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

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BX 8915 .B67 18A8 v. A 
Boston, Thomas, 1677-1732. 
The whole works of the late 
Reverend Thomas Boston, of 





















REV THOMAS 'Boston, 








It is absolutely certain that the following Discourses are the genuine 
Woi'ks of the worthy Author whose name they bear : they have 
been transmitted through the hands of his lineal descendants. 
From the handwriting — which is such as was common in the begin- 
ning of the eighteenth century — though now rather antiquated, as 
well as from the information of those who had access to know, it ap- 
pears these Sermons were the original autographs, written at the 
time of the dates affixed to them ; but to those acquainted with the 
spirit and manner of Mr. Boston's other writings, the perusal of the 
Discourses themselves will finally convince them they are genuine. 
The character of the Author as a judicious, evangelical, and practi- 
cal writer, is long ago finally established. The Discourses now of- 
fered to the public have been selected from a variety of his manu- 
scripts, with considerable care, and faithfully transcribed by one 
fully qualified for this service. They were chiefly composed by the 
Author in that period of his life when his mind was most vigorous, 
his knowledge of the gospel very enlarged, his religious attainments 
highly eminent ; and at a time, too, when, from a variety of circum- 
stances, he was enabled to pay particular attention to the formation 
of his Discourses. They are equally full and judicious with those 
already published ; and we are persuaded will be much relished by 
those who understand and value the most accurate methods of teach- 
ing evangelical truth. They discover that serious and spiritual 
strain, that perspicuity of language, that happy fertility of Scrip- 
tural proof and illustration, which are conspicuous in his other 
Works. Several respectable Ministers and Christians have expres- 
sed an earnest desire of their being sent forth to public view. As 
the former Works of this great and good man have been eminently 
blessed to the edification of many, it is devoutly hoped the present 

publication will produce the same effect. 

Rev. John Bkown, Minister, Whitburn. 

Rev. Ebenezek Brown, Minister, Inverkeithing. 




PsAL. ex. 3. — Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, ... It 


2 Cor. xi. 2. — For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you 

as a chaste virgin to Christ, ... ... ... ... ... ... 22 


Luke i. 74, 75. — That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of 
the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness, and 
righteousness before him, all the days of our life, ... ... ... 31 






PsAL. Ixxxix. 15. — They shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance, 44 


1 Sam. vii. 12. — Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and 
Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying. Hitherto hath the Lord 
helped us, ... ... ... ... ■.• ••• ••• ••• 52 

Lam. iii. 49, 60 Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any inter- 
mission, till the Lord look down and behold from heaven, ... ... 60 


Job xvi. 22. — When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I 

shall not return, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ••• 67 






1 Tim. iv. 7. — And exercise thyself rather unto godliness, ... ... ... 71 




1 Tim. iv. 7. — Exercise thyself rather unto godliness, ... ... ... 81 


PsAL. xlv. 10. — Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; for- 
get also thiue own people, and thy father's house, ... ... ... 89 



Phil. iii. 8. — Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency 

of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, ... ... ... ... 125 















Jer. xiv. 7. — O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy 

name's sake ; for our backslidings are many ; we have sinned against thee, 195 



EzEK. xvlii. 29. — Are not your ways unequal ? ... ... ... ... 203 


Eph. v. 33. — Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife 

even as himself ; and the wife see that she reverence her husband, ... 209 


Mark iv. 11. — And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery 
of the kingdom of God : but unto them that are without all these things are 
done in parables, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 218 


Epii. v. 9. — For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and 

truth, 228 


Pun., i. 21 For me to live is Christ, 239 


Heb. xiii. 14. — For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come, 247 


PsAT,. iv. 2 — Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and b ,• still, 262 


Heb. iv. 1 1, — Let us labour, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall 

after the same example of unbelief, ... ... ... ... ... 268 


ErH, iv. II, 12. — And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets ; and some, 
evangelists ; and some, pastors and teachers ; for the perfecting of the saints, 
for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, .,. 309 


Eph. iv. 13. — Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of 


the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the atature of the 
fulness of Christ, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 316 


John xvi. 33. — These things 1 have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have 
peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have 
overcome the world, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 323 


Eph. iv. 20, 27. — Be angry, and sin not ; let not the sun go down upon your 

wrath; neither give place to the devil, ... .. ... 351 


Matt. ix. 12, — They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick, 359 


Mark xiii. 37 And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch, ... ... 387 


IsA. Ixiv. 7. — And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up 
himself to take hold of thee : for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast 
consumed us, because of our iniquities, ... ... ... ... ... 395 



James iii. 6. — The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity, ... ... ... 438 


PsAL. cxxii. 6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, ... ... ... ... 448 


Genesis xxiv. 26, — And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the even tide, -153 


John vii. 37. — In the last Hay, that great day of the feast, Jpsus stood and cried 

saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink, ... ... 458 




Action Sermon, Simprin, February 2, 1707. 


Psalm ex. 3, 

Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ is this day erecting his standard in this 
place, requiring us to submit ourselves to him. But, Oh ! how 
averse are sinners to submit to him ; were it left to their own will, 
he should be a head without a body, and though he travailed long 
and sore, yet should have no issue ; but God hath otherwise secured 
it. " Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." 

This is spoken to Christ, by David, in the spirit of prophecy. 
That it belongs to Christ, no Christian can doubt ; for here David 
in spirit calls him Lord. The Jews, denying the divinity of the 
Messiah, could not extricate themselves from that difficulty. " If 
David then call him Lord, how is he his son ?" But to us it is easy, 
for as he was man, he was the son of David, and came after him, 
but he was more than man, being God he was David's Lord, and so 
was before him. He is in this Psalm held forth as a priest having 
an everlasting priesthood ; and as a king, who hath Jehovah for 
his confederate, who sets him at his right hand, even on his throne, 
after he had overcome death. Rev. iii. 2L He is placed upon his 
throne, with a promise that his enemies shall be made his footstool ; 
which imports his absolute victory over them, and the eternal dis- 
grace that shall lie upon them. The footstool is a piece of state, 
that both raiseth and easeth him that sitteth upon the throne. 

In the second verse it is plain David speaks, and so continues ; 
" The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength," that is, the gospel 
in power, "out of Zion," Micah iv. 2. Thy kingdom shall begin 

Vol. IV. B 

12 Christ's people 

there, but it shall extend itself to the nations. But how shall he 
reign that hath so many enemies ? lie shall set up his kingdom in 
the midst of them. But shall he have no kindly subjects ? Yes he 
shall. " Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." 

There is here, 1. Something supposed. Namely, that Christ hath 
a people in the world where he erects his standard, that he hath a 
special relation to, and interest in. Thy people, even his people, 
Matth. i. 21. The elect who are his, by gift from the Father, John, 
xvii. 9, and by purchase, he hath bought them with his blood, John 
X. 15. It is supposed also, that he finds these unwilling to submit 
to him, as well as the rest of the world. The corruption of the will, 
is common to them with others. They are not only as infants who 
do not know their Father ; but as rebellious children, who yield no 
obedience to him. 

2. There is something here ensured to the mediator, respecting 
this people of his; namely, that these unwilling people shall be 
willing, Hebrew, willingnesses; which imports that they shall sub- 
mit to him, and give away themselves to him; acknowledge the 
right which Christ hath to them, and be his people by their own 
consent. It imports that they shall do this cordially, with all 
their heart; it shall not be a lying to him, as hypocrites do; it 
shall not be a forced pretext only, but their wills shall be cast into 
the mould of his will, and in point of practice conformed to the will 
of his commandments. See Isaiah xlix. 18, and Iv. 5. 

3. There is the time when, and the way how this shall be done. 
" In the day of thy power." That is, in a day of the gospel's coming 
with power. " For the gospel is the power of Grod unto salvation." 
There is a power which is Christ's that makes them willing, that is 
the power of Christ's spirit, different from moral suasion, 1 Thess. i. 5. 
This power opens the heart, dissolves the stone in it, melts down the 
old will and renovates it. Nothing less can do it, nor break the iron 
sinew in their necks. Then there is a day for this power, a time 
appointed from eternity, at which everlasting love that was under a 
cloud, shall flash out on the faces of these children of darkness, and 
bring them forth to marvellous light. The gospel sometimes it is 
but like wild fire, that gives light, but does not burn up that on 
which it falls, but in this day it is big with power, and so brings 
forth children to God. 

What follows, is diversely rendered, and interpreted too. It 
seems to me to point at these things : 1. The beauty : the spiritual 
-beauty of those that are thus made willing ; they shall stand 
before him in the beautiful garments of holiness, as so many priests 
unto God. 2. The suddenness of this change, as if that beauty of 


theirs had fallen from the womb of the morning as the dew, Micah 
V. 7- And 3, the multitude of converts who are Christ's youth, or 
young men being born again. 

DocTCiNE. That Christ hath a people in the world that shall be 
willing in the day of his power, cordially submitting to him. I shall, 

I. Touch at that corruption of the will, with which Christ finds 
his people, as well as others possessed. 

II. Speak of the willingness of the soul submitting to Christ. 

III. I will touch a little at the day of power. 

I. I am to touch at that corruption of the will, with which Christ 
finds his people, as well as others possessed, when he comes in a 
day of power. 

1. There is a weakness in their will, they cannot will what is 
spiritually good and acceptable to God. They cannot produce one 
act of the will that is holy, till grace change their wills, no more 
than a dead man can produce his own resurrection. For we are by 
nature without strength. " It is God that worketh in you both to 
will and to do of his good pleasure. Not that we are suflicient of 
ourselves, to think any thing of ourselves; but our sufliciency is of 
God." They may with the foolish virgins. Matt. xxv. will grace, 
but they do but desire it in a carnal manner. 

2. An aversion to good. We are naturally backward, and there- 
fore mast be drawn. How unwilling is the fish to be drawn out of 
its element into another, so are we to leave our own ways. " Ye 
will not come to me," saith Jesus, " that ye might have life." 

3. There is a proneness to evil, a woful bent of the will carrying 
it to sin. " My people," says God, " are bent to backsliding from 
me." Hence they are mad upon their idols. Place Christ and the 
devil, life and death, duty and sin, before them, leave the will to 
itself, it will naturally run to the evil, as the water runs down a 
steep place. 

4. There is a contrariety in the will, to the will of God. " Be- 
cause the carnal mind is enmity against God : for it is not subject 
to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Hence it is enough for 
us in this state to will any thing, that God forbids it. Even the 
heathen confessed that men were disposed to desire unlawful things, 
and to rush upon things forbidden. Strip sin naked of all profit 
and pleasure that may attend it, yet the sinner will court sin for 
its own sake. 

5. There is contumacy in it, the will is wilful or obstinate in 
evil. The man will not be turned, though he should run upon the 
sword point of vengeance. " Cast away from you all your trans- 


14 Christ's peoplk 

gressions, whereby ye have transgressed, and make you a new heart 
and a new spirit ; for why will ye die, house of Israel." Unre- 
newed sinners, like the Leviathan, "count darts as stubble, and 
laugh at the shaking of the spear," Yea, they say, in opposition 
to the curse, " we shall have peace, though we walk in the imagina- 
tion of our heart, to add drunkenness to thirst." 

This is that corruption which we have derived from Adam, by 
whose fall all the faculties of our souls were corrupted and dis- 
torted : and our will in particular made wholly the devil's captive, 
not to be delivered but by a day of power. 

We now proceed : 

II. To speak of the willingness of the soul submitting to Christ. 
" Thy people shall be willing." What a wonderful change is this I 
The same soul that was unwilling before, is now willing. What 
makes the change ? They are made, they do not make themselves 
willing. The Lord changes their wills, takes away the evil qualities 
of their will, and gives new qualities. " A new heart also," says 
he, " will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I 
will take away the stony heart out of your flesh ; and I will give 
you an heart of flesh." Thus the power of God infallibly deter- 
mines their wills ; yet not blindly, but so as they see what most rea- 
sonably should turn the balance in their choice. For, in every step 
God deals with them as rational creatures, giving them a peculiar 
illumination to proceed. We shall particularize and illustrate this, 
by shewing what they are now willing to do, and how this willing- 
ness in every step is produced. 1. They are willing to part with 
sin. " Ephraim shall say, what have I any more to do with idols." 
They were never more willing to swallow the sweet morsel, than 
now they are to part with it. Their hearts were glued to their 
idols, now a day of power melts the glue, and the soul is content to. 
part with sin, cursing the day that ever they met. The soul that 
held fast sin and refused to let it go, would give a world to be quit 
of it. Never was there a man that had drunk a cup of poison, that 
would more willingly have vomited it, than such a soul would now 
part with sin. 

Now, how comes this wonderful change ? Surely the man is made 
willing. There must needs be a power there, to make the man loath 
above all things, what before he loved above all things. This is 
plain, if you consider that the man was joined to his idols, and unable 
to turn from them. " Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the 
leopard his spots ?" Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed 
to do evil. His sin was so rooted in his heart before, that no 
threatenings, no promises could separate him and it. Surely it must 


be strong wind that renJs the rocks, and lays the tall cedars upon 
the ground ; and since he is willing to part with sin, surely he hath 
seen and felt something, which he did not see nor feel before. Yes, 

He hath felt an uneasiness of conscience rising from the guilt of 
his sin. Sin hath become uneasy to him, and begun to work and 
sting him. Like Peter's hearers, he is now pricked in his heart. 
Unless the soul were ript up, how would it thus as it were cast forth 
its bowels. This uneasiness hath become intolerable. " A wounded 
spirit who can bear." His bosom beloved has been very trouble- 
some, or why would he cast it out ? 

He hath also seen something in God, which he never saw before. 
The man would never have been willing to have parted with sin, 
unless he had seen happiness locked up in the enjoyment of God, 
and that sin separates him from that God, and will separate him 
from him for evermore if retained. But the soul sees itself lost and 
undone without God, and he is sure that he is liable to his wrath 
and curse for it, and is not able to abide with everlasting burning, 
or dwell in devouring flames. 

2. They are willing to go out of themselves, to be divorced from 
their first husband the law ; to cast off all confidence in their attain- 
ments and duties ; to come to Christ stript naked and empty, with 
nothing in them or on them to recommend them to him but misery 
Their language is, " For thy name's sake, Lord, pardon mine ini- 
quity, for it is great." 

Now surely there must be power here. Naturally we take the 
spider's motto, each, saying, I am indebted to myself alone. The co- 
venant of works is engrained in our natures. Work and gain, do and 
live, is the first imnciple of all Adam's posterity. They were bred 
merchants, and they are ashamed to beg : and though their stock is 
gone, yet they will rather drive a trade of small wares than none 
at all. Coming out of our own righteousness is a death, a dying to 
a husband. " My brethren," says Paul, " ye also are become dead 
to the law by the body of Christ ; that ye should be married to an- 
other, even to him that is raised from the dead, that we should 
bring forth fruit unto God." Does the spider sweep away its own 
web, which it spins out of its own bowels ? Does a mother cast out 
the fruit of her own womb ? or will a loving wife put herself to 
death, that she may be free of her husband. And so we are made 
dead to the law, as it is in the original. And therefore the willing 
soul sees that the best of their duties cannot procure the favour of 
God. Is. Ixiv. 6, 7; Phil. iii. They see the emptiness and worth- 
lessness of all they do. Hence they cannot but loath themselve* 
as for their sins, so for their duties. 

16 Christ's people 

They see and feel an obsolute need of the Lord Jesus Christ and 
his righteousness. The person finds he is sick, and therefore needs 
a physician ; that he is naked, his fig leaves will not cover him, and 
therefore the Lord God must make him a garment, " even a white 
raiment that he may be clothed, and the shame of his nakedness not 

He sees also, that he hath nothing in him, or about him to recom- 
mend him to Christ. Many spoil all, by thinking they have some- 
thing that cannot but engage Christ to take their cause in hand, as 
their tears, prayers, repentance, deeds of charity. But the truly 
willing soul takes David's plea, Ps. xxv. 11. And comes as he is 
invited, without money, that he may take the water of life freely ; 
lest he should meet with the entertainment of Simon Magus, and 
hear it said, " thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought 
that the gift of God may be purchased with money." 

He sees, moreover, that God and Christ should do him no wrong, 
though he should not be accepted, but be suffered to perish. He will 
say with the centurion, " I am not worthy that thou shouldst come 
under my roof." He will justify God come of himself what will, 
Ps. li. 4. And thus if the soul should meet with a disappointment 
it will leave its complaint upon itself. And upon the back of any 
refusal will say, *' true and righteous are thy judgments, Lord." 

3. They are willing to take Christ as their Saviour, and to sub- 
mit to his righteousness. God proposeth in the gospel a spiritual 
marriage betwixt his Son and sinners, Matth. xxii. Most men re- 
fuse the oifer, but the willing soul heartily consents to the bargain 
and makes Christ its choice for all, instead of all, and above all ; 
and takes him for a husband, as the captive woman marries the 
conqueror. The soul is well content to venture its salvation upon 
this bottom alone, Phil. iii. 9. To appear before God in the garment 
of his righteousness, to seek life in his death, and healing only in 
his wounds. 

Now there must be a power to make the soul thus willing. Every 
man naturally is an enemy to Christ, and therefore as long as the 
soul can make any shift it will not come ; there must be a drawing 
power; yea, such a power as wrought in Christ, when God by his 
mighty power raised him from the dead. The soul being thus willing 
it follows, 

That such a soul hath seen a transcendant excellency in the Lord 
Jesus Christ. It hath seen him to be the pearl of great price. 
Sometimes like others, they said to the Christian, what is thy beloved 
more than another beloved? But surely now they see a beauty in 
him that captivates their hearts and makes their souls love him. 


The veil covering, or face covering is taken away, and their eyes 
seethe king in his beauty; a beauty that dazzles their eyes, that 
darkens all created glory, as the rising sun makes the stars disap- 

They have got also a satisfying view and discovery of the continu- 
ance of salvation through a crucified Saviour, else their souls could 
not acquiesce iu it. The mystery of Christ is folly to the natural man 
when he comes near to look on it, but the willing soul gets another 
sort of a discovery of it, " determines to know nothing, save Jesus 
Christ and him crucified." You know the world's oi)inion of the 
mystery of Christ crucified. " It was to the Jews a stumbling-block, 
and to the Greeks foolishness." And that still remains true. 
"Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Christ." Two 
things made the world stumble at the gospel way of salvation. Its 
supposed unsuitableness to the divine perfections, this is the bane of 
the Jews, Socinians and others. Its supposed unsuitableness to the 
case of men, this stumbled the heathens. To expect life from one 
crucified seemed a most gross absurdity to them. All natural men 
are in the dark as to this still, therefore they reject him. And 
therefore I conclude that the man that is made willing has got a 
view of the suitableness of this contrivance to the divine perfections. 
They have seen in it the manifold wisdom of God. Men that are 
not careful about their souls will venture them on they know not 
what; but a man that is in earnest about salvation, will never 
venture it on that bottom that is not made of God for that end. 
The man sees he hath to do with a God that is wise, just, and power- 
ful, as well as merciful : therefore as no man will venture to sea in 
a ship that cannot hold out water, so the soul in earnest cannot 
venture unless it see the plan suitable to the wisdom, justice, and 
power of God. To such " Christ is the power of God, and the 
wisdom of God." 

He hath also got a view of its suitableness to his own case. Men 
that see the worth of their souls will not take a remedy at random 
for their perishing souls, lest it be found poison instead of medicine. 
Wherefore the soul looking about in the day of distress, and finding 
nothing in the world but miserable comforters, Christ discovers him- 
self to that soul, and the soul seeing his suitableness resolves to 
venture here as upon one able to save, and every way fitted for their 
needs. Matth. xiii. 45, 46. 

4. The soul is willing to take on the yoke of Christ's command- 
ments. Its language is, " Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" 
Having fled from the fiery law on Sinai, he is content to stand at 
Zion, and receive the same commands. He is willing to stoop and 

18 cheist's people 

take on Christ's burden, and is sorry lie cannot bear it better. Tlie 
ears that were shut before are now opened. " Speak, Lord, for thy 
servant heareth." Holiness is now the desire of his soul. Now, 

There must be a power here, what else could break the iron sinews 
in their necks, and tame the bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. 
The wild ass could never be tamed till now, surely then the month is 
come. Hence it is evident the willing soul sees a beauty in holiness, 
a righteousness in the commandments of God, and a loathsomeness 
in sin. He considers all God's precepts concerning all things to 
be right ; and he hates every false way. If sin be as sweet as be- 
fore, if they see no beauty in holiness, surely they are not the wil- 
ling people ; and it is needless to them to pretend to the feeling of 
a power, unless they would make it appear that God makes men 
willing without reason. 

5. The soul is willing to bear Christ's cross, to cleave to him and 
his ways, and to follow him through fire and water, Luke xiv. 25 — 
33. All that he hath is at Christ's service, houses and lands, rela- 
tions and life also. The smiles of the world cannot bribe him, nor 
the frowns of it drive him away. He is content to own Christ, when 
despised and rejected of men. Now there must needs be a power 
here to make a man thus willing, not only to suffer, but to suffer for 
him, for his glory, and to keep up his standard in the world ; rather 
to suffer for him, than to sin against him. " Thus it is given to 
them in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him but also to 
suffer for his sake." Hence sin is more bitter to the willing soul 
than death, and all the sufferings to which they can be exposed, 
Eccles. vii. 26. Certainly both are bitter. Now, when both 
are laid before them, and they choose sufferings, this says, that 
sin to them is most bitter. Here is the ruin of many pro- 
fessors in a time of trial, sin was never the most bitter thing 
to them, though it hath been bitter ; and therefore the Lord fits his 
people for suffering, by letting them experience the bitterness of sin. 
Again, Christ is sweeter to the willing soul, than all the plea- 
sures and profits of a world, else they could never be willing to 
forego these for Christ, Phil. iii. 8, 9. Alas ! many never felt so 
much sweetness in Christ as in a lust, hence they let him go, and 
return to their lusts again. Some get half a view of Christ's 
preciousness, hence a half-willingness, a hankering after him. But 
still the world and their lusts are sweeter, and therefore like Orpha, 
they depart from him weeping. 

Lastly, The willing soul is willing to go away with Christ, for 
altogether, home to his Father's house. I am not saying they are 
all absolutely willing to die. They perhaps want assurance of a safe 


lodging place. But this I say, if Christ would carry them away to 
his Father's house, they would be content to bid farewell to all 
below, and go with him. 

Now there must be power here, that reconciles a man to heaven, 
to everlasting communion with God. " Giving thanks unto the 
Father, who made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the 
saints in light." Hence it is evident, the willing soul is one that 
hath a transcendant love to Christ, and a desire of communion with 
him ; even of such a communion as may never be overclouded nor 
interrupted. They are unwilling to want it, and their souls long 
for it. We shall now, 

III. Touch a little at the day of power. 

1. Though the gospel may be long preached unto a people, yet 
there are some special seasons that may be looked on as days of 
power. The same power doth not always accompany the word. 
Days when the gospel is new to a people, days of persecution, days 
when there is a spirit of prayer poured out, and times of sealing 
ordinances, these are more likely than others to be days of power. 

2. There is an appointed time for the inbringing of all the elect 
of God, and that is the particular day of power to them. As it 
was to the Israelites, when at the end of the appointed time, " even 
the self-same day, it came to pass that all the host of the Lord 
went out from the land of Egypt." He that appointed the time of 
their natural birth, appoints also the time of their spiritual or new 
birth. There is a day and hour, in which everlasting love will 
dawn on the soul. 

3. A dark night usually goes before this day of power. The soul 
is led to the place of execution before the pardon be given out ; they 
are cast down before they be lifted up ; conscience is awakened, the 
heart pained, before peace and health be diffused through the soul. 

4. Whenever this day of power comes, the soul is made willing, the 
fort of the heart is taken, and the King of glory enters in state, 
turns out the old inhabitants, and puts in new. And there are three 
things done in that day. 1. Christ gives the conquering stroke, and 
by an Almighty power opens the prison door, and so it is the day of 
the captives' deliverance. 2. The spirit of Christ is at work tra- 
vailing to bring them forth, and so it is their birth-day. 3. Christ 
gains the bride's consent, and so it is their marriage day. 

Inference 1. Pray earnestly for a day of power. There are 
three things we much need, and which a day of power would do for 
us. 1. It would revive the graces of the spirit in the Lord's people 
among us, that are decayed and languishing. A marriage day is a 
feast day for the bridegroom's friends, in which the bridegroom 

20 Christ's PEOPiiB 

bestows gifts upon them. The Lord's people have need to be made 
more -willing, to have the backwardness to duty taken off their spirits. 

2. It would bring in many new friends to Christ, would bring many 
out of the devil's kingdom, into the kingdom of God's dear Son. 

3. It would make enemies, that are none of Christ's purchase, to 
feign submission, and put a stop to the open profanity abounding in 
our day. Ps. Ixxxi. 15. 

Inference 2. Show yourselves Christ's people, by submitting to 
him. This day he is erecting his standard in this place, and we 
invite you in his name, to stand out no longer against him, but 
come to him and receive him, and give up yourselves to him. 

1. Consider what you are, while you submit not to Christ. You 
are under strange lords. If you be not Christ's subjects, you are 
the devil's slaves ; you are the servants of sin. And what is it you 
are so fond of, that you prefer it to Christ : is it pleasure or 
profit ? " What is a man profited, if he should gain the whole world, 
and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange for 
his soul." 

2. Consider Christ is an exalted king. He is placed at the Father's 
right hand, on his throne. Will you deny him a lodging in your 
heart ? The rejecting of Christ, in his humiliation, was grievously 
punished upon the Jews, what then shall become of the neglectors of 
an exalted Christ? 

3. He is a priest as well as a king. It is only by virtue of his 
sacrifice and intercession, that you can get mercy. Finally, you 
must stoop to him sooner or later. " We must all stand before the 
jundgment seat of Christ. To him every knee shall bow, and every 
tongue confess." If you submit not willingly, he will make you his 
footstool. He is a merciful king. 

Use 3. Try whether you be really such as submit honestly to 
Christ. Especially you that are to sit down at the Lord's table, see 
if you be a willing people. Try your willingness. 

1. Your willingness if right, will be a supernatural willingness, 
made by a day of power. Wild oats grow without labour, but bread 
corn requires labour and pains. Willingness lightly gained, lightly 
goes. So it was with the stoney ground hearers, and those who re- 
ceived the seed among thorns. The child that never found any bitter 
thing on the breast, easily returns to it ; and the soul that is willing 
to take Christ, but never felt the bitterness of sin, it is like it will 
not long stay with him. 

2. It is accompanied with understanding. The willing soul makes 
an understanding choice. An error in the person, (in marriage), 


makes it null. Many in their pretended choice of Christ, make a 
blind choice, not knowing hira, hence they run away from him again. 
Mai. iii. 1, 2. 

3. It is deliberate. The soul sits down and counts the cost, but a 
rash consent will be retracted. 

4. It is an absolute willingness. Philip said to the eunuch, *' if 
thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest be baptized. And 
he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." 
That is to believe with the whole heart, when the soul makes choice 
of Christ and his ways, because of their inward beauty, which they 
would do, were there no hell. But alas ! many are willing to take 
Christ just to be a bridge, to carry them over the water of God's 

Lastly, It is for the present. Real willingness will admit of no 
delay. Matth. viii. 21, 22. 

Objection 1. I fear I am none of Christ's people. Answer, If 
thou be one of the willing people, surely thou art one of his. 

2. I fear Christ is not willing. Answer, That is a dreadful re- 
flection on his veracity. Do you think that he mocks you while he 
invites you, and promises you a welcome reception. Nay, know if 
Christ had not been willing, thou hadst not been willing, " we love 
him, because he first loved us," It is he who hath made you willing. 

3. But I cannot get my heart made willing. how backward is 
it, and averse to stoop. Answer, Is that thy exercise and burden ? 
It is a good sign. Art thou willing to be made willing ? that is 
some degree of willingness. Dost thou see that beauty in Christ, 
that hatefulness in sin, that thou art grieved that thy soul cleaves 
so fast to it, thou art of that willing people. Amen. 

22 THE soul's espousal 

First Sabbath after the Sacrament, Simprin, Feb. 9, 1707. 


2 Corinthians, xi. 2, 

For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a 
chaste virgin to Christ. 

It was a matter of great importance we were about last Sabbath, 
espousing poor sinners to the Son of Grod. But the bride is apt to 
forget, till she be brought home, and therefore we would put you in 
mind of it. 

In this verse, the apostle shows how ho stood affected to them. 
" He was jealous over them with a godly jealousy." The cause of 
this jealoxxsy was the danger in which they were, notwithstanding 
the great length he had brought them. Their danger is specified, 
verse 3. The length he had brought them is in the text, in which 
we have his success, " he had espoused them to one husband," and 
the design of it, " that he might present them as a chaste virgin 
to Christ." These words I explained, and insisted on the first 
clause of the verse, at another occasion of this nature. 

Doctrine I. Sometimes ministers get the treaty of marriage 
betwixt their Master and their people brought such a length, that 
they can say they have got the espousals made, and that with a 
design that they may get the bride, as a chaste virgin, to present 
to the bridegroom, when the great marriage day shall come. 

In treating this subject, I shall, 

I. Explain a little, this match betwixt Christ and his people. 

I shall view it in these six degrees : 

1. The first degree of it was the design and purpose of that 
match, in the heart of God, from all eternity. It is no new thing. 
It is older than heaven and earth. God hath had an eternity to 
think upon it, and never saw reason to alter his purpose. Concern- 
ing this, we may notice three things. 1. God seeing all mankind 
in a lost state, was pleased from eternity to have mercy upon, and 
to love those freely, who in time are brought to Christ. " Accord- 
ing as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world. 
God who is rich in mercy, for the great love wherewith he loved us, 
even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with 
Christ." He loved them, when there was nothing appearing in 


them lovely. Man considered as innocent, was loved, but lie soon 
ceased to be the object of that love, law-love. But God took man 
at his worst, and loved him then with a love of good-will, which set 
his mercy on work. " The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, 
saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love ; therefore, 
with loving-kindness have I drawn thee." 2. Those whom he 
loved, he designed to everlasting life, made choice of them to be his 
sons, heirs of the heavenly inheritance. He selected them out of 
the midst of shipwrecked mankind, fully purposing to bring them 
to Imraanuel's land. 3. Those whom he thus chose, he gave them 
to Christ, to be his spouse in time, to be redeemed and saved by him. 
" Thine they were," saith Jesus, " and thou gavest them me." 
Christ accepted of them, upon the terms fixed by the Father, " Lo, 
I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to 
do thy will, my God : yea, thy law is within my heart." He 
needed them not, he was to buy them dear, yet he consents, and 
therefore they are called his people, Psal. ex. 3. 

2. The removal of the lawful impediments of this match betwixt 
the Son of God and sinners. When this purpose was proclaimed 
in heaven, there appeared to object against the match, the justice, 
law, and truth of God. Justice says, the Mediator is God, and 
there can be no match betwixt God and guilty man, till I be 
satisfied. The law says, they are mine, and I will not part 
with them, till death part us. Truth says, God himself made 
this marriage betwixt them and the law, and therefore they cannot 
be married to another, unless first death dissolve the marriage. 
Bat the designed bridegroom will not let the marriage go back, and 
therefore he removes these impediments, by his obedience to the 
law, and by his death in our nature, and in our stead, which he did 
and suifered as a public person, even as Adam sinned, Gal. ii. 20. 
By this means justice is satisfied, and so content the match go on. 
" For," saith God, " this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well 
pleased." The sinner dies to the law in Christ, and the law dies to 
the sinner. " Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to 
the law by the body of Christ ; that ye should be married to ano- 
ther, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring 
forth fruit unto God." And so the parties being thus dead, the 
truth of God has nothing to object against the purpose of this new 

3. The contract is written, drawn, and ready for the subscribing. 
" He hath made with me," says David, " an everlasting covenant, 
ordered in all things and sure." Ordered, or prepared. And 
there are two things in the contract, 1. Christ's consent to match 

24 THE soul's espousal 

with poor sinners, to give himself to the captive daughter of Zion 
for a husband, notwithstanding she be ill-favoured and unworthy ; 
Rev. xxii. 17. There is next the dowry promised to the bride, and 
that is all things with him : " He that spared not his own Son, but 
delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely 
give us all things," even all the blessings of the everlasting cove- 
nant, grace and glory, Psal. Ixxxiv. 11, A large maintenance, and 
a good house ; John xiv. 3. Yea, the contract is subscribed by the 
bridegroom and his Father. " This shall be the covenant that I 
will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord, 
I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their 
hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." The 
contract is also sealed. " This cup," saith the bridegroom, " is the 
New Testament in my blood." All this before famous witnesses, 
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the 
Word, and the Holy Grhost ; and these three are one. And there 
are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and 
the blood ; and these three agree in one." The whole is registered 
in this Bible. 

But is not this strange work, to write, and sign, and seal the 
contract, before the bride's consent be obtained, yea, before she be 
courted? Answer. The reason of this is, it is one of the articles, 
that the bridegroom shall gain the bride's consent. " All that the 
Father giveth me, shall come to me, and him that cometh to me, I 
will in no wise cast out." Again, The bride hath nothing, for 
which to contract, and he looks for as little with her. She hath 
nothing in her, nor upon her, and can bring nothing with her, but 
debt, wants, poverty, and misery, and he is willing to take her as 
she is; Ezek. xvi. 1 — 14. 

4. The courting of the bride, in order to gain her consent. And 
this courtship is managed in two places. First, Christ comes into 
her mother's house, to the public ordinances, and there he, by his 
ambassadors, courteth her consent. In the public ordinances there 
is a good report given of Christ, his willingness is declared, sinners 
are invited, exhorted, obtested to give away themselves to him; 
there is a moral force used upon them by arguments, " compelling 
them to come in, that his house may be filled." Secondly, Christ 
comes into the chambers of their heart, and then there is a heart 
conference betwixt Christ and the soul, without which the former 
cannot prevail, and here do pass these five things. 1. The Lord 
discovers to the soul its lost and undone condition ; that like the 
prodigal, Luke xv. it is perishing with hunger. 2. The Lord tells 
the soul that its other lovers will ruin it. Sin will damn the soul, 


the law will never be satisfied with all that the soul can do. 3. 
The Lord tells them that he is willing. 4. He discovers himself in 
his beauty. Lastly, He reveals, stretches out his arm, and lays 
hold on the sinner in the day of power. " The soul is apprehended 
of Christ Jesns." And then follows, 

5. The espousals. The soul being overcome, gives its consent to 
take Christ for a husband, renouncing all others. The soul makes 
choice of Christ. With the whole soul, the soul makes choice of a 
whole Christ. Their great desire is, "to be found in him, not hav- 
ing on their own i-ighteousness, which is of the law, but that which 
is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by 
faith. They esteem him altogether lovely in his person and in his 
oflBces. They can want none of him. Again, they make choice of 
him all, for all, and instead of all, saying, " whom have I in heaven 
but thee, and there is none on earth that I desire, besides thee." 
According to the law of marriage they cleave unto him, forgetting 
also their own people, and their father's house. Their choice of 
him is for ever, in all times and cases, even beyond the limits of 
time, taking him to be the strength of their heart, and their portion 
for ever. The soul gives itself away to Christ. Servants give work 
for wages, and masters give wages for work. Suitors give tokens 
and pledges to draw on love ; but husbands and wives give them- 
selves to one another, and this is a blessed day. " Go forth, ye 
daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon, with the crown where- 
with his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the 
day of the gladness of his heart." 

Lastly, The consummation of the marriage betwixt Christ and the 
soul. The espousals are in this life, at our believing, the marriage 
is consummated in glory. Then shall be heard the shout, " Let us 
be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him ; for the marriage of the 
Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." Now the 
espoused bride shall be presented to Christ, as the bride to the 
bridegroom, in the marriage day by her friends. Hence Christ is 
represented as coming at the last day, as a bridegroom to the mar- 
riage, with his espoused wife. Matth. xxv. 1 — 5. Then shall the 
mystery be finished, and the copestone be laid upon the great design 
of God in the gospel. 

Now there is a time betwixt the esposals and marriage : 
1. This time is for the trial of the bride. " 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, so will I also be for thee." 
In the meantime, the old lovers will come back again, and endea- 
vour to recover her afi"ections which they have lost, and often do 

26 THE soul's espousal 

they so succeed, that they get hold again of some who were never 
sincere in their espousals, but others remain firm. 

2. This interval is, that the bride may make herself ready. As 
the espoused virgin takes up her time providing for the marriage, 
so the soul by making progress in sanctification, dying more and 
more unto their lusts, is prepared for the consummation of the mar- 
riage in heaven. I proceed, 

II. To shew what hand ministers have in this match. 

1. They are proxies for the bridegroom, sent as Abraham's ser- 
vant, to seek a wife for their master's son ; because he is a king, 
yea, the prince of the kings of the earth. They are ambassadors, 
and that of peace; 2 Cor. v. 18 — 20. Their work is to commend 
their Lord, and to gain the bride's consent. 

2. They are witnesses, though not to the formal consent, yet to 
that which imports a consent. They see how their message is 
entertained, though indeed they may be so far deceived, as to take a 
feigned for an unfeigned consent. 

3. They are the attendants of the bride, to adorn her for her 
husband. It is by the word, that the espoused soul is made clean, 
and fitted for Christ, as the Greek word in our text signifies. 

Lastly, The text tells us of another part of their work, namely, 
their presenting her to the bridegroom at the last day. This may 
import their joyful account of their ministry to their master at his 
coming, when they shall be able to say. Here am I, and the children 
whom thou hast given me. " For," says Paul, " what is our hope, 
or joy, or crown of rejoicing ? are not even ye in the presence of 
our Lord Jesus Christ ac his coming ; For ye are our glory and 
joy." Let us now, 

III. Inquire why the Lord employs men in this great and honour- 
able work. 

1. It is in condescension to our infirmities. If God had employed 
angels, how would we have been able to have looked upon them. 
Manoah and his wife, fell on their faces to the ground, when they 
saw the conduct of the angel that appeared to them, Judges xiii. 
Ever since sin entered the world, commerce with spirits is dreadful 
to men ; but here, men of like passions with ourselves, transact this 
most important matter. 

2. It is very agreeable, in regard God is in Christ, and the divine 
■nature united with the human nature, that therefore men should 
deal with men, to bring them to the man Christ. 

3. That God may have all the glory. Were angels employed to 
espouse souls to Christ, it would be thought that the power was from 
them ; but the more contemptible the instruments are the more 
^oes the power appear to be of God, and not of us. 


Doctrine II. That the great desigu of espousing sinners to Christ 
here, is that they continuing chaste and faithful to Christ after the 
espousals, may at last be presented to Christ, to be married to him 
in heaven his Father's house. Ilere we shall, 

I. Inquire what it is for the espoused to keep chaste. 

II. Consider the presenting of the espoused that keep chaste, to 
Christ. We are then, 

I. To inquire what it is for ihe espoused to keep chaste. 

1. They must never be called by another name than their es- 
poused husband. They must hold fast their profession, come what 
will, Heb. X. 23, The company standing with the Lamb on mount 
Zion, " have his Father's name written in their foreheads, and they 
have not defiled themselves with women : for they are virgins : these 
are they which follow the Larab whithet soever he goeth : these were 
redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to 
the Lamb." It must be known by our profession, to whom we be- 
long, thinking no shame to own him before the world. " For with 
the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth con- 
fession is made unto salvation," Matth. x. 31 — 33. 

2. They must never go back to their former husband, for the soul 
that is really espoused to Christ, is divorced from idols and lusts, 
and therefore must not go back to them. " As obedient children, 
not fashioning themselves according to the former lusts, in your 
iguorance." This gauding after other lovers, is breaking to the 
heart of Christ, Ezek. vi. 6 ; and the soul giviiig up itself to them 
again, Christ gives up with that soul, saying, " Ephraim is joined to 
idols ; let him alone." So we must resolve that we will not go back 
from Christ, but say, " quicken us, and we will call upon thy name." 

The soul espoused indeed to Christ, is divorced not only from lusts 
and idols, but also divorced from the law, and we must not go back 
to it again. " Wherefore my brethren," says Paul, " 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." Now the soul returns to 
that husband first, when it acts from the law in duty, that is, when 
they are actuated by the influence of the covenant of works, being 
stirred up to duty, only from hope of reward, and fear of punish- 
ment. The soul also returns to this husband, when it acts for the 
law, making duties our righteousness before God, and going about 
to procure the favour of God by them. On the contrary, the chaste 
soul acts from Christ out of love to him, and in his strength : and 
for Christ, to his glory. Believers are a chosen generation, a royal 
priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people ; that ye should shew 

Vol. IV. 

28 THE soul's espousal 

forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into 
his marvellous light. 

Christ must always have our hearts, our love, and the chief room 
iu our affections. " If any man," saith Jesus, " 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." Whether they be lawful, or unlawful comforts, if they 
have more of our hearts than Christ, we are unfaithful to our 
espoused husband, and "lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." 
Never do any faithfully give themselves away to Christ, but they 
have seen more beauty in him than in any other, and therefore he 
will have their chief love. 

4. They must cleave to Christ, over the belly of all the world's 
smiles and frowns also. They must neither be bribed, nor driven 
from him. Song viii. 6, 7. Christ's spouse may lay her account with 
flatteries, to draw her away from Christ ; but as " Moses refused to 
be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer 
affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin 
for a season, so ought all his people to do." They will meet also 
with threatenings, and persecutions, and afflictions, but all they 
have must be at his service, they must part with their very lives to 
preserve their chastity, if called to it. 

5. They must be separated from the world : not only from the 
world in their hearts, but from the men of the world, in their 
practices ; therefore they are held forth, Rev. xiv. 4, as a company 
selected out from among the rest of the world; and they are 
enjoined " not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed 
by the renewing of their mind." To be like the world, neighbour 
and other, will not do. They must no longer, as in time past, walk 
according to the course of this world. They must cleave to the 
purity of the gospel, in doctrine, worship, and practice. 

Finally, They must be sincere and upright, "And in their 
mouth was no guile; for they are without fault before God." 
Chaste virgins are like Nathaniel, without guile. Hypocrisy would 
spoil all. Our espoused husband is a searcher of hearts, and will 
not be put off with vain pretences. We now proceed, 

II. To consider the presenting to Christ of those that keep chaste. 
Concerning this, I would notice these six things : 

1. The time of it, it will be at the great day. When Christ 
comes as Judge to others, he will come as a bridegroom to his own. 
Matt. XXV. 1 — 12. At death they are presented to him, and 
received into glory ; but then both soul and body shall be glorified. 

2. They, and they only, that keep chaste, shall be presented to 


Christ, as to a bridegroom, in order to marriage. The high priest, 
under the law, was not to marry a whore. They that shall depart 
from Christ, shall be made to depart from him there. " For there 
shall in no wise enter into heaven any thing that defileth, neither 
whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie ; but they which 
are written in the Lamb's book of life." But the chaste virgins 
shall be brought to the king. Psalm xlv. And it must needs be so, 
for it is not consistent with his honour to take others, and not con- 
sistent with his faithfulness to forsake them. 

3. The house out of which the bride shall go, even out of a grave, 
or out of the world, this earth. Some will be found alive when the 
bridegroom comes, they shall be changed ; some in their graves, 
they shall be raised. Out of prison they go to reign. 

4. The bride's attendants. A glorious company shall be with her, 
when she is to be presented to the bridegroom. Angels shall attend 
her, they that were witnesses to her espousals, shall also be wit- 
nesses to her marriage. And what a joyful day will it be, when 
Christ's ministers shall say, here are we, and the children thou hast 
given us. 

5. The place where the bride shall be presented to the bridegroom, 
" Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together 
with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air : and so shall 
we be ever with the Lord." Christ will thus come more than half 
way to meet her. And what a joyful meeting will that be. 

Lastly, The place where the marriage shall be solemnized, that is 
the bridegroom's father's house, even in heaven. " Then shall they 
be ever with the Lord." blessed espousals to Christ, but yet 
there is a great dilference betwixt the espousals and the marriage, 
as \. The espousals are made on earth, but the marriage in heaven. 
They are probably espoused in the temple below, but the marriage 
is in the temple above. 

2. There is a mixed multitude at the espousals, but not so at the 
marriage. Many put their hands to the pen, and sign the contract, 
who are not divorced from their other lovers ; but there the door is 
shut, and none but chaste virgins admitted. 

3. The bridegroom appears beautiful at the espousals, but far more 
beautiful at the marriage, for then they shall see him as he is, and 
shall say, the half has not been told. 

4. The bride contracts with him in a sorry state, giving away 
herself to him, that he may make her beautiful. But at the mar- 
riage, the bride shall be adorned, not only with a perfect imputed 
righeousness, but also with a perfect inherent righteousness. The 
Lamb's wife shall then "have made herself ready, and shall appear 


30 THE soul's espousal to CHRIST. 

arrayed in fine linen, clean and white." No spot, no wrinkle in tlie 
bride, but she shall be holy, and without blemish. 

5. Many a time, the bride at the espousals gives away herself to 
Christ with sorrow in her heart, tears in her eyes, and with a trem- 
bling hand signs the contract, for fear she mismanage it, or that the 
bridegroom will not take her, but then all these things shall be gone. 
"They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall 
flee away." 

6. At the espousals, the bride sometimes gets some little gifts to 
rejoice her heart ; but then she shall get a fulness of joy, of which 
she is not now capable. 

Lastly, After the espousals she is in hazard. There are many to 
attempt her chastity now, but after the marriage she shall never be 
in hazard any more. 

Use 1. Remember that I have espoused you to Christ, and that 
now you are no more your own but his. There was a solemn day of 
espousals to Christ here, last Sabbath, and then we got you espoused 
to our Master. Let us reflect on this a little. 

1. "Was there not an ofi'er of Christ, made to all communicants 
and hearers, in Simprin kirk, and Simprin byre, that day. Were 
you not told he was willing, and it should be a bargain, if you were 
willing also. 

2. Was there any one in either of the places of worship, that said 
they would not take him ? Did any say we have loved idols, and 
will go after them ? Did you not sit and stand there as his people ? 
Why did you crowd in, was it to protest against Christ, we heard no 
such thing; Nay, did not your heart say within you, even so I take him. 

3. Did we not bring out the contract to you and read it, that you 
might know what you were doing? Did you not hear the articles, 
that you behoved to part with sin and the world ? and yet after all 
there were none of you said that you were against the bargain. 

4. Did we not put the pen into the hands of many of you, gave you 
the bread and wine, the symbols of Christ's body and blood ? Christ 
was exhibited in that sacrament. Wherefore was it, but that you 
might subscribe the contract. 

Lastly, Did we not see you sign the contract, give away yourselves 
to Christ, and take the sacrament of his body and blood upon it ? 
Witness then, heavens ! witness earth ! witness angels ! Be 
ye witnesses, stones and wood of Simprin kirk and byre, and we 
ourselves are witnesses, that upon the second day of February, 1707, 
we espoused this people unto our Master Christ. 

Use 2. And now I have but one request to you. Behave in such 
a manner, as you may be presented as a chaste virgin, to Christ the 
bridegroom, at the great day. " Little children keep yourselves from 


idols." Keep tlie chief room in your heart for Christ, and let not 
your garments again be defiled. Consider, last Sabbath you were 
beginning a work for eternity, why did you consent to the espousals, 
if you have not a mind for the marriage ; and surely you cannot 
think to go a-whoring from your espoused husband, unless you mind 
never to be presented to him for the marriage. Alas ! I fear we will 
lose of our account, when the day comes for presenting the bride. 
Suppose you heard Christ, at that day, say to us, "What ! did you es- 
pouse no more to me, than these ? and us to answer, Lord, we espous- 
ed many more to thee, but they afterwards went back to their lusts, 
now they are amissing, and we dare not present them, because they 
have not kept chaste. 

Objection. Alas ! it is impossible for us to keep free of sin. 
Answer. It is not every slip that will denominate you unchaste. 
Let it be the constant bent of your souls to keep faithful to Christ. 
Struggle against sin ; and if you do, though it may prevail, yet it 
shall not prevent your acceptance, while you flee to the blood of 
Christ. You may say with David, " Iniquities prevail against me ; 
as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away." Remember 
the case of the betrothed damsel, Deut. xxii. 25, 26. Amen. 

Galashiels, Saturdaif, September 21, 1723. 


Luke i. 74, 75, 

That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of 
our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righte- 
ousness before him all the days of our life. 

The covenant of grace is the great contrivance for salvation to lost 
sinners; it is the chariot in which Christ carries home his bride to 
his Father's house in heaven. Song iii. 9, 10. The gospel is the 
proclamation, and free offer of this covenant to all. Faith is the 
taking hold of this covenant, the embracing it, the sinner's personal 
entering into it, the coming up into the chariot. The sacraments 
are the seals of this covenant. Our text is the import and sub- 
stance of this covenant, shewing what is offered to you all in th© 


gospel ; to be believed and applied by you all, to yourselves, 
through faith ; and what shall be sealed to you all, who believe, iu 
the sacrament. " Even that he would grant unto us, that we being 
delivered," &c. 

This covenant is a sworn covenant, vers. 72, 73, that poor 
sinners, who have a mind for it, may have strong consolation, 
to balance their strong doubts and fears. But to whom? To 
Abraham, ver. 73, as a type of Christ; that is really to Jesus 
Christ, the true Abraham, the true father of the multitude of the 
faithful, who at God's call left heaven, his native country, and came 
and sojourned among the cursed race of mankind, and there offered 
up his owu flesh and blood, a sacrifice unto God. And so became 
the true heir of the world, and received the promises for his spiritual 
seed, whereof this is the sum, " That he would grant unto us, that 
we being delivered," &c. Compare Genesis xxii. 16 — 18. Of which 
passage, our text is an inspired paraphrase. There are two things 
iu the text to which we shall at present attend, and afterwards take 
a particular view of the other parts of it. 

I. The conveyance made in this covenant, " That he would grant 
unto us," &c. 

II. The benefits secured to us in this conveyance. Let us then 
attend : 

I. To the conveyance made in this covenant. In this, two things 
may be observed. 

1. The parties in whose favour this conveyance is made. Us, the 
seed of Abraham. The Father has solemnly engaged to the Son, 
that these shall be delivered and serve him. Objection. What 
comfort is this to us sinners of the Gentiles ? Answer. " If you be 
Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the 
promise." Therefore believe on Christ this day; believe the pro- 
mises, and so be his, and you are secured for time and eternity. 
Objection. But I fear I am none of the spiritual seed, the elect in 
whose favour that covenant conveyance is made. How then can I 
believe, and apply the promises to myself? Answer. The original 
copyof the covenant of j)romises was filled up from all eternity, and 
sigued by the Father, and the Son as the second Adam, and remains 
locked up in the cabinet of heaven. And in this question, whether 
you shall believe or not ; none would order you to call for a sight 
of the original copy, to see if your name be there, but the enemy of 
your salvation ; nor would even he order you, if he did not know 
very well that a sight of it you cannot have, till you have believed. 
His designs, then, is to keep you from believing. But there is a 
double of it in the gospel, subscribed also by the Father, aud the Son 


as second Adam, in which all the promises are indefinitely proposed 
to all that hear it, and as it were a blank left in the body of it, in 
which every one that will, may fill up his own name. So in this 
gospel, the covenant is held out to you all, as heaven's blank bond 
for grace and glory, that whosoever will, may fill his own name in 
it, by applying the same to himself in the way of believing. 

2, Tlie manner of the conveyance. It is by way of grant or gift, 
for so the word is. But observe the gift is to us, and so it is to be 
understood in respect of us, to be a free gift. In respect of the 
Lord Jesus, it is not so. All the benefits of the covenant, to be be- 
stowed on his spiritual seed, are made over to him on a valuable 
consideration. The covenant to him is a covenant of sale, in which 
he obtains such and such things, for his, because he hath paid the 
price of tliem. " We were not redeemed with corruptible things, 
such as silver and gold, from our vain conversation, received by 
tradition from our fathers ; but with the precious blood of Christ, 
as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot." To the Lord 
Jesus it is a covenant of service, in which the benefits of it arc made 
over to him, because he worked for them, Gen. xxii. 16. God gives 
us to serve our Redeemer, because Christ served him perfectly in 
our room and stead. The covenant is to him a disposition of these 
things for us, upon a most onerous cause, namely, " because he hath 
poured out his soul unto death ; and he was numbered with trans- 
gressors ; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for 
the transgressors." 

But in respect of us, these things stand quite otherwise. The 
grant to us is of mere free gift, absolutely of free grace. All the 
blessings of grace are so, and glory is so likewise. From the 
foundation stone of our salvation, to the copestone of it, we must 
cry grace, grace, unto it. For the whole building, and every stone 
of the building, is of grace. And the putting the crown of glory on 
the heads of the saints, after all their wrestling and fighting against 
their spiritual enemies, after all their holy obedience, and life spent 
in the practice of good works, is as purely of free grace, as the giv- 
ing them the first grace, as the quickening of them when dead in 
sins is. "For I have said, mercy shall be built up for ever." "By 
grace are ye saved, through faith ; and that not of yourselves, it is 
the gift of God." 

What then should hinder any poor soul that has a mind for 
God's covenant of free grace, to embrace it this day i Should it 
hinder you to embrace it, because you cannot get any tolerable 
management of the corruptions ot your base heart, because you 
cauuot uork, nor do any thing right iu the service of God? No, 


np. "We may tell you with confidence, here you are to wor k 
nothing, to do nothing ; but only by believing, to receive the full 
treasure of the covenant, held out to you in the gospel, to be 
received freely. And more than that, that day shall never dawn on 
you, in which you shall be able to work, or do the least work to 
purpose, until you have embraced the covenant for grace, with 
which to work and do. It would be a promising token among our 
communicants and others, if they were all coming to Christ and his 
covenant, to get their broken arms set, and strengthened for work, 
by the grace of the covenant. " But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, 
who of God is made urito us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, 
and redemption." Let us now attend, 

II. To the benefits secured to us in this conveyance, even the 
sura of the benefits of the covenant of grace. 

These are of two sorts : First, the principal benefit, serving the 
Lord. Second, The subordinate benefit, deliverance from our 

First, The principal benefit, which stands here under the notion 
of the end, namely, serving the Lord. " That he would grant unto 
u s, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might 
serve him." This is the great thing promised in the covenant of 
grace, even as it was the great thing required in the covenant of 
works, as the condition of it. This is it that was purchased by 
Christ, and is promised to poor sinners who believe in him, for his 
sake, namely, that God will give them to serve him. And thus our 
serving God is the great benefit of the covenant, bestowed on 
believers, for Christ's sake. 

that men would learn this lesson, that any service we do to 
God, if right service, it is a benefit of the covenant, bestowed on us, 
for Christ's sake. Then would they learn that God is not debtor 
unto them for it, but they are debtors to free grace on that very 
account. And the more they do for God, and the better that they 
do it, they are always the deeper in debt to free grace. Ephes. ii. 
8, 9, 10. 

Then would they also learn, that the only way for a sinner to be 
brought to serve the Lord, is to embrace the covenant for that very 
end ; and that they are not to embrace it because they have served 
the Lord, as ignorant and unhumbled sinners are apt to do : but to 
embrace the covenant, that they may be made to serve the Lord. 
" Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and 
strength ; even to him shall men come." 

This benefit of the covenant, that we might serve him, imports 
three things : 


; 1. The privilege of God's service. God is a master of infinite 
glory and power, so that to be admitted into his service is the 
greatest privilege. How do men value themselves, in that they are 
of an earthly king's household, servants to one who wears a crown ? 
But what a small thing is that, in comparison of this, to be the 
fellows of angels, in being taken into the service of Jehovah the 
Lord of heaven and earth. It is a great part of heaven's happiness. 
" For there his servants sliall sei've him." Man lost this service by 
his fall, but God, for Christ's sake, has granted to sinners to be 
taken into it again, and that in a more honourable station than 
innocent Adam had, that is, no more as hired, but as honorary ser- 

2. Strength and ability for his service. And I will strengthen 
them in tlie Lord, and they shall walk up and down in his name, 
saith the Lord." Man, by his breach of the first covenant, lost his 
strength for serving the Lord, so that whosoever of you are without 
the covenant, you cannot serve the Lord. " And Joshua said unto 
the people, ye cannot serve the Lord ; for he is an holy God ; 
he is a jealous God : he will not forgive your transgressions nor 
your sins." " He that abideth in me, and I in hira," saith Jesus, 
" the same bringeih forth much fruit ; for without me ye can do 
nothing." Thus in the new covenant, there is a promise of strength 
for this service, which is bestowed on all that believe, of mere free 
grace for the sake of Christ. " For his grace is sufficient for us, 
and his strength is made perfect in weakness." 

3. Acceptance of the service. " Also the sons of the stranger 
that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name 
of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath 
from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant ; even them will 
1 bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of 
prayer : their burnt-ofi'erings and their sacrifices shall be accepted 
upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer 
for all people." Whatever they do in God's service, who are without 
the covenant, it is, in point of acceptance, as if it were not done at all. 
God rejects them and their services too. For they can do nothing right 
nor pleasing in the sight of God. For without faith it is impos- 
sible to please God. But the new covenant is the ministration 
of the spirit, fitting the soul for service, and has a promise of 
acceptance of our service, though it be imperfect, for Christ's sake. 

Well then, would ye be admitted into God's service, have strength 
for it, and acceptance of your services, look to the covenant of 
grace in Christ Jesus, for these things. Embrace and rely on the 
promise of the covenant for all these things by faith, which promise 


is held fortli to you iu the gospel. And they shall be sealed to you 
in the sacrament, and made forthcoming to you, iu virtue of the 
faithfulness of God. 

Concerning this covenant service, two things are further to be re- 
marked. First, the kind. Secondly, the qualities of it. 

1. The kind of service to God, in which sinners are instated by 
the covenant of grace ; for there is a great difference of services. 

1. This is not bond service, the service of slaves, who work 
their work for fear of their master's whip. The Spirit of God hath 
purposely abstained here from using the very word that signifies 
that kind of service. It is not serving God for fear of hell and 
revenging wrath. That is the first covenant service, indeed, being 
broken ; but not the second covenant service, which is to serve God 
without fear, namely slavish fear. The covenant of grace finds all 
men in the state of bond service, and was ^contrived to bring us out 
of it, through Christ's being a bondman in our stead. "He made 
himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, 
in our stead. Wherefore we have not received the spirit of bondage 
again to fear, but we have received the spirit of adoption, whereby 
we cry Abba, Father." 

2. It is not hired service, so much work for so much wages. The 
text tells us, that the service is so far from being hired, that it is 
a free grace gift made to sinners for Christ's sake. " That he 
would grant unto us, that we might serve him." It is true there is 
an ample reward follows the service of the saints. But both the 
service and reward are of grace ; and the reward, properly and 
strictly speaking, is rather the reward of the service of their head 
Christ, than of the service of their hands. But, 

3. It is an honorary service. So the word used by the Holy 
Ghost, in the text, signifies to minister, which is an honorary kind 
of service, such as kings and priests had when put into their office. 
Thus Christ hath made his people kings and priests unto God. They 
are an holy priesthood, to off'er up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to 
God, by Jesus Christ. So that this service, bestowed on sinners 
through Jesus Christ, according to the covenant, is their unspeakable 
advancement, their real happiness, to which they could never have 
been preferred, but by means of the blood of the covenant. It is 
a post of the greatest honour of which the sinner is capable. And 
this also is imported in the phrase, befoi'e him, which is an Old 
Testament phrase used of those in the courts of kings who waited 
on the king's person ; Rev. xxii. 3, 4. 

This may dirtct you iu your approach to the Lord's table, to lay 


liold on the covenant ; not to go about to turn that solemn action 
into the making of a bargain with God, that if he will save you, 
and give you heaven, you will serve hira all your life. Alas ! poor 
creature, what have you to serve him with, that you will pretend to 
make such a bargain with him ? But here is a covenant of honor- 
ary service to God, bearing a promise also of strength for the 
service, freely offered and exhibited to you in the word of the gos- 
pel, under the great seal of Heaven. Believe it cordially; accept of 
it ; lay the weight of your desired and designed service to God upon 
it ; and it is a bargain, and shall be sealed by the sacrament. Let 
us now attend, 

2c%, To the qualities of the service. They are these : 

1. It is universal, which the service of these remaining under the 
first covenant never is. "Tlien shall I not be ashamed, when I 
have respect unto all thy commandments." We are to serve him in 
holiness and righteousness. These answer to the whole holy law 
as a rule of life. In holiness, serving hira in first table duties ; in 
righteousness, serving him in second table duties. Both of them 
relating to the inward, as well as the outward man, bearing a holy 
and righteous frame of heart, as well as holy and righteous actions, 
as serving before him, that is, as under his eye, sincerely and 
uprightly. Here then is the true way to get heart and life puri- 
fied ; to get an irregular life, in a profession of religion, made 
uniform. That grace is held forth in the covenant, which you are 
to embrace for sanctificalion, as well as justification. And it is a 
full covenant for that purpose, as for all other purposes of sal- 

2. It is a perpetual and lasting service. The first covenant 
required a lasting service, but secured not man from breaking the 
service. But the second covenant secures the perpetuity of the ser- 
vice, that however fickle the believer is, yet he shall serve the Lord 
all the days of his life. This imports two things: 1. That he shall 
serve the Lord as long as he lives in this world, and shall never be 
either put away, nor break away from the blessed service. The 
covenant shall keep him, if he cannot keep it. " I will," says God, 
" 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." By this covenant, 
God takes home sinners to his service, never to part for the terra of 
life. Oh ! is not this a blessed bargain, for one who is groaning 
under the weight of a vain, fickle, inconstant heart. Gome into it 
then, joyfully and confidently. Here is heaven's security for the 
keepiug of it. Then look to the Lord in his covenant this day, and 


say, Lord, into thine hands, stretched out in this covenant, I com- 
mit my spirit. 2. It imports that he shall serve the Lord for ever 
and ever, in heaven, after death. To confine the great benefit of 
the covenant to this short life here, is unsuitable to the everlasting 
covenant. Nay, this benefit contains heaven's happiness. For in 
heaven his servants shall serve him ; and they shall see his face ; 
and his name shall be in their foreheads. There it is that it hath 
its full accomplishment. The covenant finds the designed servants 
dead in sin, and therefore it must give them life before they can 
serve ; and that life is eternal life, never to expire, from the 
moment it is given. " He that believeth on the Son hath everlast- 
ing life;" and they shall serve hira all the days of that life, given 
lliem on purpose for the service, that is, through the ages of 

Comfort yourselves, believers, with this, ye that are depressed 
with a sense of your unfitness for the service of God here, and your 
mismanagement in it. Behold, the day of your redemption ap- 
proacheth, in which you shall be able to serve God, according to 
your desire, in the mount of glory. We are now to consider. 

Secondly, The subordinate benefit, namely, deliverance from our 
enemies, which stands here as a mean in order to the end, namely, 
God's service. " That we being delivered out of the hand of our 
enemies, might serve him." It is evident from the structure of the 
words, both in our version, and in the original especially, that the 
service is the end of the deliverance, and the deliverance the means 
of the service. As God said of Israel in Egypt, so doth he say of 
all his people ; " Let my son go, that he may serve me." To this 
event our text alludes. They cannot serve the Lord till once they 
be delivered. How should they do it, while they are lying among 
the feet of their enemies. The service, the enemies, and the deliver- 
ance, are all spiritual ; therefore they must have a spiritual deliver- 
ance, before they can perform the spiritual service. And if it is the 
design of the covenant, that they shall work and serve the Lord, it 
must secure and convey to th«m salvation or deliverance, in the first 
place ; so this is a benefit of the covenant, as well as the others are. 

This may also direct you in your managtmeut of this solemn oc- 
casion of grace and salvation. 

1. If ever you would be capable to serve the Lord, seek that you 
may be delivered from your spiritual enemies, taken out of their 
hands who keep you in bondage. While you are in bondage to them, 
in respect of your state, it is not possible you can serve the Lord, 
" No man can serve two masters." 

2. If ever you would obtain that deliverance from your spiritual 


enemies, seek it in the covenant, in a way of believing. There it is 
offered and exhibited to you ; and whosoever does by faith lay hold 
on this covenant shall have it. So the Son makes thera free, who 
believe on him, as their deliverer, from all their enemies. " And if 
the Son make you free, you shall be free indeed." 

Lastly, Seek that deliverance, that you may serve the Lord. 
Many seek deliverance by Christ, that they may live at ease in the 
embraces of their lusts, free from the fear of hell. But none shall 
ever find it so, for they seek it not in the right way, and for the 
right end. 

Galashiels, Sunday Afternoon, September 22, 1723. 

[The same subject continued.] 


Luke i. 74, 75, 

That he would grant unto us, that ive being delivered out of the hands of 
our enemies, might serve him. without fear, in holiness and righteous- 
ness before him all the days of our life. 

Doctrine — That the covenant deliverance is freely bestowed on 
God's covenant people, that they may serve him, after the manner of 
the covenant, namely the new covenant. Here I shall take notice, 

I. Of the covenant deliverance bestowed. 

II. Of the covenant service, which is the design of this deliver- 

III. Of the necessary connection betwixt the covenant deliverance? 
and covenant service. 

I. The covenant deliverance bestowed. We being delivered out 
of the hands of our enemies. I shall reduce these to four. 

1. They are delivered from the law. Not from the law as a rule 
of life in the hand of a Mediator, standing in the covenant of grace ; 
but from the law as a covenant, under which all men are, in their 
natural state. The scripture is most express on this. Rom. vi. 14, 
15. They are delivered from the curse of it. It cannot reach 
them. " Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being 
made a curse for us." From the commanding power of it. For how 


can it have a commanding power over tliera who are not under it ? 
It was the fault of the Gralatians, that some of them desired 
to be under it. Did they desire, think you, to be under the 
curse of it ? No, surely, but under the commanding power of it. 
Not observing, that if once they were under the commanding power 
of it, they should be under the cursing power of it also ; since whom 
the law cannot command, it can, and certainly will curse, in case of 
transgression, Gal. iii. 10, compared with Rom. iii. 19. But they 
are as completely freed from it, as death can make a wife free from 
her husband. " They are become dead to the law by the body of 
Christ, that they should be married to another, even to him who is 
raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God." 

2. From sin. Though they are not free from the indwelling of it 
iu this life, and molestation by it, yet they are freed from its guilt 
of eternal wrath, by which it binds over the sinner to the revenging 
wrath of God. " There is therefore now no condemnatian to them 
that are in Christ Jesus." The covenant secures believers as much 
against that recurring on them, as God's oath secures the world 
from a second deluge. " 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 should not be wroth with thee, 
nor rebuke thee." They are freed also from the dominion of sin. 
" Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the 
law, but under grace." The bond by which it held the sinner, was 
strong as death ; but it is broken so as never to be joined again. 
" For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me 
free from the law of sin and death." 

3. From death. Though they are not free from that shadow of 
death, that nominal death, which serves to separate the believer's 
soul from his body for a while, therefore called the death of the 
body; yet they are delivered from the real death of the man, even 
that terrible thing wrapt up in the threatening of the covenant of 
works, which was the penalty of it. " In the day thou eatest 
thereof, thou shalt surely die." Even stinged death, universal 
death, which alone is death, properly so called; as appears in the 
case of the body, in which though a leg or arm, a member or mem- 
bers, be mortified as dead as if they were iu the grave ; yet none 
will reckon the body a dead corpse, but still a living body, till such 
time as death hath gone over the whole of it. Now as soon as man 
sinned by breaking the covenant of works, death's sting pierced 
him to the very soul; cold death went over the whole man, and left 
him speechless, motionless, and lifeless, as to any thing truly good. 
And the whole creation could not raise the dead man to life again. 


Now from this death God's covenant people are delivered. " Even 
when we were dead in sins, he hath quickened us together with Christ." 
This is in virtue of their union with Christ. They may now sing, 
" death where is thy sting ? 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 
Christ." And it shall never, never from the moment of their enter- 
ing into the covenant, come back upon them again. Our Lord's 
words are. Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my saying, 
he shall never see death. 

Lastly, From Satan, though not from molestation by him in this 
life ; yet from under his power and dominion. God sends the gos- 
pel " to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, 
and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive for- 
giveness of sins, and inheritance among them that are sanctified by 
faith that is in Christ Jesus." When man sinned, and death seized 
him, he was Satan's lawful captive ; Is. xlix. 24. Satan having 
the power of death as executioner, Jesus our Saviour, took our na- 
ture, "that through death he might destroy him that had the power 
of death, that is, the devil." But now believers are delivered from 
him, " for God hath delivered them from the power of darkness, and 
translated them into the kingdom of his dear Son." Satan shall 
never recover his power over them, " for the God of peace shall 
bruise him under their feet shortly." And so shall all the other 
parts of the delivery not yet bestowed on them, be shortly given 
them, and so the deliverance be completed. Let us now, 

II. Take notice of the covenant service, which is the design of 
this deliverance; and not only the design of the deliverance, but also 
of the deliverer ; which, therefore, shall certainly take effect in the 
delivered. I take it up in three things, according to the texi. 
They shall serve the Lord, 

1. As sons serving their Father. "And they shall be mine, 
saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels ; 
and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son who serveth 
him." Possibly they made a fashion of serving the Lord, before 
they came into a covenant of grace. But then their service was 
after the manner of the covenant which they were under. They 
served him as bond servants. Slavish fear of hell, and servile hope 
of heaven, being the great springs of their obedience. But now 
they will serve him, in a new manner, even in " newness of spirit, 
and not in the oldness of the letter." Love to their Father will set 
them to work. The whole with them is " a work and labour of 
lovo." Gratitude to their God and Redeemer, will bind them to 


it. They ever cry, " what shall we reuder to the Lord for all his 
benefits towards us. They are a chosen generation, a royal priest- 
hood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that they should shew forth 
the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his 
Djarvellous light." Meanwhile, they depend entirely on Christ's 
work and service, not on their own, for the whole of their salvation. 
*' For we," say they, " are the circumcision, which worship God in 
the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the 

2. They shall serve him universally, " Then shall I not be 
ashamed, when I have respect to all thy commandments." The old 
covenant servants are ever partial in the law. There is not one of 
them but discovers what spirit they are of, by baulking some of its 
commandments. Wherefore, if our obedience be not more extensive 
than theirs, we will never see heaven. " For except our righteous- 
ness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, we 
shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." But the new 
covenant servants " esteem all God's precepts concerning all things 
to be right." Their religion will neither lack piety nor charity. 
They will be holy towards God, righteous toward their neighbour, 
and sober with respect to themselves. They will serve the Lord 
internally and externally. They desire to know, and to comply 
with all God's will, that, like David the sou of Jesse, they may 
fulfil all his will. 

3. They will serve him constantly. " I have inclined mine heart 
to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end." They shall 
never totally nor finally fall away from their service. The old 
covenant servants are still breaking away from their service, for 
the spirit of old Adam, a spirit of apostacy, reigns in them, and 
" leads them to draw back to perdition." But new covenant ser- 
vants are not of this kind. (Greek,) we are not of defection, but 
of faith, even " of them that believe to the saving of the soul," Heb. 
X. 39. 

The new covenant servants once entered home to their service, 
never change masters again, but will hold by their new master 
while they live. And the reason of the diflference is, the former are 
bond servants, the latter filial s^ervants. '* Now the servant abideth 
not in the house for ever ; but the son abideth ever." Now remem- 
ber he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved. Let 

III. Show the necessary connection betwixt the covenant deliver- 
ance and covenant service. 

1. None can serve the Lord in this right manner, till once in the 


first place, they are delivered as said is, no more tlian a dead corpse 
can rise and serve you. Eph. ii. 1 — 10. You will not, I think, 
question the truth of this, with respect to the dominion of sin, 
death, and tlie devil ; but will readily grant there can be no true 
serving of God, till once a soul is delivered from these. But as to 
the soul's deliverance from the law and sin's guilt of eternal wrath, 
perhaps you observe not the necessity of being delivered from them, 
before we can thus serve the Lord. But truly, according to the 
scriptures, these four things, are four links of one chain, each hold- 
ing fast another, and all together, holding fast the poor sinner, that 
he cannot serve the Lord. 

"Wherein lies the power of the devil over a man ? It lies in 
death. He hath the power of death, Heb. ii. 14, and by it he holds 
the man fast. So there is no getting out of the devil's hold without 
loosing the bands of death, and delivering from its power. 

In what lies the sting and strength of death ? It lies in sin. 
" The sting of death is sin." In the guilt of sin primarily, by which 
the soul is bound over to death. So there is no getting out of 
death's chains, without loosing the band of sin, namely its guilt of 
eternal wrath. 

Now in what lies the strength of sin ? It lies in the law. " The 
sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law." By this 
the guilt of eternal wrath is fixed on the sinner, that moment he 
transgresses its commandments. So there is no getting out of the 
chains of sin, without loosing the band of the law from off the sin- 

So that while a poor sinner is under the law, namely as a cove- 
nant he is under sin ; while under sin, he is under death ; while 
under death, he is under the power of the devil : So he cannot 
serve the Lord, while under Uie law as a covenant, Romans vii. 

2. The soul being once thus delivered, will certainly serve the 
Lord, "in holiness and righteousness before him." The deliverance 
will infallibly produce the service ; and that both from the design 
of God, which cannot misgive ; he delivering them for that very 
end ; as also from the nature of the thing, whereby the bands of 
death are removed, and a new life given, which must exert itself in 
actions agreeable to the nature of it. 

Use 1. The sanctificatiou of sinners is the chief subordinate end 
of the covenant of grace, or of the gospel, standing next to the 
glory of God. And faith, justification, deliverance from the law, 
sin, death, and the devil, are subordinated to sanctificatiou, as means 
for reaching that end. Therefore the covenaut hath its full perfec- 

YOL. lY. D 


tion, or accomplishment in heaven, when the man is so sanctified as 
to serve God perfectly, and work perfectly good works. "Where- 
fore, invert not the order of God's covenant, in seeking deliverance 
by your works. But make use of God's covenant, and the cove- 
nant daily, for the deliverance, that you may be holy, and may 
perform good works. 

Use 2. They in whom the spirit of legalism, hypocrisy, and apos- 
tacy reigns, have no part nor lot in this matter. 

Lastly, As ever you would evidence yourselves God's covenant 
people, partakers of this deliverance, serve no more the devil, and 
your own lusts. But serve the Lord as his children, universally, 
and constantly, " without fear, in holiness and righteousness before 
him, all the days of your life." Amen. 

Ettncky Sabbath Afternoon. 




PsAiiJvi Ixxxix. 15, 

They shall walk, Lord, in the light of thy countenance. 

Here begins the account of the happiness of those that know the 
joyful sound of the gospel. They have many special privileges, 
and this is the leading one, " They shall walk, Lord, in the light 
of thy countenance." 

Here is first their motion at the joyful sound. The gospel is a 
sound for motion and and action. They that know it not sit still, 
no moving heaven-wards by them : but they that know it are 
quickened by it, they are set on a march, and go forward. They 
will walk on, and walk vigorously, as the word imports, through 
the several steps in the wilderness journey. "We have next the 
advantage which they may have from the joyful sound for their 
walking. " They shall walk in the light of thy countenance." 
Light is a great help to walking on a journey. It is neither safe 
nor comfortable to walk in the dark. They shall walk in the light 
of the Lord's countenance, or face, which is more lightsome to those 
that know it, than the united light of sun, moon, and stars. They 


shall have the sunny side of the brae, of all the rest of the world. 
Their way shall be a Goshen for light, while others sit in Egyptian 

The Psalmist's directing his speech to God here, shows his firm 
confidence as to the thing, and how much his own heart was set upon 
enjoying that privilege. 

Doctrine. — As men know and believe the joyful sound of the 
gospel, so shall they walk on their way heavenward, in the light 
of the Lord's countenance. In prosecuting this, I shall, 

I. Consider the duty to which the joyful sound known and 
believed, eftectually excites men. They shall walk. 

II. I shall consider the privilege which they that know the 
joyful sound, shall thereby have, in their walk heavenwards. I am 

I. To consider the duty to which the joyful sound known and 
believed, elfectually excites men. They shall walk. 

1. They shall not sit still, doing nothing to purpose for God and 
their immortal souls, like the rest of the world, dead in trespasses 
and sins. The sound of the gospel is the most powerful of all 
alarms. The law may terrify a sinner ; yea it may toss a dead soul, 
as a dead corpse is tossed hither and thither in the earth by an 
earthquake, but can never put life into it. It is not a mean 
appointed by God for that end. It is the ministration of death and 
condemnation, not of life, 2 Cor. v. 7 — 8. But the joyful sound 
of the gospel, quickens the dead sinner to a spiritual life. " The 
dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear 
shall live." And this life will exert itself in its proper actions, 
namely, in holy obedience. So they have not known the joyful 
sound, who are not excited to walk on the way heavenward. The 
unholy are without doubt unbelievers. 

2. They shall not go back to their former lusts in their ignorance. 
Apostates were never true believers. " If any man draw back," 
says God, " my soul shall have no pleasure in him." " But," says 
Paul, " we are not of them that draw back to perdition, but of them 
that believe, to the saving of the soul." It was those among the 
Israelites, that believed not, that were for making a captain, and 
going back to Egypt. They looked on the promise of Canaan, as 
a thing that would not hold, and therefore they would see to 
themselves otherwise. Thus do many bewray their unbelief of the 
gospel, by a greedy return to the world and tlieir lusts after a com- 
mnnion, looking upon tlie world as a tiling certaiu, and what is iu 
the promise as a thing uncertain and distant. 

3. They shall hold forward in their way iu spite of all opposition, 



and not give over till they get to tlie journey's end, whatever 
weather blow. " The righteous also, shall hold on his way ; and he 
that hath clean hands shall wax stronger and stronT;er." The faith 
of the gospel is the spring of perseverance, according to that saying, 
" the just shall live by his faith ;" aud unbelief is the great cause 
of apostacy. It is " the evil heart of unbelief that leads men to 
depart from the living God." It was the unbelief of the spies, and 
of those who credited them, that made their carcases fall in the 
wilderness; while Caleb and Joshua believed the joyful sound of 
the promise, and got safe to Canaan, Faith makes a man righteous 
in the sight of Grod, and so frees him of the burden of the curse, and 
guilt of eternal wrath. And sooner shall a prisoner laden with 
irons, make his way up a steep hill, and not fall by the way, than 
an unjustified sinner setting out in God's way, shall hold on. 
Faith listening to the joyful sound, inspires the soul with new 
vigour. " Tliey that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength ; 
they shall mount up with wings as eagles ; they shall run and not 
be weary, and they shall walk and not faint," 

Lastly, They shall walk on in the sight of the Lord, as he who 
walketh in the light, walks in the sight of the sun, " Walk before 
me," said God unto Abram, "and be thou perfect." Faith believ- 
ing the gospel, calls the name of the Lord, speaking to the sinner, 
" Thou, God, seest me ;" as Hagar did in another case, Gen. xvi. 13. 
They will walk before him as under his eye, considering him as the 
witness to all their actions, and who will be their judge. While 
unbelievers forget him, and have little or no regard to his all-seeing 
eye, and all-hearing ear. We now proceed, 

: II. To consider the privileges which they that know and believe 
the joyful sound, shall thereby have in their walk heaven-wards ; 
"They shall walk, Lord, in the light of thy countenance." 

1. They shall be ever in a state of favour, peace, and reconcilia- 
tion with God. " Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, 
through our Lord Jesus Christ." God is no more their enemy, but 
they are in inviolable friendship with him. The darkness of a 
natural state is over with them, and shall never return. The true 
light is come, the sun of righteousness is risen on them, in the joy- 
ful sound known and believed, and shall never go down on them 
again. " For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in 
the Lord; walk as children of the light." 

2. No cloud of revenging wrath shall ever gather above their 
Iieads any more, no curse of the law, no guilt of eternal wrath. 
Such a cloud would extinguish the light of the Lord's countenance, 
for the time it staid, and reduce them, for the time, to the state of 


enmity and wrath, in which they were, before they knew the joyful 
Bound. The joytul sound of the everlasting covenant, secures them 
for ever, against all such clouds returning after the rain of reveng- 
ing wrath, poured out on Christ, in their room and stead, " For 
this is as the waters of Noah unto me ; saith the Lord : 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." 

3. Wliatever cloud may gather above their head in their way 
heavenward, it shall never be so thick, but the light of the Lord's 
countenance shall shine through it, Psal. Ixxxix. 31 — 34. Though 
God will never resume the face of a wrathful revenging judge 
against them, yet he may be an angry Father, and they may be 
under clouds of fatherly anger. But in the blackest of all these, 
there are rays of love and favour to be seen. " For whom the 
Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every sou whom he re- 
ceiveth. As many," saith he, " as I love, I rebuke and chasten." 
The sharpest arrows shot against them, shall be winged with love ; 
and their bitterest potions shall be medicinal. Though the light 
of the Lord's couutenance do not always shine alike full upon them, 
it shall never, iu their darkest hours, suffer a total eclipse. 

4. They shall be directed in their way. " I will instruct thee, 
and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go : I will guide thee 
with mine eye." They walk through a wilderness, where ofttimes 
it is hard to know the right way, where there are many to lead 
them out of the way. But the Lord will be eyes to them iu the 
wilderness. Listening to the joyful sound, they shall hear a voice 
behind them, saying, " This is the way, walk ye in it ; when ye turn 
to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." The way through 
the world is so filled with stumbling blocks, that they who have not 
this light, cannot escape to fall over them and perish. But they 
shall walk in the light and be directed in their way. " For this 
God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even unto 

5. They shall be strengthened in their way, for this light is the 
light of life. Solomon observes, " that in the light of the king's 
countenance is life, and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain." 
How much more in the light of the Lord's countenance, is there life 
and refreshment. The joyful sound of the gospel, known and be- 
lieved, brings a strengthening light with it. " They that wait upon 
the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with 
wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall 
walk and not faint." Many a time hath the child of God, by this 


means, out of weakness been made strong ; and upon the tasting of 
the sweetness of the word of promise, been made to say as Jonathan, 
in another case, " See, I pray you, how mine eyes have been en- 
lightened, because I tasted a little of this honey." 

Lastly, They shall be cheered and comforted in their way. Solo- 
mon tells us, " Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is 
for the eyes to behold the sun." But no such sweetness, no such 
comfort in any light, as in the light of the Lord's countenance lifted 
tipon a soul. David witnesseth it from his experience. " There be 
many that say, who will shew us any good ? Lord, lift thou up tlie 
light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my 
heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine in- 
creased. None can keep the way heavenward, but they will meet 
with many things from within and from without, tending to their 
discouragement. But God has secured their comfort in the way of 
believing, and the faith of the gospel will carry them comfortably 
through under the heaviest burdens, Heb. xi. 

Use I. Of information. Hence we may learn, 

1. Whence it is that many communicants are nothing bettered by 
gospel ordinances, but even go away as they come, a prey to their 
lusts and an evil world. They sit down to the feast, but they rise 
not up to the journey. They eat, but they are not refreshed, nor 
strengthened to their proper work after a communion. Why ? 
Alas ! they never get into the saving knowledge of the joyful sound. 
They are ever learning, but they never come to the knowledge of 
the truth. They hear it, but they do not believe it. They believe 
it not with application to themselves. Hence it hath no quickening, 
nor sanctifying influence on them. They go away morally serious, 
to ply their duty, and to reform their life. But not having the 
faith of the promises of the gospel, the only channel of spiritual life 
and strength, they are like a soldier going to the battle without his 
weapons, who presently gives back. Take heed then, brethren, 
" lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing 
from the living God." 

2. Whence it is that many of the saints are so weak, and com- 
fortless in their way heavenward, walking so much in the dark. It 
is all owing to the small measure of their faith of the joyful sound. 
Whatever be the hard pieces of work put into the hand of any of the 
Lord's people, whatever be their temptations, trials, and afflictions, 
there is as much in the joyful sound, as if it were plentifully brought 
into the soul by a lively faith, would make them go through all 
these, like a giant refreshed with wine. And the Lord said, " If ye 
had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this syca- 


mine tree, be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in 
the sea, and it should obey you." 

3. That the faith of the gospel is the sovereign remedy in all 
darkness and distresses, in which a person can be. Believing is a 
duty that can never be out of season. This is the way to bring one 
out of darkness into the light. " Who is among you that feareth 
the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in 
darkness, and hath no light ? Let him trust in the name of the 
Lord, and stay upon his God. The promises of the gospel are 
full of suitable help for all diseases and distempers ; and faith is the 
mouth of the soul, whereby applying the promise to one's self, the 
nourishment contained in it is brought into the soul. " The Lord 
is my strength and my shield, my heart trusted in him, and I am 
helped : therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth, and with my song 
will I praise him." If then thou art in desertion, temptation, or 
aflfiiction, go to the promise and embrace it by faith. 

4. Hence learn whether you have a right to the seal of the gospel 
covenant or not. All Christ's sheep have this ear mark. They 
know the joyful sound. " My sheep," says he, " hear my voice, 
and I know them, and they follow me." They have discerned it as 
the voice of the living God. The gospel is the savour of life unto 
them. They have been let into the kernel of it, while others break 
their teeth upon the shell. " For our gospel," says Paul, " came 
not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost. 
and in much assurance." It has not been always to them a dry 
channel, a dead letter, but the ministration of the spirit of faith and 
holiness to them. " 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." The 
Lord has drawn aside the vail, and they have seen the hidden beauty 
of it ; opened the cabinet, and discovered the treasure there. 

Again, they savour it as the suitable nourishment for their souls. 
'* They know it is not a vain thing for them, because it is their life." 
As living creatures have their proper nourishment, so one delights in 
what another cares not for. The new creature is nourished by the 
gospel, and it is natural, for the saints had their life by it. " They have 
been born again of incorruptible seed, by the word of God which 
liveth and abideth for ever." So they have a peculiar savour of it 
while others regard it no more than the dogs do hay. 

Once more all their hopes are in it. " It is all their salvation and 
all their desire. They have been beaten off from hopes in the law, 
in their own works, doings, sufferings and services : and have be- 
taken themselves to the word of God's grace, as the only anchor of 


their souls. And all their doings and sufferings, are to them in that 
point, as if they had done just nothing. " Blessed are the poor in 
spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." 
y' Question. — The stony ground hearers received the word with joy. 
How then shall we distinguish betwixt that, and the true knowledge 
of the joyful sound, the genuine savour of the gospel of God's 
grace ? 

1. The true convert receives the joyful sound of the gospel, as 
the most joyful sound for him, overcoming and overpowering all 
others, and therefore rests his heart there. " Thy testimonies have 
I taken as an heritage for ever ; for they are the rejoicing of my 
heart." It contains the one thing that is to him the maiu thing, 
and instead of all other things. The hypocrite may receive it as a 
joyful sound, but yet there is still some sound more joyful to him. 
The bleating of sheep, and lowing of oxen, is a more joyful sound 
to some ; the sound of created comforts, is more taking with the 
most part, than all the comforts of the gospel. Christ may be 
sweet to a hypocrite, but the mischief is, still some hue lust or other 
is sweeter. So like Orpah, they leave him, not without some affec- 
tion to him. 

2. The convert gets his savour of the gospel, by finding the 
extreme bitterness of sin. Like those who heard Peter and the rest 
of the apostles, " they have been pricked in their heart, and made 
to say, men and brethren, what shall we do? Others come more 
easily by theirs. Like the stony ground hearers, they at once receive 
it with joy. Many savour the sweetness of the gospel, to whom sin 
either never was made bitter ; or if it was, yet never the bitterest of 
all things ; so their saviour of the gospel is but superficial. But 
God makes his own feel sin more and more bitter, till it become of 
all bitters the most bitter, even more bitter than death. And then 
they know to purpose, the sweetness of the joyful sound. 

Lastly, The convert savours the whole of the joyful sound. There 
Is always some one note or other in it, that an unsound heart savours 
not. They have not respect to all God's commandments. They 
that know the joyful sound, savour it for sanctification, as well as 
for justification ; for the cross as well as the crown. But many are 
like Herod, who heard it gladly, till his beloved lust was touched. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. Believers, you that know the joyful 
sound, bless God for what your ears do hear, and for what your eyes 
do see. Seek for more of this blessedness. As ever ye would walk 
on your way heavenward, safely and comfortably, labour more and 
more to know the joyful sound; and to know it so as to believe it; 
and to believe it, so as to apply it to your own souls, according to 
your several exigencies. Consider, 


1. It is too precious and dear bought a sound, to be neglected by 
poor sinners. It had never been heard in the world, had not the son 
of God in our nature purchased it by his sufferings and death. There 
was a dreadful sonnd of a deluge of wrath falling on hira, which 
made him to groan out his soul on the cross. And had not that 
been, this had never been. Wo to them to whom it will be a fruit- 
less sound. 

2. It is a sound which has the matter of all joy in it, to be drawn 
forth in the way of believing. Now the God of hope fill you with 
all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound iu hope, through 
the power of the holy Ghost." It comprehends the whole covenant, 
with all the benefits thereof, which are suited to all the necessities 
of a soul, for time and eternity. The gospel is the offer and ex- 
hibiting of all to you, the setting before you the whole covenant of 
promises, and declaring you welcome to intermeddle, take possession 
of, and use them for your own behoof. They will perish miserably, 
who perish under such a full covenant table, because they will not 
put out their hand to take it. 

3. It is a sound that will not sound always in your ears. If 
death come on before ye know it, ye can never know it more. 
"Behold, now is the accepted time ; behold, now is the day of sal- 
vation." In hell it is not to be heard, therefore the light of the 
Lord's countenance can never rise there ; but they are wrapt up 
there, in the blackness of darkness for ever. The Sinai trumpet 
will sound for ever most dreadfully through all the corners of that 
dark vault ; but not the least whisper of Zion's trumpet. 

Lasthi, It is both your duty and interest to know it. There is 
no saving knowledge of God but by it, for by the gospel only we 
know him in the face of Jesus. The faith of it is the way of sancti- 
fication, " we are sanctified by faith which is in Christ Jesns." And 
it is the way of solid comfort, "we are filled with joy and peace in 
believing." And the more a person has of the faith of the gospel, 
he will be the more holy, and the more joyful in the Lord. 

"Wherefore study the gospel of Christ, and cry for the Spirit to 
cause you know it. Christ is a veiled Saviour, and the gospel is a 
veiled gospel to many. It is hid to them that are lost. If you do 
not believe it, it will be worse for you than if you had never heard 
it. Cry then for the Spirit, and for God to reveal Christ in your 
hearts, the hope and the earnest of glory. Amen. 

62 , THE lord's helping 

Ettrick, 3Iai/ 4. 1707. 

[First Sabbatb after my Admission.]} 



1 Samuel vii. 12. 

Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mlzpeh and Shen, and 
called the name of it Ebenezer, saving, Hitherto hath the Lord helped 

If we look back to the former chapter, we find Israel brought 
to a very low state. By the sword of the Philistines, chap, 
iv. 10, thirty thousand footmen were slain ; and by the sword 
of the Lord, chap, vi 19, " Fifty thousand and threescore and 
ten men were smitten." After this the ark was brought to Kirjath- 
jearim, a city of the Levites in the tribe of Judah. There it 
remained till David brought it up, 2 Samuel, vi. Psal. cxxxii. 
Only it was twenty years there, ere the children of Israel lamented 
after the Lord, chap. vii. 2. Now Israel was in a great strait; 
the Philistines were strong and could not be resisted ; God angry 
and would not be entreated; they lamented after him but found him 
not. In this sad case Samuel adviseth them to deep humiliation 
and a complete reformation, vers. 3 — 5. They fall in with his advice 
in some measure, vers. 4 — 6. They gather for humiliation and 
fasting in Mizpeh, a city on the borders of Benjamin and Judah, 
lying in the heart of the country, and so proper for such a meeting. 
The Philistines are alarmed at this, looking upon it as a rendezvous 
of rebellion, and so bring an army against Israel. It is well they 
were found at their duty, which was a good pledge of the Lord's 
help. While Samuel is sacrificing and praying, the Philistines 
draw near to battle, and God himself takes the cause in hand, 
thunders against the enemy, so that Israel had nothing more to do 
but to pursue, ver. 10, 11. 

The text gives us an account of the setting up of a monument of 
this great victory and glorious deliverance. The monument itself 
is a stone set up. A stone is a most durable substance, and very 
proper to perpetuate the memory of this glorious victory. The 
person who set it up was Samuel, that is, it was set up by his order 
and direction. He was their Prophet and their Judge. By his 


means especially was tLe victory procured ; and he is careful to set 
up this monument of thankfulness. The place where it was set up 
was between Mizpeh and Shen, a rock over against Mizpeh. It is 
set up there where they got the deliverance and near to the place 
where they prayed for it. We have also the name which was put 
upon the monument, Ebenezer. We read of it before, chap. iv. 1. 
Tlie place is called in the history, Ebenezer, by way of anticipation. 
In that very place they got a sore disaster before, but now a signal 
deliverance. Ebenezer, that is, the stone of help, including a re- 
spect to God, and bearing not only a remerabrauce of the victory, 
but that it was obtained not by them but by the Lord. 

We have the reason of the name. Hitherto hath the Lord helped 
us. It is a grateful ackowledgmeut of the Lord's help for the 
time past, to raise their confidence in him for the time to come. He 
hath helped us, and shewn himself on our side; not only helped us 
to bear our burdens, but he hath taken them off our shoulders and 
wrought for us. 

Doctrine — It is the duty of the Lord's people to keep the me- 
morial of the experience which they have of the Lord's helping them. 
I shall discuss this point under two general heads. 

I. I shall speak of the Lord's helping his people. 

II. I will speak to the keeping up of the memorial of the experi- 
ences which they had of his helping them. I am then, • 

I. To speak of the Lord's helping his people. Here I shall 
answer two questions. 1. How doth the Lord help his people; 
and, 2. Why doth he help his people ? 

First, How doth the Lord help his people ? Here I reply, 

1. Sometimes the Lord helps his people, by working all for them, 
they themselves contributing nothing to their deliverance. Moses 
said unto the people, " Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salva- 
tion of the Lord, which he will shew you to-day; for the Egyptians 
whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see thera again no more for 
ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." 
Many times the children of God may be brought to that, that they 
can do nothing for themselves, but commit their cause to God, and 
depend upon him, but even then their case is not despair. " Com- 
mit thy way unto the Lord ; trust also in him ; and he shall bring 
it to pass," Psal. cxlii. 4 — 7. Thy Lord can do all things, said 
Luther to a person solicitous about a future event. 

2. Sometimes the Lord assists his people in working. They en- 
deavour their own deliverance in God's way, and he fits them to act, 
and blesseth their exertions crowning them with success. Like 

54 THE lord's uelpino 

Paul, " they labour, yet not they, but the grace of God who is with 
them." In this God's help is to be acknowledged, for all depends 
on him. " For except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain 
that build it." We must be at our work, and look to God for his 
assistance. Pray and labour. 

3. Sometimes God helps his people by appointing means. Thus 
in the case of Hezekiah, Isaiah said, " Let them take a lump of figs, 
and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover." When 
God intends to help his people and to m.ake use of means and in- 
struments for it, he can easily bring them about and raise them up. 
Sometimes no way appears for their help, but the Lord brings them 
about unexpectedly, so that " when the Lord turned again the capti- 
vity of Zion, we were like them that dream." If he intends to have 
his people brought out of Babylon, he raiseth up Cyrus for that pur- 
pose. If Elijah must be fed in his hiding place, the ravens shall bo 
employed rather than he suffer want. And often their help comes 
by such unexpected means that they must say as Jacob did of his 
son's venison. "How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my 
son? And he said, because the Lord thy God brought it unto me." 

4. Sometimes without means. " Not by might, nor by power, but 
by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts. God is not bound to means, 
as he can work without them, A word from the Lord will bring 
about his people's help. Pie can speak peace to them, and so create 
it. And often when he hath tried his people's patience, by frustrat- 
ing of means, he will bring about their help without them. 

5. Sometimes by contrary means, as our Lord cured the blind 
man by laying clay upon his eyes. God does not only bring light 
after, but out of darkness. The troubling of the waters of Bethesda 
made them healing waters ; and the whale that swallowed up Jonah 
was the ship in which he came ashore. Christ's going away filled 
the disciples' hearts with sorrow. " Nevertheless," said he, " I tell 
you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away ; for if I go 
not away, the comforter will not come unto you ; but if I depart, I 
will send him unto you." The promise guides the ship of provi- 
dence, and will make a cross wind drive them to the harbour. 
" Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth 
sweetness. For all things shall work together for good to them 
that love God, and are the called according to his purpose." 

Secondly, Let us inquire why the Lord helpeth his people. 

1. Because they are in covenant with him. There is a league 
offensive and defensive betwixt Christ and his people. They have 
common friends, and common enemies. Hence all the attributes of 
God are engaged for them, and their help. The promise is made ; 


He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him 
in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him. Thus the power of 
God is made the ground of Abraham's comfort by virtue of the 
covenant, Gen. xvii. 1, 2. 

2. Because of their special relation to him. Christ is the be- 
liever's head. Hence if the foot be hurt, the head in heaven cries 
out, Acts ix. 4. He who is their maker, is their husband, their fa- 
ther, and elder brother ; in a word they are one with him, one 
spirit. This is the ground of sympathy betwixt Christ and his 
people, and secures their help. " For he that touclieth them touch- 
eth the apple of his eye." 

3. Because they look to him and trust in him for their help. The 
91st psalm has in it a great many blessed promises, but see to whom 
they belong. " The Lord is a buckler to all those that trust in 
him." The Lord gives this for the reason why he would help and 
deliver Ebedmelech the Ethiopian; "because thou hast put thy 
trust in me, saith the Lord." 

It lies upon the honour of God to help those who trust in him. 
Trust on an ingenuous man will engage him to answer the trust put 
in him ; and God will see to those that trust in him, that they shall 
not be ashamed. 

4. Because the Lord brings his people into straits for this very 
end, that he may have the glory of helping them ; and they may get 
the greater experience of his kindness. A good friend is best known 
in adversity : and the Lord will let his people's case grow darker 
till it be near past hope, and then he will arise. " 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." 
For the lower tliey are, the greater is the glory of God in deliver- 
ing them. " For great is thy mercy toward me, saith David, and 
thou hast delivered ray soul from the lowest hell." And none have 
such rich experience of the Lord's goodness as they that are most 
in straits, Hos. ii. 14. We now proceed, 

III. To speak of the keeping up of the memorial of the experi- 
ences which they have had of the Lord's helping them. Here tliree 
things demand our attention. First, What it is to keep up this me- 
morial. Secondly, What of these experiences of the Lord's helping 
should be recorded and kept in memory. And, Thirdly, why should 
we keep up such a memorial. 

First, What it is to keep up the memorial of the Lord's helping 

1. It implies an observing of the dispensations we meet with, for 
our help in the course of our life. If the thing itself be not ob- 

66 THE lord's iiklpixo 

served, we cannot keep up the memorial of it. " Who is wise and 
will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving 
kindness of the Lord." Many times the Lord helps, when we are 
sleeping and do not observe it. And this makes us like the unjust 
steward in recounting our mercies, setting down fifty for a hundred. 

2. A discerning of the Lord's hand in the help we receive. 
Alas ! men are ready to sacrifice to their own net, and burn incense 
to their drag : it requires wisdom to see the hand of the Lord in 
tlie good things we meet with. " For she did not know, saith the 
Lord, that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her 
silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal." 

3. Laying up these experiences and recording them, if not in a 
book yet in a faithful memory. "And all they that heard them, 
(the things said of John Baptist at his birth) laid them up in their 
hearts, saying, what manner of child shall this be ! And the hand 
of the Lord was with liim." Many instead of laying such things 
up, lay them down in the grave of forgetfulness, and instead of 
setting up a stone, lay a stone upon them, burying them out of 
sight. They forget that God remembered them in their low estate. 
" My people," says God, " have forgotten me, days without number." 
But if these experiences were carefully laid up, the former part of 
our life would help the latter, and the longer we live the richer we 
would grow. As in wars former success encourages to future exer- 
tions, so is it with the Christian warfare. " Thy servant," said 
David, '* slew both the lion and the bear ; and this uncircumcised 
Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies 
of the living God." Let us, 

Secondly, Inquire what of these experiences of the Lord's helping 
should be recorded and kept in memory. 

1. We should record the timing or seasonableness of them. 
There is often a weight lies on this very circumstance ; that 
the help came at such a time and not another is worthy to be 
remembered. Many instances of this kind occur in scripture, Gen. 
XXV. 45 ; Judges vii. 13. The church remembers the time of her deli- 
verance, Ps. cxxvi. L The Lord's help comes always seasonably, 
though not at our time, yet at his time which is the best. This will let 
us see the frame of spirit in which the help did overtake us, some- 
times when we were looking for it, sometimes when we were not. 

2. The efi"ects of them on our spirits. How we are affected with 
them when they come. " Then," says the church, " was our mouth 
filled with laughter and our tongue with singing." Many times the 
Lord helps his people in such a manner that the experience of his 
goodness fills them with shame, looks their doubts and fears out of 


coantenance, proves their unbelief to be a false prophet, and makes 
them resolve never to distrust God again and fills them with thank- 
fulness. Isaiah xxxviii. 10, 12 ; Psal. Ixxiii. 22, 2'^•, and cxvi. 11, 
12, how useful would this be afterwards to the Christian. 

3. Their harmony and agreement with the promise. If help come 
not by virtue of a promise, little use can be made of it this way, and 
for want of recording this, many of the Lord's people do often 
question their experiences. Experiences are the bread which the 
saints have to feed upon in their mournful hours ; but the promise 
is the staff and stay of this bread without which there will be no 
nourishment in it. Now as face answereth to face in a glass, so 
God's works answer his words. As we have heard, so have we seen 
in the city of the Lord of Hosts. Thus David records his experi- 
ence, saying, " Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, Lord, 
according to thy word. The promises in the Bible are all written 
over in the experiences of the saints. " There failed not ought, 
said Joshua, of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the 
house of Israel ; all came to pass." 

4. Their agreement with their prayers. Gen. xxiv. 45. What 
are the Christian's experiences but returns of prayers. Such was 
that in the text. This seems to be the ground of that conclusion; 
" By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth 
not triumph over me." It is of great importance to notice this, for 
a mercy that is an answer of prayer is a double mercy ; and mercies 
are certainly obtained by prayer, are enjoyed with thankfulness, as 
in the text. Only there is need of wisdom here, for sometimes God 
answers prayer not with the blessing itself that was desired but 
with as good : as instead of removing Paul's thorn in the flesh, he 
said to him, " my grace is sufficient for thee :" and sometimes ex- 
periences of the Lord's helping us with our expression in prayer, 
though not with the pressure of our own spirits, Rom. viii. 26, 27. 

Lastly, Even the very place of our experiences should be re- 
corded. The stone was set up where the victory was obtained. 
There are some golden spots on earth, where the Lord has enter- 
tained his people, whereof the very remembrance hath been refresh- 
ful to them afterwards. " I will remember thee," says David, 
" from the land of Jordan and of the Ilermonites, from the hill 
Mizar;" Gen. xxviii. 11 — 19. And the Lord loves to have his 
people remember these blessed places. Gen. xxxi. 13; and xxxv. 1. 
Let us now, 

Thirdly, Inquire why we should keep up the memorial of these 

1. We owe this to God : In point, of obedience, when we meet 

68 THE Lonn's helpixg 

with experiences of his goodness he calls us to set up our Ebenezcr. 
" We are to remember his marvellous works that he hath done, 
his wonders, aud the judgments of his month." It is very grieving 
to the Spirit of God to let these things slip ; aud God complains of 
his people for it, Jer. ii. 81, 32. We owe it to him in point of 
gratitude; acknowledgment, and the remembrance of the benefit, is 
the tribute we owe to God for his goodness. They called the stone 
Ebenezer; thereby to make acknowledgment that it was not they 
that got the victory, but God for them. monstrous ingratitude 
to forget experiences. 

We owe it to him also, in point of compliance with his design in 
giving experience of his help to his people. God intends his people 
more comfort by a mercy, than the mercy itself singly considered. 
Ho intends it as a ground to hope for more. He gives the valley of 
Achor for a door of hope. But how can they comply with this 
design unless they remember them. " Thou brakest, says Asaph, 
the head of the leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to 
the people inhabiting the wilderness." The heads of the leviathan 
are the princes of Pharaoh. God in that help which he gave to his 
people at the Red Sea, would have them not ouly feast themselves 
on it for the present, but carefully lay it up in their memories, that 
their faith might not want support in the wilderness. 

2. We owe this to ourselves in point of interest. If we would 
consult our own advantage, we would not let them slip. For for- 
former experiences of the Lord's help are very supporting to the 
soul in a dark night. Sometimes a Christian's spiritual rest is 
broken, then it is useful to read the records of his experiences. 
Sometimes a little writing is found in a man's study that saves his 
estate and keeps him out of prison. In such times " we should re- 
member the years of the right hand of the most high." This may 
revive our hopes. 

These experiences are pledges of further mercies. Some pro- 
mises have their day of payment here, others after this life. The 
performing of the former, is an earnest given to faith to look for 
the other. " Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards- 
receive me to glory." Every mercy a child of God receives, may 
be called Joseph, for the Lord shall add another to it. It is not so 
with others, and the two reasons shall be found in these words : " 
continue thy loving-kindness to them that know thee, and thy 
righteousness to the upright in heart." The mercies bestowed on 
the Lord's people flow from solid love, and love knows not an 
enemy. The son abides in the house, the servant goes away at the 
term. The saint's mercies are made over to him by promise. It is 


remarkable, 2 Sam. v. 12, that David gathers his establishment in 
the kingdom, by his prospering to that time. Saul too prospered at 
first, but was not established ; the reason was, David's establishment 
was a special promise. The word of promise gives not only bread 
to the eater, but seed to the sower. These experiences then, are 
good arguments iu prayer. "We find the saints often pleading with 
God upon former experience. " Thy vows are upon me, God : I 
will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul 
from death." It is not the way to plead with men, but it is a 
notable way to plead with God, for he is unchangeable, '' whom he 
loves, he loves to the end." 

