to 
do. A man for his sin. So the Hehrew. Let each man complain 
for his sin. So the Dutch read it. 

The words of the text are few hut very comprehensive, I shall 
more accurately notice them, and glean a few things from them. 
I shall do this hy raising and illustrating a series of ohservations 
founded upon the several parts of the text. 

Ohservation I. There is a sinful complaining under crosses and 
afflictions. Why doth a man complain ? It is true, God doth not 
ahsolutely require the afflicted to stop their mouths. 

1. Let them complain of themselves, as the causes of their own 
woe. So they may do. " My soul, says Joh, is weary of my life : 
I will leave my complaint upon myself." So men ought to do, for 
their own sins are the procuring causes of all the hardships with 
which they meet. ** Thy way and* thy doings have procured these 
things unto thee." And again, says the same prophet Jeremiah, 
''Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins 
have withholden good things from you." The sinful nature, heart 
and life, are father, mother, and nurse, to all the miseries that come 
upon us. These are the carcase to which these eagles gather to* 
gether. Remove that, and they would all quickly fly away. If the 
clouds return after the rain, let us hlame our own misguidance. 

2. Let them complain to God and welcome, Psal. cii. 1 — 11. 
When the waters of affliction gather in their hreasts let them come 
to a gracious God, and open the sluice hefore him as Hannah did, 
who in the hitterness of her soul prayed unto the Lord, and wept 
sore. He hath an ear ever ready to hear the complaints of his 
I>eople, though men may he deaf to them. Each of them may say. 
My God wiU hear me. He hath also a heart to sympathize with 
them. '' In all their affliction, he is afflicted." A hand to help 
them. *' Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot 
save ; neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear." And indeed, 
here would he sufficient ease under all afflictions, if people had as 
much grace as to lay their complaints on themselves, and leave them 

oovPLAiinii^. 280 

to Gt)d and before bim. Tbis would make all ri{|^bt) eren wbere 
one's case is farthest wrong: thus Haimab disburdened herself, 
" And ber ooontenanoe was no more sad/' Bat prido of heart and. 
nnbelief binds the load on the oomplainer's own back. 
Bat there are sinful complainings under afflictions. 

1. We must not complain of Ood. It is dangerous to table a 
complaint against the soyereign Ruler of the world, whose sove- 
reignty may silence us, and whose infinite purity and holiness may 
satisfy us, that he does us no wrong. When the creature libels his 
Creator who shall sit to judge betwixt them ? To whose tribunal 
is he answerable, who does in heayen and earth according to his 
own will ? 

2. We must not complain of our lot> or murmur because better 
has not fallen to our share. They who do this, ^ are murmurers 
«nd oomplainers, walking after their own lusts." He that blames 
his lot reproaches him that allowed it to him. Erery one ought to 
think. All men sit at God's table, and God himself carres every 
one's part to him. A holy wise providence doth this, and to com- 
plain of the dispensation is sinful and hazardous, as reflecting on 
the wisdom and holiness of the sovereign manager. 

8. We must not arrest our complaining eye on the unjust instru- 
ments of our afflictions, like the dog snarling at the stone, but look* 
ing not to the hand that oasts it. '' Shall there be evil in a city, 
and the Lord hath not done it'?" This is to make a god of the 
creature and then to rise up against it. David was aware of this, 
and kept from splitting on this rock in his affliction. '' And the' 
king sa^d, what have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah ? So let 
htm curse because the Lord hath said unto him, curse David, who 
shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so ? The sick man if he 
be wise, will neither blame the physician nor the lancet for his 
pain ; knowing that his disease is the procuring cause, though they 
be instrumental causes of it. To clear this farther, men's com* 
plaints under affliction are sinful, 

1. When they are accompanied with any the least rising of the 
heart against God, or his holy providence. Discontentownt and 
dissatisfaction with what providence has laid to our hands, is con* 
trary to faith which says, he doth all things well ; and to holiness 
which teaches a perfect resignation to the divine will and pleasure, 
saying, " Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." 

2. Much more are complaints sinful, when they are mingled with 
hard speeches against God and providence. These, says Jude, ** are 
hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Ood." 
These are open reflections on God, striking against his honour. 


When the hearts eyen of the saints are distarbed under pressing 
afflictions, it is hard to get such a clear fire from them, that will be 
free of this smoke. " Thou art become cruel unto me, says Job, with 
thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me." Hence they 
often choose to say nothing, for fear of speaking amiss. Thus 
Aaron in an awful moment. Held his peace. Or they chose to assert 
in the first place the righteousness of God, saying, " Righteous art 
thou Lord, when I plead with thee." 

3. When the complaining humour raises such a fog p*nd mist as 
hides their mercies from their sight. Thus it did with Rachel, 
'* She enyied her sister, and said unto Jacob, gire me children, or 
else I die." No wonder it did so with Haman, Esther v. 13. It 
was this the prophet was aware of in his complaints ; when he said 
" Thy mercies are new every morning, and great is thy faithfulness." 
When the voice of men's complaints rises so high, as to drown the 
voice of their praises they are certainly sinful. For let men be low 
as they will in this world, their praises for mercies should have the 
ascendant of their complaints. For we are, " In every thing to give 
thanks ; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 

4. When it so discomposeth as to unfit a person for the work of 
his ordinary calling. That holds good in many respects. *' For the 
sorrow of the world worketh death." The scripture makes a very 
honourable mention of Abraham's applying himself to his necessary 
business, when he was under the heavy affliction of his wife's death. 
Gen. xxiii. 3 — 18. And when trouble does so discompose men's 
minds, as they cannot manage their necessary affairs, it is an evi- 
dence that it is wrong. 

Lastly, It is sinful, especially when it unfits men for the work of 
their Christian calling, and the service of God. *^ I am so troubled, 
says the Psalmist, that I cannot speak. I complained, and my spi- 
rit was overwhelmed." Afflictions are in that respect, like the wind 
to a ship at sea ; if the wind be kept in measure, it causes the ship 
to sail swift, but if it rise boisterous, it is ready to overwhelm the 
vessel. If afflictions be well managed, they quicken men to the ser- 
vice of God ; but if the spirit be overwhelmed by them, they quite 
unfit for the service, either causing it to cease, or to drive on hea- 
vily in it. Thus Aaron said, " such things have befallen me ; and 
if I had eaten the sin ofi^ering to-day, should it have been accepted 
in the sight of the Lord. The Israelites also are said to have co^ 
vered the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and crying out, 
insomuch that he regarded not the offering any more, or received it 
with good-will at their hand." 

Observation II. Sinful complaining is self-tormenting. The word 

complainhtg. 291 

gigBifies, to make one's self sad, to yez, fret, and disturb himself. 
God makes him sad by his providence, and he makes himself sadder 
by his impatience and distmst. Sinful complaining is a thankless 
office. It is so, 

1. To G-od whose Spirit is grieyed with it, and provoked to anger 
by it. ^' And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord ; 
and the Lord heard it ; and his anger was kindled : and the fire of 
the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the 
uttermost part of the camp." For it is quite contrary to the great 
duty of faith in God, which leads to the soul's resting in God. 
'^ Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him." 

2. To others, as marring the harmony of society, and often when 
people give way to that black passion, God in his just judgment in- 
hibits others, that they have no power to help the complainer. 
" Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaint- 
ance into darkness." 

3. To a person's self it is disagreeable and tormenting. It is a 
breach of the sixth commandment, a sin against one's own life, de- 
structive to the body, " A broken spirit drieth the bones. And to 
the soul also, for by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." It is 
agreeable to none but Satan, who was a murderer from the begin- 
ning ; who being a malcontent against the government of heaven, 
strives to increase that disposition in the world, and uses the fretful 
and complaining passions in a person's own heart ; as a sword to 
pierce himself. The sinful Hsomplainer puts a load above his own 
burden. For if one's will were submitted to the will of God, how 
easy would it be to bear afflictions ; but when the proud heart can- 
not stoop, the apprehension magnifies the cross, and of a molehill 
makes a mountain. 

Observation III. Man, sinful man, is a complaining creature. 
Why doth he complain ? It supposes he does so. Sinful complain- 
ing much abounds in the world. There is no reason can be given to 
justify it, but there are several reasons or causes of the unreason- 
able practice. 

1. Men do not entertain due thoughts of the sovereignty of God, 
and his awful majesty, Matth. xx. 11 — 15. God's sovereignty 
would, if duly seen and considered, quell the mutiny of unruly pas- 
sions, that rise within men's breasts, and arraign the great ruler of 
the world at their bar, for mismanagement. We are absolutely his 
and he may dispose of us as he will, and all that is ours, and we are 
obliged to obey him without disputing, and to submit without quar- 

2. Men often see not the designs of holy providence, and they are 

292 unvh MAX 

apt to Bospeet the wont, for gailt is a nurse and mother of fears. 
Providence is a mjBtery, the design of irhich is sometimes not easily 
discorered. ** Thy way, God, is in the sea, and thy path in the 
great waters, and thy footsteps are not known." And many timei 
when the Lord is working for men's good, they strongly snspect an 
eril designed against them, as Jaeoh did, AU thete things, said he, 
are against me. Hence they complain of their crosses, as if they 
were curses ; and of what proyidence designs for their good, as if it 
were for their destruction. 

8. Pride of heart is the cause of sinful complaining. Men are 
naturally like a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. But a son! 
truly humbled will not dare to quarrel with God, but will rather 
say, ** It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because 
his compassions fail not." When David was in his haste he was 
ready to complain of every one, of the prophet Nathan among 
others, and of God under that covert. " 1 said in my haste all men 
are liars." But when his soul was humbled in him, be lays his 
hand on his mouth and lies down at God's feet, saying, ** Lord, my 
heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty. My eoul is even as a 
weaned child." An unsubdued spirit under a cross makes a heavy 

4. Unmortified lust, when crossed with afflictions makes a fearfnl 
mutiny. Rachel's heart was too much set upon the comfort of chil- 
dren, and providence disappointing her desire, she complains heavily, 
G^n. zxx. 1. Jonah with his gourd, chap. iv. 6 — 9. If men were 
not too much addicted to the creature, too closely wedded to the 
things of time, they would not raise such complaints on the loss 
of them. Our over much fondness of the world's smiles, make 
the frowns of it so hard to bear. If our hearts were loosed from 
the world, we would care the less whether it smiled or frowned. 
We would have a holy indifference both of its good and evil. 
Grasp hard a man's hand that hath a sore finger, he presently cries 
out; but if his hand was whole, he would take it kindly. 

5. Want of a due sense of the evil of sin and of our unworthinestf 
on that account. They that see their sins and have a heart to mourn 
for them, will not see occasion to complain of what they are under, 
but rather wonder that their burden is not made heavier. Lam. iii. 
22. And a stroke of the Spirit of grace, at the rocky heart to cause 
the waters of godly sorrow gush out, would finish sinful complaints; 
the stream of dissatisfaction and sorrow would be turned anoflier 

6. Overlooking our mercies. Did men consider what mercies com- 
pass them about in their lowest condition in this world ; and how 


all these are forfeited by sin, and yet continued by grace and free fa- 
Yonr, tbey would not complain. But when men hide their eyes from 
seeing the many obligations they stand under to kind providence, and 
count all nothing that is left them, no wonder they be so unreason- 
able as to complain. 

7. Dwelling and poring upon crosses and difficulties. This is just 
taking an unbelieving lift of our own burden, which will certainly 
increase it. Jacob would not call his son Ben-oni, though Rachel 
desired it. An unmortified fancy is a heavy plague, which cleaves 
to an affliction us the fire does on tinder, and will not suffer it to go 
out of itself. 

Lastly, Unbelief is the great cause of all. It was the generation 
that believed not that murmured in the wilderness. Faith brings 
the soul to rest in God in all conditions. It satisfies the soul with a 
full Christ in the want of all things, Habak. iii. 17-^19. It realizes 
the things of another world, and where they have their due weight, 
truly the value of the things of time will sink very low. Upon the 
other hand unbelief turns the soul out of its rest in God, unto the 
creature where it must needs be restless, and blocking up the soul's 
sight of better things, it magnifies both the good and evil of a pre- 
sent world. 

Observation lY. Because we are men we ought not to complain. 
Why doth a man complain ? 

1. We are men and not brutes. We are endowed with rational 
faculties, by which we may take up such considerations, from the 
sovereignty of God and the demerit of our sins, that might silence 
our complaints. The brutes bear a part of the load laid on the 
world for sin, and they groan under it, Rom. viii. 22. They com- 
plain as they are capable, and no wonder, for they know not who 
has laid the burden on them, nor for what it is laid on, nor whether 
it will be taken off. But we are men that may know all these, and 
why should we complain. 

2. We are men and not Gods, creatures and not Creators, sub- 
jects and not lords, and therefore ought to submit and not to com- 
plain. " Let the potsherds of the earth strive with one another, 
but will man strive with God ? Shall the thing formed say to him 
that formed it, why hast thou made me thus ?" Will weak man en- 
ter the lists with omnipotence ? Will we live in God's world and 
not submit to his government ? Is it fit that man should be inde- 
pendent and carve out his lot for himself? " Should it be according 
to thy mind ? He will recompense it whether thou refuse, or whe- 
ther thou choose." Shall the night owl pick a quarrel with the snn, 
because it cannot bear its light ? And will blind man pick a quar- 

VoL. IIL u 


Tel with holy vise providence, becanse it does not in every point 
answer his foolish desires ? 

3. We are men and not angels. We are not inhabitants of the 
npper regions, where no storms blow, where there is an eternal 
spring and uninterrnptcd peace. Bnt we dwell in the lower region 
where no such thing is to be expected, bnt the clouds will return 
after the rain. Can we think that the rocks must be removed for 
US, that God's unchangeable purpose in the management of the 
world must be changed for us ? If we are men, we must not com- 
plain, that what is common to men, the greatest of men, the best of 
men, befalls us. 

3. We are men and not devils. We, at our worst, in this world, 
are not in that desperate, hopeless, and helpless state in which they 
are. But have something to comfort us which they have not. They 
have no Saviour, " For Christ verily took not on him the nature of 
angels : but he took on him the seed of Abraham." They fell into 
an abyss of misery in which they are sinking to this day, and ever 
will sink ; but no hand was ever stretched out to help them. We 
also fell into an abyss of misery by sin, and while we are wet with 
the least part of it, our Lord stretches out his hand to pull us out. 
And shall we complain that we feel some of this misery, and not 
rather praise, that help is offered to pull us out of it, and restore us 
to happiness ? 

Observation Y. Becanse we are living men we ought not to com- 
plain. " Wherefore doth a living man complain ?" The force of 
this lies here. 

1. Our life is forfeited yet continued, therefore there is no reason 
to complain. Life is forfeited by sin, which was forbidden unto man 
under the pain of death. We have sinned, and therefore incurred 
the penalty. " In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," 
And why should living Adam (as it is in the Hebrew) complain, who 
deserving death is but banished or deprived of his wealth ? Such an 
one has reason rather to commend the clemency, than to inveigh 
against the severity of his prince. Are we deprived of some com- 
forts of life, we might have been deprived of life itself? Are we 
cast into a cloud of cares and perplexities, we might have been 
buried in a grave ? 

2. Living, we are not in hell, and therefore should we praise and 
not complain. Lam. iii. 22. Would people in their afflictions look 
to the state of the damned, the smoke of whose torment ascends for 
ever and ever, and withal remember that God in justice, might have 
had them in that state by this time, they would lay their hands on 
their mouths and not complain of what they meet with in the land of 


the living. How willingly would sncli exchange their lot with the 
most afflicted in the land of the living, '' For the spirit of a man may 
sustain his infirmity : but a wounded spirit who can bear." 

3. Living, we have the means of grace and hopes of glory. So we 
have access to better our estate in the other world, if it should never 
be better in this. Living, time is given to us for working. Life is 
the day, " the night cometh when no man can work. Whatsoever 
then thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no 
work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither 
thou goest." If we work out our salvation in this time, our happi- 
ness shall be such after death, as all our afflictions shall never be 
remembered any more. And the more afflicted our lot in the world 
is, it may the more stir us up to mind our great work. 

4. Living, it may be worse with us ere we go out of the world than 
it is, if we do complain. The heaviest case in which one is here, he 
may still bless God, that it is not worse. It is easy for infinite 
power to punish us still seven times more, and to heat the furnace 
of our affliction hotter and hotter. Lev. xxvi. It were good for the 
afflicted, that they would often think how the Lord can, and justly 
may, make their case worse. This would cause them lay their hands 
upon their mouths. 

5. Living, we may live to see our case better. Wliile there is life 
there is hope, " Why then should a living man complain ?" We 
have to do with a bountiful God. '' He will not always chide ; 
neither will he keep his anger for ever." They have been very low 
who have been raised up, and they have been wrapt up in a thick 
cloud, who yet have had a fair sunshine after. The rains do not fall, 
nor the winds blow always. The wheel of providence hath four 
sides, and can in a moment take a quite contrary course to that 
which it now keeps. If our troubles be from the immediate hand of 
God. ^* Then though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion ac- 
cording to the multitude of his mercies." If they are from the hand 
of others, their heart is in his hand, and that which is crooked will 
be made straight, when God will, though not when we will. 

6. We have no surer hold of our life than of the comforts of life. 
. The latter are uncertain, so is the former. Our comforts are slippery, 

our life frail, and liable to a great many more accidents than our 
comforts of life, for the most part are. Is our life then preserved, 
while some of our comforts are lost, let us praise the preserver of 
men and not complain. The stroke that takes away a comfort might 
have taken away our life. 

7. When other comforts are lost, and our life is continued, that 
which is best is preserved to us. Life is better than the outward 



comforts of life. '' For the life is more than meat, and the body 
more than raiment. But the fayour of God is better than life." If 
then a man were stript of all his enjoyments, health, wealth, ease, 
and every thing, yet while he is living he may recover the lost favour 
of God ; but there is no recovering of it when life is gone, as the 
tree falls it lies. And were this only considered, one single breath- 
ing would be more valuable to us, than all we have in the world. 

Lastly, The time of life is the time for all men's praising, because 
they sit all at the common table of mercy, and therefore not for 
complaining. " The living, he shall praise thee." They that will 
not rest on the will of God, will get a long eternity to complain in, 
but here it is both their sin and misery. I know the doctrine would 
bear us in hand, that there should be no sin in hell after the last 
judgment, and then the damned will not be capable of the least 
thought materially evil. But the scripture tells us, '' The wicked are 
driven away in their wickedness ;" and they are so far from being 
cured there, that they are filled, with blasphemies. While they 
weep, wail, and gnash their teeth, will there not be the least fretful 
thought against God ? They are not sanctified there, their natural 
corruption remains, and will it never in the least set up its head ? 
But will they love a tormenting God with all their heart ? Will 
they be perfectly contented with their lot ? This the eternal law of 
righteousness requires of the creature, as a creature, and therefore 
in every state, if they do it not they sin. Because we are living 
then let us praise, and not complain, lest we complain for ever. 

Observation YI. We are sinful men justly punished for our sin, 
and therefore ought not to complain. A man for the punishment of 
his sins ? Consider here, 

1. Our sins are the procuring causes of all afflictions. " Thy way 
and thy doings have procured these things unto thee." We may 
thank ourselves for all our crosses, and therefore complain of our- 
selves, each saying with Job, " I will leave my complaint upon my- 
self :" but will not complain of God ; for he doth not ajlict wUlingly, 
Affliction rises not out of the dust, but out of a sinful nature, heart, 
and life. God hath joined together the evil of sin, and the evil of 
punishment, hence drawing the first link of this chain, we draw the 
other also on ourselves, why then do we complain ? 

2. When our afflictions are at the highest pitch in this world, yet 
they are not so great as our sins deserve. " After all, says Ezra, 
that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, 
seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities 
deserve. And says David, He hath not dealt with us after our sins, 
nor rewarded us according to our iniquities." How many of our sins 


does the Lord mercifully overlook, not smiting every time we sin 
against him, but he is long-suffering, and when he does, he debates 
with us in measure, otherwise we should have judgment without 
mercy. What face then can we have to complain after all this ? 
We sin with a high hand, and the Lord smites softly, and yet we cry 
out as if we were wronged, and treated cruelly. 

3. We receive much undeserved good, while at the worst we get 
but our deserved evil. Our cup is a mixture of sweet with bitter ; 
while the bitterest cup is put in our hand, let us then rather praise 
him for the undeserved sweet, than complain for the deserved 
bitterness that is in it, saying with Job, " Shall we receive good at 
the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil." It is an evidence 
of an embittered spirit to overlook our mercies, and pore upon our 
crosses, to deny unto our bountiful God the due praise of his free 
favours, because he visits us with some crosses. 

4. Our afflictions are necessary for us, wherefore do we complain, 
Lam. iii. 33. Our necessities extort them out of God's hand, for he 
has no pleasure otherwise in the miseries of his creatures. " Have 
I any pleasure at all, says he, that the wicked should die ? And 
not that he should return from his ways and live V* A child left 
to himself and a person undisciplined by crosses will go all wrong. 
" Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God." If 
we could attain it, we would take a bed, in which no thorn of un- 
easiness would be found; but if it were so, we would sleep too 
sound. Our hearts are hard to wean from a frowning world, how 
would we do if it were smiling on every hand. Nay, there are 
many mercies in thy lot, there must be a mixture of crosses in it, 
something crooked, something wanting, to be a corrective. Why 
then should we be so angry with our blessings ? 

6. We might get out from under them, if we would speedily an- 
swer the design of them. Lev. xxvi. 41, 42. They are God's medi- 
cines which if we would suffer to work kindly, we should soon 
recover. If people would answer the design of afflicting dispensa- 
tions, the Lord would remove them, he would cast away the rod, 
when there were no more use for it to the child. But continuing 
stupid and impenitent under our crosses, we wreath the yoke about 
our own neck faster. 

6. How often is the sin visibly written on the punishment, that 
men may clearly see the cause of God's contending, and lay their 
mouths in the dust. It is a silencing consideration. " As I have 
done, so God hath requited me." How often are we scorched with 
a fire of our own kindling, yea, we nurse the viper that gnaws out 
our bowels, and our cross is the native fruit of oar own conduct. 



Observation YII. Under our afflictions we should turn our com- 
plaints on our sins. A monfor Ms sins. 

We haye sins of nature, heart, and life. We have many things 
wrong in our way, something that is in a special manner the cause 
of the controversy, that brings on the stroke. Let us turn the 
stream of our complaints that way. 

1. Instead of complaining of God, let us complain of ourselves to 
God, instead of taxing a holy God with severity, let us charge our- 
selves with folly before him. " So foolish was I and ignorant, says 
Asaph, I was as a beast before thee. My wounds stink and are 
corrupt, says David, because of my foolishness." If we begin to 
find fault with the work of providence, we will instantly go wrong, 
and think and speak what we ought not ; but our own sinful ways 
and doings, we shall be in no hazard readily of making them 
blacker than they are. 

2. Instead of the heart's bleeding for trouble, let our hearts bleed 
for sin. David's heart smote him after he had numbered the people, 
and he confessed his great sin in doing it. By trouble we are of- 
fended and our peace is broken ; by sin God is offended, and his 
Spirit grieved. And his pleasure is to be preferred to our ease, and 
therefore the main stream of our sorrow should run on sin, not on 
affliction, which should but open the heart to bleed for sin. 

3. Instead of tossing our cross in our minds to fret ourselves, let 
us toss our sin there to humble ourselves. ! what thoughts are 
unprofitably bestowed on our afflictions, that might be well spent in 
seeking out the cause of the Lord's controversy, in loathing our- 
selves for it, applying to the blood of Christ for pardon of the sins 
that are at the root of our trouble. 

4. Instead of labouring to get up our lot to our mind, let us la- 
bour to get our minds brought down to our lot. Let us lay the axe 
of mortification to the root of these lusts that keep up our minds 
above our lot. This was the lesson Paul had learned, though it is 
not easy. "I have learned, says he, in whatsoever state I am 
therewith to be content." There is a crook in every man's lot, 
which he cannot make straight, and something wanting which he 
.cannot supply. The best way is to bow the mind to the crook, and 
learn to want that of which providence sees fit to refuse the supply. 
Let us set ourselves to this way of managing crosses. 

1. It will stop the running issue of sinful complaining. When 
one bleeds excessively at one part of the body, they use to open a 
vein in another part, to turn the stream from that part and so to 
stop it there. And they that are upon the fret, and carried away in 
the complaining humour for their crosses, cannot in that case meet 

OOMFLAUflKa. 299 

with a greater meroy, than to have the heart yein opened to bleed 
for sin. They will find the other will stop presently. 

2. Repenting under a rod is profitable, bnt repining is hurtfnl. 
Suppose repentance have a bitterness with it, yet since we mnst be 
in bitterness, betteV repent than repine. If we feel the prickles of 
the rose bnsh, yet there is something pleasant and profitable to be 
gathered of it. But to be scratched with briers, the scratching is 
all, there is nothing worth the pains growing upon them. Repen- 
tance has joy included in it, but repining all over has nothing 

3. This is the way to get good of crosses. To get meat of the 
eater, and sweet out of the strong ; to make spiritual advantage by 
temporal losses. Hereby every wound we get in an evil world, 
might be a wound to our lusts, and so bring health to our souls. 
Every stone thrown at us by any hand might turn to better account 
than a precious stone. And by these cross winds we might be 
driven to our harbour. 

4. This is the readiest way to get free of our crosses. When a 
man is brought to this he is prepared for a deliverance. ''Lord, 
thou hast heard the desire of the humble ; thou wilt prepare their 
heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear." When men's complaints 
are turned this way, and people are more careful to get free of sin 
than of trouble, that is a special time for a gracious God's lifting 
off his hand, who will never lay on man more than is meet. 

5. The neglect of this leads into many snares. He that gets not 
his heart to submit to his affliction, either will continue his com- 
plaints, and so be a tormentor to himself, or otherwise will be in 
hazard of using unlawful endeavours for freeing himself from it. 
Hence when this sits down upon one's spirit, and they go not to God 
with it, they are ready to go to carnal company for their ease, to 
sensual pleasures, which is called diverting, but is really destructive 
to their souls. 

I come now to the application of the whole, and let me address 
you in the words of the text, " Why do we being living men com- 
plain, men for the punishment of our sins ?" Since we are men, 
living men, justly punished for our sins when we are afflicted, why 
do we sinfully complain ? Why do we not rather turn our com- 
plaints on sin, and repent and not repine ? Is there any reason to 
justify sinful complaining and murmuring under afflicting dispensa- 
tions. The complaining humour wants not its pretences ; but let us 
examine them. 

1. There is no sorrow like my sorrow, says the complainer, no 
person afflicted at the rate I am. Answer. Every one feels what he 

300 BlVJFVh MAN 

himself endores, bat is uo competent judge of the sorrows of others 
to which he is a stranger. *' The heart knoweth his own bitterness ; 
and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy." The world 
affords many miserable objects, who with heart and good-will would 
exchange lots with any of as all ; and God is nor more obliged to be 
kind to as than to them. And no doubt, were our crosses and those 
of many others in the world laid down together to be exchanged, we 
would readily take up our own again, for fear of a worse. But 
suppose there were none like them in the world ; yet thou art a 
living man, and since thou art so, and not in hell, thou hast no rea- 
son to complain, since thou mightest justly have been in that hope- 
less condition in which thou art not. And if thou canst see no 
sorrow on the earth like thine, look into the state of the damned 
and thou wilt see worse, which may put you to silence. 

But again, if thou wert duly sensible of thy sin, thou wouldest 
say. There is no sin like mine ; thou like Paul wouldest reckon thy- 
self the chief of sinners : thou mayest see more ill in thyself than in 
others; and therefore shouldest not complain, though no sorrow 
were like thine, because thou wouldest look upon it as the just 
punishment of thy sin. 