3. We owe this to others. It is a duty to communicate our 
experiences of the Lord's goodness to our fellow Christians. " Como 
and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath 
done for my sofll." But how can we do this, unless we record them, 
and keep up the memory of them. It must be very encouraging to 
distressed Christians, to hear that others have been plunged in the 
same or similar depths, and yet have been delivered. " For this 
shall every one that is godly pray unto thee, in a time when thou 
raayest be found : surely in the floods of great waters, they shall 
not come nigh unto him." 

Use 1. To Christians, whose work it is to look to the Lord for 
his help, being sensible of their own weakness. "We say to you, 

1. Record your experiences, keep up the memory of them. It is 
a soul enriching trade to gather experiences. It makes a strong 
Christian. It makes one ready to suff'er for Christ, and to venture 
for him. 

2. Improve your experiences for strengthening your faith and 
hope for time to come, in the promises of God. And to help you to 
this, take these notes. The same God that helped thee formerly 
still lives: His arm and power are as strong as ever. Doubting of 
the Lord's willingness to help, is a sad leak, bat the ship will never 
sink, till faith let go its hold of the power of God. 

Though awful distempers break out in the people of God in time 
of affliction, yet he will still perform his word to them. He will 
save his people notwithstanding, Psal. cxvi. 11, 12. If it were not 
so, we could not have been out of hell till this time. The Psalmist 
makes this a ground of hope to others. Psal. xxxi. 22 — 24. If thou 
be a Christian, God hath delivered thee from greater straits than 
any in which thou now art. " He hath delivered your soul from 
death." Objection, But though God deliver in one, yet he lets a 
man fall iu another strait. Answer, Even affliction itself, a valley 
of Achor, may be a door of hope, a door by which a great mercy 

YoL. IV. E 


may enter ; so was Joseph's prison, and Daniel's den. A debt may 
be paid either with money, or something equal in value. If God do 
not take away the trouble, but give strength to bear it ; if he remove 
not sickness, but remove the sick saint to heaven, he is no loser. 

Use 2. A word to all. Go to God for your help in all cases. 
Let God be your helper. Consider, 

1. You have many and strong enemies. You are not able to 
grapple with Satan, the world, and the flesh. These will ruin thee, 
if God help thee not. 

2. He is a present help. He is not far off. He is within hearing 
of your cry. Men may perish when help is far away. 

3. He is willing. 

4. He is able to help thee in all cases, and at all times. "When 
friends can do nothing but close the eyes, and prepare the funeral 
rites, Christ can take thy soul to his Father's glory," and present it 
there with exceeding joy. Amen. 

Swinton, July 28, 1706, Sermon after the Action. 


Lamentations iii. 49, 50. 

Mine eye tnckleth down, and ceaseth not, ivithout any intermission^ till 
the Lord look down and behold from heaveu. 

Wonder not, that upon this occasion, we have read a mournful text 
to you ; for I suppose if every one of us were taking liberty to ex- 
press the affections and present frame of our hearts, it would be as 
Ezra iii. 12, 13, " when some wept with a loud voice, and many 
shouted aloud for joy : so that the people could not discern the noise 
of the shout of joy, from the noise of the weeping of the people." 
So among us, some would weep, and some rejoice ; and in the mean- 
time, others would stand as unconcerned spectators, who have not 
found Christ, and therefore cannot rejoice ; and do not feel the want 
of him, and therefoi-e cannot lament after him. Yea, perhaps, some 
would be found, who with one eye would look joyfully, because they 
have got so much ; and with the other weep, because they have not 
got more. But alas ! it is the misery of many that they are too soon 


pleased. They may begin in the course of mourning with the church 
here, but cannot hold up with her, but stand still, long before " the 
Lord look down and behold from heaven," and so lose the things 
which they have wrought. In tlie text we have, 

1. The church's present exercise, and that is mourning. The 
ground of her mourning was guilt and heavy affliction, chap. v. 16, 
Her grief was great, "mine eye trickleth dowu." Her sorrow 
was such as if her eye had been turned into a fountain of tears, 
and her head into waters. It was lasting, it ceased not: It was 
not for a iit and away again, and so ended ; but it was without 
intermission, a continual sorrow. 

2. The term of the continuance of this exercise. " Till the Lord 
look down, and behold from heaven." She would take no comfort 
till the Lord should give it to her. She was seeking the Lord sor- 
rowing, and her eyes cannot dry till she And him. It was the 
light of his couutenance only, that could restore her joy. She was 
resolved her cry should be continually going to the throne, till ho 
that sits upon it, should look in mercy on her, and deliver her. 

Doctrine. — As it is the duty, so it is the disposition of the godly, 
exercised under the hidings of the Lord's face, not to give over, 
uor to sit down contented, till such time as the Lord be pleased 
to give them a favourable look. We see it thus with Jacob. He 
said to God, " I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." Gen. 
xxii. 26 ; Hosea xii. 4. And the woman of Canaan. Matt. xv. 
22—28. I shall here. 

I. Shew what this imports. 

II. Give reasons why they are thus disposed. I am then, 
I. To shew what is imported in this. It imports, 

1. That a child of God may be uuder the hidings of God's face. 
When it is said. " till the Lord look," this imports that the Lord 
refused to look on them for the time. " Thou didst hide thy face," 
says David, " and I was troubled." God will have a difference be- 
twixt the upper and lower houses. When the saints are above, all 
the shadows flee away, but now clouds may intercept the light of 
his countenance. This implies that a controversy is apprehended 
betwixt Christ and the sonl. The soul conceives the Loid is angry, 
for the turning way of the face is the way how we signify our 
displeasure. When the Lord turns his back, conscience turns its 
face to the soul, and tells that the Lord is displeased. And 0! 
how bitter must God's anger be to that soul that knows him. Is 
his favour sweet as life, then his anger must be bitter as deatli. 
It implies also au apprehension of the Lord's laying aside any 
special concern about them. I do not say but it is a mistaken ap- 

c 2 


prehension, but sure such a thing is here implied ; for the wife will 
be ready to think that her husband has forgot her, when he locks up 
himself in his chamber, and does not give her a look through door or 
window. This was David's exercise when he said, " How long 
wilt thou forget me, Lord ? for ever ? how long wilt thou hide 
thy face from me?" This was Zion's conclusion, though she was 
mistaken, Isa. xlix. 14, 15. The children of God maybe under that 
apprehension, that their high priest hath let them out of his mind, 
though he remembers them still, and doth them many good offices, 
which they know not, till afterwards. But it is so long between 
visits, that they think he hath forgotten them. 

2. It imports that the hidings of the Lord's face, may continue 
long with a child of God. The tears for his absence, may trickle 
down long, ere he come and wipe them away. " I am afflicted," 
says Heman, "and ready to die from my youth up." Sovereignty 
hath the disposal of the time, and sometimes may prolong it, so as 
it may appear a kind of eternity. Hence such complaints as, " the 
harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." God 
will have his people's faith and patience tried, and therefore makes 
their clouds return after the rain. 

3. A holy dissatisfaction with all things, while Christ hides his 
face. The soul is difficult to please when the Lord is gone. No- 
thing will stop the fountain of tears here, till the Lord look down 
from heaven. The word will not please them, and ordinances will 
not please them, without him, Psal. vi. 6, 7, and xxvii. 4. An 
angel's presence could not satisfy Moses, Exod. xxxiii. 15; nor dry 
Mary's cheeks, while her Lord was taken away. Their life is 
bound up in his favourable looks, and as Rachel weeping for her 
children, refuses to be comforted, because they are not, so they can- 
not be comforted till he return : 

4. A wearisome longing after the Lord, Job vii. 2, 3 ; and xxiii. 
3, 4. The soul is looking for his appearance, as the traveller in the 
night longs for the day-breaking. Most of the causes of weariness 
concur here, as solitude. The wife lives but a solitary life, when 
the husband is from home, though the house be thronged with ser- 
vants ; so does the child of God, while the Lord hides his face. 
Darkness also causeth weariness. It is a pleasant thing to behold 
the sun ; but now the Sun of Righteousness hides his face, and it is 
a dark hour with the soul, Job xxix. 2, 3. Here also there is some 
toil. A time of desertion, is a toilsome time to the people of God. 
" I am weary with my groaning," says David. Duties are hard 
work, when Christ withdraws. Labour in vain much more causeth 
weariness. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Sometimes they 


no sooner call but God hears, then they need not weary. but to 
be standing alone, in the dark hour of the night, trying to break. 
up heaven's gates, to get corruptions mortified, and temptations 
overcome, and all without felt success, how wearisome must that be ? 
A man's not seeing the end of his work, makes weary work. It 
refresheth the labourer, to think that when the sun goes down, he 
will go to his rest ; but the people of God, in this case, see not their 
signs, nor know the time how long. They know not what hour of 
the night it is, and how long it will be till day-break. Finally, 
continued disappointments from every quarter, from which the soul 
expects ease, makes wearines in full measure. Job. xxiii. 8, 9 ; Jer. 
viii. 15. 

5. Some hope that the Lord will yet look down, and behold from 
heaven, Psal. xliii. 5. Should they lose all hope, they lose all. It 
is true their hope may be very low : yet likely they will be able to 
say, who knows but he may return and leave a blessing behind. 
Sometimes they may drav/ hasty and heavy conclusions against 
themselves, but hope will yet set up its head, and make them say 
with Jonah, " yet I will look again towards God's holy temple ;'* 
though it may be sometimes sunk, but all is not lost that is iu 
hazard, Lam. iii. 18 — 21. Hope feeds those weary labourers, 
and God never allows his people to sink so low, but everlasting 
arms are still beneath them, to keep them from falling to the 

Lastly, A resolute persisting in duty till the Lord return : The 
soul resolves never to give over, and so holds on, till the Lord look 
down and behold from heaven. Sense may often bring bad news, 
and tell them they have already got the last look of him, but the 
soul is resolute, and will not give over. If it must die, it resolves 
to die in the bed of honour, even at the Lord's footstool, and to d g 
its grave at his door. We now proceed, 

II. To give some reasons why they are thus disposed. I shall 
oflfer only these few. 

1. Felt need of Christ engageth them to this course. You know 
what determined the lepers that sat at the gate of Samaria. Many 
see a want of Christ, that feel not their need of him ; hence a few 
cold wishes, and if that will do, well and good ; but if not, they 
must even live without him. But the gracious soul cannot live 
without him. They say with Peter, " Lord, to whom shall we go ? 
Thou hast the words of eternal life. Now, necessity hath no law, 
and hunger will dig through stone walls. And if it cannot dig 
through them, it will leap over them. The soul still cries, Lord 
help me. 


2. Superlative iove to liini, engagetli tliem to this, Song viii. 6, 7- 
Love can endure any thing but absence, or the loss of the beloved 
party. Christ hath appeared in his beauty to the gracious soul, and 
hath captivated his heart, and it is so fixed with the sight of his 
transcendent excellency and fulness, that he cannot take it back 
again. The eyes of the soul are opened, and can see no happiness 
in any other. But in the meantime, the soul cannot cease to desire 
to be happy, and therefore can never rest, till the Lord look down, 
and behold from heaven. 

Use \. Hence we may see why so many professors fall short of 
Christ. They are utter strangers to this disposition of the godly. 
There are many who have not so much sense as to complain 
of the Lord's distance from them, because their consciences were 
never so much touched with any notable common work of the Spirit 
of God on them. There are others, whose character may be that, 
" ever learning, and never coming to the knowledge of the truth," 
they have some movings upon their souls, and they complain ; but 
their complaints are dead, heavy, and inactive. They may at a 
communion or so, have something like mourning after the Lord, but 
all their exercise is like a slight shower, that wets only the surface 
of the earth, which a little wind presently dries up, ere it can do 
any good. The concern of their souls for Christ does not last till, 
but is gone, ere the Lord look down, and behold from heaven. 
Reasons of this are, 

1. They have not the living spirit of Christ in them, and so they 
cannot follow the Lord fully. Numb. xiv. 24 ; John iv. 14. It is 
but awakening, and not changing grace they have ; therefore it de- 
cays by little and little, as the light after sunset, till it grow to per- 
fect darkness. Their reigning sloth being only covered, not sub- 
dued, rises again, and overspreads the soul, as weeds do in the 
spring. Take a branch and ingraft it, it will keep green a while ; 
but if it do not take with the stock, and unite with it, it withers. 
" If a man," says Jesus, " abide not in me, he is cast forth as a 
branch, and is withered." 

2. There are difficulties in the way to heaven, which their hearts 
cannot digest. Few see heaven ; and why ? ease is sweet, and the 
gate is strait. They love gold, but they cannot exert themselves to 
dig for it. " The desire of the slothful killeth him, for his hands 
refuse to labour." They see heaven afar off, and would fain be 
there. But there is a great gulph between them and it, that they 
dare not venture to swim. Heaven will not drop down into their 
mouths, hence finding the fruitlessness of their attempts, they 
despair of mending their case, and then sit down to contrive ways 
to smooth their consciences. 


3. The world and their lusts were never m.ide sapless to them, 
but still have the chief room in their hearts. Hence, when Christ 
will not answer, they have another door to go to. They are unlike 
those who said to Jesus, " Lord, to whom shall we go ? thou hast 
the words of eternal life." They find rest is sweet, so sit down, 
and fall short of Christ. They are like a wife called to go forth 
and meet her husband ; but her children, in whom she delights, cry 
after her, and hold her still. And thus many part with Christ, as 
Orpah with Naomi. 

Use 2. You are in earnest for Christ, yet under the hidings of 
his face, and all things else insipid to you without him, you see here 
how you are to behave ; you must hold on seeking till the Lord look 
down from heaven. Take up with no comfort in the world, till you 
get it from himself, and from his blood ; and be resolute that you 
will never give over till he look down from heaven, and be sure you 
shall get a healing look from the Lord. " Shall not God avenge 
his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear 
long with them ?" Have you missed him, have you come short of 
what Grod promiseth to his people ; of what is necessary to your 
case ; of what you desired of him ? then go from this place, resolved 
to hang about his hand, and to cry for it till you obtain it ; pro- 
testing that nothing shall satify you, till the Lord look down and 
behold from heaven ; and be sure you shall get your communion 
yet, though the table be drawn, and no more bread and wine on it. 

OBjECTio>r L I dare seek him no more, guilt so stares me in the 
face, that prayer is a terror to me. Answer, This is a fit of indis- 
position you are under, and sometimes Christians are carried away 
with it. But if you belong to Clirist, you will even take up with 
prayer again, seeing yourself the greater fool, that ever you laid it 
aside, if it were ever so short a while. But hear what Christ 
himself says to you. Song ii. 14. 

Objection 2. But I am burdened with a hard heart, I cannot mourn 
after the Lord ; could I seek him to purpose, I would have hope 
that he would look down, and behold from heaven. I fear he has 
nothing to do with me. I see I am all wrong, but I can do nothing 
to help it. Answer I suppose you may find three hopeful things, 
even in that case. 1. Self-dissatisfaction. There is a secret discon- 
tent with yourselves in you. "SVeak grace is frowning on corrup- 
tion, though it is not able to master it. 2. Self-condemnation. The 
man is the vilest creature in his own eyes. He has nothing to com- 
mend him to Christ, and he would wonder if he would cast him a 
crumb ; saying, " it is of the Lord's mercies, that I am not consumed, 
and because his compassions fail not. But to this man, sailh the 


Lord, will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a broken and a 
contrite spirit, and trembletli at my word." 3. There is a spark of 
kindness to Christ in the heart, though the soul has written the bill 
of divorce, and put it in Christ's hand, yet the soul would not sign 
it for thousands of worlds. Well then, if you cannot mourn, will 
you sigh and groan after him. Rom. viii. 26, 27. If you cannot 
sigh, will you give him an earnest look. " I am cast out of thy 
sight," said Jonah, " yet I will look again toward thy holy temple." 

Objection 3. The Lord has let me fall into such a gross sin as 
has wounded my conscience, and I fear he has shaken me off, by let- 
ting me fall into it. And whenever that comes in my mind, 1 can- 
not think that the Lord will ever look more to me. Answer. Have 
you fled to Christ for refuge. If you have, then your greatest sins 
may hide God's face, but shall never part God and you. Psal. 
Ixxxix. 30 — 34, " The blood of Jesus Christ cleauseth from all sin." 
The Lord has designs of good, even in permitting his people to fall. 
He raises profit to them out of it. Thus God left Hezekiah, in the 
business of the Babylonian ambassadors, " to try him, that he might 
know all that was in his heart." It also brings a revenue of glory 
to himself, by his having mercy upon them. And for your continual 
disquiet, look that you have not trusted more to your repentance 
for your sin, than to the blood of Christ, which " alone can purge 
the conscience from dead works to serve the living God." 

Objection. 4. I have met with so many disappointments, that I 
can scarcely think but I must give it over. Answer. You are not 
the first that have met with them. Job xxiii. Song iii. Disappoint- 
ments are needful for us in several respects. But if you should 
meet with one on the back of another; till your dying hour, if Christ 
come at last, you have no reason to repent your waiting on ; and 
come he will, to them that will not want him. There are three 
signs when your disappointments may be near an end. 1. When 
your heart is duly humbled, and you are as a weaned child ; when 
you leave off limiting God ; resolving to wait on God, but to pre- 
scribe no time to him. " Lord thou hast heard the desire of the 
humble ; thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to 
hear." 2. When you get your case touched, and laid open in the 
public ordinances. " The watchmen that go about the city, found 
me," says the spouse, " and after this she soon found her beloved." 
3. When you are carried above means, to look over them all to 
Christ himself; even passing on from the watchmen, till you find 
him whom your soul loveth. 

Lastly, My case grows worse and worse, heavier and heavier, and 
always the longer the more hopeless. Answer. Wait on till the 


Lord look down. There is hope in Israel, concerning this thing. 
Men's extremity is God's opportunity, Isa. xli. 17, 18. " For the 
Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, 
when he seeth their power is gone, and there is none shut up or left." 
Christ usually times his visits, so that he may be the more welcome 
when he comes. It is as with Hagar, who never saw the well, till 
she gave over the child for death. The darkest hour is readily be- 
fore day-break. Amen. 

Ettrick, Jmmary 3, 1725. 


Job xvi. 22. 

When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not 


Time is in constant motion. Years are like rivers flowing fast 
away, and still running a straight, but no hope of their running a 
backward course. The year now gone will never return, and that 
now come will run on, till it also run out. Meanwhile, our life here 
is also running to an end. 

Our text mentions an important removal, that is abiding all. 
This is, " we shall go the way whence we shall not return." Death 
is the going to that place, that state. A removing from time to 
eternity, from the world of sense, to the world of spirits. There 
will be a return of the body from the grave, but no return from 

"We have also the longest terra fixed for this removal. It may be 
within a few months, weeks, days, hours, that we shall be called 
away. But without all peradventure, the term of removing will be 
to all of us within a few years. " When a few years are come," by 
that time we will be gone. 

Doctrine. The coming in of a few new years, will set us out of 
this world, never to return to it. However vain men make new 
years, new occasions of renewing their follies, superstitions, carnal 
mirth, and jollities. They thus act as those in whom madness is 
in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 


I see not how serious persons can fail to have this serious thought 
on such an occasion. Hero I shall very shortly, 

I. Shew in what respects, we can have but a few years to come. 

II. Why is the coming, and not the going of these few years 

III. When the few years have sent us off, there is no returning. 
We are then, 

I. To shew in what respects, we can have but a few years to 

1. In comparison of the many years to which man's life did 
sometimes extend; namely, in the ages before the flood, Gen. v. 
When man's life was of that great extent, an ill use was made of 
it ; and Enoch, the best man of that period, had the shortest life, 
namely, three hundred and sixty-five years. Now our years are 
dwindled into so small a number, that the odd number even of 
Enoch's years, is a long life with us, which few comparatively, 

2. In comparison of the years of the world that are past, now 
about five thousand, seven hundred and twenty-four. If we con- 
sider what of the world's time was run before we knew it, how late 
incomers we are, and how soon we must be gone, we must needs say, 
we have but, at most, few years to come. Our life is but a short 
visit made to the world of sense. 

3. In comparison of the great work which we have to do, namely, 
our salvation, and generation work. If we were to live hundreds 
of years, we have as much work laid to our hands, as might fill it 
all up ; and we would be convinced of that, if once we would rightly 
consider, that we have both our own souls to attend to, and to be 
useful for God in the world. 

4. In comparison of eternity. If our life was lengthened out to 
a hundred times the length of the ordinary period of it, it would be 
no more in that case, than a drop of water to the ocean, or a grain 
of sand to a mountain. How few then must our years be, which we 
probably have to come. But let us inquire, 

II. Why is the coming, and not the going of the few years men- 

1. Because, that by the time they are fully come in, they are gone 
out ; so that the coming and the going of a year, are all one upon 
the matter. It is not one or two, or a month, or eleven months of 
days, that make a year; till the last day and hour of a year is come, 
and then it is gone by that time. How quick is our time, then, in 
its motion ; how soon do our years pass, which no sooner are come, 
than they are gone again. 


2. Because that year will at length begin to come in, which wo 
will never see the going out of. Every year is that to some, and to 
which of us, this year may be it, who knows. But in the ordinary 
course of providence, it cannot fail to be so, to some or other of us, 
in the place. The term of the year should certainly suggest this 
serious thought to us. "We are now, 

III. To shew that when the few years have sent us off, there is no 

1. Men cannot come back. Job. xvi. 14. If men cannot keep 
themselves alive, far less can they restore themselves to life, and 
return after death hath carried them away. Nothing less than an 
omnipotent hand can loose the bands of death, make up the ashes 
into a body again, and re-unite the soul to it. And, 

2. Grod will not bring them back again. " It is appointed unto 
men once to die, but after this the judgment." God has appointed 
this life for the time of a trial, when it is ended, the sentence is 
passed, and no place remains for a new time of trial. With respect 
to the godly after death, their souls are at rest with God, in heaven ; 
their bodies rest in the grave, sleeping in Jesus. He will not pluck 
them out of their rest. As for the wicked, they have had their time, 
and it is out, the sentence is passed, and there is no reversing of it. 
For improvement, 

Let the going out and coming in of years be so noticed and im- 
proved by you, as that you may apply your hearts to wisdom on 
that occasion. I cannot think that the observing of such a time in 
the way of carnal mirth, feasting, and giving of gifts and handsells, 
is becoming Christianity. It is certain that was the manner of the 
heathens ; and it is as certain, that God strictly forbade his people 
to symbolize with the heathen, and follow their customs. " You 
shall not," said he to them, " walk in the manner of the nations, 
which I cast out before you ; for they committed all these things, 
and therefore I abhorred them." But it appears very proper in such 
a time, 

1. That men seriously weigh with themselves that they are now a 
great step nearer another world than they were. A year is a very 
considerable part of one's life, for there are not many of them in our 
whole life. And if you be in case for passing into another world, 
you may lift up your heads with joy, "for now is your salvation 
nearer, than when you believed." But, hearer, if you be not, you 
should be stirred up the more to make ready. 

2. That they take a humbling back-look of their way, and con- 
sider, the many wrong steps which they have made in their past 
years, and particularly in the year last passed. The way of provi- 


dence towards tliera in it ; what mercies, what rods, what deliverances 
they have met with, and what improvement has been made of them. 
Taking up resolutions, in the strength of grace to walk more closely 
with God in all time coming. 

3. That they renew their acceptance of the covenant, and lay 
down measures for their safety in another world, what time soever 
their few years shall come to an end. That is, that in prospect of 
their going out of the world at the time appointed by God, they do 
what they would do, if it were told they should never see the end of 
the year. Ezek. xlv. 18 — 21. And it would be proper to take a par- 
ticular time for this, shorter or longer, for tlie more solemn managing 
of the work. None should bind themselves to any time to which 
God hath not bound thera ; but it were good to take the time most 
convenient for the work. 

1. Consider how many years have gone over our heads, and how 
short way our business for eternity is come, nay, with many of us it 
is not yet begun. They who have a long journey before them, and 
have loitered in the morning, had much need to mend their pace, 
■when the day is far spent. For every seven years any of us have 
lived, we have had a whole year of sabbaths. And at this rate, 
several years of Sabbaths have passed with most of us. But how 
unprepared are we as yet, for the eternal sabbath in the heavens. 

2. How quickly do years run out, and make no stay. They pass 
like a tale that is told. And if we have more years yet to come, 
these that are to come, will post away with no less speed than those 
that are now gone, and will never return. 

3. We know what is past, but what may be to come, we know not. 
The lower end of our sand glass of time is within our view, and we 
see what is run out. But the upper end is covered to us ; we know 
not how much, or how little remains to run. 

4. Our years once gone, there is no bringing thera back again. If 
our work has been neglected in them, it must lie for ever undone 
for them ; and we must either do and make up the former neglect, 
by improving the present opportunity, or we are for ever ruined. 

Lastly, Eternity is a business of the greatest weight. It is that 
in which we, and the world itself too, will together be swallowed 
up. The great glass of time for the world's duration, was set up 
in the beginning. Gen. i. It is not to be turned for this world, but 
when it runs out, the world ends : and we may be sure it is towards 
the end by this time. Now the happiness of the other world is too 
great for us to be indifferent about it, and to be cheated out of 
it by Satan and our vain hearts. The misery of the other world is 
too great a burden to be easy about, while we are not secured 


against it. The punishment of loss, and the punishment of sense, 
are things which require our utmost care and concern to escape. 
The eternity and unchaugeableness of these things, add immensely to 
their weight. There is no change there for ever. But once happy, 
happy for evermore; and once miserable, miserable for evermore. 
Finally, when it will come upon us, we know not. Our few years 
being come, then we go, and shall know in our experience what that 
is, about which we have so often heard so much. Amen. 

A Seiinon preached at the Ordination of Mr. Robert Lithgow, at 
Askirk, March 7, 1711. 



1 Timothy iv. 7, 

And exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 

Two things are necessary to make a good minister of Jesus Christ ; 
namely, sound doctrine, and a holy godly life. A good minister is 
one nourished up in, or with the words of faith, verse 6. He does 
not only hold forth the breasts of the word to others, but sucks 
them himself, and grows by them. The apostle will have Timothy 
to study a holy accuracy in both these ; so to hold by the words of 
faith grounded on divine testimony, as to refuse all profane and old 
wives' fables: that is all impertinent discourses that have no foun- 
dation in the word of God, and have no tendency to the promoting 
either of faith or holiness. These he doth in contempt call old 
wives' fables, which, whether true or false, are yet unprofitable and 
profane; or impure and muddy, unworthy of the heavens and stars, 
according to the notion of the word ; and therefore, as a Greek, not 
to be brought to the temple. In the text he calls him to the 
diligent study of true godliness, in which, 

1. Consider the connection. And, or but exercise thyself rather 
unto godliness. The refusing of the one, and embracing of the 
other, must go together. There is an opposition betwixt the two. 
Such impertinences may nourish men's lusts, but cannot feed their 
souls in godliness. There is no suitableness in them for that end, 


more than in ashes to feed our bodies. They have no word of divine 
appointment for that end, which though they were suitable, yet 
would be absolutely necessary for their efficacy ; and therefore 
men's souls will lose by them instead of gaining. But there is a 
pleasant harmony betwixt the words of faith and true godliness. 
The words of faith are the doctrine according to godliness. There 
is a suitableness between them. And the words of faith have a 
■word of divine appointment, making them the means of holiness. 
John xvii. 17; Rom. x. 17- Holiness again casts a divine splendour 
about the truths of Grod, to discover them in their glory. " For if a 
man," said our Saviour, ** will do his will, he shall know of the doc- 
trine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." Hence 
the Christian's practice is, walk in the truth ; and his faith of the 
principles of religion, is speaking the truth in love, Eph. iv. 15 ; 
■which shews us, that were truth more received in the world, there 
would be fewer of profane lives : and were there more holy hearts 
exercised unto godliness, there would not be so many unsound 

2. The exhortation itself, which is not to be taken comparatively, as 
if of two good things here, exercising unto godliness were the best, but 
simply and absolutely. The ministers of Christ, that would be good 
ministers of Jesus Christ, are simply to refuse these profane and 
old wives' fables, and in opposition to them, to exercise themselves 
to godliness ; to bend their studies towards the advancing of godli- 
ness in themselves, and in the people. Godliness here, comprehends 
the whole of religion. It is a conformity to God in the whole man. 
To this end we must exercise ourselves. The word properly signifies 
such exercise as wrestlers and runners use, to which the apostle fre- 
quently alludes; which was with all their might and skill, that they 
might gain the victory, being trained up to it by frequent practice. 
It is plain from the following verse, that the apostle opposeth the 
exercise unto godliness, unto bodily exercise, which denotes ex- 
ternal exercises in religion, by which the body is exercised, but not 
the spirit, to its advancing in holiness ; which, therefore, are not 
religion indeed, or godliness. Such as abstaining from certain 
meats, marriage, and such like things, verse 3. Man is not a mere 
machine, a lump of earth, and therefore godliness cannot consist in 
bodly exercise. He haih a soul which is his better part. It is a 
spirit, as God is a spirit, and religion exists there. The exercise 
unto godliness then, is heart exercise, soul exercise ; labouring and 
wrestling to get the soul wrought up into a conformity to God, in 
holiness, which may sometimes be alone, (without bodily exercise,) 
acceptable unto God. But bodily exercise can never be acceptable 


without it, seeing it derives all its value from the soul exercise, 
which spiritualizeth it. The apostle does not simply condemn 
bodily exercise. Men may fast, abstain from marriage, and do such 
things as may best contribute to the prosperity of the soul. They 
may, and must exercise their tongues, in praying, preaching, and the 
like ; but in all these things they must be spiritual, exercising 
their hearts unto godliness, which lies inwardly. 

DocTEiNE. — A heart exercised unto godliness, as it is necessary 
unto all ; so it is especially necessary to hira, that would be a good 
minister of Jesus Christ. In discoursing upon this, I shall, 

I. Shew what this heart exercise unto godliness is. 

II. The necessity of the exercise of the heart to godliness, to make 
a good minister of Jesus Clirist. 

I. I am to shew what tliis heart exercise unto godliness is. 

1. It pre-supposeth a man to be truly godly. That professor or 
minister that is not godly can never exercise himself to godliness. 
It is impossible to act without a principle of acting, and exercise 
doth naturally require a power of it. He can never exercise himself 
to running, that wants feet to ruu with ; or to wrestling, who wants 
arms ; nor the ungodly exercise themselves to godliness ; on the 
contrary, " an heart they ha"e exercised with covetous practices." 
There is more haste than good speed, when men run to be leaders of 
the Lord's people, ere ever they have been taught to follow Christ 
among them. Serious men will not dare adventure on that great 
work, till they have examined themselves in the point of personal 
holiness, and had some comfortable account of themselves therein. 
Our very calling, supposeth us to be holy. Dent, xxxiii. 8. A slave 
to Satan and lusts, cannot be very meet to be a man of God, nor 
does it suit well to preach the words of life, with the grave cloths of 
an unregenerate state upon us. Where it is so, it is sad. For the 
minister himself, that is an awful hedge about the mountain ; " Unto 
the wicked God saith, what hast thou to do to declare my statutes, 
or that thou shouldst take my covenant in thy mouth ? seeing thou 
hast instruction, and castest my words behind thee." It is a dreadful 
work to be ferrying over others, with our own backs to Iramanuel's 
land. The conversion of every graceless man is a wonder, but the 
conversion of a graceless minister is a double wonder; therefore, 
when the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples 
multiplied in Jerusalem greatly, it is added, and a great company 
of the priests were obedient to the faith. There is here particular 
notice taken of the conversion of priests. The more frequently 
holy things go through men's hands, and do not make them better, 


they harden them the more. It is sad also for the people. They 
that begin not at home, in their own breasts, to ruin the devil's 
kingdom, will not readily set themselves to do much execution 
against it abroad. And if the Lord begin a good work in a soul 
it is hard for people in the pangs of the new birth, to fall into the 
hands of those who have had no experience of these things in their 
own souls. 

2. Making religion our business. In this the apostle gave him- 
self a pattern to us. "Herein," says he, "do I exercise myself 
to have always a conscience void of offence, toward God and toward 
men." Godliness should be our great work, how to advance it in 
ourselves and others. Now we will make religion our business, if 
we take it not only by fits and starts, but make it our daily work, 
as men exercise themselves in their callings. That is a sad character 
of whom Job saith, "will he delight himself in the Almighty? will 
he always call upon God ?" But see our duty as angels of the 
churches, Rev. iv, 8. " They rest not day and night, saying, Holy, 
holy, holy. Lord God Almighty, which was and is, and is to come." 
The priests and Levites, in their attendance in the temple, " were to 
lift up their hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord." Godli- 
ness is that holy fire, which we are to watch, that it go not out at 
any time, in ourselves or others. For ministers or people to make 
religion only their sabbath-day's work is but Pharaoh's religion, to 
serve God when we have nothing else to do. If the heart be al- 
lowed to rove, and lie carnal all the week, no wonder that it 
be ill to gather for a sabbath ; and that the affections be ill to 
kindle, that lie drenched all the week in carnal worldly things. 
Again, we make religion our business, if whatever our exercise be, 
we make godliness still the scope of it. "For me to live," says 
Paul, " is Christ, and to die is gain." This then, should be the 
scope, that all the several lines of our life and actions, may meet 
there as in the centre. We have many things to do as Christians, 
and much as ministers ; but happy they, that make this the scope 
of all, in public and private. The most holy minister on earth, 
while he is feeding others with the one hand, hath need to be put- 
ting into his own mouth with the other; and it would likely do 
others the more good, that we had the relish of it on our souls. 
How sweet might our work of preaching, catechising, reading, and 
studying, be to us, when thus followed ; not studying and preach- 
ing just for preaching's sake, but for godliness's sake : that is, 
in effect, for God's sake. And if in reading and meditation, 
we be obliged to go even without the compass of the holy ground, 
yet to manage it so, as to bring and consecrate the spoil to the 
service of the tabernacle. 


3. It imports a vigorous following of it, as wrestlers and runners 
ply their work vigorously. The apostle will have those that serve 
the Lord " to be fervent in spirit ;" seething hot, as the word 
imports; Rom. xii. 11. The word of the Lord, in Jeremiah's 
breast, was as a burning fire shut up in his bones. When it is thus 
as a fire in the heart, it will not readily die in our mouths. Though 
burning lips with a dead heart, is but bodily exercise that will not 
profit; and though it may gain credit with men, God will account 
of it no more than as a potsherd covered over with silver dross. It 
was John the Baptist's commendation " that he was a burning and a 
shining light." Much need have we to be lively, for our own sake, 
and the sake of others. 

4. A resoluteness, over the belly of all opposition. " Thou, 
therefore," says Paul to Timothy, " endure hardness as a good sol- 
dier of Jesus Christ ;" we must thus act, as those who strive for the 
mastery. Levi will always finds himself the son of the hated, if he 
set himself to answer his name, and set himself to join his own 
heart, and the heart of others to the Lord. Satan will oppose the 
exercise of godliness in all, but especially in ministers; because a 
lively minister is most likely to make a lively people, and a dead 
minister can scarcely fail to make a dead people. To be a little 
more particular, I will touch at four things. 

1. We should exercise ourselves to the knowledge of these things 
pertaining to godliness, that we may be full of eyes, and " by rea- 
son of use, have our senses exercised to discern both good and evil." 
Therefore, " we must meditate upon these things, and give our 
hearts wholly to them, that our profiting may appear to all." 
Solomon lay down ignorant, and arose wise as an angel of God. 
Bezaleel and Aholiab got the art of making all manner of work and 
utensils for the tabernacle, in an extraordinary way from the Lord, 
but others behoved to learn it, and be taught by them. We must 
be at pains to get knowledge, and therefore give attendance to 
reading. We will find many books useful, but there are four, the 
study of which are necessary to make a good minister of Jesus 
Christ. These are, 1. Jesus Christ himself, who is that body of 
divinity which the Holy Ghost teacheth all his scholars, particu- 
larly those whom he fits for the work of the ministry. " For we 
preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord. For God who 
commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our 
hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, iu 
the face of Jesus Christ." There is no saving knowledge of God, 
but in him. All is in him, not only subjectively, but objectively, 
" In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And 

V^OL. IV. i 


in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Ah ! how 
foolish are they that turn over many volumes, while this lieth by 
neglected. " The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them ; 
because he knoweth not how to go to the city." This the apostle 
resolved to make his study. " For I determined," says he, " not to 
know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." 
Shame and blushing may cover our faces when we think on this. 

The second book is that of our own hearts, ourselves. The 
beasts. Rev. iv. 8, were full of eyes within. It is sad when the 
heart is a sealed book. Three things, said Luther, make a good 
minister, temptation, prayer, and meditation. Temptation makes 
the man know his own heart, if he be attentive to observe it : for it 
makes characters both of grace and corruption appear. It is likely 
to be the best sermon that is taken out of this book, among the 

The third book is God's word, the Bible. " All scripture is 
given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for 
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the 
man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good 
•works." If we would be good Christians, or good ministers, we 
must study this, not simply as a book of knowledge, that we may 
speak of the truths contained in it ; but as a book of saving know- 
ledge, that we may feel the power of the truths of it on our hearts, 
and may, as the original hath it, Rom. vi. 17, be delivered into that 
form of doctrine, as melted metal cast into a mould, comes out with 
the form thereof upon it. 

The works of God make the fourth book. Providence is a river 
continually bringing down golden ore, in gathering of which much 
of the exercise of godliness consists. " Whoso is wise, and will ob- 
serve these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness 
of the Lord." And it should be the exercise of ministers in parti- 
cular, who are to be full of eyes before, to observe the motions of 
their great Master in his works as well as otherwise. The watch- 
man that is not asleep, is supposed to see the sword coming. 

2. We should be exercised in combating the lusts of our hearts, 
beginning the war against the devil at home. Like Paul, " we 
should keep our bodies under, and bring them into subjection ; lest 
that by any means, when we have preached to others, we ourselves 
should be castaways." How sad will it be, if we be keepers of the 
vineyards of others, yet keep not onr own, but let it be as the 
garden of the sluggard ! We never want matter for this exercise ; 
if we be secure, at any time, it is not because our foes are expelled 
from the house, but because we see them not, or have lost heart for 
the struggle. 


3. "We should be exercised to the performing of our duties, and 
that in a spiritual manner. Many are the duties of Christianity 
and of the ministry, and we should have that mark of sincerity, 
" that we have respect unto all God's commandments." TTe need 
eat no idle bread. And we must exercise ourselves to be spiritual 
in them all, acting from a right principle, in a right manner, for a 
right end. " Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he 
coraeth, shall find so doing." If these things be wanting, what we 
do will be but loathsome bodily exercise. What avails it though 
we speak with the tongue of angels, without a principle of love to 
God, and the good of souls. Though we should waste our lungs 
and whole bodies, it is of no avail, if meanwhile the base heart be 
swelling with pride. If our work be a sacrifice to self, the fatter 
the more abominable to God. 

4. "We should be exercised in the life of faith, without which, in 
vain will we attempt the other parts of the exercise of godliness. 
" We must live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us and 
gave himself for us." I take this to be the soul's constant travelling 
betwixt the fulness in Christ, and the emptiness, nothingness, misery 
and poverty in itself. This we may take up in these two things. 
1. A continual use-making of the blood of Christ, to take away 
our guilt, and new defilement, which we contract in every thing. 
The laver stood beside the altar, in which they were to wash their 
hands and their feet before they approached the altar, though in the 
morning they had bathed themselves. " Even he that is washed, 
still needs to wash his hands and his feet." 2. A continual use- 
making of the Spirit of Christ, for sanctification. The coals with 
which the priests were to burn incense in the temple, were to be 
taken from the altar of burnt-offering. And without the Spirit of 
Christ, we and our duties will be but a dead lump. There is a 
fulness of merit and spirit in him. Happy they who are exercised 
by faith to bring it in as a flood into their guilty and barren souls. 
We now proceed, 

II. To shew the necessity of the exercise of the heart unto god- 
liness, to make a good minister. 

1. It is necessary to make a man faithful in his work, and to 
cause him take God for his party, with whom he hath to do. 
" Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." If the fear 
of the Lord be not on our spirits, to counterbalance the fear of men, 
we cannot avoid being ensnared in unfaithfulness. But a heart 
exercised to godliness, will lead us on to act, as in the sight of God, 
whether in public or in private, that no souls perish through our 
default. Hence a man will not offer what cost him nothing ; 



because, let the people be ever so few or injudicious, lie is to offer 
it to the Lord. Tie will not keep up any thing of the mind of 
God that may be profitable to souls, for God is his party. 

2. It is necessary to give a man a sense of the weight of the work, 
and the worth of souls, without which he cannot be a good minister. 
2 Cor. V. 9, 10. It is a weighty work. " For we are unto God a 
sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that 
perish. To the one we are the savour of death unto death ; and to the 
other, the savour of life unto life : and who is sufficient for these 
things ?" But it will sit light on men that are not exercised to godli- 
ness, for how can we have a sense of the worth of the souls of others, 
if we keep not up the sense of the worth of our own souls ? 

3. It is very necessary to fit a man to suffer for truth. The Lord 
sometimes calls ministers to seal the truths which they have preached, 
with their blood. Such days have been, and yet may be. And a 
good minister must say, " None of these things move me, neither 
count I my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my course with 
joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to 
testify the gospel of the grace of God." But alas ! how will we 
be able for this, if we feel not the power of truth on our own souls. 
The exercise of godliness has carried out some to suffer for Christ, 
when they could speak little for him ; while many learned heads 
but ungodly hearts, have betrayed him. 

4. It is necessary to give a man insight into the mind of God. 
"The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will 
shew them his covenant." Heavenly truths appear certainly in an- 
other lustre to the exercised soul than to others. And the interrup- 
tion of this exercise, will make the great things of God's law appear 
even as a strange thing to them, who before have tasted the sweet- 
ness of them. "When the heart is sealed, the Bible will be found 
sealed too. If they be not sensible of it in the time, they will be 
sensible of it after the vail is taken away. An exercised heart is 
one of the best commentaries on the Bible, when the soul, upon the 
reading of it, can say, " As we have heard, so have we seen in the 
city of our God." 

5. To make a man one that has interest in the court of heaven. I 
intend not to put the exercise of godliness in the room of Christ's 
intercession. But sure it is, that the prayers of those who are fa- 
vourites of heaven, have much influence. It is of importance to 
think how the prophet, to convince the priests that God was dis- 
pleased with them, puts them to try their interest in the court of hea- 
ven, Mai. i. 9, "And I pray you beseech God, that he will be gra- 
cious unto us : this hath been by your means : will he regard your 
persons ? saith the Lord of Hosts." 


Lastly, It is most necessary to fit us for the performance of the 
several duties of our calling, whether in preaching, administering 
the sacraments, visiting families, or the sick. Our great busi- 
ness is to bring souls to Christ, and to preach bis unsearchable 
riches ; and the law itself must be preached still, in view to Christ, 
as the only way to union with God, and communion with him, and 
as the alone fountain of true holiness ; and not to feed people with 
barren discourses of Christless morality. This is a great work: 
the apostle calls for prayers lor his help in it. Col. iv. 3, 4. 
Much need of personal acquaintance with him, for that end. For 
God to reveal his Son in us, that we may preach him among the 
people. Alas ! What hopes can we have, that the word should have 
weight with others, if it have none with ourselves. That is a sting- 
ing word, "But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused 
my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them 
from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings." If they 
did not turn, but would goto hell, they should go with a witness. To 
speak powerfully in the demonstration of the Spirit, this is necessary. 
The heart makes the best oratory. If lusts live at peace in our own 
bosoms, then preaching against them in others, we will hear a voice 
from within to cool our zeal, saying, as David, " deal gently with the 
young man for my sake." But if a man be exercised in combating 
his own lusts, it will put an edge on his own zeal, when he comes to his 
own weak side. It is exercise unto godliness that makes a man speak 
seasonably, and to the cases of the people ; and he that is most exer- 
cised about his own heart, bids fairest for opening up the hearts of 
others ; for as face answereth to face in water, so doth the heart of 
one Christian to that of another. And for this very cause, are matters 
of exercise laid in to ministers. " God," says Paul, " comforteth us 
in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which 
are in trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted 
of God. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and 
salvation, wliich is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings 
which we also suffer : or whether we be comforted, it is for your 
consolation and salvation. 

Let us then, my brethren, study the exercise of godliness. Let 
this be our great work, if we would either save our own souls, or tho 
souls of others. This will be our only comfort in a dying hour, 
"that in simplicity and in godly sincerity, not by fleshly wisdom, 
but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, 
holding forth the word of life;" and this will be our comfort, when 
we must leave our pulpits to others, and go to tiie tribunal of our 
Master. The crown ol glory will be sure to such wrestlers. But 


doubly miserable will we be, if while we preach to others, we our- 
selves be castaways. 

To you, the people, I would say: 1. Embrace godliness, and be 
exercised unto it. It belongs to you as well as to us. You have no 
dispensation to be vile more than we. Ungodliness will ruin you 
eternally ; " for without holiness no man shall see the Lord." 
Study to be a lively people. A dead people will do much to make 
a dead minister. Many a time the minister comes out to the people, 
in bands laid on for their sake. 

2. Take kindly whatsoever is said or done by us for the advanc- 
ing of godliness. It is your good the Lord's servants will seek. 
And true wisdom would learn you to love him best, that crosseth 
your corruptions most, whether in doctrine or discipline. 

We are dying ministers, preaching to dying people. Other persons 
will shortly get our pulpits, and your seats. Let this be oar joint 
exercise while we live, and then we will not be afraid to die. 

In vain will we press men to bring forth fruit to God, while they are 
not married to Christ, and there is no marriage with Christ, without 
dying to the law. Rom. vii. 4. Dare any look God in the face with 
their best works, but through the vail of the flesh of Christ ? Will we 
press men to conformity to God, and not send them for it to Jesus, 
" who is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of 
his person," whom he sent down from heaven, that men beholding him 
by faith, " might be transformed into the same image, from glory to 
glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord." An eternal barrenness will 
be on our souls, if influences of grace for duty, come not from heaven ; 
and the falling dew shall sooner make its way through the flinty rock, 
than influences of grace come from God to us, but through him whom 
the Father hath constituted the head of influences. " For it pleased 
the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell." There can be no 
good fruit but what grows on this vine, John xv. 1 — 6. Let men 
otherwise exercise themselves to the greatest strictness and mortifi- 
cation, it will be found at length, not exercise to godliness, but to 
ungodliness ; " seeing he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not 
the Father who sent him." Amen. 


Yarrow, March 18, 1711. 



1 Timothy iv. 7, 
Exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 

Exercise unto godliness is now almost worn out of the world. 
Many casting off the very bodily exercise in religion; few, very 
few, keeping up the heart exercise of it ; and it is our work to 
strive against the stream. This is all the apology I shall make to 
you, for preaching upon a text that several of you heard me upon, 
elsewhere, not long ago. There it was ray business, to stir up my- 
self, and my brethren in the ministry, to the exercise of godliness, 
in order to make us good ministers ; and now I am to stir you up 
to it, in order to make you good Christians. 

The apostle gives us here a short, but substantial description of 
the Christian life. It is an exercise, it is not a name. People 
must not think to take on a profession of religion, as men set their 
foot in a boat, and sit there at their own ease, till they be set 
ashore. Persons may reach hell in this way, but they will not 
arrive at heaven. For time runs with a rapid course, and sleep 
we, or wake we, carries us swiftly down the stream to eternity. 

Again, Christianity is not an easy exercise, but such as wrestlers 
or runners used, exerting all their might and skill to gain the vic- 
tory. We are not to expect two summers in one year, or rest here, 
and in heaven also. We are also reminded, that Christianity is 
heart-soul-exercise, for it is opposed to bodily exercise. It is not 
the saying of a prayer, reading a chapter, hearing a sermon, giving 
every one their due, and the like. Though the tongue cry to God, 
as if it would rend the clouds, and the eyes should help it forward 
with a flood of tears, the hands should deal among tlie poor all that 
a man hath, and his mouth should keep shut to macerate his body 
with fasting, the knees should become hard as horns with praying, 
and after all this, the feet should carry away the skeleton to be 
burned for religion : yet if there be no more, and that of another 
kind, it is all but vile bodily exercise, that will leave the soul 
ruined and undone at the latter end. " For," says Paul, " though 
I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body 


to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." As 
if he had said, if ray soul within me, burn not as clear in sincere 
love to God, as my body in the flame, T will but go out of one fire 
here, into another in hell. So then true religion is an inward thing. 
Once more, the Christian life is a heart exercise to the most noble 
end, even to godliness. It is not to get a name ; nay, it is not to 
get just as much grace as may keep people out of hell, which is the 
utmost bounds of the ambition of some ; and by this they declare 
that godliness hath never yet touched them at the heart. But it is 
godliness, a conformity to God in the whole man. This is the scope 
of their exercise; this only will satisfy the holy ambition, with 
which the Spirit of the Lord hath fired their hearts. 

Doctrine. The true Christian life is heart exercise to godliness. 
For illustrating this, I shall, 

I. Shew some weighty truths imported in this. 

II. Some things in which the exercise to godliness consists. I 
am then, 

I. To shew some weighty truths imported in this, 

1. Habitual godliness is absolutely necessary to salvation. For as 
a man cannot wrestle, that wants the power of his arms ; so neither 
can a man lead the Christian life, who is not a Christian indeed. 
" Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 
There must be a new nature, ere there be a new life pleasing to God ; 
for a new life with an old heart, is but superficial, and mere bodily 
exercise. One dead in sin will never exercise himself to godliness. 

2. No person goes to heaven sleeping. The Christian life is an 
exercise. They have much to do, the Christian race is to run, there 
are many enemies to wrestle with, and the kingdom of heaven to be 
taken by violence. Most men look as if they expected heaven would 
drop into their mouth, while lying on the bed of sloth. It is not 
our exercise, indeed, that procures heaven, but it is a rest procured 
not for loiterers but labourers. 

3. They must have true courage that shall come to heaven. "He 
that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and 
he shall be my son. But the fearful and unbelieving shall have 
their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, which is 
the second death." True Christians must be like Caleb and Joshua 
among the spies, having their foreheads steeled to encounter diflicul- 
ties. It is only overcomers that carry away the crown. The Christ- 
ian may have sharp exercise in wrestling. Like Jacob, he may 
have to wrestle with God himself. Genesis xxxii. 24 — 30. The soul 
hath hard exercise in the field of divine trials, as in the case of a 


call to some more than ordiuary work, as wlieu Abraham was called 
to offer up his son Isaac. In such cases, armies of discouragements 
and carnal reasonings will attack the man. These overcame Jonah 
for a time, but Abraham went actively through. In the case of de- 
sertions from the Lord ; here the Christian is often wrapped up in a 
cloud of darkness, and left without light : armies of doubts and fears 
attack him, dragging him sometimes to the very borders of blas- 
phemy, Psal, Ixxvii. 7 — 10. He is carried captive from Zion to 
Sinai. " For thou writest bitter things against me" says Job, " and 
makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth." Job had hard 
work, when he said, " though he slay rac, yet will I trust in him." 
They have also to wrestle with the devil, even "against principalities 
and powers, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Some 
people find no difficulty here ; they are Satan's sleeping children, 
whom he will be very unwilling to awaken or disturb; but if any 
have a mind for heaven, they will get a black band of hellish temp- 
tations to wrestle through. 

They have to wrestle also with the world. No man can go through 
it to heaven, but he will find it a place filled with snares, and that 
will require courage to face the difficulties in it. " Whatsoever is 
born of God overcometh the world : and this is the victory that 
overcometh the world, even our faith." They must also wrestle with 
their own lusts. They will have a war withiu, as well as without. 
" For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the 
flesh." But of these more afterwards. 

4. People must either give up the name of Christians, or else 
abandon their old exercise to sin and ungodliness. There is no con- 
sistency betwixt the two. " For whosoever is born of God doth not 
commit sin ; for his seed remaiueth in him, and he cannot sin because 
he is born of God." Every one has some exercise. The soul is 
never idle. A watch frequently goes faster when wrong, than when 
right ; so that we call you not to more but to other exercise. If 
there be a principle of godliness withiu, however low it be, it will 
break forth into action at length, and act like itself. Grace in the 
heart, like a spring, though stopped with mud, will seek a vent one 
way or another. 

Lasthj, The Christian life, is a spiritual life. " That which is born 
of the spirit is spirit." What avails a carcase of duties, without 
the life and power of godliness. In the sacrifices of the heathens, 
the priest used to look to the lieart, to see if it was sound. God 
looks to that cliicfiy. The Christian is the spiritual man, 1 Cor. 
ii. 16. and his worship is spiritual. " lie worships God in spirit and 
in truth." We now proceed, 

II. To shew some things, in which the exercise to godliness consists. 


1. In carrying ou a constant trade with heaven, through our 
Lord Jesus Christ. They say our " conversation is in heaven, from 
whence also, we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ." They 
keep up communion with God, through the Mediator. " Their 
fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." 
This trade consists in import and export. I may well put them in 
that order ; for all the traders with heaven, go there empty-handed 
at first, and have never anything to export that is worthy, but what 
is the product of Immanuel's land. The soul exercised is taken up, 
1. In exporting all its guilt, and importing pardons daily. The 
exercised soul finds guilt a heavy load to the conscience, yet its 
weakness is such, that it is still contracting new guilt, therefore 
takes it, lays it before the Lord, and sues out for pardon, and this 
only through Christ. The soul dares not, like the vile hypocrite in 
his bodily exercise, lay down a confession, a resolution to mend, 
drop a tear, and then snatch up a pardon ; but he goes by faith to 
Christ, dips in that blood that is the blood of God, and comes away 
clean. He dares not for his very soul touch a pardon, but what is 
written in blood. " We have redemption through his blood, the 
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." 

Again, the exercised soul is employed in exporting his weakness, 
poverty and wants, and importing strength and fulness from God. 
'* They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength." They 
receive also light and life. " Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and 
he shall sustain thee." He shall never suflPer the righteous to be 
moved. The soul comes before the Lord shaken out of itself, hold- 
ing out its empty vessel, that the oil of grace may run into it ; but 
in the meantime applies immediately to Christ as the golden pipe, 
through which alone the golden oil is conveyed. " And of his ful- 
ness have all we received, and grace for grace." The exercised 
soul knows that there are no saving influences but through him, no 
streams of light but what shines through the vail of the flesh of 
Christ, and no life but what comes through him " that was dead 
and is alive," and no strength but comes from him " that hath the 
seven Spirits of God." 

The soul is also employed in exporting particular petitions, and 
importing answers of prayer, and returning praises. " Praise wait- 
eth for thee, God, in Zion : and unto tliee shall the vow be paid. 
thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come." What 
are the prayers of many but just bodily exercise. They neither 
come from the heart, nor does the heart go with them, nor after 
them, to see what success they have at the throne. The exercised 
soul will have particular suits before tlie Lord, and will be waiting 


on while the suit is in dependence, that a gracious return may at 
length come. " My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, Lord ; 
in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up." 
And this will be returned again, in the voice of praise. And all 
through Christ, "in whom we have boldness, and access with con- 
fidence, by the faith of him." It was the custom of the Molossrans, 
when they were to seek a favour of their prince, to take up his son 
in their arms. 

2. In a spiritual performance of duties. Christians " exercise 
themselves to have a conscience void of offence towards God, and 
towards man." Leaving the corpse of duties, which of itself is but 
bodily exercise, I shall touch at the life and soul of duties, in which 
the exercise to godliness consists. The exercise to godliness in this 
point, consists in these six things : 

1. In getting the soul fixed in that point, what is sin and what is 

duty in particular cases, before we put hand to it. " Trust in the 

Lord with all thine heart ; and lean not to thine own understanding. 

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." 

It is surely gross religion, when people find a thing in itself lawful, 

they make no more questions about it, and ask not counsel at the 

mouth of the Lord. Remarkable is that word, " ponder the path of 

thy feet, and let all thy ways be established." That is, though a 

thing seem very easy to us at first, as to sin or duty, yet examine it 

accurately as in a pair of balances. Here is matter of exercise, in 

which the soul will find much need of careful noticing of the word 

of the Lord, that is a lamp to the feet, looking to the law and to the 

testimony. There is need also, of a wise observation of Providence, 

which in subserviency to the word, is the Lord's eye set on his people 

to guide them. This is an eminent part of the exercise of godliness. 

" For whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall 

understand the loving-kindness of the Lord. This must be attended 

with an humble dependence on the Lord for light. "The meek will 

he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way." This 

dependence is the union of faith and self-denial, by which the soul is 

laid before the Lord in any matter, as a sheet of clean paper, that he 

may write on it what his own mind is, keeping the soul in suspense, 

till the Lord himself cast the balance; not like those who dissembled 

in their hearts, when they sent Jeremiah to pray for them to 

the Lord, " saying declare unto us, and we will do it ;" but when 

he declared the answer, " they did riot obey the voice of the Lord 

their God." .Jor. xlii. 20, 21. 

2. In doing the duty because it is the will of God, which must be 
not only the rule, but also tlie reason of your duties, otherwise tluy 


are but bodily exercise. " I seek not mine own will," said Jesus, 
" but the will of him that sent me." As the belief of a truth is not 
faith, unless a man believe because God hath said it; so a duty is 
not a part of godliness, unless it be done because God hath com- 
manded it. " I will keep," says David, " the coiumandmcnts of my 
God." Now if a person does a thing because God commands it, he 
will not stick at any thing, where he sees the will of God plain, 
Gen. xxii. The Christian course is a walk unto all well-pleasing, 
not of men's selves, but of God. 

3. In doing our duty to the glory of God. " Whether, therefore, 
ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 
The end in all things is a piiucipal thing, and a perverting of this, 
perverts the whole work. Seeing God is the first principle of all 
goodness, natural or moral, he must be the chief end of it also, to 
whom all must be referred, as the waters being lifted up from the 
sea to the clouds, return to it again. And men may even as law- 
fully make themselves their God, as their chief end in their actions, 
Zech. vii. 5, 6. God will never be the rewarder of that duty, of 
which he is not the end. What though a servant work very busily, 
if he be working for himself will the master own it? Let a man 
pray, mourn, watch, and do every duty, all that is not enough ! if 
God be not your chief end in all these, they are but a costly sacri- 
fice to the idol self: for we know " that skin for skin, yea all that a 
man hath will he give for his life." Alas ! is not all turned 
upside down with the most part. God is made the mean, our- 
selves the end ; so that the good works of many, are but a 
serving themselves of God, not a serving of God. The Jewish 
doctors called God Place, intimating that the godly soul dwells 
not in the barren region of self, but in God ; even as the needle 
in the compass, touched with a good loadstone, turns still to the 
north, whatever winds blow. 

4. In doing our duties in the strength of Christ. " Whatsoever 
ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving 
thanks to God and the Father by him." " Even the devils," said 
the disciples to their Lord, " are subject to us through thy name." 
You have no more warrant to act in duty from your own strength, 
than to depend upon your own righteousness. You can only say, 
" I will go in the strength of the Lord God : I will make mention 
of thy righteousness, even of thine only." Men must act as they 
live, now the godly soul lives by Christ. " He that eateth my flesh, 
and drinketh my blood," saith Jesus, " dwelleth in me, and I in him. 
He that eateth me, even he shall live by me." The Christian 
then must act by him. Do you think that any fruit will relish in 


heaven, but that which grows upon the true vine. The hypocrite is a 
tree that hath its own root in the ground, hence he turns into himself, 
summoning together all his natural powers for duty. " Thus saith 
the Lord, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh 
his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord ; for he shall be 
like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh." 
But the godly person is a branch, whose fruit depends upon influ- 
ence from the stock to which it is united : hence he dares not trust 
to his natural powers, gifts, nor inherent graces, seeing these depend 
on Christ, as light on the sun, and are but rays, not the fountain of 
light. But he goes out of himself, in the way of believing, for 
duties, saying, " I can do all things, through Christ which strength- 
eneth me." Let men in their bodily exercise, like common boatmen, 
serve themselves with their oars ; the soul exercised to godliness, 
will depend on Christ, for the influences of his Spirit, saying, "Awake, 
north wind ; and come thou south ; blow upon my garden, that 
the spices thereof may flow ont. Let ray beloved come into his 
garden, and eat his pleasant fruits." Isaac was born of a barren 

5. In doing it out of love to God in Christ. I say in Christ ; for 
whatever deluded enthusiasts say ; whatever Christless hypocrites 
and moralists, who know not God, think ; it is impossible for 
a guilty creature to love God but in Christ, seeing God out of 
Christ is a consuming fire. ""We love him, because he first loved us." 
Our love to God is but the reflex of God's love to ns. God's love 
darts its beams to ns no way but through the vail of the flesh of 
Christ; and it is through the same vail our love returns to him. 
Now the Christian labour is a work and labour of love. What 
comes not to God out of love he regards not ; for in that case he gets 
the hand, but not the heart. 

Lastly, In directing all our duties to God, through Christ. As 
grace for duties comes from the Lord, so duty rightly managed, is 
the returning of that grace to God, in duty ; as the men that got 
the talents, improved them for their master. Now as there is no 
saving receipts from heaven, but through Christ ; so no acceptable 
returns but through him. God will not hear praise but through 
him, and the exercised soul will not dare offer it to him ; but 
through Christ. " Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in 
heavenly places in Christ." Nor a prayer but what comes through 
his mouth, 1 Kings viii. 39; nor a good work will he receive, 
but what is dipped in his blood, though it were a sacrifice of our own 
blood for his cause. The martyrs " have all washed their robes, and 


made tlieni white in the blood of the Lamb." The Holy One of 
Israel will not touch an offering, but what comes through the hands 
of the holy Jesus. Alas ! many if they get some victory over a 
lust, some steps walked cleanly, they will go even forward to God 
with them, because they know not God. Bullocks offered on the 
altar at Bethel were abominable, when turtles were accepted on the 
altar at Jerusalem. 

3. The exercise of godliness consists in an habitual and actual 
mortification of lusts. They that are Christ's, have crucified the 
flesh, with the affections and lusts. 

4. In resisting temptations from the devil. Above all, taking the 
shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery 
darts of the wicked one. 

5. In keeping ourselves unspotted from the world, the things of 
the world, and the men of the world. 

6. In rightly managing the cross, and extracting the sweet of it. 
Lastly, In the proper management of divine trials. The length 

of the preceding part of the discourse, prevents me from illustrating 
these particulars. I can only add for the use of what hath been 

1. It may strike terror on the profane world, who are exercised 
to nothing but wickedness. " An heart they have exercised with 
covetous practices ; cursed children." Many will not so much as 
meddle with the bodily exercise of religion, but soul and body, both 
are devoted to the service of the devil. Tour exercise is coming 
when you will neither rest day nor night. " For if the righteous 
scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly, and the sinner appear." 

2. It may strike terror on formal hypocrites, vrho know nothing 
of religion but bodily exercise, as if they were serving an idol that 
had eyes, but saw not ; ears, but heard not : or they were mere 
lumps of spiritless clay, and the soul were for no use in the body, 
but to keep it a while from rotting. Ah sirs ! if this be religion 
that we have been speaking of, then there is little religion in the 
world. Some that have been of long standing in a profession, may 
even begin again. Consider where you are and in what this will 

3. It may fill the faces of sleeping Christians with shame. These 
things have been their exercise, but they are not much engaged that 
way now. Arise, and go to your work again. God will awaken 
you at length, it may be in a very terrible manner; that though you 
may be saved, yet it may be so as by fire. 

Lastly, Let me exhort all to godliness, and to the exercise of 
godliness. It is the most pleasant life, even a heaven on earth. 


" For wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are 
peace." It is the most profitable exercise : " for godliness is profit- 
able unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and 
of that which is to come." Go to Christ for it, for the residue of 
the Spirit is with him. He hath the seven Spirits of God for dead 
souls. Amen. 

Ettnck, August 29, 1714. 

[Sabbath after the Sacrament.] 


PSALJI Xlv. 10, 

Hearken daughter, mid consider, and incline thine ear ; forget also 
thine own people, and thy father's house. 

This Psalm is a marriage song. It celebrates the marriage of king 
Jesus, with the daughter of Zion, the church of believers ; and has 
no respect to Solomon's marriage with Pharoah's daughter, as many 
have thought. For the royal Bridegroom is here represented as a 
mighty warrior, vers. 3, 4, 5 ; whereas Solomon was no ways such, 
"but eminently a man of peace. Besides, how can what is said, ver. 
6, any way agree to Solomon. The apostle expressly determines that 
it is said to Christ, Heb. i. 8. The first part of the psalm is directed 
to Christ. The second part, which begins with the text, is directed 
to his spouse. The scope of these words is not to solicit the bride's 
consent. She is supposed to be gained already, and espoused to 
king Jesus, vers. 9, 13. But the design of the text is to shew 
Christ's espoused bride, how she may be most acceptable, and best 
please her husband, ver. 11. If it be asked, "Who is the speaker? 
Not to insist upon the various conjectures about it, I think the same 
person who saith to the Son, ver. 6, " Thy throne God, is for ever 
and ever," in the text speaks to the spouse ; that is, God the Father, 
Heb. i. 8, compared with ver. 5. 

These words then, are the Father's advice to the newly espoused 
bride, how she may please her husband, his Son. And in them is to 
be considered, 

1. The appellation given to the soul espoused to Christ : Daughter. 
Here is the name which believers receive. The person that natu- 


rally was a child of the devil, on the espousals with the Son of God, 
becomes a child of Ood. Christ's Father accounts the soul espoused 
to his Son, his daughter. Though he brings home a spouse out of 
an ill house, and has nothing with her, yet his Father welcomes her 
into his family, and gires her no worse word than daughter. 

2. The advice. Many consider the last clause only as the advice ; 
and the first only as a preface to it, to stir up the spouse to take the 
advice. But the pointing in the Hebrew, plainly shews there are 
two purposes in this verse, and the connecting of them with it, also 
confirms it, which otherwise would be redundant. So there are two 
parts of this advice ; or two advices here to the .spouse, how she is 
to please her husband. 

1. She niu.-it be very obsequious to her husband, and in all things 
to follow him as his own shadow. This is proposed in these words, 
Jipyirkeri and comvi.er. Hebrew, Jiear and hok ; namely, to thy hus- 
band. Let thine ear and eye be upon him, to hear and receive his 
orders, that you may obey them. Thus God said to Abraham, " in 
thv seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed ; becuuse thou 
hast obeyed my voice." You must look to him to observe his mo- 
tions and countenance, that you may suit yourself to him in all 
thintrs. This is what a dutiful wife owes to her husband. While 
one is a single woman, she Ls mistress of herself, but when once 
espoused to her husband, she is no more .so, " Her de.sire must he 
to her husband, and he shall rule over her." Her husband's will 
must be hers. Her ear must be to him, and her eye upon him, that 
she may please him well in all things lawful, and suit herself 
to his de.sires. So while you were not espoused to Christ, you 
took your own will ; but it is not your duty to determine for your- 
self, but to hear and obey what be determines you to do. Your 
eye was upon your own inclinations to gratify them, but no«r 
it must be upon your husband to suit yourself to his desires. 
" Behold," says the psalmist, " as the eyes of servants look unto 
the hands of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the 
hand of her mistress, so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God. until 
that he have mercy upon us." 

The pointing of the words is eraphatical. " Hear daughter," 
are two words joined in one, which, according to the propriety of the 
language, denotes acceleration from a vehemency of affection ; so 
they point out the vehement love of Christ's Father to his Son's 
spouse — his earnestness that she may please her husband — and the 
readiness of that obedience which she owes to him. 

Thoucjh hearing and looking are two different act*, yet they are 
here joined together; denoting that they do both together, hear 
him, and look to him at once. 



This is amplified by the manner in which she should hear him ; 
inclining her ear, as people do that do not hear well, or that would 
be sure to hear and understand well wliat is spoken. So it notes 
the utmost diligence in Christ's spouse, to understand her Lord's 
mind, and comply with it. 

2. She must renounce and leave all others for her husband. This 
also according to the law of marriage in the text. " Forget also 
thine own people, and thy Father's house." She must not so much 
as entertain a secret desire after her Father's house. The more she 
minds them, the less pleasing will she be. More of this afterwards. 

Doctrine 1. It is the privilege of the soul espoused to Christ, to 
be a child of the house of heaven, or Christ's spouse is the Father's 
daughter. This is the believer's privilege, and this is the way by 
which it is attained. " To them that believe on him, Jesus gives 
power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his 
name." I shall here only in«^uire a little what they have by it. 

1. That they may call God Father, and that is of more value 
than a thousand worlds. The most profane wretch may call him 
Lord, the hypocrite may call him Master; but Father is a kindly 
name, which only believers may call him. They may at all times 
cry unto him, " Abba, Father." Abba is the same, read it back- 
ward or foreward ; and in all the changes of dispensation, God is 
still the espoused soul's Father. Hypocrites will call him so, but 
God disowns the relation, and says to them, " Ye are of your father 
the devil, and the deeds of your father you will do." But he en- 
courages his people to do it, saying, " Wilt thou not from this time, 
cry unto me, my Father, thou art the guide of my youth." 

2. Access to God. They come much nearer to him than others. 
They may come forward, when others must stand back. " In Christ 
they have boldness, and access to God with confidence, by the faith 
of him." God allows them a holy boldness and confidence with him 
as children, to pour their complaints in his bosom, to tell him all 
their wants; and never did a father take so much delight in the 
talking of his children to him, as God doth in hearing his people. 

3. Special immunities and freedom. Kings' children have great 
immunities. They are free of tribute. But God's children have the 
greatest. They are free from the law as a covenant of works, which 
is a yoke wreathed about the necks of all others. Free from the 
curse, which lies hard and fast on all others. Free from all con- 
demnation, thundered out against others every day. Nay, from the 
hart of every thing. " Nothing," says their husband, " shall by any 
moans hurt you." Death itself, that kills others, shall not hurt 
them, Rom. viii. 35 — 39. 

Vol. IV. a 


4. Pity, provision, and protection. The severe avenger of sin 
pities their infirmities, as a father pitieth his children. He that 
fights against the wicked as an enemy, will protect them. " In the 
fear of the Lord is strong confidence, and his children shall have a 
place of refuge." Come what will, they shall be provided for. 
Though the Lord make not provision for their lusts, he will see to 
provide for their necessities. Matth. vi. 30 — 82. 

5. Seasonable correction. " For whom the Lord loveth he chasten- 
eth and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." This is a benefit 
of the covenant, Psal. Ixxxix. 30 — 32 Nothing more true in the 
way of privilege, than that some may better steal a horse, than 
others look over the dyke. Some smart more severally for a lustful 
look, than others for taking their full swing that way; some, more 
for deadness in prayer, than others for neglecting it altogether. 
What is the reason? A small fault in a child will be checked, 
when a greater in another will be overlooked. 

6. Perseverence. " The servant abideth not in the house for ever, 
but the son abideth ever." The term day is coming, when Grod and 
such as are not espoused shall part, but they that are, never. If a 
child wander from his father's house, he must be sought, and brought 
back again. A servant of the house, may be turned out of doors, as 
Hagar was ; nay, a son of God by nature, may be turned off, as 
Adam and the fallen angels were; but they that are God's children, 
by being espoused to his Son, can never, Psalm Ixxxix. 30 — 34, 

Lastly, They have a portion according to their Father's quality. 
" They are heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." So all 
is theirs. Grace is theirs, glory is theirs. Their portion will tell 
out through all eternity. Their Father gives them of his moveables 
as he sees meet, and these may be removed, but their portion is not 
of these ; they shall receive a kingdom which cannot be moved. 

Use. — Exhortation 1. To such as are not espoused to Christ. 
Let this move you to come into this match, that hitherto have not 
given yourselves away to Christ in the marriage covenant. "While 
you are so, you are children of the house of hell. Your father the 
devil has hindered you from this match, having a mind to bestow 
you upon lusts, which you like better than the Lord. But remember 
I tell you, if any break not off this match in time, it shall be con- 
summated, so as you and your sins shall never part through the ages 
of eternity. Sin comes to its perfection in hell, as well as grace in 

2. You that are espoused to Christ, believe that you are children 
of the house of heaven ; believe your privilege, that you may have 
the free use of it. If the people of God could follow it with 

OF cheist's spouse. 93 

application, it would be a powerful mean of holiness. They would 
abhor sin as below their dignity ; they would hate it as offensive to 
their Father; they would despise the world as too mean a thing for 
one so highly advanced. The unbelief and doubts of Christ's 
spouse, are no friends to her sanctification. I hope some of you 
have been iu good earnest engaging with Christ in the marriagj 
covenant; now I would have you to believe that your husband's 
Father calls you daughter, and looks upon you as a child of his 

Objection. How will I ever get it believed ? Answer. If you 
cast not your eye on free grace, and expect not something from God 
that is not after the manner of men, you will never get it believed. 
But I will offer you some helps. 

1. Have you accepted of Christ, as he offered himself in the mar- 
riage covenant, in all his offices. Were your hearts joined to Christ 
as well as your hands ; that is, that your souls within you, did 
take him for your lord and husband, for all and instead of all, 
without any known reserve ; after you had considered his holiness 
as well as his mercy, his cross as well as his crown ; then I declare 
you espoused to Christ; John i. 12; Psal. Ixxiii. 25; and therefore 
children of the house of heaven, according to the text. 

2. Are you striving to be like the house of heaven. One newly 
married and broiight home out of her father's house to her Hus- 
band's Father's house, will be labouring to suit herself to the house 
into which she is come, and to lay aside the manners of the house 
from which she came ; especially if the two houses are enemies to 
one another, as in this case, that she may please her husband and 
his Father. If it be not so with you, though you be communicants, 
I will not bid you believe that you are children. But if it be so, 
why do you not believe it; 1 John iii. 1 — 3. Sin and self, are the 
things in which the houses differ. 

3. Is the interest of the house of heaven your interest, have you 
joined interest with that house ? AVhile the damsel remains at 
home, she joins interest with her Father's house ; but as soon as she 
is clothed with a husband, her interest is divided from that of her 
father's house, and she joins interest with that of her husband's, for 
now she is of that house. And if you be children of the house by 
espousals with the Sou, though you never had any kindly concern 
for the interest of Christ before, you will have it now : You will 
have a kindly concern for the honour of the house, the ordinances, 
and laws and manners of the house, the children of the house, and 
all that you know belongs to it. Only let me tell you all that con- 
cern will centre in holiness and the power of godliness, which is the 



main interest that house is carrying on in the world. Your zeal 
for pure ordinances, discipline, and government of the church, will 
be because of their tendency to holiness. Lord, T have loved the 
habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth. 
Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men. 

Doctrine 2. It is the duty of the espoused to Christ, carefully to 
hear his will, and observe his motions, so as they may suit them- 
selves to his pleasure in all things. Tliis I take to be the meaning 
of this first clause. For explaining this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Show what is imported in it. 

II. "What it is for Christ's spouse to hear his will. 

III. How she is to eye him and observe his motions, so as she 
may suit herself to his pleasure. 

IV. Give reasons of the doctrine. We are then, 
I. To show what is imported in it. It imports, 

1. That Christ's spouse is not left to walk at random. She is to 
notice every step of her carriage. " See then that ye walk circum- 
spectly, not as fools, but as wise." The careless walking at all 
adventures, is walking contrary to the Lord, and is opposed to 
hearkening; Lev. xxvi. 2L The espoused are not under the law as 
a covenant of works, but they are not lawless, but under the law to 
Christ. The iron yoke of the first covenant is oif, but the soft yoke 
of the second covenant is on them. 

2. That those that are espoused to Christ, must renounce their 
own will, and not seek to please themselves. " If any man," saith 
Jesus " will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his 
cross and follow me." Our corrupt self will seek this, and that, to 
please itself, as it was wont to get in our Christless condition ; but 
we must deny its cravings now, forasmuch as by our espousals with 
Christ, we have put our desires into the hand of another, to grant 
them or not, as he thinks fit, according to the law. Gen. iii. 16. 
In our espousals we made this renunciation of our own will, let us 
not draw back, when it comes to the point of practice, lest we shew 
we are but mocking, not in earnest. 

3. That our great aim in all things, must be to please our Lord 
and husband, this is the law of marriage. " She that is married, 
careth for the things of the world, that she may please her husband." 
This is the law of Christ to his spouse, " That we walk worthy of 
the Lord, unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and 
increasing in the knowledge of God." Displease whom we will, we 
must please him. Be they the greatest on earth, and be the danger 
of displeasing them ever so great, we must not run the risk of our 
Lord's displeasure for them all; even as a dutiful wife will never 

OF cubist's spousk, 95 

lay the pleasing of her husband and his servants in a balance. So 
Daniel and his fellows, would not please the king, by worshipping the 
golden image which he set up. 

4. That we must trample upon our own inclinations when con- 
trary to his, and suit ourselves to his will, as Abraham did with re- 
spect to offering up his son. Is our inclination to the world ? it is 
not his will, therefore we must subdue this carnal inclination. Is it 
our desire to be rich and honourable ? perhaps this is not his will, 
but that we should be poor and under a cloud : we must suit our- 
selves to his pleasure, and " learn in whatsoever state we are, there- 
with to be content." 

5. That when Christ's will and pleasure and our own go together, 
our main end must not be to please ourselves, but to please him. 
" Whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do, do all to the glory 
of God." Otherwise, we do not hearken to our husband, but to our- 
selves ; as those who will please their husband in those things in 
which they please themselves, and which they would do, whether 
they pleased their husband or not. Do we profess to hear and obey 
him ? Let us then do these things, that we may give contentment to 
the heart of our Lord. Do we eat and drink ? Let it be because 
Christ says, " thou shalt not kill." Do we marry ? Let it be be- 
cause he says, " do not commit adultery." Do we work ? Let it be 
because he says, " do not steal." 

6. That we must not think to please him with our own devices. 
Christ's spouse hearkens and considers what her Lord says, that she 
may do it. The whore of Rome speaks and commands for pleasing 
Christ, what she never heard from himself, and thereby declares 
herself as an imperious whorish woman. So does the Church of 
England, contrary to the duty of the spouse of Christ ; in that they 
suit themselves to their own pleasure, not to Christ's. '* But in vain 
do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of 
men." So many take up opinions and practices which they never 
learned from Christ; and while they think to please him with them, 
they incur his displeasure, for thinking to please him with the pro- 
ductions of their own fancy. 

Lastly, That our ear must be to himself, our eye on him, that we 
may know his will to do it. Psal. cxxiii. 2, quoted above. This 
implies these things, that we must be content to know sin and duty. 
Many sit with much ease under the covert of ignorance. What 
the ear hears not, the heart receives not. By their conduct, 
they say unto God, " depart from us, for we desire not the know- 
ledge of thy ways." They entertain their lusts, as some did in- 
tercomrauned persons in time of persecution ; they are content they 


be in the house, but they do not desire to know it. That not 
hearkening, they think they have not to obey. Again, we must 
learn what is sin and what is duty from himself. The apostle 
tells " wives, that if they would know any thing, let them ask 
their husbands at home." Our husband is in heaven, we on earth, 
yet we may learn of him. His word is in our hands. His spirit 
is into our hearts, if we be espoused to him. We want not the 
holy oracle to consult, if willing to learn. Farther, we must apply 
ourselves diligently, to learn of him our duty. We must incline 
our ear. We are so dull and slow at taking up our duty, there is 
so much din about us by our unruly hearts, while our Lord puts 
our lesson into our hands, that if we do not take very great care, we 
may mistake. Finally, we must hearken with a readiness to obey, 
as the servant hears his orders to do tliem, and a dutiful wife hears 
her husband's pleasure to suit herself to it. Ileariug that is not 
for obeying, our Lord regardeth not. 

Use. — Let us exhort you to hear and observe Christ's motions, so 
as to suit yourselves to your husband's pleasure. 

Motive 1. This would be a noble evidence that indeed you are 
espoused to Christ. Would you not fain know, that you were 
espoused to Christ for ever, at the communion last sabbath ? Would 
not your hearts leap for joy, to know that Christ and you have met, 
never to part. This will evidence it. " For," saith Jesus, " whoso- 
ever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same 
is my brother, and sister, and mother." 

2. For what end did you take the royal bridegroom by the hand ? 
You heard the laws of the espousals, that you were to renounce your 
wills particularly, and take him wholly, only, and for ever. Will 
you stand to it, or will you draw back ? 

3. AVhich of the two, the bridegroom or his spouse, is most fit 
to be the guide in the married state ? Did you not acknowledge you 
were not fit to guide yourselves through this wilderness, and there- 
fore gave up yourselves to him as a prophet ; not able to manage and 
protect yourselves, and therefore gave up yourselves to him as a 
king and husband, to rule and defend you? Are you wiser or abler 
now ? Do you already repent your choices ? 

Lastly, Thus you would have a comfortable state till the great 
day of the marriage. You shall be your husband's delight, Psal. 
xlv. 11 ; but if not, you discover your hypocrisy, or at best you 
will grieve his spirit, and make your own condition uncomfortable. 

IL We proceed to shew, what it is for Christ's spouse to hear his 
will. Besides what hath been already said, you must consider for 
this, how Christ speaks to his spouse, signifying his will. 

OF Christ's spousb. 97 

1. By his works. All the works of God, are speaking works. 
He speaks by the works of creation, these silent preachers of his 
will, Psal. xix. 2 — 4. See how the Psalmist heard and answered 
this voice of his : " When I consider," said he, " the heavens the 
work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast or- 
dained : What is man, that thou art mindful of him ? and the son 
of man, that thou visitest him ?" The very heathens are rendered 
inexcusable, by this voice of the Lord, how much more Christ's 
spouse, if she hear it not. The work of redemption is a speaking 
work : and what is the language of it? " It is we are bought with 
a price, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which 
are God's." Nay, all the ten commandments come to Christ's 
spouse in the language of the Redeemer's blood : " I am the Lord 
thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house 
of bondage. He speaks to his spouse by the works of providence. 
There is not a mercy but it hath a voice, nor a rod thou meetest 
with, but it speaks. " Hear t.hen, daughter, the rod, and who hath 
appointed it. 

2. By our own consciences. That is the bosom preacher, our 
Lord's deputy-governor, whom he hath placed in every man's 
breast; and every deaf ear turned to it speaking from the word, is 
a refusing of him that speaketh from heaven, " The spirit of man 
is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the 

3. He speaks to us by the word. He speaks to us in the word 
read. The Bible is the book of instructions, which Christ puts into 
the hands of the espoused, to shew them how they are to please him, 
till the marriage of the Lamb. " For whatsoever things were 
written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through 
patience, and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope." Tliere- 
fore, they who intend to perform their vows of espousals, will be 
conversant with tlie Bible. He speaks also by the word preached. 
'• He that heareth you," said Jesus of his disciples, " heareth me." 
Taking Christ, you took him for a prophet, and by the minister of 
the word, he exerciseth the office. So they that wish to know how 
to please Christ, will wait on the ordinances for that end. 

4. By his Spirit, whereby we have the mind of Christ. " The 
Comforter," saith Jesus, " which is the Holy Ghost, whom the 
Father will send in ray name, she shall teach you all things, and 
bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto 
you." And your not hearing him, thus grieves the Spirit, and 
provokes him to depart. Now our duty with respect to these con- 
sists in these two ; 


1. We mast discern Christ's voice in one and all of these, saying 
with the spouse, " It is the voice of my beloved that knocketh." 
Samuel heard the voice of God, but thought it had been Eli's. So 
alas ! when we hear our duty, ofttimes we do not take up God as the 
party speaking to us, hence we are nothing bettered. 

2. We must comply with his voice. " This," saith God, " is my 
beloved Son, hear ye him." To hear and not obey, is but to expose 
yourselves to double stripes. He is our Lord and king, and must 
have oar obedience to his will which, in the day of espousals, we 
take for our law. This is the hearing which the text requires. And 
so we must hear him only whoever speak. Satan, the world, and 
our lusts, will each of them have their word, and their will is always 
contrary to Christ's will. But whatever you did before, being now 
espoused to Christ, you are to hear him only, giving a deaf ear 
to all other. 

Again, We must hear him without disputing. Christ's subjects 
are not to dispute his will, but to obey. Any intimation of his will, 
is sufficient to determine us to a compliance. " As soon as they 
hear of me, they shall obey me." So did Abraham obey ; at the 
call of God he " went out, not knowing whither he went." They to 
whom Christ's bare will and command, is not a sufficient reason for 
compliance, give no evidence of their being espoused to him. Fin- 
ally, we must hear and obey, because it is his will. To do his will, 
but not because it is his will, is not near him ; for Christ's will 
must be the reason, as well as the rule of our obedience. Thoa 
hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. We are 


III. To shew how Christ's spouse is to eye him and observe his 
motions, so as she may suit herself to his pleasure. 

1. We must eye him as our Lord and Master, whose will must be 
our law. " Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of 
their masters ; and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her 
mistress, so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he 
have mercy upon us." " Have we given our ears to be bored, that 
we might be his servants for ever, then let us look to him as our 
master, and never more say in word or deed, who is Lord over us. 
Let OS never refuse any work which he puts into our hand, whether 
doing work or suffering work. 

2. Eye him as our teacher. Christians are Christ's disciples. 
Scholars among the Jews, sat at the feet of their masters, as Paul 
at the feet of Gamaliel ; so must we sit at our Lord's feet meekly, 
and humbly to learn of him. It is little we know of God or our 
duty, and for that end, we profess to have taken Christ for our 

OF Christ's spouse. 99 

teacher. "We must then learn of him what we are to do, and what 
to forbear. 

3. Eye him as our guide and leader. "We are in a wilderness, 
where we are apt to mistake our way. We will never get our 
way to heaven without a guide. God hath given Christ for that 
purpose, even a leader and commander to the people, and we 
have been professing to receive him as such ; let us then keep our eye 
on our leader, to follow him whithersoever he goes. " For this God 
is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even unto 

4. Eye him as our last and chief end, to whose honour we may 
direct the whole course of our life. I have set the Lord always 
before me ; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 
Self must no more be the mark we aim at, but God must have the 
room of self, endeavouring to please him in all things. Thus the 
apostle made Christ the end of his life. " For me to live is Christ, 
and to die is gain." 

5. Eye him as our witness in all things. "Wherever we are, he is 
present with us. Let us walk as under the view of his pure eyes. 
He sees what is within us, as well as without us. Let us take heed 
to our spirits, as under the inspection of the heart-searching God. 

6. Eye him as our Judge, for to him we must give an account. 
Did the thief see the eye of the judge upon him, while his eyes go 
out after his covetousness, it would oblige him to hold up his hands. 

Lastly, Eye him as our husband. That is a name of love and 
authority, which as it binds us to obedience, so it should kindly 
draw us to it. And here should we observe what pleaseth, and 
what displeaseth him, that we may carefully follow the one, and 
avoid the other. This we may know both by the word and by expe- 
rience. An observant Christian might have a well confirmed rule 
hereby, how to walk ; and this should be the glass by which Christ's 
spouse should dress herself, taking up what pleaseth, and laying 
aside what displeaseth her husband. 

^e should also diligently observe his countenance towards us, 
whether it be with us, or turned from us ; that if with us, we may 
be careful to keep it ; if turned from us, that we may recover it. 
Two things in which the spouse of Christ often shews her neglect of 
her husband. 

We should also observe his dispensations, and way of his dealing 
with us. " Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they 
shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord." Some courses 
deprive us of the communications of his love and Spirit. Some 
others make to us a prosperous time while we follow them. Let us 


eye these, to follow the one and avoid the other. It now remains, 

IV. To give reasons of the doctrine. 

1. Why these that are espoused to Christ should suit themselves 
to his pleasure : 

1. Because we owe this to him as our Lord and Husband, by 
virtue of our marriage covenant, whereby we have taken him as our 
Lord, our head ; and by virtue of the relation of which we claim 
the privileges, we must also comply with the duties. "For a son 
honoureth his father, and a servant his master." If we have any 
respect then, to our own voluntary covenant, the ordinance of God, 
and the duty of that honourable relation, we should suit ourselves 
to his pleasure. This God has made the due of every husband from 
his relative, and shall it not be given to the great Lord and Hus- 
band of our souls. " Therefore, as the church is subject unto 
Christ, so let the wives be to their husbands, in every thing." 

2. Because he is our Lord God to whom we owe absolute un- 
limitted obedience. " For he is thy Lord, and worship thou him." 
Our Maker is our husband, and therefore double ties are upon us to 
suit ourselves to his pleasure. Shall not the Creator's will be the 
creature's law ? He that made us, have dominion over us ? What 
a strange matter is it that the potsherds should rise up against the 
potter ; the will of man to offer to take place of the will of God. 

3. Because without controversy he is fittest to be head. In other 
cases, the husband is not always fitted to be head in respect of 
wisdom ; yet even in such a case, " the woman ought not to usurp 
authority over the man." How much more then ought we to be 
subject to this husband, who is light while we are darkness, who is 
the wisdom of the Father, and undoubtedly knows better what is 
good for us, than we ourselves do. 

4. This is the very end for which we are espoused to Christ. 
"I have espoused you," says Paul, to believers, " to one husband, 
that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Man's will 
by Adam's fall, fell to be at variance with the will of God ; whereas 
before, it lay straight with it. To recover man to this rectitude, he 
is united to Jesus Christ, as to a husband. And therefore, whenso- 
ever the marriage of the Lamb is consummated, the end shall be 
fully obtained. There shall never more be the least jarring betwixt 
the will of God and the saints. 

2. Why we should hear him and observe his motions to that end, 
that we may suit ourselves to his pleasure. 

1. Because we are naturally in the dark as to what is his plea- 
sure. Unknown as it is, our hearts are against it, our will is oppo- 
site to his, and we cannot learn it but from himself. "No man 

OF Christ's spouse. 101 

hath seen God at any time ; the only begotten Son, which is in the 
bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. Never was a wild ass 
more nntractable than we are, much need then to learn, 

2. Because we will never suit ourselves to his pleasure, if we do 
not humbly keep our ears and eyes on him; for our will and plea- 
sure are the contrary way : so that, in scripture phrase, for a man 
to do what seems good in his own eyes, is the same as to do what is 
hateful in the eyes of the Lord. 

3. Because we are in a state of trial, in which we must lay our 
account to have ill advice from the devil and the world, and our 
ears will be forced to hear many things wrong. So that there is a 
necessity to stop our ears to all others, and to keep them open to 
him alone. 

3. Why ought we to hear so carefully, inclining the ear ? 

1. Because even Christ's spouse is dull of hearing. Jesus said, 
even to his disciples, " fools ! and slow of heart to believe all 
that the prophets have spoken." Our ears open easily to Satan's 
temptations, but when Christ speaks, our ears are heavy. " God 
speaks once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not." 

2. Because ofttimes we are at a distance from him when he is 
speaking to us. Yea, a locked door between him and us ; Song v. 
2. Tea, a partition wall to interrupt the communication; Song ii. 
9. There is also much noise about us, occasioned by Satan, the 
world, and our evil hearts, while Christ speaks so that we cannot 
bear him. 

Use. Of Exhortation. — 0! then, whosoever pretends to be espoused 
to Christ, suit yourselves to his pleasure in all things, and carefully 
hear and observe his motions for that end. Let his will be your 
will. Suit yourselves to the will of his commandments, saying, 
" Lord, what wilt thou have us to do ?" To the will of his provi- 
dence. Do it cheerfully, and without grudging. 

Motive 1. Consider what he did for us, suiting himself to our 
case. AVhat Zipporah said to Moses, he may say to his spouse : A 
bloody spouse hast thou been to me. If cords of love will bind us 
to our duty, in this we need not waut them. He left the bosom of 
his Father, the hallelujahs of angels, took upon him our nature, and 
died for us; and shall we not behave dutifully to him, who did all 
this for us. Consider Christ pleased not himself, that he might 
save us ? His Father put a cup of unmingled wrath into his hand, 
and bade him drink it, otherwise his designed spouse should drink 
it for ever. His holy human nature shivered at it, saying, "0 
Father ! if it be possible, let this cup pass from me ;" but he suited 
himself to his Father's will, for our sake. Besides, has he not 


bought the satisfaction of our dutiful ness to him, at a dear enough 
rate. We had never stood espoused to him, had he not by his 
death, removed the impediments which lay in the way of it. And 
on every part of the spouse's duty to him, may be written, " The 
price of blood !" 

2. The angels in heaven, suit themselves to his pleasure, in all 
things. His will is done in heaven. They run at his command. 
They stand and wait his orders, and the least piece of service put in 
their hand, they refuse not. They are more excellent creatures 
than we ; and shall we not be ashamed to be refractory to him, whom 
all the angels obey. He is their head indeed, as well as ours, but he 
is not their husband, that is the peculiar privilege of the saints. 

3. His pleasure is that which is best for us. He bids us do no- 
thing but what is for our good; yea, for our best. That which 
seems heaviest in his pleasure concerning us, is really for our advan- 
tage. " He even chastens us for our profit, that we might be par- 
takers of his holiness." He hath so linked together our duty and 
and interest, that it is impossible to separate them. We cannot 
consult our own happiness, but by suiting ourselves to his pleasure. 
We cannot be miserable, but by slighting his directions. Consider 
"we need but our own will to ruin us. It is a fearful thing for a man 
to be given up to himself, Hosea iv. 17. Let us carve for ourselves, 
and certainly we will be like the child that cuts his own fingers. 
! what a work do we make to get our own will, and yet a more 
fearful plague we cannot meet with out of hell. A man left to him- 
self, will be his own ruin. Whereas on the contrary, we need but 
suit ourselves to his pleasure, and we are happy. We have then 
a sure hold of our true interest. Whatever is his will concerning his 
spouse, is really best for her. For why, is it the product of infinite 
wisdom mixed with infinite love. Could we but believe this, how easy 
would it be. If it be his pleasure thou be poorjand afflicted, it is best. 

4. It will be a great satisfaction to thy Lord and husband, if thou 
suit thyself to his pleasure ; and would you not desire to give con- 
tentment to the heart of Christ, '* that he may see of the travail of 
his soul and be satisfied ?" Would you be lovely in his eyes, and 
have communion with him, this is the way to attain it, " for so shall 
the King greatly desire thy beauty." ! the many sweet hours of 
fellowship with heaven, the ravishing sweetness, the blessed com- 
munications of the love of the Lord, of which Christ's spouse robs 
herself, by neglecting her husband. 

5. Your neglect and refractoriness, will be grieving to his spirit. 
The wicked world despise his will, and will have their own, if it 
should ruin them. But shall he be grieved also with your wilful- 

OF Christ's spouse. 103 

ness ? The nearer tbe relation is, in which you stand to him, the 
more piercing is your neglect of him. Psal. Iv. 12. And the griev- 
ing of his Spirit will, sooner or later, bring a fearful confusion to 
your case. 

9. There is a necessity for suiting yourselves to his pleasure. 
The rejecting of his commandments doth but lay up matter for re- 
pentance for you, and it will be bitterness in the end, go as it will, 
here or hereafter. Your struggle with the will of his providence is 
a vain struggle, " for his counsel shall stand," and what he will 
have crooked, thou shalt not make straight. It makes it more 
heavy than it would be. For fight against God who will, he will 
always be the conqueror. 

7. The honour of your Lord and husband requires it, so shall you 
be a crown to him, but otherwise a dishonour to him. Oh ! how is 
the name of God blasphemed by the uudutiful conduct of those 
espoused to Christ. 

8. While you suit not yourself to his will, you suit yourself to 
the will of his enemies. There is no midst. And what can you ex- 
pect, but the fire of his jealousy to burn against you. 

Advice. Put that will of yours into the Lord's hand, that he may 
mould it into a conformity to his own. And believe that he will do 
it, and in the faith of the promise use the means. Endeavour to 
get the firm faith of this, that what is his will is best for you, and 
apply that to particulars and your own spirit. 

Advice 1. Put that will of yours in the Lord's own hand, that he 
may mould it into a conformity to his own. " Thy people shall be 
willing in the day of thy power." The will of man is a refractory 
piece, which we can no more master of ourselves, than a child can 
master a giant. There is no forcing of it, and we cannot bow it of 
ourselv^es. Lay it then before the Lord often, with that, "Thou 
hast chastised me, and I was chastised as a bullock unaccustomed 
to the yoke : turn thou me, and I shall be turned : for thou art the 
Lord my God." He is a husband that can cure the wilfulness of his 
spouse, can give her heart a set that it shall be according to his 
own. He is the only physician for the stone of the heart; and 
though you cannot break it, put it in his hand that he may do it. 
You may tell him where you are pained, as the child cried to his 
mother, my head, you may cry to him, my heart. You may tell him 
it is your burden, and you would fain be freed of it, but you cannot. 
You may lay it over on him, that he may do that for you, which 
you cannot do for yourselves. 

Advice 2. Believe, in order to the getting of your will suited to 
your Lord's will. Would you have tliis mountain removed, it must 


be done in the way of believing. There are three things I would 
have you to believe, 1. That you are not fit to be your own choosers. 
All the saints, in one voice, have given this verdict of them- 
selves. " He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency 
of Jacob, whom he loved." God from heaven has witnessed it, in his 
giving Christ to be a leader, a head and husband to them ; thereby 
not trusting them, but him, with bringing the children to glory. 
Christ himself has put this lesson into our hands teaching us to deny 
ourselves, and to be jealous of ourselves The event has proved it 
often, in that people getting their own will, has been their ruin. 
Psalm Ixxviii. 29 ; and the best of the saints getting the reins in 
their own hand, have set all on fire. 

Again, Believe that whatever is the Lord's will is always best for 
you. All our wilfulness proceeds on a mistake. We think sinful 
liberty best for us, ease, plenty, and the like. God knows it is 
otherwise, and therefore he will have us hear him for our good. To 
help you to believe this, 

1. Consider God's will is the product of infinite wisdom, and may 
we not trust that infinite wisdom that contrived the world with the 
guiding of it? Will we hold up our taper to the sun shining 
in its brightness, or shall our weakness pretend to tell him what is 
best for his creatures ? "Why do we not then sink down into our 
seats and say, good is the will of the Lord, and let him do what 
seemeth him good. 

2. Christ loves his spouse more dearly, and cares more for their 
good than they do themselves, and so whatever is his will for them 
is best for them. He loved them so as to lay down his life for them, 
and may not that evidence his will to be best for them. " As the 
Father," saith he, " hath loved me, so have I loved you." Why 
doth the Father hedge up his unruly child, why does he refuse him 
his will, but because he loves him ? 

3. By virtue of the covenant of grace, God's glory and his 
people's good are both in one bottom, and cannot be separated. Is 
his will then always most for his own glory, consequently it is 
most for his people's good. 

4. His will is ever right ; it is seldom but our will is wrong, and 
never right when opposite to his, Deut. xxxii. 4. There is no flaw 
in the way and will of God ; and whatever hardsliips those espoused 
to Christ, may now seem to see in it, when they come to the other 
world, they will make their recantation, and say, he has done all 
things well. 

Lastly, Consider your experience. Have you not seen many 
times, how God has done you good against your wills, good which 
you would never have got, had he given you your will. 

OF Christ's spouse. 105 

Moreover, consider that God will make out his promise of suiting 
your will to his, who have put it into his hands, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27. 
How shall we get the good of the promises, but by believing them. 
Have you given up your will to him, to be rectitled by him, believe 
that he will do it, aud it shall be done. 

Advice 3. In the faith of the promise, use the means. Stretch 
out the withered hand to Christ. Labour to drag your hearts to a 
compliance with his will in all things. " For to him that hath shall 
be given." Study also to be heavenly, and much in converse with 
your husband. While the heart grows cold, it grows stiff also ; but 
warmed with love, it becomes pliable. Consider also the relations 
in which he stands to you, as a Father, Husband, your King, and 
your God. Finally, consider the vows of God are upon you, for 
that effect. 

[Same subject continued] 


Psalm xlv. 10, 

Forget also thine own people, and thy father'' s house. 

This is the second advice given to the sponse of Christ, in order to 
the pleasing of her husband, namely, that for him, she renounce all 
that formerly was dearer to her than he was. The advice is de- 
livered in figurative terms, and in it there is a plain allusion to that 
law of marriage, Gen. ii. 24, by which married persons are obliged 
to prefer their relatives to their natural parents, in point of affec- 
tion and interest. "When a woman is single, and at home in her 
father's house, her affection runs strongest to her father's family. 
Her interest is joined with theirs, and she conforms herself to them. 
But being married, her husband and his family takes the place with 
her; her affection must run strongest towards her husband and his 

The advice, I think, is equivalent to that, " That ye put off, con- 
cerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt, ac- 
cording to the deceitful lusts." Or that, " as obedient children, not 
fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignor- 
ance." As if he had said, seeing ye arc now espoused to Christ, 


bring not your old manners and ways into your new state, but for- 
sake and forget them, and behave no more as your father's daughter; 
but as Christ's spouse. In the words there is, 

1. The natural relations of Christ's spouse pointed at, in contra- 
distinction to those of her husband. She wants not relations, 
indeed, but they are such as she can have no credit nor good from 
them, but will be the worse of them, and therefore her husband has 
taken her out from among them, and would have her to forget them. 

She has some that are her natural country people, her own people. 
Who are these, but the world that lieth in wickedness; and before 
she was espoused to Christ, she was one of their own, but he hath 
chosen her out of the world. Every country hath its own fashions, 
and in former times she followed the fashions of the country as well 
as the rest. 

She has also a father's house in that country. "Who is her father 
naturally but the devil ? John viii. 44, and though she has left the 
house, yet he keeps house there still, with his children and servants ; 
Luke XV. 15. It denotes the state of unregeneracy, which men are 
in while in the black state of nature, out of which, when they are 
brought to Christ, they are brought as it were out of their father's 
house. Every house has its own fashions, and Christ's spouse fol- 
lowed the fashion of the house as well as others, while she was in it, 

2. There is the duty of Christ's spouse with respect to these. 
She must forget them, both of them. And here there is something 
supposed, that is, that Christ's spouse is apt to have a hankering 
after her own people and father's house, even after she has left 
them, as Laban alleged that Jacob sore longed after his father's 
house. There may be eager looks back again, while the soul minds 
them, and that with too much affection, not sufficiently weaned from 

There is something also expressed, that Christ's spouse ought to 
forget them. Not absolutely, for she not only may, but ought to 
mind them for her own humiliation and thankfulness. " For we 
ourselves also, were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving 
divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and 
hating one another." But in respect of affection, her heart must 
be weaned from them, she must not desire to return to them ; aud 
in respect of practice, she must no more conform herself to them. 
She must forget also her people, must not conform herself to the 
world. Rom, xii. 2. She must forget also her father's house, her 
former lusts in her ignorance. A man's country is dear to him, but 
his father's house is dearer. So what is dearest to us in the world, 
must be forsaken for Christ. 

OF Christ's spouse. 107 

DocTUTNE 1. The hearts of those espoused to Christ, are often 
found much unweaned from their father's house and former lusts, 
therefore is she taught to forget them. As it is with a childish new- 
married woman, they have a foolish hankering after the house from 
which they came. 

I. I shall show in what this unweanedness appears. 

II. Whence it is that those who are espoused to Christ are so 
much un weaned from, and cannot forget their father's house and 
former lusts. We are then, 

I. To show in what this unweanedness from their father's house 
and former lusts appears. 

1. lu the cooling of our zeal against our father's house, and the 
fashions thereof. Our husband's house and our father's are at war 
with each other; and this war is zealously prosecuted on both sides, 
by Michael and the dragon. When Christ's spouse then remits her 
zeal against sin, she appears partial in favour of her father's house. 
Christ finds fault with her, because " she hath left her first love." 
And so far as she is not with Christ, in prosecuting the quarrel vigor- 
ously, she is so far against him. So far as she is not gathering with 
him, she is scattering abroad. But ! how quickly does the heart 
harden, and how soon does sin turn from being such a frightful 
spectacle, as it was before, and at the espousals. 

2. In kindly reflections on the entertainment in our father's house, 
remembering with any delight or pleasure our former ways. The 
Israelites were not sufficiently weaned from the house of their 
bondage in Egypt, and they gave evidence of this by weeping, and 
saying, " who shall give us flesh to eat." We should never reflect 
on our former evil ways, but with shame and sorrow ; but often, by 
kindly reflecting on these things, we as it were return to our vomit. 
And the looking back on them stirs up love, not loathing. 

3. In uneasiness under the restraints of our husband's house, saying, 
with the Israelites, " here there is nothing at all besides this manna, 
before our eyes." A heart used to sinful liberty, cannot easily take 
up with the restraint. The soul used to gadding abroad, will not 
easily become a keeper at home. But were the soul duly weaned, 
it would be very easy under all the holy restraints of the house of 
heaven, and would find a free walk within the inclosure of the 
divine law. The soul will say with David, " I will walk at liberty, 
for I seek thy precepts." 

4. In hankering after our father's house, and fornur lusts, in our 
hearts turning back to Egypt. Notliing can be more plain evi- 
dence, than these rueful looks to our old lusts. This was the fault 
of Lot's wife, for which she was turned into a pillar of salt, yet it 

Vol. IV, H 


is most incident to the children of men. When Adam was in para- 
dise, his heart was hankering after the forbidden fruit ; and though 
Christ brings sinners into a paradise on earth, yet they are still 
greedily looking over the hedge. 

5. In kindly entertaining any sent from our father's house ; 
by this people express their old kindness to the house. Our father, 
as long as we are in the world, will be sending to us ; we will not 
want messengers of Satan, even temptations to our old sins ; but if 
we were duly weaned from the house, we would deny them ; we 
would deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. We would do with 
them, as Elisha did with the messenger whom the king of Israel 
sent to take away his head ; we would shut the door, and hold them 
fast at the door, saying. Is not the sound of their master's feet be- 
hind them. 

But alas ! they are readily received, they are welcomed and fed 
by us, according to their kind. 2 Sam. xii. 4. 

6. In serving our husband after the fashion of our father's house ; 
like a new married woman, who though she has changed the house, 
yet she keeps the fashions of that from which she came. So though 
the man will not neglect prayer, hearing, and other duties, yet he 
is so far unweaned, that he performs these often only as they do 
who are still in his father's house. This our Lord peremptorily dis- 
charges : " When thou prayest," says he, " thou shalt not be as 
the hypocrites are." He will have his own work done after the 
fashion of his own house. 

7. In our stealing visits to our father's house, and secret tam- 
pering with former lusts. Stealing it must be, for our Lord and 
Husband will never give his consent to the meeting again. Ezek. vi. 
9. But alas ! how often is Christ's spouse missed out of her hus- 
band's house ; her Lord is seeking her, but she is not at home, but 
gadding abroad, even lying in the embraces of former lusts and 
lovers. And though the soul that is truly married, will never rest 
there, but return to her first husband, Hosea ii. 7, yet that woeful 
departing is a sad appearance of a heart unweaned from former lovers. 

Lastly, Many that have been espoused to Christ before the world, 
but not from the heart, quite forsake their husband, and go back, 
for altogether, to their father's house by their apostacy. Like the 
mixed multitudes that came out of Egypt, but ere they were gone 
far in the wilderness sounded a retreat back to the place from 
which they came. " The dog is thus turned to his vomit again ; and 
the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. These are 
they that draw back into perdition." The case of many, alas ! is 
like that of the Levite's concubine ; Judges xix. Concubines were 

OP Christ's spouse. 109 

indeed wives contracted to tlieir husbands, though not with so great 
solemnity as proper wives ; but they were bond servants, not free, 
not mistress of the family, nor could their children inherit. She 
played the harlot and went back, to her father's house ; and though 
means were used, yet she never came back to her husband's house, 
but perished in the way she had chosen. We now proceed, 

II. To show whence it is that those who are espoused to Christ 
are so much unweaned from, and cannot forget their father's house 
and former lusts. There are some who have been joined to Christ 
only by the hand, who have given him the hand, but never gave 
him the heart. They are hypocrites, who have in profession only 
accepted of Christ in the marriage covenant. Others are joined to 
him with the heart who have really given themselves away to Christ 
without any dissimulation, as all true believers have done. Both 
these may fall under this charge, though they cannot go back an 
equal length to their former ways. Now for the reasons : 

1. The consent of many to Christ is an involuntary consent. It 
was but a forced pretence, that ever they came into the covenant, 
no wonder then that they quickly look back. There are many 
things that may force a consent to the gospel covenant from a man ; 
such as the power of the rod, an awakened conscience, and the like, 
may do it. Psal. Ixxviii. 34, 36, 37- The stone thrown up in the 
air, will fall down of its own accord, when the force ceaseth. So 
will a rod forcibly bowed together extend itself again, when the 
hand that bowed it is removed ; and a sow brought into a palace, 
will return to wallow in the mire, as soon as the restraint is re- 
moved. So will the heart return that is driven, but not drawn by 
love, into the covenant. 

2. Because the heart has not been freely loosed from some one sin 
or another. Satan sometimes makes such an offer to his vassals, as 
Pharaoh did to Moses. " I will let you go," said he, "that you 
may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness ; only you 
shall not go very far away." They accept. They go a great length 
with that young man, Mark x. 20, bnt still, as he, so they lack one 
thing, verse 21. There is some one lust or another, with which 
they can never freely part. Any thing but that they will do, 
and when they seem to be putting their lusts iu Christ's hands to de- 
stroy them, the secret voice of their hearts concerning that one is, 
what David charged Joab concerning Absalom, "Deal gently with 
the young man." And this serves Satan as a handle, by which he 
draws them back. 

3. Because sin has never been made bitter enough to them, they 
have never been thoroughly weaned from their father's house. 



Hence, they are as the drunkard, who says, " they have stricken mo, 
and I was not sick ; they have beaten me, and I felt it not : when 
shall I awake ? I will seek it yet again." Men will never forget, 
nor cease to suck the breasts of their lusts, till God lay gall and 
wormwood on them in such measure as to make the enjoyment of 
them more bitter than the want of them. What lightly comes, 
lightly goes. They who never had the fallow ground of their hearts 
ploughed up, and ploughed deep enough, must needs sow among 
thorns. Jer. iv. 3, 4. The child that never fouud bitterness on the 
breasts, is easily set on again ; and the soul that never tasted the 
bitterness of sin, will break over purposes, vows and resolutions, to 
get to it again. 

4. Because by reason of their not living by faith on Christ, they 
fiud not that soul satisfaction in him which they expected. No 
wonder she long to be back at her father's house, who is disap- 
pointed of comfort in her husband's. The heart of man is an empty, 
hungry thing, that must always have something to feed upon; and 
if it feed not on Christ, it will go back to feed on lusts. The mixed 
multitude that came out of Egypt, not being brought, as they ex- 
pected, to Canaan directly, they soon began to long after the enjoy- 
ment of Egypt. 

5. Because there is a principle of corruption in the best, which 
still inclines the wrong way. " Bui, I see," says Paul, " another law 
in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bring- 
ing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." 
Hence the best have deceitful hearts; "yea, deceitful above all 
things, and desperately wicked." They are as deceitful bows, ever 
ready to carry beside the mark. They are difficult to be known, 
and unworthy to be trusted. The root of all sin, the spawn of all 
iniquity is in them. 

We are naturally simple souls. However resolute and peremp- 
tory we may be in things carnal, we are all of an easy temper, easily 
led aside to our own spiritual loss : easily beguiled in things that 
concern our souls' welfare. Esau, though a cunning hunter, was 
easily betrayed in the matter of the birthright. 

We are also unstable souls. Unstable as water. A good frame 
is hard to get, and easily lost. It is like letters written in the 
sand, that a blast of wind doth obliterate. Hence the soul often 
turns aside very quickly, and on very slender occasions, as Peter at 
the voice of a maid, and that even soon after some remarkable 
manifestations from the Lord. Thus it is said, that even "the dis- 
ciples considered not the miracles of the loaves, for their heart was 

OF Christ's spouse. Ill 

Lastly, Because those of our father's house are still exerting them- 
selves to make those espoused to Christ to keep up their former 
correspondence with them. While we are in the world, we will not 
want temptations. Satan is very diligent to improve all opportu- 
nities to make Christ's spouse deal falsely in her covenant. " Be 
sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring 
lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." He is a subtile 
enemy, and has his devices, by which to entrap unwary souls. So 
we may blame our unwatchfulness for this. 

Use 1. This may serve for our conviction and hnrailiation. "We 
may lament and be ashamed of this bias of our hearts, so ready to 
look back to our former lusts, and after vows to make inquiry. 
Alas ! are we not already found guilty in this point. How quickly 
is our zeal gone against our father's house, &c. 

Use 2. Beware of looking back, and of hankering desires after 
your father's house and former lusts. For motives, consider, 

1. The evil of this, the retaining any kindness to your former 
lusts in your ignorance, will be very grievous to the Spirit of Christ, 
whom you call your Lord and Husband. And no wonder, will you 
love thera that hate the Lord, will you retain kindness to the 
enemies of your Lord ; will you embrace those that were the cause 
of his death, and long to return to these, to deliver you from which 
Christ has done and suffered so much. 

2. It will mar your communion with Christ. If you grieve his 
Spirit, he will depart. If you do not leave off your adulterous 
glances to your idols, it will procure you his frowns instead of his 
smiles. If we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear 
us. So much of our hearts as our lusts get, so much Christ loseth of 
them ; and so much as we enjoy of them, so much we lose of the 
enjoyment of the Lord. Our loss, therefore, will be far greater 
than our gain. 

3. It will keep you still unfixed and unstable in religion, so as 
you shall not make progress in it. They will never look to purpose 
to the house of their husband, nor duly take his interest to heart, 
that do not forget their father's house. A divided heart will never 
be hearty for the Lord. 

4. It is very dishonourable to Christ. Is not this blessed match 
with the Son of God sufficient to compensate the loss of what you 
had in your father's house. Can any tiling be more dishonourable 
than that the soul should still be hankering to be away, as if they 
repented the bargain with the Lord of glory. 

Lastly, It is the fountain of apostacy. They that are often look- 
ing away, will be fair to break away at length. The way of siu is 


down the hill, from less to greater. This is the blowing of the coal, 
which in time may proceed to a consuming flame. 

Doctrine 2. Those that are espoused to Christ, must forget their 
own people and their father's house. There are two points here : 
namely, first, the forgetting of our own people ; and secondly, the 
forgetting of onr father's house. I will speak to these in order. 
And in speaking, first, of forgetting onr own people, I shall, 

I. Shew who are our own people, whom we must forget. 

II. In what respects we must forget them. 

III. Why we must forget them. 1 am then, 

I. To shew who are our own people, whom we must forget. In a 
word, it is the wicked livrorld, " the children of disobedience, among 
whom, in time past, we had our conversation." When the soul 
comes to Christ, it must say as Ruth to Naomi, " thy people shall 
be my people, and thy God my God." When Christ calls a soul to 
himself, he calls it out of the world. The church is a congregation 
gathered out of, and separated from the world ; though not in place, 
yet in respect of affection, which is the greatest separation. But to 
be more particular, a saint may know who are his own people, by 
taking a look of himself, as corrupt and carnal. 

1. Then they are our own people, who are yet living in darkness, 
unacquainted with the corruption of their nature, and misery of it ; 
strangers to the spirituality of the law of God ; strangers to the 
majesty and holiness of God, their absolute need of Christ, and his 
preciousness and excellency. The saints may remember the day in 
which they lived in that same region of darkness, and knew not 
more of these things than they, and may hence conclude these are 
their own people. " Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord : 
walk as children of the light." 

2. They who are living in the same way and manner that the 
spouse of Christ did before her espousals ; they are their own people 
walking on in the way which they have left ; Eph. ii. 2, 3. Are 
they following the course of the world ? do they venture frankly 
over the hedge of God's laws? You may know, then, by your 
former conversation, that they are your own people, from amongst 
whom Christ plucked you, as brands out of the burning. 

3. They who are going the same way your carnal hearts would go, 
if they were left to their own corrupt choice. These are your own 
people ; for as in water face answers to face, so do your hearts, 
as corrupt, answer to theirs. It is grace only that makes the differ- 
ence, for the same nature is in both, only the power of that corrupt 


nature is broken in those that are espoused to Christ, but it is entire 
in others. There is another principle beside it in the godly, but it 
is alone, and sways all, in others. 

4. They who are living in the same barren region, in which the 
saints lived, before their espousals to Christ. The state of nature 
is that barren region ; that is a far country, far from God and his 
covenant, and therefore there is no communication betwixt God and 
them, no influences for making them fruitful in the works of holi- 
ness ; but a fulness of these our grapes of wickedness. These are 
our own people : " For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, 
disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in 
malice and envy ; hateful, and hating one another." We now pro- 

II. To shew in what respects we must forget them. 

1. We must forsake their company; it is evil company, unbe- 
coming Christ's spouse. " Forsake the foolish and live, and go iu 
the way of understanding." While we are in the world, indeed, 
there is no shunning of evil men altogether ; but you must not make 
wicked men your familiar friends, you must not choose their com- 
pany ; and if necessity lead you into their company, you must take 
heed to yourselves in it, and haste out of it as a plague house. 
They that are espoused to Christ, and yet keep wicked company as 
before, give no great evidence of their sincerity. Birds of a feather 
flock together, and you may know what a man is, by the company 
which he loves best. 

2. We must not conform ourselves to them, nor be like them in 
their way. The command is, " be not conformed unto this world.' 
If we pretend a difference in our state from theirs, let there be a 
visible difterence betwixt our way and theirs. Do Satan's drudges 
bear the devil's mark, let ns hate to take it on, or learn of them 
their ways. All that have a mind for heaven, must be nonformists 
to the world, because the way of the world is against God and his law. 

3. We must forget them in aftection, saying, Depart from me, ye 
bloody men. Though we are to wish well to the persons of all men, 
we must hate their evil ways, saying with David, " I hate the work 
of them that turn aside, it shall not cleave unto me." We must no 
more esteem their way as we were wont, nor desire to return into it. 
Have we been coming out of Sodom, we must not look back with a 
rueful look, otherwise we are not fit for the kingdom ot God. 

III. Why we must forget them. 

1. Because they are not going our way. All men are on a jour- 
ney to heaven, or to hell. There is a strait and narrow way that 
leads to heaven, a broad way to hell. If we are espoused to Christ, 


tlieu we arc on tlic narrow way ; and liow can wc but forsake tlieni 
tliat are going tlie quite opposite way. Nothing is more opposite 
than the way of holiness, and the way of the world; therefore we 
must either give up pretences to Christ, or give up with the way of the 
world, " wherein in time past we walked according to the course of 
tliis woiM." 

2. Beer use tlie godly and the wicked world are on two different 
sides, under two opposite heads, Christ and the devil. All the 
world is divided betwixt these two, the Saviour of the world, and 
the god of the world. Christ's party are his spouse, brethren, mem- 
bers of his body. The devil's are his captives, prisoners, slaves. 
And though these of Satan's party may come over, yet the truly 
godly will never mix with them iu their ways. " Thou shalt keep 
them, Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for 

3. Because, in consenting to Christ, we give up with tliera. If 
you take me, let these go their way. Their company is infectious. 
" Evil communications corrupt good manners." Their way is de- 
structive, therefore let not your hearts go after them and their 
ways. "When you engaged with Christ, you engaged against both, 
and said, " thy people shall be my people, and where thou goest I 
will go." 

4. Because the world's friendship is enmity with God. James 
iv. 4. What is wicked company but a combination against God, to 
trample on his laws, dishonour his Son, and grieve his Spirit. What 
are the ways of the world, but a direct opposition to God. So far, 
then, as we go with them, so far we go away from God. So much 
as they and their ways get of our affections, so much we lose of 
affection to Christ. 

Lastly, Because there will be a total separation at last of the 
godly and wicked, Matth. xxv. Grace begins it here. Grace gives 
a new nature, new principles, new designs, and new motives, all 
which make a new conversation, opposite to the way of the world. 
Therefore if we would not lodge with them in eternity, we must give 
up vv^ith them in time. 

Use. Be exhorted then to forsake evil company, to stand at 
a distance from it, and conform not yourselves to the way of the 

Motive 1. Consider how unaccountable it is, that Christ's sheep 
should be found among the devil's goats; and Christ's servants join- 
ing issue with the devil's slaves ? 2 Cor. vi 14 — 16. If you have 
given up your name to Christ, why are you found on the devil's 
gtound. Let the swine of the world feed together on the husks of 

OF Christ's spouse, 116 

sill, lie down together on the duughill of their filthy lusts; but 
what has any to do among them that pretends to be a child of 

2. The closer you are linked with them, the farther are you from 
God. Mix with the world and their way, and God will not know 
you as his. He commands a separation from these, if you would 
have a reception from him. " Wherefore," says he, " come out from 
among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord ; and touch not the 
unclean thing, and I will receive you." Men must go to the one 
side or the other; there is no keeping up with both God and ungod- 
ly company. Will men be swearing a covenant with God one day, 
and swearing with profane swearers another ; drinking at the Lord's 
table, and at the table of drunkards, 1 Cor. x. 21. God will never 
own such vagrants for members of his household. See their doom, 
Jude 13. 

3. It hardens the wicked in their way. It is Solomon's observation, 
" they that forsake the law, praise the wicked ; but such as keep 
the law contend with them." The sins of professors, going the way 
of evil men, is a practical testimony to the way of sin, emboldening 
the wicked to go on in their way. Whereas a testimony is to be 
kept up for God in the world, by a walk contrary to the way of the 
■world. Thus Noah contended against the security and wickedness 
of the world, by a holy life, " by which he condemned the world, 
and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." 

4. Evil company is an aifecting plague. " Evil communications 
corrupt good manners." How many fair blossoms of religion have 
been killed in the bud, by the poisonous breath of evil company ? 
How many have been dragged over the belly of good principles, 
vows, and resolutions, by the violence of it. There is a mi(rhty 
efficacy in it to advance the devil's kingdom, and men being once 
drawn in, it is a thousand to one if they go not far beyond these 
bounds which they had prescribed to themselves. For the devil's 
agents have that oif their master, let them once get in a finger, and 
they will endeavour to get the whole hand to follow. 

Lastly, If you do not be separated, you will share with them. 
Weighty is that word, " a companion of fools shall be destroyed." 
How many have cursed the day that ever they saw the face of those 
by whom they have been first led into sin, and next to ruin. It will 
be no comfort to suffer God's wrath with company, whatever may be 
in sinning together. If we go in the way with the wicked, we must 
go to the same place with thtm. And though mercy should rescue 
you, it will be so as by fire, as we see in Lot's case. 

Let all take this warning, and observe it in their occasional eu- 


counters, that they be on their guard, and likewise in their fixed 
communications, in all changes of our lot, choose good company ; 
and when you see that you are inevitably connected with naughty 
companions, mark them, that you may avoid them as much as 

II, I proceed now to speak of the forgetting of our father's house. 
This father is our father the devil, who keeps house in a wicked 
world, and in every unregenerate heart. But we must give up with 
it, if ever we would see the house of our father in heaven. Here 
we shall, 

I. Shew with what of our father's house we must give up. 

1. You must part with the master of the house, Satan, and re- 
nounce your relation to the house. Though you have no express 
compact with him, you have need to do this. There is a twofold 
relation all natural men have to the house. They are servants 
of the house, hence it is said, ye were the servants of sin ; their 
work is sin, and their wages is death. It is sad work, mis- 
erable wages; for he is the worst of masters, and they are the 
meanest sort of servants. Sinners have no term when they may leave 
their master, for they are slaves to Satan, and wholly in their 
master's power, taken captive by him at his will. He has a three- 
fold title to them as his slaves. They are his slaves taken in war, " for 
of whom a man is overcome, of the same he is brought in bondage." 
The devil having proclaimed war against heaven, attacked man as 
heaven's ally and confederate, and gained the victory over him. 
He is pursuing this war still against mankind, and driving the un- 
renewed world before him as prisoners of war, and so at his will. Isa. 
xlix. 24, 25. They are also his bought slaves. Men, in general, 
like the Israelites, " have sold themselves to do evil in the sight of 
the Lord, to provoke him to anger." Where there issuch a sale, 
Satan must needs be the buyer. It is a very low price, indeed, even 
for nought. The foolish sinner thinks not so, while he makes the bar- 
gain ; but when the latter end comes, he will see it is all naught he 
has gained, in comparison of the soul that is lost. Rome drives 
this trade. Rev. xviii. 13. Where have they learned it, but from 
the devil, who early set it up, buying our first parents for a par- 
cel of forbidden fruit, and had the impudence to order the second 
Adam to fall down and worship him. He is daily buying a drunk- 
ard for some strong drink, a covetous worldling for a little pelf, a 
hypocrite for a name, unjust persons and liars for a very little 
thing. They are also his born slaves, born in his house, Eph. ii. 3. 
Many are born of parents, slaves to the devil, themselves, all their 
days; even those who themselves are free, yet their children are 

OF Christ's spouse. 117 

not therefore free too, for " they were shapen in iniquity, and in 
sin did their mothers conceive them." It is not the first birth, but 
the second, that will make us free men. Now we must give up 
that relation to the house. We must renounce our service, and 
break away from our old master, and betake ourselves to Christ, 
as a new master, who makes all his servants free men. 

They are sons of the house. " Ye are of your father, the devil," 
said our Lord to the Jews. A sad sonship, for it is an ill house; 
it is to be a son of hell, a prison house, a dark house, a dreadful 
house. Never was a child liker a father, than unregenerate per- 
sons are like the devil. His nature is enmity against God and his 
law, so is theirs. He is fallen, and so are they ; lying in wicked- 
ness, and so are they. 

Now we must give up that relation to the house. We must be 
born again, we must be new creatures, or we will be ashamed of our 
pretended espousals to Christ. For if any man be in Christ he is a 
new creature : old things are passed away ; behold all things are 
become new." The image of Satan must be defaced, the image of 
God restored in sanctification, and that work advanced in daily mor- 
tification to sin, and living to righteousness. 

2. You mast quit the work of the house. We must cast oflfthe works 
of darkness. There is never an idle person about our father's house. 
Satan keeps all his children and servants busy at their task, that so 
they may not think of ways to escape, or of leaving him, as Pharaoh 
did with the Israelites. And what are they always about that keeps 
them busy. They are always at one of two things, they are either weav- 
ing the spider's web, or hatching the cockatrice egg. " They are 
weaving the spider's web." They are very busy doing nothing. 
Nothing for God, their souls, or eternity. Their webs will not be- 
come garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their 
works. All that they are busy about, will do no more to help their 
souls in the day of wrath, than a cobweb will clothe a man to de- 
fend him against the cold. The besom of death will sweep them 
and it away together ; and about this heads and hands are em- 
ployed. Or " they are hatching the cackatrice' eggs. He that eat- 
eth of their eggs dieth ; and that which is crushed breaketh out 
into a viper. They weary themselves to commit iniquity. They 
draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and treasure up wrath against 
the day of wrath." This is work. It is hard, toilsome, and dark 
work, soul-ruining work. Yet it is the work of the house, in which 
each strives to outdo another, and undo themselves. But as in 
other houses some are employed in coarser work, and others in finer, 
so it is in this house. The master of the house puts his coarser 


■work ill the hands of the profane, ignorant, earth worm, that has not 
so much as a form of godliness ; and their task is " to fulfil the 
lusts of the flesh," He employs their tongues in swearing and ly- 
ing, their bellies in gluttony and drunkenness, their bodies in un- 
cleanness, their hands in picking and stealing ; and their heads, 
hearts, hands continually about the world; so that on their belly 
they must go, and can never get up their head above the world, and 
their eye must never be satisfied with seeing, nor their ear with 
hearing, but like the grave, cry give, give ; and loading themselves 
with thick clay, which they will never let go, till death separate 

He puts his finer work in the hands of the hypocritical professors, 
who work such a coat to themselves, as they shine in it like angels 
of light, and their task is, " to fulfil the desires of the mind." He 
employs them to deceive the world with their hypocritical pretences 
to piety, and to deceive themselves also. Their business is to op- 
pose themselves to the very heart and life of the gospel, by their 
unbelief, self-righteousness, pride, and self-conceit ; and to keep in 
the life of some lusts by their form of religion, and shelter them 
under a cover of religious duties ; to do much mischief to the 
church of God, and stumble and bring to ruin many poor souls. 

Now you must quit the work of the house, of whatever sort it be. 
You must not be like those that will give over their master, engage 
with another, and yet come back, and fall to their work agin. 
You must take other work in hand : I do not say more work, for 
as the watch that goes wrong, goes as fast as that which goes right, 
you will have as much work in your father's house as in your hus- 

3. You must part with the provision and entertainment of the 
house. People use to get their meat where they work their work, 
and Satan's slaves get their meat also in their father's house. And 
what is their entertainment ? He sets them down " to eat dust 
with the serpent," Is. Ixv. 25. He feeds them on filthy lusts, which 
may nourish their corruptions, but is poisonous to their souls. 
Satan did once eat angel's food in the enjoyment of God, but now 
dust is his meat with the serpent, that is, as it was the meat and 
drink of Christ to do the will of his Father, so it is Satan's to sin 
against God and to do mischief, all the pleasure he hath lies there. 
So it is with Christless sinners, the sweetest milk which they suck is 
out of the breasts of their lusts ; the enjoyment of God was never 
so sweet to those whose god is their belly, as meat and drink ; the 
dishonest person hath not so much pleasure in the gospel treasure, 
as in some thing that he can catch to please the covetous heart. 

OF cueist's spouse. 119 

He sets tliem also " to etit husks with the swine," Luke xv. 16. 
He feeds thera with the empty dry things of the world, and they are 
dressed up according as every one likes best. Some get the pleasures, 
others the profits, others the honours of it set before them, and on 
these they feed. So the voluptuous man has more delight in carnal 
pleasures than in communion with God ; " for they are lovers of plea- 
sure more than lovers of God." The worldling hath more pleasure 
in his goods and chattels, than in all the spiritual gains of true 
godliness. These things are to him but shadows, but what he can 
hold is substance. " I am become rich," says he, " I have found me 
out substance," The ambitious man hath more delight in a name 
and honour among men, than in the honour of God's approbation. 
" How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and 
seek not the honour that cometh from God only." 

Now you must quit the entertainment of the house, and betake 
yourself to the entertainment and provision of the house of heaven. 
" Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and 
your labour for that which satisfieth not ? hearken diligently unto 
me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself 
in fatness." You ask bread in your father's house, and he gives 
you a stone, for what he gives is not bread, and satisfies not the 
soul. The dust of lusts is not good, change your dust then, and 
" eat that which is good." God, grace, communion with God, and 
all the benefits of the covenant are good. They are good for the 
soul and the body, for time and eternity. The husks of the world 
have no fatness in them, change them therefore, and " let your 
souls delight themselves in fatness." Spiritual things are full of 
sap, and will make your souls prosper. 

4. You must quit the fashions of the house. Every house hath 
its own fashions, and so hath your father's ; but that must not keep 
them up, " Be not conformed unto this world." They are evil 
fashions, you are not to bring them along with you to your hus- 
band's house. The fashion of the house, in natural actions, is to 
follow these actions in a mere selfish way, to gratify a carnal appe- 
tite, without any eye to God in them, or fitting us thereby for his 
service. You must quit it, and must not be like your father's house 
in them. Modesty and sobriety, and referring all to the honour of 
God, is the fashion you must fall in with, as the fashion of yc ur 
husband's house. " "Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or what- 
soever ye do, do all to the glory of God." The fashion of your 
father's house, in civil actions, is to be sunk and swallowed up in 
these things, to be minding them more " than the one thing need- 
ful," and to have no respect to the command nor honour of God in 


them ; and so to make these things either justle out duty to God 
altogether, or to take such a lift of them, that uo vigour of spirit, 
and sometimes even no strength of body, is left for duty to God* 
To be untender in these things, and even to give conscience a 
stretch, if a person can gain any profit or ease by it. To count 
truth in words, and exact uprightness in dealing, and to do no other 
way to others, than we would they should do to us, but needless 
nicety. If you quit not these fashions, you will never see the house 
of heaven. Luke x. 41, 42; 1 Cor. vi. 8, 9 ; 1 Thess. iv. 6. If 
ever men get more religion, they will get more moral honesty. 

The fashion of your father's house in religious actions, (for there 
is some religion even in that house, but it is of the fashion of the 
house), that is to hold with the one half, and that too the worst 
half, the outer half, the mere form of godliness. To hold with 
bodily exercise, but endeavour not to worship God in spirit. So that 
men in that house shut the eyes of their bodies, yet their hearts are 
going after their covetousuess ; they bow their knees, but their 
hearts remain inflexible. It is their custom to seek to please them- 
selves more than God, Matth. vi. 2. To go about these duties that 
they may sin the more freely, and so make a covering of them 
to some lust, Prov. vii. 14, 15. They put them in Christ's room, 
" going about to establish a righteousness of their own." If you 
quit not these fashions, you are not God's people, " for God is a 
spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and 
in truth." " His people are the circumcision, who worship him iu 
spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.'* 
Hypocrisy is a mask which God will pluck ofl". 

5. You must quit the garb of the house. Under the Old Testa- 
ment, when people were to make any solemn appearance before God, 
they were called to change their garments. Gen. xxxiv. 2. And 
if you would shew yourselves Christ's spouse, you must part with 
the garb of the house, off which you are come. You must part with 
the inner garment of the house, " that is the old man with his deeds." 
Ephes. iv. 22 ; Col. iii. 9. The old man is the corrupt evil nature ; 
his deeds are the corrupt workings of that nature iu heart and life. 
These cleave close to us, as a girdle to the loins of a man, but we 
must be putting them off by daily mortification. In vain do we pre- 
tend to be espoused to Christ, if we still retain our former lusts. 
Christ has another garment for his spouse, which we must put on, if 
ever we see heaven, that is " the new man," the new nature with a 
new life, Ephes. iv. 24. It is made up of two pieces : righteousness, 
the whole of our duty to man ; and holiness, the whole of our duty 
to God. For true religion is universal, and therefore it is called a 
man ; not a member or two of a man, but a whole man. 

OF Christ's spousk. 121 

You must also part with the upper garment of the house, that is 
the filthy rags of your own righteousness, Is. Ixiv. 6 ; Zech. iii. 4. 
The way in our father's house, is to cover their unrighteousness with 
their own righteousness, their evil with their good, their sins with 
their duties. But alas ! all this is but a covering of rags, that will 
not hide thy shame before the Lord ; a covering of filthy rags, that 
will make thee more vile. Christ hath provided the white raiment 
of his own righteousness for thee, that must be put on by faith ; 
and all thou doest must be washed in the blood of the lamb, or thou 
wilt be ruiued with it. You must learn that lesson in your husband's 
house, that never one could yet learn in their father's house, even 
to work in religion, as if you were to win heaven by working, and 
then to overlook all, as if you had done nothing. 

Lastly, You must quit the interest of the house. People readily 
are concerned for the interest of the house of which they are mem- 
bers, and none more than the members of our father's, that do their 
utmost to support it. Now, if you mind for heaven, you must quit 
this interest, and pursue the interest of the house of heaven. You 
must not interest yourselves in the quarrels of that house. That 
house hath a quarrel against the image of God, the power of god- 
liness, and the people of God, Gen. iii. 15 ; and all the members of 
the house interest themselves in the quarrel, one way or another, to 
bear down the exercise of godliness. Persecutors strike it down ; 
mockers jest upon, and laugh at it; the worldly man gravely pro- 
nounces it to be folly ; the hypocrite's heart rises bitterly against it, 
and bears it down and smothers it, with contention and strife about 
outward things. All join together in the quarrel, though they go 
different ways to work. But you must stand upon the side of god- 

You must not support the interest of your father's house. Christ 
was sent to pull it down, "to destroy the works of the devil;" do 
not you put to your hand to hold it up. The members of the house 
are very much concerned to hold it up. They will not give their 
help to curb sin, but, upon the contrary, they encourage one another 
by example and otherwise, like Babel-builders, to go on with the 
work. Let none that mind for heaven, support the interest of Satan 
in the family, or in any place where they are. We now proceed, 

II. To give reasons, why these that are espoused to Christ, must 
forget their father's house. 

1. Because our father's house, and husband's house, are quite 
contrary the one to the other, as heaven and hell, light and dark- 
ness, and there is no reconciling them, 2 Cor. vi. 14, 15. There- 
fore we must renounce our part in, and relation to the one, if we 


mind to plead a part in, and relation to the other. They never 
shall mix. " God will preserve his people from this generation, for 
ever." They uever can mix. " You cannot serve God and mam- 
mon." The heads of these houses are opposite, the work, the enter- 
tainment, the fashions, and interests; therefore, as you would not 
renounce your part in Christ, forget your father's house. 

2. Because, as our husband's house is most honourable, so our fa- 
ther's house is most base. These that are espoused to Christ, as 
Christ is their husband, they are God's children ; they are of the same 
family with the angels ; nay, the very angels are ministering spirits, 
to take care of them who are joint heirs with Christ. They are 
honourable in their relations, and rich in their title to heaven and 
glory. But our father's house has nothing in it but baseness, for it 
is a fallen house, fallen from honour to the deepest disgrace, from 
happiness to extreme poverty and misery. For us to follow the 
ways of it, is as if one brought into a noble family could not forget, 
but bring along with her, the way of the beggarly family from which 
she came. 

3. Because we will never apply ourselves to the way of our hus- 
band's house, if we forget not our father's house. While the hearts 
of the Israelites were set on the flesh pots of Egypt, they could 
make no progress in their journey to Canaan. Laban knew that 
Jacob could not enjoy his service, when he much longed after his fa- 
ther's house. The afl^ectiouate remembrance of the work and pro- 
vision of our father's house will be a dead weight on those that have 
begun to run the race set before them; and always, the more we give 
way to our corruptions, the more tenderly we handle our lusts, reli- 
gion will be the more difficult. 

4. Because it is the worst of houses. No wonder, for the devil, 
the worst of masters, is the master of the house. No slavery like 
the service of that house. It is soul slavery. No entertainment 
like it, for it can never satisfy ; nay, it is destructive to the soul. 
The work thereof is sin, the wages death, eternal death. The fa- 
shions of the house are the very reverse of all that is good. The 
interests of the house are the dishonour of God, the ruin of man- 
kind. The garb of the house is filthy rags, and the shame of their 
nakedness will at length appear before the world. 

Use 1. Of Information. It informs us, 

1. In vain do we pretend to be espoused to Christ, if we do not 
reform our lives according to the rules of the gospel, but still hold 
on the old way, 2 Cor. v. 17. The old life, with a new profession 
and an engagement to be the Lord's, will make men but whited 
sepulchres ; or like an old rotten wall new plastered, that will burst 
out fearfully, and go to ruin. 

OF Christ's spouse. 123 

It is not enough to be like neighbour aud other. It is but a sorry 
character. All the people of God must be nonconformists to, and 
dissenters from the world. The broad gate is room enough for mul- 
titudes, but they that will be at heaven, must be a singular sort of 
people, for they are men wondered at ; content to take on them the 
hatred of their native country, and father's house. 

Use. 2. It reproves those that will not forget their father's house, 
bat cleave to it and to the way thereof. And who are these ? 

1. Those that, in the midst of gospel light, yet continue in the 
darkness of the house ; even all grossly ignorant persons. They 
that are brought out of their father's house to Christ, are brought 
out of darkness to light, though they know not a letter. " They 
were sometimes darkness, but now are they light in the Lord." If 
people remain ignorant under gospel means, we know what is the 
cause, their father has put out their eyes. 2 Cor. iv. 8, 4. This 
will end in eternal darkness. " 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." 

2. Those that retain the language of the house. "When Peter 
spoke, the damsel knew what countryman he was. " Thou art a 
Galilean, for thy speech bewrayeth thee." And what shall we say 
of thee, that art a curser, a swearer, a liar, a filthy speaker, but 
thou art a Hellilean. I appeal to your own consciences, what sort 
of language that is, whether it sounds like heaven or hell. To hear 
a man speak as if hell were opening ; breathing out lies, as if in- 
spired by the father of them ; speaking, as if an unclean devil were 
speaking out of him ; what can one think in such a case, but that 
the person speaks like the house to which he belongs. But if you 
will not forbear that language, it will turn to blaspheming at length 
through a long eternity. For the former is the language of the 
house in time, the other in eternity. 

3. Those that wear the badge of the house on their breasts, the 
master of the house's mark on their foreheads, so that those who go 
by may easily know who they are. Profane people. You that 
will not bow a knee to God. " The wicked, through the pride of 
his countenance, will not seek after God." You that take room to 
yourselves in all licentiousness, that have nothing to do with re- 
ligion, but to shew aversion to all that is good; if not to mock and 
reproach others that seem to be religious. Will you pretend to any 
portion in Christ? No, no, you know not Christ, and he will dis- 
own you. A dumb devil possesseth you now, that you cannot, will 
not pray to God now ; the day will come, that you will cry to the 
hills to fall upon you, and hide you from the face of the judge. 

Vol. IV. I 


You will have a nierry life of it now, but you shall weep; you will 
make a jest of religion now, but that will make you roar at length. 
Your heart is averse to all that is good now, the copestone will be 
put on it in hell. You care not for prayers, godly discourse, 
examinations, or sermons ; but some of you will go to the hill with 
the beasts, Sabbath after Sabbath, and desire no person to take that 
task off your hand. Well were it for you, if, as you live with the 
beasts, you were to die with them also. 

4. Those that give up themselves to the trade of the house, 
minding nothing but the world, earthly things. They have no 
trade with heaven. They know not what communion with God 
means. They will have their work on earth as far advanced as 
their neighbours, but their work for eternity is yet to begin. They 
are so busy they cannot get time for it. They have so much to 
do otherwise, they cannot get anything done to purpose for their 
perishing souls. That is folly, for the world will be consumed in 
flames, when that soul of yours shall continue to exist, to be either 
eternally happy or miserable, as it is now seen to be in time. 

Lastly, Those that are the hidden servants of the house. It has 
been said of some, that they have stealed away to heaven, without 
being observed ; but there are others that steal away to hell, and 
the world never hears the sound of their feet : even deep veiled 
hypocrites, whited sepulchres. *' They are disobedient, deceiving, 
serving divers lusts and pleasures." They wear Christ's livery, but 
yet are Satan's drudges. There are always some lusts that have 
such persons absolutely under their power. The broad way is wide 
enough, so that they can easily get a bye path in it, to go by them- 
selves to destruction, without mixing with the profane rabble that 
keep the highway. However, all come to one lodging at length. 
*' As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways, the Lord shall 
lead them forth with the workers of iniquity." 

Use of ExHORTATioisr. Be exhorted to forget your father's house. 
Leave the master of the house, the work, and the provision of the 
house. Renounce the devil, the world, and the flesh, and betake 
yourselves to Christ and his service. 

Motive 1. Your father's house will remove, and it will be a sad 
removing. Our Lord's family will remove also, but it will be a 
happy removing. Christ hath a higher house in heaven, to which he 
will remove all the family he hath on earth. The devil hath a 
higher and a lower house also. His higher house is in this world, 
and it is a throng house ; but the day is coming that his family 
will remove into the lower house, the bottomless pit, so as not one 
shall remain behind. There are some removing out of it daily, and 


tlicu the rest that remained behind are secnre, bnt it will not be 
always so. There was a horrible cry at Dathau and Abiraiu's 
removing, Numb. xvi. 31 — 34 ; what a cry will there be when the 
family goes away together, and " shall all be cast into the lake of 
fire," which is their new house ! Leave it then quickly, lest ye 
perish with it. 

Motive 2. It is highly reasonable, if you will have any part in 
Christ. You can have no part in him, but as espoused to him ; and 
if espoused, then " you must leave your father and mother, and 
cleave to your husband." Did he not say to you in the ofter made, 
If you take me, let these go their way. "Will you come into this 
house, and not forget your father's house ? Nay, if you do not, he 
will pursue you as he did Israel, like those who break wedlock. 
Ton have all professed your acceptance of the marriage covenant, 
all have had the seal of it in baptism, and some of you in the ordi- 
nance of the supper. Remember, then, you have lifted up your 
hands to the Lord, and cannot go back. 

Lastly, Consider the motive in the following verse, " So shall the 
king greatly desire thy beauty." From this you have several argu- 
ments, your leaving off these will truly beautify you in the sight of 
the Lord. Holiness is a beauty, it is soul beauty, a lasting beauty. 
Now, thus beautified, you shall be amiable and acceptable in the 
sight of thy Lord and Husband, and he will take pleasure in thee. 
He is a King worthy to be pleased, and his favour worthy to be 
sought. Finally, thou shalt be at no loss, whatever you part with 
for his sake. Communion and fellowship with him will make up 
all your losses. Amen. 

May 1, 1712. 


Philippians iii. 8, 

Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the 
knoivledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. 

The apostle, in the preceding verse, having spoken of his privileges 
in his unconverted state, and told how meanly he thought of them 

I 2 


for Christ ; doth in this go out with full sail, in running down all 
things whatsoever, in comparison of Christ. In the words. Con- 
sider how things weighed in his esteem. That which was of the 
greatest weight with him, and was absolutely highest in his esteem, 
was the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. That is the excel- 
lency of the practical knowledge of Christ, saving acquaintance 
with, and interest in him. Next what was downweighed by it, all 
things ; not only his good works done in his unconverted state, but 
even these really good, done by the influence of the Holy Ghost. 
In a word, all things imaginable, without Christ, he counts loss ; 
and in comparison of Christ. "We have also his certainty in this 
•matter. He was not in doubt about this reckoning, but with the 
utmost certainty was come to a point, " Tea, doubtless." 

"We have a remarkable evidence of a superlative esteem of 
€hrist ; namely, that whereas he had suffered the loss of all things 
for him, on a review thereof, he counted himself no loser, but fully 
made up, so as he might but win Christ. So much for a general 
view of the words. More particularly, before we enter on the 
matter of the text, we shall attend, first, to the apostle's manner; 
and, secondly, to his grand scope. 

I. Let us consider the manner in which the apostle delivers him- 
self upon this great subject. He speaks with openness, with the 
utmost certainty, and the greatest affection. I shall illustrate 
these three points in their order. 

1. He openly professeth his esteem of Christ above all. He does 
not deliver this truth in the general, that Christ is to be preferred 
above all, but lays it out in his own experience, that they might see 
that he had good reason for what he said. This teaches us, that it be- 
comes the saints openly and avowedly to profess their superlative 
esteem of Christ. It is not enough to have that esteem of him in the 
heart, but it should have a vent outwardly. " For with the heart 
man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession 
is made unto salvation." This confession must be made for the 
glory of God. One great end of our regeneration and marriage with 
Christ is, that we may sound forth his praise in the world. " This 
people," says he, " have I formed for myself, they shall shew forth 
my praise." If his heart has been opened to receive us, why should 
our mouths be shut to his praise. We have no more to render, but 
the calves of our lips. It serves also for the good of others, that 
they may fall in love with Christ. " I will make thy name to be 
remembered in all generations, therefore shall the people praise thee 
for ever." The recommendations which the saints give to Christ 
have often a good effect. They say that the dropping of the lily 


begets other lilies, so the saints beget others to Christ, by the drop- 
ping of their lives, which have an attractive virtue, 1 Pet. iii. 1, 2, 
The drops of their blood are generative of saints. The blood of the 
martyrs is the seed of the church. Yea, the very droppings of 
their mouths for Christ are beneficial, Song vii. 9. It is then no 
part of religion for persons to keep their religion to themselves. 
There is much hypocritical profession ; but we must not hide our 
love to Christ, if we have any, because of that. We must not be 
dumb in the cause of Christ and religion, because many give him fair 
words, and no more. Blessed is that professor, in whom Kaphtali's 
blessing and Joseph's do meet, goodly words, and a fruitful bough. 

Let the saints learn then to be more open mouthed for Christ. 
Let them commend him to others, and commend him from their own 
experience ; first, to their fellow saints, saying, " Come, and hear, 
all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my 
soul." ! should not Christ's friends be commending their friend 
one to another. This would be a most seasonable work at this day, 
in which religion is decaying ; and if ever Christ comes again, to the 
spirits of his people in this land, this neglected work will be revived. 
! it would be like a coal of fire, to set love to Christ in motion. 
Will two cold flints, sti'iking one another, kindle a fire ; how much 
more two, in which there is some fire. " How did our heart burn," 
said the disciples, " within us, while he talked with us by the way, 
and while he opened to us the scriptures." 

Let them also commend him to strangers. Song v. 9 — 16. Drop a 
word for Christ to such, you know not what it may do. Many times 
a word forgotten by the speaker has been minded, with time and 
place, by the person to whom it was spoken in Christ's behalf, and 
has been like seed dropped, that has sprung up sweetly afterwards. 
sirs ! when we come to a death-bed, and ask ourselves what have 
we done, what have we spoken for Christ, we will have but a sorry 
reflection on it, if we do not exert ourselves more in that way than 
we are like to do. 

Let us also speak in his cause and interest in the world. We 
should do that especially in those things that are opposed in our 
day ; to be sure to hold by the truth of Christ, against all opposi- 
tion, Mark viii. 38. If we esteem one highly, it is natural to take 
his part, and to do what we can to support his interest and honour ; 
and if Christ have our hearts, he will get our endeavours that way 

2. The apostle, in the text, expresseth himself with the utmost 
certainty, " yea, doubtless." lie was not halting between two opinions, 
but goes with full sail, to determine iu Christ's favours, upon tho 


competition of afly thing whatsoever with him : " Yea, doubtless, 
and I count all things," &c. 

Doctrine, In matters of religion, we should labour to be doubt- 
less. We should be at a point, fully resolved, at a full assurance. 

This holds in these two things : First, In the truths of religion 
without us. Secondly, In the truth of religion within us. So Paul 
was doubtless in these two points. He did not doubt but he so 
counted and esteemed Christ above all. He as little doubted, but 
so counting, he counted right. 

I. Then we should labour to be doubtless in the truths of religion, 
especially the main points of religion. " Rooted and built up in 
him, and stablished in the faith as ye have been taught, abounding 
therein with thanksgiving." This is necessary, 

1. Because, however doubts of these may be our affliction, yet 
they are our sin also. Satan may be the father of them, indeed ; 
but it is a dark and unbelieving heart which is the womb in 
which these doubts are conceived, and by whose breasts they are 
nourished. It is the filthy mire of a corrupt heart, from which 
doubts as a thick mist do arise, to darken the light of the truth 
shining in the word of God. 

2. Because these doubts are enemies to faith. It is true, doubt- 
ing is not altogether inconsistent with faith ; namely, with the exist- 
ence of faith in the soul. May it not be said that true faith is the 
legs of the soul ; doubts are the lameness of these legs, so that 
though the man may walk with them, yet he walks halting by them. 
And so far as they are opposite to faith, they are dishonourable to 
Grod, and impeach his truth. " He that believeth on the Son of God, 
hath the witness in himself: be that believeth not God, hath made 
him a liar ; because he believeth not the record that God gave of 
his Son." 

3. Because they are the spring of apostacy and defection from 
the truth. They first set men a-wavering; they are carried about 
with every wind of doctrine ; they were never truly rooted in the 
truth ; and after they have gone hither and thither in their prin- 
ciples, at last they come, in a time of temptation, to fall off alto- 

Lastly, Because they are enemies to growth in religion. A float- 
ing head makes a barren life. Like a tree that never takes with 
the ground, but is always loose, it cannot bring forth fruit while it 
is so, Eph. iv. 14, 15. 

Labour then to be at a point in the truths, especially the main 
truths of religion. An(f. for this cause, 


1. Study the word of truth, which is God's testimony to the truth. 
" To the law and to the testimony ; if they speak not according to this 
word, it is because there is no truth in them." The word of God is 
the only foundation of faith. Tou may take up things upon your 
own fancy, or the testimony of others, and then hold fast what you 
have so received. But that is not faith which is not founded on 
divine testimony. Hence many cannot be said to be doubtless, as 
to the foundation points of religion, because their belief of them 
is not founded on the testimony of the word of God having weight 
with tlieir consciences, hence their belief of them is as a house 
built on sand. 

2. Give up yourself to the teaching of the spirit of truth. Lay 
your souls down before the Lord, to be taught by his Spirit. " It 
is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God." 
When Peter said to Jesus, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living 
God," Jesus said unto him, " Blessed art thou Simon Bar-jona : 
for flesh and blood hath not revealed it uuto thee, but my Father 
which is in heaven." The Spirit of God teaches men experimentally, 
making them not only to see, but to feel the truth and its power 
upon their own hearts. He brings them " to obey from the heart 
that form of doctrine which is delivered unto them." Their souls 
are cast into the mould of it. And for this cause, there is need of 
much humility and self-denial, and a readiness to hear what the Lord 
will say. "The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will 
he teach his way." 

Lastly, "Walk in the truth. " If any man will do his will, he shall 
know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of 
myself." There is a certain harmony betwixt the truths of God, 
and a tendency in them to holiness of life; so as close walking with 
God inspires a man with a certain relish, by which he is enabled to 
discern betwixt truth and error; having his spiritual senses exer- 
cised, he judgeth of them, as the month tastes meat. We now pro- 

11. To shew that we should labour to be doubtless as to the truth 
of religion within us, as to the reality of grace, and not satisfy our- 
selves with a continued uncertainty in that point, whether Christ 
hath the chief room in our heart or not. We should seek after this 
certainty, with respect to our personal religion. 

1. Because the saints may attain to it. It is promised. "He 
that hath my commandments," saith Jesus, " and keepeth them, he 
it is that loveth me: and he that lov.th me shall be loved of my 
Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." It is 
cumuiaudcd. '• Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make 


your calling and election sure ; for if ye do these things, ye shall 
never fall." Again, " Let us draw near with a true heart, in full 
assurance of faith ; having our hearts sprinkled from an evil con- 
science, and our bodies washed with pure water. Not only scripture 
saints, as David, Hezekiah, Thomas, Peter, Paul, but even many 
others of lower size have attained it. 

2. Because doubts in this case are hurtful. Such doubts are like 
thistles among corn ; though it is possibly not the worst ground on 
which they grow, yet they are hurtful weeds, and are to be plucked 
up. Doubts are injurious to God, and spoil him of his praise. They 
are injurious to the saints themselves, spoiling them of their comfort, 
strength, and confidence, which they might otherwise have, 2 Peter 
i. 10. A doubting Christian is always a weak Christian ; therefore 
I will add, 

Lastlj/, The case of our day calls for it. There is so little doubt 
of our being put to the trial, that we should now be labouring to be 
doubtless about it. For a doubting Christian is very unfit to act for 
Christ in a difficult time, and more unfit to suff'er for Christ. "When 
we have nothing in the world sure, we should endeavour to have our 
religion sure. Therefore in suffering or difficult times, the Lord 
uscth to give this assurance to his people, as to Moses, Paul, &c. 

Directions. 1. Labour to get out of au ill frame, if you would be 
doubtless as to your state. It is difficult for a man to know in 
what state he is, when asleep ; so in the spiritual state of security, 
our evidences sleep with us ; therefore, awake. Nor can a man 
judge of his state when in a faint ; so in the spiritual faint of deser- 
tion, we are not fit to read our evidences, when the light of the 
Lord's countenance is gone out with us. Nor can a man judge of 
his state, when stunned with a sore fall : thus also spiritual falls, 
especially relapses, put a man out of his spiritual senses. As a man 
when he is in a thicket of thorns, so are men sometimes in tempta- 
tions, they are no sooner out, than they are taken hold of again. 
Wrestle then to get out of entangling temptations. 

2. Labour to have a close walk with God. " Herein," says Paul, 
*' do I exercise myself, to have a conscience void of ofi'ence to- 
wards God and toward men." This hath the promise of assurance. 
" Whoso ofi'ereth praise glorifieth me : and to him that ordereth his 
conversation aright, will I shew the salvation of God." Such a con- 
versation makes conscience our friend, and cherisheth the Spirit, by 
which we are sealed. " Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then 
have we confidence toward God." 

3. Attend carefully to the duty of self-examination. " Examine 
yourselves whether ye be in the faith ; prove your ownselves ; know 


ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye 
be reprobates," God has given us, in his word, marks of the soul's 
being in Christ, these we should apply. 

Lastly, Cry much to God for his Spirit, to teach you to know the 
things that are freely given to you of God, and for his Spirit " to 
bear witness with your spirit, that you are his children." 

Having thus seen the apostle openly professing his esteem of 
Christ above all, and expressing himself with the utmost certainty ; 
we go on, thirdly, to observe that the apostle delievers himself here 
very affectionately, and with an enlarged heart. The more he speaks 
of Christ, he still riseth the higher. Some things he counted loss, 
but here all things ; not only loss, but dung. Now, 

This teacheth us, that the excellency of Christ is a subject that 
natively fires a gracious heart. It doth this, 

1. Because all their hopes are in him. Whatever they have in 
hand, or in hope, of pardon, peace, joy, assurance, all is built on him 
as the foundation. " For they are dead, and their life is hid with 
Christ in God. When Christ, who is their life, shall appear, then 
shall they also appear with him in glory." 

2. Because all their desires are in him. " Whom have I in 
heaven but thee, and there is none on earth that I desire besides 
thee." He is to them a satisfying portion, in whom they see enough 
to satisfy, and to give rest to their spirits. 

Use 1. It is a sad sympton when people's spirits are not affected 
with the preaching of Christ. When people find their hearts 
touched and affected with the thunderings of the law, but remain 
unmoved with the still small voice of the gospel. When things 
relating to the public raise their spirits, and the preaching of Christ 
is tasteless to them, as the white of an egg ; it is the sign either of 
a dead, or a distempered soul. 

2. Let the saints then think, speak, and hear of Christ, as the 
best way to fire their coldrife hearts and affections. It is by him 
alone we partake of divine influences ; and to his saints, " his name 
will ever be as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love 
him." The more the soul thinks on hira, the more precious will he 
be in its eyes ; for he is an object that will abide a look. 

II. Let us consider the grand scope of the apostle in this verse. 
It is to shew the incomparable excellence of Christ. Every clause 
in the text breathes out this. " Yea, doubtless, and I count all 
things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ 
my Lord." 

Doctrine. Jesus Christ is an absolutely matchless one. He is a 
nonsuch. All sheaves must bow lo his. The subject of the match- 


less excellence of Christ, is a subject tliat can never be exhausted. I 
shall only drop a few things. There are three ways to prove the 
transcendent excellence of Christ. 

I. By testimony. 

II. By real evidence. 

III. By comparison. 

I. By testimony. Heaven and earth concur to bear witness to 
the transcendent excellence of Christ. He hath, 

1. God's testimony. The Father declares him to be his delight, 
Isa. xlii. 1. He gave him to the world as the greatest demonstra- 
tion of his love, John iii. 16. He declared by a voice from heaven, 
" that he is his Son, in whom he is well pleased ;" not only with 
himself, but with sinners for his sake. This was done with great 
solemnity, " for lo ! the heavens were opened to him, and he saw 
the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him." 

2. The testimony of angels. An angel brought the news of his 
birth, and an host of them sung for joy at the great event, Luke 
ii. 10 — 14. In another place, we find thousands of thousands of 
them, giving their testimony to him, in these words : "Worthy is the 
Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and 
strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." 

3. The testimony of the saints in heaven, who have got a place 
among them that stand before the throne. This we may learn from 
that which is borrowed from their practice, to shew the exercise of 
the church militant. " They rest not day and night, saying Holy, 
holy, holy. Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 
They fall down before him that sitteth upon the throne, and worship 
him that liveth for ever." They cast their crowns before the throne, 
saying, " Thou art worthy, Lord, to receive glory, and honour, 
ar.d power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure 
they are, and were created." Could we have access to them, they 
would give us that testimony of him which the queen of Sheba gave 
of Solomon. " Behold the half was not told me : thy wisdom and 
prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men ; 
happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, 
and hear thy wisdom." 

4. The testimony of the saints on earth, who concur in this, that 
he is a matchless one. " Thou art fairer," say they, " than the 
children of men ; grace is poured into thy lips : therefore God hath 
blessed thee for ever." Says Asaph, *' Whom have I in heaven but 
thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." 
Says Solomon, " For wisdom is better than rubies ; and all the things 
that may be desired, are not to be compared to it." But why should 



we stand upon particulars, all have given a real testimony, in joining 
with Paul, in the text. They know him, and therefore their testi- 
mony is to be regarded. 

5, His very enemies bear testimony to him. We hear them say, 
Never man spake like this man. 

All that profess his name, give him that testimony, though, alas ! 
many of them, indeed, prefer others to him. 

II. By real evidence, whereof take these following : 

1. He is God. " He is the true God, and eternal life ;" therefore 
his excellence is infinite. " lu him dwelleth all the fulness of the 
Godhead bodily." " He is the brightness of his Father's glory, and 
the express image of his person, upholding all things by the word 
of his power." Angels and men, and all their works, are but 
created things, the workmanship of his hands. He is the Creator, the 
beginning : " All things wei'e made by him ; and without him was 
not any thing made that was made." 

2. Christ is commensurate to the desires of the soul, which all 
creatures, conjunctly or severally, are not. All things besides him 
have the bounds of their goodness ; one of them is good for one 
thing, another for another; none of them for all things. But there 
is an universal fitness in him, " for it pleased the Father, that in 
him should all fulness dwell." He is the storehouse, from which all 
the saints, from Adam, have derived the supply of their wants. 
" In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." 
What would we have, it is all in him. 

3. Whatever excellency or perfection is in any thing else, it is 
derived from him. The most desirable creatures shine with light 
borrowed from him. There is no perfection in the creature, but 
what is eminently in himself, as the first cause. " That was the 
true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." 

4. All things beside Christ cannot make a man happy ; but 
the enjoyment of Christ alone can do it. There are two things 
wanting in all the creatures, that are to be found in him. These 
are, First, sufficiency ; nothing can make one happy, but what is 
completely satisfactory ; for if there be the least want, it mars 
happiness; now nothing besides Christ is such. In the most pros- 
perous condition there is something wanting, as in paradise. Clirist 
alone is completely satisfactory, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. "He is all in 
all;" virtually all things. He is the heir of all, and they who have 
him, have all. Secondly, certainty ; what is liable to change can- 
not make men happy; but all things beside Christ arc so, Prov. 
xxiii. 5; but he is unchangeable, "the same yesterday, to-day, and 
forever." All fuluoss dwells in hiin; they that eisjoy him uoid 


fear no change ; not in this life, " for he loves unto the end ;" nor 
in the life to come, " for they shall be ever with the Lord." No 
change with respect to the subject, they shall never be taken from 
him, Rom. viii. 38 ; nor with respect to the object, he shall never be 
taken from them. 

5. When no other thing can make help to a man, Psal. cxlii. 3, 
4. Thus while the cisterns of created comforts run dry, the saints 
live in, and by him. Thus when David was spoiled of all, in 
Ziklag, " he encouraged himself in the Lord his God." Thus 
Habakkuk resolved, that whatever should befall him, " he would 
rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of his salvation." So when 
death comes, they have him " to be the strength of their hearts, and 
portion for ever." 

Lastly, He can do for us what no other can do, procure for us 
pardon of sin, peace with God, a right to heaven, things which 
angels and men cannot do. 

III. By comparison. No person, no thing is to be compared with 

1. Men on earth ; what are they, in comparison of Christ. Great 
men ; they are all but his vassals, who is King of kings ; they have 
but a borrowed glory. Wise men ; their wisdom is but folly, in com- 
parison of the wisdom of God. Good men ; their goodness is no- 
thing, in comparison of him. 

2. Saints in heaven; what are they, but so many bright stars 
shining with light from the Sun of Righteousness, wonders of his 
mercy, and monuments of his love. They are like the lilies, wearing 
a glory for which they never toiled. 

3. Angels are all servants. He is their head. When an angel 
was offered to go before the people, Moses was not content, but said, 
" If thy presence go not with me, carry me not up hence." 

4. The devils have great power : the god of this world. Christ 
hath the devils in a chain. 

No things are to be compared with him, no affluence of worldly 
things. They are all of them greater in expectation than in enjoy- 
ment. All broken cisterns that soon run dry. All bitter sweets. 
All insufficient to satisfy the heart. 

Even spiritual things are not to be compared to him. Grace and 
glory are his gifts ; but the giver must be above the gift. 

Use 1. They have a poor portion who are without Christ. They 
never can be happy. 

2. They have made a good choice that have received Christ. Be 
their case what it will, they have no reason to complain ; Christ is 
theirs. Though they have little in hand, they have much in hope. 


3. "We are to stand on nothing, so as we may gain Clirist ; and to 
be satisfied with nothing, if so we must lose him. 

This subject reproves all the slighters of Christ. Such are profane 
persons, carnal worldlings, moralists, hypocrites however refined, 
and all such as undervalue the glory, honour, kingdom and interest 
of Christ in the world. 

Let what hath been said commend Christ to us all. 


I COME now particularly to the words. Here is the excellency of 
the knowledge of Christ, held forth as before all things. "What is 
meant by the knowledge of Christ ? By the knowledge of Christ 
here, I understand a saving interest in, and enjoyment of Christ. So 
it is taken, " This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." So our Lord tells 
the foolish virgins, " I say unto you I know you not." They plead 
an interest in him, hereby he disowns them as none of his. And so 
" seeing of God," Matth. v. 8, and " seeing of the kingdom of God," 
John iii. 3, is put for an interest in, and enjoying of God. And so 
the text must be understood ; for certainly it is not the notional, 
speculative knowledge of Christ, which Paul's adversaries here ne- 
glected not ; but the saving, practical, experimental knowledge of 
him, as is evident from the context, ver. 9. This is that for which 
he throws away all things else, taking and desiring to have him 
instead of all. And this is called the knowledge of Christ, 

Because Christ is a spiritual object ; an object for the soul, and 
not for the senses; "whom, having not seen, we love." The soul 
must rise from sensible things and occupy itself in the contemplation 
of his perfections, uniting with him, so that the soul finds that sweet- 
ness in him that satiates it, so that the happiness of heaven consists 
in the seeing of God and of Christ, " whom we shall see as he is;" 
that is, the enjoying of them. 

Doctrine 1. That only is the true knowledge of Christ which ter- 
minates in an interest in, and enjoyment of him. All other know- 
ledge that comes short of this is unworthy of the name. As the 
least brook that is, however shallow, differs from the deepest standing 
pool, while it runs into the sea, and resteth not till it be there ; so 
the least measure of saving knowledge differs from all the light a 
hypocrite hath, in that it terminates in an embracing of, and uniting 
with Christ, while the other stands idle and inefficacious in that 
matter. To confirm this, consider, 

1. That all the knowledge of Christ which men have, that brings 
them not to him, is but splendid ignorance, according to the word. 


Henco they are branded everywhere as fools ; men whose hearts 
cannot be right, because their heads are not right; foolish builders, 
foolish virgins ; they are blind also. Some persons can talk so as 
they are admired of the ignorant, but when knowing persons come 
to try their knowledge, they find they do not understand what they 
speak, nor whereof they affirm. So is it with those that have not 
the saving knowledge of Christ ; their knowledge is but gilded ig- 

2. That knowledge of Christ, which issues not in an interest in 
in him, is not so much knowledge, as mere opinion; which is dubi- 
ous and uncertain. " 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." Natural 
men, to speak properly, have not the knowledge of Christ ,though they 
can preach him ; but only an opinion, a good opinion of him, as men 
have of many points that are in controA^ersy, in which they are far from 
an absolute certainty. They think well of Christ, but yet they will 
not commit themselves to him, because they are not sure. When you 
meet with a stranger at an inn when travelling, you find, perhaps, 
the man a very discreet person, and you form a good opinion of him, 
that he is a very honest man, and therefore you will converse with 
him a while ; but yet you will not commit your money to him, be- 
cause though you have a very good opinion of him, he is a stranger 
to you, you do not know him. Just so it is with those who have 
only a speculative knowledge of Christ. They do not know him so 
well as to put their trust in him. There are two points of saving 
knowledge, by which I may exemplify this. 

1. The superlative worth and excellency of Christ. That he is 
more precious than all things else, as in the text; and that all the 
things that may be desired are not to be compared to him. Now, 
no doubt, each in this congregation would answer, if asked, that 
they know this. But mistake it not, there is a difterence betwixt 
knowledge and opinion. As for most of us, it is bixt opinion, not 
knowledge, otherwise we would take him for, and instead of all, 
Matth. xiii. 45, 46. If one should offer a pearl to an ordinary 
merchant for all that he hath, his attention would be excited, his 
heart and eye would be in the pearl indeed, but he dare not venture 
on the bargain ; for though he has some notion that perhaps that 
one pearl is better than all the goods he hath, yet he is not sure. 
But should a jeweller come and tell him, assuring him that it is 
worth double of all his ware, he would take it, and give up all his 
ware with heart and good will. Thus saith Jesus, "if thou knew- 
est the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me 


to drink ; thou wouldest have asted of him, and he would have 
given thee living water." 

2. Christ's sufficiency. That Christ is able to bear all the sinner's 
weight for time and eternity. That he is just such an high priest as 
became us. We all think we know this ; and certainly the saints 
that have believed, and rolled all their weight upon him, have 
known it. They can say, each for himself, " I know whom I have 
believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I 
have committed to him against that day." But really, to the most 
part, it goes no fai'ther than a bare opinion, which never brings them 
to venture all freely upon him. They are like a man fallen into a 
deep pit, a rope is let down, he looks to it again and again, thinks 
it is strong enough ; yet when he comes to try it, he starts back, 
cannot venture for he is not sure, and therefore falls a climbing up, 
till he fall and rnin himself. Now the true knowledge of Christ 
differs exceedingly from this opinion of hira. Says Paul to the 
Thcssalonians, " Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 
For our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also i:i power, 
and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." 

3. The true knowledge of Christ engages the heart, and captivates 
the soul. " And they that know thy name, will put their trust in 
thee ; for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee." 
"When the gospel comes in power and demonstration of the Spirit, 
the heart of a sinner is overpowered, that as it cannot hinder itself 
to assent to clear truth, so it cannot but embrace him as the chief 
good. " Because of the savour of thy good ointments, thy name is 
as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee." As 
the loadstone draws iron to it, so there is a divine virtue in spiritual 
illumination, to draw the sinner to Christ. As some waters have a 
healing virtue coming through minerals, so Christ, riding in triumph 
in his glory through the soul, certainly gains the heart consent of 
those that behold him. So that that light, like the fire of the fur- 
nace, burns off the children's bonds wherewith they were held be- 

4. The saving knowledge of Christ differs not in kind, but in de- 
grees, from heaven's happiness. It is the commencement of eternal 
life in the soul, John xvii. 3, "But we all with open face beholding as 
in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, 
from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." Here the 
knowledge of hira is through a glass darkly, there face to face. As 
in heaven, then, there is a complete happiness and enjoyment of God, 
from that knowledge of him there ; so there is a real interest and 
enjoyment of hira here, in some, in which the knowledge of him here 


doth issue. "What did it avail the rich man, to see Abraham, and 
Lazarus in his bosom, afar off; this contributed to his torment. So 
what avails any knowledge of Christ, without an interest in him? 
As James says of faith without works, " Can faith save you ?" So 
may we say of mere speculative knowledge. Can it save you ? 

Lastly, The true knowledge of Christ is not an idle speculation, 
but a practical experimental knowledge, ver. 9. It is to know him, 
that we may be partakers of him. Saving knowledge is transform- 
ing, 2 Cor. iii. 18. Men do not dig into the bowels of the earth to see 
gold, but to enjoy it; nor do they know the treasure in Christ, 
whose business it is not to make it their own. 

Use 1. Of Information. 

1. Many of those who want not knowledge of the truths of reli- 
gion in some sort, may begin again to learn the A, B, C, of Christian 
knowledge. How many learned ignorants are there in the world, 
that know something of all things, but the one thing needful. This 
is a certain rule. A man has no more of Christ in his head, than he 
has of him in his heart. And if that be so truly, for as far as most 
of us are on, we may be brought back to the first question of grace's 
catechism, " "What is his name, and what is his Son's name, if thou 

^ canst tell ?" 

2. True knowledge carries a man out of himself to Christ, and 
so fills a man with humility and self-denial. " I have heard of 
thee by the hearing of the ear," says Job, " but now mine eye 
seeth thee, wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." 
That knowledge which puffeth up is none of the right sort, for were 
it of the right kind, it would, as a river, run into the sea of the excel- 
lency of Christ, and raise him, and empty and humble men's selves 
in their own eyes. No more knowledge of Christ have we, than we 
have of humility and self-denial. They to whom Christ is all, will 
themselves be nothing in their own eyes. 

3. Surely Christ is a veiled beauty to those who are not interested 
in him. They that know him cannot but love and embrace him, 
they cannot refuse him. If Christ has not yet got thy heart, surely 
thine eyes are held, that thou canst not perceive him, Song v. 9 — 
16, compare chap. vi. 1. Thou couldst not prefer any thing to him, 
if thou didst but behold his glory, therefore thou knowest no more 
of l\ini than he has of thy heart. 

4. In whatever measure any thing besides Christ carries away 
the heart, the knowledge of Christ is so far lost. The heart of man is 
an empty thing that must needs be seeking satisfaction in the 
enjoyment of something. If thy heart be inordinately going out 
after the enjoyment of the creatures, it is an evidence that it has so 


far lost the knowledge of his excellence ; so far as that is gone, so 
far hast thou lost the true knowledge of him. And, therefore, for 
recovery, turn the eyes of thy mind towards him to behold his glory, 
which is the readiest way to darken created excellence. 

Lastly, The best way to obtain true knowledge of Christ, is to be 
much in seeking and conversing with hira, that is the way to enjoy 
him. " My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and 
my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips, when I remember thee 
upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches." " If 
any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it 
be of God, or whether I speak of myself." Practical religion is the 
best way to attain to more of the knowledge of Christ. As those 
with whom we would be acquainted, we must be much in their com- 
pany, and converse with them frequently ; so this is the way in 
which Christians get the secrets of the covenant manifested to them. 

Use 2. Let me exhort you to labour to know Christ, and to 
improve your knowledge of him to an interest in, and enjoyment of 
him; and never satisfy yourselves with a knowledge of him that 
comes short of that. Never reckon you know more than you enjoy 
and feel in your souls of Christ, or than you really, in believing, 
make use of, and improve for your souls. Consider, 

1. Such knowledge is very useless to you, whatever it may be to 
others, for whom God can serve himself of it, to lead them in the 
way of truth. "What would it avail a man to know the remedy, 
while he neglects to apply it; would not such an one die of his dis- 
ease. Sinners, what will it avail you, that you know Christ is a 
Saviour, if you do not employ him ? What the better is a man, 
that he dies within sight of the physician ? What would it avail if 
a man had ever so much knowledge of the law, if yet he suffer men 
to wheedle him out of his estate, while he neglects to plead his 
right? And what tbongh you know what to do to be saved, if 
you do it not ? What the better are you to know Christ to be an 
up-making portion, if you take him not for your portion ? 

2. Nay, such knowledge is noxious. It doth for the present ag- 
gravate your sin. Sins against light, are of all sins the most heavy. 
For the future, it will aggravate your condemnation. Alas ! what 
is that knowledge, that serves only as a lantern to light men into 
everlasting darkness ? 

3. Our disease lies more in our hearts than in our heads. There 
was some knowledge left after the fall, Rom. ii. 15 ; but there was 
no goodness, no heart holiness. If physic be taken, yet if it do not 
operate to carry off the ill humours of the body, a person is nothing 
the better, but rather the worse ; so is it when knowledfo comes 

Vol. IV. K 


into the head, but sinks not into the heart. Men's minds should 
usher in the truth received, into the heart ; but instead of that, they 
are often as jailors, to lock it up in prison that it cannot stir, 
" They hold the truth in unrighteousness." 

Lastly, God will not own his knowing of any, but those in whom 
he has a special interest, Matth. xxv. 12. And if ye would reckon 
as God will do, you would reckon thus also. 

Use 3. Of comfort to those that have seen as much of Christ, as 
that they cannot rest without an interest in him ; and have some 
enjoyment of him, but may be discouraged under a sense of weak- 
ness of knowledge. But be comforted, it is true knowledge. And 
as a little gold is far more precious thau much brass, so the lowest 
degree of true knowledge is far better than great stores of mere 
speculative knowledge. 

Doctrine II. All things are but loss in comparison of an inte- 
rest in Christ, and the enjoyment of him. This is a point that runs 
counter to the judgment of all the unregenerate world, who conut 
highly of other things, but make light of Christ and an interest in 
him. This is confirmed by the daily practice of all out of Christ. 
Here I shall, 

I. Shew in what respects all things are but loss in comparison of 
an interest in Christ, and the enjoyment of him. 

II. I shall confirm this point by proofs and illustrations. I am 

I. To show in what respects all things are but loss, in comparison 
of an interest in Christ, and the enjoyment of him. 

1. There is not one thing in all the creation, but it is loss, in com- 
parison of the enjoyment of Christ as ours. Turn over all the crea- 
tures, and all created perfections in the world, single out the best of 
them, and the most desirable, take the choicest, it will be but refuse 
in comparison of Christ. 

2. All of them together, are but loss in this respect. Suppose 
you were possessed of the whole inventory of good things ; profit- 
able pleasant things, lawful and unlawful, that what is wanting in 
one, may be made up to you in another ; lay the possession of them 
in one balance, and the enjoyment of Christ in another, they would 
all be weighed down. If the whole constellation of created perfec- 
tions should arise upon you, Christ, as the Sun of Righteousness, 
would darken them all. Had you Solomon's riches and wisdom, 
Samson's strength, Absalom's beauty ; should all the created com- 
forts ever man had, or ever will have, fall down together into your 
bosom, all would be nothing in comparison of an interest in Christ, 
and the enjoyment of him. All is but loss. All are of no value in 


comparison of an interest in Christ. The best of them are not 
worthy to be named with hira in one day. Health and strength are 
good, and outward accommodations and privileges are good, but as 
the glorious stars hide their heads when the sun appears, so must all 
these things before Christ. They are all to be thrown away, when 
we cannot have Christ with them. If it comes to that, that we must 
part with Christ or part with them, then we have reason to say, 
farewell profits, pleasures, honours, liberty, life itself, and all things, 
and welcome Christ. They are to be lost in that case, but in no 
case must we agree to lose him. The man is at no loss that loseth 
them, but gains Christ. He loseth but loss, which no man will 
grudge. He is sufficiently made up in the want of them all, by the 
enjoyment of Christ. 

Finally, He has a poor bargain of it, that has all, but wants 
Christ. His gain may be soon told, his loss cannot be reckoned up. 
We now proceed, 

II. To confirm this point by proofs and illustrations. to be- 
lieve it ! The belief of it would turn the current of our desires and 
endeavours another way. 

1. An interest in Christ makes God ours, for he is God; "the 
fulness of the Godhead dwells in him." So runs the covenant, in 
which God makes over himself, in Christ, to sinners : " I will," says 
he, " be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." He is 
their portion and their heritage. They are children and heirs, 
*' heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ." Now what is all the 
world in comparison of God himself ? While others can say, this 
land, this house is mine, the Christian can say, God is mine, for 
Christ is mine : "Lo this God is our God." An interest in Christ, 
then, is absolutely the greatest treasure. Men nor angels cannot 
make an inventory of the Christian's portion, which is summed up 
in this, God is theirs. The greatest abundance of earthly things 
may be reckoned, and you will soon hear that there is no more. 
*' But 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." The infinite perfections of God are their treasure, 
and this treasure will tell out to all eternity. It is also absolutely 
the most valuable treasure, for what proportion can there be betwixt 
the perfections of God, and those of the creature. Worldly men 
may have some streams of good things let out to them, but the 
Christian has the fountain of all. Now, whei'e the water is good, it 
is best in the spring. Sure then the enjoyment of God must be best. 
God's goodness, love, and all-sufficiency is theirs. 

2. An interest in Christ is the one thing necessary. " One thing" 



says our Lord, *' is needful." All things must go for necessaries. 
A man parts with his money and goods for his health, and will part 
with all for his life. He reckons all nothing in comparison of that, 
because he can live without other things, but none of these things 
can avail him, if he lose his life, Matth. vi. 25. Even so an interest 
in Christ stands by itself, and is not to be reckoned among, but 
above all things else. 

Other things are conveniencies to be thankfully received, but not 
necessaries that cannot be wanted. Man's great desire is to be 
happy. This is the end which all propose to themselves. Now, I 
say, other things besides Christ are not absolutely necessary for 
this end. It is not necessary that you may be rich, you may be 
happy without riches. Lazarus was happy, though poor; the 
apostles, though despised, and counted as the off-scouring of all ; Job, 
without either health or wealth ; the saints in heaven are stripped 
of the comforts of this life, yet perfectly happy ; therefore happiness 
may be without them. 

But an interest in Christ is absolutely necessary. No happiness 
without it. Though you were compassed about with all the profits 
and pleasures of the world, yet in this case the sword of vengeance 
hangs above thy head. Thou art but as a condemned malefactor set 
down at a well covered table, but knoweth not how soon he may be 
raised and led to execution. Though the earth smiles on thee, yet 
heaven frowns; though men bless, God curseth thee, and may say 
to thee, " thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee ; then 
whose shall those things be which thou hast provided ?" 

Again, nothing can make up the want of an interest in Christ ; 
but an interest in him can make up the want of all things else. All 
the gold of the Indies will not buy a pardon, nor the greatest earthly 
honours keep from everlasting contempt. Have what you will, if 
you have not Christ, you are under a loss that cannot be made up 
another way ; but that makes up all other wants, Philip, iv. 18. 
"Whatever you want, if Christ be yours, you have what is better. 

Finally, Every thing that one really needs is comprehended in it, 
so that the way to get all our needs compendiously answered, is to 
get an interest in Christ. Our wants are far more than our needs. 
We reckon our needs more than they are; but once in Christ, 
then one may well expect to get all he really needs made out to him. 
" He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, 
how shall he not with him also freely give us all things." " For the 
Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold 
from them that walk uprightly." Whatever his people need, God, 
as a Father, will provide for them," Matth. vi. 32. 


3. An interest in Christ is satisfying to the soul, while nothing 
else can give satisfaction. You may as soon grasp your arms full 
of dreams, and embrace your own shadow, as suck satisfaction out 
of the dry breasts of the creatures. But in Christ there is what will 
satisfy the soul, answer its desires in breadth and length. There 
are two things necessary to give satisfaction. First, Suitableness. 
Now Christ is a suitable enjoyment for the soul. He is suitable to 
the nature of the soul, which is spiritual, and the enjoyment of him 
is the enjoyment of spiritual blessings. " God blesses us with all 
spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." The soul is im- 
mortal, and so an interest in Christ is durable ; " for durable riches 
and righteousness are with him." He is suitable to the necessities 
of the soul, for pardon, peace, and every blessing ; whereas all things 
of the world are nothing so. 

Again, fulness is necessary to satisfaction. Now there is a ful- 
ness of these suitable blessings in him. " It hath pleased the Father, 
that in him should all fulness dwell." What can be wanting in an 
infinite good. Here then " we eat that which is good, and our souls 
delight themselves in fatness." 

4. An interest in Christ is the most enriching interest. "Were an 
estimate to be made of what the meanest Christian is worth, and 
what the richest monarch, the Christian's would be found infi- 
nitely beyond his. The Christian has a right to more, for he hath a 
right to all through Christ. " All things," says Paul to believers, 
" are yours." The Christian has married the heir of all things, and 
so may set his name on all that is his. What though he hath but 
little in hand, yet look his papers, read his charter, his bonds 
under the hand of God himself, containing the promises of this life 
and that which is to come, and the greatest riches of the graceless 
world, is rank poverty in comparison of that. 

Nay, the Christian hath more in actual possession than the 
greatest on earth. The most precious and valuable riches are ordi- 
narily least in bulk. A little gold, or a small pearl, is more valuable 
than a bag full of brass coin. Reckon thus, and the man that is 
interested in Christ hath more in hand than the richest in the 
world. His grace is more precious than gold, his power over his 
own spirit better than dominion over kingdoms. What is so great 
on earth as a kingdom ? What kingdom so great as that of heaven ? 
The Christian has it: " For behold the kingdom of God is within 
yon." And this leads us to observe, that the Christian, by his 
interest in Christ, hath all within himself, that he needs not go out 
for it. You will say such a man has a well furnished house and 
table, some things he got from such a place, and some things from 


another. ! but, say you, there is another man hath all things 
Avithiu liimself, the last is preferable. So in this. What an ungodly 
man doth most value, generally it is without himself. His riches 
are in his coifers, his plenty in his barns, his dominion is given him 
by others, and can be taken away ; his honour also depends on 
others. But the Christian hath all within himself, because Christ 
is in him. Yes, " Christ is in him, the hope of glory." " A good 
man," it is said, " shall be satisfied from himself." Christians 
*' know in themselves, that they have in heaven a better and an en- 
during substance." He hath a kingdom within, that contains what 
is suitable for every case. 

Here, also, I would remark, that the little that one hath, that 
hath an interest in Christ, is more valuable than the greatest abun- 
dance of a Christless man. " A little," saith the Psalmist, " that a 
righteous man hath, is better than the riches of many wicked." 
Better than the riches, even than the riches of many. But how 
can that be ? I answer, the little they have, they have it with the 
love of God ; and whatever others have, they have it with his wrath 
and anger. " The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked, 
but he blesseth the habitation of the just." What the Christian 
hath, comes from God's love, and is a token of his love ; and yOu 
know tokens are valued more for the sake of the giver, than the gift 

Again, the Christian hath the sanctified use of what he possesses. 
All that they have comes to them through the channel of the cove- 
nant, and tends to their good. " For we know that all things work 
together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called 
according to his purpose," whereas others, by virtue of a secret 
curse that is in what they have, are thereby injured. There is death 
in the pot. *' The prosperity of fools shall destroy them." Many 
have been nourished and supported with coarse fare, when kings and 
emperors have had poison mixed with their most delicious meats. 
So it is here. 

Besides, the little that the Christian hath, he hath it freely, no- 
thing to pay. It is paid for already by the blood of Christ. But 
others will have a dear reckoning that will pay for all at the latter 
end. They may write on all their enjoyments this motto. The price 
of blood. " For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole 
world, and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange 
for his soul ?" The world is as a commodious inn, perhaps the chil- 
dren there do not fare so well as the stranger. But then the 
stranger gets his bill ere he go away, when he must pay dear for all 
he hath got. 


The Christian, also, hath a far better right to his little, than the 
other hath to his abunilance. A covenant right, it is the purchase 
of Christ. It was precious water that was brought to David, out of 
the well of Bethlehem, more precious than wine, because it was 
the price of blood. 

Others have but a right by common providence. Their good 
things are bones cast to dogs. It is but as a supper which a male- 
factor enjoys before he is led forth to execution. 

Lastly, The little which the Christian hath, is an earnest of more 
mercy. You may call it Joseph, for God will add another to it. 
Now, a little given as an earnest, is better by far than a great sum, 
after which no more is to be expected. Even the Christian's wants 
are better than the abundance of others, even as the want of strong 
liquor is better than to have it to put us in a fever. 

0. An interest in Christ is the only abiding, lasting interest. It 
will abide when we must lose all other things. We see that a 
little thing coming in yearly, is preferred to great sums in hand, 
which may soon be all spent. An interest in Christ cannot be 
taken from us as other things may, Matth. vi. 19. The philosopher 
called riches the vomit of fortune ; if so, we find the vomit is often 
resumed. Job in his time saw himself rich and poor to a proverb, 
Prov. xxiii. 5. But once in Christ, always in him. The landed man 
may have his crop destroyed, but his land abides. Other things are 
lent us, but this is an irrevocable gift. 

We cannot be taken from it, Matth. vi. 20. The man that dies 
interested in Christ is his own heir, and carries his interest into 
another world with him. The worldly comforts men have, are like 
servants in an inn, that wait upon persons while they continue there, 
but go not away with them, but abide to serve others that come after 

Lastly, I shall prove it by an induction of particulars upon which 
men set their hearts more than upon Christ. 

1. Knowledge of other things besides Christ, is no way compar- 
able to the knowledge of Christ. The pleasure which men find in 
it, is infinitely below that which they find in the knowledge of Christ. 
It can do no good at death, and they will have no more use for it 
through eternity, while the other will continue as the saint's eternal 
happiness. " This is life eternal, that they might know thee the 
only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." They are 
like men going through a city, gazing at every thing about them, 
while they never look to their own way, and neglect their own busi- 
ness. Each of them may say with Grotius, All ! I have destroyed 
life, laboriously doing nothing. 


2. Riches are vain, and, laid in the balance with an interest in 
Christ, are lighter than vanity. They are uncertain as the wind, 
and can never fill the heart, Prov. xxiii. 5. Nay, they enlarge the 
desires, where grace does not narrow them ; for worldliness is a sort 
of spiritual drunkenness, that the more one gets, the more he wonld 

They cannot profit in the day of wrath. It is with Christians and 
others, as with Abraham's children. Abraham gave all that " he 
had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines which Abraham 
had, he gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son." Christ- 
ians are with the first, they are heirs ; others get but moveables, 
and they are made over to them with the burden of danger, for saith 
Jesus;, " how hardly shall they that have riches enter into the king- 
dom of God." There is danger in an evil time from men by them. 
The tall oaks are torn up by the roots, while the low shrubs escape ; 
and they are at all times, but especially in evil times, a snare to the 
soul. They are a handle by which Satan holds men ; so that while 
they cleave to them, Satan draws them to himself. They have also 
a burden of duties. God requires more of rich persons than of 
others. "To whom much is given, from them much shall be re- 
quired," They have accounts to give. They are but stewards, and 
the more they have among their hands, their accounts will be the 
greater, Luke xvi. But an interest in Christ shall never be lost. 

3. Honour and reputation. What vain things are they, depend- 
ing upon the uncertain thoughts of others; and where men have them 
at many hands, they may be wanting at that hand where they might 
do them most good. How easily is reputation stained, and it is at 
the mercy of every calumnious detractor. It is a windy bubble of 
water that has no solidity in it, and quickly is gone. But he that 
has an interest in Christ, though he should lie among the pots 
while he lives here, shall shine in that honour which is eternal, 

4. An easy and pleasant life in the world is a vain thing, much 
desired and pursued, to the neglect of an interest in Christ. But 
let us do our utmost to make our bed soft here, there shall ever be 
found some thorn of uneasiness in it. No sound ease but in Christ. 
When world's ease is got, it bears hard on the soul, which as readily 
corrupts ; while troubles in the world set men to their duty. And 
how suddenly is men's ease and pleasure interrupted; and the more 
they had of it, they can the worse bear the want of it. 

5. Friends able to do one a kindness are much valued. They 
that have them, value themselves upon them ; they that want them, 
think they would be well if they had them. But alas ! how oft do 


tliey prove like brooks dried up, Job vi. 15 ; and bow quickly may 
we be in such a case, that if even our best friends were never so 
willing, they are utterly unable to help us. Christ is a friend that 
can, and will help in all cases. 

6. Comfortable relations; a husband, wife, or children, dutiful 
and comfortable. Great mercies indeed, but loss in comparison of 
an interest in Christ. How difficult is it for us to have them such 
and not make gods of them ? How difficult to rejoice, and not over- 
joy in them ? And many times where people have thought to 
find their greatest comfort, there they have found their greatest 
cross. And however comfortable, yet they must part; and when 
they go, the more comfortable they were, the deeper is the wound 
they leave behind them. 

7. Liberty is what every person prizes ; there is always no man 
who would not rather choose to be stripped of all, and to wander to 
find her for himself, than to be penned up in a palace. But what 
serves that liberty, while a man is still in the devil's chain, and has 
the eternal prison abidinor him ; that though he can go where he 
will, yet he can go no where but where Satan is with him, and in 
him. How much more worthy is an interest in Christ. Though 
the body be imprisoned, confined, or banished, yet the soul has access 
at all times to the throne of God. 

8. Life is dearer than all these, yet is but loss in comparison of 
an interest in Christ. What a vain thing is the life of man on 
earth, liable to a thousand accidents, and which even a blast of in- 
fected air can take away. The lamp goes out at length, the oil 
being wasted ; and while it remains, may be clogged with such miseries 
as may make life itself a burden, and men to court their disso- 
lution, that they may rest in a grave. To none of these is an in- 
terest in Christ liable, it is that which secures an eternal life. 

Lastly, In a word, self is what most men seek, neglecting Christ. 
But what a vain thing are we ourselves. It will not be amiss to 
give here some self-debasing considerations. Consider, then, we are 
nothing. Whatever figure we make, we are nothing ; that is to say, 
we are worth nothing. However great, we are but fair nothings. 
I Am, is God's name. Take away the parts of a compound, and 
then it is nothing. Let God take back his own from us, and we are 
nothing. You will see some men make a great appearance, and 
you think they are rich men ; but others that know their affairs 
will tell you that they are worth nothing, for it is all other people's 
property that they have among their hands ; and that if every one had 
their own, they would be brought to nothing. " Without me," saith 
Jesus, " ye can do nothing." We are but mere tools in the Lord's 


hands : without liirn we can do nothing in grace or nature. As our 
being is from hira, so is our working. Again, we deserve nothing. We 
are unprofitable servants. Our demerit is great, our merit nothing. 
We deserve hell indeed, but deserve not the least mercy. Yea, we 
are worse than nothing, as being sinful creatures, even as a cup full 
of poison is worse than an empty cup. 
Use 1. Of information. 

1. How foolish are men, then, who are very busy and diligent to 
get other things, but who neglect to get an interest in Christ. Like 
Martha, they are careful and troubled about many things, while 
they neglect the one thing needful, the better part. With what 
carefulness do men manage their business for their bodies, who are 
careless of their souls. Surely this interest is the great project we 
should be driving in the world, and not be seeking after that which 
is lost, to the neglecting of the great gain. 

2. They have made but a poor purchase, have what they will, 
that have not an interest in Christ. Can they be happy, though 
they were monarchs of the world? They cannot, for their all is but 
a heap of loss and dung, they have nothing substantial and durable. 
Have what you will, what will all these things avail you, if you 
have not Christ. 

3. The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour. The 
poorest saint on earth is richer than the greatest man on earth 
that is a Christless man. He hath that which is of more worth than 
all the world. ! but fretting and discontentment ill becomes a 
Christian for want of any worldly thing. Does not Jesus say, Am 
I not better to thee than ten sons. Surely it is because they see 
not their stock. 

4. Men are no losers, lose what they will for Christ. We have 
no reason to grudge to suffer the loss of all for him. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. I exhort you then to seek and secure an 
interest in Christ for yourselves. Make this your great business. 
I have often called you to this, and it has been the great scope of 
all my preaching among you to lead you to Christ. And now when 
the Lord is threatening to draw our table, and separate ministers 
from their iiocks, I desire once more to call and invite you to an 
interest in Christ. And if I could prevail, though I should never 
more have access to serve you in the gospel, I would think I had 
got my errand. 

Motive 1. Christ is willing to receive you. There is a match 
proposed betwixt the King of Griory and the daughter of Zion, 
Christ and sinners. And I declare there is nothing to hinder it on 
lleaveu'.s part. " For the Spirit and the bride say, Come, And let 


him that heaveth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. 
Aud whosoever will, let him take of tlie water of life freely." 
Young sinners, that are setting out in the world, he is content to be 
yours. " I love them that love me," says he, " and they that seek 
me early shall find me." Old sinners, he is content to be yours, 
though you have refused many calls. He excludes none of you, do 
not, I beseech you, exclude yourselves. " Ho ! every one that 
tliirsteth, come ye to the waters ; and he that hath no money, come 
ye, buy and eat ; yea come, buy wine and milk without money and 
without price." And to evidence his willingness to be yours, con- 

"Why did he come the long journey from heaven to earth, but to 
relieve the captive daughter of Zion. Are you the lost, Luke xix. 
10. Why did he leave the Father's bosom, but to bring these back 
to it, whom sin had shaken out. Why suffered he, but that they 
might be saved ? Why was he bruised, but that he might become 
bread to the hungry soul ? Why shed he his blood, but to remove 
the lawful impediments of this match ? 

In vain did he shed his blood, if sinners amongst men be not 
partakers of it. Whom had he in his eye for reconciliation ? Not 
angels, not devils, Heb. ii. 6. It was men, " Unto you, men, I 
call ; and my voice is to the sons of men." Not to the righteous, 
there were none such ; and if there had been, they had not needed 
him. Answer to your name then, sinners ! for such Christ came 
to call ; he really offers himself to you in his word preached by 
his ambassadors. How then can you doubt his willingness. Our 
offer is really, though ministerial, Christ's own offer, for we have 
his commission to bear us out in it. Our commission and office 
•we had not from the magistrate, therefore it is not in their power 
to deprive us of it, as they may deprive men of offices civil and 
military, which come from them. But our commission is from 
Christ. We teach not but what Christ has commanded us, and 
therefore he will be with us in it ; which these have no ground to 
pretend to, that teach for doctrines the commandments of men, 
whom this Church is in hazard of having thrust in upon her ; 2 Cor. 
V. 20. We are proxies for the Lord of Glory, come to you with 
his own word, by his orders. Would you have himself leave his 
glory a second time, to offer himself to you ? Or would you have 
him come in his glory. You know not what you ask. It would 
become you better to do, as 1 Sam. xxv. 40, 41. 

Our offer of him in his own name, is so really his, that you will 
be eternally ruined, if you refuse it, Mark xvi. 15, 16; John xvii. 


Consider, also, liow long he has waited upon you, and after many- 
refusals has still, and is courting your consent, Rev. iii. 20. Why 
did he not go away at your first or second refusal ? No, but you 
have still line upon line. Finally, he knows very well what is in 
you and about you ; yet hath he declared, that nothing shall hinder 
the match, if you be willing. Though you be poor and miserable, 
he is willing to take you, to enrich you, to clothe you, and nourish 
you for ever ; and is he not then willing to be yours. 

Motive 2. Consider what you are without him. Wretched and 
miserable is the state of every Christless soul. If you saw your 
case by the light of the Spirit, you would be much affected. Let us 
glance at a few parts of your picture, as it is presented in the glass 
of the word. Sinner, thou art God's enemy. " The carnal mind is 
enmity against God." Thou camest into the world in a state of 
enmity against God. The reconciliation is not yet made up, for 
there is no peace with God, but through Christ. Hast thou no in- 
terest in Christ, then what hast thou to do with peace, who hast no- 
thing to do with the great peacemaker. There is wrath in God's 
heart, in his word, and in his hand against thee. 

Again thou art debtor to justice. Sin is thy debt, which thou 
art not, and never will be able to pay. Thou art in the hand of an 
inexorable creditor. Thou hast no cautioner to be surety for thy 
debt. Thou wilt not get thy debt denied. Conscience will be in- 
stead of a thousand witnesses against thee. Thou wilt be pursued 
for principal and interest, and the debt will be pursued at thy own 
expense. Thou art also the law's criminal. God hath a law, and 
by that law thou must die. " For the wages of sin is death." The 
law condemns thee, takes away thy life as a traitor to God, an 
enemy to heaven. Thou livest but as a malefactor, by the benefit 
of a reprieve, and thou knowest not how soon it may expire. 

Thou art, moreover, Satan's slave, captive, and prisoner. Thou art 
under " the power of Satan, and taken captive by him at his vrill." 
In this case Christ finds all those to whom he comes. Behold thy 
drudgery work, the sign of thy slavery, thy chains, thy captivity, 
thy prison garments that are on thee. 

Thou, sinner ! in thy Christless state, art to every good work 
reprobate. Thou canst do nothing good or acceptable in the sight 
of God. Thy prayers are but howling, thy sacrifice an abomination, 
thy throat an open sepulchre. 

Besides, in thy Christless state, sinner, thou art a stranger to the 
covenant of grace, and all the benefits of it, Eph. ii. 12. Thou hast 
not married the heir, and, therefore, what hast thou to do with the 
benefits of the contract. Thou canst have no pardon nor peace in 
your present state. 


Thou art a burdeu to the earth, Rom. viii. 22. Every creature is 
thiue enemy. The very meat which thou eatest, waits a com- 
mand to dispatch thee. Thou art an abomination to heaven, that 
will have nothing to do with thee. " For there shall in no wise 
enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh 
abomination, or makoth a lie." Thou art a prey to the pit's de- 
vouring mouth that waiteth for thee. 

Motive 3. An interest in Christ is the best interest which you 
can have in the world. Consider that it is an interest for soul and 
body both, A man's purchase in the world, may furnish him some- 
thing in the world for his body, food and raiment, and the like ; but 
nothing for the soul. This will furnish you peace, pardon, and all 
the benefits of the everlasting covenant. Yea, and for the body, it 
makes it a member of Christ, a temple for the Spirit, and ensures a 
glorious resurrection. It is an interest both for heaven and earth. 
It makes them to inherit the earth, Matth. v. 5, by their right to it 
in Christ, and their contentment with what they have of it, as if 
they had it all, and this interest entitles them to glory. It is then 
both for time and eternity, " It is profitable unto all things, having 
the promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come," It 
is the best security for a through-bearing here, and will be an inte- 
rest of which you will reap the fruits for ever. 

Motive 4. Consider the case of the day in which we live, calls 
loudly for us to secure our own interest in Christ, And we can 
make no good use of the reelings of the times, if they do not lead us 
to this. Have we not need of something which men cannot take 
from us ? And what is that, but an interest in Christ, with the 
benefits depending thereon ? We are threatened with persecution 
and with the sword, in which the Church and land were once in- 
volved, what in such a case have men they can call their own ? 
Have we not need of something that may be comfortable to us, 
under the loss of all things ? Indeed, the man that hath an interest 
in Christ may say, I have a refuge, a portion. 

If you be called to suffering, what a sad thing is it to suffer for 
one in whom you have no interest. You will be ready to turn 
your back upon him ; and yet, shunning suffering for a good cause, 
you may be brought to suffer dishonourably, whether you will or 
not, so as sinning will not keep you from suffering. 

When snares are abroad, and a course of defection, how can you 
think to escape that have no interest in Christ? And when the 
Lord is threatening to remove the gospel from you, it calls you at 
length to answer his call. 

Motive 5, and last. Let the consideration of eternity stir you up. 


What will you do without an interest in Christ, when death arrests 
you? The soul and body must part. Who will keep you from the 
second death ? When time is gone, thou must pass to eternity. 

What will you do when the resurrection comes ? What hill or 
mountain will cover the sinner from the face of the Lamb ? 

When, sinner ! thou must stand before the tribunal, and that 
very Saviour whom thou now slightest will be thy Judge, who will 
then plead thy cause ? 

Directions. Yiew your sinfulness. Get a deep sight of your 
misery without Christ, your utter inability to help yourselves, and 
the helplessness of all creatures. Give away yourselves solemnly 
to Christ, and all that is yours, taking him for, and instead of all. 

[Same subject continued.] 


Philippians iii. 8, 
3Ii/ Lord. 

Here the apostle asserts his interest in Christ, calling him his 
Lord ; not only as Christ had an interest in him and lordship over 
him, but in so far as he had an interest in Christ. '* My beloved is 
mine, and I am his." 

Doctrine. Saints may, and ought to plead an interest in Christ as 
their Lord. The Lord's people sometimes fall iuto the hands of 
strange lords, who are hard lords to them. But in the worst of times 
a child of God may tell a fivefold tale of Christ, which their grace- 
less enemies cannot. Every saint may say of Christ, 

1. He is my Lord God. For as low as his work and cause are, 
the believer's Lord is God, and his God, John xx. 28. " The fulness 
of the Godhead dwells in him." " He is God manifested in the 
flesh." Now an interest in God as our God, is an interest above 
expression. His infinite wisdom is theirs to dii'ect, his power to 
protect them. " Happy is that people that is in such a case ; yea 
happy is that people whose God is the Lord." Why then should 
they be afraid of men, however severe masters they be ? 

2. My Lord, proprietor, master and owner. We and all ours are 
the Lord's, therefore he may dispose of us as he will, and we are to 


submit. In the day of the soul's closing with Christ, we gave up 
ourselves and all our's to the Lord, and so must we say, " we are 
thy servant's, Lord ! truly we are thy servants." But of others, 
Satan is their lord and proprietor. 

3. My Redeemer. " He gave himself for us, to redeem us from 
all iniquity." When our lives were forefeited to the justice of 
God, he came and bought them with his precious blood. And shall 
any thing be too dear to us to lose for him. 

4. My Lord and husband. He sought the believer in spiritual 
marriage, who has consented to him, and so he is their husband. A 
noble relation ! " For thy maker is thy husband, the Lord of Hosts 
is his name." And therefore it is below a child of God to prosti- 
tute himself, his soul and conscience, to the lusts of men, or pollute 
them to please the greatest on earth. 

Lastly, My Lord and King. He has subdued them to himself. 
They have accepted him as their King and Lawgiver. His throne 
is in their hearts, and his laws are there ; and therefore they can 
do nothing contrary to their allegiance to him, command it who will, 
under the most severe penalties. And in the strict observation of 
his laws, they may expect such protection and provision from him 
who is the King of kings, as he sees good for them. 

The saints may plead this relation to him and interest in him, for 
they really have it. Though their real state be capable of degrees, 
and one is more holy than another, yet this honour have all the 
saints, and that equally. He is as much the Lord, God, Husband, 
and King of the meanest soever, as of the strongest. And they 
ought to plead it. 

1. It is very pleasing to God, Jer. iii. 4. God loves to have his 
children know their relation to him, and therefore are the Scrip- 
tures written and the Spirit given, that we may know the things 
freely given us of God. "We need not blame any but ourselves, if 
we walk in darkness. It is the weakness of our eyes that keeps 
us from seeing our privileges, and it robs God of the sacrifice of 

2. It is very comfortable and strengthening to the saints them- 
selves, 2 Pet. i 10. This would not only heighten our comforts in 
the worst of times, but heighten our graces, our love, repentance, 
obedience, our trust in him, and dependence upon him. 

Use I. ! the happy state of the saints, beyond all the world. 
Christ is theirs. Mine is a sweet word, especially when it is joined 
to the most glorious object. Nebuchadnezzar could say, my king- 
dom, ray majesty ; but my Lord and my God, is a note of an infi- 
nitely higher strain. This is a property that is above all other, 


that may comfort in the want of all, and will supply all other wants, 
and is a property which none can take from us. 

2. Let the saints inipiove their faith to this degree of assurance, 
that they may confidently, though humbly, call Christ their Lord. 
But of this before. It is the weakness of the saints, that they dare 
not say, My Lord. It is no presumption in a gracious soul to say 
so, who has taken Christ for his Lord. Thou mayest say it. 

1. If Christ be Lord of thy heart, having the chief room in thy 
affections, Psal. Ixxiii. 25, hast thou seen a glory in him, that has 
darkened all created excellency, so that he reigns in thy affections, 
and thy heart is his captive, so that he is dearer to thee than 
what is dearest in the world ? — call him then thy Lord, for he is Lord 
of thy heart. 

2. If he be Lord of thy life, so that thou endeavourest continually to 
live to him and not to thyself, not to thy lusts, Phil. i. 21. The great 
design thou hast in the world is to please him, and to walk beforejhira 
to all well pleasing, in heart, lip and life ; and what is displeasing to 
him, is displeasing and a burden to thee also. Call him then thy Lord. 

3. If he be Lord of thy all, so that thou art content to part with 
all that is dear to thee rather than with him, his favour, his truths, 
his work, and cause, Luke xiv. 26. If thou hast laid down thy all 
at his feet, to be disposed of what way he will, call him then Lord. 

Lastly, Let the people of God follow their duty to Christ as their 
Lord, in spite of all opposition from the world. If the commands 
of men go cross to the commands of Christ, though they were the 
highest powers on earth, let us remember we are to obey our Lord 
God rather than men ; and let us never do a thing to please our 
lords on earth, that will displease our Lord from heaven. This day, 
alas ! is a day in which the commands of our rulers on the ministry 
of this Church cannot be obeyed in the judgment of many worthy 
ministers, without disobeying our great Lord and Master ; though 
others are not of that mind. This threatens to rend this Church 
asunder, to separate ministers from their flocks, and to shut up 
many kirk doors, and yours among the rest. Prepare for snares, 
and cleave to the Lord whatever come. If God baffle not the designs 
of our enemies, they will not rest here, but having begun at the 
sanctuary, there will be a proceeding to the city ; and though mini- 
sters may smart first, professors will not want their share. But 
cleave ye to the Lord, to the purity of doctrine, worship, discipline and 
government instituted by himself; and though the laws of men 
should overturn all these, choose you rather to sit by the house of 
God, though lying in rubbish, than to embrace that in religion which 
has no stamp but that of human authority, for he is our Lord, 
and his orders we must obey on all hazards. 


[Sime subject continued.] 


Philippians iii. 8, 
For whom I have suffered the loss of all things. 

This is a day in which sufferiug or sinning is set before many in 
this church ; and though our case is extraordinary, yet our good 
Lord sends us this in our ordinary, which gives an evidence of a 
due esteem of Christ, which the saints have. 

1. We have in the words, the apostle's lot, which tried his esteem 
of Christ, by his suffering for him. He had spoken much to the 
commendation of Christ, but many will give Christ a good word, 
who will not take a frown, an ill word, or a buffet for his sake ; but 
Paul suffered for him. 

We have next what he suffered ; the loss of all things. When he 
says all, he excepts nothing which might come in competition with 
Christ, external good things, yea, and internal also, as in competi- 
tion with him. We have also the cause of his sufferings ; they were 
for Christ, for the sake of that precious one. 

Doctrine. God tries, and the saints give proof of their due esteem 
of Christ, by their suffering the loss of all things for him, as they 
are called to it. There are two things aimed at in the text, namely, 
external good things. Saints suffer the loss of these two ways for 
Christ : 1. In affection, when they lose the predominant affection to 
them, Luke xiv. 26 ; when the heart is so far weaned from them, as 
they are content to part with them, rather than Christ. This is a 
suffering, in so far as it is not easy, but opposite to nature to be con- 
tent to let them go for Christ. 2. In action, when they actually lose 
them for Christ and his cause, and let them go rather than a good con- 
science. Sometimes storms arise in the church, so as men must 
either part with Christ, his way, and his truths, or else let all they 
have go for his sake. 

Next internal good things. The saints suffer the loss of these in 
point of confidence, when all their confidence is carried off them, and 
laid on Christ alone. Both of these are aimed at in the text. I 
will now speak a word to the first, namely, external things. And, 

I. I will touch at those things which the saints always suffer t!ie 
loss of in affection, and often in action, for Christ. They must lay 
their account, 

1. With the loss of their credit, esteem, and reputation. " We 

Vol. IV. L 


are fools," says the apostle, " for Christ's sake." None can be wise 
to the Lord, who are not content to be the world's fools. None will 
go to heaven but their reputation will run a risk sometime or other. 
The worldly wise will look upon them as a company of weak men, 
and the wicked will be ready to count them madmen. Nay, they 
may lay their account with their credit getting a jog, even among 
professors also. 

2. The loss of their worldly goods, Heb. x. 34. "When Joseph is 
flying from the temptation, the devil takes hold of the mantle of 
worldly substance, and they must either leave Christ, or they shall 
not know how to live in the world. 

3. The loss of ease and quiet. Sometimes they sit every one under 
his vine, each at his own table and fireside, but when persecutions 
arise they may be hunted as partridges, and not have where to lay 
their heads. 