2. But yet my trouble is very extraordinary, few have met with 
such a one. Answer. Job's trouble was extraordinary, and he was 
reproached with that, " Call now, if there be any that will answer 
thee : and to which of the saints wilt thou turn V* Yet he bore 
them very patiently, and when he was out of the hurry of tempta- 
tion, saw no reason to complain ot holy providence. Job ii. 10. Our 
acquaintance with the world is very narrow, and no doubt it has 
been the case of many, what we think has been the case of very few. 
But though many have no acquaintance with our cross, yet we de- 
serve all we meet with, and that should silence us ; and though 
others may deserve it too, yet, shall our oye be evil, because the eye 
of the sovereign Ruler of the world is good. Besides these others 
may have their crosses, which we are as little acquainted with, as 
they are with ours. 

I could bear any cross better than that which providence has laid 
upon me. Answer. That is but the product of a deceitful heart, 
which still thwarting with the divine will, prefers any thing to the 
present duty. We are in that case like one in sore sickness, who 
shifts from place to place, still thinking he would be better in 
another place than where he is, but when he tries it he obtains no 
relief and so returns to his bed again. But what if it be so that 
thou couldest bear any trial better than the one thou art under. 
Traly if there be one thing lacking in thee, thou mayest be sure 

coJCFLAnnNo. 301 

God will try thee in that point to diseoTer thee to thyself, if tho n 
wilt at all see thy own case ; and whai one thing thou hchiH. The 
hardest cross for a man to bear, is that which strikes against a 
man's predominant affection or Inst. And that which then flndest 
to be the affliction then canst least bear, may serre to discoyer 
where thy weak side lies. And in the trials made npon, consists 
the greatest trial of one's sincerity. " I was upright before him» 
and I kept myself from mine iniqnity." 

4. Others triumph over me, and make my trouble the matter of 
my reproach. Answer. This has been the case of the best of the 
saints. See how it was with Job, xxx. 9 — 14. and David, Psal. iii. 
2. as a true type of Christ, Psal. Izix. 12. And did not the Jews 
mock, scoff, and deride Christ himself in his bitter sufferings ? But 
though they complained to God, yet not of God for it. Truly those 
that do so add affliction to the afflicted, and speak to the grief of 
those whom the Lord hath wounded, haye the worst of it themselyes. 
'' Whoso mocketh the poor, reproaoheth his Maker ; and he that is 
glad at calamities shall not be unpunished." And such treatment 
may well further thy deliyerance, it shall not retard it, if thou con- 
ductest thyself rightly under it, Zech. i. 15, 16. 

6. My trouble has been of a long continuance, I haye looked for 
a deliyerance, but it hath not come. Answer. This hath often been 
the case of the Lord's people, Jer. yiii. 15—23. But they may 
blame themselyes when it is so. For the Lord aflicteth not wWingly, 
Surely there is a cause. Hast not thou put a stop to thy own de- 
liyerance ? Perhaps thou art not prepared for it yet. " Lord, thou 
hast heard the desire of the humble : thou wilt prepare their heart, 
thou wilt cause thine ear to hear." Thou hast not got thy heart 
brought to an entire submission. " Commit thy way unto the 
Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass." None 
blame the husbandman, because he sows not his seed, before the 
ground, by plowing, be fitted to receive it ; and do not thou blame 
providence for suspending thy deliverance till thy heart be humbled, 
thy complaints be silenced, and thou be as a weaned child. 

6. My case seems to be hopeless and alway the longer the more 
hopeless. Answer. If thou cannot believe, and resign thyself 
entirely to the Lord, without complaining, it seems thy deliverance 
is near, because man's extremity is God's opportunity. *' For the 
Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants ; 
when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up 
or left." Either thou shalt be delivered from the trouble, as Abra- 
luuD on the mount, or the people at the red sea ; or the disciples in 
the sliq», when the wind ceased in a moment. Or delivered in 


trouble, from the evil and sting of it^ getting strength to bear it, 
and sufficient comfort under it. *^ My grace is sufficient for thee, 
says God, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Say thou 
then with Paul, '' Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my 
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." For our 
gracious God loves to work for his people's help, when they are in 
the most helpless condition. 

7. My life is one continued train of troubles, and I am eyery day 
meeting with new ones. Answer. So it has been with the best of 
God's children, Job says " My sighing cometh before I eat, and my 
roarings are poured out like the waters." Asaph says, " All the 
day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning." Our 
Lord himself was a man of sorrows. And he hath fairly warned us 
of this, that we must take up our cross daily. And since every day 
hath the sin thereof, what wonder that it have also the evil thereof. 
Where is the ground to complain here ? The root of sin is firmly 
fixed in us, and there is need of much tossing to loose it. We have 
much dross and it requires our being frequently in the furnace. If 
it be the will of God that you have more frequent troubles than 
others, there is ground to stoop to sovereignty, that takes not one 
method with all, but no ground to complain. 

8. I suffer wrongfully even from those, at whose hands I deserved 
it not. Answer. Sin hath put the world into confusion, and having 
set men against God, hath set them also against one another. We 
have contributed to this disorder, and must not complain that we 
share the bitter effects of it. We have grieved God's Spirit who 
never did us any wrong, and that should silence us, when others 
mete that measure to us, which we have meted to our gracious God, 
All our fellow creatures are in the Lord's hand, and they can be no 
more comfortable to us than he makes them to be ; neither can they 
be more heavy upon us, than he permits them for our trial and cor- 
rection ; and therefore we should look up to heaven in this case and 
forbear to complain. Thus David said of Shimei, so let him curse, 
because the Lord hath said unto him, curse David. Who shall then 
say, wherefore hast thou done so ? 

Lastly, My trouble is in itself exceeding great, I know not how 
to bear it. Answer. As great as it is, it may be greater, since thou 
art a living man. As great as it is, it is less than thine iniquity 
deserves. Were thy trouble and thy sin weighed in an even ba- 
lance, the latter would weigh down the former. Why then should 
a living man complain, for such a punishment of his sin? The 
more resigned thou art to the will of God, thou wilt bear it the 
better for the complaining disposition, may well make thy trouble 

coMPiiiinriNo. 303 

heavier, it will make it no lighter. And so we should conolnde, 
that there is no solid reason why man should complain. 

Consider the evil of this sinful complaining, and murmuring, and 
impatience under afflicting dispensations. 

1. It is rebellion against the will of God. To the murmuring 
Israelites, Moses says, Hear ye r^bds. God goyerns the world, and 
shall we malcontents, that are not pleased with his goremment, rise 
in mutiny against it ? What pleaseth God, shall it displease us ? 
And what is right in his eyes, shall it be evil in ours ? Will no- 
thing please us but to have the reins of government out of his hands 
into our own ? " Should it be according to thy mind ? He will re- 
compense it, whether thou refuse or whether thou choose, and not 
I." If our passion did not blind us, we might see how we would 
quickly fire the little World of our own and others* condition, if the 
reins were in our own hands. 

2. It is a killing sorrow to one's self. " The sorrow of the world 
worketh death." It melts one's heart within him, and like a vul- 
ture preys upon his natural spirits to shorten his days. God cros- 
seth the complainer's will, and therefore he pierceth himself through 
with many sorrows ; as if a mau should wrap up himself in darkness 
because he cannot stop the course of the sun. 

3. It is a fretting anger against one's lot. " Murmurers and com- 
plainers walk after their own lusts." Complainers, such as are dis- 
satisfied with their lot, and with the distributions of providence, 
complain of the least, and worse falls to their share. They bark at 
the mountains of brass, the immoveable purposes of God, as dogs at 
the moon and with equal success. They disquiet and vex them- 
selves in vain, like men dashing their heads against a rock, which 
still stands unmoved, but their heads are wounded. They are like 
a wild bull in a net, the more he stirs, the faster he is caught ; so 
that still the complainers return with loss. 

4. It is a charging God foolishly. This Job did not. It is an 
impious libelling and accusing the administration of the sovereign 
Ruler of the world, and that of folly, as if he were not wise enough 
to govern the world. The complainer seems to see many flaws in 
the conduct of providence, and pretends to tell how God's work 
might be corrected. It accuses him also of injustice, as if he did us 
wrong in afflicting us, or laid on us more than is meet. ' The Judge 
of all the earth cannot be biassed nor bribed, yet -the sinful com- 
plainer charges him as an acceptor of persons and a rigid governor. 

6. It robs God of his due praise for the manifold mercies in our 
lot. Place a sinful complainer in a paradise, the fruit of that one 
tree which is forbidden him, and about which he is uneasy, will so 

304 SINFUL HAK, &C. 

embitter him, that he will not giye God thanks for the variety of 
mercies, with which he is otherwise privileged. For all avail him 
nothing while his will is disappointed in that. With Haman he 
saith, all this avaUeth me nothing. He dwells so mnch on his com- 
plaints, that he will not and cannot yalne his comforts. 
Directions for quelling the complaining humour. 

1. Labour by faith to take up your soul's everlasting rest in God 
through Christ. The wise merchant is content to sit down with the 
loss of all, when he finds the one pearl of great price, but not till 
then. The heart of man must have something on which to rest. 
When he goes to rest in the creature, he finds the bed shorter than 
he can stretch himself upon it. Crosses and afflictions prevent his 
rest there. Should he then give up with the creature and take God 
in Christ for his God, his all and instead of all, then shall he find 
what would give ease under all disquietments in the world. Amidst 
all external calamities, he could then with Habbaknk, rejoice in the 
Lord, and joy in the God of his salvation. 

2. Consider the sovereign authority and infinite wisdom of God. 
He created us and may he not do with his own what he pleaseth. 
Shall we go about to wrest the uncontroulable sceptre out of his 
hand ? Shall not his sovereign dominion over us command our sub- 
mission and absolute resignation ? His sovereignty who giveth not 
an account of any of his ways may silence us. His infinite wisdom 
may satisfy us. There is no chance work in the world, not one 
stroke at random in all thy condition ; it is not a work huddled up 
in a haste. The wheel of providence is full of eyes. Every thing 
in thy condition was from eternity in the womb of the wise decree, 
and brought upon thee accordingly. " For God worketh all things 
after the counsel of his own will." 

3. Consider that the crosses with which you meet are necessary 
for you. For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children 
of men. If thou mightest want them, thou wouldst not have them ; 
for God takes no pleasure merely in giving his creatures pain. But 
he corrects us for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holi- 
ness. If thou be under great afflictions, know that strong diseases 
must have strong remedies. Blame not the physician for it, but the 
disease. If God withdraw a comfort from thee, it is 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 would carry thee headlong. 

4. Believe there is nothing in this world, in which either your 
happiness or misery is bound up. The world^s happiness or misery 
is but a shadow of these things. That only is true happiness in 
which a person wants nothing he can desire, and this is only to be 


obtained in the enjoyment of God ; and that is real misery in which 
a person has nothing left to comfort him, and this is not but in be- 
ing utterly rejected by God. 

5. Labour to be humble. Humility lets us see our true worth 
that it is nothing, and so fences us against complaining, Gen. xxxii. 
10. It makes a person wonder that he hath any comfort at all left 
him; and so lets him into the mystery of, in every thing to give 

6. Do not dwell and pore upon your crosses, for that feeds the 
complaining humour. Turn your eyes on your mercies left you, and 
be thankful for them. 

7. Learn to unbosom yourself in all your griefs unto the Lord by 
prayer and supplication. This gave Hannah a happy ease. And 
go to your Bibles and get your souls refreshed with the good news 
from the far country, Psal. cxix. 92. 

8. Exercise yourself always in some honest business. In those 
that are idle, Satan is busy to foster the complaining humour. 

9. Resist this humour in its beginnings. 

Lastly, Live by faith. By this your souls will be stayed on the 
promises ; in all events have a favourable view of the design of God 
in afflictions, and fix on the things that are not seen, as the object of 
your chief care, and the great spring of your comfort. Amen. 


Ettrick, August, 1717. 


Pbovebbs iii. 17. 
Her ways are ways of pleasantness y and aU her paths are peace. 

The Hebrew name of this book imports sentences well pressed to- 
gether, and powerful to command our assent and regulate our con- 
duct. In this context wisdom, or real religion is commended in the 
16th verse from what she hath. They get much with her who get 
her. She brings to them in both hands. In the text she is com- 
mended for her discipline, the way and manner of life to which she 
directs her votaries. This is that which chiefly prejudices the men 
of the world against her, so that they cannot think to live with her. 
It is represented here in these two, her ways and her paths. Her 


wc^Sy that is the ways in which she directs us to walk through the 
world. She has ways of her own that are not the ways of the 
world, but ways peculiar to herself, that are chalked out by the holy 
commands of God. It is called the way of faith and holiness. 

Her paths ^ that is her strait ways, as the word signifies. Amongst 
her ways there are some very strait ones, and these are most fright- 
fal to the world. They are so strait, that they cannot endure them. 
But they are mistaken. Behold the commendation of them, in two 
points. First, they are sweet, they are ways of pleasantness. They 
are like pleasant walks, which invite men to walk in them, by the 
pleasures that are about them, with the trees, flowers, and other 
things which surround them. Such a pleasantness the word im- 
ports, yer. 18. " She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her; 
and happy is every one that retaineth her. Issachar saw that rest 
was good, and the land pleasant." They are so far from being un- 
pleasant and melancholy, that they are ways of pleasantness, very 
pleasant. They are, secondly, safe. Many ways are sweet that are 
not safe ; pleasant that are not profitable ; but both sweetly centre 
here. Her paths are peace, that is, they are paths of peace. There 
is no danger in them, nothiug to annoy the traveller, while he but 
keeps straight forward. They are peace itself, most peaceful. 
That is, all prosperity attends them, and so some versions read it, 
for so the Hebrew cxpresseth all prosperity and welfare. 

Next observe the extent of the commendation. AU her paths are 
peace. Even those of them that seem most rugged and unpleasant 
are peace. There are both pleasure and profit wrapped up in them. 
There is no contrariety amongst them. One does not embitter ano- 
ther, as it is in the ways of the world. The pleasures of religion 
are full of peace. 

Doctrine I. The way of religion is the way of wisdom. They that 
are truly religious are wise, and the following of religion is the 
wisest course in the world. Here 1 shall, 

I. Present to yon some of the scriptural characters of the way of 

II. I shall show that this way of religion, is the way of wisdom. 
I am then, 

I. To present to yon some of the scriptural characters of the way 
of religion, 

1. The way of religion is the way of truth. The apostle Peter 
expressly calls it the way of truth. The faith of principles is a part 
of religion as well as the practice of holiness. And therefore faith 
is called wisdom, Eph. i. 8. The God of truth has revealed truth 
to us in the scriptures of truth, and requires us to believe it. And 


the way of error is contrary to the way of religion, and is the pro- 
duct of the blindness of men's minds. '' To the law and to the tes- 
timony ; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there 
is no light in them." This error proceeds also from their corrupt 
affections and can never be sanctified by all the plausible pretences 
with which it is set off. " Will ye speak wickedly for God ? And 
talk deceitfully for him ?" A wrong head may lead people out of 
the way of religion as well as a wrong heart. 

2. The way of God's commandments. '* I will run, says David, 
the way of thy commandments, when thou hast enlarged my heart." 
In this way then the soul labours to do what God requires, and to 
abstain from what he hath forbidden. So men are out of the way in 
transgressing these commands, doing what God forbids, and omit- 
ting what he requires. Nothing belongs to the way of religion, 
which is not hedged in by the commands of God on every side. 
What men offer to God as duty which he has not commanded, and 
what they account sin, which his law makes not so, is but supersti- 
tion, and not in religion ; and in this men are apt to abound when 
religion falls into decay among them, as appears in all formalists. 

3. The way of faith and not of sense. We walk by faith and not 
by sight. Religion sets a man chiefly in pursuit of unseen things. 
The cry of the world is who will shew tts any good. But religion 
leads a person to make choice of an unseen Christ for his portion, 
unseen hopes, joys of pleasures, yea, ''to look to all the things 
which are not seen, and which are eternal." Others value them- 
selves on what they have in hand ; they on what they have in hope. 
The way of religion is the way of trust and dependence for all on 
God in Christ, for light, life and strength. " They live by the faith 
of the Son of God." They go out of this way, who trust in them- 
selves and live upon their own stock. 

4. The way of holiness. '^ It shall be called the way of holiness ; 
the unclean shall not pass over it. As he who hath called you is 
holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation." Religion 
teaches holiness, in heart and life, piety towards God, and righte- 
ousness towards men. It allows no sin, however small the world 
accounts it to be. Nay the very appearance of evil, religion teaches 
to eschew. It gives one holy rule, by which to regulate heart, lip, 
and life, the conversation at home and abroad, in public before the 
world, and in secret before God alone, in our personal and relative 

5. The way of irreconcilable opposition to the devil, the world, 
and the flesh. And therefore the Christian life is called a warfare. 
The way of worldly ease, to row with the stream is not the way of 


religion. They who enter upon religion, most encounter the x>owerB 
of hell, and as it is Satan^s bnsiness to tempt, it is theirs to resist 
and wrestle against him. They commence nonconformists to the 
world. For the command is, be not conformed to this world. They 
make a practical separation from the world lying in wickedness, 
holding quite a contrary course to that, which the gale of the' 
world's example would drive them. ** The Lord preserves them 
from this generation for ever." They deny the cravings and lusts 
of the flesh, "with all uugodliness, and live soberly, righteously, 
and godly in this present world." They strive to mortify irregular 
passions and afiections. " For they that are Christ's have crucified 
the flesh with its affections and lusts." 

6. The way of spiritual worship. " For we are the circumcision 
which worship God in the Spirit." In this a man aims at inward 
obedience, consecrating his heart as a temple to the Lord, in which 
to offer the spiritual sacrifices of faith, fear, love, thankfulness and 
other parts of unseen religion. They who take up with the form of 
religion and mere external duties are out of the way. " Having a 
form of godliness but denying the power thereof." True religion 
teaches to give spiritual service to God, because he is a Spirit; and 
to join the power of godliness with the form of it. 

7. The strait and narrow way. *' Strait is the gate and narrow is 
the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find, and walk 
in it." The multitude chooseth the broad way of sin, in which they 
find room for their beloved lusts, and walk at all adventures with- 
out a certain rule, but as their corrupt inclinations draw them. 
There is no such room in the way of religion. They must deny 
themselves the latitude of thoughts, words, and actions, that othecs 
freely take to themselves, endeavouring in all things to think, 
speak, and act by rule, the rule of the holy law. 

8. The way of universal obedience. " Then shall I not be 
ashamed when I have respect to all thy commandments." The first 
step which a person takes in that way, the soul says. Lord what wtU 
thou have me to do? They dare not wilfully neglect any of God's 
commandments. Some persons neglect the duties of piety towards 
God, and deal fairly with their neighbours. Some take an opposite 
course. They pretend to piety and neglect morality. Some fix on 
the substantial duties, with a slighting of circumstantials; others 
are so taken up with the circumstantials, that they justle out the 
weighty matters of the law, but the way of real religion joins both. 
For while it requires the weighty matters of the lawy judgment^ 
mercy t cmdfcaih to he done, it enjoins also not to leave the other undone. 

Lastly, The good old way. " Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in 


tbe ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, 
and wall? therein, and ye shall find rest for yonr sonls." If yon 
hare a mind to walk heavenward, yon mnst go by the footsteps of 
the flook. The way which the saints have trodden, in the several 
ages of the church. It is the way in which we will see the cloud of 
witnesses that have gone before us. We are directed to their steps, 
whom the world hafh counted fools, because they could not be satis* 
lied to take the way of the world. We proceed now, 

II. To shew that this way of religion, is the way of wisdom. 

1. The only wise God has directed the children of men unto the 
way of religion, and therefore it must be the way of wisdom. Do 
they not act wisely that take the course to which God has directed 
men. What is our Bible, but a system of precepts of religion. It 
is God's word commanding and recommending this way to us. This 
was the way in which God set man at first. When by sin he lost 
his way, it pleased God to make a new revelation of his will and to 
set him on his way again, the way of religion in faith and holiness* 

2. Our Lord Jesus Christ brings his people to this way and leads 
them in it to the end. " He is given to be a leader and commander 
to the i>eople." He that is the wisdom of the Father, is the guide 
that hath gone on the head of the blessed company that travel this 
way through the world : and they run looking unto Jesus the au« 
thor and the finisher of their faith. He leads his people off from 
the way of sin and of the world, into the way of religion. He 
guides them in it and keeps them on it unto the end. " For this 
Gh>d is our God for ever ; he will be our guide even unto death." 
He knows what is the wisest and best course for them to take, and 
his love to them engages him to lead them to it, therefore let who 
will account it folly, it is the way of wisdom only. 

3. The Spirit of Christ effectually determines his people to this 
way, moves and excites and strengthens them to walk forward in it. 
" This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust 
of the flesh." The Spirit searcheth the deep things of God, and the 
same that is the Spirit of wisdom, is the Spirit of holiness and sanc- 
tification. And therefore the way of holiness must be the wisest 
course we can take. 

4. Would you know what way God himself would take if he were 
walking among men on this earth ? We may know this already. 
The Son of God became man, and dwelt among us, and the way 
which he took was not the way of the world, but the way of religion 
and unspotted holiness. ** He left us an example, that we should 
follow his steps." He kept himself unspotted by sin. " He did no 
sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." He was not charmed 

Vol. III. X 


with tbe world's good things, when they were offered to him, nor 
driven ont of his way by its evil things. ** When he suffered he 
threatened not, bnt committed himself to. him that jndgeth righte- 
onsly." They were the nnseen things of another world which he 
proposed to himself to obtain, even the joy set before him. 

6. It is the way that is most agreeable to right reason. Devoting 
ourselves wholly to God, is our reasonable serviqs, Tlie way of sin 
is most pleasing to onr lasts and passions, which being blind as re- 
jecting the government of reason, cannot cease to lead ns wrong. 
Bnt the way which onr passions do condemn, is in the mean time 
the way that reason and conscience do justify. The way of onr 
passions thmsts ns down, into the order of bmtes, which follow 
their appetites ; but the way of religion advances ns to walk in the 
way of rational creatures. 

6. It is the only way to happiness here or hereafter. *' Happy 
is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth under- 
standing." All the happiness of 'the creatures consists in assimila- 
tion to God. The more holy, the more like God ; and so the more 
holy, the more happy. It is impossible a man can be happy in the 
way of sin, even in the world, while there is a holy God above him 
angry with him every day, and a conscience within him ready at oc- 
casions to disturb his rest. There is no peace, saith my God to the 
wicked. Bnt in the midst of troubles the pious are happy in the fa- 
vour of God, and the testimony of conscience. With God and in 
Christ they have 'peace. " And our rejoicing is this, the testimony 
of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with 
fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of Cod, we have had our conversa- 
tion in the world." And when they come to the end of their days, 
the difference is vastly greater, for then the happiness of the godly 
is completed, and the misery of the wicked is completed also. 
'' Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright ; for the end of that 
man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together, 
the end of the wicked shall be cut off." 

Use 1. Of information. Is the way of religion the way of wis- 
dom ? Then first, there is little wisdom in the world, for true reli- 
gion is very rare. Few there be, says our Lord, that find this way. 
Man is bom like a wild ass's colt, and he goes on in his folly all 
his days, till the Spirit of God teaches him the wisdom that is from 
above. Bnt when once his eyes are opened by the Holy Spirit, and 
he is made truly wise, to know what belongs to his peace, he is no 
more in a doubt what to choose. And to the natural blindness of 
the human mind, the neglect and contempt of religion is to be im- 


2. The way of sin and wickedness must needs be the way of folly, 
and they are fools that follow it. " IIow long ye simple ones will 
ye love simplicity ? And the scorners delight in their scorning, and 
fools hate knowledge ?" The Spirit of God brands all the ungodly 
with the name of fools ; and they are the greatest fools in the world 
that lire strangers to religion and true godliness, whatever opinion 

* themselves or the world may have of their wisdom. They live fools, 
whatever way they live, while they live strangers to religion and 
the power of godliness. They have three marks of a fool. (1.) They 
are easily cheated out of their most valuable things. Satan goes 
about these simple ones, till they are tricked out of their souls, their 
part of Christ and heaven, and all the happiness of another world. 
" And what is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and lose 
his own soul ?" And wherefore do they part with them, but for the 
gratifying of a lust ; a more foolish course than if one should part 
with an estate for a childish toy. Esau was a cunning hunter, but 
in the matter of the blessing he acted as if he had been a fool or an 
idiot. (2.) Tliey suffer the best bargain to slip through their fingers 
again and again while they are enamoured of those things which are 
of no value in comparison of it. " Wherefore then is there a price 
in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it." 
They have no heart for the enriching treasure in the field of the gos- 
pel, because they have no judgment to discern the worth of itj while 
they are busied with vanities that pass away with the using. Their 
precious time and opportunities are spent in grasping of shadows in 
many things, while the one thing needful is forgotten. (3.) They 
feed themselves with dreams and fancies, in which there is no reality. 
They are foolish virgins with lamps without oil ; foolish builders on 
the sand. Their life is one continued dream, in which they judge 
aright of nothing, neither of God, heaven, hell, nor even the world. 
So that there must be a terrible awakening, when they do awaken out 
of their dream. Again, living impenitent, they die like fools. The 
rich man in the gospel is called a fool at his death. Then indeed 
the folly of all such appears. Time spent and nothing laid up for 
eternity ; another world to be gone into, but no preparation for it ; 
what has got their most serious thoughts evanisheth, and what they 
sever minded to purpose to that they must now go. 

3. Then the way of religion is preferable to the way of sin, as 
wisdom is to folly, light to darkness. This men will not see now, 
but they shall see it, when the great God has determined, who have 
been wise and who fools. Then it will appear clearly in another 
world, what is so much controverted in this, whether they be wisest 
that seek their portion in hand, or those that desire to have it in 



hope. Then folly will be written on the foreheads of many now in 
high reputation for wisdom ; and others now deemed fools will ap- 
pear to have taken the wisest course. 

4. The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour, as the wise 
man is more excellent than the fool. God who judges according to 
truth, judges so, and so will we all at length. While all the rest of 
the world act the part of fools and madmen, they behave themselyes 
wisely, and the end will crown their work, which will show that 
grace is better than gold, and things that are not seen, are preferable 
to things that are. 

Use 2. For comfort and encouragement to those that are truly 
godly. And thus it may be, in case being looked upon as fools by 
the world. Alas ! the generation is come to that, that seriousness 
in religion is sufficient to expose a person to the scorn of those that 
are unacquainted with it. But if they think you are fools, look yon 
to the Bible, and you will see that they are fools. '^ If any man will 
be wise, let him become a fool." It may be also in case of yoar 
being defective in worldly wisdom. Our Lord tells us '* that the 
children of this world are wiser in their generation than the child- 
ren of light." But if you be wise to salvation, bless God and be 
thankful. It may comfort you also, in case of being condemned by 
onlookers in matters in which you have the testimony of God's word 
and your own consciences. Many a time a man walking straight by 
the rule in a particular action, will be condemned as a fool by such 
as do not see the springs and reasons of his acting in that way, when 
the searcher of hearts will approve him. 

Use 3. Of reproof. And it may serve to convince and reprove as 

1. Those who value themselves on their carnal worldly wisdom, 
while they neglect religion in the reality and power of it. There is a 
generation who make it their great business to gain the world : upon 
it their hearts are set continually, while religion at best is but an 
occasional work, and they attain to a certain dexterity in it by this 
mean, as being the thing that is their constant study and in which 
they place their greatest satisfaction. But alas I they are wise in 
trifles and foolish in matters of the greatest importance ; they gain a 
mite^ they lose a talent ; the case of their souls goes to wreck, and 
by their boasted wisdom they are fooled out of their most valuable 
concerns. *' For whosoever will be of the world is the enemy of 

2. Those that are wise to do evil, but to do good have no know- 
ledge. Many have sufficient cunning to contrive mischief, who can 
do nothing truly good for themselves and others. As for such wis- 
dom, behold the character of it, It is earthfyf senswd^ devilish. 