4. The loss of outward comforts and conveniencies. The saints 
have often got caves for their houses, been exposed to the want of 
all things, to hunger, thrist, nakedness, with no certain dwelling- 

5. The loss of their relations. Husbands dragged from their 
wives, and wives from their husbands. In such cases they lose 
liberty, and sufter confinement, imprisonment or banishment. Racks, 
tortures, and scourges, are inflicted upon them, and these often ter- 
minate in the loss of their lives, and even after death their bones 
are not allowed to rest in their graves. Now let us enquire, 

II. What it is to suff'er these things for Christ. It is to suff'er 
them for Christ's sake. The saints get pardon, peace, and every 
blessing from God, for Christ's sake ; and they must take stripes and 
blows from the hands of men. But more of this, when God gives 
another opportunity. 

Novennber, 2, 1712. 

[Same subject continued.] 


PiiiLippiANS, iii. 8, 

For whom I have sufered the loss of all things. 

The last Lord's day, I told you several things, with the loss of 
which the saints might lay their accounts for Christ. There is one 


tiling, wliicli, from experience, we are tanglit tliey may lay their 
account to lose, namely, the countenance and protection of the civil 
magistrate in their duty. This is in itself a great loss. And seeing 
God has promised to a church, when he is well pleased with her, 
"that kings shall be her nursing fathers, and their queens her nurs- 
ing mothers;" the withdrawing of it must be a sign of the Lord's 
displeasure. Yea, and if we trace the sins of rulers that bear hard 
on the people to their first spring, we will find that it is some quarrel 
that God hath with the people, 2 Sam. xxiv. 1. This should humble 
us, and stir us up to pray for them, and be dutiful to them, to whom 
the Lord has said, " ye are gods," in every thing that is not incon- 
sistent with your duty to God himself. But this is a trial to us, 
whether we will regard God or man most; and the saints will ever 
prefer the countenance of the Lord, to the countenance of the highest 
powers on earth ; and depend upon his protection alone, when they 
are deprived of all other. 

I told you, likewise, Avhat it is to suffer the loss of any thing for 
Christ. I said, 1. It is to suffer for Christ's sake. 2. For the 
truths, the ways, and the cause of Christ. I will now add, 

3. It is to suffer upon Christ's call to suffering. "We are not to 
cast ourselves into suffering, even for a good cause, at random. We 
are not lords of ourselves, and therefore must not throw away our 
peace, goods, liberty, or life, but when God calls for them, and 
when that is the case, then all should be at his service. Now God 
calls us to it, when it is brought to that, to suffer or sin. " We must 
choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to 
enjoy the pleasures of sin, which are but for a season." If people 
cannot get over the waters of suffering but in the devil's boat, 
which is always a sieve to sink a good conscience, though it may 
save men's persons and goods, they must even be content to swim. 
If the cross lie just in the way of duty, and there be no way of get- 
ting by it, but by going out of the way, we must even take it up 
and be going. 

4. To suffer for the love of Christ. " Many waters cannot quench 
love, neither can the Hoods drown it." This is more than merely to 
suffer for his sake. Many a man, in time of the church's trouble, 
gets a blow for Christ's sake, that deserves it not at the enemy's 
hand ; for, at the bottom, they are even men of their own party, the 
seed of the serpent, though found among Christ's doves ; mere hypo- 
crites, they suffer not for Christ, seeing it is not for love to him, of 
which they are void. A Roman spirit may outbrave death itself; 
a rugged, opposing spirit may put men to sufter the hardest things, 
rather than yield. Yea, self is such a salamander as can live in 



fire, for a good cause. Though we give our bodies to he burned, and 
have not charity, it profitoth us nothing. But the hearts of honest 
sufferers are hardened against opposition of men, by soft love to the 
Lord himself; to his work, cause, and truths, for his own sake. 
" Thou, Lord, hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it 
may be displayed because of the truth." 

Lastly, It is to suffer as a member of the body of Christ. " If 
any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed ; but let him 
glorify God on this behalf." There was a measure of sufferings laid 
out for Christ personal, and he alone did bear them : " He endured 
the cross." But there is a measure of sufferings for Christ mysti- 
cal, which is divided amongst the members of Christ, as their head 
sees meet, and every one must take their share ; and thus " fill up 
that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in their flesh ; for 
his body's sake, which is the church." Some must give in of their 
goods, some their liberty, some their blood, to fill up this measure. 
And thus they suffer, that suffer for Christ. I come now to the 

III. Thing, Why the Lord trysts his people with suffering the 
loss of all things for him. 

1. Because there are no things which they can long guide well, 
and he will not permit them to destroy themselves with them. The 
father gives his child a knife in the sheath, to divert himself with 
it ; but within a little, the child draws out the knife, and plays with 
it. " Go," says the father, " take it from him, for he will hurt him- 
self with it." So God gives his people ease, peace, and wealth ; 
and so long as these are swallowed up with them in the love of 
God, they can do them no harm ; but alas ! they often childishly 
throw aside the love of the Lord, and solace themselves with the 
bare worldly enjoyments, and love to these things gets uppermost 
in their hearts ; then comes the word from the Lord, Take them 
from them. Such a man has made a pillow of security of such a 
thing, he is sleeping upon it, and minds not his work : go, draw the 
pillow from under his head, that he sleep not to death upon it. It 
is no wonder to see wasters want. We have had long peace in the 
enjoyment of ordinances. God removes that peace, that he may 
make us thankful of the crumbs which sometimes fall from our 
tables. Then the word of the Lord becomes precious, when there is 
no open vision. 

2. To exercise and quicken their graces, to make them thrive the 
better inwardly. " By this, therefore, shall the iniquity of Jacob be 
purged ; and this is all the fruit, to take away their sin." The 
Christian, like the palm-tree, or camomile bed, the more he is af- 
flicted, the more he grows. The fire burns hottest in a cold frost. 

DtriiY PKIZED. 159 

and the wind of persecution makes grace to flame, and blows away 
tiie ashes. The waters of affliction cast on the faces of fainting 
Christians has often made them recover. And sure this generation 
needs such an awakening. Sufferings tend to the conviction of men, 
Jer. ii. 23, 35. Solomon tells us, *' that oppression maketh a wise 
man mad;" and a greater than he lets us see it will make a mad 
man wise, as in the case of the prodigal, Luke xv. 17. No doubt, 
sufferings will make all of us see faults in our way, which we had 
no will to acknowledge in our prosperity. Sufferings also make sin 
bitter. " Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy back- 
slidings shall reprove thee ; know therefore, and see, that it is an 
evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy Grod." 
Sin is like Ezekiel's roll, sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the belly. 
When the Lord writes the sin in the punishment, the smart of the 
wound will make sin bitter. It will then be as gall and wormwood 
on the breasts, to wean the child. They are also a hedge in the sin- 
ner's way, Hosea ii. 6. Many are riding post away from the Lord, 
till the cross meet them, as the angel did Balaam, and makes them 
stand. And truly, if the Lord did not so with us, where would we 
be in a little time. It is God's goodness to the Church of Scotland, 
that he doth not allow her to have a long time in sinning, but takes 
her quickly, when she is going away from him. Afflictions also stir 
up the saints to take hold of a departing God, Hos. ii. 7. Suffer- 
ings are the devil's wedges, driven to separate the saints from 
Christ. But God makes them cords to draw them to him, and make 
them cleave to him with purpose of heart, as the child cleaves to 
the nurse the more that one offers to pluck it from her. 

3. To learn them to live by faith. " I will also leave in the 
midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in 
the name of the Lord." There is never so much glory given to God 
in believing, as in a suffering time ; the promises of the covenant 
never smell so sweet as then. Nay, there are many promises in the 
Bible, of which the saints never taste the sweetness till then. 
While their worldly enjoyments stand entire about them, they live 
much by sense. While they live at ease in their own houses, the 
shelter that is in that promise, " Lord, thou hast been our dwelling- 
place in all ages," is not so sweet as when they have nothing else 
to depend upon. The daily bread in the promise is not so sweet 
when we have plenty, as when we are in needy circumstances. 

4. To be a real testimony before the world of the superlative ex- 
cellency of Christ, and the reality of religion. While the world 
sees men whom they cannot deny to be otherwise wise and sober, 
and having a due concern about their worldly enjoyments, yet suffer 


tlie loss of all, rather than part with Christ and his way, it must 
needs leave a conviction on their consciences of these things. While 
they see this, it is a testimony before them to this, that Christ's 
favour, and way, are better than all the world ; preferable to rela- 
tions, goods, yea, and life itself. For his favour with them weighs 
down the world's frowns; and the testimony of their conscience, 
that bird within their breast, makes the sweetest of all melody. 
This conduct of the saints under sufferings is also a testimony to 
the life to come against an atheistical generation. What do they 
fear, that they choose suffering rather than sinning ; not the wrath 
of him " that can only kill the body," for sinning were the way to 
preserve it ; but the wrath of him " that can destroy both soul and 
body in hell." What do they hope for, great things in the world ? 
No, they lose what they have, they therefore look for a reward and 
recompense in another world. It is also a testimony to the power 
which there is in religion, to wean the heart from the world. " Job 
is but a dissembler," says the devil, " but put forth thine hand now, 
and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face." 
But Job makes the devil a liar. There is a power in religion, which 
makes them suffer the loss of all. It in like manner establishes 
this grand truth, that there is a power in religion to make men live 
without these things, which the carnal world cannot want; that 
there is a communication betwixt God and the soul, that can supply 
the want of all things. God will let his people see he can make 
them live very well without these things, and he will let the world 
see it too, John siv. 19. 

5. It is to make them long for heaven, and so to prepare them 
for a place among them that stand at his right hand. If they were 
not so harshly entertained in the world, they would not so much 
long to be home. But the rugged way which they find in the wil- 
derness makes them long to see the land of Canaan. While the 
sea of this world is calm to the people of God, they are in hazard 
of saying, " It is good for us to be here." Therefore the Lord 
raiseth a storm, the ship is tossed to and fro, then they long to be 
on shore in Immanuel's land. 

6. That what they get, they may the better see from what a 
blessed hand it comes. God loves to have his people know that 
they are in his common for what they have in a world. When men 
have all at hand, they do not so well understand their holding ; 
therefore he calls in his own benefits sometimes, to keep them from 
hand to mouth ; and make them many errands to the throne of 
grace, that what they had before in a more ordinary way, may come 
to them as an answer of prayer. 

Use 1. Of information. It lets us see, 


1. That no man is a saint indeed, but he to whom Christ is dearer 
tlian what is dearest to him in the world, Luke xiv. 26. Every 
child of God is a martyr either in action or affection. Grace, when 
it comes into the heart, so looseth all worldly things at the root, 
that if ever it come to that, that the man must either lose Christ, or 
lose all, he will suffer rather the loss of all things. 

2. That Christ hath not his due esteem in the heart, where the 
man can by no means suffer the loss of all for him. The shifting of 
the cross, by sinning against the Lord, however it may prevail some- 
times on the saints, if it be a man's habitual practice, will prove 
him to be none of his, for it says that the love of the world is pre- 
dominant in such a person. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. Let me exhort you then to be ready to 
evidence your esteem of Christ, by suffering the loss of all things 
for him, when he calls you to it. Be not offended at the cross of 
Christ, but embrace it. And be not chooseis of the cross. Some 
will be willing to part with such a thing for Christ, but there is an- 
other they cannot part with. But you must make no reserve. 
Alas ! that this exhortation is so very seasonable. The half hour's 
silence in the heaven of this Church seems to be at an end. The 
plough that made sucli deep furrows on the back of this Church 
formerly, stands now yoked again ; the cords of it, which the Lord 
cut, are knit again, and how soon the word may be given to drive 
on, we know not. But if it were once set agoing, it is very like it 
may make deeper furrows on the back of the Church of Scotland 
than ever it yet made since her youth, though we hope it shall be 
loosed sooner. Idolatrous papists and superstitious bigots make 
furious drivers. " Let us contend for the faith once delivered unto 
the saints," and cleave to that purity of doctrine, worship, disci- 
pline, and government, to which this Church hath by the mercy of 
God attained ; to which she stands engaged by the covenants ; and 
which has been handed down to us, sealed with the blood of many 
martyrs. " Let us stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath 
made us free." Let our esteem of Christ, his truths, ways and 
work, be displayed in our suffering the loss of all things, rather 
than give up with them. 

Motive 1. We will betray Christ's cause, if we shift his cross. 
And woe be to that man who doth this. It is impossible in the way 
of God's dispensation laid down in the Scripture, that the church 
should continue in the world without sufferings. " For we muat 
through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Yea, and 
all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution." 
Do we think that ever the seed of the woman and the seed of the 


serpent will be at peace ? that ever the ship of the church will get to 
the haven, without the devil's raising a storm to sink her? Where 
had Christianity been this day, if the primitive Christians had 
complied with their pagan persecutors, and refused to suffer ? "Where 
had the Protestant religion been, if bloody cruelties could have 
frightened our ancestors into popery ? And where had our Church 
been this day, if the fining, imprisoning, banishing, executing of 
the opposers of abjured prelacy, had frightened all into a tame com- 
pliance with the course of defection then carried on. So that whoso- 
ever shall choose to sin rather than suffer, will for his part give 
Christ and his work freedom to depart out of our coasts. 

2. Consider the danger of apostacy from the good ways of the 
Lord, because of the cross. " If any man draw back," saith God, 
" my soul shall have no pleasure in him." This makes men unsa- 
voury salt, withered branches, and ordinarily ends in the candle of 
their life going out with a stink ; either going off in fearful stu- 
pidity, or horror. "Hold fast, then, the form of sound words as 
ye have been taught" for many years, and however you may bo 
afterwards trysted, let it appear that you have not heard nor pro- 
fessed in vain. And though grievous wolves enter among you, let 
it be seen that you are Christ's sheep that discern his voice, and 
that will not refuse even his fire mark, rather than to be marked 
for another. 

3. Consider that whatever Christ shall mark out for his, among 
the things you have, whenever he has said, give up with it for me, 
it will not be worth the keeping longer. For what ? It will be 
like the manna, which the people kept until the morning, against 
the express command of God, which stank and bred worms. The 
plague of God will be in it, and it will never after do you good. 
" It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and 
after vows to make inquiry." If Christ shall say, Man, give up 
with your ease, goods, liberty, life, for me ; thou hadst better be har- 
rassed, tossed and stripped of thy substance, than be at ease in thy 
own house, amidst all thy enjoyments. Nothing in the world can 
be more to us than what God makes it be. We can get no good of 
what we have, but what goodness God puts in it. But in this the 
substance is out of it. An evil conscience will put a sting in it, 
and either silently or violently suck the sap out of it. 

4. What is lost for Christ will be the surest and best laid out 
thing in your possession. It is good lending to the Lord. You will 
have his bond for it. " And every one that hath forsaken houses, 
or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, 
or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and 


sliall inherit eternal life." See here the interest secured, and that 
is a very extraordinary interest, an hundred for one. That is peace of 
conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, sweet contentment, with any thing 
that is left, and a blessing in it. A little for present support, 
served up in the dish of a promise and a particular providence, 
which you will see as if you saw the face of God ; which is an hun- 
dred-fold better than any thing lost for him. See also the prin- 
cipal secured, but exchanged into eternal life, in heaven. 

November 9, 1712. 

[Same subject continued. J 


Philippians iii. 8, 

For whom I have suffered the loss of all things. 

Now, let me urge, by a few motives, that ye be not choosers of the 
cross, but let all without reserve be at his service. 

Motive 1. Absolute resignation of ourselves to the will of the 
Lord is necessary to evidence our sincerity. There is no reality 
where there is any reserve, for where Christ has the chief room in 
the heart, every thing will give place to him, Acts xx. 24. The 
will must be the first sufferer, if ever a man suffer to purpose. It 
must be melted down into an universal compliance with the will of 

2. Christ's standard will never be kept up in the world by a 
company of men who have any thing with which they cannot part 
for Christ. Persecution is like a fire, that will burn on and con- 
sume, aye and until it meet with something that will not burn. 
The wicked's malice will not end, till they can go no farther. 

3. It is in some sort all one what we sufter for Christ ; for in our 
own strength we cannot acceptably sufter the loss of any thing for 
him; but in his strength we are able to sustain the greatest loss, 
and yet say, " we have all, and abound." Peter denied Christ, at 
the voice of a maid ; but wheu strengthened by his Master's grace, 
his boldness was so astonishingly great, "that even the rulers took 
knowledge of him that he had been with Jesus." The Lord gives 


people strength suited to their burden. It is as easy for a strong 
man to lift a stone weight, as for a child to lift a pound. 

4. The small things we lose for Christ, are lost indeed as to 
divine acceptation, when not willing to part with all for him. He 
will not be served by halves, nor according to our will, Mai. i. 13; 
2 John viii. 

Lastly, Christ stood at no loss, as too hard for us. He took the 
whole cup, and wrung out the dregs of it. "What had become of us, 
had Christ dealt with the Father, as we do with him ? No, but he 
was content to be the Father's servant in all, Psal. xl. 

Directions. 1. Labour to get your hearts loosed from the world. 
" Love not the world, neither the things of the world. If any man 
love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Xow if you 
would be thus loosed from the world, then let your hearts be going 
out more after heaven. I must put these together, for there is no 
parting of them. The heart will never give up its hold of the world 
till it be to fix on heaven. So you must do with your hearts as 
they do with children, when they offer to take one thing from them, 
they must do it by putting another thing in their hand. Now if 
the heart were loosed, worldly things would fall off easily, as ripe 
fruit from a tree ; and the affections set on heaven, fit for suffering, 
Phil. iii. 18, 19, 20. 

2. Strive to get the coal of holy zeal blown up in your spirits. 
A bird shall as soon fly without wings, as one suffer aright without 
zeal for God. Zeal is an heat of the affections to Christ, his cause, 
his truths, and way. It is properly an affection that is betwixt 
married persons, by which they resent the affronts pat upon their 
yoke-fellow, especially with respect to their chastity. " For I am 
jealous over you," says Paul, " with godly jealousy," 2 Cor. xi. 2, 3. 
(Greek,) zealous over you with zeal. And if ever there was a time 
for this zeal, it is now, when so many are crying, let Ziou be defiled, 
when they are setting themselves to deal with our mother as with 
an harlot. 

3. Study experimental religion. There is no disputing against 
sense and feeling. Hence the unlearned, but experienced Christ- 
ian has stood it out, when the disputers of this world have fallen. 
Study to keep up the power of godliness, communion with God in 
duties, and to feel the power of truth upon your hearts. Personal 
holiness in men's private walk is an excellent help to their keeping 
right in public trials. 

4. Renew your repentance, and let there be no standing quarrel 
betwixt God and you. Unmortified, unrepented sin, leaves a sting 
ill the conscience, deprives us of confidence with God, and so unfits 
us for bearing the cross. 


Lastly, Live by faith. " The just shall live by faith." Let faith 
be employed to cast your burdeu on the Lord ; the burden of your 
duty, protection, provision, and through-bearing on Christ, and to 
keep in your eye the promised reward, Ileb. xi. 26. 

I should now come to speak of these things of which the saints 
suffer the loss, in point of confidence, for Christ. But I have before, 
on the third verse, spoken of these things, internal and external, 
with which they give up in point of confidence. I will only hint at 
two things : 

1. The saints suffering the loss of their sufferings for Christ, in 
point of confidence in them. Sirs, you heard what you may be 
obliged to lose for Christ ; but I will tell you one thing more which 
you must give up for him, when you have suffered the loss of all 
these ; and that is, all confidence in these your sufferings, or else 
you will lose them all indeed; as when you have done, so when you 
have suffered, " you must say you are unprofitable servants." They 
will perish in their suft'erings, who make their sufferings their con- 
fidence before the Lord. Consider, 

1. This has been the way of all honest sufferers, Gal. vi. 14 ; 
compai'e 2 Cor. xi. 23. See also Rev. vii. 14, 15. "When they have 
lost all for him, they have renounced confidence in all, and fled naked 
to the horns of the altar, and durst not plead for his favour for 
their sufferings, but for the Lord's sufferings. 

2. To plead upon sufierings for Christ is a dreadful mark of 
a graceless sufferer, Matth. xx. 12 — 16. It is a sign men seek 
themelves and not the Lord in their sufferings, therefore they get 
their penny, the credit and reputation among the saints that they 
were seeking, and that is all. 

3. What is the Lord obliged to us, when we have suffered the loss 
of all? Have we done more than our duty; yea, than our interest 
led us to ? If a beggar should come in, and crave his alms as debt, 
because, forsooth, he stood at your door, and would not go away, 
though a heavy rain was falling on him all the time, what would 
you think of his plea? So it is with us, if we plead the merit of 
our sufferings. 

4. None of our suft'erings will abide the trial of the law, so that 
in our best performances that way there is sin to condemn us. So 
that if God would enter into judgment with us for our suft'erings, we 
would be ruined by them. The greatest patience wants not a 
mixture of impatience, and the strongest faith some remaining 

Lastly, It is our honour to suffer for Christ, and considering our 
uuworthiness and sinfulness, we may wonder if ever God honour 


the like of us to bear his cross. And therefore such persous are 
deeper iu debt to free grace than other persons ; because that they 
had any thing to lose for Christ, wliich many have not, and that 
when they had it, they had a heart to part with it for him. 

2. I would take notice of the difficulty of parting with these 
things, in point of confidence. Such a difficulty it was to the 
apostle, that it was a perfect suffering on his part. He had a diffi- 
culty in renouncing them, but yet he did it. 

1. It is difficult, for it is above nature to do it. It is harder for 
a man to renounce confidence iu his suffering, than it is to suffer ; 
or in his duties when done, than it is to do them. The latter are 
not beyond the power of nature, the former are, Phil. iii. 3 ; Matth. 
V. 3. The influence of the law may bear a man out to the latter, 
but gospel grace is necessary to the former. 

It is contrary to nature to do it. Not only nature cannot do it, 
but cannot but resist the doing of it. Nature bends always to the 
way of the covenant of works, which was to depend upon the good 
done by the man himself, and is opposite to the way of believing, 
which carries a man out of himself to Christ. This is a suffering 
to a proud heart, to have its beautiful feathers thus pulled down 
and trampled in the dust. To be obliged to another for life, while 
it thought it had a sufficiency of its own. To be at pains to do and 
suffer for the Lord, and after all to be obliged to renounce all it has 
done and suffered, and betake itself to the doing and suffering of 
another : to work for the winning of heaven, and then to overlook 
all as if they had done nothing. It is no evidence of acquaintance 
with the heart, where men find nothing of this difficulty. This 
weed grows in all men's hearts naturally, however few do sweat at 
the plucking it up. Amen. 

[Same subject continued.] 


Philippians iii. 8, 
And do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. 

Many are mistaken in their first accounts, and therefore throw 
away what they would gladly take up again, when thoy have made a 


second reckoning. Sucb are the foolish builders, Luke xiv. 29. But 
the apostle, who first counted all loss, and then parted with them for 
Christ, upon a review counts them but dung or dog's meat, such 
things as are only fit to be cast to the dogs : and so repents not his 
parting with them, but takes his heart away from them all, that he 
may gain Christ. This was his grand object in the world, to which 
all things behoved to yield. And gaining Christ with the loss of all, 
counts himself a great gainer. 

Doctrine I. It is the Christian's grand object in the world, and 
should be the grand design of every one, to win, or gain Christ. 

0, my brethren ! what is your grand object or design in the world ? 
what is the great business which you have in view? No doubt it is 
to win something. But what is that something which you chiefly 
set yourselves to win ? Is it to win preferment ? to win an estate ? 
a stock to yourselves, and your families to live upon, after you ? To 
win a livelihood ? Are these your grand objects in the world ? I 
fear most of us rise no higher. These are too mean, too grovelling. 
I shew you a more excellent way. If you make not this your choice, 
you will be fools indeed. 

1. I will shew you what it is to win Christ, and how we are to 
win him. 

II. Give the reasons of the point. Let us then, 
I. Shew what it is to win Christ, and how we are to win him. 
To win or gain Christ, is to get him to be ours. To get an interest 
in him, and enjoy him. This we have always to seek till we come to 
heaven, where we will have the full enjoyment of him. This is that 
which is the grand object of some, and should be of us all. Now 
this winning of Christ imports, that naturally we are without Christ, 
Eph. ii. 12. He is not ours naturally. This spiritual relation to 
Christ must be by the sinner's consent, who must take him for Lord 
and Husband, and then he is theirs. But all naturally are destitute 
of an interest in this blessed treasure. It imports, also, that Christ 
is gain. They are great gainers that get him. He is an inestimable 
treasure, " the treasure hid in the field." " The one pearl of 
great price." They are enriched for ever that have him to be theirs. 
Lose who will, they are gainers. The blind world see no beauty for 
which he is to be desired. But it is no wonder to see the most gain- 
ful bargain slighted by fools, who have a price put into their hand 
to get it, but have no heart for it. It imports that this gain may be 
got. We may have Clirist for the winning. Tlie treasure is hid in 
the field, they may have it that will dig for it. Christ is revealed 
and offered in the gospel. The door of access to him is open. The 
proclamation is made, " whosoever will, let him take the water of 

168 r'lrnisT jkstts 

life freely." It is our own fault if we want liim. But they tliat 
will have him must win him ere they can get him. People must not 
think to sit at ease, and wait till heaven drop down into their 
mouths; or that an interest in Christ, and the enjoyment of him, will 
be obtained by drowsy wishes, with folded hands. No, we must lay 
this bargain to heart, and leave no stone unturned to make it ef- 
fectual ; nay, in order to win him, 

1. We must work and win as labourers do. "Work out your 
own salvation with fear and trembling." It will cost working, and 
sore working. What severer work, than that of those who dig in 
mines. " If thou seekest her as silver, and searches! for her as for 
hid treasures, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and 
find the knowledge of God." Up then, you lazy souls, if you would 
have a Christ ; you must put your hand to work ; yea, your heart 
must be set to work. '* Ye shall seek me and find, saith the Lord ; 
when you shall search for me with all your heart." God gives 
Christ freely ; but I assure you it is to labourers, not to loiterers, 
that gift is made. You will toil sore to win something for the body, 
but what are you doing to win Christ ? 

2. We must fight and win as soldiers. " The kingdom of heaven 
suffcreth violence, and the violent take it by force." If you have a 
mind for Christ, to come even to his seat, you must fight your way 
to it. " To him that overcometh," saith he, " will I give to sit with 
me on my throne ; even as I also overcame, and am set down with 
ray Father in his throne." Whenever a soul is on the way to Christ, 
the alarm is sounded in hell, and if the soul will have him, it must 
have him in opposition to flesh and blood, principalities and powers. 
You must fight your way through the white band of the world's smiles, 
profits, and pleasures ; and refuse to be held by these silken cords, 
which the devil uses to keep souls from Christ ; and also through 
the black band of temptations, doubts, fears, discouragements, that 
he will muster up against you; and, by all appearance, the red band 
too, so that it may cost you to resist unto blood, Heb. xii. 4. Some- 
times Satan gets plunderings, prisons, tortures, yea, and death, set 
up between Christ and them that would be at him ; but you must 
fight and win, saying, in all these things, "we shall be more than 
conquerors, through him that loved us." 

3. We must wrestle and win, as those do who strive for the mas- 
tery, Eph. vi. 12 — 14. There will be a combat, in which you 
must be engaged against your own lusts, "for the flesh lusteth 
against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh," If you tamely 
yield, truly you will never win Christ, You must in his strength 
cast them down, get them nailed to his cross, and make your way 


over them, to the enjoyment of himself. You must cut off right 
hands, and pluck out right eyes, that yon may win Christ. 

4. We must run and win as racers do. " So run that ye may 
obtain." " Lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth most 
easily beset yon, and run with patience the race set before you." 
There is a race proposed by the Lord, namely, the profession of the 
truth, and practice of holiness. The Lord Christ and his apostles 
opened the race, and ever since that time there have been many 
who engaged to run that race. But as soon as it was opened, the 
devil planted thorns on the race ground, kindled fires, set up gibbets, 
laid misery, shame, grief, poverty, and temptations of all sorts in 
the way. Many foil, many turned back, a great many run faintly, 
but all go forward that win Christ. In the world, men suppose but 
two fixed points, the highest and the lowest ; the bodies betwixt the 
two are in continual motion. In the rational world, the glorified 
are in the highest point, the damned in the lowest. Both fixed, 
neither of them can go farther. We that are betwixt the two, are 
in motion either to heaven or hell. If we would win Christ, then, 
let us set our face heavenward, and run and win. 

5. We must trade and win as merchants do. " The kingdom of 
heaven is like unto a merchantman seeking goodly pearls ; who, 
when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that 
he had, and bought it." And, as spiritual merchants, we must be at 
pains ; we must exchange and win, as they do. They that have a 
mind for Christ, have much business in the royal exchange of hea- 
ven. And you will say they win indeed, if you consider what they 
exchange with the Lord. " A new heart also," says he, " will I 
give you, and a new spirit will I put within you ; and I will take 
away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of 
flesh." Christ takes off their rags, and gives them his robes of 
righteousness. He frees them from the curse, and sends them away 
with the blessing. You must also sell and win, as merchants do. I 
had occasion, on another subject, to tell you how you must sell all you 
have at the market of free grace, Mark x. 22, and condescended on 
the particulars which you are to sell. Be sure this is a gaining 

You must also buy and win, as merchants do. I find three 
things, which the spiritual merchant, who would win Christ, is this 
day called to buy. Precious truth. " Buy the truth, and sell it 
not." It can never be too dear bought ; whatever people may pay 
for it, they are gainers. This is like to be a time for selling of the 
truth, and persons of Judas' trade will never be wanting, saying, 
" what will you give me, and I will deliver him unto yon." But 


let men get for it what they will, they will find at length that they 
have made a fool's bargain, and they will be losers at the end of 
the day. " For what is a man i)rofited, if he shall gain the whole 
world, and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man give in ex- 
change for his soul ?" A second thing you ought to buy, is precious 
time. " Redeeming the time," says Paul. We have had a long 
time of selling it, and squandering it away, though we have not 
enriched ourselves with the price. We have allowed onr precious 
opportunities of communion with God to go for trifles. But buy 
again now, for the days are evil. That is, as the merchant who has 
foolishly neglected his business most of the day, plys it most eagerly 
when he sees the market is near a close, if by any means he may 
make up his former loss. So do you. The third thing you must 
buy, is the precious riches of Christ. " I counsel thee," says he, 
" to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich ; and 
white raiment, that you may be clothed." His merit ; that is, gold 
able to purchase heaven. His righteousness ; raiment for your souls. 
His Spirit ; salve for your blind eyes. It is a blessed market this. 
You cannot but be gainers. Here we are to " buy without money 
and without price." For I hope you will not count upon renoun- 
cing yonr own merits, righteousness and wisdom, as a price for 
these things. You must also export and import, as merchants do. 
Our trade to heaven consists much in our export to Immanuel's 
land. And what have we to export, but the home product of guilt, 
weakness, poverty and wants. But let us carry them all away to 
the Lord, we will gain by it, leaving them there. We must import 
the products of the King's country, consisting of pardons for our 
guilt, strength for our weakness, and fulness for our wants, and 
then we will gain indeed. We now proceed, 

XL To give reasons of the point. It is the Christian's great ob- 
ject to win Christ, and should be the great object of all. 

1. Because if we win Christ, we gain all. This is the shortest 
way to make up a stock, a treasure that will enrich us for ever, in 
time and eternity. He thought so who said, " one thing have I de- 
sired of the Lord ; that will I seek after." So also did the wise mer- 
chant, Matth. xiii. 45, 46. He were a foolish man who would spend 
his time in making a great number of petty bargains, by which he 
gained but little, and would neglect a bargain that would make up 
for all his days, when in his ofi'er. Thou art the man, whose great 
object is not to win Christ. If you win Christ, you are made up for 
time. " Godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise 
of the life that now is." What would you have for time ? Would 
you have food and raiment ? win Christ, and you shall have 


tliem. With tlio kingdom of God your great object, " all these 
things shall be added unto you." It will be a very bad time 
indeed, in which Christ's spouse may not promise herself food and 
raiment. It is not an uncertain, but sure thing : " Bread shall be 
given her, her water shall be sure," She wants then only a dwell- 
ing-place : well, " she shall dwell on high ; yea, the Lord himself is 
her dwelling-place, in all generations." But some people would have 
land too. Then there is no such sure way to make a purchase as 
this, win Christ. He is Lord of all the land in the world, and the 
whole earth is thine in the right of thy husband, Matth. v. 5. But 
what will people do for money ? Win Christ, and you shall not 
want it. "The Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have 
plenty of silver." (Hebrew,) gold; and the silver of thy strength. 

Objection. Yes, says the unbeliever, these are brave words, but 
depend upon them, and see what they will bring in to thy treasure, 
Answer. They are God's words, and his good words are better than 
all the world's good deeds, God gives some persons, for whom he 
hath no special care, their portion in their hand, and sends them 
away ; and others, his dearest children, he gives them the good 
words of a promise, and keeps them at home with himself. Say 
now, who has the best of it, Matth. xxv. 34, " Ye blessed of my 
Father;" (Greek,) you to whom ray Father hath spoken well. God's 
good words have always good deeds in their bosom. He will not 
approve of those who say to the needy, "be ye clothed, be ye fed, 
but give not the things that are needful for the body." And will 
he be found such an one himself? No, no. Many of the saints have 
depended upon his words, and they have been fed and clothed, and 
left their experience on record, Psal. xxxiv. 6 — 10. They have de- 
clared, that like the disciples, "they had lacked nothing." The 
mistake of the unbeliever is, he thinks God's bond cannot be paid, 
unless it be paid in cash, the very thing itself. No, God can make 
it out another way, and his people can say, " as having nothing, 
and yet possessing all things." Had Moses any reason to complain, 
when he wanted meat forty days, when God so supported him, that 
he needed it not. Adam lived very well at first, when the heaven 
was the roof of his house, the earth his floor, the grass his seat, and 
the shade of trees his bed-chamber. He did not complain of the 
want of a house, when God was his God, and he was so provided. 
Stamped leather has sometimes gone for money, and they that had 
enough of it were even as rich as they that have the silver and gold 
now ; and if it was as good, I hope you may allow the Almighty him- 
self to be better than gold. 

Again, thou art made up for eternity. " Godliness is profitable 

Vol. IV. ' m 


unto all things, having tlie promise of the life that now is, and of 
that which is to come." Come death when it will, thy lodging is 
taken up on the other side of Jordan. Thou hast won the Lord of 
the land to be thine, how canst thou be but welcome there? John 
xiv. 2. The law cannot lay aught to thy charge, for he has satisfied 
it, and thou mayest say, " I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless 
I live." Justice cannot apprehend thee, for the debt is paid and 
Christ has got up thy discharge. When the gain of other people, 
who are winning the world, is at an end, thy gain is but in some 
sort beginning to come in, but it is a gain that will tell out through 
the ages of eternity. 

2. Because if we win not Christ, we win nothing, we lose all. We 
lose our souls, and where is our gain then ? Matth. xvi. 26. "Without 
Christ, without hope, for he is the only way to the Father, John xiv. 
6. The wise people of the world need not boast of their winning ; 
they are penny wise and pound foolish, win what they will, seeing 
they win not Christ. Whatever they are winning, there is a thou- 
sand times more going to destruction in the meantime. Would he 
be a wise man that would go abroad in the harvest, and while he is 
winning by some little bargain, his whole crop in the meantime is 
shaken with the wind, and rotten with the rain. That is thy case, 
man ! thou art abroad winning the world, but all is going wrong 
at home within thy own soul. And when thou comest home to thyself, 
at death, or otherwise, it will be sad. Whatever you are winning, 
is but like children winning of their fellows, that will never make them 
rich, never buy meat nor clothes to them. It is money " for that 
which is not bread, and labour for that which satisSeth not." A 
thousand worlds will not purchase a pardon ; a heaven to you, 
without which you will be miserable. It is a poor trade, where a 
man is not winning Christ. It will never bring him the one thing 
necessary, and what winning can be there ? 

Whatever you are winning, if you would count what you give 
out, as well as what you get in, you would find all your winning is 
worse than nothing. Count your days, your precious time, precious 
opportunities of grace and salvation, your precious souls laid out 
in winning the things of the world, but not Christ ; each of which 
is far more precious than what you can win that way, and you will 
see you win nothing by the bargain, but are great losers. 

Use 1. It reproves several sorts of persons ; and first, those who 
are taken up about nothing but to win the world, utterly neglecting 
to win Christ, and to get an interest in him. There is little dif- 
ference between such and the brutes. They work, and eat, and sleep ; 
these are the all of the beasts, and the all of some who are worse 


than the beasts. They never seriously set themselves to get mat- 
ters right for their souls. It were their advantage that they could 
die as the beasts, as they live like them. 

You whose business it is to win Christ, but it is not your main 
business. It is but a bye-hand work with you. It is the world that 
is nearer your hearts than an interest in Christ, and the enjoyment 
of him. You walk with God at all adventures. Assure yourselves 
that no man will stumble upon Christ by accident, or snapper into 
heaven, or fall into it by guess. If you make it not your chief busi- 
ness, you may gain a name, but you will never win Christ. 

Those who sell the truth and a good conscience, that they may 
get the world kept. People that will sail with every wind, and 
keep always on the side that is upmost in the world, are not in the 
way to win Christ ; " For we can do nothing against the truth, but 
for the truth." Take heed to yourselves, our time is like to be an 
ensnaring time. You will be fair to lose the world and its counte- 
nance, or to lose Christ. But be you ready to let all go which you 
cannot hold in his own way, Avith his favour. 

Those who will not stand to sell soul and conscience, to win some- 
thing of the world, if they can but get their hands on it. They are 
careful for nothing but their credit, which is in hazard too, if so be 
they can gain some little thing iu the world. It seems we have such 
persons among us, by the frequent complaints people are making of 
their losses that way, not only by picking, but stealing. May the 
good Lord discover them for a terror to others ! ! how are 
people's consciences thus seared, and their hearts hardened to defy 
that curse, that roll of curses that God has said he will send into 
the house of the thief, Zech. v. 4; that bill of eternal exclusion from 
heaven, passed against the unrighteous, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. Read 
their doom, Deut. xxix. 19, 20. 

Use 2. I exhort you to make it your main business in the world 
to win Christ. Consider this is the way iu which every person may 
win, the poor as well as the rich. It is not much the most part 
of us can rationally propose to win to ourselves in the world. It is 
difficult to win much, unless people have a good stock, and be very di- 
ligent also. But come here and win, even you that hath no money. 

You have been at pains to win something of tiie world. Some 
of you have won, some of you have lost; many of you have real 
difficulty to win your daily bread. You have tried the one, will you 
not do so much as try the other also. Sirs, if you will not, your 
toil, sweat, and Aveariness, in winning the world, will be a witness 
against you before the Lord, that you could be at pains for other 
things, but at no pains for Christ. 

M 2 

174 f'limsT JESUS 

This is the shortest way of winning. No man will choose the win- 
ning by many small bargains, when he can win all that and more by 
one great bargain. This is the case, win Christ and you win all. 
In short, it is a safe and sure way of winning. The best traders 
that ever carried on merchandise have lost of some bargains ; but 
never one was a loser here. You will be sure to win if you set your- 
self to win Christ, and your winning will be beyond your expectation. 

Lastly, It is a durable winning that can never be lost. People 
will be winners one year, and lose all that and more, another year ; 
win of one bargain, and lose it again of another : but win Christ 
once, and you will never again lose your winning. 

Use. 3. Of trial. Yon may see whether you be Christians or not. 
Try what is your grand object. Is it to win Christ, or not ? You 
may know it by what follows. 

Doctrine. II. They whose grand object in the world is to win 
Christ, will count all but dung that comes in competition with this 
bargain. For explication of this, they will count, 

1. Nothing too much for him, but be content to have Christ on 
any terms. They will say, " Lord, what wilt thou have me to do." 
Dung is a worthless thing, that nobody makes account of. They 
will think no pains too much for him ; and they that think other- 
wise, never saw the worth of the pearl, Prov. ii. 4, 5. They will 
hang on about his door, and think they speed well, if they be heard 
at length. They will count no cost too much. Sometimes men have 
a cheap religion ; but it is not to be supposed that they will always 
get the Lord served with that which cost them nothing. It is very 
like that God will have a costly sacrifice of the hand of these na- 
tions ; to which both his own people, and the enemies of religion and 
of his work, shall be obliged to contribute both of their goods and of 
their blood. These lands are defiled with blood. So many murder- 
ers escaping unpunished ; and the blood of the saints shed in these 
nations remains unpurged, though it is like there may be more put 
to it, and the land may get blood to drink. It nearly concerns us 
that God hath said, " I will bring a sword upon you, that shall 
avenge the quarrel of my covenant." We have mixed with the na- 
tions and learned of them their ways, and justly may the Lord send 
the instruments of his vengeance from the places from which we 
have brought the atheism and profanity of the day. But cost what 
it will, the saints will think nothing too much, so as they win Christ. 

2. Cost what it will, they Avill not think that they are even hands, but 
that they are gainers, if they can win Christ. Whatever be laid in 
the balance with Christ, it is but so much dung and dross for so much 

1>ULY PKIZED. 175 

gold. They must lay out for Christ, lusts dear as right eyes ; yea, 
it may be also goods, liberty, and life. The carnal world cannot 
see how they can hold their own with such trading, and therefore 
will trade no such way. But he whose grand object is to win Christ, 
considers it the most gainful bargain ; even a hundred-fold got in, 
for one given out, Matth. xix. 29. 

3. Have what they will, they will count they have nothing, while 
they have not Christ. "What avail barns, and coffers full of dung, 
to a man ? What do food and clothing, riches and honour, avail 
to a man who sees the need and the worth of Christ ? Will he not 
be ready to say, what wilt thou give me, if I go Christless ? These 
things can do no more to my poor soul, than dung to my body. 
Could the soul dwell and feed with the swine, they would have 
enough, while they have dog's meat. This says, few make it their 
grand object to win Christ, seeing so many can live and reign as 
kings without him ; and give them the world aud their lusts, and 
they have the desire of their hearts. 

4. Win what they will, they will count they win nothing, if they 
win not Christ. It is but dung they can win that way. The world 
thinks godly people fools, while they care not for winning, as 
they do. But see the world's fool's, while they lose so egregiously, 
yet count themselves gainers. Achan was no gainer, when he 
brought into his tent a wedge of gold, and a weight of wrath far 
heavier than the wedge. That meat is but dog's meat, that has a 
bone in it to stick in the throat of the eater. The open fields are 
better than a house in which brimstone is scattered on the habita- 
tion. Wealth; with the want of God's favour, is but dung in compa- 
rison of want, with God's good will. I am afraid there are but few 
who count this way. 

5. Be about them what will, if Christ be not in them, they will 
count themselves loathsome with it all, like persons that have no- 
thing but dung about them, Job ix. 31 ; therefore they count wicked 
men vile men, Psal. xv. 4. Rags, with righteousness, are more de- 
sirable to them than robes aud gay apparel, where there is a naked 
soul. What is a throne for the body but dung, while Christ has 
not the throne of the heart ; or riches, while men are not rich to- 
ward God. 

6. Be in their way what will, to hinder them from Christ, they 
will shovel it out of their way as dung, rather than be kept back 
from Christ, Song viii. 6. 7- Him they cannot want, him they must 
have. " Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way ; take up the 
stumbling-block out of the way of my people." They must be at 
Zion J and if they should cut their way through rocks aud over 

176 ohhist JESUS 

niouniains, tliey must be there; if a Red Sea were before them, it 
shall not stop them. ! how easily are the most of us kept back 
from Christ ! Little thing will stand betwixt him and us, which we 
will be as loathe to cast out of our way, as if it were gold. 

Lasthi, If they cannot shovel it out of their way, they will tread 
and trample on it as dung, that they may win Christ. " Thus Levi 
said unto his father, and to his mother, I have not seen him ; 
neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children; 
for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant." The 
street of the New Jerusalem is laid with gold, for the citizens there- 
of will tread on gold, and on what is most valuable in the world, 
that they may get forward to God. If waters be in their way, they 
will pass through them ; and if fires, they will walk over them, and 
therefore all the travellers to Zion " have their feet shod with the 
preparation of the gospel of peace." 

Use 1. Of information. This lets us see that there are few iu 
the world whose grand object is to win Christ ; so far are they from 
counting that dung which comes in competition with Christ. Nay, 
instead of that, people are worshipping dung gods, so the original 
calls idols. The gods of many are no other than gods coming out of 
the earth. It is the earth, and what is in it, that has most of their 
hearts. The belly is the god of many, the world of others, for co- 
vetousness is idolatry ; yea, who is the god of this world, but the 
devil, Beelzebub ; that is, the god of dung, (Syriac.) 

They are also wallowing in the mire of profanity, 2 Pet. ii. 22. 
Mire, the word properly signifies the dung that is carried out of 
stables in which swine wallow. And what are these profane courses, 
but that which comes out of the vile stable of an unrenewed heart, 
Mark vii. 21. And alas ! many washed swine are found there, who 
sometimes appeared another thing than they are now. 

They are loading themselves with the thick clay of the world, 
Hab. ii. 6. Taking a complete burden of the world, pressing them 
so that they cannot get up their heads toward heaven. Surely these 
count not the world dung, or less of it would serve them. The cares 
of it stretch their minds like tenter hooks, and are Satan's cords 
binding them down to the earth, that they cannot lift up their souls 
to ^.he Lord. Thus the houses of many are but dunghills, where all 
is for the world, nothing for God and themselves, but dung to fatten 
the earth, not to help to replenish heaven. Dust is their meat, for 
they are the serpent's seed, Isaiah Ixv. 25. That is to say, they 
fetch their satisfaction from their lusts, they cannot rejoice in God, 
nor in the ways of holiness. These things are tasteless to them, 
and nothing relishes with them, but the husks of sin, which the 
swino of the world eat. 


Finalli/, The worship of mauy is but dung and loathsome. God 
says to them, " I will spread dung on your faces, even the dung of 
your solemn feasts." Tliere is nothing of spirit in their worship. It 
is but a loathsome carcase of bodily exercise, which is good for no- 
thing but to be cast out. They may value it themselves, for some- 
times dung was valued highly, when " a fourth part of a cab of it 
was sold for five pieces of silver," but God abhors it. There was a 
gate in Jerusalem called the dung-gate, Neh. ii. 13. Such may be 
in the church, but they will be carried out at the dung-port by death, 
or otherwise ; and see their end, "they shall perish forever, like 
their own dung ; they who have seen them shall say, where are 
they ?" 

Use 2. Evidence yourselves true Christians, by counting thus. 
There are three parts of counting, which the carnal world cannot 
learn, but Christians learn them at the school of Christ: 

1. Counting days. "So teach us," says Moses, ''to number 
our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom." The carnal, 
when they begin to count their time, they number by years, and 
many years, Luke xii. 19 ; and hence they always fool away the 
present time. But the Christian will count by days, and these few 
days short and uncertain, Gen. xlvii. 9 ; and " so apply their hearts 
unto wisdom." 

2. Counting afflictions and trials to be gainful. The carnal 
world can make nothing of these that is desirable, but the total of 
them is still grief, sorrow, and loss; they cannot see how to make 
more of them. But the godly are taught to count them light, mo- 
mentary, and gainful ; yea, " as working for them a far more ex- 
ceeding and eternal weight of glory." They count them all joy, and 
that they are happy that endure them, James i. 2, and v. 11. 

3. Counting things of this world, in competition with Christ, to 
their true value. The world is ever completely wrong in this count- 
ing. Here they count their mites to talents; and instead of fifty, 
set down an hundred. They count them ever above their worth, 
better than Christ and his favour. But Christians have learned to 
count them at another rate, all loss and dung for Christ; and I 
would have you count so. Consider, 

1. How God accounts of them. The verdict of the Spirit con- 
cerning all is, " vanity of vanity, all is vanity." " Riches are 
that which is not." Agrippa's great pomp is, in the language of the 
Holy Ghost, much fancy, (Greek,) Acts xxv. 23. God is no accepter 
of persons. None of these tilings commend us to God, more than if 
we were naked and bare ; the judgment of God is according to truth. 


2. How you will account of them when you are going into an- 
other world, and when you are there. "When death stares you in the 
face, and gives you a warning away from all you possess, what will 
you think of them then? When you are in another world, and 
standing before the judgment-seat of Christ, whether will grace or 
gold, robes or righteousness, Christ or the world, be of greatest value 
in your eyes ? 

3. Consider you will never honour Christ, and if so, he will never 
houour you. You will never honour him in your hearts, while you 
prefer every thing to him ; nor in your lives, by doing much, or 
suffering for his cause. A man that counts not thus, is not fit for 
such a time as this, in which God seems to be about to put it to the 
trial, what men think of the world, in comparison of Christ. 

Labour then to get a view of the glory, riches, and excellency of 
Christ, and then you will count all things but duug for him. If men 
knew the worth of Christ, they would think nothing too much for 

Doctrine III. They are truly winners, lose what they will, that 
gain Christ. To confirm this point, consider, 

"What he is in himself. He is God, and so if he be yours, God is 
yours, for he is God; the Son of God begotten by the Father, by an 
eternal unspeakable generation, so that he has life in himself. He 
is man, God-man, fairer than the children of men. The human 
nature is united to the divine in the person of the Son, and so lies at 
the fountain head, as the bowl in Zechariah's candlestick. 

2. Consider what he is to us : 

1. "Winning Christ, we gain a ransom for our souls. " He gave 
himself for us, to redeem us from all iniquity." If one were a slave 
to the Turks, what matter what he lost, if he gained a ransom for 
himself. We are debtors to justice, criminals in law, prisoners of 
Satan, bound over to the wrath of God by nature. Now the soul's 
redemption is precious. If we could gain the whole world, that 
could not ransom us, Hos. xiii. 14 ; Job xxxiii. 24. 

2. Winning Christ, we gain a purchase. He not only ransoms us 
from the wrath of God, but purchaseth heaven to us. He gives us 
gold tried in the fire, to enrich us. If Christ be thine, he communi- 
cates his merit to thee for thy justification, and title to eternal life ; 
so that it is a righteous thing for thee to get heaven, 2 Thess. 
i. 6, 7. 

3. Winning Christ, we gain a treasure ; the treasure hid in the 
field. Consider that whatever you can lose for Christ, if you wiu 
hira, you win a treasure, when you lose but some small mite for it. 
Christ is a treasure for preciousness, everything in Christ is pre- 


cious. When Solomon counted all that was in the world, he sets 
down the total in two great cyphers, vanity and vexation. And is 
this the prize for our sweat and cares ? Why so eager on vanity, 
so fond of vexation. But all in Christ is precious. Is not grace, 
pardon, peace, precious? They were purchased with his precious 
blood, 1 Pet. i. 19 ; they are wrapped up in precious promises, 
2 Pet. i. 4. precious promises ! where happiness is wrapt up in 
words and syllables. Eternity couched in a sentence ! an eternal 
weight of glory in a word ! Christ is also a treasure, for variety 
and abundance of precious things. The treasure of worldly things 
is soon counted. We have the inventory of it, consisting but of 
these three things, " the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and 
the pride of life." But it " hath pleased the Father, that in Christ 
should all fulness dwell." " Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, 
neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, the things 
which God hath laid up for them that love him." I will only tell 
you of the following things in it. The whole constellation of 
graces, each more precious than gold, of more worth than a world. 
The whole privileges of the saints : an eternal weight of glory. 
Finally, the whole Trinity. Christ is also a treasure in respect of 
secrecy. Hid to the unrenewed world, and even to believers in a 
great measure. " It doth not yet appear what we shall be ; but we 
know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him ; for we shall 
see him as he is." But even in glory, they will never see to the 
end of it. 

4. Winning Christ, we gain that which will turn every thing to 
our advantage. "All things shall work together for our good." 
This is the stone that turns all to gold. If we be in Christ, death 
shall be profitable to us as an inlet to eternal bliss ; the grave, a 
place of rest, as God's field, where the seed sown shall spring up 
with increase ; the wind of afliictions shall drive us more speedily to 
our harbour ; our crosses shall be for crucifying our lusts ; our 
losses shall be our gain to bring an hundred-fold. Thus, in a word, 
all things shall work for our good. 

5. Winning Christ, we gain an heirship. We " become heirs of 
God, and joint heirs with Christ." More by far, than if we were 
heirs of the greatest monarch on earth. By this you will be heirs 
of the promises, young heirs of glory. Attended by angels, and 
duly provided for while in your minority, and at length admitted 
to your inheritance. Yea, all is yours. 

6. There is nothing, then, which we have to lose for Christ, that 
is worthy to be laid in the balance with him. The loss is infinitely 
made up in him. What are our worldly goods, in comparison of 


the gooduess laid up -for those that are in Christ. May not tlie 
relation to Christ and his Father make up all the loss of other 
relations? The glorious liberty of the sons of God, make up the 
loss of our liberty in the world ; and an eternal life, our natural 

Lastly, It is below the honour of God to let sinners be losers at 
his hand. He will not be behind with his creatures. They shall 
bare good measure, pressed down and running over. "But now 
they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly ; wherefore God is 
not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a 

Use 1. Of information. The worldly man is penny wise and 
pound foolish. " He strains at a gnat and swallows a camel." He 
will be loath to lose a sixpence, but he can let a talent of glory slip 
through his fingers. He watcheth a little gilded earth, lays it up 
securely, holds it fast in his hand, nay, in his heart ; but he can let 
a crown, a kingdom, a heaven, a Christ go. Though it is difficult 
to beguile him in other things, he will be cheated out of these for a 
trifle, like a child. Esau was a cunning man, yet he was as easily 
cheated of the blessing as if he had been a fool or idiot. 

2. In a time of giving out for Christ, they are not the greatest 
gainers that lose nothing for him. "Wlien the trial is over, and 
every one counts their winning, the greatest losers will be found the 
greatest gainers. The greatest outgiving has the greatest income, 
as in the parable of the talents. Alas ! what is the winning of 
others, but that they have saved the shoe, but lost the foot ; saved 
the cabinet, but lost the jewel ; saved the body, but lost the soul ; 
the world is gained, Christ is lost. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. " Buy the truth, and sell it not." "Win 
Christ at any rate, lose him at no rate. Remember you cannot 
make too dear a purchase in this point. There are three cases in 
which I would have you to walk by this principle, 

1. When sin comes to you, like Potiphar's wife to Joseph, and 
offers you deadly poison in a golden dish. Now Christ and a lust 
are in competition. Now here is a goodly price offered you for the 
Lord's favour and countenance ; but sell it not, for all you can 
make by it will not clear the cost, but it will be bitterness in the 
end. Now you must have him at the rate of plucking out a right 
eye, yet buy the truth, assure yourself it is cheap enough of all. 

2. When sloth comes to you, as Peter to Clirist, covering a sharp 
sword with words softer than oil, saying, " Master, spare thyself," 
what needs all this trouble about religion ? What needs such 
bitter repenting, wrestling in prayer, watching over heart and life ? 


What needs this exposing yourself for a sermon ? Now sloth and 
Christ are come in competition. Here is a goodly price for Christ, 
a sound sleep on the sinnei's soft bed, a way strewed with roses, 
pleasant carnal company, and a warm fireside ; but sell it not so 
cheap : all that is not worth one smile of his face : nay, of one 
check from him. Take him, though at the rate of the most exqui- 
site diligence, the most painful exercise, most difiicult and grating 
to the flesh, and cheap enough. 

3. When the enemies of Christ and his work come to you, as the 
chief priests to Judas, offering you thirty pieces if you will betray 
him ; and when you are jiut to loss in his cause, say, like Judas to 
the honest woman that bestowed a box of ointment on Christ, 
" What needs all this waste ?" Now Christ and the world are in 
competition. Here is a goodly price for Christ. You may keep 
what you have, and also get more ; you shall get the world's smiles, 
if you will venture on his frowns. Let them guide God's house .is 
they will, and you shall dwell in ceiled houses. Take the mark of 
the beast in your foreheads, or in your hands, and you shall obtain 
leave to buy and sell. But sell him not. The world's offer is not 
worth the hearing ; it is but dung for gold, counters for pearls. 
But in such a case you cannot have him, but at the expense of the 
world's counteuauce, loss of means, and perhaps liberty and life 
itself, but he cannot be too dear bought. 

Motive. You will get all in Christ that you are seeking to win in 
the world, and more. If you would have a name, you shall get one, 
better than that of sons and daughters. Would you have honour? 
you shall have it. " Him that honoureth me," says God, " I will 
honour." Would you have gold ? you shall have it. The very 
streets of heaven are paved with gold. Amen. 

[Same subject continued.] 


Philippians iii 9, 

And be found in him. 

Here is another thing which the apostle hath in his eye, namely, to 
be found in Christ. This suppostth that they who win Christ are 


in him, united to liim, and that they who are united to him will be 
found in him, when God searcheth for them. Having before handled 
the doctrine of union with Christ, I shall only speak to this. 

Doctrine. It should be men's great care, to provide that when 
God comes to search, they may be found in Christ. Here I shall, 

I. Shew how, or when God comes to search, and the saints are 
found in Christ. 

II. How and where they shall be found, that are found in Christ. 

III. Give the reasons of the point, and then subjoin some improve- 
ment. I am then, 

I. To shew how or when God comes to search, and the saints are 
found in Christ. This world is a confused heap, and many times 
the counterfeits are found among the jewels, undiscerned ; but God 
hath searching times, in which he will search out men. " I will," 
says he, "search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that 
are settled in their lees, that say in their heart, The Lord will not 
do good, neither will he do evil." 

1. One searching time is, a time of plain searching, preaching of 
the word. The word is God's candle, which he kindles to let men 
see through their state and condition. " The word of God is quick 
and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to 
the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and mar- 
row, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." 
God carries this candle through the man's spirit, and searcheth him 
thoroughly. Thus Paul tells us, that by such searching preaching 
" even an unbeliever, or unlearned man, is convinced of all, he is 
judged of all ; and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest ; 
and so, falling on his face, he will worship God, and report that 
God is in you of a truth." Now the false wares of the hypocrite 
appear naught, the mask is drawn off between God and their own 
consciences, Malachi iii. 1 — 3. But then the believer is found in 
Christ, for the word is never an enemy to the grace of the Spirit, 
" for he that doeth truth, cometh to the light, that his deeds may be 
made manifest, that they are wrought in God." 

2. A time of temptation is a searching time. This is a sieve 
which Satan is allowed to manage for the discovery of the true grain. 
" Satan," said our Lord, to Peter, " hath desired to have you, that 
he might sift you as wheat. Sometimes Satan is, as it were, let 
loose, and temptations abound, iniquity is established by law, and 
then good and bad are put to the trial. Then the light corn 
uud chaff appear, being driven away before the wind ; the world 
begins to wonder after the beast, stars fall. Then goes the earthly, 

Bn-Y pmzET). 183 

carnal-minded professor to the earth ; the heady, unsettled, light pro- 
fessor, unstable as water, falls away ; the proud, conceited professor 
appears as he is, like a tall barren tree. But then saints are found 
in Christ, sealed and safe ; " for it is impossible to deceive the elect," 
Rev. vii. 1 — 3. 

3. A season of the church's trouble, and of persecution for 
the gospel, is a searching time. A true friend is known in adversity. 
The stony ground receives the word and holds green, till the sun of 
persecution arise, and then it withereth. When Christ rides in tri- 
umph, many cry, Hosanna, who will afterwards cry, Crucify him. 
Many run after Christ in a day of peace, that will run as fast away 
from him in a day of trouble. This is God's sieve, with which he 
searcheth. They are brought to the waters of suffering, and then 
bowers down go away back. But the saints are now found in 
Christ, so that when " Israel is sifted as corn, not the least grain 
falls to the ground." 

4. The time of death and judgment : this is the main thing, though 
not the only thing aimed at in the text. Possibly some may escape 
all the former searches, but none can escape this. Now the King 
indeed comes in to see the guests, and if there be but one hypocrite, 
he will instantly discover him. At present the corn and chaff are 
mixed, but then he will thoroughly purge his floor. Now foolish 
and wise virgins cannot easily be distinguished, but then it clearly 
appears who are wise and who are foolish. Now goats and sheep 
intermingle, but then they shall be for ever separated. Then the 
saints shall be found in Christ, and placed on his right hand. We 
now proceed, 

II. To shew how and where they shall be found, that are found 
in Christ. 

1. They shall be found in him, as branches in the true vine, John 
XV. 1 — 6. Being thus in him, they are in no hazard of the axe 
of Grod's wrath. Barren trees may, and shall be cut down for the 
fire ; but Christ mystical is a tree which the axe may not, yea, 
cannot approach. " I the Lord do keep it ; I will water it every 
moment lest any hurt it; I will keep it night and day." The 
pruning-knife, indeed, may come to it, to cut off the twigs of cor- 
ruption ; but this, instead of injuring, will render it more fruitful. 
They are in no hazard of the wind, blow from what quarter it will. 
The wind of temptation and trouble may indeed shake, but cannot 
break nor remove the branches that are in Christ. They may bo 
made by a violent blast to sweep the ground, but they will never be 
broken off. 

2. They shall be found in a sanctuary, in a place of refuge. 

184 rilRlST .TKSUS 

" The Lord shall be for a sanctuary to them." They have fled to 
him for refuge, and so shall find shelter in the worst of times. 
" Come, ray people," says he, " enter thou into thy chambers, and 
shut thy doors about thee : hide thyself as it were for a little 
moment, until the indignation be overpast." "When God came by a 
,deluge to search the old world, he found them all eating and drink- 
ing; Noah only he found in the ark, and there he was safe. They 
who are in Christ, have laid hold on the horns of the altar: law 
and justice cannot drag them from it. They are within the city of 
refuge, where one drop of wrath cannot fall. 

3. They shall be found under a covert, and in a hiding-place. 
The man Jesus shall be to them as an hiding-place from the wind, 
and a covert from the tempest. This is a covert of blood, the 
Mediator's blood, under which the guilty creature may sit safply, 
and abide the search of a holy God ; for he sits there, clothed with 
an everlasting righteousnes, a white raiment, in which omniscience 
can see no spot. When God searcheth for the guilty creature, but 
finds him here, " then he is gracious to him, and saith, Deliver him 
from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom." There is blood 
sprinkled on the door-post where this man is, and therefore the de- 
stroying angel must pass by. 

4. They shall be found in the covenant, in Christ's chariot, which 
is a safe place. Song iii. 9, 10 ; and so they shall be treated as God's 
own friends, even when he comes to render vengeance to his ene- 
mies, Isa. xxvii. 4, 5. "We are now, 

III. To give the reasons of the point. 

1. God will search and find out every one of us, be where we will. 
" The King will come in to see the guests." We may sit at ease 
a while, but we must lay our account with a narrow search at last, 
which will try what metal we are of. There is no hiding from 
God. " Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not 
see him ? saith the Lord : Do not I fill heaven and earth ? saith the 
Lord." Men may deceive themselves, and make a figure in their 
own eyes, when they are naught in the sight of the Lord. " Ent 
God is not, cannot be mocked." The world may be deceived, so that 
one limb of the devil may hate another, because he is so like a saint. 
The saints may be deceived, who may take them for full brethren, 
while they are not father's children. What if even hypocrites de- 
ceive the devil himself, in their religious fits, .Tor. xvii. 9, 10; but 
God will find us out, " for he searcheth the reins and hearts, and 
will give unto every one according to his works." 

2. If God find us, in this search, out of Christ, we are undone. 
We have nothing to shelter us, he will draw us out of our hiding- 


places and lurking holes ; take off our mask, and spue us out of liis 
mouth. We will be put away like dross, driven as the chaif before 
the wind, set among the goats, and separated for ever to destruction. 
" Neither is there salvation in any other : for there is none other 
name given under heaven among men, whereby we must be saved." 

3. If we are found in Christ, we will be safe in time and eternity, 
blow the storm as it may. Temptations shall not totally carry us 
away, but we shall be born up against the stream. Troubles, though 
they get over our heads, yet we will find him " the lifter up of our 
heads," and we shall get safe on shore. When death comes, it shall 
be without its sting, seeing we are found in Christ; and at the day 
of judgment we shall be right hand men, because in him. 

Use. Let it be your great care to be found in Christ. Our time 
is like to be a searching time of temptation and trouble ; and 
though it should not, yet death and judgment are abiding us. What 
should we do to be carried through? Why, if you be found in 
Christ, as Noah in the ark. Lot in Zoar ; you are in your chambers, 
"no evil shall befall you, nor plague come near your dwelling." Let 
not the searching time find you at a disadvantage ; all those will 
bo found so, who ara in such a time, 

1. Found in an unregenerate state, " dead in trespasses and sins, 
and without Christ." This is a dangerous and soul-ruining case to 
meet God in. God will find these men as Elijah found Ahab, " hast 
thou found me, ! mine enemy."- Two cannot walk together except 
they be agreed; yet they may meet together, but surely there will 
be sad work when they meet. Dreadful will the meeting be, be- 
twixt God and his enemies. When these meet, a consuming fire and 
dry stubble meet; a judge and a criminal. The Judge will say, 
" those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, 
bring hither, and slay them before me." 

2. Be not found with the sluggard, in your bed. Be not secure, 
as God found the old world. It is like that God will set fire into the 
nests of this generation, it were good to leave them in time, and 
shake off security; "to have our loins girt, and lamps burning." 
It was a sad case with Jonah, when he was drawn out of a sound 
sleep, and cast into a raging sea. It is awful to feel calamities, ere 
we fear they are coming. 

3. Be not found, as death finds the wicked, in the embraces of 
your lusts. " The wicked is driven away in his wickedness." The 
Philistines found Samson just risen out of Delilah's lap, without his 
hair. The soft embraces of our idols do but make way for severe 
strokes from the hand of God. It is difiicult to conceive how a man 
may just make but a skip of it from the enjoyment of his lusts into 


Abraham's bosom. Nay, rather, God will take these filthy gar- 
ments, cover them with brimstone, and set them on fire about men's 

4. Be not found, like Saul, hid among the stuff. " Lay aside 
every weight, and the sin that doth most easily beset you." The 
world is like a long garment, which entangles a man, and unfits him 
to run and flee from the wrath to come. The rich man, who was 
thinking of nothing but full barns, and goods laid up for many 
years, was in a sad case when God found him out. Sit loose, then, to 
the world, if ever you would meet comfortably with God in the way 
of his judgments, here or hereafter. 

Lastly, Be not found in the devil's camp, among ill company. "A 
companion of fools shall be destroyed." Lot's sons-in-law might 
have escaped, if they would but have left their ill company in Sodom, 
Gen. xix. 14, 15. Better go to the house of mourning, than to the 
house of feasting; the house of trembling, than of riot. "Blessed 
is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor 
standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitt.eth in the seat of the scornful." 
Bnt if you would abide the search here or hereafter, then be found 
in Christ. 

1. Be found to be in him, united to him, by his Spirit and by 
faith. No storm can blow down those who are built upon this rock ; 
neither will Christ lose a member of his body, in time or eternity. 
Tie is the true ark and refuge, " none perish that trust in him." 

2. Be found walking in hira. " As ye have therefore received 
Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him." Walking with him, 
before hira, after his example, " walking even as he also walked." 
This is to walk iu the way of holiness, " without which no man shall 
see the Lord." 

Finally, Be found living in hira, and upon him. Gal. ii. 20. Those 
that live in and by themselves will wither, when the trees planted 
in God's house will be flourishing. 

Motives, to urge you to make it your main business to be found 
in Christ, when God shall search for you in time and eternity : — 

1. If you be found in Christ, he will be found in you, so shall you 
have a double security in a time of trial ; for it is a mutual inbeing, 
John xvii. 21 — 23. He will be found in believers, as in his own 
house and lodging. Christ hath two lodgings : one in heaven. "He 
inhabiteth eternity, and dwells in the high and holy place." He 
hath another on earth, the believer's heart. " For he dwells with 
him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit." Christ hath 
bought both, and he made a journey to take possession of the house 
in heaven for us, Heb. vi. 20; and it is our own house, because it is 


his. " It is our liouse, which is from heaven." And he comes to 
the siuner's heart, to take possession of it for himself, and when 
they open to him by faith, he comes in and dwells, llev. iii. 20. 
This will be a grand security. A man will always take care of his 
own house, especially in a storm, that the winds do not unroof it, or 
the rains waste it. 

Christ will be found in you, as in his banqueting-house. Tiie 
Pharisees wondered that he was a guest to sinners ; and the world 
will not believe it, because they cannot see it. God's own children 
often say, how can these things be ? Will he come into such a poor 
house to be entertained, where there is little or nothing with which 
to entertain him ? They do not consider that Christ brings the 
provision with him. He is such a guest as Elijah was to the poor 
Avidow in a time of dearth, and feasts them in a time of the great- 
est trouble. " In the world," says he, *' ye shall have tribulation ; 
but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world ; in me ye shall 
have peace." 

He will be found in you, in his fortified house, as a conqueror. 
The first thing David did, after he received the kingdom, was to 
take the stronghold of Zion, which was so well fortified against 
him, that they thought the blind and the lame could hold it out, 
2 Sam. V. 6, 7. So Christ, being anointed king, sets himself to 
recover the hearts of the elect, held out against him as a strong- 
hold, by a blind understanding, and a lame and crooked will. 
" But he pulls down the strongholds, and casts down imaginations ;" 
and having brought all to obedience, he comes in to hold it for 
himself. Now here is another security. Will he quit his con- 
quest ? No. " I give unto them" says he, " eternal life, and they 
shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand." 

4. His temple house, as the God of the temple. Believers 
are his temple ; as the King of Glory, he hath come in, to dwell in 
their souls for ever. The soul that was a chapel for the devil, be- 
comes the temple of Christ. There are sacrifices. They ofter them- 
selves to the Lord ; their graces as incense, and he is the altar 
that sanctifies the gift. Another security ; they shall be under 
special protection. " His eyes and his heart shall be on them per- 
petually." He will see to it, that the temple shall not be polluted ; 
and though it should be laid in rubbish in a grave, it shall be glori- 
ously rebuilt. 

5. His garden. " I am come," says he, " into my garden, my 
sister, my spouse." They are a garden of spices, in which the pre- 
cious plants of grace grow. This is another security. " He will 
water it every moment," hedge it about and preserve them, as a 

Vol. IV. N 


man doth his garden, while his other fields are exposed, Jer. xvii. 

6. As a child in the mother's womb. " My little children," says 
Paul, " of whom I travail, as in birth again, until Christ be formed 
in you." " Christ is in them the hope of glory." This is another 
security. The mother cannot be executed in law, while she is with 
child, for that would be the death of two, whereas her life only is 

Lastly, As the soul is in the body, Christ is their yery life ; he 
lives in them, Col. iii. 4 ; Gal. ii. 20 ; Acts ii. 25 — 27. 

Motive 2. If you be not found in Christ, you will be found in a 
bad case in time and eternity ; in a trying time in this life, and in 
another world. You will be found as under the curse : laid open to 
the wrath of God, as the chaff to be driven away with the wind. 

[Same subject continued.] 


Philippians, iii. 9, 

Not having mine own riphteousness, which is of the law, but that which 
w? through the faith of Christ ; the righteousness which is of God, hy 

In" these words, the apostle describes the righteousness in which 
he desires to be found and to compear before God, and this is the 
righteousness of Christ. It is not our own, for to our own he op- 
poseth it. It is not our faith. Tor it is through and by faith. But 
it is the righteousness of Christ, through the faith that hath him for 
its object. The righteousness received by faith. 

DocTiUNB. Christ's righteousness, received by faith, is the sinner's 
only security to be depended upon before God. It is the sinner's 
only shield, shelter and defence, from the wrath of God. Here I 

I. Shew what is meant by Christ's righteousness. 

II. How it is received by faith. 

III. Confirm the doctrine. I am, 

I. To shew what is meant by Christ's righteousness, which is the 


sinner's only shield. Righteousness is the result of obedience to 
the law. He who satisfies the law is righteous, and this shelters 
from wratli. The great thing that stands between Grod and a sinner 
is a broken law ; and while God is, it will be an effectual bar to 
keep sinners out of heaven, to which the sinner can never come but 
with the good leave of the holy law, it being once satisfied. For 
this cause, seeing sinners could not satisfy the law for themselves, 
Christ undertook to do it for them. Accordingly, he fulfilled it, and 
by his fulfilling it, comes this righteousness which is the be- 
liever's security. Now Christ fulfilled the law in our room, 

1. By his active obedience to its commands ; perfect obedience to 
all the commands. This no mere man since the fall could do, yet it 
is that without which no man can be saved. It is a debt which 
must be paid for every one, either by themselves, or by their surety. 
The law saith to all the children of men, " If thou wilt enter into 
life, keep the commandments;" that is, keep them perfectly. Alas! 
then, must all perish ? No. Christ answered for his own. "What 
they could not do, he did. Now the law's demands of the sinner were 
very high. 

Demand 1. Thy nature must be absolutely pure and spotless : for 
if the fountain be poisoned, how can the streams be wholesome. 
•' Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? not one." Alas ! 
the sinner can never answer this. He hath a corrupted nature, and 
he cannot purify it. " Who can say I have made my heart clear, 
I am pure from my sin." He was born in sin ; he cannot get into 
his mother's belly, and be born over again without sin. "Well, 
Christ satisfies this demand for his people, the law shall have all its 
asking; therefore the Son of God takes to himself a true body and 
a soul, both sinless. The ancient of days becomes an infant of days ; 
he is conceived without spot, by the power of the Holy Ghost, and 
in due time born without sin. For as he was in his life, so was he 
in his birth, " holy, harmless, undefiled, and separated from sinners." 
His nature was not in the least tainted, but absolutely free of the 
least seed of sin. Here is now such a birth, such a nature as the 
law sought, so that demand is answered, that bar in the sinner's way 
is taken out ; but the law has other demands. 

Demand 2. Thou must give obedience to every command. Thy 
obedience must be as broad as the law. One hair's breadth lacking, 
thou shalt never see heaven. " Cursed is every one that continueth 
not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do 
them." Alas ! what shall the sinner do with this ; there are many 
of these commands which he doth not know, how shall he obey them. 
Many quite against his nature, as " love your enemies." Many 

N 2 

190 CHRIST JEsrs 

tliat, were his life a tlionsand times lying on them, and he would set 
himself to the utmost watchfulness, he will often break ; such as 
vain thoughts, and impure desires. 

Christ hath answered this demand. " He fulfilled all righteous- 
ness." *' He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." He 
made the law, he could not then but know every part of it; and he 
fulfilled it in every iota. He gave external and internal obedience ; 
obedience in heart and life. Its hardest commands he opposed not ; 
loved his enemies and denied himself; not a vain word ever dropt 
from his mouth, nor a vain thought ever entered his heart. 

Demand 3. Every part of thy obedience must be raised up to the 
highest degree and pitch the law requires. " Thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with 
all thy mind." It is not enough that thou be sincere, and desire to 
do better, and be sorry thou canst not. Alas ! the sinner can never 
answer this, he shall as soon reach the clouds. Let him do his best, 
corruption holds him down, so as he can never reach the top. If he 
be praying ever so fervently, there is always some coldrifeness in 
the heart. In his purest intentions, self-will insinuates itself. 

Christ answered this demand. His loA^e to his Father was more 
than seraphic. It was most ardent love. His love to men was 
incomparable, and went to the utmost bound of love. " For greater 
love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his 
friends ; but he laid down his life for his enemies." Every one of 
his actions was absolutely spotless and perfectly refined, without the 
least mixture of imperfection. 

Demand 4. All this must be continued to the end, without the 
least failure in one iota, Gal. iii. 10. If thou shouldest all thy days 
live sinless, and at the hour of death a vain thought run through thy 
miud, all is gone. Alas ! how impossible is this I The sinner can- 
not keep perfectly right one year, day, hour, minute, if a thousand 
hells were in it. 

But Christ satisfied this demand. "He became obedient unto 
death, even the death of the cross." The first Adam made a fair 
outset, but he soon halted. The second continued to the end. The 
law could never catch him in the least sin from his cradle to his 
grave, by day or night, alone or in company. His heart and life 
shone in holiness in its meridian brightness, without the least cloud 
or spot, while his day lasted. So all these bars are removed by his 
active obedience. He fulfilled the law also, 

2. By his passive obedience. When all these demands are an- 
swered, the law has another word with the sinner, ere he can enter 
within the gates of the city, and that is, taking sure hold of him, it 


says, " Pay what thou owest." Thou art in debt to the justice of 
God, for the sius already committed. Thou must satisfy the threat- 
enings of the law, and bear the curse and vengeance thyself, or find 
a surety. ! then, " will the Lord be pleased with thousands of 
rams, or with teu thousands of rivers of oil ? Shall I give my first- 
born for ray transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my 
soul ?" No. These are all too mean to satisfy here. But, ! ye 
crowned heads, and mighty monarchs of the world, may not you be 
cautioners for the debt? No, they canuot, if they would sell their 
crowns, kingdoms, and dig up all the gold in the world, and lay it 
down, it would not pay their owu debt; but they themselves must 
have a cautioner, or they are ruiued. ye mighty angels ! may 
not you rather undertake for this debt, than that your fellow-crea- 
tures should perish ? They cannot. They are not able. They 
would be bankrupt with the payment of the thousandth part, and 
ruined for ever; and it would never be paid for them. high 
demands indeed ! that no creature in heaven or earth can answer. 
Then said the Mediator, " Lo, I come," Psal. xl. 7- What are thy 
demands ? 

Demand 1. Sinner, thou must suffer, thou must die the death, for 
the word is gone out of the Lord's mouth, " in the day thou eatest 
thereof thou shalt surely die." Alas ! how shall this be answered? 
For if the sinner's life go for it, what hath he more ? And if death 
once get him down, it will hold him down for ever. ! may not 
bearing crosses do it? No, the law must be satisfied with bearing 
curses, not crosses. I may not tears for sin, bitter mourning, do 
it ? No, it is shedding of blood, not pouring out of water, that the 
law must have. Without this, no remission of sin. But Christ 
satisfies this demand. It shall have all its asking. He puts him- 
self to the sword of justice. Armed death falls upon him, sheds his 
precious blood, wounds him to the heart, separates soul and body, 
carries him away prisoner to the grave, and he is laid in the dust of 
death. Death gave him the first fall, but because he was God, he 
riseth again ; and death having got his due, he brings away the 
keys of hell and death with him, that never one of his may b« 
prisoner there. 

Demand 2. Thy suflFerings must be universal in the whole man, 
for so hath thy sinning been. That body of thine, the instrument 
of sin, must suffer. That head, that hath contrived so much mis- 
chief, must be wounded; that heart, that has been the spring of all, 
must be pierced ; these feet, which have carried thee so often to sin, 
and these hands, that have wrought so much ini(inity, must also be 
pierced. And that suul of thiue must also sullVr priucipaliy, us 


being the chief actor of all thou hast doue against God. Ah ! how 
shall we bear it? Who can endure this, which is a thousand deaths 
in one ? Christ satisfies this demand also. lie suffers in his body. 
His head was crowned and pierced with thorns. "Ilis heart was 
melted like wax in the midst of his bowels." " Uis feet and hands 
•were pierced." " His tongue did cleave to his jaws." "His bones 
were all out of joint." His body had nothing to cover it but shame, 
and his strength was dried up like a potsherd. The wrath of God 
fell on his soul. It was troubled, sore amazed, and agonized. The 
arrows dipped in the curse were shot against it, till the law had no 
more to require. 

Demand 3. Thy sufferings must be most exquisite ; thou shalt 
have no pity, no sparing, but judgment without mercy, Deut. xxix. 
20. Ah ! who can satisfy this ? " "Who can dwell with devouring 
fire ?" " It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living 
God." Christ satisfies this too. " God spares him not, but delivers 
him up to the death for us all." Though his body was of a most 
refined temperature, and so his senses most exquisite, his death was 
of the most tormenting kind. His eyes were denied the light of the 
sun, his ears heard their cruel mockings, and he got vinegar to drink. 
He was in travailing pangs, and soul travail. No help had he in it. 
Men nor angels did not help him, and he died in it. 

Demand. 4. Thy sufferings must be infinite, for it is infinite justice 
that thou hast offended. Ah ! who can bear this ? This is killing ; 
saddest of all, a thousand times. Universal, exquisite ; yet infinite, 
ever to endure, never to end. " Who can abide with everlasting 
burnings ?" This is the hell of hells, and beyond the reach of a 
creature, a finite being. But Christ answers this too. He is God, 
therefore an infinite one ; so his suff'erings, though not infinite in 
duration, yet infinite in value, fully answering the demands of the 


Last Demand. Thy sufferings must be voluntary, for God hates 
robbery for burnt-offering. If thou murmur in the least, under all 
thy sufferings, it is new sin ; a blemish in the sacrifice, which pre- 
vents its acceptance. Ah ! who can do this ? The weight of wrath 
makes the devils and the damned roar against God. A man can 
scarcely bear a fit of the gout or gravel, or even a sharp pain of any 
kind but with some impatience. But Christ satisfies this too. 
"When he was oppressed and afflicted, he opened not his mouth." 
In all his sufferings, he never had the least wrong thought of God 
rising in his heart, Psal. xxii. 1 — 3. Never the least murmuring 
or fretting. He willingly underwent what he was to suffer. He did 
not flee when his hour came. He prayed for his enemies, his mur- 


derors, iu the very extremity of his sufferings, in a meek and loving 
manner, saying, " Father, forgive them, for they know not what 
they do." Let us, 

II. Shew how this righteousness is received by faith. It is re- 
ceived and becomes ours by faith, as faith unites us to Christ. 
Upon this union, follows a communion with Christ in his righteous- 
uess ; so Christ being ours by faith, his righteousness is ours. The 
soul, by faith, marries with. Christ, and the righteousness is its dowry. 
The soul riies to Christ as the city of refuge, and that righteousness 
is their cover. We now proceed, 

III. To confirm the doctrine. 

1. That only can shelter us trom the wrath of God which satis- 
fies his law. Now this righteousness is the only thing which can 
satisfy his law, and it has done it fully. The law is magnified more 
by his obedience and sufferings than if all the elect had gone to hell 
for it. The law being obeyed, and executed upon Christ, is more 
magnified than it could have been by them, and that because of the 
dignity of the person. Even as a king shews a greater respect to 
the law, by executing it on his own son, than upon a thousand com- 
mon malefactors. They would have been ever satisfying, but never 
could have fully satisfied. By Christ it gets both active and passive 
obedience, by them only passive. 

2. It is the righteousness of God. It is so called, because it is the 
righteousness of him who is God, Jer. xxiii. 6 ; therefore it is called, 
gold tried in the fire. Our gold is become dross, it will not abide 
the touchstone of the law, because imperfect, but Christ's righteous- 
ness will. Ours will not abide the fire of tlie judgment of the God 
of truth. Our obedience is not full measure, and, being weighed iu 
the balance of the sanctuary, it will be found light. 

It is the only righteousness accepted of God. " In whom," says 
he, " I am well pleased." It may be safely depended upon, for it is 
of infinite value. " Christ purchased the church with his own blood." 
It was the divine nature of Christ that made all his obedience so 
efficacious for the benefit of his people. What sins will not the 
blood of the Son of God purge away? "It cleanseth from all 

3. It is the righteousness contrived by the only wise God to save 
sinners, when nothing else could do it, Psal. xl. 6, 7. When there 
was no help among angels or men for them, he laid help on the 
Mediator, as one mighty to save. This was a contrivance becoming 
an infinite God. The mercy of God shines forth iu it, finding au 
object iu the deepest misery. To have given a deliverance from 
wrath, after millions of years, would have been great mercy ; but 

194 CllKIST JESUS, &0. 

here is mercy, bringing tlie sinner from the lowest abyss of misery 
unto the highest pitch of happiness. Here, also, the justice of God 
shone gloriously. In the deluge, and the burning of Sodom, it ap- 
peared, but more here. It got all its demands. What are all 
creatures, to the Son of God suffering? The love of God was dis- 
played. " God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten 
Son." The Son willingly gave himself. Here is love, wonderful 
indeed in all its dimensions. Behold also the wisdom of God. The 
confused mass at the beginning was not comparable to the confusion 
at the fall. But truth met with mercy. Out of the sin that obscured 
the glory of God, is brought the greatest honour. The matter is so 
ordered, that man stands more firmly than under the first covenant. 
When the angels stood astonished, hell rejoiced at the fall. Man 
lay grovelling in the dust of misery, wisdom found out a way for 
restoring them to happiness. 

Use 1. Never entertain low thoughts of sin. It is the worst of 
evils, which could not be remedied, but by the suff'erings of Christ. 
It brings a heavy burden on a sinner that bears his own burdens. 
Behold it in the glass of Christ's suff'erings, and you will think none 
of it little. Sin runs counter to the nature of God, and dishonours 
all his attributes. God is the chief good, sin the worst evil. The 
sinner dares God's justice, presumes on his mercy, mocks his patience, 
challengeth his power, despiseth his love, and invades his sove- 
reignity. So Christ behoved to suflfer the most extreme punishment, 
to honour his justice and glorify all his perfections. 

Sin contradicts his will. The foolish contradicts the laws of in- 
finite wisdom, casts oft' God's laws and make its own lusts laws, and, 
therefore, to blot out this dishonour, the Son is made a sacrifice. 

When God had perfected the frame of the world, and it remained 
only that he should have his tribute of glory paid to him out of it, 
sin gave a rude shock to the whole work, shook the whole frame; 
therefore was there such dreadful work to repair it, the Mediator 
sufi"ering, rocks rending, the sun not shining, &c. 

Use 2. Never entertain low thoughts of pardon. Every pardon 
is the price of blood, more precious than a thousand worlds. Pardon- 
ing sin is one of the greatest letters of God's name, one of the great- 
est of his works, greater than to make a world. When God said, let 
such a thing be, it was. But when sin is to be pardoned, justice 
stands up for satisfaction; the truth of God for the honour of a 
broken law. Wisdom is set to work to find out a way, the Son pays 
down the price of his blood. Num. xiv. 17 — 19. 

Use 3. Come to Christ for shelter under his righteousness, that 
you may be justified, pardoned, and accepted. Consider there is no 

man's ixiquities, &c. 195 

other way but this to the divine favour, no shelter from the sting of 
unpardoned guilt but here. All other will be but fig-leaf covers. 

Is not pardon of sin, and acceptance with God, worth the seeking ? 
It makes a man happy, Psal. xxxii. 1. A man may be rich and yet 
reprobate, great in this world and yet damned in the next. His 
portion fat, yet his soul lean. But a justified man is a happy man. 
Worldly things come from God's hand, but this great blessing from 
his heart. It will be sweet sauce to the bitterest dish; it will cause 
you to glory even in tribulation. The righteousness of Christ jus- 
tifies a man, and this makes every bitter water sweet. "For there 
is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. It is God that 
jnstifieth, who is he that condemneth ?" 

And if you would give evidence of your interest in imputed i iglitc- 
ousness, you must do it by inherent righteousness. Show yuui- I'aith 
by your Avorks. Faith without works is dead, being alone. Amen. 



Jeremiah xiv. 7 

Lord, though our iniquities testify cujainst us, do thou it for thi/ 
name's sake ; for our backslidings are many ; we have sinned against 

In the preceding part of the chapter, there is mournful narration of 
a sad state in which the land was, by reason of a famine. National 
sins bring on national judgments. In the words of the text, the 
prophet prays for the removal of the judgment. In the text wo 
have four things. 

1. A concession. "Though our iniquities testify against us." 
He grants that their iniquities, which brought on the judgment and 
kept it on, did testify against them ; or, as the Hebrew, answered 
against them. "We have the same phrase, Isaiah iii. 9, and lix. 12. It 
is a metaphor taken from judicatories, in which witnesses beino- in a 
process, and questions being put to them, they answer, and testifV 
against the guilty. Sin, as the devil, first tempts, then accusetli. 
When they came to make their address to God, they found their 
sins at their right, witnessing against them. 

196 man's iniquities 

2. A petitiou. " Do thou it." Take pity upon us, and relieve us; 
arise for our help and our relief. They do not condescend upon tlie 
particular thing which they would have him to do for their relief. 
He knew many ways to bring it about ; the prophet, therefore, would 
limit him to no particular way, for beggars should not be choosers, 
and sovereguty must be allowed a latitude. 

3. We have their plea for mercy. " For thy name's sake." By 
this they acknowledge the truth of the testimony given in against 
them by their sins, and justify God in his proceeding against them. 
They acknowledge their own unworthiness of his favour. By the 
name of God, is understood God himself. " The name of the Lord is a 
strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." " I, even 
I, am he that blotteth out thy transgression for mine own sake, and 
will not remember thy sins." " Help us," says the Psalmist, " 
God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name ; and deliver us and 
purge away our sins, for thy name's sake." These last words, you 
see, superadds this, namely, as he hath manifested himself to his 
people. The phrase seems to include a respect to a final cause, and 
that with respect to his attributes, Exod. xxxiv. 5 — 7, and so they 
plead for the manifestation of his own glory, the glory of his grace 
and mercy, that he would do it for them. Joshua pleads thus, when 
their enemies were like to overcome them, " And what wilt thou do 
unto thy great name ?" And this is the advantage of the people of 
God, that his glory is joined with their interests ; and particularly 
as to the judgment of famine. See Ezekiel xxxvi. 30, compared 
with ver. 32, where it appears that the glory of God suffered through 
their reproach. There is in this plea, also, a respect to a meri- 
torious cause, which is none else but Messiah, Christ ; of whom the 
Lord says his name is in him, Exod. xxiii. 21, and in whom his 
glory shines, 2 Cor. iv. 6. We must not think the prophet here 
addresseth himself to God, absolutely considered ; for his majesty 
would dazzle and confound the eyes of the holiest on earth ; but, 
even under the Old Testament, they directed their prayers towards 
the temple as a type of Christ, Psal. v. 7 ; and they very well knew 
that the glory of his name, which they urged in prayer, behoved to 
shine through the Messiah. 

4. A confession. The prophet confesseth, in the name of the 
church, backsliding ; a grievous sin, a returning to sin after vows, 
engagements, and resolutions against it; and after beginnings of 
a reformation. Yea, that these backslidiugs were many. They 
had often gone back in many points; and, adds he, " have sin- 
ned against thee," where the emphai.is lies on the word thee. As 
when David says, " against thee ; thee only, have I sinned." They 


had lifted up themselves against the sovereign Lord of heaven ; 
even against thee, to whom we must now come for lielp in our afflic- 
tion. It comes in as a reason, " for we have sinned against thee ;" 
intimating that they had no hope but in his name ; and if that 
would not do, their case was desperate. But withal, it lays out be- 
fore the Lord their deep sinfulness, as that whereby his name 
might be rendered illustrious, in coming over all their many back- 

Doctrine. That though the iniquities of the people of God, when 
they are awakened, do testify against them ; yet it is their duty 
and disposition to hold on in their suit, pleading with him for a 
gracious answer for his own nanie's sake. Or, 

Though the people of God find their iniquities testify ntr^iinst 
them in their addresses to God ; yet they must and will hold on 
their suit, improving God's own name's sake as their only plea for 
a favourable answer. Here I shall, 

I. Shew what it is for a man to find his iniquities testify against 
him in his addresses to God. 

II. How comes it that sin is found thus testifying against men. 
in. I will speak a little to the plea, " For thy name's sake." 

"We are then, 

I. To shew what it is for a man to find his iniquities testify against 
him in his addresses to God. Take these reflections upon it : — 

1. Sin is not dead when it is committed. Though it may be 
buried and out of mind for a time, yet it is buried quick, and lives 
to be a witness before the Lord, against the sinner. The act is 
transient, but the guilt is of a permanent nature. " If thou doest 
not well," said God to Cain, " sin lieth at the door." Lieth as a 
sleeping mastiff at the door, which will, ere long, awaken. " I will 
reprove thee," says God to the sinner, "and set them, (thy sins,) in 
order before thine eyes." 

2. When the man draws near to God in the exercise of his wor- 
ship, sin meets him there ; appears to him as a terrible ghost. So 
it is in the text, Isa. lix. 11 — 13. Many times the Christian's siu, 
which was before out of his sight, meets with him before the throne 
of grace. When the soul draws nigh to God, the brightness of his 
glory makes their spots to appear. " Woe is me !" said Isaiah , 
" 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." Former sins then come to mind, 
which makes David say, " Remember not the sins of my youth, nor 
my transgressions." Present sinfulness is then also ready to stare 
the man in the face. 

198 man's INIQUITIKS 

3. Sill testifies two things for God against the man. First, their 
sins witness their unworthiuess of any favour from the Lord, and 
makes them say, with the centurion, " Lord, I am not worthy that 
thou shouldest come under my roof." And with Jacob, " I am not 
"worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which 
thou hast shewed unto thy servant." Sins also testify against men 
their liableness to punishment, yea, to a curse instead of a blessing, 
so that the soul is often made to fear some remarkable judgment ; 
for a guilty conscience is a terrible companion in the presence of a 
holy God. When sin gives in such a testimony, no wonder they 
stand trembling, fearing to hear the doom pronounced next, 

4. This witness is convincing. So, in the text, we find the panel 
denies not the testimony, but pleads for mercy. Sin, testifying 
against the man before the Lord, stops the sinner's mouth. " I ac- 
knowledge my transgressions," says David, " and my sin is ever be- 
fore me." A man may shift the conviction of others, and deny 
their testimony ; but here, himself is both the guilty person, the ac- 
cuser, and the witness. 

b. Upon this, the gracious soul is filled with holy shame, and 
self-loathing. The person says, with Ezra, " my God, I am ashamed, 
and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God : for our iniquities 
are increased over our head, and our trespass grown up unto the 
heavens." So the publican, standing afar olf, would not lift up so 
much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, 
" God be merciful to me a sinner." Now his siu has found him 
out; and as a thief is ashamed when his crime is discovered, so is 
that soul; and this holy shame is vented by confession, self-judging, 
self-condemning, and self-abhorring. Then he hath a difficulty to 
get a name to express sufficiently his own vileness, and then he is 
the chief of sinners in his own esteem. 

Lastly, He is damped, and his confidence before the Lord is mar- 
red as to any access to him, or obtaining favour at his hand. " For 
if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and know- 
eth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we 
confidence toward God." When the man lived near God, he had 
boldness and access with confidence unto the Father; but now his 
backslidings stare him in the face, and it is much if he be not quite 
overcome, and made to say, " my hope and strength is perished from 
the Lord." Then faith has difficulties indeed to grapple with, 
which may make it stagger; but then the soul must fall to the plea, 
" for his own name's sake." I now proceed, 

11. To shew how comes it, that siu is found thus testifying against 


1. It flows from the nature of sin and guilt upon an enlightened 
conscience. Grod hath said, " But if ye will not do so, behold ye 
have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you 
out." Conscience is a tender part, and when it has light it cannot 
but testify against the man, when he appears in the presence of an 
offended God. The conscience of some is seared, and so they find 
nothing of this testimony ; but sin will lie down in the grave with 
them ; and awake when they awake. 

2. It is a punishment from the Lord for former backslidiags and 
miscarriages. Sin that is sweet in the mouth, is hereby often made 
bitter in the belly Confidence with God is no small mercy, and the 
want of it can be no small judgment to them that know the happi- 
ness of such a case. 

Lastli/, God so orders it, that it may be a mean to humble them, 
and make them more watchful against sin for the time to come. 
Then the Lord says to them, " Thine own wickedness shall correct 
thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee : know, therefore, and 
see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the 
Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God 
of Hosts." " What fruit had ye then in those things, whereof ye 
are now ashamed ? for the end of those things is death." By these, 
the soul is brought to repenting Israel's resolution. " I will go 
and return to my first husband; for then it was better with me than 
now." And the bankrupts resolve, in the Lord's strength, that if 
they had their stock recovered again, they will look better to it. 
III. I shall speak a little to the plea. "For thy name's sake." 
I told you in the explanation, that it imports two things : 

1. That we must plead with him for his Christ's sake; and when 
guilt stares us in the face, we must look to God through the vail 
of Christ's flesh. A guilty conscience presents to the sinner a God 
armed with vengeance. It is then the wisdom of the sinner to de- 
sire, Exod. XX. 18, 19. When the avenger of blood pursues, let 
ns flee to the city of refuge ; and when we are to appear before the 
Lord, we must embrace Christ in the arms of faith. It was the 
cnstom of the Molossians, when they were to seek a favour of their 
prince, they took up his son in their arms. This is the way in the 
court of heaven. This is a safe and sure way, for in him the fa- 
ther is well pleased, and we shall be accepted in the beloved. 

2. We must plead with him for his glory's sake. Punishing of 
sin glorifies God much, but pardoning of sin glorifies him more. 
He is tender of his own glory, and so should we. So our Lord 
teaches us to pray, " for thine is the glory." When God hears, the 
benefit redounds to ns, the glory to him ; and so we are to make use 


of it as a pica for a hearing ; and this way of pleading empties a 
soul of all confidence in itself, and gives glory to God. 

For Application. We, especially such of us as are to sit down 
at the table of the Lord, may here see our case and our cure (as for 
those who will not seek God, their sins cannot testify against them 
before the throne of grace, seeing they come not there ; but before 
the tribunal they shall testify, and there they must come) when we 
are thinking on this solemn address unto God, If we look a little 
into our consciences, we will be fair to see a tribunal erected there, 
and our sins giving in a testimony against us ; and what else means 
that terror and dejectedness of spirit that sometimes seizcth profes- 
sors upon the news of such an occasion ai^proaching ? What is the 
matter, but that they hear the bridegroom cometh, and they are not 
ready to go out to meet him. The people of God hare been filled 
with joy at such a time, and it is a guilty conscience, surely, that 
makes it otherwise. 

Again, what else means that fear of not attaining to communion 
with God in the ordinance. The soul is afraid that all go wrong ; 
that the Lord turn to them the back and not the face, and that 
they meet a judgment instead of a blessing. What guilt creates 
those fears ? Now I shall condescend upon some particular iniqui- 
ties that will readily stare us in the face, while we are making this 
address to God. 

1. Our former unworthy communicating. Have we not handled 
the holy things of God with unclean hands, and profaned the ordi- 
nance by rash approaches to it ? No wonder this testifies against 
us now, and mars our confidence before the Lord. 

2. Our living at a distance from God, and not endeavouring 
to keep up communion with God in our ordinary walk. This, in 
our approaches to God on solemn occasions, may meet us with 
that entertainment which God gave the Israelites, when he said to 
them, " Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen ; let them 
deliver you in the time of your tribulation." They that are habit^ 
ually prepared have less to do than others, to get actual prepara- 
tion. But ! it is a sad reflection for the soul to think, now I am 
to seek access to God in this solemn duty ; but ah ! I have slighted 
it when I might have had it ; and will the Lord give it me now, 
will he answer me when I call. 

3. The sins by which religion hath been wounded, and by which 
we have given occasion to the enemy to blaspheme. Thus Dayid's 
sin was ever before him. No wonder the soul in this case be afraid 
to sit down at the Lord's table with his people, lest the Lord be 
provoked to send some judgment upon him, by which his glory, be- 
spattered with the sinner's folly, may be vindicated. 


4. Our returning to these sins which we have sometimes renounced, 
against which we have resolved and vowed. Conscience may tell 
some of us we have returned with the dog to our vomit. Backslid- 
ings stared them in the face in the text, and marred their confidence 
with the Lord. Backsliding is very provoking in the sight of God ; 
and no wonder that the sense of it make the soul to tremble in ap- 
proaching to God. 

5. Our not improving access to God, when we had it. Some- 
times people are at great pains to get communion with God, and 
nearness to him ; and when they get it, how easily do they let it 
go. " The slothful man roasteth not that which he taketh in hunt- 
ing;" and therefore no wonder that they meet with that challenge 
which may make them stagger, " Have I been a wilderness unto 
Israel ? a land of darkness ? "Wherefore say my people we are 
Lords ; we will come no more unto thee ?" 

6. Present indisposition of soul for the work to which we are 
called. Solemn ordinances require solemn preparation. "When the 
bridegroom is coming our lamps should be trimmed, but it is to be 
feared many of us are far from it. How can a dead and stupid 
frame of spirit fail to bring us heavy tidings, and prophecy evil 
things concerning us ? 

Lastly, The sin of our nature, the spring and source of all these. 
The evil heart, " the heart deceitful above all things, and desperately 
wicked." That corrupt bent and inclination of the soul to evil, and 
evil continually. That body of sin, which makes us so unmeat for 
the communion of the body of Christ, and for all duties. This is 
that which often stares them in the face, so as it looks them out of 
countenance before the Lord. 

But what shall a sinner do, who has these or the like testifying 
against him, and marring his confidence before God ? 

1, You must not give over, you must plead in opposition to them 
all. Satan sometimes gets advantage here. But pray consider your 
need. Mercy you must have, God's favour you cannot want. There- 
fore you must reason with yourselves as the lepers at the gate of 
Samaria, and lay down Esther's noble resolution, " that you will go 
in unto the king, and if you perish, you perish." 

2. Betake yourselves to this plea in the text, and plead with God 
for his own name's sake. He will yet be gracious unto yon. Ac- 
knowledge that you are unworthy of any favour, that you deserve to 
be made a monument of his vengeance ; but this plea, for God's own 
name's sake, being left, you must improve it in your addresses to 
God. Give away yourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ, receive hira 
as he hath off'ered himself to you. And then, 


1. Plead tlio sufferings of Christ, and his satisfaction to justice. 
Plead the sufficiency of his merit, whereby he is able to save to the 
uttermost; the design of his sufferings to save sinners, and even the 
chief of sinners ; the fruit of his sufferings ; and cast yourself on 
Christ, resolved, if you perish, to perish at his footstool, and there 
will be no fear. Here you will s^et an answer to all the objections 
that conscience and the law can form against you. 

2. Plead free grace and mercy, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7- The sun 
shines without hire, and God is gracious to sinners, because he will 
be gracious. Are our sins great, grace will be the more magnified 
in pardoning them. Wherefore is free grace manifested, but to be 
communicated ? Depth of misery is the most fit object for exceeding 
riches of grace. This pleading is very acceptable to God. " The 
Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in 
his mercy." 

Plead the glory of his name in the world, Joshua vii. 9. You are 
called by his name. "Without his help you cannot stand ; and if you 
fall, his name will be dishonoured. If you get access to him, and 
communion with him, you shall live. If he send down the influences 
of his Spirit, you shall bring forth much fruit, and this will tend to 
his glory, John xv. 8. If he deny his influences, you will be withered 
creatures, and so God will be dishonoured. 

Lastli/, Plead his word. Say, " Lord, thou hast magnified thy 
word above all thy name." All men are liars, but he is faithful and 
cannot deny himself. Get hold of a promise, and in time of need 
bring it forth, as Tamar did Judah's signet, &c., Gen. xxxviii. 25. 
This was Jacob's way, " And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good." 
! but I fear the promises belong not to me. Answer. Lay thou 
hold on Christ as he is freely offered, and then be sure all the pro- 
mises are thine, for they all meet in him. Amen. 


Ettnck, Fast before the Sacrament, Jvne, 1712. 


EzEKiEL xviii. 29, 
Are not your ways unequal ? 

Men may be under the deepest affliction, and yet far from true 
humiliation. A stone broken in a thousand pieces, each piece is a 
stone. A hard heart, untouched by the grace of God, will be an 
unhumbled heart, under the severest affliction. Here is a people, 
some of them captives in Babylon, some of them in hard circum- 
stances in their own land ; both groaning under affliction, but not 
to God, but against God. Let not people wish the evil day, upon 
the assurance that it will humble the generation. If hell were 
opened to flash out on the faces of a graceless generation ; if the fire 
of the Spirit do not withal melt their hearts, "the bellows are burnt, 
the lead is consumed of the fire ; the founder melteth in vain ; for 
the wicked are not plucked away." They will quarrel God's ways 
as unequal, as if they deserved not the punishments inflicted upon 
them ; while in the meantime it may be justly retorted on them, as 
in the text, " Are not your ways unequal ?" 

The words are a solemn appeal made by God himself to this 
people themselves, touching their way and manner of life. Consider 

1. The antagonists, even God, and his own people, on whom he 
had heaped benefits and privileges, and who had made to him re- 
peated professions of duty ; and here God being the complainer, and 
they defenders, there is no doubt they must lose the cause. 

2. The crime libelled against them ; the unequality of their ways. 
They had the impudence to charge God with unequalness in his ways; 
as if he had punished them for that of which they were not guilty. 
The Lord clears himself, vers. 26 — 28 ; then he retorts the charge 
upon themselves, that their ways were unequal. Tlie word signifies 
such an inequality as there is betwixt two things that are weighed ; 
but the one cannot balance the other, there is no proportion or 
equality betwixt tliem ; so their ways in which they walked with 
God, their carriage and behaviour to him, was most unequal and 
unevenly. Unequal among themselves, unequal in respect of his 
ways towards them ; so that bring the balance from heaven or from 

Vol. IV. o 


earth by which their actions should be weighed, they would be 
found light, unequal, disagreeable and disproportionable. "Well 
then might he say, " talk no more so exceeding proudly ; let not 
arrogancy come out of your raouth ; for the Lord is a God of know- 
ledge, and by him actions are weighed." And this charge is made 
on all and every one of their ways, as is the import of the singular 
number joined with the plural, in the Hebrew text ; as if he had 
said, take every one of them, weigh them one by one, with my deal- 
ings with you, or with one another, you shall find them a confused 
disorderly mass ; the whole thread of your life nothing but outs and 
ins, the whole of your conversation a rabble of inequalities. 

3. The bar to which God brings this plea : it is that of their own 
consciences, whose tribunal was within their own breasts. Here God 
condescends to plead his cause against the criminals, where they 
themselves should be both judge and parties ; being assured that 
though their corruptions did pass sentence in their favours, yet their 
consciences would reverse that sentence, and oblige them, out of 
their own mouths, to pronounce themselve.? guilty. In such a mat- 
ter, where conscience is made judge, the sinner must lose the cause. 

This is a day in which conscience should be set on a tribunal, and 
each of us should sist ourselves before it, to have our cause there 
judged. There are two things call for this, this day. 

I. God seems to be mounting his throne for judgment this day ; 
and the dispensations of the day towards us, and our Protestant 
churches, seem to sound that alarm of the judge's coming. "For, 
behold, the Lord cometh out of his place, to punish the inhabitants 
of the earth for their iniquity : the earth also shall discover her 
blood, and shall no more cover her slain." Providence appears to 
be whetting the glittering sword, and his arm to take hold on ven- 
geance. It is time for us now to be going inward into our own 
breasts, as Isa. vi. 1 — 5. "We have three sad tokens of God's 
mounting his throne : 

1. The posts of the temple door with us are moved, as Isa. vi. 4. 
By this was signified the pulling down of the door, and exposing 
the temple to the profane, Amos ix. 1, And is not that this day 
fulfilled before our eyes, by that most unbounded toleration now set 
on foot in this Church, under the shadow of which the vilest errors 
and blasphemies may set up their heads; and men on whom the 
door of our temple Avas most justly shut, may now come in with 
their profane lives, erroneous preaching, and superstitious worship ; 
and others must come in by the door of a patron's presentation, a 
door of which there was no pattern shewn in the mount; while that 
which Christ himself appointed, the call of the Chnrch, is broken 

OF man's WATS. 205 

down ; and it is just with God that it should be so, seeing, in tlie 
best times of this Church, it was never freely opened. 

2. Our house is also filled with smoke, which is a token of anger, 
Psal. xviii. 8. Some have been long looking for the mountain 
of the ministry to fall a burning, thouf^h former experience has 
shewn that to be a forerunner of all being cast into the sea. And 
some have been, like Samson's foxes, going through this Church wit!i 
their firebrands, to set all in a flame ; but now, alas I that spark is 
cast in which has already filled the house with such smoke of con- 
tention as will break forth at length into a flame of division, to 
the rending of this poor Church, if God in mercy prevent not. 

3. Our prophets mostly seem to be sent out with a heavy mes- 
sage, as Isa. vi. 9, 10. The generation, iu spite of gospel light, is 
still growing worse and worse ; and the more our wounds are 
handled, the more they corrupt and stink. Aud, truly, the preach- 
ing of the AFord seems, for this long time, to have been followed 
with a judicial obduration ; as if their meat had been laid before 
them, to fit them for the slaughter. 

Therefore set conscience on the tribunal beforehand, and let it 
impartially judge your hearts and lives, that you may get wrongs 
righted before the decree bring forth. 

II. God is ascending a throne of mercy among us. We are to 
see in this place, in a solemn manner, God in Christ reconciling the 
world to himself; and possibly it may be the last which we may 
have of that sort, till from the throne of judgment there come forth 
thunderings, lightnings and voices, which may rend the hearts of 
those whom the still small voice from the mercy-seat cannot make 
to relent. Therefore set conscience beforehand on the tribunal, 
and let it make an impartial judgment of your state and case ; 

1. It is a day of pardons, and sealed pardons. But the malefac- 
tor must come with a sense of his crimes in his heart, a confession 
in his mouth, and the rope about his neck of self-condemnation. 

2. It is a solemn marriage-day. But the bride must be taking 
farewell of her father's house, and her own people. Slie must be 
casting off" her filthy rags, and putting on the wedding-garment. 
She must be considering what will please, and what will displease 
her husband; whether her heart be gained from all others or not; 
and whether or not she is every way pleased with the match ; con- 
tent to take him for better and worse, and to follow him whitherso- 
ever he goes; otherwise her heart will leap back, and the marriage 
be marred. 

3. It is to be an exaltation day to sinners, in which they are to 

.. -2 


be exalted to sit at Christ's table, to eat his flesh and drink his 
blood, and to have the covenant sealed; and therefore tliis must be 
a humiliation day, for it is the humble that are exalted indeed, and 
the soul that is most humble bids fairest for the highest seat at the 
feast. The soul that hath most of gospel heaviness for sin, is likely 
to receive most of the oil of gladness. They that now lie most deep 
in the dust, and have the most profound sense of their follies and 
vileness, are the most likely to be admitted, as the beloved disciple, 
to lean on Christ's bosom. Now, as we are to be helpers of your 
joy, we would also be helpers of your shame and sorrow this day. 

Sinners, what think you of your ways ? " Are not your ways un- 
equal ?" Throw away the false balances of a corrupt judgment, 
and of your self-conceit. You have weighed too long with them. 
Let us weigh our ways in the balance of the sanctuary. 

I. Weigh your ways in the balance of your Christian privileges. 
God has exalted this land to heaven that way. He hath made our 
poor corner of the world a li-rhtsome corner, with Bibles, sermons, 
Sabbaths, sacraments, and other ordinances. But do we look like 
a people thus privileged ? " Are not our ways unequal ?" 

1. How unsuitable to the gospel are our conversations. "Only," 
says the apostle, " let your conversation be as it becometh the 
gospel." Do we look like the citizens of the New Jerusalem? Nay, 
instead of adorning the doctrines of the gospel by holy and heavenly 
lives, our unholiness and carnality, our irregular and ungospel-like 
walk, leaves a stain on the ways of God. 

2. How little are our privileges valued and improved ? It is sel- 
dom our case sends us to our Bibles. The treasure lies there by us, 
but we slight it, do not dig into it, but are poor, formal, lifeless 
creatures, in our reading, hearing, and other exercises. The preach- 
ing of the word is very little prized, Sabbaths by many are miser- 
ably misspent, and sacraments disregarded. 

3. Where is the fruit of these things ? There is no growth pro- 
portionable to our means of grace. The showers of gospel water- 
ings have as little fruit following them in many, as the rain that 
falls on the rocks and sands, and at best, " the seed of an homer 
does but yield an ephah." And "are not our ways unequal?" No 
wonder the kingdom of God should be taken from us, and given to 
others, that would bring forth the fruits of it, and that that land 
should be left unploughed that doth so ill requit the pains of the 

II. Weigh our ways in the balance of our mercies, that should 
lead us to repentance. He is a good God to us. Good to our land, 
good to every one of us in particular. But how unequal are our re- 

OF man's ways. 207 

turns to our receipts ? A shameful confounding disproportion may- 
be found there. 

1. How unequal are they to the sparing mercy God is giving us ? 
He has spared our land, ourselves in particular, as a man spareth 
his own son that serveth him. But we have been to him as a snake 
hid in a man's bosom, that sets itself to gnaw out his bowels. 
" Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, 
therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do 
evil." The more he spares, the more does sin grow, the higher do 
we run on in our accounts ; which is like to bring it to that, that 
his eye will not pity, nor his hand spare us any more. 

2. How unequal are our ways to the preventing mercies with 
which we have met. How often has the Lord prevented us, held us 
up by his hand when we were on the brink of ruin, falling into sin ? 
But hath that made us more watchful ? Have we not been ready to 
cast ourselves again into the same snare ? Have we duly acknow- 
ledged our debt to God in that matter ? He has prevented our 
danger by seasonable deliverances, general and particular : but 
though for the present it might have some impression on us, yet 
have we not, many of us, behaved as if we had been delivered to 
work iniquity ? 

3. How unequal to enriching mercies. " Blessed be the Lord, who 
daily loadeth us with his benefits, even the God of our salvation." 
Every day we rise, providence bids us stoop, and take on our day's 
load of benefits. But if conscience be allowed to speak, it will tell 
us, that every day the Spirit of the Lord gets on a new load of 
provocations from us. God is drawing us to him by cords of love, 
and we drive him from us by our daily follies. 

III. In the balance of our afflictions, by which God has been at 
so much pains with us. These are the means made use of to cut oif 
our luxuriant branches, that Ave may bring forth fruit ; to wean us 
from the world, and to make us heavenly. They are the brisk gale 
that should cause us make speedy way towards Immanuel's land. 
But alas ! 

I. Are not many made worse and worse by their afflictions. 
Instead of the peaceable fruits of righteousness, showers of troubles 
and crosses, falling on the cursed ground of an ill heart, bring forth 
the briars and thorns of murmuring, fretting against God. Such 
trials often put men on ill courses. The poverty of many often 
roots up their honesty. Trade decays, the land is impoverished, and 
the effect of it on many is, their spirits are embittered, that they can 
get no good of the gospel. They are like the children of Israel, 
"who hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and ciuel 
bondage in Egypt." Are not your ways then unequal ? 


2. Do we not cleave to that from which God is trying to separate 
us by the wedge of affliction. God sees such a thing would ruin a 
person, if they should get their will, and therefore God drives the 
wedge to make a separation ; but the more God pulls these from 
us, we draw the more violently. Gall and wormwood are laid on 
the world's breast, but the child sucks the more greedily. The cup 
of poision is put out of our reach, and yet we search for it the more 

3. Where is the contempt of the world, the heavenly-mindedness, 
the soul's taking up its rest in God, delighting in him, taking him 
for all, and instead of all, rejoicing in him in all cases and condi- 
tions — the native fruits of sanctified afflictions ? Nay, the bewitch- 
ing world has invaded the professors of this day, taken us captive ; 
so that when we are sought to a kingdom, we are lying hid among 
the stuff. 

I Y. In the balance of our engagements, purposes, and resolutions. 
The vows of God are upon us, the land is under covenants ; each of 
us are under baptismal vows, many of us are under communion 
vows. Purposes and resolutions have been taken up under convic- 
tions and afflictions. Our vows have been very extensive, to the 
whole of the Christian life. They have been aimed at particulars 
in our way. But are our ways equal ? Have not our engagements 
been like the green withs, our purposes as the corn on the house- 
top ? Are we what we engaged and resolved to be ? No, no. 

1. Have we not returned to our vomit, and after vows made 
enquiry. These very particular lusts, of which we seemed once and 
again to have taken farewell, invite us to return, and we have been 
found again on the forbidden ground. 

2. Does our unwatchful, careless walking, look like our engage- 
ments and purposes. Were we resolved to give all that scope to 
our hearts, lips and lives, that they have actually gotten ? Did we 
purpose to be at so little pains to beware of temptation, as indeed 
we have been ? No, but our ways are unequal. Our purposes 
high, our performances very far below them. 

3. Does our omission of duties, prayer, reading the word, medi- 
tation, self-examination look like them ? How easily are we put off 
these things ? 

V. In the balance of our profession. Alas ! how wide are our 
practices from our principles. No man could gather from what we 
do, what we believe, there is such an inequality betwixt them. 

1. How unequal are our ways to our profession of the great fun- 
damental principles of religion, that we are all lost by nature, and 
must be renewed by grace. Are our ways equal? how is it, then, 


tliat men live without dipping into the thoughts of that state, and 
inquiring whether they are converted or not. A heaven and hell. 
What means the profanity of many, the coldrifeness and formality 
of others, in the duties of religion. 

2. How unequal to our professions of love to God and Christ. 
How comes this love of the world, so little care to please him, so 
little being aifected with the dishonour done to him. 

3. Our concern for his interest. If it be so, how comes it that 
there is so little sympathy with this bleeding, groaning Church ? 
How is it there is so little wrestling at the throne of grace at this 
time ? 

Lastly, In the balance of your attainments, which you have some- 
times had, if ever you knew ought of seriousness. Let us look on 
ourselves as we have been in some golden spots of our time. ! 
how unlike ourselves will we appear, unstable as water. 

To conclude. Take this night a view of your ways. Behold 
them, how unequal they are to what God has done for you, and 
what you yourselves have done. And sure I am, you will see your 
hearts and lives a mass of monstrous deformities, which will be the 
way to true humiliation, which will i)repare you for a communion 
day. Amen. 

Presbyterial Exercise and Addition, Selkirk, March, 2, 1731. 


Ephesians v. 33, 

Nevertheless, let every one of you in 'particular so love his wife even as 
himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." 

The apostle having, in several preceding verses, laid out the duties 
of husbands and wives severally ; and having enforced them with 
most powerful argument, fit at once to convince the judgment 
and influence the aff'ections ; an argument utterly unknown to the 
heathen moralists, being taken from the mysterious part of Christi- 
anity, namely, from the spiritual marriage and state of the mysteri- 


ous case between Christ as tlie husband, and the church as his sponsc ; 
doth here conclude that matter of the mutual duties of husband and 
wife, summing up the duties of both jointly, in the words of the 
text. In which we have, 

I. The connection in the word nevertheless, n\r}v, I shall not trouble 
you with the variety of significations heaped on this little word, 
judging the splitting of the words of the Holy Ghost into many 
different senses, in many cases, rather to cast a vail over, than 
to clear the meaning. Only some take it here for an illative particle, 
signifying therefore, or so then. And thus the words are a conclusion 
formally drawn from all the preceding points advanced on this 
subject. As if he had said, since thus stands the case between 
man and wife, between Christ and the church, therefore it plainly 
follows, that every one of you in particular so love his wife even 
as himself." The particle seems to be originally an exceptive prepo- 
sition, as appears from Mark xii. 32, " there is none other TrXrjv avrov, 
but he, or besides him." Hence, being used absolutely, adverbially, 
or conjunctively, it naturally falls to be an adversative particle, sig- 
nifying but, or nevertheless; as appears from Acts xxvii. 22, "no 
loss TrXr/v, but of the ship." And it is confessed on all hands to be 
an adversative, only that adversative is said to signify illatively here, 
and Matth. xi. 22 — 24, and some few other places, on this ground, that 
the sense requires it. Indeed, if the sense did absolutely require it, 
it behoved to be admitted. But that it does not, as appears from our 
version of the places, keeping the proper signification, and making 
very good sense. That we find a proposition of such a nature, that 
it is fit to be inferred from what went before, will not prove that it 
is a formal consequence in the intention of the penman ; nothing 
being more ordinary than such propositions made without any such 
view ; therefore the ground advanced is not sufficient for affixing 
that new signification to that word. 

"We take it then adversatively, hut or nevertheless, as 1 Cor. xi. 
10, 11 ; so it serves to pass from the purpose last insisted upon, and 
to resume the former. Ths apostle having, upon occasion of discours- 
ing on the relation of husband and wife, brought in the great gospel 
mystery of the mystical union betwixt Christ and believers, does 
hereby bring them back from that consideration of faith to the prac- 
tice of moral duties, as better fitted by the the former for the latter. 
And so he guards them against that bias of corrupt human nature, by 
''.hich it is apt to lose its concern for the practice of moral duty, in idle 
speculation of the mysteries of Christianity ; whereas all these 
mysteries are in their native tendency practical, tending to the sanc- 
tificatiou of the true believer of them. Thus far of the connection. 
Let us, 

AXD WIFE. 211 

II. Attend to the purpose of the text. This is twofold, 

1. One relating to husbands, binding their duty on them as such. 
*' Let every one of you," &c. And here we have the subjects of this 
duty pointed out, and that two ways : 1. Generally, you, vfieig. I 
find some translators take this word for a nominative put absolutely, 
and here place the comma ; reading thus, " therefore as to you also," 
By which means the word comprehends both the husbands and the 
wives. But the distribution immediately made of this you, in the 
words 01 KoS iya, " you one by one," with the rest of the connection, 
seems to spoil this. We take it then to be meant immediately of 
the Ephesian husbands only. But since the Bible is the voice of 
God to every one to whom it comes, it is meant also mediately, of 
every husband to whom the Bible has come, or shall come, to the 
end of the world. God herein speaks to all of them generally, 
whether they be great or small, noble or ignoble. For whatever 
freedom some persons of distinction fancy themselves at in these 
matters, they will find themselves in the end to have been as fast 
bound by the divine order as the meanest. 2. Distributivcly. You 
in particular, or more literally, you one by one. The apostle thinks 
it not enough to speak this to them all in general, but addresses 
himself on this point, one by one. Men are apt to fancy themselves 
overlooked in a crowd, and even what is but said to all in general, 
is in efl'ect said to none. Therefore, that none may think themselves 
passed over, he so directs his speech to every one in particular, as if 
he spoke to none but him. 

Now these, " you, you one by one," are doubtless nominatives ; but 
they have no agreeing verb here, for that which follows is of the 
singular number, and has a nominative of its own. They might 
either, then, be put absolutely or elliptically. To the last of these, 
the copulative Kai, also, seems plainly to lead, looking back to what 
is said before, of Christ's loving his church ; as if had said, but you 
also, one by one, do so. Love you also your wives. But this the 
apostle passeth for a more particular and forcible phrase immediately 
subjoined, " Let each one love his own wife." 

The duty itself. One's loving his own wife so, even as himself. 
Here we may consider the substance of the duty ; love, the grand 
duty of Christianity. So soft, sweet, and lovely a duty, that it argues 
a mighty depravation of human nature akin to devilism, that it can 
so hardly get access, and keep its ground among men; and the ex- 
cellency of tlie heavenly state, that there is nothing breathed there 
but love. We have also the determination, or specification of this 
love by its ptculiar object. It is conjugal love, the love of one's 
own vfife, Ttjr (vdvTov yvvaiKa. This is that species of love which of 


riglit is incommunicable, and admits of no partner. The apostle has 
once and again urged it in the context, and you have heard it 
already explained. But here he brings it in again, partly the more 
to inculcate it as a necessary duty, and especially to teach us, that 
as love is the sum, or comprehensive duty of the whole law, so con- 
jugal love is the sum, or comprehensive duty of the husband to the 

We have also the nature of this love, or qualities requisite to 
constitute it. One is to love his wife so, even as himself. These 
words I conceive not to run into one, as if he had said so as, but to 
point at two different things, namely, 1. The rule of this love, or 
explanatory cause of it. So, that is, as Christ loved the church ; 
that is the Christian husband's pattern he must copy after in the 
love of his wife. The church had many faults and blemishes, yet 
he loved her. He loved her sincerely, purely and singularly ; by 
all means seeking the good both of her soul and body, for which he 
exerted himself to the utmost. Even so should men love their 
wives, in a like manner; expressing that love, as much as may be, 
in their conduct. 2. The reason of this love, " even as himself." 
This cannot belong to the rule of it, as if the particle as was only 
a note of similitude pointing to the love of one's self, as a subordi- 
nate rule, to which one is to conform in the love of his wife ; for in 
that sense one is to love every man as himself. But surely there is 
something here required peculiaily in favour of his wife; therefore 
it points to the reason of it, namely, that one is to love his wife be- 
cause she is his other self, one flesh with him, or one body, 1 Cor. vi. 

The manner of binding this duty on men is remarkably particu- 
lar. Let every one (KaaTog, love his own wife. In the mouth of two 
or three witnesses shall every word be established. The apostle 
•first addresses himself in this matter to all in general ; secondly, he 
distributes them one by one, as addressed ; and now, thirdly, in the 
very same sentence, comes in with another word, carrying the duty 
to every husband's door, every one love his wife, even as himself. 
This must sufficiently establish both the weight of the matter, the 
proneness of human nature to shuffle its neck out of the soft yoke, 
and the apostle's earnest desire to fix it, and closely to apply it to 

2. Part of the purpose of the text is that relating to wives, bind- 
ing their duty on them as such. "And the wife see that she reve- 
rence her husband." And in this we may consider, 

The subject of this duty pointed out. The wife, »? ywt). The 
word signifies, either simply a woman, as Matth. v. 28; or a wife, 

AND "Vni'E. 213 

as ]\Icitth. i. 20; even as the other word avijp, here used, signifies 
simply a man or a husband. But tl.is makes no ambiguity, in 
regard that it is in relation the one to the other, they signify hus- 
band and wife ; so that a man's ywi] is always a man's wife. Thus 
Tit. i. 6, jutac yvvaiKog avijp^ literally the man of one woman, is the 
husband of one wife. This is common style in the Old Testament, 
Gen. xvi. 3. Sarah gave Hagar to Abram her man for a woman, 
that is, husband-wife. By which phraseology, the holy language, in 
the very frame of it, bars all mixtures, but in the state of marriage ; 
none being one's woman, in the language of the Holy Ghost, but his 
wife. Now here it is plain the words stand in relation the one to 
the other; so ywi) is the wife, the subject of the charge here given. 

The subject is pointed out indefinitely, not that thoy are more 
ready than the husbands to perform their duty, or th:it the apostle 
was less concerned to bind it on them ; but that since all relations 
are mutual, standing or falling together, this was indeed the na- 
tural way of expressing what remained. The wife indefinitely, as 
the husband also in the original, not her husband. But that is in 
eflfect, as if he had said, your wives, one by one; every one's wife in 
particular ; for the reasons given in the former case. We have 

The duty itself. She is to reverence her husband. Here is some- 
tliing new, which we had not before. The apostle had called wives 
to submit themselves, and be subject to their husbands, vers. 22 — 24. 
Here he points them to the principle that must be the spring of that 
their subjection if they would behave themselves as Christian wo- 
men, that is, reverence of their husbands, (poiUjrai, reverence. The 
word in general signifies fear, being in itself inditfcrent to reverence 
or servile fear, 1 John iv. 18. But here, without question, the fear 
meant is reverence. A kind of fear joined with love, competent to 
inferiors towards superiors, and consequently to the wife, whose 
superior God has made the husband. The formal ground on which 
reverence proceeds, is superiority or super-eminency ; the rays 
of which, as it were, reflected on the conscience, strike reverence. 
Hence our supreme reverence is due to God : " Holy and reve- 
rend is his name." But forasmuch as he has impressed of the 
image of his supremacy on some, even on all superiors, and particu- 
larly on husbauds ; on whomsoever he has impressed it, it chal- 
lengeth a proportionable reverence from us. Therefore, that superi- 
ority and supremacy which God has impressed in the character of 
a husband, as a lineament of his own image and supremacy, 1 Cor. 
xi. 3, ought so to touch the conscience of the wife with awful regard 
to it, that she should fear to olfcud him, and be careful to honour 


liira, and behave respectfully to liim iu word and deed, 1 Peter iii. 

"We liave lastly the manner of binding this duty on wives. It is 
remarkably singular. And the wife see that she reverence her 
hnsband. (Greek,) and the wife that she reverence her husband. In 
this phraseology, there is something either wanting or redundant. 
Some take the phrase to be pleonastic, accounting iva redundant, and 
to be neglected in a translation. But such a mere pleonism, with- 
out any emphasis, should, I think, be the very last refuge in the 
case of the words of the Holy Ghost, therefore I take the phrase, with 
others, to be elliptical. It is an observation of a late judicious writer, 
that ellipsis often makes the language strong and close. And I make 
no question, but such is the ellipsis here; which, though it must be 
supplied in a version, yet cannot be equalled by the supplied phrase, 
the imagining of the thing being lost. It is an ellipsis of affection, kin- 
dled by the subject-matter stopping, and then precipitating the course 
of the words. This is usual in the style of the Scripture, Mark xiv. 
49, "but (it is unavoidable) that the Scriptures must be fulfilled." 
Mark v. 23, " (T pray thee), come and lay thy hands on her." Gen. 
xxvi. 7 ; Matth. xxv. 9 ; Rom. xi. 21, compare ver. 20. Thus here, 
" the wife (see) that she." &c. This elliptical phraseology supposeth 
the darting forth of the rays of soper-eminency commanding rever- 
ence. Tliis is also expressed by the Syriac, in an Old Testament 
phrase, " let the wife be fearing from her husband." 

But passing that mystery of faith, the mystical union, and to 
return to moral duty ; I say to you all in general that are husbands, 
and to you one by one, "let every one of you love his own wife" in 
the manner Christ loved his church; and that because she is his other 
self; and let every wife be struck with reverence of her husband, in 
rtspect of the character God has impressed on him with relation to 
her, moving her to carry towards him with all becoming regard. 

Doctrine I. It is the nature of true Christianity to join a care- 
ful, tender regard for moral duty with the believing consideration of 
the mysteries of faith. This is a great mystery ; but I speak con- 
cerning Christ and the church. "Nevertheless, let every one of you 
in particular so love his wife even as himself." 

The truth of this doctrine appears, if we consider, 
1. That the great design and end of the whole contrivance of the 
gospel mystery was the restoration of morality, lost in the world 
by Adam's fall. That is, to bring men back again to the love of 
God, in their duty to hira and one another, according to the moral 
law, the eternal rule uf righteousness. This might be shewn by 
parts, that it was for this end Christ died. " He gave himself for 

AND WIFE. 215 

US, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us unto 
himself, a peculiar people zealous of good works." Believers are 
united and married to Christ for this very purpose, " that they 
might bring forth fruit unto God." But let it here suffice, that the 
mystery of Christ is in general determined to be great. " Without 
controversy, great is the mystery of godliness ; God was manifest 
in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the 
Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." 

2. That the faith of these mysteries is the chaunel, and the only 
channel of true morality acceptable in the sight of God. Whatever 
other way vain man may think to arrive at a temper of spirit and 
course of life pleasing to God, call it holiness or virtue, which they 
please, this Bible acknowledges no way of sauctification of a sinner, 
but in Christ, united to him by faith, 1 Cor. i. 2; Acts xxvi. 18; 
and true moral virtue another way produced, is as great an absur- 
dity in the doctrine of Christianity, as fruit brought forth by a 
branch separated from the stock, John xv. 5. 

Use. This shews the vanity and self-deceiving, 1. Of those who 
hug themselves in their pretended faith of the glorious mysteries of 
the gospel ; but in the meantime their faith of them, such as it is, 
never makes them a whit more holy nor tender in the practice of 
moral duty, but leaves them at liberty there. I would say to such, 
as James doth, " But wilt thou know, vain man, that faith with- 
out works is dead." Yain are such means as reach not the end, 
the meat that does not nourish, the clothes that do not warm; so 
vain is that faith of the gospel mysteries to thee, that do not sanc- 
tify thee, and make thee careful of moral duty. 2. Of those who 
hug themselves in their pretended moral duties and virtues, separate 
from the faith of the glorious mysteries of the gospel, and running 
in a diff'erent channel, that being left bare, as fitted only for specu- 
lation. Such rationalists bewray their natural blindness and igno- 
rance of the mystery of Christ with the Pharisees their predecessors, 
rejecting the counsel of God as weak and ineffectual, Luke vii. 30, 
which yet is the power of God and the wisdom of God, 1 Cor. i. 24. 
What wisdom then is there in them ? 

DocTRiifE. II. It is the duty of husbands to love their wives, and 
that in such a manner as Christ loved his church ; looking upon 
them as a piece of themselves. This is the principal doctrine of this 
part of the text ; but having been already handled on the 25th and 
28th verses, I shall pass it over with this reflection, that no doc- 
trine carries morality to that height of purity and beneficialness to 
mankind which the doctrine of Christ doth. So that it is quite evi- 


dent, that the greatest masters of reason are not the best Christians; 
that there is an understanding necessary for discerning the truths 
of the gospel in their native beauty, of which men are by nature 
destitute, of which the apostle speaks, when he says, •' And we know 
thr.t the Sou of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, 
that we may know him that is true, and we are in hira that is true, 
even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." 

Doctrine III. Close application of the truths of the word, and 
coming over the same truths again and again, is necessary for our 
getting benefit by them. 

The reason of the former is, because of that aversion that is in our 
nature to spiritual truths, founded upon the tendency that is in them 
to holiness, on which account our unholy nature lies cross to 
them, because the carnal mind is enmity against God ; for it is not 
subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Hence men natu- 
rally ward them off, as the refractory bullock does the yoke. While 
they are kept from being closely applied, the corruption of nature 
is not hurt by them ; but being closely applied, it must needs lose 
ground. Thus David's conscience remained peaceable, though im- 
pure, while Nathan held his parable in the general. But when he 
applied it to him in particular, saying, thou art the man, he fell 
like a bird shot from a tree. 

The reason of the latter is, because impressions received easily 
wear off our spirits, and need therefore to be renewed. These that 
hear the gospel only to get their judgments informed, and there- 
fore cannot be entertained unless they hear some new thing, do shew 
that they have little judgment of their own case; what upstiring 
their heart and affections need. " "Wherefore," says Peter, " I will 
not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, 
though you know them, and be established in the present truth." 

Use. This serves to direct both preachers and hearers, 

1. To making close application of spiritual truths. Let us who 
are ministers aim at applying our doctrines close to the case of 
our hearers ; take it close home to our own particular case, that we 
starve not ourselves while we feed others. And let hearers make 
every sermon a looking-glass for themselves, by taking home the 
word to themselves. All the good which sinners get of the law, of 
its commandments for their conviction of sin and duty, or of its 
threatenings and denounced curse, for their conviction of their misery 
and discovering their need of Christ, comes by close application of 
its commands, threatenings, and curse, to them in particular. And 
all the good to be gotten of the gospel promise, is by a believing ap- 
plication of it to ourselves, for our justification, sactification, and 

AND WIFE. 217 

eternal welfare. As the belief of the law, in general, without par- 
ticular application, will never awaken the secure sinner; so the be- 
lief of the promise of the gospel in general, without particular ap- 
plication, will never give the awakened sinner rest to his soul. 

2. That a seasonable and discreet inculcating of the same truths 
be not grievous to either of us, preachers or hearers. " To write the 
same things to you," says Paul, " to me, indeed, is not grievous, 
but for you it is safe." 

DocTRixE IV. Christian husbands prove themselves Christians 
indeed, even in the love of their wives, by their displaying the in- 
fluence of the pattern of Christ's love on their hearts therein, and of 
the ordinance of God, making them one flesh in their consciences. 
Their hearts are influenced by the one, and their consciences by the 
other, to love their wives. 

Use 1. Hence learn that religion extends to the whole of our 
conduct; that whatever we do, we are to carry it along with us, 
and act by the rules of it. In every relation we must carry as 

2. It is not enough that we love our relatives, and live peaceably 
with them, from natural principles of good humour, or in accept- 
ableness to us for their personal qualities. If that is all, " what do 
we more than others ? do not even the publicans so." It is necessary 
to prove us Christians that we be influenced to this by the example 
of Christ, and the ordinance and command of God having weight on 
our consciences. 

Doctrine Y. and last. "Wives that would approve themselves to 
God in that relation, must carefully take notice of that superiority 
over them with which God hath invested their husbands, to rever- 
ence them on that account, and so submit themselves to them in the 

All I shall say on this head, shall be comprised in these two 
things : — 

1. There is nothing unreasonable or unbecoming in this, what- 
ever you conceive your excellency to be. For, in efl"ect, it is but 
submitting to God and reverencing his authority, whom I hope you 
allow to lodge it in whom he will. You claim that liberty among 
your own servants, to invest one of them with authority over the 
rest; and you challenge yonr authority in that servant to be re- 
garded by the rest. This is the very case with respect to your hu';- 
band. God has appointed him the superior servant. It is the or- 
dinance of God. "I would have you know," says Paul, "that the 


head of every mau is Christ, and the head of the woman is the ninn, 
and the head of Christ is God." 

2. All inferiority in relations is a situation in which God hatli 
us on our trials for the other world ; taking trial of us what regard 
we will pay to his authority at second hand. All superiors of 
divine appointment, being to their relatives so far in the place of 
God, Psal. Ixxxii. 6. So then, since it must be with us eternally, 
according as we regard the authority of God, or regard it not, now ; 
and in such inferiority the trial is taken of us, what regard we 
have to it. We may easily perceive how deep this matter draws ; 
and for evidence that God does that way take trial of us for the 
other world, you need but consider that, when time is at an end, all 
that inferiority of one of us to another is gone, because the time of 
trial is over, and so there is no more use for it. " "When he shall 
have put down all rule, and all authority and power." No more 
subjection of wives to husbands, children to parents, people to 
magistrates or ministers. The more need, then, while the trial 
lasts, to approve yourselves to God as reverencers of his authority 
wherever he is pleased to lodge it. 

Selkirk, January 2, 1728. 


Mark iv. 11, 

j4nd he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the 
kingdom of God : but unto them that are without, all these things are 
done in parables. 

As the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God, and the wisdom 
of God reckoned foolishness by the blind world ; so, in all ages, 
the one part of mankind hath reckoned the other fools, according 
as they have followed these different sorts of wisdom. Sinners 
think saints fools ; and saints know sinners to be fools. Tracing 
this to its original, it will be found to arise from that very different 
light in which spiritual things appear to the several parties, as saith 
the text. In which we have two things : 

1. The spiritual privilege of some, with respect to the kingdom 


of Grotl : " Unto you it is giv^en to know," &c. By the kingdom of 
God, is meant the kingdom of the Messiah. That was common 
style among the Jews in the days of our Saviour, Luke xvii. 20 ; 
xix. 11. But they quite mistook the nature of it, and fancying it 
would be a kingdom of worldly pomp and grandeur, they knew it 
not when it was set up among them ; and rejected Christ as the king 
of it, because he appeared not in the splendour in which they appre- 
hended the king-messiah would appear. However, Christ, being the 
Messiah, his kingdom is the kingdom of God. His kingdom was a 
mystery which they could not understand ; but unto some it was 
given of God to know the mystery ; and these being opposed to 
such as were without, it is plain by them is meant such as were with- 
in it, that is, the true subjects of it. 

2. The state of darkness and blindness in which others were, with 
respect to that subject, the kingdom of God. To them that are 
without the kingdom, who are not the subjects of it, but of the 
kingdom of the devil, all these things, or the all that concerns that 
kingdom, is under a vail ; as things proposed in a parable, which 
the hearers understand not. 

The scope and substance of these words, we may take up in these 
four points, upon each of which I would enlarge a little : 

I. There is a kingdom of Christ erected among men, which is the 
kingdom of God. 

II. The kingdom of Christ is a mysterious kingdom. 

III. It is the privilege of the subjects of Christ's kingdom, to know 
the mystery of it. 

IV. It is the misery of those without the kingdom of Christ, that 
they know it not, more than a parable which they do not understand. 
"We shall attend to these in their order : 

T. There is a kingdom of Christ erected among men, which is the 
kingdom of God. Here we consider only two things, namely, the 
erecting of the kingdom, and the extent of it. 

1. The erecting of this kingdom. Concerning this, observe three 

1. The erector of it. He who set it up. That was the Father. 
" I have set my king," says he, " upon my holy hill of Zion." 
Therefore it is called the kingdom of God. It is different from his 
eternal kingdom. The kingdom of Messiah is a mediatory kingdom, 
of which some men, and not all, are subjects. It is a delegated 
kingdom, of which Christ is the king by delegation and commission 
from the Father. To put his title to it out of question, he was 
anointed king of it, namely, by the Holy Spirit, Isa, Ixi. 1. 

2. The cause for which it was erected was the recovery of lost 
Vol. IV. p 


sinners; lost to God, and lost to themselves. All mankind being 
lost in Adam, God purposed from eternity, by his grace, to save some 
of them. But the kingdom of nature, founded on the work of crea- 
tion, and governed according to the covenant of works, could not 
reach this end. Therefore there was a new kingdom erected, founded 
on the work of redemption, and to be governed according to the 
great charter of the covenant of grace. And Christ Jesus having 
borne the burden of laying the foundation of it with his own blood, 
upon him was the honour of the crown of it conferred. 

3. The time of its erection. It was purposed from eternity. 
But it is an ancient kingdom, considered even from the time of its 
being actually set up, which was at Adam's fall. Then Christ en- 
tered on the government, and as a king examined, judged, and pro- 
claimed a remission to our guilty first parents, and pronounced the 
serpent's doom, Gon. iii. 8, 9, and downwards. It has continued ever 
since, without interruption, notwithstanding the continual opposition 
ii ade to it. 

2. We may consider the extent of it. Here it may be observed, 
that, in respect of the kinds of jurisdiction, it comprehends the king- 
dom of grace. All the grace and favours of heaven to salvation, 
relative or real, that ever mortals may, or shall partake of in this 
•world, are in the hands of this king to dispense. " God hath put all 
things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to 
the Church." It comprehends also the kingdom of glory, for tlie 
glory of heaven is also at his disposal, as well as the grace of heaven ; 
Luke xxii. 29, 30. The kingdom of providence is also under his 
control ; for into the same hands that the Father has committed the 
government of the church, he has also committed the government of 
the world, and that for the good of the church. " The Father 
judgeth no man. bnt hath committed all judgment to the Son." 

In respect of the bounds of the kingdom. It reacheth to both 
■worlds, heaven and earth. " All power is eiven unto me," saith 
.Tesus, "in heaven and in earth." He administers the government 
in both worlds, for the kingdom is but one. Only some of the sub- 
jects dwell in the upper parts of his dominion, namely, the glorified 
saints in heaven, and them he rules. "For the Lamb which is in 
the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto 
living; fountains of water." Others dwell in the lower parts of his 
dominion, namely, the saints on earth, and them he rules, Psal. ii. 
8. Nay, the passage between the upper and lower parts of his 
dominion, namelv, the valley of the shadow of death, is part of his 
dominion also, that yon may be sure that his kingdom, as large as it 
is, is but one. " He hath the keys of hell and of death." 


In respect of duration, this kingdom will last for ever, without 
end. " Of this kingdom there shall be no end." At the great day, 
indeed, he will deliver up the kingdom to the Father, presenting all 
the designed subjects of it complete, according to the design of the 
erection of the kingdom. But he will continue in his kingly dignity 
and office, without end. " His dominion is an everlasting dominion, 
which shall not pass away ; and his kingdom that which shall not 
be destroyed." 

Use 1. Beware then of opposing this kingdom of Christ, by sisting 
yourselves enemies to him by unbelief and impenitence, opposing 
truth and holiness. It is the kingdom of God, and therefore shall 
undoubtedly prevail, and the enemies of it will fall, and fall under 
a dreadful weight, falling under the wrath of this king, which will 
grind them to powder, Luke xx. 17, 18. 

2. Submit yourselves to the Royal Mediator. " Kiss the Son, lest 
he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kin- 
dled but for a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in 
him." Submit to his righteousness, renouncing your own. To his 
teaching, renouncing your own wisdom. Submit to his government, 
renouncing your corrupt lusts and affections. His father has put 
the crown on his head ; his mother, also, crowns him the day of his 
espousals, Song iii. 11 ; and on your espousals to him by faith, he 
will account himself crowned by you. We proceed now to the 

II. Point. The kingdom of Christ is a mysterious kingdom. .A 
mystery is a secret, or hidden thing ; hidden under some outward 
vail or other, which must be drawn aside, before one can see and 
discern it. Accordingly, the kingdom of Christ is a secret, a hidden 
thing; a mysterious kingdom, though among men before their eyes. 

1. The kingdom of Christ itself is a mystery, "The mystery of 
the kingdom." The kingdoms of this world are no mysteries, for 
the outward shew which they make to the eye, with crown and 
sceptre, and other ensigns of royalty, plainly discovers to the mean- 
est capacity, at first sight, what they are ; and is equal to, if not 
above their intrinsic excellency. But the outward shew of tlie 
kingdom of Christ is so mean and low in this world, that the car- 
nal eye cannot thereby discern it to be a kingdom at all, far less to 
be a kingdom above all other kingdoms, as indeed it is. And thert- 
fore I think it is that Christ says, "the kingdom of God cometh 
not with observation." It is like a treasure in earthen vessels, a 
prince in the habit of a servant, not to be known by the outward 

2. It is a kingdom of mysteries; " even the mysteries of the king- 
dom." A constellation of mysteries ; many mysteries gathered to- 


222 MTSTEKY or Christ's kingdom 

gether in one ; so that there will still be mysteries to be discovered 
to the favourites of the King, and they will never be fully known 
till the vail be rent, and the soul be admitted into the holy of holies 

There are mysteries of faith in it. Mysteries to be believed. 
We have a cluster of thera in these words : " Withont controversy, 
great is the mystery of godliness : God was manifest in the flesh, 
justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, 
believed on in the world, received up into glory." The incarnation 
of the Son of God, his humiliation in his birth, life, and death on 
the cross ; his burial, resurrection, ascension, and sitting at the right 
hand of God in our nature, are all great mysteries of faith. 

There are mysteries of privileges. what mysterious privileges 
are conferred on the subjects of this kingdom ! The imputation of 
Christ's righteousness to them, the holiness of his nature, the righte- 
ousness of his life, and the satisfaction made by his death ; all set 
down on their account, and their justification and deliverance from 
the law as a covenant of works by it, are great mysteries. The 
union of believers with Christ is justly called mystical, for it is a 
great mystery indeed : the head in heaven, the members on earth 
in a mean and low condition. They crucified with Christ, so dead, 
yet living. So as he was in the world, an unknown king ; so are 
they in it unknown favourites, walking under a vail. 

There are mysteries even of practice. As great is the mystery of 
the principles, so of the practice of godliness. Sanctification by 
union with Christ through faith, 1 Cor. i. 2; Acts xxvi. 18, is a 
mysterious way of sanctification unknown to the Jewish rabbies and 
Greek philosophers, an imaginary sanctification in the eyes of all 
legalists. The life of faith, emptying the man of himself, counting 
all his doings and suffVirings loss and dung; doing every duty in 
borrowed strength, standing on borrowed legs, seeing with bor- 
rowed eyes, bearing burdens with borrowed strength ; Christ being 
all to the man, and himself nothing, is a mysterious practice. Yet 
it is the life and practice in the kingdom of Christ. " I am cruci- 
fied with Christ," says Paul, " nevertheless, I live ; yet not I, 
but Christ liveth in me : and the life which I now live in the flesh 
I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave him- 
self for me." 

There are mysteries of providence. Kings of the earth have 
their secrets of government, kept up from the body of their people. 
The king of Zion has his secrets of government too, vastly more 
beyond the reach of the spectators of the conduct. This provi- 
dence was represented to Ezekiel, chap, i., under the emblem of a 


wheel within a wheel, goiug on its four sides, the rings so high as 
they were dreadful, and full of eyes. The King's special favourites 
cast down to the dust, his enemies raised up, John Baptist's head 
in a charger, the incestuous Herodias triumphing over it. Men 
going in the way of duty, and the storm blowing hard on their face. 
Others going on in the way of wickedness, and the sun of provi- 
dence shining warm on them. The King's dear children singled out 
to extraordinary afflictions, and so made a spectacle to the world ; 
and rebel sinners treated as the darlings of heaven. These are 
such mysteries as have puzzled the best of men to unfold ; as 
Asaph, Psal. Ixxiii. ; Jer. xii. ; and upon which the blind world can 
make no commentary, but such as destroys the text. "When they 
say, " It is vain to serve the Lord ; and what profit is it that we 
have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully be- 
fore the Lord of Hosts ? And now we call the proud happy. Tea, 
they that work wickedness are set up ; yea, they that tempt God 
are even delivered." 

Use 1. Take heed how you treat religion and seriousness, in the 
principles and practice of it. Beware you traduce it not, in your 
words and course of life, as foolishness; but maintain a solemn 
regard to it upon your spirits, lest your censures of it be found as 
those of blind men judging of colours, while you condemn what you 
do not understand ; and lest a fire unblown from a holy jealous 
God, whom you discern not in the revelation which he hath made of 
himself in Christ, break out upon you unto destruction. " Now 
therefore be not mockers, lest your bands be made strong ; for I 
have heard from the Lord God of Hosts, a consumption even deter- 
mined upon the whole earth." 

2. Profane persons are none of those who belong to this kingdom. 
Drunkards, swearers, dishonest persons, unclean persons, and carnal 
worldlings, that have not even the appearance of godliness. These 
are none of this kingdom, for there is no mystery in their case but 
a mystery of iniquity, proclaiming them to belong to the devil's 
kingdom. Gal. v. 19. 

3. Formal hypocrites belong not to this kingdom. You that are 
strangers to the power of godliness in the inner man, absolutely 
unacquainted with the life of faith in your practice and experience ; 
whose religion is a parcel of mere bodily exercises, external perfor- 
mances. There is no mystery in your religion, what is of it 
appears to the eye. The hidden man of the heart is wanting, 
and therefore it is naught ; " for bodily exercise profiteth little." 
" Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from 
buch turn away." We are now, 


III. To shew that it is the privilege of the subjects of Christ's 
kingdom to know the mystery of it. Here consider, 

1. The subjects of the kingdom of Christ. "Who are they. They 
are believers, and only believers. All the members of the visible 
church are Christ's subjects in profession; but it is believers only 
who are so in reallity. They are the only persons " who have been 
made willing in a day of power ;" who have opened the everlasting 
doors of their souls to receive the King of Glory, to reign in them, 
and over them for ever ; who have been espoused to him, and put the 
crown upon his head. 

2. Their privilege in this point. It is *' given them to know the 
mystery of the kingdom." It is their privilege to be already ini- 
tiated in the mystery of the kingdom, to have the beginning of the 
knowledge of it. They have obtained a proper view of the myste- 
ries of faith, of privilege, of practice, and providence, though in 
the meantime it is but in part. " For now we see through a glass 
darkly, and know but in part." They have so much insight into 
them, as keeps them from stumbling at them ; and all the wisdom of 
the world, and human learning, cannot give this much. This have 
all the saints. "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a 
stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them 
which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, 
and the wisdom of God." 

It is their privilege, also, to be in due time perfected in the 
knowledge of the mystery of the kingdom, as far as their limited 
capacity, enlarged by glorification, can reach. " For now we see 
through a glass darkly, but then face to face ; now we know iu 
part, but then we shall know, even as also we are known." The 
light of glory will enlarge their knowledge to a high degree, that 
shall perfect their happiness. And whoever learn the first elements 
of it here, shall certainly get it perfected hereafter, and get over all 
their difficulties that now remain. "The Lord will perfect that 
which concerneth me : thy mercy, Lord, endureth for ever: for- 
sake not the works of thine own hands." 

3. Let us consider how they get the knowledge of this mystery 
which they have. They get it by the light of the word. " The law 
of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul ; the testimony of the 
Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The commandment of the 
Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." The Bible is the book of the 
manner of the kingdom, and unfolds the mysteries of it, as Asaph 
found in his experience, Psal. Ixxiii. 16, 17. The Bible, indeed, is 
flat, tasteless, and nauseous to many ; but to none of the subjects of 
the kingdom, only to those that are without. 

K^u^v'^• to belikvers. 225 

They get this knowledge, also, by the teaching of the Spirit, with 
the word. " God hath revealed thera unto us by his Spirit ; for the 
Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." He lets 
in a light from heaven into the mysteries, and opens the eyes of 
believers to see the wondrous things. And no advantages of human 
art can make up the want of this teaching. " 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." But all 
the saints enjoy this teaching. " For it is written," saith our 
Saviour, " in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. 
Every man, therefore, that hath heard and learned of the Father, 
coraeth unto me." They obtain this knowledge, also, by experience. 
" taste and see," says David, " that the Lord is good; blessed is 
the man that trusteth in him." An unfelt religion, is the religion 
of thera that are without, whose sound principles are like fire painted 
on a wall ; as far from any sanctifying efficacy on their lives, or 
from burning up their corruptions, as that painted fire is from burn- 
ing the house on which it is. But the religion of the saints is a 
felt, experimental religion. They feel the power of its mysteries 
upon their own souls, and therefore adhere to them, in spite of 
carnal reasonings against them, for it is difficult to dispute men out 
of their senses. " I ani not ashamed of the gospel of Christ," says 
Paul, " for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that 

Use 1. Come and see, is the only proper way to be satisfied as 
to the reality and excellency of religion. Philip gave this advice 
to Nathaniel, and, by following it, he was soon brought to say 
to Jesus, " thou art the Son of God ; thou art the King of Israel." 
Enter yourselves subjects of this kingdom by believing, and you 
shall know the mystery of it. " If any man will do his will, ho 
shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I 
speak of myself." Would you have the privilege of subjects, before 
you be subjects ? Or would you know a mystery, before you give 
yourselves up to be taught ? It is the commendation of religion 
that none disparage it but those who have no experience of it ; 
none condemn it, but those whose blind eyes never saw the merits of 
the cause. So the day will come that they will retract, at least 
when there is no remedy. 

2. No king treats his subjects so advantageously, so honourably, 
as Christ doth his. The devil keeps his subjects in darkness, and 
darkness is the main pillar of his kingdom. Without that, the 
works of darkness would appear loathsome. Christ brings his sul- 
jtcts into light. He makes them wise and knowing, however other- 


wise simple. Kings of tlie earth will uot impart the secrets of tlieir 
government to their subjects, if it is not to very few. But the 
Prince of the kings of the earth makes all his subjects acquainted 
with the mysteries of the kingdom. We proceed, 

IV. To shew that it is the misery of those without the kingdom 
of Christ that they know not the mystery of it, more than a para- 
ble which they do not understand. Here consider, 

1. Who these are, that are without. All unbelievers are such, 
who have never opened their hearts to receive Christ by faith. The 
Jews called the Gentiles by this name. But our Lord teaches that 
it belongs to unbelieving Jews, as well as Gentiles ; and so to unbe- 
lieving Christians as well as heathens. Though they are in the 
church they are not of it, and so are reckoned without ; being out 
of God's family, out of his covenant, and out of the body of Christ. 

2. What is it they do not know? The text says, all these things; 
namely, all that concerns the mystery of the kingdom ; the shell, 
the outward appearance of it is excepted. They know nothing of 
the other parts of it. All is to them under a vail. Christ the King 
of it is a vailed Christ to them. They know him not. The gospel, 
the sceptre of the kingdom, is a hidden gospel to them. The Spirit, 
the light and life of the kingdom, is an unknown Spirit to them. 
" He is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because 
it seeth him not, neither knoweth him." The ten commands in the 
hands of the Mediator, the laws of the kingdom, are unknown to them 
in their spirituality, Matth, chap. v. The covenant of grace, the in- 
strument of government in the kingdom, is an unknown instrument 
to them, Psal. xxv. 14. The mysteries of faith, privilege, practice, 
and providence, remain all under a vail to them. Let us inquire, 

3. How it is they know it not. Though they know the words in 
which that kingdom is revealed, they know not the thing itself. As 
a man hearing a parable in his mother tongue, understands the 
grammatical sense of the words, yet does not perceive the thing it- 
self, wrapt up in the parable. So is it here. " The natural man 
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolish- 
ness unto him ; neither can he know them, because they are spirit- 
ually discerned." They are to them like a lecture of philosophy, iu 
a learned language, to a schoolboy. 

They know it not by the teaching of the Spirit. " They are sen- 
sual, having not the Spirit." They are strangers to supernatural 
illumination, and the highest source of their knowledge is flesh and 
blood, improved by external objective revelation ; being strangers 
to the subjective revelation, the opening the eyes of the mind, Deut. 
xxix. 4. 


They know it not by experience ; and so they know no more of 
religion than one doth of honey or vinegar, how sweet or how sour 
they are, who may have heard of them, but never tasted the one or 
the other. 

Use 1. Here see the source of the dreadful inundation of atheism, 
deism, and contempt of revealed religion ; the source of the flood 
of irreligion, immorality, and profanity, overflowing all its banks 
this day. These wretched men are without, and though they have 
no eyes to see the mystery of the kingdom, they have pride and self- 
conceit to think that they see through it. Their impetuous lusts 
need such a shelter, and they know that if there be that reality in 
religion which they would not wish, they are undone for ever. So 
they neither come into the kernel of religion, nor desire to come ; 
but break their teeth on the shell which they cannot open. 

2. I exhort all to study the mystery of the kingdom of Christ. 
Religion is another thing than either the profane multitude, or com- 
mon crowd of professors take it to be. Strive earnestly to get into 
the spirit of it now, and to feel its life and power upon your souls. 
It will be no comfort when in hell, with your eyes open, to say, that 
you never thought that it had been such a hidden thing. You have 
clear and strong testimony aff"orded you from the word of Grod, and 
the experience of the saints, that there is a reality in religion ; and 
that the possession and practice of it are absolutely necessary to 
your happiness. " For except a man be born again, he cannot see 
the kingdom of God ;" " and without holiness, no man shall see the 
Lord." Trifle no longer, then, with this great and important con- 
cern. Give yourselves with earnestness, diligence, and perseverance, 
to the use of all the appointed means by which the necessary and 
happy change may be produced in your souls. Pray fervently that 
" he who at first commanded the light to shine out of darkness, may 
himself shine into your hearts," by his word and Spirit ; " to give 
you the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus, and 
thus make you his willing people in the day of his power." Amen. 


Exercise and Addition. — Selkirk, before the Preshytery. 


Ephesians v. 9, 

For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and 


Light, in religion, without heat and warmth, is so unlike heaven, 
that it will issue in utter darkness, where there is a scorching heat 
without light. True spiritual light, is like John Baptist, a burning 
and a shining light. "When the Spirit was poured out after the as- 
cension of Christ, for the enlightening of a dark world. Acts ii. 3, 
" there appeared cloven tongues as of fire." For, as upon the 
confounding of tongues at Babel, darkness came upon the world, 
the holy language being left but with a few, and corruption of 
manne'-s came in like a flood upon that darkness ; so when the 
remedy for this was given in Ziou, there appeared cloven tongues, 
an emblem of the gift of tongues, by which light was to be restored 
to the dark world. And these tongues were of fire, because of the 
dross and corruption of the world, to be burnt up by them ; light 
and purity returning together. Thus the saving influences of tho 
Spirit are together enlightening and sanctifying: "Walk as chil- 
dren of the light ; for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and 
righteousness, and truth." That these words are parenthetical, ap- 
pears from that, the words of the lOth verse are so constructed with 
the 8th, that they make one sentence with it; our text being inter- 
posed, as in the midst of a running sentence. Walk as children of 
light. Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. For the fruit of 
the Spirit, &c. 

The scope of the text is to shew that there is a necessary connec- 
tion betwixt a gracious state and a holy life; which are so joined 
by the appointment of God, and the nature of the things, that they 
cannot be put asunder. It is true, many do so yoke together a 
splendid profession and an unholy life, as if they had found out 
the secret of conjoining light and darkness, Christ and Belial, hid 
from all saints. But our text confounds that mystery of iniquity, 
shewing that whoever are light in respect of their state, will be so 
also in respect of their conversation. " For the fruit of the Spirit 
is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth." For clearing the 
sense of these words, let us consider, 


I. The connection. 

II. The words themselves. 

III. Raise, and illustrate the doctrines contained in the text. 
According then to this customary method, in discourses of this 

kind, I am, 

I. To consider the connection of the text with the preceding 
words, in the particle for. Some think the particle yap, to be put 
for it, as if it were merely a note of transition, as it is sometimes 
used, as in Luke xii. 58 ; aud read, " Now the fruit of the Spirit," 
&c. ; but to this I do not accede. It is a rule of interpreting Scrip- 
ture, worthy to be written in letters of gold, namely, that we are 
never, without necessity, to depart from the proper aud literal sig- 
nification of words. And although an eager sticking to the literal 
signification of words, where a real necessity of taking them impro- 
perly and figuratively is sufficiently intimated by the Scripture 
itself, has been of fatal consequence in divinity, yet I nothing 
doubt, but men's taking to themselves a liberty of receding from the 
proper signification of words, without necessity, has, in several cases, 
cast a veil over the true sense of Scripture, and brought in upou 
the text what may be the true sense of, instead of bringing forth out 
of it, what must be so. 

Now there is no necessity here for taking this particle merely for 
a note of transition. For, is to be taken casually. Though the 
apostle doth not here teach distinctly and directly, how, but, ivhere- 
fore, we are to walk as children of the light; yet, by the by, he 
may, and really doth teach how we shall walk so, namely, by 
bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit, which is the reason alleged for 
taking it transitively. 

We take it then casually, as our own and other translators for 
the most part do, and this is its most frequent signification ; and so 
the words are a reason for something going before. He had shewn 
both the condition and the duty of the Ephesians, and inferred the 
latter from the former, and in the text gives the reason of the 
consequence. May not we walk as others, might they say, though 
we be light in the Lord? No, says the apostle, you cannot; for if 
you be light in the Lord, you shall certainly shine, and give light 
in your conversation. For the fruit of the Spirit, abiding and act- 
ing on all the children of light, is in all goodness, righteousness, and 

But here, vain men, who, to exalt free will, trample on free grace, 
may cavil and say, If there be such a necessary connection betwixt 
being light in the Lord, aud walking as children of the light, in all 
goodness, &c., tlien to what purpose are exhortations to the duty of 


walking so? May not one as well say to tlie sun in the firmament, 
Thou art the sun, walk thou as the sun giving light? Answek, 
The same Grod who has appointed the end, has appointed the means 
also, and they are joined together, not to be separated by men. 
Exhortations are means ordained of God for advancing holiness in 
heart and life, in these brought into the state of grace. As there is 
a necessary connection betwixt a foundation of Zion which the 
Lord has laid, and the putting of the copestone on it; so the 
means of building up are by that very thing secured. *' Being con- 
fident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work 
in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus." It is true, it would 
be vain to speak to the sun at the rate aforesaid. But God did 
speak so to it. Gen. i. 14, 15; and it is by virtue of that efficacious 
word that the sun shines to this day, and is not extinguished. And 
as his Spirit makes the saints light in the Lord, so it is by virtue 
of his efficacious word that they walk as children of the light, in 
all goodness, &c. 

But, ere we leave this, we shall remark, that before the apostle 
comes directly to shew how they must walk as children of the light, 
as he doth in the 10th and 11th verses, he here urges the necessity 
of it. For if the conscience be not first convinced of the necessity of 
a duty, one will but little regard how it is to be done. The good of 
souls is the supreme law of preaching, and all method is so to be 
managed as may be most subservient to it. Let us now go on, 

II. To consider the words themselves, which are a proposition, in 
which we shall notice, 

1. The subject. 

2. What is said of it. 

1. The subject which the apostle here treats of is, the fruit of the 
Spirit. And here we must take notice, 

1. Of the reading in some Greek copies, rov (ptarog, instead of rov 
TTvtvfiaTog; " for the fruit of the light is," instead of "the fruit of the 
Spirit." But to confirm the common reading to be genuine, it may 
be observed, that the fruit of the Spirit is an expression used else- 
where in the New Testament, namely, Gal. v. 22; to this may bo 
added Rom. viii. 23 ; but the fruit of the light, nowhere, as I re- 
member. Observe also, that the word <pwTog, being in the last part 
of the preceding verse, might, by the inadvertency of the tran- 
scriber, more naturally be repeated in the text instead of TrvtvfiaTog, 
than this last could be inserted instead of (piitrog. Lastly, the com- 
mon reading is the more forcible, full, and decisive, and therefore 
to be retained. For the fruit of the Spirit comprehends the fruit, 
but not contrariwise ; and the fruit of the Spirit here answers the 
wnvd " in the Lord," light in the Lord, in the preceding verse. 


2. We must next inquire what is meant by the Spirit here ? 
Some, by the Spirit, here understand the new creature, or the light 
of grace wrought by the Spirit of God in the heart. Others un- 
derstand the Holy Ghost himself. This last seems to me to be the 
genuine sense of this word in this place, and that because it is 
most literal and proper one of the two ; since the new nature, or the 
light of grace, cannot be so called, but as the effect gets the name 
of the cause ; and there is no necessity for receding from the more 
proper signification in this text. 

But to prove the word Spirit to be taken here for the light of 
grace, not the Holy Ghost himself, besides the different reading 
already considered, two things are alleged; one is, that here there 
is no mention of the Holy Ghost before, but of light. Answer. 
There is a virtual, though not express mention of him in the phrase, 
" light in the Lord," since the Spirit is the bond of our union with 
Christ; and that is more than sufficient ground for mentioning 
him here. Another thing more weighty is, that the phrase, the 
fruit of the Spirit, Gal. v. 20, must be so understood, being 
opposed there to the works of the flesh, ver. 19. Now as fruit 
answereth to works, say they, so Spirit does to flesh, and therefore 
must be understood of the new nature. Answer. I judge that 
several learned commentators, who understand by the fruit of the 
Spirit there, the fruit of the Holy Spirit of God, are in the right ; 
so that the phrase in both texts signifies the same thing. And the 
variation of the phrases there does not obscurely intimate this, 
namely, the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit; not the 
work or works of the spirit, that is of the new nature; which the 
immediate opposition betwixt the old and new nature would have 
required. For these works of the flesh, like wild oats, grow of their 
own accord, from out of the cursed ground of our corrupt nature, 
without toil or pains about them, to bring them forth. But these 
of the new nature do not so ; they must be produced by the con- 
tinued influences of the Holy Spirit, even in the trees already planted 
in the house of God. 

I will not conceal, that what we read in the same 5th chapter of 
the Galatians, of the Spirit lusting against the flesh, as well as the 
flesh against the Spirit, in the same combat, seems to clash with 
our exposition. But I cannot help thinking, that even it also is 
meant of the Holy Spirit himself, in so far as he stirs in the saints 
holy desires and lustings ; making the new nature to act and lust, in 
opposition to the old corrupt nature : even as he is said to intercede, 
pray, and groan with groanings which cannot be uttered ; in so far 
as hfi stirs up, and produces these in the saints, Rom. viii. 26. It 


seems to be reasonable to judge the Spirit that lusteth (in that sensi) 
against the flosh, ver. 17, is the same Spirit by which the saints are 
led, ver. 18. But the Spirit by which they are led is the Spirit of 
God, Rom. viii. 1-4. 

3. What is meant by the fruit of the Spirit ? From what is said, 
it plainly follows, that the fruit of the Spirit is not the fruit of the 
Spirit as the subject of it, but the fruit of the Spirit as an agent, 
who by his powerful influences produces the same in the trees of 
righteousnes, or the branches of his own engrafting into the true 
vine. In a word, it is the product of the Holy Spirit in the child- 
ren of light, which is pleasant and savoury before the Lord, there- 
fore called fruit, according to that, " My fruit is better than gold, 
yea, than fine gold." "What that frnit in particular is, is declared 
in the other part of the text. 

Lastly, It is to be considered, how the apostle's speaking here of 
the fruit of the Spirit, its being in all goodness, &c., concludes what 
was to be proved. The matter lies here. The reasoning is founded 
on that fundamental maxim of practical Christianity, that the 
Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Light, abides, acts, and produceth fruit in 
all the children of light, in all those who are light in the Lord. 
For Jesus Christ is by the Father constituted the head of all saving 
influences ; and it is by the communion of his Spirit that we receive 
of his influences to make us fruitful. The Spirit uniting the soul 
to Christ, the fountain of light and life, it immediately partakes of 
the light of life, as a candle is lighted by a burning lamp touch- 
ing it ; but the candle, separated from the lamp, would continue to 
burn, as having in itself that which feeds the flame. But the creature 
is empty in itself, and therefore must be fed continually from Jesus 
Christ, by the communion of his Spirit maintaining the bond of union 
betwixt Christ and the soul, and taking of Christ and giving to it. 
So that if it were possible that the Spirit should once totally depart 
from the child of light, and the union be broken, that moment he 
would return to his former darkness. Now the fruit of the Spirit, 
thus abiding and acting in the children ot light, is in all goodness, 
righteousness, and ti'uth ; therefore it necessarily follows, that they 
that are light in the Lord, will walk as children of light. We are 

2. To consider what is said of this fruit of the Spirit. '• It is in 
all goodness," &c. There is an ellipsis here of the copulating. 
Our translators supply the word, k. Some versions supply the word, 
consists. Whatever be supplied, that seems to be the sense, namely, 
that the fruit of the Spirit consists in all goodness, &c. Thus we 
read. Col. i. 10, of being fruitful in every good work. Now, here 


we are to shew, I. "SVhat are the particulars in which the fruit of 
the Spirit, iu a child of light, consists. Tliese are goodness, righte- 
ousness, and truth. Now, forasmuch as all Christian virtues are 
the fruit of the Spirit, they are by the consent of interpreters all 
summed up in these three. And as every thing briugeth forth after 
its kind, so these are agreeable to the nature of the Holy Spirit, 
who is a good and righteous Spirit, and the Spirit of truth ; and so 
they are also to the light, as our Lord shews, John iii. 20 ; " He 
that doeth evil hateth the light," and ver. 21, " He that doeth truth 
Cometh to the light." 

1. Goodness. There is a twofold notion in it: 1. Of loveliness; 
hence the phrase, good in one's eyes. So the subject of goodness, 
whether person or thing, is good in itself; commendable, lovely, 
desirable. Thus goodness comprehends holiness ; purity in opposi- 
tion to all uncleanness and filthiness; meekness, patience, &c., in 
opposition to wrath, bitterness, &c., which the apostle had before 
condemned; and also faith, without which none please God. 2. 
It has also the notion of commuuication ; all good being communi- 
cative of itself, as philosophers observe. Thus a good person or 
thing is good to others, that is, beneficent or profitable. " Hence,'' 
says Paul, " let no corrupt communication proceed out of your 
mouth ; but that which is good, to the use of edifying, that it may 
minister grace to the hearers. Thus it comprehends bounty, mercy ; 
in a word, a disposition to do good to others in their souls and 
bodies : and so it is opposed to covetousness, revenge, malice, &c., 
before condemned. Hence we cannot, with some, take goodness as 
relating only to one's self. For though, indeed, the goodness of a 
cliild of light cannot extend to God in this last sense, yet it may 
and must to one's neighbour, Psal. xvi. 2, 3. 

2. Righteousness iu the extent of its signification, speaks a con- 
formity to the law in all the parts thereof. But being here contra- 
distinguished to goodness, it cannot be taken in that large sense, 
but in a more restrained one; namely, as it denotes that whereby 
we are inclined to give every one his due. This is justice in all our 
dealings with men, of whatever sort. Thus the Jews distinguished 
righteous men from good men. The righteous man, according to 
them, says what is mine is mine, what is thine is thine own. But 
the good man says, what is mine is thine, and what is thine is thine 
own ; to which the apostle seems to have an eye, Rom. v. 6, 7- 
Now this fruit of the Spirit, righteousness or justice, is opposed to 
that covetousness before condemned. 

Truth has a respect to God, ourselves, and our neighbour. There 
is a truth of the heart, in uprightness and sincerity. A truth of 


tilings, words, and actions. Hence are these words of our Lord, 
" He that doeth truth coineth to the light." That is true things, 
agreeable to the rule, and having the reality of Christian actions, 
and not a shew and semblance of them only. A truth of thought 
and judgment, whereby one judgeth aright of things ; and a truth of 
speech, whether testifying, teaching, or promising; all this comes 
under the name of truth, which is opposed here to dissimulation and 
lies, with respect to God and man ; and to error, delusion, and vain 
hopes, whereby a person himself is deluded and deceived. It is 
particularly set against that deceit spoken of, ver. 6th, which could 
find no place but under the covert of darkness. 

2. Let us attend to the extent of the fruit of the Spirit, with 
respect to these particulars. " It is in all goodness," &c. I make 
no question but this note of universality belongs to all the three ; 
the phrase itself natively importing it. The fruit of the Spirit is 
not only in some goodness, righteousness, and truth — though many 
deceive themselves with parcels and shreds of these things — but it 
is in all goodness in one's self and to his neighbour ; in all righte- 
ousness towards man ; in all truth with respect to God, our neigh- 
bour, and ourselves. And these things are interwoven one with 
another, in the fruit of the Sjiirit. The goodness is true, and 
justles out no sort of righteousness or justice, communicative nor 
distributive, remunerative nor punitive. The righteousness is true 
and good; from right principles, motives, and ends. So is the 
truth, as it is here distinguished, proceeding from a good principle. 
Meanwhile, this extent of the fruit of the Spirit is to be understood 
not in a legal, but an evangelical sense; of a perfection of parts, 
not of degrees. 

Lastly, Let us shew how these are the fruit of the Holy Ghost, in 
the children of light. They are so in three respects. 1. He im- 
plants them in the soul, giving it a good, righteous, and true incli- 
nation and propensity, agreeable to the holy law, according to that, 
"I will," saith the Lord, "put my law into their minds, and write 
them in their hearts ; and I will be to them a God, and they 
shall be to me a people." 2. He preserves these graces when im- 
planted, 1 Peter i. 5, without which they would die out. And, 3. 
He excites, quickens, and brings them forth to action, in the heart 
and life of the children of light. Song iv. 16. 

The sura of the whole matter is this. Those who are light in the 
Lord, must needs walk as children of light ; because the Spirit of 
God, abiding in them, does produce fruit in them, consisting in all 
righteousness, goodness, and truth, in their hearts and lives, with 
respect to God, themselves, and their neighbours. 


Doctrine I. The Spirit of Christ abiding in the children of light, 
produces agreeable fruit in their hearts and lives. 

Doctrine II. Goodness, righteousness, and truth, are the fruits 
of the children of light, produced in them by the Spirit of Christ. 

Doctrine III. True Christian fruitfulness is universal. A 
word to each of these. 

Doctrine I. The Spirit of Christ abiding in the children of 
light, produces agreeable fruit in their hearts and lives ; even fruit 
suitable to his own nature, and their gracious state. For confirma- 
tion of this consider, 

1. The Spirit is an active bond of union betwixt Christ and the 
children of light, these that are in him. By this Spirit, an empty 
creature is united to a full Christ; and by the same made partaker 
of his fulness, to their bringing forth fruit in him. " The Spirit 
shall glorify me," saith Christ, " for he shall receive of mine, and 
shall shew it unto you." Hence we read " of the supply of the 
Spirit of Jesus Christ." It is by the soul's feeding on Christ that it 
lives, and whosoever feed on him, shall live by him, a life of holi- 
ness, as well as comfort. " He that eateth me," saith Jesus, " even 
he shall live by me." Meanwhile, our Lord tells us, that this life 
is by the participation of his Spirit. It is the Spirit that quicken- 

2. Consider the end for which the Spirit is given to these that are 
his. It is in a special manner for their sanctification, Ezek. xxxvi. 
26, 27 ; so that all who are chosen of God to everlasting life, are 
sanctified by the Spirit. " For they are chosen to salvation through 
sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." It is his work 
to conform them more and more unto the image of Christ, and he ef- 
fects it accordingly. " For they are changed into the same image, 
from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." And the 
same Spirit being in them which is in Jesus Christ, cannot fail to 
make them like him in their beariug the fruits of holiness ; even as 
in Ezekiel's vision, when the living creatures were lifted up from 
the earth, the wheels were lifted up also, for the spirit of the living 
creatures was in the wheels. 

3. The several designations given to the Holy Spirit evince this. 
He is called the Holy Spirit, not only because he is holy himself; 
but chiefly, because he makes them holy in whom he dwells. He 
is the Spirit of grace ; for he implants it, preserves it, excites, 
strengthens it, and at length perfects it. He is the Spirit of life 
who mortifies the old man, and quickens the new. He is the water 
that purges away the filth of sin, and makes the soul fruitful. He 

Vol. IV. Q 


is even a fountain of living water springing up in the soul. He is 
the fire that burns up corruption, and inflames the heart with the 
love of God. And, to add no more, he is the wind from heaven, 
making the spices in Christ's garden to flow out. 

Use. 1. Of information. This lets us see, that in vain are the 
pretences to the Spirit and a gracious state, in those who bring not 
forth the fruits of holiness in their hearts and lives. The trees of 
righteousness bring forth holy fruits. " If God be our Father, where 
is our honour of him ; if our Master, where is our fear of him." If 
the Spirit of Christ be in us, where are our love, joy, peace, for these 
are the fruit of the Spirit. 

2. Those who are so far from the fruits of holiness, that their 
profane lives are filled with the fruits of wickedness, have not the 
Spirit, but are in darkness, Gal. v. 19. To what purpose do men 
pretend faith in Christ, while they go on in a course of sin, and will 
not part with their lusts. They that are Christ's, have Christ's 
Spirit; and that Spirit will give quite a new turn to their hearts 
and lives. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. Unholy sinners, as ever you would be 
holy, labour to get Christ's Spirit in you, to dwell in you, and act in 

Motive 1. "Without the Spirit you are undone for ever ; for with- 
out the Spirit, without Christ ; for if any man have not the Spirit of 
Christ, he is none of his. Without Christ, without God, and with- 
out hope. The dead corpse may be kept a while ; but when there is 
no hope of the return of life to it, it is buried in a grave. So, with- 
out the Spirit, you may be through the patience of God spared a 
while ; but the end will be, to be cast into the pit, and buried out of 
God's sight. 

Motive 2. If you get the Spirit, you are made up for ever. 
When the Spirit comes, life comes that shall never fail, John iv. 14. 
He will unite you to Christ, quicken, enlighten, and sanctify you. 
He will give you grace, actuate and increase it, and change you 
from glory to glory. 

Direction. Pray earnestly for the Spirit. Your heavenly Father 
shall give the holy Spirit to them that ask him. Look and wait for 
the Spirit in all ordinances. " Blessed are they that sow beside all 
waters." They that would have the wind blow on them, go out into 
the open air ; though they cannot raise it, they go where it blows. 
Give up yourselves to the Spirit ; say, " Turn me, and I shall be 
turned ; for thou art the Lord my God." Lay down yourselves at 
his feet, to be enlightened, quickened, and sanctified. Cherish the 
least spark ; it may increase into a flame. 


2. Children of light, as you would abound in the fruits of holi- 
ness, take heed how you entertain the Spirit. Resist him not, but 
fall in with liira in his operation. Quench not the Spirit. Beware 
of casting water on the holy fire, by sinning against light, or by in- 
dulging in sensuality. "Withdraw not fuel from it, by neglecting 
the motions of the Spirit. Smother it not, by not giving vent to the 
motions and operations of the Spirit within you. 

DocTRiJTE II. Goodness, righteousness, and truth, are fruits of 
the Spirit in the children of light, produced in them by the Holy 
Spirit of Christ. For the confirmation of this, I shall only briefly 

1. That God is good, righteous, and true ; and they are partakers 
of the divine nature, 2 Pet. i. 4 ; and so, as children, they resemble 
God their Father. 

2. That God has been in a special and gracious manner, good, 
righteous, and true to them. As to the point of righteousness, that 
Scripture may be noted, " He is just to forgive us our sins, and to 
cleanse us from all unrighteousness," namely, for the merits of 
Christ. And it is the nature of God's dispensations of saving grace, 
to impress the same dispositions on the happy subjects of them. 
They are changed into the same image, from glory to glory. 

3. That the holy law is a law of goodness, righteousness, and 
truth. This law is written on their hearts, Heb. viii. 10. 

Lastly, That wickedness, unrighteousness, and lies, are the works 
of the devil, and the works of the flesh ; to which the fruits pro- 
duced by the Spirit in the new man are directly contrary. 

Use 1. This writes death on the foreheads of three sorts of persons : 

1. "Wicked, ungodly, and ungracious men, who are far from good- 
ness, remaining in the evil state and disposition in which they were 
born ; in whose mind, will, and affections, the evil of sin yet reigns ; 
and are neither graciously good in nor to themselves, nor others. 
That is an evidence that the good Spirit of God has never yet en- 
tered into that heart to dwell there. Alas ! will some say, I see 
much evil, all evil in my heart, but goodness is far from me. 
Answer. It is a piece of gracious goodness for one to see the evil 
of his own heart; but yet there is a pearl of goodness in the saints, 
amidst a dunghill of evil. God owns it for goodness though it be 
so, and it is folly in thee to deny it. 

2. Unrighteous men, who are unjust in their dealings with men, 
who are given to fraud, cheating, and tricking, if they can gain 
thereby ; and can go over the belly of conscience and common justice, 
to advance their worldly interest. This is an evidence that the 



world is your Crod and portion ; that there is no fear of God before 
your eyes; that you are children of darkness and not of light. Let 
me tell you, where you win a penny by it, you lose a talent; the 
gain is the price of blood, of thy soul. 

3. Those who make no conscience of truth. Children in whom 
there is no truth, are not children of light. Such are hypocrites and 
dissemblers with God, who pretend fair, but whose heart is not up- 
right with the Lord ; who, under the cloak of a profession of religion, 
indulge themselves in sin, in some living reigning lust or other. Ah ! 
whom do you mock. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Such, 
like the false mother, divide the child ; by a holy profession, and an 
unholy practice. So shall their doom be to be cut asunder, and have 
their portion with hypocrites. Such are liars, who make no con- 
science of speaking truth ; especially such as lie in defence of an 
unholy life, which is a most common sin ; there being everywhere 
agents of the devil, who have abundance of vain words to bestow 
in defence of these things. These are of their father the devil, and 
with him they must lodge for evermore. Rev. xxi. 8. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. Let us, 

1. Study goodness. To be good, pleasing, and acceptable in the 
sight of God, and of men also, so far as we may in God's way ; 
namely, by meeknesss, gentleness, readiness to do good ; and for 
this cause, let us hate sin as the greatest evil. Let us all endeavour 
to be beneficial to mankind, as we have access ; to embrace all occa- 
sions offered for the advancing of the temporal, but especially the 
spiritual good of others. Let no man say. Am I ray brother's keeper ? 
Nor of the ruin of others. What is that to us ? And let us abridge 
ourselves of our liberty, even in lawful things, to that very end, that 
we destroy not those for whom Christ died. 

2. Be strictly just in all our dealings with men. Moral honesty 
is not the whole of religion, but it is such a necessary part of it, as 
the want of it will declare a man a stranger to real godliness, profess 
what he will, Psal. xv. 1 — 3. 

Lastly, Let us study truth and cleave to it. Truth and sincerity 
of heart before the Lord; the doctrine of truth, and truth in all our 

Doctrine IIL True Christian fruitfulness is universal. On this 
I have not time to enlarge. 

Use. By this we may try our state, and whether our fruit be the 
fruit of the Holy Spirit in us or not. True fruit is universal. Col. 
i. 10 ; Psal. cxix. 6. There is a perfection of parts in the fruit of 
the Spirit in believers, though not of degrees. They do sincerely 


aim at all, and endeavour all the parts of goodness and holiness, 
though in none of them they attain to legal perfection. Hypocrites 
are ever partial in their fruits, pretended to be fruits, and never aim 
at universal obedieuce of heart and life. Amen. 

Eyemouth, July 12, 1706. — Monday after the Sacrament. 


Philippians i. 21, 
For me to live is Christ. 

In a day of converting grace, in Christ's marriage-day, there is a 
glorious transmigration of souls betwixt Christ and believers. Christ 
loves the believer, and the believer loves Christ. The believer has 
Christ's heart, Song iv. 9, " Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, 
my spouse." Some render it, " Thou hast knit my heart to thine ;" 
as if they had no more two hearts, but one. The Septuagint ren- 
ders it, unhcarts me. And Christ has the believer's heart. " Whom 
have I in the heaven but thee ; and there is none in all the earth 
that I desire besides thee." The believer desires nothing beside 
him, nothing like him, nothing after him. As the lady at Cyrus' 
feast, who said she saw none but her husband. Christ Jives in the 
believer. Gal. v. 20. Christ is his life, Col. iii. 4. Alas ! that 
there should be so many Christless Christians, who never have 
discovered the beauty of this plant of renown. Paul was none 
of these, as appears in these words, wherein we are to consider, 

1. The sura of Paul's practice: " To me to live is Christ." Some 
render it, " for Christ is gain to me in life and ia death ;" as if the 
sense were, whether I live or die, Christ is always my gain. But 
this is a force upon the text which, in the original, runs word for 
word, as in our translation. The words bear another sense. The 
phrase, indeed, is something unusual ; but love burning in the heart 
to Christ, is not easily satisfied with expression. When Hezekiali 
is wondering at the Lord's love, he says, " thou hast in love to my 
soul delivered it from the pit of corruption :" or, thou hast loved 
my soul from the pit. When David was intent on prayer, he tells 
us, but, " I prayer," Psal. cix. 4. When on peace, " I peace," Psal. 
cxx. 7. Now Christ is all to the believer, " To me to live is Christ.' 


I endeavour to live Christ, to think Christ, to speak Christ. As 
all the lines drawn from the circumference to the centre meet in 
one point ; so all my preaching, all my suffering, yea, all my life, 
has a tendency to Christ, to please him, and to glorify him. Christ 
was the great scope of his life. To the unrenewed man, to live is 
himself. He acts from, for, and to himself. Christ gets self's room 
in the believer. He acts from him, to him, and for him. 

2. In the verse there is the sum of his hopes: " To die is gain." 
Death, that is the great enemy of mankind, shall be gainful to me. 
If I lose a temporal life, I will find an eternal. I will make a good 
exchange of trouble, for eternal rest; of a miserable world, for 
heaven ; and then shall I fully enjoy this Christ for whom I live ; 
and shall also glorify him in death, whom I glorify by life. 

3. The connection of a holy life, and a happy death. To live is 
Christ, before to die be gain. These God has joined, and no man 
can put asunder ; though if wishes would do, they would be often 
disjoined; as many are of Balaam's mind, in desiring to die the 
death of the righteous. They must glorify him here, who shall be 
glorified by him hereafter. 

4. The dependence of these words on the preceding. They are a 
reason of what he said before, ver. 20. He had said, that he hoped, 
(being now prisoner at Eome), to magnify Christ in his body ; this 
he might do either by his life or by his death. In life he would 
preach Christ, by death he would confirm his preaching. He was 
not solicitous which of the two ways Christ should glorify him- 
self in him, so that he were glorified by him ; and the reason was, 
because his heart was bent on glorifying Christ in life ; so if he 
lived, he would live in his element, and if he died it should be gain 
both to himself and others, and he should glorify Christ that way also. 

DocTKiNE. Christ is the sum and scope of the believer's life. 
We shall shew, 

I. "What is supposed in this. 

II. "What is imported in it. 

III. Why is it so with the believer. We are then to shew, 

I. What is supposed in this. It supposes that the believer has 
seen Christ in his beauty. " Thine eyes shall see the King in his 
beauty." There is an interesting question, John xiv. 22, " Lord, 
how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the 
world ?" There is an illumination in the knowledge of Christ, given 
in the day of Christ's power, to the elect ; that the world, even the 
most refined hypocrites, attain not unto ; that determines them to 
make Christ their all. The illumination of the Arminians, that 


leaves the will in suspense, is often the attainment of castaways. 
But the elect get one of another sort, John iv. 10. They who 
are thus brought to know his name, will put their trust in him. 
Hypocrites see him, as it were, but in his ordinary clothes, hence 
they see no beauty in him, that they should desire hira ; and hence 
such unmannerly treatment of him at his table, for had they known 
him, they would not have thus crucified the Lord of glory. The be- 
liever sees him in his royal robes, clothed with glory, and alto- 
gether lovely. There are two things which every believer has seen 
in Christ, but uo hypocrite has seen them : 

1. His transcendent excellency, Matth. xiii. 45, 46. They have 
Been that in him that has darkened all created excellency. As 
when the sun ariseth, the stars hide their heads, the candles are 
blown out. The sun serves instead of candles, moon, and stars. If 
others see this, why do they i)refer a lust to Christ; why is not to 
them to live Christ. 

2. His fulness, his all-sufficiency, John i. 16 ; Luke xv. 17. An 
ass's head gave a great price at Samaria, in time of famine ; and 
so the doings of the world appear bulky, when the fulness of the 
Mediator is not discovered. The treasure may be concealed, hid un- 
der the beggar's feet, hence he goes from door to door ; but if it 
were seen, he would leave off his old trade and live upon his own. 
"With Peter, he would say to Christ, " Lord, to whom shall we go ? 
Thou hast the words of eternal life ;" and from him he would re- 
ceive that water, which would be in him a well of living water, 
springing up to everlasting life. 

II. We are to shew what is imported in it. 

1. It imports that the believer's life is bound up in Christ's. 
"Ye are dead," says Paul, "and your life is hid with Christ in 
God. When Christ, who is your life, shall appear, then shall we 
also appear with hira in glory." This he himself tells us, " Because 
I live, ye shall live also." What was David's encouragement against 
all distress? it was, "the Lordliveth;" and of his joy, and that 
made him that he could lay down his body with confidence in a 
grave ? it was, " thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt 
thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption." The believer's hopes 
are all in Christ, and should he die, they and their all would die 
with hira. The apostle, in the text, lets us know his judgment, that 
life is not worth the having, without Christ. What is life but a 
vapour ? Our days are few and evil ; desirable not for their own 
sake, but for Christ's sake. 

2. Christ is the object of the believer's life : (suffer me to term it 
so). As the tradesman is taken up about his employment, so is 


the believer about Christ : " For I determine," says he, " not to 
know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." 
The actions of his life do habitually centre in him, though in them- 
selves they be divers. I shall instance in some particulars : 

1. Christ is the believer's study, Philip, iii. 8, 10. He is the 
main thing which they desire to know. The mysteries of nature 
only, are prized by some ; but the mystery of Christ is chiefly 
prized by believers. Here all the treasures of wisdom and know- 
ledge are; not only subjectively, but objectively. what a round- 
about way do men ordinarily take to gain knowledge ! Paul took 
the shortest way, when he determined to hold by Christ crucified ; 
for that is the body of divinity taught to the scholars of the Spirit 
of God. " He shines in our hearts, to give the light of the know- 
ledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus." Look to him in 
his natures and offices ; in what he did, and what he suff"ered, from 
his conception, to his sitting at God's right hand, and you will see 
a complete system. "Would you know what God is; what man is 
by nature, and what by grace — all may be learned there. 

Now, concerning this study of the believer, I would remark, 
that sometimes his book falls by-hand. They lose their sight of 
Christ, the face of Jesus is vailed to them. Like Job, they cannot 
perceive him on either side. This makes their faces gather black- 
ness, and makes them go about with Job's cry in their mouth, " 
that I knew where I might find him, that I might come, even to his 
seat." For why, if he be gone, what have we more ? for comfort, 
life, God, and guide, are gone. 

Again, when the believer would know the nature of God, and 
what he is to him, he reads all through the vail of the flesh of 
Christ, for it is in him only that God is well pleased, Heb. x. 19, 
20. God out of Christ is a terrible sight, to those who know what 
sin is, as the believer does. He looks to his mercies through Christ, 
and that makes the least of them appear very great. He takes a 
cup of cold water as sent to him by the sea of Christ's blood, and 
sees Christ in every mercy. But finally, whatever he sees in Christ, 
there is always something beyond what he has attained, Eph. iii. 
18, 19. There are new jewels still to come out of this treasure. 
The desire is kindled to know more of him ; like Moses, shew me 
ihy glory, 

2. Christ is the believer's choice, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. The believer's 
choice is far different from the world, Psal. iv. 6, 7- He chooses 
Christ above all. He sees him as the best among ten thousand, and 
altogether lovely. These eagle-eyed ones can see defects in all 
created enjoyments, but none in Christ. There are two defects 


wliich tliey see in all others. 1. Uncertainty. They see honour but 
like a windy bubble, that children blow up, presently gone. Riches 
to be the name of nothing ; like a flock of fowls that light upon a 
man's ground, that presently take wing. 2. Insufficiency. They 
are no way commensurable to the desires of an immortal soul. " I 
have seen," says he, "an end of all perfection." Now he sees 
Christ to be a certain and a sufficient good. 

He also chooses Christ instead of all, and takes him for all. The 
godly man knows he is all-sufficient. This is a wise choice. It is 
but a choosing of the fountain instead of the streams. Whatever 
perfections are in the creature scattered up and down, he has them 
concentered in him. 

Christ has the believer's affections. Christ is his treasure, and 
therefore his heart is upon him. The affections that were some- 
times scattered and misplaced, are now gathered together; and as 
all the rivers run into the sea, so they all run to Christ. His love 
is set on that lovely one, and he will neither be driven, nor bribed 
from it. " Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods 
drown it." Their desires are toward him, Isa. xxvi. 8. 

His hope is in him. His joy is in Jesus, Phil. iii. 3. His delight 
is in him ; and if any person or thing has any of his love, it is for 
Christ's sake. This is the habitual bent of the soul. His sorrow is 
for olfending him. He mourns most bitterly for having pierced him. 
His hatred is against sin, as the abominable thing that Christ hates. 
His fear is also lest he provoke him. 

Even the believer's body is devoted to Christ. It is the temple of 
the Holy Ghost. Their members are instruments of righteousness. 
The tongue is the instrument of his glory, and they respect their 
bodies for that very cause, that they are Christ's. Hence, if he call 
them to suffer for his sake, their bodies and lives are at his service. 

3. Christ is the end of the believer's life. He liyes to Christ, 
Rom. xiv. 8. He endeavours to please him. Men-pleasers, and 
those who please Christ, divide the whole world. " If I yet pleased 
men," says Paul, " I should not be the servant of Christ." The 
true Christian has renounced his own will, and taken Christ's will 
for his. He hath learned to submit to his perceptive and providen- 
tial will, that in all things he may please him to whom he owes him- 
self. He endeavours to glorify Christ. His life is a burden to him, 
if he conceive he can do nothing for Christ. He is ready to think 
that day a lost day, in which Christ's glory has not been advanced 
by him in some measure. It is his work, and therefore he lives to 
pull down Satan's kingdom, and to advance the kingdom of Christ. 
The honour of his Lord is dear to him, and therefore he would be con> 


tent, with the Psalmist, "to make his name to be remembered in all 
generations." Hence, he is one that will speak, for Christ, and will 
not be ashamed of hira before men. If his glory be impaired by others, 
he will strive to repair it, testifying against sin. He is one that 
will commend Christ, and sound forth his praises to engage others to 
fall in love with him. His life will also be such, as may bring 
glory to Christ. He will labour to write after the blessed copy 
which Christ has set before him. If he be called to suffer for Christ? 
he will not refuse it, to glorify his Lord. We proceed, 
III. To shew why it is so with the believer : 

1. Because Christ lives in him. Gal. ii. 20. The same Spirit that 
dwells in Christ, dwells in the believer; and as the same soul 
actuates both the head and the members, the oil poured on the 
head of our high priest runs down to the skirts of his garments. 

They are, by the Spirit of Christ, made partakers of the divine 
nature ; united to Jesus Christ, and how can the members but live 
to the holy head ? 

2. They had their life by the death of Christ, he bought them 
with the price of his own blood ; no wonder, then, that to them to 
live be Christ. As Eve was made of a rib taken out of Adam, and 
thus was his own, so they are Christ's. They are his by right of re- 
demption, why then should he not have their all ? He gets nothing 
from them, but what was bought at a dear rate. It was for this end 
he died, that they which live should not henceforth live unto them- 
selves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." If one 
should buy a thief from the gallows, would he not be obliged, in 
gratitude, to be wholly his, to whom he owes his life. Christ bought 
us from death, and that by his own death. How can the believer 
reflect on the price paid, but he must say to hira, to live is Christ ? 
! says the believer, if the foot sinned, and God drew blood of the 
head ; I contracted the debt, and my husband paid it, and shall I 
not be for him. There are five things that weigh much with the 
believer here : 

1. The vastness of the price which Christ paid for his life, 
namely, his own precious blood, 1 Pet. i. 19. This price was the 
blood of God, Acts xx. 28. Had a world been crumbled to nothing, 
had all the angels been loaded with the wrath of God, and died each 
of them ten thousand deaths for our life ; what had all this been to 
God dying. Believers live to him, because they see his glory as the 
only begotten of the Father, hence they stand and wonder, Isa. Ixiii. 
1, 2. They wonder at the Son of God suffering death to purchase 
their life ; they are placed here as the iron in the fire, till it be all fire. 
2. That Christ lived for them, and died for them. What brought 


him out of the Father's bosom, but his love to them ? Why could 
not the hallelujahs of angels keep liiin at court, but because the 
cries of the perishing elect pierced his heart ? Therefore he came 
down. Father, said he, they shall not perish ; if they owe any 
thing, lay it to my account, take payment of me ; I will take their 
place. They cannot live, unless the law be satisfied by obedience, 
and justice satisfied for the sin committed. I will do both. So he 
came, and lived a life of perfect obedience for them, and died a 
death satisfactory for their sins. 

3. The continuance of his sufferings, which was fi-om his birth to 
his death, from the cradle to the grave. It was not a part of 
Christ's life that was for them, but it was the whole ; and how can 
they but give him the whole of theirs. 

4. Any thing they have to give to Christ, any thing they have 
with which to entertain him, or with which to do any thing for him, 
they owe it all to him. That they have a soul out of hell, they owe 
it to Christ, and shall it not be his temple ? That they have a 
heart not filled with horror and eternal dispair, they owe it to him » 
and shall he not have it ? That they have a tongue that is not 
burning in hell, they owe it to him, and shall not they act for him ? 
— feet that are not standing in fire and brimstone, and shall they 
not run his errands ? — eyes not blinded with the smoke of the pit; 
and in a word, a body that is out of hell ; and shall not all be his 
and for him ? 

5. The proportion that was betwixt the seat of sin in them, and 
the seat of suffering in Christ. They sinned in their bodies, and 
Christ suffered in his body. His head was pierced with the thorny 
crown, his eyes were denied the light of the sun, his tongue was 
made to cleave to the roof of his mouth, he gave his back to the 
smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair ; his fair 
face was defiled with spittle ; his heart was melted like wax, in the 
midst of his bowels ; his side was pierced with a spear ; his hands 
and feet nailed to the cross ; his strength dried like a potsherd ; and 
wherefore all this, but that tlie body and all its members had been 
instruments of sin in men ? And because their souls were the chief 
seat of all, therefore Christ's soul was the chief seat of wrath, sor- 
rowful even unto death. Their souls had forsaken God, therefore 
he is forsaken of God. Pride and all mischief dwelt in their souls ; 
therefore he put him to shame, and laid him low indeed. Is it any 
wonder, then, that they live not as they lived before ? any wonder 
that to them to live is Christ ? 

Use. Then shew yourselves true Christians, by making Christ 
the sura and scope of your life, and that you may do so, I recommend 
these few things to you : 


1. Abhor all doctrines that tend to the lessening of the glory of 
Christ. He made the gospel covenant for himself, and wo to them 
that turn it against him. But most, if not all the heretics stumble 
upon this stone, so that we may say, " Blessed is he whosoever shall 
not be offended in him." The cursed Socinians lessen his glory, 
making him but a nominal and official god. The Papists, many ways — 
by their masses, indulgences, invocations, and merit of good works. 
The Arminians make his grace lacquey it, at the foot of free will. 
Others put our faith and obedience in the room of Christ's righte- 
ousness. God's great design in the gospel is to exalt Christ ; and 
the devil's great design is to depress him, and to raise up men for 
that purpose, to object against his nature, his offices, and the like. 
Some will not allow him, by his Spirit, to be the interpreter of his 
Father's will, but set up their own corrupt reason in the chair. 
Some rob him of the glory of his priestly office, and some will have 
110 king but Csesar. These things shew that they are Christ's ene- 

2. Appear for him and his cause. Remember that whosoever shall 
be ashamed of him, to act for him and speak for him, of them he 
will also be ashamed. Be always then on his side, labour to propa- 
gate his kingdom. Recommend him to others, that they may fall 
in love with him. Recommend him to your neighbours, and espe- 
cially, like Abraham, to your families. Gen. xviii. 19. Reprove and 
discountenance the dishonour done to him. 

3. Beware of him, obey his voice, and provoke him not, Exod. 
xxiii. 21. Close with all the duties he lays upon you, and have 
respect to all his commandments. They that baulk any of them, he 
is not the sum and scope of their lives. Christ's word is a band 
strong enough to a gracious soul. 

4. Be not satisfied with duties, unless you find Christ in them ; 
unless " you behold the beauty of the Lord." Mary came to the 
sepulchre, but finding no Christ there, she wept ; because she appre- 
hended they had taken away her Lord, and she knew not where 
they had laid him. Duties are but empty husks without Christ. 
He is the marrow and life of all duties. They are but handmaids to 
lead you to Christ. Sit not down to make love to them, but go for- 
ward till you find him whom your soul loveth. 

5. Perform religious duties, and love them for Christ's sake. It 
is bixt heathen morality to be virtuous for virtue's sake. No wonder 
that was their highest motive, for their gods generally were as bad 
as themselves, and therefore they pitched upon the dead idol of vir- 
tue, that had no relation to God. But be you godly for God's sake, 
holy for Christ's sake. To be holy for holiness' sake, without respect 
to Christ, is to make an idol of a created quality. 


6. Engage in no duty, but in his strength. Flee on borrowed 
"wiugs. The fire that was put to the incense, on the altar of in- 
cense, was brought from the altar of burnt-offering ; teaching us, 
that from Christ the influences of grace must come into our souls 

7. Draw motives and helps for duty, from Christ's sufferings, 
2 Cor. V. 1-i, 15; Zech. xii. 10. The law may break and bruise, 
and so may be useful in its own place to lead us to Christ; but 
surely it is the gospel alone that kindly melts the soul. The 
Christian's labour is a labour of love; because where the labour is 
right, love predominates. 

Lcistly, Lay the weight of the acceptance of all your duties, and 
all the good you do, only upon Jesus Christ. God is only pleased 
in him. Venture not to look on God, but through the vail of his 
flesh. Alas ! many, if they attain to any good frame in duties, 
they are apt to lay the weight upon it, and say, now I know God 
will bless me. As if a beggar would assure himself of his alms, 
because he hath a tongue to cry, and a hand open to receive them. 
But remember a good frame is not Christ, and cursed " be the man 
that trnsteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart 
departeth from the Lord." Calves offered on the altar of Bethel 
were rejected, when turtle doves offered on the altar at Jerusalem 
were accepted. Amen. 

Ettiick, June 1, 1707. 



Hebrews xiii. 14, 
For here we have no continuing dty, but ive seek one to come. 

Heaven ever moves, yet is that the place of our rest ; earth ever 
rests, yet is that the place of our travel, where we rest not. Time 
runs with a rapid course, and carries all men swiftly down the 
stream. It admits of no delay, and whether we sleep or wake, we 
are carried forward, to be sent forth within a little into the vast 
ocean of eternity, and to land us either in heaven or hell. Whether 


we will or not, we must ere long bid farewell to the world ; and 
were it with man as it is with the beasts, who when they are dead 
are done, we might sit at ease, suffering ourselves to be carried 
away with the stream at all adventures. But then man begins to 
live, when he is dead and gone ; and, therefore, having here no con- 
tinuing city, Avhat remains but that we direct our course to one that 
is to come, and which is the great thing our text aims at. In which 
consider : 

1. A supposition. The apostle plainly supposeth our absolute 
need of a continuing city, that is, a place of true happiness and 
rest ; for so it must be understood, for, otherwise, hell is of the same 
continuance with heaven. Man is capable of happiness, the desire 
of it is interwoven with his nature. No man is insensible that he 
labours under some great defects, and every man sees the need he 
hath of something to give him perfect rest and satisfaction ; and 
therefore the soul, like an hungry infant, sucks wherever it comes, 
and finding no rest in one thing, goes to another ; and never can 
attain true rest, till it be perfectly cai'ried to God himself, to 
take up its everlasting rest in him. 

"We have next a position consisting of two parts : 1. That the 
continuing city is not to be found in this world ; our rest is not here. 
Here we do but sojourn for a time, and no sooner we come into it, 
but as soon we begin our journey to go out of it again ; and, like the 
rising sun, haste forward to the going down. We begin then to die, 
when we begin to live; and death follows our life, as the shadow 
does the body, till it at length overturns us. Then the tale is told, 
and the fable of life in the world is ended. 2. That the continuing 
city is to come. There is a i)lace of perfect happiness and rest for 
the children of men, though not here. The present world affords 
many fine cities, but the world to come has only that " continuing 
city." Heaven is that continuing city, Heb. xii. 28, in which 
there are many mansions for the heirs of glory, when come home 
from their travels. 

We have also in the text, the practice of the godly, most import- 
ant to both parts of the position. They admit the conviction of this 
world's emptiness, and live under the sense of it. They look upon 
the world as it is in itself, as indeed affording no continuing city 
to them. They say, " we have here no continuing city," we see 
none, we seek none, we expect none in it ; but they seek that which 
is to come. The Greek word is emphatical, and signifies to seek 
with all our might ; to seek with great care and solicitude. They 
do not sit down, and faintly wish for it, but set themselves earnestly 
by all means to obtain it. Their former question, " Who will shew 


US any good ?" is turned to that, " What shall I do to be saved ?" 
While others are taken up about present things, they are labouring 
to procure to themselves a blessed immortality. 

Lastly, The connection. These words are given as a reason or 
motive to stir up to the duty proposed, ver. 13, namely, that we 
ought to be denied to the world, take up Christ's cross, and 
patiently bear all reproaches for him. For why? says the apostle, 
" we have no continuing city here ;" and ere long we shall be out of 
the reach of enemies ; and even at this time wa are seeking other 
things than the world can afford. 

Doctrine. We have no continuing city in this world ; but it is 
the duty of all, and the practice of the godly, earnestly to seek after 
the continuing city above. We shall, 

I. Shew that we have no continuing city here. 

II. In what respects heaven is a continuing city. 

III. I shall open at large the seeking of this continuing city. 
lY. The reasonableness of the point. We are then, 

I. To shew that we have no continuing city here. This is evi- 

1. Because the dissolution of this world is approaching, Psal. cii. 
6 ; 2 Pet. iii. 7 — 12. It had a beginning, and it shall have an end. 
The day will come, when the earth, and all things therein, shall be 
burnt up. It was a dreadful day when Sodom was burned, but it 
will be much more dreadful when all the cities of the world shall be 
consumed. Sodom destined to the flames, was no city for Lot to 
continue in ; and seeing this world must also be burnt up, may we 
not conclude we have no continuing city in it. 

2. Because we must all remove from it by death. Death is 
settled by a fixed decree. " It is appointed unto all men once to 
die." One generation passeth away to give place to another. 
Every birth and every death is an argument to persuade us that we 
have no continuing city here. Every child that is born, comes into 
the world with a warning away in its hand. Every dying person 
lets us see the way which we are to follow. There is room enough 
on the earth, notwithstanding all the vast numbers that have been 
before us. We must all answer the summons of death. It will not 
pity the poor, be bribed by the rich, nor boasted away by men of 

6. Because of the uncertainty of all things here below, though 
we should last, and the world also. All worldly things stand on 
two lame legs, uncertainty and insufliciency, and therefore are not 
to be depended upon. There is nothing here that can satisfy the 


soul. He spoke like a fool, who said, " Soul, thou hast much goods 
laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." 
Though these things were sufficient, yet are they uncertain. They 
perish with the using; like the apples of Sodom, fair and fresh 
without; within full of sulphur, and, being handled, fall to ashes, 

4. Because the Lord never designed it for a continuing city. 
The Lord made it as a stage to serve for a time, to be taken down 
when men had acted their parts upon it. It was the place for the 
trial of the children of men. Heaven was the place prepared for 
the godly before the foundation of the world ; and hell was pre- 
pared of old, for others. This earth was only a narrow neck of 
land, to be swallowed up of eternity. We proceed, 

11. To shew in what respects heaven is a continuing city. 

1. The city itself is continuing, " It is a building of God ; an 
house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. It is a king- 
dom which cannot be moved." Though the footstool may be set 
aside, the throne must continue. That city prepared before the 
foundations of the world were laid, must endure when the founda- 
tions of the world are overturned. It is a sure purchase that is 
made in the city above ; for when the cities below shall be laid in 
ashes, this shall stand and flourish. 

2. The Lord of the city is a continuing Lord, even Jesus Christ, 
He died once, but shall die no more. He has fought the battle for 
his people, and has reached the crown, and is set down on the 
throne. He sends his people such news as Joseph sent to his 
father : " God hath made me lord of all Egypt, come down unto me, 
tarry not." Jesus continues for evermore. 

In respect of his natures, Rev, i. 17, 18. The human nature 
which he took on, he never did, and never will put off. Death 
made a separation betwixt his soul and body, but not betwixt his 
natures. The saints shall for ever see the human nature united to 
the divine nature ; the man Christ at the right hand of God. 

In respect of his offices. He will be the prophet of that city 
for ever. He that gave them the light of grace, shall give them 
the light of glory. He is an everlasting priest, even a priest for 
ever. It is true, he will ofi"er no more sacrifice, "for by one off'er- 
ing he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." But he 
will eternally exhibit that sacrifice, and intercede for his people, 
Heb, vii. 26 ; this is the everlasting security of the saints. He 
will be king there for ever, for of his kingdom there shall be no 

3. The citizens of that city are continuing. " Life and immor- 
tality are brought to light by the gospel." There is no death there. 


Tlio garments of glory shall never be put off Death entered para- 
dise, but cannot enter this city, where the Lord of life reigns in 
his glory, 1 Cor. xv. 53, 54. 

4. The abode of the citizens in this city is continuing. Adam 
was cast out of the earthly paradise, the Jews out of Canaan. But 
every saint " shall be made a pillar in this temple of God, and he 
shall go no more out." Heaven is the rest that remains for the 
people of God. They may have many a weary step in the wilder- 
ness, but when once come home they shall go no more abroad. 

5. The privileges of it are continuing ; they shall never be re- 
trenched. Who can count the privileges which the citizens enjoy 
there ! The people of God in this world are high privileged with 
the favour of God, and peace with him, pardon of sin, adoption, 
sanctificatiou. They shall have all these in their utmost perfection, 
to be continued for ever. Their peculiar privileges in heaven are 
such as these : none of the miserable effects of sin are there. " 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." No bodily pain, 
no soul distemper, no desertion there. The Zion above will not 
complain that the Lord has forgotten her, or that God covers him- 
self with a cloud, for there shall be no night there. 

There shall be no sinning there, for there the spirits of just men 
are made perfect. The body of sin and death dies with the death 
of the body. The most holy person on earth sinneth, but the least 
star in heaven shall be without spot. Lamps of hell shall then 
wonder to see themselves shining lamps of glory. There shall not 
be even the possibility of sinning there. Adam when created had 
no sin, but the saints in the city above shall not be capable of sin- 
ning. They shall be for ever confirmed in a sinless and happy 
state. We have told what is not in it, but to tell you what is in it 
is more difficult. We may, by attempting it, darken counsel by 
words without knowledge. Take only these two words : "Beloved, 
now are we the sons of God : and it doth not yet appear what we 
shall be ; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like 
hira; for we shall see him as he is. And so shall we ever be with 
the Lord." These are words which the inhabitants of heaven only 
are fit to explain. 

6. The work of that city is continuing work. They rest not 
night nor day, singing praises to him that sits upon the throne. 
The harps of the people of God are not always in their hands now ; 
sometimes they are hanged upon the willows. Their work there 
will be eternal recreation and perfect pleasure. This teaches us 

Vol. IV. K 


that we must be made meet for beaven, and serve our apprentice- 
ship here in the ways of holiness, before we can be admitted into 
that continuing city. 