3. Those who aocoant religion folly. how is the sptritnal taste 
of many deprayed, how contrary their judgment of spiritoal things to 
God's thoughts of them. Folly is hy them aoeonnted wisdom, and 
tme wisdom folly. *' Wo unto them that call evil good, and good 
eyil ; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness ; that put 
bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.'* 

Use 4. Of exhortation. Study to get religion, since it is tme wis- 
dom. Enter on that course, since it is the wisest course you can 

Motive 1. As reason distinguisheth men from brutes and sets them 
in a higher sphere, so religion is a piece of wisdom that distinguishes 
one man from another, and makes him more excellent than his neigh- 
bour. The nearer one comes to God, who is a perfect being, he must 
needs be the more excellent. The truly religious are 'partakers of a 
divine natwre^ and of all men on the earth resemble the God of hea- 
yen most, as hdng foUowers of Grod and partakers of his holiness, 

2. Religion is that wisdom which is preferable to all things else 
that come under that name in the world. — All earthly wisdom pos- 
sessed and yalued by men of the earth is but a shadow, a dream in 
comparison of this. For it is practical wisdom. This only is to 
know the Lord. What ayail the profound speculations of natural 
men in all the learned sciences, the dry and sapless notions of re- 
ligion in formal professors, which neyer make them better men 
though more knowing. The excellency of this wisdom is, that it 
casts the soul into the mould of truth, sanctifies the heart, and re- 
gulates the life, in a conformity to the dtyine nature and will ; and 
thereby perfects human nature, raising up a glorious fabric out of 
the rains in which it lay by reason of the fall. 

Again, Religion is wisdom for the one thing needful, the better 
part. The wisdom of the world is low and groyelling in the adyan- 
tage with which it is attended. It may make a man more fit to ma^ 
nage his worldly business, more acceptable and useful in ciyil con- 
yersation. But also all this reaches only to the outworks, in the 
mean time the soul in its greatest concerns is neglected. But re- 
ligion adyanceth the life of the soul, in the fayour of a communion 
with God, eyidenceth the person's title to heayen, and carries him 
forward in the way to eyerlasting happiness. For, saith wisdom, 
" whoso findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain fayour of the Lord." 

Farther, it is wisdom for the better world. " For the wise shall 
inherit glory." What pitiful wisdom is that, whose designs and ad-« 
yantages are confined within the limits of time. The profits of the 
worldly-wise man as to himself must die with him ; m ^lai v^ry day 
his thoughts perish. But the works of the spiritually wise follow 



him into the other world, Rev. xir. 13. There they joyfully reap 
through eternity, what they hare sown in time. 

Lastly, If you be not religions indeed yon mnst be arrant fools. 
Fools for time and fools for eternity. — Without it you remain in 
the fallen miserable state in which you were bora, and without it 
yon will die in the same state without Crod, without Christ, and 
without hopp, aiid thus be miserable for ever. ^' For without holi- 
ness no man shall see the Lord." 

Doctrine II. — The ways of religion are the most pleasant and 
peaceful ways. 

There are two things to be handled here, the pleasantness, and 
peace to be enjoyed in the ways of true religion. 

We are to speak first of the pleasantness of the ways of religion. 
If one be for a pleasant life, let him lead a religious life. This is a 
paradox not easy to be believed, but by those who find it so in their 
own experience. Let us here, 

I. Inquire to whom are the ways of religion pleasant. 

II. Evince the ways of religion to be pleasant. 

III. I shall evince the ways of religion to be the most pleasant 
ways. We are then, 

I. To inquire to whom are the ways of religion pleasant ? 

1. To those who have the art of walking in them. — As in all 
trades there is a certain art, which, when persons have attained, the 
trade turns easy and pleasant to them ; so it is in religion. Thus 
Paul had learned a contentment in every lot, Philip, iv. 11. so that 
he could walk with pleasure in every condition in which providence 
placed him. The reason why we have so little pleasure in religion 
is, we are but bunglers at it, it seldom goes right with us, the work 
is often notably marred. 

2. To those who habituate themselves to close walking with God. 
Enoch walked with God, And says Paul, our conversation is in hea- 
ven. Such descriptions of the Christian life evidently imply that 
there is a pleasantness in it. The beginning of a new course of life 
is commonly the most difficult and unpleasant. And that which 
makes religion so difficult and unpleasant to us, is either, that we 
are yet but to begin it in earnest, or that we stay not at the work 
and hold hand to it, but make such interruptions, as that we are 
always as it were but beginning. Whereas when the first difficulties 
are surmounted, if we could then hold on steadily, the work would 
become easy and pleasant. 

Lastly, In respect of the pleasure that springs np from them. 
" Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in 
heart." The most harsh and bitter ways of religion, as of repen- 


tanoe, sorrow, mortification and the like, have a pleasure that in due 
time ariseth from them, like the pangs of a travailing woman, which 
end in the joy of a man-ohild brought into the world. Even of 
these thorns men gather figs, and in these bitter sorrows, and sharp 
exercises and conflicts, are the seeds of joy and pleasure ; and from 
under that cloud will bright beams burst forth. For these are but 
the path of pain leading into a paradise of pleasure, and at length 
the poor mourning, tempted Christian will go on like Samson, when 
he took the honey out of the dead lion, and went on eating ; saying, 
** Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth 
sweetness." For such darkness is as the dawn of the morning 
which goes on to broad day. We proceed, 

II. To evince the ways of religion to be pleasant, even ways of 
pleasantness. This appears if we consider, 

1. The testimony of the saints who in all ages have g^ven this for 
their verdict of the ways of God to the world. And though the 
graceless world contradict this, we may decline them as incompetent 
judges in this matter ; for how can blind men judge of colours, or 
men whose taste is vitiated, judge of savoury meats. One eye-wit- 
ness is worth an hundred ear-witnesses. — The testimony of the saints 
is to be regarded, as of those who declare, '* what they have seen, 
and tasted, and handled of the word of life," to which others cannot 
pretend. Now we have the verbal testimony of the saints. Job 
gives them a noble testimony. " I have, says he, esteemed the 
words of his mouth, more than my necessary food." How amply 
does David speak of them. " Thou hast put gladness in my heart, 
more than in the time that their corn and wine encreased." He 
preferred a day in waiting upon God to a thousand. Paul tells us 
from his experience of a joy in the most rugged parts of the way. 
''I take pleasure, says he, in infirmities, in reproaches, in neces- 
sities, in persecutions ; in distresses for Christ's sake ; for when I 
am weak, then am I strong." Peter speaking of afflicted saints, 
speaks forth even their pleasure found in the ways of religion. 
^* Believing, says he, we rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of 

We have also their real testimony, their deeds and practices wit- 
nessing the pleasure in the way of religion. Joseph would rather 
venture all, than exchange the pleasure which he had in his un- 
tainted chastity, with the sensual pleasure of sin. '* Moses chose 
rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the 
pleasures of sin for a season." Daniel would rather be cast into 
a lion's den, or fiery furnace, than forego his religion. How many 
of the saints have chosen a stake or a gibbet, rather than leave the 

316 FI/SASTJSB8 OF uueiov. 

wnj of religion. They were not inaesBiUe of pleasare, for tkoy 
were men m well as saints, bat behold the mystery of it. '* They 
took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing in themselTea 
that they had in heaven a better and an enduring substanoe/' In 
the mean time they could say, ^* Our rejoicing is this, the testimony 
of onr eonscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with 
fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God we have had our conversa- 
tion in the world." 

2. Pleasure, innocence, and hoHness, arriye always together at 
their height. The world was never so pleasant, as while Adam 
stood in his integrity. Whenever sin entered, there fi^lowed a 
train of miseries and disgusts. When sin shall be expelled, and 
the saints lodged in heaven, they shall drink of rivers cf pleasure^ for 
then holiness shall be perfected. Now this plainly discovers sin is 
the course of all displeasure to us ; and therefore the ways of reli- 
gion must needs be ways of pleasantness, where it is to be found for 
the present, and which leads to the perfection of pleasure in ike 
life to come. 

The way of religon is the most god-like way and life id the world. 
They who walk in it, are to be followers of God as deotr <Ai3dren, 
Onr Lord Jesus Christ followed this way. '* My meat, said he, is 
to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." He 
followed it exactly in all points, and gave ns the copy of a perfect 
religions walk. Now God being the chief good, and most happy in 
himself, as the fountain of all happiness, he has infinite compla- 
cency, delight and satisfaction in himself and his own perfections ; 
and therefore the way of religion must be the way of pleasantness, 
for it makes us to resemble God. 

4. Religion so far as it does prevail, frees us from the cause of 
onr wo. We blame this and the other thing for our miseries, but 
there is a real caUlie why God eontendeth with us. There are two 
causes which occasion to us all the misery with which we meet in 
the world. A guilty conscience and nnsnbdned lusts and affections. 
Take away these and we shoold be freed of all our piercing uneasi- 
nesses. The way of religion leads us to the blood of Christ, that 
frees us of the former. " The inhabitant of Zion, shall not say, I 
am sick ; the people that dwell therein, shall be forgiven their ini- 
quity." And religion also leads us to the Spirit, and by him onr 
lusts are mortified, their power is subdued. — Now according to the 
measure in which the soul is freed from these, so will it enjoy a 
true pleasure. What pleasure a man who has been in a fever finds 
in coolness, that will a soul find in a victory over corrupt lusts, which 
made Paul cry, ** wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me 


from the bod j of this death ? I tbaak God, thfon^^h Jesus Christ 
my Lord." In a cutting manner did the moralist answer Alexander 
the Great, boasting that he was lord of the world. Thou art said 
he to him, a serrant to my servants, a slave to those Inats over 
whieh I am lord. 

5. The Lord leaves not his servants to walk in the ways of reli* 
gion in their own strength, hut directs and assists them by his 
Spirit. " I can do all things, saya Paul, through Christ who 
strengtheneth me." This was one reason why Panl took pleasare 
in the most ragged parta of the way; '*For when I am weak, says 
he, then I am strong." It is a pleasare to a child to go np a stair, 
when the father holds him by the hand and helps him np every step. 
" Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to think any thing as of 
ourselves : but our sufficiency is of God." Our Lord never enjoins 
his people to bear their burden alone, hut says he, '^ Cast thy bur- 
den upon the Lord and he shall sustain thee." When he orders 
you to do a piece of duty, he lays in meat for the work, or to bear 
a cross, he strengthens for bearing it. Now, as it is pleasant sail- 
ing when the wind blows fair, so it is pleasant walking in the ways 
of religion under a gale of the Spirit. 

6. The Lord binds upon his saints the walking in his ways with 
the softest and sweetest ties imaginable, the answering of which 
must needs create a pleasure in the doing thereof. I own thai 
terrors and curses pursue the sinner till he has entered upon this 
way. But when once he has entered into it, his duty is bound upon 
him by the ties of the covenant of grace, even gospel ties, which is 
the word of his grace, and the law of love, John xv. 12 — 14. These 
have a sweet constraint, 2 Cor. v. 14. The covenant of grace hath 
no threatenings of eternal wrath, the gospel damns no man, it needs 
not, for the law will do it, to them that are not saved by the gospel. 
Much of unpleasantness of religion to us, flows from oar acting 
under the influence of the covenant of works. But that is not true 
religion, and no wonder that it be not found a way of pleasantness. 

7. There is a sweetness interwoven with the Christian walk. 
^ In keeping God's commandments there is great reward." There 
is a pleasare that attends and is mixed with duty. As merchants 
invite men to taste their wines, to encourage them to buy ; so the 
Lord gives his people a taste of his goodness to encourage them in 
his service. Hence the invitation unto the practice of religion runs 
thus, ** taste and see that the Lord is good ; blessed is the man 
that trusteth in him." God provided in hia law, that the mouth of 
the ox should not be mussled that treadeth out the com. Upon 
which I may say with Paul, ** Doth God take care for oxen ? Or 


saith he it altog^etber for our sakes ? for oar sakes, no doubt this ii 
written ; that he that ploweth should plow in hope ; and that he 
that thresheth in hope, should be partaker of his hope." While the 
Lord sets his servants to his work, he sets them also to their meat. 
Each of them may say with Christ, " My meat is to do the will of 
him that sent me, and to finish his work." There is a pleasure in 
doing good, which the gracious soul in a gracious frame enjoys. 
Religion is a reward to itself, and therefore it is a part of the hap- 
piness of heaven, where his servants shall serve him. 

Lastly, There is such a transcendant pleasure at the end of the 
way that must needs make the way a way of pleasantness. As sin 
is called the way of death, because it leads to death, so religion is 
the way of pleasure because it leads to endless joy. " Thou wilt 
shew me the path of life : in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy 
right hand are pleasures for evermore." A great and noble end 
makes the means leading to it pleasant. Jacob's seven years ser- 
vice, '^ seemed to him but a few days for the love he had to Rachel." 
Where the reward is an eternal weight of glory, what burden can 
be too heavy to bear that we may gain it ? It must needs reflect a 
pleasantness on the whole of the way leading to it. 

III. I shall now evince the ways of religion to be the most plea- 
sant ways. There are greater pleasures in them, than are to be 
found out of these ways, or in the way of sin. 

1. Consider religion brings a calm into the soul which no other 
thing can do. It gives it a rest and satisfaction that is no where else 
to be found. '* Come unto me, says Jesus, all ye that labour, and are 
heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and 
learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart ; and ye shall find 
rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" 
Religion takes a person's heart ofl^ the rack on which sin held it, 
and calms the stormy sea on which they were tossed before. ** For 
the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose wa- 
ters cast forth mire, and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God to 
the wicked." Religion brings them out of the slavery and bondage 
in which they were and gives them true liberty. " I will walk at 
liberty, says David, for I seek thy precepts." There are three 
things which will place this in its proper light. 

First, religion breaks the reigning power of lusts and corruptions, 
which create the sonl much uneasiness. Sin shall not have dominion 
over you. Lusts unmortified must needs have a restless soul. These 
are worse than so many Egyptian task-masters over the soul, all 
oalling it to serve them. The soul has thus to serve divers lusts and 
pleasures^ and these are contrary one to another. They draw the 


heart in different directions at once. Pride lifts it np, covetousness 
presses it down, while envy, malice, and hatred, agitate and distract 
it. What a blessed calm must then be in the sonl, at Christ's ac- 
cession to the throne of the heart, when there is so many masters 
are snbdned and deprived of their power. 

Secondly, Religion brings the ftoul to the accomplishment of its 
desires, and to say, I have all and abound. It is impossible to sa- 
tisfy the cravings of nn mortified Insts. They are the trne daughters 
of the horse-leech, and the more they are indulged, the more they 
still desire. But religion first contracts the desires of the sonl, cut- 
ting off the luxurient appetites of the heart; bending the desire 
towards the one thing needful, and bringing them to the enjoyment 
of it ; and then under many wants, " They are as having nothing, 
and yet possessing all things." 

While a person is in the way of sin, he is still seeking his rest 
nnder some created shadow, and there he can never have it, since 
the complication of all created things is not sufficient to satisfy the 
desires of a soul; nothing less than an infinite good can do it. 
" Open thy mouth wide, says God, and I will fill it.'' Now religion 
sets the soul on the breasts of the divine consolation and in them it 
finds enough. In God the sonl returns into its rest; for in God 
there is enough to afford the soul a pleasant contentment, even in 
the midst of all outward wants. Besides, religion dries up the de- 
vouring depths of earthly desires which plagued the soul. " Who- 
soever, saith Jesus, drinketh of the water, that I shall give him, 
shall never thirst ; but the water that I shall give him, shall be in 
him a well of water springing np to everlasting life." Christ be- 
comes a covering of the eyes to the soul upon its having made the 
blessed change. For this pearl of great price, the person parts with 
all that he hath, that he may possess it. 

Thirdly, Religion brings the soul into a state of resignation to 
the will of God. It discovers infinite wisdom tempered with love 
and good- will, in the ordering of our lot, and so the soul rests in 
that. The will of the Lord he done. That man must needs have a 
profound calm within, when nothing crosses his will, but what con- 
fusion must be then, where things are still contrary to the will. 
Now while there is a God in heaven, no man will get all his will. 
** For God's counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure." 
And though men's will stand against his like a rock, he will rend 
that rock to accomplish his pleasure; if it will not bow he will 
break it. Now the yielding bush stands fast in the earth, while the 
lofty oaks are turned over with a tempestuous wind. And thus 
while iflen out of the way of religion meet with many sharp disap- 


pointmentB, nothing falls wrong to those who are in that way. If 
God will raiso him high, he is pleased, or if he lays him low he is 
pleased. And thns in the midst of storms he enjoys a calm. 

Use 1. Let this reconcile yonr hearts to the way of religion, as a 
pleasant way. There is an ohjection against it lies deep in the 
hearts of all natural men. — The/ consider God *' as a hard master, 
reaping where he had not sown, and gathering where he had not 
strawed." Bat it is a groundless prejodiee, and for the removal of 
it nothing is necessary bat come and see. — And ! it is sad that 
men should take np objectioos against religion merely on trust, and 
though they try many ways to find out a pleasant one which they 
may follow, yet they will not allow religion a fair trial also. 

2. Let this engage you to prefer the way of religion to the way 
of sin, because it is the most pleasant way. You have known some- 
thing of the impure pleasures of sin, but religion shows you a more 
excellent way, a way in which alone true pleasure is to be eujoyed. 
— There is a sweetness in religion to those that are so bappy as to 
break the shell to come at the kernel. Get forirard then to the 
inner court and you will be made to say, It is good to be here. 

2. Consider that religion frees a man from much trouble, with 
which the way of sin always plagues him. Ungodly persons *'will 
deceiye every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth : they 
have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to 
commit iniquity." With how much ease and pleasure does a man 
walk, who, on his journey, goes straight on the highway, in compa- 
rison of him, who, having lost the way, traverseth hills and moun- 
tains, woods and marshes. This is the case between the saint and 
the sinner, as will appear from these considerations. 

I. There are many corruptions and lusts, that in their own nature 
are a punishment to themselves. It was not without reason that 
envy hath been represented as a serpent gnawing its own tail ; for 
envy dayetk the sUly one. Govetousness and anxiety for the world 
stretch the heart on tenter hooks. Wrath and passion carry a tnnn 
out of himself. Fretfulness and discontentment is a secret fire 
burning and consuming in the midst of the bowels. It is so in other 
cases. How pleasant a life then must a charitable frame of spirit, 
a holy carelessness, a meek and contented disposition make. 

Again, How much trouble is there in making provision for InsU, 
and this religion cuts off. The covetous man rises early, sits up 
late, eats the bread of sorrow to accomplish his desire. ^* The eye 
of the adulterer waits for the twilight.*' The drunkard bereaves 
himself of his sleep to satisfy his lust. The proud and ambitions 
man is at great trouble to accomplish his end. Now from^all this 


religion delivers a man, eansing him to walk at ease and liberty. 
And for vbat end is all this waste in pursuit of Insts, but to bny 
destrnction, or at best to lay in matter for bitter repentance. 

3. Maeh trouble arises from the disappointments with which men 
meet in the pursuit of their lusts, when they cannot be gratified. 
Ahithophel's wicked project miscarries and he hangs himself. Jo- 
seph's mistress is disappointed, and she boils with rage for reyenge. 
— ^Disappointments in the way of sin are often galling and cut to 
the heart, as Jonah felt on the blasting of his gourd. But religion 
cutting off sinful desires and hopes, leaves^ no room for the trouble 
of these disappointments. 

4. What trouble arises from lusts gratified. They bring forth 
bitter fruits which set the sinner's teeth on edge. Besides the sting 
which they leave in the conscience, they have such a cursed train of 
mischiefs following them, that, though men had no regard to con- 
science, yet regard to themselves might make them quit the way of 
sin. We often see how the gratifying of a lust exposeth to an un- 
timely end. How does it often ruin families and particular persons. 
See what a multitude of miseries are grafted upon one sin. Who 
hath woe ? who hath sorrow ? who hath contentions ? who hath bab- 
bling ? who hath wounds without cause ? who hath redness of eyes ? 
They that tarry long at the wine, they that go to seek the mixed 

3. Consider that the most exquisite pleasures to be found in the 
way of sin, are nothing comparable to the pleasures to be found in 
the way of religion. " There be many, says David, that say, who 
will show us any good 1 Lord lift thou up the light of thy counte- 
nance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in 
the time, when their corn and their wine increased." There are va- 
rious things which confirm this truth. 

1. The pleasures of true religion are of such an elevated nature 
that all others are but low and grovelling in comparison of them. 
I shall name some of these pleasures and may bid defiance to the 
world to find any like to them. 

1. There is the pleasure which the soul finds in a victory obtained 
over lusts and corruptions. *'He that is slow to anger is better 
than the mighty ; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh 
a city." A soul is never in better case, than when it finds Christ 
letting blood of the heart vein of a lust, nor more solidly joyful 
than when they see them nailed to the cross. — '* God forbid that I 
should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom 
the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." The pleasure 
which a person haUi in gratifying of a lust, is the pleasure of a ser- 


yant ; but tbat in the victory over it, is that of a master. The for- 
mer is a borrowed one, brought in from without himself, the other 
is from within. *' For a good man shall be satisfied from himself." 

2. There is the pleasure which persons find in the approbation 
and testimony of their own conscience upon their doing well. " For 
our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simpli- 
city and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace 
of God we have had our conversation in the world." This is a feast 
that is enjoyed at the table of religion, it is enough to make a sick 
person well, it diffuses health through the soul and -pleasure through 
the whole man. *' Fear the Lord and depart from evil. — It shall be 
health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones." As the sting of 
conscience is the greatest pain, so the well grounded approbation of 
conscience must be amongst the most exquisite pleasures. 

3. The pleasure which a person finds in the testimony of God's 
acceptance of his work. God often gives such testimonies of his 
approbation and acceptance of particular pieces of service done by 
his people. " Thou God meetest him that rejoiceth, and worketh 
righteousness : those that remember thee in thy ways. ** And 
how pleasant is that to the soul I ** Go thy way, eat thy bread with 
joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart ; for God now accept- 
eth thy works." Do but imagine what an earthly king's telliDg 
you, he kindly accepts, takes notice of and is well pleased what yon 
had done for him, what a pleasure that would be ? But what is all 
this to the pleasure of God's discovering to his people their accep- 
tance with him. 

4. The pleasure one finds in doing good and being useful to their 
fellow creatures, to mankind. ** I have shewed you, says Paul, all 
things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to 
remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said. It is more bles- 
sed to give than to receive." While some stand as cyphers in the 
world, of no use to others ; while some stand as blots to marr the 
beauty and comfort of society ; as thorns and briars to make others 
uneasy about them ; what pleasure must they have, whose business 
it is to make others happy, well and easy, so as their souls and 
loins may bless them. Would men do good to the needy, by these 
things, which they expend upon their lusts, they would have far 
more pleasure in the former, than the latter; especially in doing 
good to and winning souls, even saving a soul from dccUh. 

5. The pleasure one finds in communion with God; the wind 
blowing and the spices flowing out, influences of grace coming down 
from heaven on their souls, and they returning them again in duty, 
and the exercise of grace. All this is described in the Song, in these 


ifTords, " Awake, north wind, and come, thou sonth ; blow npon 
my garden, that the spices thereof may flow ont. Lot my beloved 
come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.'' Christ patting 
in his hand at the hole of the lock, and the soul opening to and em- 
bracing the welcome gnest. All the worjd cannot produce snch a 
pleasure as this, since it is a blessed intercourse with God, the foun-> 
tain of all pleasures and the most glorious of all objects. 

Finally, The pleasure that one enjoys in assurance of the Lord's 
love, and eternal salvation. This creates an unspeakable pleasure, 
even a thousand times more than if one were made 9ole emperor of 
the world. Now the saints, " Rejoice with joy unspeakable and full 
of glory; receiving the end of their faith, even the salvation of 
their souls." To think that God is their God, that heaven is theirs, 
and that come death when it will, it will consummate their happi- 
ness that shall never end ; that their happiness for ever is secured ; 
an assurance of this will give that pleasure, that nothing in all the 
world can be like it. 

2. The properties of these pleasures of religion are such, that no 
other pleasures are comparable unto them. Consider, 

1. They are refined and pure. " They are wines on the lees, fat 
things full of marrow, wines on the lees well refined." And so they 
must be the most exquisite ones, most powerfully and effectually 
pleasing the soul. All the pleasures of sin are gross and impure. 
They leave behind them a defilement in the soul and a sting in the 
conscience. So that however sweet they may be at the brim, they 
become bitter at the bottom.* They leave a disgust behind them ; a 
remorse and gnawing in the conscience, which often make men 
curse the day they ever tasted them. 

1. They ever satisfy without loathing or disgust. All other plea- 
sures are surfeiting, so that at length the heart turns upon them, 
and persons have so much of them, that for the present they can 
have no more. And therefore the pleasures of the world without 
intermission, would be painful. But there is no wearying in the 
pleasures of religion, let them be continued without interruption, 
there is no less pleasure in them, than was in the first tasting. 
They never grow stale, never sapless. Other pleasures are such 
when tasted ; but these when drunk in the most plentiful measure, 
are longest in continuance. ^ 

3. They are most ready and near at hand. When the pleasures 
of sin are to be brought in from other objects, the drunkards and 
nnclean persons from their companions in wickedness, the covetous 
man's from his wealth, the proud and ambitious man's from the 
esteem of others; the pleasures of religion rise from reflections 


within a man's own 8on1. A good man shall he scoia/iedfrom himself. 
They arise from his God and his g^raoe, which are not from him, 
which he enjoys as mnch when alone, as in company. 

4. They are the strongest and most enga^ng pleasures. For 
they continue under the greatest hardships of the world, and eren 
in the face of death. Where are the pleasures of the way of siiii 
when one is deprived of his wealth, health, and much more when 
lying OB a deathbed, in view of eternity. They fall away then, 
they cannot abide the shock. But the pleasures of religion, spoiling 
of goods cannot remoye, '' For the saints know in themselves, that 
they have in heaven a better and an enduring substance." A pri- 
son cannot do it. '' Paul and Silas sung there.'' Shameful treat- 
ment cannot, " For they rejoice in being counted worthy to suffer 
shame for Jesus' sake." And in the face of death these pleasures 
put a new song in their mouth. *' death, where is thy sting ? O 
grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the 
strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who giveth us the 
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Finally, These pleasures are lasting. Others are but vanishing 
shadows, or like a dream that passeth away. *^ The pleasures of sin 
are but for a season." What indeed are the pleasures of sin but as 
** the crackling of thorns under a pot, and the end of that mirth is 
sadness." But the pleasures of religion endure. ** I will see yon 
again, saith Jesus to his people, and your heart shall rejoice, and 
yonr joy no man taketh from you." They begin in time and they 
are carried on through eternity, while there remains with others 
nothing but the bitter dregs of theirs. 

6. Consider that religion helps a person to draw the greatest 
pleasure from created things which they can afford. No man enjoys 
the pleasure which created things afford, in that measure that the 
truly religious man does. " Blessed are the meek ; for they shall 
inherit the earth." Thus in the way of religion, a man stands fair- 
est for having pleasure in the comforts of life. For, 

1. It makes a man enjoy what is allowed him from them, without 
fretting for the want of what is denied him. Religion teaches us 
** in whatsoever state we are, therewith to be content." How often 
do men's corruptions raising upon wants in the creature, embitter all 
that might be had' from it ; and the evil that is about it, squeeses 
out the sap of the good that is in it. But the renewed soul would 
find itself pleased. 

2. It seasons and sweetens the pleasure of created things, while 
the saints reckon they have them with Goi's good-will and favour. 
This puts an additional sweetness in lawful enjoyments to them^ 


while others have the pain of thinking of God's anger coming along 
with, and annexed to the forbidden frait. 

3. Religion helps a man to take pleasure in those things which to 
a carnal man can yield none. Therefore, says Panl, " I take plea- 
sure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecntions, in 
distresses for Christ's sake : for when I am weak, then am I strong." 
Moses preferred the afflictions of the people of Grod, to the pleasures 
of Pharaoh's court. So that the soul by means of religion, gathers 
figs of thorns, which can serve only to annoy the ungracious world. 

4. Religion extends the fund of the man's pleasure over the whole 
world. It teaches a man to rejoice in the works of the Lord, and 
to notice the divine wisdom, power and goodness, which appear in 
the whole visible world. *' The works of the Lord are great, sought 
out of all them that have pleasure in them." It is observable, that 
the pleasure which men who go on in the way of sin have from the 
creature, arises chiefly from artificial things invented by luxury, 
which bewrays their loss of that innocent pleasure, arising from the 
works of God as he made them. 

6. It gives a man a right of property in created things, so that be 
eannot but enjoy them with the greater pleasure, having a sense of 
bis property in them. — AU ikmgs, says Paul to believers, are yours. 
One can take more pleasure in a cottage of his own, than in a palace 
that is not his. It is a pleasure to be able to say of any good thing, 
it is my own. And that a gracious person may say of all things. 
Hence that paradox, ''As having nothing, and yet possessing all 

Use. Believe then that the way of religion is the most pleasant 
way. You have all ground to receive this testimony concerning it. 
And if it were received, it would engage you to say. As for me^ I 
unU serve the Lord. Alas ! how sad is it, that people would in effect 
court their own destruction in the rugged ways of sin, and flee from 
their happiness in the pleasant ways of religion. Indeed we are in 
a valley of tears, but we might gain our salvation, with as little 
trouble to ourselves, as we take in compassing our own ruin. We 
come now. 

In the second place, to speak of the peacefulness of the ways of 
religion. Peace is what every one desires. Even the end of war is 
peace. All seek it but few fall on the right way to it. The way of 
religion is the way of peace. Rom. iii. 17. Here I shall, 

I. Inquire what peace is to be enjoyed in the way of religion. 

II. I shall evince this to be the most peaceful way. I an then, 
L To inquire what pea«e is to be enjoyed in the way of 
There is a seveafold peace to be found in religion. 

Vol. IIL r 


1. Peace with God. ''Being justified by faith, we have peace 
with God through oar Lord Jesus Christ." There is a breach be- 
twixt God and sinners, made by Adam's sin, and enlarged every 
day by new transgressions. The isinner bears a real enmity against 
Qod. — *^ The carnal mind is enmity against God." And God bears 
a legal enmity against the sinner. His word condemns him, says, 
there is no peace to khn, but a cloud of wrath hangs over his head. 
" He that believeth not the Son shall not see life ; but the wrath of 
God abideth on him." This is his ease while in the state of sin, but 
as soon as he comes into the way of religion, the breach is made up, 
the cloud evanisheth, heaven smiles on him. He is counted the 
friend of God. Ye are my friends^ said Jesus to his disciples. The 
communication betwixt heaven and him is opened, and he has access 
to God as a friend, while others as enemies are banished from his 
presence. Job xxxiii. 23 — 26. 

2. Peace of conscience. Our rooking is this^ the testimony of our 
conscience. Conscience is the best friend, or worst enemy, a person 
hath in all the world. An evil conscience pierceth much more 
severely than the sharpest arrow. "A wounded spirit who can 
bear ?" It is a gnawing worm, nay, it tears the soul as a lion doth 
its prey. The guilt laid on it in the way of sin envenoms the ar- 
row, and makes conscience gall the man. This is the serpent which 
bites him, who breaks over the hedge of God's laws. But in the 
way of religion conscience is pacified. The blood of Christ applied 
by faith draws out the sting. The conscience speaks peace to a 
regular walker with God. '* Great peace have they which love thy 
law : and nothing shall offend them." This rejoices the soul in 
midst^f troubles, and feasts him in famine. And this inward peace 
is a sweet sauce to the bitterest dish which providence sets before a 
Christian ; while an evil conscience, even in much outward prospe- 
rity, goes along with sinners, and is a dead fly in their best ointment. 

3. Peace of heart by the soul's rest in God. '* Return unto thy 
rest, my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." 
Adam left all his children with a conscience full of guilt, a heart 
full of wants, even wants that cannot be numbered. They go to 
created things for the supply of these wants, but in doing so, they 
go through dry places, seeking rest and finding none. In the way 
of religion, a person comes to God in Christ, there the soul is at 
peace and rests in its centre. Here the soul is brought into the ark 
as the dove, sits down by the fountain of living waters, and is put in 
possession of the matchless treasure. Thus the believing heart 
enters into peace and rest, as haying all its desire, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. 
What a disturbed heart had Hannah, but when she had poured out 


her Bonl before the Lord and obtained the hope of a gpracions an- 
swer, she did eat amfi her countenance was no more sad, 

4. Peace of mind. " Thon wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose 
mind is stayed on thee ; becanse he trusteth in thee." In the world 
there is a variety of events, no man knows what shall be. In the 
way of sin a person is kept fluctuating in that respect, tossed hither 
and thither, like a ship without a helm, left to the conduct of the 
wind and seas. Our Lord forbids this, and says, " Seek not ye what 
ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind." 
Be ye not like meteors in the air, tossed hither and thither, some- 
times hoping, sometimes fearing, buoyed up with the one, cast down 
with the other, and so in continual agitation. When a person is 
not in the way of religion, there is no help against this ; but in that 
way there is peace of mind, to be enjoyed upon solid grounds, and it 
is the native effect of peace and holiness. " The work of righteous- 
ness shall be peace ; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and 
assurance for ever." Behold the sure ground. "How beautiful 
upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, 
that publisheth peace ; that bringeth good tidings of good, that pub- 
lisheth salvation ; that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth I" And 
hence ariseth the triumph of the saints, in times of trouble and in 
doubtful events, Psal. jVn. 1 — 4. 

6. Peace with the creatures of God. " For thou shalt be in league 
with the stones of the field ; and the beasts of the field shall be at 
peace with thee." While man is at enmity with God, the whole 
creation stands in array against him. When he goes out of God's 
way, God's creatures lie in wait to attack him on the least signal 
given. Upon this, frogs enter Pharaoh's chambers, and worms de- 
vour Herod. He may say as Gain, every one that findeth me will 
slay me. But in the way of religion, he shall have them all his con- 
federates, as all the servants run to serve him, whom their master 
delights to honour. Angels are their attendants and from the highest 
to the lowest creature, he may comfortably look on them, as know- 
ing that all is bis, because he is Christ's. 

6. Peace, even prosperity, as the scripture nseth that word. *' Say 
ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him ; for they shall 
eat the fruit of their doings." Religion is the true way to prosper, 
io get good success ; for while a blasting curse attends the way of 
sin, a rich blessing is found in the way of religion. It is the way to 
promote the prosperity of the soul, even as the soul of Gains pros- 
pered. Loose living ruins a man's spiritual state. Living lusts prey 
like vermin on the soul, deface the beauty and eat out the life of the 
better part. The soul is the man and while it is going back, though 



the bodily health and wealth abound, he prospers no more than the 
rickety child, whose head grows big, but the body^ decays. 

Trne religion also is the way to prosper in every other resx>ect. 
*' The godly man shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water 
that bringeth forth his fruit in season ; his leaf shall not wither. 
And whatsoever he doth shall prosper." Outward prosperity indeed 
is not so annexed either to the way of sin, or of religion, as to de- 
termine in which of them a person is. But there is a promise for it 
in the way of religion, which shall be accomplished as far as it shall 
serve to God's glory and their good. " Length of days is in her 
right hand ; and in her left riches and honour." But there is no 
such promise respecting the way of sin. Besides where prosperity 
oomes in the way of religion, there is a blessing in it by virtue of the 
promise, and it shall prove to the person's real good. " We know 
that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them 
who are the called according to his purpose." Bat in the way of 
sin prosperity is attended with a curse, that hath dismal effects for 
their destruction. The prosperity of fools shall destroy them. It was 
the saying even of a heathen. No body is happy till after death. 
And we know the end crowns the work. How often do we see it 
verified in this life, ** He that walketh uprightly walketh surely : 
but he that perverteth his ways shall be known ?" How often doetf 
the stone sinfully moved roll down on them that moved it. " And 
when a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to 
be at peace with him." So that the way of holiness will always get 
the preference sooner or later. " Mark the perfect man, and behold 
the upright ; for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors 
shall be destroyed together ; and the end of the wicked shall be cut 

Lastly, Eternal peace. What crowns the peacefulness of the way 
of religion is, that- the end of that way is peace, while the end of the 
other is destruction. The godly man dies in peace, though he die in 
the field of battle. This made Balaam wish '* to die the death of 
the righteous. They enter into peace; they rest in their beds." 
They shall rise again in peace. " Thy dead men shall live, together 
with my dead body shall they arise. Awake, and sing, ye that 
dwell in the dust ; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth 
shall cast out the dead." They shall enjoy the most profound peace 
for ever in another world, a peace that cannot be interrupted. '* For 
the gates of the city shall not be shut at all by day, and there shall 
be no night there." Now in the way of religion, this peace is at- 
tained. We are naturally strangers to peace. Wicked men have 
none, and they grasp at it without a covenant right. But a soul 


eoming in the way of religion, is on the highway of peace ; nay, one 
no sooner takes the first step in that way, bnt he enters into peace. 
'* Being justified by faith, ye have peace with God through onr Lord 
Jesns Christ." Howeyer terrible the storms have been, faith appre- 
hending the blood of Christ prodnceth peace according to its mea- 

This peace is also maintained by religion. '* Great peace have 
they that love thy law ; and nothing shall offend them." Nothing 
can marr the peace of a saint but sin. " Peace, said Jesus, I leave 
with you, my peace I give unto you : not as the world giyeth, give I 
unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." 
The world may rob the Christian of his external peace, but his super- 
natural, internal and eternal peace they cannot reach ; these may be 
enjoyed eyen in the midst of war and trouble. " These things, saith 
Jesus, I haye spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In 
the world ye shall haye tribulation ; bnt be of good cheer, I haye 
oyercome the world." The holy steadfast walk with God will haye 
its effect. For the work of righteousness shall he peace. And no sin 
haying access to them in heayen, their state there will be without 
the least disturbance. We now proceed, 

II. To eyince this to be the most peaceful way. What was said 
on the pleasantness of this way does manifest this. I shall only add 
a few things. In the way of sin men may haye some stolen sherds of 
peace, bnt no entire, no solid peace can be found in it. It is too 
diyine a thing to be found any where, bnt in the way of faith and 
holiness. May it not be said to sinners as Jehju said to the king's 
messenger. What hast thou to do mth peace ? 

1. What peace can one haye in the way of sin, while God that 
made him is angry with him. God is angry with the wicked every day. 
All the peace which earth can afford, while heayen is frowning, is 
but a pleasant dream, a short liyed fancy, a fabric beautiful without 
a foundation, that will fall to the ground with a hideous noise ere 

But what peace in the fayour of the God of peace I This peace 
is confined to the way of religion. There the God of peace is their 
God, and from a throne of grace breathes peace and good-will to- 
wards the creature. 

i. What peace to a man that is a stranger to the Mediator of 
peace. " But those mine enemies, saith he, wbich would not that I 
should reign oyer them, bring hither and slay them before me." 
Againsii them, you see heayen is farther incensed by their slighting 
the Prince of Peace. But the way of religion, the Mediator himself 
is our peace. And the emanations of the diyine perfections^ all meet 



to carry on the peace of the saints, and he who ont of Chriat is a 
consuming fire, is through him a reconciled Father. 

What peace to a person, who is without the covenant of peace ? 
What hath such an one to do with it, that remains in a state of war 
against God ? But they that are in the way of religion are taken 
np into the chariot of the covenant, and are making away to eternal 

Lastly, What peace can there be so long as stinging guilt remains 
in the conscience, unsatisfied desires in the heart, while anxieties 
and fears for which, in the way in which men are, there is no cure, 
remain in the breast ; and divers lusts are reigning and raging with- 
in ? To those in this state there can be no peace. But the pro- 
found peace, where the conscience is purged, the heart come to its 
rest, the mind satisfied, and the reign of sin broken. 

Use 1. Of information. This teaches us, 

1. That religion is the true way to make a person happy, as lead- 
ing them to the greatest pleasure and peace. Would you be happy, 
then be religious. This is the surest, the most compendious way, 
nay, the only way to happiness. To this the poor have as ready ac- 
cess as the rich, and we need not go far for it ; *' For the word is 
nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart ; that is the word of 
faith which we preach. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the 
Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart, that God hath raised 
him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Come hither, then, and 
thy soul shall find a satisfying rest. 

2. Religion is the best cement of society. It is that which makes 
all relations comfortable by the pleasure and peace which it brings 
along with it. Were there more religion amongst us in the world, 
there would not be so many jarrings, it would bring in a blessed har- 
mony, Isa. xi. 6. It is the low degree of practical religion among 
men, that occasions so many contentions, breaches, and discords, in 
states, churches, and families. 

Religion is the best choice in the world for young or old. " It is 
the one thing needful, the bettef part, that shall not be taken from 
us.'* The world is a valley of tears and trouble. We are born weep- 
ing, and choose what way we will, we will meet with crosses and 
disasters. Every one needs something to allay his sorrows and seeks 
it also. Some go to one thing for it and some to another, most go 
the wrong way. But religion is the best allay that is to be found, 
and there is nothing in all the world that will correct the bad air 
that blows in it, in the way that religion will do. Its pleasure and 
peace will stand those shocks, before which all others will evieuiish. 

4. The opinion of the unpleasantness and trouble of religion is a 


most groandless prejadice. This mistake makes many stand back 
from it. This makes it especially look strange and frightful to 
yonng persons, whose years call for what is pleasant and gay. But 
O consider that in calling you to a religions life, we call you not to 
bid adieu to all pleasure and peace, but only to change your pleasure 
and peace, a meaner one for a higher and more noble one ; a less for 
a greater, an unsound one for a sound one, a short-lived for a last- 
ing, even an everlasting one. 

Therefore deceive not yourselves with pleasant dreams, shadows 
and airy baubles, while that which is solid, powerful and lasting is 
before you. 

6. Pleasantness h a very desirable thing. It is one of the great 
motives to bring people to the way of religion, and it is an attendant 
of the good old way. It is what all men naturally do desire, but 
what few attain in a right manner. When pleasantness is drawn 
from the way of sin, it is a most ensnaring hook. But happy are 
they that have most of it in the ways of God. 

6. Peace is a very desirable thing also, and worthy to be fol- 
lowed. It is another of the motives that bring x>ersons to the way 
of religion. It is the beauty of society and ought to be followed in 
the several subjects of it. Follow peace with aU men^ says the apostle. 
— This calls for peace in our families, and in our neighbourhoods ; 
peace in the state, and peace in the church. It is a pleasant and a 
profitable thing. Psalm cxxxiii. It is really a wonder that the 
duty of seeking the peace of the church, should have so little weight 
with the consciences of men, but that all things tending that way 
should be so suspicions, when Christ and his apostles so often urge 
it. Our Lord is the Prince of Peace, the church the society of 
peace, religion the way of peace ; the godly are the meek the quiet 
in the land. And nothing pleases enemies better than to see the 
chnrch broken in pieces. The farther from peace the farther from 
the power of godliness, 1 Cor. iii. 3, 4. 

Must we then be for peace at any rate? No. Gold may be 
bought too dear and so may peace. Behold the boundaries. " The 
wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy 
to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, 
and without hypocrisy." We must give any thing for peace except 
truth and holiness. " Buy the truth and sell it not ; also wisdom, 
and instriiction and understanding." But is not truth betrayed by 
maintaining peace with such as differ from ■ us in some^ particular 
point of truth and holiness ? Many think so indeed to the breaking 
of the peace of this church ; but the apostle thinks and determines 
otherwise, Rom. xiv. 22. Philip, iii. 16. But these men who being 


toaolied in the tender point of their own interest, sacriflce the peace 
of the chnrch to it, and for their own defence break over the hedge, 
and carry a foul conscience with them. They might learn a uaeful 
lesson from the ermin, a beast that has a very precions far, which 
it will by no means defile. The hunters therefore lay mad and clay 
across the way, and then hound the dogs at it. It runs from them, 
till it come to that mud, but then rather than stain its fur by cross- 
it, it will turn back among the dogs and die. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. Be exhorted then all of you to the study 
of religion. Leave the way of sin and folly and cleave to the way 
of wisdom and religion. Lay aside your prejudices against it, and 
come taste and see the pleasure and peace of true religion. 

1. You that have entered on the way of religion, come press for- 
ward in it, and you shall taste that pleasure and peace that are in 
it. Cease not to make advances in the way, till you find it so in 
your own experience. And if you thus press on, you shall say I 
have found pleasure and peace indeed. 

2. .You that are strangers in heart to religion, embrace it now. 
Let the beauty of its ways draw you towards it. Satan has long 
kept you in the dark about it, told you there is no pleasure nor 
peace in it. But believe the testimony of God and those that 
have tried it, who tell you that of all ways it is the most pleasant 
and the most peaceful. All yon then that are lovers of a pleasant 
life turn in hither and take this way. Gome you that would have 
pleasure, here is the most pleasant way in the world. Would you 
spend your days pleasantly make religion the great business of 
them. Are yon anxious to be delivered from a life of grief, heavi- 
ness, and sorrow ; to have the scales turned, and delight, joy, and 
satisfaction to come in their room; here is the way. All you also 
that would have a peaceful life, come in hither. Are there any 
whose peace is broken by outward trouble, that can get no more 
peace in the world than a lily among thorns ? Any whose peace is 
broken by inward troubles, going mourning without the sun, broken 
with God's terrors, harrassed with Satan's temptations, stung with 
a guilty conscience ? Here is a sovereign balm for you, for all your 
outward sores, and an effectual cure for all your inward pains. Re- 
ligion will ease yon. Faith and holiness will put you all right. 

But before I come to the motives, I must remove the impediments, 
by answering some plausible objections. 

Objection 1. Does not common observation tell ns that they who 
keep themselves entirely loose from religion, have a far more plea- 
sant life, than the strict followers of religion ? Answer. There is 
one grand prejudice against this, which may justly call ns to exa- 


mine the matter more narrowly, namely, that at this rate, the life 
that is nearest that ot a beast is the most pleasant life. Bat this is 
a principle of which hnman reason cannot bat be ashamed. There- 
fore, I say, the common observation thns determining is too snper- 
ficial to be depended apon. It determines by sensible appearances, 
and noise. Bat do yon not observe that the shallow brooks make 
greater noise than the deep waters, and it is not yonr most exqui- 
site pleasures, hot the smaller ones that are discovered by langhter ; 
so the pleasures of religion are above that airy gaiety that appears 
in snch men. To make a right judgment here, you must compare 
the solid joys of religion, with the airy joys of fools. You must 
X>erceive and compare, the peace of mind that accompanies the plea- 
sures of the one, with those twinges of conscience that accompany 
the other, and you will soon see that you have been out in your 

Obj. 2. Are not religious persons often found the most sorrowfol 
and dejected ones? Answer. There are great differences as to 
the natural tempers of some, and grace does not take away but 
correct these natural dispositions. There are some naturally cheer- 
ful that are religious, and some such who are irreligious ; there are 
some religious persons of a more heavy spirit, and so there are of 
the other sort. Why should religion be blamed, on the account of 
those who have what is unpleasing in their way, not from religion, 
but from what is common to men. Again, the sorrows of the reli- 
gious many tiroes flow from their stepping out of the way. And 
when persons leave the way of pleasantness in less or more, it is no 
wonder their sorrow be proportionable, falling into the lions' dens 
and mountains of leopards. Yet it will be found that the religions 
heart which knows its own bitterness, with which others are unac- 
quainted, hath also those joys with which strangers do not inter- 
meddle. '* A wise man feareth and departeth from e^il ; but the 
fool rageth and is confident. 

Obj. 3. What pleasure can there be in many of the exercises of 
religion, as repenting, mourning, mortification, watching, and the 
like ? Answer, 1. However little there be, there will always be as 
much as in many of the ways of sin, as envy, wrath, malice, anxiety, 
fretting, murmuring, striving against the will of providence, and the 
like. 2. There is a pleasure at least at the root of these exercises 
of religion, which springs upward in solid joy. ''Blessed are they 
that mourn for they shall be comforted.'' Yea, there is a pleasure 
in them, while they go on and prosper in a person's hand. It is a 
pleasure to a gracious soul to find the heart loosed from the bands 
of wickedness, to get victory over a corruption, and to stand ita 


ground against temptation. Godly sorrow and joy are not inoonsis- 
tent. Hence the command is, rejoice with trembUng. 

Obj. 4. But is not trouble the ordinary companion of religion? 
Answer, Choose what way you will,- the storm of trouble blows so 
yehemently in the world, that you can never altogether escape it. 
But religion brings peace in the midst of trouble. It removes in- 
ward troubles of conscience, it brings the heart and mind to rest in 
God and acquiesce in the disposals of proyidence,.and makes a per- 
son inwardly easy, while under outward troubles. " In the world, 
-says Jesus, ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I hare 
orercome the world." Yea, as the well cultivated field bids fairest 
for the best crop, so the most afflicted Christians have commonly 
the greatest incomes of peace and joy, 2 Cor. i. 5. and xii. 10. 

Obj. 6. I have tried religion and have not found it so. Answer, 
Since others have tried it as well as you and find it so, you must 
conclude it is so, though you have not found it. Look into thyself, 
and thou wilt find the cause of it there. There are many that try 
the ways of religion with their old nature unrenewed, how can it 
but be heavy to them. Some try them in the way and under the 
influence of the covenant of works, not in the way of believing : no 
wonder then that they complain, since they mistake the yoke of the 
law for the sweet yoke of Christ. Some are but entering upon the 
way of religion, and no wonder they feel it hard going up the hill 
of Zion, who have not been used to such kind of travelling. Some 
are so inconsistent in their religions endeavours, that they never 
take it but by fits and starts, they never inure themselves to the life 
of faith, and a close walk with God ; what wonder then if they con- 
tinue strangers to the pleasures of religion. Some are so superficial 
they seldom if ever enter into the spirit of it, in inward spiritual 
worship and communion with God, and while they still stand by the 
outskirts of it, and do not dip into religion, it is no wonder they 
fall short of the pleasure of it. 

Take for instance the duty of prayer, in which God's people have 
found much peace and pleasure. Yet how can it be so to one who 
goes to it with his taste quite vitiated with the luscious sweets of 
sin, who makes his address to God, purely as a criminal to his judge 
and dare not call him Father, who has done with it, ere it be well 
begun, whose heart is wandering hither and thither in the time of 
it, or who content themselves with the lip labour of it ? These ob- 
jections removed, consider these motives following. 

Motive 1. Embrace the way of religion, that pleasant and peace- 
ful way : for whatever can make a way pleasant and peaceful is to 
be found in it. Consider here, 



1. It is the King's highway, not a by-path, Isa. zxxv. 8. It is 
the way marked oat and determined by the King of heaven, for 
mortals to walk in towards eternal bliss. The Father has appointed 
it by his eternal decree, £ph. ii. 10. The Son of God in man's na- 
ture trod every step, and marked it out by the prints of his feet, 
leaving as an example that we should follow his steps. The Spirit 
of the Lord not only points it oat to sinners, bat gaides his people 
to it and on in it. ^ 

2. It is the way, the only way to Immanael's land. " For with- 
out holiness no man shall see the Lord." It leads to the new Jera- 
salem, the heavenly city, the celestial paradise, and has sach a close 
connection with it, that they who are once set- fair on the way are 
said to be come to these already, Heb. x. 22, 23. And were it 
otherwise ever so anpleasant, this is sufficient to denominate it a 
pleasant way. It is a pleasant way that ends so pleasantly, especi- 
ally considering that the opposite way of sin leads to the chambers 
of death. 

3. The pleasant land to which it leads is always within the reach 
of a traveller's eye, from the first step to the last upon it. " Thine 
eyes shall see the King in his beauty ; they shall behold the land 
that is very far off." Faith embracing Christ and all his salvation, 
fixes its eye on heaven at the very first step. AnAf the traveller 
lose sight of it, at any. time, he may impute it to himself, the weak- 
ness of his eye that cannot see afar off, the mists and fogs that arise 
from the forbidden ground, to which he often turns aside. The 
Lord of the land allows the travellers to keep it in their view all 
along. Like Moses, they rnay have respect unto the recompense of re- 
ward. And it is a city set on an hill that cannot of itself l>e hid 
from those that are on the way. 

4. It is a plain straight way. The great direction in this way is, 
*' Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eye-lids look straight 
before thee. This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the 
right hand, and when ye turn to the left." The turning and wind- 
ing way, where travellers are ready to lose themselves, is the way 
of the crooked serpent. But blessed are they that keep straight, 
for they are in the pleasant way to blessedness, Psal. cxix. 1. One 
lust may be contrary to another, so one error to another, that makes 
the way of sin a crooked uneven way. But all graces, duties, and 
truths, centre in God in Christ, and so lead to one and the same 

6. It is a clean way, there is not a foul step in this way, and the 
unclean cannot walk in it, Isa. xxxv. 8. There are on every hand 
mires into which many fall and perish ; but they are no part of the 


way of religion, bat the way of sin. '* Therefore I esteem all thy 
precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false 
way." As long as the soal keeps this way, it remains sweet and 
clean, and in a florid beanty, lovely in the eyes of God, and of men 
whose eyes are opened. It is true the world loaths it, but that is 
as swine do a clean palace, to which they prefer the dunghill. Bat 
it is the godlike, heavenly way. 

6. Though there be difficnlties in the way, yet^there is sufficient 
help at hand to carry a man through the most difficult step. " My 
grace, saith Jesus, is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made 
pecfect in weakness." God lays no burden upon his people, but 
what he allows them strength to bear. If he -orders them to go 
through the fire or water, he hath promised to be with them, and to 
keep them, Isa. xliii. 2. If they be to swim through a sea of blood, 
he will bear np their head. And as their afflictions abound, so he 
makes his grace abound too. 

7. It is a well frequented way. It is true, not so frequented as 
the broad way, in which the devil's multitude goes : yet not soli- 
tary. There is a cloud of witnesses hath gone before on that way, 
and it is by the footsteps of that flock we are now called to go. 
And there is never wanting some generous souls, who trample on 
things below, and aspire to the things above. 

8. There are inns by this way for the refreshing of the traveller, 
whenever he is disposed to make use of them. Gospel ordinances 
and duties are these inns designed for their refreshment, that they 
may go on the more vigorously. " He brought me to the banquet- 
ing house, and his banner over me was love." And never were inns 
by a way more acceptable to a weary traveller, than the word, sa- 
craments and prayer, have been to the saints. 

Lastly, There is pleasant company by this way. Even the society 
of the saints makes it very pleasant. The communication of sorrows 
and of joys, and communion of prayers are most refreshful. But 
the society and communion with the Lord of the land allowed to the 
travellers by the way is the top of the pleasure. It was observed of 
GsBsar, that he ordered not his soldiers to go, but desired them to 
come with him on such an expedition. And that is the very voice 
that sounds in this way. *^ Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, 
with me from Lebanon." They go with him in his chariot of tbe 
blessed covenant. 