Lastly, The rest, quiet, and safety of that city are continuing, 
*' It is a kingdom that cannot be moved." There are four things 
that put a city in hazard, but none of them are here. Enemies 
laying siege to it without. This puts the church in hazard here, 
and therefore there are watchmen set on the walls ; but no enemy 
can approach to the city above. The devil and his army cannot 
come near it. "Want of provision within, occasions hazard; but 
there shall be no lack there, for rivers of pleasures that never run 
dry, abound there. Rev. vii. 16, 17. The inhabitants of a city dis- 
agreeing among themselves is very hazardous. This was as hurtful 
to the earthly Jerusalem as the Roman army. But there can be no 
mutiny in this city. Then shall that be perfectly accomplished, 
*' They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith 
the Lord." The sad divisions amongst the Lord's people strike at 
the root of Christianity, by muttering as much as that Christ is not 
come, Isa. xi. 6 — 8. Therefore our Lord prays, that his people " all 
may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also 
may be one in us ; that the world may believe that thou hast sent 
me." Finally, mismanagement of the governor may bring danger. 
Wisdom will save a city, and folly ruin it. Here is infinite wisdom 
at the helm, and how can they miscarry. We proceed, 

III. To open up at large, the seeking of this continuing city. 
Here we shall shew what it supposeth ; wherein it consists. What 
do they seek that are rightly seeking ? and Finally, the properties of 
this seeking. 

1. What this seeking supposeth. 1. It supposeth the want of a 
continuing city. None will seek what they do not want. When 
man sinned he lost Grod, and so a right to heaven ; this all men, by 
nature, are under. And he that is thus seeking is sensible of his 
loss, and is under conviction that the world can afford none such ; 
unless it were so, he would never seek it. Every serious seeker of 
heaven looks on the world as a wilderness, and himself as a pilgrim 
and stranger on the earth, Heb. xi. 13, 14. But alas! few are 
under this impression concerning the world. 

2. The faith of a continuing city ; that there is a place of happi- 
ness and rest. They believe " that there remaineth a rest for the 
people of God." They see that there is a land afar off, and that it 
is attainable by mortals. The faith of this is more rare than most 
men imagine. Were there a place in the world where men might 
live in all manner of prosperity, free from all evil, and all welcome 


to it that would go ; would not meu flock thither, if they really- 
believed it ? 

3. A sense of the need of it. Wise men will not seek that of 
which they have no need. The seeker of heaven sees the need he 
hath of it. He is one of a more noble spirit than to be satisfied 
with the husks which the earth affords. The earth may serve the 
body during this mortal life ; but he knows he hath a soul that must 
live eternally, and a body that must be raised up again ; and that 
this world can do him no service in these things. 

4. The soul turning its back upon the world. The person who 
seeks heaven, with Paul, " foroets the things that are behind." 
" He is coming out of the wilderness, like pillars of smoke ;" and 
answers that call, " come with me, from Lebanon, my spouse." 
"We cannot seek both, more than serve two contrary masters. Our 
arras are too short to grasp both heaven and earth at once. If ye 
seek heaven, let earth go. 

2. Wherein doth this seeking consist ? It consists in these two 
things : 

1. In earnest desires after it. " But now they desire a better 
country, that is, an heaveuly." The soul desires to be there in due 
time. Their heart is there, for their treasure is there. Their souls 
are reconciled to heaven by the power of grace. They have seen 
the beauty of the holy land, and heavenly city ; though not with 
their bodily eyes, yet with the eyes of faith. They have been cap- 
tivated with the map of it in the word of God. They desire it, 
because Christ is there ; and there glory dwells, and holiness reigns 
for ever. " Our conversation is in heaven ; from whence also we 
look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ." Most men have no 
such desires. They would quit their part in paradise, if God would 
let them stay on this side of Jordan. 

2. In suitable endeavours for it. The want of this holds many 
out of heaven. " The desire of the slothful killeth him ; for his 
hands refuse to labour," If wishes would carry men to heaven, 
who would go to hell ? But there are difficulties in the way to it 
which they cannot digest, and therefore they intermeddle not with 
it. But they who seek it aright, turn the face of their souls that 
way, and labour for it. " Let us labour, therefore," says Paul, " to 
enter into that rest, lest any man fall, after the same example of 
unbelief." Strivers only, are right seekers. " Strive," says our 
Lord, " to enter in at the strait gate ; for many, I say unto you, will 
seek to enter in, and shall not be able." " The kingdom of heaven 
Buffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." 

3. What do they seek, that are rightly seeking? 


1. They seek the Lord of the city. The commaud is, " seek the 
Lord while he is to he found, call upon him while he is near." 
Jesus the Lord of it is himself "the way, and the door;" none can 
enter but by him, John xiv. 6. Jesus is to the true seeker the 
greatest beauty of the upper house, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. The name of 
the city is, " the Lord is there ;" and this draws the soul of the 
believer hither. And if Christ were not there, heaven would not be 
heaven to the believer. " Being risen with Christ, they seek the 
things which are above, where he sitteth at the right hand of God.*' 

2. A right and title to it. By Adam's sin, we forfeited our right 
to it, so we have our title to seek. "We are commandeed to " seek 
first the kingdom of God and his righteousness." The soul sees 
itself miserable, whatever it have, if it have no right to that city. 
Hence Christ is precious. A match with the heir of all things is 
very desirable, seeing by him we are made citizens there. " For 
through him, we have access by one Spirit unto the Father ; and 
are made fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of 

3. A conformity to it ; even the kingdom of God to be within us. 
As every man labours to conform himself to the manners of the 
court where he desires to be, so the Christian " has his conversation 
in heaven," and desires to be more and more changed into the image 
of the Saviour. Heaven must come down into us, before we can get 
up to it. If our Father be in heaven, we will strive to be like 
him. Can we look on these to be seeking heaven, who mind nothing 
but the world and their lusts; in whose thoughts, words, and actions, 
there is nothing of heaven. 

4. Evidences for the city. The soul will not only seek a right to 
it ; but to know his right. Hence they will be crying, " shew me a 
token for good." When their interest is darkened, their hearts are 
filled with sadness ; and when they behold it, their souls rejoice, 
when they can say, " For we know, that if our earthly house of this 
tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not 
made with hands, eternal iu the heavens." A man that is seeking 
to buy houses or lands, will labour to get good evidences of his right 
to them. 

Lastly, The possession of it in due time. " Let us labour, there- 
fore, to euter into that rest." One time or another, you will be at 
Paul's wish, " a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far 
better." Christ gives it as an encouragement to his people, " I go," 
says be, " to prepare a place for you ;" and therefore they seek and 
wait till their minority be past, that they may enter heirs to that 
glory. " Desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from 


I shall close with a word of nse of what has been said. Bestir 
yourselves, then, to seek after the continuing city. Are there not 
many among us, who have neither right to, nor evidence for heaven ; 
who live here as if this were their rest, as if they were never to 
remove ; who, if death were to seize them this day, know not where 
they would lodge through the long night of eternity. 

Consider the motive in the text : " we have no continuing city 
here." We must continue for ever, but not here. AYere we to die 
like the beasts, we might live as they do ; but we have never-dying 
souls. consider well, that you must remove, that you may seek 
in time a continuing city. Death is posting on. Our life is but a 
vapour, a shadow, a nothing. The grave we must visit, there is no 
continuance here. 

4. The properties of this seeking. How must we seek, if we 
Avould succeed ? This is a necessary question, for our Lord tells us, 
" many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able ;" and Paul tells 
us, " that a man is not crowned unless he strive lawfully." There 
may be much seeking to little purpose. 

1. They that rightly seek the continuing city, seek it laboiiously. 
" They labour to enter into that rest." They must not only open 
their mouths as beggars, but ply their hands as workmen seeking 
their daily bread, who earn it with the sweat of their brow. " We 
must seek it as silver, and search for it as for hid treasures." Many 
would be fed like the fowls, who neither sow nor gather into barns ; 
and be clothed like the lilies, who neither toil nor spin. They would 
receive heaven if it would fall down into their mouths, but cannot 
think of working for it. They have something else to do. It is 
true, our labour and pains will not bring us there ; but there is no 
getting there without it, Prov. xxi. 25. For consider, the several 
notions of the way to heaven, all importing true labour. We must 
work ; yea, " work out our own salvation," or otherwise we lose 
what we have done. It is as the work of the husbandman, which is 
not easy. " Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy, break 
up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till he corao 
and rain righteousness upon you." It is the running of a race that 
requires patience and much eagerness, " for we must press toward 
the mark, and so run that we may obtain." We must wrestle and 
fight for it, for heaven hath a strait gate, and cannot be entered 
with ease. We must strive to enter, yea press into it, and take it 
by violence. We must put forth our utmost strength, as those who 
are agonising, Luke xiii. 24, and at last overcome. Rev. iii. 12. 
These are the metaphors by which the Christian's exercises are de- 
scribed, and they certainly denote real labour. 


Consider also the types of the way to heaven. Many a weary step, 
and many a bloody battle had the Israelites, ere they could settle 
themselves in Canaan. Jerusalem stood on a hill, and was sur- 
rounded with hills ; many a weary step had some of them to take 
ere they won it, 2 Sam. v. 6 ; and when they came there, they had 
the hill of God to ascend, even Mount Moriah, where the temple 
stood, hence that Psal. xxiv. 3 — 6. 

Besides, slothfulness is the pathway to hell, Prov. xiii. 14, and 
XX. 4. The sluggard is an unprofitable servant to himself and his 
master. For an idler to get heaven, is a sort of contradiction. 
Heaven is a reward, and therefore supposeth working. Heaven is 
rest, a keeping of a sabbath, and therefore supposeth previous toil. 

2. Voluntarily. '* The Lord meeteth him that rejoiceth and 
worketh righteousness." When men do nothing in religion but by 
compulsion, they cannot succeed. God's people are a willing people, 
and he cares not for compelled prayers, or forced endeavours, when 
the hands go without the heart. Men naturally are enemies to hea- 
ven ; and till heaven be in their heart instead of the world, they 
will never seek it to purpose. 

3. Diligently. " The soul of the diligent shall be made fat." 
We will lose it, if we seek it not diligently. " By much slothful- 
ness the building decayeth." Men are busy for the world ; the 
devil is busy to keep us out of heaven, and shall not we seek it dili- 
gently. But most men are of Pharaoh's principle, that religion is 
only a work for them that have nothing else to do, hence no dili- 
gence among them. 

4. Vigorously. We are commanded to ask, to seek, to knock. 
It is not easily got. Faint attacks will not break open the gates of 
this city. It is requisite we summon together all the powers of or^r 
souls, " and whatsoever our hand findeth to do, do it with all our 
might." The iron is blunt, therefore we must exert the more force. 
Fervency in seeking, is necessary to make it effectual. It is the 
effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man that availeth much. 

5. Resolutely, as Jacob for the blessing. We seek what we can- 
not want, and therefore must steel our foreheads, and run through 
difficulties. " Skin for skin, all that a man hath, will he give for 
his life." The people that hearing of the Anakims, their hearts 
failed, were obliged to turn back into the wilderness. They that 
mind for this city, " must have their feet shod with the preparation 
of the gospel of peace," that they may go forward through the rug- 
ged way. 

6. Constantly. " We must be stedfast and immoveable, always 
abonndiug in the work of the Lord." We must not seek only by 


fits and starts ; that makes our seeking uneasy. Hot and cold fits 
are signs of a distempered body. This work is for term of life ; 
"no man putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for 
the kingdom of God." " The just shall live by faith : but if any 
man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." Desert- 
ers are shamefully punished, while prisoners of war are treated with 

7. Seek it quickly, without delay, for we know not how soon our 
sun may go down. " "We must work the works of him that sent us, 
while it is day ; the night cometh, when no man can work." Your 
glass is running. If your time be done, before your interest in hea- 
von be secured, it will be a heavy case. Hell is replenished with 
those that resolved to be better afterwards. 

Lastly, Seek evangelically, that is, in a gospel way. This com- 
prehends %QQking, first, from a principle of new life, called the life 
of Jesus, 2 Cor. iv. 10. Secondly, from a sweet motive of love to 
God, even the love of Christ constraining us ; and thirdly, from a 
noble end, the glory of God, the honour of the Redeemer, and glory 
of his grace, and our own salvation. Finally, doing all in borrowed 
strength ; travelling " through the wilderness leaning on our be- 
loved, denying ourselves, rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and having no 
confidence in the flesh." We shall now, 

IV. Shew the reasonableness of the point. And, 

1. "Why it is the duty of all thus to seek after the continuing 

1. Because none of us have a continuing city here. Our old ta- 
bernacle is ready to fall down about our ears, what then should we be 
doing, but seeking that building of God. Hence we must remove, 
is it not then highly reasonable we should seek where we may take 
up our eternal lodging. 

2. It is the command of God, whose commands we are not to dis- 
pute, but to obey, "for a son honoureth his father, and a servant 
his master." Now what is his command ? It is, " Strive to enter 
in at the strait gate." What a cord of love is such a command, 
where duty and interest are so linked together. 

3. Because perfect happiness is only to be found there. That 
is the place where the soul-satisfying treasure only is to be found, 
" Lay up for yourselves, then, treasures in heaven, where neither 
moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through 
nor steal." You will never be able, by any means, to extract 
happiness from earthly enjoyments. Solomon had run round the 
world and viewed all, and what is his report, even " vanity of vani- 
ties, all is vanity." The very nature of the soul is such, thai 


nothing under the sun can satisfy it ; yea, the very erect form of the 
body teacheth us to seek heaven. 

4. It is a dreadful contempt of heaven, not to seek it. It was 
the sin of the Israelites, " that they despised the pleasant land." 
It is God's mansion house, the land where glory dwells. Not then 
to be at pains to attain it, is a sin near akin to the sin of the 
devils, " who kept not their first estate, but left their own habita- 
tion." Yea, it is a contempt of the blood of Christ, the price by 
which heaven was purchased. sirs, prefer not, in your practice, 
the world to the glory of heaven. Observe Heb. xii. 14 — 16. Will 
men say that they prize heaven, when they will not be at pains to 
secure their title to it ? 

Lastly, There is no getting there, without seeking it thus. There 
is no reaching the treasure of glory without digging for it. " For 
if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit 
do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." If men must have 
yet a little sleep and a little slumber, outer darkness will be their 
waking-place, Luke xiii. 24. 

2. Let us shew why it is the practice of the godly. They seek 
this city, 

1. Because they have been convinced that they have no continu- 
ing city here. By the Spirit of the Lord, the gracious soul " has 
seen an end of all perfection ;" has got a sight of the vanity and 
emptiness of created things, and this has turned the soul back again 
from the broken cisterns, to the fountain of living water. They 
have seen that excellency in Christ, which has darkened the glory 
of created things. 

2. Because their treasure is in heaven, Matth. vi. 21. If a man's 
treasure be in his coffers or in his barns, his heart will be there 
also ; if in heaven, his heart will be there. Christ is the believer's 
treasure, and he is there ; an eternal weight of glory is his treasure, 
and it is also in heaven. 

3. Because heaven is the only rest for the godly. The world is 
the place of their toil and pilgrimage. They have trouble from 
without and from within, while here ; but their rest is remaining 
for them above, Heb. iv. 9. They say to one another, as Naomi 
did to her daughters-in-law, " the Lord grant you, that you may 
find rest, each of you in the house of her husband." Rest is sought 
by every one, and seeing the godly look not for it here, they must 
needs be looking for it there. 

4. Because this seeking is the native product of a new nature. 
The old nature carries the man downward, the new nature up- 
wards, toward heaven. Grace is an active principle come from 


above into the heart, and carrying the soul up to its own source. 
Every thing desires its own preservation and perfection, now glory 
is the best preservative and perfection of grace. It is a fountain 
that will not be stopped, but will cast up its waters. " It is in 
them a well of living water, springing up to everlasting life." 

Applicatiok. Is it so, that here we have no continuing city ? 
Then we may be 

1. Informed and convinced of several particulars. 

1. Then we must all die, and be as water spilt on the ground. 
Here our tent is set down, but not to continue here. The pins of 
the tent must be loosed, and man must go to his long home. Ere 
long you shall be arrested within the four posts of a bed, not to 
come forth, till you be carried to the grave. Death will settle down 
on your eyelids. The fairest face shall be pale, and the breath shall 
go, and the body crumble to ashes, for here we have no continuing 

2. Life in this world is but a short preface to eternity, an incon- 
siderable point between two vast terms. The world lasted some 
thousands of years before we were born in it ; and how long after 
we are gone, who knows ; but then there is an eternity to succeed. 
O ! that we could so tell our handbreadth of days as to apply our 
hearts to \risdom. 

3. It is well with them who are gone to heaven. " Blessed are 
the dead who die in the Lord, from henceforth ; yea, saith the Spirit, 
that they may rest from their labours." Rest is desirable, they had 
it not here ; they have got it now. Their weary days and nights 
are now at an end. Sickness and trouble shall be to them no more. 
Weep not for them, but for yourselves that are yet on the trouble- 
some sea ; we are abroad, they are at home. 

4. Behold here the vanity of all things below, and the folly of 
valuing ourselves on account of them. When death comes, we must 
bid them an eternal farewell, and leave what we have to others ; 
and they to others again, till the fire at the last day consume all. 
Some have a beautiful tent, others a black and uncomely one ; but 
against night, all are taken down. 

6. Their case is to be pitied and not envied, who have their portion 
in this life. What good did the rich man's treasure do him in hell ? 
Though a man act the part of a king on a stage, if he have nothing 
when the curtain is drawn and the play ended, he is in a pitiful case. 
Alas ! the world does with many, as with the young man, it brings 
an eternal eclipse on their souls. 

Lastly, See the folly of men who are neglecting to secure their 
title to heaven. sirs ! we are quickly carried down the stream. 


ere long we will be in eternity. "Why then are you not making it 
your business to seek a continuing city, seeiug here we have none ? 

Use 2. Of trial. Hereby you may try yourselves, whether you 
be truly religious or not. How does the pulse of your affections beat ? 
"What is it that you are seeking, is it heaven or the world ? I told 
you in what this seeking consists, and upon this I would propose 
two questions : 

1. What desires have you after heaven ? Are your souls yet recon- 
ciled to it ? Could you get an abode here for ever, would you desire 
to remove ? I fear there are many would even be content to settle 
down on this side of Jordan. They desire heaven, but not for con- 
tempt of the world, but fear of hell. But a gracious soul cannot be 
content with this their sinful condition in the world, to want unin- 
terrupted communion with God, which is only to be enjoyed above. 

2. What endeavours are you using to get it ? Simple wishes for 
heaven will never come speed. Many wish for heaven but work for 
hell. If this be not your main work to seek the continuing city, 
you will never get there. But alas ! what little pains do most men 
take to get heaven ? If coming to the church, giving the compli- 
ment of a morning and evening prayer to God — coldrife and dead 
suits — will bring them to heaven, they will be sure of it ; but they 
will never see it, if they cannot reach it without cutting off right 
hands, mortifying their lusts, and taking it by violence. 

Use 3. Of exhortation. From this I may press several duties 
upon you. And, 

1. Be content with such things as you have. Nature is content 
with little, grace with less ; but corruption enlarges the soul as hell, 
that it never says it hath enough. Though a stranger get but bad 
accommodation on a journey, it pleases him to think that he is going 
homewards, he is not to stay with it. You are on your way te eter- 
nity. It is of little consequence whether a traveller have a cane 
in his hand, or a rough stick ; either of them may serve, and both 
are laid aside at the journey's end. 

2. Do not sit down upon the world's smiles. If the world court 
you, do not give it your heart, but tell it you are not to stay. ! 
it is hard to keep the heart from falling in love with a smiling 
world ; hard to carry a full cup even ; to take a large draught of 
carnal comforts, and not to fall asleep. Ere long, the richest shall 
be on a level with the poorest; and when the fool, who sets his 
heart on his wealth, comes to die, he cannot answer the question, 
Whose shall these things be, which he hath provided? 

3. Bear afflictions patiently. You are posting out of the place 
of afflictions. If you be not in Christ, ere long the cross will bo 


turned into an unmixed curse. If you be in Christ, ere long all 
tears shall be wiped away from your eyes. 

4. What you do, do quickly. Beware of delays, they are very 
dangerous. Our great work is to do good, and to get good. Ply 
your work with all speed and diligence. Parents do good to your 
children ; ere long they may be taken from you, or you from them. 

Lastly, Seek the continuing city that is to come, ! set your- 
selves to this work in good earnest; apply to it with all diligence. 
Young and old, rich and poor, you must all go out of this world. 
! strive to secure your lodging in heaven. 

Motive 1. Consider you are all seeking something. Man is a rest- 
less creature, always crying give, give. The river runs as fast 
when it is overflowing its banks, as when it is going in its proper 
channel. The watch moves as fast when it is going wrong, as when 
it is going right. The spider is at pains as well as the bee. Alas ! 
many men are like the spider ; it consumes its bowels to make its 
web. They exert themselves wholly for their bodies, and neglect 
their souls. what folly is this ! 

2. The devil is seeking to keep you out of heaven. He is con- 
stantly seeking whom he may devour. He wants not skill to con- 
trive means for your ruin. He hath had experience for several 
thousand years in that trade. He wants not malice nor cunning. 
And will not you be at pains for your own salvation? 

3. You have loud calls to this work. You have the call of the 
word. Wherefore hath the Lord instituted ordinances among you, 
but for this end ? A master doth not light a candle for his servants 
to play themselves at it. You are not shut up in the dark, muffled 
up in clouds of ignorance. The night is over, the day shines. Go 
forth then to your work and to your labour, until the evening. The 
voice of providence calls loudly to you. God seems to be on his 
way against these lands, for their contempt of the gospel. And, I 
dare say, men under the gospel cannot but sometimes have their 

4. Our abode here will be very short. Ere long, all of us shall 
be in an unalterable state. Some are at the borders of the grave ; 
all are going forward. Our life is a vapour, and our days a sha- 
dow that passeth away. Let us then work the works of him that 
sent us, while it is day : the night cometh, when no man can work. 


Simprin, March 23, 170?. 


Psalm iv. 4, 

Commune with your own heart tipon your bed, and he still. 

In these words, we have David's friendly advice to his enemies, for 
the good of their souls. In this particular advice, there is, 1. The 
duty itself, " Commune with your own heart." By the heart is 
meant the conscience. In this sense it is used by the apostle 
John : " If our heart condemn ns," saith he, " God is greater than 
our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn 
us not, then have we confidence towards God." It is also said, that 
David's heart smote him, after that he had numbered the people. 
There is next a special season of the duty, upon your beds, in the 
night season. There is also the connection of it with the other 
duties here recommended. It looks backward and forward, and is 
here prescribed as an excellent mean to keep us from sin, and to be 
still from wicked practices. 

Doctrine. As it is a necessary duty to commune with our own 
consciences, so it is an excellent mean to a holy life. In prosecut- 
ing this subject, I shall, 

I. Shew in what the duty consists. 

II. The manner in which it should be performed. 

III. The special seasons for engaging in it. 
lY. Give the reasons for the duty ; and, 

V. Shew that it is an excellent mean to a holy life. "We are then, 
I. To shew what it is to commune with our conscience. This 
duty consists in two things : 

1. We must speak to our consciences. This is easily performed, 
for they can hear without a voice. Our tongues need not weary in 
this exercise ; for in the deepest silence we speak best, and com- 
mune with our hearts to the greatest purpose. Thus David spoke to 
his heart, " my soul," said he, " thou hast said unto the Lord, 
thou art my Lord." 

2. We must hear our heart and conscience speak to ns. *' When 
thou saidst, seek ye my face, my heart," says David, " said unto 
thee, (namely, to, or within me), thy face, Lord, will I seek." Con- 


science can speak to us, so as to make its voice be heard throuo-h 
all parts of the soul. It roused David himself out of his sleep, 
and put Judas to his wits end. It is God's voice, and therefore 
must be majestic. 
II. To shew the manner in which this duty should be performed. 

1. We should commune with our hearts willingly. It is a work 
of righteousness; "and the Lord meeteth him that rejoiceth, and 
worketh righteousness." "We should be willing to enter on the 
conference, and even seek this communing. " Isaac went out to 
meditate at the even-tide." It is sad when conscience speaks only 
unbidden. We should also continue the communing, and not, like 
Felix, break it off violently, saying, " when I have a convenient 
season I will call for thee." 

2. Friendly. That which most injures this communing, is people's 
looking on conscience as their enemy, and therefore they cannot 
endure it. But conscience may say to you, " Am I therefore be- 
come your enemy, because I tell you the truth ?" It argues a person 
to be of little judgment to look on the surgeon as his enemy, though 
he come with his lance or knife in his hand to open his sores. If 
conscience speak roughly, it is but to make way for a sound peace. 
" When I heard," says Habakkuk, " my belly trembled ; my lips 
quivered at the voice, rottenness entered into my bones, and I 
trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble." 

3. We should do it freely. We must have no reserve, no sweet 
morsel under the tongue. It is grieving to think how averse people 
are to come upon some points with their conscience, and at what 
pains they will be to divert or change that discourse. Some sins 
they love, some they hate ; accordingly they are content to commune, 
so as the conscience will but hold of these points the right eye, the 
right hand, 

4. Honestly and uprightly, not refusing conviction, but admitting 
what conscience offers according to the word of God. Conscience, 
indeed, is but a subordinate judge, and therefore the appeal is to be 
made to the Scriptures. " To the law and to the testimony ; if they 
speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in 
them." But alas ! many refuse the very light which conscience 
offers from the Scriptures, and are at much pains to cheat conscience 
into a belief of their mistaken apprehension, as the foolish virgins 
deceived themselves. 

5. Frequently. There is no acquaintance more difficult to be 
obtained, and more easily lost, than that with ourselves. The soul 
of man is an unfathomable deep. "The heart is deceitful above all 
things, and desperately wicked, who can know it ?" There is still 


occasion for new discoveries, therefore this exercise should be habit- 
ual to us. It is one to a thousand, if we find our hearts as we left 
them. We are now, 

III. To attend to the special seasons for communing with our 
hearts. It is a duty at all times, but for the more solemn perfor- 
mance of it, the Scripture points out the following seasons : — 

1. The morning. " Give ear to my words, Lord, consider my 
meditation. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning." The first 
fruits belong to Grod. The devil and the world will strive to rob 
him of them, as a pledge for the whole day ; and alas ! they often 
succeed. David was careful to give his first thoughts to God. 
" When I awake," says he, " I am still with thee." The pious 
women who followed our Lord, " came very early in the morning 
to his sepulchre." The want of this early devotion is the source of 
great disorders. Possession is much. It is easier to hold out, than 
to put out. 

2. The evening. " Isaac went out to meditate at the even-tide." 
This is to close the day with God. There is great reason to begin 
and end with God. In the morning, we are to go out amidst many 
snares ; in the evening, we have a whole day's course to examine 
and judge. 

3. The night season, upon our beds ; so says the text. And says 
David for himself, " when I remember thee on my bed, and meditate 
on thee in the night watches." Men should not go to sleep with their 
hearts bound to the world, as the horse to the manger. The night is 
especially proper for this duty, for then a man is at the end of the 
day's progress, and it is most meet he should then look back upon it, 
and observe how matters have gone that day. Again, a man is now 
out of the noise of the world, his converse with others is at an end, 
and he may, therefore, the better take a word with himself, and 
recollect himself freely. Besides, the bed and sleep bear a resemb- 
lance to death and the grave, and so calls upon a man to remember 
his latter end. The night has a kind of awful majesty with it ; and 
seeing we know not of an awakening, we should compose ourselves 
to sleep, as we would do to death. 

4. A time of aifliction. Says Asaph, " I call to remembrance 
my song in the night ; I commune with mine own heart, and my 
spirit made diligent search." God sends afflictions to bring sinners 
back again to himself, Hosea ii. 6, 7. But when we run away from 
God, we run away from ourselves ; and the first turning is, to turn 
to ourselves, to come to serious consideration, Luke xv. 17; then is 
it time to pose our conscience with that question, What have I 
done ? 


5. Before we go to religious duties. That this was David's 
practice, we may learn from his calling his prayer his meditation, 
Psalm V. 1. This duty of self-communing before prayer and other 
duties, is as the plough before the sower, to prepare the heart. That 
soul that takes a view of its sins, before it pray for the pardon of 
them, is likely to make profit, Exod. xxxii. 26, compare xxx. 31. 

Lastly, After we are come from duties. It is as the harrow after 
the sower, to cover the seed. The beasts that did not chew the cud 
were unclean ; and the persons who do not meditate on what they 
hear, and on what they do, are not likely to reap much benefit, or 
to reform their lives. How natural is it to a man, when he has been 
about a worldly business of importance, to reflect on it. Much more 
need is there here. We are, 

IV. To give reasons why we should thus commuue with ourselves. 

1. Because our conscience is witness to all our actions, and keeps 
a record of our conversation. Our conscience also bears witness, 
and our thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing one 
another. "Would we flee from our consciences, we must flee from 
ourselves. Yet alas ! many will do that in secret, which they would 
not do before a little child. Conscience is a thousand witnesses. 
Good reason, then, that we commune with it. 

2. It is God's deputy in the soul. If God should send one out of 
heaven to lodge in your family as his deputy, would you not be 
often communing with him. Conscience is so. " The spirit of man 
is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the 
belly." It is our schoolmaster and household preacher, God's spy 
and man's overseer ; as Moses was to Aaron instead of God. 

3. Because its approbation is necessary for our actions. Its ante- 
cedent approbation is necessary to make our actions lawful, " for 
whatsoever is not of faith is sin ;" so that it is even sin to go 
against the conscience, though in an error ; its consequent approba- 
tion is necessary to our peace. " Beloved, if our heart condemn us 
not, then have we confidence towards God." This is the oracle, then, 
within our breasts, which we must always consult. 

4. Excepting only God himself, our consciences are our best 
friends or worst enemies. A good conscience will clear and support 
a man under the greatest hardships, 2 Cor. i. 12; and even in the 
hour of death, Isa. xxxviii. 3. Observe of king Josiah, he was slain 
in war, yet died in peace with God and his conscience, 2 Kings 
xxii. 20, compare xxiii. 29. An ill conscience will deprive us of the 
comfort of all other enjoyments, and fill the mind with horrible dis- 
may, as in the case of Belshazzar. It remains, 

V. To ehew that this duty is an excellent mean to a holy life. 


1. This appears, if we consider that the want of it is that which 
inal<es people go on securely in their sins. "I hearkened and 
heard, saith the Lord ; but they spake not aright, no man repented 
him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? Every one 
turneth to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle." Sin is 
a work of darkness, and therefore goes on best in the dark ; for to 
him that is in love with his sin, the morning is as the shadow of 
death. Therefore Satan keeps all fast, as long as he gets conscience 
and the man kept asunder. 

2. As soon as people give ear to their consciences, they are 
obliged to begin a new course ; " therefore, thus saith the Lord God, 
consider your ways." This was exemplified in the prodigal. David 
also says, " I thought upon my ways, and turned my feet unto thy 
testimonies." Conscience is ever a friend to holiness, even in the 
worst of men. 

3. Conscience discovers our defects, errors, and wanderings out of 
God's way. To know the disease is a considerable step to the cure. 
When a man books his accounts, and compares his expenses with 
his income, it will make him spend less. 

4. Conscience will point out duty, and spur a man on to it. 
When men are pricked in their hearts, they will cry, what shall we 
do. A little thinking sometimes would set resolutions in practice, 
and make good purposes bring forth abundantly. 

Use 1. For information. We need not weary for want of com- 
pany. We have a companion within us, able to hold up in profit- 
able discourse. 

2. It is great wickedness to refuse to commune with our con- 
sciences, when they offer to speak. Sometimes it speaks undesired ; 
but men often entertain it, as did Cain, Felix, and others. Some do 
like these idolatrous heathens, who beat drums and raise shouts, 
when their children are consuming on Moloch's altar, to drown their 

3. They are careless souls indeed, whose religion never reacheth 
to their beds, farther than to desire God to have a care of them, 
when they wrap the clothes about them ; as if their beds were 
sleeping places for their souls as well as bodies ; hence Satan has 
their hearts, sleeping and waking. 

4. See here why the devil is such an enemy to this duty. Why, 
if this conference takes place between a man and his heart, Satan's 
kingdom is in danger. But men sin and stand not in awe, for they 
commune not with their heart. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. Make this your daily work. Commune 
with your hearts respecting what concerns your souls. The subject 


is very large. You need not want matter, as commune with 
your heart respecting your state. " Examine yourselves whether 
you be in the faith ; prove your ownselves." Ask your souls 
whether or not you are born again ? It is certain you were once 
children of wrath and of the devil. The voice may be Jacob's and 
the hands Esau's. Perhaps no inward change has yet taken place. 
Commune respecting the frame and case of your soul, whether you 
be sleeping or waking, growing or declining, grace in exercise or not. 
Commune respecting your sins. It is very unsafe to be still running 
on in the score, contracting debts, but never casting up your 
accounts. Commune where you are like to take up your eternal 
lodging, in heaven or hell. It is a serious question. Sit not down 
with an uncertainty, a mere maybe upon it, but ponder what evi- 
dences you have for heaven. 

In the morning commune with your hearts on what hath passed 
in the night; on the goodness of God in preserving and refreshing 
you ; what good or sinful motions have been stirred up in your sleep ; 
on the danger on which you are when you are going out to the world, 
and the need you have of grace to keep you. 

At night commune on what has passed through the day, looking 
through your hearts, lips, and lives. Ask yoursehes whether you 
be a day's journey nearer heaven, or hell ; what providences you 
have met with, what temptations, and the like. 

Before you engage in duty, commune with your hearts respecting 
the majesty and greatness of God, before whom you are to appear ; 
respecting your sins, that you may know what you have to confess; 
respecting your wants, that you may know what to ask ; and re- 
specting your mercies, in order to give thanks. 

"When you come from duties, commune respecting your behaviour 
in them ; what success you have had ; whether you have had access 
to God or not, whether you have received any blessings of grace or 
not. And rush not rashly on any project or business ; but commune 
with your own hearts, and consult your conscience what is sin, and 
what is duty in particular cases. Consider, 

1. That the habitual neglect of this exercise is a chief engine of 
Satan, to make men sleep the sleep of death. In hell, the incon- 
siderate rich man lift up his eyes. It is next to a desperate case 
which the prophet Isaiah describes : " He feedeth on ashes ; a de- 
ceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, 
nor say, is there not a lie in my right hand." 

2. The neglecting of this duty so much, is the reason why Christi- 
ans are like Pharaoh's lean kine, so ill favoured. He that would 
keep a clean face, should often look into the glass. 

Vol. IV. a 


Lastly, Sooner or later we must reclvon with conscience, and tlio 
longer in doing it, the worse. Death and judgment are posting on. 
It is very dismal, indeed, to be hurried out of the world, ere we have 
got a serious discourse with our hearts, respecting our state and 
frame. Be not afraid at the difficulty of the work. If Satan be 
such an enemy to it, that says that it is most advantageous for the 
soul. Want of frequency in it makes us so averse to it, and the 
love to sin which must be put away. Study tenderness in your con- 
duct and it will be sweet to you, and often wash your consciences in 
the blood of Christ. *' This will purge your consciences from dead 
works to serve the living God." Amen. 

Simprin, August 11, 1706. 


Hebrews iv. 11, 

Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after 
the same example of unbelief. 

Here have we no continuing city, this is not the place of our fixed 
abode; all men are in motion heavenward or hellward. These that 
are going downward, may sit still ; they go with the stream, and 
ere long shall reach the ocean of God's wrath ; these that are going 
upward, must row against the stream, and must be at work till they 
arrive at Immanuel's land. Rest here is too dear bought, at the 
rate of everlasting trouble. Let us, then, labour here, that we may 
enter into that rest which is to come. In these words, there is. 
First, An exhortation : Second, A motive pressing it. 

In the exhortation we may consider : 1. The dependence of it upon 
what goes before, intimated in the particle therefore ; shewing that 
it is an inference from some preceding doctrine. In the latter part 
of the third chapter, he shews that unbelief kept the disobedient 
Israelites out of God's rest ; both out of Canaan, and heaven typi- 
fied thereby, chap. iv. 

1. He lets them see, that they had an ofi'er of that eternal rest, 
as well as the Israelites in the wilderness had ; because both had the 


gospel, only the Israelites in the wilderness did not believe it, ver. 2. 
He proves there was a rest remaining for the people of God, from 
ver. 3 ; and lays down the conclusion, ver. 9. This he confirms ver. 
10, which some understand of believers, and these go two ways : 1. 
Some take it for these that are now in heaven, who cease there from 
sin. 2. Some take it for believers on earth, who are in the way to 
eternal rest, and so have in part ceased from sin. Others under- 
stand it of Christ, of whose exaltation he speaks, chap i. 3, and 
frequently in this epistle. Christ, as the believer's head, is entered 
into heaven, he has gone there as our forerunner, and has now 
ceased from the work of redemption, finished on the cross, even as 
God rested on the seventh day from his work of creation. This I 
take to be very probable. From the whole, he doth most natively 
infer the exhortation in the text. 

2. The great thing which we should have in our eye, that rest, 
namely, of which David speaks, Psal. xcv. 11; that rest which remains, 
ver. 9. The apostle shews, that the rest of which David spoke was not 
the rest of the Sabbath ; for that rest of the Sabbath, in which God 
ceased from the work of creation, was long since over and gone ; 
the rest which David means, was not so, ver. 3 — 7. Neither was it 
the rest of Canaan, given the people by Joshua, for the same reason, 
ver. 8; therefore, it is a rest yet to come, and that peculiar to the 
people of God. This rest is nothing else but heaven, or the state of 
glory, which the Lord gives to his people, being taken out of this 
world. It is eternal life, Rev. xiv. 13. This is that rest from 
which unbelievers are excluded, Heb. iii. 19. 

3. What we are to aim at, in reference to that rest ; " to enter 
into it;" that is, to be partakers of it. The reason of this phrase 
is, that heaven and eternal life is ordinarily held out by a garden or 
paradise, a house, a city, a kingdom, into which we are to enter by 
certain ways, posts, and doors. By grace we come to glory. 

4. The means to be used, in order to our entering, is labouring. 
Labour we must, for heaven will not fall down into our mouths, 
while lying on the bed of sloth. They that will not work, must not 
eat bread in the kingdom of God. Drinking of the rivers of plea- 
sures, which are at God's right hand, is reserved for labourers only, 
not for loiterers. The Greek word is very emphatical, and sig- 
nifies labouring with intenseness of mind, carefulness, and haste ; 
accordingly it is diversely translated. It primarily denotes haste, 
Mark vi. 25. That which people hasten, after they are intent upon 
it ; so we may better understand that, Mark vi. 25, "She went in 
fifltojc, straifjJttwat/ (denoting haste,) /tfra (rnovh'ic, with haste ,•" (denot- 
ing the intenseness of her mind on the thing.) They also go vigour- 



ously about it, sparing no pains, and exert to their utmost. Hence, 
2 Pet. i. 10, tlie word is rendered, give diligence. They are also 
very solicitous and careful that they may not lose it. Hence, 2 Pet. 
i. 15, it is rendered, I will endeavour; see also 2 Cor. viii. 16. The 
apostle, then, having made choice of this Greek word, we may im- 
prove it in its full extent, without stretching it beyond his inten- 

5. Observe the order of the labour and the rest. In the way of 
God's appointment, and of the godly's choice, the labour is first, 
then comes the rest. It is quite contrary with the wicked. The 
Chaldeans measured their natural day otherwise than the Israelites. 
They put the day first, then the night ; the Jews counted the night 
first, then the day follows. So the wicked begin with a day of rest, 
and end with eternal toil ; the godly begin with a night of toil, and 
end, or rather continue in eternal rest. that we may follow God's 
order ! 

6. Observe the end and design of this labour, it is rest. Men 
work in their young days, and lay up, that they may rest in old 
age. So does the Christian. The wicked also labour that they may 
rest ; but there is a vast difference both betwixt their labour and 
rest. Their labour is in sin, and their rest is there ; but sought in 
vain, " for in the fulness of their sufficiency they are in straits." 
But the godly have their labour in grace, their rest in glory, and 
between these there is an infallible connection ; who, then, would 
refuse that labour, which ends in that rest. 

7. The persons exhorted to labour ; us, which includes the apostle 
and all the Hebrews, whom he exhorts to-day to hear God's voice, 
and whom he alarms by the example of the ruin of their prede- 
cessors ; so that this exhortation belongs to all the visible church, 
godly and ungodly. Some have entered the avenue leading to 
glory, some have not; both are called to labour to enter. 

2. The motive pressing the exhortation. It is taken from the 
danger of not labouring. Consider here, 

1. That of which people are in danger, and which will come upon 
them, if they labour not to enter, falling ; that is, falling short of 
heaven, and missing salvation. He hath a respect to the people's 
falling in the wilderness, being destroyed there, so as they could 
never reach Canaan, Heb. iii. 17; so shall all slothful persons fall 
with respect to heaven. 

2. The great cause of ruin, that is, unbelief or unpersuasibleness. 
Unbelief is the great cause of the ruin of the hearers of the gospel, 
and that which cuts the sinews of true diligence, so as people under 
the power of it cannot labour. 


3. A confirmation of the certainty of their ruin ; " after the same 
example of unbelief." Others read, " into the same example ;" as 
if he had said, lest they be a sad example of divine vengeance to 
others, as the Israelites were before them. But our own reading is 
most agreeable to the scope ; as if he had said, lest they fall as the 
Israelites did, and split on the same rock. There are examples of 
imitation, these we want not ; and examples of caution and warn- 
ing, such were the Israelites in the wilderness. 

4. The universality of the danger ; any man. No man is out of 
hazard for none that labour not can stand. 

5. The connection of this with the exhortation ; lest any man ; 
(Greek,) that none may fall ; importing that the hazard of falling 
short of heaven ought to quicken our endeavours after salvation. 

Doctrines. I. Heaven is a rest, into which those that now labour 
for it shall be at length received. 

II. It is the necessary duty of all that hear the gospel, to labour 
to enter into that rest. I shall begin with this second doctrine. In 
handling this, I shall, 

I. Shew what it is to labour, or in what the Christian's labour 

II. For what it is that we are to labour. 

III. How we should labour. 

IV. That we must labour, in order to our entering into rest. 

V. Why we must labour in this spiritual work in order to our 
entering heaven. I am then, 

I. To shew what it is to labour, or in what the Christian's la- 
bour consists. 

I take up this, in these four things hinted in the explanation of 
the words : 

1. The mind must be intent on the business of salvation. There 
must be a serious bending of the soul to it and application of the 
mind, as he that is labouring to gain a city by storm. " The king- 
dom of heaven sufFereth violence, and the violent take it by force." 
Heaven is a rest for the soul, and therefore the soul must be at 
work before it come there. Mere bodily labour profits nothing here, 
for it is not of that kind of work that may be carried on without 
application of mind. Toys and trifles may be so managed, but 
weighty business cannot. Here the mind must be intent on the 
end, that is, the rest. Heaven must be in the eye. So was it with 
our forerunner : " For the joy set before him, he endured the cross 
and despised the shame." The man that is on a journey applies his 
mind to his journey's end, and often sees it before he comes at it. 


He that intends to take a city fixeth his mind on it, and will not be 
diverted from his purpose ; so is it with him that labours for salva- 
tion. The mind must also be intent on the means that lead to the 
end. It is entering for which he labours. No man can be ac- 
counted a labourer for a good crop, who neglects the ploughing 
and sowing of his ground ; and the means leading to salvation are 
such as will not be effectual without the mind be intent on them. 
" Strive," says our Saviour, " to enter in at the strait gate ; for 
many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." 
Now this application of the mind to the business of salvation 
imports, 1. An impression of the weight of that matter upon the 
spirit. No wise man will labour for a trifle ; and no man will 
labour for salvation, but he that hath a deep impression of its 
importance; hence is it that so few labour this way. Most men 
are at no tolerable pains about their salvation. Some will not want 
an hour's rest for salvation, that will want a whole night's rest for 
something of the world. The reason is plain ; the world appears 
great, and heaven little in their eyes ; therefore men's hearts must 
be pricked, that their sense of feeling may be raised, ere they will 
be solicitous about their salvation. There are two things that make 
salvation weigh with them. There is first a treasure of wrath on 
the one hand, Rom. ii. 5, which is growing daily, by the inci'ease of 
sin. The cup of wrath seems to them too full, that they should be 
able to drink it ofl'. The vengeance of God appears a load too 
great for their shoulders, hence they are ready to say, who can 
abide with everlasting burning. A second thing is a weight of glory 
on the other hand, 2 Cor. iv. 13. Here they see in what true happi- 
ness consists. Will a weight of gold make a sluggard labour ; and 
will not a weight of glory, seen by an eye of faith, make a Christian 
labour. This application imports, 2. An habitual minding of that 
business. Religion is the believer's trade, hence his conversation is 
in heaven. As for others, the curse of the serpent is upon them, on 
their belly do they go, licking the dust of the earth ; and when the 
frame of the new creature is such, that it looks heavenward natively, 
the unrenewed, like the beasts, continually look down ; " their 
God is their belly, and they mind earthly things." They labour 
for the meat that perisheth, and will not seek after God. Rut if 
salvation be our study, it will be often in our thoughts ; and the 
question that occupies our attention will not be, who will shew us 
any good ? but that, what shall we do to be saved ? In this applica- 
tion of the mind, there is, 3. The heart's being set upon salvation, 
2 Cor. V. 9. The scattered affections of the soul are gathered together 
from off the variety of objects which the world affords us, and are 


fixed here, Psal. xxvii. 4. Most men cannot labour for salvation, 
because they run themselves out of breath in pursuit of the world ; 
hence a twofold evil follows for their souls. 1. A great aversion to 
the duties of religion and the concerns of the soul. The full soul 
loatheth an honey-comb ; as a man that has filled himself in his own 
house, has no appetite for the feast to which he is invited, and the 
more so, if new come ofl^ a journey, and worn out with fatigue; 
hence the man, if he go to duty, he is dragged to it. 2. Unfitness 
for duties of religion. The cream and life of the man's afi"ections are 
already spent on the world and his lusts, so that nothing is left for 
God and his soul but the lame and the sick, so that he cannot la- 
bour, and so must lose, unless some faint attempts will do the business. 

But if we would labour for salvation, we must draw our hearts to 
the work, from off other objects ; salvation will be our great desire, 
aud with Mary we will choose the better part ; our hearts will 
draw our hands to work. It is true, even the wicked desire salva- 
tion, but there are these defects in their desires of it, 1. They are 
nature's own work ; they come up without the overcoming power of 
the Spirit of Christ. They are like weeds and wild oats, that grow 
without ploughing or sowing ; nothing of that mighty power there, 
Eph. i. 19, hence they cannot actuate a man to supernatural duties, 
for these are beyond their sphere. 2. His desires overleap the true 
means. He loves the gold, but he cannot endure to dig. He loves 
to reap, but he cannot endure to plough, because of the cold. 3. He 
desires it absolutely, but not comparatively. Give him sin and safe- 
ty, too, they are welcome ; but he will rather make shipwreck of his 
soul, than part with his lusts ; but he that hath his heart set on 
salvation, will part with all to gain it, Matth. xiii. 45, 46. 

2. In this labour there is painfulness and diligence. He doth not 
only think on it, but work for it; his desires are backed with suitable 
endeavours. We must not sit down and wish for heaven with folded 
hands. These desires are, like Rachel, beautiful indeed, but barren. 
" The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing." There must 
be true pains here, aud vigorous endeavours, that will make the soul 
to breathe, and pant and sweat, to obtain the desired salvation ; and 
this implies the engaging with the duties of I'eligion, as the way 
to heaven. If we mind for heaven, we must go in the path road, 
following the footsteps of the flock, Heb. xii. 14. They that do not 
labour at God's work, cannot expect his rest. It implies also, that 
no mean must be left unemployed, in order to the attaining of sal- 
vation ; it is a matter of life and death , and all that a man hath he 
will give for his life. They that labour for salvation will seek 
everywhere, and turn every stone, till they find it. He is a painful 


Christian, not he that will do some things, with Herod ; but he that 
will not refuse the hardest piece of work, in order to the obtaining 
of his desire. Sloth may well carry a man half way to heaven, but 
the laborious Christian leaves the sluggard by the way, for this dili- 
gence also implies constancy in the way of the Lord. A Christian 
must be always employed. Salvation is a web, into which we must 
weave the whole thread of our lives. The man that minds for hea- 
ven, is a labourer indeed, whose work is never at an end, till he enter 
to his eternal rest. He can never want work, as long as he is out of 
heaven, and as long as there is a devil and an ill heart to interrupt 
his work. It is the mark of a hypocrite, that he will not delight 
himself in the Almighty, nor always call upon God. Many profes- 
sors are no more labourers for heaven, than a man who will occa- 
sionally, for his diversion, go to take hold of a plough is a plough- 
man. Religion is not their chief business. Finally, this diligence 
implies real vigour ; whatsoever they do, they do it with all their 
might : " They search for wisdom, as for hid treasures." There is a 
following of the Lord fully, over the belly of all oppositions and 
discouragements. The man labours for salvation, as working for his 
life itself, for indeed he sees his all is at stake. No opposition will 
make him give over ; if he faint he will rise again, and more vigor- 
ously renew the attack. There is such a faintness in all the endea- 
vours of many for heaven, that with the fearful who have no heart, 
they are excluded ; Rev. xxi. 8. 

3. In this labour there is haste. Our work must be done speedily, 
for the time proposed for our labouring is but to-day. " To-day, if 
ye will hear his voice." There is an unbelieving haste, that will not 
wait God's time ; but this true haste is not to let his time slip. 
Delays are dangerous in all matters, but damnable in soul matters ; 
therefore David would not venture on it, but says, " I made haste, 
and delayed not to keep thy commandments." Therefore, says the 
apostle, labour with all haste to enter into that rest. 

Objection. But how can one haste to heaven, can he go there 
before death, or must he hasten his own death ? Answer. No. 
But the way is long, and the entry to it is far out of our natural 
way. We must hasten by a speedy entrance upon the way to it, 
by a speedy conversion to God. They that are near conver- 
sion, are said, " not to be far from the kingdom of God." They 
who forsake the world lying in wickedness, have to enter into 
that rest, and get into the avenue of grace, from whence they 
shall certainly reach glory. "We must also make haste, by a 
speedy progress in the way. There are many steps betwixt us and 
heaven. We have need to go forward, and work, out our begun sal- 


vation with fear and trembling. There are many corruptions to 
mortify, and graces to strengthen. Two things make men that are 
wise labour with haste : 1. Time is flying. " Our days are swifter 
than a post ; they flee away ;" and when gone, cannot be recalled. 
Time is bald in the hind head. That which was, will be no more. 
Yesterday has taken its eternal farewell. The candle that is burnt 
out to snufl", cannot be lighted again. No medicine will cure that 
wound, no oratory will persuade it to return ; crowns and kingdoms 
will not buy it back again. Time past is out of their power, the 
time to come is not theirs. Their only time is the present, what 
wonder then they make haste. 2. Death is approaching, and there 
is no return from it back again to this life, to rectify what was for- 
merly done amiss. Job xiv. 14. There is no place for labouring 
there, Eccles. ix. 10 ; heaven and hell are for other work than this. 
If the infant come to the world dead, the open world will not revive 
him ; and if death catch the soul idle, it shall never have occasion 
to labour more, but under the wrath of God. 

4. There is in this labour carefulness and holy anxiety about sal- 
vation, in the managing of the work, Philip, ii. 12. Now this im- 
plies, 1. The turning of the soul from anxious cares about the world, 
to a holy solicitude about the salvation of the soul. When a man 
begins to labour for heaven, " who will shew us any good ?" is turned 
to, " what shall I do to be saved ?" For the man now knows that 
truth, " what is a man profited, if he should gain the whole world, 
and lose his own soul ?" The mind of man is too narrow to be taken 
up about two such diff"erent objects at the same time. No man can 
serve two masters. We may as well at once grasp heaven and earth 
in our arms, as be solicitous about both. It implies also a fear of 
falling short of heaven. I do not mean a fear of despondency, for 
that cuts off labouring, and it is hope that feeds these labourers ; 
nor yet a doubtfulness as to the event, as when a man is racked with 
doubts, whether he shall be saved or damned. This indeed is the 
man's case, when the Lord begins first to deal with him, and is of 
good use to stir him up to labour ; for here is fear mixed with hope, 
and it is the work of the Spirit of God, Rom. viii. 15. This is also 
the case of the people of God sometimes after conversion ; but this 
doubting is not their duty then, as not being from God's Spirit, "for 
they have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear." But 
that in the text is urged as duty, and there is a fear of falling short 
competent to assured Christians, Heb. iv. 1, which is a spur to dili- 
gence. So Paul, 2 Cor. v. 1 — 11. Noah had a promise of safety, 
yet " was he moved with fear," Heb. xi. 7. 

They ought to fear the thing, as Noah did the deluge ; so as to 


avoid every thing that may expose them to it, and to do every thing 
that may contribute to their safety. It is not kindly assurance, but 
carnal presumption that makes a man like the leviathan, to count 
darts as stubble, and laugh at the shaking of the spear. No, he that 
seriously considers the power of God's wrath, and that it is in itself 
possible for him to perish, must needs tremble at the thought of hell, 
and run to Christ, who alone can deliver him from the wrath to come. 
That God can destroy both soul and body in hell, though he will not, 
is enough to make the heart quake. 

It implies likewise, an earnest desire to be set and kept on the 
"way to heaven. Men may labour to little purpose, if they be not on 
the right way. " The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of 
them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city." And when 
there are so many byeways whose end is destruction, the thoughts 
of this must needs make the soul anxious to know where he is, and 
therefore he will be consulting the way-marks, examining his way, 
and striving to steer his course to the right or left hand, according 
as he may be directed by his counsellors. He may come to several 
steps in the way, with which he is not acquainted ; these will put 
him to a stand, not knowing to what hand to turn himself, whether 
that be present duty or sin, but then he will lift his eyes to the 
Lord for direction, Jer. x. 23 ; Prov. iii. 6 ; whereas others ramble 
forward at random, and fall, to their ruin. There is here also a 
fear of mismanagement in his work. The labourer for heaven should 
work, and doth best work with a trembling hand. It was the funda- 
mental maxim of the heathen moralists, have confidence in yourself. 
But I may say the Christian maxim is, have no confidence in your- 
self. He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool. This makes 
them circumspect to forecast dangers, to walk warily, like a child 
beginning to walk, or a man recovering of a broken leg, Isa. xxxviii. 
15. They have an anxious heart and earnest care about their work, 
seeing they work for eternity. We now proceed, 

II. To shew for what we are to labour. It is to enter into the 
heavenly rest. This is that which we are to have in our eye, and to 
which our endeavours are to be directed. We are not called to 
work for nought ; but as heaven is attainable, we are to labour that 
we may enter into it. In speaking to this, I shall, 

I. Shew some Scriptural notions of heaven, to which this of enter- 
ing doth agree. 

II. What it is to enter into the heavenly rest. 

III. Some steps in the way, by which we must labour to enter. 
lY. I shall consider this labouring to enter, as it respects our 

preparation for heaven. I am then, 


I. To shew some Scriptural notions of heaven, to which this of 
entering doth agree. 

1. Heaven is held out under the notion of a garden or paradise. 
" Jesus said to the thief on the cross, to-day, shalt thou be with me 
in paradise." Sinless Adam lived in the earthly paradise, sinless 
saints shall live in the heavenly. It is a paradise for pleasures, 
in it " are rivers of pleasures." Not one, but many Edens or plea- 
sures. Here is the tree of life, and on this tree are fruits in the 
greatest variety, abundance, and excellence. We live now in a 
wilderness, we are to labour to enter into a paradise. 

2. A house. " We have a building of God," says Paul, " an house 
not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Solomon built a 
magnificent house for Pharaoh's daughter; heaven is that glorious 
house which Christ the true Solomon hath gone to prepare for his 
people. It is his father's house, even the house of his kingdom; a 
house in which there are many mansions fitted up for receiving all 
that ever shall come there ; and though not all, nay though not the 
most now present, shall ever come to it ; it is not for want of room, 
but for want of labouring to enter into it, for it hath a straight gate 
that discourageth many. 

3. The temple typified by that at Jerusalem. " Christ entered not 
into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; 
but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." 
It is called the tabernacle. Rev. xxi. 3 ; yea, the holiest, Heb. x. 
19, 20. Canaan was the glory of the world ; Jerusalem was the 
glory of Canaan, and the temple was the glory of Jerusalem. Now 
all these are a ruinous heaj) ; bat no change here, " for the Lord 
God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it." How did the 
saints of old value the tabernacle and temple, but as they were only 
shadows of the heavenly. In it, we shall have Christ the true ark, 
in whom the law is fulfilled ; the cherubims; the society of angels; 
the golden candlestick ; yea, the Lamb is the light thereof; the in- 
cense altar Christ, by whom we are made priests to God, Rev. i. 6 ; 
the table, in communion with God. Into this temple it is that we 
are to labour to enter. 

4. A city glorious for magnificence and beauty, largely described. 
Rev. xxi. The saints in glory are not penned up in a garden, 
house, or temple ; but walk at liberty in a city which God hath pre- 
pared for them, Heb. xi. 16. This is the city of the living God, 
which shall never see ruins; here there is no hazard from within, 
uo danger from without, Rev. xxi. 25, 27. Into this city must we 
labour to enter, there to dwell as citizens for ever. 

5. A country ; even a better country than the best here below, 


Heb. xi. 16. "What toil did the Israelites undergo, that they might 
enter into, and possess Canaan ! Behold you are called to labour 
for a heavenly country, in which nothing is wanting. This is the 
country in which we are but sojourners, but heaven is a country 
where we may live for ever at rest. 

6. A kingdom, Matt. xxv. 34 ; a kingdom that cannot be moved, 
Heb. xi. 28. The best kingdoms on earth are liable to sad convul- 
sions and shakings, but here is no hazard. Sin is not there ; no 
vapours inclosed in the bowels of the earth, to make an earthquake 
there ; and no violence can come from without. Here all the sub- 
jects are kings, each with a crown on his head. What need of penal 
laws here, where none of the subjects can ever err ? "Who would 
refuse any labour to enter into this kingdom, where they shall be 
welcome to the best of it, even to the throne, Rev. iii. 21. We are, 
II. To shew what it is to enter into the heavenly rest. There is 
a fivefold entering into heaven and life, for which we must labour. 
I. There is an entering into heaven by the covenant. The cove- 
nant of grace is the outer court of heaven. Of this everlasting 
covenant, ordered in all things and sure, David says, " this is 
all ray salvation and all my desire." Surely, then, heaven was in 
it. The covenant is the chariot in which Christ carries his people to 
glory. This chariot cannot stop by the way, so that they who are 
once in it, shall as surely come there, as if they were there already. 
They " are in hope of eternal life, which God who cannot lie 
promised before the world began." So then we must labour to 
be within the bond of the covenant. Faint wishes will not carry 
you up into it. But, 1. You must close with Christ; make up 
the match deliberately and sincerely betwixt Christ and your souls. 
Take hold of Christ, and you take hold of the covenant, Isa. 
xlii. 6, and xxvii. 5. You must, 2. Break covenant with your 
lusts, saying, with Ephraim, " What have I to do any more with 
idols ?" Many pretend to have covenanted with God at commu- 
nions ; but it plainly appears, that of the chariot in which they are, 
the devil is the driver ; for they are a stain to religion, and cannot 
resist temptations, " but are taken captive by the devil at his will." 
No wonder that persons hasten after other gods, when the devil 
drives them. Q,uit them we must, or quit the covenant, and so quit 

2. There is an entering by faith. " Now faith is the substance 
of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith is 
the very being of things hoped for, it realizeth these things that to 
us, as yet, have no being. Now we enter into heaven two ways 
by faith ; 1. In so far as faith lays hold upon Christ, and unites*us 


to liira, John yi- 54. Faith embracing Christ, enfolds heaven, for 
he is eternal life ; " He is the true God, and eternal life." Faith 
makes us one with Christ, who is now in heaven ; in respect of 
which union, the apostle doubts not to say, that believers are in 
heaven already. " God," says he, " hath raised us up together, and 
made us sit together in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus." The 
new and living way is the only way which faith treads. Labour 
then for true faith, and an interest in Christ thereby. Never 
satisfy yourself with a faith of a lower efficacy. Say not you can- 
not believe, the great defect is in your will. " Ye will not come to 
me," says Jesus, " that ye may have life." Stretch out the withered 
hand to Christ ; protest you shall never be satisfied till he put forth 
mighty power to make you believe, and never quit the throne till 
you get it, if you should dig your grave at it, Luke xviii. 39 — 43. 
2. In so far as faith lays hold on the promise in which heaven is 
wrapped up. " These all died in faith, not having received the 
promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of 
them, and embraced them." Embraced them, that is, the things 
contained in them. An allusion to mariners, who when they see 
the land, though afar off, yet joyfully salute it. God's word is as 
good security as actual possession. And as men, by charter and 
seisine, may enter into possession of lands which they never saw, so 
the believer by faith may get possession of heaven. Labour we 
then to get hold of the promise by faith, which we must do by 
taking hold of Christ ; " for in him all the promises are yea, and in 
him amen, to the glory of God by us." 

3. There is an entering by hope. " "Which hope we have as an 
anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into 
that within the vail." Therefore salvation is attribnted to hope, 
Rom. viii. 24. Faith goes out as a conqueror, and hope divides the 
spoil. Ask these that have been plunged in despair, and they will 
tell yon that they were in hell, even when on earth. Despair brings 
up hell into the earth, and hope brings down heaven. Hope is 
indeed enjoyment anticipated, and excites the same joy, delight, and 
complacency, that enjoyment doth, as you may see in things of the 
world; only the difference is, in worldly things, the expectation is 
sweeter than the enjoyment ; in heavenly things, it is the reverse. 
We must then labour for this well grounded hope, that the Spirit 
of God causeth us to place on his word, and that purifieth the 
heart. Hope of heaven, is compared to a building founded upon a 
rock, Matth. vii. 24; and this is a building on which true pains must 
be taken: 1. Tn pulling down the old. It is no easy thing to got 
down the old hopes, and to clear the foundation, leaving not one stone 


upon another. This is hard work, many times ministers batter at it, 
and still it stands, till God himself comes up, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5 ; often- 
times it is never pulled down, till death come and batter it down. 
Like the mole, they will never open their eyes, till they come to die, 
Luke xvi. 23. But down it must be, for there is no building sure 
upon the old foundation, Luke xv. 17. Again, true pains must be 
taken in rearing up the new. It is as easy for many now to hope for 
salvation as it is to breathe, the reason is, they are both nature's fruit. 
But were once the old hopes gone, it will not be easy to get up the 
new. It is as in the case of a malefactor with the rope about his 
neck, laying his head over the ladder, and one tells him of a par- 
don ; how hard is it to hope or believe till he see it, and sometimes 
the Lord does not suddenly let them see it. Ah ! the brand is in 
the fire, how hardly can it think to escape ; what a conflict, then, 
between hope and despair ! 

Objection. Better then we hold as we are. Answer. At best 
you will not hold long at it, for, 1. Grod may make thy life in sin a 
hell to thee, thy name Magor Missabib. He can wrap these filthy 
garments of thy sin in brimstone, and then set them on fire about 
thine ears, as in the case of Judas. It is with the cousciences of 
the wicked, as with iron out of the fire a little; which you would 
not suspect to be hot, till some water be poured on it, then it 
appears hot by its hissing noise ; so when some drops of wrath fall 
on a guilty conscience, the noise will be dreadful. 

Again, were thy hopes fixed with bands of iron and brass, and 
their foundation as deep as the centre of the earth, death will make 
such an earthquake in thy soul, as shall not leave one stone upon 
another, but shall cast it out, and sink it in the bottomless gulf of 
eternal despair, Job xviii. 14. Once more, in keeping it up, it is 
easy to many to keep up their hopes, because their hope is another 
tower of Babel, raised up against heaven, where the devil is master 
builder, and down it shall not go, if the powers of hell can hold it 
up ; but the new godly hope is a fort built against the inroads of 
Satan, which therefore the devil will not cease to attack. It must 
stand against rains, floods, winds, Matth. vii. 25. Sometimes the 
child of God is ready to surrender, and to cast away his confidence. 
Sometimes it is ready to be taken with strong hand. Lament, iii. 18. 
David found this work not easy, Psal. xlii. Labour then we must, 
thus to enter. 

4. There is an entering by obedience. " I know," said Jesus, " that 
his commandment is life everlasting." There is a personal way to 
heaven, that is, Christ. " I am," saith he, " the way." Also a real 
way to heaven, that is, the commands of God, called everlasting life, 


because they certainly land the soul in heaven, and there is an in- 
fallible connection betwixt true obedience and glory. Christ is a 
captain as well as a Saviour, a king as well as a priest, and must be 
obeyed as well as believed in, Hcb. v. 9. They that would enter 
heaven, but not by the way of obedience, must resolve to get in over 
the walls, but come not in by the door ; that is, they shall never see it ; 
" for without holiness no man shall see the Lord." We must follow 
the footsteps of our blessed Lord and the flock, who all entered heaven 
this way ; though in different respects, he by, and they in, obedience. 
Here then we must labour to enter, and it is not every sort of obe- 
dience that is the entry to heaven. There must be labour, and it 
will cost true pains : I. To fall upon the way of true obedience. For 
alas ! many do much, but to no purpose. " Tlie labour of the foolish 
wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the 
city." It is not easy to fall on the way of universal obedience, to 
have respect to all God's commandments. How much labour do some 
take in running to sermons, communions, prayers, and yet still out of 
this way. Still it remains true, one thing he lacketh. Some one or 
more lusts still keep their ground, though he makes them change 
their name, and calls them infirmities, while indeed they are reign- 
ing sins, because his heart is knit to them. So deceitful are our 
hearts, that we have great need to labour to fall on this way. " 
that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes. Then shall I not 
be ashamed, when I have respect to all thy commandments." 

Nor is it easy to fall on the way of gospel obedience. One man 
takes up himself when he comes to age, or to get a family. An- 
other gets his conscience alarmed, and he can get no rest till he turn 
over a new leaf. Another has been under sore pangs and throws, but 
like Ishmael, he is born before the time of the promise, and his law 
wounds get a law plaster. And thus they hold on, seeking to enter 
heaven by the gate of law obedience, which, like the east gate of the 
sanctuary, Ezek. xliv. 2, is inaccessible. But we should labour to 
fall on the way of the gospel, whore the wheels of the soul are 
oiled with love, Heb. vi. 10 ; and faith and a renewed heart are the 
springs of obedience, and the glory of God the chief end. 

Again, it is not easy to hold on the way of obedience. Some seera 
to walk with Christ a while, who at last turn apostates, John vi. 66. 
Some fall off into the ditch of profanity, others into formality. 
Sometimes they are sprightly professors, but at last, like worn out 
horses, they fall down in the way, serving for nothing but stumbling- 
blocks to the blind. Their hearts grow cold, their affections wither, 
their consciences become stupid, and at length they are cut ofl", and 
cast over the hedge. To hold on, then, in the way, is one thing 


for which we must labour; for while we are on it, we will have the 
wind in our face, and it will be much if we be not made either to 
sit down or go backward, and so create new work to ourselves. 

Lastly, There is an entering into heaven by actual possession, 
which in respect of our souls is at death, and in respect of our 
bodies will be at the resurrection, which is the full and final entry, 
to which all the rest are subservient. This entrance is that solemn 
entering into the king's palace, Psal. xlv. 15, which shall also be 
most joyful. " For the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and 
come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads; 
they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall 
flee away." They shall have angels to carry their souls to Abra- 
ham's bosom, Luke xvi. 22, and shall enter heaven as a bride going 
into the marriage chamber, Matth. xxv. 10, where the marriage shall 
be solemnized through all eternity. Then comes the time when the 
children of God, cast out of the earthly paradise by sin, enter the 
heavenly, when they shall bid farewell to the cottages of clay, and 
enter into the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 
Then these priests enter the holiest of all ; come into their city, 
and their native country, and enter as heirs to their kingdom, their 
minority being overpast. We proceed, 

III. To mention some steps in the way, by which we must labour 
to enter. 

1. "We must labour to get grace; this is the first step. ** Let us 
have grace," says Paul, " whereby we may serve God acceptably, 
with reverence and godly fear." There is a ladder by which we 
must mount to heaven. The black state of nature, is the ground on 
which all men were once standing ; grace is the first remove, the 
first step of the ladder. The man has now no other power, but the 
power of nature, but hereby he ought to labour, to get grace. 
This is plain from Scripture, where the unregenerate are commanded 
" to make them a new heart," Ezek. xviii. 31, "to circumcise them- 
selves to the Lord," Jer. iv. 4 ; Deut. x. 16 ; " and to labour for the 
meat which endureth to everlasting life." Though God's commands 
are not the measure of our strength, yet they are the measure of 
our duty. 

This must needs be the first step ; but many overlook this, and 
so lose all their pains. They endeavour to perform duties for salva- 
tion, but neither for grace, nor from grace. This makes all their 
attempts for heaven vain and fruitless, for they still leave the soul 
in the same state of condemnation and enmity to God as before ; for 
as they can never atone for one sin, so they can never mortify one 
lust ; only grace can mortify corruption. It also makes their 


attempts faint and languid, and at last they are ready to give over. 
Duties never flow freely from that soul, where grace is not as a 
fountain to supply them. They are like the wick in the lamp, that 
burns away quickly, where there is no oil about it, Matth. xxv. ; Job 
xxvii. 10. Now to get up this step is not easy, there must be labour 
at it. It is a rising out of the grave ; it is a casting off of nature, 
and getting on a new nature ; it is a second birth, which will not be 
without pangs, and throws, and struggles. Objection. But we 
cannot work grace in ourselves. Answer. Though you cannot sow 
the seed, yet you may prepare the ground, Jer. iv. 3. You may 
examine your state ; you may see you have no grace, yourself lost 
and undone without it, which may break and rend your hearts ; and 
you may strongly desire it, and cry for it importunately, and never 
take rest till you get it ; and when you are doing thus, God may do 
for you what you cannot do for yourselves, even he who is found of 
them that seek him not. But if you do not do thus, you will be 
condemned for contempt of grace, as well as for the want of it ; and 
it will be a worm in your conscience in hell, that you did not do 
what you might have done for the getting of grace, and that you 
began your work at the wrong end. It is true, we cannot say God 
has obliged himself to give grace to such, but there is a possibi- 
lity of success, which in such a case must determine any man to 
the work that acts rationally, as in the case of the lepers at 
the gate of Samaria. There is a probability of it, also, from the 
merciful nature of God, his surprising souls with converting grace ; 
and never was there any who were so taken up for grace, that ever 
we heard did not obtain it. 

2. We must labour to exercise grace in the gracious performance 
of duties. " Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." 
As the former step sets us on the way, this carries us forward in it. 
It is not enough to get grace, but we must make use of it. Grace is 
an active principle. Some gracious souls fall asleep in the way, but 
they must awake, rise again, and fall to work. And to do this will 
cost labour and pains, for often the temper of the body is a great 
hindrance to the exercise of grace. Some have a cheerful, light 
temper to struggle with, so that it is hard for them to exercise godly 
sorrow ; some a melancholy temper, so that it is hard for them to 
believe and rejoice in Christ; there is likewise always a mixture of 
the contrary corruption, which will be active in the soul : " For the 
flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh ; and 
these are contrary the one to the other ; so that yc cannot do the 
things that ye would." Satan also is a great enemy to the exercise 
of grace, if he cannot kill the man he will endeavour to set him asleep. 

Vol. IV. T 


A third step; growing in grace. This we must labour for. Grow- 
in grace is the divine command. It is the Christian's great work to 
be going forward from strength to strength, still to be adding a cubit 
to his spiritual stature, till he come to the measure of a perfect man 
in Christ. This also will cost labour. It will not be easy to get a 
warmer love, stronger faith, deeper humility. This will require 
much travelling betwixt lieaven and earth for supply ; much watch- 
fulness over what we have obtained. See how Paul expresseth it 
under the notion of running a race, Phil. iii. 13, 14. 

A fourth step ; assurance of grace and glory. For this we should 
labour. " Give all diligence to make your calling and election 
sure." This will enable us to say, " we know whom we have be- 
lieved, and are persuaded that he is able to keep that which we have 
committed unto him against that day." In this way we may also 
know the things freely given us of God. This will cost labour, even 
to climb up to this top of Pisgah, to get a sight of the land afar off. 
There must be pains here, to walk closely with God, examine our 
hearts, apply our case to the Scripture, and to wrestle for the testi- 
mony of the Spirit. 

Lastly, Perseverance in grace to the end ; for only such shall be 
saved. This will cost labour to hold out all the days of your life, 
and never to quit God's way while you live, but to live in the Lord 
always, till you come to die in him. 

lY. I shall consider this labouring to enter, as it has a respect to 
our preparation for that eternal rest in heaven. 

The man that is to go abroad is a busy man, putting all things in 
order for his voyage ; and he that is making for his night's rest in 
bed, is not idle ; and he that is to enter into the possession of eternal 
rest, has much work on his hand preparatory thereto. And thus to 
labour to enter into the heavenly rest implies, 

1. The solid faith of eternal life, even of this truth, " that there 
remaineth a rest for the people of God." He that is thus labouring, 
has a firm persuasion, that his rest is not here ; but that he must go 
over Jordan, and that there is certainly a rest in the other world. 

2. A sincere desire to be partaker of that rest, after this trouble- 
some life is over. He is one that looks for Christ's appearance, and 
waits till his change come, earnestly desiring to be admitted into 
that rest. 

3. Resolute endeavours to enter there, by God's own way, which 
has already been described. 

4. Frequent thoughts of that eternal rest. It is often in his mind. 
He looks on himself as a pilgrim and stranger, and one posting 
away to his unalterable state. Thus the man is put on to make all 
ready for that voyage. Now if we would do this, we must, 


1. Labour to get our hearts more and more loosed from sin. 
Heaven's gate is strait, it will not take in a man with a burden of 
sin upon his back. A camel may as soon go through the eye of 
a needle, as a man with a load of unmortified corruption on his back 
enter heaven. If it be on his back, yet if it be loose, it will then 
fall off, and he will get in; like Joseph, he will escape, leaving his 
mantle behind him, which hangs loose on his shoulders. Sin is 
fastened in our souls by nature, as with bands of iron and brass. 
Converting grace looses it at the root, but it must be loosed more 
and more, by the daily practice of mortification. " For if ye live 
after the flesh, ye shall die ; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify 
the deeds of the body, ye shall live." 

2. "We must labour to keep a pure conscience. '' And herein," 
said Paul, " do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void 
of oftence, toward God, and toward men." As a man will labour to 
have his accounts cleared, and to lay down a way for the payment 
of his debts, who is to go off the country, never to return. The 
want of this, makes many of God's children to cry that death would 
not sist execution. For, as the man whose stomach is gnawing with 
hunger, is not meet to go to bed; so the man whose conscience is 
oppressed with guilt, is not meet for entering into the rest of heaven. 
This will be a continual labour to you. Two things are to be done 
for this purpose : 1. You must labour to keep yourselves from all 
sin, so far as is possible. 2. Because it is impossible to keep from 
it perfectly, therefore you must be making continual recourse to the 
blood of Christ. Make particular apj)lication for those sins that 
wound the conscience, and for daily infirmities that are past know- 
ledge or counting. " 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." 

. 3. Labour to keep waking and waiting for your transportation 
into that rest, Luke xii. 35 — 37. The elect of God are not fit for 
that rest, while they lie with the world in wickedness, therefore God 
sends them converting grace ; he makes a stir in their souls, that 
they cannot rest, till they have some evidence that Christ is theirs. 
But ordinarily, after this they fall asleep, Matth. xxv. 5 ; therefore 
there is a new labour to get out of this security. The day was, 
when thou couldst not sleep without some evidence of the Lord's 
love ; but now thou thinkest the main work is done, and thou hast 
yet much time, so art not waiting. ! but a surprise in this matter 
is heavy ; if death finds thee asleep when it comes and arrests thee 
on a bed, thou mayest be saved, yet so as by fire. Labour, therefore, 
with old Simeon, to wait for the consolation of Israel, and then thou 

T 2 


shalt meet death with a song. " Lord, now lettest thou thy servant 
depart in peace, according to thy word." Waiting for this rest 
hath a twofold advantage. It makes a man diligent in making all 
ready for his departure. The wise virgins arose, and trimmed their 
lamps. They that have truly learned to number their days, will 
apply their hearts unto wisdom. The servant that is thinking his 
Lord delays his coming, will eat and drink with the drunken. 
Again, this waiting makes a man welcome the grim messenger, and 
embrace death in his arms, Job xiv. 14, 15. So that though nature 
cannot but shiver at the first sight of such an enemy to nature ; yet 
faith beholding its commission, will salute it with old Simeon, Luke 
ii. 29. The soul will see Christ at the back of the messenger, and 
so say, " This is our God, we have waited for him." 

4. To keep up communion with God in duties, and in the con- 
stant course of our lives. This is to have a heaven on earth. " Our 
conversation is in heaven." The philosophers say well, that hap- 
piness consists in operation. Heaven is not a rest in idleness, but 
a working rest. We should then labour to inure ourselves to the 
work which we are to have above. In this world, we are as it were 
apprentices at the trade of communion with God, that when our 
time is out, we may set up in the New Jerusalem ; for there is work- 
ing, " there they rest not day nor night." There remains, says the 
apostle, Heb. iv. 9, a rest; the keeping of a Sabbath, which is no 
idle day to those that are spiritual. Here is work for you; you 
have your trial-piece to make, Christians ! Try now the singing 
of one of Zion's songs in a strange land. 

5. To get our hearts weaned from the world. The man that is 
going abroad, he is busy taking leave of his friends. Christ has 
given you the first call already, that you may take leave of them all. 
" Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me, from Lebanon." 
Let it not then be to do, when the next call comes. When the 
corn forsakes the ground, it is ready for the hook ; and when the 
apple is ripe, a little shake makes it with ease fall from the tree. 
It will not be easy to get our hearts weaned from the world, for we 
are born with it in our hearts. Only sovereign grace can make 
such an earthquake in the soul as will shake it out. Labour to be 
loosed even from lawful enjoyments, to be crucified to them, Gal. vi. 
14 ; and while you use them, do it with fear, like the dogs of Egypt, 
who, when they come to the Nile, lap their water, running for fear 
of the crocodiles in the river. 

6. Labour to despatch the work of your day and generation with 
all speed. There is a twofold work we have to do. 1. Our salva- 
tion work. " Work out your own salvation with fear and trera- 


bling." This must be despatched. Of this we have spoken before. 
2. The work of our day and generation, Acts xiii, 36. The former 
respects our eternal salvation, the latter God's glory in the world ; 
the first for ourselves, the next for God. To every one God has 
carved out a certain piece of work, which should be performed 
before working time be done, Eccl. ix. 10. The apostle sets this 
work before you. " As we have therefore opportunity," says he, 
" let us do good unto all men, especially to them who are of the 
household of faith." Are you a parent, then bestir yourselves in 
time for your children, that they may be the Lord's. Are you a 
roaster of a family ; can you do anything for the church of God ? 
does God put any opportunity of doing him service in thy hand ? 
then despatch your work. Ere long the opportunity may be taken 
out of thy hand ; and it is an unworthy thing for a man to say, I 
was not aware of this, as many do in a dying hour. 

7. Labour to die daily. " I die daily," said Paul. We should 
as it were habituate ourselves to dying, and be frequently making 
an essay of dying. This was Job's pi-actice, Job xvii. 13, 14. Ask 
yourselves what yon would do, if you were just to expire; and do 
the same. A Christian should be frequently making his testament. 
When you go to a duty, do it as if it were the last you were ever to 
do on earth. When you awake in the morning, do as if you were 
to have the grave for your next bed ; and when yon lie down at 
night, so compose yourselves as if you were never to awaken more. 
So it may be. 

8. Labour to get your hearts made willing to die, and to long to 
be partaker of that rest. " I am," says Paul, " in a strait betwixt 
two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far 
better." For this you must labour, it is not easy to attain it. A fit 
of passion indeed, may make some desire to be gone, as Jonah ; but 
soon would they shrink back, should the Lord take them at their 
word. But would you be thus willing, then labour to lay all your 
cares on the Lord by faith, and to trust him with your worldly con- 
cerns, Phil. iv. 6 ; Jer. xlix. 11. Faith makes the soul rest in God, 
in midst of perplexing difficulties. You must also keep up due 
thoughts of the body of sin and death. Keep its ugliness ever in 
your eye, this will make you long to be rid of it, Rom. vii. 24; and 
truly, none fitter for rest than that soul that is groaning under the 
body of death. Labour also to taste the sweetness of tlie enjoyment 
of God by faith. The more that a soul gets of this, the more it 
would have. These heavenly influences carry the soul heavenward. 
Finally, clearness as to your interest in Christ, is a noble pre- 
parative for that rest, and to make us willing to depart. Here is 


work enough for you; and when you have done it, you will find 
you have done nothing more than was necessary. We now go on to 

III. General head. To shew how we should labour. The apostle 
tells us, that a man is not crowned except he strive lawfully. Great 
labour may be to no purpose. 

1. We should labour willingly and cheerfully. " Thou, Lord, 
meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that re- 
member thee in thy ways." God loves a cheerful giver. When peo- 
ple do nothing in religion, but as reluctant slaves from the force of 
the whip, it is very unacceptable to God. His people are a willing 
people, and he cares not for forced work, when the hands work with- 
out the heart. If people work not willingly here, where will they 
do it ? It is for your own salvation you are working. God is a 
good master. Christ's yoke is an easy yoke to a renewed heart. 
*' His commandments are not grievous" to those who obey them 
from love. Get then the new nature, and then this work will be 
natural and easy to you, as streams flow easily from a fountain. 

2. Diligently. " The soul of the diligent shall be made fat." 
The slothful man is the waster's brother. How busy will a man be 
to gain something of the world ; he will rise early, and sit up late. 
Hoiv busy is the devil to prevent our entrance into that rest, and 
shall we not be diligent that we may enter. Consider well the eyes 
of the great Master are upon you, for he is every where present. 
He sees you in the church, in the closet, in the family, and in all 
places, Psal. cxxxix. 7 — 10. 

3. Labour with all your might, Eccl. ix. 10. We have a great 
work to do. Feeble attempts will not accomplish it. It is requi- 
site that we summon together all the powers of our souls. The iron 
is blunt, we must wield it with more strength. He who asks a thing 
coldly, courts a denial ; and he who works carelessly, and faintly 
here, portends want of success. 

4. Resolutely ; like Jacob, who would not let the angel go till he 
blessed him. We labour for what we cannot want, and therefore 
must put on a resolution to face, and to run through all difficulties. 
"The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it 
by force." " Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath, will he give 
for his life." The Israelites when they heard of the Anakims in 
Canaan, their hearts fainted, they were discouraged, therefore they 
never saw the land ; only Caleb and Joshua, who followed the Lord 
fully, were allowed to enter. 

5. Constantly. " The righteous shall hold on his way, and he 
that hath clean hands shall wax stronger and stronger." " We 


must be stedfast and immoveable, always abounding in the work of 
the Lord." We must not take our work by fits and starts ; that is 
the thing which makes it so uneasy to many ; whereas constancy 
would make it easy to us, and uneasy to be out of this work. Hot 
and cold fits are signs of a distempered body, so unsteadiness in re- 
ligion is an evidence that all is not right within. This warfare and 
work is for term of life. " No man that putteth his hand to the 
plough and looketh back, is fit for the kingdom of Grod." " For if 
any man draw back," says God, " my soul shall have no pleasure 
in him." Deserters are shamefully and severely punished, when 
prisoners of war are honourably entertained. "We are labouring 
against the stream, and therefore cannot intermit our work without 
loss. " Look then to yourselves, that we lose . not those things 
which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward." 

6. "With fear and trembling, Philip, ii. 12. Keep a holy dread, 
and reverential fear of God always on your spirits. Fear him as a 
witness to all you do. He sees what, and how you do. He must be 
a bold servant indeed, that will neglect his work, or go about it 
slightly, while bis master's eye is upon him. Fear him also, as him 
from whom you have all your ability for working, lest he should be 
provoked to withdraw his influences from you. And fear him as 
your judge, who will one day reward you according to your works. 
Remember your work will be brought to light, and what you do will 
be weighed in the balance of the sanctuary. 

7. Quickly ; without delay, for you know not how soon your sun 
may go down. " I must work the works of him that sent me, while 
it is day : the night cometh when no man can work." Your glass 
is running, and if your time be done before your Avork, it will be a 
heavy case. 

8. You must refuse no piece of work which God puts into your 
hands. " Then shall I not be ashamed when I have respect unto 
all thy comandments." Many are like servants who, when they are 
hired, will promise to do all things ; but when it comes to the push, 
the sluggard will not plough because of the cold. You must not 
carve out your own work, but let Christ carve it out for you, saying, 
" Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" 

Lastly, Evangelically; which comprehends the acting from a 
principle of a new life of grace, called the life of Jesus, 2 Cor. iv. 
10. Next a sweet principle of love to God, " For the love of Christ," 
says Paul, " constraineth us." Again it comprehends a noble end, 
the glory of God, the honour of the Redeemer, the glory of his 
grace, and our own salvation. Finally, A doing of all in borrowed 
strength, leaning upon our beloved, and denying ourselves. " For 


we, as Christians, must be the circumcision which worship God in 
the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesns, and have no confidence in the flesh." 
We proceed, 

lY. To shew that we mnst labour in order to our entering into 
that rest. I shall evidence this by these considerations following : 

1. Consider the several notions under which the Christian's life 
and the way to heaven is held forth, all of them implying true pains 
and labour. It is a working, John vi. 27, "Labour not for the 
meat that perisheth." (Greek,) "work." Here he that works not, 
shall not eat. Yea, it is a working out of our own salvation ; a 
bringing the work to perfection, otherwise what is done will be lost, 
2 John 8. It is compared to the work of the husbandman, which 
you know is not easy, ploughing, sowing, reaping, Hos. x. 12, espe- 
cially considering that they are both the labourers, and the ground 
that is laboured. The Christian is a spiritual soldier, he must fight, 
2 Tim. iv. 7; yea, and overcome, Rev. iii. 21. Heaven has a 
strait gate by which to enter in, and therefore cannot be entered 
with ease. Men must press into it, Luke xvi, 16 ; and take it by 
storm; yea put forth their utmost strength as they that are agoniz- 
ing. Luke xiii. 24, as wrestling upon life and death. They have 
a wrestling life of it, Eph. vi. 12, such as makes all the body to 
shake again. It is a real fight, 1 Cor. ix. 26. It is the running of 
a race, Heb. xii. 1 ; which requires patience and perseverance, and 
great eagerness; for they must so run as to obtain the prize. They 
must pursue holiness, Heb, xii. 14; as one that earnestly follows 
a person flying till he catch him ; or that pursueth the prey, till he 
seize it. The apostle says, 2 Cor. v. 9, tve labour ; the word signi- 
fies to labour most earnestly, as an ambitious man for honour ; and 
what will not such do, to gain their point ? 

2. Consider how the way to heaven was typified under the Old 
Testament. Canaan was a type of heaven, and to what labour were 
the Israelites put, before they could reach that land, though it was 
promised to them. This I take to be aimed at in our text. Many 
a bloody battle they fought, before they got possession. Many a 
temptation and trial they met with, that laid many of them by. 
The taking of the castle of Zion, 2 Sam, v. 6. Another eminent 
type of it, was the ascent into the temple, which was seated upon 
a hill, even Mount Moriah, 1 Kings x. 5. Many a weary step had 
some of them ere they got to Jerusalem, Psal. Ixxxiv. 6, 7; and 
when they came there, they had to ascend unto the hill of God, 
Psal. xxiv. 3, the mount of the Lord's house, a type of heaven. 
What a wrestling had Jacob, ere he got the blessing, Gen. xxxii ; 
and wherefore this, but to teach us what we have to do, Hos. xii. 4. 


• 3. Consider how the Scripture supiioseth this labour. In that the 
Christian is lield forth as a man lying groaning under a heavy bur- 
den, Rom. vii. 24 ; and can such an one be at ease. Again it ex- 
horts us not to weary and faint, Gral. vi. 5 ; what need of this, if we 
must not labour ? It prescribes remedies against these, and directs us 
" to consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against 
himself, lest we be wearied and faint in our minds." It also calls 
upon us to increase our stock, which will not be done by idleness. 
" Occupy till I come." We are also promised strength for working, 
Isa. xl. 29 — 31. Finally, Heaven is held forth to us as a reward ; 
a reward not for, but according to, our works. " Knowing that of 
the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve 
the Lord Christ." 

4. Consider how the Scripture represents the sluggard and his 
temper to us, as most hateful to God, and as one that is lost by his 
sloth, Prov. xiii. 4; xx. 4; and xxi. 25. The sluggard is the 
unprofitable servant, Matth. xxv. 26 — 30. He is unprofitable to 
himself, unprofitable to his master, as neglecting his two great 
works above mentioned. Mark his sentence, he loved darkness to 
sleep in it. He shall have enough, for his portion shall be in outer 
darkness. For carnal mirth, he shall have weeping and wailing. 
He would not plough because of the cold. In hell he shall have it 
so, as he shall gnash his teeth. 

5. Whom God intends for heaven, in them he puts an active prin- 
ciple of grace. It is as natural for grace to bring forth good works, 
as for a good fruit tree to bring forth good fruit. True grace will 
not hide, more than a fountain, which if it be stopped at one place, 
will find vent at another. The Spirit is in believers, as a well of 
living waters, springing up to everlasting life. Therefore, if you 
think to be saved without labouring, conclude you shall be saved 
without grace. If you cannot be saved without grace, no more can 
you without labouring. 

Lastly, To enter heaven without labour is a contradiction ; and so 
impossible. Heaven is a reward, and necessarily pre-supposcth 
working. Moreover, it is a rest which is a relative term, and has 
necessarily labour pre-supposed to it. " Blessed are the dead which 
die in the Lord, from henceforth : yea, saith the Spirit, that they 
may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them." 
Heaven cannot be heaven to idlers, for it cannot be a rest to them. 
The word in the text signifies a ceasing or desisting, therefore tliey 
must be labouring before. It is the keeping of a sabbath, or a sab- 
batism, that remains to the people of God ; therefore there must be 
working through the week of our life. Let us now, 


y. Shew why we must labour in this spiritual work, in order to 
our entering heaven. Negatively ; not because by works we must 
merit heaven, for the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus 
Christ our Lord. Our working is the way to the kingdom ; not the 
cause of our reigning ; Christ's working was that. Men lose their 
labour, while they oiler it to God as their righteousness. The price 
of heavcii, to tLtiu that will buy it for themselves, is perfect obe- 
dience ; according to the King's book of rates. " If thou wilt enter 
into life, keep the commandments." Now we can never make up 
this sum, unless we can satisfy for bygone sins, and perfectly obey 
for the time to come. But we must labour, because, 

1. It is the command of our great Lord and Master, whose command 
we are not to dispute, but to obey. " Why call ye me," says he, 
" Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say ? A son honoureth 
his father, and a servant his master ; if then I be a Father, where 
is mine honour ? and if I be a Master, where is my fear ?" In whatever 
state man be, he is still a creature, and as a creature owes obedience 
to his Creator. Though thou hast shot the gulf, as to condemna- 
tion, yet you are still under his law. The queen is on the right 
hand ; but she is standing, in token of subjection to him as her 
Lord, Psal. xlv. 9. 

2. The glory of God requires it. " Let your light so shine before 
men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father 
which is in heaven." Now his glory is our chief end, 1 Cor. x. 31. 
Our souls and bodies are his, and therefore ought to be employed 
in his service. It glorifies God before the world, when a man is 
at all pains to get there, where God has his throne. The way 
that we glorify God, is by declaring his perfections before the 
world. Now God hath stamped his image on the gracious soul ; 
but this is hid, till, by good works in the life, it be displayed. And 
moreover, the laborious Christian glorifies God, in so far as, by his 
course of life, men know what a God he is, whom he serves. His 
carefulness to get on Christ's righteousness, shews him a just God ; 
the Christian fleeing from sin, preacheth God's holiness; and his 
secret conscientious walk speaks God's omniscience and omnipre- 

3. Because there is an infallible connection betwixt labouring 
and the rest. Labouring is the only way we can attain it. There 
is no reaching the treasure of glory without digging for it. " If we 
live after the flesh, we shall die ;" " and without holiness, no man 
shall see the Lord." If men must have yet a little sleep, outer 
darkness will be their landing place. Heaven is a place of rest for 
labourers, not for loiterers. By an eternal decree, this is the fixed 


way to heaven. " For we are his workmanship, created in Christ 
Jesus, unto good works ; which God h;ith before ordained, that we 
should walk in them." Gr ood works are the seed, after which only 
we can expect the harvest of glory. Gal. vi. 7, 8 ; and labouring 
must needs go before a reward. 

4. Because otherwise, we pour contempt on the heavenly rest. 
It was the sin of the Israelites, Psal. cvi. 24, 25, This rest is 
God's special mansion house ; the palace of the great King, pur- 
chased by the blood of the Son ; the place for which the Holy Spirit 
prepares souls. If we labour not for it, this says we think it not 
worth the pains. How will men labour for the things of the world, 
yet will not be at pains for heaven. Is not this a real preferring of 
the world to that glory ? Mark the apostle's exhortation, Heb. xii. 
14, 15 ; with the reason of it, ver. 16. 

5. Because it is difficult work you have to do, and therefore we 
should set ourselves to labouring, for it is heart work. Much of reli- 
gion is inwardly, and the heart must be brought up to every piece of 
work ; and none ever tried that, but must say it is indeed difficult. 
Again, it is work in which you have all that you did before to un- 
do. Sinner, what hast thou been doing, but labouring to keep 
thyself out of that rest ? Thou hast been platting cords to bind 
thyself in the pit. Thou hast been weaving thy whole life into one 
web of sin. Now thou must open all out again, by repentance 
and fleeing to Christ. Besides it is a work in which you must 
counterdo ; for there are that labour to keep you out of that rest, 
the devil, the world, and your own corrupt hearts. 

Now for Application. — I exhort you in the words of the text, "|Let 
us labour, therefore, to enter into that rest." Old and young, we 
would call you here to your work. This is a great purpose, on 
which we would insist ; and to make way for what is to be said to 
stir you up, I would lay some evidences before you to shew that 
there is little of this labouring among us. 

1. Infrequency in the duties of religion. Many live utter stran- 
gers to the duty of prayer, particularly in secret. These that are 
praying persons, how easily are they satisfied ; maybe once a day, 
maybe twice, though God put other opportunities in their hands. 
Religion is their byehand work, not their business. 

2. The unconcerned way of performing duties. How dead and 
coldrife are we for the most part, in the duties of religion. In 
hearing, though our ears be open, our hearts are shut ; in prayer, 
the heart leaves the tongue. We pray as if we cared not whether 
we be heard or not. Duties are rather managed as a task, than as 
a privilege. How few labour wrestling for the blessing, and are 
afterwards concerned to know how they succeed ? 


3. The want of desire after the heavenly rest. Rest is sweet to 
the labouring man. Will not the traveller desire the place to 
which he is going, and the labouring man desire his rest. And so 
will the Christian; his treasure is in heaven, and his heart will be 
there also. But alas ! the language of the hearts of many is, with 
that profane cardinal, who said he would give up his part in para- 
dise for ciirtain s^^ecified enjoyments on earth. No doubt many 
would make a bargain with God on lower terms, and let him keep 
his heaven to himself, so that he would permit them to live on this 
earth, and shift for themselves. 

4. The little appetite after spiritual food. Labouring men can 
readily take their meat, their work gives them an appetite ; and so 
the man that is labouring to enter will desire the influences of grace, 
the communications of the Spirit, and fellowship with Christ, that 
he may be the better fitted for his work. And so his work is to be 
frequently drawing strength from the fountain of it. " Not that we 
are sufiicient of ourselves, to think any thing as of ourselves; but 
our sufficiency is of God." 

5. The little progress that the most make in the way to heaven. 
Alas ! some are gone backward, and are fallen from their first love. 
Many are like the door on the hinges, still where it was some years ago. 
How few are there, that are adding a cubit to their spiritual stature ? 
And are these labouring to enter, who are never a whit farther for- 
ward than they were ? Surely continual dropping wears the rock, 
and labour overcomes all difficulties. For motives to this labour 
take the following : 

Motive 1. Consider that in other things you do not refuse to 
labour. You are not such as live idle and at ease. Now God is 
putting a i)iece of work in your hands ; will you labour for others, 
but not for him ? 

1. Consider the work and labour which you have for your livelihood. 
You are not as many ; who sit down to eat and drink, and then rise 
up to play. No ; in the sweat of your brows you earn your bread. 
When you have wrought to weariness, all has enough to do to pro- 
cure you a maintenance, though coarse ; and within a little ye shall 
die, and that body for which thou labourest will moulder into pieces 
of dust; and of all your labours you shall carry nothing hence, 
Eccl. V. 15. 

But ah ! may not many say, they have made me keeper of another's 
vineyard, but mine own vineyard have I not kept. I have been busy 
labouring the ground, but mine own heart has been neglected ; 1 
have been wearied cutting down the harvest of others, biit as yet 
mine own seed for glory is not sown. I have managed a house, but 


neglected mine own soul. I have toiled these raany years for my 
body, but neglected my soul. And what wisdom is in this ? For 
consider, 1. The body is mortal, thy soul is immortal. Wert thou 
to die like a beast, thou might live like a beast, and only eat, drink, 
sleep, and work. But thou hast an immortal soul, that will live 
when thy body dies. It will be vigorous when thy tongue begins to 
faulter, and thy breath comes to take its last farewell ; and will be 
going to the judgment when thy friends are closing thine eyes, and 
preparing for thy burial. "Will you then labour for the body, and 
not for the soul ? 

2. Thy soul craves far more than thy body. While the body is 
active, a little will serve it for food and raiment ; and after death, 
a small piece of ground, which none will grudge it. But the soul 
cannot be so easily satisfied. Nothing less than an infinite good can 
satisfy the soul. He was a fool indeed, who spoke of his soul, as of 
his swine, saying, " Soul, thou hast goods laid up for many years ; 
take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." Nothing but the eternal 
enjoyment of God can satisfy the soul, that is the only breast that 
can stay this hungry child. 

3. Thy soul is of far more worth than the body. Is a spiritual 
substance to be laid in the balance with a piece of dust? The soul 
is the diamond in the ring, the jewel in the cabinet. To lose the 
soul by caring for the body, is to lose the foot to save the shoe, 
Matth. xvi. 26. What a poor bargain had Judas of his thirty 
pieces ! And what a poor bargain have they at death who, like the 
spider, work out their bowels, and in a moment they and their la- 
bours are swept away into darkness ! 

4. Tlie true way to care for the body, is to labour for the soul. 
Were there no resurrection of the body, the course of the world 
were more tolerable ; but now they do quite mistake the point ; for 
caring thus for the body at the neglect of the soul, they do but 
fatten the body for the day of slaughter ; laying it down full of sin, to 
be raised full of wrath, for fuel to God's vengeance. In this sense, 
that is true, which we have Matth. x. 39 ; " He that findeth his life 
shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." 
But would we labour for our sonls, we should then lay up for our 
bodies, Phil. iii. 19 — 21. Make these reflections when you are at 
your labour. 

5. We are all laborious creatures. The greatest idler on earth is 
in some respect busy. When your hands are doing nothing, yet 
your hearts are busy. Our life is nothing but a continued succes- 
sion of actions, as the fire continually burns, and the rivers con- 
tinually run. Now God does not require of us to do more work, but 


only oHier work. To do more than we do is in some sense impossi- 
ble, for we are ever doing. The soul of man is like a watch, where 
the wl.ccls go as fast when it moves falsely, as when it goes true. 
Seeing then we are ever travelling, why may we not rather hold 
the King's highway, than be wandering, as the blind, hither and 

6. While we labour not to enter into this rest, we are labouring 
about trifles ; like Martha, we are careful and troubled about many 
things ; and like Ephraim, feeding on the wind, and following after 
the east wind. What are riches, but the name of nothing, Prov. 
xxiii. 5. Honours, but as a fair bubble that children blow up. In 
all which, we but load ourselves with thick clay ; and when we come 
to cast up our accounts we may say, " We have been with child, we 
have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind." And 
we answer Solomon's question with shame and blushing, " What 
profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind ?" What a fool 
was he that pretended to lead out an army to fight the enemy, and 
all he did was to make them gather shells by the sea-side ? What 
a fool was he that busied himself catching flies, while he should 
have minded the aff'airs of the empire. Laborious idleness, and 
solemn trifling, are very unbecoming a Christian. 

Motive 2. Tour profession and your vows call upon you to 
labour to enter. You have been professing yourselves believers in 
Christ, and followers of him. You are therefore called upon " to 
fight the good fight of faith, and to lay hold upon eternal life." 

You were professing your union and communion with Christ, and 
therefore labour to enter his rest. The head is gone to heaven, 
why will not the members labour to follow ? Idle members, or such 
as trifle away their time, are very unsuitable to a head that la- 
boured so hard for their salvation. There is sap in the vine ; must 
the branches hang on it withered, shall they not bring forth fruit ? 
If not, take heed you be not lopped ofi", and cast over the hedge. 
Shew your faith by your works, your union with Christ by your 
spiritual labour. You were professing your near and special rela- 
tion to him. Are you Christ's children, then mind you are to 
labour, for he brings up no idlers. The heathens exposed those 
children that they judged would not be useful for the common- 
wealth. Christ's spouse must labour to be with her husband, else 
she gives a shrewd sign of a whorish heart. His servants must all 
labour, and his soldiers must fight for the kingdom above. 

You professed your turning your back on the world and your 
lusts. What must you do then, but labour to enter into that rest ; 
and as you were called, so to come away with him. Will you look 


back again to tlie flesh-pots of Egypt ? Know what a look cost 
Lot's wife. Have you set your face towards Canaan, and will you 
not labour to enter there ? 

You were at a spiritual feast; you have got your meal to fit you 
for your work ; then up and be doing. The passover was eaten by the 
Israelites with their loins girded, and their staves in their hands, as 
ready to go forward ; so ought it to be with us. He feeds his people, 
not for slaughter, but for work. There is a banner in Christ's baii- 
queting-house, that the guests may know their work which they 
have to do. 

You were getting a full covenant sealed, influences of grace, 
strength against corruption, all confirmed to you. It is but a mock 
if you labour not, and so improve thera. Why went you to seek 
strength, if you intend not to use it ? What need have you of in- 
fluences if you mind not to go in the strength of them ? 

You were devoting yourselves to the Lord ; you have lifted up 
your hands to the Lord, and you cannot go back. If you do, God 
will abhor you, the devil will find you more work than before, and 
you will be a reproach to religion, and you will never sin at so 
cheap a rate as before. 

Motive 3. Your time is short ; ere long, all of us shall be in an 
unalterable state. By the course of nature, some are at the borders 
of the grave, many in their declining state ; to all of us our time is 
uncertain, for graves of all sizes ai'e in the churchyard. One gene- 
ration passeth away, another cometh in its stead. There is room 
enough in the earth, notwithstanding of the vast numbers that came 
to it before us. Every child that is born, comes to us with a warn- 
ing away, telling us to provide our lodging elsewhere. Death will 
neither be boasted nor bribed. Our life is a vapour, our days a 
shadow, an handbreadth, soon passed over, yea a mere nothing. Is 
our time short, then it will soon be over, and therefore. 

We must labour now or never. The night cometh, in which 
no man can work. Time for working will soon be gone, how can 
we be at ease, while so much of our time is past, and so little 
of our work byhand ? Yet are not there many on whom the 
shadows of the evening are begun to be stretched out, and yet they 
know not where they will take up their eternal lodging ? 

Ere long our labour will be over, and we will come to that eternal 
rest. If the work be hard, yet it is not long. He that is tired 
with his journey, will recover his spirits, when he sees he is near 
the end of it; and the shadows of the evening make the labourer 
work heartily, knowing that it will soon be done. The apostle 
tells us, our afflictions are but short, our weeping is but for a 


moment. For yet a little while, and the laughter of fools, which is 
but as the crackling of thorns under a pot, will go away in a blazo, 
and the sorrows and labours of the Lord's people will be at an end. 
The watchmen will be called in from the posts, the soldiers will 
lay by their swords and put on their crowns, and the labourers will 
bid an eternal farewell to their painful labours, and enjoy their 

I add, that in some sort, less pains will serve in religion to save you, 
than men take in sin to damn them. For consider, religion con- 
tracts our work, it brings it to one thing, Psal. xxvii. 4 ; Luke x. 
41, 42. Sinners have the devil, the world, and the flesh, to please. 
The work of religion also is of a piece. Sin not so. All the graces 
of the Spirit go together in sweet harmony, but our lusts are quite 
contrary to one another ; and as they war against grace, so they 
war among themselves ; so that the sinner is dragged by one lust 
one way, by another another way. And how uneasy is it to work 
to different masters. This is what sinners do, and only religion can 
give ease here. 

Motive 4. Your time is uncertain, as well as short. We have 
no security of life, but are tenants-at-will ; when the Lord may 
call us away we know not, Matth. xxv. 44, 46. A moment's delay 
here, may be an eternal loss. What an unsure thing is life to depend 
upon ! How many have projected great things to be done in the 
time to come ; but death has come unlooked for, and that day their 
thoughts have perished. What remains, but that we should quickly 
set ourselves to work, and with all diligence hold at it. 