Motive 2. Let the pleasure and peace in religion, engage and de- 
termine your souls to that way. For consider these are the very 
things which you are seeking after, and which you cannot but seek, 
you cannot cease to desire, more than you can cease desiring and 


seeking to be happy. Why come you not then- to the place where 
they are pointed oat to be ? It is observable that the gospel invita- 
tions are framed to answer the natural desires of men after pleasure 
and peace, or happiness. Yon are like men in a mist going up and 
down seeking these things, saying, " Who will shew us any good ?" 
The gospel answers, here, here it is. " Ho ! every one that thirst- 
eth come ye to the waters. Come unto me all ye that are weary 
and heavy laden, 'and I will give you rest." And yet they do not 
find it, but still hold on their old cry in the mist ; and the true 
reason is, they look upon the gospel answer as a mook, an idle tale, 
and therefore the blame of men's ruin is laid on unbelief, though 
they will not believe that to be the cause, and that is a part of the 
disease. *' For who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the 
arm of the Lord been revealed ?" 

Motive 3. Consider the galling disappointments with which you 
have met, in seeking pleasure and peace otherwise than in the way 
of religion. Would men consider the cold entertainment with 
which they have so often met from the world, and in the way of 
sin ; how often in vain they have begged at these doors, and in vain 
pursued such things, they would turn their backs upon them, they 
would give over the chase and say with the prodigal, " I perish here 
with hunger. I will arise and go to my Father." 

How often have you found the pleasure and peace got in that 
way, mean, empty, trifling, sinking far below expectation. *' Vanity 
of vanities, vanity of vanities, all is vanity." These mountains afar 
off and in expectation, have turned to mole hills when near and in 
fruition. The deceitful creature and deceitful lusts have promised 
great things, but performed always meanly ; so that were we not 
bewitched with the love of them, we had come to that long ere now, 
never to credit them more. But alas ! *' Ephraim is like a silly 
dove ifithout heart : they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria." Have 
not these pleasures ai^ peace been unsatisfying while you had 
them ? They could not fill your heart, more than you could fill 
your hand with grasping dreams and shadows. You behoved still 
to have more, they could not perfectly still the cryings of the 
hungry soul within. 

Have they not been short lived ? It shall even be as when an 
hungry man dreameth, and behold he eateth ; but he awaketh and 
his sonl is empty. They have died among your hands, and melted 
like snow before the sun, or gone out like the foam on the water. 

How often in this pursuit, when you have got the pleasure, have 
you not lost the peace ? When you have climbed for the forbidden 
fruit and got it, has it not stnck in your throat, that you could not 


eDJoy it. For whoso hreaketh an hedge^ a serpent shaU bite him. This 
was sadly exemplified in the case of Judas. Has not the gratifying 
of lasts so disobliged yonr conscience, that it has broken yonr peace, 
and marred the promised feast or the pleasure ? wretched disap- 
pointment, where plncking the rose one gets a thorn rnn into his 

How often in this pursuit haye you lost both the pleasure and the 
peace you sought, and in their stead received displeasure and dis- 
turbance? "They that observe lying vanities forsake their own 
mercies." Many times striking at the rock for water, fire flashing 
in the face is all that is got ; and sucking the breasts of the crea- 
ture, blood is wrung out instead of milk. Is not this a bad reward 
which sin and the world give us for our love ? Is not our labour ill 
bestowed upon them ? " Behold is it not of the Lord of hosts, thai 
the people shall labonr in the very fire, and the people shall weary 
themselves for very vanity ?" 

Oh ! sirs, shall not these disappointments in this way prevail to 
cause you turn to the way of religion ? Will you still hold on to 
cry there for pleasure and peace, where it is told you a thousand 
times they are not there to give you ? Hath Qod told yon they are 
to be[^had in the way of religion, and experience told you that yon 
seek- them in vain elsewhere, and yet will you not try religion? 

Motive 4. You shall find both pleasure and peace in the way of 
religion. Not only are they there, but yon shall find them there, 
according to the measure of your keeping the way of religion. 
'* Hearken, says God, diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is 
good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." What you have 
been so long disappointed of in the way of sin, you will find there. 
The fountain is an open fountain, its flowing stream is never dry. 
** Whosoever, saith Jesns, drinketh of the water that I shall give 
him, shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him, shall be 
in him a well of water, springing up into eiwrlasting life." 

Come here, and you shall find pleasure, refined, satisfying, strong, 
lasting pleasure. You are invited to this feast, and God calls not 
sinners to an empty table. " taste and see that the Lord is good ; 
blessed is the man that trusteth in him." The Psalmist speaks his 
own experience in this matter when he says, " Who satisfieth thy 
mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the 
eagle's.'^ The way of religion is the same as it was then, the trea- 
sures are as full as ever ; God's bounty is not dried up more than it 
was then. " Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot 
save ; neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear." If there be any 
change it is to the better, even so far as the gospel dispensation 


excels that of the law, in tbe more plentiful effusion of the Spirit, 
grreater light, and familiarity by the Spirit of adoption. 

Here also yon will find peace, peace with Qod, peace internal, 
eternal, and external, as much as shall be for God's honour and 
your own good. Behold the blessing poured on the head of the 
travellers in this way. " And as many as walk according to this 
rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." 
The black cloud hangs over the way of sin, and sinners hare the 
dark side of the hill, on which heaven lowers continually. But 
happy these that walk in the way of religion. They have the sunny 
side of the hill. If the clouds of outward trouble drop tl^ere, yet 
while it rains it shines, and that is comfortable. 

Now is not Christ's offer as good as that of sin and the world ? 
Our Lord offers you pleasure and peace too, and he will surely give 
them, he will not disappoint you. And will yon not fall in with it ? 
It is but the blasphemy of the wicked heart, to say he is an austere 
man. It is not consistent with his honour, to suffer his creatures to 
be losers at his hand, or to bring them into a worse condition than 
he found them. '* God is not ashamed to be called their God for he 
hath provided for them a city. 

Moixvt 5. The pleasure and peace to be found in the way of reli- 
gion are vastly preferable to all that is to be found in the way of 
sin, as bread is to husks, or to a stone, or to ashes. This is evident 
from what was already said, on the third general head. They are 
truly satisfying, for they are suited to the nature of the soul, which 
is spiritual and immortal, and can never be satisfied with the plea- 
sures of sense, which are fading. But the pleasures of religion are 
like the soul itself, spiritual, fit to feed, delight, and perfect the 
soul, and they endure for ever. 

Motive 6. The pleasures of religion are inseparably attended with 
peace. The way of religion is not only sweet but safe. So says the 
text. One may perhaps find pleasure in the way of sin, but there is 
no safety in it. The most pleasant cup that can be found in the 
way of sin is full of deadly poison. ^* Stolen waters are sweet, and 
bread eaten in secret is pleasant ; but he knoweth not that the dead 
are there ; and that her guests are in the depths of hell." There is 
a sting comes along with that honey, and the smiles are killing. 
But where one is feasted with the pleasure of religion they may 
partake without fear in that respect, for there can be no death in 
the pot. Here pleasure and peace, sweetness and safety are mingled 
with one another. 

Motive 7. Tou shall find eternal pleasure and peace at the end of 
this way. ** Thou wilt shew me the path of life ; in thy presence 

340 PLSABUsis or bslioiok. 


there is fulness of joy ; at thy right hand there are pleasures for 
evermore." Hereby you will find them on the other side of the 
grave, you will carry them along with you to another world, or ra- 
ther yon will go to them there in their perfection. For all of that 
kind here is but the first fruits, and a pledge of what is to be had 
in heaven. There the saints shall enjoy the most refined pleasure 
in a perfection which we cannot now comprehend, and withal the 
most profound peace, without the least tonch of uneasiness while 
eternity lasts. 

Now I have delivered my message unto you, respecting the plea- 
sure and peace of God's way. I have recommended religion unto 
you, and laboured to remove the prejudice of unpleasantness which 
Satan and the world lay it under, intending to dress it up in such a 
frightful figure, as to make you afraid of it. I now would ask you, 

1. Do you now believe? John xvi. 31. Do you credit the report 
of the gospel, respecting the way of religion? Do yon believe it to 
be the true way of pleasure and peace ? I am afraid tlie hearts of 
some do look on what has been said, but as pulpit flourishes, and 
idle tales. But what is that, but to disbelieve the word of God, for 
nothing can be said higher, than what our text itself says on this 
matter. I tell you, if you be not cured of your unbelief, you will 
be cured of it, when you come to be in the situation of the rich man, 
^ who when in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments." 

2. Are you now resolved to take this way or not ? What will 
you do, will you hold on the broad way with the multitude, and not 
know the way of peace? Or will you now resolve to turn your 
back on them and it, and go by the footsteps of the flock ? I would 
say to you as the prophet Gad said unto David, " Now advise, asd 
see what answer I shall return to him that sent me." Sirs, your all 
is lying at stake. Your state for eternity turns upon this point. 
Take heed what you do. Is there any one among us who will say 
in their practice stilly " It is vain to serve God. For I have loved 
strangers, and after them will I go." Such persons have no taste 
for the pleasures of religion, but are resolved to make the best 
which they can of the pleasure and peace in the way of sin. Then 
I must tell you. That you are left without excuse, and are not only 
losers but despisers of the promised land. For I must protest in 
behalf of him that sent me, that none among us, young nor old shall 
have it to say, that they knew not that religion was a pleasant lif^f 
but that the veil is drawn off her face, that whosoever would, might 
see her loveliness and attractive beauty. 

I must also tell you that in this you sin against displayed love 
and good-wilL God has not been speaking to you from Sinai with 


thunder and terror, bat front Sion, with the still small voiee. Ton 
are not driven with whips into the way, nor dragged with chains of 
iron, but drawn with cords of love, and yet you will not come. 

Therefore I say finally, that by this you do judge yourselves un- 
worthy of eternal life. And therefore I declare that if you do not 
repent you shall never see life, but wrath will be your portion. 
And it will be dear bought pleasure and peace now, at the rate of 
everlasting burnings, and roarings under the lashes of revenging 

But now if there be any who are resolved to go this way, their 
question will be, what course shall I take to find the pleasure and 
peace of religion ? 

1. Close with Christ the Mediator of peace, in the way of the co- 
venant of peace through his blood. Come up into the chariot in the 
way of believing. This is the only true foundation of the pleasure 
and peace of religion. 

2. Be still going to Christ in a way of believing for the supplies 
of the Spirit of holiness, to carry on the renewing of your nature. 
For the more your nature be renewed and the old nature crucified, 
the more pleasure and peace you will find in religion. 

3. Grow in love to the Lord, by believing God to be your God in 
Christ, believing what he hath done for you in the great work of 
redemption, and what he hath prepared for you that love him. 

4. Labour to starve your lusts, and to root out the love of the 
world. " Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision 
for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof," 1 John ii. 1&— 17. As long 
as the gust and relish of earthly things is too quick and lively, the 
gust of religion will be flat and dull. A heart drenched in sensu* 
ality, or any excessive love to created things, will be like wet wood, 
not easily fired from heaven. 

5. Strive to be spiritual in every duty, aiming at communion with 
God in religious exercises, studying to do whatever yon do from 
right principles, in a right manner, and to a right end, for in these 
consist the life of religion. Song iv. 16. and v. 11. 

6. Be a constant close walker with God, making religion your 
business ; this will turn it to be a pleasure unto you ; and the more 
you go on in it without interruption, it will be the more pleasant. 

7. Go often to the fountain to wash, and to make much use of an 
imputed righteousness. '' For we are the circumcision, which wor- 
ship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no con- 
fidence in the flesh." This is the way to keep the conscience sw^et 
Mid pure, to get the peace of Gt>d to rule in your heturts. 

8. Believe the promises of strength and furniture for duty, and 
Vol. IIL z 


to go to the duty npon the credit of the promise. '* This is to be 
stroDg in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 

Lastly, Be heavenly in your frame and conyersation. " For our 
conversation, says Paul, is in heaven." Keep the other world much 
in your view. Live in the hope of drinking of the rivers of plea- 
sure. Believe the promises about these things, and let it be your 
main scope and end to get forward thither. So life will be blessed 
and death no terror. Or if you would have the directions in one 
word. Live by faith, and then you will find the pleasure and peace 
of religion. Amen. 

>m0>immimmmm #■ ** s 

EUrick, Oct, 2, 1729. 



CoLossiAKS iii. 3. 
For yt are dead. 

These words are a reason of the preceding exhortation, to set our 
affections on things above, not on things upon the earth. We must 
not set our hearts on, nor by any means seek the things on earth as 
our happiness ; for we are dead, and the dead have laid down all 
their worldly care in the grave, and have no more to do with this 
world. Now all that are in Christ are dead, yea buried with him 
and risen again, chap. ii. 12. and iii. 1. And of these only the text 
speaks, as for others they are yet alive. 

Question. In what sense are believers said to be dead f 
There is a natural death consisting in the separation of the soul 
from the body ; of this the apostle speaks not. A moral death con- 
sisting in a separation of certain qualities from the soul, which are 
the principles of action according to their kind, which being re- 
moved, the soul acts no more in that way, than a man morally dead 
moves and acts. There is a twofold moral life competent to man. 
One in Adam, another in Christ ; the former our natural stock, the 
latter the supernatural one. In these, all men, as branches^ live a 
life agreeable to the nature of the stock to which they are united. 
In the former all natural men are living, in the latter all believers. 
Those who are in Christ are cut out of the natural stock, and so 


tbey are dead to it ; engrafted to Christ, and so they are aliye to 
him. This death of which the apostle speaks, is the dying of the 
sonl to the natural stock, whereby it comes to pass that the commu- 
nication is stopped betwixt that stock and them, as hy natural death 
the communication betwixt the sonl and the body is stopped. This 
death is fourfold : 

1. Believers are dead to the law as a covenant of works. This is 
the doctrine of the scriptures. ** Wherefore, says Paul, my bre- 
thren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ ; 
that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised 
from the dead that we should bring forth fruit unto God." This 
is also the doctrine of our confession of faith, chap. xix. article 6. 
So that as the law is a covenant, believers have no more to do with 
it, than a dead wife has with the husband, to whom she was some- 
time married. Christ by his death, has removed the obligation of 
it as a covenant from those that are his, and as it were grinded to 
powder the stones on which it was written. In the mean time, he 
gives the same law to believers, as the will of their new husband. 

2. They are dead to themselves. '' For none of us, saith Paul, 
liveth to himself." Believers live to him that loved them and died 
for them. " For me, saith Paul, to live is Christ." Natural men 
being in the old stock, the covenant of works is the covenant by 
which they are influenced. Self is the principle and end of their 
actions. When one comes to Christ, he dies to the first covenant, 
he dies to the old principle, for behold the law of the new marriage: 
''And I said unto her, thou shalt abide for me many days, thou 
shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man ; 
80 will I also be for thee." And so among the first lessons learned 
at Christ's school is self-denial, by which one dies to his natural, 
moral, and religious self. 

3. They are dead to sin. " How shall we who are dead to sin, 
says Paul, live any longer therein." The dominion or reigning 
power of it in them is broken. " For sin shall not have dominion 
over you, for ye are not under the law, but under grace." It is no 
more their trade and course of life which they choose. " He that is 
bom of God doth not commit sin." The firm hold which their heart 
and affections had of it is loosed, and it lies on them as a burden of 
which their souls are weary. 

4. They are dead to the world. " But God forbid that I should 
glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world 
is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." There they sought their 
happiness before they came to Christ ; there they always sought a 
resting place, and satisfaction to their hearts. Their affections lay 


944 TB08X nr ohbist ark 

ifi them dead to G^od and the things of another world ; but liying 
and lively to the things of a present life. Bat now the glass is 
turned, and they are dead to that world, which they valued so mueh 

All these are comprehended in the death here meant ; but the 
- death to the world is the thing chiefly aimed at. So the doctrine is, 

Doctrine, — ^Those that are in Christ are dead to the world: I 

I. Shew in what respect they are dead to the world. 

II. What way this dying to the world is brought about : we are 

I. To shew in what respects they are dead to the world : 

1. In their head Jesus Christ, hence they are said to be buried 
with him in bc^Hsm. He lived in the world for a time, at length he 
left it by death, not to return to live any more in it as formerly. 
He died as a public person, in name of all those that are his ; rose 
again, and ascended into heaven, and they also are risen with him, 
V. 1. of this chapter, ^* Yea, they are raised up together, and are 
made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Hence, 
the believer, whatever he be in himself, looking to himself as in 
Christ, must needs conclude himself to be dead to the world, unless 
he will either renounce his union with Christ, or think that though 
the head be dead to it, the members have no interest in that death. 

2. In their own persons, by virtue of the death of Christ, so they 
are said to be planted in the Wceness of his death. The power of his 
death having deadened their affections to this earth ; that as the 
world crucified Christ, so Christ crucified hath crucified them to the 
world. They are dead to it sacramentally, Col. ii. 12. The sacra- 
ment of baptism signifies them to be dead to it, binds and obliges 
them to die to it more and more. They are also dead to it incep- 
tively. The death is not complete, but it is begun, Gal. vi. 14. 
Apother spirit than the spirit of the world, is put into them, and the 
death will certainly be completed. They are dead to it compara- 
tively, in comparison with the men of the world, and with themselves 
in their unrenewed state : We proceed, 

II. To show what way this dying to the world is brought about. 

1. In the day the Lord begins to deal with the soul, he finds it 
living and lively to the world. The man's heart and affections are 
let upon it. He loves it, lives to it, and longs for it, more than any 
thing else. Their constant cry is, who will shew us any good. His 
life is wrapt up in it. If it smiles he is well ; if it frowns he ia 
broken. He knows nothing better, he desires nothing better. From 
it he seeks his si^tiBfactioo, and without it be can have none. 


2. God blasts the oreatnre to the man. He comes to the world^s 
springs, but behold they are dry, the broken cisterns have no water 
in them. The bed is shorter than he can stretch himself npon it, 
and the coyering narrower than he can wrap himself in it. These 
disappointments make a sick heart, and are by a gracious God 
blessed to be the foreranners of his dying to it. He struggles as 
one in sickness, being anxious to preserve his life, but all in vain. 
Thus the prodigal " wonld fain haye filled his belly with the husks 
that the swine did eat : and no man gaye unto him." 

Lastly f The Lord holds out to him, and by the power of his grace 
brings him to, and sets him upon the breasts of his own consolation* 
We see all this exemplified in the parable of the prodigal son, Luke 
xy. 17 — 24. The Lord effectually discoyers to him on the one hand 
the vanity of the world, and makes the man say there is no hope ; 
on the other his own fulness, and brings the soul to Christ for all. 
" Thus the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field ; 
the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof, 
goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field." So the 
soul dies to the world. This death to the world, is the dying of the 
heart and affections to it. The grace of God deadens the man's 
affections jbo the things on earth, looses the lively firm hold which 
the heart took of these things, so the heart falls off from them to 
God himself, and the things above. 

Use 1. This may serve for a trial of our state, whether we be in 
Christ or not. Are you dead to the world ? This is the trying point 
in our text. And it will be a trying point to us all. It is certain 
we cannot serve two masters. " Love not the world, neither the 
things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love 
of the Father is not in him." If we be living to Christ, we are dead 
to the world ; and if we be living to the world we are dead to Christ. 

Question, What are the clAracters of one dead to the world ? 

Before I answer this question, I premise four things : 

1. This death is but imperfect in the best while here, and is never 
perfected till death comes and separates the soul from the body. 
Hence though the Apostle tells them in the text that they were 
dead, yet verse 5, he exhorts them '*to mortify their members 
which are upon the earth, fornication, nncleanness, and the like." 
Still there is fiesh as well as spirit in the regenerate, and that flesh, 
though dying, yet hath its lustings. Hence, it is compared to cm* 
cifying, which is a lingering death. Gal. vi. 15. 

2. This death is a matter of great difficulty to accomplish. Any 
death whatever is difficult A death-bed though a down bed will be 
hard. It is one of the hardest kinds of death, a crucifying. The 

z3 * 


difficulty of it is also held out, nnder the notion of the weaning of a 
child from the hreasts, Psalm cxxxi. 2. 

3. The case being thns, our gracious God for Christ's sake, looks 
upon the habitual fixed bent of the soul towards himself and awaj 
from tlie world as dying to it, though the remains of corruption do 
cause it to make sallies another way. He looks to the soul's deli- 
berative choice, sincere aims, and endeayours to be quite dead to the 
world, as a dying to it, and the longings of the Spirit to be free of 
it. Rom. vii. 24, 26. 2 Cor. vii. 12. Gal. v. 1?. 

4. Wherefore the characters of this death are more or less to be 
found in one, as he is more or less dead to the world. Sometimes a 
gracious soul may, in a triumphant manner, have the moou so under 
his feet, that he values it no more than a handful of dust. Gal. vL 
14. At other times the enemy may rise and drag him at his heels, 
as he did with Peter in the high priest's hall. However they have 
a constant war with him, in which they sometimes lose and some- 
times win a particular battle ; but they will always be overcomers 
in the war. '^For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the 
world : and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our 

These things being premised, I now, in answer to the question, 

1. That he who is dead to the world is a resigned man, resigned 
to the disposal of divine' providence. " If any man, said Jesus, will 
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and fol- 
low me. The Lord, say the saints, shall choose our inheritance for 
us." When once a man is dead, his friends may do with him what 
they will. He opposes them not, let them set him up on high, or 
lay him as low as they please. So is he that is dead to the world 
laid at the Lord's feet. With David they say, " Behold here am I, 
let him do to me as seemeth good to him." If that which is crooked 
in their lot cannot be made straight, they yield to it as it is. If 
their lot be not brought up to their mind, they endeavour to bring 
down their mind to their lot ; studying " in whatsoever state they 
are therewith to be content." 

2. The world's joys and smiles do not go deep with him, his heart 
does not sink in them, but uses them passingly with a holy careless- 
ness, 1 Cor. vii. 29 — 31. As the dogs of Egypt lap their water out 
of the Nile cautiously, for fear of the crocodiles, so does the godly 
man taste the joys of the world. Lay a dead man before a fire, he 
will gather some warmth, but it will soon be gone, for it goes not 
far in. But when a living man is in that posture, it will go through 
him and abide with him. So worldly men's worldly joys go deeper. 


and make deeper and more lasting impresaions apon them ; than the 
worldly joys of godly men do. 

3. The world's sorrows and frowns do not mnch pain him, they go 
not so deep into the heart as other sorrows do. They weep as 
though they wept not. One can bear an incision into a mortified 
member without mnch trouble, while the cutting in a sound place 
will bring a terrible anguish. The truth is, the grace of God suffers 
neither the worldly joys, nor sorrows of the saints to come to that 
perfection which they attain in others. But the more piercing any 
sorrow is on account of any worldly cross, it speaks the affections to 
the world, to hare been, and to be still too lively. And nothing 
makes one's sorrows for the want of any thing in the world too 
deep, but that their affection and desires of it were too high. 

4. His heart is going after the better things of another world, 
even whjle he is compassed about with the good things of this. 
Though created streams be running smoothly, and the world gives 
him a soft seat, yet these are not his chief comforts, and his heart 
says within him, this is not my rest. With Hannah he says, my 
heart rtjoiceth in the Lord, And with David, the Lord Uvetk; and 
Ueased he my rode. While all the preparations are making for a 
dead man's corpse, he with his soul is gone to another world, and is 
minding other things. Those who are dead to the world, may love 
its good things as a friend, but are not wedded to them as a hus- 
band. They may use them as a staff, but not build on them as a 
pillar. Christ himself being the support of their souls. 

5. He will stand without them when they are gone, for they were 
not the pillar on which his house stood. Therefore when all of 
them are removed, he will say with Habakkuk, " yet I will rejoice 
in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." One may strip 
a man when he is dead, and offer a thousand injuries to his dead 
body. He regards them not^ he is gone to another world. The 
saints take joyfully the spoiling of their goods, '* knowing in them- 
selves that they have in heaven a better and an enduring substance." 
Alas ! that soul is in a sad state, whose comfort waxeth and waneth 
according as his created comforts do so ; is hungry, or starved, or 
full, just as the breasts of worldly things are full or empty. If we 
were dead to the world as we ought to be, these things might come 
to us, or go from us, without changing our temper of spirit. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. Be exhorted to be dead to the world, and 
thereby evidence yourselves to be true Christians. This should be 
a Christian's constant exercise to be dying to it. That death is one 
of the greatest employments of our life. Labour to be dead, 1. To 
the world's comforts. '^ They that rejoice, as though they rejoiced 

348 9H0SS iir ohsist ahe 

not : and they that buy, as .though they bought not." Learn to be 
content without them as well as with them, and nerer launch forth 
to far into the deep of them, bat that yon may be ready to come 
ashore on G^od's call. Car happiness consists not in them bat in 
God. Therefore if he shall see it meet to deny us eren onr lawful 
desires of comfort in created things, mingle onr drink with gall, 
and make ns of those who nerer eat with pleasure ; let us be ready 
to part with what he sees meet to withhold from us. 

2. To the world's hardships. We should know both how to be 
abased, and know how to abound. Paul who knew this, was so dead 
to the worst things which the world could do to him, " that none of 
these things could moye him." All the advantage which the world 
can get of ns, by the ill treatment wo meet with in it, comes by onr 
nnmortified affections to it. If we could get these deadened, the 
deyil and the world would hare a cold coal to blow at, and oonid 
never be able to bum us thereby. A lively faith in God, and of 
the vanity of the world, and all that is in it, its good and its evil, 
would make us go through the world's fire, and not be homed. 
But more particularly, labour to be dead, 

1. To your relations in the world. *' If any man, saith Jesni, 
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." True we are to love them as ourselves, but not as 
our God ; therefore we are to be ready to part with them, and our 
comfort in them at the call of Providence. It was the commenda- 
tion of Levi, " that in the cause of God he regarded none of these/' 
Dent, xxxiii. 9. Much of the world's comfort is placed in these, hut 
we had need to be dead to them, when we consider that sin and 
misery broke into the world by that door. And now that sin has 
spread like poison in a cup, one is not to wonder that his greatest 
cross start up out of that from which h% looked for his greatest com- 
fort, like a leopard out of the pleasant Lebanon. Father and 
mother are kindly names, but in effect they are often found cruel as 
the ostrich in the wilderness. Husbands and wives made one flo^* 
designed for meet helps, yet are often rottenness in the bones. Sons 
of youth are as arrows, but often are the arrows turned, and shot 
through the hearts of those for whose hands they were prepared- 
Daughters are like comer stones ; but these corner stones often fall 
down on the heads of the builders and crush them. So great need 
have we to be dead to relations. 

2. To the substance of the world. Some have it and it hath thci^ 
hearts, and parts betwixt Christ and them. This was the case with 
the young man, Mark x. 22. For no man can serve two masters. 


Some have it not, but it hath a firm hold of their hearts, and they 
constantly cry, who will show ns any good. The first are hngged 
to death by its embraces, the second frowned to death by its flying 
from them, while they follow it. And what is it for which both 
have such a fondness, but a load of thick clay ; a fair beantif al no- 
thing eyen thcU which is not. Tet this is it, for which the great and 
the small strive each with his competitor. And when it is got, 
though it fill the hand, it cannot fill the heart. And when it is ob- 
tained or lost, pierces the heart with many sorrows, 1 Timothy yi. 
10. Oh I then be dead to it. Liye aboye it, whether you have or 
want it. Take it as the trayeller doth foul or fail* weather, eyen as 
he finds it, because he must be forward. 

3. To credit and esteem in the world. A mercy it is in itself, 
but it is often a great idol that parts betwixt men and God. Few 
but suffer an eclipse in it some time or other. It is a precious 
ointment, but often proyidenoe orders a dead fly to fall into it* 
The liyely lust of pride in the heart, must haye it, cannot want it. 
But ! what a miserable case is that man in, whose comfort de- 
pends upon the esteem of others, which in itself is not capable to 
make him either better or worse ; upon that which may be ruined 
with the blast of a foul mouth ; that lies like chaff to be tossed up 
and down, as the wind blows in the world. Be dead to it then, that 
if God will make a stepping stone to thy credit and reputation to 
his own glory, he may haye it cheerfully. That if he will haye thee 
to lie among the pots, then may silently creep down and lie there 
till he bring thee out again as did Christ himself and his apostles. 
Be ready to be a fool to the world, that thou mayest be wise. 

4. To your ease and liberty. Paul was ready ^* not only to be 
bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." 
The flesh would always fain be easy. Master spare ihysdf. And 
when the trouble rises without, then the storm begins within, raised 
by the nnmortified desire of ease. This world is a yalley of tears 
and misery. Therefore if we be wise, we must learn to lie still in 
the bed which proyidence makes to us, though there be a thorn of 
uneasiness in it. " For that which is crooked cannot be made 
straight, and that which is wanting cannot be numbered." This is 
not our rest. Who frets himself because the sea is still in motion, 
that the winds blow on the earth, the clouds return after the fair 
blink, and the rain falls? We cannot expect that it should be 
otherwise in the lower regions. And we should be content to un- 
dergo troubles in ^his world, thinking ourselves happy if we cai^ 
attain ease in another world. 

5. To your own will with respect to the world. '' Our souls 


should be eyen as a weaned ohild." Thy desires must be to thy 
spiritual husband ; to ^ant them or refuse them as seems good in 
his sight, saying with Dayid, Let him do to me as seemeth good m his 
sight. A will of our own, not subordinated to the will of God, is a 
sinful rebellious bent of spirit, and the fountain of all our miseries 
with respect to things of this life. In the day the soul takes Christ 
it glres up its own will and resigns itself to his will, saying from 
henceforth, 2% vuiU be done. And much of this death consists in 
holding by and renewing that resignation. It makes one's will yield 
to the will of the Lord, as the wax to the seal. 

Lastly, To your life in the world, Luke xiv. 26. Tour bodies 
must be the Lord's, not only for service, but a sacrifice too, if he 
pleaseth. None go to heayen but martyrs, if not in action, yet in 
affection. Perhaps the Lord may haye use for thy health, strength, 
a leg or limb of thy body, yea, for thy blood, fie dead to them all, 
that they may be at his service. What a yain thing is the life of 
man on earth ? It is a stage of miseries, a thing of which one may 
be quickly made weary and sick, and long to be made free of; an 
inordinate affection to it is a dangerous thing, in this ensnaring 

Motive 1. Consider the vanity of the world, and all that is in it, 
Ecol. L 2. It is but a heap of yanities, which deserves not lively 
affections, and they who are most dead to it are the most happy. 

There is an insufficiency in all things under the sun, there can be 
no dependence upon them, without being deceived. They are all 
greater in expectation than in fruition, fairest afar off, and the 
more one has expected them, the more piercing is the disappoint- 
ment. They can never fill the soul. Yon shall as soon fill your 
hands with wind, grasp your arms full of dreams and shadows, as 
fill your hearts with the world's dry breasts, Isa. Iv. 2. — There is 
an nnsuitableness betwixt the soul and them. The soul is spiritual, 
they are carnal earthly things. The soul is immortal, they are 
perishing, so that your hearts can no more feed on them and 
prosper, than the fishes on meadows, or dry ground. There is also 
an uncertainty in them. Nothing is constant here but inconstancy 
and change. One may be stripped of them in life. ** For riches 
certainly make themselves wings; they fly away, as an eagle to- 
ward heaven." This world is a wheel where the spoak now upper- 
most turns presently lowest : one day saw Job rich and poor to a 
proverb. You may have comfortable relations, which may quickly 
be taken from you, or your comfort in them lost. The most un- 
tainted reputation may be killed with the bite of a malicious mouth. 
And our very life hangs on a thousand uncertainties. 


Death will anrely strip db of them at length, and at what time it 
oomeB we know not. We oarry nothing henoe bnt a coffin and a 
winding sheet ; and we are not snre even of these. Sometimes 
many fair bodies have bnt served to fill up a ditoh, or to be a feast 
to the fishes of the sea. It were onr wisdom then to sit loose to 
that which we must necessarily part with. 

MoHve 2. Deadness to the world wonld make you very easy, in 
all the changes with which we may meet in the world ; he who hath 
attained it cannot be miserable, meet with what he may. The smiles 
of the world he would not much value, and the frowns of it, he 
wonld little regard. The heaviest cross would be but light, if it 
wanted the overweight which a man alive to the world lays upon it. 
What is the rise of so much uneasy walking under the cross, but 
that we are wedded to this and the other thing, and so being ex- 
ceedingly glad of our gourd while we have it, we are exceedingly 
sorry and fretful when it is withered. As ever then you wonld be 
easy whatever weather blow in the world, strive to be dead to it. 

Motive 3. Consider what this world is ; a right view of it might 
stir us up to die to it : men are deceived with the fair show which 
it makes. ! to see it in its true colours. 

It is Satan's bait, by which he draws men in shoals down the 
stream into the sea of God's wrath. They run after it, and gaping 
for the bait are caught with the hook. Judas was mined with the 
thirty pieces. Demas turned apostate for the present world. The 
profits and pleasures of it are in the two horns, with which it pushes 
many to their wound, and most part to death. The devil attacked 
the second Adam with it, Matth. iv. 9. For by that means he had 
prevailed with our first parents. 

It is the wicked's portion, Psal. xvii. 14. The most part of it is 
dealt amongst them who are to expect no portion in the glory to be 
revealed. It was a sad memorandum given to the rich man in hell, 
" Son, remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good 
things." Alas! that men should be so fond of that upon which 
God puts such contempt as that he makes it the portion of those 
whom he hates. 

It is the snare of the godly, in which their feet are apt to be en- 
tangled. While they walk through it, they are as among lions' 
dens, where they are often alarmed, wounded and almost rent in 
pieces, pierced through with many sorrows. How often does that 
mist rise from it, which hides their sun at noon day ? And there- 
fore they are often longing to be beyond the reach of it ; its smiles 
and its frowns. And it is a victory glorious in their eyes, when 
they overcome it. The world is a passing show. The fashion of k 


passeth anvcof, A g^audy vanity that lasteth for a little time, and 
draws the eyes of foolish men after it ; bat it will qaickly be gone. 
The stage of vanity will be taken down. This bewitching world 
will go all to the flames at length, 2 Peter iii. 7* The sweet of that 
intoxicating cnp will soon be drank out, but the dregs of it will 
taste for ever to those ifho set their hearts upon it. 

Motive 4. Consider the great advantages of deadness to the world. 
It would be the very life of the soul. It would fit yon to act for 
God and to be useful to men. Consider who they are that in all 
ages have been most useful for God in their day, acting for his hon^ 
our, cause, and interest among men. And you will And they were 
men dead to the world. " Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ, 
greater riches than the treasures of Egypt ; for he had respect to the 
recompense of reward." Says Paul, " God forbid that I should glorj 
save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is 
crucified unto me, and I unto the world." The world is a mighty 
clog, and often so entangles many good men that they become very 
restless, and often sit under a cloud. Therefore we are exhorted 
" to lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, 
and to run with patience, the race that is set before us, Looking 
unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." 

This deadness would also fit you to suffer for God, Acts zz. 24. 
He that is dead to the world, is in a proper state to take up Christ's 
cross, and follow him, however heavy it be. This will keep you safe 
in a time of trial, when others whose hearts are glued to the world 
will be ready to make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. 

It will fit you for communion with God here, Psal. iv. 6 — 8. This 
earth interposeth betwixt us and the sun of righteousness makes an 
eclipse of the light of the Lord's countenance to us. Bat were it 
rolled away out of the heart, and the affections to it deadened, onr 
sky from above would clear up ; even as the manna fell after the pro* 
vision brought from Egypt was done. The Lord's people had mnch 
sweet communion with him in the duties of religion, during the times 
of persecution, for then they were in a great measure dead to the 
world. But since they have become more alive to the world, they 
have grown more dead to God. 

It would also make you fit for heaven. *' Who is this that cometh 
up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved ?" He that is 
dead to the world his heart is in heaven, and his treasures there, 
and that makes heaven home to a man. When death comes, it 
would make a man fall like ripe fruit from a tree ;' whereas a heart 
nnweaned from the world, makes a person unmeet for death and for 
another world. 


Directums 1. Pray, and look to the Lord for the light of his Spirit, 
to disoover to yon the vanity of the world. This alone can make 
you see to parpose an end of all perfection. Men by considering this 
world, and by their own experience of it, cannot fail to make a ra- 
tional discovery of the vanity of it. Bnt alas I that can no more 
deaden their hearts, than painted fire can bum off one's bonds. Bat * 
the light of the Spirit is the light of life, powerful and efiicacious, 
and will give one the world under his feet. John Baptist said, 
'* Jesus shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.'^ 

2. Believe and live in the exercise of faith. *' For whosoever is 
born of God, overcometh the world ; and this is the victory that 
overcometh the world,, even onr faith." Close then with Christ in 
the gospel offer, " taking him in whom all fulness dwells," for your 
all. Thus the heart going out after Christ will drop the vain world. 
Faith's discoveries of Christ mortify men to the world, Matthew xiii. 
45, 46. The heart of man is an empty thing, and must be filled 
from without itself ; and there is no way to take it off the world, 
but to place them on Christ the better portion. 

3. Look off from the world. Look not at the things ti;AtcA are seen. 
Dwell not on the thoughts of the world but turn away your eyes 
from its deceitful allurements and beg grace for that purpose, saying, 
** Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity ; and quicken thou 
me in thy way." The first sin began at looking, and if man was 
brought down from his perfect innocence, by that means ; how diffi- 
cult is it for the corrupt heart not to be fired with temptation, while 
a person thus courts it. 

4. Look much at the other world where glory dwells. Look at 
the things which are not seen and which are eternal. The more you 
think of that world and the happiness there, the more you will prize 
it. And the more you prize it, the more you will undervalue the 
present world. They will be dead to the world, who have their con- 
versation in heaven, as from the stars this earth would appear a 
small thing. 

Lastly, Meditate much on the sufferings of Christ, and by faith 
make application of them to yourselves. Gal. vi. 14. Often think 
how the world treated Christ, how he became poor that we might be 
made rich ; how he was put to death ; and consider all this as for 
thee, so shall virtue come from his cross to make yon dead to the 
world. Then you will say, " I am crucified with Christ ; neverthe- 
less I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me ; and the life which I 
now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who 
loved me, and gave himself for me." Amen. 


Ettrick, March 11, 1716. 


Zeghasiah xii. 12. 

And the land shaU nu>t/m, every family apart, the famUy of the house of 
David apart f and their wives apart ; the family of the house of Na- 
than apart, and their wives apart. 

It hath heen for some time past, a time of penal mourning through 
the land, families, congregations, and the nation mourning under 
the calamities of war ; and withal the yery earth mourning, and the 
beasts, under an extraordinary storm. And though both sword and 
storm are removed, so severe have they been, that the cheeks of the 
mourners are not yet dried. God grant it may be done before the 
clouds return after the rain. These things call for dutiful mourning 
and reformation, national^ family, and personal. With a view to 
these, I am to press two duties, family and personal fasting ; the 
rareness of these at this day, is sad evidence that the land is in a 
back-going condition. We have both in the text. 

The scope of the text is to shew the universal mourning that shall 
be among the Jews when they shall see their sins. 

1. There is a general mourning foretold to be among them. And 
the land shall mourn, every family apart. 

As to the time to which this refers, it is plain that this is an 
effect of that out-pouring of the Spirit, ver. 10. which shall make 
them mourn for their crucifying Christ, as that piercing is ap- 
plied as literally fulfilled, John xix. 37. 'Hiey shall look on him whom 
they have pierced. So that this out-pouring of the Spirit, and conse- 
quently the mourning refers to the time of the gospel, after the 
death of Christ. Now if it be fulfilled already, it must refer to 
that. Acts ii. 6, 37, 41. But as the scripture does not say that it 
was fulfilled then, so I judge that it was not the fulfilling oi % 
though it might be a pledge thereof. For this out-pouring and 
mourning are to be in a day, " When God will seek to destroy the 
nations that come against Jerusalem," ver. 9. But the out-pouring 
and mourning in the Acts were in a day that the Lord was about to 
destroy Jerusalem itself. Therefore I judge it is yet to be fulfilled, 
in the time of the calling of the Jews. When their deliverance, 
ver. 9, the out-pouring of the Spirit, ver. 10, and this mourning shall 
go together. 


It was written for our learning. And ! but it is sweet meeting 
deliyeranoe from enemies, an ont-ponring of the Spirit, and national 
reformation. We haye got something of the first, bnt alas the two 
last are not come along with it, and therefore there is the less sweet- 
ness in the first, and it is likely to be the more short lived. 

God governs the world, and that according to his word, however 
little men regard it in their management of it; and comparing 
Scotland's case with the word, we have ground to think, one of three 
will be the fate of this land. Either, 

1. That in a way of judgment, he will let ns go on in onr peace 
and ease, continuing an nnsanctified deliverance with the generation ; 
BO as religion will grow weaker and weaker, and the generation 
more and more corrupt, till they stink in his nostrils. 

Or 2. That in a way of sovereign mercy, he will with our peace 
send an out-pouring of the Spirit to the advancing and reviving of 
reformation, which will put life in our deliverance and establish it 
to purpose. 

Or 3. That in a way of mixture of judgment and mercy, he will 
send on us a yet heavier stroke than any we have met with, and 
join reformation and deliverance together by an out-pouring of his 
Spirit, as in the text, producing a general mourning. Now in the 
text, I say there is a general mourning foretold to be among the 
Jews at that day. This is a mourning in the way of duty. The 
word properly signifies the outward gesture of mourners, such as 
smiting on the breast, or thigh ; not that it shall be a mere outward 
mourning, for it is the effect of that, ver. 10. But it shall be more 
than that habitual mourning and tenderness to which God's people 
are always called : an extraordinary, solemn and stated mourning ; 
a mourning in the way of a solemn fast and humiliation, so the word 
signifies, Joel ii. 12. For that duty is sometimes called fasting, 
sometimes mourning, Esther ix. 22, 31. Compare Zech. viii. 19. 
The prospect of these days were the matter of the Jews' fasting. 
And that this mourning is so to be understood appears from the text 
itself, where we find those of one family meeting together for this 
mourning ; the whole family going together into some place apart 
where they might not be disturbed by their neighbours, and conse- 
quently setting apart a time for it. All this surely not to sit and 
gaze on one another, but to spend it in exercises suitable to a fast. 
Now here observe, 

1. The generality of this mourning and fasting. The landy that is 
the inhabitants of the land, the body of that now unbelieving peo- 
ple shall set about it, not here one and there one as before. The 
cause of this mourning is their fathers' sin in cmcifying Christ, 

866 OOKTBBSIOir of VHB JBWft. 

their own sin in approying of it, and so long rejeeting him. 
When the Spirit is poared ont on them, they will see his glory and 
be oonrinced, and then this mbnming will spread over all their 
nation wherever they be. 

2. How it shall be general or national ; not by gathering together 
into the temple, for they shall then hare none, nor yet as being en- 
joined by authority for public celebration. But God will stir up 
the spirit of families to keep it privately, every family apart. In 
the times when the gospel hath had more effect than ordinary, some- 
times people walking the streets have been sweetly surprised to 
hear this and the other family, at family worship, who never used 
to have it before, so will it be with the Jews in that day, in respect 
of family mournings or fasts. Observe, they will go apart for it. 
Give over the business of the family for that time, shut doors and 
windows, refuse conversing with other families, that they may not 
be interrupted. 

2. Particulars are condescended on. The royal family in both 
branches of it, Solomon's and Nathan's. These as being nearest of 
kin to Christ should have been most zealous for him ; but nexther did 
his brethren believe in him. But now their posterity shall see their 
own and their fathers' folly, and bitterly mourn for it. This seems 
to aim at their rulers, who in that day shall begin or be with the 
foremost in this reformation. 

In both these their wives shall go apart and mourn. Whether 
this be meant of their going by themselves in the very time of the 
family mourning, as some think ; or at other times, it holds forth 
the duty of personal fasting and humiliation, particular persons 
going about that duty by themselves. 

There is an emphatic Hebrew mark on the wives of the house of 
Nathan, and the same on all the rest following. Therefore I think 
the true reason why the wives are singled out for instances of per- 
sonal fasting and humiliation is, that being of the delicate and ten- 
der sex, they may be least fit, able, or willing, to undergo the 
hardship of stated fasting and mourning. But such a portion of the 
Spirit shall they then have, that even they shall not refuse the 
work ; not only join in the family, but at other times go by them- 

The family of Nathan was the top branch of the royal family in 
Zechariah's time, for of that branch was Zo^babel, Luke iii. 27, 3L 
So the meaning is, that even their ladies, however delicate, shall put 
off their ornaments and humble themselves in personal fasting and 
humiliation, Verse 13. Levi's family is condescended upon, and 
among them that of Shimei, the son of Gershon, the son of Levi, 



1 GhroD. yi. 17* which family seems to have been of note in the pro- 
phet's time. t 

In Terse 14. it is shnt up with a general, all the families thai 
shall remain, shall take part in this. Thus magistrates, ministers, 
and people, shall all mourn, repent, and reform. 

Before I enter on what I chiefly design from the text, I shall 
briefly handle some other useful points from this text. 

Doctrine I. There is a day coming in which there shall be a 
national oonyersion of the Jews or Israelites. The now blinded and 
rejected Jews shall at length be conyerted into the faith of Christ, 
and join themselyes to the Christian church. There are many pro- 
mises of this in the Old Testament, but I shall confirm it from 
Romans, chap. xi. where the apostle purposely insists upon it. 

1. Though that people hath dreadfully stumbled, the more dread- 
ful that Christ was the stumbling stone to them, yet they haye not 
fallen so as neyer to rise again, Rom. xi. 11. "Haye they stumbled 
that they should fall ? G^od forbid : but rather through their fall 
salyation is come unto the Gentiles, to proyoke them to jealousy." 
Now as their stumbling by unbelief did eyentually cause the Gen- 
tile world to rise to their feet, after they had lain long immersed in 
ignorance of God, and wickedness : so Ood will make use of the 
grace bestowed on the Gentile world, to awaken the Jews to the 
consideration of their true interest, by way of holy emulation, that 
they shall think with themselyes as the prodigal, Luke xy. 17. 

2. The coyenant made with their fathers, particularly with Abra- 
bam, Gen. xyii. That he would be the God of his seed after him, 
secufes the conyersion of that people. It is with that coyenant, in 
respect of them, as with some riyers of which it is obseryed that 
they run a good way aboye ground, and then are swallowed up in 
the earth, and so run many miles under ground, but at length break 
out again, and run aboye ground till they come to the sea. So thai 
coyenant runs yisibly till the days of the apostles, but now its yi- 
lible efficacy is interrupted, but it will break forth again in their 
conyersion, neyer to be rejected more. So the apostle tells us, they 
are thereby still the hofy nation, yerse 16. the nation particularly de- 
dicated to God, and he will not always want what is consecrated to 
himself. The national election is still their priyilege, for yerse 28. 
Of touching the election^ they are bdoved for ike Father's eahe. And by 
yirtue of the coyenant made with their fathers, Ood has a loye to 
that nation : and God's will will certainly terminate in good deeds 
at length : and that because the gift and calling of that nation to 
the adoption and ooyenant are irreyersible, yerse 29. F^r the gifts 
and eaUings of Ood are without repentance. 

Vol. III. 2 a 


3. The apostle expressly asserts it, verses 25, 26. In these be 
shews that the hlindness of the Jews is only in part, and to last 
only to a certain time, when there shall be a national conversion, 
and so all Israel shall be say^d. This is not meant of the spiritual 
Israel, for their conversion could be no mystery as this is. Bnt as 
the conversion of the G-entiles was a mystery to the Jews, and to 
Gentiles themselves under the Old Testament, £ph. iii. 3 — 6. So is 
that of the Jews, to the Gentiles and Jews themselves, under the 
New Testament. And as many Jews then would not believe the 
one, so many Christians now believe not the other. 

Use, Believe it and help it on by your prayers. Ply the throne 
of grace earnestly for it. Join cordially in the public prayers for 
it, and remember it in your family and secret prayers. Be ashamed 
to say what is it to us ? 

Motive 1. They were concerned for us when we were in their case, 
and they in ours, and therefore it is but just that we repay them 
thus. Song viii. 8, 9. remember the case seriously. What think 
you of Pharaoh's butler that remembered not Joseph, who was so 
kind to him in the prison. Brethren, we of the Gentile world, were 
shut up in the prison of unbelief, then they walked at liberty, bat 
minded us. Now they are in that prison and we are let oat, and 
shall we forget them. <* For God hath concluded them all in unbe- 
lief, that he might have mercy upon all.'' 

2. Have you any love to our Lord Jesus Christ, to the advancing 
of his kingdom and glory in the world ? then pray, yea, pray ear- 
nestly for this. Are you not taught to pray, thy kingdom oome. 
what an accession to the Mediator's glory will the conversion of 
the Jews be. Would you see the crown set on Christ's head in the 
world more solemnly and gloriously than ever it has yet been, then 
let us join with the great multitude. Rev. xix. 6. AUdma ; for the 
Lord Ghd omnipotent reigneth. And if we wish to see a great mar- 
riage day for Christ in the world, then verse 7. " Let us be glad 
and rejoice, and give honour to him ; for the marriage of the Lamb 
i^ come, and his wife hath made herself ready." brethren, spread 
out your narrow spirits, be public spirited and show it here. True, 
we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, to his glory. But 1 what 
a farther rich revenue of glory would accrue to him, if they whose 
countryman he was, and who crucified him as a malefaotor, and 
justify their deed to this day, were brought to repentance and to 
own him to be so with ns. 

3. Have you any pity to a nation of perishing souls ? then pray 
for their conversion. Common compassion should engage you to 
this, for snob a case as theirs is, for the present, hopeless for eter- 


nity. ** He that believetli not shall be damned." But there is more 
to challenge oar oonoem for them than for any other nation in the 

1. God himself hath shown a peculiar concern for them, not only 
of old, when he took them for his peculiar people ; but since, in that 
he hath made a particular promise of the conyersion of that nation, 
when that of other nations has been wrapt up in a general promise. 

2. All the means of grace, and acceptiince through Jesus Christ, 
that we have now, we had originally from them. They were our 
masters in the knowledge of God, and first put the book, eyen the 
book of God into our hands, Isa. ii. 3. Luke xxiy. 47. It was their 
Moses, their prophets, their apostles, (all of them Jews) that wrote 
this book, by which eternal life is brought to us. Nay, it is their 
countryman Jesus, who is the ground of all our hope, who we belieye 
is the Son of God. " For of them as concerning the flesh Christ 
came, who is oyer all, God blessed for eyer. Amen." It was the 
light that came out from among them, that enlightened our dark 
part of the world. And now that our teachers are blinded, will we 
not put up a petition for them. Lord that Hmf may recover ihexr sight. 

3. The church and all the priyileges thereof, which we enjoy this 
day were originally theirs. " For to them pertaineth the adoption, 
and the glory, and the coyenants, and the giying of the law, and the 
seryice of God, and the promises." We are well this day, and all 
the churches, in comparison of our fellow Gentiles, yet abiding with- 
out. And how so, but because we haye got into the tents of the Jews, 
where the Lord shews his glory. " God shall, said Noah, enlarge 
Japheth and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem ; and Canaan 
shall be seryant. But alas I the original possessors are out, they 
haye left them in a fit of madness ; but there is room enough for 
them and us both, and shall not we pray, that they may come to 
themselyes and retlm. It is their oliye into which we are engrafted, 
they are the natural branches, Rom. zi. 17 — 21. 

4. Haye you any loye to, or concern for the church, for the work 
of reformation, the reformation of our country, the reformation of 
the world ? Any longing desire for the reyiyal of that work now 
at a stand ; for a flourishing state of. the church, that is now under 
a decay ? then pray for the conyersion of the Jews. 

Are you longing for a reyiyal to the churches, now lying like dry 
bones, would you fain haye the Spirit of life enter into them ? Then 
pray for the Jews. " For if the casting away of them be the recon- 
ciling of the world ; what shall the reoeiying of them be, but life 
jfrom the dead." That will be a liyely time, a time of a great ont- 


960 ooirvEBSiON of thb jxwb. 

pouring of the Spirit, that will cany reformation to a greater height 
than yet has been. 

Are you longing for the increase of the ohnrch, then pray. Alaa ! 
our mother that has born seren, langnisheth and waxeth feeble. Dry 
breasts and a misoarrying womb is much her plague this day. Bat 
then she shall renew her strength and bring forth many. ** For if 
the fall of them be the riehes of the world, and the diminishing of 
them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness ?" Not 
only shall she be increased with the coming in of the Jews, but with 
more of the Gentiles. For their couTersion shaU be more the riches of 
ihe worldy than their fall was ; yet to that is owing all the gospel 
riches this day among the Gentiles. *' Then shall the light of the 
moon be as the light of the sun, and the light of the snn shall be 
seren fold as the light of seyen days, in the day that the Lord 
bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their 

Are you longing for a prosperous time to her members, by a full 
table spread for them in ordinances and they liberally fed there ? 
then pray. Our Lord in the matter of his house-keeping brings 
always the best to the last course. The best wine comes at last. 
And his dinner which he prepares is good. The church hath been 
sitting at it more than seyenteen hundred years, and many haye 
been brought in to it, and sweetly filled. But the world's day is far 
spent, now it is near night and therefore supper-time is drawing on ; 
and that is the best meal in our Lord's house. Now when the Jews 
are called in, the supper is seryed up. And happy they who haye 
got a share of the dinner, but more happy they who shall share of 
the supper, before the marriage be consummated in heayen. " And he 
saith unto me, write, Blessed are they which are oalled unto the 
marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me these are the 
true sayings of God." 

Are you longing for the increase of the knowledge of heayenly 
mysteries, then pray. At the rising again of the witnesses, that had 
been slain by antichrist, John saw the temple of God opened, the 
doctrine of the gospel clearly discoyered, Rey. xi. 19. But the Jews 
are oouy€trtedr he sees heayen itself opened, Rey. xix. 11. yet a 
deeper insight into these mysteries. And we 'haye no ground to 
doubt„ but upon that great eyent, there will be a greater insight 
into the Bible, than is now among the most knowing. That promise 
howeyer begun to be fulfilled, seems not yet fully accomplished. 
<< The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters 
coyer the sea." 

Do you ardently desire purity in the churches, the extirpation of 


popery, prelaoy and profanity, then pray. Whatever be done in 
these matters before the conversion of the Jews ; we have ground to 
believe that event shall be accomplished with snch a purity of the 
churches, as hath not appeared in the world, Zech. xlv. 20, 21. 

Lastly, We have more encouragement to pray for this, than the 
generations of the people of God that have gone before us. Because 
we are nearer the time of the accomplishment of the promise than 
they were. The church hath prayed long for it. The church of 
Scotland hath ever had a particular concern that way, when it hatli 
wont to be made one of the causes of our national fasts. In the first 
which we had after the revolution it is particularly mentioned, and 
I find it in one kept about the year 1653. Let us follow the foot- 
steps of the flock } who knows but some now living may see the ac- 
complishment of it. But though none of us should live to see it, yet 
let us leave prayers behind us for the conversion of that people. 
The sins of some live after them for evil as Jeroboam's did, and the 
prayers of others for good. 