Motive 5. The devil is busy to keep you out of that rest. He 
goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Though 
you be idle, he is not idle. He is an industrious adversary. He 
will be careful to put other work in your hand, and to suit his temp- 
tations to your corrupt inclinations. If he can keep you out of 
heaven, and accomplish your ruin, he will do it. He is an enemy 
that wants not skill to contrive means for your ruin. He hath had 
several thousand years' experience of the art of ruining souls. He 
wants not malice enough to make him act vigorously ; and he hath 
plenty of cunning to deceive. His power is great, but limited. He 
may be counteracted, but it will cost labour. By the shield of faith 
properly wielded, " We shall be able to quench all the fiery darts 
of the wicked one." Learn then of the devil the worth of your 

Motive 6. You have weighty calls to this work and labour. 

1. You have the call of the word and ordinances. Wherefore 
has the Lord sent you his gospel, but for this end. Does a master 


light a candle for bis servants to play themselves ? God has lighted 
his candle among you. The work of ministers is to call you to 
labour for the salvation of your souls. You are not shut up in 
the dark, nor muffled up in clouds of error and ignorance. The 
darkness is over, the light is come ; the night is over, the day 
breaks, and the sun is up ; be not then as the beasts, but quit your- 
selves as men, Psal. civ. 22, 23. 

2. You have the call of providence. What may be the conduct 
of providence towards each of you in particular, you ought to ob- 
serve. I dare not but say, that the dispensation of providence 
towards this congregation at this time, calls us to stir up ourselves 
and to set about our work. The state of affairs also, in this land at 
this day, has a loud call to us. Many are afraid of a stroke to these 
nations; and while such great affairs are in agitation, it is unac- 
countable to be idle and unconcerned. 

3. The call of conscience. It is scarcely to be supposed, that 
men who live under such gospel light as we do, but that sometimes 
they have their convictions, when even heathens have theirs, Rom. 
ii. 14, 15. Does not conscience often tell the sluggard, that a little 
more sleep may be fatal to him. hear the excitements of your 
conscience to duty, that you may not have to endure its gnawings. 

Lastly, If you labour not, you will never see heaven. " Strive to 
enter in at the strait gate ; for many, I say unto you, will seek to 
enter in, and shall not be able." Here consider, that without 
labouring, you will not be meet for it. In heaven there is eternal 
work ; you should inure yourselves to it then, while on earth. 
" They rest not there day and night." How uneasy it is for a man 
to work who has spent most of his days in idleness ; and how un- 
meet are idlers for heaven ; and unless you be meet for it, there 
you cannot come. God makes his people " meet to be partakers of 
the inheritance of the saints in light." Consider also, that falling 
short of heaven is certainly getting hell. There is no middle place. 
Now who can dwell with everlasting burnings ? how dreadful 
will the thoughts of slighted salvation be to the damned ? 

Objection 1. I am but young, it is time enough. Answer. 
Begin when you will, you will find work enough to occupy all your 
days. Youth is the best time for that great work ; and sure I am, 
it is far more reasonable to give the best of our days to God than 
to the devil. But there are graves of all sizes. You know not if 
ever you shall be old. If you get not something of religion when 
you are young, seeing you are brought up under a gospel ministry, 
it will be a thousand to one if you get any thing of it when you are 
Vol. IV. u 


old. If you should get it then, you will have but little time to 
serve the Lord, and little strength for that little time. 

2. Some say they are old now, and are not able. Answer. Con- 
sider how you have spent your former days. Some never minded 
God nor religion while strength lasted, and now strength is gone in 
a great measure; you have the more need now to be at pains, " lest 
you shall lie down in the dust, with your bones full of the sins of 
your youth." As for those that formerly have been at pains, be- 
ware that you think not that is enough. To you Jesus says, " Be 
thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." 
None are excepted from labour that will enter; and put the case 
that your temporal life were lying at the stake, what would you 
do ? But it is the least part of religion that consists in bodily 
exercise, the most weighty and important part of it consists in soul 

3. Some say they have another thing to mind. They have an ill 
world to wrestle with, and have much ado to get through it, and ob- 
tain a livelihood. Answer. It will be sad to wrestle with the world 
here, and with the wrath of God hereafter. Have you not a soul to 
wrestle for ? Alas ! many do in this, as some who, when a house is 
on fire, to save their clothes, they lose their lives. That is the 
wrong way to get a through bearing. The safest way is to labour 
for your souls, and trust to God for your bodies. In this way 
" bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure." " For 
godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the 
life that now is, and of that which is to come." You that are ser- 
vants, will work your master's work, and trust that he will pay 
yon what he has promised; why do you not work God's work, and 
trust his promise as much ? 

4. Some say they do indeed resolve to be laborious Christians 
after this. Answer. Is this work so easy, that you will needs have 
it to be harder, ere you put hand to it. Assure yourselves, the 
longer you delay, you will find the harder work of it. The devil 
comes alone at first, at length his name is legion ; and it is always 
hard to turn out old possessors. Sin is like waters, the farther 
from the head the greater they grow, as Ezek. xlvii. 3 — 5. But 
rgain, you are not sure that you shall see another day. We are 
agreed about the necessity of labouring ; the only thing is, God 
says do it now; you say you will do it afterwards; but the time to 
come is not yours. " Repent," said the Jewish doctors, " only one 
day before your death." It is wisely said then, " Repent this day ; 
for it may be thou shalt die to-morrow." Once more, God's grace 
is not at your disposal, for the outward call may cease, or it may 


grow more faint. Conscience and the motions of the Spirit may 
cease ; and if all should continue, you cannot assure yourselves of 
grace to close with them after this moment. 

5. Others say, the business is not so great but it may be soon 
done ; it is but to cry to God for mercy, to believe and repent, and 
we may do that on a death-bed. Answer. How do you know that 
you shall get a death-bed, that you shall not in a moment drop 
down into the pit ? Are there not some so suddenly snatched away, 
that if a bare cry for mercy would save them, they cannot have 
opportunity for it. But if they should get leave to cry, it is not so 
easily got, Luke xiii. 24. Again, do you think believing and 
repenting so easy ? Then I say, why do you not believe and repent 
now? Will you not please God in a thing you can so easily do? 
If you will not do for God what you think you can do so easily, 
what confidence can you have to look for his favour. Again, I 
think common sense should teach men at least once to try that on 
which they mind to venture their eternal state, which if it misgive 
they eternally perish. If a man were to be let down a steep rock 
upon a rope, would he not first try if it would bear his weight ? 
"Will you then try faith and repentance ; and if you have that faith 
and repentance, that will secure your souls, they will put you on 
labouring. But it is not so easy to get them as you suppose. True 
faith and repentance are above nature's reach, Eph. i. 19, 20; Acts 
iv. 34. "When conscience is awakened, though it is easy now for 
some to presume, yet then it is not, as we see in Judas. The blind 
mole, when dying, may recover its sight. Do you not observe that 
a death-bed has oft enough to do with itself? Are not some persons 
taken away in the rage of a fever, deprived of their senses ? Is 
it time to turn to God, when you cannot turn yourself on your 
bed ; or to secure your soul, when every member of thy body is 

6. Some say all this is needless, for they have no power in them- 
selves to do any thing. Answer. Wicked men do but mock us in 
making this objection, for they think not as they speak. To evince 
this, tell me, did you never resolve to labour ? Had you never in 
all your life one serious thought concerning your souls ? Did 
you never put off the motions of the Spirit with delays ? Where- 
fore do you lean to your own works ? Again, no man does all he 
can, or is able to do. There are many things you are able to 
do Avithout special saving grace, and yet you will not do them. 
Does the devil beat drums in your ears while you are hearing the 
word, that you cannot listen to it, nor apply it ? Does he hold 
fast your doors, and bind you to one another, that you cannot go 



alone, and meditate on it? Does he forcibly stretch out your legs, 
and lay a band on your tongues, that you cannot bow a knee to God, 
nor cry to him for your souls ? Do then what you are able, and 
look to God for grace, and never rest satisfied till he has put you 
on the way of labouring. "Would a master take this for an excuse 
from his servant, that he has no power to work till God act and 
move him ? Why this is a most certain truth. Yet he must set 
himself to it, and look to God for his concurrence. Upon the whole 
then, let me charge your consciences with that word, Why stand ye 
here all the day idle ? 

7. Some say there are but few at such pains about religion, and 
these are a crowd of mean people. Answer. These might be just 
prejudices against religion, if Christ had not foretold that it would 
be so, Matth. vii. 13, 14; Matth. xi. 25; 1 Cor. i. 26, 27. But I 
had better go to heaven with the poorest on earth, than to hell with 
nobles, rich men, and the greatest wits of the age. If the Scripture 
be true, it is but few that will be saved. This work honours any 
man, but no man can honour it. 

Now to make this labour easy to you, I would recommend, 

1. To keep the encouragements to the work in your eye ; particu- 
larly such as these, the example of these that have gone before you, 
and have got safe to the journey's end. These have made it appear 
the work is possible, and the reward certain. You are not the first 
that have taken heaven by storm. There is a cloud of witnesses be- 
fore you. Again, that God accepts of sincere obedience, though the 
work be not perfect ; if the workman be so, that is sincere, the 
Lord accepts the work. " For if there be first a willing mind, it is 
accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to what 
he hath not." Now that heart is sincere, where there is not an al- 
lowance of any known sin. Another encouragement is, the help 
promised and ready for those that sincerely labour. " It is God 
that worketh in them, both to will and to do of his good pleasure." 
If you do the things that please him, you are not alone, he is with 
you. There is also the great reward that is promised ; and we are 
to have " respect unto the recompence of reward." It is no wonder 
people labour for a rewarding God, whose hands are as full of re- 
wards as his mouth of commands. 

2. Live by faith. Faith has a mighty influence on our labouring. 
Faith entitles us to that rest, and faith brings supplies for that 
labour from the Mediator. It provides for all the rest of the graces 
of the Spirit. A faith of the principles of religion, and a faith rely- 
ing on the Mediator, are most useful, 

3. Labour to get and keep up love to Christ. Love is the load- 


stone of obedience. It makes every thing easy for the attaining of 
what is beloved, as in Jacob's love to Rachel, 

4. Look upon that labouring as your interest, as well as your 
duty. Duty, considered as a mere task, is a weary business. 
wonder that there is a possibility of entering that rest, and that you 
may in such a way attain to it. 

Lastly, Be constant in that labour. The great uneasiness flows 
from the interruptions in that work. To stand still is to backslide, 
and produces a new work to make up our lost ground, and constancy 
creates easiness ; what is at first hard, by continued custom be- 
comes easy. 

Doctrine II. That heaven is a rest into which, those that now 
labour for it shall be received. I have several times had occasion 
to discourse of heaven. I will at present only point at a few things. 

I. In what respect heaven is a rest ? 

1. It is a rest from sin. Sin is a toil to a gracious soul. Satan 
often gets God's children set to his work now ; but were they once 
there, they shall sin no more, for the spirits of just men are made 
perfect. They shall then be freed from all commission of sin, from 
the inbeing of it, inclination to it, yea, or possibility of it. 

2. From all misery, outward or inward ; no pain nor sickness ; 
the poor shall be as easy there as the rich ; no desertion, nor 
hidings of Grod's face. The wrath to come shall not come near their 

3. From the works of their wilderness state. They shall not be 
put to gather the manna in societies for prayer, or in public ordi- 
nances ; but they shall be fed to the full with the product of the 
land falling into their mouths without toil ; no prayers, mourning 
self-examination, nor mortification there. Faith gives place to sight, 
and hope to fruition. 

4. It is a rest, in that it is the fulfilment of all the desires of the 
soul. There they shall have the perfect enjoyment of God, and un- 
interrupted communion with him. This is the point to which the 
soul inclines ; as the needle in the compass, to the north. Till it 
comes there, it is restless; but when there, it rests; for he is the 
ultimate end, and it can go no farther. The soul can understand, 
will, desire, no more, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and 
there is none on earth that I desire besides thee," 

II. What sort of a rest is heaven ? 

1. It is an active, or working rest. Their works follow them in 
this sense. It is not a place where the soul may sleep out an eter- 
nity ; but they rest not day nor night, yet their work is a rest. 
They will wonder evermore, and yet with delight they will rejoice 


evermore without any surfeit, and praise without being weary of the 

2. A perfect rest ; a rest for soul and body both. The Israelites 
when they got free of Pharaoh's taskmasters, yet in the wilderness 
had sore toil, but then came to Canaan ; so the people of God, they 
get some rest by conversion, but their great rest is reserved for 
glory. When they came to the typical rest, there were thorns left 
for their eyes, and pricks for their sides, but none in heaven. 

3. Eternal ; it shall never be disturbed. " They shall be ever 
with the Lord." Their glory is eternal, their crown fades not away. 
"When they shall have been millions of years in their beds of glory, 
there shall be none to create them the least disturbance, but for ever 
they shall rest in the bosom of God. 

then take heed ye fall not short of this rest, Heb. iv. 1. 

1. Consider that the most of us, at least, have none of the pleasant- 
est lives in the world. You work, you toil, and win your bread 
with the sweat of your brows. The world is a stepdame to many of 
us; now to fall short of this rest after this, is to have a continual 
winter, two hells, neither rest here nor hereafter. 

2. All of us have some hopes of this rest. Hope deferred makes 
the heart sick ; but the eternal frustration of it will be a death, an 
arrow sinking through the heart. To fall out of a hoped-for rest, 
will sink the soul to the bottomless gulf of despair. 

3. "We have this rest in our offer. The King of glory declares 
his willingness to match with us, and to infeft us in the holy land. 
To be excluded out of an offered rest, will make the soul for ever 
restless, and gnaw it as a worm. 

4. There is not the least rest in hell, not a drop of water. They 
must needs be for ever sinking that are sent to a bottomless pit. 
The smoke of their torment ascends, the worm never dies there, the 
fire is never quenched. Let us then labour to enter into that rest. 

Lest any man fall, after the same example of unbelief. 

Doctrine. That unbelief is the great thing that makes hearers of 
the gospel fall short of heaven. It is by this they stumble, fall, 
and destroy themselves ; even as by it the Israelites fell short of 
Canaan. To confirm this point, consider unbelief two ways : 

I. As it rejects the word of God. " They despised the pleasant 
land, they believed not his word." God has made a revelation of 
his will unto sinners, in his word, faith believes his word, unbelief 
rejects it, and so in effect says God is a liar. What can be expected 
then, but that the God of truth avenge himself on this affront, by 
shutting the unbeliever out of heaven. 


1. Unbelief rejects the doctrines of tlie word. We see how far 
it has proceeded with some this day, that it has steeled their fore- 
heads with as much impiety aud impudence as to reject the word of 
God openly ; and to disbelieve all these truths that reason teacheth 
not. The same root of unbelief is in us all by nature, and reigns 
there, where grace has not captivated the heart to the obedience of 
the truth. That this unbelief is even there, where it is not professed, 
is clear, if we consider how few there are, that have had the inward 
illumination of the Spirit of Christ to discover to them these truths 
in their heavenly lustre, John vi. 45. Most men have received the 
principles of religion, merely by the benefit of their education ; and 
so their belief rests upon human testimony, which is no foundation 
for divine faith, and therefore they are still unbelievers, Matth. xi. 
25; and xvi. 17. Again, how many make shipwreck of their faith, 
even of fundamental principles, in a time of temptation, especially 
in a time of suffering, 2 Thess. ii. 11, 12, That house must be built 
on the sand, and that faith must be ill founded, that cannot abide a 
storm. Ofttimes it has been seen, that they that could dispute for 
the truth, could not sufier for it ; while others that could not dispute, 
could suffer. "What is the reason, but " that God hath hid these 
things from the wise and prudent, and hath revealed them unto 
babes." Another proof of prevailing unbelief is, the inconsist- 
ency of most men's lives with their professed principles. Many 
a man that pretends a sound head has an unsound heart. You 
may as easily bring east and west together, as many men's practice 
and their principles ; therefore God may say to them, as Delilah to 
Samson, " How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not 
with me." Every person believes fire will burn them, and therefore 
none cast themselves into it. 

2. Unbelief rejects the promises of the word. God has made 
great promises, but unbelief looks upon them only as fair words. 
They that receive these promises, are by them made partakers of a 
divine nature ; but surely men possessed of such a nature are very 
rare, for as the apostle says, " all men have not faith," that is, few 
men. The Israelites had a promise of entering Canaan, but did they 
believe it ? No ; they said, " God had brought them to the wilder- 
ness to kill them." The promises are as silver cords sent down from 
from heaven, to draw sinners to the promised land ; but unbelievers 
cast these cords away from them. 

3. Unbelief rejects the threatenings of the word. Men are of 
stubborn natures; God hath therefore hedged about his law with 
threatenings of wrath. As men travelling in deserts carry fire with 
them, to drive away wild beasts from attacking them, so God 


tlireatens men, to keep them from sin ; but sinners generally are 
more beastly than beasts, and will touch the smoking fiery mount- 
ain, though they should be thrust through with a dart ; and will 
make promises of safety to themselves, in opposition to God's threat- 
enings. Dent. xxix. 19, 20. If we consider narrowly, we will find 
unbelief of the truths of God at the bottom of almost all these sins 
that ruin souls, as the mother that brings them forth, Heb. iii. 12. 
I will instance this in a few, what more bloody sin than unconcern - 
edness about the state of our souls. Few are concerned to inquire 
into that, whether there be a change made on them, that is saving 
or not. They live as they were bom, and are like to die as they 
live. Now, what is the cause of this but unbelief, which makes them 
say, " we are rich and increased with goods, and have need of no- 
thing," and know not that they are wretched, and miserable, and 
poor, and blind, and naked. Do these persons believe the sinfulness 
and misery of a natural state ? Do they believe they cannot please 
God, that they are full of sin, and every thing they do is sin ? that 
they are under the wrath and curse of God, and that there is no 
salvation without regeneration, and no regeneration but that which 
makes a new creature ? 

Again, presuming on the mercy of God, they live in their sins 
out of Christ, and yet they hope for mercy. Do these believe that 
God is such an one as he has revealed himself to be ? Do they be- 
lieve him to be just and holy, and that he will by no means clear 
the guilty. They overturn the very foundation of the gospel ; for 
if mercy could have been had for mercy's sake, what needed Christ 

The text intimates to us, that it is unbelief that cuts the sinews 
of the labour here enjoined. What idler would not dig, if he 
thought to find a gold mine that should be his own ? How do men 
sweat and work, in order to get a livelihood, and these same persons 
will not be at pains for heaven. Surely if they believed the one as 
well as the other, they would not refuse. By the continuance of an 
unholy life, men shew that they do not believe that " without holi- 
ness no man shall see the Lord." Do they think hell to be a real 
place of torment, or only a bugbear ? 

II. Consider unbelief as rejecting Christ. When men had by 
their sin excluded themselves from heaven, God sent Christ into the 
world, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have 
everlasting life. Now unbelief rejects him, and casts him off", who 
is the only Saviour, Acts iv. 12. 

Unbelief questions, yea and denies the soul's need of Christ. It 
pus's up men with conceit of themselves, so that it is a difiicolty to 


get them to submit to be carried to heaven. " Going about to estab- 
lish a righteousness of their own, they have not submitted them- 
selves to the righteousness of God." Strange indeed, that the 
patient will refuse to submit to a cure, or a naked man to receive 

Sometimes unbelief denies the infinite merit of Christ, and with 
Cain says, as the margin has it. Gen. iv. 13, " My sin is greater than 
can be forgiven." ! but it goes ill down with an unrenewed heart, 
to expect life out of death, and satisfaction to justice by another. 
They that have believed according to the exceeding greatness of 
God's power, have found this very difficult. 

Sometimes it denies Christ's willingness to save and help the 
sinner. Hence we find the leper believing his power, but doubting 
his will : " If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." Men think it 
easy to believe Christ's willingness to save them, till the conscience 
be enlightened, and then this monster sets up its head. Now re- 
jecting Christ, it must needs make men fall short of heaven. For 
by this mean, 

1. It keeps the soul in a state of condemnation. "He that be- 
lieveth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in 
the name of the only begotten Son of God." It keeps the soul under 
the curse of the first covenant, lays them open to the justice of God, 
in so far as it makes the soul turn its back upon the city of refuge. 
The soul is kept naked, having no righteousness in which it can 
stand before the Lord. 

2. It keeps the soul in a state of impotency to do any thing to 
purpose for its salvation. It shackles the man so as he cannot 
labour, nay, nor move heavenwards. '' Without me," says Jesus, 
*' ye can do nothing." No influences of grace, to help to resist temp- 
tations, can the unbeliever have ; for unbelief blocks up the way of 
communication between heaven and earth, Jer. xvii. 5, 6 ; Matth. 
xiii, 58. The unbeliever may pray, but God regards not his prayers, 
" for without faith it is impossible to please hira." 

3. In a state of separation from God ; for there is no access to 
God, but by Jesus Christ. " No man cometh unto the Father but 
by him." Faith lays hold on him in whom the Father is well 
pleased. But as all they that were out of the ark perished in the 
waters ; so all they that are out of Christ shall perish in everlasting 

4. Under the guilt of all its other sins. If a man believe, he will 
be saved, whatever his sins have been; for faith transfers the guilt 
upon Christ, which the river of his blood washeth away : but if uot, 
he is damned : for unbelief rivets all other guilt. 


Use. Take heed, then, there be not in you an evil heart of unbe- 
lief. Here is the enemy that kills its ten thousands ; that makes 
foolish virgins fall down to hell from the threshold of heaven. It 
signifies little what lusts be borne down, if this set up its head and 
prevail ; if there be any hazard, it is from this quarter ; yet how 
many are there that will mourn and confess other sins, but this that 
wounds Ci.r^bl's i.eart most, touches their hearts least. Seek it out 
then, lest if it be with you undiscerned, it lock you out of heaven at 

The example of others that have fallen by unbelief, should quicken 
us to all diligence about our salvation. By unbelief the Israelites 
fell in the wilderness, and never saw the promised land. By uube- 
lief, many that have a flourishing profession have turned apostates 
from God ; see these, John vi. 60, G6. The Jews fell out of the 
visible church by this, Rom. xi. ; and by this, hypocrites in all ages 
have fallen short of heaven. For this end they are recorded, that 
we may escape the rocks on which others have split. Our hearts 
are all alike by nature ; " as in water, face answereth to face ; so the 
heart of man to man." We may stumble on the stumbling stone on 
which others have broken to pieces, if we do not take heed. 

See then what use we are to make of the sin and ruin of others. 

They are not matters of sport or talk, to spend the time ; but 
fearful examples placed before us, to bid us always beware. Sure, 
as a fall from a high place is the most dangerous ; so for us to fall 
over others that have fallen, and whose fall should make us take 
heed to our feet, will make us fall very deep into the bottomless 
pit. The first unbelievers may say, though they heard, yet they saw 
not the danger ; but after such direful examples, we cannot but say, 
as we have heard, so have we seen. Amen. 


Preshyterial Exercise, May, 27, 1708. 


Ephesians iv. 11, 12. 

And he gave some, apostles ; and some, prophets ; and some evangelists ; 
and some, pastors and teachers ; for the perfecting of the saints, for 
the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. 

The apostle having pressed unity amongst cliurch members, even 
from the consideration of the diversity of gifts among them, seeing 
they all come from one and the same head ; namely, from Christ 
their common Lord and store-house ; and having confirmed this from 
Psal. Ixviii. 18, he doth in the text instance these divers gifts, all be- 
stowed by that one blessed head for the very same ends. " And he 
gave," &c., this is the connection. 

But lest we stumble in the threshold, there is one difficulty to be 
removed, before we enter on a particular explanation of the words. 
This is, in the text there is nothing of gifts, but only of offices and 
office-bearers instituted by Christ in his church. He speaks not of 
gifts necessary for the apostleship, but of apostles ; he says not of the 
gift of prophecy, but prophets. To this it is answered, that saying 
the latter, he snpposeth the former; the diversity of offices including 
the diversity of the respective gifts, seeing Christ never calls any to an 
office, but he always endues them with gifts in some measure suitable. 
He thrust out no labourers to his vineyard, without instruments for 
labour ; nor does he send out any naked and unarmed, to pull down 
the kingdom of Satan. Thus the anointing in use of old, did signify 
both the call and furniture for the office. 

In these words we have two things : — 

1. A remarkable instance of our exalted Lord's liberty to his 
church, in bestowing divers gifts upon her. 

2. The end for which he hath given these. 

As to the first of these, for the right understanding of it, four 
things are to be considered: 1. The gifts. 2. The giver. 3. The 
act of donation. 4. The time to which it relates. 

As to the gifts, they are various, and this variety is held forth two 
ways : 

1. By the distributive particle some, often repeated ; which seems 
to hold fortli two things: 1. A distinction betwixt the church and 


her officers, and teachers, against the confusion introduced by 
Socinians, Anabaptists, and others, who impugn the necessity of a 
call to the work of the ministry, and transgress the sacred bounda- 
ries set by the Lord of the vineyard ; who gave some, not all, to be 
apostles, pastors, and teachers. All may indeed prophecy, as saith 
the apostle, 1 Cor. xiv. 31, that is, all who have the gift of prophecy ; 
but as the apostle says, 1 Cor. xii. 29, " Are all apostles, are all 
prophets." 2. A distinction among the offices which Christ has 
instituted ; he made not all church officers apostles ; but some 
apostles. He hath given the several office-bearers in his house their 
distinct provinces ; some to be employed one way, some another, 
though all for the good of the church. Even as in the building of 
a house, divers artificers must be employed, every one in their proper 
work ; but all for one and the same end, to make a convenient habi- 
tation. Howbeit, these office-bearers are not co-ordinate but sub- 
ordinate ; and the superior office includes the inferior, so as the 
apostle could do what the prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher 
might do ; but not contrariwise. We acknowledge a beautiful sub- 
ordination of officers and courts, in church government ; but amongst 
officers of the same kind, there is by divine institution a parity. 

2. This variety is held forth by a distinct enumeration of several 
orders of the ministry in the church. We must particularly inquire 
what these are : 

I. As for apostles. The word in general signifies any messenger 
sent in aflTairs, whether of the church or commonwealth, John xiii. 
16. Thus Epaphroditus, is in Philip, ii. 25, called the apostle of the 
Philippians, V'^*' ^« airoarToXov^ or messenger ; as being sent by them 
to Paul, to carry their benevolence to him ; not as having the name 
and office of an apostle derived to him, as some fondly imagine ; 
which absurd conceit the antitheses in the text at first view baffles. 
" Yet I supposed," says Paul, " it necessary to send to you Epa- 
phroditus, ray brother and companion in labour, and fellow soldier, 
but your messenger, and he that ministereth to my wants." Now 
this resolved, according to that notion, will scarcely make good sense. 
But the word in Scripture is usually taken in a more restrained 
sense ; and denotes those extraordinary officers whom Christ set in 
his church, as master builders, who are commonly reckoned twelve ; 
Matthias being added to the eleven, in room of Judas, and after- 
wards Paul was added. These were a kind of office-bearers in the 
church whose commission was universal and unconfiued ; whose 
great work was to plant and found churches through the world, 
Matth. xxviii. 19 ; being endued with an infallibility in teaching, 
according to John xvi. 13. They had power to work miracles, and 


to confer the visible gifts of the Holy Spirit, by imposition of their 
luinds, and were eye witnesses of Christ. Hence Paul proving his 
apostleship, urgeth this, 1 Cor. ix. 1 ; and pleads it for himself with 
the rest, 1 Cor. xv. 7, 8. That they were immediately called, i? 
generally the opinion of orthodox divines, from which we see no 
reason to depart, seeing the evangelists witness this of all of thera 
but Matthias and Paul. As for Paul's immediate call, it is no less 
clear from Acts xxvi. 16 ; Gal. i. 1. 

A late prelatical writer asserts that Matthias was not immediately 
called, but by the apostles. But it is plain from the history of 
Matthias' call, recorded Acts i, that he was by God's immedi- 
ate choice and declaration by a lot, set apart for his office ; 
and though the apostles presented the two to the Lord, yet he made 
the choice, and gave the call by that lot, after prayer made to him 
for that effect. A late writer of our own, to whose labours our 
church oweth very much, doth in this point go something out of the 
ordinary road, asserting it to be most evident that God called Mat- 
thias mediately, partly by the suffrages of the people, partly by 
their lots ; yet withal, he grants that Matthias' call was extraordi- 
nary in that God directed the lots by an extraordinary providence, 
as in the case of Achan. For ought I know, the discovery of Achan 
has hitherto been looked upon as immediately from God, and the 
text seems to sound it so, Josh. vii. 14. And if Paul's call was im- 
mediate, being by a voice from heaven, so was Matthias' call ; God 
discovering his mind in this case by the lot, as much as by a voice 
in the other. " Wherefore," the apostles in their prayer before the 
lots say, Acts i. 24, " Shew whether of these two thou hast chosen." 
The call and choice then was the Lord's, by himself, not by the peo- 
ple ; and the lot was an infallible discovery of his mind, as it was 
in that case used. For although God doth not guide elections per- 
formed by lots so as they shall always fall right, when the choice is 
referred to a lot, without a call from the Lord to make use of the 
lot, as in the case of choosing magistrates by lot, which became un- 
necessary is therefore unlawful ; yet the apostles having been called 
to the use of lots in this case, and having a promise of the discovery 
of God's mind in this case thereby, this being necessarily pre-snp- 
posed to their prayer in faith, it plainly follows this lot could not 
but fall right, and consequently that the call thereby was God's im- 
mediate call, as much as if it had been by a voice from heaven. 

After all, that the people there, being only one hundred and 
twenty, should have a power to call a man to be an immediate offi- 
cer of the universal church, by an approved deed, as the apostles 
were, seems to be a principle that can hardly be defended ; unless, 


with n crrtain set of men, it be maintained tliat tlie number of tlie 
brethren then was no more than an hundred and twenty, which. with 
little difficulty might be disproved. 

II. There are prophets. The word signifies one that foretells 
things to come. The New Testament prophets spoken of in the text, 
were those who were endued with singular wisdom and knowledge 
of divine things, not by human industry, but by inspiration of the 
Holy Spirit. They did by immediate inspiration interpret the 
Sciptures, open up the Old Testament prophecies, confirming and 
proving the doctrines of the gospel by these. Hence revelation is 
made the matter of prophecy, 1 Cor. xiv. 6. God did also by his 
Spirit reveal to them things to come, which they foretold for the 
confirming the faith of the people of God, and rendering the wicked 
inexcusable, Acts xi. 27, 28; and xxi. 10. The nature of their of- 
fice shews their call to have been immediate. The church of the 
Jews had prophets raised up to them for a long time, but prophecy 
ceased with them when Malachi died ; and their church having been 
thereby planted, nourished, and maintained, its failing was a token 
their church was about to expire. They themselves acknowledge 
that the gift of prophecy was not bestowed under the second temple, 
on any after the days of Malachi, so they reckon it among the five 
things wanting in the second house ; but they expected the resto- 
ration of it under the Messiah, and that warrantably, as Joel ii. 28, 
29. Wherefore the seiting up of prophets under the New Testa- 
ment is a conclusive argument against them, that the Messias is 
come. Unless they admit of the New Testament prophets, prophecy 
has left them about double the time that their church, as constituted 
by Moses, had it ; which nothing but judicial blindness can make 
Haggai's little while, chap. ii. 6, 7- 

III. There are evangelists. Not those who wrote the gospel, for 
two of these were apostles, namely, Matthew and John ; but a kind 
of preachers of the gospel, who were companions of the apostles in 
their travels, assisting them in the work of the gospel ; being sent 
out by them to settle and water such churches as the apostles had 
planted, 1 Cor. iii. 6 ; 1 Tim. i. 3. They were not fixed pastors of 
any particular church, but remained in these places whither the apos- 
tles sent them, till they were by them recalled, 2 Tim. iv. 9. Such 
were Tychicus, Sylvanus, and others, and particularly Timothy and 
Titus, whom prelatists will needs have to be bishops, the one at 
Ephesus, the other at Crete, though Timothy is expressly called an 
evangelist, 2 Tim. iv. 5. Besides the occasional transient employ- 
ment of Timothy at Ephesus, and of Titus in Crete, is sufficiently 
intimated by the apostle, while he tells us, that he besought 


Timothy to abide at Ephesiis, and t1iat he left Titus, both of them 
upon a special business, 1 Tim. i. 3 ; Tit. i. 5 ; and they are both 
recalled in the very epistles sent to them. That they are called 
bishops in the postscripts of the epistles sent to them is no argu- 
ment ; these postscripts being neither canonical nor true. They 
were not subjoined to the epistles, till some hundreds of years after 
they were written. In the postscript of the first epistle to Timothy, 
Phrygia is called Pacatian, which was not the name of it, till it was 
conquered by Pacatius, a Roman general, three hundred years 
after Christ. The postscript of that to Titus says it was written to 
Nicopolis, which agrees not with Titus, iii. 2. 

IV. There are pastors, feeders of the flock of God, and the word 
denotes both preaching and ruling. Their office is to pray with, and 
for the flock ; to read the Scriptures publicly ; to catechise, bless 
the people, and rule them ; all which, and more belonging to their 
office, is asserted by the "Westminster Assembly, in the propositions 
concerning church government. These are our ministers of congre- 

Lastly, There are teachers or doctors, whose work it is to teach 
the doctrines of religion, and confute the contrary errors. Though 
the particle some is not here added betwixt the pastors and teachers, 
yet they are distinct church officers. The pastor being gifted with 
a word of wisdom, by which, besides his ability in some measure to 
open the Scripture, he is fitted wisely and powerfully to apply the 
word for working on people's afl^ections, and for advancing practical 
godliness. The teacher being gifted with a word of knowledge for 
opening up the Scripture, establishing truth, and confuting error. 
This diff'erence the apostle holdeth forth, 1 Cor. xii. 8 ; Rom. xii. 
7, 8, where the diff'erence of their functions is clearly intimated by 
the difi^erent concerns which they are to wait upon. 

The apostle doth not here enumerate all the office-bearers in the 
church. We will find others reckoned up by him elsewhere, and 
therefore silence here as to ruling elders and deacons is no argn- 
raent against their offices; the scope of the apostle here being only 
to enumerate preaching oflicers, whose various gifts are most con- 
spicuous in the edifying of the church ; who are appointed for the 
work of the ministry, to bring us to unity of the faith, and of the 
knowledge of the Son of God, verses 12 — 14. 

But no satisfactory reason can be given for omitting pope or pre- 
late here, had they been any of Christ's creatures in his church. 
When they shall shew the signs of their apostleship, then, and not 
till then, may we allow them to be the successors of the apostles, in 
another sense than ordinary ministers. 


The apostles, prophets, and evangelists, were extraordinary offi- 
cers, and their offices ceased with themselves, having been appointed 
for that particular state of the church. Now the house is built up 
and finished; and pastors and teachers, and other ordinary officers, 
are sufficient to hold it up, though they were not so for erecting it. 

II. The giver is Christ. The apostle elsewhere ascribes the giv- 
ing of gifts to the Spirit, 1 Cor. xii. 11 ; and the giving of these offices 
he ascribes to the Father ; but this being an external work of God, 
is common to all the three persons. The Father is the fountain of 
all gifts, the Son the distributor of them by the Holy Spirit. 

III. The act of donation, he gave. It denotes the excellency and 
usefulness of these offices, which Christ has given to supply the 
want of his bodily presence. And withal, his sending out these 
officers, as well ordinary as extraordinary, for both are said to be 
given by him. 

IV. The time to which this relates ; " when Christ had ascended 
up on high." Objection. Christ gave the apostles their commission 
before he ascended. Answer. Till Christ ascended, they had not 
the fulness of apostolical gifts necessary for the discharge of their 
office in its full extent. Therefore Jesus, being assembled together 
with them after his resurrection, commanded them that they should 
not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, 
which, saith he, ye have heard of me. Consequently, after Christ's 
ascension, they were solemnly inaugurated and installed in their 
office, by the visible outpouring of the Spirit upon them. " And 
there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat 
upon each of them." They had their commission before this ; but 
the actual sending of them through the world was not till this 
time. We are now, 

II. To attend to the end or design of this gift, which is threefold : 

1. In respect of the saints, these who are in Christ already, the 

ministry is to perfect them, t^poq tov KaTapTiajxov. The word signifies 

the restoring and setting dislocated members again m their proper 

place ; it is borrowed from surgeons, with whom KarapTifffiog is iJ-sra- 

yioyri tmv otrrtwv fK tov vpoc (pvtiv tottov, tig tov kutg ^vffiv. The reducing 

of bones from a preternatural, to their natural place and situation. 
It signifies also, the perfecting and establishing them in the restored 
state. So the Corinthians, who by their factions and divisions 
were rent asunder, and as a disjointed body, are exhorted to be 
KaTupTiffusvoi, perfectly joined together, as a joint well knit, 1 Cor. i. 
10. The saints being, by reason of remaining corruption, so ready 
to turn aside both from Christ the head, and from their brethren 
fellow-members. God gave ministers to be spiritual surgeons to set 


them right again, and to fix them in nearer union to Christ by faith, 
and to their brethren in love. 

2. In regard of themselves, for the work of the ministry. It 
is for work that they are appointed. This work for the kind of 
it is diuKovia, a ministry or service. Tlie first excluding idleness, the 
second excluding a lordly dominion. The word comes from Kovia dust, 
and denotes a painful and laborious service, in which men are ser- 
viceable, as those that make haste in travel, raising the dust about 
them by their speed. So that they are neither to be loiterers, nor 
lords over God's heritage ; but to serve them in the concerns of 
their souls, by the dispensing of the word publicly and privately, 
by dispensing the sacraments, and the censures of the church. 

3. In respect of the body of Christ ; it is to edify it, namely, the 
mystical body of Christ. There is a double metaphor here ; one 
taken from the natural body to which the church is compared, in 
respect of its union with Christ the head by faith, and that union 
that is among the saints by love ; and the vital influences received 
from Christ by the church. The other metaphor is taken from 
masons, whose work it is to build a house. Thus they are to build 
the body of Christ; and so they do, when they are instruments in 
Christ's hand to lay new stones in the building ; that is, to convert 
the elect, and to fix and raise up others that are already laid ; 
being instruments of the growth of converts in knowledge, faith, 
and holiness. 

The Holy Ghost casts in that of the work of the ministry betwixt 
the other two ends. The two great ends not being to be obtained 
by naked gifts, or the honour of the office, but by a painful and 
laborious discharge of the trust committed to them. 

The sum of all is, Christ Jesus having ascended up on high, gave 
various gifts to the church, in that he gave various officers to it 
suitably qualified; he gave some, not all, to be extraordinary, 
namely, apostles, prophets, and evangelists ; some to be ordinary 
officers, pastors, and teachers ; and whatever diftereuces be among.st 
them, they were all given for one common end, to labour in dispens- 
ing gospel ordinances, for restoring and perfecting saints, who are 
so often out of frame, and for gathering in the elect, and increase 
of grace in those that are converted. 

Vol. IV. 


Preshyterial Exercise Addition, June 24, 1708. 


Ephesians iv. 13, 

Till tue all come in the imity of the faith, and of the knoiuledge of the 
Son of God, unto a perfect tnan, unto the measure of the stature of 
the fulness of Christ. 

DocTKiNE I. That the office and work of the ministry is to continue 
till all the elect of God be fully perfected, and the church arrive at 
its full growth. This is the principal doctrine of the text. We 
shall first confirm this doctrine, and then give the reasons of it. 
I. To confirm the truth of this, consider, 

1. That Christ's presence is promised to the ministry always, 
even to the end of the world, Matth. xxviii. 20 ; now this supposeth 
the existence of the ministry till then. Ministers are the stars 
which Christ holdeth in his right hand, that will always shine more 
or less while the stars are in the firmament; and wicked men may 
as well attempt the divesting of the heavens of these glorious lights, 
as the church of Christ of a ministry, for they shall never be able to 
effect the one any more than the other. Even when the church is 
into the wilderness, some are commanded to feed her there. 

2. The sacraments are to continue till then, snd consequently a 
ministry by which they may be dispensed. As to baptism, it is 
plain from that, Matth. xxviii. 20. Though the blasphemous So- 
cinians account it only a temporary right, used by the apostles 
towards those, whether Jews or Gentiles, of whom the gospel church 
was first made up. But there is a command universal in respect of 
persons to be baptized; in respect of places, and in respect of times, 
to the end of the world. As circumcision lasted in the church till 
Christ's first coming, so must baptism till he come again. And as 
for the sacrament of the supper, it must continue till the Lord come 
again. For by it we do shew the Lord's death till he come. 

3. The Scripture holds forth public ordinances, in which the 
Lord keeps communion with his jjeople, never to be laid aside till 
they come to glory. It is one of the singularities of the upper 
house, that there is no temple there. Rev. xxi. 22. Here they look 
through the lattices of ordinances, till they come to see face to face 
in heaven. It is when the day of glory breaks, that these shadows 


will flee away ; but till that time, Christ has promised to be iu tlio 
mountain of myrrh — the public ordinances; so called iu allusion to 
the temple, which was on a mountain. 

II. lleasons of the doctrine. It must continue. 

1. Because the ministry is a mean of tlie salvation of the elect. 
" It hath pleased God by the foolishness of preaching, to save them 
that believe." They are these by whom the Lord gathers his elect ; 
the means must continue till the end be obtained, Rom. x. 14, 15. 
While there is a lost sinuer to seek, the Lord will not blow out tlie 
candle ; and while the night remains, and till the sun arise, these 
less lights are necessary to be continued in the church. 

2. The ministry is appointed of Christ, in some measure to supply 
the want of his bodily pr«.sence in the world. He spoke iu the 
prophets before he came, as the word is, Heb. i. 1 ; yea to the 
old world, by his Spirit in Noah a preacher of righteousness, he 
preaclied. Now when he is ascended up on high, he hath given a 
ministry; and now God doth beseech sinners by them; and iu 
Christ's stead, we pray sinners to be reconciled to God. They must 
then continue till the Lord come again. 

3. Because their work which they have to do, will continue till 
then. They are ambassadors for Christ, and while he has a peace 
to negociate with sinners, he will still employ his ambassadors. 
While Christ keeps house in the lower world, stewards must be 
maintained to give his servants meat in due season. While weeds 
grow in the vineyard, the labourers must be continued ; and till the 
house be fully built, and every stone laid in the building, it is not 
time to dismiss the builders. 

4. What society cau be preserved without government and gover- 
nors. Every society hath its governors, and so the church must 
have hers also. While corruption remains in church members, there 
will be out-breakings among them. That company that is terrible 
as an army with banners, how mean would it be if there were not a 
set of men appointed by the Lord to order and govern them ; they 
would soon turn into a mass of confusion. In the best constituted 
church how often is the beauty of it marred ; how often does the 
enemy break in, though the watchmen keep their posts, and stand to 
give warning to the city ; how much more, if there were uo watchmen 
at all. These then must be continued, till they all be within the 
gates of that city, where the gates are never shut, because uo enemy 
can make an attempt to break in, and these that are within have no 
inclination to go out. 

Use 1. Of information. It lets us sec tliat the church shall never 
fail altogether. The continuance of the mini&u} aigues the cen- 

X 2 


tinuance of the church. When the Lord has done his work, he will 
doubtless call in his servants, and will not have watchmen where 
there is no city to watch. The church and her ministry also, may 
be driven into the wilderness, and they may both be reduced to a 
very small number, but neither of them shall altogether fail. There 
may be seven thousand in Israel, when Elias thinks he is left alone ; 
and the witnesses of the truth may be seen so far gone as if they 
were dead, and yet there are still some in the darkest time, who 
afterwards appear as if they had risen from the dead. 

Again, this shews that Christ hath a special care of, and provi- 
dence watching over the ministry. Ministers are the great butt of 
the world's malice, the thorns in their eyes of which they would fain 
be freed ; and readily, when a storm ariseth, it blows most violently 
on their faces. Papists cry for miracles; if they were not blinded, 
they might see it in the continual preservation of these earthen 
vessels, for all the opposition they meet with in the world. But 
Christ holds the stars in his right hand. 

We see also the dignity of the office. The greatest officers in 
earthly kingdoms, yea kings themselves, hold not their offices by such 
a tenor. Their work is to carry on God's work in the church till 
the church be perfected, a noble work, and a long term indeed for 
the continuance of their office ; which is never to cease till Grod be 
all in all, and all the elect be in heaven. 

Wo then to those that are above teaching, and despise the ministry 
as that which they might well want. Has Christ set a ministry in 
the church as an useless burden upon the people. It speaks a pro- 
fane spirit, and a growth indeed, but not towards that in the text ; 
a growth in wickedness and self-conceit. Let us therefore prize 
the preaching of the word. 

Doctrine II. The diversity of gifts bestowed on ministers hath a 
tendency to, and is designed for advancing of unity among God's 
elect people, for unity is the centre of all these divers gifts. These 
are as the strings of a viol, some sounding higher, others lower; yet 
altogether making a pleasing harmony. " Thy watchmen shall lift 
up the voice ; with the voice together shall they sing : for they shall 
see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion." There are 
many things necessary to make a compact building, such as the 
church is. Some must procure the stones, some lay them; some 
smooth and join the wood, and altogether make a compact uniform 
house. Round about the throne are the four beasts ; some eminent 
for lion-like boldness ; some for the patience and laboriousness of the 
ox ; some for prudence, and some for quick-sightedness in the 


mysteries of godliness. The church can want none of them. "The 
eye cannot say to the foot I have no need of thee." Some brought 
blue, purple, scarlet, goat's hair, to the tabernacle. Some of these 
things were more necessary than others, but none of them could 
be wanted. All our Lord's gifts to his servants, tend to unite his 
servants with Grod, and among themselves, by faith and love. 

Use. 1. For information. This lets us see what a desirable thing 
unity in the Lord is. It is that which is the great end of all these 
divers gifts that Christ has bestowed. It is comely in the eyes of 
the Lord, and so should it be in ours. By Adam's fall his whole 
posterity were broken and shattered, rent from God and from one 
another. To cure this, God has appointed Christ a new head, under 
whom they might all meet again in unity ; and Christ has appointed 
ministers adorned with a diversity of gifts, in order to accomplish 

2. It may also let us see what is that government of the church 
that looks most like divine institution ; whether prelacy that gives 
the keys unto one, or presbytery that gives them to the unity of 
ruling church officers. Which of them is most adapted to the end 
of the ministry ; whether one gift, or diversity of gifts. The text 
determines the question, and consequently determines that several 
presbyteries diversely gifted, are the subjects of church power, and 
not a single prelate. Prelacy looks nothing like Christ's economy, 
and his way of managing his house ; therefore prelacy brought in 
for the remedy of schism, was a step very far out of Christ's way. 
And this church was for many years preserved from heresy and 
schism also, by means of presbyterian government ; and though of late 
our schisms have increased, it remains still, that it is the government 
most adapted to unity, according to the Scriptures. 

Use 2. Of reproof. It reproves those people who make the divers 
gifts of ministers occasions of schism and faction. " One saying I 
am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos." It is a great weakness 
that people cannot value one gift, but they must undervalue another. 
Many cannot build up one in their esteem, but they must needs have 
the ruins of others for a foundation for it. How contradictory are 
their desires, to what Christ would have in the church. Christ 
would have diverse gifts, and they would have but one, and that all 
might be just of a piece with what they fancy. These that say they 
can get no good of such and such a gift, had need to take heed, 
that when they get good, it be not rather a tickling of their fancy, 
than solid edification. 

But much more are these ministers to be reproved, who improve 
their gifts to the rending of the church, and breeding in people a 


c'>nteTnpt of others. " Some, indeed, preach Christ, even of etivy 
sind strife: and some also of good will. The one preach Christ of 
contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds." 
This is a dreadful perverting of the end of these gifts, and says 
that such are devoted more to their own honour than to the good of 

Doctrine III. Whatever differences are now among the godly, 
yet a perfect unity is abiding them, in which they shall all have 
the same apprehensions and views of spiritual things. To confirm 
this, consider, 

1. The perfect unity of the elect of Grod, is that which is pur- 
chased by the blood of Christ, and therefore must needs take elfect. 
He died, " that he might gather together in one, the children of 
God that were scattered abroad." Sin has built up a partition wall 
betwixt God and the elect, as well as others, and a partition divid- 
ing them among themselves. The sufferings of Christ, hath meri- 
toriously thrown it down ; upon which it must needs t'oUow, that it 
will be actually thrown down by the Spirit of Christ beginning the 
work here, and afterwards perfecting it. 

2. This unity is prayed for, by the great Mediator, whom the 
Father heareth always, and whose intercession must needs be effect- 
ual, John xvii. 21 — 23. He came into the world, to make up that 
rent which sin had made ; and he is now at the Father's right hand 
pursuing the same design, never to leave it till it be perfected. 

3. The same Spirit dwells in the head and in all the members, 
though not in the same measure ; the same ointment poured on the 
high priest's own head, runs down to the skirts of his garments, and 
anoints all the members of Christ. Hence the apostle presseth unity 
from the fellowship of the Spirit, they being joint partakers of the 
one Spirit of God, Phil. ii. 1, 2. This Spirit hath begun that union, 
and is still at the uniting work ; and it consists not with the honour 
of God, not to perfect that which he hath begun. For which cause 
the church may confidently say as David, " The Lord will perfect 
tiiat which coucerneth me : thy mercy, Lord, endureth for ever : 
forsake not the works of thine own hands." 

4. The occasion of the disordant judgments that are among the 
people of God, wiH at length be taken away. There is great dark- 
ness now, iu those that have the greatest share of light and know- 
ledge. The time we are in this world, is a night in comparison of 
the day of eternity that is approaching. No wonder we have every 
one our own mistakes ; but where we are going, there is no night 
there. Now the most knowing, know but in part ; but that which 


is perfect will come, and tlien that which is in part will be done 
away. Now we are but children, and therefore want not our child- 
ish conceptions of heavenly things ; but when we come to a perfect 
man, these childish things will be put away. Now we see but 
through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Now we know but in 
part, but then shall know as we are known, most clearly and dis- 
tinctly, as it is said, 1 Cor. xiii. 9 — 12. So truth being but one, our 
conceptions of it will be the same, when we shall be perfectly cast 
into the mould of truth. 

Use 1. This lets us see that the people of God will at length ar- 
rive at unity of affections, lay aside all their jarrings, animosities, 
factions and divisions, and cordially embrace each other in the arms 
of perfect love. For the fountain being stopped, the streams must 
needs become dry ; difference of judgment being that which occa- 
sions such discord and alienation of affections. This may comfort 
the godly, oppressed now with grief, because of these differences 
that are among^the Lord's people. 

2. It may let us see the odious nature of divisions and discords 
among professors. These tell us we are yet abroad, not at home. 
They look like the earth, and very unlike heaven. " Therefore," 
says Paul, " while one saith I am of Paul, and another I am of 
Apollos, are ye not carnal." When we are better Christians, we 
will be more peaceable, and leave off to devour one another were we 
once in the ark above. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. This serves to urge us to several duties. 

1. To labour for unity, and "to keep the unity of the Spirit in 
the bond of peace." " It is a pleasant thing for brethren to dwell 
iu unity. It makes the church strong and terrible to enemies; 
whereas divisions do exceedingly weaken her, and make her a prey 
to the enemy. Blessed be the Lord for that unity which is yet 
among the ministers of this church ; and long may it last, for be it 
broken when it will, the success of the gospel which is little now, 
will be less then. Men will be readily converted to a party, but 
few will be converted to Christ. 

2. Let us bear with one another in love ; knowing we are yet in 
the body, and have need of compassion. Let us pursue the quarrel 
against an ungodly world, enemies to God and godliness, because 
there is no hope of meeting iu heaven to coicpose the difference ; 
but see we any with their faces towards the heavenly Canaan, let 
us not fall out by the way. 

3. Let us long for heaven as the place where we will be happy. 
For motive hereto, consider, 

Doctrine. IV. That the church of Christ shall at length arrive 


at its full growth in glory, as a man come to perfect age. Then 
shall it be perfect in parts, every member being brought in, and in 
degrees every member being at its full growth. IIow does the 
heir long till the time of his minority be overpast, that he may 
get the inheritance in his hands. There is an eternal weight of 
glory abiding a state of perfection, when we shall know no more 
clouds of darkness and ignorance, no more weakness ; but the weak- 
est shall be as David, and David as the angel of God. When no 
corruption shall be in our mind, will, or affections ; when faith shall 
be turned to sight, hope to enjoyment. 

Doctrine V. Then, and not till then, comes the church to per- 
fection, when every member thereof, is brought to a perfect confor- 
mity with Christ, bearing a just proportion to him, as members pro- 
portioned to the head. This will certainly come to pass. Mystical 
Christ is yet growing ; the head is at perfection, but the members 
some of them are yet wanting : none of them that are here below, 
are grown up to the just proportion, but till that be, mystical Christ 
is not perfect. This is a certain argument that it shall be. Christ 
will not always have his body so disproportioned to the head. An 
infinitely holy head, will at length have perfectly holy members. 
The head that has now got above all temptations, will certainly 
draw the feet out of the reach of Satan and corruption. The head 
that has got above the waters of the shadow of death and corruption, 
will certainly make our vile bodies like his glorious body ; and as 
he arose from death, and now it hath no more dominion over him, 
BO will he confirm our souls and bodies in a glorious state of immor- 
tality. All which may make believers long for that blessed day, 
and endeavour to antedate heaven's happiness as far as they can, in 
tlie pursuit of conformity to Christ, and growing up to that blessed 
head ; remembering that all their backslidings and decays dishonour 
him egregiously, in so disfiguring his body and disproportioning his 
members. For direction how to go on to this perfection, take 

Doctrine VI. As is our faith and knowledge of Christ, so is our 
growth and perfection. It is the knowledge of Christ, that intro- 
duces us to the blessed state of perfection. The more we believe in, 
and know Christ, the nearer are we to perfection ; and when these 
are come to their perfection, then are we at our full growth. 

Let us then, that are ministers, make this our great work, to get 
people to close with Christ, and get acquainted with him. ! if we 
could preach Christ, live Christ, and make him the scope of our life 
and doctrine, it would be well. Let all of us study to know him. 
The nearest way to perfection is knowledge ; and all things else 


necessary to salvation is to know Christ, who is that body of divinity 
wliich the Spirit of God teaches his scholars, " for God who com- 
manded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, 
to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face 
Jesus Christ." Amen. 

November 10, 1706. 


John xvi. 33, 

These things I have spoken unto you, that hi me ye might have peace. 
In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have 
overcome the world. 

This is a dark and gloomy day, in which there seems to be a black 
cloud of wrath hanging over our heads ; which if mercy prevent not, 
is like to fall heavy upon us ; yet the storm never blows so hard, 
but the children of God may have peace ; being, though upon a sea, 
yet in a ship that cannot sink. Our text is the conclusion of our 
Lord's farewell sermon to his disciples, in which we have the use 
and end of the whole, namely, that they might have peace. "While 
he discoursed to them, he had in view their peace ; that is inward 
peace and prosperity, contentment and quietness of mind in the midst 
of trouble. All this they might have in him ; being united to him by 
faith, they might have peace in him, as Noah had in the ark, while 
the deluge was on the earth. His own word was the mean by which 
they were thus to obtain peace in him. This word leads the soul 
to Christ, where it may get peace, and teaches how to employ 
Christ for peace. "Unless thy law," says David, "had been my 
delight, I should then have perished in mine affliction." 

"We have next the necessity of his speaking these things to them 
for that end. " In the world ye shall have tribulation." In this 
world they must lay their account to meet with tribulation. In 
heaven there is no trouble, in earth no rest. They shall have 
trouble in and from the world, as they have peace in and from 
Christ. Observe the certainty of all this; it is not, you may have, 


but, " you shall have tribulation." They have no reason to be 
surprised with trouble. He warns thera of it. There is no eviting 
of it. It is the common way to heaven, no going there otherwise. 

"We have also the duty of the Lord's people in tribulation, or 
under the fears of it, " Be of good cheer." (Greek), Be confident, 
over the belly of all you may meet with in the world. Keep np 
your hcaits, faii.t not. The comfort is, Christ has overcome the 
world, and therefore though it may wound you, it shall not destroy 
you ; and as surely as Christ himself has overcome, so surely shall 
ye overcome. 

Doctrine 1. Jesus Christ freely forewarns his people of the 
trouble with which they are to meet in his way. 

Here we shall shew First, how ; and Secondly, why he forewarns 

I. We are to shew how the Lord forewarns his people. 

1. He forewarns them by his word. So he does here in the text. 
Now Christ speaks to us by his written word, and by his ministers, 
whom he has set as watchmen, to blow the trumpet and give warn- 
ing. In the glass of the word they may discern troubles coming on. 
The Scriptures are like a weather-glass, in which the people of God 
may discern by parallel cases, what may be expected in such and 
such circumstances. 

2. By the dispensations of providence. There are signs of the 
times, Matth. xvi. 3. These are, 1. Ordinary; when a people is 
brought to such circumstances as naturally tend to some heavy 
judgment. Thus our Lord said, "every kingdom divided against 
itself is brought to desolation ; and every city or house divided 
against itself shall not stand." This seems to be our case at pre- 
sent. The divisions among our rulers in the important matter now 
in hand, and divisions among others on the same point, say that if 
God do not interpose by a miracle of providence for our help, we 
may be in a sad case ere long, 2 Kings vi. 27. Surely there is a 
sad infatuation on some side ; while some look upon it as the way 
to make us happy, and others as the way to make us and our poste- 
rity miserable. 2. Extraordinary. Extraordinary operations in 
natural things, Luke xxi. 25. By such means the Lord has warned 
us, and these extraordinary rains may possibly have a voice to stir 
us up. Sometimes the Lord writes the fate of a nation upon the 
Avails of the great house of the world, as he did Belshazzar's on the 
walls of his palace. 

II. "We are to shew why Christ forewarns his people. 
1. To take away the scandal of the cross. Often did our Lord 
tell his disciples what he was, and what they were to suffer, that 


when these things came to pass they might not be offend, d. These 
that give up their names to Christ, ami do not lay their accounts 
with trouble, they will prove like those, " who when tribulation or 
persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by they are of- 
fended." It is hard not to stumble when people meet with an 
unexpected block in their way. 

2. That his people may be forewarned. " Therefore, thus will I 
do unto thee, Israel ; and because I will do this unto theo, pre- 
pare to meet thy God, Israel." God's people are not always 
meet for a storm. Lot may linger in Sodom ; Baruch seek great 
things for himself; the wise virgins slumber while the bridegroom 
is on the way. It is hard to stand in an evil day, but most hard 
when we are surprised with it. Job had an advantage ; " I was 
not," says he, " in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet ; 
yet trouble came." 

3. Because he would have his people choose his way resolutely ; so 
as when they engage with him, they may be resolute to cleave to 
him, come what will. He would have men either not to build, or 
else to count the cost ; either never to venture the sea, or else to be 
resolute to ride out the storm. The devil flatters men into his way, 
lets them see the bait, but not the hook. Christ holds the crowu in 
the one hand, and the cross in the other, and the cross nearest the 
sinner, Luke xiv. 26. 

4. To stir up his people to come to him, renew their acceptance, 
and get matters of controversy removed. Christ loves to have his 
people about his hand, but in a time of peace, they are ready to 
wander, then he will make fears to bring them back again. When 
the weather is clear, they go abroad ; but when the clouds grow 
black, they return to their chambers, Isa. xxvi. 20. 

Use 1, Of information. 1. Christ loves not to take his people 
at an unawares, though he often does so with his enemies, Matth. 
xxiv. 50. The news of the axe being laid to the root of the tree, 
comes to be heard commonly, before the noise of its hewing. Some- 
times he surprises his people with kindness. Song ii. 8 ; Psal. cxxvi. 
1 ; but as for judgments, if people are not aware of their coming, it 
is not for want of warning. 

2. The way of the Lord is well worth the keeping, notwithstand- 
ing the trouble we may meet with in it. If there were not enough 
in it to counterbalance the trouble, why would he forewarn his 
people. But there is that sweet in the crown, that may well make 
us digest the cross. Moses puts the treasures of Egypt and the 
reproach of Christ into a balance, and counts this reproach the 
greatest riches. 


3. God's people cannot justly pretend that they are surprised 
with trouble. It becomes not a Christian to say, I had not thought of 
tbera. "We may indeed be surprised with prosperity — wonder to see 
streams in the south — to meet with kindness, when abroad from our 
country ; and therefore they are inexcusable, that are unprovided 
for an evil day. What ! not to provide in summer for the winter, 
when we know surely it will come. 

4. Let not the world say God's people serve an ill master. If he 
chastise, he tells his people beforehand, that they may provide for a 
storm. The devil leads his blindfold to the pit, but Christ warns 
his people of every dangerous step, he deals ingeniously with them, 
telling them what they may expect in his service. 

Doctrine II. That the church and people of God must lay their 
accounts with trouble in the world. Here we shall shew, 

I. What is imported in this, that, " in the world ye shall have 

II. What these tribulations are, with which they may lay their 

III. To confirm the doctrine, 

IV. How, and in what manner, the Lord dispenseth tribulations. 

V. Give the reasons why they shall have tribulation. We are 

I. To shew what is imported in this, that, " in the world ye shall 
have tribulation." It imports, 

1. That this world is not the place of our rest. Heaven is our 
home ; earth our pilgrimage. To whom earth is a rest, hell will be 
a place of trouble. As long as we are here, we are on the sea, where 
deep calleth unto deep. If there be a fair blink for a while, a storm 
is brewing ; and so will it be till we reach the shore, where a rest 
remaineth for the people of God. 

2. That the saints shall have trouble from the men of the world. 
This I take to be included in the text. There are Canaanites in the 
land, that will be thorns in our eyes. As the Israelites were in 
Egypt, so is the church of God in the world. They are two distinct 
kingdoms that will never unite, as belonging to two so different 
masters, the God of heaven, and the God of this world. 

3. That the troubles of the Lord's people shall go no farther with 
them than this world ; when they have passed the sea of death, they 
shall see them no more. The world is the only stage for acting this 
tragedy, and when that is taken down, no other shall be erected. 
Devils and men, can pursue the Lord's people no farther than a 
grave. God shall then wipe away all tears from their eyes. Hea- 
ven is the place of the crown ; the world of the cross. 


4. The certainty of their meeting with tribulation. It is iio 
doubtful or uncertain thing. It is beyond all peradventure. There 
is no escaping of it ; the world one way or another, will be about 
vrith the people of God. No corn comes to heaven's granery, but 
what is winnowed here below. As long as the seed of the serpent 
is within bowshot of the seed of the woman, they cannot be secure. 

II. We are to shew what these tribulations are, which the people 
of God may lay their account with in the world. I shall name some, 
not knowing but some or all of them may be our case ; but there ia 
no hazard of laying our account with the worst. 

1. We find sometimes the enemies of the Lord's people rule over 
them. So it was in Egypt, Babylon, and other places. It is a sad 
threatening, " the stranger that is within thee, shall get up above 
thee very high, and thou shalt come down very low." So we find it 
often in the book of Judges, their neighbours ruling over them. 
Sometimes a professing people cast off God's yoke, no wonder that 
he wreath the yoke of strangers about their necks. It is much the 
same whether it be violently put on, or they stoop tamely and receive 
it; but always the church of God is brought to a sad state, when tlie 
wolf gets Christ's sheep to keep, and they are subjected to professed 
enemies of the work of reformation. pray that God may direct 
the parliament in the matter of the union. They and we have to do 
with potent neighbours. Our rulers are wiser than we, to know what 
will be best for this poor land, unless the sins of the nation provoke 
God to make them blind. But surely these hundred years bypast, 
the poverty this poor land has groaned under, and the troubles 
the church of Scotland has had, were much owing to the influence of 
our neighbours, and it will be next to a miracle, if our prosperity 
come from that quarter. 

2. Cruel mockings, Ileb, xi. 36. This was the persecution which 
Ishmael set on foot against Isaac. The seed of the serpent are wont 
to spit their venom from under their tongues. Seldom are Chris- 
tians free from these, for the tongues of enemies are not always re- 
strained, when their hands are bound. but it is sad when the 
enemy have the Lord's people under their feet, then their tongues 
are as sharp swords, Psal. cxxxvii. 3 ; Lam. i. 7- 

3. Loss of their goods, Heb. x. 34. If God let loose the sword 
upon the nation, or if persecution arise, losses cannot be prevented. 
When there are loaves to be had by following Christ, he will 
have a large retinue ; but when Christ and the world parts, then 
must we either part with Christ or with the world. ! for the 
.spirit of Moses, to choose rather to suflSier aflliction with the people 
of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. To have 


the world's goods about us like Joseph's mantle, that stript off 
easily in a time of temptation. Let their money perish with them- 
selves, who esteem all the gold in the world worth a day's society 
with Jesus Christ, said the Marquis of Vicy. 

4. Loss of liberty. Often those that now follow the Lamb, have 
been in bonds and prisons, banished from their native country, de- 
prived of the society of their relations, hunted as partridges on the 
mountains, and what has been, may be. 

5. "Want of pure ordinances. Often the gates of Zion have 
mourned, because none were allowed to enter them. The people of 
God Isave sought the food of their souls with the peril of their lives ; 
their teachers being removed into corners, and dumb dogs set up in 
their stead, who have hardened the hearts of the wicked, and dis- 
couraged the godly. Alas ! our contempt of the gospel, may bring 
a famine of it. The word of the Lord is more precious, when there 
is no open vision, 

Lastlt/, Bodily torments even to death, Luke xiv, 26, All Grod's 
people must be martyrs in action or affection. Those that love not 
Christ better than their own lives, love him not all sincerely. Some- 
times Christ calls his people to resist even unto blood. Such days 
have been, and Cain's club is still carried up and down the world, 
stained with the blood of Abel. A generation of blood-suckers yet 
exists to make the scaffolds smoke with the blood of the saints. In a 
word, whatever the wit of devils can invent, and men practise, and 
God will permit, the people of God may lay their account with. 
Yet we must remark it is tribulation, not destruction, the church of 
God is to expect. She may be in tribulation, and yet come out of 
many tribulations ; and therefore for the comfort of the Lord's 
people, I will say five things : 

1. Enemies may be a wind to toss this ark up and down the waters 
of affliction, yet not a rock to split her, " We are troubled," says 
Paul, " on every side ; yet not dismayed ! we are perplexed, but 
not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken ; cast down but not des- 
troyed." Nay, the church shall be a rock, on which her enemies 
shall split, Zech, xii, 2, 3, 4. Men will be meddling with her to 
hurt her, if they can better their estate by it ; but if they prosper 
it will be a wonder, for never did any meddle with the church but 
to their cost. The same power still exists that drowned Pharaoh, 
and brought Haman to the gallows which he bad set up for Mor- 

2. The bush may be set on fire, but it shall not be consumed, 
Exod. iii. 2. The church shall lose nothing by it but her dross, 
Ztch. xiii 9 ; but that shall at length bnist out on the enemies, like 
the fiery furnace into which the three children were cast. 


3. They may drive here into the wilderness, but she shall be fed 
there, Rev. xii. 6; as it was in the days of Elijah, What will we 
do, you may say, if ordinances be taken away; why, if there be 
nothing in the wilderness, God will open the windows of heaven. 
The doors of heaven are not always closed, when the doors of the 
chnrch are closed. God is in heaven, yea Christ is there, and he 
shall be for a sanctuary. 

4. They may hew down her branches, but the root shall remain 
fast in the earth, and shall bud again. It is a sad sight to see men 
go to with axes and hammers, and cut down the carved work of 
Zion. But let it be never so low, it will rise like a terrible ghost 
to enemies. 

Lastly, Enemies may carry the chnrch of God to the brow of the 
hill, and leave her on the very brink of ruin, and yet she shall 
escape singing, " Our sool is escaped as a bird out of the snare of 
the fowlers : the snare is broken, and we are escaped." How did 
Pharaoh think he had tbem all in his net, but the children of Israel 
went out with an high hand. We now proceed, 

III. To confirm this, that in the world the saints shall have tri- 

1. God has expressly told us of it. What can be more peremp- 
tory than the text, " Through much tribulation we must enter into 
the kingdom ;" and all who liA^e godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer 
persecution. It is one of the articles of the Christian's indenture, 
to take up the cross and follow Christ. The way to the crown is by 
the cross, by virtue of God's appointment. It is true, the Lord 
does not call every one to be a martyr, but every one that honestly 
engageth with Christ, engageth in these terms, that if they should 
die for him, they shall not leave him. 

2. This has been the lot of the church in all ages. There was a 
Cain in Adam's family, an Ishmael in Abraham's, and an Esau in 
Isaac's. Christ's flock has always had their noon, as well as their 
morning. Silence in heaven, is but for half an hour. 

3. This was the lot of our Lord and Captain. He endured the 
cross, despising the shame; and they that will reign with him, must 
resolve to sufi'er with him also. It is vain to expect other treat- 
ment in the world than he got. The servant is not greater than the 
Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute yon ; 
if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 

4. There is so much corruption in the best, that they cannot long 
carry a full cup even, but when they stand they gather mud. Thi y 
have need of afliiction to keep them from, or awaken them out uf 


5. They live among ill neighbours, even the wicked of the worlil, 
who have influence on their calamities several ways. They are ever 
ready to do them a mischief when they have an opportunity. "Wo 
have had long peace, but not because enemies were idle, not because 
they had no plots and contrivances to injure the work of God, but 
because providence defeated, and may even defeat them yet. Be- 
sides their wickedness provokes God against the nation, to bring on 
national judgments, in which the Lord's people must needs share, 
especially considering, that the godly themselves are, some one way 
or another, often involved in their guilt ; as by growing lukewarm 
when iniquity abounds, not mourning over the sins of others. No 
wonder God send an earthquake into Scotland, for the profane prin- 
ciples and practices of some, and the deadness of others. 

Lastly, The devil is a restless enemy. He goes about like a roar- 
ing lion, seeking whom he may devour ; and he is not to blame, if 
the church of God has a moment's rest. He wants neither will, 
power, nor instruments, to vex the church, if he could but get per- 

lY. We are to shew how, and in what manner the Lord dis- 
penseth tribulation to his church and people. I will say these four 
things respecting it : 

1. The church and people of God frequently meet with tribula- 
tions in the world. It is seldom that this ark meets not with tossing, 
till it come to rest on the mount of God. 

2. Sometimes the church of God has tribulation, while enemies 
have no such thing, Zech. i. 11, 12. Often it is so, as that when 
the one goes up, the other goes down ; yet sometimes both are in 
the furnace of common calamity. Thus, both Jacob's family, aud 
his neighbours the Canaanites, were visited with famine at the same 
time. When it is thus, the good metal is to be refined, and the 
dross consumed. The Lord can punish his people for their sins, 
and yet enemies have no cause to triumph over them, 2 Chron. xv. 

3. Sometimes the tribulation of the Lord's people is greater, 
sometimes less ; it is not always alike hot, nor the clouds alike full. 
They may suffer much, and not be brought to resist unto blood. 
The Lord can bind up man's wrath, and say to it as to the sea, 
hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther. Devils and men are 
bound with the chain of providence. The tribulation ordinarily is 
hottest, when it is to last but a short time. When the devil's time 
is short, his wrath is great, Exod. v. 10, 11. Again, it is hottest 
when the Lord has a mind to do great things for his people and 
cause, but there is a generation whom he will have out of the way 


beforehand. This was the case with the Israelites in the wilder- 
ness, because they had tempted the Lord ten times, and had not 
hearkened to his voice : they were not permitted to see the land 
which he sware unto their fathers, but were all taken away before 
he accomplished the promise, Num. xiv. 22; for this cause, sore 
shaking commonly goes before God's great appearances for his peo- 
ple. Hag. ii. 7. ! that this may not be the generation which God 
intends to shovel out of the way, before he revive his work. Once 
more, tribulation is hottest when people through long ease have 
settled in security, and defection has come to a great height. When 
a people thus leave their first love, unless they repent, God threat- 
ens to come quickly and to remove their candlestick out of his 
place. It is a dreadful case to provoke God to unchurch a people. 
The longer the disease has grown, the more difficult is the cure. A 
stubborn heart requires a violent wound. It is hard to say, if ever 
there was so much profanity in principle and practice under such 
light, as at this day. And it is too like the Lord is about to work 
that work, that may, by the hearing of it, make the securest and 
profauest heart to tremble. 

4. Ordinarily, all goes not together with the people of God ; if 
they be under heavy troubles, yet they may get the gospel pre- 
served. " Though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the 
water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a 
corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers." Though 
there may be darkness through most of the land, yet there may be 
a Goshen where light is. Though they seek it with the peril of their 
lives, yet they may obtain it. God's chamber doors of protection 
are not commonly all shut together. When you are persecuted in 
one city, flee to another. We have often seen it thus in Europe, 
when persecution was hot in one country, Christians have found au 
asylum in another. But, if all should fail together, God himself 
remains, aud the saints may encourage themselves in him. " In the 
fear of the Lord is strong confidence, and his children shall have a 
place of refuge." " God is our refuge and strength, a very present 
help in trouble." We proceed, 

V. To give reason why the saints shall have tribulations. The 
church and people of God meet with tribulations in the world for 
good reasons. They may say to those who are their scourges, as 
Joseph did to his brethren, " J3ut, as for you, ye thought evil against 
me ; but God meant it unto good." God in such dispensations, has 
an eye, 

I. To his own glory. 

II. His people's good. 

Vol. IV. r 


III. To hypocrites. 

IV. To open enemies. 

I. To his own glory. This is the end of all providences, and of 
this in a special manner, which should make the yoke light to those 
to whom his honour is dear. What if God should demolish the 
whole fabric of the creation for his own glory, who could quarrel 
him in point of justice. Surely we ought in that case, in our last 
prayers, say, " Hallowed be thy name." Now there is a large 
revenue of glory to God, rising from the tribulations of his people, 
though they were watered with their blood. 

1. There is a large revenue of glory arises to him from his bring- 
ing them into tribulations. Hence he has the glory of his holiness 
before the world. " I will," says he, " be sanctified in them that 
come nigh me, and before all the people, I will be glorified." The 
people of God by their sins, darken the glory of his holiness; but 
in their tribulations, they are blind that may not read that, Hab. i. 
13. David made enemies to blaspheme, therefore David must smart 
to retrieve the glory of God, 2 Sam. xii. 14. The sins of the people 
of God raise such a mist, that the holy nature of God is not well 
perceived, but a violent stormy wind, will scatter that mist. God 
gets also the glory of his impartiality in his judgments, Isa. xlii. 
24 ; Amos iii. 2. The Lord thereby shews that his own shall not 
get away with their sins and defections, more than others. He 
spared not his own Son, nor will he spare his sons. He is a Father 
that loves his children, and therefore spares not the rod. The 
heaviest weight in the ship of the church that threatens her sinking, 
is the sins of sons and daughters, Deut. xxxii. 18, 19. One 
sleeping Jonah here, will do more evil than a whole crew of pagan 

2. He gets glory from his keeping them up under them. Should 
his people sink under them, then his glory is lost, but the everlast- 
ing arms are underneath them ; hence they are kept up, and carried 
through, though they go through fire and water; and hence God has 
the glory of his all-snfficiency. The devil said. Job served not God 
for nought. The world says, the Lord's people speak much of Christ's 
fulness ; but it is easy swimming while the head is borne above ; 
they even need the world to complete their satisfaction, as well as 
others. Well, tribulation comes, and the world sees then, that the 
godly can rejoice in God when all is gone ; and that they look as 
well as they that feed on the portion of the king's meat. ! how 
do they live ? Why, they live by faith on an all-sufficient God. " I 
will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and 
thev shall trust in the name of the Lord." " Godliness with con- 


lentraent is great gain," God has also the glory of his power, 2 Cor. 
xii. 9, 10. The saints living in the midst of deaths, says that 
Christ lives. The life of Jesus is made manifest in the mortal flesh. 
The three children walking in the midst of the fiery furnace, says 
there is a powerful one with them. The church of God, is often in 
the world, like a spark of fire in a sea. It is infinite power that 
keeps it unextinguished. Here also, he gets the glory of his 
unchangeable love to his people : this explains these words, " Be 
content with such things as ye have ; for he hath said, I will never 
leave thee, nor forsake thee." Do they not fear in the valley of 
the shadow of death, it is because God is with them. What must 
spectators say, when they see them casten at all hands, and yet taken 
up by him, but behold how he loves them. Conscience will say it, 
though corruptions talk otherwise. 

3. He gets glory, from his making them better by them. Tribula- 
tions rub sore upon the Lord's people, but by that means they are 
made clear vessels fit for the master's use, and so his house is made 
to shine ; and thus he has the glory of his wisdom. ! what wis- 
dom must be there, to bring life out of death, to cure by killing, 
and heal by wounding. This is to bring a heaven out of a hell. Here 
wisdom attains many precious ends, and all by one mean that the 
world would think destructive. He hath also the glory of his good- 
ness he intends them good, and does them good even in the worst 
cases. He gets the glory of his own grace in them. The heat of 
the fire hardens clay, but softens wax ; because of the diff'erent tem- 
per of the objects. The grace of God in a soul, never so readily 
appears, either to others or to the person himself, as in a time of 
affliction. Then they are like a sick man rising out of his bed and 
running for his bare life. 

4. He gets glory from his bringing them out of them. This he will 
do. " For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the 
righteous, lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.' 
If he bring his people into the fire, he will bring them out also; for 
he says, " I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine 
them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried." 
Though they be sifted among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a 
sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. Though 
enemies may say, as to the tribulation, the Lord hath not done all 
this ; yet as to the deliverance, when the Lord turned' again the 
captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Hence the Lord 
has the glory: 1. Of his wisdom, in bringing it about in such a 
manner as is often unexpected. What wisdom appeared in his 
delivering Jacob's family from the famine, by sending Josopli to 

y 2 


Egypt ; and the Jews from Ilainan's conspiracy. The glory also of 
his power : For God's time of appearing is often when there is least 
hope, and the case is most desperate, Deut. xxii. 36. He raiseth 
Christ mystical, when the gravestone is laid on and sealed, when 
it comes to that, Can these dead bodies live ? and none can answer 
the question but himself. " Thy dead men," says he " shall live ; 
together with my dead body, shall they arise." 

The glory also of his faithfulness. The Lord will bring his 
people to that with it, that they shall have a very strong faith, that 
lays not down that conclusion : " I said my strength and my hope is 
perished from the Lord." The providence and the promise of God 
seemed so to run counter to one another, that Jeremiah upon that 
was brought to the borders of blasphemy : " Why," said he, "is my 
pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be 
healed? Wilt thou be altogether unto nie as as a liar; and as 
waters that fail ?" And enemies may be brought to say, there is no 
help for the afflicted saint in God. But the deliverance confounds 
the one, and makes the other blush ; and writes his faithfulness in 
great characters. Thus he magnifies his word ; above all his name. 

IT. In such dispensations God has an eye to his people's good. 
It is their happiness that his glory and their good are linted toge- 
ther. As all work for his glory, so all shall work for their good, 
Rom. viii. 28. I shall pitch on a few things here. It is, 

1. to purge away their sin, Isa. xxvii. 9. Tribulation to the 
Lord's people, is as the furnace to the gold ; not to consume, but 
refine them. It is not to purge them away meritoriously, but they 
are the means which the Spirit of God makes use of to weaken our 
corruptions. Now they contribute to this three ways : 1. As they 
convince of sin. They are as the fire under the pot, that brings the 
scum up, and so it falls off. It is difficult to convince men of pros- 
perous wickedness, Jer. xxii. 21, 22. Solomon tells us, " that op- 
pression makes a wise man mad ;" but a greater than Solomon tells 
us, tribulation makes a mad man wise, Luke xv. 17; Gen. xlii. 21. 
Misery will open the eyes which prosperity has closed. If the gos- 
pel be taken away, it will not be so difficult to convince you of mis- 
improvement, as it is now. Again, they make sin bitter. As Abner 
said to Joab of the war, so is it with sin : " It will be bitterness in 
the end." It is like Ezekiel's roll, sweet in the mouth, but bitter 
in the belly; thus it makes the man vomit up with loathing, what 
with delight he swallowed down. The wormwood and the gall being 
laid on the breast, weans the child at length. Once more, they do 
it as they lead to repentance, Hos. ii. 7- Repentance is the native 
product of a blessed tribulation. Let us search and try our ways. 


and turn again to the Lord. "Waters of affliction make the head of 
the gracious soul waters, and his eyes a fountain of tears for sin. 
Some now, they cannot get mourned for sin ; but if a sword come, if 
the glory depart, the hard rock will sti'eam out in the wilderness. 

2. To prevent further sin, and more dreadful plagues. Tribula- 
tion is a hedge in people's way, meeting them as the angel did 
Balaam. Well may the children of God salute the cross, as David 
did Abigail : "Blessed be the Lord God of Isiael, which sent thee 
this day to meet me." By this, much mischief was prevented. It 
was a weary way which the Israelites had in the wilderness. Bui 
wherefore did God lead thtm that way ? It was to keep them from 
drawing back, Exod. xiii. 17, 18. When a church takes a backslid- 
ing, they would go very far back ere they halted, if God did not 
turn them with affliction. Thus it prevents more dreadful plagues, 
1 Cor. xi. 32. It was a tribulatiou to Lot to go out of Sodom, but 
had he not met with that, he had met with much worse. Many a 
time God drags people out of harm's way, as he did a godly man, 
who broke his leg going into a ship, which made him return. This 
saved him, for the ship was cast away. So God may cast a church 
or person into trouble, to prevent the casting them off. 

To promote the spiritual growth of the Lord's people. The plants 
in God's vineyard, grow best in the winter. The church is lik« 
camomile, the pressing it down makes it thrive best ; so it was witii 
Israel in Egypt. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. 
The church has more professors in prosperity than in tribulatiou, 
but more true Christians probably in an evil day. In such a time 
the graces of the Lord's people are stronger. Sometimes they have 
run with the footmen, and they have wearied them ; yet have they 
afterwards contended with horses. So Peter, who at one time by 
cowardice denied his Master, at another astonished his enemies with 
his boldness. So it was also with Nicodemus. The graces of the 
Lord's people are like the waters of the sun mentioned by Curtius, 
which are cold at noon when the air is hottest, and hot at midnight 
when the air is coldest. 

The Lord's people have most experiences at such a time, Rom. v. 
3, 4. They gain a stock of experiences in the school of tribulation, 
Hos. ii. 14. We have many professed Christians at this day, but 
few experienced Christians. Who knows but the Lord may lead 
them to the wilderness, and speak to their hearts there, that when 
they come back they may be able to say, " Come and hear, all ye 
that fear God, and 1 will declare what he hath done for my soul." 
Now, it is highly reasonable that these things be so, because they 
have more than ordinary to do in such a time, and God suits people's 


strength to their burdens. They could not stand without more ex- 
perience of religion ; and the glory of God is at the stake, which 
would be wounded if they fell away. Besides, tribulation leads 
the soul to more than ordinary seriousness, self-denial, and going 
out of itself to Christ. In such a time also, they are feasted with 
a greater variety of providences than at other times. 

4. The humiliation of his people, Dent. viii. 2. I take special 
notice of this, because it is the great design of the gospel, to make 
the sinner nothing in his own eyes, that the Lord's grace may get 
all the glory. This is the end of ordinances and providences, and is 
remarkably carried on by tribulation. 

Tribulation serves this purpose, as it discovers the corruption of the 
heart that lurked before. Asaph's tribulation brought his heart 
atheism to light, Psal. Ixxiii. 13. See how that humbles him, ver. 
22; it will discover that particular corruption, which of all others, 
the man seemed to be most above. Thus, the impatience of Job, 
and the passion of Moses were discovered, though the one was the 
most patient, and the other the meekest man on earth. 

It humbles the person also, as it makes him feel the need of daily 
supplies and support from above. When a man gets a burden to 
bear, for which he finds he has not strength enough, this sends him 
to God out of himself. The greatness of it affrights him. Hence 
may we see the reason why some people are helped to bear great 
troubles, while they sink under less ones. 

Lastly, The weaning their hearts from the world, and making 
them desirous to be in heaven. If they were not so harshly enter- 
tained abroad, they might forget their home. But the more per- 
plexities they meet with in the wilderness, the more desireable will 
Canaan be to them. No wonder they long to be ashore, who are 
tossed with the wind and wave upon the sea. But blow what storms 
will, against the church and people of God, the Lord does all things 
well ; for the more the waters increase, the nearer heaven is the 

III. The Lord has an eye to hypocrites, in bringing tribulation 
on the church, to try and discover them. Times of tribulation are 
winnowing and sifting times, Matth. iii. 10, 12; Amos ix. 9. 

The summer of the church's prosperity breeds much vermin, which 
the winter dispatches. Many follow Christ for loaves, and are like 
those that go to sea for pleasure. They flame a while ; but as the 
candle, go out with a bad smell, when the wind blows. Now they, 
are cast out, for likely they did not count the cost before they 
began to build, hence they are surprized with tribulation. The cross 
is placed in the dark to them, therefore they fall over it, Matth. 


viii. 19, 20. What is undeliberately attempted, seldom succeeds 
where difficulties are iu the way. 

Again, hypocrites want the root of grace in them, hence a storm 
blows thera over, Matth. xiii. 21. How can a house built on sand 
endure a storm ? Lamps without oil may do much in a fair day, 
but nothing in a dark night. The real spring will hold out in a 
time of scorching heat but the pools will be dried up. 

In tribulation, people must either live on Christ alone, or not at 
all. Hypocrites cannot do this, more than a bird can fly without 
wings. The hypocrite is the man with the heart and the heart ; 
therefore, like the hurcheon, he changes his nest, according to the 
blowing of the north and south wind. His lusts are his limbs, there- 
fore he must cut his shoe answerable to his foot. 

lY. The Lord has an eye to open enemies, to bring vengeance to 
them. The Israelites were in a great strait at the Red sea, but it 
was that Pharaoh and his host might be drowned, see also Dan. iii. 
22. The Lord allows enemies to fill up their cup, and then he pun- 
ishes them, and the punishment comes heaped and running over, 
Matth. xxii. 35, 36. The tribulation of the Lord's people, is a cer- 
tain forerunner of the destruction of enemies, Mic. iv. 11 — 13 ; the 
rod having done its work, is for the fire. 

Use. Prepare then for tribulation. Lay your account with it, 
and make ready for it. This is a day in which we should be about 
Noah's work, even preparing an ark. Consider these three things : 

1. The Lord has a controversy with the land, and he seems to be 
about to plead it ; and when God's anger has set the nation in a 
flame, it will be hard for the Lord's people to escape tribulation. 
There are several things, for which the Lord seems to be about to 
pursue Scotland this day ; such as the sins of late times, and here 
we find covenant breaking the mother evil, Ezek. xvii. 15. This 
land lies under a double guilt here. The breach of the national 
covenant, which was first made early after our reformation from 
popery, and afterwards several times renewed, and much counte- 
nanced of God. The solemn league and covenant now buried in 
England, and now much forgotten in Scotland, in both which, pre- 
lacy was abjured. But alas ! the nation soon forgot his covenant. 
Prelacy, like the accursed walls of Jericho, was rebuilt; the Lord's 
people that adhered to the oath of God and covenanted work of 
reformation, were persecuted for the same ; fined, imprisoned, ba- 
nished, carried into remote corners of the world, and many of them 
murdered under colour of law. The covenant itself burned. God 
has not forgotten these things yet. The late fire in Edinburgh, 
which set on flames his vast buildings that burut the covenant, was 


a visible token of the Lord's minding that quarrel : and now I 
think the Lord is saying, as he did to Israel, I will bring a sword 
upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of ray covenant. 

There is also the contempt of the gospel now abounding. How 
little is Christ cared for in our land ; his offers are slighted, his 
reproofs undervalued. We have begun to weary of God, and our 
souls loathe the manna. 

There is, moreover, much profanity in principles and practices. 
It is with us as with the Jews, both the poor and the rich have 
erred, Jer. v. 4, 5. "Who could have thought, that in such a day, 
deism and atheism could have so abounded. Many ridicule the 
scriptures, and the doctrine of salvation by Jesus Christ ; and so 
give themselves up to work all uncleanness with greediness. Pagan 
countries produce not such monsters. The matter is, men are given 
up to their lusts, the word galls them, and therefore they endeavour 
to extinguish all sense of religion, that they may sin without re- 

2. The Lord has a controversy with his own people. How little 
sense have we of God's mighty works ? In what security have we 
been of a long time ? Little care to walk with God. Carnality, 
formality, worldly raindedness, lukewarmness in the things of God, 
presage a storm of tribulation. 

3. The present state of affairs says a cloud is gathering. They 
that have but half an eye may see it. 

Directions. 1. Make sure work as to your interest in Christ, 
Matth. vii. 24 — 27- The months of tribulation are trying to hypo- 
critical professors. If you be in Christ you shall not be removed. 
The temptations and dangers to which people are exposed in tribu- 
lations, speak loudly to them to turn to their strong hold, Zech. ix. 
12. that they would now come that have hitherto refused him. 
A man out of Christ in tribulation, is a sad spectacle. 

2. Keep grace in exercise. Take that advice, " Remember, 
therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do thy first 
work." See there be no standing controversy betwixt God and 
you. " If we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear 
us." Outward trouble, and the frowns of an angry God, are sad 
companions. These months are trying to them that are under a 
spiritual consumption ; it will be difficult for them to stand. 

3. Prudently forecast what may befall you, and lay your accounts 
that way. " A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: 
but the simple pass on and are punished." A warned man is half 
armed. Men surprised seldom resist. A man newly awakened out 
of his dream, may be easily overcome. 


4. Be temperate in all things, and live above the world, its 
frowns, and smiles. Be moderate in your affections and cares 
about any worldly enjoyments. Use the world as if you used it 
not. Let it hang loose about you, like Joseph's mantle. 

5. Labour to be concerned about your relations now. Solemnly 
give them away to God with respect to an evil day. In a trouble- 
some time, people use to carry their precious things to any place 
where they may be safe. Husbands, wives, children, cannot be so safe 
as in Christ. Commit them to him, and trust him with them without 
anxiety. Strive also to get them possessed with real love to Christ 
and his truths, that they may be more afraid of sinning, than of 
suffering, for their influence may do you good or evil, as they are 

6. Labour to have a feeling of the truth and power of religion on 
your souls. A mere form of godliness will not help in tribulation. 
If religion be not in the heart, but only in the head, it will melt 
away like snow before the sun. He that sees Christ by an eye of 
faith, and sees heaven afar off, has the trial of the efficacy and power 
of the truth on his soul, will be able to endure a blast. Therefore 
closely study practical godliness. 

Lastly, Be much in prayer. Prayer opens the windows of heaven, 
James v. 18. Pray for yourselves, for the nation, for posterity, for 
the church, and for the world. It is a sad symptom a man has 
no part of the ship, when he is not concerned whether she sink 
or swim. Prayer has opened prison doors, Acts xvi. 26; and 
held off wrath, Exod. xxxii. 10. And who knows what the prayers 
of the Lord's people may do yet. It is a mercy that we may 
pray, Mic. vii. 3 — 7. 

Objection 1. There will always be safety on some side, and I 
will fall in with thera that are uppermost. Answek. If the Bible 
be the word of God, this is not the way to be safe. " Whoso 
walketh uprightly, shall be saved ; but he that is perverse in his 
ways, shall fall at once." If you shift so, yon will not be on God's 
side ; and often men by seeking safety out of God's way, hasten their 
own destruction, as the Jews crucified Christ to please the Romans. 
" He that flndeth his life shall lose it ; and he that loseth his life 
fo*- my sake," saith Jesus, " shall find it." 

Objection 2. I fear I never shall be able to stand in an evil day. 
Answer. Deal thou honestly with Christ. Tell him sincerely you 
are content to go tlirough fire and water with him, if he will but 
bear you up, that you sink not ; and trust him for through bearing, 
and then it lies upon his honour to carry you through, and he will 
do it, Isa. xl. 30, 31 ; 2 Cor. xii. 9. 


But is there no way to be sure of temporal safety when tribula- 
tion comes ? Answer. Without more than ordinary, neither you 
nor I can promise that to ourselves. We may promise inward 
peace, but not outward. Yet some may even get much outward 
safety. I will tell you the way that bids fairest for it. Mourn 
now for the sins of the land ; that has the promise, Ezek. ix. 4. 
Keep close to the way of duty, whatever be the hazard, Prov. 
xxviii. 18. To be best when others are worst bids fair for it. This 
was the case with Noah, who was a just man and perfect in his 
generations, and Noah walked with God. But all outward things 
are uncertain ; only in the general, if you be his, he will do what 
will be best. 

But behold, our text opens up a magazine of comfort in the worst 
of times : " That in me ye might have peace." From whence ob- 
serve this doctrine, 

Whatever storms blow in the world, in Jesus Christ we may have 
peace, in the midst of outward troubles. Here I shall speak first of 
the nature ot this peace. Secondly, of the enjoyment of it. Thirdly, 
of the way of conveyance. Fourthly, of its kind ; and fifthly, con- 
firm the point. I am then, 

I. To speak of the nature of the peace to be enjoyed in Christ. 
It is an inward peace, being opposed to outward trouble. The 
trouble is bodily, and on the outward state ; the peace is spiritual. 
It is the peace of mind. Inward trouble is the native consequence 
of outward trouble. But here is a sort of miracle, the godly in the 
fire, yet walking at ease ; the ship amongst rocks and waves, yet 
secure. Taking this inward peace of mind in its full latitude, it 

1. A holy calm in the soul, a serenity and tranquillity of mind in 
the midst of trouble. Trouble naturally produces inward confusion 
and disturbance ; but the soul has in Christ a calm instead of 
that, Psal. iii. 1 — 5. The believer is like a vessel of water tossed 
upon the sea, yet not jumbled. In the fiery furnace, the three chil- 
dren had more peace than the king in his palace, Dan. iii. 24. 

2. Content of mind, in opposition to discontent and murmuring, 
which are the native efl'ects of trouble in a soul out of Christ. Con- 
tentment is not only the duty but the privilege of believers, 2 Sam. 
XV. 25, 26. To be content with a full cup is nothing ; but grace can 
make a man content with an empty house and empty coff'ers. And 
what does a man want, whose spirit is brought down to his lot ? 
Many a man has been so well content with the cross, that he would 
not have exchanged with them that were at ease, for the crown. 

3. Courage and holy boldness, instead of discouragement, Acts 


iv. 13. Christ raiseth the hearts of his people in trouble. He 
that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David, and the 
house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before 
them. When he says fear not, their fears are dispelled; their spirits 
raised to do and to suffer great things for him without fear. And 
never is the believer so acquainted with Christ's comforts, as in a 
day when fears are on every side. He loves to make them experi- 
ence that his grace is sufficient for them. 

4. Confidence as to the event, in opposition to anxiety and de- 
spair. "For the which cause," says Paul, "I also suffer these 
things ; nevertheless, I am not ashamed : for I know whom I have 
believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I 
have committed unto him against that day." Trouble stirs up the 
godly to wait on the Lord, and roll their concerns on hira, and lay 
down all their cares in his bosom. This has the promise, for he 
hath said, " Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee 
the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord, and he 
shall bring it to pass." There is light in Goshen, when there is 
darkness over all the rest of the land. When providences are a 
dark cloud, which they cannot see through, faith goes to the pro- 
mises, and there they get a sight of a blessed outgate, and will say, 
he has done, and will do all things well. 

5. Joy in trouble instead of sorrow. They have a sweet feast. 
Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience. They are not 
stocks, to stand unmoved at the loss of goods, liberty, and the like ; 
but their sorrow is only as it were a quashed sorrow, it is so drowned 
iu spiritual joy. They are as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. Paul 
and Silas sang praises at midnight in the prison, and the Hebrews 
took joyfully the spoiling of their goods. Strengthening grace will 
bear them out in their singing, as long as the enemy's malice will 
bear them in their raging. The saints are strengthened with all 
might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience, and long 
suffering, with joyfulness, 

6. Prosperity of soul. The suffering Christian is by Christ made 
like Gains, to prosper, and be in health in his soul. This Paul felt, 
for says he, thougli our outward man perish, yet the inward man ia 
renewed day by day. The world is a very rugged physician to the 
godly; but the truth is, they never thrive better than when under 
its hand. We are now, 

II. To speak of the enjoyment of this peace in peace. The text 
says, In me ye might, rather may have peace. This lets us see that 
something must be done, in order to get it. There is a twofold 
enjoyment of this peace in trouble. 


1. An enjoyment of it in the root and seed of it. In this respect 
believers always have this peace in trouble. For the meek shall 
inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of 
peace. They are like the heir while a minor, having a right to an 
estate, though there be not a farthing in his pocket. 

2. An enjoyment of it by actual tasting thereof, when the trou- 
bled miud is really pacified, the winds rebuked, and God creates a 
calm in the soul, giving them all these sure, whereby they are made 
happy. Here I lay down these two conclusions, imported in this 
phrase : 

1. The believer is liable to a want of inward peace in a time of 
outward trouble. This is manifest in Job, Heraan, and others. 
Sometimes the wiud blows upon them from all quarters at once. 
And thus it is ordinarily with them in such cases as these : — 1. 
When the disease to be cured is grown inveterate. Every puff of 
•wind will not rend rocks, nor blow up oaks by the roots. Samson 
for three several times had seen Delilah's deceit, yet would not take 
warning. Hence often it is thus with the Lord's people when the 
storm rises first, where the inward trouble continues till they renew 
their repentance. 2. When to allay their outward trouble, they 
step aside out of Grod's way, yielding to the temptation to get the 
trouble lessened, it is made greater by the accession of the want of 
inward peace. Whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. 
This makes a molehill a mountain, for there is no safety but in an 
upright way. 3. When they grow impatient under trouble. The 
Lord will have them see where the sting of trouble is ; and by 
making them feel the smart of a wounded spirit, will teach them 
■what they would not believe, namely, that a man may bear his in- 
firmities, but a wounded spirit who can bear. 4. When the Lord 
intends to appear with a more than ordinary measure of his peace 
and comfort. The saddest conflicts commonly go before the greatest 
victory. It is God's way to kill before he cure. 

2. As there is a seed of inward peace in the believer's soul amidst 
the greatest trouble, so it shall surely spring up at length, Mic. vii. 
8, 9. There is a heaven in their hottest hell, which will break forth 
in due time. Their light shall rise, and their seed of joy spring. 
They have great security for this. I shall only point at one thing 
in the text, that is Christ's designing it for them. He is God, his 
counsel shall stand. What he designs for them they shall surely 
get, especially considering he has purchased peace at so dear a 
rate to bestow on them. What though their case be low and 
almost desperate, yet he can give them peace, and speak peace 
to them, even as he spake light into being, when darkness was 


on the face of the world. Though the mouth be filled only with 
complaints, yet creating power can make praises come from the 
same lips. " I create," says the Lord, " the fruit of the lips, 
peace ; peace to him that is afar off and to him that is near 
and I will heal him." "Wherefore, it being God's design that 
they may have it, they shall have it in the worst of times. 

ITI. We are to consider the way of conveyance of this peace. It 
is in Christ. This imports, 

1. That we must be in him before we can have this true peace. 
All out of this ark are out of the true peace. Men may have the 
devil's peace, while they sleep in his chains. But God's peace is 
only to them that lay hold on God's peace-maker. Let him, says 
God, take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me. 
What hast thou to do with peace, sinner, so long as thou art out 
of Christ ? For God is their enemy who are not in Christ, for by 
him only are we reconciled to God. Who can have true peace 
while God is their enemy, whose attributes do speak terror to them. 
He is just, holy, every where present, and almighty. He is merci- 
ful indeed, but only in Christ. Conscience also is their enemy. It 
is God's deputy, who faileth not sometimes to say to the wicked, 
that it shall be ill with him. And though it may be laid asleep 
a while, yet that will only make its awakening more terrible, and it 
is only Christ's blood that sprinkles from an evil conscience. All 
the creatures are likewise their enemies. Christ is the bond of the 
creatures, who were set one against another by Adam's sin ; and 
therefore it is a benefit of the new covenant, peace with the crea- 
tures. Men out of Christ have no more security in the use of the 
creatures, than an usurper in his throne, against whom the subjects 
will arm themselves, as soon as they can dispatch him and shake off 
his yoke. 

2. It is by him, and from him, they have this peace; therefore he 
is called our peace, Eph. ii. 14, and the peace, Mic. v. 5. Christ is 
the procurer and purchaser of his people's peace. Their peace was 
bought not stolen nor usurped, bought by his own blood. No 
peace could have been to men, had he not stooped and received the 
blow of the sword of justice. He denied himself to peace, that we 
might enjoy it. He is the maker of the peace, being the great 
peace-maker, and the Mediator of the covenant betwixt God and 
man, which is a covenant of peace. Peace on earth was sung at his 
birth ; and when he is formed in a soul, peace is made betwixt God 
and that soul ; and by his Spirit, peace is created in the soul. 

He is the maintainer of the peace. " TIiou wilt keep him in 
perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in 


tliee." So much guilt is found in the best, that they could not 
keep their peace a moment, wore there not a continuance of it by 
the prince of peace. But by the continuance of his intercession, 
and efficacy of his Spirit, he maintains it. 

He is the restorer of their peace. " I have seen his ways, and 
will heal him : I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him 
and to his mourners. Sometimes this peace is beat down very low 
by the corruption of the hearts of his people, and the malice of the 
devil. But he brings it up again, and the howling wilderness is as 
the fruitful field. Thus it comes to pass that at evening time it 
shall be light. 

He is the perfecter of their peace. Their peace is but a twilight 
peace, while here, Zech. xiv. 6, 7 ; but he that hath begun it, will 
not leave it off, till he have perfected it. The Lord will perfect 
that which concerneth them, and God himself will wipe away all 
tears from their eyes. As he left not his people till he had seated 
them in the earthly Jerusalem, the city of peace, so he will bring 
his people to the city of peace above. 

Finally, He is the storehouse of their peace, from which they may 
bring their peace in the worst of times ; for which reason he seems 
to be called our peace. As every drop of water in a cup, is refresh- 
ing to a thirsty man ; so every thing in Christ, is peace to the 
believer. Some seek for peace by their friends, beg it or buy it from 
their enemies, but the believer fetched all from Christ. 

IV. We are to shew what sort of peace it is, which we may have 
in Christ. 

1. A solid peace. The peace of the wicked is not solid peace. 
It is rather the name than the thing. It will not abide a trial, and, 
like a thief, it runs away before the searchers. But the godly 
man's peace in Christ will abide the trial, and the more it be exa- 
mined the surer it proves. 

2. It is a tender peace. It is easily marred by sin. Conscious- 
ness of guilt interrupts this peace. David's heart smote him for 
his sin in numbering the people. It is a tender bud of heaven, that 
cannot endure with sin, especially sin against light. Yet, 

3. It is a strong peace in respect of troubles. This peace made a 
holy man say, I fear nothing but sin. Many assaults are made 
against the soul, to take away its peace ; but it will stand against 
tribulation, scourging, a prison and stocks, spoiling of goods, yea, 
death itself cannot take it away. 

4. It is a governing peace. " Let the peace of God rule in your 
hearts," says the apostle, " to the which also ye are called in one 
body ; and be ye thankful." The passions and affections of the 


soul, when they would mutiny, this peace of God stills them, and 
guards the heart of the believer, which is sadly exposed to danger, 
when without this peace. But the peace of Grod which passeth 
all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds, through Jesus 

5. A lasting peace. " Peace," said Jesus, " I leave with you, 
my peace I give unto you : not as the world giveth, give I unto you. 
Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid." How soon 
is the candle of the wicked put out, and their peace gone ; but this 
peace is everlasting. Though it may run under ground a while, yet 
it breaks up again, and never sees an end, as streaming from the 
eternal fountain of peace. It now remains, 

V. To confirm the point. Well may we have peace in Christ, 
though the world should be turned upside down, and all should go 
unto confusion ; for, 

1. If we look to hira, we may see God reconciled to us in him, 
Ephes. ii. 15, 16, God testified of him, that in him he was well 
pleased, namely, with all that were in him. The believer beholding 
his wounds may say, these have procured my peace, his blood has 
pacified God's anger against me. What then though the world rage, 
God is well pleased ; though the earth be covered with blackness, 
heaven is no more lowering. Is not this enough. Paul triumphed 
here, Rom. viii. 31 — 39. Though the world proclaim war against 
me, Christ proclaims God is at peace with me. Two things here, 
may give a man peace in the midst of trouble. 1, The preciousness, 
and excellency of this peace with God. What angel or man can 
tell the worth of it. When it was bought, it cost an infinite price. 
Souls under apprehensions of wrath know something of its value 
that it is better than ten thousand worlds. Then no thanks to the 
Christian, though he digest some petty losses in the world peaceably, 
while this jewel is in his possession. 2. The durableness of this 
peace. It is everlasting. Let men rage and devils too, they may 
take away outward peace, but this they cannot carry away. If an 
army were coming to burn and slay all in their way, and you were 
persuaded that Ufej should destroy nothing of yours but that which 
is very little worth, might not you have peace ; so may the Christian. 

2. In Christ we see God upon our side. He is not only reconciled 
in him, but he is entered into covenant with us. His friends, are 
our friends, and our enemies are his. This made David fearless in 
the midst of troubles, Psal. xxiii. and cxxviii. 6. Hence the 
apostle bids defiance to all who could attack him, Rom. viii. 
31. May we not say then, greater is he that is in us, than he 
that is in the world. Here all the attributes of God stream 


forth peace to the believer, so that he may sing that song, " Spring 
up well, sing ye unto it." Enemies shall not prevail nor 
escape, for he is just, wise, powerful, and true. Two things here, 
should be observed. 1. He is a present help. Psalm xlvi. 1. Many 
a one perishes because help is far off. But be the believer where he 
will, his help is at hand. He is ever within a cry of him. Yea, he 
is in him, dwelling in him by his Spirit. 2. He is a powerful help. 
Men may be near at hand to their friends, and not be able to help them 
in an evil day ; but nothing is too hard for him. He is also a skilful 
helper. Men may be both near and able, yet for want of skill may 
spoil the work ; but he is wise in heart. The believer may peaceably 
leave the time, way, and manner of deliverance on him. 

3. In Christ we see God iu our nature; God made man; Immanuel, 
God with us. This is a noble subject of meditation, the wonder of 
angels and saints in glory ; an employment which might give us peace 
in the midst of trouble, if it were no other way, but by driving our 
thoughts, and powerfully fixing our affections ou this admirable 
object. This gave Stephen peace. But besides, when men as incar- 
nate devils, are terrible to us, we may look on Christ, and there 
with comfort see God incarnate ; see him through the vail of the 
flesh of Christ. When a wicked man is in tribulation, he is a most 
miserable creature. Man is terrible to him, and God is terrible to 
him, because he cannot behold him in a mediator. But it is not so 
with a believer. May he not then have peace in trouble. Again, 
as Christ is a man, he has a sympathy with his people, and as God 
he is able to help them. Yea, in all their afflictions he is afflicted 
well then may the believer roll all upon him. 

4. Christ suffered from the world aud overcame it. " I," said he, 
" have overcome the world." While he was in it, he had no easy 
life. His life was a life of tribulation, and at length they nailed 
him to the cross. Here the believer may find peace. May it not 
create peace, amidst tribulation in the world, to think that the way 
of tribulation in the world, was the way by which Christ went 
through it to his glory. Shall we not follow him courageously and 
contentedly. Did they treat the master so, and will not the servant 
be coutent with his master's entertainmet. Will we follow him 
grudgingly, who went through so cheerfully. Again, may it not 
give peace, to think that he suffered to redeem us from the wrath of 
God. Truly, this will make the gracious soul joyful, to have but 
an occasion of bearing the wrath of the world for his sake and 
cause. It must be comfortable, also, to think that the bitter dregs 
are taken out of the cup. Afflictions and death are unstinged. 
There is no poison in the cup, this may well make you quietly drink 


it. Your Master bids you ride no ford, but what he went throu}j;h 
before you. If the world mock and reproach you, so did it do to 
hiru ; if it put you to death itself, as traitors and rebels, so did it do 
to him. 

5. The believer may have peace in Christ, in the midst of out- 
ward trouble, because he guides all himself. Is. lii. 7. The 
Lord reigneth, let the earth be glad. Christ has fought through his 
enemies, and has reached the throne. He sways the mediatory 
sceptre for the good of the church. Many things here, speak peace 
to those that are in him, in the worst of times ; for Christ as a king 
is engaged to protect his church and people, Ephes. i. 22. His sub- 
jects are the Father's gift to him, of which he is to make account, 
John xvii. 12. He is their shepherd, Psalm xxiii. 1. Enemies can 
never be able to make him a king without subjects, a head without a 
body. The bush burning not consumed, why ? Grod is in the midst 
of it. He wants neither wisdom, will, nor power to help his people. 
"Whatsoever they meet with, comes from him. The Father 
judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son. The 
most bitter cross comes through his hands to them. God sent 
Joseph to Egypt. Assyria is but God's rod and axe. Why should 
believers fear, when Christ lets blood of them. Though he borrow 
the lance from the enemy, yet it is in a friend's hand. It shall not 
go one hair-breadth deeper than he sees necessary. 

He overrules enemies. He has a bridle on their jaws, and the re- 
mainder of their wrath he will restrain. He has a negative vote on 
them. " Who is he that saith and it cometh to pass, when the Lord 
commandeth it not ?" The devil cannot enter swine, without his 
permission. They cannot put one drop more into his people's cup 
than he allows. Rev. ii. 10. Hence, when enemies are consulting 
the ruin of his church, God is said to laugh, Psal. ii. He makes 
the devil's servants run his errands. The Philistines' kine bring 
home the ark. Joseph must be exalted. His envious brethren must 
post him on to it. The gospel must go through the world, and 
therefore persecutors must scatter the preachers. Many a time the 
church rises, just when enemies are laying on the gravestone, as it 
was when the service dook was pressed upon us. Jesus must reign 
till he bath put all enemies under his feet. Behold the assurance of 
it, Psalm ex. 1. Never weapon prospered against his people. The 
day will come, they shall all stand on the field as conquerors, and 
share of his throne. 

In him they have divine promises suited to any case in which they 
can be. These are the silken cords let down from heaven, by which the 
believer may well venture to be drawn through a sea of blood, 2 

YoL. lY. z 


Peter i. 4, Psalm csix. 49. The word of a general will animate 
soldiers, and Christ's promise may well animate his people. What 
are you afraid of? Is it of your own weakness, which may make 
you sin and yield to the temptation, that may make you shrink, and 
leap back fi'om the cross. Mind his promise, Isaiah xl. 30, 31 ; 
2 Cor. xii. 9. Are you afraid of the apostacy ? Truly they who are 
built on the sand shall fall, but not those who are built on a rock, 
Matth. xxi. 18 ; 2 Tim. ii. 18, 19. Will a man who can prevent it, 
suflfer a limb to be drawn from him, though it be very weak ? No, 
surely; John x. 27 — 29. Are you afraid of his forsaking you ? Fear 
it not ; Heb. xiii. 5 ; Isaiah xliii. 2. Is he with you, then he shall 
be with you. Mark David's reasoning, "Yea, though I walk through 
the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil ; for thou art 
with me ; thy rod and staff they comfort me. Why did he take 
thee by the hand, if he thought ever to forsake thee on any emer- 
gency. He knew all your faults from eternity. Do you fear that 
he intends evil to you. Perhaps you think that it is your untender- 
ness, barrenness, or the like, that is like to raise the storm. God 
will have your sin to find you out. Be it so; yet consider that all 
things shall work together for good to them that love God, to them 
who are the called according to his purpose. In the evening it shall 
be light. Let the web of Providence be once woven out, and though 
there be many black threads in it, it shall appear a goodly mixture. 

In him we may have whatever is necessary for throughbearing in 
an evil day. He is able and willing to bear our expences, why then 
should we be disturbed at the sight of the journey. There is light 
to be had in him. He is the light of the world. No case so per- 
plexed, but he can resolve it, Micah vii. 7 — 9. He is the counsellor, 
one whose advice is ready in time of need. There is strength in him. 
He is the storehouse of the Christian's strength, open at all times, 
but especially in time of trouble, 2 Tim. iv. 16, 17- He is the friend 
best known in adversity. 

Lastly, Consider the Scriptures hold out Christ as one in whom 
peace is to be enjoyed, and that is confirmed by the experience of 
the saints. He is the Saviour both for temporal and eternal salva- 
tion. The ark was a type of Christ, the sanctuary, the cities of re- 
fuge, Isa. viii. 14 ; Heb. vi. 18 ; Isa. xxxii. 2. The name of the 
Lord is a strong tower, the righteous flee unto it and are safe. He 
is the peace ; they that are in him dwell in peace, Mic. v. 5 ; Psal. 
vi. 2 — 4. He has chambers of protection for his own, into which he 
invites them to enter, Isa. xxvi. 20 ; Psal. xxvii. 5. 

Use 1. Of information. 

1. Here see the superlative excellence of Jesus Christ. To recom- 


mend him to your souls, may we not say, " Who is like unto thee, O 
Lord ?" and conclude, that all the things that may be desired, are 
not to be compared to him. Such days may come, as that we can 
have no peace in the world. Our means may fail us, our own wisdom 
can find no outgate, no comfort in friends and relations ; nay, but in 
the worst of times, in Christ we may have peace. 

2. See here Christ's all-sufficiency. If we may have peace in him 
when we can have it no where else, then he can be to us instead of 
all, better than all, and is commensurable to the desires of the soul. 
Nothing can be wanting in him, in whom alone the soul may rejoice 
when striped naked of all comforts. 

3. The mystery of a Christian's life in tribulation. Many have 
taken joyfully the spoiling of their goods; have gone to death as to 
their marriage. What ! were they stupied, and without natural 
affection ? No, they had peace in him. They had meat to eat, 
which the world knew not of. 

4. The best furniture for an evil day is faith in Christ, uniting us 
to him. Would you know how to be safe, prepare an ark ; flee to 
the Lord Jesus, and then you may defy the world, devil, death and 

Use 2. Of exhortation. 

1. To you that are out of Christ. come to Christ, that in him 
you may have peace in a time of trouble. Here is a sanctuary 
opened to you. Consider, 

L While you are out of Christ, tribulation may turn yon out of a 
profession too, as it did the stony ground hearers; and dreadful is 
the case of apostates, they pierce themselves through with many 
sorrows. Tribulation will discover your naughtiness, John xv. 

2. Turn you what way you will, the Lord will wind a yoke of tri- 
bulation about your neck. When national judgments come, you 
must lay your account with a share of them, Matth. iii. 10 ; Amos 
ix. 9, 10. Your trouble will be very heavy, because the curse of 
God will be in it, and because you will get it all to bear. The 
Lord is not with you, you are alone as Saul was. it is sad to 
have darkness covering both the face of the earth and heavens. 
Death is coming, and then the Lord shall trouble you. Your false 
peace will then be at an end. No peace with God, but through 

2. To the godly that are in Christ, we would say, labour ye to be 
in such a frame, as that you may have the actual enjoyment of that 
peace which you may have in Christ in tribulation. That you may 
attain it, take these advices, 



1. Labour to get a sight of your interest in Christ. Give all dili- 
gence to make your calling and election sure. This makes a man 
bold as a lion, 2 Tim. i. 12. This carried the irartyrs through 
death ; they knew in whom they had believed. This inflames love, 
which is of mighty influence to carry persons through tribulation. 
To a person in trouble, and under doubts, it is like the ship which 
carried Paul and his companions, when it stuck fast, and remained 
immoveable. This is a spring of joy, and will make the soul abhor 
sinful capitulations for deliverance. 

2. Labour to get yourselves wrapt up in a promise for a time of 
tribulation, Gen. xxxii. 12. "When the waters of trouble are coming 
on, he is a wise man who cleaves to a branch of the tree of life. A 
promise has been meet and drink, and all to a Christian ; even a 
song to them in distress. They shall not be ashamed in the evil 
time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. 

3. Acquaint yourselves well with the Scriptures. " Unless," 
says David, " Thy law had been my delights, I should then have 
perished in mine afflction." The Scriptures are written for this end, 
for our learning : that we through patience and comfort of the 
Scriptures, might have hope. A good Scripurist, a good Christian 
in an evil day : only you must study to experience the power of 
them on your hearts. 

4. Let there be no standing controversy betwixt God and you. 
If you regard iniquity in your heart, the Lord will not hear you. 
A guilty conscience in an evil day, is a sad companion, as it was 
with Joseph's brethren. It puts a sting in the outward trouble. 
Therefore renew your repentance, and mourn over your backslid- 
ings, and apply to the blood of Jesus. 

5. Study the practice of mortification. Labour to be mortified to 
your wordly goods, Jer. xlv. 5. The poor man must have grace to 
be mortified to his cottage, as well as the rich to their mansions. 
You must also labour to be mortified to your ease, Heb. xi. 25. It 
were not unreasonable for people at such a time, to ask themselves 
how they could take with Jacob's bed. Gen. xxviii. 11. Micaiah's 
food, 1 Kings xxii. 27. Peter's attendants, John xxi. 18; and the 
three children's lodging, Dan. iii. You must be mortified to your 
life, Luke xiv. 26. Die to your life now, if you would have that 
peace. Be familiar with Job's acquaintance, Job xvii. 14. Amen. 


Exercise and Addition, February 28, 1712. 


Ephesians iv. 26, 27, 

Se anifry, and sin not ; let not the sun go down upon your wrath ; 
neither give place to the devil 

The apostle is now on some particulars of the old man that is to be 
put off, aud of the new man which is to be put on. In the former 
verse he dehorts them lying, and exhorts to the speaking of truth. 
lu the text, he lays before us our duty with respect to anger. We 
may take up the words in three parts : 1. We have the passion kept 
within its due bounds. Commended say some : allowed or permitted 
rather, say others. " Be angry." 2. The inordinate passion 
simply condemned in its beginnings, as well as in its progress, 
** sin not ;" namely, in your passion. It is condemned particularly 
in its progress and continuance. " Let not the sun go down upon 
your wrath." 3. The reason why the inordinate passion is con- 
demned : it is a giving place to the devil. 

The first thing laid before us in the text is, anger kept within its 
due bounds : " Be angry, and sin not." Some will have these words 
token out of Psal. iv. 4, which we render, "stand in awe." The 
Hebrew word, some translate simply, be moved. It signifies to be 
moved, either with anger or fear. The septoagint reads it, be 
angry, &c. Thus our English rage, answers it both in sound aud 
sense ; and accordingly our translators render the same word rage, 
Prov. xxix. 9; Dan. iii. 13. Yet, on the other hand, it cannot be 
denied, but it signifies also to be moved with fear, Isa. xxxii. 11, 
" be troubled," &c. ; Deut. xxviii. 63, " a trembling heart." But if 
you consider the scope of both places, they seem to be very dif- 
ferent. The Psalmist proposeth that, " stand in awe," or " be 
moved," as a check to his enemies sinning in persecuting the godly 
man, whom God has set apart for himself. The apostle proposeth 
his " sin not," as a check on the passion of anger in ourselves, tiiat 
it go not out of order. Therefore, I suppose, that if the apostle has 
any eye in this, to that of the Psalmist, it is not by way of citation, 
but at most an allusion. 

1 see little reason wliy these words should be taken rather as a 
concession or permission, than a command, li is nowise like thai, 


Oen. ii. 16. It is not left to our option, wlietlier to be angry or 
not, wlien there is a just cause. Coldness in God's matters, is liatc- 
fill stupidity. The passions in the soul, are as winds in the air. If 
the winds blow not at all, or too calmly, they leave the ship at a 
great disadvantage ; though it is sad when they blow so violent as 
to dash her upon the rocks. And what though anger in itself is 
neither good nor evil ? The same may be said of love and other 
passions which are not in themselves evil, as envy is; yet doubtless 
it is a command, " Love as brethren." The apostle here, is direct- 
ing us in practice, not what to think of anger in the abstract' 
which is never found in a subject, but vested with its due circum- 
stances, and then it is either holy, good and just; or else it is 
irregular and impious. Thus the meaning must be, be holily angry, 
but not sinfully. 

As for what is merely natural in anger, depending upon the body 
only, we leave it to philosophers to explain it. As for what con- 
cerns the soul and conscience in it, I take anger to be a commotion 
of the spirit, with hatred of, and grief for an injury, and desire of 
revenge ; or to express it more softly, a desire of the vindication of 
the injured party. Every one may consult his own breast, and find 
it so. I shall consider this as in holy anger. And there is in it, 

1. A commotion of the spirit, which ariseth from the apprehen- 
sion of a real injury; for if it be only imaginary it is sinful. This 
is necessary to stir up a man's desire to see the wrong rectified. 
All commotion of a man's spirit is not sinful. Whoever feels this 
holy anger in him, will find it answers the name, an anger, vexa- 
tion, or trouble of spirit. As Lot, whose soul in his anger against 
the sins of the Sodomites, " was vexed with their filthy conversa- 
tion." So did Paul encounter the stoics at Athens, not with stupid 
apathy, but " a spirit stirred in him," Acts xvii. 16. Cast into a 
holy paroxysm, as the word signifies. Yea, our Lord himself, 
rented this in his angry looks: "He looked round about him with 
anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts," Mark iii. 5. 
Nay, behold the holy height of it in the Holy One, when he said to 
them that sold doves in the temple, "Take these things hence; 
make not my Father's house an house of merchandise." It was 
good Eli's want of this zeal, which was the ruin, first of his sons, 
and then of himself, 1 Sam. iii. 13. He restrained them not, 
(Hebrew). Did not thraw his brows, or gloom upon them. Old 
age, it is like, had wrinkled them; but he had not as li uch zeal 
as to wrinkle them in holy anger against sin, and so he restrained 
them not. 

2. There is hatred in it, not at the pereons but at their sine, 


whether they be our own sins or others. lu this respect it is called 
indignation, 2 Cor. vii. 11. This is most desirable, when it is kept 
purely on this object. That is not the part where we are in 
hazard of excess, seeing we are coramanded to abhor that which is 
evil, as we would do hell itself. 

3. There is grief in it, Mark iii. 5. This naturally follows on 
hatred of the thing, which likewise ariseth I'rom a just apprehension 
of the evil of it in a gracious soul. And from both ariseth, 

4. A desire of the vindication of the right and honour of the party 
injured. This is that which the word OpyiZidre, used in the text, most 
properly points at, being derived from opyt], which they say is from 
opiyofiai, to desire. The vindication of the right and honour of the 
party injured, is that which naturally occurs as the object of this 
desire in auger. Now where that cannot be done but by punishment 
or revenge, there is an holy anger, an appetite after revenge, which 
in its due circumstances is a good thing, being an execution of jus- 
tice, Rom. xii. 19. But seeing God has not appointed all to be 
ministers of justice, holy anger will not carry the man without liis 
sphere, and therefore it is still but an appetite of revenge by the 
hand that lias right, and power to inflict it, and not of that carnal 
revenge which may satisfy an exorbitant passion, but that which is 
in a way of justice necessary to vindicate the right and honour of 
the injured. But where the party angry has power to revenge all 
disobedience, this holy anger sets him on the work ; as it was with 
Moses, Exod. xxxii. 19 — 29, and Phinehas slaying Zimri and Cosbi, 
and Jesus driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple. But 
seeing there are not a few cases in which holy anger is very neces- 
sary, and yet the humiliation of the party, or confession of the fault 
may salve the honour of the injured, and a soft answer may turn 
away wrath ; in holy anger that desire will not proceed farther, and 
therefore I called it, in the general, only a desire of the vindication 
of the right and honour of the injured, and not simply a desire of 

This we may discribe holy anger to be a commotion of the spirit, 
arising from the apprehension of a real sinful evil, with hatred of it, 
grief for it, and a regular desire of the vindication of the right and 
honour of the injured, for the destruction of sin. Thus much for 
holy anger. I proceed to the 

Second thing, which is sinful anger condemned. And, 

I. We are to consider it in its rise, and the passion transgressing 
due bounds, which makes it sinful, however short, while it lasts. 

Sin not, says the apostle. There is no door opened for sin in any 
case, but tlie particular here aimed at, is that we sin not in our 

354 ANoiEK Nut to bk 

anger ; tliat a fire from hell rise not in onr breasts, instead of a fire 
froin heaven. We must not suppose that these words import a 
power in man, hy any grace given in this life, to order his anger in 
any case, so as to be sinless in the eye of the law. The most pnre 
Are that ever burnt in the heart of any man but the mau Christ, 
wanted not its smoke. But though the law of God is not the measure 
of our strength, yet it is the rule of our duty, and whatsoever in any 
case goes beyond the bounds of it is sin. It aims not at the extir- 
pation of the passion of anger out of our hearts, but says unto it 
hitherto shalt thou come, but no farther, and here shall thy proud 
waves be staid. But if the passion break over the bars, and be as 
the letting out of waters, be in whom it will, the text shews them 
their transgression that they have exceeded ; even meek Moses in 
his holy anger, breaks the tables. Though the defects in holy anger 
may be here condemned, yet sinful anger seems to be that which the 
apostle calls 7rapopy«r^oe, and we render wrath, whereby he shews 
what he meant by his saying, sin not. He says not, let not the sun 
go down fTTi TTjopyt], on your anger, but an rtj Trapopyio-juw, upon your 
wrath ; your unjust and sinful anger, which exceeds the due bounds 
of anger, as the preposition in the word imports. Now for clearing 
of what this sinful anger is, we must consider the due boundary of 
holy and just anger, and what is beyond these is sinful. 

1. The grounds of holy anger are just and weighty, such as God's 
dishonour by our own sins, and the sins of others 2 Cor. vii. 
11, Exod. xxii. 9. It must then be sinful anger, when it is without 
a just ground. " Whosoever," says our Lord, " is angry with his 
brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment." 
Without a cause, eiicr), that is rashly, without any cause at all, or 
vainly, upon a light or trival cause, which is indeed no just cause of 
anger. But the judgment is weak and yielding, and gives way to 
the passions : in both senses we are said to take God's name in 

2. The degree of holy anger is proportioned to the fault.. Thus 
God himself is angry at all sins, yet there are some sins to which 
he reserves the fierceness of wrath. When the anger then in res- 
pect of degrees, exceeds the measure of the oflfence, and men are 
carried so far beside themselves, as to turn about the cart wheel 
on the cummin that might be beat out with the rod, then it is sinful 
anger ; and therefore good Jacob, when a-dying, curses the wrath 
of the brethren of iniquity, against the Shecliemites because it was 
cruel, destroying a whole city for one's fault. Such was David's 
anger against Nabal, 1 Sara, xxv., to execute, which, though he had 
vowed himself by vow, yet when he comes to himself he breaks, and 
"blesses God for preventing him. 


3. Tlie end of holy anger wliicli it is directed, is the glory of God 
and the good of our neighbour, Prov. xiii. 24; John ii. 16, 17. Sin- 
ful then it must be, when it is a iire lighting on others, to make 
them sacrifices to cursed self, to satisfy the desires of a proud (He- 
brew, a wide heart, Prov. xxvii. 25.) which will never think it gets 
enough from others. " Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who 
dealeth in proud wrath." 

4. The effects of holy anger directly and indirectly, are just and 
good, for the man has rule over his own spirit, and no holy affec- 
tion is inconsistent Avith another. It fits him for his duty to God 
and men, as may be seen in the case of Moses praying for the 
people, Exod. xxxii. The auger then must be sinful when its effects 
are hellish, as when it breaks out in clamour and evil speaking, 
Eph iv. 31. Even meek Moses fell into a fit of this sinful anger, 
" Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spoke unadvisedly 
with his lips." The anger is sinful also, when it leaves a man no 
more master of himself, and unfits him for duty, 1 Tim. ii. 8. 

Hence it appears there is a twofold sinful anger : 1. There is an 
anger, which is originally, and in itself sinful; that, where there is 
no just ground at all to be angry, to which men's weakness of 
judgment and strength of passion often expose them. Such was 
Jonah's anger, at the withering of the gourd. This anger is like 
a river which hath quite left its proper channel, and so cannot but be 
very pernicious. 2. There is an anger accidentally sinful, where 
there is indeed just ground to be angry, but by reason of the corrup- 
tion of men, is carried beyond the proper bounds. As a river which 
indeed still covers the ordinary channel, but so swells as to over- 
flow all its banks. Such was David's anger against Nabal, 1 Sam. 
XXV. 21, 22. Each of these is a Trpoopyianoe, a sinful anger, of which 
we must beware. But what if it arise in us, as it may in the best ? 
Why then the flame must be quickly quenched, which is the second 
thing to be considered anent sinful anger. The progress and con- 
tinuance of it is condemned. Let not the sun go down upon your 
wrath. There seems to be some emphasis in that your wrath ; it 
points at the wrath of man, that worketh not the righteousness of 
God. It is that wrath of which Satan is father, and our own cor- 
rupt heart the mother. A hellish offspring that should be stifled ia 
the birth, or be taken as soon as possible and dashed against the 
stones, and not be allowed to live till the sun go down. It is 
strange fire not brought from the altar, but from the common 
hearth of a proud corrupt heart, and must be quenched speed- 
ily. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath ; which is not 
to be understood as if it might lawfully be kept up till the sun go 


down for what is sinful in its rise, must still be more so in its con- 
tinuance. But it is a proverbial speech, the import of which we may 
take up in these two things: 1. As the sun with his scorching 
heat hasteth to go down, so should we, whose passion sooner by far 
comes to its height than the sun, make haste to lay it aside. 2. 
As the sun going down brings on the night, which calls men to set 
themselves to the putting off their clothes, and going to rest ; so 
should we set ourselves to put off the old man, and by all means to 
put off anger with our clothes, that we take it not into the bed with 
us, where it is most dangerous. For, whereas as the light affords 
variety of objects to us, and so is a friend to the diverting of wrath, 
the darkness of the night keeps these out of our sight, and so leaves 
the very spirit to feed on that chiefly which first raised it, and so it 
gets leave to range through the several methods of revenge ; and so 
it is said of the wicked " that he deviseth mischief upon his bed." 
This I take to be the main thing aimed at in the expression. 

Lastly, We shall consider the reason. " Neither give place to 
the devil." That is, and give not place to the devil. It is a 
general precept, but is here particularly aimed at, the matter of sin- 
ful anger. Some read it, to the calumniator ; thereby understand- 
ing the occasion given to the wicked to reproach piety, because of 
the sinful passions of professors, and the effects thereof. This is a 
sad truth indeed, but we take it rather as our translation reads it, 
to the devil ; who must needs have a particular love to sinful 
anger : it is so like hell, wherein men are on fire with a scorching 
heat, but in gross darkness. It refers, 1. To the rise of sinful 
anger. To give place to it, is to admit the devil. He will strive to 
have place, and so tempt us to it ; but our yielding to the tempta- 
tion is to give him place. 2. It refers to the progress and continu- 
ance of it. The more it is harboured, the devil is the farther 
admitted. He loves to fish in muddy water. When he has got the 
fire kindled, he employs his bellows to blow it up, and always to 
make the flame greater and greater, to the destruction of ourselves 
and others. 

DocTEiNE I. Men not only may, but ought to be angry where 
there is just ground for it. We know no just ground for anger, 
but the things which are sinful. As for the injuries done to ns, or 
our fellow creatures, they are not real injuries, if they be not sins 
against the Lord; for no man can break in upon the second table, 
but he must break through the first. 

Reasons. 1. Because in that case, the love and respect which 
we owe to God, who is dishonoured, require it. 


2. The love which we owe to ourselves or others who are injured, 
requires it. For in that case, it is as it were said, who is on the 
Lord's side, and on the side of souls that are in hazard. 

Use I. Let us then be filled with holy indignation against our- 
selves, because of the sins of our nature, hearts, lips, and lives. 

2. At the dishonour done to God by others. Alas ! we are 
very quickly set in a flame, if but a word seem to reflect on us ; but 
how cold are we in matters that dishonour God. ! that we could 
spend these arrows, firebrands, aud darts, of which we are otherwise 
liberal enough on our own and others sins. 

Doctrine II. Men should beware that the fire of sinful anger 
kindle not in their breasts. 

Reasons. 1. Because it is evil in itself, and dishonourable to 
God ; being the vomit of a proud heart aud an unmeekened spirit. 

2. Because it is not only evil, but a mother of evil ; and is not 
only an inlet to many mischiefs to ourselves and others, but drives 
men to them to act with vigour. An angry man stirreth up strife, 
and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. 

Use. Guard against sinful anger ; against being angry without 
just cause. Let judgment always lead the way to your passion. 
He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding ; but he that is 
hasty of spirit, exalteth folly. Exalts, hangs up a sign of folly at 
his own door, that every one m&y know that a fool dwells within. 
Again, when you are angry on good grounds, be on your guard lest 
your anger degenerate into a sinful passion. We may be easily car- 
ried too far, and when the furnace of the heart is hot, if we take not 
heed, it may soon come to that to scorch aud burn up ourselves and 
others too, instead of consuming their, or our own evils. Self is most 
ready to creep in, and justle out all respect to the honour of God, 
and have sad effects. Even in anger upon a just cause, we are like 
mnn standing on the edge of a steep rock, the ground is firm, but 
the head is ready to grow giddy, and he to fall headlong. 

Consider the evil of sinful anger. L It is a degree of murder. 
" "Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in 
danger of the judgment." It is a sword that stabs two at once, the 
angry man and the party against whom he is angry. 2. It is a fit 
of madness, in which a man hath no rule over his own spirit, till he 
come to himself, for he goes out of himself in anger. 3. It makes a 
man most unlike Christ, who was meek and lowly. 4. It has most 
bitter eff'ects. It mars our access to God in prayer ; makes us most 
unmeet for divine communications, as the troubled water cannot re- 
ceive the image of the sun. It exposes us to Satan, as a city that is 

358 ANGER NOT TO UK, &:C. 

broken down and without walls, to tlie enemy ; and makes men in- 
tolerable to others, if they be not all the more masters of patience. 

Doctrine III. If sinful anger do enter our breasts, we must en- 
deavour to extinguish it quickly, and beware of nourishing it. 

It reproves those, who when once that devil is raised in them, can 
hardly he go.t laid again ; men of an implacable temper, whose 
anger is like fire in iron or other solid matter, long ere it be laid 
aside. If once it get unto them, it must go to bed and rise with 
them too. Yea, many who will not only let the sun go down on 
their wrath, but keep it up weeks, months, and years. Once do 
them an injury, they will never forget nor forgive. Be not then 
hastv in thy spirit to be angry, for anger resteth in the bosom of 

Let us learn then, to quench this spark quickly, when it falls on 
us. This may be enforced from 

Doctrine IV. That the admitting and lodging of sinful anger in 
our hearts, is a giving place to the devil. For remedies, 

1. Let us consider our own vileness and unworthiness, and how 
often we are provoking the Lord, and so turn our anger against our- 
selves. " For we ourselves also, were sometimes foolish, disobe- 
dient, deceived ; serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice 
and envy ; hateful, and hating one another. 

2. Let us consider these things with which we are so ready to be 
hurried away, are the trials of our patience, and we are on our trial 
for heaven. 

3. Let us propose to ourselves the example of the meek and lowly 
Jesus. " He suffered, leaving us an example that we should follow 

his steps." 

Lastly, Out of a sense of our utter inability to resist the least 
temptation, look to Jesus for strength, and by faith draw strength 
from him. When the temptation is like to catch us, let us lay hold 
of the promise, and of Christ in the promise. Without this, nothing 
will avail, acceptably to prevent or suppress it ; and this is the rea- 
son, why sometimes Christians bear great affronts and injuries better 
than small ones. For in the latter, they trust to themselves ; in 
the former to Christ. No wonder all goes to wreck, when men 
instead of the golden shield of faith made by the true Solomon, they 
like fools think to do with the brazen ones of their OAvn stock. 


Ettrkk, July, 13, 170?. 


Matthew ix. 12, 
They that be whole need not a physician, hut they that are sick. 

In the ninth verse we have an account of Matthew's conversion, 
upon which he invites Christ to his house, and entertains liini. 
Matthew was a publican, a collector of custom, it seems by Mark's 
account, chap. ii. at Capernaum custom-house, on the sea side, who 
gathered custom of passengers over the water, and of those whose 
employment lay in the sea of Galilee. Christ's going into his 
house, encouraged others of his fellow officers to converse with 
Christ, who very readily admitted them, ver. 10. This offended the 
Pharisees, and thoy quarrel his disciples for it, ver. 11. Old hypo- 
crites are often great enemies to young converts. But Christ defends 
his own conduct, by the reason in the text, namely, it is not the 
fault, but the duty of the physician to be with the sick. As if he 
had said, I am the physician, they are the sick, therefore it is my 
duty to be with them. We may take up the text in these two 
propositions : 

1. They that be whole need not a physician; a physician's work 
is to cure diseases, but they that have no diseases have no need of 
him, with such he has nothing to do. This refutes the error of the 
Socinians, who hold that Christ would have come, though man had 
not sinned. But withal, he doth here tacitly upbraid the Pharisees 
with their self conceit, looking on themselves as whole and so 
standing in no need of him. 

2. The sick need the physician. He takes it for granted, that 
because they were sinners, they were spiritually sick ; he owns him- 
self to be the spiritual physician, and therefore concludes that they 
stood in need of him. Where should the physician be, but among 
the sick, with them only is his employment. 

Doctrine I. Sin is the sickness of the soul. It is the disease of 
the soul, that makes the sinner a sick man. 

Here I shall first confirm the point ; secondly, shew what it is in 
sin that sickens the soul ; and thirdly, consider the properties of this 

360 CHRIST Tiirc phystctax 

I. I ;im to confirm the point, that sin is the sickness of the soul. 
The soul may be sick as well as the body, though many feel the one 
without the other. 

1. This is clear from the repeated testimony of the Scriptures. 
"The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint." We find 
God by Ezekiel coraplainiug of the spiritual shepherds of Israel, 
" that they had not strengthened the diseased, nor healed that which 
was sick, nor bound up that which was broken." We read also of 
the plague of the heart. The same thing is imported in Christ 
being a healer, Mai. iv. 2; Hos. xiv. 4, and from its being said, 
that by his stripes we are healed. Compare Isa. liii. 4, with Matth. 
viii. 17, and 1 Pet. ii. 24. 

2. As bodily diseases affect the body, so does sin affect the soul. 
This is clear, if we consider these particulars : 1, Sickness brings 
pain and torment with it to the body, so does sin to the soul. 
Indeed many do not feel the pain of sin now ; but as men under 
some disorders think themselves well enough, so do they, till once 
they are awakened to a sense of their danger, Luke xv. 17; Acts 
ii. 37. Cain's sin was pleasant perhaps, when he was satisfying the 
lust of revenge, but afterwards the sweet morsel became very bitter. 
Felix's sin brought a fit of trembling upon him, Acts xxiv. 25. 
David's sin cost him broken bones. In every temptation there is a 
hook to 'pierce the soul, as well as a bait to satisfy its lust. It 
makes an intolerable wound. " A wounded spirit who can bear." 
Again, sickness unfits a man for his work ; he has neither heart nor 
hand for it. In like manner, sin takes both inclination and ability 
from the sinner, for the great work he has to do. According to the 
degree of sickness, so will it be in this point. The soul under the 
power of sin, where the violence of the disease is not broken by 
converting grace, is as Ephraim, " a silly dove without heart," as 
to any thing that is truly good, " Because the carnal mind is enmity 
against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed 
can be." The sinner is altogether without strength. He neither 
will nor can do. Where the disease is beginning to go away, there 
is still some remains of these, of heartlessness and weakness. 

Farther, Sickness takes away the beauty of the body, Psal. 
xxxix. 11. Sin also spoils the beauty of the soul. The beauty of 
the soul consists in its likeness to God; sin makes men like the 
devil. Grace is the greatest ornament, and sin the greatest deform- 
ity of the soul. It makes men vile and filthy in the eyes of the Lord, 
Psal. xiv. 3, and also in the eyes of good men, Psal. xv. 4: hence 
the godly are self-loathers, because they see it iu themselves. Once 
more, sickness tends to death. Diseases are death's cords, which 

OF SOULS. 361 

it sends before it, to bind the prisoner. Sin tends to spiritual and 
eternal death, and will certainly bring it on, if it be not cured, " for 
the wages of sin is death." There is a connection betwixt sin and 
death, which none but Jesus can dissolve. " All they who hate me," 
says he, " love death." The sinner is busy platting cords to bind 

II. We are to shew what it is in sin that sickens the soul. 

1. The guilt of it, that is, the obligation to punishment. In this 
respect, sin is the sting of death. Nothing wounds the soul more 
than felt guilt. It brings a sickness that cannot be removed, till 
iniquity be forgiven. A guilty conscience is the mother of fears, 
and a perpetual tormentor. This affected Cain and Judas most 

2. The stain of it. Sin brings a blot with it, that defiles the soul. 
Hence it is called an uncleanness, that makes a sinner unmeet for 
communion with a holy God. It defiles the whole man, and makes 
him unto every good work reprobate. This makes it a loathsome 
disease, and this can only be taken away " by the washing of regene- 
ration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost." 

3. The reigning power of it. Sin in the unregenerate, keeps its 
throne in their hearts. It commands, and they obey. They are in 
this snare of the devil, and are taken captive by him at his will. 
This keeps the soul in continual disorder. 

Lastly, The indwelling power of it, which it hath even in the 
regenerate. This makes them groan as Paul did, Rom. vii. 24. " 
wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this 
death." We are now, 

III. To consider the properties of this sickness. 

1. It is a spiritual sickness. They are the most dangerous dis- 
eases that effect the vital parts. Sin affects the soul. If a leg 
or an arm be diseased and cannot be cured, it may be cut off, and 
the life be saved ; but if the heart be sick unless there be a cure, 
the man dies. The soul is the most precious part, and sin chiefly 
affects it. Though some sins be committed by the body, yet the 
guilt and stain of them reach the soul. 

2. It is an universal sickness, spreading itself through the whole 
man. All the faculties of the soul are injured and disordered by it. 
It darkens the mind, wounds the conscience, pollutes the heart, dis- 
orders the affections and weakens the memory for good. 

3. It is an infectious sickness. Jude speaks of hating " even the 
garment spotted by the flesh." He says this in allusion to the un- 
cleanness under the law, got by touching an unclean garment. Evil 
example does much hurt. Sin is therefore compared to leaven. ! 


how cautious will people be of infectious bodily diseases, that they 
come not near the sick ; but alas ! they are not so, with respect to 
the more dangerous infection of sin. 

4. It is a hereditary sickness. It is natural to us, we are born 
with it, and therefore cannot be cured by all the art of man. " We 
■were shapen in iniquity, and in sin did our mothers conceive us." 
" Since the world began, was it not heard that any man opened the 
eyes of one that was born blind." Our first father fell, and we in 
him received such a bruise, as nothing but the divine power of 
Christ can heal. 

5. It is a growing sickness. " Evil men and seducers shall was 
•worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." Some deseases 
will abate, though no remedy be applied ; but this, the longer it 
lasts, the stronger it grows. • Sin is never satisfied, but the more 
that is given to it, the more it craves. 

Lasthj, It is a mortal disease. Sinner, there is death in the pot. 
*' It will bite like a serpent and sting like an adder." Either it or 
thoa must die. " For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die." It is 
true all die not of this disease ; but though it is not mortal in the 
event to all, yet it is mortal in its nature. 

Use 1. Of information. This lets us see, 

1. Why, though our time goes on, yet the work of our salvation 
stands. Souls are sick, and cannot exert themselves to work. The 
sick man keeps his bed, when others are busy about their work. 
Alas ! a spirit of reigning sloth has seized on the greatest part of 
us. The " sluggard hath put his hand into his bosom, and it grieves 
him to bring it to his mouth again." 

2. Why so many have so little desire after the word of the Lord. 
It is no wonder the sick man want an appetite. It is common to sick 
persons to loathe their food, to be nice and ready to find fault with 
it, and always to be desiring changes. Alas ! this is the manner in 
which many entertain the word of God. 

3. They are surely fools, who make a mock of sin. Sickness is 
no matter of sport. There are two sorts of these fools. Some that 
make a mock of their own sins. These are the madmen that glory 
in their chains, which are the badges of their folly. That is matter 
of mirth to themselves, which makes others pity them. The second sort 
are those, who make a mock of the sins of others. They not only sin 
themselves, but have pleasure in them that commit sins. Dreadful 
folly to rejoice in what grieves the Spirit of the Lord, and wounds 
the souls of the guilty. This makes men very like the devil. 

4. The cruelty of those who tempt others to sin, Hab. ii. 15. The 
devil has his agents in the world, who are not content to go to ruin 

OF SOULS. 363 

themselves, but exert themselves to ruin others also. " They are of 
their father the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning." 
! but it is a dreadful thing to be guilty of the blood of the souls of 
others. This will make hell the hotter, Luke xvi. 27, 28. 

5. To be insensible of sin, is a most pitiful case. What a misery 
is it to be sleeping the sleep of death, to be pining away in our 
iniquities, and yet insensible of our danger. It is the case of many, 
as of the Laodiceans, Rev. iii. 17. The case of such is most despe- 
rate, and of all persons they are the farthest from the cure, not 
having come to the first step of it. 

Lastly, No wonder that they go mourning, and with a bowed down 
back, that are sensible of their sin. Alas! it is much to be regret- 
ted, that there are so few in our day that are troubled about sin. 
But it is also lamentable, that men should be ready to traduce soul- 
exercise as melanclioly. Many have their own consciences seared, 
and so they think that others should be so too, and think as little 
of sin as they do. 

Use 2. Of exhortation. Is sin the sickness of the soul. Then, 

1. Let this disengage your hearts from sin. Hate it ; shun all oc- 
casions of it, and temptations to it. Shall a man carry fire in his 
bosom, and not be burned ? There is an evil in sin which, if seen, 
would make it very odious. It is a poisonous cup ; if you drink it, 
your soul is in hazard of eternal death ; and all the pleasure you 
can have in it, is too dear bought, at the rate of eternal pain. 

2. Go quickly to the Physician, for the cure of the disease of the 
soul, which you labour under. Delay no longer. 

1. Time is flying, Job ix. 25, 26 ; and when gone, cannot be re- 
called. That which was, will be no more. Yesterday has taken its 
eternal farewell. The candle burnt to snufF, will not light again. 
No medicine will cure that wound, no argument will persuade it to 
return ; crowns and kingdoms will not buy it back again. Time 
past is out of your power, the time to come is not in your hand, 
your only time is the present. 

?-. Death is approaching, and there can be no returning from it to 
mend matters, Job xiv. 14. No place for cure there, Eccl. ix. 10. 
If the infant come into the world dead, all the world cannot put life 
into it ; and if death take us away out of the world, under the power 
of that sickness, there is no cure for it hereafter. 

3. Make frequent application to Christ. We get many wounds 
and are frequently defiling ourselves, we had need therefore, to bo 
often dipping in the fountain. Such people as can take little food 
at once, had need to take it frequently. Alas ! the few addresses 

Vol. IV. 2 a 


wliich we make to the throne of grace, look like as we thought our- 
selves whole, little needing the Physician. 

DocTRinrE II. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the great Physician of 
souls, ready to cure them of their spiritual diseases. 

The brazen serpent was a type of Christ, and he is held forth 
under the notion of the tree of life. He is the great Physician of 
Bouls. Here I shall, 

I. Shew in what way Christ cures sin-sick souls. 

II. That our Lord cures all those that come to him. 

III. That our Lord Je.sus Christ is ready to cure sinners of their 
spiritual maladies. We are then, 

I. To show in what way Christ cures sin-sick souls. Three things 
are to be noticed here, as concurring to the cure of the soul. 

1. The blood of Christ. " This purgeth the conscience from dead 
works, to serve the living God." It is by his death that they have 
life. His sufferings and wounds are the medicine for our souls, 
"For by his stripes we are healed." The feet were sick, and blood 
■was drawn of the head to heal them. We contracted the debt, and 
Christ paid it. What physician is like this great Physician, who 
will buy his patient's life at the rate of the loss of his own. 

2. The Spirit of Christ. " He hath the seven Spirits of God." 
That is, the Spirit in all his influences and operations, and he sends 
him to heal his people. As the blood of Christ takes away the 
guilt of sin in justification, so the Spirit of Christ, the purchase of 
his blood, takes away the stain and poAver of it in regeneration and 
sanctification. In these, the Spirit renews and purifies the soul, and 
thus makes it a new creature. 

3. The word of Christ. " He sent his word and healed them, and 
delivered them from their destructions." So says he to his disciples, 
*' Now ye are clean, through the word which I have spoken unto 
you." The waters of the sanctuary are healing waters." Many a 
time, a word from the Lord in ordinances has been very healing to 
a sick soul. We proceed, 

II. To shew that our Lord cures all those that come to him. " All 
that the Father giveth me, shall come to me," says he, "and him 
that Cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." But why does he 
undertake and perform the cure of their souls ? 

1. Because he has his Father's commission for that effect. " The 
Spirit of the Lord God," says he, "is upon me; because the Lord 
hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, he hath 
sent me to bind up the broken-hearted." This anointing implies his 
sufficiency for the work, and his call to it. His Father hath ap- 

OF SOULS. 3fi0 

pointed hira the second Adam, to cure the disease contracted by the 
first Adam's eating the forbidden fruit. 

2. Because of his love and pity to men. He is truly the com- 
passionate Samaritan. " He loved us, and washed us from our sins 
in his own blood." How can such loathsome creatures as we are, 
ever be taken up into Christ's cliariot ? Why, it is paved with love. 
Love provided the remedy and applies it also, Eph. ii. 4, 5. Love 
made Jacob serve seven years, and free love engageth Christ to cure 
sick souls, Ezek. xvi. 9. 

3. Because he hath been at vast expense to prepare the remedy 
and medicine for their souls, 1 Peter i. 19, and therefore he cannot 
but apply it. They are injurious to his wisdom, who would have 
him provide the remedy for them, to whom it will never be applied. 
It was for this very purpose that he died. He gave himself for us, 
that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself 
a peculiar people, zealous of good works. While he is curing sick 
souls, he is but pursuing the great end of his death. Either Christ 
falls short of the end which he proposed to himself in dying, or else 
he died not for all ; for all are not cured and saved by hira. 

4. For his own glory. " This people have I formed for myself, 
they shall shew forth my praises," Ezek. xxxvi. 25—32. The glory 
of the Mediator is highly exalted by his curing sick souls. It puts 
the crown on Christ's head, and drowns them for ever in his debt. 
The glory of God is displayed in the cure of sick souls. Had the 
sick been left to be swallowed up of death, justice would have been 
exalted; but now, justice, mercy, grace, and truth, are all glorified 
in their salvation through Christ. We are, 

III. To shew that the Lord Jesus is ready to cure sinners of their 
spiritual maladies. This appears if we consider, 

1. That he invites sick sinners to come to him for cure. Is. Iv. 1 ; 
Rev. iii. 17, 18. ! Avhat seriousness, what earnestness is in these 
invitations ! He uses even his authority in commanding them to 
obey. " Look unto me," says he, " and be ye saved all ye ends of 
the earth ; for I am God, and there is none else." " This is his 
commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus 
Christ ;" for such is the wickedness of our nature, that we love the 
disease, and will not submit to a cure, Rom. x. 3. He complains of 
them that will not give him emi)loymeut, saying, "ye will not come 
unto me, that ye might have life." He stands at the sick man's bed- 
side, expostulating with him for his refusal of a cure, saying, " wilt 
thou not be made clean ? When shall it once be ?" and lamenting 
over his obstinacy, saying, " If thou hadst known, even thou at least 
in this thy day, the things which belong to thy peace." 



2. The great end for wliicli he came into the world, namely, " to 
seek and to save that which was lost." When his disciples would 
have him bring fire from heaven to consume his opposers, he told 
them, " that he came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them." 
"What is this world but an hospital of sin-sick souls, who have got 
deadly wounds by the sting of the old serpent ? Why might not 
the hallelujahs of angels have kept him at court, but that the shrieks 
of dying sinners pierced his heart, and made him take that long 
journey for their cure. 

3. What he has done for cure of souls sick of sin. He gave him- 
self to death, that they might live. He was content to take that 
load of guilt on him, Avhich sickened their souls. He was wounded 
for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. His blood 
was shed for our cure. 

4. That he comes on a call to deliver sick souls. " Call upon me 
in the day of trouble," says he, " I will deliever thee, and thou shalt 
glorify me," for it is meat and drink to him to do the Father's will, 
in saving lost and perishing sinners. If the soul once be willing to 
part with the disease, and to seek the physician, the cure cannot 

3. Yea, he comes uncalled. " I am sought of them that asked 
not for me," says he, " I am found of them that sought me not ; I 
said. Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my 
name." Should not the sick seek unto the physician, but here the 
physician seeks out the sick, " Ye have not chosen me," says he, 
" but I have chosen you." Thus he did with Zaccheus. And truly 
love begins always on Christ's side, and this fire descends before it 

6. He waits long on sick souls, after many refusals of employ- 
ment for him. ! when Christ offers himself to us, should he take 
us at our first word, we would receive no benefit by him, but he 
waits, "Behold," says he, " I stand at the door and knock." 

Lastly, The warm and kind entertainment he gives them that 
come to him. " Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast 
out." Whatever their disease be he will not send them away. 

Use 1. Of information. This teaches us, that of all men they 
are most inexcusable, who, under the gospel, live in their sins. The 
remedy was not provided for devils, and to many heathens it is not 
made known ; but how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salva- 
tion. If we perish, our blood is on our own heads. Slighting of 
Christ is wilful self-murder. " Why then will ye die, house of 
Israel ?" 

Use 2. For reproof. It reproves those who slight this great 

' OF SOULS. 367 

Physician of souls, who will not come to him to be cured of their 
spiritual maladies. Now, amongst the slighters of this Physician, 
we reckon, 

1. The Papists, who have other physicians besides Christ. "What 
else means their invocation of saints, merit of good works, indul- 
gences, &c.; these are put in the room of Chi'ist and his blood, who 
by one offering hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified, 
and which purges from all sin. Here, after all, the device of pur- 
gatory is most cunning, for after their patients have tried all the 
former, yet cannot have true peace, this remains after death, which, 
if it be not effectual, people cannot come back to prove its false- 

2. These that never go out of themselves for a cure. This is 
natural to one and all of us. "We are like the spider, that will needs 
spin its web out of its own bowels, and it is not little that will make 
the soul content to be indebted to Christ for a cure. One man 
rambles a while with the profane, at length he takes up himself. 
Another gets his conscience alarmed by a sermon, and he resolves 
forthwith to be a better man. Another has been under strong pangs 
of conscience, but he is born before the time, his wounds get a law 
plaster of tears, prayers, and good resolutions, and endeavours to 
keep the law, and he is whole. But still they live ignorant of 
Christ, and of the necessity of the application of his blood. 

sirs ! these things will not do ; you will find them all phy- 
sicians of no value. These persons may easily feign themselves 
whole, whose wounds were never very deep, but they will break out 
again, if they go not to Christ. 

3. To those who love the disease, so as they loathe the Physician. 
Their hearts are so glued to their lusts, that they cannot think of 
parting with them. Many are of the temper of the Gadarenes. 
They will say they love Christ ; but yet they love their lusts also. 
How can that be ? They dress up to themselves an idol of their own 
fancy, that will save their souls, and their sins too, instead of Christ, 
and they fall in love with it, Mai. iii. 1. — 3 ; John vi. 15, 66. This 
heart love to the disease, makes many prayers to the Physician to be 
pure compliment ; the heart refusing what the tongue seeks. 

What do ye in this, but love death ; greedily drink the poison, 
and throw away the antidote ? 

4. To those who will not accept of the remedies which he pre- 
scribes. Health is sweet, but yet many will rather die of their 
disease, than suffer a member to be cut off. Repentance is too bit- 
ter a draught for them ; mortification of lusts, a pill which they 
cannot swallow. 


5. Tliose that see not their need of Christ, who are whole in their 
own eyes. There is such a generation, that are pure in their own 
eyes, and yet are not washed from their filthiness. They are sick, 
of the disease of Laodicea. They fancy themselves rich, and that 
they stand in need of nothing. None are in a more desperate case, 
than those who are neither cold nor hot. Publicans and sinners 
will enter into the kingdom of heaven before them. There is more 
hope of a fool, than of one who is wise in his own conceit. These 
are so swollen with conceit of themselves, that they say in effect, 
they reign as kings without Christ. 

6. Those that depend upon the mercy of God, without respect to 

Lastly, Those that have no confidence in the Physician. Pre- 
sumption kills many, despair kills some. There is a sullen and 
silent despair, which possesses the breasts of many, Jer. ii. 25. 
They have little or no hope of mending their case, and therefore 
they endeavour not to think on it, but to take as pleasant a life to 
themselves as they can, come after what will. There is also a 
raging despair, as in Judas, the punishment and end of the former, 
when God wraps the filthy garments of the man's sin in brimstone, 
and sets them on fire about him. Both these slight Christ, as if 
their cases were hopeless and beyond his reach. 

Use 3. Of Exhortation. Come to him for the cure of your spi- 
ritual diseases. 

Motive 1. Sure you have need of him, absolute need of him. 
let necessity drive you to him. The less you see your need, the 
more need you have of him. Are there no diseased souls here ? I 
will tell you some diseases that I fear are very common among us, 
but Christ will cure you of them, if you will come to him. 

1. The blindness of the eyes of the mind, Eph. iv. 18. We were 
all born blind, and it is to be feared many of us were never yet 
cured. Are there not many, who never yet saw sin or holiness in 
their own colours. Hell is before them, they fear it not, because 
they see it not. Head and heart of some is all darkness. Many 
have an enlightened head, and a dark heart ; but Christ can make 
even " those who are darkness, light in the Lord." 

2. Spiritual dumbness. There is a dumb devil possesseth many. 
They have tongue enough for the world, but none for God or their 
souls. They have not a mouth to open for God and his cause in the 
world. They are dumb in their families, and in their closets, 
as to their souls. This is an evidence grace has not touched their 
hearts, or else their mouths would be opened, Isa. xxxv. 5, 6. 

3. The hardness of the heart. The hearts of many are as an 

OF SOULS. 369 

adamant. Mercies will not melt them, judgments will not break 
them. They are proof against the preaching of law and gospel. It 
may be said of many, that they have made their faces harder than 
a rock. But they say the blood of the goat will dissolve the ada- 
mant. To such sinners Christ says, ** A new heart also will I give 
you, and a new spirit will I put within you : and I will take away 
the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of 

4. The falling evil of backsliding. Many have sometimes 
flourished fairly in God's vineyard, who are now withered and gene 
back. They are far from what they were some time ago. Like the 
sow, they have returned to their wallowing in the mire. To them 
he says, " Return, ye backsliding, and I will heal your backslid- 

5. The swelling of pride and self-conceit. There is a root of 
pride in every man's heart by nature, and if the axe of deep humi- 
liation has not been laid at the I'oot of it, no wonder that it grow to 
a monstrous size. But our Lord can cure it. Acts is. 6. He can 
lead the man to the knowledge of the evils of his heart. 

Lastly, The decay of grace. Alas ! this is too visible at this 
day, in the lives of many ; they do not equal the advantages which 
they enjoy. But Christ cures this also. " 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." 

Motive 2. Our Lord Jesus has all the properties that recommend 
a physician. 

He is skilful. He can take up yonr case, though you cannot 
make language of it. He knows what will suit your disease. Many 
a time we think that good for us, which he denies ; but afterwards, 
we see it is good to be at his disposal. He is successful. Some 
diseases are the reproach of medicine, they cannot be cured ; but 
none can baftie him. " Though," says he, " your sins be as scarlet, 
they shall be as white as snow ; though they be red as crimson, they 
shall be as wool." 

He cures freely, Isa. Iv. 1, " I will heal your backsliding, and 
love you freely." Other physicians are enriched by their patients, 
but he enricheth his, making them heirs of glory. 

Lastly, He is the only physician. Either you must die, or come 
to him. " Neither is there salvation in any other : for there is none 
other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be 

Use 4. Of trial. By this we may know whether we have come to 
Christ or not. Has he been a physician to your soul. If you have 


come to hira, the care is beguu on thee. The following are marks of 
a soul, in which Clirist has begun the cure : 

1. That soul will highly prize the physician. " Unto them that 
believe, he is precious." As nothing is sweeter than life, so none 

will be so dear to that soul, as the restorer of its health, and deli- 
verer from death, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. None will prize Christ but those 
that have seen the evil of sin. Some obtain a partial sight of their 
disease; hence partial affections to Christ, a kind of hankering after 
him. Christ is sweet, but still some lust is sweeter ; but the cured 
soul gets an overpowering sight of him, Matth. xiii. 45, 46. 

2. That soul will loath its disease above all things. "They that 
love the Lord hate evil." Sin is made bitter to the soul, when it is 
among the Physician's hands: they groan under it, as the Israelites 
did in Egypt, Sin is bitter to many, yet never made sufficiently 
bitter, Prov. xxiii. 35. But God lays still more and more gall and 
wormwood on the breasts of the man's lusts, when he is curing till 
it be the most bitter of all things. 

3. Hence the soul groans under the remains of corruption, saying, 
" wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of 
this death." It aspires to, and longs after perfect health, Phil. iii. 
13, 14. The remains of sin are iron chains, which makes the soul 
walk heavily. There is not a more dangerous symptom than for 
persons to rest satisfied with their attainments, 

4. That soul begins to long for its spiritual food. "Blessed are 
they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall 
be filled." They desire Christ and his ordinances for the nourish- 
ment of their souls, and make use of Christ and his ordinances for 
that end. Indeed incured souls may delight in the word as it 
pleases their fancy, or fills their head with knowledge ; but the 
soul that is cured, delights in it, as it fills the soul with purity, and 
the heart with comfort. 

To those in whom Christ has begun the cure, I would say, 

1. Be thankful to the Physician, and wonder at his condescension, 
that ever he should have set his eye on you, and passed by so many, 
in no worse case than thyself. Let not the remains of your disease, 
make you overlook the begun cure. 

2. Pity and pray for the dying world. Men who in a shipwreck, 
have got safe ashore, can they stand unconcerned, seeing their fel- 
lows falling and sinking in the sea. Tit. iii. 1 — 6. Employ and im- 
prove your acquaintance with the Physician for the cure of others. 
Pray him to make the waters of the sanctuary healing waters. 

3. Beware of relapses, falling back into the distempers of which 
you have been cured. Relapses are very dangerous, and because the 

OF SOULS. 371 

cure is as yet imperfect, easily fallen into, therefore walk softly, 
like Hezekiah ; Isa. xxxviii. 15. 

Lastly, Beware of evil company as you would of a plague-liouse. 
It is difficult to touch pitch, and not be defiled. Beware of profane 
company, and of formal company that have light, but no heat of 
affection to the advancing of holiness in themselves and others. 

Doctrine III. Sin has laid mankind under a necessity to have a 
Saviour, or sinners as sinners, stand in need of Christ. This is a 
chief point of the doctrine of the gospel, and could we once get the 
truth of it, deeply impressed on the consciences of sinners, the fort 
would be almost gained. 

Here we shall, First, Shew what sort of need this is. Secondly, 
What sort of a Saviour sinners need. Thirdly, I shall endeavour 
to give you a view of sinners' need of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I. We are to shew what sort of need this is. This need of a Savi- 
our, is a need in order to salvation. People need many things, 
yet they may be without them ; but if our salvation be lost, all is 
gone. The sick man may need many things ; he may want house, 
food, and raiment ; but the great thing is health. Though all the 
rest be laid to his hand, yet if his disease cut him off, what avails 
all these things. 

There is a two-fold need. A thing may be necessary, either, 1. 
For conveniency and better being of the thing ; or 2. Absolutely, so 
as a thing cannot be without it. In the former respect a horse is 
necessary for a journey ; in the last, the eye is necessary for seeing. 

Now the sinner's need of a Saviour is absolute. There can be no 
salvation without a Saviour. A man can no more see God in mercy 
without Christ, than he can see at all without an eye. It would be 
true that we needed a Saviour, if we could not be saved without him, 
bnt with very great difficulty. But our need of Christ as a Saviour 
draws much deeper, it is an absolute need. 

This is plain from Scripture, Acts iv. 12. Without Christ with- 
out hope, Ephes. ii. 12. The way of salvation is narrow, miss but 
one step and the case is without remedy, " for he that believeth not 
shall be damned." Hence the case of the devils is hopeless, " Tor 
verily Jesus took not on him the nature of angels." We proceed, 

II. To shew what sort of a Saviour sinners need. 

1. Such an one as is a righteous and innocent person, one that 
needeth none to save himself from sin. Physician heal thyself, is a 
valid objection against any pretending to be the physician of souls. 
"For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, unde- 
filed, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." 

2. One that is able for the work. If he were not able for it, the 


work must misgive in his hand. Now if the work misgive, the sin- 
ner is ruined. It is not little that is required here. lie must be 
able to pay an infinite price, for an infinite guilt, to an infinite God. 

3. He must be one that is a middle person betwixt God and man, 
even God-man in one person. Our Saviour behoved to be man : 1. 
That ho miglit le capable to suffer death, " for without shedding of 
blood there is no remission." 2. Tliat the same nature which sinned 
might suffer, Heb. ii. 17; 1 Cor. xv. 21. He behoved also to be 
God : 1. To give infinite value to his sufferings. 2. That he might 
be able to bear up under, and to come out from under that infinite 
•wrath which he had to bear. And he behoved to be God and man 
in one person, that so what was done or suffered by either of the 
natures, might be considered as done or suffered by the person, Acts 
XX. 28. 

4. He must be one that has a commission for the work. "No man 
taketh this honour to himself, but he that is called of God, as was 
Aaron." For it was in the option of an offended God, whether to 
exact satisfaction from the parties themselves, or to admit a surety. 

Lastly, He behoved to be one acquainted with the condition of 
those whom he was to save. This is self-evident. For how can the 
remedy be rightly and suitably applied, unless the Physician know 
well the condition of the patients. 

Now, where shall we find this Saviour ? If we believe the Church 
of Rome, we will have more saviours than one, particularly the saints 
departed, and the angels, to whom they pray, and in whom they 
place their confidence, whereby they bring themselves under that 
fearful curse. " Thus saith th3 Lord, cursed be the man that 
trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart depart- 
eth from the Lord." The Socinians also do this, by denying the 
Divinity of Christ. But are any of them able for that work ? Are 
they God ? Hos. xiii. 4. Where is their commission ? How do the 
saints departed know our necessities ? Eccles. ix. 5, 6. To take 
notice of all persons and all occurrences in the world, at the same 
time, is an infinite perfection. 

But behold, we find all these in Christ. He was altogether with- 
out sin, Heb. vii. 26. He was, and is able to save, Psal. Ixxxix. 
19; Heb. vii. 25. He was indeed a middle person, God and 
man in one person, meet to be a day's man. In hira Job had his 
wish. Job ix. 33. Do you ask his commission? See Isa. Ixi. 1. 
Do you doubt his acquaintance with your case ? He tells the 
churches "he knows their works," Rev. ii. 13. He is God, and we 
" cannot go from his spirit, or flee from his presence." 

OF SOULS. 373 

III. I shall endeavour to give you a view of sinners' need of the 
Lord Jesus Christ. Here I shall state, illustrate, and confirm, five 

Pkoposition I. Sinners had an absolute need of Christ's coming 
into the world. It was a strange cure, but absolutely necessary for 
a perishing world. There is a threefold coming of Christ into the 
world : 

1. In the morning of time he came, in the promise and repre- 
sentation by the sacrifices. When Adam fell, was cited, examined, 
couderaned, betwixt the sentence and execution of it, Christ came iu 
the promise. "The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the 
serpent." Sacrifices were offered; for it is most rational to think 
that the beasts, with whose skins Adam's body was covered, wore 
offered before in sacrifice for his soul ; and it is most probable that 
all this was the same day Adam was created. 

what need was there of this his coming ! we see it in the type, 
the ram caught in the thicket. Had not Christ thus come, men had 
been born into the world as into the suburbs of hell, and the world 
had been filled with the desperate roarings of fallen helpless sinners. 

2. He came personally in the fulness of time. " For then God 
sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law." He 
came and tabernacled among us. The Word was made flesh. Man 
sinning would needs be as God, and to save them, God must become 

3. He came by his Spirit in the apostles after his ascension ; 
opening the gates of heaven and way of salvation, to the Jews and 
Gentiles indiscriminately. He "thus came, and preached peace to 
you which were far off, and to them that were nigh." Of these two 
I shall speak together, as that one coming of Christ into the world, 
which was absolutely necessary for the miserable world. 

Now to shew you the need there was of Christ's coming thus, let 
us take a view of the world as it was when he came. It had lasted 
from the creation till the birth of Christ, three thousand nine hun- 
dred and forty-five years; and from the deluge, two thousand two 
hundred and eighty-nine, according to tlie best computations. In 
this time, it had come to a wrinkled face, "the whole head was 
sick, and heart faint." All was in such disorder, that there was 
need of a new creation. The world was then divided into Jews and 
Gentiles, an unequal division, indeed, in respect of number; the 
former being only those of the Jewish nation, with a few that joined 
now and then to them from among other nations. No nation under 
heaven but they were a church, Psalm cxlvii. 19, 20. We shall 
then have a view of the state of the world at that time, and so see 


the need there was of Christ's coming; if we view the state of the 
Gentiles and of the Jews, and the partition wall betwixt the two. 

1. Consider the partition wall that was then betwixt Jews and 
Gentiles, Eph. ii. 14, 15. There was betwixt them, 1. A partition 
wall of God's making, that is the ceremonial law, so called with au 
allusion to the wall of Solomon's temple, that was betwixt the court 
of the people and of the Gentiles, which prevented all manner of 
passage, sight, and communication betwixt them. This, consisting 
of so many rites and ceremonies, divided thera from all the world 
besides, and by God's own command, they might not have familiar 
intercourse with the Gentiles. The Jews had made this wall higher 
themselves, Acts xi. 8. 

There was also a wall of men's own making, and that was the 
enmity betwixt Jews and Gentiles. There was a deadly hatred 
betwixt them. The Jews called the Gentiles dogs, and reproached 
them with their uncircumcision. The Gentiles again mock at their 
circumcision, their sabbaths, and other institutions. 

What need was there here of a reconciler, to make both one, which 
was the effect of Christ's coming. We find Christ himself forbid- 
ding his apostles, " to go into the way of the Gentiles, or to enter 
into any city of the Samaritans." But afterwards, the vail of the 
temple was rent in twain, and he gave them a new commission, "to 
go and teach all nations." Then Isa. xi. 6, 7, began to be fulfilled. 

2. Let us look to the Gentiles, and among them see our fathers, 
that were without this partition ; and there we shall see thera " at 
that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of 
Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, 
and without God in the world." They were the visible kingdom of 
the devil, under the power of darkness, the way of salvation utterly 
unknown among them. As to the wise men among them, " when 
they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thank- 
ful." They were drowned in superstition. The oracles of the 
devil were famous, magic and witchcraft prevailed. The idea of 
God was broken in pieces by them, like a great looking-glass, and 
in every piece of it they thought they saw a God. Yarro reckons 
above thirty thousand worshipped by the Europeans alone. They 
were given over to all sort of fllthiness, Rom. i. 23 — 32. They 
were very cruel, as appears from their human sacrifices, the bloody 
spectacle of the gladiators, and the like. " Yea, they sacrificed 
their sons and their daughters unto devils." 

These, and such like, were the works of the devil, which Christ 
came to destroy. Who can consider a world lying in this miserable 
posture, and not hear their needs piercing the heavens with cries 
for a Saviour. 

OF SOULS. 375 

3. Let us look within the partition wall, and behold the nation to 
whom alone God had manifested himself; and here, if you except a 
few that were groaning and longing for the consolation of Israel, 
you will see a miserable face on the whole generation of the Jews. 
They were most corrupt in their doctrine, bewitched with their 
own traditions, and even their teachers knew nothing of regene- 
ration, John iii. 10. Their divinity was to build on their birth 
privilege from Abraham, so that they reckoned all Israel was to 
have share in the world to come ; to rest on the law and their own 
works, to account the day of expiation, afflictions, and death, expia- 
tory. They were most corrupt in their manners. That generation 
" was a generation of vipers, a wicked and adulterous generation ;" 
the sink of all iniquity, and common sewer of vengeance, " that 
upon them might come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, 
from the blood of righteous Abel, to the blood of Zacharias." 

And rras it not a sick world, and needed the Physician, when in 
such a case. And here we ought to admire the goodness of God to 
us, who were amongst the utmost parts of the earth, lying in the 
same darkness with other pagan nations. Our own historians tell us 
our forefathers had the same pagan religion with the ancient Gauls, 
in which human sacrifices made a great part. But now Christ is 
come, and set up his standard among us. 

PROPOSiTiojf II. There was an absolute necessity of the death of 
Christ, in order to the saving of sinners. This appears, 

1. From vindictive justice, which is essential to God. God cannot 
but hate sin, and so must needs have a propensity to punish it, 
Psalm V. 5, 6. That God is such an one, is evident from Scripture, 
Rom. ii. 5 ; 2 Thes. i. 6 ; Heb. xii. 29. That God is just, is engraven 
on the minds of all men. The heathens saw it by nature's light, 
Rom. i. 32; Acts xxviii. 4. Conscience is God's deputy in the soul, 
and from that impression which divine justice hath set upon it, 
dooms the sinner to misery. Sin coming forth of the soul leaves a 
sting behind it. 

2. The law of God requires it, which denounceth death because 
of sin, Gen. ii. 17 ; Gal. iii. 10 ; Rom. vi. 23. Now seeing God 
cannot lie, this must be fulfilled either in the sinner, or in the 
cautioner. Man being a rational creature, by the very frame of his 
soul must be under a law. God that made him, must needs be his 
governor and judge ; and being so, must conduct himself as becomes 
one of infinite justice. " Shall not the judge of all the earth do 

3. Unless Christ's sufferings had been necessary for our salvation, 
and to take away our sins, there can no satisfying account be given 


of them. It is in vain to say, it was for confirming his doctrine, and 
to give an example of all virtues. For liis doctrines were confirmed 
by bis miracles, and a perfect example exhibited through his whole 
life. After which, if there was no other necessity for his shedding 
his blwod, Judas' question would not have been impertinent, " What 
needeth all this waste ?" It is consistent with the goodness and 
wisdom of God, to make his Son the curse causeless ? "Would he 
have taken a compass, and gone round about by his Son's blood, to 
take away the sins of the elect, if a word could have done it. Surely 
the apostle tells us, " it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of 
goats should take away sin." But if a mere nothing might do it, 
why not the blood of costly sacrifices. But we are expressly told, 
*' that without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin," Heb. 
ix. 22, 23. 

Lasth/, The love of God in sending Christ, and in giving him to 
the death, cannot be seen but in this way. The scripture does pro- 
claim the exceeding greatness of that love, in giving Christ to die 
for sinners, John iii. 16: Rom. v. 8. But if the sinner might have 
been saved, and God's Sou spared also, where is that love ? On 
the contrary, supposing that justice says sin must be punished, 
either the Son or the sinner must die ; in this case, God's parting 
with his Son, was an unparalleled act of love. 

The Socinians themselves acknowledge, that it is unworthy of 
God not to punish obstinate sinners. Xow, upon this I would say, 
1. Obstinacy is not punished for itself, because in what is good, 
obstinacy is constancy and a duty. It is punished, then, only be- 
cause it is in evil. Sin is i:>unished for itself, but obstinacy for the 
sin only. If sin then be punished for itself, every sin must be 
punished. Again, if Christ had not died, all sinners would have 
been obstinate and impenitent. Repentance would never have been 
given by an unattoned God, Acts v. 31. 

what a horrible evil is sin I Was not the stain deep that could 
not be washen out but by the blood of God ? Shall we love that 
which stabbed him to the heart, or live in that for which he died. Can 
that be light which made him sweat great drops of blood falling 
down to the ground ? or that sweet, which put gall and vinegar in 
his cup ? let the blood of Christ springing forth from his heart, 
be cords of love to draw thee from sin, Avhich, while thou indulgest 
thyself in it, thou not only tramplest on the law, but ou the wounds 
of the Son of God, Heb. x. 28, 29. 

Pkopositiox III. The exaltation of Christ was absolutely neces- 
sary for sinners' salvation ; that is, his resurrection ascension, and 
sitting down at the Father's right hand. The necessities of perish- 

OF SOULS. i377 

ing sinners cried to him to come out of the grave, and go to heaven 

1. The death of Christ had not been eflfectnal, if he had not risen 
again. " He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again 
for our justification." Had he remained still in the grave, all 
our hopes had been buried and perished with him. His death had 
died, and been of no effect. " But now God hath raised him up, 
having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that 
he should be holden of it." The sins of the elect, Christ's grave- 
stone, are taken off. God sent his angel as an officer, to open the 
prison door. 

2. No less necessary was his ascending into heaven for the aton- 
ing for the sins of the elect. This was typified by the high priest's 
(after he had killed the sin offering) going into the holiest of all 
with the blood, and with incense on the golden censer. So Christ 
presented to the Father his blood, and sits down there as interces- 
sor. Had he not gone before us, we could have had no hopes of 
entering heaven, Heb. vi. 20. They had need of an advocate at the 
court of heaven, who have continual business there, which they 
themselves are not capable to manage. 

Proposition IV. Sinners have absolute need of union with Christ. 
He that came into the world in their nature, must come into their 
hearts, and dwell there by his Spirit, else they cannot be saved. They 
must be joined to him and made one with him by faith, else they will 
perish, whatever else they pretend to. What will it avail you in the 
sight of God, if Christ be not your Saviour. All perished that were 
not in the ark. 

1. Unless you be in Christ, God cannot be well pleased with you. 
It is only " in the beloved that you can find acceptance." The 
Lord looks upon men as in one of two, either in the first or in the 
second Adam ; as in the first, God looks upon us as enemies, but in 
Christ as friends. "Wo to them that appear before God, but not in 
their elder brothers garments. 

2. You cannot be justified, Rom. v. 1. There is a sentence of 
condemnation on all mankind by nature. There is no taking off of 
this, without union to Christ. Sin remains unpardoned, the sentence 
stands i'n force till the sinner be in Christ; for God is just, his 
judgment is according to truth. He cannot justify a sinner, but on 
the account of a perfect righteousness. None have it of their own, 
and there is no communion with Christ in his righteousness, but by 
union with him. 

3. You cannot be children of God, but the slaves of the devil. 
The only way of adoption is by receiving Christ, and believing on 


his name, John i. 12. How can you, who are born children of the 
devil, become the children of God, but by a spiritual marriage with 
his Son. " If the Son make you free, you shall be free indeed." 
And if we be not children, we cannot be heirs of God. 

4. You can do nothing that is pleasing and good in his sight. 
" Without nie," says Christ, " ye can do nothing." First the tree 
must be good, then the fruit. Christ is the life of the soul. Gal. ii. 
20 ; and without Christ, all our works are but dead works. Our 
fruits will be found as the apples of Sodora, fair to look upon, but 
when touched fall to ashes. 

Proposition V. We stand in need of Christ in all his offices. 
Our necessities call aloud for all the offices with which he is in- 

I. We need him as a prophet, teacher, and interpreter of the 
Father's mind to us. Can we know a man's mind but by his 
words ? No, surely, for nature has not granted us a window to look 
into their hearts. No more can we know the mind of God, without 
the words of Christ, John iii. 13. 

1. How could we ever have known the mind of God concerning 
man's salvation without him. " For no man hath seen God at any 
time the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he 
hath declared him." None but he could have brought life and im- 
mortality to light. That counsel might, for us, have remained 
through eternity hid in the breast of the Father. The heathens could 
look up to the heavens and read much of God's goodness, wisdom, 
and power, Rom. i. 20 ; but none could ascend into heaven and enter 
God's secrets, but he that was in the bosom of the Father, and on 
his cabinet councils, John iii. 13. 

2. How can we get saving illumination without him. " Neither 
knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever 
the Son will reveal him." By him God made the world laying the 
foundation of it in light, and by him he hath formed the new world. 
" For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath 
shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory 
of God in the face of Jesus." We lost our eyes in Adam ; we can- 
not discern one truth spiritually and savingly, while out of Christ, 
1 Cor. ii. 14. ! the vast difference betwixt book learning, and 
and what is learned from the Spirit. I refer it to the experience of 
the godly, if saving illumination was not as the bringing them to a 
new world, which they never saw before. This makes unlearned 
Christians able to suffer for Christ, when others can only dispute for 
him. Tou may read the best books with attention : but if Christ be 
not your teacher by his Spirit, you will never know any thing to 

OF SOULS. 379 

3. How think you to get through the world without hira ; to 
know sin and duty in particular cases, and to go safely through the 
snares and temptations, with which the world abounds ? Moses would 
not venture on the journey through the wilderness without his pre- 
sence, " the cloud of glory." And the Father has seen it necessary 
to give him " a leader to his people, Isa. Iv. 4. 

4. How can we read the Bible profitably without him ? I confess 
there are but few much concerned about this. The dust of their 
Bibles will witness against them. Others by their reading get their 
heads filled with knowledge, and may have the history of it on their 
finger ends ; but alas ! still it is but a sealed book to them. Like 
the eunuch, " they understand not what they read, not having one 
to guide them." Only Christ can here teach you to profit. He only 
"can open our eyes that we may behold wondrous things out of 
God's law." "Whatever others say, exercised souls will say it is 
true ; for they know what it is, sometimes to have the Bible a 
sealed, at other times an opened book. 

5. How will you get your case resolved without hira ? Few are 
exercised about their case. " They are at ease from their youth, and 
settled on their lees." They are like the door on the hinges. Con- 
science is become stupied. No small thing will awaken it. But 
they who are exercised about the case of their souls, will see their 
need of him. Men may speak to an exercised soul, but if Christ 
speak not, the remedy will not be efi^ectual. " He hath the tongue 
of the learned, and knows how to speak a word in season to him 
that is weary." True it is, the watchmen may find the spouse, but 
it is not by their own act, but by Christ speaking in them, or by 
them ; and whatever difficulty some have to believe the presence of 
God in ordinances, yet some can from experience " report that God 
is in you of a truth." Sometimes the soul of the Christian is so ex- 
ercised, as almost to despair of deliverance : but see how deliverance 
comes. Job xxxiii. 19 — 26. 

Lastly, How will you understand the dispensations of Providence 
without him ? " His way is in the sea, and his footsteps are not 
known," who but himself can unfold them. There are many dark 
passages in a Christian's life ; what must they do, but go to Christ 
with them, Psal. Ixxiii ; John xiii. Many a time, the child of God 
is at a stand with providences. They appear to them as the wrong 
side of things ; they cannot see the beauty, harmony, and order of 
them, till they go to Christ with them, who is able to satisfy them. 

II, We need him as a priest, seeing we have sinned against the 
Lord. We need him in both parts of this oflicp, his satisfaction and 

YoL. IV. 2 b 


I. We need his satisfaction, the sacrifice of himself, his blood as 
the Scripture terms it. This is a fountain in which we must be 
washed. With this our souls must be sprinkled, else we perish. 

1. There is no answering the demands of justice and the law, 
without this blood. The law requires, and justice demands satisfaction 
for a broken covenant of works. Their demands run high, namely, 
that it be infinite, either in respect of value or duration, for an infi- 
nite God is offended, and sin is a kind of infinite evil. Now sinner 
that art out of Christ, how canst thou answer these demands ? 
Suppose thou shouldst begin and suffer from the cradle to the grave, 
all those will be but useless to this purpose. Sooner may a child fill 
up the sea with little stones, than thou satisfy the demands of law 
and justice. No plea will avail here, but that of " Christ's blood> 
which cleanseth from all sin." He is the city of refuge, the high 
priest that died for us. 

2. There is no peace with God without him and his blood, Rom. 
V. 10. It is Christ's blood only, that procures our peace, and atones 
for rebel sinners. That is it which quencheth the fire of God's 
wrath, that otherwise would burn up the sinner. Prayers and en- 
treaties would not do it, " without shedding of blood, there is no 

3. There is no pardon without this blood. Guilt is so deep in the 
soul, that nothing but Christ's blood will wash it away. Wouldst 
thou have a pardon, sinner, it must come to thee through Christ, 
" in whom we have redemption through his blood even the forgive- 
ness of sins." This is the only remedy. 

4. There is nothing able to purge us from an evil conscience, but 
this blood. An evil conscience is a dreadful companion. It is a 
tormentor. Guilt makes it uneasy, or will do so. Many have other 
ways to cure their uneasy consciences, but these will only heal the 
wound superficially, and it will break out again. The Scripture 
knows of no cure, but the blood of Jesus, " which purgeth the con- 
science from dead works, to serve the living God." What need 
have we then to come to the blood of sprinkling. 

II. We stand in need of Christ to be our intercessor with the Fa- 
ther, to appear in the presence of God for us, Heb. ix. 24. If we 
have not him for our friend at the court of heaven, we need never 
think to come there. 

1. If Christ be not our intercessor with the Father, we can have 
no peace made or kept up with God ; as it is by his intercession 
that the peace purchased by his blood is first made up, so by the 
same means it is continued. We are every day offending ; how 
stands the covenant then, why is it not broken ? " If any man sin, 


we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." 
Because, while we live we sin, therefore Christliv es to intercede. 
He is ready to say, " Father, forgive them for they know not what 
they do." What shall become of them then, that are still sinning, 
and have no intercessor? they are treasuring up wrath. 

2. We want not an accuser before the Lord. " Satan is the ac- 
cuser of the brethren ; and accuses them before our God, day and 
night." The devil first tempts, then accuseth. Have we not then 
need of one to answer these accusations against us, Zech. iii. 1, 2. 
Without this there is no safety, but in Christ's intercession we may 
boast against all, Rom. viii. 33, 34. 

3. Without him we can have no communion and fellowship with 
God. It is by his intercession, that we have access to God in duties. 
" In him we have boldness and access with confidence, by the faith 
of him." The word signifies a leading by the hand, alluding to the 
custom in the courts of princes, where none may come to the pres- 
ence-chamber, but those who are brought in by some favourite or 
courtier. Many come to duties, to prayers, sermons, &c., but there 
is no intercourse betwixt God and them. Why ? " Nay," God says 
to them, as Joseph did to his brethren, " except you bring your bro- 
ther with you, you shall not see my face." 

4. Without him, your services and duties cannot be accepted. Hd 
must present them, else they will be rejected. Rev. viii. 3. The 
best sacrifice wants not dung, which must be burnt up by the efiicacy 
of Christ's blood and intercession. No hearing of prayer without 
his intercession. God will hear no prayers as they come out of the 
sinner's mouth, but as out of his Son's mouth, as presented by him. 

III. We stand in need of him as our King and Lord. Christ has 
a twofold kingdom: his essential kingdom, and his mediatory king- 
dom ; the former over all, the latter over his people. This king- 
dom is administered externally and internally; we stand in need of 

I. We stand in need of Christ to be our King outwardly, to govern 
us in a visible church state. It has been the cry of our land, we 
will have no king but Cjesar; the magistrate having been invested 
with a blasphemous supremacy over all persons in all causes. This 
cannot be taken ofi', by saying he is a subordinate, not a co-ordinate 
head. The pope never pretended to more. But from the Scripture 
we learn the church is not a monster with two heads. ** Christ him- 
self is head over all things to the church." That Christ is the only 
head and King of his church, hath been the doctrine of the protes- 
tants against the papists, to cut off the pope's supremacy ; and there- 
fore, in the large confession of the Church of Scotland, it was de- 

2 b2 


clared blasphemy to acknowledge another head. This shews the 
contradictory nature of the test. Now we stand in need of Christ 
to be onr King. 

1. Consider the sad and woeful case these are in that are without 
this visible kingdom of Christ. These are the dark places of the earth, 
that are the habitations of cruelty, Eph. ii. 12. The visible church 
of Christ on earth, is the only society in which safety can be found. 
The Scripture calls it the kingdom of heaven, for here the King of 
heaven reigns, Psal. ii. 6. Here are the laws of heaven, Heb. xii. 
25 ; here the subjects of heaven dwell ; even those who are fellow- 
citizens with the saints, and of the household of faith ; and here the 
glory of heaven is begun ; for the God of all grace hath called us 
un'o his eternal glory by Jesus Christ. 

2. Consider and view the several parts of this kingly government 
of Christ as externally administered, and the need of the same will 
quickly appear. These are, 1. Christ's calling a people out of the 
world to the profession of his truth. Acts xv. 14. 2. Giving them 
laws and ordinances, Isa. xxxiii. 22. 3. Officers, Eph. iv. 11, 12. 
4. Defending the church from her enemies, Psal. ex. 

How needful this calling out of a people from the world to the 
profession of his truth, and making up a church was, and is, may 
appear from what has been already said ; see that one place, Isa. 
ix. 2, 3. "What society can be well governed without laws ? The 
wicked cannot abide Christ's laws. Psal. ii. 3; but without them all 
would go to confusion. He has instituted ordinances, the word, sa- 
craments and discipline in his church, all which are of evident ne- 
cessity to the church of God. These are a burden to many. They 
can live without the hearing of the word, and without sacraments. 
These are ties which they like not to come under. They will not 
subject themselves to discipline, it is a yoke too hard for their fair 
necks, but so necessary, as that without it, the church would be like 
" a city that is broken down and without walls." Much contempt is 
poured out on the office-bearers of Clirist's house. Ministers are 
looked upon by many as a sort of almost useless creatures, hence 
long desolation of parishes; but see Eph. iv. 11; Prov. xxix. 18. 
And unless the church were defended, enemies restrained and con- 
quered, the wild boar of the forest would soon eat up that planting 
of the Lord. 

TI. We stand in need of Christ to be our King, in respect of the 
inward administration of his government in and over our souls. 
His kingdom must be within us, else we will never reach his kingdom 
of glory. The visible church is this King's house, but the believer's 
heart is the throne and chair of state. " He dwells in their hearts 

or SOULS. 383 

by faith." Many are subjects of Christ's visible kingdom, who are 
really subjects of the devil's invisible kingdom. Many give Christ 
the hand that never gave him the heart. But our having Christ for 
our King inwardly, is absolutely necessary to our salvation. If 
Christ be not your King in this way, then, 

1. How can you be his true and loyal subjects ? The first act of 
Christ's kingly office is subduing us to himself. We are born ene- 
mies to God, and Christ has his kingdom to raise up out of a com- 
pany of rebels, Rom. viii. 7. What will bring them in to him ? 
Men cannot. Only a day of power will do it. Then he makes them 
willing. Where the word of a king is, there is power. He can 
make them run at a call then, Isa. Iv. 5 ; and xliv. 22. None but 
King Jesus is able to rob the devil of subjects, and take off the fet- 
ters from the sinner's will. He gets no subjects but by stroke of 
sword. The devil likes his subjects better than to part with them 
easily, and they like bis service better than to be ready to leave it, 
therefore there must be a drawing power. 

2. How can you get true repentance without him ? He is exalted 
to be a prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel and for- 
giveness of sins. Many think repentance an easy thing, but it is 
not so. The mere word, good advice, and education, will not pro- 
duce it. Our hearts and our lusts are more firmly glued togetlier, 
than to be rent asunder by a wedge of our own timber. If you get 
no other repentance than what is spun out of your own bowels, that 
will be ^wept away as a spider's web. 

3. How can we get lusts mortified without him ? The least of 
them is too strong for us, therefore he hath said, he will subdue our 
iniquities. Our own spirits are sufficient to carry us on in the way 
of the flesh, but the Spirit of Christ is necessary for true mortifica- 
tion, Rom. viii. 13. How soon will our lusts turn our masters, if we 
grapple with them in our own strength. 

4. How can we be right ruled but by him. If his Spirit rule not 
in our hearts, there will be nothing but confusion in them. Wo to 
that man, that gets the reins laid on his own neck, and is left to bo 
his own steersman through the sea of this world. They will never 
come safe to land, and therefore the Spirit of truth is promised to 
guide us into all truth. The Father, therefore has appointed Jesus 
to be the Captain ot our Salvation, to lead and guide the people of 
God to their rest in the heavenly Canaan, Micah ii. 13. 

5. How shall we be defended against our spiritual enemies, but by 
him ? We have many enemies, many snares and temptations are in 
our way. We have a subtile devil, and a multitude of inward lusts. 
We are not able lor the Kaot of them, unless he deftud us. 


Lastly, Who sliall conquer and rertrain our enemies but he ? 
None other has Satan in a chain, nor can bruise him under our feet, 
but he who bruisfd his head. 

For Application. What hath been said, serves, 1. For instruc- 
tion, and it lets us see, 

1. What is our case by sin. We may discern three things in it: 

1. We may discern here the heinousness of our guilt. It was 
dreadful to behold Adam cast out of paradise — hell rained out of 
heaven upon Sodom — but much more, to see the Sou of God neces- 
sitated to come out of heaven, out of his Father's bosom, and bear 
his wrath. It could be no small thing that occasioned all this. 
Think on this, thou that thinkest little of sin. Behold the Son of 
God dying on a cross for it. 

2. Pollution of our souls by it, and there hatefulness in the sight 
of the Lord. The sinner can have no access to God without a Medi- 
ator. No admission into his presence, but as washed with the blood 
of Christ. deep stain ! that could not be washed away, but by the 
blood of God. 

3. Our inability to help ourselves. We are fallen into a pit, a 
gulf of misery. We must perish there, unless helped out. It pass- 
eth our power and skill to recover ourselves. How low then has sin 
laid us. 

2. We see with what a God we have to do. Those who are 
unacquainted with Christ, in whose face his glory shines, cannot pro- 
perly know God. He is a just and holy God. Fools make a mock 
of sin, because they think God such an one as themselves. But God 
will not be mocked. Sinners will find to their cost, that he is both 
just and holy, and that he will burn them up, in case they get not 
one to stand between them and him when he is angry. 

3. The dangerous case in which they are, that are out of Christ. 
You may as easily climb up to heaven by a ladder of your own 
making, as get salvation without him. Pretend to what you will, if 
you have no just pretences to Christ, you are ruined eternally. Do 
what you will, suffer what you will, nothing will avail without your 
being in Christ. If you should leave the world and dwell in a wil- 
derness, dig your grave with your nails, live on grass, weep for your 
sins till you weep out your eyes — as a thousand cyphers alone still 
stand for nothing without a figure before them, so all that you can 
think, do, or suffer without Christ, will be useless. 

4. That they are a blessed people that are in Christ, and that 
they should be ever making use of him, seeing they are ever sinning. 
As we are still defining ourselves, still we should be dipping in the 

OF SOULS. 385 

Use 2. Of exhortation. Be convinced then, sinners, of your 
need of Christ, and let your necessities drive you to hira. Alas ! 
few are sufficiently convinced of their absolute need of the Lord 
Jesus Christ. There is an error here, that is the cause of many 
others. Of it there are clear evidences, such as, 

1. The sound rest which many get in their sins, sleeping on the 
mercy of God. There is a generation going on in their sins, 
and yet have peace and hopes of salvation, and that merely because 
God is merciful. These see no need of the Lord Jesus. They know 
not that Jesus is the only conduit, through which mercy flows to 
sinners. They consider not, that they cannot taste of mercy, unless 
they be in him. Mercy cannot save if you be out of Christ, for it 
cannot act in prejudice to justice, and God cannot deny himself. 

2. How few have ever got a sight of sin in its own colours. This 
is evident from their making so light of it. Many live under the 
gospel, who were never yet under convictions from the Spirit, of 
their sinfulness and misery by nature. They confess they are sin- 
ners, and who denies that ; but they were never perplexed about 
their soul's state, nor ever put to it, to ask what shall we do to be 
saved ? and surely till a man knows his disease to be dangerous, he 
will never see the need of the Physician. Are there not some, 
whom their soul's case never sent to their knees. 

3. How few are there, that will refuse comfort and rest in any- 
thing, till they get an interest in Christ secured. If we saw our ab- 
solute need of Christ, it would be so, Acts ii. 37. What pleasure 
can a condemned man take in any thing, till he get a pardon. The 
man who sees his danger will say, what can omnipotence give me, 
while I go Christless. But alas ! few keep pace with the church, 
Lam. iii. 49, 50. They can take up their rest in the world, when 
they get nothing of Christ. 

4. How few are there brought to that, to leave no mean untried, 
in order to get an interest in Christ, and salvation. It is a matter 
of life and death, and all that a man hath, will he give for his life. 
Necessity has no law. Every possible exertion must be made. But 
alas ! most part of men are easily diverted in their pursuit of an in- 
terest in Christ, and if they cannot attain their desire with ease, 
they will let it go. Hence, some professors in their duties, are like 
the door on the hinges. Still there is one thing they lack. 

5. How few are brought to be content to part with all for Christ, 
and to take him on any terms. Surely a sight of absolute need, 
would make the soul content to put a blank in Christ's hand, say- 
ing. Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ? "What will not a con- 
demned man give for pardon ? See you a man prigging much in the 


market, you may conclude either that he can want the article, or 
knows some other quarter whence he may get it. The soul that 
seos its need, must have hira cost what it will. 

6. How many can live in peace, weeks, months, and years, without 
communion with hira. Are there not some, who never knew in ex- 
perience, what communion with Christ is ? Some that will not bow 
a knee to God for it ; some content with the bare performance of 
duties, are never anxious about that, whether they find Christ in 
them or not. They reign as kings without him. As king Saul, 
from whom God is departed, they never see the king's face. 

Lastly, The little pains people are at, to get Scriptural evidence 
of their interest in Christ. Many hope they have an interest in 
him, but were never at pains to examine the foundation of their 
hopes. If a man were to be let down a steep rock by a rope, would 
he not try whether it could bear his weight or not. 

This may convince many of us, that we do not sufficiently see our 
need of Christ ; and therefore receive the conviction and know, that 
thou that wast never acquainted with this, art yet out of Christ, and 
so in a fearful state. And I would exhort you to have so much 
compassion on your souls, as to retire this night, and, 1. Meditate 
on what a God thou hast to do with. 2. On thy sinful and misera- 
ble state ; and 3. Pray the Lord may open your eyes. And to 
quicken a sense of your need of Christ, and to urge you to close with 
him, I would ask you these questions : 

1. How think you to live without Christ? I am sure your life 
will be a continued death without him. These bodies of yours, will 
be but living coffins for dead souls, with the curse of God upon them 
for a grave-stone. Though may in prosperity, yet how will you do 
you do in adversity ? The clouds are growing black above the 
heads of the people of the land. I fear days are coming, in which 
the Lord will plead his controversy ; and how dreadful will it be 
for a deluge of wrath to come upon a man who is not in the ark 
of safety. 

2. How will you die without Christ? You may think light of 
hira now ; but when death settles down on these eyelids, and the 
grim king carries thee over into the ocean of eternity, if Christ 
keep thee not, where art thou then ? 

3. How wilt thou appear before God to judgment without hira ? 
Will not the face of God, whose Son thou hast slighted, be terrible 
to thee ? To see this Christ, who is now freely offered to you as a 
Saviour, sitting at the right hand of God, but not to open a mouth 
for tliee there, but against thee as a slighter of him, and a ue- 
glecter of his great salvation. How will you then escape ? Amen. 


Simprin, Fchniary 16, 1707. 


Mark xiii. 37, 
And luhat I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch. 

These words are the conclusion of our Lord's discourse, begun at 
the 5th verse of this chapter. Here he tells them the design of 
speaking these things, that they were not designed for them alone 
who heard them, but for all others, that minded to be his followers. 
What things does he mean ? The text refers to the whole preced- 
ing discourse, the word being in the plural number; and so it refers 
to watching, which he had before pressed upon them, and now 
presses again. 

DocTKiNE. It is the duty of all to watch. For illustrating this, 
I shall, 

I. Shew what it is to watch. 

II. I shall, under several branches, speak of the object of watch- 

III. I shall enforce the doctrine, by giving reasons why we should 
watch. I am then, 

I. To shew what it is to watch. 

Watching is a military term. By watching, the array is secured 
from a surprise by the enemy. It properly belongs to the body to 
watch, because it only is properly subject to sleep. Even this 
bodily watching may be religious, 2 Cor. vi. 5; Psal. Ixiii. 6; but it 
is commonly used in scripture for the watching of the soul, which is 
subject to a spiritual sleep. There are two things in it, 

1. The soul's keeping spiritually awake, for to watch is opposed 
to sleeping. When Jesus found his disciples sleeping, "he said 
unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou ? Couldst thou not watch one 
hour?" The time of our being in the world is night, Rom. xiii. 12, 
and it is very natural to sleep in the night ; " for they that sleep, 
sleep in the night." But we must not sleep, but be awake ; that is, 
keep grace in exercise. We mast keep from carnal security and spi- 
ritual sloth, which are very apt to creep in upon us, after the great- 
est enjoyment and appearances of God, Song v. 3. This is a sweet 
sin, in which a man will take pleasure, when other sins give him no 
satisfaction. We must also keep the soul in spiritual motion and 

388 CHursTiAN watchfulness 

holy exercise. When we sleep we rest. Our rest is not here, and 
therefore we must be always moving heavenwards. As the fire on 
the altar was kept always burning, so we must be always watching. 
If we begin to droop, we must rouse ourselves. 

2. Observation. The sentinel that walketh the round, unless he 
carefully observe what he may see, cannot be said to watch. Thus 
the sheplicrds kept watch over their flocks by night, Luke ii. 8. 
Our mind must be intent upon our business, that we may catch all 
advantages against, and ward off hazard from the enemy. Hence 
watching is expressed by taking heed, and by looking to ourselves, 
1 Cor. X. 12 ; 2 John 8. We are now, 

II. Under several branches to speak of the object of watching. 
The branches are these three, 

I. Some things we must watch over to keep them right. 

II. Some things we must watch against. 

III. Some things we must watch for. 

I. There are some things we must watch over to keep them right. 

1. Watch over yourselves. "Only," said Moses, "take heed to 
thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things 
which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all 
the days of thy life." Every man is his own nearest neighbour, 
atid so his worst enemy is nearest to him. None capable to do us 
so much harm. 

Watch then over your heads, your principles, 1 Tim. iv. 1. The 
spirit of delusion rageth. New doctrines are very enticing to those 
that have not had the spiritual relish, and felt the efficacy of the 
old upon their hearts, 2 Tim. iv. 3, and iii. 4. When the truth is not 
received with love, the spirit of delusion leads men to believe a lie. 

Watch over your hearts. " Keep thy heart with all diligence, 
for out of it are the issues of life." The heart is the source of 
action. It is as the eye to the body. " If therefore thine eye be 
single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be 
evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness." The same may be 
said of the heart. There is, then, the greatest need for watching it, 
" for it is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." He 
would act foolishly, who desiring to keep the water pure, would sit 
down by the streams, neglecting the fountain. To watch the out- 
ward man and not the heart, is to shut the door and the thief in 
the house. 

The thoughts of the heart must be watched. " Jerusalem, 
wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved : how 
long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee." Thus David de- 
clares, " I hate vain thoughts." Thoughts are the births of our 


hearts, and we had need to watch, and observe of what sort they 
are, and stifle evil thoughts in the womb, lest through unwatchful- 
ness they swarm forth and defile the wliole man, Mark riii. 20 — 23. 
One wandering thought has been a wide door at which the soul's 
life and vigour in duties have gone out, being as a dart struck, 
through the heart of a bird singing on a tree. 

Watch also the affections of the heart. Good ones are easily 
crushed, and evil ones, like bad weeds, grow up apace, Song ii. 15. 
! how ready are our affections to go astray, either on unlawful, 
or else immoderately on lawful objects ; and when once set on, 
they run along, as the fire in the train, Ecci. vi. 9. Therefore, 
watch your hearts. He that hath no rule over his own spirit, is like 
a city that is broken down and without walls. 

"Watch over your tongues. " If any man among you seemeth to 
be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, 
this man's religion is vain." It is dangerous to ride on an unbrid- 
dled horse. David said, " I will take heed to my ways, that I sin 
not with my tongue ; I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the 
wicked is before me." "Again," said he, "set a watch, Lord, 
before my mouth, keep the door of my lips." The tongue boasteth 
great things. It is apt to fall into undue silence, or sinful speaking. 
A single word may be of dreadful consequence. " For by thy words 
thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shaft be condemned." 
The unruliness of the tongue it seems had cast the rich man in hell 
into a burning fever, where no cooling was to be expected, Luke xvi. 

Your senses must be watched. These are the gates of the soul, 
and when the town is besieged, strict watch must be kept at the 
gates. Satan lays his trains at these gates ; if they be not guarded, 
the whole soul may be set on fire. The senses of hearing and see- 
ing, must in an especial manner be watched. By the eyes and ears 
did the devil blow up all mankind in Adam and Eve. The eyes 
ruined Achan, and wounded David severely. Job was glad to make 
a covenant with them. 

Watch over yi)ur feet, your walk and conversation. We are 
exhorted " to walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise." We 
should walk wisely, noticing every step. " We must watch in all 
things," for we are ready to stumble in all things. We must not 
walk at random ; " but in all our ways acknowledge the Lord, and 
he shall direct our paths. 

2. Watch over your graces. Grace is that fire sent down from 
heaven into the hearts of sinners, which must not be neglected, 
2 Tim. i. 6. Our graces are subject to decay, though not to death. 


Though grace caunot die out of the garden of the heart, when once 
it is implanted, yet it may be overgrown and hid. It is a great 
pledge of the Lord's love and every way precious, therefore to be 
watched, seeing it is in hazard. 

3. Watch over your duties. Take heed how you hear, how you 
read, pray, meditate and communicate. Remember what Paul says, 
" I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present witii 
me." Unwatchfulness in duties, makes them useless, like a man 
shooting an arrow at random. We should watch the outward man 
in duty. Men caunot pray sleeping, nor hear when gazing around 
them. Watch the inward man the soul, that it behave rightly. 
Satan is ready to cast a dead fly into the ointment to spoil all, or to 
send the birds flocking to the carcase. See how David set himself 
to his duty, " My voice," said he, " shalt thou hear in the morning, 
Lord ; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will 
look up." 

4. Watch over your attainments. " Look," says John, " to your- 
selves, that we lose not those things we have wrought, but that we 
receive a full reward." If it were but a weak spark of grace, " yet be 
watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to 
die." If it were but a conviction, let us say with David, " my siu 
is ever before me." " Quench not the Spirit." Do not let out the 
fire, by neglecting it. The cloud like a man's hand, if cherished, 
may ere long cover the heavens. See how watchful the spouse was, 
when she had found Christ, " I charge you," said she, " ye 
daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and hinds of the field, that ye 
stir not up, nor awake my love till he please." 

II. There are some things we must watch against. 

1. Watch against your lusts and corruptions. In an especial 
manner let us watch against the sin of our nature, called the old 
man, and by us usually the evil heart ; that woful bent of our souls 
to evil, the body of sin, Rom. vii. 24. This reigns as a king in the 
unregenerate ; and in the regenerate it is dethroned, but still endea- 
vours to get the throne again, and in the meantime endeavours to 
command. " Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, 
that they should obey it in the lusts thereof." 

Watch against your former sins, with which you were sometimes 
led away, and have been engaging against. " As obedient children, 
not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your 
ignorance." Your former loves will make suit again to you, and 
be in on you, if you watch not. Remember you are naturally bent 
to backslide, and, like Israel, to follow after your lovers ; theiefore 
look not back to Sodom. 


"Watch against your particular sins, to which you find yourselves 
most inclined. The strongest guard should always be at the weak- 
est part of the wall. Every man has his weak side, his " sin that 
doth most easily beset him." Take notice of this by all means, and 
endeavour to lay it aside, that each may be able to say with David, 
" I kept myself from mine iniquity." 

"Watch against little sins. The proverb is, the little thief makes 
least noise, but opens the door to the rest. An improper look to 
Bathsheba, in the end broke David's bones, A little sleep brings 
on want as an armed man. 

2. Watch against appearances of evil, 1 Thess. v. 22. Neither do 
evil, nor what appears to be evil. Such as neglect this rule, offend 
and stumble others, and so offend God. They grieve the godly, and 
harden the wicked. 

3. Against occasions of sin. It is difficult and dangerous for a 
man to walk with bags of powder among sparks. Peter in the high 
priest's hall, fell intoi "j grievous sin. " Enter not into the path of 
the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not 
by it, turn from it, and pass away." Sin has a lodging within, and 
wants but an occasion to call it forth, and therefore starve your 
lusts, by fleeing from occasions of sinning. 

4. "Watch against temptations to sin. Watch and pray, that ye 
enter not into temptation : the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh 
is weak. Ton live amidst many snares. Be upon your guard, tliat 
you may resist when tempted, and throw not yourselves in the way 
of temptation. You cannot expect to escape temptations while 
here. God will have you tried, and temptations will easily lead 
aside the unwary. 

5. Against evil company. A man is known by his company, and 
is always in some degree influenced by it. Evil communications 
corrupt good manners. He that walketh with wise men shall be 
wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. 

III. There are some things we must watch for, as men watching 
for advantages against the enemy, and for strengthening themselves. 

1. Watch for the proper season of duty, "Praying always," 
says Paul, " with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and 
watching thereunto with all perseverance, and supplication for all 
saints." There is an opportunity for doing good, Gal. vi. 10, which, 
if not embraced, may do much harm. "To every thing there is a 
season." This may come and pass too without improvement, if a 
man be not watching. Many a fair child is lost by an untimely 
birth, and many a good duty is spoiled for want of doing it in its 
season. Every thing is beautiful in its season. 


2. "Watch for the motions of the Spirit. He ia an unwise mariner 
that talces not heed to wind and tide. He can neither command 
them \vlien he will, nor set out to sea without them. If a man be 
80 happy as to watch the blowings of the Spirit, he may make good 
progress ; otherwise, he may do much to little purpose. As soon as 
God revealed himself, " Moses made haste, and bowed his head to- 
ward the earth, and worshipped. And he said, if now I have found 
grace in thy sight, Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us, 
(for it is a stiflf-necked people), and pardon our iniquity and our sin, 
and take us for thine inheritance." 

3. Watch for experiences, by observing carefully the dispensa- 
tions of providence towards you. " AVhoso is wise, and will observe 
these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of 
the Lord." An observing Christian is rich in experience. " For 
thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work; I will triumph 
in the works of thy hand." Providence is every day big with ad- 
vantage to the observing Christian. Sometimes it brings him a 
reproof, light, comfort, evidence of God's faithfulness, and such like 
things ; but the un watchful let all these escape. 

4. Watch the success of your duties. David resolved not only 
that God should hear his voice in the morning, but also that he 
would look up for an answer. Observe how you succeed at a 
prayer, a sermon, or at a communion. The prayer that is not 
looked after, is not likely to reach God's ears. Alas ! many go to 
God in duties, as children at their play come and knock at people's 
doors, and presently run away to their play again. 

in. "We are to enforce the doctrine, by giving reasons why we 
should watch. 

1. Because God commands it, and that very often. He hath set 
us to our post, and we must watch and not sleep. 

2. Because we have the enemy within our walls. A deceitful 
heart, with strong and deceitful lusts. '' The heart is deceitful 
above all things, and desperately wicked." Therefore, says Solomon, 
" He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool, but whoso walketh 
wisely, he shall be delivered." How can men sleep sound, when 
they know that cut-throats are within their houses ? Thou hast 
within thee what will ruin thee, if thou watch not, though the devil 
should never attack thee. A man's enemies are those of his own 

3. Because there are snares laid for us every where, hy the devil 
and the world. Therefore, says Paul, " See then that ye walk cir- 
cumspectly, not as fools, but as wise." There is no place where 
Satan has not his traps set for thee. In the wilderness he tempted 


Christ ; he tempted Eve when alone, and Peter in company. There 
are snares in thy lawful enjoyments, visible and invisible. Oar time 
is like to be a time of snares, we have need to watch. Remember 
Jesus hath said, "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in 
white ra