There are two things that stand in the way of their conversion. 
Let us earnestly pray for the removal of them. 

1. The horrible idolatry of the papists, scandalizes that poor peo- 
pie at Christianity. When they see Christians sunk in the sin of 
idolatry, which they know was so provoking to God in their fathers, 
they are hardened against Christ. Now God hath promised to re-* 
move that obstacle out of .the way, and it will be removed, that they 
may come in, Rev. xv. 10 — 12. help forward by your prayers. 
See our Lord's prophecy to this purpose, Luke xxi. 24. 

2. The prevailing power of the Turk, who has swallowed up so 
many Christian churches and keeps so many Christians in bondage, 
scandalizes them also. But God has promised to remove that ob* 
stacle likewise, Rev. xvi. 12. They possess the Jew's land, but that 
cruel empire will be broken in due time. Whether the Jews shall 
possess their own land again or not, I will not positively determine : 
but I confess I incline to think they will. And what sways me in 
that point, mainly, is, that whereas the apostle, Rom. xi. concludes 
their national conversion from the covenant made with their fathers, 
bearing that he would be their God and the God of their seed, the 
gift of the land of Canaan, and that for an everlasting possession to 
them, is comprehended in the same covenant to them, though their 
possession thereof, as of the visible privileges of the covenant, have 
been long discontinued together, Gen. xvii. 7, 8. 

Great are the strivings among the Turks and the papists also at 
this day. And though by them terrible things may be brought to 
pass in the nations, for shaking of the nations and churches, in the 



just anger of the Lord ; wlio knows what G-od may have on the 
wheel of proridenoe. Let as pray that it may prove a fatal strug- 
gle, a straggle before death, to both these kingdoms, the eminent 
adversaries of oar Lord's kingdom. 

It is nsaal before a great reyolation in favonr of the charoh, that 
there are great wrestlings in prayer, for the meroy the Lord is aboat 
to give. Ban. ix. 2. Ezek. xxyi. 37. He that has a mind to give, 
gives a heart to his people to ask it of him. And if there were 
strong cries to the Lord for these great things, at this day among 
his people, it woald be a good sign, that the promises that have 
gone so long big with these mercies, were near to bringing forth. 

Doctrine II. The oat-pouring of the Spirit will make a blessed 
change, on the case of a people or person otherwise hopeless. The 
land shall mourn. Strong is the grace of God and it will prevail, 
when it enters the lists with corruption, whatever be the advantage 
on its side. 

I will illustrate this from the case to which the text refers. Con- 
sider here these things shining in this case. 

1. Grace can bring them back, whom their corruptions have car- 
ried quite off the foundation. So are the Jews who despise Christ 
as a mere man. Such a case is absolutely hopeless in itself, bat 
grace can bring one out of it. He that hath made the rejected stone 
the head of the corner, can make of the rejecters lively stones built 
ap upon him. Compare 1 Pet. ii. 5. with chap. i. 1. of that epistle. 

2. Grace can overcome the strongest, and root out the deepest 
prejudices against religion. No people in the world are so deeply 
prejudiced against Christianity as the Jews are. Bat their preja- 
dices an out-pouring of the Spirit will totally carry away. When 
the eye is ill affected, things appear in quite wrong colours ; bat it 
will cure the eye, and then the beauty of religion will recommend 
itself. Song v. 9. and vi. 1. 

3. Grace can draw men freely out of that way, in which an erring 
conscience fixes them. The bond of conscience, right or wrong, is 
one of the strongest ties of which the soul is capable ; " therefore 
publicans and harlots entered into the kingdom of God before the 
scribes and pharisees." The gospel had readier access into the 
hearts of pagans than of Jews. When sin is held fast as a piece of 
religion, it is fixed as with bars of iron. Satan is most successful 
when he drives a wedge of God's own wood. This he doth with the 
Jews at this day, who from a blinded conscience of the honour of 
God and his law, oppose Christ. But grace will reach, for it can do 
it. It did so most effectually with Paul, who verily thought with 
himself that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of 
Jesus of Nazareth. 


4. There. is no prescription against the grace of God. Satan by 
means of unbelief hath had seventeen hundred years' possession of 
that people as his slaves. The fathers have taught the children 
from generation to generation to reject Jesus Christ. Yet grace 
vill recover them after all, and denude the fraudulent possessor, 
though he had so long kept possession. 

' 5. Grace will do that, which the heaviest strokes of judgment 
could not do. The sin of the Jews in crucifying Christ was a sin 
without a parallel, so their punishment also was a matchless punish- 
ment. '^ It was such great tribulation, as was not since the begin- 
ning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." They are 
under the weight of it till this day. But it has done them no good. 
O ! hopeless case I But as hopeless as it is, an out-pouring of the 
Spirit will make a blessed change. 

Lastly, It will put an end to a national obduration. A nation is 
blessed with light, they abuse it, God is provoked to plague them 
with judicial hardness and blindness. Fearful case ! But an out- 
pouring of the Spirit looses these bands of death. Such is the case 
of the Jews, so has it been for seventeen hundred years, Rom. xi. 

Use 1. Behold here the freedom and power of the grace of God. 
It is matchless free, shines like the sun without hire. Blows where 
ii listeth. what wide steps does free grace make to catch a lost 
creature, what mountains does it skip over. It steps over even 
Paul's injuries, blasphemies, &c. 

the power of it ! It is the wind of the Lord's Spirit that blows 
up cedars by the roots, rends the rocks, makes the iron gates of the 
devil's prison to give way. His strong chains wherewith he binds 
his prisoners become like tow that the fire has kindled upon. It 
tames the sinner that hath long been wild, melts the heart of ada- 
mant, and makes them, who like the leviathan, count darts as 
stubble, and laugh at the shaking of a spear, mourn as doves. 

2. You that would fain have Christ and his grace, be not faith- 
less but believing. Whatever your case be, do not conclude it 
hopeless with respect to the Physician. I think always there is a 
secret despair of grace, and that more than we are aware of. They 
say there is no hope. Some think Satan's bonds on them are so 
strong, that there is no breaking of them ; their plague sore has run 
so very long, that it will never heal now ; God has so much left 
them, and given up with them, that he will never more look near 
them. And if they be praying, that the Lord would break these 
bonds, Satan steps forward to them and whispers them in the ear, 
as Mark v. 35. ''Thy daughter is dead; why troublest thou the 
Master." But, ver. 36. Jesus saith, Be not afraid^ only bdieve. 

664 oomrEXSioK or tbm jews. 

3. If ever yon would see a reformation in the land, tmet more to 
an ont-ponring of the Spirit on the land, than to judgment were it 
ever so severe. It is a folly to be fond of a national stroke, that is 
the effect of a bitter spirit, not of the Spirit of God. Jeremiah said, 
*^As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow 
thee: neither have I desired the evil dav, thou knowest." The 
most tremendous judgments will not reform a nation, without an 
out-pouring of the Spirit ; but an out-pouring of the Spirit will do 
it without any outward calamity at all. Our country has got a 
heavy stroke within these few months, and many a family great 
and small are mourning under the weight of it this day. But are 
we any nearer reformation than we were for it all ? The Lord has 
made death ride in triumph among us of late, at an uncommon rate. 
Our kirk door is beset with new graves, burials have followed fast 
at the heels of one another. But whoso considers the use made of 
these speaking dispensations of providence, and how far people are 
from being bettered by them, may justly fear the time oometh, when 
deaths shall be more frequent, but burials more rare, Amos vi. 

7— U. 

Lastly, Yet despair not of the reforfnation of the land, or of par* 
ticular persons, but pray, pray for an out-pouring of the Spirit. O 
wrestle with God and lift up a cry for it. That is a sovereign re- 
medy that would cure all our diseases at once. " Thy people shall 
be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from 
the womb of the morning : thou hast the dew of thy youth." The 
work of reformation hath long been like corn in a great drought, 
yellow at the root, a shower of the Spirit would make all green 
again, and grow fast. As much as we are divided, this would unite 
us. As bold faced as wickedness and profanity are, this would stop 
their mouths. As little good as the gospel does, this would make 
convincing, converting, and confirming work more frequent, and 
give ministers of the gospel as much to do with broken hearts, as 
they have now with hard and impenitent ones. As great lifeless- 
ness and nntendemess as are among ministers and people, this 
would purify the sons of Levi, and make the offerings of Judah and 
Jerusalem pleasant to the Lord, as in former years. It would re- 
store our judges as at the first, and our counsellors as at the begin- 
ning; and make nobles and gentry cease from building of Babel^ 
and pulling down of the church and of religion ; put holiness to the 
Lord on the bells of their horses, and willingly set their shoulder 
to the work of the Lord. 01 pray, pray for this. And let not 
your hopelessness and uncharitableness, as to any ranks of people 
in the land, whether because of their profanity, apostacy, formality. 


deadndBS, enmity to religion and hnrtfulness to the church, ahnffle 
them out of yoar prayers for good. Bat cry mightily for the ont- 
ponring of the Spirit, that the whole land may mourn. 

Doctrine III. They that Bhai*e in the ont-ponring of the Spirit, 
inll bring home public, national guilt to their own doors, and mourn 
for it. The cause of this mourning in the text, is the crucifying of 
Christ, yer. 10. Their fathers did it, and many generations haye 
since passed ; but when the time comes that the Spirit is poured out, 
the then generation shall cry out guilty, guilty, and mourn for it, in 
families and alone, each by himself, as kindly as if they had been 
the persons that embrued their hands in his blood. 

Reason 1. Because they will find then that they haye smarted 
under it, and borne in their own persons the marks of God's indig- 
nation, against the national guilt ; and in the mean time be per- 
suaded of the justice and holiness of God's procedure ; saying our 
fathers haye sinned and are not; and we haye borne their iniqui- 
ties. In the natural body if one member suffer, the rest suffer with 
it, so it is in the political body. When God is angry with our mo- 
ther, the children cannot escape to share of the frowns. And 
kindly children will therefore be affected with the offence, as if they 
had giyen it themselyes. 

2. Because howeyer unbroken hearts may justify themselyes, as 
to national guilt, especially that wherein they had no access to haye 
an actiye hand ; yet the light of God's Spirit shining into the heart, 
will bring in the soul guilty in that point, there being so many 
ways by which one person's sins may become another's, which a ten- 
der soul will not dare to purge itself of. They say each with Isaiah, 
*^ Woe is me ! for I am undone ; because I. am a man of unclean 
lips : and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips : for mine 
eyes haye seen the King, the Lord of Hosts." He who hath been 
among the infected, would haye much to do, if of a tender con- 
science, to swear himself clean ; so hard it is, if not impossible, for 
sinful men to be members of a nation, and not some way or other to 
be tinctured with the national guilt. , 

3. Because God deals with those of a nation or church, Aa one 
eollectire body, and tender souls seeing themselyes to be of a guilty 
body, will take it home each to himself. Hence it is that the holy 
men of God make confession of national guilt, as their own, being 
themselyes of the body, and are affected with it as their sin, in par- 
ticular, Dan. ix. 5 — 19. 

Use 1. This shows us what is that kindly taking with national 
guilt, that is acceptable in the sight of God, namely, when people 
bring it home to their own doors, and lay it before the Lord, aa 


that of which they eannot cleanse themselyes, bnt need the blood of 
Christ to take»away their share of the guilt. He that looks abroad 
through the land this day, and beholds the profanity, apostacy, and 
crying sins of the land, in former and the present generations, and 
wipes his month, and takes up the stone to throw at the guilty, even 
in respect of those very sins in which he had no active hand, as the 
murder of the saints and the like, hath very little if any at all of 
the Spirit of God. They are not of the spirit of Phinehas the son 
of Eleazar, nor disposed to say with Jeremiah, " The crown is fallen 
from our head ; woe unto us that we have sinned." It will neyer 
be our declaring against national guilt before men, nor complaining 
of it only as the sin of others before God, but bringing it home to 
our own doors, that will be accepted. 

2. This shows what will engage all to take with their own part in 
the causes of wrath against the land. There is a great complaint 
which all ranks of persons hare against one another this day, that 
every one hides his sin and will not take with his guilt, whereby the 
anger of the Lord is caused to go out against us. But ! if there 
were an out-pouring of the Spirit on the generation, it would make a 
loosening among us, as ever there was in the frozen waters by a thaw. 
It would set all hearts a mourning, eyes a weeping, tongues a con- 
fessing. Each one a crying, what have I done ? It would pull off 
the fig leaves, wherewith people now cover their nakedness, and the 
patches, wherewith they cover their loathsome sores. 0, pray, pray 
for the blessed day. 

Doctrine lY. Family and personal humiliation and reformation, 
spreading through a land, is true national humiliation and reforma- 

I shall confirm this point. OonsiJer, 

1. The nation is really nothing but so many families united to- 
gether in one body ; therefore as the curing of a man's body is no- 
thing but the restoring of health to the several members of it; so 
national reformation is nothing but personal and family reformation 
grown universal, or at least general. Many talk of national refor- 
mation who are little solicitious about these, whether of their own 
or their neighbours. Deceit is wrapt up in fair generals. But this 
is as great a blunder in religion, as it would be in physic, to tell the 
physician you would have him cure your body, but as for the mem- 
bers of it, he may let them be as they are. 

2. Consider, is not the humiliation of the several parts, the humi- 
liation and reformation of the whole ? Would not a number of re- 
formed persons make a reformed family? Would not reformed 
families make a reformed congregation ? Would not reformed con- 


gregations make a reformed national church ? How was the world 
corrupted ? Did not one man poison the whole ? Was it not pro- 
fanity and wickedness, spreading from one to another, that sunk the 
world in wickedness. We must then begin at the fountain, if we 
would stop the stream. A house when it is set on fire, the fire takes 
hold an one part and spreads through the rest ; when it is quenching 
one runs with his bucket to one part, another with his bucket to an- 
other part, and so it is put out ; even so must it be in the case be- 
fore us. 

3. In what way does the influence of magistrates, ministers, and 
other church officers reach to national reformation, but as it reaches 
to families and to particular persons ? If they do not endeavour to 
reform these, and yet pretend to national reformation, it is a contra- 
diction, it is the building a castle in the air, where there is nothing 
to work on. If the disease be grown so strong that their endeavours 
for reformation can do nothing to reform particular persons and fa- 
milies, how is national reformation possible in such a case, more 
than it is possible for a man to build a regular house of stones that 
would not build for him ? 

4. If one hath a mind to reform his family, how can he do it, but 
by reforming himself and the particular members of his family ; as 
by setting and keeping up the pure worship of God, maintaining unity 
and peace, and exciting the several members thereof to the ^^ties 
of piety, righteousness and sobriety, and curbing sin in himself and 
them. Even so it is with national reformation. And therefore both 
the national'coveuant, the solemn league and covenant, condescended 
upon personal and family reformation as that without which national 
reformation cannot subsist. 

6. Though public humiliation in public assemblies be very good 
and necessary, yet real humiliation and reformation lies here, with- 
out which all the public humiliations are but hypocritical show, 
Isa. Iviii. 5, 6. If ever the Lord pour his Spirit in a notable mea- 
sure on this church and nation, our public humiliations which have 
been so managed, will be grounds of public and personal humiliation 
afterwards, and really mourned over, as that whereby God has been 
dishonoured, and our own souls cheated, in so far as personal, family, 
and national reformation hath not been joined with them. 

Lastly, Personal and family reformation, is the bond of reforma- 
tion, in respect of the truth and ordinances of God. Where that 
is wanting, church reformation cannot last ; however pure it may be, 
it is but like a flower set in the ground without a root that quickly 
withers. What a good reformation was there in Hezekiah's days, 
but just in the days of his son all goes, 2 Chron. xxxiii. 9, 10. So 


in Josiah'B days, bnt immediately after all goes to wreck. Hoir 
could this be, bnt that real personal religion was still far off ? 

Bnt on the other hand, family and personal reformation wonld 
make people dnly concerned for obtaining tmth and pnrity, and 
when they haye, wonld canse the retaining and holding of it fast. 

Use 1. This teaches us that there is no tme national reformation 
without family or personal. In yain do we pretend to the one with* 
ont the other. If a nation haye neyer so ranch pnrity of tmth and 
ordinances, God will neyer count them pure without reformation of 
life. Nay, the purity of ordinj^nces will a^rayate their condemna- 
tion. The more light, while little holiness in a church or nation, 
the more terrible will their judgment be. Laodicea's hypocrisy was 
her ruin, Rey. iii. 15. The church of Ephesus was yery sealous 
against error, Rey. ii. 6. Discipline was yigorously exercised against 
the erroneous, yerse 2. Yet alas I for all this she had lost the yigour 
of real holiness, therefore unless she speedily repented and returned 
to her first works she was to be yisited with the heayiest judgments, 
yerses 4, 5. 

2. So many persons and families as there are in the land that will 
not reform, and amend their ways, so many hinderers there are of na- 
tional reformation. O if these were considered, many would be fonnd 
guilty of preyenting national reformation, who now think themselyes 
yery far from being chargeable with it. Consider your own sins im- 
partially, and remember that so far as you are deficient in personal 
holiness and reformation, so far you are guilty before God of hinder- 
ing the reformation of the land. How is it the land should mourn ? 
Is it not eyery family apart ? While the house is on fire, you are 
chargeable with the ruin of it, so far as you bring not your bucket 
and cast it on the flame in the place nearest you, 

3, Let none say they can do nothing towards a national reforma- 
tion, for that is false. Eyery person can do something for it if they 
will. What we call our cannot, God calls our will not. His com- 
mand is, '* Repent, and turn yourselyes from all your transgressions : 
BO iniquity shall not be your ruin. But, says he, " ye will not come 
to me, that ye might haye life." But it is not easy to get our cor- 
rupt hearts to comply with what God calls us to for that end. 

The great thing some think they are to do for this end is to sepa- 
rate from the church. And this is yery easy, because agreeable 
enough to corrupt nature in its passions and prejudices. Separation 
is yery proper for Babylon that is neyer to be healed, Jer. li. 9. 
To separate from Zion's sins also is yery proper ; but to separate 
from her in her duties, and the seryice of God in God's own ordi- 
nances, is no mean of God's appointment to reform her of her sins, 


Bey. ii. 24. compared with verse 20. It. is true, church censures 
and the separation from the company of those, thereupon so cast 
out, is a mean for that end, 2 Thess. iii. 14. 1 Cor. t. 11 — 13. But 
-what is all this to separating where there is no such casting out. 
What shall we do then when censure is neglected? Rey. ii. 34. 
Nay sirs, this mars reformation in congregations and through the 
whole church. (Alas, it is sad that offences so ahound, there is a 
woe against them by whom they come, but a woe too against the 
world that is stumbled by them, and leave their duty because others 
leave theirs.) I am convinced the neglect of censure mars reforma- 
tion in Scotland this day ; for instead of making sinners ashamed, it 
irritates some, and sets them more against reformation than other- 
wise they would be ; and sinks the hearts of others in the Lord's 
work, and will make their discharge the more easy whenever it 
comes : whereas would people keep their seal for reformation and 
increase it, and not run out of our mother's house with it, it might 
do much good within the house, to warm those that are more cold- 
rife, 2 Cor. xi. 2. I refer it to the consciences of the heart-lovers 
of holiness, whether in a time of snares in our mother's house, it be 
a more proper mean for resisting defection and advancing reforma- 
tion to stay within and struggle for these ends, than to leave it 
without our help. 

But God's way for national reformation is not so agreeable, but 
we must set about it. And that is, that every one in their own 
sphere set about reformation. What can we do? Reform your- 
selves and reform your families, and labour to spread it among 
them with whom you have access to converse. This your own eter- 
nal interest, and that of others^ require of you ; and it might be of 
good use to the church. 

1. Set about personal reformation in heart and life. Thus we 
find, Nehemiah, chap. iii. that every one laboured in repairing the 
wall over against his own house. Though then you cannot repair 
the whole wall, yet will you not like them repair over against yonr 
own chamber. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God." 
Look into the house, you will see it stands much in need of purging. 
There are buyers and sellers within- that heart of thine, that need to 
be driven out in the practice of mortification. Purge the outer 
court of thy life, thy words and actions. See well to the inner 
court, the hidden man of the heart. 

2. Set about family reformation. Every Christian family is or 
should be a church in the house, 1 Cor. zvi. 19. In it true doctrine 
should be maintained and propagated by reading the word and 
instructing the members of the family. " These words, saith God» 


which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart ; and thou 
shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of 
them when thon sittest in thine honse, and when thon walkest by 
the way, and when thon liest down, and when thon risest np." 
Pure worship of prayers and praises. Holy discipline and good go- 
vernment, for the encouragement of piety, and suppressing of sin in 
the family. Psalm ci. And to the advancing of these, every one is 
to hold hand, as they would have the Lord to dwell in the family. 

3. Help forward the reformation of other persons, families, and 
particularly of the congregation whereof you are members. It is 
the commendation of the Tekoites, Neh. iii. 5 — 27. It seems they 
were resolved not to be idle, while any thing was to do. They 
had less encouragement than others from their nobles, but they 
were not the more slack. Every one is our neighbour, and we have 
a relation to all, to engage us to be useful to them as far as we can. 
" As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, 
especially to them that are of the household of faith." Thus you 
may be useful for national reformation and that two ways. ^ 

1. Thus doing, that part of it falling to your share is done, and 
so it is not all lying behind. God will take notice who puts his 
hand to the work as well as who stand back from it. Nay he 
notices how every one works, Neh. iii. 20. Your labour shall not 
be in vain. God reckons "a Christian who repents of all his known 
sins, to repent of all his sins without exception ; and he that doth 
what he can towards national reformation in his sphere, will be 
reckoned of God, one that would have reformed the whole land if 
he could. 

2. Your example will have a native tendency to stir up others. 
The flame that bums the house must rise in some place, and some 
person must take the lead in reformation. And O I but that is an 
honourable post. Paul speaks most affectionately of Epinetus, as 
being the first fruits of Achaia unto Christ ; and tells us that the 
zeal of the Corinthians provoked very many. When the first fhiits 
come, the whole harvest follows. Though it should not have that 
effect, yet it will be your best testimony against your defection and 
apostacy of the day. 

To excite you to family and personal reformation. Consider, 
1. This is very necessary at all times, especially at this time in 
which God is pleading with us in such a manner, many families 
mourning for the loss of their relations, and we know not how soon 
the cup may come about to our own persons, if the Lord do not stay 
his hand. 

It is an ordinary excuse for doing nothing that we cannot do all ; 


bat it is a very insoffioient one. In Ezra's days, the building of the 
temple was interrupted for many years ; yet they built tiie altar, 
Ezra iii. 2. Though we cannot reform the land ; we may do some- 
thing towards it. 

Though you cannot stop the flood of iniquity and apostacy through 
the land ; yet you may put a stop to that part of it that is in your 
own course and life. You might do something to stop it in those of 
the same family with you and in your neighbourhood. Ay, but as 
are the nobles, so are the commons, they will not put their shoulder 
to the Lord's work. They are not their brother's keepers ; though 
they can speak well enough in their own cause, they have not a 
mouth to open for the cause of God. We are all persuaded public 
oaths have done much mischief to this church and nation. This 
we cannot help, but may we not reform the common profane swear- 
ing among us, that no person imposes. They have need of a brow 
of brass, that will pretend a zeal against the former, and yet make 
no obstacle of profane swearing in their own conyersation, or are 
at no pains to reform it in others. 

Though we cannot get the land to mourn, yet we may mourn over 
our own family and its case. Though matters be so that we cannot 
get national humiliations, for all that we judge to be sins of the 
land, yet we may get personal and family fasts and humiliations for 
them. In these we may be as particular as we please. And if they 
put us to this course, it would be a good eyidence, that the sins of 
the land are really heayy to us before the Lord ; and that the sins 
of the land are not a matter of discourse, but of solemn seriousness 
with us. ^men. 

Note, The remainder of this subject, on personal and family 
fasting was published by the author himself, in his Treatise on that 


Euriek, Sept. 18, 1717. 




Fboybbbs xxix. 

Where there is no vision the people perish : but he that keepeth the law, 

happy is he. 

Wjb are called this day to give thanks unto God, that the congrega- 
tion is not left desolate, and wanting a settled ministry. The due 
consideration of the evils attending such a case is a proper mean to 
excite nnto thankfulness, for averting such a stroke. And where 
thankfulness is to be found in its due latitude, it will extend to a 
suitable improvement of the means of grace. But of these we have 
in the text, where notice, 

1. What makes a people -very unhappy, with respect to the con- 
cerns of their souls. Where there is no vision the people perish 
The want of vision puts a people in very unhappy circumstances. 
By vision is understood prophecy, 1 Sam. ix. 9. "Before time in 
•Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake. Come and 
let us go to the seer ; for he that is now called a prophet, was be« 
fore time called a seer." And by prophecy is meant the preaching, 
expounding, and applying the word of God, 1 Cor. xiv. 1. " Desire 
spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophecy." This also is clear 
from the opposite clause, which mentions the law, as t^e rule by 
which people are to walk. They that are left without this mercy of 
the word, they perish, their spiritual case goes to wreck, they are 
made naked, stripped of their ornaments. 

2. What makes a people or person happy. He that keepeth the 
law, happy is he. Negatively, you may obserye, it is not the hav- 
ing of -vision, the enjoying the ministry of the word that will do it. 
Though the want of it makes a people unhappy, however prosperous 
they may be otherwise ; yet the mere having of it will not make 
them happy. Positively, it is the improving of vision among them, 
to the obeying of the truth, it is the keeping of the law which is 
preached unto them, the falling in with the great ends of the reve- 
lation of the mind of God made among them, by faith and a holy 
walk. This makes every one happy that doeth it. 

Doctrine. Though the want of the ministry of the word makes a 
people yery unhappy, yet it is .not the having of it, but the right 
improving of it that makes them happy. 


There are three things which the text presents to us, and which 
craye our serious consideration in oar case. 

I. Deplorable is the case of those that are deprived of the mi- 
nistry of the word. 

II. The mere having of the ministry of the word is not sufficient 
to make a people happy. 

III. A right improvement of the ministry of the word will make 
a happy people. 

We return to the consideration, of the 

I. Namely, deplorable is the case of those that are deprived of 
the ministry of the word. In speaking to this, I shall first show 
what makes that case so deplorable and heavy ; and then confirm 
the truth of this point. Let us then, 

1. Show what makes that case so deplorable and heavy. The 
text tells us the people perish. The original word here used has 
several significations, which different translations give it, and I see 
no reason why each of them that is suitable may not be thought to 
be intended by the Holy Spirit, and the whole make up the just ex- 
plication of what makes that case so deplorable. 

1. Where there is no ministry of the word, the people are made 
naked, they are left in a bare condition, they are uncovered. -This 
is the primary condition of the word. Thus the sad condition of the 
people by their idolatry is expressed, £xod. xxii. 25. Moses saw 
that the people were naked, for Aaron had made them naked unto 
their shame amongst their enemies. And, 

1. They are stript of their ornaments to their shame. G-ospel 
ordinances kept up by a gospel ministry are the ornaments of a 
house, Isa. Ixiv. 11. The ordinances are the beauties of holiness, 
Psal. ex. 3. Thus the saints have ever considered them, Psal. 
Ixxxiv. 1. Where there is no ministry of the word, there the stars, 
which Christ holds in his right hand to give light to the people, are 
hid out of sight ; the candles that shined in the candlestick are put 
out, and so such a people stript of their ornaments. 

2. They are stripped of their armour, left naked in the midst of 
danger. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit. We cannot 
want it in an evil hour, if we mind to strive against the stream. It 
is true, the word read is the sword of the Spirit as well as preached. 
But the preaching of it is the special mean to draw it out of the 
scabbard, and put it into the hand of poor sinners against their ene- 
mies. Thus the Eunuch, after reading the word, replied to Philip's 
question, How can I understand it, except some man should guide 
me ? And he desired that Philip do come up and sit with him for 

Vol. III. 2 b 

374 SHANKSeiYIKa. 

that purpose. The veil is deep, and there is need of some to draw 
for the people, that they may drink. 

3. They are stript of the means of their defence. Sinners are in 
danger of attacks from enemies on all hands. They have need of 
watchmen to stand in the vatch-tower, hut where there is no mi- 
nistry the watch-tower is empty, none to sonnd the trumpet to 
awaken those that are asleep, and to encourage those to fight that 
go out to the hattle. The wall is then taken down, and what is 
within will appear like the garden of the sluggard. 

Hence they are exposed in a special manner to the subtilty and 
yiolence of their spiritual enemies, without the ordinary means of 
help. They that let their case go as it will, it is much alike to 
them, whether they have the ministry of the word or not. Eat 
such as are concerned about their souls, will find they need all the 
help they can get from public ordinances : so that they will look 
upon themselves without them, to be exposed as sheep without a 

2. Where there is no vision, the people go backward. They 
leaye their first loye, their first ways in religion, they fall into a spi- 
ritual decay and apostacy. God hath appointed the ministry of the 
word to set people forward in the way of duty, and in that they 
must striye i^ainst the stream. No wonder then that as the boat 
must go down the stream, when the rowers are no more ; so where 
there is no yision the people go backward. And this is one rea^ 
son why Satan strives to rob the church of her ministers. What 
is said to the seven churches, is said to the angels of them, for a 
lively minister, is most likely to make a lively people ; a dead mi- 
nister, a dead people ; and no ministry at all, would soon issue in no 
religion at all. 

3. Where there is no vision, the people are drawn away. They 
are drawn away from their God, from their duty, from the right 
way. They are never wanting who will be agents for Satan, to 
draw people aside into the ways of sin and wickedness. We have 
many such drawers, the devil, the world, and the flesh. Now to 
draw against and oppose all these, a gospel ministry is set up in the 
church. All hath enough to do, to draw people forward ; but how 
much more easily then would people be drawn away, were there 
none such to hold. Thus are they drawn away and scattered as 
sheep not having a shepherd. 

4. Where there is no vision, the people are idle, they give over 
their work. They are like children who go to their play when they 
have none to call them to their books. They stand idle in the 
market place, while they have none to invite them to go into the 

THANKsamvo. 375 

vineyard ; to tell tham what to work and how to work. There is a 
principle of sloth in the sons of men ; they need monitors to stir 
them np to their business, to ^oal with their consciences, to pnt 
them on. 4* 

Lastly, Where there is no vision, the people perish, they die for 
lack of instruction, are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Good mo- 
tions once raised in them are weakened and extingnished, and the 
case of their souls goes to wreck. Let us now, 

II. Confirm the truth of this point. 

1. The depriying of a people of the ministry of the word is a 
stroke of the Lord's anger. It is threatened as such, when he says, 
'* 1 will come unto thee quickly, . and will remove thy candlestick 
out of his place, except thou repent." It is inflicted as such. '* But 
go ye now, says he, unto my place which is in Shiloh, where I set 
my name at the first, and see what I did to it, for the wickedness of 
my people Israel." It is a spiritual stroke and therefore the more 
heavy. It concerns men's souls, and therefore makes the case de- 
plorable. It is a stroke laid on for a grievous quarrel, namely, the 
misimproving of the gospel. 

2. The right notion of the excellency of the ministry of the word 
will evince their case to be sad that want it. Ministers are the 
light of the world, and they are dark places of the earth that want 
the gospel. The ministry of the word is the ordinary means of 
convincing and converting sinners ; and when the gospel goes ft^m 
a place, it is a sad sign that that work there is near an end. It is 
appointed for the edifying of the body of Christ, therefore to be 
continued till the temple be finished. The word is the bread of our 
souls the water to quench their thirst, rain to make them fruitful ; 
and it is our counsellor in dou^>ts and fears. 

Use 1. Let us pity the case of those that are altogether without 
the light of the gospel, as many places in the world are. What 
though they have many precious things which we want, yet our 
gospel is better than their gold. Whatever they have in this 
world, where is the solid grounds of hope with them of a better ? 
For our text looks sternly on the opinion of the salvation of hea- 
thens, telling us that where no vision is, there the people perish. 

2. Let us pity the case of persecuted Christians and churches. 
Where there is no open vision, where silent Sabbaths are forced' 
upon professors by the rage of enemies. As also the case of deso- 
late congregations amongst ourselves, where many are perishing for 
want of vision, being brought np in ignorance of the precepts of re- 
ligion, and have not the means of instruction, direction and com- 
fort, when they most need them. Did men consider the sad case 



into which the want of vision brings a people, they durst not raise 
obstacles in the way of planting congregations. Though in the 
mean time we have reason to bless God, that onr land is a land of 
light, and if the ministry of the word be wanting in one comer, 
it may be had in another. 

3. How injurious are they to their own souls, that wilfully slight 
the ministry of the word, whom a very little thing will keep back 
from ordinances. How do they wrong themselyes that quite turn 
their backs on the ministry, and make it religion to them, not to be 
present at the ordinances dispensed in the congregation. The ex- 
perience of such whose souls are helped thereby in their Christian 
course, will witness their sin, and the injury done to themselyes, as 
well as to the ordinances. 

Lastly, Let us be thankful to God, for the late favourable event 
in keeping this congregation from the desolation that was intended. 
There are few places that could have worse borne a desolation ; 
there being in our case several things not common to render a de- 
solation heavy. The Lord hath heard prayer, let us render to him 
the calves of our lips. We proceed now to show, 

II. That the mere having of the ministry of the word is not suf- 
ficient to make a people happy. This is evident if we consider, 

1. That people may have it, and yet get no saving benefit by it. 
It may be to them like a sounding brass, that reaches no farther 
than the ear. We find people going on in horrible profanity, not- 
withstanding they enjoyed the means of grace, Jer. vii. 8, 9. Some 
again sink* into formality. Having a form of godliness, but denying 
the power thereof. Outward privileges make no man a happy man. 
What avails the light if men will not open their eyes to see : our 
food will not nourish us, unless we eat and digest it ; nor clothes 
warm us, unless we put them on ; so the word preached did not 
profit, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 

2. The mere having of the word is so far from saving men, that 
it will aggravate the condemnation of those that have it, and walk 
not answerably to it. It will be more tolerable in the day of judg- 
ment for Sodom and Gomorrah than for Capernaum ; for them 
that never heard the gospel, than for unbelieving ungodly men. 
The brighter the light shines among a people, their works of dark- 
ness are the more heinous : and their outward privileges will be to 
them at length like a bag of gold on a drowning man. 

Use, You my brethren have shown on the late occasion a great 
concern to have the ministry continued among you, and I hope you 
are convinced that the design pursued was very unacceptable to me. 
Now providence has turned this matter according to the desire of as 


both. Bnt let us not sit down upon it, as if that were enough to 
make all well with us in the relation of pastor and people. We 
need the Lord's hand to it, to put efficacy in the mercy for the good 
of us both. Many have got their desire ; but it has turned to an 
empty husk in their hand, because they did not look to the Lord, 
and depend upon him for the good of it. " Ye looked for much, 
and lo, it came to little ; and when ye brought it home, I did blow 
upon it : Why ? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house 
that is waste, and ye run every man to his own house." If the 
Lord be not with us to bless us, we may come to be a weary burden 
to one another, for no creature can be more to us than God makes 
it to be. We need the blessing to make the ordinances effectual 
among us ; for Paul may plant and Apollos water, but God giveth 
the increase. ! pray, pray for the blessing on this continuance. 
— Protest before the Lord that you will not be satisfied without it. 
We need the blessing to make the mercy lasting, for an unblessed 
mercy will either be very comfortless, or else it will not continue 

It remains for us to shew, 

III. That a right improvement of the mercy of the word will 
make a happy people. This improvement consists in two things, 
which come both here, under the notion of keeping*the law. 

1. Faith in Jesus Christ. It was to him the ceremonial law 
pointed the sinner, under the Old Testament ; and without faith 
there is no keeping of the moral law. For in the eleventh chapter 
of the Hebrews, the apostle shows us, that it was by faith that the 
Old Testament saints did perform duties and bear trials and crosses. 
— This is the great call of the gospel ; to close with Christ there 
offered. We are sent to espouse you to our Master's Son, and do 
not come 8x>eed, but by gaining your consent. 

2. Holiness of life. The doctrines of the gospel believed with the 
heart, teach us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we 
should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world. As 
Christ is the end of the law, so I may say, the law is the end of the 
gospel ; for it is the great design of the gospel revelation, to bring 
back sinners, to that righteousness and holiness which the law re- 
quires. The gospel never gains its end among a people, till a strain 
of piety and holiness run through their whole lives. 

Now to confirm this point. Consider, 

1. This improvement will make happy souls here, and hereafter. 
Here in peace with God, pardon of sin, yea, all spiritual blessings 
in heavenly places in Christ Jesus ; and hereafter in eternal salva- 
tion. For he that believeth shall be saved. 


378 « THANKsoiynra. 

2. It bids fair for prosperity in earthly things, and as far as it 
will serve for God's glory and yonr good, will secure it to you. " For 
godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life 
that now is, and that which is to come." 

3. It will give happiness under your crosses and trials with which 
you meet in the world. Troubles in the world will make the saints 
more attentive to the word ; and they will find the word lighten, 
yea, sweeten their burdens. 

Lastly, It will put a happiness into the relations in which we 
stand, for religion is the grand cement of society, and makes it most 
comfortable. The corruptions of men make them hurtful to one ano- 
ther, and this would cure them ; under the enlightening and purify- 
ing influence of the gospel, " The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, 
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid : and the calf and the 
young lion, and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead 

Directions For improving the ministry of the word. 

1. Pray much for a real benefit from ordinances ; brethren, pray 
for us. 

2. Diligently attend upon ordinances. 

3. Meditate upon what you hear, and converse with one another 
about it. 

4. Set yourselves humbly to obey the truths delivered from the 
Lord's word, embracing them by faith. 

5. Put your hand to the Lord's work in your several stations in 
your families, and among those with whom you converse to prose- 
cute the great ends of the gospel. 

Lastly, Let us live in love and unity ; and as ever yon would see 
the gospel do good in the place, beware of division, for unhappy is 
that minister and people between whom it creeps in, and little suc- 
cess or comfort can there be where it prevails. '' Now the God of 
peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great 
Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting cove- 
nant, make yon perfect in every good work, to do his will, working 
in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ ; 
to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." 


Natumcd Fast Day, July 7, 1726. 




Lttkb xiii. 7. 
Cut ft dawn, why cwmJberetk it the ground ? 

We hare here the doom of the nnfrnitfnl fig tree, and in it the 
doom of all snch as are ntterly barren, under the enjoyment of the 
gospel. And here let ns consider, that the fig tree is the Jews, to 
them it first looks ; though no doubt it is designed for hearers of 
the gospel in all ages. The vineyard is not mankind in general ; 
for the far greater part of mankind were, and yet are, left without 
the inclosnre ; but it is the church as having the means of grace. 
See Isaiah chap. v. The owner of the vineyard is Christ himself. 
He is the heir of all things, the head of the church in particular, and 
he came seeking the fruit. The coming and seeking the fruit im- 
ports the Lord's taking notice what use sinners make of the means 
of grace'; how they answer the design of the pains and cost bestowed 
on them. The finding none, imports the barrenness of sinners, par- 
ticularly of the Jews, under the means of grace ; not brought to 
faith and repentance. The dress of the vineyard is his apostles and 
ministers. The three years mentioned, may refer to the three years 
of Christ's ministry : or if that doth not so well agree, since they 
were after that spared, not one year only, but forty, it may be taken 
more generally for the whole time of the Jewish church under the 
prophets, John the Baptist, and Christ himself; fig trees if they are 
not hopeless, bringing forth in three years' time at least. So it de- 
notes the great patience exercised towards the Jews, and the hope- 
lessness of their case, notwithstanding all the means and time which 
they have enjoyed. In the text we have, 

1. The orders given respecting it. Cut it dcnvn. The case is hope- 
less. The pruning knife prevails not, take the axe and hew it 
down. This was accomplished in the destruction of Jerusalem, 
when the people were unchurched and destroyed. 

2. The reason of this severity. It cumbers the ground. The 
ground in which it stands is rendered useless. It draws to it the 
sap that might nourish other plants, and its shade is hurtful to men. 
So the barren Jews were to be removed. 


Doctrine. The unfmitfnl under the means of grace do but camber 
the ground in God's vineyard, and therefore however they may be 
spared a while, they will be cut down at length. Here I shall shew, 

I. Who are the unfruitful in God's vineyard to be cut down. 

II. How and in what respects do these cumber the ground. 

III. Why the cumberers of the ground are so long spared. 

IV. The import of cutting down. We are then, 

I. To shew who are the unfruitful in God's vineyard, to be cut 

1. Dead trees. They being still in their natural state, are spiri- 
tually dead in trespasses and sins. The gospel is the mean of life 
to a dead world, called therefore the word of life, Phil. ii. 16. It 
is by it that the Spirit of life is conveyed into the dead soul. This 
Spirit is received by the hearing of faith. Thereby faith comes 
whereby the soul is united to Christ the fountain of life. So then 
faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. But 
aUts ! many continue dead under quickening means, destitute of the 
Spirit and of faith. So they cannot bring forth the fruits of holi- 
ness, they can do nothing that is truly good, more than a dead man 
can move and act. There is none that doth good, no not one. 
They are not brought to union with Christ, so death reigns in them. 
Thus there are dead persons, dead families. 

2. Rotten trues. Dead souls are spiritually rotten also. '* They 
are altogether become filthy." This speaks reigning vanity and 
worthlessness, as the rotten tree is light. How many such are in 
God's vineyard, whose mind is vain. " Having the understanding 
darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the igno- 
rance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart : who 
being past feeling, have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, 
to work all nncleanness with greediness." Their conversation is 
vain, 1 Pet. i. 18. They savour nothing, seek nothing in earnest, 
but the vain things of a present world. This also speaks vileness. 
They are loathsome to God, and to good men', and useless. Good 
for nothing but the fire. These will be cut down. 

3. Withered trees. When the tree has lost all sap and is 
withered away, it cannot bring forth fruit, but must be cut down. 
Many that sometimes looked green and promising under the means 
of grace, have lost all now. Their convictions are stifled, their af- 
fection to the things of God is gone, and the gospel is become taste- 
less to them. 

4. Barren trees, that have leaves but no fruit. " And now also 
the axe is laid unto the root of the trees ; therefore every tree that 
beareth not fruit is hewn down and east into the fire." Many hare 


the leayeB of a profession, but no conversation agreeable thereto. 
A form of godliness bnt nothing of the power. As Naphtali, giving 
goodly words, bat not as Joseph, fruitful boughs. Eut it is fruit, 
and not leaves that will save from the axe. 

Lastly, Degenerate trees bringing forth evil and noxious fruit. 
To such God says, '* Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a 
right seed : how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of A 
strange vine unto me ?" These bring forth the fruits of the flesh in 
abundance, that are deadly like the wild gourds of the wild vine. 
For those that are barren to God, are always fruitful to the devil. 
So may it be said of very many hearers of the gospel. " For their 
vine is of the vine of Sodom ; and of the fields of Gomorrah : their 
grapes are grapes of gall ; their clusters are bitter. Their wine is 
the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps." We are now 
to shew, 

II. How and in what respects do these cumber the ground in the 

1. They take up room, precious room, that might be better occu- 
pied. If Tyre and Sidon had enjoyed the room of Ohorazin and 
Bethsaida, they would have made a profitable use of it, Matth. xi. 
21. A place in God's vineyard is very precious. It is more valu- 
able than ten thousand times as much without it. " For says David, 
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." But this desirable and valuable situation often falls 
into the hands of many, who know no more to improve it, than the 
cock in the fable to improve the Jewel. " Wherefore is there a 
price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart 
to it." All they do with it at best, is but unprofitably to fill up a 

2. There is no advantage to the owner from that part of the 
ground which they occupy. But surely from it as well as from the 
other parts, he might raise advantage to himself, if they were re- 
moved from it. They are together become unprofitable. They are 
useless for God, they contribute nothing for his declarative glory in 
the world, they do nothing to advance the Mediator's kingdom. 
When he cut down the Jews, and planted the Gentiles in their 
room ; he showed what great gain was to be made of that place in 
his vineyard, which the Jews occupied to no purpose. '* From the 
uttermost part of the earth ; have we heard songs, even glory to the 
righteous : but I said my leanness, my leanness, woe unto me." So 
God might raise glory to himself, which he hath not from us, by 
giving \o others our places and privileges, if we were turned out. 


3. There is no comfort to the yine-dressers from that part of the- 
ground such oocupy, though otherwise much might arise from it, if 
it was planted with other trees. The pains of the labourers is lost 
upon such trees. In yain is all their toil, sweat, and strength be- 
stowed OB them ; '' for say they, who hath believed our report, and 
to whom is the arm of our Lord revealed." They have all the sor- 
row and pain of disappointment and lost labour : though their la- 
bour might have come to a comfortable and profitable account if it 
had been bestowed on others. Thus said God to Ezekiel, '* I have 
not sent thee to many people of a strange speech, and of an hard 
language, whose words thou canst not understand : surely had I sent 
thee to them, they would have barkened unto thee. But the house of 
Israel will not hearken unto thee ; for they will not hearken unto 
me ; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard hearted." 
Thus we see that Jonah's mission to Nineveh was successful. 

4. The sap of the ground which barren trees draw to them, of 
which they are yet nothing the better, might nourish fruitful trees 
if they had their room. Sodom's ruin might have been prevented 
by Gapamaum's privileges; but they were lost on Capernaum, 
Matth. xi. 23. Many hungry persons might be refreshed with the 
meat and drink which the glutton and the drunkard devour, and 
f^om which they derive no good but evil to themselves : and many a 
poor soul would feed sweetly on these means of grace, that others 
have and despise, having no heart for them. The salvation of many 
might be advanced by those very means of grace which others hav- 
ing yet got no good of them, but an aggravating of their condem- 

Lastly, They hinder the fruitfulness of other trees in the vine- 
yard; drawing the sap from them. So they are not only not 
profitable, but hurtful. Look how a barren tree in a garden spoils 
the undergrowth, and is hurtful to the fruit trees. So unprofitable 
hearers of the gospel, scatter their malignant influence to all that 
are about them. One sinner destroyeth much good. Their example 
and influence will pull down, what the means of grace are for build- 
ing up in others. Let us now, 

III. Inquire why cumberers of the ground are spared so long. 

1. For to try if they will mend. " The Lord is long suflfering to 
us ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come 
to repentance.. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and 
forbearance and long suffering ; not knowing that the goodness of 
God leadeth thee to repentance." A tree that is barren one year 
may be fruitful another year. The soul that has long refused to 
obey the call of Christ, may afterwards, with the son in the parable, 


repent and obey, Matth. xxi. 29. And therefore the Lord will giye 
them time, exercise patience, and wait on a while. 

2. For the prayers of the godly. This barren tree was spared 
another year, npon the entreaty made for it by the yine-<lresser, 
verse 8. So was the intercession made by Moses prevalent for the 
sparing of Israel, Exod. xxxii. 10 — 14. and Lot's intercession for 
Zoar. The godly are the pillars of the land. 

3. For the sake of their seed designed for vessels of mercy. 
Though a barren tree brings not forth fruit, yet it brings forth seed 
for propagating its kind. And many a time sinners, vessels of 
wrath, are spared, for the sake of the vessels of mercy that may be 
in their loins ; as it was with the generation that came ont of Egypt, 
and the remnant of the Jewish unbelievers, Matth. xxiv. 22. 

Lastly, That impenitent sinners may be wholly inexcusable. 
There is a measure of iniquity to be filled up, and so long the Lord 
will bear with sinners, and no longer, Bom. ii. 5. Gen. xv. 16. It 

TV. To consider the import of cutting down. It denotes, 

1. Patience at a end. " And the Lord said, my Spirit shall not 
always strive with men." God may wait long on barren trees in 
his vineyard, but the time will come that he will wait no longer. 
He will no longer expect fruit ; it must be cut down. I have long 
time, says he, holden my peace, I have been still and refrained my- 
self, now will I cry like a travailing woman ; ** I will destroy and 
devour at once." His honour lies at stake, the honour of his holy 
and just providence, which suffers by sinners continuing impenitent. 
But he will retrieve his honour at the sinner's cost. 

2. Never fruit more to grow upon them. When our Lord said to 
the barren tree, ''Let not fruit grow upon thee henceforward for 
ever." It is added, '' And presently the fig tree withered away." 
While the tree stands there is some hope, but when it is cut down 
all hope of fruit is removed from it for ever. Men delay repentance 
now, but this stroke Mrill put them out of the reach of repentance, 
beyond the line of mercy. 

3. It denotes the sharpness of the stroke. The stroke of wrath 
against barren trees in God's vineyard will be very cutting. The 
dead soul will be made to feel it in the most tender part. Whom 
the word cannot pierce, the sword of wrath will cut asunder and ap- 
point them their portion with the hypocrites ; " there shall be weep- 
ing and gnashing of teeth." 

4. The suddenness of the stroke. ''The Lord of the slothful 
servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an 
hour w&en he is not aware ; and shall cut him asunder." Of all 

384 uNTBinrriTL pbofbssobs. 

persons those who hare most pains taken on them in vain, by the 
preaching of the gospel, are the most liable to sndden destruction. 
** He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly 
be destroyed, and that without remedy." 

5. The destructiyeness of it. *^ Thou shalt break them with a rod 
of iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." The 
Lord outs in mercy that he may heal ; but his cutting down makes 
an end of the barren tree. So will death be to impenitent sinners. 

6. The casting of it out of the vineyard. The tree being cut 
down, is next cast over the hedge. They that improve not their 
room in God's vineyard, will ere long lose their room in it, and their 
souls at once. 

Lastly, That the barren tree is to be cast into the fire. ** If a 
man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered ; 
and men gather them, and they are cast into the fire, and they are 
burned." Impenitent sinners cast out of God's vineyard, will be 
cast into hell, where they will for ever lament their misimproviog 
of the means of grace when it will be out of time. 

Uses, — 1. The unfruitfulness under the gospel prevailing in our 
land, forbodes a time of hewing and cutting down. Our privileges 
have been signal ones, our misimprovement signal; so will our 
stroke be likewise. 

2. Impenitent sinners have a dangerous station in God's vineyard. 
A barren tree may be much safer in the wood than in the garden. 
Tyre and Sidon will have a cheaper bargain of their lusts, than 
Ghorazin and Bethsaida; and they that never heard the gospel, 
than we. 

3. Take heed what part ye act in God's vineyard. Be concerned 
to know for what use you are in it. Beware of being cumberers of 
the ground. Many such there are, but he will at length free his 
vineyard of the burden of them. 

4. Lay no more weight upon external church privileges, than they 
will bear. Happy are they that dwell in God's house, if they learn 
the true manners of the house. But if in God's house they live un- 
godly lives, it had been better for them they never had known it. 
^* The childreiT of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness, 
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 

Lastly, Consider what fruit ye bring forth under the means of 
grace ; and do not overlook the privileges which you enjoy. Mi- 
nisters sow the seed, Christ himself will look after the fruit, and 
will notice who bring forth the fruit of a preached gospel, and who 
cumber the ground. '' And now also the axe is laid unto the root 
of the trees; therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good 
fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Amen. 


MorhattUy Satwrday before ike Sacrcanent, June, 1707. 


Psalm iy. 6. 
JLord lift thou up the Ugkt of thy countenance upon us, 

HowETBB all men have the same common nature, yet grace makes 
a vast difference among them. As it makes difference in their 
understandings, so, in their wills. Their choice is not the same, hut 
yery different as in the text. 

In this Terse we have the world divided into two parties. On 
the one side which is the worst, there are many, on the other side 
not many. Many is a word of comparison, and properly signifies a 
great number, and because there are degrees in a great number, 
aometimes it signifies all, Rom. y. 19. Sometimes the most part, 
Matth. yii. 13. so here. Wherefore those on the other side must be 
few. So that if it were put to the yote in the world, whether Grod 
or the world should haye men's hearts, God should be yoted out of 
the world. We haye also in the yerse something supposed in which 
the parties agree, and that is in two things. 1. They agree in their 
sense of defects. Eyery man godly and ungodly is sensible he la- 
bours under some wants. The wicked man in the fulness of his 
sufficiency is in straits, there is still a yoid in his heart, eyen after 
he hath glutted himself with all he can find in the world. His 
heart is like the graye, or the barren womb, that neyer say it is 
enough. The godly also while here, are still craying, being com- 
passed with wants. 2. They agree in their desire of supplies. The 
mouths of both are opened, they gape for satisfaction as the parched 
ground for the rain. The desire of happiness is interwoyen with 
man's nature, and that desire is fresh, eyen when desire fails in old 

But there are also some things in which they differ, a>hd these are^ 
1. The object of their desires. The wicked's desire is creeping, 
the godly 's desire soars aloft; the one desires any good, that is 
worldly good things, yerse 7* like the wild beasts that seek their 
meat among their feet: but the godly desires the light of God's 
countenance, that is the fayour and sense thereof. The reason of 
the metaphor is, because the affections of the heart appear in the 
countenance. The weary trayeller does not so much desire the ris- 


ing of the snn, as the gracious soul does the light of God's counte- 
nance, Psal. Ixvii. 1. 

5. They differ in the way which they take to the accomplishing 
of their desires. The wicked are at a great uncertainty here, who 
will shew u8 ? That is, make us to enjoy. The godly are at a point, 
they go straight to God with their desires. Carnal men know not 
what quarter to go to, but try all, like the hungry infant that sucks 
wherever it comes, and finding no milk in one thing, goes to ano- 
ther, and so on. But the child of God straightway fixes on the 
breasts of diyine consolation. " Lord lift thou up the light of thy 
countenance upon us." 

3. In the success of their desires. The carnal man gets not his 
desire satisfied. He is still saying, who will show us any good, for 
he is always at the wrong door ; but the gracious soul gets its rest 
taken up in the bosom of the great God. Here it lays itself down 
and goes no farther. The carnal man is like a traveller that has 
lost his way in a misty day, when he sees a bush he takes it for a 
house and promiseth himself rest, but finding he is disappointed 
there, gets up again and falls into the same mistake, and is disap- 
pointed without end. Whereas the godly come to the right door, 
and continue there till it be opened. 

Doctrine. It is the great desire of gracious souls to have the light 
of the Lord's countenance lifted up upon them. I shall, 

I. Speak to the case that is here supposed. 

II. Consider this desire of the graoious soul. 

III. Give the reasons, why it is the great desire of the gracious 
soul. I am then, 

I. To speak to the case that is here supposed, which is, that the 
the saint, the child of light, may sometimes sit in darkness. Hence 
saith Isaiah, '' Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that 
obeyeth the yoioe of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath 
no light." The sun may go down upon the saint in his way to Im- 
manuel's land, a black cloud may overshadow him, and set him 
down in the valley of the shadow of death, where he may be left to 
cry for the light to arise upon him. Here I shall first show how far 
this darkness may proceed with them. And secondly, How can 
these things be. 

First then. How far may this darkness proceed with them. 

1. It may go so far with them, that they cannot see to read their 
evidences for heaven. Sometimes the believer can say My Beloved 
is mine, and I am his. But when the light of God's countenance 
goes down on them, they may cry out,